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Why We Know Jesus Died on Thursday

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It may seem like splitting hairs, and perhaps no one cares or needs to care, but picky scholars want everything to fit together like parts in a machine.  We are told that Jesus was in the tomb 3 full days and 3 full nights to fulfill the prophecy of Jonah.

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

If Jesus died on Friday He spent only 2 ½ days in the grave. We need to account for the additional one-half day.

Jesus Himself made a point of citing the Jonah relevance in this passage. Think of this line s being in red letters in your Bible.

 Matthew 12:40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

If Jesus was crucified on Thursday and died at 3 p.m. on that day we can account for a complete 72 hours.

First, modern readers must realize that the official day for Jews did not begin at midnight but at sunset.  This came from Genesis where God said the day began at evening and ended at 6 p.m.  The entire world clock system is based on day first and then night so one must adjust this thinking.

Genesis 1:5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Second, Roman Law specifically said that Jewish citizens could not be prosecuted on their high holy days or on the “day of preparation” which is always a Friday. This preparation day was an opportunity for the Jew to cleanse his home and person so that individuals were clean enough to celebrate Passover.

Jewish law also stated that one would not be clean enough to celebrate a Sabbath (Saturday worship) or the Passover if an individual had been near a dead body. Nor could someone go near a tomb without becoming unclean.

If Jesus was tried by both Jewish and Roman law, crucified and died on Friday this would have been a violation of the law of Caesar Augustus as well.  Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews Book 16, Chapter 6 gives the passage of the Roman law which applies here.

“{Jews} be not obliged to go before any judge on the sabbath day, (Saturday) nor on the day of the preparation (Friday) to it, after the ninth hour.”

If local Jewish believers had been required to conduct the crucifixion and move Jesus to his grave on Friday that would have given the workers only a few minutes to prepare for the Sabbath, not a full day of preparation.

Meanwhile Roman soldiers were an army of occupation. Soldiers would not be charged with handling any dead bodies; they would delegate that to local citizens.  And after all there were three bodies to dispose of not just Jesus.

Romans were able to conquer and dominate many nations because they did not change local custom or break local religious rules.  They were not popular conquerors but they were tolerated because they were sensitive to indigenous people’s way of daily life and custom. In addition the Romans thought the whole Jewish religious thing was nonsense so they were not anticipating anything to come of either the Jewish laws or the prophecies of Jesus.

Because the Hebrew laws were so specific, Roman managers knew that the Jews would do things by the book so they did not need to post a guard at the tomb until Sunday morning.  If, as was predicted, Jesus’ disciples would move his body, they would not do it until the holy days were past.

The Bible says he was raised on the 3rd day. He went about His Father’s business, first to preach to the dead in Hades, (1 Peter 3:19) and finally the women show up at the tomb when it was still a little dark, so dark she thought Jesus was the gardener.  The last time they saw Him His body was so bloody and disfigured this man could not have been Jesus.  He said He had yet to see the Father.  Preaching in hell then counts as part of the crucifixion story and activity.  By going to heaven at this point He can say His work is officially done.

Modern church dramas often show the tomb guarded for the entire three days but this is not correct.  If that were so then when the Mary came to the tomb and found the stone rolled away the guards would have stopped her.

The body of Jesus was cremated. Old Testament Law demanded that the sacrifice was a “whole burnt offering” and  none of it should remain until morning. If any remained, indicating God had not consumed it from the altar, that would mean His sacrifice for the whole human race was not accepted by God.

One of the major proofs that Jesus was raised from the dead is the fact that for over 2,000 years no one has been able to produce a body of Jesus.  That Sunday morning an entire cohort of Roman soldiers could find only two badly damaged corpses in all of Jerusalem.

Inconsistencies in our celebration of Easter may cause some doubters to reject the whole gospel message.  It probably makes no difference otherwise in our lives; yes, it would be nice to have a 4 day weekend not 3, but as usual we find the Biblical record is right.  It makes no real difference when we celebrate Good Friday, only that indeed we do celebrate it and all that He did for us on that day.

Discussion about Once Saved, Always Saved

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My book came out with a chapter on this epigram so often heard in evangelical churches, Once saved, Always saved.  I said it was over sold and I thought people should stop saying this because I had met so very many people who had no evidence of salvation.

Now I didn’t mean that they stop drinking or smoking or getting mad and mouthing off.  We are not saved by our behavior; we are not dammed by our behavior. God said it was the heart that needed help not the outside of our bodies. “The heart of man is evil above all things and desperately wicked.” God was pretty pointed in saying that!

Too many people accept Christ as their savior with only mental assent. They say in public, “I believe Jesus saved me. And now I get to go to heaven.” And they walk out and nothing at all in their lives in changed especially their attitude.  It is just as futile as you being told you have a full scholarship to Harvard and never go to Boston to start your studies.  It won’t cost you a dime but you have made no move forward with a changed life.  If your life is not changed you can hardly be much of a believer.

Jesus is not life insurance or fire insurance as evangelists like to call it.  It is an “exchanged life.”  That is, your old bad person starts to melt away and the better angels of Jesus Himself enter your person.  Your personality does not change – if you are funny or a talented singer, or a quick study or a generous person with many friends- none of that changes.  But if you harbor in your heart unforgiveness, or malice or revenge, or hidden depression or blame – then that is not Jesus because that is not the real Him.

Many times we hear people talk abut how salvation changes them; and others see it. It does not need to be dramatic, just that others can recognize that what you once were is sloughing off like a threadbare winter coat worn on the inside.

The second problem is that allowing unchanged people to claim the evidence they do not have really does them no favor.  They slip and slide through life, making bad decisions and wondering why God doesn’t help them out. The pastors make no advance to help them.  Then they become more lost.

If we are going to expect people to have changed lives we need to guide them through where we have walked, not in a condemnatory way but realizing that even in the Kingdom of God you can benefit by a Buddy System.

 

Welcome to our blog

Welcome to all you new subscribers. We have an international group of friends here. I look forward to your comments.

Would You Consider has been around for about eight years. Our job is to explain what God said and what He meant without the intrusion of denominational bias, concerns, personalities or doctrine.

We decided long ago that God didn’t make mistakes, but that man gets confused, things that are wrong are repeated and then there is more confusion. We live in a modern maelstrom of events, opinions, pressures and decisions.

For the convenience of our international readers you have the option of French, German, English, Chinese and Estonian.

As the editor here I hope our readers will seek to make good decisions about life and death in as rational and non-emotional way as possible. God is speaking in symbols just as He spoke in the Bible. We can and we should hear.

I Can Only Imagine – Movie Review

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We don’t do movie reviews here but after my daughter raved over Bart Millard’s story, I Can Only Imagine, we saw it this weekend.  The theater was packed – only two wheelchair slots were open.  It is a surprise money-maker for jaded Hollywood that thinks family fare is mildly-amusing and slightly tacky. This is the rare story, not of one person’s personal testimony as many movies are, but of what happened to a “monster” father who’s changed life changed the life of his son. Alas, the world is filled with bad fathers, or non-available, or unknown, or vanished into space-time somewhere.

This father, perennial father-actor “The Parent Trap” Dennis Quaid, has failed at everything – sports (his idol), his marriage and after the wife leaves silently, he abuses and berates his talented son and predicts his failure in the music business. Son Bart takes his guitar, jumps on his motorcycle and hits the road.  The filming is beautiful; it looks like Texas’ miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles, and of course the music is tops.

Bart Millard is played by J. Michael Finley. Finley is so good I thought he was the real Bart Millard. So did my friend.  Yes, that good.  Trace Adkins, the cynical music promoter, and old-time actress Cloris Leachman add a little star quality. Bart’s music teacher in high school is priceless. Would to God we had teachers like her by the fistful.

No one has ever done a movie about a song, the product of the changed-man’s witness, which went triple platinum and topped both Christian and Pop Charts. But why was the song so popular? Have we removed imagination from our religious life, from our educational systems? Do we put out everything as fact, as realism and materialism? It’s possible.

Maybe we have children who think every problem can be solved, particularly relationships. Maybe we’ve tried too hard to solve them all. Maybe we have stripped the mystery from living. Have the adults done this to themselves as well? God doesn’t tell us everything, and we don’t need to know everything anyway. Faith is not knowing but still believing.

The movie has little touches …  Bart finding the doctor’s cancer diagnosis and it never being discussed – Quaid wearing a shiny gold wedding ring up to the end of his life, the finding of an old journal in the attic. Absent a father, you can see how a silent God steps in to guide this talented boy. No matter how hard we try the past is never really the past until it is dealt with.

The Bible predicts that in the End Time before Jesus’ return fathers and sons will be reunited. For all mothers, fathers, daughters and sons this is a prophecy we can claim from Malachi.

Someone said “it takes a village” to raise a child. I disagree. I believe it takes a father.

When You are the Answer to Someone’s Prayer

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One of the surprising and satisfying things when you obey God is finding out that you have obeyed by faith (that is without knowing why you were doing this) and the results are beyond what you imagined.

Several decades ago I was washing my laundry at a local self-serve machine.  It was a dull, boring Saturday, a place I had never used before. Only one woman and her teenage son were in the laundromat. He was acting strangely; she was casting ugly glances at him and sharp threats. He sat nervously and silently in a chair most of the time.

I felt the scene was unnatural. As a person who was badly abused as a child I recognized that his behavior as a teenager was abnormal. Boys especially are all over the place, eating snax, reading magazines, bouncing balls outside on the pavement – but none of that. He never smiled; she never smiled. For a moment I saw myself being controlled in every public situation by a hostile parent.  So I wrote down the license plate of the little hatchback out front.

When  arrived home I wrote a letter to the Department of Social Services local office, Child Protective Agency.  I knew someone there but I had not seen her for literally years.  I told her I suspected this boy was abused; it made me uncomfortable.  I mailed the letter but including the license plate.  I had never seen this woman or her son, nor did I ever again. I thought nothing about it.

Several years passed and I was attending a Chamber of Commerce event when  I spotted my old acquaintance.  I asked her about my now long forgotten letter. Her answer startled me.

She said, “We removed the boy from the home and gave custody to the father.  The mother was livid thinking her Ex had promoted this whole thing. Your letter confirmed what the father had been telling me. But we could tell her it was a total stranger.”

I thought to myself how happy I was they had not pitched out my letter as just a nosy old grandmother.  But even more importantly this father as well as the son had wanted a new custody arrangement but could not catch the mother in the act.  My letter did the job.  I could never be identified by any of the participants.  The prayers of one very unhappy child and his father had been answered simply because I did what I believed to be right. God had stepped in.

That is how God uses obedience. He is not obligated to tell us why we do what we do. After all, faith is NOT knowing; obedience is doing anyway when you don’t have a clear reason.

God wants more than anything for us to be coworkers with him in the reformation of a good and happy world.  The old song, Trust and Obey, means so much more when you see obedience not as a test, but as a life’s work.

Why the World Did Not End in 2012 as Mayans Predicted

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According to Wikipedia and other web sites, the Mayan civilization predicted the end of the world for the end of 2012. However, the Mayans themselves saw an end to their own civilization around 1000 A.C.E. One scholar seem to think they were concerned that they would disappear, which they did. Their prophecy should have disappeared with them.

Consequently their ability to predict was flawed. In any event their lack of accuracy should give us a sigh of relief. The Western Bible has hundreds of correct predictions about many things, and modern prophets have a remarkable level of accuracy  – all say the end is not yet.

For example – KimClement.com.

At any given time in history someone somewhere will sow seeds of panic and fear in people about the end of the earth, or whatever.  It used to be the Soviets, or flesh-eating diseases.  Usually they are out for a headline or maybe money. One thing is certain. No one who is born on this earth lives forever so yes, the end is coming for everyone.  Our job is not panic but assured preparedness.

Ignore the fearmongers – we are to be ready for anything.

Trying to Be Something You are Not

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Billy Graham is one of the top 10 most important people of the 20th century. He had a unique role and accomplished what he set out to do. And he has many copycats.

My seminary professor told us to listen to the evangelists trying to be another Billy.  They even faked his southern accent.  Maybe that is good training but it can’t substitute for what God has called you to be.  God is not looking for carbon copies of anyone or anything, a fact we can verify in our un-copy-able DNA.

Young girls want to be movie starts or famous singers, swathed in furs and diamonds. But the story of fame is a difficult burden. Boys want to be high paid sports stars with a pricey car and a gaggle of groupy-girls.

The “beautiful” people are surrounded by insincere hangers-on hoping to bask in their fame. Money buys opportunity but many famous people are never told the awful truth about their bad behavior or attitude. Just because you have a lot of money does not mean you should be buying cocaine. And erelong you are trapped, thinking the money that bought you in can also buy you out. It won’t!

The happiest people are those who know who they are and what they are supposed to be doing. Older people usually get to this point and their calm and self-confidence helps their grandchildren.

Everyone call a plan for his/her life.

Jeremiah 29:11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Everyone has gifts and a calling.

Romans 11:29 (The Message) God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.

Your gifts match your calling. And God will train you for the work.  Maybe you thought all those music lessons would send you to an early grave, but lo and behold, hours of concentration on another language (reading music is a language unto itself) now you need that discipline even though you never touched the piano after age 15. That job you had working for an idiot and being paid next to nothing taught you patience and to keep your mouth shut, a skill you find you need very badly now. All those camping trips with Dad, hating the flies and mosquitoes and falling in the lake as a child have made your work now in forest management easier and actually, fun.

At one time children thought religious work always meant the church. Today moderns know that God uses his people in every corner of the world and in every profession and job. Coming to the realization that you are in the center of God’s will as a secular worker opens up a brand new view of yourself.  Happy people are those who are fulfilled in their own call, not in someone else’s.

God said this: I am the Lord. I change not. (Malachi 3:6)

What this means is that you change in order to come into His presence.  If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, talk to him.

Lawlessness Affects the Church Too

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When the Rule of Law deteriorates, it affects everything else.  You’ve heard this one.  “The fish begins to rot from the head down.” For decades now crime is glossed over and punishment is lessened at the head level – in legislatures, city halls and court rooms.

The Rule of Law has deteriorated

Some sanctuary cities, for example, allow residents without papers to remain even when they are lawbreakers.  They say “we want to protect the ones without papers,” and because of that “we also are protecting those with a criminal record.”

Missing in this is the obvious fact that both groups, the paperless illegals and the felonious illegals are, after all, illegally here.  They are all law breakers and have no legal right to be here.

Fifty years ago we could say all illegal behavior was – you guessed it – a violation of the law.  Now we have gradations of illegality as though that mattered.

Double standards are common and politicized

Yes, there are reasons illegals want to stay in America.  They bought a house; they bought a car; they have a job.  But of course many don’t pay taxes. That means their illegality is costing law abiding citizens money in taxes to pay their way.  They are actually now welfare recipients because the legal residents are paying what they should be paying their rightful share.

But my point is this; what was clearly illegal 50 years ago is now sniffed at. We have variable standards for what it means to be illegal.This double, sometimes triple standard applies to many other groups of people and illegal behaviors. At one time sodomites were jailed – that was as recently as 1940. Today it is legal for them to get married, but of course you must redefine marriage. In 196 t was illegal to kill your baby. Now your neighbor must be required to pay for it.

Everything requires redefinition. What is wrong, what is right, what is partly right, what is only a teeny, weeny wrong – everything changes.

This affects the church.  We were taught from the Bible that any kind of sin, no matter how minor, was enough to keep us out of heaven.  Today it takes a really, really bad sin to do that. And there are sinless churches out there – you’all come is their message.  “We don’t expect anything from you.  Everyone here is welcome and everyone goes to heaven- probably.”

The Bible is all about law

But if your church leaders went this way, they threw out the Bible in the process. The plan of salvation is gone; the “if” clauses God has in his word are no longer preached.  In fact, who bothers preaching? Enough to have a simple homily about how God loves you and then we go to lunch.

Here is what is happening. Barna and Pew Research tell us the same thing. Californians are leaving California in droves; and 8% of members are leaving churches too.  Where there is no standard of rightness there is no reason to stay, especially if you are paying for it. Californians are moving to Nevada and Texas; church members are watching TV evangelists or meeting in homes.

California will collapse

California will collapse if this continues. You can expect churches to collapse as well. Standards are the glue that holds people and systems together.  Without it, the groups and systems fall apart with all the nuts and bolts rolling around and the pieces scattered.

When everything can be right, everything can also be wrong. And civil society ends.

https://wouldyouconsider.net/2014/07/11/the-subtle-world-of-christian-legalism/

Government Health Care – the High Priest of Secular Religion

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About 100 years ago Progressive politics started its long climb up as the secular way to replace a morally based government with one founded on the fashionable new Darwinian, evolutionary view of man as strictly an animal with “needs.”  Those needs did not include faith in God if one could replace a morally demanding deity in public life through governmental provision and intervention.

Out of this idea came the socialist then the communist state. In spite of obvious failures in every communist system right up to the 21st century and the fall of Venezuela, and weakness in socialist governments worldwide, devotees to this godless-religious view of life continue undeterred. The coup de grace came 100 years later in 2009 when on Christmas Eve one political party and only one voted to provide government health care.  Only it wasn’t medical care; it was an insurance tax which drained money into the government without allowing anyone but the well-off citizen to pay the ensuing doctor bill.

When only one group supports something you can be sure it won’t fly – and it didn’t. Eventually the high cost sank the project and it was finally eliminated by a new president through management decisions.

But why it represents the crown on the socialist system is our reason to write this. Throughout history every society has placed the highest honor to that person or group which could heal disease or at least ameliorate its effects.  The priests were also expected to turn base metal into gold, and perform essentially magic tricks.  And they could do it – up to a point. Moses’ confrontation with the Pharaoh in Egypt demonstrated that the priests of Ra (and other Egyptian gods) could copy many of God’s demonstrations of power.

Other societies went to witch doctors or cargo cult religious teachings as a substitute for the Great Healer. Jesus  Himself received the most criticism from the Jewish priests for healing – and that on a Saturday!  And that in spite of the fact that they could not copy His successes.

Satan blamed God for treating wealthy, righteous Job with kid gloves, and asked that he (Satan) prove whether Job was a summer soldier. (from The Message.)

Job 1:6-7 One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”

Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”

God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”

9-10 Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose!

11 “But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”

12 God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.

Satan lost that bet, but Job also lost nearly everything in the process.  His test of faith in the end, however, was rewarded by a restoration of much, and a remarkable increase in wealth as well. In addition Job proved to himself his faith. Self-knowledge is also a valuable commodity.

Have the American voters learned anything? We can certainly hope so.

Dream Interpretation & Biblical Symbolism – new book

Coming soon. YOu will be able to pre order

Complaints about Christianity Being Divisive

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Of course Christianity is divisive, and deliberately so.  Genesis One begins with God revealing his creation, that is bringing it into physical being from the ideas he had planned previously. Then He calls for light.  The third verb in this chapter is the word “divide;” He divides light from darkness and notes later that in no case will darkness ever overtake light completely.  Darkness has its place but it is defined.  Light pushes back against Darkness.

But God is not finished with division.  There follows Day from Night, Land from Sea, the separate heavens, men from women, and nations all with their own ethnicity and borders. At the end of the Bible there is the final division of the virgins with oil and those without, then lastly heaven and hell.

God rolls up the universe like a worn out garment and ends the entire thing. He and His creation move into eternal life. Seven thousand years, like a vanishing view in one’s rear view mirror, fades away in time and eventually is forgotten entirely.

Division gives us everything of value.  Not all people are alike; if we all were the same there would be only doctors and no lawyers, housewives and no ballerinas, cooks and no one to build kitchens or farm crops. In fact one of the devil’s chief aims is to make everyone the same.  Of course it doesn’t work because people hate being like everyone else.  Their DNA demands they be different because they are.

The science channel on TV informs me that there are 17 types of beetles in one state park.  I don’t care one bit about beetles but God does; He likes variety.  In all the talk about diversity we forget that God has created a wildly diverse planet, one that even today is thinly explored.

Complainers about Christian divisiveness are those who want to be included in God’s heavenly kingdom without going through the simple process; they want the benefits of God without meeting the regs. People are like that; most high school students would be much happier getting a diploma without having to spend one single day in class. We’d rather play than work or sit and schmooze rather than make something valuable.

It is not merely laziness, although that is a factor.  We just do not want to exert ourselves.  But salvation requires from us a response.  God is not a super salesman trying to force human beings to accept Him and His blessings.  He lays out the plan of salvation and then says, choose.  Will you divide yourself from your sin nature and take on the nature of the redeemed? If God provided for you a physical utopia would you ever bother with him? Probably not.

Teens who grow up in wealthy homes often have not faced the challenges they need to succeed in society; everything has been given to them, and life is too easy. The baby bird pecks his way out of the shell; if someone comes along to open the shell for him, he dies.  The pecking made him stronger.  Resistance training is what my doctor says will make me healthier.  I know he is right, but the gym is two miles away and it is raining! Mankind always has an excuse.

Beware of those who call for unity if it means that you must drop your principles and adhere to theirs. Conflict, when it is civil, results in better decisions.  Un-civil conflict, like a war, also resolves issues but it is a high price to pay.

God’s expectation of us personally is to divide ourselves from darkness, just as it says in Genesis One.  We separate ourselves from people and situations which refuse to change, or bring light into darkness wherever it may be. That may find you ultimately unpopular with some but it protects you and your family  in the long haul.  I was working at a restaurant where someone was routinely robbing the till at the end of the day.  I found another job and gladly left.

You can always make new friends.

 

“Call me to holiness or don’t call me at all”

Reposted from The Stream. We all love it when another writer is singing our tune as well.

Call Me to Holiness or Don’t Call Me at All

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