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sincereheart
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2006, 07:11:27 AM »

The Start of the Christian Church

The Christian church was not born nor does it exist today on the basis of Jesus' life and teachings. The church that began less than 2 months after Jesus' death is the result of something more significant than His great sayings, parables, and philosophies. It began because a group of people in Jerusalem testified that they saw Jesus alive after He had been killed. Without the faith of those resurrection witnesses and the new faith of those who believed their testimony about it, there would be no Christian church today.

Let's see what the people were told when they were first given the opportunity to embrace this new faith. This will help us to see what caused the church to take hold in the first century.

Standing before people from all over Palestine, including many from Jerusalem, Peter described Jesus as the One "God raised up" (Acts 2:24). He also said, "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses" (v.32). As a result of this clear, straightforward message, 3,000 people believed Peter and were baptized that very day.

In a later sermon, this man who had earlier denied that he knew Jesus now called Him the "Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead" (Acts 3:15). After hearing of Peter's testimony, the rulers and priests in Jerusalem put him on trial. Even when he faced the wrath of the religious leaders, Peter stood by his story that "the God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree" (Acts 5:30).

These are the kinds of statements that led to the start of the church. No one could hedge on the reason for Peter's fervor. He was not preaching a creed nor advocating a philosophy. He was telling people that the crucified Christ was alive. That was the essence of his message. And that was the only message the Christian church needed to catch fire. For 2,000 years, it's been the driving force behind the church.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point6.html

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sincereheart
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2006, 07:13:02 AM »

The Expectation of Christ's Return

One of the most important activities of the early church was to share in what we now call the communion service. It was a time to remember Jesus' death and to reflect on His sacrifice. It was a time of celebration. But what would the early Christian have had to celebrate if Jesus were still dead? These people were living in Jesus' generation. They would have known if the resurrection story were not true. Yet they listened and obeyed when Paul said, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26).

This verse makes it obvious that the first-century believers were eagerly awaiting Jesus' return. They could not have believed in His second coming without first knowing that He was alive. Otherwise, how would He be able to come back?

This idea that Jesus would return to be with His people again was taught throughout the New Testament. Jesus Himself taught it when He said, "I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (Jn. 14:3). Paul emphasized the same theme when he said, "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20). And John said, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him" (Rev. 1:7).

Without the resurrection, these claims would all be useless, frivolous, unfounded lies. No one would dare predict such an event as Jesus' return if He were in fact lying in a tomb, or if His body had been taken away and hidden. No, John and Paul knew exactly what had transpired on that resurrection day. What would have been the purpose of telling about His return if they were harboring the knowledge of a dead Jesus?

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/point7.html

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sincereheart
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2006, 07:14:56 AM »

What the Opposition Says

A premise that cannot stand up against opposing views is not worthy of our trust. Therefore, it is only fair that we mention some of the theories that have been proposed to explain away the resurrection. Looking carefully at the logic of these ideas, we will be able to see how they fare when stacked up against the evidence already presented.

THEORY: The body was stolen from the tomb. In this theory, the disciples are the culprits. They sneaked up to the stone, rolled it away, and walked off with Jesus' body. That's why it wasn't there when the women, John, and Peter arrived at the tomb on the first day of the week.

OBJECTIONS: Why would the disciples want Jesus' body? Who was it that appeared to all those people later? How did the disciples sneak past the guards? Why would an angel lie about the reason for the tomb being empty?

THEORY: The authorities took the body. Knowing that the disciples had an unusual interest in Jesus, the authorities--both governmental and religious--made sure they would not see Him again. They opened the tomb and took the body.

OBJECTIONS: Why didn't the authorities produce it to disprove the claims of Peter and others just a few weeks later? What turned the disheartened disciples into fiery proponents of a new cause if they had not seen Jesus again?

THEORY: Jesus' friends went to the wrong tomb. It had been a terrifying week for the disciples and the others who had grown so close to Jesus. Therefore they became disoriented and went to the wrong grave. That's why they found an empty tomb.

OBJECTIONS: Whose graveclothes did John and Peter find? What was an angel doing at someone else's gravesite? Is it possible that they all forgot their directions at the same time?

THEORY: Jesus only fainted. This theory says that Jesus didn't die on the cross. Instead, He fell into a deep swoon. Then, when He was placed in the tomb, He was revived by the cool, damp air. That explains His later appearances.

OBJECTIONS: What caused the soldiers to misinterpret the evidence and certify that Jesus was dead? Why didn't Joseph notice that Jesus wasn't dead when he wrapped Him in linen? How did Jesus, who had been nearly dead just days before, push away the stone and walk about town in perfectly good health?

THEORY: Jesus' friends saw hallucinations. The resurrection makes a nice story, says this theory, but the disciples never saw any of the things they thought they saw. In fact, some say, they hallucinated, seeing images in their minds that corresponded with what they wanted to see.

OBJECTIONS: Is there evidence that suggests that 11 people can hallucinate the same image? How about 500 simultaneous, identical hallucinations? Can people drag out hallucinations over 7 weeks, in many locations, and under various circumstances?

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/page4.html

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sincereheart
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2006, 07:18:00 AM »

All the Savior's Men

Former presidential counsel Charles Colson tells how his Watergate experience can be used to support the testimony of the first-century men who said they saw the resurrected Jesus.

How do we know that Jesus was resurrected? We have the eyewitness accounts of the 11 apostles who were with Him and, of course, the apostle Paul who saw Him. They were with Him before His crucifixion and for the 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension. They lived for as long as 40 years thereafter, never once denying that they had seen Jesus raised from dead.

What does that have to do with Watergate? I'll tell you. In June 1972, I was home on a weekend with my wife and children. We had a few days off because President Nixon was in Key Biscayne, Florida. My phone that was connected to the White House rang. It was John Erlichmann. He told me that some burglars had broken into the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington. I started laughing hysterically because I thought to myself, "Of all the ridiculous places for anybody to break into in Washington, D.C."

I went away from that phone call shaking my head and feeling a little despair. I thought, "Now we have a campaign issue, but it will go away after the election." Well, as you know, it didn't!

The log showed that in the months immediately following the 1972 election, I was with President Nixon more than any other aide. Watergate never came up. We first started to discuss it in February 1973, when the Ervin hearings started. On March 21, 1973, John Dean walked into the Oval Office and said, "Mr. President, there is a cancer growing on your presidency." That's the first time the President really knew there was a conspiracy in the White House. That's the first time it became a criminal act inside the White House.

John Dean's memoirs record that 3 days after that meeting in the Oval Office he began to get nervous about his own role. That's when he hired a lawyer. On April 8, Dean went to the prosecutors to bargain for immunity so that he would not be prosecuted. In turn, he would testify against the President. Later, he said, "I did it to save my own skin." When he went to the prosecutors to bargain for immunity, it was all over.

Then the other aides started to go in. I took a lie detector test, and my lawyers leaked it to the New York Times. Everybody started to scramble for cover. The Watergate coverup was actually over because Mr. Nixon's presidency was doomed. Now, if you stop and figure it out, you will see that the Watergate coverup actually lasted 3 weeks or less--from March 21 to April 8, 1973.

Now put yourself in our position. Here we were, the 12 most powerful men in the United States. All the power of government was at our fingertips, but we could not keep a lie together for 3 weeks. The most powerful men in the world could not hold on to a lie. So weak is man that we couldn't do it.

Are you going to tell me that those powerless apostles who were outcasts in their own land could be stoned, persecuted, and beaten, some for 40 years, never once denying that Jesus was raised from the dead? Impossible, humanly impossible--unless they had seen the risen Christ face to face. Otherwise, the apostle Peter would have been just another John Dean. He'd have gone in to turn state's evidence. He had already done it three times.

Is it likely, then, that a deliberate coverup, a plot to perpetuate a lie about the resurrection, could have survived the persecution of the apostles and the purge of the first-century believers who were cast by the thousands to the lions for refusing to renounce Christ? Is it not probable that at least one apostle would have "confessed" rather than being beheaded or stoned? Is it not likely that some "smoking gun" document might have been produced exposing the "Passover plot"? Surely one of the conspirators would have made a deal.

If Jesus was raised from the dead, as I am absolutely, intellectually positive that He was--and the evidence of history is overwhelming--it's not only a matter of faith but a matter of deepest intellectual conviction.

Taken from a speech by Charles Colson and from his book Loving God, Zondervan, ©1983.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/page5.html
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sincereheart
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2006, 07:19:53 AM »

Why Is This So Important?

Think of the key world events of your lifetime. The fall of the Berlin Wall. The Persian Gulf War. The conflict in Bosnia. The El Nińo weather events.

Or go back to an earlier era. Watergate. The oil crisis of the 70s. The Vietnam War. Man landing on the moon. Perhaps you've been around long enough to recall the assassination of President Kennedy. Hiroshima. The Holocaust. Pearl Harbor. Whatever comes to mind, you can be sure of this: No event in this century has affected every human on earth--no matter where he or she lives.

Now think back through history. The Civil War. The Fall of the Bastille. The American Revolution. The discovery of the New World. The invention of the printing press. The signing of the Magna Carta. The Battle of Hastings. The Fall of the Roman Empire. Each of these events had extraordinary historical significance. But none of them has the kind of monumental, worldwide, eternal effects that one event almost 2,000 years ago claims to have. This event? The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that God came to earth as a man to pay the penalty of death for the sins of the world (Jn. 1:1-29; Rom. 6:23). But the Bible also says that if Jesus did not overpower death's grip to escape that cold, rocky tomb, He would not be able to provide us with victory over death (1 Cor. 15:12-19).

The implications of the resurrection of Jesus Christ must be considered honestly. Everything depends on it. Here is what Paul said:

[God] commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
According to the Bible, the eternal destiny of every human is at stake. Because of what Jesus did, each of us has two choices. We can live forever under God's blessing in heaven, or we can be separated from Him eternally in the torment of hell. It all depends on our response to Jesus' resurrection.

Our destiny is in God's hands. He alone must be satisfied. Not scientists. Not philosophers. Not educators. That's why what you believe about the resurrection is a matter of eternal life or eternal death.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/page6.html
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sincereheart
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2006, 07:21:40 AM »

It's Your Decision

Perhaps the most tense moment in a courtroom trial is the reading of the verdict. The judge calls on the jury foreman as he stands nervously before the jury, the judge, the gallery, the lawyers, and the defendant. No sound is heard except the wrinkle of paper as he unfolds the jury's decision. With hesitation in his voice, he reveals to the breathless crowd the fate of the accused.

After reading the evidence in this book, you too stand ready for a decision. But the Judge who awaits your choice is not a fellow human who has worked his way to the bench. The One who wants to know your decision has the authority to sentence you to an eternity of confinement in a prison called hell. Why? You are the defendant. You have been charged with sin (Rom. 3:23), and you face a sentence that is irreversible (Rom. 6:23). But here's the switch. You are also the jury. You get to make the decision based on the evidence.

So now it is time to make your decision. Do you believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for your sins? Do you believe that He rose from that garden tomb to prove His deity and to establish Himself as the only mediator between God and you?

It's your choice. You've read the evidence. You've seen the historicity of the Bible's claims. Are you ready to put your faith in Jesus? Are you willing to accept His gift to you? He is waiting for your answer.

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0203/page7.html
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sincereheart
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2006, 07:23:35 AM »

Lord, Liar or Lunatic?
 
Some say He was just a good teacher,
but good teachers don't claim to be God.
 
Some say He was merely a good example,
but good examples don't mingle with prostitutes and sinners.
 
Some say He was a madman,
but madmen don't speak the way He spoke.
 
Some say He was a crazed fanatic,
but crazed fanatics don't draw children to themselves
or attract men of intellect like Paul or Luke
to be their followers.
 
Some say He was a religious phony,
but phonies don't rise from the dead.
 
Some say He was only a phantom,
but phantoms can't give their flesh and blood to be crucified.
 
Some say He was only a myth,
but myths don't set the calendar for history.

Jesus has been called the ideal man, an example of love, the highest model of religion, the foremost pattern of virtue, the greatest of all men, and the finest teacher who ever lived. All of those descriptions capture elements of His character, but they all fall short of the full truth. The apostle Thomas expressed it perfectly when he saw Jesus after the resurrection, and exclaimed, "My Lord and My God!" (John 20:28).

(Excerpt from The Miracle of Christmas by John F. MacArthur, Jr.)
http://www.thelastsupperinpencil.com/
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2006, 09:45:38 AM »

Quote
Thank you, Pastor Roger! Would it be ok if I added to it?

Sister your posts are always welcome. There are so many factions that want to delete anything about Jesus Christ from history that we need to get out all the truth we can. You mentioned George Washington and his men at Valley Forge. There are many that delete the fact of how much the beliefs of Jesus Christ in these men had to do with their success in such difficult odds. Ordinary men would not have been able to do what they did there without God bringing them through.

This is the case in many things that was done by our founding fathers in the establishment of the United States.

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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2006, 09:48:52 AM »

Some very outstanding posts, sister. I'm glad that you posted them.

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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2006, 07:24:20 PM »

AMEN SINCEREHEART!

Sister, thanks for sharing with us.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Matthew 18:20 NASB  "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2006, 02:25:27 PM »

Amen brother and sister

Outstanding posts.

It is really sad to me that there is more evidence for just the mere existance of a man named Jesus (not even looking at the Spiritual aspect) than there is for Ghengis Khan but more accept that Ghengis lived and conquered most the Asian continent.

Brother Jerry
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I am like most fathers.  I, like most, want more for my children than I have.

I am unlike most fathers.  What I would like my children to have more of is crowns to lay at Jesus feet.
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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2006, 04:56:19 PM »

Hello Brother Jerry,

It's nice to see you on the forum again. WELCOME BACK!

We have new forum software since you were on last, and it's great. I hope that you enjoy it and visit more often.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Revelation 1:7-8 NASB  BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
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« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2006, 04:27:39 PM »

Evidence for Jesus – What Does Archaeology Reveal?
When it comes to archaeology, is there any evidence for Jesus? Do we have actual sites or artifacts that testify to the historical truth of Jesus Christ? Remarkably, over the last few decades, significant evidence revealing the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus has been uncovered!

Evidence for Jesus – His Early Life and Ministry
The evidence for Jesus starts with the place of his birth in Bethlehem. The The Church of the Nativity is generally considered a credible historical site, with the traditional cave of Christ’s birth being marked by the ornate Star of Bethlehem. Terraced hills containing shepherds’ flocks still encircle the small city.

On the Sea of Galilee, Christ’s childhood town of Nazareth is still active today. In addition, ancient harbors matching the biblical record have been located in recent drought cycles. In fact, a first century Galilean fishing boat was recently unearthed from the mud and preserved. Although we have no idea who the boat belonged to, it matches the biblical record for the vessels used by Christ’s disciples.

Capernaum, a town often visited by Jesus, is widely excavated and protected. Specific sites of interest include the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit and delivered the sermon on the bread of life, and the house of Peter where Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law and others.

Other archaeological sites involved in Christ’s ministry include Kursi (the swine miracle), Tabgha (loaves and fishes), the Mount of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount), Caesarea Philippi (Peter's confession), and Jacob's well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman.

In Jerusalem, we still see the foundations for the Jewish Temple Mount built by Herod the Great. Other remarkable sites in Jerusalem include the "Southern Steps" where Jesus and his followers entered the Temple, the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a crippled man, and the recently uncovered Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man.

Evidence for Jesus – His Last Days and Crucifixion
The evidence for Jesus in the events leading to his crucifixion starts across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives. There, we can walk through ancient olive trees to the Garden of Gethsemene where Jesus prayed before his capture. Then, we can look back across the Kidron Valley to the Golden Gate where Christ entered Jerusalem for his trial, scourging and death.

Elsewhere, we find more evidence for Jesus and the leaders presiding over his trial and crucifixion, including an inscription that mentions the Roman procurator of the time, Pontius Pilate, and the actual bones of the Jewish High Priest of the time, Caiaphas, preserved in an ornate ossuary (bone box). The evidence continues throughout Jerusalem where we can stand in the judgment place of Pontius Pilate called Gabbatha, and then walk the Via Dolorosa where Christ carried his own cross to Calvary. The huge Church of the Holy Sepulcher is considered by most scholars to be a reliable historical site covering the locations of the crucifixion and burial of Christ. Incredibly, a 2,000-year-old heel bone pierced by an iron nail was recently discovered in a Jerusalem graveyard that sheds more light on the practice of crucifixion by the first century Romans.

Evidence for Jesus – What About His Resurrection?
The evidence for Jesus in ancient sites and artifacts culminates with an empty tomb just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Although we don’t know the exact location for the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, the traditional site known as the Garden Tomb provides a wonderful image. Later, on the Road to Emmaus, we picture the risen Christ walking with two deflated and dejected men who lost their leader – the hoped-for Messiah – just a few days earlier. What event could cause a handful of scared and hiding peasants to light up the ancient world with the bold proclamation of Jesus Christ? Nothing short of Christ’s resurrection could have transformed these people – the evidence for Jesus after his death and resurrection is staggering!

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« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2006, 04:28:26 PM »

Resurrection of Jesus: Why It’s Important!
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he declares:

“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17). As it turns out, no legitimate scholar or religion today denies that Jesus was a historical figure who walked the earth approximately 2,000 years ago, was a great teacher and miracle worker, and who died on a cross for the crime of blasphemy. Therefore, the only legitimate dispute is whether Jesus was the Son of God who was resurrected from the dead after His crucifixion.

Resurrection of Jesus: Eyewitness Testimonies
The resurrection of Jesus is challenged today on evidentiary grounds. Therefore, to be fair, the evidence should be judged like any other historical event. Based on standard rules of evidence, consistent eye-witness testimony from multiple credible witnesses would be considered the strongest form of evidence available to a litigant. Therefore, if we find such testimony present in credible accounts of the historical record of Christ’s resurrection, we have satisfied a major evidentiary challenge under traditional rules. In fact, we do have multiple eye-witness testimonies regarding the resurrection of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, Paul established the following:

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”

Manuscript studies indicate that this was a very early creed of the Christian faith, written within a few years after the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it’s dramatic that Paul ends the passage with “most of whom are still living.” Paul was inviting people to check out the facts. He wouldn’t have included a statement like that if he was trying to hide something like a conspiracy, hoax, myth or legend.

Resurrection of Jesus: More Eye-witness Accounts
The resurrection of Jesus was also declared in numerous other accounts, including the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), to other women (Matthew 28:8-10), to Cleopas and his companion (Luke 24:13-32), to eleven disciples and others (Luke 24:33-49), to ten apostles and others (excluding Thomas) (John 20:19-23), to the apostles (including Thomas) (John 20:26-30), to seven apostles (John 21:1-14), to the disciples (Matthew 28:16-20), and to the apostles on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-52 and Acts 1:4-9). The ultimate test of credibility for these eye-witnesses was that many of them faced martyrdom for their eye-witness testimony. This is dramatic! These witnesses knew the truth. What could they possibly gain by dying for a known lie? The evidence speaks for itself, these weren’t just religious faithful dying for a religious belief, these were followers of Jesus Christ dying for a historical event – His resurrection that established Him as the Son of God.
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« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2006, 04:30:50 PM »

Is Jesus God? The Historical Dispute
Is Jesus God? The answer to this question is the only real dispute surrounding the historical Jesus. No legitimate scholar today denies that Jesus is a historic figure that walked on this earth about 2,000 years ago, that he did remarkable wonders and acts of charity, and that He died a horrible death on a Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. The emotionally-charged dispute focuses specifically on whether Jesus was God incarnate who rose from the dead three days after His Crucifixion.

Is Jesus God? The Only Alternatives
Is Jesus God? Many people have dealt with this "spiritual" dispute by intellectually accepting Jesus as a great man, great teacher, or great prophet. However, Jesus and His inspired followers didn't mince words when they declared Him to be God (John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-17, Mark 14:61-64, John 14:6, Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John 12:40-41 [quoting Isaiah 6:1-10]). Therefore, any type of intellectual compromise calling Jesus a "good man" is logically inconsistent. Why? Because there are really only three legitimate alternatives for the identity of Jesus Christ. He is either a liar, a lunatic or our Lord and God. Since Jesus claimed to be God, His claims are either true or false. If false, He must have been a liar, deliberately misleading the multitudes. Or, He was a lunatic, sincerely believing Himself to be God, when in reality He was just a man. However, if Jesus was a "good man," as most people now agree, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? There is only one logically consistent alternative - He must have been telling the truth. In addition to the logical inconsistency, the remarkable historical, archaeological and manuscript evidence shows that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. Again, the only position left is that His claim is true. Jesus is Lord and God.

The only real argument that remains, is that Jesus was just a legend or myth. There is little likelihood that Jesus' claims are legend. There just wasn't enough time for any legendary development of the story to replace what really happened. For instance, we now know that the Gospels were written 30 to 50 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. More dramatically, we now date some of the early Christian creeds, proclaiming the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, to 3 to 10 years after His crucifixion. This includes Paul's letters to the Corinthians, Romans and Galatians. Finally, if Jesus' claim of deity was a myth, the early Jewish opponents of Christianity would surely have presented the fact that these claims never happened. Unlike modern skeptics, the Jewish rabbis never denied that Jesus made the claim that He was God. Instead, they called Him a liar, and tried Him for blasphemy.

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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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