BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Bartlett, Chicago, IL, 60103

AUG 31 2008

I visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple) many times, this is a beautiful temple near to Chicago land and only 35 miles from Downtown. To let you know this is a Desi temple and majority of the visitors are Hindu. All the major Hindu functions are celebrated here so this is a nice place to visit on special Indian occasions.

If you like to know about Indian culture, heritage, people, practice then please visit this mandir on a special function day so that you can enjoy the day and gain some knowledge.

What I like about BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple)

  • Free food on special occasions, how can you hate this?
  • The design of this mandir is stunning, the interiors are in wood and marvel carving which I loved the most.
  • I love temple that practices silence and this is the one so I like it.
  • Love to see lots of Desi crowd at one place and chat with them.

What I didn’t like about the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

  • The management people should speak in Hindi (national language of India) or English (international language), not in Gujurati (local language of Gujurat, India) at least.
  • Still to find one more issue to add here. I found more complains now. (update: 10/16/2008)
  • Girls don’t visit this temple wearing a sleeveless salwar, once the authority of this temple asked my friend to stay out because she was not in proper dress code that can be a jean and top but not a sleeveless salwar. This does surprises me.
  • Married women can’t hold their husband’s hand and walk in the temple building, wow, what’s wrong in this? The guards shout when they see such things, I am shocked.

If you guys visited any great temple in North America then share with us what you liked and disliked about the place/management.

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COMMENT

Name: Janardhan Raj

You are wrong I myself have been there and they ask you to wear a blue colored cloth no one that comes to this mandir is asked to stay out!
Also the volunteers speak in the following languages:English;Gujarati;and Hindi (national Language of India).
It is a Gujarati Temple so it makes sence if the staff comunicates in Gujarat.
It is important to consult other sources rather than to post such misguiding information on the internet.

Name: San Nayak

@Janardhan, I am sorry if you are hurt by my post but you are misunderstood at few of my points.

I am going to this mandir for last 8 years.

No one ever asked me to wear blue, this doesn’t mean they don’t say to people to wear blue because i might be wearing a blue color dress every time i visit there. You are never asked to stay away from the temple that doesn’t mean no one is asked for it. I clearly said “once my friend” and she was asked to stay because of a reason that i sited above.

Volunteers do speak in hindi, english and gujurati but couple of times they spoke to me in gujurati and i could answer them in hindi as i understand the language but can’t speak. They should start a discussion in hindi or english and continue to any language they feel comfortable with, this is just a suggesion, no hard feelings please.

You are purely mistaken here. IT IS NOT A GUJARATI TEMPLE, it is a hindu temple built by Swaminarayan sanstha. People of BAPS are not different, they are hindus.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAPS_Shri_Swaminarayan_Mandir_Chicago

I had substantial research and i think i am not wrong at my points it is just not well descriptive to make it clear. Anyway, my life will teach me more about BAPS.

Name: Janardhan Raj

Maybe you should look at the website BAPS.org Wikipedia is not a reliable source. You have not been going to the temple for the past 8 years since it was made in 2004 and the year is 2010 making the mandir only 6 years old. The Blue cloths are in a grey bucket right in front of the entrance to the tunnel.

Name: Janardhan Raj

Also I wanted to comment about the "no-holding hands". In our shastras when in a mandir it is important to focus on GOD and not anything else... So Stri-Purush Mariyada (Women-Men) are seperated...it is nothing new and Bhagwan Swaminarayan also reitereates this in the Shikshapatri.

Name: San

@Janardhan, My apologies for saying that i have been visiting the temple for last 8 years, it is a typo because i came to Chicago in Aug 2003 only so it can't be 8 Yrs. Probably i meant 6 yrs.

I consider wiki is the best place for any information as it is controlled by the public and not by any individual or group so the information that you find there is not biased at all.

Holding your wife's hand doesn't mean you have no concentration on GOD and you are making romance there. I hold my wife's hand or my wife holds mine at places where we find crowd is too much, tomorrow i will have my kids and parents coming with me to same place and again i will hold their hand. This means support and GOD wont deny for that. Anyway, you are right from your point and i do cleared my points.

I never noticed the bucket or no one ever pointed me to go and get that. It is more convincing in Gurdwaras, and i wrap the orange scarp right after taking my shoes out. They have a bucket next to the door and you have less chance to forget it as everyone in front of you will be doing the same.

Name: rahul chaudry

when is the free food available ..

Name: San

@Rahul, I have no clue. I am guessing there will be some free food on weekend for Janmashtami, there was some food in Iskcon temple on wednesday though.

Name: skyan foren

SCIENTIFIC FACTS & FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE Science means knowledge, and true science always agrees with the observable evidence. Scientific research continues to unfold the wonders and mysteries of our universe. Interestingly, there is one book that has anticipated many of these scientific facts. That book is the Bible. The following are several scientific facts found in the Scriptures. Many of these facts were penned centuries before they were discovered. Scientific foreknowledge found only in the Bible offers one more piece of the collective proof that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of the Creator. 1. The earth free-floats in space (Job 26:7), affected only by gravity. While other sources declared the earth sat on the back of an elephant or turtle, or was held up by Atlas, the Bible alone states what we now know to be true: “He hangs the earth on nothing.” 2. Creation is made of particles, indiscernible to our eyes (Hebrews 11:3). Not until 19th century was it discovered that all visible matter consists of invisible elements. 3. Oceans contain springs (Job 38:16). The ocean is very deep, almost all the ocean floor is in total darkness and the pressure there is enormous. It would been impossible for Job to have explored the “springs of the sea.” Until recently, it was thought that the oceans were fed only by rivers and rain. Yet in the 1970’s, with the help of deep diving research submarines that were constructed to withstand 6,000 pounds-per-square-inch pressure, oceanographers discovered springs on the ocean floors! 4. Joy and gladness understood (Acts 14:17). Evolution cannot explain emotions. Matter and energy do not feel. Scripture explains that God places gladness in our hearts (Psalm 4:7), and ultimate joy is found in our Creator’s presence, “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). 5. The bible states that God created life according to kinds (Genesis 1:24). The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe, namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, roses produce roses. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits biological change. 6. Chicken or egg dilemma solved (Genesis 1:20-22). Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This question has plagued philosophers for centuries. The Bible states that God created birds with the ability to reproduce after their kind. Therefore the chicken was created first with the ability to make eggs! Yet, evolution has no solution for this dilemma. 7. Which came first, proteins or DNA (Revelation 4:11)? For evolutionists, the chicken or egg dilemma goes even deeper. Chicken consist of proteins. The code for each protein is contained in the DNA/RNA system. However, proteins are required in order to manufacture DNA. So which came first: proteins or DNA? The ONLY explanation is that they were created together. 8. The First Law of Thermodynamics established (Genesis 2:1-2). The First Law states that the total quantity of energy and matter in the universe is a constant. One form of energy or matter may be converted into another, but the total quantity always remains the same. Therefore the creation is finished, exactly as God said way back in Genesis. 9. The first three verses of Genesis accurately express all known aspects of the creation (Genesis 1:1-3). Science expresses the universe in terms of time, space, matter and energy. In Genesis chapter one we read: “In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)…Then God said, Let there be light (energy).” No other creation account agrees with the observable evidence. 10. The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal. Science has proven them wrong, but the Bible correct. 11. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Enthropy) explained (Psalm 102:25-26). This law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Enthropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God, resulting in the curse (Genesis 3:17). Historically, most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “grow old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). Evolution directly contradicts this law. 12. Rejecting the Creator results in moral depravity (Romans 1:20-32). The Bible warns that when mankind rejects the overwhelming evidence for a Creator, lawlessness will result. Since the theory of evolution has swept the globe, abortion, pornography, genocide, etc., have all risen sharply. 13. The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic Flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by most of the scientific world because it was God’s judgment on man’s wickedness. 14. Vast fossil deposits anticipated (Genesis 7). When plants and animals die they decompose rapidly. Yet billions of life forms around the globe have been preserved as fossils. Geologist now know that fossils only form if there is rapid deposition of life buried away from scavengers and bacteria. This agrees exactly with what the Bible says occurred during the global Flood. 15. The earth was designed for biological life (Isaiah 45:18). Scientists have discovered that the most fundamental characteristics of our earth and cosmos are so finely tuned that if just one of them were even slightly different, life as we know it couldn’t exist. This is called the Anthropic Principle and it agrees with the Bible which states that God formed the earth to be inhabited. 16. Our ancestors were not primitive (Genesis 4:20-22; Job 8:8-10; 12:12). Archeologists have discovered that our ancestors mined, had metallurgical factories, created air-conditioned buildings, designed musical instruments, studied the stars, and much more. This evidence directly contradicts the theory of evolution, but agrees completely with God’s Word. 17. The order of creation agrees with science (Genesis 1). Plants require sunlight, water, and minerals in order to survive. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God created light first (v.3), then water (v.6), then soil (v.9), and then He created life (v.11). 18. Strong and weak nuclear force explained (Colossians 1:17) Physicists do not understand what binds the atom’s nucleus together. Yet, the Bible states that “all things consist”, or are held together by the Creator, Jesus Christ 19. Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). Scripture states that “the elements will melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation). 20. Animal instincts understood (Job 39; Proverbs 30:24-28). A newly hatched spider weaves an intricate web without being taught. A recently emerged butterfly somehow knows to navigate a 2,500 mile migration route without a guide. God explains that He has endowed each creature with specific knowledge. Scripture, not evolution, explains animal instincts. 21. Pseudo-science anticipated (1 Timothy 6:20). The theory of evolution contradicts the observable evidence. The Bible warned us in advance that there would be those who would profess: “profane and idle babblings, and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science).” True science agrees with the Creator’s Word. 22. Science confirms the Bible (Colossians 2:3). These insights place the Bible far above every man-made theory and all other so called inspired books. In contrast, the Koran states that the sun sets in a muddy pond (Surah 18:86). The Hadith contains many myths. The Book of Mormon declares that Native Americans descended from Jews, which has been disproven by DNA research. The Eastern writings also contradict true science. 23. Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love. The cause of suffering revealed (Genesis 3; Isaiah 24:5-6). The earth is subject to misery, which appears at odds with our wonderfully designed universe. However, the Bible, not evolution, explains the origin of suffering. When mankind rebelled against God, the curse resulted, introducing affliction, pain and death into the world. Death explained (Romans 6:23). All eventually die. The Bible alone explains why we die, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of God’s Law. To see if you will die, please review God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Have you ever lied? (White lies an fibs count). Ever stolen? (Cheating on a test or taxes is stealing). Jesus said that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever looked with lust? Then you’re an adulterer at heart. Have you ever hated someone or called someone a fool? If so, the Bible says you are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-2; 1 John 3:15). Have you ever used your Creator’s name (Lord, God, Jesus, or Christ) in vain? This is called blasphemy, and God hates it. If you have broken these commandments at any time, then by your own admission, you are a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and a liar at heart. And we have only looked at five of the Ten Commandments. This is why we die. Justice understood (Acts 17:30). Our God-given conscience reveals that all sin will be judged. Down deep we know that He who created the eyes sees every secret sin (Romans 2:16). He who formed our mind remembers our past offense as if it just occurred. God has declared that the penalty for sin is death. Physical death comes first, then second death, which is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God cannot lie. Every sin will be judged. His justice demands it. But God is also rich in mercy to all who call upon His name. He has made a way for justice to be served and mercy to be shown. Eternal life revealed (John 3:16). Scientists reach in vain for the cure for aging and death. Yet, the good news is that God, who is the source of all life, has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may live forever with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners. Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person, free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, therefore He alone qualified to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. He died in our place. He then rose from the grave defeating death. All who turn from their sins and trust Him will be saved. To repent and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down. The solution to suffering (Revelation 21). Neither evolution nor religion offers a solution to suffering. But God offers heaven as a gift to all who trust in His Son. In heaven. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The Bible offers the only remedy for sin, suffering, and death. God’s Word presents the only perfect, sinless Savior, one who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Jesus is the Creator (John 1: Colossians 1). He said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And He promises His followers: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). Your eternal destiny will be determined by your choice. There is only one provision for sin. Jesus died in your place. Only faith in Christ’s finished work will you be saved. This is God’s free gift offered to all. Please do not let pride, religion, opinions, or love for sin separate you from God. No sin is worth an eternity in hell. Please heed Jesus’ words, “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). If you do, you will live in heaven with our awesome Creator forever!

Name: skyan foren

SCIENTIFIC FACTS & FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE Science means knowledge, and true science always agrees with the observable evidence. Scientific research continues to unfold the wonders and mysteries of our universe. Interestingly, there is one book that has anticipated many of these scientific facts. That book is the Bible. The following are several scientific facts found in the Scriptures. Many of these facts were penned centuries before they were discovered. Scientific foreknowledge found only in the Bible offers one more piece of the collective proof that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of the Creator. 1. The earth free-floats in space (Job 26:7), affected only by gravity. While other sources declared the earth sat on the back of an elephant or turtle, or was held up by Atlas, the Bible alone states what we now know to be true: “He hangs the earth on nothing.” 2. Creation is made of particles, indiscernible to our eyes (Hebrews 11:3). Not until 19th century was it discovered that all visible matter consists of invisible elements. 3. Oceans contain springs (Job 38:16). The ocean is very deep, almost all the ocean floor is in total darkness and the pressure there is enormous. It would been impossible for Job to have explored the “springs of the sea.” Until recently, it was thought that the oceans were fed only by rivers and rain. Yet in the 1970’s, with the help of deep diving research submarines that were constructed to withstand 6,000 pounds-per-square-inch pressure, oceanographers discovered springs on the ocean floors! 4. Joy and gladness understood (Acts 14:17). Evolution cannot explain emotions. Matter and energy do not feel. Scripture explains that God places gladness in our hearts (Psalm 4:7), and ultimate joy is found in our Creator’s presence, “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). 5. The bible states that God created life according to kinds (Genesis 1:24). The fact that God distinguishes kinds, agrees with what scientists observe, namely that there are horizontal genetic boundaries beyond which life cannot vary. Life produces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, roses produce roses. Never have we witnessed one kind changing into another kind as evolution supposes. There are truly natural limits biological change. 6. Chicken or egg dilemma solved (Genesis 1:20-22). Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This question has plagued philosophers for centuries. The Bible states that God created birds with the ability to reproduce after their kind. Therefore the chicken was created first with the ability to make eggs! Yet, evolution has no solution for this dilemma. 7. Which came first, proteins or DNA (Revelation 4:11)? For evolutionists, the chicken or egg dilemma goes even deeper. Chicken consist of proteins. The code for each protein is contained in the DNA/RNA system. However, proteins are required in order to manufacture DNA. So which came first: proteins or DNA? The ONLY explanation is that they were created together. 8. The First Law of Thermodynamics established (Genesis 2:1-2). The First Law states that the total quantity of energy and matter in the universe is a constant. One form of energy or matter may be converted into another, but the total quantity always remains the same. Therefore the creation is finished, exactly as God said way back in Genesis. 9. The first three verses of Genesis accurately express all known aspects of the creation (Genesis 1:1-3). Science expresses the universe in terms of time, space, matter and energy. In Genesis chapter one we read: “In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)…Then God said, Let there be light (energy).” No other creation account agrees with the observable evidence. 10. The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal. Science has proven them wrong, but the Bible correct. 11. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Enthropy) explained (Psalm 102:25-26). This law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Enthropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God, resulting in the curse (Genesis 3:17). Historically, most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “grow old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). Evolution directly contradicts this law. 12. Rejecting the Creator results in moral depravity (Romans 1:20-32). The Bible warns that when mankind rejects the overwhelming evidence for a Creator, lawlessness will result. Since the theory of evolution has swept the globe, abortion, pornography, genocide, etc., have all risen sharply. 13. The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic Flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by most of the scientific world because it was God’s judgment on man’s wickedness. 14. Vast fossil deposits anticipated (Genesis 7). When plants and animals die they decompose rapidly. Yet billions of life forms around the globe have been preserved as fossils. Geologist now know that fossils only form if there is rapid deposition of life buried away from scavengers and bacteria. This agrees exactly with what the Bible says occurred during the global Flood. 15. The earth was designed for biological life (Isaiah 45:18). Scientists have discovered that the most fundamental characteristics of our earth and cosmos are so finely tuned that if just one of them were even slightly different, life as we know it couldn’t exist. This is called the Anthropic Principle and it agrees with the Bible which states that God formed the earth to be inhabited. 16. Our ancestors were not primitive (Genesis 4:20-22; Job 8:8-10; 12:12). Archeologists have discovered that our ancestors mined, had metallurgical factories, created air-conditioned buildings, designed musical instruments, studied the stars, and much more. This evidence directly contradicts the theory of evolution, but agrees completely with God’s Word. 17. The order of creation agrees with science (Genesis 1). Plants require sunlight, water, and minerals in order to survive. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God created light first (v.3), then water (v.6), then soil (v.9), and then He created life (v.11). 18. Strong and weak nuclear force explained (Colossians 1:17) Physicists do not understand what binds the atom’s nucleus together. Yet, the Bible states that “all things consist”, or are held together by the Creator, Jesus Christ 19. Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). Scripture states that “the elements will melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation). 20. Animal instincts understood (Job 39; Proverbs 30:24-28). A newly hatched spider weaves an intricate web without being taught. A recently emerged butterfly somehow knows to navigate a 2,500 mile migration route without a guide. God explains that He has endowed each creature with specific knowledge. Scripture, not evolution, explains animal instincts. 21. Pseudo-science anticipated (1 Timothy 6:20). The theory of evolution contradicts the observable evidence. The Bible warned us in advance that there would be those who would profess: “profane and idle babblings, and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science).” True science agrees with the Creator’s Word. 22. Science confirms the Bible (Colossians 2:3). These insights place the Bible far above every man-made theory and all other so called inspired books. In contrast, the Koran states that the sun sets in a muddy pond (Surah 18:86). The Hadith contains many myths. The Book of Mormon declares that Native Americans descended from Jews, which has been disproven by DNA research. The Eastern writings also contradict true science. 23. Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love. The cause of suffering revealed (Genesis 3; Isaiah 24:5-6). The earth is subject to misery, which appears at odds with our wonderfully designed universe. However, the Bible, not evolution, explains the origin of suffering. When mankind rebelled against God, the curse resulted, introducing affliction, pain and death into the world. Death explained (Romans 6:23). All eventually die. The Bible alone explains why we die, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of God’s Law. To see if you will die, please review God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Have you ever lied? (White lies an fibs count). Ever stolen? (Cheating on a test or taxes is stealing). Jesus said that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever looked with lust? Then you’re an adulterer at heart. Have you ever hated someone or called someone a fool? If so, the Bible says you are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-2; 1 John 3:15). Have you ever used your Creator’s name (Lord, God, Jesus, or Christ) in vain? This is called blasphemy, and God hates it. If you have broken these commandments at any time, then by your own admission, you are a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and a liar at heart. And we have only looked at five of the Ten Commandments. This is why we die. Justice understood (Acts 17:30). Our God-given conscience reveals that all sin will be judged. Down deep we know that He who created the eyes sees every secret sin (Romans 2:16). He who formed our mind remembers our past offense as if it just occurred. God has declared that the penalty for sin is death. Physical death comes first, then second death, which is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God cannot lie. Every sin will be judged. His justice demands it. But God is also rich in mercy to all who call upon His name. He has made a way for justice to be served and mercy to be shown. Eternal life revealed (John 3:16). Scientists reach in vain for the cure for aging and death. Yet, the good news is that God, who is the source of all life, has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may live forever with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners. Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person, free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, therefore He alone qualified to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. He died in our place. He then rose from the grave defeating death. All who turn from their sins and trust Him will be saved. To repent and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down. The solution to suffering (Revelation 21). Neither evolution nor religion offers a solution to suffering. But God offers heaven as a gift to all who trust in His Son. In heaven. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The Bible offers the only remedy for sin, suffering, and death. God’s Word presents the only perfect, sinless Savior, one who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Jesus is the Creator (John 1: Colossians 1). He said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And He promises His followers: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). Your eternal destiny will be determined by your choice. There is only one provision for sin. Jesus died in your place. Only faith in Christ’s finished work will you be saved. This is God’s free gift offered to all. Please do not let pride, religion, opinions, or love for sin separate you from God. No sin is worth an eternity in hell. Please heed Jesus’ words, “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). If you do, you will live in heaven with our awesome Creator forever!

Name: agnes loren

A Physician’s Look: The Agony of Love Personal Update, April 1998 By Mark Eastman, M.D. (Former atheist) The Trials After Jesus’ arrest, they led Him away to the High Priest Caiaphas, where the Scribes and elders were assembled. During this inquisition we are told that “some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, ‘Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. (Mark 14:65) Beatings about the face received by a blindfolded individual cause even worse trauma because the victim cannot “roll with punches.” In the hours that followed Jesus received two additional beatings at the hands of Romans soldiers. (Matthew 27) Several disfigurement of the face would certainly have resulted from the brutal treatment. It is likely that the eyelids were swollen shut as a result of such beatings. This was done in fulfillment of Isaiah 52:13-14: Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men. Scourging After His trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus was scourged (flogged) by the Roman guards. This process typically involved a whip with numerous leather thongs, 18-24 inches long, with bits of metal, bone or glass embedded in the leather. At times they would use an iron to beat the prisoner. According to Jewish custom, a prisoner was usually flogged 39 times (Forty minus one was a sign of Jewish mercy!) Scourging was an extreme form of punishment. The skin on the victim’s back was usually shredded, thus exposing the underlying muscle and skeletal structures. Severe blood loss and dehydration were the rule. Many victims died from such scourging. After the scourging of Jesus, the Roman soldiers beat Him a second time with their hands and with a reed. Then they put on him a “crown of thorns.” Jesus had not drunk since the night before, so the combination of the beatings, the crown of thorns, and the scourging would have set into motion an irreversible process of severe dehydration and cardio respiratory failure. All of this was done so that the prophecy of Isaiah would be fulfilled: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6) And: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Crucifixion Crucifixion was invented by the Persians between 300-400 B.C. It was “perfected” by the Romans in the first century B.C. It is arguably the most painful death ever invented by man in where we get our term “excruciating.” It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of criminals. The most common device used for crucifixion was a wooden cross, which consisted of an upright pole permanently fixed in the ground with a removable crossbar, usually weighing between 75-100 lbs. Victims of crucifixion were typically stripped naked and their clothing divided by the Roman guards. In Jesus’ case this was done in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” As a gesture of “Roman kindness” the prisoner was offered a mixture of vinegar (gall) and wine as a mild anesthetic. This anesthetic was refused by Jesus. (Matthew 27:34) Consequently, He bore it all! The Apostle Peter stated of Jesus: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) The victim was then placed on his back, arms stretched out and nailed to the cross bar. The nails, which were generally about 7-9 inches long, were place between the bones of the forearm (the radius ad ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones). The placement of the nail at this point had several effects. First it ensured that the victim would indeed hang until dead. Secondly, a nail placed at this point would sever the largest nerve in the hand called the median nerve. The severing of this nerve is a medical catastrophe. In addition to severe burning pain the destruction of this nerve causes permanent paralysis of the hand. Furthermore, by nailing the victim at this point in the wrist, there would be minimal bleeding and there would be no bones broken! Thus scriptures were fulfilled: I can count all my bones: they look and stare upon me. (Psalm 22:17) He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. (Psalm 34:20) The positioning of the feet is probably the most critical part of the mechanics of crucifixion. First the knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees until they were parallel to the vertical pole. An iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through the feet between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. In this position the nail would sever the dorsal pedal artery of the foot, but the resultant bleeding would be insufficient to cause death. The Catastrophic Result The resulting position on the cross sets up a horrific sequence of events which results in a slow, painful death. Having been pinned to the cross, the victim now has an impossible position to maintain. With the knees flexed at about 45 degrees, the victim must bear his weight with the muscles of the thigh. However, this is an almost impossible task, try to stand with your knees flexed at 45 degrees for 5 minutes. As the strength of the legs gives out, the weight of the body must now be borne by the arms and shoulders. The result is that within a few minutes of being placed on the cross, the shoulders will become dislocated. Minutes later he elbows and wrists become dislocated. The result of these dislocations is that the arms are as much as 6-9 inches longer than normal. With the arms dislocated, considerable body weight is transferred to the chest, causing the rib cage to be elevated in a state of perpetual inhalation. Consequently, in order to exhale, the victim must push down on his feet to allow the rib muscles to relax. The problem is that the victim cannot push very long because the legs are extremely fatigued. As time goes on, the victim is less and less able to bear weight on the legs, causing further dislocation of the arms and further raising of the chest wall, making breathing more and more difficult. The result of this process is a series of catastrophic physiological effects. Because the victim cannot maintain adequate ventilation of the lungs, the blood oxygen level begins to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level begins to rise. This rising CO2 level stimulates the heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen and the removal of CO2. However, due to the pinning of the victim and the limitations of oxygen delivery, the victim cannot deliver more oxygen and the rising heart rate only increases oxygen demand. So this process sets up a vicious cycle of increasing oxygen demand, which cannot be met, followed by an ever increasing heart rate. After several hours the heart begins to fail, the lungs collapse and fill up with fluid, which further decreases oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combines to cause severe dehydration. That’s why Jesus said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28) Over a period of several hours, the combination of collapsing lungs, failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get adequate oxygen supplies to the tissues cause the eventual death of the victim. The victim, in effect, cannot breath properly and slowly suffocates to death. In cases of severe cardiac stress, such as crucifixion, a victim’s heart can even burst. This process is called “Cardiac Rupture.” Therefore it could be said that Jesus died of a “broken heart!” To slow the process of death the executioners put a small wooden seat on the cross, which would allow the victim the privilege of bearing his weight on his buttocks. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a cross. When the Romans wanted to expedite death, they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing him to suffocate in a matter of minutes. At three o’clock in the afternoon Jesus said, “Tetelastai”, meaning “it is finished.” He gave up the ghost. When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of Him was broken! How Should We Then Live? I realized that it is difficult to read the details of Jesus’ physical sufferings. And yet, when realize that He looked forward, on our behalf, to the cross, we are overwhelmed with His practical demonstration of love and, hopefully, a personal realization of our unworthiness. How should we then live? I believe that the Apostle Paul said it best: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation,taking the form of a bondservant,and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Name: cary woods

WHAT IS CRUCIFIXION? A medical doctor provides a physical description: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is press backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain – the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen, hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint wrenching cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compressess the heart. It is now almost over, the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level, the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues, the tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues…Finally, he can allow his body to die…All this the Bible records with the simple words, “and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:24). What wondrous love is this? Many people don’t know that pain and suffering our Lord, Jesus Christ went through for us…because of the brutality, crucifixion was given a sentence to only its worst offenders of law. Thieves, murderers, and rapists would be the types of creeps who got crucified. Yet, here Jesus is being crucified between two hardened crimminals…What did Jesus do? Did he murder anyone? Did he steal anything? The answer as we all know is NO!! Jesus did nothing to deserve this type of death, yet he went willing to die, in between 2 thieves, so that we might be saved. And there, in between the sinners, was our slain Savior for our sins. Hope this message opened your eyes on how much Jesus really loves you!

Name: william bells

Why believe in Christianity over all other religions? By Matt Slick Critics often ask why Christianity is any better than any other religion in the world. After all, of all the religions that exist, how can it be that only Christianity is true? If God exists, why can't God use different religions? Don't all paths lead to God? Skeptics ask these kinds of questions all the time; and, unfortunately, few Christians have the answers. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate why Christianity is true and all other religious systems are false, I've prepared the follow list of reasons for Christianity's superiority. There are such things as absolute truths If truth is relative, then the statement that truth is relative is an absolute truth and would be a self-defeating statement by proving that truth is not relative. But, if truth is absolute, then the statement "truth is absolute" is true and not self-defeating. It is true that truth exists. It is true that truth will not contradict itself as we have just seen. In fact, it is absolutely true that you are reading this paper. If we can see that there is such a thing as truth in the world, then we could also see that there can be spiritual truth as well. It is not absurd to believe in spiritual absolutes anymore than physical or logical absolutes. Even the statement that all religions lead to God is a statement held to be a spiritual absolute by many people. This simply demonstrates that people do believe in spiritual truth. Why? Because truth exists. However, not all that is believed to be true actually is true. Furthermore, all belief systems cannot be true since they often contradict each other in profound ways--and truth is not self-contradictory. Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true. Mormonism teaches that there are many gods in existence and that you can become a god. Christianity teaches that there is only one God and that you cannot become a god. Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in flesh where Christianity does. Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time. Some religions teach that we reincarnate while others do not. Some teach there is a hell, and others do not. They cannot all be true. If they cannot all be true, it cannot be true that all religions lead to God. Furthermore, it means that some religions are, at the very least, false in their claims to reveal the true God (or gods). Remember, truth does not contradict itself. If God exists, He will not institute mutually exclusive and contradictory belief systems in an attempt to get people to believe in Him. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that there can be an absolute spiritual truth and that not all systems can be true regardless of whether or not they claim to be true. There must be more than a mere claim. Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus Though there are other religions that have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible; and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds. The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet, the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus. This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible. Please consider some of the many prophecies of Jesus in the following chart. Prophecy Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matt. 1:18, 25 Born at Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matt. 2:1 He would be preceded by a Messenger Isaiah 40:3 Matt. 3:1-2 Rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:3 John 7:5; 7:48 Betrayed by a close friend Isaiah 41:9 John 13:26-30 His side pierced Zech. 12:10 John 19:34 Crucifixion Psalm 22:1 Psalm 22:11-18 Luke 23:33; John 19:23-24 Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:10 Acts 13:34-37 Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations. Some state that the NT was written and altered to make it look like Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (but there is no evidence of that). Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they don't count (but many of the prophecies are not vague at all). Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers and Jesus, who is God in flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity. The Claims and Deeds of Christ Christianity claims to be authored by God. Of course, merely making such a claim does not make it true. Anyone can make claims; but, backing up those claims is entirely different. Jesus used the Divine Name for Himself (John 8:58)--the same Divine Name used by God when Moses asked God what His name was in (Exodus 3:14). Jesus said that He could do whatever He saw God the Father do (John 5:19), and He claimed to be one with the God the Father (John 10:30; 10:38). Likewise, the disciples also called Him God (John 1:1, 14; John 10:27; Col. 2:9). By default, if Jesus is God in flesh, then whatever He said and did would be true. Since Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can find God without Him (John 14:6), His words become incredibly important. Again, making a claim is one thing. Backing it up is another. Did Jesus also back up His fantastic words with miraculous deeds? Yes, He did. • Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:6-10). • Jesus cast out demons (Matt. 8:28-32; 15:22-28). • Jesus healed lepers (Matt. 8:3; Luke 17:14). • Jesus healed diseases (Matt. 4:23, 24; Luke 6:17-19) • Jesus healed the paralytic (Mark 2:3-12). • Jesus raised the dead (Matt. 9:25; John 11:43-44). • Jesus restored sight to the blind (Matt. 9:27-30; John 9:1-7). • Jesus restored cured deafness (Mark 7:32-35). • Jesus fed the multitude (Matt. 14:15-21; Matt. 15:32-38). • Jesus walked on water (Matt. 14:25-27). • Jesus calmed a storm with a command (Matt. 8:22-27; Mark 4:39). • Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:39; John 20:27). • Jesus appeared to disciples after resurrection (John 20:19). The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: One, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do. Christ's resurrection Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important. Without the resurrection our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). It was Jesus' resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all that Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh, the Savior. No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then risen three days later to appear to many many people. This resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind. Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead, etc. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Why trust anyone else? Why trust anyone who can be held by physical death when we have a Messiah who is greater than death itself? Conclusion Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths--because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness' documents (gospels), so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions--all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth. Either Jesus is true and all other religions are false, or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus.

Name: Bemwell Ilag

BEWARE See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:8-10) Apostle Paul writes against any philosophy of life based only on human ideas and experiences. He is condemning teaching that credits humanity, not Christ, with being the answer to life’s problems. That approach becomes a false religion. There are many man-made approaches to life’s problems that totally disregard God. To resist heresy you must use your mind, keep your eyes on Christ, and study God’s Word. Paul asserts Christ’s deity: “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” means that all of God was in Christ’s human body. When we have Christ, we have everything we need for salvation and right living. When we know Jesus Christ, we don’t need to seek God by means of other religions, cults, or unbiblical philosophies as the Colossians were doing. Christ alone holds the answers to the true meaning of life because he is life. Christ is the unique source of knowledge and power for the Christian life. No Christian needs anything in addition to what Christ has provided to be saved. We are complete in him. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15) Before we believed in Christ, our nature was evil. We disobeyed, rebelled, and ignored God (even at our best, we did not love him with all our heart, soul, and mind). The Christian, however, has a new nature. God has crucified the old rebellious nature (Romans 6:6) and replaced it with a new loving nature (Colossians 3:9, 10). The penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God has declared us not guilty, and we need no longer live under sin’s power. God does not take us out of the world or make us robots, we will still feel like sinning, and sometimes we will sin. The differences is that before we were saved, we were slaves to our sinful nature, but now we are free to live for Christ (see Galatians 2:20). We can enjoy our new life in Christ because we have joined him in his death and resurrection. Our evil desires, our bondage to sin, and our love of sin died with him. Now, joining him in his resurrection life, we may have unbroken fellowship with God and freedom from sin. Our debt for sin has been paid in full; our sins are swept away and forgotten by God; and we can be clean and new.

Name: Chris Hymn

Created to Know Him Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. — Ecclesiastes 12:13 If you are seeking fulfillment, purpose, or meaning from this world and from human accomplishments, I have some bad news: you will never find it. There is nothing in the world that will fill the deepest void in your life—not the ultimate car, not the greatest job, not the most beautiful girl or the most handsome guy, not the greatest education, not winning it all on American Idol. There is nothing that can even come close. King Solomon, one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, had everything he wanted. Yet he went on a binge, trying to satisfy his appetites with the wrong things. He went after passion. He went after possessions. He went after things of beauty and buildings and land. He drank, and he partied. After all of that, here was his conclusion: "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NLT). Have you ever been ravenously hungry and tried to satisfy your appetite with snacking? It just doesn't work. You want a real meal. In the same way, we were created with a God-shaped hole in our lives. We have been created to love God, to know God, and to bear fruit. Everything else is secondary. Think about it: everything else in life, every other responsibility, no matter how significant, must be ordered behind the central purpose of your existence on earth—knowing, loving, and serving your Creator. Yes, God cares about your career, your marriage, your family, and your ministry. But knowing Him, prioritizing Him, is number one. And when you do, the Bible says you never will be a loser for it. Jesus said it like this: "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:32-33, NLT). The Power of Christ's Words Christ' passionate love for the world is evident in His statements from the Cross: Statement One "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34 Do you realize that you are in need of the Father's forgiveness? Statement Two "Today you will be with Me in Paradise." Luke 23:43 Have you realized and confessed Jesus as your personal Savior? Statement Three "Woman, behold your son." John 19:26 Jesus is concerned for us and provides for all of us. Statement Four "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Matthew 27:46 Jesus was forsaken so we don't have to be. Statement Five "I thirst!" John 19:28 This personal statement reminds us that Jesus is not only God, but He also was man. Jesus identifies with our needs. Statement Six "It is finished!" John 19:30 Jesus paid for our sins, and sin's control over our lives is broken! Statement Seven "Into Your hands I commit My spirit." Luke 23:46 You can entrust your life into God's hands. If you are reading this today and you've never committed your life to Jesus Christ, would you and confess Him as Your Savior and Lord? If so, visit this important message, that will affect your eternal destiny: http://www.harvest.org/knowgod/

Name: adam gouda

The Atomic Glue Apostle Paul goes on to describe the work of Jesus. "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." (Colossians 1:16) Apostle Paul is proclaiming here when he says that Jesus is the "creator of all things...things were made by him." Now, as this verse goes on to say, that includes more than merely the material universe around us: more than stars, galaxies, superstars, planets, and solar systems, or even trees, grass, mountains and seas. It includes the earth, Paul says, but also heaven. Both the visible and the invisible. It would also include all forces. Electricity was invented by Jesus (not as a man, but as the Eternal Son) before the creation of the world. It would include radiation, magnetism, and the peculiar and mysterious dance of electrons from one level of energy to another within the atom that makes light. All this was the design of the Eternal Son. But not only forces, but concepts and attitudes as well: grace, mercy, truth, love, and life itself. Jesus is the originator of all life. And, as Paul specifies here, a whole pantheon of invisible beings (and their visible counterparts in earthly government): "thrones and rulers and powers and authorities"---all were created by him. The Colossian heresy here becomes visible in our modern experience as well. The Colossians began to believe, because of the Greek teachers among them, that the universe consisted of a "hierarchy of angels." One must begin down at the bottom, with raunchy, unpleasant angels, and work one's way up through the whole hierarchy to the good angels and, finally, to God. From that idea has come the eastern concept of reincarnation for that too was part of the Colossian heresy. We find a counterpart today, not only in the theory of reincarnation, but also in horoscopes and astrology---the idea of stars influencing and governing our lives. The claim that Transcendental Meditation is the means of getting in touch with invisible beings is another example. We are told that there are Astral Teachers and Divine Masters who appear from time to time to impart degrees of knowledge to the human race. Gradually, we are told, this is to result, after centuries and centuries of progress, in our being lost in the Divine presence. All this is nothing new. It is very old, but it is also new, appearing again and again in history. This is what the apostle labors to correct. He is telling the Colossians, "Jesus is above all angels. You are freed from bondage to these lesser beings when you see the true authority and power of your risen Lord." Jesus controls space and history: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:17) "He is before all things," means he is outside his own creation; he was there first. When Paul uses the phrase, "all things by him hold together," he is speaking of our Lord's power to sustain and to prevent breakdown. The scientists who work on the great linear accelerator (a relatively small instrument) at Stanford University, trying to smash the atom apart, know that it takes incredible power. A Stanford University Professor said: "The power to operate this instrument, is equivalent to all the electricity it takes to run the city of San Francisco." Something holds the atom together with enormous, incredible power. That power, according to the Word of God (both here in Colossians and in the letter to the Hebrews is vested in Jesus. He has the authority to rule as Sovereign. He has the power to sustain, because he is the Eternal Son. If you have a magnet in your right hand a magnet in your left hand, and you push the positive ends towards each other, they push away. Opposite charges attract; like charges repel. But here’s a great mystery: in the nucleus of the atom, protons are packed together which are all positive-charged particles. What keeps these positive-charged protons from repelling like the magnets? What holds them together? Science doesn’t know. You can study quantum physics and learn lots of hypotheses and theories, yet to this day, it’s a mystery to scientists, but not to Christians, for Scriptures tells us the real answers. It is Jesus Christ who holds all things together. And the day is coming when, suddenly, He will let go… “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with intense heat, the earth and its works will be burned up.” (II Peter 3:10) This was written before man knew anything about nuclear physics or about an atomic reaction could actually melt the basic building blocks of matter itself. God was prophesying how the world would end. But now we know if the “atomic glue” which holds the atom together were to suddenly disappear, everything would dissolve in zillion degree “intense heat” accompanied by a “great noise” so powerful and quick it wouldn’t even be heard. The most astonishing phenomenon today is to see men who work with this physical universe, who intimately observe the beauty, order, and power inherent in the natural world as well as in the world of humanity, yet who fail to see the Power behind it all; the ordered Intelligence that possesses and originates all these things. It is difficult to understand a man like Carl Sagan can work in the field of astronomy, knowing of the great secrets that are now coming to light in the universe, and yet go on breathing air which God has supplied, eating the food with which God has stocked this earth, and relying moment by moment on a heartbeat whose continuation rests in the will of Someone other than himself, yet can busy himself telling us that only man matters!

Name: Jess Gould

Jesus the “Almighty God” If you look at Psalm 100:3 it says: “Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his.” Many times Jesus referred to His own deity, both directly and indirectly, Jesus used the terms “Son of Man” and “Son of God” often. Both referred to His divine nature (Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 26:63,64). Jesus also used the specific words I am (Ego eimi in Greek, Ani bu in Hebrew) on several occasions (e.g., John 8:56-58). God used these same words to describe Himself to Moses. Jesus also states specifically that He and God (Father) are “one” (John 10:30), meaning, the same substance, nature and essence. We also find in Isaiah 9:6, that Jesus is referred to as a “Mighty God” Did you know that “Mighty God” is translated from Hebrew word Elohim, a very common name for God in the Old Testament; used 2,570 times. Means: “strong one” plural ending (im in Hebrew) indicates fullness of power. “God of all the earth” “God of heaven”. Jesus is called “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6, is better translated “Father of eternity” in this context carry the meaning “possessor of eternity.” In Isaiah 40:3, we find that Jesus is called both Yahweh (Jehovah) and Elohim in the same verse. This verse was written in reference to future ministry of Jesus (see John 1:23) and represents one of the strongest affirmations of Christ’s deity in the O.T. We all know that we only pray directly to God, refer to John 14:13, John 15:16 you will find that we direct our prayers to Jesus. We also know that we only worship God, Jesus always accepted such worship as appropriate: From Peter (Luke 5:8) From Thomas (John 20:28) From Angels (Heb 1:6) From Old Testament saints (Joshua 5-13-15) From Demons (Mark 5:6) We see all of heaven worshiping Jesus (Rev 5:11) What the Bible says about Jesus Revelation 1:7-8 says: Jesus is the Almighty Genesis 17:1 says: The Almighty is God John 18:51 says: Jesus is the I Am Exodus 3:14 says: The I Am is God John 8:24 says: Jesus is I Am He Isaiah 43:10 says: I Am He is God Hebrews 1:6 says: Angels worship Jesus Psalm 148:2 says: Angels worship God Acts 4:12 says: Jesus is the One Savior Isaiah 45:21 says: The One Savior is God Luke 1:68 says: Jesus is the One Redeemer Isaiah 41:14 says: The One Redeemer is God Philippians 2:10 says: Every knee must bow to Jesus Isaiah 45:23 says: Every knee must bow to God Did you know that there are about 3,856 verses directly or indirectly concerned with prophecy in Scripture, about one verse in six tells of future events? God’s challenge to the world is “Prove Me now, I am the Lord … I will speak, and the word that I speak shall come to pass.” (See Jeremiah 28:9; Ezekiel 12:25) Buddhists, Confucianists, and Muslims have their own sacred writings, but in them the element of prophecy is obviously absent. In the brief life of Jesus alone we see over 300 fulfilled prophecies! Only Jesus as an all-knowing God could make and fulfill. Here are few other biblical passages proving that Jesus is God: Isaiah 44:6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of host: “I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.’” Isaiah 43:10 “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall be after ME.” Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 21:6 “And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.’” 1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among he Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” Titus 2:13 “...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” John 8:58 Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Immanuel translated: “God among us.”) Philippians 2:10-11 “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (There will come a day that all angels, all prophets, all religious leaders, including Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad bowing down to Jesus) We also find in Scripture that Jesus is described as: • OMINIPRESENT Matt. 28:20 • OMNISCIENT John 2:24 • OMNIPOTENT Heb.1:3 • CREATOR John 1:1-3 • ETERNAL Micah 5:2, Heb 1:8 • GOD Heb. 1:8; Titus 2:13; John 1:1; John 20:28 Conclusion: We clearly see that Jesus Christ claims to be God in human flesh and clearly identified as God. He is to be prayed to, worshiped to, and possess the many attributes of God. Can you see now, that Jesus is God?

Name: ryan obolia

Religious Performance "If you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 20-23) We cannot reach up to God by following rules of self-denial, by observing rituals, or by practicing religion. Apostle Paul isn’t saying all rules are bad, but keeping laws or rules will not earn salvation. The Good News is that God reaches down to human beings, and he asks for our response. Man-made religions focus on human effort; Christianity focuses on Christ’s work. Believers must put aside sinful desires, but doing so is the by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life. Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule keeping but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Following a long list of religious rules requires strong self-discipline and can make a person appear moral, but religious rules cannot change a person’s heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Do you really think God is fooled by some kind of religious performance? What a low view of God, to think that if we run through some religious fol-de-rol he is going to be pleased with us! There must be a dozen passages in the Old Testament where God tells us what he thinks of that kind of thing. Here is one example verse out of Isaiah which illustrates what God says: "When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Bring no more futile sacrifices. Incense is an abomination to me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths and the calling of assemblies I cannot endure any longer." (Isaiah 1:13-15) God has a purpose for your existence. Do you know that? God loves you! And He desires to have a close, intimate, personal relationship with each one of you. Do you have that kind of a relationship with God? You can. Two thousand years ago Jesus (God in the flesh) died on that cruel wooden Roman cross to take the punishment for your sins so that you could be forgiven, saved from eternity in Hell, and come to experience the greatest relationship you’ll ever know: Knowing God personally, not only in this life but throughout eternity. Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and today He is offering mankind the "free gift" (Romans 6:23) of salvation and everlasting life for those who will turn from their sins and place their faith in Him. I exhort you friend to do that if you never have. A day of judgment is coming. You can stand before God still in your sins or forgiven. Standing before God still in your sins will result in condemnation and eternity in Hell. Being forgiven will result in everlasting life in paradise. The choice is yours. The ball is in your court. God made the first move. Now it's your turn. Place your faith in Jesus, and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior! If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can. This is your decision, but if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her]" (Revelation 3:20). If you want to do this, but aren't sure how to put it into words, this may help: "Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen."

Name: tha feina

Please check out these very interesting and informative videos on: • The Secret Code • Chinese Pictographs • The Ice Age • Cambrian Explosion • Carbon-14 Dating • Dino Tracks • Chimp DNA • Echolocation http://www.icr.org/thatsafact

Name: faye bilia

FASCINATING FACTS CONCERNING THE BIBLE William Albright (1891 – 1971). Once a director of the School of Oriental Research at Johns Hopkins University, William Albright wrote more than 800 books and articles, mostly on the validity of biblical manuscripts. He is best known for his work in confirming the authenticity of the Old Testament, and especially the authentication of the Dead Sea scrolls. Albright also researched and confirmed the dating of the writings of the New Testament. His conclusion was that there was “no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80.” Early in his professional life, Albright had some doubts about the validity of biblical claims about Jesus. These, however, were answered conclusively in favor of the authenticity of the Bible as he conducted his research. Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916). Sir William Ramsay was, arguably the greatest archaeologist of his day. He had rejected much of the written New Testament account and was determined to prove it false based on other writings of the day that contradicted the Bible. Ramsay believed that the books of Luke and Acts were actually written in about A.D. 150 and therefore did not bear the authenticity that first-century document would. His archaeological journeys took him to 32 countries, 44 cities, and 9 islands. Throughout some 15 years of intensive study, he concluded that “Luke is a historian of the first rank, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.” What Critics Thought • There was no Roman census (as indicated in Luke 2:1). What Ramsay Discovered: There was a Roman census every 14 years, beginning with Emperor Augustus. • Quirinius was not governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth (as indicated in Luke 2:2). What Ramsay Discovered: Quirinius was governor of Syria in about 7 B.C. • People did not have to return to their ancestral home (as indicated in Luke 2:3). What Ramsay Discovered: People did have to return to their home city, verified by an ancient Egyptian papyrus giving directions for conducting a census. • The existence of the treasurer of the city of Corinth, Erastus (Romans 16:23), was incorrect. What Ramsay Discovered: A city pavement in Corinth bearing the inscription “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.” • Luke’s reference to Gallio as proconsul of Achaia was wrong (Acts 18:12). What Ramsay Discovered: The Delphi inscription that reads, “As Lucius Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaia.” Time and time again Ramsay’s search to find evidence that Luke’s writing was in error turned up evidence that it was, in fact, accurate. As a result, Sir William Ramsay eventually converted to Christianity proclaimed Luke as “one of the greatest historians” of all time. Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) Greenleaf, (former Atheist), one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, and a world-renowned expert on evidence, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen. Being a man of conviction and reason, and in accordance with his conclusions, Greenleaf converted from Agnosticism to Christianity. Ralph Muncaster, (former atheist) in his book: Examine the Evidence, presents extensive evidence to validate the truth-claims of Christianity. He provides compelling arguments from science, biblical prophecy, history, and archaeology. This former skeptic points out that of all religions and philosophies on earth, only one, Christianity is verifiable and testable. 1,456 hours of Sunday school and church turned Ralph Muncaster into a hard-core atheist. Then he was challenged to honestly investigate the Bible and the facts of modern science. He was stunned. Fact after fact, from biology, history, archaeology, physics, lined up with the Bible’s account! The Bible Itself Argues Against the Possibility of Its Corruption The charge that the Bible has been corrupted, contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. After all, in Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever.” In the New Testament Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The Almighty God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.

Name: Schin Creigh

Science and the Bible: Cosmos and Creator By Mark Eastman, M.D. They have been called the two greatest questions that face mankind: Does God exist, and if He does, what is His nature? Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, the answer to these questions have been sought by examining the nature of the universe and its life forms. The Cosmos When Albert Einstein published the first of his relativity theories in 1905, he shocked the physics community with a staggering new view of space, time, matter and energy. Though he did not know it at the time, his theories provide dramatic insights into the attributes of the Creator of the cosmos. Among other things, what Einstein’s theories revealed was that the flow of time and the structure of space were relative to the velocity, mass and acceleration of the observers. That is, their observed values were not fixed: they were relative. For thousands of years, scientists and philosophers believed that time was nothing more than an abstract notion, conceived in the minds of men, and used to describe the change seen in the physical world. Time, it was believed, was not a thing, it was a mental contrivance. Einstein showed that this was wrong. Time, Einstein showed, was “plastic.” That is, it is a physical property of the universe, and that the observed rate that time flows depends on the physical conditions present at the measuring device. Several years after Einstein’s theories were published, astronomer Willem de Sitter found a mathematical error in Einstein’s equations. When corrected, he found a startling mathematical prediction buried within his equations: The universe was finite! Space-time, matter, and energy had a beginning. In his book, It’s About Time, popular author and physicist Paul Davies remarks on this incredible discovery. Modern scientific cosmology in the most ambitious enterprise of all to emerge from Einstein’s work. When scientists began to explore the implications of Einstein’s time for the universe as a whole, they made one of the most important discoveries in the history of human thought: that time, and hence all physical reality, must have had a definite origin in the past. If time is flexible and mutable, as Einstein demonstrated, then tt is possible for time to come into existence, and also to pass away again; there can be a beginning and an end of time. (Paul Davies, It’s About Time, Touchstone Books/Simon and Schuster, 1995, pg. 17.) The Skeptic I recently had an opportunity to speak on the origin of life at a major public university in Southern California. In attendance were a number of professors who are self-described agnostics. During the question period, one of the professors admitted that the evidence is compelling that the universe was indeed finite. He said that while he could not believe in God (because he couldn’t see Him, or study Him scientifically) he said he did believe that someday scientists would discover a law that would explain the origin and order of the universe and its life forms. After pointing out that he had just expressed faith, the belief in things unseen, but hoped for, I asked him if he believed that the laws of physics, which work in our space-time domain, also had a beginning. He was forced to concede that they did because they would have no place to act before the space-time domain existed. The final blow came when I asked him if he then believed that some “law” of physics could explain the origin of the laws of physics! He saw the point: The laws of physics cannot be the cause of the laws of physics! The cause of the universe and its laws must be independent of the space-time domain, exactly as the Bible claimed 3,500 years earlier! Apostle Paul’s statement regarding the attributes of God being discerned by an examination of the nature of the universe is quite staggering, considering the state of scientific knowledge in the first century A.D. At that time it was commonly believed that the universe was eternal. In the face of that commonly held bias, the Bible clearly taught that the universe was finite, and the Creator is independent of time and space, exactly as 20th century cosmology suggests. In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Genesis 1:1 …God, (v.9) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 2 Timothy 1:8-9 …in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. Titus 1:2 The finiteness of space-time not only points to a Creator who is independent of the cosmos, but it also gives us insight into the minimum resume of such a Being. The Uncaused Cause In my discussion with the agnostic professors, I asked them to give me the caveat, for the sake of my next argument, that God did indeed exist. They agreed. I then asked them what would be the minimum “resume” of such a Being. Remarkably, they were quite insightful in their deductions. They quickly recognized that such a Being would not only have to be independent of space-time, but must also be incredibly powerful, incredibly intelligent and able to act unencumbered, simultaneously inside and outside the time domain. Remarkably, without recognizing it, they had described the resume of the Creator as revealed in the Biblical text! Among other things, the law of cause and effect asserts that a cause is always greater than its effect. Applied to the cosmos it means that the Creator must be more powerful than all the energy stored in all the stars in all the galaxies in the entire universe. Physicists believe that there are at least 10 exp80 particles in the universe. Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2 indicates that the energy stored in the mass of the universe is equal to the mass times the speed of light squared! From this perspective, the Creator must be an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. This very attribute is credited to God throughout the Bible’s text. Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Jeremiah 32:17 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 In my discussion with the professors even they admitted that all the chemists, molecular biologists and physicists in the world combined have been unable to create a DNA molecule from raw elements: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, etc. Moreover, molecular biologists admit that living cells are metabolic machines which are vastly more complicated than any machine made by mankind. They agreed in principle that the nature of these cellular “machines” would require a Being possessing unfathomable intelligence. Such a Being would be, from our limited perspective, an all-knowing, omniscient Creator. Throughout the Bible’s text God is described in such terms. For example, in Jeremiah 1:5, God’s omniscience is illustrated in his foreknowledge of the prophet even before he was born: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 The infinite knowledge of God is proclaimed in 1 John 3:20 and in Psalm 147:5: For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things 1 John 3:20 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5 Finally, if our space-time domain is the direct creation of God, then once he created the cosmos, in order to organize and uphold the galaxies, solar systems and its life forms, the Creator must be able to act simultaneously, inside and outside the space time domain. This attribute we call omnipresence. This too is an attribute that is ascribed to God throughout the Bible’s text. Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,”And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23-24 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

Name: pam peras

Positive Defense of the Christian Perspective A. The Trustworthiness of the New Testament 1 The New Testament has better manuscript evidence than any other ancient book. a. There are over 5,000 New Testament manuscripts and portions of manuscripts. By comparison, the majority of classical works have less than 20 manuscripts. b. The dates of the New Testament manuscripts are close to the original writings. One Gospel fragment (Ryland’s) dates about 25 years after the Gospel of John and most of the New Testament (Chester Beatty and Bodmer Papyri) from 50-150 years after the originals. Most classical works date from 700 – 1400 years after the originals. c. None of the canonical New Testament is lost or missing. By comparison, 107 of Livy’s 142 books of history have been lost and about one half of Tacitus’ 30 books of Annals and Histories is missing. 2. Good arguments can be given that each of the Gospels was either written by an eyewitness, or significantly influenced by firsthand testimony, as recognized by many contemporary scholars. 3. Even without proving eyewitness authorship, the Gospels measure up well by normal historical standards used in ancient historiography. 4. The Gospel are trustworthy sources, as explained by A.M. Hunter a. These Christian authors, like their Jewish counterparts, were careful to preserve traditional material. b. The Gospels are close to eyewitness sources. c. The Gospel authors were honest reporters. d. The picture of Jesus presented in the four Gospels is virtually the same (see Archibald M. Hunter, Bible and Gospel, pp. 32-37). 5. The Gospels and Acts exhibit a specific interest in reporting historical facts, not mythology. This is especially the case when the life of Jesus is reported. 6. Contemporary historians frequently opposed the application of radical criticism to New Testament studies. According to A.N. Sherwin-White and Michael Grant, such attacks fail at a number of crucial points (see A.N. Sherman-White, Roman Society, pp. 186-193; Grant, Jesus: An Historian Review, pp. 179-184, 199-201). a. Numerous ancient works exhibit intentions and methodologies similar to that of the New Testament authors, and yet these ancient works are well accredited as historical works. b. There are no ancient writings in the category that radical critics place the Gospels. c. New Testament books such as Acts have been largely confirmed by external test of historicity. 7. The Gospel and Acts were recognized as inspired books almost immediately after being written (see J.B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers). a. 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 and refers to it as “Scripture.” b. Clement of Rome (about AD 95) speaks of the “Gospel” and quotes portions found in all three synoptic Gospels, referring to them as the words of Jesus (Corinthians 13,46). c. Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 3) and Polycarp (Philippians 2, 7), both writing about AD 115, refer to verses in the synoptic Gospels as the words of Christ. 8. Paul’s epistles were also recognized as inspired Scripture almost immediately after being written. a. 2 Peter 3:15-16 calls Paul’s epistles “Scripture.” b. Clement of Roman (Corinthians 47), Ignatius (Ephesians 10; to Polycarp 5), and Polycarp (Philippians 1,3-4, 6) all refer to Paul’s writings as inspired. B. The Historicity of Jesus 1. The trustworthy Gospels (A above) exhibit much interest in the historical Jesus and give accurate accounts of his life, death, and resurrection. 2. Numerous pre- and extra biblical sources record much ancient testimony concerning Jesus within 125 years after his death. a. Early Christian creeds that pre-date the New Testament, as well as the historical facts that virtually all critical scholars admit, provide an extremely strong case for the death and resurrection of Jesus. b. Archaeology contributes a few finds that illuminate and provide background for Jesus’ career, such as the crucifixion victims investigated by archaeologist Vasilius Tzaferis, “Jewish Tombs At and Near Giv’at ha- Mivtar,” Israel Exploration Journal 20 (1970), pp. 38-59. Also the Shroud of Turin (Historically proclaimed to be the actual burial garment of Jesus). See Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin (New York: Doubleday, 1978, also see John Heller, Report on the Shroud of Turin (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983), especially chapters 12-14. d. Secular historians (e.g. Cornelius Tacitus, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas), government officials (e.g. Piny the Younger, Emperor Trajan), religious works (e.g. The Talmud, Toledoth Jesu, and other sources report many details about Jesus from non-Christian viewpoints. e. Ancient Christian sources preserve a number of historical statements about Jesus (e.g. Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr). 4. To reject Jesus’ miracles a priori is to ignore correct inductive procedure where all the facts are investigated before a decision is made. 5. To reject Jesus’ doctrinal teachings a priori as valid for today is to pick and choose portions of the Gospels. Further, If Jesus was raised from the dead, there is, at a minimum, some implied significance for Jesus’ teachings, as well. 6. Without a significant historical basis in the life of Jesus, Christianity would have had no impetus for its origins. 7. Jesus died on the cross, as indicated by several facts. a. The nature of crucifixion, including the discovery of Yohanan’s skeleton, reveals both the nature and assurance of death by this method. b. The explanation of Jesus’ heart wound indicates that it would have killed him even if he had been alive. c. The death of Jesus is the most recorded event in ancient, non-Christian history. d. The trustworthy Gospels give accurate accounts of Jesus’ death. 8. After his death, Jesus was raised bodily and appeared to his followers. a. Naturalistic hypothesis that have sought to explain in normal terms the supernatural element of Jesus’ resurrection have failed to do so, chiefly because they are refuted by the known historical data. Several other reasons also indicate this failure. b. There are numerous positive evidences for the resurrection that indicate that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many of those who followed him. c. A case for the resurrection can be built by using only those minimal facts that are clearly established by the historical method. On a smaller scale, these facts can refute the alternative hypotheses and provide the best evidences for the resurrection. d. The Shroud of Turin may supply some additional scientific evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. 9. Jesus’ message was not changed by Paul or by other followers. a. In both the synoptics, as well as in John, Jesus claimed to be deity. Often this was done by his words, such as his claims to be Son of God and Son of Man (c.f. Mark 2:10-11; 10:45; 13:32; 14:36). At other times he showed his deity by his actions, such as forgiven sin, fulfilling Old Testament messianic prophecy and by claiming authority much greater than that of the Jewish leaders (see Mark 2:1-12; Matthew 5;20-48; cf. Isaiah 9:6-7). b. Numerous pre-Pauline creeds such as Philippians 2:6-11, Romans 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23, and many from the book of Acts designate Jesus by the loftiest titles, thereby indicating the early teaching of his deity. These show further that this doctrine definitely did not originate with Paul. c. Neither Jesus nor Paul taught that Christianity was a new religion. Both held that Christianity was a fulfillment of Judaism (see Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:16-17; Romans 10:4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17). d. Jesus’ central teaching of the Kingdom of God and its entrance requirements of faith in his person and teachings in found in all four Gospels (c.f. Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 18:3-6; Luke 18:28-30; John 1:10-13) and in Paul’s epistles (c.f. Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). f. Paul was known as the apostle to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15;16; 22:21; Romans 11:13-14). Not only did Jesus command his disciples to take the gospel to the Gentiles (see Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; John 10:16; Acts 1:8), but this was actually a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, not a new doctrine (see Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 19:18-25 for two examples). g. Since Jesus literally rose from the dead, any verification of the truthfulness of his teachings would even extend to Paul’s message and writings, since they are in agreement with the Gospels at these points. 10. Jesus was not an international traveler during his “silent years” or after his death. a. There is no viable historical evidence for such international ventures. b. The swoon theory fails and is rejected by critical scholars. c. These endeavors almost always involved a long trail of illogic and incredibly mysterious connections. C. Miracle-claims 1. Although many would place miracle-claims completely in the realm of faith, such is to ignore their possibly objective theistic and historical nature. a. If it is taught that miraculous events have occurred in history, as in the case with New Testament miracle-claims, then at least the objective, historical side of such a claim can be investigated. In other words, if it actually happened, at least the portion of the event that touched the space-time world can potentially be examined. b. In the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus is not only the central tenet Christianity, but it is asserted that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then faith in actually in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-20). Paul even supports his point that Jesus was raised by citing eyewitnesses, historical testimony to this fact (vv. 5-8). Under these circumstances, one could hardly claim that objective, factual interests in the resurrection are foreign to the New Testament. c. This objection also commits errors that are associated with the “leap of faith.” If carried to its logical conclusion, it provides no objective basis for faith, including any reasons why faith should be exercised at all. As such, it is difficult to distinguish between belief and credulity. 2. Alternative theories that have been proposed to account for Jesus’ resurrection on naturalistic grounds have failed to account for the known historical facts. 3. There are many strong historical reasons to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. a. The disciples’ experiences b. The transformation of the disciples into bold witnesses c. The empty tomb d. The resurrection of Jesus was the very center of the apostolic message. e. The Jewish leaders could not disprove their message. f. The very existence and growth of the church. g. In this resurrected physical body Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his disciples on twelve different occasions over a forty-day period and conversed with them (see Luke 24:13-49, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, Acts 1:4-8, Matthew 28:1-10, John 20:24-31). This was the greatest of all miracles since the creation itself, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be. D. Predictive Prophecies Consider the following predictions made centuries in advanced that Jesus would be: 1. born of a woman (Genesis 3:15; cf. Galatians 4:4); 2. born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; cf. Matthew 1:21); 3. “cut off” (die) 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the city of Jerusalem in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9:24); 4. of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3 and 22:18; cf. Mathew 1:1); 5. of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10, cf. Luke 3:23); 6. of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12; cf. Matthew 1:1); 7. born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; cf. Matthew 2:1); 8. anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; cf. Mattthew 3:16-17); 9. that Jesus would performed miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; cf. Matthew 9:35); 10. would cleanse the temple (Malachi 3:1; cf. Matthew 21:12); 11. would be rejected by Jews (Psalms 118:22; cf. 1 Peter 2:7); 12. die a humiliating death (Psalms 22; cf. Matthew 9:35); 13. that he would rise from the dead (Psalm 2:7 and 16:10; cf. Acts 2:31) 14. ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:8; cf. Acts 1:9); 15. and sit at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; cf. Hebrew 1:3). It is important to understand that these prophecies were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. No one could have been reading the trends of the times or just making intelligent guesses, like the “prophecies” we see in the checkout line at the supermarket.

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