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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Who Is The Messiah?

It's heartbreaking to think there are faithful people in large numbers who still await the coming of their promised Messiah - a word meaning "anointed one" - who is destined to lead them to salvation and glory.

Jews have waited for their prophesied Messiah since King David began building the First Temple in Jerusalem over 3,000 years agoTalk about loyalty, faith, and steadfastness. It's almost unbelievable; superhuman and saintly. 

Meanwhile, the true Messiah came and fulfilled His life's ministry regardless of the fact that many Jews refused to accept Him. That, too, had been prophesied around 700 B.C. (Isaiah 53)

This misunderstanding has separated Jews and Christians for almost 2,000 years, and it's all about the nature of Jesus Christ. Israelites of the the 1st Century were looking for a warrior who would re-establish the kingdom as it had been under David and Solomon, but they didn't understand the most important truth of all. The Messiah was for all mankind; the whole world, Jews and non-Jews; the Gentiles. And inevitably, everyone in the world from then until now. 

Many Jews couldn't live with the idea of their Messiah as a non-violent human sacrifice "taking on the sins of the world" and then being visibly resurrected to eternal life. A non-material heaven violated their fondest expectations.  Jesus saying, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36) was too much to take. 

After Jesus completed His mission, the predictions of His coming written by the prophet Isaiah - known as the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible - were removed. They clearly showed that Jesus was the promised king everyone was waiting for. 
Here are the prophesies and their New Testament fulfillment:

      Messiah Prophecy                                        Fulfillment In Jesus 
      (8th Century B.C.)                                        (1st Century A.D.) 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a          Was born of a virgin named
sign: The virgin will conceive, and give birth        Mary  (Luke 1:26-31)
to a son, and will call Him Emmanuel
meaning "God with us"  (Isaiah 7:14)

Will have a Galilean ministry (Isaiah 9:1-2)       Ministry began in Galilee of                                                                              the Gentiles (Matthew 4:13-16)

Will be an heir to the throne of David                 Was given the throne of his
(Isaiah 9:7; 11:1-10)                                        father David (Luke 1:32,33)

Will have His way prepared (Isaiah 40:3-5)         Was announced by John the 
                                                                       Baptist (John 1:19-28)

Will be spat on and struck (Isaiah 50:6)              Was spat on and beaten
                                                                        (Matthew 26:67)

Will be exalted (Isaiah 52:13)                          Was highly exalted by God
                                                                 and the people (Philippians 2:9,10)

Will be disfigured by suffering                      Was scourged by Roman soldiers     (Isaiah 52:14, 53:2)                                   who gave Him a crown of thorns
                                                                  (Mark 15:16)

Will make a blood atonement (Isaiah 53:5)  Shed his blood to atone for our sins
                                                                  (1 Peter 1:2)

Will be widely rejected (Isaiah 53:1-3)        Was not accepted by many
                                                                                         (John 12:37,38)

Will bear our sins and sorrows                     Died because of our sins
(Isaiah 53:4-5)                                           (Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 2:24-25)

Will be our substitute (Isaiah 53:6-8)           Died in our place (Romans 5:6-8)

Gentiles will seek Him (Isaiah 11:10-14)      Gentiles came to speak to Jesus
                                                                 (John 12:20-21)

Will be silent before His accusers            Was silent before Herod and his court
(Isaiah 53:7)                                             (Luke 23:9)

Will save us who believe in Him                 Provided salvation for all who believe
(Isaiah 53:12)                                           (John 3:16)

Will die with transgressors                      Was numbered with transgressors
(Isaiah 53:12)                                        and crucified with two thieves
                                                                (Mark 15:27-8; Luke 22:37)

Will heal the brokenhearted                      Healed the brokenhearted
(Isaiah 61:1.2)                                         (Luke 4:18,19) 


God's spirit will rest on Him                    The spirit of God descended on Jesus
(Isaiah 11:2)                                            (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10)

Will be buried in a rich man's tomb          Was buried in the tomb of the wealthy
(Isaiah 53:9)                                          Joseph of Arimethea
                                                             (Matthew 27:57-60; John 19:38-42)

He will judge the earth righteously           Jesus is given authority to judge
(Isaiah 11:4-5)                                       (John 5:27; Luke 19:22)

What more can anyone say? If you know the Bible is from God this is proof of the Messiah and His eventual return; the Second Coming of Christ.

Note: Muslims have their own version of a Messiah, known as The Mahdi, or Twelfth Imam, whom they believe will come to save them from Armageddon. Because Muslims deny the divinity of Christ, and scoff at the idea that He was the Son of God, their Messiah is not the Judeo-Christian one. The Mahdi of the Muslims will come only for them, and they believe that the more mayhem and violence there is in the world the sooner he will come. So, many Muslims see violence - or jihad - as a duty for their salvation 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Is Equality Good?

First, have a joyful Hanukkah!

Our modern political world pretends that equality is a good thing. But is it? And what does equality mean? It's a huge, over-arching concept. If we mean equality under the law regardless of wealth, status, parentage, skin color, or race - and that laws and rules must be applied to all people fairly - then that is considered good, in the Western world. In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, family connections, friends, or other factors may grant you immunity from the law. 

We all know that genetics doesn't endow all people equally with talents. Most of us don't have any exceptional talents that we know of. We're not beautiful, athletic, very smart, great dancers, performers on instruments, or charismatic personalities. Only perhaps 20% of us have skills good enough for us to excel in the world. If you watch television programs like America's Got Talent, British Idol, The Voice, or the permutations of them around the globe, you've seen many would-be performers who think they're superb, but really, truly, are not. It's painful to see these deluded individuals being laughed at and eliminated. 

Of all the twisted modern ideas of equality the most damaging and deceptive is the enforced belief that men and women are equal. This is false. It's not a matter of superiority either way, because both sexes are often uniquely excellent and ingenious. Young boys and girls display their differences very early in life, and if left free to choose, will select toys the way most of us would predict. Girls like dolls and doll houses; boys want planes, cars, and guns. There are exceptions, of course, which manifest themselves later in life. 
The so-called "progressive" view that masculinity is "toxic" and femininity cannot be toxic, is deranged and dangerous - as is the trend toward erasing masculinity and femininity. 

Regardless of our ordinariness and defects, we still have worth in God's eyes. God sees inside us, mysteriously; very differently from humanity. King David of ancient Israel, as a boy, was thought to be a wimpy, homely loser by his father and family. When God sent the prophet Samuel to find His future King of Israel, David's father Jesse hid young David out of embarrassment, and pridefully showed off his handsomer, more muscular older sons. But God chose David to be king and He said, "...[David] is a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do." - Acts 13:22. No one was more surprised than David, who was only a shepherd, but he was exceptionally good at killing wolves with his sling. Later on he learned to play the lyre, and soothed the mad King Saul with his playing. Still, from shepherd to king? Until Jesus came, David was the most beloved man of God on record. 

So we don't know what our greatest talents are. We likely have some we've never tapped. Don't despair. Pray to the Lord. Becoming rich and famous isn't a key to happiness. Many of us don't want the attention, lack of privacy, or trouble fame brings anyway. And there's never going to be  equality in the human world regarding the things the world values: power, money, glamour, sexuality, and so on. Equality would make the world dull and monotonous. 

There are quite a few nations in the world which have achieved a high level of equality by force. It can be done if you ruthlessly imprison or kill people of great talent and ability who can't bear the sameness and evil banality. It takes years and has to continue on some level with the secret police. Once that's done, almost all citizens will experience equal misery and want, since the talented and productive problem-solvers have been "liquidated" - a term these regimes like to use. Ninety-percent of the population will have little food, the same grim housing, monotonous menial work, repetitive literature praising its leaders as gods, and no chance at excellence or escape. 

All real religion has to be destroyed as well, because God and His angels and prophets rule from regions of light and joy far above the muck and mire of earth. They make a lot of people look bad, especially the greedy rulers of these dark dominions below. 

"Equality for all" is a deadly trap. We must be careful what we wish for. As the French say, "Vive la difference"; meaning, "Contrasts and differences make life exciting." 

The natural world is a radical hierarchy of variables, dazzling in its colors, and complexity. There's no equality at all between a lamb and a lion, a flounder and a whale. Even among the same species some excel over the others and rule them. Herds of horses and elephants have leaders and masses of followers, based on their respective strengths and weaknesses. 

We're happiest when we study nature and learn from it. Consider the airplane, for example. The Wright Brothers imitated birds as closely as they could, and succeeded wildly, beyond their dreams. Our modern jet aircraft are supremely attuned to nature, and developed over time as their shapes and parts became more integrated into the whole. They can fly up to 800 passengers at 500 mph, 330 days a year for twenty or more years before they have to be recycled. 

So where did we ever get the idea that there should be equality of outcomes in human society? Participation trophies and self-esteem courses don't prepare anyone for the realities of life in the real world of work, competition, struggle, and the pursuit of excellence. Genuine self-esteem comes from real accomplishments and good parenting that helps children learn to succeed.

Ancient Greece and Rome were the first societies to recognize that human beings had intrinsic worth regardless of birth, wealth, or status. Initially it was only in a spiritual sense, but because these societies gave voting rights to their citizens, politicians pandered to voters, spreading the idea of "equality for the masses" as a means of seizing power. Once in office they didn't care that their promises were seen as lies. Military force was used to hold power. The French Revolution, Marxist takeovers, and Stalinist totalitarianism all failed. The residual leftovers from these these poisonous ideas still guarantee misery and want for billions of people. 

Today we call it Socialism and Progressivism; the redistribution of wealth, power, and status from those who have to those who don't. It fails every time, because it defies the natural laws of God. It's a rebellion against the very idea of God, and His hierarchies. It's anti-theism, and nihilism as well. God has doomed these systems and the people who promulgate them to terrible destruction.