Two thousand years ago in the tiny nation of Israel, a baby was born. His name was Jesus, the earthly son of a carpenter named Joseph and a young woman called Mary. He grew up in the unimportant town of Nazareth, a place that most considered out of the way, or off the beaten path! His upbringing appears to have been no different than thousands of other children from that time period.
In spite of the humble and ordinary circumstances of his childhood, this man became far and away the most famous person to ever live on planet earth! Numerous books have been written attempting to discredit him, some even denying his very existence, yet Jesus and the cause he espoused lives on.
During his short life on earth he did not accomplish any of the things that bring fame to human beings. He was not a king, great inventor, athlete, scientist, or captain of industry. Jesus was never elected to public office and he certainly was not wealthy. According to the accounts of those who knew him, he was “despised and rejected of men,” eventually executed because most people hated the things he was saying.
Based on the facts presented so far, most would agree that there must have been something very remarkable about this man. Numerous world leaders have come and gone in the centuries since Jesus lived, most have long ago been forgotten, and their impact on humanity vanished along with them.
WHO DID JESUS CLAIM TO BE?
Most credible historians agree that there was a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who lived during the time period mentioned in the Bible. To many non-Christians, Jesus was simply a great philosopher, someone with a positive message, one that offered hope to the less fortunate in the society that he lived. According to those advocating this version of Jesus, the miracles credited to him, as well as his resurrection from the grave, are just myths created around him to enhance his popularity.
According to eye witness accounts, Jesus claimed to be far more than a great philosopher. In fact, he was making the incredible claim that he was the SON of the living God, the ruler of the universe! Along with this, Jesus of Nazareth spoke of being with the Heavenly Father even before the creation of the world. (John 17:5) Those advocating Jesus as merely a teacher with a good message, must also conclude that he was this horrific teller of falsehoods. If he was not who he said he was, (sent by God) this would make him the biggest and most effective liar in the history of the world!
“I SAW SATAN FALL LIKE LIGHTNING FROM HEAVEN” – LUKE 10:18
THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
Unlike other great leaders of movements past, Jesus of Nazareth never pursued for himself power within earthly institutions. He instructed his followers to place their hopes upon things above, spiritual rewards. When he was on trial for his life before the Roman Governor of Judea, he was asked if he was a king? His reply was “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus’ message was one of complete brotherly love, even for one’s enemies! (Matthew 5:43-44) To peoples bewilderment, he proposed turning the other cheek when we are struck on the face by an enemy! According to Jesus of Nazareth, if we only do good deeds to those who are good to us, it says little about our character. (Luke 6:32) Jesus instructed his followers to give to whoever asks and to not charge usury if we are to lend money! (Luke 6:24-35)
JESUS HATED HYPOCRISY MOST
It did not take very long for Jesus to make enemies of the religious leaders of his day. All through history religious organizations have become mired in various forms of corruption. It appears to have been no different in the time of Jesus’ ministry. He was highly critical of the Jewish Pharisees and others holding high office in the religion that he knew from his birth. He condemned these individuals for being puffed up with pride and for basking in the glory of their titles. (Matthew 23:1-9) According to Jesus these men casted heavy burdens on men, but were unwilling to take them upon themselves. While he did not reject what the Jewish leaders were saying concerning the scriptures, he most certainly rejected their actions.
Jesus taught his followers to do their good deeds in secret. If they were to do this, his Father, the God of the universe, would give them a far greater reward later. More than anything else, Jesus stressed the importance of what was in a person’s heart over any form of outward righteousness.
Among the issues that offended the Jewish leaders was Jesus’ claim that “there is none righteous, no not one.” For these men truly believed that they were righteous in all things. He taught that ALL men were sinners, and that all were in need of repentance. His tolerance for those deemed unworthy greatly angered these religious leaders. Jesus befriended the scorned of the world, all who were willing to hear his message were welcome: prostitutes, tax collectors, Roman Centurions, and even thieves. When confronted as to why he associated with people like this he replied, “Those who are well have no need for a physician.” (Matthew 9:12-13) Even though he claimed to be the son of God and sent by God to accomplish the work assigned to him, Jesus did not want to be called good. In reply to someone who called him “Good Teacher” he said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is God.” In all instances he gave credit to his Father in Heaven.
DID THE GOSPEL WRITERS INVENT JESUS’ MIRACLES?
It has been suggested by “higher” critics that the story of Jesus was greatly exaggerated by the writers of the four gospels. Accounts of him healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, walking on water, and others, were added into the story after the fact by those attempting to convert others to this new religion.
We know from secular history, as well as the new testament of the Bible, that early Christians were greatly persecuted. These people, labeled as fanatics by their enemies, were known to have been stoned, crucified, tortured, and even fed to lions! In spite of this, they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus and their belief that he was the Son of God.
According to Christian scholars, the writers of the four gospels were men by the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Two of these men, Matthew and John, claimed to have known Jesus on a personal basis. If one is advancing fraud, surely a motive of personal gain can be found in those doing so. We ask, what possible motive did the followers of Jesus have to advance his cause after his death? After all, he died one of the most horrible deaths imaginable. Clearly they realized that they were most likely to meet the same type of fate if they continued to advance the teachings of this Jesus fellow! In addition, those perpetuating fraud tend to present themselves as great thinkers, noble, brave, and righteous in all things. Where we ask, do the followers of Jesus attempt to do this? Not only did they label themselves sinners and unworthy of the love Jesus showed them, they confessed to fleeing him in his most difficult hour. (John 18:12:17)(Matthew 26:31) By remaining faithful to this man, these followers were assured nothing but persecution and death.
PROPHETS FORETOLD REJECTION OF THE MESSIAH
It is a fair question to ask why the Jews would reject the very Messiah that they had waited so long for? After all, this was a persecuted people whose nation was being occupied by the despised Roman Army. It is written that during this time, most of the Jewish nation was in expectation of the Messiah’s arrival.
It appears that the Jews were looking for the wrong thing when it came to the character of this long promised deliverer. They were looking for a conquering king, one who would deliver them from the captivity of the Romans and who would set up God’s Kingdom upon the earth in their lifetime. As a result of this apparent blindness in regards to the purposes of the Messiah, they were not in the proper heart condition to receive him upon his arrival. In scriptures throughout the Old Testament, it is predicted that they would reject this promised deliverer.
We are told in the book of Daniel that the Messiah would be “cut off, but not for himself.” (Daniel 9:26) That he would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) That he would be despised and rejected by men. (Isaiah 53:3) That he would be cut off from the land of the living for the transgressions of others. (Isaiah 53:8-9) That he would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12) That he would be numbered among the transgressors upon his death. (Isaiah 53:11-12)In the book of Psalms, we are told that he would be crucified. (Psalm 22:1-18)
“GOLGOTHA” BELIEVED TO BE THE SITE OF JESUS’S CRUCIFIXION
It appears that the Jewish religious scholars were of the opinion that the Messiah would only bless them and the people of their nation. Yet, the Bible tells us that this deliverer would bless all the families of the earth. (Genesis 18:18, 22:18, 26:4) In addition, this Messiah would be for a “light to lighten the gentiles” (Isaiah 49:6) and that “the gentiles shall come to him from the ends of the earth.” (Jeremiah 16:19) The prophet Malachi tells us that his name would be great among the gentiles. (Malachi 1:11)
Can there be even a shred of doubt that the name Jesus of Nazareth, became great among the gentiles? In spite of the fact that his own nation rejected him, millions upon millions of people from every gentile nation on earth, have believed on his name! This fulfilled prophecy alone is strong evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be, the son of God, the true Messiah to the Jewish people!
JESUS DID NOT COME TO CONVERT THE WORLD
While millions have believed that Jesus was the promised savior, there have been great misconceptions, caused by the conflicting creeds and contradictions of the various Christian sects over the centuries. It is wrongly believed that Jesus in his earthly ministry had the mission of converting the world. In truth, he came seeking a “little flock.” (Luke 12:32) This little flock would be rewarded with a glorious spirit body upon their deaths and would take part in the judging of the world. (1 Corinthians 6:2) (Acts 15:14) and (Revelation 20:4-6).
Jesus of Nazareth often spoke in parables, these utterances were perplexing to those who heard him speak. When asked why he spoke this way, his reply clearly revealed that all were not intended to hear the message that he was offering at the time. “To you (the little flock) it has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables.” He then quotes the words of the prophet Isaiah “that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.” (Isaiah 6:9)
Jesus’ explanation as to why he spoke in parables clearly illustrates that it was not yet time for the world’s conversion. Later, in the gospel of John, he explains that he did not come to judge the world but to save the world and that his words will judge others in (during) the last day. (John 13:47-48)
JESUS NEVER CLAIMED TO BE GOD ALMIGHTY
One of the most grievous errors in Christian doctrine is the claim that Jesus is the part of a “TRINITY.” That somehow he is not only the son of God, but that he also is God! Throughout his ministry Jesus gave all credit to his Father in Heaven. “The Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) While Jesus did say the words “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) he later explains this oneness as to mean a unity of thought and purpose. On the night of his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks his God that his apostles have this same oneness. (John 17:20-21) Here, he certainly was not asking that the twelve apostles be one in the same person, but one in their mission of serving God. Upon his resurrection he instructed Mary Magdalene not to cling to him, but to go and inform his followers that he would soon be, in his words, “ascending to MY FATHER AND YOUR FATHER, and to MY GOD AND YOUR GOD.” These words of Jesus prove conclusively that he was not part of a trinity. If he was God, how could he himself have a God?
This false doctrine called the “trinity” appears to have its roots in paganism. Several other societies in their pagan worship had a triune godhead as an object of worship. There is not a shred of evidence supporting the trinity doctrine in the Christian church until the third century after the death of Jesus. It would be perfectly safe to offer a million dollars to anyone that can find the word “trinity” in the Holy Bible!
7TH CENTURY STATUE OF THE HINDU TRIUNE GOD
GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION GREATER THAN MANY PERCIEVE!
The vast majority of Christian sects advocate the idea that one must become a Christian in this lifetime, or else they are lost to an eternity in Hell. We know from scripture that Jesus Christ is the only name under which one can be saved. Given this, have you ever asked yourself what is to happen to the millions of human beings who have lived and died without ever having heard the name of Jesus? What of all the people who lived before Jesus’ birth? What about those who lived outside of Israel, in nations advocating Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or some other belief?
Would a creator who claims to be a God of love really cast millions into eternal torture without even giving them a first chance to receive Jesus Christ as their savior? Fundamentalist Christians, if being honest in their belief, would be forced to concede that their God intends to do just that!
IS JESUS THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN OR ONLY A FEW?
According to the Apostle Paul in the second book of Corinthians, Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time.” (1st Timothy 2:6) We are told in verse four that God “desires ALL men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Going all the way back to Genesis the promised deliverer was to “bless all the families of the earth.” In the first epistle of John we are taught that Jesus Christ is “the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only, but for also the WHOLE WORLD.” (1st John 2:2) When the angel of God appeared to the shepherds of the field announcing Jesus’ birth, he said, “Behold I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be unto ALL PEOPLE.” (Luke 2:10) Now ask yourself, if Jesus was the son of God, and he really died for our sins, does not the blessing of his “ransom” have to reach ALL people? Did God promise a blessing to all people, but only apply it to a relative few?
HOW LONG IS THE “DAY” OF JUDGMENT?
The traditional Christian view of Judgment Day goes something like this. Jesus will return to earth on a literal cloud, every eye in the world will be upon him. There along with him will be his saints, who will, within twenty four hours judge the world of mankind. Those found worthy of life will be taken up into Heaven, those unworthy will be sent to a place called Hell, to be burned alive day and night forever. While this concept sounds plausible to some, it contradicts other scriptures that speak of the coming Day of Judgment.
As pointed out earlier in this article, the saints of God will take part in Christ’s great judgment work. When speaking of these exalted ones, John the Revelator wrote that these would live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4) These are the “first fruits” those who receive the “first resurrection.” According to this verse, “judgment was given unto them.” Verse seven tells us that when these thousand years are finished, Satan the devil will be released from the symbolic pit that he is confined to at the start of this period. Satan will be allowed to attempt to deceive the nations for a final time. It is at this point that Satan, and those who continue to follow him, will die the “second death.” Given these passages, along with the Apostle Peter’s words that a “day is like a thousand years with the Lord, and a thousand years a day,” (2nd Peter 3:8) clearly this “day” of judgment is to last far longer than a mere twenty four hours.
BEFORE JUDGMENT THERE MUST BE A TRIAL
It will be during the one thousand years of Revelation 20:4 that the general world of mankind will receive their trial, this will be when they will or will not be found worthy to live forever on a restored paradise earth. “And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and the books were opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their WORKS, by the things that were written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)
It has long been declared by Christian teachers that we are judged solely on our faith in Jesus as our savior. While in this judgment period ALL must believe on the name of Jesus Christ and accept the gift of his ransom sacrifice, they must also show acceptable works. It is in this period that mankind will die on account of their own sins and not for the sin of Adam. This is the time referred to by the prophet Jeremiah when he writes “In those days they shall say no more: the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.” Jeremiah 31:29-34) Jesus Christ’s death on the cross gave ALL mankind another opportunity to live forever on a paradise earth.
“IN CHRIST ALL SHALL BE MADE ALIVE” – 1ST CORINTHIANS 15:22
We are assured in the scriptures that there will be a resurrection from the dead, of both the “just and the unjust.” (Acts 24:15) Jesus assures us that the hour will come when ALL that are in their graves will come forth. (John 5:28)
WHO DO WE SAY JESUS IS?
“THEREFORE GOD HAS HIGHLY EXALTED HIM AND GIVEN HIM THE NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME.” PHILIPPIANS 2:9
It is our belief that Jesus of Nazareth was exactly who he said he was, the SON of GOD, the anti-typical unblemished Passover lamb. Jesus Christ was the “Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) When he died on the cross, this perfect man paid for all mankind the debt owed by the first perfect man, Adam.
Jesus in his pre-human condition was the FIRST creation of the Heavenly Father. (Revelation 3:14) He served as the “arm” of Jehovah. (Psalm 44:3)(Isaiah 53:1) Jesus the “Logos” served at the right hand of God. He assisted the Heavenly Father in the creation of the world. “Let US make man in OUR Image” (Genesis 1:26). He was daily the “delight” of Jehovah prior to his time upon the earth. (Proverbs 8:22-30)
Jehovah the Heavenly Father, sent Jesus to our world, as a human being in the same sinless condition that Adam possessed before his fall. Jesus was in all things a perfect man. The many miracles he performed were not by his power, but that of his Father in Heaven. (John 11:41-42) According to his own words “I live because of the Father.” (John 6:57)
The scriptures tell us that following his resurrection, he appeared different to his followers. This is because he could still take on the appearance of a human being, but he was now a resurrected spirit being. The Apostle Paul tells us that the “first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam (Jesus) BECAME A LIFE GIVING SPIRIT.” 1st Corinthians 15:45) Jesus upon his obedience to his Heavenly Father, was rewarded with a new nature, “the divine nature” as mentioned by the Apostle Peter in (2nd Peter 1:4). Jesus was the first as the HEAD of his symbolic BODY, the saints are to receive the reward of immortality, meaning that they cannot die. Over these the “second death has NO power.” (Revelation 20:6)
It is our belief that Jesus of Nazareth was exactly who he said he was. As time goes forward, new findings by secular historians, as well as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, offer proof beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and the Savior of the World.
Rejoice in knowing that he is, at this time in the process of setting up his kingdom right here upon the EARTH!
“THE RANSOMED OF THE LORD SHALL RETURN” – ISAIAH 35:10