February 26, 2017

Blasphemers – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?’ They all condemned him as deserving death.” (Mark 14:63-64 NET)

Many in the pew are unaware of the unbelief in many of today’s pulpits. The British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported Wednesday (2/22/2017) the results of a revealing poll conducted just last month.

“A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey. The poll of nearly 2,000 of the Church’s 10,000 clergy also found that only half believe that faith in Christ is the only route to salvation.”

If these religious leaders had been able to consult with the Jewish Sanhedrin, perhaps they could have resolved the conflict and avoided the crucifixion. “No, no…He never claimed to be divine. That’s just a self-serving spin concocted by fanatics.” That is the line theologians are pushing today. The fact that it contradicts the scriptural account only bothers those deluded by the foolish idea that scripture is the Word of God. (I plead guilty and I am “bothered.”)

Unlike many of today’s theologians, the Jewish Sanhedrin and its high priest had no doubt about what He claimed. They heard from His own lips.

“The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, ‘Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’ But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am;…’” (Mark 14:6-62)

These students of the scriptures would not miss the implications of Jesus answer to the question, are you the Son of God? …“I am.” This answer would resonate with the familiar identification of eternal divinity given to Moses.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM;’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

Just like many of today’s theologians, the Jewish Sanhedrin and its high priest did not believe Jesus’ bold claim. A mere man appropriating such an audacious, irreverent claim for himself, was obviously, genuinely guilty of blasphemy. Blasphemy was a capital crime.

“Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 16:24)

Therefore, council voted to condemn Him to death, because they accepted Scripture as God’s word (especially when convenient). Ironically, many of today’s theologians do not feel compelled to follow Scripture (except when convenient). Like the Sanhedrin, they say Jesus wasn’t God’s Son, justifying the charge of blasphemy, but, unlike the Sanhedrin, they choose to ignore the authority of Scripture, the implications of blasphemy and what God said to do to blasphemers.

Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin, but may have already left, probably because of revulsion at what the council was doing (note Luke 23:51; John 7:50-51). The rest of that august body all agreed.

But…the charge of blasphemy was true, only if Jesus was not the Son of God. He would demonstrate unmistakably just three days later that His claim was true. The Sanhedrin knew He had prophesied He would rise from the dead (the reason they made sure the tomb was sealed and guarded). Not only did they see that prophesy fulfilled, they knew the implications of what fulfilled it. He “…was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,…” (Romans 1:4). “But surely, that many learned, devout, men of God could not ignore such obvious evidence.” You think? They did and still do.

His eloquent empty tomb testifies that He is God’s Son, therefore innocent of the Sanhedrin’s condemnation, though guilty as charged if He is not.

 

 

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February 12, 2017

Those Pleasant Mountains – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying: “O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’’” (Deuteronomy 3:23-25)

Have you ever pled with the Lord, again and again, when He again and again said, “No?” Moses knew all about that. We can understand his pleading. He wanted to see the beautiful, fruitful land chosen by God for his chosen people. It had been his goal for forty years.

Paul wanted to see Rome (Acts 19:21). Perhaps there, is a special sight you would like to see; Paris, Jerusalem, the garden tomb, etc. But this hardly compares with Moses’ longing, nor would our inability be as disappointing as his.

Moses knew the problem. It was his own disobedience at Meribah. God said: you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them(Numbers 20:12). Yet, he desired greatly to “cross over” the Jordan to see firsthand “those

pleasant mountains.’’ But, he was Moses, God’s own chosen leader. Surely God understood, and would make an exception. God answered. He said, “No.’ I am confident that Moses repented and was forgiven, but there were consequences to pay, perhaps as much for our admonition as his. Do you see a lesson here?

Moses saw “those pleasant mountains,” but God would not allow him to enter the land, even though…

the LORD showed him all the land … Then the LORD said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, … I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

But…God knows how to teach a powerful lesson and still be gracious and generous in marvelous ways that surpass our imagination. Moses ultimately did, not only see, but stood on Mount Hermon!

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. (Matthew 17:1-3)

On that pleasant mountain we call the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses stood, with Elijah, speaking with Jesus of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:31).

God finally answered his prayer with a resounding, “Yes!” Moses recalled God’s dramatic demonstration of power in Egypt as he pled with God for one more display; You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?” (Quoted above from Deuteronomy 3:24)

Not only did God amazingly answer Moses’ prayer in the affirmative, now, Moses could see ultimate greatness of God’s mighty hand as Christ prepared to die for his salvation and ours.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris