I recently wrote an article about “tradition” over at the other blog that I sometimes write for.

Posted in church history, Roman Catholicism, The rule of Faith, Tradition | Leave a comment

Palm Sunday, “Hosanna!”, and application to the current political drama

Be sure to keep reading to the next post about the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and the Angels at the Tomb of Jesus, and I encourage you to listen to R.C. Sproul’s three messages, as we celebrate Good Friday and the Resurrection of Christ.

This week, beginning on March 20, I was struck at the irony and significance of the Scriptures on Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt of a donkey, showing His humility, gentleness, and salvation (Zechariah 9:9; see the quotes in Matthew 21, and John 12); that He was NOT a military Messiah, yet the people were shouting “Hosanna!” (O Lord, save us!” and “give success/prosperity/victory” – Psalm 118:25-26)

Thinking and meditating on the significance of Palm Sunday, I was struck afresh about how the crowds were praising Jesus as the Messiah, and quoting Psalm 118.

Matthew 21:1-17

Mark 11:1-11

Luke 19:29-44

John 12:12-19

Luke 19:38 – “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Matthew 21 and Mark 11 and Luke 19 quote from Psalm 118 and show how they crowds believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, and they thought He was going to save them from Rome – be a political and military Messiah.

“The people wanted salvation and success, remember.  Which means, they wanted the Messiah to march into the city and do hard business with Rome.”  Jonathan Parnell, Your Sorrow will Turn to Joy, page 15.

Psalm 118:25 – “Save us we pray, O Lord, O Lord, give us success/prosperity!”

“Hosanna!” comes from Psalm 118:25 – “O Lord, save us!” – in other words, they were looking at Jesus as a political and military savior who would do business with the problems of this world.

As I right this, right now, in this crazy political season (June of 2015 to March of 2016), it seems like many of the crowds, masses, are calling out for the same kind of thing, in wanting someone strong who will “win again” and “make America great again”, etc.   (the weird phenomenon of people wanting a con artist and seemingly “strong man” like businessman Donald Trump.)  I have read several articles comparing him to how Mussolini and Hitler rose in their countries in the 1930s in Europe.  It is shameful that so many Evangelicals are going for this man of unpredictable character and immorality, arrogance, bravado, in your face insults, bombast, and past history of not being conservative at all in principles.  Who knows what he will do if he wins the Presidency?  He is so volatile, vengeful, childish and a spoiled brat.

We will see what happens; O Lord, help us to trust in Your sovereignty!

It reminds us of the Israelites calling for a strong king who was tall and handsome “to fight for us, like the nations” – 1 Samuel chapter 8.

It is amazing that people don’t read Psalm 118 and it’s real significance:

Read the entire Psalm, but note especially verses 6-10 and verses 22-26

True Prosperity and Success is trusting in God’s Sovereignty and Plan for the Messiah to be the one who would be humble and weak and give His life a sacrifice for sins, thus causing Israel and people who try to figure it out on their own logic “to stumble”.  Over 2000 years later, Jews and Muslims and atheists and skeptics are still stumbling over the weakness and power of the cross today. (see 1 Corinthians chapters 1-2)

Psalm 118:6-10

6 The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the Lord I will surely cut them off.

[Are Evangelicals putting security and military might first, or trust in the Lord?]

. . .

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

It is striking that the crowds were manipulated and turned against Jesus at His trial later, by the Jewish leadership calling for Jesus’ crucifixion.

“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.”  Matthew 27:20

We don’t learn; history keeps repeating itself.  We must pray, trust God, vote for the better candidate who would be closer to Biblical principles, and keep trusting God, even when the world is falling apart with economic problems, liberal leaders, and radical Islamic terrorism.

Posted in moral corruption of culture, Politics, Prophesy Fulfilled, Truth | 11 Comments

R. C. Sproul on the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Angels at the tomb of Christ

The Crucifixion:

The Resurrection:

The Angels at the Tomb:

“The truth of the Christian faith stands or falls on the reality of angels” – R. C. Sproul

2 Kings 6:16-17

“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Matthew and Mark indicate at least one angel (Matthew 28:2-3 “an angel”; Mark 16:5 – a man in a white robe); Luke says two angels (two men in dazzling apparel – Luke 24:4) ; John 20:12 – “two angels in white” – Matthew and Mark  do not sayonly one angel” or “only one man in white dazzling clothes”, so the focus on the one angel in Matthew and Mark is no big deal and not a contradiction.  If there are two angels, there is at least one angel.  There is no contradiction.

Angels announced the birth of Messiah and were at His birth:  Matthew chapters 1-2 and Luke chapters 1-2

Angels ministered to Jesus after His temptation – Matthew 4:11 and Mark 1:13

“of course they were at the cross” – R. C. Sproul – guarding the Messiah

Matthew 26:53 – “don’t you know I could call for legions of angels to defend Me?”

the angels at the tomb – Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24

The Greatest words ever spoken were not spoken by a human being, but by angels.

Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.  But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The angels in heaven giving praise to God the Father (the one who sits on the throne) and the Lamb (Jesus the Son) – Revelation chapter 5


Posted in Angels, Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, The Atonement of Christ, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Truth, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Qur’an never says the text of the Bible was corrupted

An excellent presentation by a former Muslim.

In the first videos, notice the difference between “lafz” لفظ (word) and “Ma’ani” معنی (meaning).  We have the Arabic word “lafz” لفظ in Farsi also, which indicates the “word” or text (متن = matn) has not been changed. And we have the word “ma’ani” معنی also in Farsi which means “meaning”. Some Christians and Jews changed the “meanings” of the text/word, by their wrong oral interpretations (“with their tongues” – Qur’an 3:78) but the text has not been changed or corrupted or lost.

He uses the exact same main verses that I would use to show that the Qur’an does not say that the text of the Bible was corrupted. (Surah Al Ma’ida 5:47; – “let the people of the gospel judge by what God has revealed therein . . . ”

Surah 5:68 –

Say, “O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.”

Yunus 10:94 – “If you have any doubt about what we are revealing to you, go and ask the people of the book.”

Surah 10:64 – “There is no changing the words of Allah”

Here he quotes a lot of famous and early Muslims, to confirm this truth. Ibn Abbas, the cousin and one of the companions of Muhammad, Ibn Kathir, Imam Al Razi, Al Tabari (the historian of Islam), even Ibn Taymiyya. He says that the idea that the Bible was corrupt was started by Ibn Khazem (died in 1064 AD), which is way after the foundational period of Islam.

هیچ کس نمی تواند کلام خدا را تبدیل بدهد
(Farsi for “No one is able to change the word of God”)

وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ

“And there is no changing the words of Allah” (This phrase is from Surah 6:34, and see 6:115 (116); 10:64 (65); 18:27 below)

We have this same word and various forms of “change” from Arabic (مبدل and تبدیل)in Farsi.

Surah 10:94 says that Muhammad should go and ask the people who have been reading the Book الکتاب  before him. The Book, or Revelation from Allah “before him” is the Bible, both the OT and the NT. Surah 2:136 says that all of the Revelation given before Muhammad was revelation from God; the listing of prophets from Abraham to Moses to Jesus shows that this includes the OT and the NT; “we make no distinction” between the previous revelations and the current ones. Muhammad thought there was no contradiction. He misunderstood what the OT was and he misunderstood what the NT was. I did not write that the word “Injeel” was in the Arabic text of Surah 10:94, but it surely includes it in the meaning and intention because it came before and it clearly uses the word “before” قبل (again, we have this word in Farsi and I can see it. “From before you” = من قبلک
من = (min) = from; قبل = (qabl) = before; ک on the end = “you”

Surah 2:136:

قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ
وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

Say ye: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma´il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).”

It is obvious that the Qur’an thought the previous revelations were not corrupt and at least 4 other times it says, “No one can change the words of Allah”. (Surah 6:34; 6:115 (116); 10:64 (65); 18:27)

Surah 6:34:

وَلَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَصَبَرُوا عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُوا وَأُوذُوا حَتَّىٰ أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا ۚ وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ

Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers.”

The Arabic phrase here is key and a theological truth that in principle Christians and Muslims can agree with: “there is no changing the words of Allah”

وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ

Surah 6:115 (or 116 depending on numbering of different Qur’an translations.)

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“ The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.”

لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ
“No changing His words”

Surah 10:64 (or 65)

لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity.

لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ

“No change can there be in the words of Allah”

Surah 18:27:

وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ ۖ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا

And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him.

لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ

“No changing of His words”

Also, Surah 29:46 also says “Dispute not with the people of the book” . . . “But say, we believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which has come down to you.”

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَٰهُنَا وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

“And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”

The people of the book are the Christians and the Jews. Surah 9:29-30 says this also. Many other verses in the Qur’an teach this.

I sincerely believe that the Qur’an and Muhammad misunderstood Christianity and that he really thought the previous revelations were not corrupted.   I am bringing forth evidence from the Qur’an itself that shows that at the time of Muhammad, he did not believe the Bible (OT and NT) was corrupt.

Obviously, Muhammad thought the revelations had the same basic message; and later, when Muslims began to study more of the details of the OT and the NT, they realized that there are differences in the teachings, so it is then that they had to come up with the idea of “Tahreef” تحریف , that the text of the previous revelations have been corrupted. But the Qur’an itself never says this.

Posted in Apologetics, Bible is not corrupted, Historical reliability of the Bible, Islam, Muslims, Reliability of the Bible, Truth | 3 Comments

Historical Evidence for Jesus’ Trial

Posted in Apologetics, Bible is not corrupted, Gospel according to John, Historical Jesus, Historical reliability of the Bible, Truth | Leave a comment

40 Arabic Words

Posted in Apologetics, Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Historical reliability of the Bible, Islam, Muslims | Leave a comment

Expert’s Evidence for Jesus’ Crucifixion

Posted in Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Historical Jesus, Historical reliability of the Bible, History, Truth | Leave a comment