Sunday, December 29, 2013

God' point of view

From God’s point of view

           Peter said to the Lord Jesus “heaven forbid, this will never happen to you” Matthew 16.22NLT
The Lord responded “.... you are seeing things merely from a human point of view and not from God’s”.
       The difference is much the same as in a previous article written on the difference between spiritual and natural. We spent most of our life connecting with what is human. At school we learn about the physical world around us, the human society we live in, the method of human existence, and from this knowledge we asses and make decisions in life.
      So much of the life and teaching of the Lord Jesus was distinct from that human wisdom. The context of the verses quoted above, is in connection with the future of Jesus – would he develop his ministry of healing and teaching to become the greatest leader Israel had ever known? Peter thought so or at least hoped so. That is normal human reasoning although Jesus identifies it as springing from satan.
     
God’s point of view on the future of the Lord Jesus was different- the life of a servant who finally became the Saviour by dying as the rejected Messiah. By this He as the great Shepherd would gather to Himself a people for Himself from all nations. God’s point of view is humility before exaltation, suffering before glory.
       And so it did happen.
       Soon the lowly man called Jesus will be revealed as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Then He will gather together the millions of His redeemed ones.

So often we like Peter are short sighted  -  living for personal comfort and promotion. God grant all my readers, eyes to see the invisible, to live in the hope of eternal realities, to assess life from God’s point of view.


Perhaps some reader does not know the Lord. Seek Him today and according to His promise, you will find Him. Don’t be among the many who choose to be controlled by human perspectives or bad experiences. God is great, God is good and through the once crucified, now risen Lord Jesus He wants to share Himself with you.

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Question submitted - Which books belong in the Bible?

Question – Which books belong in the Bible ?

        Most of us are happy with 66 books, however others add more. The Roman Catholic Bible often includes the Apocrypha. Some people put value on the Gospel of Thomas and Judas. The Mormon church include the book of Mormon.
Several books are available on this subject and I am researching the book ‘The Cannon’ by F.F. Bruce. A recent reading of the Apocrypha gave me the sense that it has interesting history after Malachi’s day and  included some wise words,  but did not have the ring of inspiration.

           A serious accusation is made by the Muslims and others, that the Roman Catholic church has so corrupted the Christian Bible that it is no longer trustworthy. This can be answered in several ways.
1                                Modern archaeology and research has located more than 5000 pieces of the Greek copies of the New Testament . Many of these were written before the Roman Catholic church became an institution. The amazing thing is that these copies from various places have such a close harmony to each other. Scholars who do much work in this area maintain that our Bible is at least 98% accurate to the original.
2                              I obtained a New Testament recently that was translated, not from Greek, but from an ancient Aramaic text .  This text was preserved by the eastern Orthodox church, not being subject to Roman Catholic interference. However, it is so similar to our normal Bible!
3                                The Roman church did try to suppress the Bible, maintaining it in Latin  only, and when it was translated, tried to burn it. This would hardly have happened if it was changed to suit their teachings.

Back to the books of the Cannon. The Old Testament was largely assembled by  Jewish Rabbis before the Lord Jesus came. ( possibly by scholars exile in Babylon). The order of the books may differ, but most groups accept the Old Testament as we have it.

Collection and recognition of the New Testament books is different. The Lord Jesus did not write like Moses did, but rather commissioned His apostles to convey the “truth” revealed by the Holy Spirit (John 16). The early Christians valued these writings/letters by the apostles and their associates, and collected and circulated them. Hebrews ,having no apparent author was slow to be recognized, but its content gave it a place among those inspired by the Holy Spirit. After some decades, several councils, consensus was reached at the council in Carthage AD397 for the 66 books which we now use.
                The writings of the early Fathers, along with the Alexandrian Gospels (Thomas, Judas) came much later and were rejected as lacking the accuracy and inspiration of the early documents.

In conclusion for now ( as I do more research), I attest that one of the greatest confirmations of our Bible is the internal unveiling of God to mankind. For those willing to read it with openheartedness, God speaks firstly through Moses and the prophets and lastly though His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Bible is quite enough  -  the challenge is for us to believe it and obey it !!

Seek the Lord today in His word and you will surely find Him.

John McKee

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Question submitted - Spiritual verses natural

Spiritual/Natural – discerning the difference

        The natural world is measurable, observable and generally relates to our five senses. To see, to hear, to taste, to touch, to smell. By these we respond with speaking, moving, eating, working etc.
The natural is generally governed by the laws of nature. Most of our feelings are related to these stimuli. Much of our behaviour is directed by our DNA.
        Spiritual by contrast is outside of nature,  feelings and the five senses. The spiritual may at times channel through the natural, but is essentially distinct. Let me illustrate – Angels are Spirit beings. They are intelligent and interact with God and others yet being unseen and unheard. On occasions they may operate in the visible world (Genesis 18:2).  They of course like us are finite, yet they operate outside of the laws of Nature.
Our spirit is more than feelings, more than imagination. Our spirit is that intelligent part of our being able to interact with God by His Spirit. I desire to distinguish between ‘gut feeling’ and spiritual enlightenment. God gives enlightenment and it is our choice as to how we respond to it. We can overcome the natural, by obeying the spiritual.
        The human brain is capable to pulling together much information to give a direction, impulse, feelings. The influence of the Spirit of God with our spirit goes beyond that. Several illustrations from the Bible may be the best way to explain.
   
      Acts 27 – Paul is facing the likelihood of shipwreck, execution by the soldiers or drowning at sea. Natural instinct is panic or despair. But a spirit being  (the angel of the Lord)  stood by him and gave him intelligence from God – a promise of life, a promise of converts. Paul overcame the natural, by the spiritual and God fulfilled His promise.
            
       A little closer to home. In Romans 7, a man finds himself struggling under the diversions of a fallen nature – inclined to do wrong things. It seems to be made worse, because the communication from God, a spiritual message, seems to make the despair worse.  The law is spiritual!
Paul explains the distinction between ‘knowing’ what is the right thing to do (Spiritual) and following through when one is naturally  inclined to wrong. The victory is in chapter 8 when we understand the truth (not the feeling), the truth of what God has done by Christ Jesus. We understand that through Christ’s death, we are not condemned (even though we have sinned). This will affect our feelings, may even bring tears of hope, relief and joy to our eyes. But my point is that the spiritual part is God’s communicating to our spirits the intelligence of God’s attitude, God’s actions toward us.
The chapter goes on to explain how God has done this and then by the communication of the Spirit, joins us to God, so that we connect with the invisible God as “ Abba Father”. To the natural man this is all non sense!
Life then has a different motive, different meaning, different point of reference -- a Spiritual connection with a Spiritual being.

                    The Lord Jesus taught the priority of the spiritual in another way. He said ‘blessed are the poor’, meaning the natural inclination to  attain status, to be richer, is not the spiritual way. He said “blessed are the meek”, meaning the idea of prominence, powers, prestige, are not God’s thinking.  He said blessed are they that mourn. This morose direction is not popular, but God connects with those who see beyond the visible and are concerned for the eternal.
He seems to go too far and say “blessed are you when you are mocked and persecuted”. Are we not to make this a better world where everyone is happy forever after?  Well, what does He mean? His very presence on earth was the greatest of all “Spiritual” revelations. God the invisible (Spirit) was revealed in flesh (unspoiled humanity). The reaction to Him (faith or unbelief) was the fundamental choice of receiving the Spirit’s revelation or not. To reject Him, is to sin (the unpardonable sin) against the Holy Spirit. To receive Him, the ongoing enlightenment of the Holy Spirit establishes a connection of relationship that abides for eternity. So to be mocked for HIS sake is connecting with the spiritual one.

                   Real life, eternal life, is to know God in Christ (John 17). To understand this is important before trying to sort out spiritual gifts, spiritual communications etc.

Thus far we see the Invisible God (a spirit being) making contact with visible mankind.  The teachings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles are full of encouragement for us to see the spiritual, eternal realities. The Lord Jesus said so much about heaven.
Peter and Paul preached about our spiritual condition before God and the real possibility of being forgiven by an unseen God. Peter wrote about us being ‘partakers of the Divine nature’ – This is spiritual reality stuff. John exhorted us to live in Love - not natural love, but God’s ‘agape’ love.
Then an observant reader of the New Testament will notice the exhortation to let these spiritual truths influence our natural life. Not two compartments, natural and spiritual, but rather bringing the whole life into the obedience of Christ – Sowing to the Spirit - Galatians 6.
Much could be said about how this applies today. First I suggest be wary of strange voices, with fleshly directions.  A true prophet, a teacher, a healer, a word of wisdom etc, must operate to glory Christ, to be true to the Holy Spirit.

                  A Spiritual person (one in touch with God) will evidence the fruit of the Spirit.  A spiritual work or mission will focus on making Christ known in a verbal or practical way. A spiritual outlook will be like Moses who lived life in the light of the invisible, in the values of the Eternal and Hebrews 11 records the effect on his choices.
             Praying in the Spirit is addressing the unseen Father through the exalted Lord Jesus Christ, praying in accord with God’s will, that He the living One might act in the spirit world and the natural world over which He has ultimate control.  Let us then, worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4).

                   In conclusion to this brief consideration, let me point to the evidence of a spiritual person.

Love (God’s kind of love),
Joy (happiness in God)
Peace (Faith in one Greater than the natural circumstances)
Kindness (going beyond instinct in care)
Goodness (Acting by God’s values)
Faithfulness (Being true to right and responsibilities)
Gentleness (Not driven by impulse or self interest, but considerate of others)
Self Control (the natural, fallen inclination brought under obedience to Christ)
The scriptures say, these are the outcomes of those walking in the Spirit, filled with the Spirit (Galations 5)


May it be so in every life.

John McKee   comments to  johnmckee@internode.on.net

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why does God not stop the 'fights'

Questions from Children
“Why does God not stop the fights in the world?” – a question repeated many times
     This a good question and not easy to answer. There are two or three ways to answer this.

1    In our world there is the ongoing conflict between good and evil.  The Bible storyline presents evil with its lies, deception, conflict, fights, murders, etc ,    as coming into the world by the evil one, Satan, also known as the Devil, the old serpent, the deceiver.  He is historically presented as the source of ‘fights’ and is described by  the Lord Jesus as a murderer, thief and liar. He sought to bring down the Lord Jesus and was the inspiring intelligence that led Judas to betray Jesus.
    Paul found himself ‘hindered‘ by Satan.  Peter said we should ‘resist the Devil’. So to the end of the world, ‘fights’ will continue as this intelligent deceiver seeks to destroy people and oppose God and His Christ.  Finally he will be cast forever into  the lake of fire, and then peace and righteousness will  prevail.

2    The question is often rephrased as ‘why does God allow evil?’
 Incidents and stories from the Bible, and also from recent history, even our own experiences, remind us of the good lessons that can be learned out of bad experiences. You could read the story of Job, who suffered much evil and ‘fights’, yet at the end he was blessed in every way.  You could think about Jesus -- rejected and tortured by His enemies,  yet out of this came blessing for the whole world.  The ‘fights’ between communism and Christians has produced real Christianity in contrast to the shallow church where little persecution prevails. 
    God has a distinct ability to turn evil things to good, if we will let Him.  (Romans 8:28)

3  If God ‘stopped’ the fights in our world, who would He punish.  What I mean is that most ‘fights’ have wrong on both sides. Often both sides have rebelled against God and His ways.  So should He destroy both as a matter of “justice”.  A school chaplain once said in my hearing “I am glad God does not seem just”   - meaning – if God executed justice , we would all be destroyed for we have all sinned.  “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
I would like to make one further observation.  People who spent plenty of time in armchairs, find this a distressing question.  People who suffer hardship often turn to God and find Him very near even when the reasons for hardship are not known. The difference may be the distinction between reasoning and faith. Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, so that people will seek the Lord.


 May the God of all grace give you understanding in all things

More questions to come - others  were answered in previous blogs
John McKee

More children's questions

'Why does God help us a lot?'
       And He does even though we forget to thank Him.   Well all things considered, He does us good, because He loves us.  He is a faithful creator who keeps this finely tuned world spinning. But so much more He does for us like giving us understanding and wisdom.  He provides opportunities for us to seek and know Him.  He puts us into families so that we may not be totally alone.  Jesus said He knows and He cares about us as children belonging to a Father. (Matthew 6)
     Why?     Because He loves. It is His very nature to love, not that we deserve it, but He chooses to love.  Love of course is wiser than to just give what some want. He loves in the wise way, the long term view for the real good of  those who trust Him. The children will remember my illustration - I love chocolate, but God knows too much chocolate is not good for me. So in His wisdom he give me the ability to choose to limit my chocolate intake.

  I think we would do well to stop and count His many blessings  -- many, many, many blessings

John McKee

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Children's questions continued

What does God look like?

God is a spirit  - a little bit like the wind  - can't be seen but is yet so powerful.
- like a voice  -  cannot be seen yet can be heard.
-  like electricity  -  you can't see it yet it does such wonderful things.
-   like the sunshine  - you cannot see it, but you can't see much without it

Well the better answer is :
' God looks like Jesus'   the Lord Jesus did say " whoever has seen me has seen the Father (God)"

Children do seek a visible representation of God and we must avoid making images as the heathen do. Perhaps God was very wise to hide the physical appearance of Jesus, so that He could be the Saviour of the world, not just for one race of people.  It is important to think rather about God's character, His attributes, His actions, His promises.

John mcKee

Monday, November 25, 2013

Questions from the children

'Why is God upset ? '

God has good reason to be upset considering that we so often forget or ignore Him. Worse than that is the times we disobey His laws and go against His wisdom. His standards are often rejected.  This is summarized in one word -   sin

However, God is not characterized by continual anger! He is angry with the wicked every day, but our God is a " Blessed God"  ! (happy God).  How can this be?  This is true to His nature, but more so because He has overcome evil through the Lord Jesus Christ.  The coming of Jesus into the world was God's design to conquer sin and set believers free from fear and the control of satan. The death of the Lord Jesus makes forgiveness possible, and God is 'happy' to forgive all who believe in His Son (Jesus). In fact the angels rejoice every time someone chooses to turn from sinful ways to trust in the Lord Jesus.  So really heaven is a happy place and our God is a rejoicing God !!
    Both the Old testament and the new describe  this:

"Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin."    Romans 4.7NLT

  Will you be one of the many who can sing 'O joy of the justified , joy of the free.......'

In the end the song will be:
    "Praise the Lord
         for the Lord our God , the Almighty reigns
      Let us be glad and rejoice
         and let us give honour to Him"
                         Revelation 19.6

John  McKee

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jesus begins to preach

I have begun reading again the story of Jesus. Matthew records significant details of His background, birth, baptism and the battle with the devil.  Then He began to preach.
      His first word is “repent for the kingdom of heaven is near”    -  Turn to God

He was qualified to preach ‘repent’, as He was truly one with God and preaching for God. His eyes saw two things:
1.    A people astray from God
2.    A people ignorant of their own condition as sinners condemned by God.
So from the standpoint of God, and with the compassion of understanding, He preaches “Repent!”

Repent, means a change of mind. It is implied , as John the Baptist preached, that repentance would evidence itself by a change of behaviour.  But now that the King had arrived, the emphasis changes from better behaviour, to a change of mind regarding Jesus the Christ, Jesus  the  Messiah, Jesus the King, Jesus the Saviour.  Over and over, the message of the Kingdom drawing near is a direct reference to the presence of the king Himself.  This is the real meaning of the expression “The kingdom of God is within you” being  better translated “among you”.
     
  It is true the Kingdom of God is not what we eat and drink, rather it is righteousness, love and joy in the Holy Spirit, but primarily the Kingdom is connected to the King.  This is why Peter looks into the future for his entrance into the eternal kingdom, when the King returns.
       And so the King calls people to become His subjects in His Kingdom  -  He can heal their diseases (Matthew 4.2-25) , He gives a superior law (Matthew 5-7), .  At the end of Matthews gospel we hear the most important question “What should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” (Matthew 27.22)

    Turn around from straying ways, look closely on Jesus and be not faithless but believing.  He is the true King who saves us from our sins to forgiveness, from being lost to being accepted, from hell to heaven. “ Repent and believe the Good News" today.


John McKee

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prophecy of the Lord Jesus

Matthew 21.32 “This generation will not pass until all these things be fulfilled”

Someone has asked – ‘what does this Bible verse mean?’
One is tempted to say ‘I don’t know’, but I will suggest some detail to help fit it into it’s context.
Luke 21.6, 12-24 can generally be seen as fulfilled e.g. The stones of the temple were torn down in AD 70 by the Roman general Titus and his army. The Christians were persecuted intensely, and the city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army, just as Jesus said. It is reported that the Christians saw this prophecy being  fulfilled before their eyes, so the fled and thus were saved the dreadful destruction of the city!

The end of verse 24 is most significant – “the times of the Gentiles”    It was God’s intention that Israel be the head of the nations.  But since the destruction of the temple in AD 70, Israel has been dispersed across the face of the earth.  This last 2000years has obviously been the ‘times of the Gentiles’  The resurgence of Israel since 1948 along with disasters and political tensions may well be the new leaves of the ‘fig tree’.
Now what about verses 25,26,27,28   -  there have been times of  strange solar happenings (some have taught that Jesus did return at the end of the 1st century!). Others see the last days as encompassing all the last 2000 years with its many seasons of disasters and wars.
I think rather like Daniel 9, there is an unexplained gap.  Daniel 9 lays out a timetable of years (sevens) between the building of Zerubbabel’s  temple and  the cutting off of the Messiah AD30 and the destruction of the temple AD70. Others  have verified the accuracy of Daniel’s prophetic timetable. However  Daniel’s timetable goes on to predict a covenant treaty between Israel and some world power. This treaty will then be broken after three and a half years.  This seems to not be yet fulfilled, like Luke 21.25-27.
Could it be that God has inserted the ‘mystery’ of the church into this gap? – a period of time when not only do we have the Gentiles political domination, but also God at work, calling out of the nations, a people for Himself, for His Son, as distinct from the purpose given to Israel.

The Lord did say in one parable, that the master of the vineyard would be away for a ‘long time’ to receive a kingdom, before he would return to claim the inheritance of the vineyard (Israel).

Well I can accept that explanation, but what of our verse V32  “this generation “  A different translation reads “this tribe”  Israel has never been extinguished, (against all odds). Some have tried but I rather think that God has a future for Israel. Israel is in blindness and unbelief  as a nation (Romans 11), but God has yet to fully fulfil His promises to Abraham and David.  God is able to bring them to new birth, gathering the dead bones to life  so that His prophetic word will be vindicated.  So I am suggesting that the “generation” of our verse is Israel as a tribe.


Other thoughts may be sent to johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Questions of God

God delights to ask questions - not to find out information, but to make connection with us. I will give a sample.

In the garden of Eden, the voice of God rings out  "  Adam where are you? "
Again to Eve the question " What have you done ?"
Then to Cain " Why are you angry? "
Telling questions I think you will agree, but each indicates God as the one seeking the wanderer !

To Job God replies "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth .....? "

Through Isaiah, God ask's "Why do you labour for that which does not satisfy ?"

I encourage you to be observant of and also listening to the questions of God. He may well be drawing near to make contact...........'today if you will hear harden not your heart.'

John McKee

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Mystery of suffering

Our natural instinct is to focus on our suffering. Let Isaiah point us to the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ.
       Isaiah 40 is the turning point of the book, and the build up of hope in God revealing Himself rises.  The joyful news bounces upon the mountains as the Gospel of peace.  Then chapter 52 and 53 present the servant of God as, by appearances – a failure!  It certainly is not natural to follow a failure. We cannot ignore Isaiah 53, because the Lord Jesus Himself applied it to Himself (Luke 22).  So the mystery of suffering in this chapter is unlocked by Jesus Himself.

      Up to this chapter, sin was generally rewarded with punishment. In chapter 53, the sins of the wandering sheep, the punishment of the transgressors, is placed upon the innocent, the holy Servant of God, the Messiah himself! Not only is He counted among the transgressors (53.12), but He is the substitute to bear their sins.
    ‘Why should Jesus suffer so on the cross of shame? ‘
    We must note the important factor in this chapter – “The Lord laid on Him”    “ the Lord made His soul an offering for sin”.  When we see the “Lord”  acting , we see the suffering of Jesus Christ as being for a distinct purpose.
Verse 7 has an interesting marginal rendering in the Newberry Bible – “  It was exacted and He became answerable”   Sounds like 2 Corinthians 5.21 “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ “ NLT.
Isaiah 53 concludes with triumph, not only for the suffering Messiah, but triumph for those whose sins He has borne. He as the risen one intercedes in heaven for them.
This chapter has remarkable detail of the sorrows, rejection, pain, misjudgement, etc of Christ. Take time to search it out.

   Well might Phillip preach to the Ethiopian from this same chapter – Jesus  (Acts 8)
Going forward into Chapters 54 – 66, more precious truth is unfolded about the Messiah eg 61.  Chapter 55 proclaims the Gospel of free grace to all who turn to the Lord. The conclusion is full of hope as the King returns to establish His righteous rule. ‘Even so come Lord Jesus’

In review of Isaiah, we may not understand all its historical background and application, but we sure can rejoice in the unveilings of God’s Son, revealed for God’s will and our blessing.
In closing, please ponder chapter  66.1-2  --The almighty, so great and glorious is willing to dwell with the humble and contrite ones, who tremble at His word! ! !


John McKee

Sunday, October 20, 2013

IDOLS

An apologetic (reasoned defence) passage in Isaiah

           Isaiah chapter 44: 6-20
This chapter begins with promises of God’s grace. Verses 6 to 20 describe the foolishness of idolatry. We know that the ten commandments forbid worshipping any graven image. Worship belongs to God alone. And yet even today, in this sophisticated educated world, millions of people pray to wood and stone images. The new Testament makes it clear that often behind the physical object is a sinister spiritual force. ( Corinthians 10.20 )

          Let Isaiah show the folly of an idol.  A man cuts down a tree, then uses some of the timber to make a fire for cooking ( and in Australia to make a house), and then he carves out an image – maybe of a human, an animal or something a bit out of this world. Then the creator of the image (and likely his family),   bows down to worship it. Logic says that something is distinctly  wrong.  Not only does he honour the idol, but also prays to it to help from it!
It was quite astounding to me when we lived in Hong Kong, a city of so many educated, intelligent and rich people, that at a certain  time of the year they were so engrossed in putting out images and idols. So much time and money spent trying to please the unseen world.

      How blessed it is to know a God who though invisible, yet is real and revealed in Jesus Christ.

I ask you to read through verses 6 to 20 and  having read it , to pray for the many, maybe not so far from you, who are captive to this lie. Verse 20  - “He trusts in something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask ‘is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?’   “  NLT

               Idolatry is non sense -  but I challenge my readers ...............what are we doing with the great liberty and knowledge we have ?

“ So we must listen carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it”  Hebrews 2.1  NLT


John McKee     

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gems from Isaiah

      Let us notice some of the gems in Isaiah.
Chapter 1.18 " Come now and let us reason together says the Lord"   - The Lord God, so offended by rebellion, is not unreasonable! ( try reading this in New Living Translation - it is beautiful)

Chapter 6  In a day when uncleanness was the mark of disobedience, God shines through as "Holy, holy, holy"  This brilliant ray of light brings hope to those willing to be purified by the perpetual value of the alter (Hebrews 1.3)

Chapter 9:6,7  "Unto us a child is born, a son is given......" This  messianic prophecy dispels the hopelessness of unbelief. The riches of these few verses has remained a source of hope for more than 2000 years. I encourage you to take time out to ponder, search the word meanings, consider the  culture and context, and see the prophecy gloriously fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Lord.  You will wonder, worship and praise !!

Chapter 11 is long distance foretelling in full swing. Things yet to be, only possible through the risen exalted Lord Jesus

Chapter 28.16 is a prophecy and a promise quoted in the New Testament (the compass points to Peter  - but I will let you find it)  The promise of safety for those who TRUST in the Lord is like Chapter 30.15 " in returning and rest you will be saved, in quietness and confidence will be your strength"
       These gems reveal the cause for the sad tale of woes  -  the underlying problem of unbelief, departure from God and rebellion against God. O that people today would learn the lesson of history and turn to the God who loves , who waits to cleanse, to comfort................

Chapter 32.1  "The King is coming"    He came once and was rejected, but He said "I will come again" For the believer this prospect is uplifting, but for the unbeliever how terrorizing to one day become the direct object of God's judgements at the hand of Jesus Christ the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 1

Chapter 42 is a delightful description of the servant of Jehovah. This is Jesus in the character of a servant. Let these verses be food for your soul as you meditate on one in whom there is no disappointment.

Chapter 53 stands uniquely significant in the Old Testament and the New  -  the mystery of a suffering Messiah. ( as we referred to in a previous article)

Chapter 61   and  many more places, cheer the heart and inspire faith.

Let us look up instead of around.

Maranatha


John McKee



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Isaiah

       I have been reading the early chapters of Isaiah. How depressing to read of woes and judgements. The messages of destruction are overwhelming and one is inclined to jump to a different section. However it is wise to search the rubble ( I mean the rubble of human disobedience) for the precious gems, for they are there. Some have posed the question 'How could a God of love pronounce devastating judgements?'   --  sometimes the consequences described are the unavoidable outcomes of foolish choices eg to depend on other nations for military protection in the  varying wars.  Often times, and distinctly for Israel and Judah, God was disciplining and punishing His people in His jealous love. The worship of idols and the trust put in other nations instead of God must needs invoke the action of God to recover His wandering flock.
    Reading the woes of condemnation, we watch out for the underlying cause, and so often it is the hearts of the people have turned away from God to trust and follow others. In our western culture of individual independence,  insolence toward God is normal!  However when we consider the relationship of the creator and the creation, the relationships of parent and children, the bonds of the Redeemer and the redeemed, the insolence of rebellion can only invoke problems, discipline and punishment.
    Has the Lord changed today?  He may , in this day of grace, be very slow to anger, but His character is yet the same.  I listen carefully to the words of the Lord Jesus - " As many as I love I rebuke and chasten" (Revelation 3)


to be continued

Good night and God bless you with simple , real  trust in Himself

Sunday, October 6, 2013

He Knew All Things

The foreknowledge of the Lord continued.
            From a human point of view,  Jesus could have done better for Himself. He could have appeased the leaders and remained a good teacher and healer among the nations. He could have negotiated with the Romans ( like Herod ) and established himself with political power. He could have quietly written his new philosophy on scrolls that might be distributed to the ends of the earth. But no, He goes ahead, knowing that ‘disaster’ awaited Him!
   This is where His foreknowledge is most significant – proclaiming eternally that His death was not an accident, not a martyrs death, not a foolish miscalculation of popular opinion etc.  On the road to Emmaus He told the puzzled walkers, ‘All that the prophets have spoken -  that Christ must suffer and rise again from the dead.’

Let us ponder the many foretellings in Luke 22,23
·                       *The Passover night He said “ I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover before I suffer” .    Suffer?   To illustrate what He meant, He took the bread  and broke it – symbolizing that His body would be broken. He  then took the cup – interpreting this Himself – His blood shed as a ransom, shed to seal the covenant of grace soon to be established, shed to bring forgiveness .             Just as He intelligently took the bread and the cup to signify His death as having special and eternal meaning, so should we  eat intelligently (1 Corinthians 11 ).
·                *  Next the Lord foretells the impending betrayal by one of the twelve.
·                 *  Luke 22.28-30 is an intriguing prophetic promise to the eleven disciples who had been faithful to Him. He promised to them in the Kingdom to come, thrones of authority to judge the twelve tribes of Israel ! What a promise when everything seemed to be crashing around them. Did He KNOW something more than the present ?? Indeed He did !!
·                 * He returns to the present burdens  and expresses in advance the anticipated grief of Peter’s denial “you will deny three times that you know  me”
·                 *  Now notice a most important foretelling – 22.37  “this scripture must be fulfilled in me – He was numbered with the transgressors” The Lord is claiming that Isaiah 53.12 would be distinctly fulfilled in His ‘suffering’. As it turned out, it was precisely so, but in no sense engineered by Jesus. He seemed to KNOW what Pilate would do!
·                   * In Gethsemane, He is burdened with grief and anxiety because He KNEW the cup of suffering He must drink.
·                 *  Verse 53 He describes this moment of assault as  “ you hour and the power of darkness” – deeper forces at work than appeared on the surface.
·                   *When the Lord stands before the Sanhedrin court, He makes a prophetic claim that is pivotal for all mankind. The High Priest asks Him “Are you the Son of God”  His answer this time is direct and clear “ I am “ (Mark 14.62). Those who accept this claim are truly His disciples, those who reject  this claim are lost forever. But more astounding is the added sentence. “ From now on the  Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God” The Lord is alluding to Daniel 7, and claiming that He KNEW His place in the future as the designated Messiah and ruler of all   !!!
                We would do well to pause and worship HIM.

·                * Luke includes another interesting case of foretelling – Chapter 23.28 “The days are coming..................” How did He KNOW the future of the nation of Israel? – He knew that in rejecting Him, they would invoke the judgement of God.
·                 * Yet another look ahead. To the repentant thief He said “Today you will be with me in paradise” This was not hopeful wishing, but the right of the Redeemer to open the door of heaven to a found sheep.

We see so many varied expressions of His omniscience i.e. He who KNEW all things could so humbly declare Himself the Christ, the Son of God.

            I have not included the many foretellings from John 13-17. I encourage you to search them out. Please note the concluding word John16.30  “Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you. This is why we believe that you came from God”

May all my readers believe and be blessed.

John McKee

Sunday, September 29, 2013

HE KNEW

The young lad of twelve, in the temple in Jerusalem, was interested in more than a ‘Bar Mitzvah’.  He knew God as His Father and knew that He was on a mission according to God’s will ( Luke 2.49 )


            After Jesus was  identified and anointed by the Holy Spirit at the river Jordan, He eventually went to Nazareth and in the synagogue He opened the scroll of the Old Testament  at Isaiah 61. After reading the prophecy of a Messiah who would bring mercy to the people, He turned and said,” Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing “. He knew His calling as Messiah, the Christ.
        Another day He said to a cripple man, “ Your sins are forgiven you “.  Correctly the religious leaders said  “who can forgive sins but God alone?"  Jesus knew their reasoning and reinforced the point  - He could forgive sins (as God) as well as reverse the sickness  flowing from sin. He knew their thoughts and He knew who He was.

        On various occasions ( as the feeding of 5000 ) , the people wanted to make Him their leader and king. To any ambitious Rabbi, this would have been the moment of opportunity, but for the Lord of glory, man’s approval and praise was a very small thing. He knew His path of service was determined by the Father’s will, which meant sacrifice not success.  (John 10)
        When it came to His teaching and parables, much indicated that He knew the future development of the Kingdom of God. e.g. the sowing of the seed, the growth as a mustard seed etc and the later parables include the king departing for a long time, later to return to reap the harvest and reward His faithful ones. All earthly kings establish themselves in power and glory, knowing it will not  last.  This king saw His future beyond the horizon and in God’s time. He knew tomorrow like today.

Some of His prophetic utterances have already been fulfilled. This gives credence to those yet to be fulfilled. A very obvious one is the prophecy  regarding the destruction of the temple – He said” the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon another” (Luke 21.6).   This is precisely what happened in AD 70. Others could be quoted. He knew history forward as well as backward.
            As the days of service to the people passed, his face turned to Jerusalem.  Not  there to be crowned, but from His own lips He identified the greater purpose of His journey – to die as a ransom, to give His life for the sheep, to give His flesh for the life of the world, to be lifted up, reconciling the world unto Himself.  It was this burden that was slowly and  deliberately  revealed to the twelve Apostles. He knew He would be rejected by the leadership of the Jews. He knew He would be betrayed. He detailed to them that He would be handed over to the Gentiles for mockery, insults, and unjust execution. But interestingly, most of these foretelling concluded with Him announcing that He would rise again from the dead. ( Luke  9.22 , 44 etc ) To add to the significance of this foretelling, in Luke 24, the angel said “Remember how He spoke to you”.  He knew the tomorrow of suffering, but turned not away from it.

Many  more foretellings  are to be searched out e.g. as Jonah, as Moses lifted up the serpent..., a baptism to be baptised, the beloved son killed etc.

I come closer to His last visit to Jerusalem  - He weeps over the city because He knew they would make the  wretched choice to reject Him. As  He approached the city, He knew the correct prophetic way from the Old Testament, for the Messiah to present himself to the people. He mounts the donkey and this time accepts the praise and hosanna’s of the crowd. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”

This is no ordinary man - this is the Son of God who knew all things!

To be continued – Comments  and questions johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A good man - a tribute to David

He was a Christian gentleman. He lived for God, for his family , for others. His consistent faith in God enabled him to live righteously, generously and with definite purpose - for the glory of God.
    Let us who feel the loss, treasure the memories of the past and look ahead with steadfast hope  as he did.

     I  present from his bible the inner spring that motivated him to live with purpose and to die with hope.

Titus 1:1    " remind them ......... to do good"  Many can testify that David did  'good'     -   good in character, good in words,  good in generosity, good in the family.    But what was it that made him good?  He had a good parentage, he had a good wife,  but the real secret is revealed in the verse following.
Titus 3:4-7


But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

* Kindness - God chose to look our way
* Love  - God acted in our best interest
* Mercy  - God pushed back the judgement which we deserved
* Washing - God removing the stain and habits of sin
* Renewing  -  God changing the motive, purpose and direction of life
* Grace -  God giving good even when we don't deserve it 
         These are the things which David welcomed into his life.  This change of character is not through religion or reform, but through Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus was once crucified to pay the debt of our old life, and is now risen and ascended to give us new life - eternal life.
What is this 'eternal life'
      Some scoff at the idea of an afterlife, or the notion of rising from the dead.
Well, the sheaf of wheat very well illustrates resurrection. As a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies,  then it springs forth into life - one seed producing many seeds. So is the resurrection of the dead.
 Another voice is the voice of many who have been to the other side and back again - all testifying to consciousness beyond death. I have worked with such . But beyond the voice of man is the voice of the Lord Jesus.  David believed that Jesus told no lies. So let us listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
John 10.9 'I am the door, by me if any one enter in, he will be saved.'
   -- the invitation for all to enter into the Shepard's care.
John 10.11 ' I am the good Shepherd and I give my life for the sheep'
   --  the price He was willing to pay for the life of the sheep.
John 10;27 ' My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.  I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.'
   --- David listened often to the Shepherd's voice as he read this Bible. He knew the Lord and followed Him. He could claim this eternal life, as  a gift from God.
   Eternal life    --  being secure in the family of God
                     --  Inheriting the character of God (changed)
                     --  Enjoying the home of God (heaven)
                     --  To know God through Jesus Christ our Lord
All this because the God loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
It was this eternal life that enabled David to live life with purpose and to face death without fear.

Another verse from Titus 2:13

  " Looking for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
   David enjoyed a little booklet ' Herald of Hope'. He had his eyes on a hope beyond the horizon. Beyond the struggles, disappointments and successes of life, he looked for the day when the Lord Jesus Christ would be victorious over all evil, and all believers would be gathered home.This is God's glorious tomorrow, when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

I stand today next to David and beseech all ' be ye reconciled to God'

 I close with a beautiful Hymn:
"What a day that will be

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Imperatives in the life of the Lord Jesus

"Must"       -    in John's Gospel

"Even so Must the Son of man be lifted up"  John 3.14      Salvation for all could only be through the cross, and only for those who look to Him in faith.

"He must increase, I must decrease" John 3.30     John, the man sent from God, pointed people away from himself to Christ.

"He must go through Samaria" John 4.4             The Lord Jesus deliberately  seeks out  the woman of Samaria to give Living water, to meet her greatest need.

" I must work the work of Him that sent me" John 9.4       For Him the priority was to do the Father's will and so for us - now is the time to work. Opportunity will soon be over.

"Them also I must bring"  John 10.16     The vision of the Lord embraced Jews and Gentiles to be together in one flock.

"The Son of Man must be lifted up."   John 12.34      The death of the Lord on the cross had a distinct purpose    - for the sin of the whole world both Jews and Gentiles.

"He must rise again from the dead"   John 20.9     For God to fulfil His plans, Christ must rise from among the dead ones.  Through His resurrection and ascension, all believers have received the Holy Spirit.

Contributed by David Story of Cleve

Sunday, September 1, 2013

His Knowing

" And when the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him" Luke 22.14
   This simple statement means what it say - the time to celebrate the Passover feast had arrived. The flow of communication to the Apostles in the following discourse is quite astounding and revealing.
        He makes distinct prophetic statements concerning His impending death. He claims many prophetic Old Testament scriptures as to be fulfilled in Himself. This has several significances, one being that the disciples understood a most significant sign of the Messiah was His ability to know all things (Johnn16). I would like to write a few articles on the foretelling of Jesus, in particular relating to His death . He not only knew the history of the past, but He knew history before it happened!
        This is also true of His knowledge of people He knew them too well, yet He chose to love them!

       The wonder of it all........ that Jesus loves me

John the Apostle puts it so well
"Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end"  (John 13.1)

Let none say 'no one ever loved me'   - God so loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reconciliation

    In our world today, one might rightly ask the question - 'What has gone wrong?'  ....a world full of strife, violence, greed, poverty, a world where standards of morality are turned upside down and authority is rebelled against. Security for the future is gone and relationships in families and between nations are disintegrating.
      May I interrupt this morose description with the Bible storyline.

    When God made all things, He made it 'good'.  When He made man and woman He made them 'good ' with the added favour of being able to 'choose'.  And choose they did   -  Eve chose to 'listen' to the evil one and Adam chose to disobey God. The precious spiritual link with God was broken. Cain murdered his brother and thus set in motion the ongoing conflict between tribes and nations.
     Where was God in all this?  In the garden it is God who comes looking for Adam - "Adam where are you?"   In the preaching of Noah, God is calling the people back to righteousness, but they would not listen.  In the priest Melchizedeck, God was entreating the nations to draw near to worship the true and living God.   In the person of Abraham, He was demonstrating the real possibility of a personal relationship with God.  Then Israel as a nation was established to stand as a beacon of light among the nations. They were to represent God dwelling on earth, God's holiness in the law and sacrifices and God's grace as they interacted with others.  Their failure with consequential judgements was to be a voice of warning from God. Some noticed God thus at work , but most made the choice to ignore God and do their own thing. History is abundant with nations rising, rejecting God and then falling.

     Then a most significant thing happened  --  God Himself appeared in the person of Jesus Christ.  His stated mission was not to put the world right, but as a rescue mission to call people from the state of disconnect and rebellion to the God intended state of reconciliation and relationship.   The terms stated were simple  -- Believe God and receive His earthly representative, His Son Jesus.    The means of reconciliation were filled in by God Himself  i.e. paying the debt of sin, removing the curse of a broken law, removing the stain of rebellion, breaking the chains of Satan, causing light to shine by His holy Spirit etc.
    The call of Jesus was often repeated  --  Repent and believe the Good news!

     Where are we 2000 years later? The world at large still do not believe in Him. The religions of the world operate best without Him. The most of the Jews consider Jesus a false Messiah. The nations prefer to legislate according to the will of the people rather than the will of God. Most educational systems have eliminated the true Gospel of repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If God gets a mention at all ,He is considered to be a helper of humanities endeavours to be better.
       Well what ought God do?  Justice calls for God's wrath to be executed upon this world in its rebellion - and it will be.  But in the present time God is calling people to repent of their wandering ways, rebellious attitudes and indifference.  His patience interrupts the voice of vengence, for He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should be saved.
      His terms remain simple and His promises sure.
'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'  Romans 10.13
For those more enlightened
  "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved"  Romans 10.9
   
     Much is wrong in our world today,  and the Bible record is the best explanation why. I plead with all to turn from the distractions around us and seek the Lord - He is not far from everyone of us. Perhaps the greatest hindrance of reconciliation is the pride and conceit within us. The idea of saying 'God is right and I am wrong ' seems too much.

     May all who read these lines, repent (turn from self and sin to God) and believe in (sincere faith and trust) the Lord Jesus Christ.

John McKee         johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Signs

      Throughout the ages, people have sought after signs, in particular spectacular signs.The Lord Jesus made a very serious statement " an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign" (Matthew 12.39). Faith in the Lord Jesus needs no sign. Believing His Word because we believe who He is - Son of God - brings the greatest of blessings - eternal life. The Gospel writers do highlight many signs to verify the claims of Jesus to be the Son of God, but to keep asking for signs shows a lack of sincere faith.

        But then Jesus told the crowd that a sign would be given. This sign still divides humanity - the sign of Jonah. How shall we find compass directions to understand this significant sign?
   1  Read three times the whole discourse of the Lord  .... Luke 11.29-30
   2  Read the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.
       Read the story of the Queen of Sheba in the Old Testament.
        ( I will let you search for these, maybe use a concordance)
   3  Carefully note what the Jesus says in Luke 11, and check what He intends to be understood about Jonah before jumping to preconceived conclusions.
   4  Compare it with the other Gospel accounts, about the sign of Jonah (using marginal references?).
   5  Pray for the Holy Spirit of God to help you think this through.
   6  Eliminate from the story of Jonah story what does not link with Jesus eg running away, grumbling about God's mercy.
   7   Put together the points that do connect with the life of the Lord Jesus  eg Jonah commissioned, Jonah went down, Jonah comes up, Jonah preached etc
   Conclusion  - the 'sign of Jonah', in particular refers to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

     Though the last 2000 years, what has been the question of eternal significance?  -it  is this- 'is Jesus risen from the dead and alive today?'  This question still divides humanity.  Some believe, some mock.
      "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."    Romans 10.9

       But wait, I have missed something in the story. Jesus said that in the 'day of judgement', the men of Nineveh will stand as witnesses against those who had the greater privilege of listening to the person greater than Jonah - the Messiah Jesus. We must ponder this carefully to be sure of what we are reading and its implications for us. Does this mean that others of less opportunity than us will testify against our lack of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord ? And when? - on Gods final judgement day?

      What about the queen of Sheba?  She went to great effort to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus claims to be greater than Solomon, in particular His words of Divine wisdom.  What have we done with the teaching of Jesus?  - ignored it?  Discredit it?  misinterpret it for convenience?    or hear it and obey it.
The implications are serious and eternal!

      The Lord goes on in the discourse with an unusual twist. The light we let into our minds (greater than Solomon) controls the whole of our being. Paul understood this when he encouraged the Christians at Colossee  'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly'
 Using the figure of light , The Lord implies that His teaching must needs permeate our whole being to eliminate darkness.

     As He being the light, fills our being, we can then let our ' lights so shine'

J. McKee      johnmckee@internode.on.net

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who is this child?

         Questions are an important part of discovering truth.

The first question in the Bible is very revealing - "Where are you?" Genesis 3

My question relates to the child Jesus, and to find one accurate answer among many,  I turn to the Gospel by Luke. He records the interview between the angel Gabriel, from God's presence, and Mary.  The angel's description of the child to be born, was most revealing.
         He would be the heir to King David's throne, and sitting on that throne he would reign forever (Hasn't yet been fulfilled).  He would be great (in what way?) and He would be called the Son of the Most High.  This could be none other than the long awaited Messiah. As the Son of the Most High, the Jews understood that to mean, equality with God.

    1:35  The child would be holy. Many children born, were then dedicated to the Lord, but He alone was born distinct from any taint of sin, wholly presentable to the Lord.  As the Son of God, He stood distinguished from all the sons of Adam, and is able to rightly represent God upon earth.

      The many complicated implications of the virgin conception may have caused others to flee from thus being used of God, but Mary submits to Divine purposes and worships.
       May we also worship HIM.  May we likewise know the grace of acceptance of the will of God, even if we don't understand how it will all work out - God does know!

      It is a delightful study to trace in the scriptures what the angels have said about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In particular in Luke 24 and Acts 1.  God's angels tell no lies.

Until we see His face, trust Him, love Him, Obey Him

John McKee

Friday, July 26, 2013

The book of revelation

               Some people avoid this book in an effort to avoid the effort of understanding mysterious symbols. I do think it unwise to pretend to understand it all, nevertheless the promise of blessing remains for all who read it. May I give you some compass pointers, so that you the reader may enjoy what it has to say.

        Firstly it is, and is to be seen as the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Please do not get distracted from the focal theme - the exalted, appearing Lord. We humans are very apt at being distracted by detail and missing the main theme.

         After a beautiful introduction of chapter one, the Lord is seen as the true and rightful judge among the churches. He alone has the prerogative to commend and condemn, to revive and remove, to promise and punish. Every believer should be discerning of good and evil with appropriate reactions, but HE alone has the exclusive and final rights to judgement. He does in these letters expect believers to act on truth and righteousness, but final recompense is in HIS hand.(22:12)

         Chapter 4 is not focused on the Lord of glory. but rather the context of His throne and the real cause and purpose for the existence of all things (V11).
         The throne room setting then moves into action. The judgements of God must be executed and the only one found worthy of such a task is the one in the midst of the throne - the 'Lamb' whose station is the 'Lion'. He has the official right and the moral right and the universal right to open the seals of judgement.  Horrendous as the judgements are, they must be viewed as the vindication of the almighty, as the almighty, and the vindication of Jesus for who He claimed to be - the Son of man able to take the throne of authority to save and to judge. Understanding this point of view makes the whole book precious.

           The picture of the dragon at work, the beast and the false prophet triumphing for a season, must be read in the brilliant light of chapter 11:15-18. This reminds me of Psalm 2 -God is still on the throne and final victory is His forever.

             The final chapters paint a magnificent picture of the victories of the prince of peace, the King of kings and Lord of lords. His awesome throne passes out final judgement to a rebellious world and the deceiver is delivered into his well deserved abyss.
              Beautiful language depicts the reward and residence of the redeemed with this climax  ---    the Lamb is the temple (for worship) and the Lamb is the Light (eternal day).

May the Spirit of the Lord thrill your soul with the present and future glories of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen   - even so come Lord Jesus.

jm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Can we trust the bible to be accurate

The question proposed deserves a full size book as an answer. I desire to present a few seed thoughts that will encourage faith in the Bible and maybe inspire deeper study.
          Any reader of the Bible will observe much of it is written as history. Included in the records are the good things that people did and also the bad things. Fiction books and hero books are written differently. It is very much a book that ' tells it as it is '. So then we ask is it historically accurate ?  There are so many stories that are referenced to times or rulers or places etc.

         The book 'The Bible and Archaeology' by Thompson has many recent findings to verify historical data. I give one example: The story of Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieging King Hezekiah in Jerusalem (686BC). Some questioned the historical accuracy until in 1880 the tunnel under the Jerusalem wall was discovered. The tunnel, cut through solid rock for 600 metres to the Gihon spring, had inscriptions on the tunnel wall of how it was built. This was built to enable the people to survive the siege of the city by the Assyrian king. Then was unearthed a clay prism in the old city of Nineveh, which described the same siege of Jerusalem !

         The New Testament is likewise full of time and location data. The Bible reference to the pavement (John19.13) appears to link to the unearthed stonework in Jerusalem today. The external evidence for Jesus and his death comes from the writings of Josephus (Jewish historian) and Tacitus (Roman historian 115AD). Both refer to Jesus the Christ, and that he was executed by Pontious Pilate the governor.

         Some one will interject that the Bible has been corrupted or copied erroneously. Sure, it still is corrupted by some, but 99% of the original text  is verifiable by various means. One convincing method is by the comparing of the more than 5000 copies held in museums etc. People committed to this cause do find variations, but by checkng the age, the language, the context of the copy etc, a very accurate text is possible Some of the copy fragments are very close to the time of writing ( 150 AD ), Hand copying has room for error, but copying and constant use of the copies has an inbuilt correction mechanism. Any changes will come to light and be exposed, just as we today are inclined to compare translations.

        Why did God not preserve the originals? I suggest, for the same reason that He hid the 'ark' of the Old Testament tabernacle  ---   lest the people worship it instead of HIM.

          Let us with confidence read the Bible as accurate and take the promises as solid rock for our faith  - for now and for the great hereafter.

J M (which translation - tell you later)