How do you define religion?

Without spirituality, the preparedness to use the mind to wonder and to form ideas, religiosity can not come to existence, but with all sorts of rites and repeated actions to bring an outer sign of a faith in something religion may find seed and fertilisation in the aim to belong to something or somewhat.

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Today people may find themselves living in a world full of gadgets which promise them a lovely world to live in. They become more embedded in a wider world, full of tempting distraction from the real valuable things. Loosing all interest in the spiritual  our world we live in has become more secularized.

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As social welfare and general empathy increase, religiosity will also decline. Several people consider religion the opium of the people which will no longer be needed when they can get that “fix” from their government and community providing them with free health care, maternity and paternity leave, and help when they’re old or ill. Though we should know that only god’s foreseen Government shall bring the most complete and successful Kingdom.

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When a person uses his mind to think and is prepared to do spiritual exercise, opening his mind to the creation, he probably shall come closer to the Person or Spirit behind that Creation. Then the open minded person shall be able to find the Divine CreatorOnly One True God. With the knowledge gather the spiritual person shall come to understand he not only has to accept the existence of that Divine Creator. He shall also come to the insight he has to  stick to a moral code written in “their respective holy scriptures”. Their ultimate goals should than become to worship and to serve God as well as they can in the way the Bible, Torah or Q’ uran has told them.

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In Buddhism we also can find rites and also see that those followers of Buddha try to find enlightenment and escape the never-ending cycle of reincarnation, which is often considered to be a state suffering in the faith.

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Yet there is an obvious similarity between the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism; the concept of reaching a spiritual goal.

We would say this link remains there with Hinduism and in other polytheist believes where the people try to take care of their gods, giving them clothes and food.

If Vishnu is part of everything in existence, then there is a spiritual link between everything.

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Most religions have in common such spiritual awareness and goals, and people wanting to believe in something which can guide them through life, do not mind offering time of their life to show others that they want to belong to a group of people who believe in certain matters and want to use their body and spirit (soul) to take action for bringing those believes into life, by worshipping.

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We remember:

It is therefore not belief in God that separates moral organisations from religions, but spirituality is what makes an organisation a religion.

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Additional literature:

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. Faith
  4. Soul
  5. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  6. Living in faith
  7. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  8. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  9. Ian Barbour connecting science and religion
  10. Religion and spirituality
  11. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  12. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  13. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  14. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  15. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  16. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  17. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  18. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  19. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  20. Experiencing God
  21. The Supreme Being God of gods
  22. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  23. Only One God
  24. God is One
  25. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  26. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  27. Preparedness to change
  28. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  29. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  30. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  31. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  32. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  33. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruit
  34. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
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  • The continuing decline of American religiosity (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    Grant’s post reports 61 years of measuring “religiosity” (the degree of religious belief) in the US, using statistics he developed in a 2008 paper (reference and free download below). In that paper, Grant combined 14 indices of religiosity into one, and developed a way to not only present that statistic in a way comparable among years, but to check its reliability. (You can read about the “validation” of his measure, the Aggregate Religiosity Index [ARI] in the paper at the bottom.
  • Moving away from formal religion – toward a one-to-one relationship with God. (findingtheinnerway.com)
    You have a yearning to connect with something greater than yourself. So you fill that need with a hodgepodge of spiritually-related activities. You pray and/or meditate. You read spirituality books. You take yoga, engage in mindful exercise or go outdoors to find a spiritual connection with nature.
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    It’s all about staying “in tune with the rhythms of nature and the pulse of your life”. In following your own path, you discover, sometimes through trial and error, what activities work best for you. In time, you create a spiritual practice that is true to you, removing the veil of religion, until nothing separates you from God.
  • Religion vs Spirituality, Part One (mettahu.wordpress.com)
    A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural practices and world views that codify the relationship between human beings and the spiritual entity commonly thought of as the Creator, regardless of what it is called in any particular language.  In the various world religions, “God” is known by many names in the various languages, even by people who practice or consider themselves members of the same religion.Each religion has a slightly different understanding of the Divine Being, and a different understanding of the relationship of humans to the Being they worship.  Religions provide a code of morality or code of conduct for their adherents.  They spell out what humans must do in
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    Part of the problem is that there are some who seem to feel that their own religion is the only one favored by God.  And yet these same people tend to ascribe to God the quality of omnipotence.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if God wanted only one religion, human beings would not have been able to create so many systems of belief?  And yet here we are, all 7 billion of us, with countless religions, some practiced worldwide, and others practiced by a few in local areas.
  • Science Vs. Religion: Beyond The Western Traditions (wnyc.org)
    In the United States, the debate between science and religion seems to be powered by a perpetual motion machine. The claims that Neil deGrasse Tyson’s inspired Cosmos series was anti-religious stands as the latest salvo in a long battle that generates lots heat but very little light. Having been in many of these debates, both formally and informally, I’m often struck by how narrow the discussion remains. That’s because often people don’t want to talk about science and religion; they really want to talk about science and their religion. It’s exactly in that first step that the conversation goes down hill for all sides.
  • Buddhism & Humanism: Two Sides of the Same Coin, Part 1 (appliedsentience.com)
    Buddhism and Humanism are two geographical sides of the same philosophical coin.  They’re twins with the same DNA, separated at birth, and brought up by different parents.  The same dish with spices added by different cultures.  Buddhism is Eastern Humanism and Humanism is Western Buddhism.
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    Buddhism and Humanism share a deep common core unique to them compared to other religions and worldviews.  To make this point I’ll start with Buddhism.  Damien Keown in his pioneering work relating Buddhist and Western ethics makes this point for Buddhism explicitly.
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    All religions and worldviews prize Reason and Compassion, of course.  However, all also have other ideals that they hold just as highly.  My point is that Buddhism and Humanism are unique in holding these virtues up and only these virtues up.  For instance, take the Abrahamic religions which put concepts like obedience, faith, and purity on the top of the list.  This inevitably creates conflicts which Buddhism and Humanism don’t have, like how faith often trumps reason, e.g. Galileo and Darwin, or obedience trumps compassion, e.g. OT genocides.
  • Spiritual Experiences Vital for Black American Women’s Mental Health (madinamerica.com)
    Spirituality and transcendental experiences are even more important than religion to the psychological well-being of many Black American women, according to a study in The Journal of Black Psychology. University of Illinois researchers noted that 84% of Black American women report that religion is very important to them; however, they hypothesized that previous studies had conflated spirituality and religion. “Where religiosity is typically defined in terms of participation in religious institutions and adherence to prescribed beliefs, spirituality is defined as one’s relationship with divinity and focuses primarily on subjective individual experiences of the transcendent,” wrote the researchers. They conducted surveys with 167 Black American women and found that experiences of the divine were the key contributing factors to mental health.
  • Does Record Number of Religious “Nones” Mean Decline of Religiosity? (religiondispatches.org)
    Judging by the media excitement over the latest poll illustrating continued growth in the number of people who answer “none” when asked with what religion they are affiliated, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seems to have pulled a similar trick for those interested in how religion is changing in America. “‘Nones’ On the Rise,” released on October 9 by Pew in affiliation with PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, gives the sense that we can see what’s really going on across the American religious landscape and understand it.
  • Owning our Health: In an emergency, do you respond or react? (blogs.vancouversun.com)
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    “The active and constructive religious response to Japan’s 3/11 catastrophe caught some by surprise and it has received fairly scant attention. But what happened may well stand as an important landmark. It shows what one leader calls the unconscious religiosity of the Japanese: an amorphous sense of being connected to something transcending the self, a gratitude to the ancestors, divine beings, and people in general. It is alive, he says, even within those who say that they have no religion.”Marshall concludes, “this religious story shows an important if often obscured face of Japan. It is part of Japan’s remarkable response to the disaster, part of the fortitude, community solidarity, and determination to rebuild that we must admire.”
  • Can you be too religious? | Giles Fraser (theguardian.com)
    There are Christians and Jews and Muslims and Hindus. No one practises religion, as such. And second, precisely because the word “religion” describes the common outward format through which these very different belief systems express themselves, it cannot describe each in its specificity. This is particularly tricky when it comes to Christianity, because at its heart is a figure who was thoroughly suspicious and condemnatory of religion.
  • Is Humanism a Religion? (appliedsentience.com)
    Religion may be impossible to define, whether we ask ourselves what the word means or what specific things count as “religious.”  In his classic text The Sociology of Religion, the famous sociologist Max Weber argued that “Definition can be attempted, if at all, only at the conclusion of the study” of religion.  However, as Nicholas Wade points out, and does in his own book, The Faith Instinct, Weber never defines religion – even at the end!

 

thoughtofvg

My teacher for Philosphy and ethics recently asked me to do some extra essays and background reading after i didn’t quite get the grade i was expecting from a recent exam.  I thought I might share a very short essay i have just done, as its quite an interesting topic. Before you carry on, this is my opinion on the matter and is open to dispute.

How do you define religion?

It is certainly difficult to explain what exactly the definition of religion is. If one attempts to describe it in terms of belief in God, Buddhism wouldn’t be considered a religion and comparatively, Any organisation or collective group would be labelled a religion if the definition of  “a group in which all members have  similar moral beliefs and goals” were used.  A more accurate definition would perhaps be found by comparing the world religions and by discussing what…

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Why think that (5) … the Bible is the word of God

Imagine there was a man who went around claiming that he had a special message from God and that part of this man’s message was that he would be killed and come back to life. And then imagine that this man did indeed come back to life. Surely that is the sort of person you’d want to pay attention to. We have seen that there is good historical evidence that Jesus is that sort of person – that he claimed to have a special message from God and that he died and came back to life. So we would want to pay attention to what Jesus said about the Bible.

Now for the purposes of this essay we are using the gospels as historical sources, not yet as scripture (otherwise our argument would be circular). But this does not prevent us drawing some conclusions about Jesus’ view of the Bible. For instance, as a first century Jew it would expect Jesus to believe that the Old Testament was inspired by God (just as Jews do today). And the gospels corroborate this. For example, when Jesus says “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44), he is referring to the three sections into which the Jews divided their scriptures. It is also clear that Jesus regarded the Old Testament books as messages from God. For example, he refers to the Psalms being written by the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36).

Titlepage of the New Testament section of a Ge...

Titlepage of the New Testament section of a German Luther Bible, printed in 1769. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what about the New Testament? None of the books of the New Testament were written during Jesus’ lifetime on the Earth. Most written between twenty and forty years after his crucifixion. This being said, there are indications that Jesus expected there to be these books. We know that Jesus was a teacher, that he appointed disciples and that after his resurrection it was these disciples that started telling everyone about Jesus. The gospels say that Jesus selected the disciples for this role; for example, “you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). And those who wrote the NT recognised that they were specially selected as witnesses (e.g. 1 Pet 1:12; Heb 2:3-4). In effect, Jesus says “there are going be witnesses” and the NT writers claim to be those witnesses.

So Jesus accepted the Old Testament as scripture, and it seems likely that the New Testament was written to fulfil Jesus’ instructions. Therefore the testimony of Jesus is gives us good reason for thinking the Bible is a special book and should encourage us to look for further evidence.

How could you know if a message was from God or not? How about if that message was itself miraculous? How about if that message contained accurate predictions about the future? In fact, this is exactly the test the Bible provides for judging whether a messenger is from God or not:

When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously (Deut 18:22)

As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet (Jer 28:9)

Obviously not all predictions are going to be as convincing as others. There seem to be three criteria: (1) that prediction is made before the event it predicts (otherwise its not a prediction), (2) that predicted event can be verified with reasonable certainty (otherwise how would you know if the prediction was successful), and (3) that the predicted events is sufficiently unlikely to make the prediction significant (predicting rain in England is hardly surprising).

The Bible contains numerous prophecies. Some are short term prophecies so aren’t easy to verify historically, but there are plenty of long term prophecies to look at it. Here we’ll just look at one group of prophesies to make the point. These are the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, which accurately predict many of the events of Jesus’ life. These include being a descendant of King David (2 Sam 7:12-13), being born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2), being betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9), being valued at thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:13), having no bones broken in his execution (Ex 12:46), having hands and feet pierced (Ps 22:16; Zech 12:10), having his clothing divided by lot (Ps 22:18), being buried in the grave of a rich man (Isa 53:9) and being raised from the dead (Ps 16:9-11). What is interesting about these prophecies is these predictions al converge on the person of Jesus.

There is one further prophecy worth mentioning. In Daniel 9:24-27 a prophecy is made about set period of time in the history of the Jewish people. It is described in terms of weeks but all scholars agree that these weeks are periods of seven years. The interpretation of the prophecy can be technical because of some unusual Hebrew words and the fact that Daniel was using 360 day years (as opposed to the 365 ¼ day years that we use). But in essence what the prophecy says is that from command to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah would be 69 “weeks”. And if you do that maths, the time between the Persian command that the wall of Jerusalem should be rebuilt to the time of Jesus is exactly the period specified by Daniel 9. Even if you wanted to quibble about the exact year of the command or the exact year of Jesus’ ministry, the timing is still so accurate that it cannot be ignored.

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Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

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Please find also to read:

  1. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  2. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  3. The day Jesus died
  4. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  5. Only worship the Creator of all things

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  • 5 Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
    Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.”  In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.
  • From Reliable to Divine: The Fulfilled New Testament Prophecies of Jesus (escottspencer.wordpress.com)
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    The Case for the Reliability of the Old Testament (Free Bible Insert)

    The ancient scribes employed a trustworthy system of checks and balances as they copied the original texts, and the accuracy of transmission process was successfully tested with the discovery of the Isaiah text in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The ancient Jewish believers and Church Fathers also embraced the Old Testament as the Word of God. In addition, archeological discoveries have since confirmed many of the Old Testament accounts, and these archaeological evidences are rich compared to other written claims about the ancient past. Finally, the Old Testament Scriptures contain fulfilled prophecies  (including amazing prophecies about the coming Messiah), establishing the Divine nature of the texts. Based on this evidence, the following summary can be created related to the case for the reliability of the Old Testament
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    During Jesus’ life, He made several predictions in the presence of the disciples. At the time of these prophetic statements, His followers were often more than skeptical and less than understanding. But as the years passed, followers of Jesus saw His words come true, and these fulfilled prophecies served to strengthen their faith:
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    While much of the New Testament prophecy points to a distant future, many of the claims of Jesus can be assessed now. Jesus’ accuracy is so compelling, many skeptics have altered their dating of the New Testament in response. Acknowledging the accuracy of the prophecy related to the Temple destruction, skeptics typically date Luke and Matthew after 70AD to account for the inclusion of this statement. In doing so, these skeptics recognize the power of Jesus’ prophetic ability. They would rather deny the evidence for early dating than accept Jesus’ accuracy. Critics and skeptics of the New Testament recognize the power accurate prophecy has to demonstrate the Divinity of the New Testament.

  • Jesus Preached Islām. Period. (thelionofallah.wordpress.com)
    The only religion in the whole world, that believes in Jesus [ʿĪsā] (Upon Whom Be Peace) and testifies to Christianity is Islām. Muslims believe, that Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace) was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allāh; that he was born miraculously ― without any male intervention; that he gave life to the dead by Allāh’s permission, and that he healed the born blind and the lepers by Allāh’s permission. A person is not considered a Muslim, unless, he or she believes in Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace). Muslims believe, that Allāh delivered the Gospel ― Injeel to Jesus (Upon Whom Be Peace), just as He did Torah ― Taurāt to Moses [Mūsā] (Upon Whom Be Peace), the Old Testament ― Zabūr to David [Dāwūd] (Upon Whom Be Peace) and The Mighty Qur’ān to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
  • The Holy Scriptures (ptl2010.com)
    During the years of Christ and His death and resurrection a great transition was made between the Old and New Covenants. The Holy Scriptures at that time were Old Testament records and were used as a basis for Israel’s faith. During the first century the Four Gospel’s and the New Testament Epistles were being written and were not published until the 3rd century and after. The Old Testament records (the Holy Scriptures) were Israel’s primary written words of God.
  • How do we know what books should be called Scripture? Broadcast (joelanddeannap.wordpress.com)
    Both the Old Testament and New Testament books were immediately recognized and treated as scripture, though we have no formal statement about the New Testament until the fourth century.
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    How did the early church judge which books were scripture and which were not?

    • The test of authority: Who penned the book?
    • The test of internal evidence: Does the book penned or authorized by a genuine prophet or apostle bear the internal evidence of being God breathed?
    • The test of God’s people: Did genuine believers from the penning of these books to the present recognize them as scripture?
  • We Have A More Sure Word Of Prophecy (nowtheendbegins.com)
    Oftentimes when we study end times bible prophecy, we tend to focus on the Old Testament prophets like Joel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and on our apostle Paul in the New Testament. But Peter has a treasure trove of scripture for us to consider as well.
  • What should we say… (thelivingmessage.com)
    The more frequently you read and study the Bible, more of it will get into your mind and you won’t have to memorize it. It will just be there waiting to be used. It will also give you a greater understanding of God and His ways to “search the scriptures” because in doing so, you will be learning about God more and more.
  • End Times Prophecy Headlines: August 28, 2014 (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
  • Preface (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    With one-fourth of the Bible prophetically future when it was written, the interpretation of prophecy is one of the most challenging areas of biblical study. Too often preconceptions have led interpreters to draw from the biblical text doctrines that were quite removed from what the text actually states. Because prophecy is scattered from the early chapters of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation and deals with so many different situations and subjects, interpreters of prophecy have too often abandoned any detailed interpretation and reached only general conclusions.

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Have you ever wondered why God created the universe? What his purpose is? We’ve already explored some reasons for thinking that God cares about us but does that actually mean? What purpose did God have in creating us? And what part do we have in God’s plan? One big clue is our ability to form relationships, not only with other people but also, in principle, with God. So if God intended there to be creatures like us, capable of forming relationships with him, then it seems a fair bet that this was his purpose in creating us (or at least part of it).

But relationships don’t just happen. They require communication. Imagine trying to form a relationship with someone without any communication. How would you know what they like or dislike? How would you know which things make them happy and which things really get on their nerves? How would you get to know them and share things with them without some form of communication? And the same is true of a relationship with God. If God wants us to have a relationship with him then he needs to reveal information about himself. He needs to tell us what he is like and what his expectations are and what sort of relationship he is interested in. Without this information it is simply not going to happen.

So God needs to reveal information about himself. How’s he going to do it? One possibility would be to reveal himself directly to everyone. Now perhaps the sheer immensity of his glory prevents mortals perceiving God directly, perhaps mortal minds would simply go kaput if faced with the true reality of God. But there are other ways God could have revealed himself, say, sending an angel to visit everyone personally and explaining that God exists, explaining that God wants a relationship and performing whatever miracles that would be needed to convince each person. That, we must presume, is something God could do but it is obvious that he hasn’t.

Here’s the problem: if the existence of God is obvious then it would severely limit our free choice as to whether to enter into a relationship with him or not. If we were faced with an angel who proved to us irrefutably that there was a God of unlimited and unquestionable power it is likely that we would feel compelled by fear to serve God. And that won’t do. Because what God wants is a loving relationship, for people to choose freely whether to enter into that relationship or not. And therefore God needs to be subtle so that people have a real choice: to trust in God, if they choose, or to deny God and go their own way, if they prefer. So we would expect God to reveal himself to mankind, so they can form relationships with him, but we would not necessarily expect to reveal himself directly to each person individually.

So whilst we might reasonably expect God to reveal information about himself, we should not expect God to do this in a coercive way. More likely God would reveal himself through an intermediary – someone or something that could speak on God’s behalf without forcing people to enter into a relationship with God. One option would be a spokesperson – like a prophet or religious teacher – but their impact is going to be limited. They can only speak to a limited number of people at one time and once they died the message would be gone. A better alternative would be a written message. Something that could be copied multiple times and sent to different parts of the world, and something that would outlive any one individual. It could contain enough information to form the basis of a relationship but would not be intimating or imposing; it would only be influential over those who accepted it. In the ancient world (when there was no radio, television or internet) a written text is the only form of mass communication.

From the 1933 edition of the Bible in the Sout...

From the 1933 edition of the Bible in the Southern Min language (specifically in a Taiwanese dialect influenced by the Amoy (Xiamen) dialect of the time), written in the Latin script. The text itself is in the public domain. This photo is of a recent reprinted edition and is released into the public domain by A-giâu 09:19, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC). The pages shown are of the Book of Proverbs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are limitations to any piece of writing. In a world of many languages, any book would need to be translated and interpreted to make it accessible throughout the world. Any book, if it was to be accessible to its initial readers, would be written with the cultural assumptions of that society. As societies change over time, newer generations might find the cultural assumptions made the book to be unfamiliar or even peculiar. But none of these limitations would be insurmountable as long as readers we focused on the purpose of the book: to build a relationship with God.

The book I have been describing is, of course, the Bible. The point is that it is not unexpected that God should use a book like the Bible to reveal himself. The reasonable next question is whether there is any evidence that the Bible is a revelation from God.

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Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Wy think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

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Related articles:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Does He exists?
  4. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  5. It is a free will choice
  6. Christianity is a love affair
  7. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  9. Nuturing a close relationship with God
  10. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  11. A time for everything
  12. Life is too precious
  13. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies
  14. Around pre-existence of Christ
  15. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  16. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  17. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  18. The Song of The Lamb #2 Sevens
  19. Christ having glory
  20. Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant
  21. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  22. He may found a kingdom and empire which shall be literally ‘universal’
  23. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  24. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  25. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation
  26. Miracles of revelation and of providence 2 Providence
  27. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  28. Dignified role for the woman
  29. Many Books, yet One
  30. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  31. Isaiah’s Book of the Messenger of Glad Tidings
  32. Bad things no punishment from God
  33. A Plan spoken of in long past times
  34. You God hold the future
  35. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  36. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  37. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  38. Bible Book of books
  39. The Word of God

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  • Your Purpose For Your Life Vs. GOD’s Purpose of Your Life (foodforthespiritualsoul.wordpress.com)
    If there is anything that I have learned about my own life is that whatever I may have thought was the path for my life, was not necessarily the path that God has meant for my life. In other’s words, God has been constantly teaching me about My Will vs. God’s Will. And this is a constant struggle of the flesh, in every way to understand. Not to mention, a true test of your surrendering to the Will of God, the Father of Creation. It requires for one to take paths, that are illogical to the human mind. It requires you to uphold God’s Words, to the point of where there will be moments where you may be “alone” in this world. I put “alone” in quotes because you see, when we truly have come to understand the Unconditional Love that Jesus Christ demonstrated on the Cross, at Calvary, we will truly feel within the deepest parts of our inner selves, the presence of the Omnipresent God.
  • The Theory of Gods Creation in His Own Image (lajbut.wordpress.com)
    God deliberately created mankind to rule the earth and to accomplish this purpose, He created mankind as His own image- He made man His co-regent/representative rules. The image of God therefore refers to our unique status as human beings rulers in Gods stead, according to His will. We are created as his image to function as He would , were he administrating his own affairs directly.
  • The Purpose of Life (thelifeofastrangercalledme.wordpress.com)
  • Reluctant Progressions. (aldavina.wordpress.com)
    Those that talk about our treatment of other people, the holiness of God and how we are to hold that to the highest reverence, but most importantly, the law in which all laws are firmly rooted upon- the law of love.
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    To trusting that God has our best interests in mind when He gave His final word. To the beauty of progression.
  • The Bible & You (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    The Holy Spirit is God Almighty—He’s not some collection of verses. The Holy Spirit wants to say plenty of original thoughts to you that you aren’t going to find spelled out verbatim in the Book.
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    We greatly value having access to the collection of historical documents which Christians call “the Living Word.” But we are not going to pretend that the Book is perfect, because that’s just deception. We are not going to teach you to put your faith in a Book because this is idolatry. God is extremely jealous for our devotion. He commands us to love Him with all that we are, to worship Him alone, and to put nothing else above Him. Many Christians are living in total violation of all these things. They are far more devoted to their own interpretations of the Bible than they are to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. They worship pastors, theologians, and other teachers who claim to be experts on Scripture. They shamelessly exalt the Bible above God by promoting it as some binding contract which He is incapable of breaking. All of these are things which you need to stay far away from if you are going to honor God with your life.
  • Today’s Sabbath Message / “The Holy Bible Versus The Holy Spirit” – Has the Bible Become Our god? (owprince.wordpress.com)
    The Apostles of Christ would refer to The Holy Scriptures (The Torah / Pentateuch) at times to confirm, affirm and proclaim the fulfillment of the promises of God in Christ Jesus our LORD and Savior.  Christ himself often proclaimed that the Holy Scriptures were fulfilled in Him and that The Holy Spirit would reveal all divinely hidden Knowledge and Truth.
  • What About Free Will? (Part 3) (mscottc.wordpress.com)
    According to libertarians, only if we are free to accept or reject God can we have a meaningful relationship with Him.  If our love for God is determined it must mean it is either mechanistically programmed or coerced against our will.  If either notion is true then love would be stripped of its value.  Greg Boyd says, “If love is the goal” of God’s creation of us then love “must be freely chosen. It cannot be coerced. Agents must possess the capacity and opportunity to reject love if they are to possess the genuine capacity and ability to engage in love.”
  • Praying the open view: partnering with God (anopenorthodoxy.wordpress.com)
    most Christians believe that whether God directly intervenes in our world depends at times on whether we petition God to do so. “We have not because we ask not” in the sense that “certain states of affairs that God can and wishes to bring about do not occur because we have chosen not to request that he intervene.” (italics mine) For open theists, how we understand this “because” is what sets an open worldview and its approach to prayer apart from other views. Sanders will emphasize the important of this “because” as well.
  • You are a unique Gospel that God wants to write: Life or lie message? (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    Obviously, being a Christian involves having a personal relationship with Jesus but there is content to that relationship. When you lose the Gospel you lose Christ.
  • Which is the True Religion of God? (wifeezat.wordpress.com)
    Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs.

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

The central event of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus stayed dead then his own predictions proved false – he was nothing more than a good man with some interesting teaching. But if Jesus rose from the dead then he is someone really special – someone worth believing. What’s more if Jesus rose from the dead then perhaps death isn’t the end – perhaps there is a way for others to overcome death too.

Jesus Resurrection 1778

Jesus Resurrection 1778 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now resurrection isn’t usual. This sort of things doesn’t just happen. Dead people do not come back to life again. So I know full well asking you to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is asking a lot – its asking you to believe in miracles. That’s a problem for some people – we’ll come back to that in Part Two. For now just consider two things: (1) if God created life then surely he is able recreate life, even after it has died, and (2) there is good reason why God might want to be resurrect Jesus, so as to prove that Jesus is God’s representative and to prove that there is life after death. So perhaps you’ll allow that this kind of miracle is a possibility. Now let’s look at the historical evidence. We can summarise the case in four points:

Firstly, Jesus died on the cross. This is not particularly controversial. It was accepted by non-Christians like Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian and the writers of the Talmud. It is, of course, also the unanimous testimony of Christian sources, like the gospels and the letters. Modern medical appraisals of crucifixion have concluded that Jesus could not have survived what he suffered and, in any case, the Romans had ways of ensuring their victims died.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.Secondly, Jesus was buried in a tomb. This is also not particularly controversial. The earliest Christian preachers described Jesus being laid in a tomb (Acts 13:28-29). The gospels record how Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and laid it in his tomb (Mark 15:46; Matt 27:59-60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41-42). The early reverence of a tomb in Jerusalem (whether or not this is actually the tomb of Jesus) is another witness of the type of burial given to Jesus. And no ancient critic of Christianity – whether Jewish or pagan – ever suggested that Jesus was buried somewhere else.

Thirdly, three days later the tomb of Jesus was empty. This is important because for both Jews and pagans “resurrection” (anastasis) meant bodily resurrection – if Jesus was alive again, his tomb must be empty. Again this is a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (cf. Acts 2:29-32) and the gospel records (Mark 16:1-8; Matt 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). But it is also a feature of the early Jewish accounts of Jesus – from the first century onwards they claimed that the disciple stole the body (Matt 28:11-15; Justin, Dialogue 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30; Toledoth Yeshu 9-10). This story presupposes that they thought the tomb was empty (they would hardly tell such a story if Jesus was still in the tomb). The fact that Caesar issued a decree against moving bodies from sealed tombs and had it inscribed on a stone in Nazareth probably indicates that he too had heard the story that the tomb of Jesus was empty (this decree is known as The Nazareth Inscription).

Fourthly, the early Christians claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. When writing a letter to the church at Corinth in the mid-50s, Paul lists those who saw Jesus after his resurrection, including the twelve disciples and Jesus’ brother James. He even says there are over five hundred other witnesses, many of whom were still alive when he wrote (1 Cor 15:5-8). These claims are also a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (Acts 2:32, 3:15, 10:39-40), the gospels (John 20:11-18; Luke 24:34; Matt 28:15-17, etc.), other New Testament texts (e.g. 1 Pet 1:3; Rom 1:4; Phil 3:10; Heb 13:20; Rev 1:18) and other first century Christian texts (Didache 10:2; 1 Clement 24:1; Barnabas 5:7).

ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women...

Angelico, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fresco, 189 x 164 cm Convento di San Marco, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evidence is early, based upon eyewitness testimony and has a consistent core – that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. The resurrection of Jesus is, by far, the simplest explanation of the historical evidence.

What about the alternatives? Well, a number of alternative theories have been suggested to explain the evidence but none has managed to convince the majority of scholars. Those scholars who deny the resurrection generally tend to not give a verdict on the evidence. But, for completeness, let us consider briefly just one oft-repeated alternative. It goes something like this: the disciples stole the body and then pretended Jesus was alive again to promote their new religion. After all, the first century Jews claimed that the disciples stole the body.

However, this alternative theory just does not work for a number of reasons. Firstly, if this was a conspiracy then it was a huge conspiracy (over 500 witnesses). Secondly, the disciples had no motivation for the deception – when other Jewish cult leaders and “messiahs” had met gruesome ends their followers had just disbanded. The early disciples gained neither money, status or fame from their preaching. Thirdly, the disciples had everything to lose from such a deception. They were persecuted, imprisoned and executed by both Jewish and Roman authorities. Early witnesses, like Peter and Paul, met their deaths refusing to renounce their faith. Would you die for a lie?

The simple fact is that the historical evidence is clear and consistent. And if the event in question wasn’t so controversial then I don’t think anybody would doubt it. Unfortunately it is controversial. Because if the resurrection is false then Christianity is false. And if the resurrection is true then Christianity (or at least its core claims) are also true. So a lot hangs on this question. And at the end of the day you’re going to have to make up your own mind for yourself. But if you think that resurrection is possible and if, like me, you think the historical evidence is strong, then you have good reason for thinking that Jesus rose from the dead.

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Note: Lucian of Samosata

 

Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

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Related articles:

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. Glory of God appearing in our character
  3. On the Nature of Christ
  4. Certainty in a troubled world
  5. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms
  7. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  8. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  9. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  10. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  11. A Living Faith #8 Change
  12. The day Jesus died
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  14. Jesus is risen
  15. Risen With Him
  16. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  17. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  18. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  19. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  20. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  21. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  22. Easter: Origins in a pagan Christ
  23. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  24. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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  • What criteria do historians use to get to the minimal facts about the historical Jesus? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Have you ever heard Gary Habermas, Michael Licona or William Lane Craig defend the resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for the “minimal facts” about Jesus? The lists of minimal facts that they use are typically agreed to by their opponents during the debates.
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    There are actually a few more reasons for believing in the empty tomb that he doesn’t go into in the debate, but you can find them in his written work. For example, in his essay on Gerd Ludemann’s “vision” hypothesis. That essay covers the reasons for all four of his minimal facts.
  • Rationality of The Resurrection of Jesus (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
    Moving from historical data to the best explanation of that data Crossan and Ehrman robustly rejects resurrections hypothesis. Their rejection is not based on historical data, but on what best explain these data. It is not a historical based rejection but a philosophical one, the impossibility of miracles.
  • The Resurrection is Believable (burrissblog.wordpress.com)
    Opponents of Christianity and skeptical minds have always questioned the resurrection, just as they question many other teachings of Christianity. Such skeptics are more common in contemporary America, but they have always been around. What is surprising is that more and more Christians are stating their skepticism about the resurrection.
  • William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)

    Certain appearances have earmarks of historicity. For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus’ younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along. But it is indisputable that James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus’ death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. Now most of us have brothers. What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus’ younger brother took place because, in Paul’s words, “then he appeared to James”?

    Even Gert Ludemann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
    +
    Gerd Ludemann is actually an atheist new Testament historian, and he has even debated Dr. Craig on the resurrection – not once, but twice. That’s the kind of evidence Dr. Craig uses in his case. Not just what your pastor will give you, but what atheists will give you. We need to learn to debate like that.

     

  • ‘Jesus Discovery:’ Jerusalem Archeology Reveals Birth Of Christianity (fourbluehills.com)
  • What are the arguments for the histority of the empty tomb? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The concept of resurrection in use among the first converts to Christianity was a Jewish concept of resurrection. And that concept of resurrection is unequivocally in favor of a bodily resurrection. The body (soma) that went into the grave is the body (soma) that came out.
    +
    It’s significant that the belief in the resurrection started off in the city where the tomb was located. Anyone, such as the Romans or Jewish high priests, who wanted to nip the movement in the bud could easily have produced the body to end it all. They did not do so, because they could not do so, although they had every reason to do so.
    +
    The phrase “on the third day” probably points to the discovery of the empty tomb. Very briefly summarized, the point is that since no one actually witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, how did Christians come to date it “on the third day?” The most probable answer is that they did so because this was the day of the discovery of the empty tomb by Jesus’ women followers. Hence, the resurrection itself came to be dated on that day. Thus, in the old Christian formula quoted by Paul we have extremely early evidence for the existence of Jesus’ empty tomb.
    +
    Note how careful Craig is not to imply that the guard tradition is historical, because we can’t prove the guard as a “minimal fact”, since it doesn’t pass the standard historical criteria.
  • William Lane Craig debates James Crossley on the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The burial story supports the empty tomb

    • the site of Jesus’ grave was known
    • the disciples could not proclaim a resurrection if the body were still in it
    • the antagonists to the early Christians could have produced the body

    +
    Paul was hostile to the early church when he got his appearance
    +

    there is multiple independent attestation, then it cannot be a creative fiction invented in Mark alone
    regarding the women, even though Jesus respected the women, their testimony would not be convincing to others, so why invent a story where they are the witnesses
    the male disciples did not flee the scene, for example, Peter was there to deny Jesus three times

  • the angel is not authoritative, because the angel cannot be questioned, but the women can be questioned
    there was no response on the lack of embellishment
    there was no response to the earliest Jewish response implying that the tomb was empty
  • The Significance of the Resurrection (spyghana.com)
    The religious leaders would certainly have had enough reason for doing so. They had heard that Jesus had talked of resurrection, and were afraid of hanky-panky. So the argument runs, in order to forestall trickery, they took the precaution of confiscating the corpse. But when this is put into scrutiny, this conjecture also falls into pieces.Having placed the guards at the tomb, what would be their reason for moving the body of Jesus? If the authorities moved the body of Jesus, why didn’t they bring it when the apostles were boldly preaching about the resurrection in Jerusalem? The religious leaders did everything in their power to suppress the preaching on the resurrection. They even arrested Peter and John (Acts 4) and beat them, and threatened them in an effort to silence them.A few weeks of Jesus’ death, the disciples were boldly proclaiming the resurrection. The news spread rapidly. The new Christian movement threatened to undermine the stronghold of Judaism and disturb the peace of Jerusalem. The Jews feared conversion and the Romans detested riots. The authorities had before them one course of action. The Religious leaders could have produced the remains of the corpse of Jesus and published a statement of what they had done. They could have paraded the body of Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem, if indeed, they had it, and that would have smothered Christianity in its cradle. 
  • Guest Post – Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb (bennasmith.wordpress.com)
    Why would Matthew fabricate a Jewish cover-story and falsely suggest that it “has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matt 28:15 NIV)?  He wouldn’t.  Clearly his Jewish audience would have already heard the cover-story.  This is probably why Matthew seeks to rebut it.
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    It is wholly implausible that Jesus’ disciples stole his body.  They were broken and confused.  Their Messiah was dead and they had nothing to gain from stealing his body and then claiming he rose from the dead.  Indeed, they suffered greatly for this claim.No amount of cognitive dissonance could possibly motivate every disciple to claim their Messiah was alive when they knew he wasn’t.  We might at most expect them to find a new Messiah, but they didn’t.The second suspects are grave robbers hoping to make a profit.  However, the Gospels of Luke and John record that Jesus’ grave clothes remaining in the tomb. Why would any grave robbers leave the clothes behind?  Moving a body by itself would be incredibly messy.  Those looking for burial spices would almost certainly simply have carried off the wrapped body and removed the spices in a safe place. Even the clothes themselves could have been sold later on.Perhaps instead the robbers wanted body parts for magic practices.  This is unlikely since there is no evidence that stealing bodies for magical purposes was much of a problem in first-century Palestine.

     

  • John, when he reached the tomb, saw and believed (fggam.org)
    John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity.  This “Word of Life” is Jesus the Word incarnate, but also Jesus as the Word announced by the prophets and Jesus the Word now preached throughout the Christian church for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him.  Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Savior and Lord.the witnesses were in Jerusalem, so they were in a position to knowif the story is made up, who cares what the male disciples did, just invent them on the scene anyway

 

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

As discussed in the previous post, Jesus is mentioned here and there by some non-Christians, like the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. But our main source of information is that provided by the early Christians themselves. This evidence comes in two main types. There are the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), which are conventionally dated from around 70 AD but may well be earlier. Then there are letters that early Christians sent to individuals or churches. There are a number of these in the Bible, many of which were probably written before the gospels. Taken together these provide us with a lot of information about Jesus and who he claimed to be.

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

Gospel sources – First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should comment at this point about the way we’re using these sources. Though they come from the Bible, they are also historical sources and we’re going to treat them in that way. So at this point we’re not too bothered about whether every last detail of the gospels is correct or not. Nor need we be concerned about whether these documents also contain messages from God. We can leave such issues till later. For now we can just look these documents for what they are – ancient documents, which contain information about Jesus, written by people who were in a position to know. So what do these sources say about who Jesus claimed to be?

Well, the most obvious one is that Jesus was called “Christ” (or more properly, the Christ) – that’s where the name “Christians” come from. “Christ” is the Greek word meaning “anointed” , equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. The concept of being “anointed” refers to the ceremony by which someone was made king in ancient Israel. (There is a good example of this in the Old Testament when David is anointed as king – see 1 Samuel 16). By the time of Jesus the kingdom of Israel had long since been destroyed and the Jews were essentially living under Roman rule. But the Old Testament prophets had predicted that the royal line of the ancient kings of Israel would be restored and that there would be a king again. Many Jews living at the time of Jesus expected the Messiah to be someone who would lead them to overthrow the Romans so they could be an independent nation again. What is interesting about Jesus is that, though he claimed to be the Messiah – the promised king, he did not attempt to lead an armed rebellion against Rome. So whilst Jesus was claiming to be a king, he was not the king they were expecting.

The most common phrase Jesus used to describe himself as “Son of Man”. That may sound like an odd way to describe yourself, and it was even at the time. In the language of the day – Aramaic – the expression “son of man” was used to refer to humanity in general. But that’s not the way Jesus uses it. He doesn’t describe himself as a son of man but as the Son of Man. So what was he getting at? The Old Testament prophet Daniel presents a picture of human history, where nations are represented by vicious beasts (Daniel 7). But this succession of beast-nations does not last forever. At the end of the vision, a court is held with God seated as judge. Power and authority is taken away from the beasts and given to a new character who is described as “one like the son of man”. This character receives a kingdom from God that will last forever. So when Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man, he is claiming to be the future king, the one who will receive a kingdom from God. But not a kingdom like the human kingdoms that preceded it. Instead this is good kingdom that will last forever.

Jesus is often described as being the Son of God. And frequently Jesus presents himself as having a unique father-son relationship with God. He is not saying that he is a child of God in the sense that all God’s creatures are his children. He is claiming that he has a relationship with God that is entirely unique. The gospels include the stories about Jesus’ birth, whereby his mother, Mary, becomes pregnant despite being a virgin. According to the gospels Jesus had no biological father (though no doubt Joseph cared for Jesus as his own son). So in a very real sense God was Jesus’ father. But being the Son of God is not just about parentage. Jesus claimed to have a very special relationship with God. The gospel writers describe Jesus has having special power to perform miracles, special wisdom to teach people God’s ways and special authority to forgive sins. Jesus was not simply claiming to be a prophet or holy man, but God’s special representative on earth.

Lastly, Jesus took the remarkable step of claiming that he was going to die. And not in battle, or by murder, but that he was going to die to free people from sin. He says:

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ell...

The King of the Jews (INRI) Nailed to death – Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ellwangen (Jagst) Kreuzaltar, Hans und Matthäus Schamm (Ottobeuren) zugeschrieben, um 1610; detail: Christushaupt und INRI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the early Christians reflecting on the death of Jesus also recognised it as a special death. A preacher named Paul wrote to a church explaining the things he had learnt from talking to those who knew Jesus. He writes:

What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)

Now Jesus did die. He was executed. He was nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers and died gasping for air. He died the death of a criminal. He should have been forgotten by history. But his followers understood his death differently. This was not the last disgrace of a failed prophet. This was the turning point of history. When God’s representative on earth made the ultimate sacrifice to so that people could be forgiven for the things they’d done wrong and start a new life.

So that’s what Jesus claimed about who he was and what he would achieve. But is it true? Was Jesus a future king? Was Jesus God’s representative on earth? And did Jesus’ death provide a way for us to change our relationship with God? Well there is one more thing that the early Christians claimed about Jesus: that he rose from the dead – that he stopped being dead and came alive again. And if that is true then we’re no longer dealing with the claims of a human man but with a moment when God intervened in history to change the world.

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 Preceding: Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

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Related articles:

  1. Prophets making excuses
  2. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  3. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  4. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  7. Servant of his Father
  8. Slave for people and God
  9. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  10. The Anointed One and the first day of No Fermentation
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  13. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  14. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  15. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  16. Wishing to do the will of God
  17. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  18. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  19. Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled
  20. A Messiah to die
  21. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  22. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  23. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  24. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  25. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  26. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  27. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  28. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  29. Signs of the Last Days
  30. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  31. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  32. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
  33. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  34. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  35. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation

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  • Sunday (August 24): “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    At an opportune time Jesus tested his disciples with a crucial question: “Who do the people say that I am and who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Jesus was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Jesus is the Messiah (darnellbarkman.wordpress.com)
    ‘Christ’ in early Christianity was a title, and only gradually became an alternative proper name for Jesus. In practice ‘Messiah’ is mostly restricted to the notion, which took various forms in ancient Judaism, of the coming King who would be David’s true heir, through whom YAHWEH [The Creator God’s proper name] would rescue Israel from pagan enemies.
  • Christianity Fast Facts (wdsu.com)
    Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe.
    +
    On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ arose from the dead.
    +
    The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today.
  • Secular Israel vs Biblical Israel: Are they the Same? (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
    With the Gaza War resuming in earnest, now seems to be the time for a few observations about the secular state of Israel, biblical Israel, Jews, the synagogue of Satan and the deliberate Corporate (and other) Media smokescreens which obscure these subjects.
    +
    Of course, the largest mistake–and there are quite a few in the linked piece, which is relatively short–is that one cannot separate the Jews as a people from the actions taken by the leadership of the secular state of Israel.  But we know that is a lie.
    +
    We’re commanded to warn about deception; that deception includes the secular, man-created state of Israel which is NOT biblical Israel. There are observant Jews in Israel.  They are often the victims of violence. God promises He will save His remnant–and He will.  However, make no mistake: secular Israel is not biblical Israel.  Those who confuse the two will reap the unfortunate harvest of deception.  The Christian ignores Jesus’ clear warnings in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 at his own risk.
  • Matthew 1-7 (apologistmike.wordpress.com)
    The gospel of Matthew was written by an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. He was Jewish, which accounts for his emphasis on the Jewish scriptures in the work, and he was a tax collector for the Roman government. This would have enabled him to write effectively. Many early fathers such as Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origen recognized Matthew as the author of the gospel.
  • FFOZ TV Review: Messiah (mymorningmeditations.com)
    The term Christ is one of the most important terms in all of Scripture and yet is seldom fully understood by followers of Jesus. In episode two we will explore the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and learn about the Jewish people’s expectation of the coming messiah. We will study the Hebrew Scriptures and learn that they speak of a coming anointed one, a king who will come to redeem mankind, defeat Israel’s enemies, and set up his kingdom.
  • Simple Truth: Jesus is not the Messiah (leavingjesus.wordpress.com)
    “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”
    “Messiah” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “anointed”
  • “The Christ is the Son of David” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
    Why did Jesus question the Jews on the claim that their Messiah or Christ would be the son of David? After all the New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself is a direct descendant from the line of David’s throne (Romans 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). Jesus posed the question to make his hearers understand that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Jesus makes his point in dramatic fashion by quoting from one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet. How can the son be the lord of his father?
  • Michele Bachmann Waiting to be Annointed Messiah (politicususa.com)
    What’s in a messiah, you ask? Like many terms it is problematic. Contrary to what many people may think, despite the origins of our word messianism is not unique to Judaism. In fact, in historical terms we can’t even speak of “Judaism” singular because there were in fact many Judaisms with different ways of life and different worldviews.[1] So not only is there not one Jewish idea (or Christian idea) of what a messiah is but not all ideas of messiahs are Jewish (or Christian).