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OPEN: Hey, good morning, and welcome to STAG, I'm Jack. It's very hard for us modern people to believe that God is going to set up a Kingdom here on earth. Nothing new there. 2700 years ago, the people were told the same thing. They had just as much as much trouble with the idea. But first...
UW: the following hour of RCR is…..]]] Wellness……
DISC: The views you hear will be mine and are not meant to reflect….

Again, what wound it take to make people believe such a fantastic thing as God having a kingdom here on earth? How about something even more fantastic? How about prophesying 4000 years before the fact that a certain person would come on the scene proclaiming this very idea? That would have to make an impact on the skeptics, wouldn't it? But would it really change their minds and make them use it to govern their lives? Not the skeptics I know. Some argument would be made up for coincidence, or whatever. How about something that never happened before in all history?

Let's imagine that you read an ancient manuscript that told how earth's deserts would become green and fertile again. The manuscript said that on a certain date the moon would move away from the earth until it looked no bigger than Saturn? One can just barely see Saturn with the naked eye, but it can be seen. Now the moon is only the size of a pinhead. That never happened before and no one could imagine it happening at all. But the book also said that after a period of time the moon would move back to its original position. This would be offered as proof of earth's weather patterns permanently changing and all the deserts would become fertile again.. When the moon moved away and then came back, would that be enough evidence for you to make some changes in the way you live so that you would be able to participate in the greening of the deserts? That traveling moon would be enough for me. I'd be out there buying up property in Death Valley as soon as the moon first moved away. Five or ten cents an acre?

Well, the Bible, which is said to be the word of God, made just such a claim about the Kingdom. I feel very blessed to have been able to read about it. For four thousand years folks only had word of mouth to go on. "Oh, sure. Some time "soon". some guy is going to show up and this and that will happen. What's for dinner?" A lot of people way back had nothing more than some elder's respected word to go on. Abraham had talks with God, but Lot would have to take Abraham's word for what God had said. And isn't Lot's taking up residence in Sodom enough evidence of his doubtful belief? As soon as he arrived and saw what their lifestyle was he should have got out of there.

What did God do?. He told people to expect that He would set up a Kingdom on earth. He said that people could be part of that kingdom. But to back up that statement, He used an event never heard of before, or since. A man would die and then come back to life after three full days, 72 hours. He even detailed the event out 700 years before it happened.

Now all we have to do is prove that the prophesied person, Jesus, died and came back to life after three days. This proof will not only be intellectual acceptance. It has to be able to help us change our lifestyles, radically. And let me quickly add that going to church on Sunday and helping out in the food kitchen doesn't meet the definition of "radical."

The two main conditions that help people deny Jesus' resurrection are fear and laziness. They are either too set in the way they have made for themselves or they are afraid that the lifestyle required is beyond their means and ability. These folks are stuck with their own ideas and can't imagine that God can take care of the things that cause their fear or sloth.

The best example of fear is seen in tithing. Preemptive fear exists due to the ignorance about tithing. Then real fear sets in when we are told that 25% of what comes in is to be used for God. "I could never afford to give away 25% of my income." That person hasn't proved God and the resurrection. Tithing is enough to scare off any non-Believer. But add to that the time we should be spending in "God-pursuits" and you've got an ironclad case for denial.

Another roadblock improving the resurrection is having to prove that the Bible is true. How is the average person going to do that? We don't have the time to search out ancient manuscripts for authenticity. Yeah, the Bible says that a Messiah would show up, and be rejected, killed and would come back to life. But the saying isn't the proof. The proof is a process.

This process is an exercise in establishing whether or not the disciples told the truth. There are many theories about what happened back then and why Jesus' body went missing. But they all boil down to the truth of the disciple's story. So what? How do we prove that? We're stuck with proving the Bible again. One fact that we have is that the writers lived and did indeed write what we read. Manuscripts dating back as early as 68 ad have been discovered. These are facts without question. But do they prove the resurrection?

The writers lived and wrote, but did they tell the truth? It's a process.

Before we go on, we should try and imagine what would have happened if the disciples were liars. First, Jesus did NOT come back to life. The body appeared to be missing, but we don't know where it is. Maybe the disciples took it, maybe not, but it's not there. These people didn't start to tell anyone that Jesus had resurrected for 7 weeks. What was going on during that time? If they were liars, they were probably making up the story that we read. Hey could make up a pretty good story in seven weeks. I can see them firing questions at each other, getting the series of events in order, rehearsing the story endlessly. Making up reasons why the body was missing. Even getting some friends to go along with the lie. They didn't just sit around for seven weeks and come back on the scene with the full blown story. They would have had to work hard on it to make it plausible. But, if this was the case then they were liars.

There are those who will say that the story has to be true based solely on the fact of Christianity itself. First, Peter gave that sermon after seven weeks and 3000 people were converted. Sure other men had come on the scene and garnered any converts. Gamaliel told the Pharisees that. But those men had faded away. The Church did not fade away, but, in spite of ongoing severe persecution throughout history, grew by leaps and bounds until there are over a billion Christians today. Could Christianity itself be a lie? My theory is that something supernatural has to be behind such a worldwide movement.

Basically, you've got Christianity, Islam and Buddhism as major religious movements. They are all based in some kind of faith, unlike Confucianism, which is based on practical life and not some Higher Power.

Let me stop here for a moment and talk about the "good and Wise" teacher. In order to be politically correct, many people will take up the argument that Jesus was only a man and didn't resurrect. Men don't' resurrect. It hasn't ever happened. But to accommodate Believer's, these people will give Jesus credit for being good and wise. They will be quick to point to the Sermon on the mount. They will not even mention all the crazy stuff Jesus said. He said things that no human being could have done. No human being has ever lived over 2000 years. No human being has even gone to heaven and then come back and given up a report of what goes on there. No human being has seen Satan cast out of heaven. No one has ever believed someone who said that all power on earth and in heaven was given to them. No judge ever let some murderer go because another man said that he forgave the murder. Jesus said he forgave many different people their sins. And certainly no sane human being ever said he'd die and come back to life after 72 hours. That's insane.

When we take all of Jesus words we can only come to three conclusions. He was not good if he was defrauding the folks with these lies. He was not wise if he really thought these things about himself. He was a nut, a fraud or he was telling the truth about being the Son of God.

There is much and varied evidence that can be brought to bear on demonstrating the disciples' truthfulness. Some of the evidence is "between" the lines, intrinsic evidence. Some is external evidence, historically accounted.

1-While Matthew was written to the Jews, and Luke was intended as a history, Mark, the first Gospel, was written to non-Jews; Gentiles. Mark uses the term "Son of Man" more than any other gospel writer. The term Son of Man, to the Jews with their background of the Messianic references of both Daniel and Enoch, was a reference to the son of God. This term had little meaning to gentiles beyond it's literal of "a human being." A liar wouldn't have Jesus calling himself Son of Man when trying to present the case the Jesus was the Son of God.

Mark revealed his mentor Peter's weakness more than the other writers. When giving Mark the "story", wouldn't Peter downplay his failures. It doesn't enhance his image to have readers of Mark's Gospel find out his cowardice.

2-It takes four accounts to fill out the story of the feeding of the 5000. These accounts, remember, were written at different times, by widely separated writers.
Philip is the logical one to ask where to find food. He lived in this particular place. Intrinsically, the details fit like a true account. Why not just report an embellished story of the miracle itself, as in Matthew 14?

3-For external evidence, the historic accounts of the Disciples' lives is illuminating. This evidence includes the great life-changes that occurred in the personalities of the Apostles. Changes for the better from cowards who ALL ran from the Garden when they came for Jesus.

a-Peter, a coward, impetuous, preaches to a mocking mob of thousands at Pentecost. He endured prison for preaching.
b-John and James were called the sons of thunder, wanting to call fire down from heaven. They were so selfish they got their mother to ask for the best seats in Jesus' kingdom. James accepted beheading, and John became the Great Lover of the New Testament. His is the Gospel of Love.
c-The Pragmatist, Thomas, was known as a doubter. His senses were his reality. Thomas challenged the vast philosophical frame of India.
d-James, the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem for twenty years, was so steeped in Legalism that he demanded circumcision of his parishioners. The Jewish leaders had enough confidence in James legal stance to finally ask him to denounce Jesus' Messiah-ship. To James' credit, he chose not to comply; a fact that meant his martyrdom.
e-Paul's life and change of outlook could be sited alone as proof of the resurrection. The physical evidence of Paul's actions are testimony enough. From one of the highest placed, most efficient persecutors of Christianity, Paul contributes two thirds of the writings of the New Testament. Whipped, beat, imprisoned for years, enduring extreme physical stress, Paul spread the Gospel from Syria to England.

What happened to these men that in a short time they so completely and irreversibly changed? But this change was only the beginning. The Apostles, as Paul, were persecuted for preaching their message. Here is a short list of martyrdom:

Mark: dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria
Bartholomew: skinned alive with a whip in Armenia
Luke: hanged by idolatrous priests in Greece
James(the Less): killed in Egypt
James Zebedee: beheaded by Herod
Thomas: killed with a sword in India
Simon Zelotes: crucified
Peter: crucified upside down in Rome
Paul: is beheaded near Rome

There has never been a record of any of the Apostles denying their stories. As liars, not knowing that their words would last two thousand years and become a worldwide movement, they only needed to save face for the moment; profit for themselves. Still unexplained is the reason why these frauds would wait SEVEN WEEKS to start telling their story. These were simple men, following orders to wait seven weeks for the Holy Spirit to descend; as Jesus had promised. But this descending must wait for God's appointed time, Pentecost.

Thomas Aquinas points out that they all died alone. Distanced liars, without knowledge of each others' whereabouts, could have easily admitted the life-saving lie without the others knowing. There is no record of anyone denying their story at a later date. While some of them might have held on to their stories as a group, it defies reason to think that they would endure horrible tortures and death for a lie, by themselves, alone.

As impossible or improbable as it may seem, the evidence forces the conclusion that the Apostles told the truth. This exposes the crux of this study. If Jesus died, rose and ascended, then the items listed in section III are more than recorded history. Those things are True, and Jesus was a supernatural being who was God and man, and has established a contact point between God and man.

Here's a follow-up on Paul. If you study the message that was preached by the other disciples, you'll find that Paul preached the same thing. Jesus told the Apostles to preach his gospel. What was Jesus' gospel? That God was going to set up a kingdom here on earth. Check anywhere you like. You'll find that Jesus preached the kingdom. And they all preached that to participate in the kingdom one had to act in truss of God. Faithing. None of them preached salvation first. They preached salvation as a means to participate in the kingdom. They preached the resurrection as proof that God was really going to have an earthly kingdom. None of the other gods of history said that they would come down to earth and have a kingdom here.

How many people have thought about how it was that Paul could preach the same as the Apostles? He was brought up and taught by Gamaliel the Jewish understanding of the Scriptures. Where did he learn to interpret the Bible differently? Where did he learn that the Messiah written about by Isaiah was really Jesus and not some person to come on the scene at some future time? He didn't have regular meeting with the other Apostles to find out what they were preaching. He says at one time, the he went to Jerusalem to make sure that his message was the same as theirs. He found that it was true. They could add nothing to what he said.

I'll take a side road to answer these questions by giving you my take on Jesus' earthly ministry. Jesus had a seven-year earthly ministry.

Most Bible scholars would like to argue with that statement. It takes a bit of study, but most everyone says that Jesus' ministry was three and a half years.

They arrive at this number using his birth date as 2 BC and his crucifixion in 33 AD. The half year comes from his being born on Rosh Hashanah in the fall and his death at Passover in the spring. His ministry began when he reached the official age of 30 for serving as a priest. He was thirty when John baptized him. My guess is that he was baptized on Rosh Hashanah, also.

All that is pretty clear from the Bible, but how can we say Jesus had a seven-year ministry? We'll get to that, but first we'll look at what God has shown us about the number seven.

I have never seen a number chart of Bible numbers that doesn't say the number seven is the number of "completion."

Genesis 1:1 has not only seven words, but those seven words, as told in the ancient pictographs of Hebrew, tell the story of the coming redeemer. Starting in Genesis 1:2, God re-created the earth in seven days, including . God instituted seven Feasts for the people to observe. He outlined seven years to finish the Great Tribulation. Daniel prophesied 70 years for the people of Israel. Look any where you want and you'll find that the number seven symbolizes a complete work. Ivan Panin did a verification of the whole Bible by seeking out the schemes of the number seven that are "encoded" in the Bible.

Then Jesus' ministry was incomplete, with only three and a half years. What happened to the other three and a half years?

We might say that Jesus earthly ministry wasn't only three and a half years, but also included the time after the resurrection as part of that ministry. If so, then we can surmise that the time spent was close to half a year. Paul says that many people, including 500, saw Jesus. He spent time walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. He visited them after walking through the locked door. Luke says Jesus was with the Apostles 40 days, teaching them. He went to see them in Galilee and cooked them some fish. There was a period of time when he was in heaven and then came back to earth. I think six months is a reasonable guess as to the time spent.

This brings us very near the time of the event on the road to Damascus with Paul and his companions. Three days later, Paul receives his sight and starts his sojourn in Arabia. More than once Paul says that he was face to face with Jesus. Once he clearly says that he saw him and other times he says he received a revelation straight from Jesus.

Intrinsically, we know that Paul is the interpreter of the Old Testament. Paul quotes the Old Testament more than all the other writers, and Jesus himself, in the new Testament. And this is just those times when it says, "as it is written." This was not due to his education at the feet of the most prominent scholar of the time, Gamaliel. That part of Paul's education would have been from the existing Jewish frame of teaching. That frame did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. But clearly, the whole Old Testament is a treatise on Christ. There are hundreds of symbolic "types of Christ" in the old Testament. The Ark, the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, the Rock that gave the Israelites water in the desert. The Bread from Heaven, the manna. The tree that Moses used to sweeten the waters at Marah; a type of the crucifixion giving the "water of life".

Paul quotes the Old Testament 121 times plus 50 clear historical references. All the other writers only quote the Old Testament 51 times. Jesus quotes the Old Testament 75 times, for a total of only 116. The reason Paul quotes the Old Testament more than anyone else is because he had to re-interpret all the types of Christ for the people who were ignorant of them. He also had to show that there was a new covenant that was brought into effect by Jesus and his resurrection.

The question MUST be asked, "Where did this Jewish scholar learn all this information?" It wasn't from Gamaliel. We have no record of how Paul made this 180 degree turn from the old traditional teaching to this "New Way." Jesus didn't give it to him when he was blinded. We must also decide who could have had all this knowledge to impart to Paul. It was from Someone who had first hand knowledge of the message of the Old Testament. Jesus.

Let's take another look at Paul. Some scholars have taken this passage in Galatians to indicate that Paul spent three years before going to preach.

Gal 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Gal 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

I remember a TV series on the Bible that mentioned this three years in the Arabia. And Dr. Gene Scott always taught that Paul was taught personally by the risen Christ for three years in the

. If Paul spent three years in Damascus preaching, what did he preach? Did he go around telling people that he was blinded by Jesus? That wouldn't have been according to the mission that Jesus gave him. All Paul's subsequent preaching was clearly of one piece. So, did he preach that same message at Damascus? How could he have learned all that stuff overnight? I have no trouble interpreting Paul as saying that he spent those three years in Arabia before returning to Damascus.

So put it all together. Three and a half years from Jesus' baptism to his crucifixion. One half year from the resurrection to the blinding of Paul. Three years teaching Paul the Old Testament.

Jesus had a seven year, a complete, earthly ministry.

The Resurrection is just one small piece in the overall working of God with the earth. As I've laid out many times, God has a much larger plan in mind.

What is the practical aspect of the Truth of Jesus? So what if he was divine? If all that Jesus said was true, then all the other promises of God are true, and we have a starting point for faithing on those promises.

Colossians 2:13-18: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.

COMMUNION: And how is it that we can access God and His salvation? Well, the second name of the Bible, after Christ, is Faithing. The Bible is one long instruction book that teaches us about God, His plan for the earth and beyond and how we can participate in what God's doing. Look anywhere you want and you'll find a lesson in trusting God with the unknown adversity that may lurk behind some action we are told to take. Our survival instinct hates the unknown and will do anything to avoid it. But when we overcome that fear and act the way God has told us, He has promised to put a bit of His Spirit inside our bodies. It's all about "Faith." But it isn't the "faith" that we know about in English. It's the "faith" as defined in Hebrew and Greek. In those languages, faith is clearly defined as some action. It's a verb. And it's not just any old verb. Verbs are based in some belief. We don't act on something without belief being involved. We don't walk down some stairs without believing, even if unconsciously) that the stairs will hold us and not collapse. We have "faith" in the stairs. But the only positive thing that comes out of that faith is that we get to the bottom of the stairs. We don't get God's Spirit as a bonus. Belief in the stairs is not belief in something God has said.

There are many examples of faithing in the Bible. Hebrews chapter eleven is a whole list of bible folks who trusted God and got their names on the list. As I said before, one can hardly find any situation where God isn't showing us that someone is trusting in Him. Of course those Bible people had different challenges than we do and we may not see how we can act the way they did. God wants to make sure that we know the way to contact Him. There are four very clear ways that God has shown us that can apply to everyone.

Matthew chapter six outlines three clear acts of righteousness, faithing. The giving of money is first on God's list. Then prayer and then fasting. This is God telling us how He wants us to act. When we do that His way we are acting in trust of something He has said. That brings the Holy Spirit. The fourth clear way to act on something God has said and that can be done by anyone is Communion.

Communion is God, through Jesus at the Last Supper, making a way for us to act in trust of Him. It's an act based on something God has said. We are to overcome the risk of not being sure that God will gives us His Spirit to the action. That can't be proved. And what is the promise that God gives us through Communion? Salvation and healing. Remember there are two elements to Communion, the Wine and the bread. Most folks have never been taught about the complete Communion. They might know the scripture where Jesus say that the wine is his blood and the bread is his body, but that's it. It all boils vaguely down to being saved. We have to go to Isaiah 53 to find out what happens because of Jesus' blood and body. Yes, Isaiah says that the blood takes away our iniquities, shortcomings, sins, if you must. But he goes on to tell us that the body of Messiah will also take on our sickness and infirmities.

So, when Jesus offered the wine it was for salvation. And the Bread, representing his body, was given for our healing.

One last thing before we go to the table of the Lord. Worthiness. Most Christians have been taught about Communion from what Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 11. he confusion has come from a miss-interpretation of verse 27. Many preachers have cautioned their congregations about being worthy to take Communion, because they miss-read Paul saying, eat and drink "unworthily." he don't recognize that the word doesn't pertain to the participants worth, but to the manner pf partaking. Paul cautions the Corinthians to not take in an unworthy manner. It doesn't make any sense for it to mean that the person must be worthy to take Communion. The Bible is clear, "ALL have sinned and come short..." None of us is worthy. But we can take Communion is a worthy manner. We just have to do what Jesus told us is the worthy manner. We are to remember Him, his shed blood, and his broken body. Extremely simple and easy enough for anyone to do. And it's an act in trust, faithing, of something God has said.

So, let's take some faithing action right now. Take the wine, or juice or water, whatever you have and thank God for His grace and ask His continued mercy, in Jesus name. And the bread. Isaiah said, "by his stripes ye are healed." But Peter changed the tense from "are" to "were." He wrote after the resurrection, so the door to our healing was already opened. Let's put it in the past tense ourselves. Take the bread and say, "by his stripes I was healed, in Jesus' name."

WRAP: 1-Well, that was good. I have had Communion with you for a while. And let me quickly say that Communion isn't something only done at church or once a month. Some like to take Communion every day. Sick folks might even want to take it more than once a day. Remember the bread is for healing. But whatever else happens, Communion is a faith act and brings God's Spirit.
2-I trust that what I said today will give you the foundation for your own research and study into the resurrection. It's the event that proves God and His plan for us.
3-If you want to talk about the resurrection, communion or anything else, STAG is a comfortable place to do that. We're at 88 Briceland Rd. in Redway. The number is 707 923 ALLY(2559). On the web it's STAG.WS. There's a large radio archive up there and almost 50 videos on YouTube. Just type in my name.
4-I'll be back here on May 3rd. And thanks in advance for participating in our upcoming pledge drive.
5-These are troubling times, but help and peace of mind are right there for us. God is real and He promises to keep us.
This is Jack, Bye

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