NEW AGE JESUS
WHAT PART OF JESUS DONíT YOU LIKE?---ST271
From The New Age to Islam, the words ďGod, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Christ ConsciousnessĒ plus scripture verses are commonly and widely used, but only rhetorically. These terms have more than one meaning and will be heard by different people according to their beliefs regarding them. To a Christian, these words are compelling. Thatís why they are used to deceive.
But these folks wonít accept 100% of Jesus. They hold him up as our model, a profoundly wise teacher, who had insight into the deep truths of life and spirituality. So much so, that he finally spiritualized himself into perfection/immortality/God-ness.
But the little I know of God says He doesnít allow frauds into heaven. If Jesus was perfect, he was a perfect fraud. And while weíre at it, so is the Bible fraudulent.
The ďPerfectionistsĒ of these other belief systems never talk about all the lies Jesus perpetrated on his followers! Following their line of thinking, JesusĒ Sermon on the Mount showed his deep understanding of human nature. He used that psychology to its fullest when teaching his disciples.
First off, the Bible lies when it talks of Jesus being born of a virgin. Thatís just humanly impossible. By extension, all that stuff about healing, restoring sight and hearing, exorcizing demons, and especially raising the dead have to be complete fabrications. Ah, but Jesus detractors wonít go that far. They tell you that those events, while not literally true are meant metaphorically to teach lessons. Thatís where the value lies, in the lesson.
NOTE: At this point it may be helpful to go to the Resurrection Chart from which many of the following points are based. This chart and itís accompanying notes were constructed as a guide to the Resurrection Study. The complete Resurrection presentation is here.
Jesus had the ability to couch the most preposterous ideas in such plausible terms that people believed the impossible.
1-he lived forever
2-described the eternal world from the inside. Saw Satan fall; LU 10:18; Mat 13:41, 18:10,25:41; John 14:2; Luk 15:7
3-seated all authority in himself: Mt 28:18, 7:29,5:17, 20 22, 26, 28.
4-thought he was perfect: Mt 5:17; Lu 7:48; Mk 10:21. (presumed his adequacy to forgive sin and define the Law). Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius never claimed divinity.
5-the world wrong could be fixed by his death: OT--Num 18:15-16; Ex 13:13, 34:20 ()redeem the firstling). NT--Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1Tim 2:6 (ransom for many) (gave himself a ransom)
6-he would rise again: Mat 20:19, 26:61,64, 27:63-65; John 2:17-he was Christian Central, he preached himself: Mat 10:32-34, 11:28-30, 19:29:John 6:51, 14:6. (my flesh, my blood, way Truth, Light)
(5-6 why does a perfect, spiritualized body need to be crucified? To prove it can come back to life?)
(7-Weíre to live like Christ, and by his words? Heís the only way?)
If Jesus was just a man who ďPerfectionizedĒ himself, how could he have been Godís mouthpiece in speaking forth the Creation? The Bible canít be true. They even lied in the Old Testament
You gotta take ALL of Jesus. No fraud could have caused the turmoil surrounding Jesusí ministry. It was his Truth that made the Jewish leaders want him dead. No one else of importance cared. Not Pilate. Neither would the preaching about a fraud by the Apostles have affected such growth of the church and its persecution. The only incentive for conversion to the Way was the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Christianity wasnít as good as most Pagan religions.
[read II] The historical facts that need no proof are these:
- 1-Jesus lived
- 2-he was crucified by Romans/Jewish Leaders, and considered dead.
- 3-buried in a known accessible tomb.
- 4-was preached:1-raised form the dead, 2-ascended to heaven, 3-tomb was empty.
- 5-Jewish leaders were motivated to disprove #4. a-they are out of a job if he rose.
- 6-the preachers were persecuted for telling of the resurrection.
- 7-Tomb was empty Ė canít find it.
- 1-Gordonís tomb
- 2-traditional site.
B-no one tried to find the tomb until the 5 century (nobody cared about an empty tomb)
C-body wasnít produced.
8-faithful transmission of the NT record.
You know, I donít remember ever hearing any of the New Age believers extolling the resurrection. Their message is all about developing the ďGod withinĒ unto Perfection.
Thereís only one physical fact that must be addressed. The empty tomb. Thereís no way to prove by direct evidence that Jesus was raised form the dead or that he ascended into heaven. The tomb was there for anyone to go look at. It was just across the way from the Temple on the Mt. Of Olives.
So, many theories have been offered as to why the tomb was empty. And because none of them are the truth, they all fall apart upon further examination. Confirming the resurrection is at least a two step process. Because we canít show hard evidence, we must rely on the testimony of the witnesses. Every one of the following theories explaining the empty tomb results in one conclusion, the disciples lied.
- 1-disciples stole the body to fulfill his teaching2-Romans took the body:
- 3-Jewish leaders took the body to keep watch.
- 4-wrong tomb
- 6-resusitation, not really dead faking
- 7-Disciples lied.
- 8-disciples told the truth.
If the Apostles lied in their message, then they probably made up those stories in the Gospels, if they wrote them at all. They even convinced Saul to join the conspiracy.
The simple men called out by Jesus certainly must have had world-class literary skills along with being able to make a living fishing. They could weave several accounts of the same event so as to confirm their tales. But they werenít perfect. They made mistakes.
[read V] Mark should have used ďson of God.Ē
B-Feeding the Crown:
- 1-son of Man meant nothing to non-Jews. Mark didnít address the Jews.
- 2- he revealed Peterís (his source) failures more completely.
- 1-they were at Bethsaida, LU 9:12; Mk 6:4
- 2-Jesus asks Phillip: John 6:5-7
- 3- Phillip was from Bethsaida: Joh 1:44
A-heavy personality changes:
- 1-cowards, all ran/faced death
- 2-Peter, adolescence/Pentacost sermon
- 3-John, ambitious, selfish, liar/the lover
- 4-Thomas, doubter/goes to India, hardest place
- 5-Paul, persecutions to conversion
B-Persecution: All but one Martyred, for a lie? AND they all died alone!!
As liars, not knowing that their words would last 2000 years, and become a world-wide movement, they only needed to save face for the moment; profit for themselves. These were simple men, following orders to wait 7 weeks for the Holy Ghost (at Pentacost). Why wait?
But they did a masterful job on the story of feeding the 5000. It takes four references to put the whole story together.
Our investigation has to focus in a different place, though, if we are to find out if they really lied or told what they saw and experienced. And even that is a two-step process. The first step is confirmed by the second.
Letís apply some common sense to the Apostles. How do cowards become courageous?
What causes the doubter to worship?
How can the most visible persecutor of a cause become its most visible prosecutor?
We must determine at what point, under what circumstances does one recant a lie? Heckling? Thrown fruit? Confinement? Beating? Execution?
Well, that little exercise was not meant to prove that the Apostles told the truth. But people with legal expertise have treated the subject of the Apostleís testimony, judged against our laws of evidence. No less an authority than Prof. Simon Green leaf said the Apostle told the Truth. 200 years earlier, Sherlock wrote Trial of the Witnesses, which put the evidence to the same kind of test, coming to the same conclusion. Hereís a little bit of Greenleaf from the Josh McDowell book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
[read McD p.191-2+p.259.
Greenleaf produced a famous work entitled A Treatise on the Law of Evidence which is still considered the greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure."
In 1846, while still Professor of Law at Harvard. Greenleaf wrote a volume entitled An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.
In his classic work the author examines the value of the testimony of the apostles to the resurrection of Christ. The following are this brilliant juristís critical observations:
"The great truths which the apostles declared, were, that Christ had risen from the dead, and that only through repentance from sin, and faith in Him, could men hope for salvation. This doctrine they asserted with one voice, everywhere, not only under the greatest discouragements, but also in the face of the most appalling errors that can be presented to the mind of man. Their master had recently perished as a malefactor, by the sentence of a public tribunal. His religion sought to overthrow the religions of the whole world. The laws of every country were against the teachings of His disciples. The interests and passions of all the rulers and great men in the world were against them. The fashion of the world was against them. Propagating this new faith, even in the most inoffensive and peaceful manner, they could expect nothing but contempt, opposition, revilings, bitter persecutions, stripes, imprisonments, torments, and cruel deaths. Yet this faith they zealously did propagate; and all these miseries they endured undismayed, nay, rejoicing. As one after another was put to a miserable death, the survivors only prosecuted their work with increased vigor and resolution. The annals of military warfare afford scarcely an example of the like heroic constancy, patience, and unblenching courage. They had every possible motive to review carefully the grounds of their faith, and the evidences of the great facts and truths which they asserted; and these motives were pressed upon their attention with the most melancholy and terrific frequency. It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact. If it were morally possible for them to have been deceived in this matter, every human motive operated to lead them to discover and avow their error. To have persisted in so gross a falsehood, after it was known to them, was not only to encounter, for life, all the evils Which man could inflict, from without, but to endure also the pangs of inward and conscious guilt; with no hope of future peace, no testimony of a good conscience, no expectation of honor or esteem among men, no hope of happiness in this life, or in the world to come.
"Such conduct in the apostles would moreover have been utterly irreconcilable with the fact that they possessed the ordinary constitution of our common nature. Yet their lives do show them to have been men like all others of our race; swayed by the same motives, animated by the same hopes, affected by the same joys, subdued by the same sorrows, agitated by the same fears, and subject to the same passions, temptations, and infirmities, as ourselves. And their writings show them to have been men of vigorous understandings. If then their testimony was not true, there was no possible motive for its fabrication."
CONCLUSION: HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED
John Warwick Montgomery says: ďThe earliest records we have of the life and ministry of Jesus give the overwhelming impression that this man went around not so much' doing good' but making a decided nuisance of Himself. "The parallel with Socrates in this regard is strong: Both men infuriated their contemporaries to such an extent that they were eventually put to death. But where Socrates played the gadfly on the collective Athenian rump by demanding that his hearers 'know themselves' - examine their unexamined lives - Jesus alienated His contemporaries by continually forcing them to think through their attitude to Him personally. 'Who do men say that I the Son of man am? . Who do you say that I am?' 'What do you think of Christ? Whose son is He?' These were the questions Jesus asked."
Christ made it very clear who He was. He told Thomas: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6).
The apostle Paul said that Christ was declared with power to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. . ." (Romans 1: 4).
Simon Greenleaf, famous Harvard professor of law, says: ďAll that Christianity asks of men is, that they would be consistent with themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth."
As G. B. Hardy has said, ďHere is the complete record:
- Confucius' tomb - occupied
- Buddha's tomb - occupied
- Mohammed's tomb - occupied
- Jesus' tomb - EMPTY."
Well, weíve beat our way all around that bush. I have to disagree with those New Age Perfectionists. Jesus was definitely NOT a Good and Wise teacher. He was the Son of God, as evidenced by his resurrection from being dead. But, so what?
It means that all the stuff about Jesus that the God-In-You folks wonít talk about is really true.
[read VI & VII]
CRUX: If he died, rose, ascended, then III are more than recorded history. Those things are true.
- 1- Iíll never leave you. Heb 13:5
- 2- 2-Iíll never forsake you. Heb 13:5
- 3- 3-He that cometh to me, Iíll in no wise cast out. Joh 6:37
- 4- nothing can separate us from God. Rom 8:38
- 5- who the Son sets free, is free indeed. Joh 8:36
- 6- let no one judge you. Col 2:16; Gal 6:17
- 7- Prov 3:6; His guidance
- 8- Deut 33:25; His strength
- 9- Mal 3:10; His blessing for tithing.
Not to leave the subject unfinished, we need to see the practical side of those sayings.
FREE IN CHRIST!!!
1-security=you donít need anyone but Him = you donít need to please anyone but Him.
2-you feel free/strong enough to walk away from ANYTHING (ONE). When youíre pleasing Him,
____you can demand it be done your(Godís) way, or not at all.
3-the only check needed is pleasing Him. And itíll never bother you what people think.
4-you can finally stop wasting energy avoiding otherís disapproval.
5-John 8:36 -->Gal 6:17 -->Rom 8:33 -->Heb 11:6 -->Rom 10:17; read Col 2:13-18
1-Again, I donít expect my words today to change your life. I donít expect you to believe any of it. But I do know that you now have heard one voice that says there is evidence to confirm the resurrection. I also know that if you will do a study of that evidence youíll find it holds up.
2-Then comes the hard part.
3-Iíll be back May 7. Thanks for listening. More talk on the resurrection is available at STAG. Weíre at 88 Briceland Rd. in Redway, the number there is 707 923 ALLY (2559),. Or thereís a lot of text and audio on my web site. asis.com/stag.
4-Whatís the hard part?
5-Living your life as thought God is real and meant all the stuff He said.
This is Jack, Bye.
I love mail.