The story of Keith Green is sad but also inspiring because it becomes clear from his testimony that he is the real deal.
Watch and listen here. Keith Green’s Story
The story of Keith Green is sad but also inspiring because it becomes clear from his testimony that he is the real deal.
Watch and listen here. Keith Green’s Story
It is very difficult to imagine eternity, especially if we try to quantify it from a time perspective. Or if we think of eternity in a linear format as having an infinite past and an infinite future, with the passing of an infinite amount of time. The metaphors that I have heard, such as “eternity is like a bird rubbing its beak on a diamond the size of the earth and when the diamond is worn away, eternity has just begun” gives a completely wrong perspective that will never explain eternity.
The Bible does however shed light on how we can conceive of eternity. When Moses was instructed by God to free Israel from Egypt, he asked God, who he should say had sent him and by what name God should be made known. God’s profound answer opens a brief curtain on eternity and gives us a perspective from which we can begin to understand the concept of eternity. “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” (Ex 3:14) ‘I AM’ is not really a name but rather indicates a state of existence. God was therefore indicating His eternal Being. There is no “I was” or “I shall be” with God, there is only “I AM”. He exists outside of time and does not have a beginning or an end.
We need to add to this the invaluable insight that Paul gives to us when he says “… the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:18) To complete the picture we need to also consider what the writer of Hebrews says about creation. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Heb 11:3)
With these facts before us we are able to conclude that there is an enormous or infinitely large, unseen, but eternal arena in which God dwells. Within this arena God placed a ‘time capsule’ by creating a visible material universe. “In the beginning ..” (Gen 1:1) indicates the start of time. Paul tells us that there is an end to time; “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.” (1 Co 15:24) The visible, material universe therefore has a time limit placed upon it.
At God’s appointed time, which the Bible calls the ‘fullness of time’ God stepped out of the unseen eternal arena and into the material visible creation, in the form of a man; the man, Christ Jesus.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14)
Paul had a glimpse of this eternal arena when he was caught up to the 3rd Heaven (God’s eternal arena), it had such an impact upon him that he made the following statements:
“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,” (Php 1:23–25)
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Ro 8:18)
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:17–18)
If we have received the gift of eternal life from the Lord Jesus Christ, we will continue to pass our time in this visible universe, but we by grace, qualify to live in the eternal arena with God.
When we die, we vacate this visible world which has an expiry date and we are immediately present with the Lord in His eternal arena. We wait in this arena, while time passes on earth, until the moment of the Resurrection. “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Co 5:1)
“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Co 5:8)
At an appointed time God will give the signal, the Trumpet will blow, there will be the shout of the Archangel and everyone who has received the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus, will receive a body that is fit for our eternal existence with God.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Co 15:50–53)
It is for this reason that Paul says: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:16–18)
I have been too busy recently to update my Blog with new material, but received the article below from a friend and colleague, which resonated with my own thoughts on church history. For a long time I have been convinced that the church history we read is the history of the visible institutionalized (man-made) organizations rather than the story of the true church. It is also very sobering to see how much persecution of the true church still continues today! A ‘Hedonist’ is a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.
Article by Anton Bosch
While reviewing church history recently I was reminded of some of the things we should learn from history. But before I share those with you, I want to remind you that what normally passes for church history is the history of the apostate church (lower case “c”). The history of the true Church is not normally taught in Bible schools and seminaries except for a passing mention to the little groups of true believers that were a thorn in the side of the institutional churches.
The following are the central truths we learn from Church history:
It is on this third point I want to dwell for a few minutes. Persecution has come from many different sources, even though the ultimate source remains Satan and his forces.
The Jews, initially under the leadership of Saul of Tarsus, persecuted and killed believers beginning with Stephen. Of course Jesus was the first “Christian” martyr, and before the New Testament many prophets were also brutally killed by Israel because of their message.
The Roman government persecuted and brutally martyred the believers for almost 300 years until Constantine in 312AD.
Immediately after 312 the Roman church took over from the Roman government and began to persecute believers who did not submit to their authority. Persecution under the Church of Rome continued for the next 1700 years right up to the present, reaching its peak during the inquisition (c. 1200 to c. 1600). It is very difficult to find an accurate estimate of the numbers of people killed by the Roman church but the best studies indicate a number of around 80 million Christians in addition to witches and others killed by Rome!
Even while Rome was killing Protestants, the Reformation leaders were torturing and killing Anabaptists and other believers who disagreed with them. Just one of many to die at the hand of the Reformers was Michael Sattler, a true believer. “He was shamefully mutilated in different parts of the town, then brought to the gate, and what remained of him thrown on the fire, His wife and some other Christian women were drowned, and a number of brethren who were with him in prison were beheaded.” Most of the Protestant leaders, including Luther, engaged in the most severe and cruel torture and murder of anyone who disagreed with them but the most vicious of all was Calvin. In Geneva he institutionalized torture and death as a legitimate means to change people’s views and purge the “church” of dissenters.
In addition there are the massive persecutions of Christians, many still ongoing, by Muslims, Chinese Governments, Communists and all sorts of other unbelievers right across the world. Just recently I was shocked to hear that a friend, and former colleague, as well as two women, were brutally killed and mutilated by Satanists in South Africa, making them (as far as I know) the first martyrs to die for the faith in South Africa. It is estimated that today, more Christians in the world are being persecuted than are free to worship the true God. A comprehensive Pew Forum study last year found that Christians are persecuted in 131 countries containing 70 percent of the world’s population. Other studies indicate that between 100,000 and 200,000 Christians are being martyred for their faith every year and that around 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights because of their faith.
All this should not come as a surprise since the New Testament is replete with statements that persecution would be the norm for Christians. In Jesus’ first mention about the Church he spoke of the war that would be brought against His Church. “…on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Paul said: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). And Peter said “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
In spite of the evidence of history and the plain teaching of the Bible, the vast majority of Christians in the so-called “Free World”, still believe that it is the right of Christians to be popular, fairly treated and respected and that a “happy” life should be the norm for believers.
But as I read again about how most true Christians have been mistreated and how they lived as vagabonds and fugitives throughout the last two centuries, I began to think about my own life and how easily I complain about the relatively minor inconveniences and rejection I experience because of the truth. I felt ashamed that I dare complain when thousands, right now, are experiencing the most extreme physical pain, emotional anguish and death for the sake of the Gospel. Who am I to grumble when I am free to come and go, live in relative comfort and enjoy the company of my wife while others are in prison, being tortured and killed?
But I also thought about how easily many stay away from the gathering of believers because it is too hot, too cold, or they are too tired because of watching TV or partying too late on Saturday night. I struggle to reconcile this picture with the one of men and women being torn apart by dogs, their limbs pulled from their bodies on the rack and the smell of burning human flesh on the fires of the persecutors. I struggle to understand how some are unwilling to give up their sinful pleasures when millions have to give up their very lives.
I struggle to understand how the pleasure-centered and self-centered “Christian” of the West can claim to share a common faith with the martyrs. I struggle to understand how preachers who preach a gospel of happiness, prosperity and popularity believe that their message is the same message that was preached by the faithful minority of the last 2,000 years, who like the prophets of old: “…had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:36-38).
Can the faith that results in persecution, torture, and death be the same faith that promises carnal happiness, a new Mercedes and popularity? Can the faith that pursues pleasure, comfort and earthly happiness be the same faith that counts it a privilege to suffer for His name? Will the hedonist and the martyr share the same heaven?
 David A Plaisted. Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and Later. 2006.
 E. H. Broadbent. The Pilgrim Church. Gospel Folio Press. Grand Rapids, MI. 1999. p182.
 October 2012
 David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their 2009 report in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 33, No. 1: 32) say the figure is about 200,000 per year and rising.
 Hedonist = a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.
The Principle of Resurrection of the Dead
“… of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
Ever since Adam’s sin introduced death into the human family, we have experienced spiritual death and eventually, physical death as well. For this reason, the prospect of rising from the dead is of great importance to us.
God’s instruction to Adam was; “… of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” We know from the Genesis account that when Adam ate of this fruit in disobedience to God’s command, he did not drop dead on the spot, but continued to live for nine hundred and thirty years. The fact that God drove them out of the Garden of Eden and barred the way to the Tree of Life is a clear indication, that they had become spiritually dead to God. This fact is confirmed by Paul who wrote: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The wages of sin is death, which was instant in Adam’s case. He died spiritually, this ‘death’ continued to corrupt his physical body until it returned to the dust, from where it originally came.
The human spirit of an unsaved person is not dead in itself, in that humans can be aware of and possessed by demonic spirits. Being ‘dead in our trespasses and sins’, means that we have no spiritual awareness of God, nor can we have any spiritual relationship with God. We are dead to God.
Paul confirms this by telling us that; “… the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” He also tells us that; “…. the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.“
This spiritual death, resulting from sin, leads to physical death, because we are cut off from our source of life, Jesus Christ; and our bodies have been sentenced to death because of sin.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—“
At conversion to Christ, our spirit which is dead to God because of sin, is resurrected or made alive to God. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” We could say that right from the outset of our walk with the Lord, the resurrection has begun in us. The next phase of this process is the renewing of our minds, so that we can begin to grasp the things of God that were previously hidden from us because of sin, which blinded our minds.
We are also told in Romans chapter eight, verse ten; “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” In other words, the spirit is alive to God, but the physical body remains under the sentence of death because of sin.
We do however live in hope of the resurrection of our physical bodies, as we are told in Ephesians; “…. who (the Holy Spirit) is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” “The purchased possession” is a reference to our physical bodies, which Jesus has purchased with His shed blood and which He has promised to redeem at a future point.
We can say therefore that redemption involves the resurrection of our spirit, the renewal of our mind to grasp spiritual things and finally the resurrection of our physical body.
Paul deals with the resurrection in great detail in First Corinthians chapter fifteen. He makes reference to the fact that Jesus died, was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures. This is the Gospel that has saved us. He also makes reference to the many witnesses that can confirm that Jesus rose from the dead. This declaration is of tremendous importance to us and has been summed up by various writers, such as the following:
“Harvard law professor Simon Greenleaf, a man who lectured for years on how to break down testimony and determine whether or not a witness is lying, concludes: “It was therefore impossible that they (the apostles) 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.”
“Dr. George Eldon Ladd, writing of the historical significance of the change in the Apostles, says: “The historian must also admit that historical criticism has not yet found an adequate historical explanation for these facts; that for the historian the transformation in the disciples is an unsolved problem. He must also admit that the view that Jesus actually arose from the dead would explain all the facts.”
Paul then arrives at this very important conclusion regarding the resurrection of Jesus: “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 
We can therefore say that the credibility of Christianity rests on this one fact; that Jesus rose from the dead and He has promised that He will also raise us from the dead at a future time.
While Paul was in custody following his arrest in Jerusalem, he was called upon to defend his ministry a number of times before various Roman Rulers. He was seen by the Jews as a heretic because he believed that Jesus is the Christ and that He rose from the dead.
Paul, in his defense, based his whole ministry on the fact of the resurrection. Before the Roman Ruler, Felix this was Paul’s defense: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” 
The report given to King Agrippa concerning Paul’s accusation was; “When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.” 
Paul’s defense before King Agrippa is particularly important, if we are to understand the great motivation within Paul to preach contrary to all that he had ever been taught and to stand for things contrary to the understanding of the Jewish Rulers of his day. This also demonstrates the extreme importance of the resurrection to us today.
“To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.“
So far we have established the need for a resurrection and the absolute importance of the resurrection, but in this article we are seeking to understand the ‘Principle’ of the doctrine of the Resurrection. It is important therefore to distinguish between the doctrine of the Resurrection and the underlying principle that governs our understanding of this all important doctrine.
The doctrine or teaching of the Resurrection would of necessity include every reference to the resurrection from the Old and New Testaments, covering every aspect of our understanding of the resurrection. For example the doctrine would cover the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous, every aspect of the resurrection of Jesus, the order of the Resurrection, what type of bodies we will have, when the Resurrection will take place, where the resurrected people will go. It will also cover the resurrection of sinners, when they will be resurrected, what their fate will be in the resurrection of the unjust and many other details concerning the Resurrection.
To understand the underlying principle of the resurrection we need to consider the following factors:
To incorporate all of these important aspects into a sentence, we will be able to arrive at a definition of the Principle of the Resurrection.
The Principle of the doctrine of the Resurrection is the one single event that authenticates and motivates our certain hope in Jesus Christ, who has secured our future existence in the presence of God for ever.
The principle of the resurrection focuses us on the future, in real certain hope that we will live for ever. As Paul put it, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 
Peter also beautifully and graphically presented this great truth, when he wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 
A careful study of Hebrews chapter eleven will reveal the effects that this living hope of the resurrection changed the lives of many of the Old Testament saints. We find that because they ‘sought a City, which has foundations, who’s Builder and Maker is God’, in other words they were fully convinced by God’s promise of the Resurrection that it affected their lives in the following ways:
The writer of Hebrews tells us that ‘the world is not worthy of such people and that God is not ashamed to be called their God.’
Jesus said: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  The principle of this glorious truth, written upon our hearts will cause us to live in a certain hope like the men and women of Hebrews chapter eleven.
 Heb. 6:2
 Gen. 2:17
 Eph. 2:1
 1 Cor. 2:14
 Rom. 8:7
 Rom. 5:12
 Eph. 2:1
 Rom. 8:10
 Eph. 1:14
 1 Cor. 15:1 – 4
 1 Cor. 15:5 – 8
 McDowell, J. (1981). The resurrection factor (111). San Bernardino, CA.: Here’s Life Publishers.
 George Eldon Ladd, The New Testament and Criticism, Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967, p. 188.
 1 Cor. 15:16–19
 Acts 24:14–15
 Acts 25:18–20
 Acts 26:7–23
 Philippians 3:11 – 14
 Philippians 3:13–14
 1 Peter 1:3–9
 Hebrews 11:10
 Hebrews 11:13 – 14
 Hebrews 11:16 & 38
 John 6:54
Having briefly discussed the significance of Albert Einstein’s formula on Facebook, I was asked for a more detailed explanation, so here it is.
Einstein saw how that all matter is in fact a different form of energy. His famous formula E=MC squared, demonstrated this principle, where E represents
Perhaps this is best understood by looking at an example of this formula. Water is made up hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen component of 1 kg of water weighs .111 kg. We therefore have the ‘mass’ part of the equation. Applying Einstein’s formula we are able to calculate the amount of energy, this hydrogen portion represents. (Mass) .111 x (speed of light) 300,000 x 300,000 ( because it is C squared) = 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules (a joule is a unit of energy).
We are able to conclude from this that 111 grams (.111 kg) of hydrogen represents 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy. A very small amount of matter equates to a huge amount of energy.
Now armed with this understanding, imagine if it were possible to know the mass of all matter in the entire universe, then multiply that figure by the speed of light squared. The size of this hypothetical calculation is mind blowing and represents an unimaginable amount of energy. To put the energy aspect into perspective a relatively small amount of uranium was converted into a massive amount of energy, using Einstein’s formula, during WW2. This energy generated in the atomic bomb flattened a large city and killed hundreds of thousands of people.
The point of all this from a Christian and Biblical perspective is that the Bible tells us that everything that we can see has been made from an unseen substance. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God; so that what is seen, was not made out of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NASB). God created the invisible atomic energy and brought it together, so that the material universe can be seen.
The Bible also tells us that Jesus, as Creator not only made all things visible and invisible, but that He holds all things together.
Colossians 1:16-17 NASB
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
With a tiny grasp of the insight that Albert Einstein brought to the fore, we begin to appreciate the unimaginable amount of energy or power involved in the creation of the invisible and visible creation. We also get a very small sense of the amount of power that the Lord Jesus uses to hold everything together. If He chose to convert all matter back to energy, the whole universe would disappear in a flash and with an explosion of energy that we could not possibly imagine.
Peter does talk about this happening at some future time. 2 Peter 3:10 NASB
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.