Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Extra-terrestrial Life And The Bible

Biblegems #260

Question:  Does the Bible indicate whether or not extraterrestrial life exists?

First, let’s agree on terms. “Extraterrestrial life” in this brief article means conscious, intelligent life. Most who are curious about this subject wonder about the possibility of humans encountering ET.

The Bible teaches that God created the universe in its present, mature state (Gen. 1-2). The stars within their familiar constellations were created as we see them from earth, animal and plant life were created in their mature state, immediately capable of reproduction according to their kinds. Humanity—in the form of the first man and woman—was likewise created in a mature state, independent of other life forms, ready for reproduction. The Bible portrays a universe that is created, not evolved; mature, not evolving into maturity; and recent (tens of thousands of years), not the result of a Big Bang billions of years past. This means that ET would also have to have been recently created—not evolved over millennia.

Secondly, the Bible teaches that death—indeed, entropy itself (the second law of thermodynamics)—is not native to the universe as originally created, but a devastating cancer introduced by the willful disobedience of the first human couple. There could not have been, therefore, alien civilizations living and dying on distant worlds for millions or billions of years because, prior to Adam and Eve’s sin, there was no death in the “cosmos” (Rom. 5:12).

However, the Bible does plainly teaches the existence of extraterrestrial life: creatures who are not dependent upon planets and star systems for survival, and who are not subject to death, disease and decay. It describes beings who tread upon the stars as we easily as we walk upon a carpet (Ezek. 28:14, 16), and who vary in appearance as widely as animal species on earth. Some possess wings (Is. 6:2), while others do not (Acts 1:10-11). Some have eyes all over their bodies (Rev. 4:6-8) and some have more than one face (Ezek. 1:10; 10:14). Many, if not all, can change their appearance, making it easier for humans to perceive them without fear (Lk. 1:19, 26), or they can make their presence known as wind, fire or other seemingly natural forces (Heb. 1:7). These beings are not hindered by time or physical barriers (Lk. 2:19-14), and their size is likely more a matter of our perception (Rev. 10:2)—not something that applies in their own natural state.

These angels, seraphim, cherubim, etc. were brought into existence early in creation week by the living and eternal God, the Creator of all that exists. They do not require space ships for travel and are not bound by such physical laws as the speed of light. They inhabit the non-physical realm the Bible calls heaven; and all the physical universe of matter, energy, galaxies, solar systems, planets, and all life in the physical universe, exists as an expression of God’s love and creativity.

To demonstrate once and for all His immeasurable power and love, God took on human form and lived among us: Jesus, the Son of God—the Supreme ET on planet earth!.
Heb. 1:2  “…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Marriage Supper Of The Lamb

Biblegems #259


—art by folken2d

Question:  What is the marriage Supper of the Lamb, and when does it take place?

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb refers to the millennial reign of Christ.

In the Gospels, Jesus likens the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet thrown by a king on the occasion of his son’s wedding. Because many of the invited guests chose not to attend, the king opens the invitation to anyone, requiring only that appropriate wedding attire be worn (Matt. 22:1-14). The “kingdom of heaven” refers specifically to Jesus’ prophesied, messianic reign on earth from David’s throne:
         Luke 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David

The marriage banquet is compared in Jesus’ parable to the entire kingdom of heaven experience, not just entrance into that Kingdom. In fact, entrance beyond the hall to the feast itself is denied to anyone who shows up inappropriately dressed (Matt. 22:14).

In Revelation, this wedding banquet is called “the marriage supper of the Lamb”:
         Rev. 19:7-9  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

This banquet entails 1,000 years of celebration (Rev. 20:2-7), enjoyed by all the resurrected, redeemed people of God, Jew and Gentile, representing all the ethnic groups of mankind (Rev. 7:9).

Joining them at this great feast taking place in the Promised Land, principally on Mt. Zion, will be the survivors of God’s wrath upon planet earth at the Return of Christ:
         Zech. 14:16  Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles…
One thousand years of festivities comprise the wedding “day” of Christ and His Church. It begins with the Lord’s Return as king for His Bride at the Rapture (1Thess. 4:16-17) when they are finally joined as one (Rev. 19:7). This fulfills the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16)—a time of restoration, rebuilding and the repopulation of earth under Christ’s earthly reign (cf. Matt. 8:11; Is. 25:6; Zech. 14:16; Rev. 19:7, 9; Luke 14:15-17, 24; Matt. 22:2-4, 8-9), when the resurrected redeemed will reign with Christ.
         Rev. 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Origins Of Writing

Biblegems #258

Question:  According to Scripture, how far back in history do we find evidence of writing, and how does this compare with the secular estimation?

This question is of vital significance. For the ability to read and write is at the very heart of how God often reveals Himself:
         2Tim. 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

Most secular scholars, as well as many theologians, once believed that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible because (in their view) writing did not exist at that point in history (approx. 1400 B.C.).

Today it is commonly accepted that writing appeared around 3500 B.C. in Sumer in the form of cuneiform. The surprising thing about this appearance of writing between 5,000 – 6,000 years ago is that it was already well developed, showing up in Egypt and the Indus Valley. Biblically, that puts written communication at the very dawn of creation and the human race.

Scripture records five separate occasions where Moses was instructed by God to write down key events and instructions (Ex. 24:4,7,14; 34:27; Nu. 33:1-2; and Dt. 31:9, 24). Jesus himself authenticates Moses’ authorship of the first five books of the Bible (i.e., “the Law of Moses,” or, Heb.:  Torah):
         Luke 24:44  He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Where did Moses get his information from in writing down the history of his forebears, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and from their ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve? Each generation of the Hebrew people preserved the genealogies of their ancestors, all the way back to the first human couple. Moses eventually compiled these ancient histories and organized them in the book of Genesis. This would include the creation of the universe as God had described it to Adam and Eve.

The original sources Moses used to record these successive “generations” can still be seen in Genesis, beginning with Genesis 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth….” The book of Genesis is then organized under the headings of “the generations of Adam” (5:1), “…of Noah” (6:9), of Noah’s sons (10:1), “…of Shem” (11:10), “…of Terah” (11:27), ”… of Ishmael” (25:12), “…of Isaac” (25:190, “…of Esau” (36:1, 9), and “…of Jacob” (37:2). This means that Genesis contains the records of actual people and events written down by the people who witnessed them.

Adam and Eve were created as fully mature adults, capable from day one of articulate communication. They lived to be nearly one thousand years old, knowing their children’s children to the tenth generation.  As their descendants grew to maturity and moved out into the world, developing villages, tribes and cities, communication over distances necessitated the development of written language. And through this miracle of language transferred to written form, God has continued to speak to mankind:
         Ps. 139:16  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.