The Judgment Of God Upon Nations Of Man And Heavenly Signs

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Throughout time, God has often forecast His punishments upon sinful nations of humanity through heavenly signs and portents. Throughout Hs inspired Word, the Lord has demonstrated this time after time.  

Sometimes “Heavenly Signs” Can Be A Reference To Literal Phenomenon In The Heavens

When the Jews killed the Messiah of God, the Lord rejected them from being His covenant people (Romans 11:18-25). It was at the time of Jesus’ death on Calvary that God foretold in a heavenly omen the calamity which would fall upon the city of Jerusalem. The Prophet Amos declared:

Amos 8:9-10-9  “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in broad daylight; 10  I will turn your feasts into mourning, And all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, And baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only son, And its end like a bitter day.

When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary this Prophecy was fulfilled: 

Matthew 27:45-Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

Amazingly, many ancient historians confirm this darkness which took place when the Lord died.  

“Several interesting reports in extrabiblical literature suggest that the darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion was worldwide. The early church Father Origen (Against Celsus, 2.33) reported a statement by a Roman historian who mentioned such a darkness. Another church Father, Tertullian, wrote to some pagan acquaintances about an unusual darkness on that day, “which wonder is related in your own annals and preserved in your own archives to this day.” There was also a supposed report from Pilate to Emperor Tiberius that assumed the emperor’s knowledge of a certain widespread darkness, even mentioning that it was from twelve to three in the afternoon.” (John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 48425-48434 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Press) 

The Mayans and the Aztec civilizations also contain written references to the terrible darkness and horrible earthquakes which transpired when Christ died on the Cross. Don Mariano Fernandez de Echevarria y Veytia wrote a two volume work entitled Historia Antigua de Mexico. He chronicles:

“These natives indicate another singular event in their histories with great exactness, which later served them as a fixed era for their chronological calculations. They say that 166 years after the correction of their calendar, at the beginning of the year that was indicated with the hieroglyph of the House in the number ten, being a full moon, the sun was eclipsed at midday, the solar body being totally covered, such that the earth became darkened so much that the stars appeared and it seemed like night, and at the same time an earthquake was felt as horrible as they had ever experienced, because the stones crashing against one another were broken into pieces, and the earth opened up in many parts…Following these calculations, and adjusted to the comparison of the tables, this event should be placed in the year 4066 of the world, which was indicated with this character as can be seen in the tables, and precisely 166 after the adjustment of the calendar; and because of the circumstances surrounding this eclipse and earthquake, it was impossible for it to be any other than that which was observed at the death of Jesus Christ our Lord, having suffered it in the thirty-third year of his age, and so it seems that the incarnation of the Word should be placed in the year 4034 of the world, which the Indians indicated with the same hieroglyph of the House in the number 4, and I have noted it that way in the tables, and with this calculation following the chronological order they observed, counting the years from one memorable event to another with the assignment of the hieroglyph of the year in which they fell, I have been able to coordinate it perfectly with our years in the year 1519, in which Cortez landed at Veracruz, as will be seen in the discourse of this history. ( Donald W. Hemingway and W. David Hemingway, The Bearded White God Of Ancient America: The Legend Of Quetzalcoatl, 50-51; Cedar Fort, Inc)

The Lord Jesus Himself, before His crucifixion, warned the Jewish believers of His day that great signs in the heavens would herald the destruction of their city: 

Matthew 24:29-Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Mark 13:24-25-24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Luke 21:25-And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

Interestingly, all of these signs that Jesus prophesied would take place upon “this generation” (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32).

Sometimes people argue that Jesus simply meant that the phrase “this generation” would have reference to “that generation,” i.e., the generation which would be alive when the Lord came.

However, a thorough study of the phrase “this generation” as used in the Gospels will reveal that the phrase always had reference to the generation of people then living, i.e., within the first century A.D. (Cf. Matthew 11:16; 12:41-42; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12; 13:30; Luke 7:31; 11:29-32, 49-51; 17:25; 21:32).

More to the point, if Jesus had wanted to signify another generation then the one He was referring to (i.e., His own generation), there was a specific Greek phrase He could have used instead which would communicated that idea clearly: 

““Third, the adjective this points to the contemporary nature of the generation Jesus was referencing (cf. Matt. 11:23; 27:8; 28:15). If some future generation had been in view, Jesus could have chosen the adjective that (cf. 7:22; 10:19; 24:10, 36; 26:29). The passage would then read this way: “That generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” A study of the way Matthew uses the adjective “this” will show that Jesus had the generation to whom He was speaking in mind when He described its soon destruction: “Give us this day our daily bread” (6:11). “And this news went out into all the land” (9:26). “But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next” (10:23). “This is the one about whom it was written” (11:10). “This man casts out demons only be Beelzebul the ruler of the demons” (12:24). “And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come” (12:32).” (Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession Of The Modern Church, 101-102 (IBooks Edition); Powder Springs, GA; American Vision)

“Had Jesus meant a future generation He would have had to use a different demonstrative pronoun. Just as we have the term “this” for something close at hand, and “that” for something at a distance, so did the Greeks. Jesus said, “This [Greek haute ] generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” For Him to have meant a future generation, He would have had to have used ekeine which has the significance of “that.” Thus the “time- text” stands. The things mentioned prior to our “time- text” had to be fulfilled while the generation living at the time Jesus spoke these words still possessed physical life here on this earth.” (Everett I. Carver, When Jesus Comes Again, 5139–5372 (Kindle Edition); Prestonsburg, KY; Reformation Publishers)

The Jewish historian, Josephus, writes about the strange heavenly “signs” that took place before the destruction of the city of Jerusalem:

“(3). Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comment, that continued a whole year. (4). Thus also, before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when teh peole were come in great crows to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, (Nisan) and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day-time; which light lasted for half an hour. (5). This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes as to portend those vents that followed immediately upon it…Besides these, a few days after that feast on the one-and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius (Jyar), a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding cities.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.289-300 (6:5:3)

Sometimes “Heavenly Signs” Can Be A Figurative Reference To The Downfall Of Rulers And Nations 

While the imagery of heavenly signs could at times have reference to literally phenomena which would occur, sometimes there was a figurative application of such language as well.  

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s Prophets sometimes referred to prominent leaders and rulers as “stars” and couched the destruction of wicked nations in the terminology of galactic doom. In these cases, the references were not understood literally but figuratively and poetically, as expressing great sorrow and destruction upon nations.  

In this connection, notice how the patriarchs of the tribe of Judah are described:

Genesis 37:9-Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”
Here, Jacob’s family is personified as the sun, moon, and stars.  

Consider again how the kings of the Canaanites are described: 

Judges 5:19-20-19 “The kings came and fought, Then the kings of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoils of silver. 20 They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera.

When describing the destruction of the city of Jerusalem that occurred in 586 B.C., the Prophet Jeremiah writes:

Jeremiah 4:23-28-23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the LORD, By His fierce anger. 27 For thus says the LORD: “The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen. They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks. Every city shall be forsaken, And not a man shall dwell in it.

In this passage, Jeremiah is specifically describing the siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 4:7). Please observe how the destruction of a city is couched in poetic expressions of universal gloom and calamity.  

Isaiah the Prophet uses the same imagery in describing the downfall of the nation of Babylon. He writes: 

Isaiah 13:9-10-9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.

To make it clear that the Lord was describing the downfall of Babylon in this passage, we are again told:

Isaiah 13:17-19-17 “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it. 18 Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children. 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

Carefully consider that these events were all fulfilled long before the time of Christ, and that the apocalyptic language used here was describing the downfall of a specific nation. The imagery of stars falling, the sun not giving light, etc. was not literal: instead, it was poetically used to illustrate the downfall of specific nations in the world.  

Later, in describing the downfall of the nation of Edom, we find similar language used:

Isaiah 34:2-5-2 For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, And His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. 3 Also their slain shall be thrown out; Their stench shall rise from their corpses, And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree. 5 “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment.

The Prophet Ezekiel describes the destruction of Egypt by the nation of Babylon, under the king Nebuchadnezzar. In his account, he uses similar language to that of Isaiah:

Ezekiel 30:10-12-10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will also make a multitude of Egypt to cease By the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. 11 He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, Shall be brought to destroy the land; They shall draw their swords against Egypt, And fill the land with the slain. 12 I will make the rivers dry, And sell the land into the hand of the wicked; I will make the land waste, and all that is in it, By the hand of aliens. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Ezekiel 32:7-11-7 When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give her light. 8 All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you, And bring darkness upon your land,’ Says the Lord GOD. 9 ‘I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries which you have not known. 10 Yes, I will make many peoples astonished at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they shall tremble every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall.’ 11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you.

Even David, when he was delivered from the hand of king Saul, used similar language to that of the Prophets in describing the immense events of that time:

Psalm 18:6-15-6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears. 7 Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry. 8 Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet. 10 And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies. 12 From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire. 13 The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. 14 He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them. 15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, The foundations of the world were uncovered At Your rebuke, O LORD, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

Some General Observations 

From the foregoing study, we can draw some general conclusions.  

First, throughout the Bible, there were times when God forecast His judgments upon the nations of wicked men with literal signs in the Heavens that took place. The judgments that these signs forecast could take many forms, including (but not limited to) profound darkness, eclipses, strange visions in the skies, and differing weather conditions. While the signs themselves could be used to forecast Divine judgment, this was not always their function.  

Second, often in Scripture, heavenly signs are used in a figurative sense to describe the rise and fall of political leaders and powerful nations.  

Third, it needs to be pointed out even more emphatically that while the Bible teaches that God sometimes provides heavenly signs of the downfall of wicked and corrupt nations, there are no signs given of the end of the world itself.

This important contrast is made especially clear in the 24th chapter of Matthew. There, several signs are provided for the disciples to beware of regarding the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. The disciples were able to recognize these signs, and therefore were able to flee from the city before its destruction. However, of the end of the world (age), there would be no signs would be given to forecast this day is judgement.  

Matthew 24:36-But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Matthew 24:42-Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:44-Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 25:13-Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Friends, Christ come come back at any time. On that day, each person will be judged:

Revelation 20:11-15-11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

The only hope you have of being saved is to obey the plan of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He died for you, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Why not today repent of your sins as a believer in Jesus Christ and be baptized into Him to be saved? 

Romans 6:3-4-3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

If you are a child of God who has been unfaithful to Him, won’t you please come back to Him in repentance and prayer?  

Revelation 3:20-Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

Interesting Facts From The Temple Of Serapis

 

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

In the writings of Socrates, there is found a very interesting passage about the temple of Serapis.  

We read: 

“When the Temple of Serapis was torn down and laid bare, there were found in it, engraven on stones, certain characters which they call hieroglyphics, having the forms of crosses. Both the Christians and pagans on seeing them, appropriated and applied them to their respective religions: for the Christians who affirm that the cross is the sign of Christ’s saving passion, claimed this character as peculiarly theirs; but the pagans alleged that it might appertain to Christ and Serapis in common; for,’ said they, it symbolizes one thing to Christians and another to heathens.’ Whilst this point was controverted amongst them, some of the heathen converts to Christianity, who were conversant with these hieroglyphic characters, interpreted the form of a cross and said that it signifies Life to come.’ This the Christians exultingly laid hold of, as decidedly favorable to their religion. But after other hieroglyphics had been deciphered containing a prediction that When the cross should appear,’—for this was life to come,’—the Temple of Serapis would be destroyed,’ a very great number of the pagans embraced Christianity, and confessing their sins, were baptized. Such are the reports I have heard respecting the discovery of this symbol in form of a cross.” (AETERNA PRESS, The Ecclesiastical History Of Socrates, Scholasticus, 4156-4165 (Kindle Edition)) 

Several things about this predictions rom Serapis stand out and are worthy of our consideration.  

First, let’s look at the identity of this person “Serapis.” Who exactly was he?

One of the ancient church fathers, Melito, has given us a clue to the identity of Serapis when he writes: 

“The Egyptians worshipped Joseph the Hebrew, who was called Serapis, because he supplied them with corn during the years of famine. (Melito (c. 170, E), 8.752) 

One of the names of Joseph, therefore, was Serapis. This is corroborated, in fact, by several other “church fathers.”

Ken Johnson provides an excellent summary of how the Egyptians understood Serapis: 

“Who was Serapis and how was he able to accurately prophesy? The ancient church fathers relate that Serapis was one of the Egyptian names given to Joseph, son of Jacob. Joseph knew that in time the Egyptians would worship him as they did most of the ancestral kings. So he built a library to house the oracles of the one true God of the Hebrews, and carved the prophecy into the stone walls of the library. In time it was perverted into a pagan temple, and Sarapis became synonymous with the god O s iris. When worshiped under the figure of a bull , he is called Apis.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D., Ancient Prophecies Revealed: 500 Prophecies Listed In Order Of When They Were Fulfilled, 76 (Kindle Edition); BibleFacts.org) 

Second, this identification of Serapis with Joseph helps us to understand the powerful prophecy that was here manifest. Joseph was a Prophet of God through whom the Lord revealed the future. For example, we are told:

Genesis 41:25-Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do:

Joseph made it clear that his knowledge of the future and of interpreting dreams came from the Almighty, and not from Joseph himself:

Genesis 41:16-So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Jospeh, the Prophet of God, was able to see into the future. This ability was given to the Prophets as an evidence to the people that they were truly serving the one true God:

Isaiah 41:21-24-21 “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. 23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. 24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.  

Amos 3:7-Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

The pagans often had knowledge of the Gospel of Christ (as reflected in their writings) because they incorporated the prophecies from the Hebrews.  

“The influence of ancient Judaism is evident throughout different cultures.85 Monotheism and the prophecies of a Savior, born of a virgin, sacrificed for sins, and resurrected can be found throughout the Old Testament documents. The first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, was recorded approximately 1446 BC (oral tradition likely preserving it for countless years prior to that date), and the entire Old Testament was translated into Greek around 250 BC, making it available in the common language of the Hellenistic empire that extended to the ends of the known world. Since the Old Testament prophesied of the virgin-born Messiah, it is not surprising that the story spread before Christ’s first advent. An Egyptian papyrus dated to 340 BC reveals, “Who is the author of Re-birth? The Son of God, the One Man, by God’s Will.”86 And from another source, dated to approximately the same time, “The Lord and maker of all . . . from himself made the second God, the Visible . . . whom he loved as his Son.” Although not in agreement with Christian doctrine as to the nature of the Son, these two writings predate Christianity and point to what can be considered a common knowledge. Old Testament history (both oral and written) provides a basis for the existence of mutual knowledge, since the cultural and religious practices of neighboring and distant nations is referenced several times by different authors. In light of these historical facts, the Savior myth can be seen as a common belief emerging from the similar nature of human beings, a diffusion of knowledge from a central base—the Middle East, and the direct result of the distortion of biblical prophecy. Common knowledge produced generally similar stories whose details were invariably different.” (Walter Martin, Jill Martin, Rische Kurt, Van Gorden, The Kingdom Of The Occult, 112-113 (Kindle Edition); Nashville,, Tn; Thomas Nelson)  

Third, this information about the temple of Serapis reveals to us the fact that Joseph had told the people long before the time of Christ about the religion that the Creator world bring to the world which would herald salvation. What would be the sign of this new religion?

The cross!  

It is important for us to realize that numerous events in the Bible pointed to what Jesus would accomplish at Calvary. It is no wonder that Paul reminds us:

1 Corinthians 1:18-For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

When Jesus died for the sins of mankind on the cross of Calvary, He was paving the way for us to be saved and redeemed.  

Colossians 1:20-and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

The Gospel (Good News) is primarily about the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). What incredibly good news this is for those who are being saved!  

Finally, please notice that the pagans responded in precisely the correct way to this knowledge. Having heard the Word of God, they as believers repented and were baptized into Christ. In Scripture, we are told:

Acts 2:41-Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 8:12-13-But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

Acts 8:38-So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

Acts 9:18-Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

Acts 10:47-48-47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Acts 16:14-15-14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.  

Acts 16:33-And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Acts 18:8-Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Acts 19:5-When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16-And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

Why not follow their example and turn your life to the Lord friends?  

Or if you are a child of God who has turned away from the Lord, why not repent today and confess your sins to the Lord in prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

What Are The Facts About 1 John 5:7?

 

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Near the end of the Apostle John’s First Epistle, he makes a powerful statement about the Godhead: 

1 John 5:7-For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.  

What is tragic is that many versions of the Bible completely omit this passage of Scripture. Those Bible translations today which retain this passage (such as the New King James Version) usually have a footnote which says this verse was based on only a few very late manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. 

Well, what are the facts of this passage of Scripture? Please notice the following: 

“Only 300 of the 5, 300 plus manuscripts have 1 John. Of these 300 , only ten Greek manuscripts ranging from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century, contain the Johannine Comma ; Manuscripts 61, 629, 918, 2318 , 2473, 88, 177, 221, 429, 636 . Ni n e Latin manuscripts , ranging from the 10th to 16th centuries include the Comma. These facts are used by some scholars to teach that the Comma was never in the original text of 1 John…..First John 5: 9 10 refer to the event recorded in Matthew 17:5 where God the Father spoke out of heaven and testified that Jesus was His Son. If we leave the Comma in , we have the witness of the Trinity and the witness of man in verses 7- 8 . Verse 9 contrasts the witness of men, describe in verses 6 and 8 with the witness of God in verse 7 and 10- 11 . If we leave out the Comma , we have verses 10- 11 referring back to a non- existent clause…Several ancient church fathers quote or allude to this passage. Cyprian says: The Lord says, ‘ I and the Father are one; ’ [ John 10:30 ] and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy S pirit, ‘a nd these three are one ’ [1 John 5:7- 8]. Cyprian, Unity of the Church 6 , AD 250…Jerome commented in his Latin Vulgate that the Greek church created a controversy when they decided to leave out the Johannine Comma . His Greek copies, now non- existent, contained the Johannine Comma and he refused to alter the Scriptures! The general epistles are not the same in the Greek Church a s they are for the Latin Church . .. The general epistles have been correctly understood and faithfully translated into Latin [from the Greek] in their entirety, without ambiguous or missing information; especially the verse about the unity of the Trinity found in 1 John . Unfaithful translators have created much controversy by omitting the phrase “ Father, Word, and Spirit , ” while leaving the phrase “water, blood and spirit , ” which only serves to strengthen our faith and show the Father , Son , and Holy Spirit are of the same substance. I do not fear those who call me a corrupter of Scriptures ; I refuse to deny the truth of Scripture to those who seek it. Jerome , Prologue to the Canonical Epistles , Codex Fuldensis , AD 541- 546…Tertullian stated that 1 John 5:7 is saying these three are one in substance, and this is what Jesus meant when He said that He and the Father are One in John 10:30. Jesus did not mean He was the Father. “‘These Three are one’ in essence, not one Person, as it is said, ‘I and M y Father are One,’ in respect of unity of substance , not singularity of number.” Tertullian Against Praxeas 25 , AD 200…We have 86,000 quotes of Scripture from the ancient church fathers (AD 32- 325). Here are just a few of the ones who either quoted , or alluded to , the Johannine Comma. 215, Tertullian, Against Praxeas 25 250 , Cyprian, Unity of the Church 6 250 , Cyprian, Epistle to Jubaianus 635, Athanasius, Books 1 & 10 , cited three times 380, Priscillian , Liber Apologeticus 385, Gregory of Nazianzus , Theological Orientations (Holy Spirit ) 390, Jerome, Prologue to the General Epistles 450, Author Unknown, De divinis Scripturis suie Spaculum 500, Jerome, Codex Freisingensis 527, Flugentius , De Trinitate.” (Ken Johnson, Ancient Word Of God: KJV Only Or Not? 112-117 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added M.T.))  

From this information, several conclusions may be drawn.  

First, from a contextual point of view, 1 John 5:6-9 implies the need for verse 7. Without verse 7, there is an obvious “vacuum” in the text.  

Second, the textual evidence for 1 John 5:7 is actually very strong. Not only is this verse found in several of the Greek manuscripts, it is included in several of the early versions of the New Testament and it is quoted by several of the early “church fathers.” With that in mind, it seems that there is good reason to include the Comma in the text of the Scripture.  

Third, it is interesting that Jerome points out that his manuscript copies of the Greek New Testament contained the Comma, and that it is inserted into every one of the Latin Vulgate manuscripts which contain 1 John.  

Fourth, it is possible that there were some in the early church who attempted to tamper with some of the manuscripts of the Bible, just as Jehoiakim tried to cut up and burn the scroll of the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36). Nevertheless, just as in the case mentioned above, the Word of God stands true. As God promised, He has preserved His Word (Psalm 12:6-7)!  

Fifth, it is important to realize that the truths taught in 1 John 5:7 are amply taught elsewhere in the Scripture. For example, the Old Testament makes several references to the Godhead (Genesis 1:26-27; Isaiah 6:8; 48:16; Psalm 45:6, etc.) as does the New Testament (John 1:1-5; 10:30; 20:28; Acts 5:1-3; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Corinthians 13:14, etc.). As such, I would not encourage a person to totally dismiss a Bible translation based on that translation’s treatment of this one verse. Instead, I would encourage a balanced view of regarding some translations as stronger and some as weaker.

It is important to remember that Jesus and His Apostles often quoted from the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament and called it the Word of God, despite its’ obvious weaknesses.  

The entire Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) has made a tremendous sacrifice to save you from sin (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

Will you not today turn to the Son of God Who loved you, died for your sin, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)?

Will you not as a believer repent of your sin and be baptized by the authority of Christ for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:36-38)?

If you are an erring Christian, I plead with you today to be restored back to your relationship with Christ (Galatians 6:1-2) by repenting and praying (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).  

The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  

Is There A God? A NASA Scientist Weighs In

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Introduction

Leslie Wickman, Ph.D., is a very fascinating woman!

She is a corporate test astronaut, a rocket scientist, and a Hubble Space Telescope engineer. In March of 2014, after the possible discovery of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation, Leslie was invited by CNN to write an editorial on the question, “Does The Big Bang Breakthrough Offer Proof Of God?” Shortly thereafter, she was invited by Worthy Publishing to write a book on that topic. She accepted, and her book, God Of The Big Bang: How Modern Science Affirms The Creator, soon became a reality.

In this article, I would like to carefully consider her book, as it offers many unique contributions to the field of Christian Apologetics. So often I hear it proclaimed by angry atheists, “Real scientists don’t believe in God!” Sadly, many people believe this rhetoric: yet as I have learned through nearly three decades of research, real science lands one directly at the feet of the Creator: and many scientists recognize and affirm this!  Continue reading Is There A God? A NASA Scientist Weighs In

The Argument For The Deity Of Jesus Christ

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

As New Testament Christians, our faith is dependent upon the identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the foundation of the church of Christ (Matthew 16:13-18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20-22).

In this article, we are going to carefully examine and explicate the basic argument which shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The Argument Stated Continue reading The Argument For The Deity Of Jesus Christ

“I Can’t Become A Christian Because I Know That I’ll Mess Up”

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Over my years of preaching the Gospel, I have been richly blessed to speak with several individuals about lots of different topics.

One of the topics that has come up more times then I can count deals with excuses people make about not wanting to become a Christian.   Continue reading “I Can’t Become A Christian Because I Know That I’ll Mess Up”

Job Bible Class: Job’s Friends-Part One

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Quotation For Consideration

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? (Abraham Lincoln)

Introduction

Most of the Book of Job is a series of conversations between Job and his three friends: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. While much of these friends’ attitudes and actions are reprehensible, there are some commendable things about them which stand out.

In this lesson, we will carefully consider some of the more endearing qualities of these men. The main text we will be studying comes from the second chapter of Job:

Job 2:11-Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. Continue reading Job Bible Class: Job’s Friends-Part One