I believe Zacchaeus’ testimony reveals that he was not the great sinner he was considered to be. For example, if Zacchaeus cheated everyone, how could he have given half of his goods to the poor and still make restitution according to his own interpretation of the Law? Logic demands that, if Zacchaeus had to give away all his money to make restitution, his goods, minus what he had already given to the poor, could be only 20 % of the total wealth he had left. He would then return what he had stolen, plus four times what he had already returned. Such a thing would amount to the other half of his goods. Therefore, if Zacchaeus was a thief, and I don’t believe he was, he couldn’t have been stealing from everyone. Most of his wealth, he had to have accumulated honestly. Read the rest of this entry »
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Presently, I’m involved in a study of Luke 17. However, Luke records Jesus saying something here that has some bearing upon what he said in Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse. In the Olivet Prophecy Jesus gave several signs of his coming and of the end of the age, or when these things would occur, which was in reply to the question the four Apostles asked in Matthew 24:3 and Luke 21:7. The claim, however, is that Jesus was able to offer signs that would foreshadow the coming of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, but no sign could be offered for the coming destruction of the world, so Matthew 24:36 is interpreted to be a dividing point between the two judgments. Nevertheless, this idea cannot be adequately defended with scripture. Read the rest of this entry »
Most folks, today, who believe the Bible look for the Day of the Lord to arrive soon, but given the geocentric information offered in the New Testament, what would such an event look like today? What do the Scriptures say about this day, and should we understand them literally or is there another way to see them that fulfills what we are told, but doesn’t destroy everything God created? Peter writes about the “world that then was” as he speaks of the judgment of the Flood, implying that ‘the heavens and earth’ existing in Peter’s day were different from what we would have found before the Flood. Yet, not only did Noah’s ‘heavens and earth’ pass away to make room for that which Peter knew, but Peter tells us to look for yet ‘newer heavens and a newer earth,’ different from what existed in his day. In other words, the scriptures speak at least twice of God making new heavens and a new earth, the final one coming with the Day of the Lord in which Christ would come. What does all this mean, and can we know?
Awhile back I attended a church most Christians would call a cult. After attending for a few years, I heard a voice that, today, I liken to the midnight cry in Matthew 25:6. It came from a group who wished to break away from the main body, but I heard it as though it came from the Lord. For the first time since joining the group, I listened intently to evaluate what was said. I found that neither the main body nor the smaller faction was saying anything different. Corruption was the outcry from the smaller group, and heretic was the cry coming from the mother church. I looked into God’s word and began asking questions of my own. I found that neither group considered me valuable enough to fight for—to risk anything to protect or save me. So, they ran from me. No one came looking (Luke 15:4-6)—but Jesus! Read the rest of this entry »