9) Experience vs Revelation

Science cannot answer the question “Does God exist?”science studies the natural world, not the supernatural. No amount of scientific testing or theorizing could prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural creator.

So we are forced to rely on revelation by a supernatural being.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But as described in these news reports, others saw warning signs, and escaped with their lives…

a 10-year-old British girl saved more than 100 people because she had just studied the killer waves in school. When the sea suddenly began to boil, then pulled away from the resort she was visiting, leaving fish and boats stranded high and dry, Tilly Smith recognized that a tsunami was approaching. Fortunately, her frantic warnings were heeded, and the beach was evacuated just moments before the huge waves crashed ashore…

Many other people in the region were less attuned to nature, and paid with their lives. 

The most important knowledge, guiding our values and behaviors during our lifetime, is what happens after this lifetime.

But there are over 4,000 religions in the world offering hope for a quality of spiritual existence after death of the body. Which one is trustworthy?

From a research perspective, the logical place to start investigating is with the documents that provide an established basis for trust on the statistical evidence of

  • prevalence – consistently high numbers of believers over time
  • and incidence – consistently high numbers of new adherents over time

Of all religions, the Bible, written by Jews thousands of years ago, has the best statistics for prevalence and incidence over the entire course of history.

Currently there are 2.4 billion Christians basing their beliefs on the Bible, and 1.8 billion Moslems whose Quran drew much of its fundamental beliefs from the Bible. Many other religions also derive from these three religions, ergo, are rooted in the Bible. By comparison, Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with 1.1 billion followers of polytheism and lots of diversity without consistency, so that’s pretty much a shot in the dark. Plus, maybe you had an exceptional life but most of the people I know don’t want to have go through this again. Let alone degrade!

But seriously, please take note that this blog-book investigates the supernatural claims of the Bible, the source document, not religions or religious leaders. Any research requires consistency in what is being researched, and there is no consistency in the multiple religions claiming to be based on the same source document.

In clinical research…homogeneous patient population needs to be selected…The inclusion criteria identify the study population in a consistent…uniform and objective manner.

So this study does not include Christian beliefs nor does it attempt to convert the reader to a Christian world view. (Statistically, probably just lost the majority of potential followers…)

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him…and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

This everlasting gospel predates Christianity and even Judaism in its practices and dogmas. The everlasting gospel even predates this world and time.

God ordained before the worldthe things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:5-9)

It is a fact that the Bible is the single most trusted collection of history and predictions that has remained culturally relevant over three millennia despite massive culture shifts from ancient hunter-gatherer societies to today’s Space Age.

For example,

A statement in Bible written about 100 AD reports that the end of material existence is inextricably linked to the end of time.

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heavenAnd sware by him

  • that liveth for ever and ever,
  • who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein,
  • that there should be time no longer…

And I saw...the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Revelation 10:5-7, 21:1)

Looking at this from another angle, the Bible reported a scientific law 2,000 years before Einstein. This is impressive credentialing for the Bible.

Scientists once thought that space and time were separate, and that the universe was merely an assortment of cosmic bodies arranged in three dimensions. Einstein, however, introduced the concept of time as the fourth dimension, which meant that space and time were inextricably linked….Many years after its proposal, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was proven.

the Bible is…not a science textbook…Instead, God teaches us about these things through his general revelation in the created order.

However…defining religion and science as separate…doesn’t help us understand the interactions they do have, either negative or positive…we need all the knowledge and wisdom we can get, rather than handicapping ourselves by looking only to science or only to the Bible. If we look to only one or the other, we will get a distorted view of the issue. 

God reveals himself in the book of Scripture and the book of Nature. To learn more about God and his work, we study both books…In both revelations, we look for the underlying truth of who God is.

The Bible presents itself as history. Its historical validity should be judged in the same manner as that of any other ancient document. There are three tests to determine whether any ancient document can be trusted as history:

Bibliographic Test. How many different copies exist, and how much time elapsed between the original writing and the first available copy?…

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In most cases, relatively few copies of ancient documents exist, made long after the original. For example, there are 193 copies of the works of Sophocles. The earliest was written 1,400 years after the original autograph. This is a large number of copies compared to other ancient works of history. The New Testament, by comparison, is supported by over 24,000 different copies, the earliest of which was made only 25 years after the original. The New Testament has more bibliographic support than any other historical document of its time..

Internal Test. Does the document contradict itself?

The Bible was written by numerous people over a period of about 1,500 years. I fully expected to find contradictions…I was amazed at the integrity I found, from cover to cover, through all the years and all the writers. That integrity and depth continues to amaze me and convince me that the Bible cannot have been written by humans on their own. Further study began to reveal patterns beneath patterns in the text…The Bible is specific, historical, and remarkably different from other books and writings that claim to be holy or inspired…

The gospels are extremely consistent with one another by ancient standards, which are the only standards by which it is fair to evaluate them…written by one careful historian (Luke) and three different eyewitnesses to the events (Matthew, Peter with Mark transcribing, and John). When eyewitness accounts agree in every detail, it is evidence of copying or collaboration. The authors of the gospels recorded information that reflected unfavorably on themselves. Untruthful witnesses tend to edit that kind of information out! The writers had nothing to gain by publicizing their work except persecution, ostracism and martyrdom.

External Test. Does the document contradict external sources of historical or archaeological fact..?

The more overlap there is with other documents written during the same time period, the more authentic a record is considered to be. The document must also be consistent with archaeological discoveries. Over the years, archaeologists have successfully used the Bible to guide them to excavation sites…”Archaeologists were surprised when they discovered evidence of civilizations mentioned in the Bible, such as the Hittites, but previously assumed to be legendary.

One expert documented 39 ancient sources that corroborate more than one hundred facts concerning Jesus’ life, teachings, crucifixion and resurrection…

If one discards the Bible as being reliable, then he must discard almost all literature of antiquity…One needs to apply the same test, whether the literature under investigation is secular or religious.

I did not set out to prove or disprove the Bible. I just wanted to satisfy myself that my decisions about it were informed, not based on assumptions..

No other religious documents match the detail provided in the Bible about the end of this world.

  • What – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” (Revelation 21:1)
  • When – “the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
  • How -“fire came down from God out of heaven.” (Revelation 20:10)
  • To whom – “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God…and the dead were judged” (Revelation 20:11-15)

The last book of the Bible remains 100% consistent with the preceding 3,300 years’ worth of documented eyewitness testimony of current events and future prophecies which have all come true. That is astounding testimony.

  • The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
  • which God gave unto him,
  • to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;
  • and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant JohnWho bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1-2)

A straightforward grammatical understanding of the first words of this document give us to understand the focus of the revelation is Jesus Christ. It is not, as commonly presented, a revelation of “the end times events”.

The word “signified” sémainó in Greek, means to give a sign / sēmeíon to confirm, corroborate or authenticate. Basically to imprint a seal on a document to authenticate its veracity.

How was Jesus Christ the seal of approval of this revelation to John? The text gives the answer. “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

I Johnwas in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw…one like unto the Son of manAnd when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not…I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” (Revelation 1:9-19)

John could authenticate that the immortal being that he saw was Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, because he had personally witnessed Jesus Christ transformed from mortal to immortal after he had been definitely killed, then risen again.

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, he said…It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost…Then came the soldiers, and…saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and wter. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe…(John 19:25-35)

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him…So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying…And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself…and he saw, and believed [on the basis of the evidence] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:1-9)

I learned the signif-icance / signif-ying of the napkin’s placement to John when I was in the Middle East where meals stretch out with lots of socialization. One’s napkin is a silent message to the guests. As long as the host keeps his napkin in use the event continues, often long into the night. The host can fold his napkin and place it to the side while he relieves himself, to mingle with the crowd at the event, but he is not finished until he crumples his napkin and places it on top of the his plate / rest of the linens.

This sign still lingers in today’s customs.

In the event that you need to leave the table during a meal, lay your napkin on the seat of your chair, loosely folded. A napkin is never returned to the table until you are ready to depart;

The meal that Yeshua was hosting was the Last Supper, begun the night on which he was betrayed, four days earlier.

“the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

The position of Yeshua’s napkin signified to John that Yeshua wasn’t finished. He would rejoin his friends when he came back from where-ever it was he had temporarily gone.

“Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead…Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus lovedThis is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 19:25-20:9, 21:14-24)

Any acceptance of the veracity of John’s Revelation is irretrievably linked to John’s testimony in the Gospel of John. Just a quick review:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light [energy] of men…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world… ye believe in God, believe also in me…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 1:1-4, 14, 29; 14:1-4)

Yeshua’s work on earth, and the first generation of eyewitnesses to his life and death, never veered from the preceding messages of God’s prophets:

our Lord Jesus Christ…gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world…I marvel that ye are so soon removed…unto another gospelWhich is not another; but there be some that…pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:3-9)

The final revelation wraps up the first good news / gospel that the Seed of the Woman would defeat the Serpent’s nefarious plan to lure mankind into a death trap.

 “the woman said, The serpent beguiled me…And the LORD God said unto the serpent…I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between your [supernatural seed and her [human] seed;

  • it shall bruise [smash] thy head [destroying you],
  • and thou shalt bruise his heel [only temporarily disabled].” (Genesis 3:13-15)
  • “all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly…the day that cometh shall burn them up…
  • But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Malachi 4:1-2)

Highly relevant to the current hazardous condition of the world, the last book of the Bible describes in the detail how the world ends in the last show-down between Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, God and Satan.

s0edtw

The last book in the Bible is the last chance for salvation before the hand of an angry God slams down.

  • It is credentialed by the previous accounts in the New Testament
    • which are accreditd by their faithfulness to the accounts in the Old Testament
      • which is founded on the revelation of Creation by Almighty God.

Only a Creator God can control the forces of physics to rescue us from the inevitable decay and ultimate destruction known to afflict mortal living beings and even the entire universe.

from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead

  • Behold, HE cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him…
  • and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. 
  • I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,
  • which is, and which was, and which is to come,
  • the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:6-19)

And opposing him by attempting to convince the world that HE has the power over life and death is:

The beast [unclassified in existing taxonomy]  that…

  • was, and is not
  • [HE] shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and [his fate is sealed] go into perdition:
  • and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

ten kings…shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb,

and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and THEY that are with HIM ARE…FAITHFUL.” (Revelation 17:8-14)

There are repetitive patterns of human behavior that allow forecasting the future in every scenario from child care to economics etc. Past biblical predictions that have come to pass provide a basis for believing that future predictions of that same scenario will also come to pass.

“the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now…turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil….And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered [from destruction].” (Joel 2, Romans 10:13)

the-endless-ending-explained

The Endless” is proof…this is a movie that plays with our perceptions of time, space, and reality, and sketches the outlines of unimaginable [endless] terror…

Things become unmoored from scientifically verifiable truth…There are so many strange moments and images, most of them tossed-off…effectiveness comes from comparing what we’re told would happen against what actually does happen. 

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