Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Resurrection is the Greatest Sign

If you want to truly call yourself a student of the Bible I see no way you can get around the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest sign of the gospel. Even though this is not a sign Jesus does himself it is a sign acted out upon him by the Holy Spirit through the guidance of the Father. We can easily validate this as being the greatest sign that Christ chose to give us, because he tells us so. In chapter two of John’s gospel he has just cleansed the temple and the Jews wanted an explanation. “So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” [1] He made sure to give them sign that was beyond adequate.

The Jews were always looking for Jesus to provide a sign of some sort for the things he was doing or to prove he was the Messiah (or Christ). Warren Wiersbe sums it up well by saying, “Often, during His ministry, the leaders asked Jesus to give them a sign; and He refused to do so, except for the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:39ff). The “sign of Jonah” is death, burial, and resurrection.”[2] This sign is even greater than the rest; it shows the culmination of his power. Sadly however some commentators chose not to recognize his resurrection as a great sign. While some struggle with believing Jesus is as powerful as he claimed to be. As believers we can trust that as Leon Morris says, “He is such a great person that even death gives place to him.” (Morris 1989, 118) Meaning that death has no control over Jesus, he told his disciples that even though he will lay down his life he has the power to take it back up again.(Jn 10:17)

One major thing we have to remember, while we may regret the fact that Jesus had to die such a brutal death on our behalf, if he had not died he could not have risen to be by the Father’s side. The great gift we receive by his death and resurrection is His Holy Spirit as Dr. Towns states, “But in the center of hatred, Jesus reminds them that they will be sustained by the Holy Spirit’s presence.” (Towns 2002, 159). His resurrection continues to be a sign, strengthening us today and giving us hope for the future.


Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989.

Towns, Elmer. John Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 2:18–22.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Jn 2:12.

Friday, October 8, 2010

God vs. Satan- an Essay on Dualism

Dualism is nothing new it has existed for centuries, it was once highly embraced by Mani and taught by him and later declared a heresy. A popular form of dualism has taken root in eastern philosophy; it’s commonly referred to as the “Yin-Yang” meaning that good and bad are equal opposing forces. If this were true that would mean that God is not God and fully in control, because he would share the same amount of power with Satan. God far surpasses Satan on so many levels; God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; while Satan is incapable of any of these qualities. God is the creator He has no beginning while we know that Satan was created by God. Dr. Towns says this about Satan’s abilities “Satan’s inability to create or be original, offers some insight into the mental capacity of Satan.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 380)

For whatever reason in our society today people either deny the existence of Satan or they will deny the fact that he is a fallen angel. Ezekiel 28:13-19, and Isaiah 14:12-15 also in 2 Peter 2:4 these scriptures speak clearly of Satan, these passages give us a good understanding that Satan was an angel who swelled with pride and thought he may over take God. In His perfect righteousness God could not allow Satan to challenge him, so He cast him out of heaven. God executed his judgment of Satan on several levels, he was first confined to the earth (Rev 12:12-17), then he will be confined for the millennium (Isa 24; Rev 20), his final judgment is being cast into the lake of fire and sulfur. (Rev 20:10)

There are several stances that have been taken to try and prove that the writers of the OT books Isaiah and Ezekiel were not writing prophetically of Satan, but rather of kings of their age or ones to come. To them I say how could the king be in the Garden of Eden (Ez 28:13), or told he was an anointed guardian cherub (Ez 28:14)? Isaiah speaks of the audacity of Satan in chapter 14:14, where Lucifer feels he can be like God himself. Dr. Towns states this clearly, “The ultimate desire of Satan was to take God’s place.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 362) As I have stated previously Satan does not possess the immutable characteristics of God, he lacks omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. I strongly feel that one of the greatest sources of Scripture to point out all the ways Satan is lacking is the Book of Job particularly chapter one. The fact that Satan was on the earth and had to leave it to enter in to the presence of the Lord shows he is not omnipresent. When the Lord has to mention to him have you considered my servant Job (Job 1:8) shows that he is not omniscient or the Lord would not have had to tell him of Job. The Lord also sets limits to the things Satan could do to Job, if he were omnipotent there would be no equal or greater force to stop him from doing what he wills.

Satan was originally created as an angel; their primary purposes are for the glory of God. While the word angel technically means a “messenger”, Dr. Towns says this of his origins, “Satan was also originally created as a being with power and personality and the freedom of choice. He was an angel with apparent honor and leadership in heaven. When Satan’s pride blinded him and led him to exercise his will in rebellion against God, he was cast out of heaven (Isa 14:12-15, cf. 2Peter 2:4; Jude 6)” (Towns 2008, 2002, 361)

When we chose to yield to sin we may blame Satan, however we may be giving him credit where it is not due. After the fall of Adam we are all indwelt with a sin nature that makes us all chase after our own longings. Satan merely takes our own inclinations to sin and sets us up in the perfect situations to give in. While God can understand a persons inner motivations Satan is only capable of gleaning information we make available to him, “This means Satan cannot read the thoughts of men, but he can predict their thoughts and actions based on his knowledge of their sinful nature.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 382) So while we may be tempted to sin we are never flung into it. Paul clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 we always have a way of escape.

Let these things resonate deep within you, and the next time someone tries to tell you that God and Satan are equal tell them, “Not a chance”. Then explain why.

Word Count: 784

Towns, Elmer. Theology for Today. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2008, 2002.