The Truth About Thanksgiving

The Truth About Thanksgiving

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From “The Light and the Glory” (compiled from the libraries of Harvard and Yale), by Peter Marshall, Chapter 6, “God Our Maker Doth Provide.”

The Pilgrims named the site Plymouth, not because it happened to be called New Plymouth on John Smith’s map, but because Plymouth in Old England was the last town they left in the native country; and for that they received many kindnessess from some Christians there.

“When the worst was over, they had lost forty-seven people, nearly half their original number, and through it all, their hearts remained soft toward God. Whether they knew that they were being tested, as Bradford later suspected, the high point of their week remained Sunday worship when the beat of a field drum would summon them to the morning and afternoon services. All on board the Mayflower would come ashore, and joined the procession led by William Brewster, their spiritual leader until such time as God provided them with a minister.

pilgrim-thanksgiving-5“As they made their way up the hill for worship, their clothes were not the somber browns and blacks of the pictures that hang in school rooms around Thanksgiving time. Miles Standish almost certainly wore his plum-red cape, and William Brewster had an emerald- green satin doublet which might have been appropriate Sunday garb. For these were Elizabethan Englishmen. It would be their Puritan cousins of a later generation who would hold that ‘frivolous’ clothes connoted a frivolous heart attitude.  “The service was held in the blockhouse at the top of the hill, an imposing building with a flat roof and a trap door, so the house could be defended from the roof. Inside, on rough hewn log benches, the men would sit on the left, the women on the right. William Brewster would preach, because he had a gift for teaching ‘both powerfully and profitably, to the great contentment of the hearers, and their comfortable edification.’ Many were brought to God by his ministry. Bradford said Brewster’s preaching was an instrument to ‘bring sweet repentance to their hearts for the sins they might have forgotten about.’

“Their territory had always been the territory of the Patuxets, a large, hostile tribe who had barbarously murdered every white man who had landed on their shores. But four years prior to the Pilgrim’s arrival, a mysterious plague had broken out among them, killing every man, woman, and child. So compete was the devastation that the neighboring tribes had shunned the area ever since, convinced that some great supernatural spirit had destroyed the Pautaxets. In 1605 when Squanto and four other Indians were taken captive by Captain George Weymouth, who was exploring the New England coast at the behest of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, they were taken to England. There, they were taught English so Gorges could question them concerning the tribes that populated New England, and where the most favorable places to establish colonies could be found. Squanto spent the next nine years in England, where he met Captain John Smith, recently of Virginia, who promised to take him back to his people on Cape Cod. He did not have to wait long. On Smith’s 1614 voyage of mapping and exploring, Squanto was returned to the Patuxets, at the place Smith named New Plymouth.

“When the Indian stepped ashore six months before the Pilgrims arrived, he received the most tragic blow of his life: not a man, woman, or child of his tribe was left alive. Nothing but skulls and bones and ruined dwellings remained.

“He wandered aimlessly, until one day he walked into the Massasoit’s camp, and Samoset brought news of a small colony of peaceful English families who were hard pressed to stay alive. Squanto found his reason for living again. These English were like little babes, so ignorant of the ways of the wild.

_Plymouthrock“The next day he brought them all the eels he could hold in his hands, which the Pilgrims found ‘fat and sweet.’ He took several young men and taught them how to squash eels out of the mud with bare feet and catch them with bare hands. Next, he showed them how to plant corn the Indian way, hoeing six-foot squares in toward the center, putting down four or five kernels, and then fertilizing the corn with fish. He taught them to guard their corn against wolves, so the wolves could not take the fish fertilizing the crop.

“Obediently the men did as he told them, and four days later the creeks for miles around were clogged with alewives making their spring run. The Pilgrims didn’t catch them; they harvested them! He taught them how to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries. He also introduced them to the pelt of the beaver, which was in plentiful supply in north New England, and in great demand throughout Europe. Not only did Squanto get them started, but he guided them in the trading, making sure they got their full money’s worth in top-quality pelts. This would prove to be their economic deliverance, just as corn would be their physical deliverance.

“Despite several deaths and the Mayflower heading back for England, leaving them at the complete mercy of the land, the Pilgrims were brimming over with gratitude the summer of 1621. Much work went into the building of new dwellings, and ten men were sent north up the coast in the sailing shallop to conduct trade with the Indians. Squanto once again acted as their guide and interpreter. It was a successful trip, and that fall’s harvest provided more than enough corn to see them through their second winter.

“The Pilgrims were thankful, not only to Squanto and the Wamanoags who had been so friendly, but to God. In him they had trusted, and He had honored their obedience beyond their dreams. So, Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving, to be held in October. Massasoit was invited, and unexpectedly arrived a day early, with ninety Indians! Counting their numbers, the Pilgrims had to pray hard to keep from giving into despair. To feed such a crowd would cut deeply into the food supply that was to get them through the winter.

_Thanksgiving3“But if they had learned one thing through their travails, it was to trust God implicitly. As it turned out, the Indians were not arriving empty-handed. Massoit had commanded his braves to hunt for the occasion. They arrived with no less than five dressed deer, and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys. They also helped with the preparations, teaching the Pilgrim women how to make hoecakes, and a tasty pudding made out of cornmeal and maple syrup. Finally, they showed them an Indian delicacy: how to roast corn kernels in an earthen pot until they popped, fluffy and white, popcorn!

“The Pilgrims in turn provided vegetables from their house-hold gardens: carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, beets, and cabbages. Using some of their precious flour, they also took summer fruits the Indians had dried and introduced them to blueberry, apple, and cherry pie. It was all washed down with sweet wine made from the wild grapes. A joyous occasion for all!

“Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow. The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men of the plantation were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling. There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish. Things went so well (and Massasoit showed no inclination to leave) that Thanksgiving Day was extended for three days.

“The Pilgrims had so much for which to thank God: for providing all their needs, even when their faith had not been up to believing that He would do so; for the lives of the departed and for taking them home to be with Him; for their friendship with the Indians, so extraordinary when settlers to the south had experienced the opposite; and for all His remarkable providences in bringing them to this place and sustaining them.”

Quoted verbatum (except for a few exerpt-editorial revisions) from “The Light and the Glory,” by Peter Marshall. c

Looking Back: The Glory Years of NASA – America on the Moon

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By Mark Norris

 Apollo 11 25th anniversary seal. Middle: Dr. Wernher von Braun; Mariner 10 space probe. Bottom: Apollo 11 navigator, Buzz Aldrin, on the lunar surface; Lunar mission view of earth from the moon.

“The earth is uncommonly lovely. It is the only warm living object that we saw in space on our trip to the moon” (Jim Irwin, Apollo 15).    

this July marked another anniversary of America’s greatest technological achievement. On July 20, 1969, 49 years ago, a manned spacecraft rocketed 240,000 miles out of earth’s atmosphere to land on the moon. One calculated thruster burn over the Pacific, and the three-spacecraft configuration of America’s eleventh Apollo mission coasted to, and landed, on the moon.

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The Apollo 11 mission was not without its technical difficulties. Twelve minutes away from the lunar surface, the Eagle landing module’s guidance computer failed, forcing a totally manual descent. Lunar Module pilot Neil Armstrong landed the craft blinded by its stirred up lunar dust with less than thirty seconds of descent fuel to spare. Five hours later, the former X-15 and Gemini test pilot stepped outside the fragile landing module to become the first of twelve Americans who would walk upon the moon.

Other technical difficulties lying along man’s lunar flight path took the lives of America’s first three Apollo astronauts, Gus Grissom (famed second American in space), Roger White (first American to spacewalk), and Ed Chaffee.

Despite Grissom’s many qualified criticisms of their craft’s incomplete design (he was a skilled engineer), the three suffocated to death as flames swept through their Apollo 1 capsule in January of 1967 during routine equipment checks.

But Apollo was the official undeclared war of the United States and Russia’s epoch Cold War Space Race. And wartime deaths, few though there were, were to be expected. It was Apollo’s mission to wage the culminating battles of these two greatest military powers ever formed on earth in their struggle for its highest ground.

Handed the technical baton from their Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo predecessors, Armstrong and Aldrin’s amazing lunar pictures televised 48 years ago achieved the conqueror’s end to the 12 year space epoch most of the world had watched.

“Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mankind’s greatest adventure reached its summit. The space race had a winner. America won. And there was more to the victor’s spoils than planted flags and bragger’s rights. Along the way to the race’s finish, modern space science grew in size and stature establishing American technology as preeminent on earth.

The powerful rocket engines and their successive missile casings that exploded America out of earth’s atmosphere were the brainchild of German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun. Since surrendering his Third Reich V2 rocket team to America at the end of World War II, von Braun possessed the scientific expertise and vision to put America in space first. But he was denied his continued requests to do so by President Eisenhower, who disdained the thought of former Nazi functionaries putting Americans into space.

A generation earlier American rocket scientist Robert Goddard innovated many of the concepts incorporated by von Braun’s V2 team, and after Eisenhower’s election, he was hoping for a successor. The former Nazi rocket scientist worked with the Truman Administration to develop a nuclear ballistic missile. Beyond that, America had no special plans for space. But when Russia launched the first orbiting satellite in October of 1957, Eisenhower authorized and funded von Braun to produce every rocket in America’s arsenal and space program from the Redstone that carried Alan Shepard (first American into space), to the gigantic Saturn V that rocketed Apollo to the moon.

 first_seven_astronauts

NASA Langley Research Center located in Hampton,Virginia provided the burgeoning American space program with its technological base. It was at Langley that the “Right Stuff” Mercury astronauts received their training giving the Space Race its first dose of fame.

But there was more to these adventures than mere politics could see. There was discovery in the air, and a host of new space technicians endowed with exorbitant NASA funding to get America “up there” for a celestial look around.

Satellites, Robots, and Probes 

As soon as von Braun’s rockets would allow, America began closing Russia’s five-year race lead by blasting into earth orbit a 31 pound mini-laboratory devised to study cosmic rays. Launched on January 31, 1958, the satellite Explorer 1 measured outerspace temperatures and discovered two ring-shaped bands of radiation trapped by an earth encompassing magnetic field between 620 to 3,000 miles up.

Subsequent discoveries by NASA’s Pioneer space probe program proved this belt to be the innermost area of another magnetic band 40,000 miles out that served as a shield of the earth’s thin atmospheric envelope from the Sun’s solar winds. Discoverers awed at its precise purpose and placement, named it the magnetosphere (also called it the Van Allen Belt for its chief scientific discoverer), and American space science was birthed.

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Earth’s closest solar system planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars soon became prime space probe targets as a host of elaborate space gizmos emerged from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in the early ’60s and ’70s. Culminating with the amazing Viking Mars orbiter and landing mission in 1976, NASA’s Mariner explorations of these innermost planets showed them to be rocky globes similar to earth, but possessing very alien environments.

Mercury proved to have no measurable atmosphere at all, with surface temperatures ranging between 800F and -300 degrees. Venus’ poisonous atmosphere of carbon dioxide enshrouded by clouds of sulfuric acid proved to enclose constant surface lead and tin melting temperatures of 900 degrees. And Mars, though proving to possess a tilted axis and seasonal rotations similar to earth’s, exhibited a poisonous atmosphere of carbon dioxide with lifeless surface temperatures ranging between -240 and 32 degrees. 

The awesome wonders of earth’s outer planets, the four “gas giants” Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, were sensationally revealed as rocky-cored planets overlaid by magnificently colored spheres of hydrogen, helium, and methane gas. Wowing millions with their startling space images and data since 1977, NASA’s Voyager probes brought these enchanting ringed planets into the nation’s front rooms. But as for the search for other planetary life, and it was going on, the hunt drew a resounding nil. 

In truth, the farther away from man’s planet observable science would search, the more humanly uninhabitable and alien it proved. “No life here,” came the answer to NASA’s extraterrestrial life inquisitors as their fact-finding quest of science bore witness to an amazing earth life design.  

Earth itself would become a planetary discovery as manned space flight hurled men toward the moon. In fact, the most compelling of space experiences encountered by Apollo’s chosen few was their privileged view of earth from the lifeless vacuum of space. Some were changed forever.  

Commander of the Apollo program’s first mission to the moon, Frank Borman, related his view of earth’s living, blue image from the extraterrestrial darkness of space as being responsible for the “final leg” of his own religious experience of encountering Jesus Christ.

“When viewing the earth from space,” Borman said in reminiscences of Apollo 8, “the question of Christian belief becomes utterly absurd. The question from that point seemed more properly reversed. I saw evidence that God lives.” 

Jim Lovell, Borman’s Apollo 8 crew mate and the country’s first official moon guide described his view of earth from lunar orbit as “a grand oasis in the vastness of space.”

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On the December 24th of their grand 1968 adventure, Borman’s third crew mate, Bill Anders, inspired the most memorable Christmas Eve the mission’s global TV audience would ever enjoy. In their book, “Moonshot,” former NASA manager/ astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton remember the event like this:

“Christmas Eve was like none other in the long history of celebrating that occasion. While millions of people brought families together in homes throughout the planet, the three men orbiting the moon continued taking sharp motion pictures and hundreds of clear color photographs that would later enable them to share with those on earth their fabulous adventure.

“Then Bill Anders spoke, not just to CapCom, but to all the world listening to his words from so far away. ‘For all the people on earth,’ he said, his emotions unmasked, ‘the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.’ A brief pause, and then Anders stunned his audience as he began reading from the verses of the Book of Genesis:

‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….’ As Anders concluded the fourth verse, Lovell read the next four. Borman concluded by beginning his reading of the ninth verse, and then sent to the world a special Christmas message: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth…’ “

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Official NASA Apollo 8 Dec 24 1968 Christmas Eve broadcast:

William Anders:

“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Jim Lovell:

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

Frank Borman:

“And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

Borman then added, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

The crew’s joint reading of Genesis was a totally unplanned event. Borman would also read from Psalm 8 before leaving earth’s view from the moon:

“0 Lord…when I look at Thy heavens.., what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”

The view of earth from its Creator’s tapestry of oxygenless, colorless space was an overpowering experience for America’s star voyaging spacemen. Apollo’s astronauts of missions 8 and 10 through 17 had been afforded a special vantage point. They were privileged a view of the Bible’s stated “general revelation” of God’s creation (Romans 1:20) as none had ever seen it.

For since the creation of the world His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have
been clearly seen, being understood through what has
been made, so that men are without excuse.
-Romans
1:20

**Houston Chronicle: Christmas Miracle from High Above
(Includes actual voice transmission of Christmas Even Apollo 8 reading.)  

24 Dec 2013-wjct News 

On Anniversary Of Apollo 8: How The ‘Earthrise’ Photo Was Made

In fact, though not a part of NASA’s official public record, one third of Apollo’s twenty-four astronauts, eight in all, would encounter differing spiritual experiences because of their missions to the moon.

The ordeal of the eight Apollo astronauts admitting spiritual enlightenments ran a gamut of experience. They ranged from the extemporaneous Bible readings of Apollo 8; to Apollo 15 commander David Scott’s simple action of leaving a Bible on his lunar moon rover; to Apollo 15 lunar module pilot Jim Irwin’s dramatic Christian re-dedication on the surface of the moon.

Very few knew of Buz Aldrin’s private communion service held shortly after Apollo 11 touched down. Or of Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Ed Mitchell’s “space epiphany” that led him into mind science in the hope of scientifically proving the existence of God.

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The most prominent of the lunar landing’s spiritual apologists was Apollo 15 lunar module pilot, Col. Jim Irwin, the astronaut turned evangelist upon his return from the moon. In his 1973 book, “To Rule The Night”, Irwin wrote:

“It is not an accident that the lives of the lunar module pilots have been more changed by the Apollo flights than the lives of the commanders or the command module pilots. The people in my slot were sort of tourists on these flights. They monitored systems that were, for the most part, not associated with control of the vehicle, so they had more time to look out the windows, to register what they saw and felt, and to absorb it.”

On the Moon
“I felt an overwhelming sense of the presence of God on the moon. I felt His Spirit more closely than I have ever felt it on the earth, right there beside me, it was amazing. When we were struggling with the difficult tasks on the EVA (extra-vehicular activity), a key string broke and I couldn’t get the science station up, I prayed. Immediately I had the answer. It was almost like a revelation. God was telling me what to do. I never asked Houston because I knew there would be a delay. I prayed, and immediately I knew the answer. I am not talking about some vague sense of direction. There was this supernatural sensation of His presence.”

On Earth
“The most important thing I can say to you today is not that Jim Irwin walked on the moon, but that the Son of God Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe,walked on the earth.” 

Regardless of any statements or the personal beliefs of his fellow moon voyagers, Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan probably summed up their exclusive views of earth best in a public statement made in 1985:

“When I was the last man to walk on the moon in December 1972, 1 stood in the blue darkness and looked in awe at the earth from the lunar surface.What I saw was almost too beautiful to have happened by accident. It doesn’t matter how you choose to worship God…He has to exist to have created what I was privileged to see.”

Of course the Bible that astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders read their 1968 Christmas Eve message from affirms the God you choose to worship does matter. The choice to worship mankind’s Creator revealed in the Bible is the most important choice men and women make during their time on earth. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was God incarnate and that He created mankind, our animal and aquatic co-inhabitants, the earth, heavens, sun, and moon (John 1:3). It affirms that Jesus is the only way to God through the sacrificial offering of His life (Romans 6:23). And it teaches that all men and women must accept His sacrifice to receive His life-giving Spirit to be reunited with Him (Galatians 3:13,14).

The Apollo astronauts saw His handiwork. And because they did, so did we.

After six successful moon missions Congress lost interest, canceling their last two scheduled moon flights in 1972. It was expensive to visit, and there wasn’t much to find there except dust and rocks.

But while we were up there, Apollo really took America on some kind of ride. We took on the Soviet Union in history’s greatest race and soundly defeated them with the brains and determination of what Tom Wolfe’s epic Space Race novel would later call, “The Right Stuff”. And we did it from a distance of five years back.

All the same, it makes one wonder, after our space probe missions that revealed the truth of our inner planets, what we were looking for up there once we planted our flag in the dust?

Maybe we were up there simply for the view.

The heavens declare the glory of God and their expanse declare His handiwork.
-Psalm 19:1

It’s Time Again for the October Feasts

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It’s time again for the Old Testament October feast that speak of New Testament salvation. If you’ve never appreciated what each of these holdays mean to you, you can know this year and experience their joyous call to Divine fellowship in them. They are the Feast of Trumpets (October 1), the Day of Atonement (October 10), and the Feast of Booths (October 15).

As with Passover that was fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrifice during Passover (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 19), all three October God-ordained holy times speak of mankind’s salvation and restoration into His presence. Trumpets and Atonement were fulfilled in part under the Old Covenant, then in total once Jesus bore the cross. The final one in the month, the Feast of Booths, is prophesied by Zechariah to continue into the Millennium, so it has eschatological implications. In that day, says the prophet, every human that survives the Eschaton’s plagues will be required to come into God’s presence in feast observance, and those who don’t will suffer drought.

Zechariah 14:16-19
16     Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
17     And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.
18     And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
19     This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Intimate relationship with the Father is the theme of all three feasts, as He invites through James, “…draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). While there His purging presence always cleanses and makes us new.  So take advantage of these ancient times to draw near this special month.

First of all, October 1 is the Day God determined for the Feast of Trumpets.

Trumpets: “the first day of the seventh month”

shofarBecause there is so little said about this brief one day of solemn  assembly, some have read their own interpretations into it. Modern day Jewish thought places Rosh Hashanah in its timeframe rotated in modern culture (as is Easter) with the lunar calendar. It stands as the Jewish new year, and is promoted as a time of  repentance, reflection, and prayer. This certainly fits within the intent of Moses’ declaration. Contemporary rabbinical leaders in Israel today also teach that Rosh Hashanah was the day that God created Adam, and the day that God gave the gift of motherhood to Sarah and Hanna. But since most Jewish culture today has yet to receive Jesus as their Messiah, the celebration is man-made, and incomplete, at best. Others have manipulated the invented holiday to predict the Second Coming, to the embarrassment of all who both taught and believed it.

Leviticus 23:24,25
24   “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month of the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
25      ‘You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'”

From the literal intent of Scripture, the holy convocation determined on the first day of the seventh month was to serve as an alert to repentance in honor of God’s fellowship commandment. The shofar spoken of in Scripture was commanded Israel’s use for congregational gatherings and as a call to battle. Its general use was that of alarm, to grab the peoples’ attention. Succeeding feasts in the holy period would require everyone to act in drawing near to God. But first, repentance was necessary. This is as much as can be interpreted from this quick Leviticus verse.

The Day of Atonement: the tenth Day of this seventh month”

Leviticus 23:27
27     “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD.

Following Trumpets is the Day of Atonement, a powerful day on God’s Old Testament calendar that spoke of everything Jesus did for mankind to bring us back to God. Biblical expositors call Moses’ tabernacle, “The Gospel of the Eye,” because of the rich preordained significance each of the offerings, ordinances, and furnishings held in reference to Christ.  Everything in the tabernacle, from the eight-foot tent that made entrance through the front gate the only way to salvation, to the bronze altar, the laver, the lampstand, table of shewbread, cherubim embroidered holy of holies veil, the golden altar of incense, and God’s cherubim protected Arc behind it, spoke of Jesus’ ministry of salvation. 

Hebrews 9:24
24     Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.    

Every atoning tabernacle blood sacrifice directed by God through Moses was a type and shadow of His Son’s ultimate fulfillment of them all on the cross.

The Day of Atonement was the one day of the year the High Priest could enter behind the Holy oftabernace Holies veil. Two goats were brought before him. One was freed, the other killed, and its blood sprinkled before the Arc of the Covenant. The one granted its freedom was called the goat of removal (scapegoat) typified by the Passover release of Barabbas. The one sacrificed spoke of Jesus’ vicarious substitution that paid the penalty for mankind’s sin (Mark 15:15).

The brazen altar sin offering presented at the gate of God’s Old Testament House typified Jesus’ Passover sacrifice that gave mankind entrance into God’s New Testament House (Leviticus 29:10-14; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 9:24).

The Old Testament burnt offering that required the total consumption by fire of a sacrificial ram typified Jesus’ innocent sentence to the fires of hell. Everyone of the fire consuming sacrifices, especially this totally “burnt” one typified Christ’s destiny to suffer the fires of hell as mankind’s vicarious substitution (Genesis 2:17; Leviticus 29:15-18; Matthew 5:22, 23:29-33; 1 Peter 3:18-22).

The unleavened bread wave offering disclosed in Leviticus 28:23-25 was also totally consumed by fire, typifying Jesus’ sinless nature and his subsitutionary offering in the nether world of hell, the regions of the damned.

The same foreshadowing of Jesus can be seen in the red heifer sacrifice that was to be offered outside of Jerusalem’s city gates (Hebrews 13:11,12). And in every meal and oil sacrifice that spoke of mankind’s need to consume Him as our Passover lamb, feeding on His truth (John 6:52-58). 

Because Jesus fulfilled every one of the Old Testament sacrifices to make a, “new and living way,” everyone who has received God’s grace in salvation can enter boldly into His presence shadowed as Moses’ tabernacle that typified the body of Christ.

Hebrews 10:19-23
19     Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
20     by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21     and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22     let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Read Hebrews 10 to celebrate the Day of Atonement on October 10 and beyond this year. Without Paul’s revelation in this choicest of all New Testament books, none of the Old Testament’s blood rites and ceremonies would make any New Testament sense. Once you’ve read chapter 10, go back to 8 and read up to 10 again. Then celebrate the day by taking communion, because Jesus fulfilled this feast with the shedding of His blood. 

Leviticus 16:24,25
24   “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month of the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
25      ‘You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'”

The Feast of Booths: “the fifteenth day of the seventh month”

_ScrollLeviticus 23:29-24:1
29  ‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate a feast of the Lord for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.
42 “You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,
43  so that your generations may know what I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord Your God
44  So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the Lord.

Finally, October 15 brings with it the most exciting fall Feast of them all during which God’s familyis called to presence with Him. Also called, Tabernacles, the people were commanded to make and dwell in tents to commemorate their Exodus out of Egypt. It was at this Feast that Jesus gave his astounding teaching on the new birth.

John 7:37-39
37     Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
38     “
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'”
39     But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

It was also during this feast, I believe, because of the nature of Jesus’ earthly ministry, His teaching in John 7:38, and the revelation of John 1:14, that Jesus was actually born. What do you think?

John 1:14
14     And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Leviticus 23:34-44
34     “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.

35     ‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind.
36     ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.
39     ‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.
40     ‘Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
41     ‘You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
42     ‘You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths,
43     so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'”
44     So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD.

eldersmarvenkoThe act of faith connected with this time of holy remembrance was a commemoration of the family fellowship the twelve tribes experienced with Jehovah when He led them out of Egypt into their promised land. As the people dwelt in their booths (tents) God dwelt among them. 

When Jesus revealed Himself as God among men, He adopted twelve men to intimately fellowship with. So the ultimate Old Testament dwelling God convened among men finally took place during His earthly, fleshbound ministry.

Through Jesus’ disciples, the world learned what He taught them, and God’s family grew from Jerusalem, to Samaria, to the uttermost ends of the earth. Eschatologically, The Feast of Booths won’t be completely fulfilled until the Millennial reign of Christ, when its observance will be required of all people (saved and unsaved) living in that era. In that day, prophesies Zechariah, every human that survives the Eschaton’s plagues will be required to come into God’s presence, and those who don’t will suffer drought in their regions. 

Zechariah 14:16-18
16     Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and celebrate the Feast of Booths.
17     And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.
18     And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Once heaven and earth are recreated beyond the Millennium, and man is once again like Adam, God Himself, without the agency of His mediator Jesus, will tabernacle among men.

Revelation 21:35
35     And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them”…

This is the blessing of eschatology: the prophetic life-line of God that has pulled man back into fellowship from the outward ordinances of the Old Testament – to our current New Testament age. Today those who receive Christ become His New Testament temple. Tomorrow we will be transformed as resurrected persons as Jesus is today. In “that” day we will be recreated back into Adam’s original image – when God will again dwell with us as He did with Adam in the garden.

 

Revelation 21:4,5
4     …and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5     And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Today the Feast of Booths is hosted by the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem as the Feast of Tabernacles. Christians from around the world come to participate. Tomorrow, all men will be required to participate.

I hope to see you there.

Mark Norris, Publisher, Eschatology Today MA

Our Model of Before-and-After Christian Faith

Ilike Peter’s writings better than any New Testament contributor because he’s so much like most before the Holy Spirit’s change.  Babbling Peter said whatever he wanted, whenever he felt it, just like so many Christians and nonChristians do every day.

Peter IIIRemember when Jesus moved to wash his feet, Peter said, “Right Lord, but if you do, give me a complete bath” (John 13:5-11).  Peter’s intent wasn’t rebellious, just emotional to the point of blabbing what he was feeling at the time.  He didn’t get the servant teaching Jesus was trying to show him, and made it clear.

When Jesus appeared on the mount of transfiguration, Peter said he’d get James and John to help him build three tabernacles for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. The Father Himself silenced his foolishness mid-sentence by thundering out of heaven: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:1-7.)

When Jesus announced He would sacrifice His life, Peter warned the Lord to avoid it, earning Jesus’ rebuke of the devil speaking through him shaming the disciple for his foolish words (Matthew 16:21,23).

When Jesus prophesied He would be denied by all when arrested for crucifixion, Peter said, “Others may fall away from you Lord, but I won’t be one of them. No, not me!” to which Jesus prophesied Peter’s three-fold denial when confronted Passover night (Matthew 14:27-31).

When the resurrected Jesus prophesied Peter’s bleak end in John 21:18-23,  even then Peter mouthed off by looking at John and asking, “what about him Lord?” to which Jesus answered, “Don’t worry about John, Peter. If I want him to remain, until I come, what is that to you?”

Teachable Peter

But it was also Peter who spoke up when none of the others dared answer Jesus’ question regarding His identity. For that, Jesus changed his name from ”Swaying Reed” (Cephas) to “Rock” (Peter) and signified the heart of this man who received the revelation as the foundation on which Jesus would build His church (Matthew 16:13-20).

It was Peter who Jesus personally taught regarding a local Philippi tax by having him pull up a fish that had the exact amount in it. Wow. (Matthew 17:24-27.)

Peter on the Water IAnd it was Peter who by faith is the only mortal to ever walk on water. While the others trembled in fear thinking they saw a ghost on Galilee, Peter said, “Lord if it is you, say come, and I’ll come,” and he came. That’s right, Peter walked on the water before he got his eyes on the storm raging around him and started to sink (Matthew 14:22-32).

Born-Again Peter

Following his conversion, it was Peter who preached on Pentecost, causing great revival (Acts 2). It was Peter who healed  the lame man in Jesus’ name while passing by for afternoon prayer in the temple, causing great revival (Acts 3:7). It was Peter who healed Aeneas (Acts 9:34, 35) and raised Tabitha from the dead, causing great revival (Acts 9:40-42). In fact, Peter was so anointed with God’s healing power that the people “…even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them” (Acts 5:15). And it was Peter who was entrusted with the in-grafting of the Gentile church, while receiving a prophetic vision that taught Gentile salvation was God ordained, a Roman captain received the visit of an angel, putting the two together for Peter’s preaching in the officer’s home. All assembled were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10).  Wow.

Peter, Christian Model and Guide

The early church looked to Peter as its founding Christian leader.  There is no other church leader in Acts, until the Peter IVconversion of Paul, the Spirit consistently chronicles. Philip’s ministry in Samaria gets a chapter of Acts press, revealing a model of ministry similarity to the Lord Jesus Christ’s (Acts 8). Signs and wonders and even the apostle’s translation are revealed in this powerful chapter. Peter’s epistles reveal him as a model of Christianity and serve as a revelation guide-book for the general church. Peter’s blabbermouth days ended after the resurrection. When he says in 1 Peter 4:11,”Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God,” we see a born-again man who understands Christian faith. Peter came to learn that his words were empowered by God when he conversed with others, preached a sermon, healed the sick, and raised the dead.

In 1 Peter 3:18 the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter Jesus’ netherworld preaching to those who were once disobedient in Noah’s Day that leaves you simply wondering about the event. Wow.

Second Peter gives the most comprehensive teachings on the ministry of a prophet anywhere in Scripture. Peter’s prophetic insight into last-days mockers and immoral teachers out for wicked gain reads like TV news and newspapers today (2 Peter 2).  It is Peter only who tells us the Spirit of Christ dwelt in God’s prophets to reveal His revelation (1 Peter 1:11).  It is Peter who reveals our church conversion as living stones of a temple in which the born-again Christian is a chosen priesthood who offers up sacrifices of praise (1 Peter 1:9).  Peter gives us as much lifestyle teaching as Paul in his directives of social humility.

Before his conversion Peter was an honest, interested, and misguided man. After his conversion Peter was an  honest, interested, and Holy Spirit guided man. Study his acts and words in the Gospels. Then study his words and actions in the New Testament Book Acts and Peter’s First and Second Epistles.

Is Peter your Christian model of “before – and after?” Do a word search on Peter this week in the Gospels and spend time in his two epistles. His before-and-after-conversion-snapshot will inspire your Christian life.

Yes, Jesus is coming again. Until then there is abundant life to be lived on this earth that God created for us. Like Peter, are you believing God daily in prayer and in the study of His Word?

2 Peter 1:16-19
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” —  18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Mark

The Truth About the Resurrection

Jesus ResurrectionMatthew 28:1-7
1     After the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
2    And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
3    And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow;
4    And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5    And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
6    “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
7    “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

The testimony of these special women who were the first to know of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the founding tenant of the Christian faith.

“He is risen, just as He said!” the angel told Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary (Jesus’ aunt) as they hunted for His body once the Passover Sabbath passed. They didn’t understand it yet, but they had been with God’s Passover lamb during Passover in God’s Passover city, and the life changing epoch of the New Testament had just commenced.

“Look where He was lying to see He is no longer there,” the angel continued. “Then, quickly go tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and that He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him.”

marymaryjohn
When the two complied with the supernatural messenger’s direction, they set out for Jerusalem and were the first to encounter the resurrected Lord.

Matthew 28:8-10
8   And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
9   And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

I Am He”

Three nights earlier Jesus spoke “I am He” in response to His captors’ Garden of Gethsemane inquiry, and the entire cohort fell to the ground. Historians say a cohort was made up of 600 soldiers (something no Easter movie has captured yet).

John 18:6
6   When therefore He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back, and fell to the ground.
The next day at noon while Jesus suffered on the cross, pitch darkness enshrouded Jerusalem for three hours (a type in fulfillment of the ninth Exodus plague previous to the first born’s death [Exodus 10:22-23; 11: 4, 5]).

christ
At the end of that time, around 3 PM, Jesus cried out to God (in what scholars confirm was no known earthly language): “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (translated) “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Then God’s only begotten Son gave up His life (John 10:17,18) producing an outpouring of God’s Spirit that rumbled the hills of Jerusalem, tearing in two the holy of holies veil, and resurrecting many from the dead.

Matthew 27:45, 50-53
45   Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
50   And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51   And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,
52   and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53   and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

These events are rarely touched upon in pulpit sermons or Easter films. “The Passion of Christ” was the first to capture the temple veil’s tearing (signifying the entrance into God’s presence once Jesus made the way [Hebrews 10:19,20]).  The resurrected saints may have been departed relatives of those they appeared to. Wouldn’t that have been something to welcome dear departed Grandfather Mordecai or Aunt Esther to your Sunday evening door?

All of this to say the Bible’s “Easter” story is a holy, miraculous story, full of supernatural events and heavenly beings rarely touched upon.

The response of some witnesses present that day is recorded briefly in Matthew 27.

Matthew 27:54
54   Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Not long after, Jesus would appear to the two Marys, then to the twelve, and the world would never be the same.

03 Christ Amidst theLampstandsResurrection Change

Allasso is the biblical Greek word used for the change that will take place when the church is resurrected and raptured at the end of the church age.

1 Corinthians 15:50-55
50   Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51   Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed (allasso),
52   in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53   For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54   But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

55   ”O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Jesus experienced allasso that Sunday morning in the tomb. He was changed to another form of life that only God completely understands. In fact, Jesus was so changed, that in every one of His post-resurrection Gospel recorded appearances, no one recognized Him at first.

Mary thought Jesus was a stranger. When she finally realized who He was, she grabbed Him.

John 20:15-19
15   Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).

John 20:17,18
17   Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'”
18   Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Remember, it was Mary who stayed by Jesus’ side throughout His crucifixion; it was Mary who was at the tomb; and it was Mary who Jesus appeared to and gave the first post-resurrection gospel message.

When Jesus appeared to the twelve He walked in through closed doors and gave them a brief demonstration of His new form of life. Once He revealed His wounds and form, the disciples rejoiced, but not before.

John 20:19-22
19   When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20   And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

That same day, “two of them” who heard the testimony of  Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ aunt, the other Mary, were walking the road to Emmaus when Jesus walked up next to them (Luke 24:13-32). In this instance Scripture says, “their eyes were prevented from recognizing Jesus” (vs. 16). Both were confused over Jesus’ death, so the risen Lord set them straight. After explaining the events surrounding His crucifixion from “Moses and the prophets,” He accepted their dinner invitation, then disappeared in front of their eyes.

RembrantEmmausLuke 24:30-33
30    When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

John 21 tells us Jesus worked one last earthly ministry miracle the third time He appeared to the disciples on the sea of Tiberias beach. Jesus called out to Peter, Nathaniel, James, and John who questioned their catch as they returned from a fishing trip. When they acknowledged “none,” Jesus encouraged them to try again, and their nets were filled to capacity. To make an accurate account of His appearance, John even counted the number of their catch (153 fish). Jesus ate  with them, and still, none seemed to recognize Him, because He was apparently something altogether different following His resurrection from what He was before.

John 21:12
12    Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.

The 40 Day Post-Resurrection Jesus Seminar

angelopening
One more regularly ignored Easter revelation involves a series of appearances the resurrected Christ granted hundreds over a period of 40 days. Only Luke tells us of this time period that spanned the Sunday morning Jesus rose from the dead to His Bethany ascension.

Luke 1:1-3
1    The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,

2    until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
3  To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Paul tells us Jesus appeared to more than 500 at one time.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6
3    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4     and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5     and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6     After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time.

Wouldn’t that have been a powerful seminar, crowded in with hundreds to hear the resurrected Lord preach? Taking into account the few teachings documented in His post-resurrection appearances, Jesus probably explained from Moses’ tabernacle that shadowed and typed Him, and the prophecies of David, Isaiah, Micah, and Zechariah, who He was, and why He came.

All of this should be fascinating to any Bible/history student. But you won’t hear much if anything of these Scriptures on any given Sunday in the church. In fact, the only time you typically hear anything about Jesus’ resurrection is on Easter Sunday, and then the usual fare deals ONLY with “the empty tomb.”

Why?

Immortality is both pneumatologcial (study of the supernatural attributes of the Holy Spirit), and eschatological (study of the prophetic scriptures), and it’s hard to understand in the modern church that doesn’t deal much with either of them.

Jesus said His redeemed will be like angels once resurrected.

Mark 12:25
25   “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

Does that mean we will be able to appear and disappear at will, and travel at the speed of light? Interesting speculation. (Hebrews 1:7; 12:22; 13:2; Revelation 3:5; 5:11; 7:11; 12:7; 14:10; 21:12.)

Paul said once we’re changed, the Millennial Reign will lead to a pristine era in which there will no longer be any death.

1 Corinthians 15:20-26
21   For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22   For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
23   But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
24   then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
25   For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26   The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

This is the truth about the resurrection. Think about it today, not next Easter…when the others hide their eggs.

He is risen!

Mark Norris, Publisher, Eschatology Today, M.A.