Selection 136: The Fall of Jerusalem

TITLE:        THE FALL OF JERUSALEM

SUBJECT:      ANCIENT HISTORY

AUTHOR:    Mr. J. H. Smith

 

Jerusalem fell at the hands of the Romans just thirty‑three years after Jesus Christ made detailed predictions about its fall. This prophecy of Christ of the destruction of the sacred Jewish Temple and related events may be found recorded in the New Testament in great detail in Matthew, chapter 24; Mark, chapter 13; and Luke, chapter 21. Besides these direct prophecies, Christ mentioned the coming destruction of Jerusalem in several of his parables (which may be found in Matthew 22:7 and Luke 13:6‑9; Luke 20:9‑19; Luke 23:27‑30).

 

Christ spoke this prophecy more than thirty‑three years before the event began to take place. Matthew, who wrote the earliest of any of the Gospel writers, wrote his Gospel about 37 AD. This is thirty‑three years before the fulfillment began to take place. It is very significant that John, the only Gospel writer to write after the destruction of Jerusalem, does not mention a word of this prediction by Christ. Perhaps this was to avoid people living at the time criticizing him for writing prophecy after the events took place.

 

The predictions that Jesus Christ made about Jerusalem may be grouped into several categories for convenience in discussing them. These eight categories contain a total of at least thirty specific predictions, all of which came true. As each of the thirty predictions are discussed, the prediction will be numbered in parenthesis to enable you to quickly count for yourself just how many detailed predictions Jesus made.

 

The first group of predictions are about false messiahs. The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, but that there would be many imitators who would falsely claim to be the messiah. The messiah or Christ is a person predicted to come in the Bible who will be the king of the Jews, a supernatural leader who will deliver them from their enemies, and. rule over the world with a kingdom that will bring peace and last a thousand years. But before Jesus Christ returns the second time to earth to rule this kingdom, many things are predicted in the Bible that will happen first.

 

Concerning false messiahs, Jesus predicted (1) that there would be false messiahs, (2) that they would be many in number, (3) that they would draw people to the desert, and secret chambers, and that (4) they would deceive many.

That these four predictions literally came true is clear from history. The historical details which fulfilled Christ’s predictions may be read in volume six of McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, a standard reference work to be found in large libraries. The article on “Messiahs, False,” states: “No less than twenty‑four such impostors have been enumerated as having appeared in different places and at different times; and even this does not exhaust the list.” The article continues with a six‑column discussion of these.

 

A second class of predictions Jesus Christ made about the fall of Jerusalem concerns several striking calamities. Christ predicted (5) that wars would take place. At the time Christ spoke, peace prevailed both among the Jews and the nations round about. Even when Caligula’s order to set up his statue in the temple provoked resistance, the Jews could not believe that war was imminent. And yet Josephus says, “the country was soon filled with violence…. The Jews rebelled against Rome, Italy was in convulsions and within two years four Roman emperors suffered death.

 

Christ foretold that there would be (6) famine, pestilence, and earthquakes. A famine of several years duration caused suffering in Judea, and there were many famines in Italy, pestilences in Babylon, and only five years before the fall of Jerusalem, in Rome. Earthquakes are recorded by Tacitus, Suetonius Philostratus; and Josephus speaks of them in Crete, Italy, Asia Minor, and a particularly extraordinary one in Judea.

 

Christ also foretold (7) fearful sights and great signs from heaven. Josephus affirms that just before the war, “a star resembling a sword stood over the city; and a comet for a whole year,” that a great light shone round the altar; that the massive Eastern gate which it took twenty men to move, opened of its own accord; that chariots and troops were seen in the clouds at sunset; that there was an earthquake and a supernatural voice at Pentecost; that a man named Jesus persisted in crying, “Woe to the city,” etc. Tacitus records many prodigies that signaled the coming ruin. The truth and reality of these signs, and their miraculous nature, cannot be fully confirmed now. It is enough that, whatever their nature and source, both Jews and Romans of the time were impressed with them as real and miraculous.

 

Some of the predictions Jesus made had to do with signs that would directly concern his own disciples and followers. He predicted that (8) his followers would suffer persecution. This has been abundantly fulfilled, beginning with the death of Steven, the first Christian martyr, followed by the persecutions of Christians by Saul of Tarsus, who later was converted to Christianity and became the great Apostle Paul. Peter and John were before councils and in prisons. Paul and Silas were imprisoned. Nero, a vain and cruel Roman ruler, blamed the Christians for an eight‑day fire in Rome (though there is reason to believe that he was himself responsible for the fire) and began a persecution which even Pagan pages blush to record. Nero drove his chariot to the imperial gardens between rows of Christian martyrs wrapped in their burning sheets of flame used, like lamp posts, for street lights to light his way.

Christ predicted that (9) there would be instances of mutual betrayal among his followers. Tacitus, a Roman historian, says at first those who were seized confessed their sect, and then by their indication a great multitude were convicted.

 

Lastly, concerning his followers, Christ predicted that (10) the Gospel was to be preached everywhere as a witness. In that ancient day, without the benefit of the printing press and modern means of communication like radio and television, the Gospel had already reached, before the fall of Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Ethiopia, India, Spain and Britain.

 

Christ’s prophecy contains several predictions which relate directly to the city of Jerusalem itself. He predicted (11) Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies, that (12) the eagles were to gather around Jerusalem like vultures around a dead carcass. The silver eagle was the insignia of the Roman army, and when the Roman army drew near, above every waving flag flashed the silver eagle. Destruction (13) was to come as “lightening shineth from east to west.” Jerusalem is near the sea coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It would be expected that armies would come from west to east, opposite of what Jesus predicted. But in fact, the Roman armies approached Jerusalem from Olivet on the east side of Jerusalem, and so did come from the east to the west in their attack.

 

Christ predicted that (14) “the abomination of desolation” would stand in the holy place, or sacred Temple. Three things happened which may each be considered a fulfillment of this prediction. First, the presence of the idolatrous Roman eagle standards in the city; second, an army of zealots and assassins invited by the Jews to defend them against the Romans who profaned the temple courts; third, a statue of the Roman emperor was set up by Pilate, and later by Hadrian, which greatly offended the Jews. You will recall that even the Ten Commandments forbid the use of any images.

 

Jesus predicted (15) that a trench and an embankment were to be made around the city. This seemed very unlikely. Nothing would be more wasteful of effort or useless. It had never been done before. The valleys already formed a natural trench. The hills that arose round the city formed a natural embankment. Yet Titus, against the counsel of his chief men, actually built a wall and trench five miles in circumference around the doomed capital. Josephus, the contemporary Jewish historian, writes of this, stating that “All hope of (the Jews) escaping was now cut off…together with their liberty of going out of the city.” Although the garrison inside the city was ten times the number of besiegers, still the city fell. Titus commented, “We have certainly had God for our helper in this war. It is God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications. For what could the hands of men, or any machines, do towards throwing down such fortifications?”

 

Jesus predicted that (16) great tribulation was to mark the siege of the city. The attackers came at the Passover season, when nearly three million Jews are estimated to have been in the city. Before long the famine in the city became so severe that hunger drove men to eat sandals, leather girdles, and straw. A mother actually brought to maddened assassins, who were ready to kill in order to get food, her half‑devoured child, that she had baked—a literal fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:56, 57: “The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.” Many hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in the siege and 130,000 were slain when the city capitulated, and 97,000 of the survivors were then sold into slavery. As Titus saw the dead thrown over the walls into the valleys, by hundreds and by thousands, he lifted his hands to heaven to protest before God that all this was not his doing. Josephus wrote that “No other city ever suffered such miseries, nor was ever a generation more fruitful in wickedness from the beginning of the world. It appears that the misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if compared to these of the Jews, are not so considerable.”

 

Jesus predicted that (17) the city was to be destroyed, and that in the process (18) it was to be leveled to the ground. Josephus tells us that three massive walls of great strength encompassed the city; and the garrison was ten times, in number, the besiegers. Think of laying such walls even with the ground! Yet this was done, except for a small portion preserved to shelter the Roman garrison, and as a specimen of the strength of the defenses which Roman power had laid low. Within the city itself the hope of finding hid treasure moved the Roman army to tear up the very ground, till sewers and aqueducts were uncovered. The Jews, harassed by bands of robbers, had buried their treasures all over the city. Terentius Rufus, who was in charge of the army that was left at Jerusalem, commanded that the temple area be plowed over, thus fulfilling not only the words of Christ, but also of Micah 3:12, “Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field.”

 

Jesus said (19) that the Temple was to be included in this awful destruction. Christ said, “Behold your house is left unto you desolate!” He further said, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” Humanly speaking, this prediction was very unlikely to be fulfilled. The Temple walls enclosed over nineteen acres; the east front rose to a height of one-sixth of a mile above the vale, and immense stones, some of them 65 feet long, eight feet wide and ten feet thick formed part of its massive structure. The Temple was beautiful and sacred, a monument of both art and worship. If vandals and barbarians, in the sack of Athens and Rome, would spare the Parthenon and Pantheon, how much more would it be expected that the Roman army would spare the Temple, of which it was said in proverb, “If you had not seen, you had seen nothing beautiful”? Add to these considerations that the Temple was built by Herod, a creature of Roman power and patronage. Consider also that Titus was mild, humane, and cultured, a commander who would not be likely to favor it, who in fact forbade such wanton destruction. The fires were once put out by his orders, but rekindled when his back was turned. Titus gave a command to spare the temple, but a soldier threw a torch into it, and the Temple was burned. The intense heat melted the gold, which ran down between the stones and down to the foundations. The greedy Romans literally tore the temple down stone by stone to recover the gold.

A fifth category of predictions Jesus made concerns the safety of his own disciples in the midst of these events. He declared (20) “There shall not an hair of your head perish.” That in the universal slaughter not one disciple should perish is a remarkable enough prediction. Add to this that Jesus predicted that (21) after the city was surrounded by armies the Christians would have a chance to escape. Josephus tells us: “Cestius Gallus, after beginning the siege, mysteriously withdrew, and without any reason in the world, and many embraced this opportunity to depart; a great multitude fled into the mountains.” At this crisis, as we learn from church historians of the first century, all the followers of Christ took refuge in the mountains of Pella, beyond Jordan, and there is no record of one single Christian perishing in the siege! As soon as the armies returned, the city was surrounded by a wall, and all hope of flight was now cut off.

 

A sixth group of prophecies Jesus made tell about the future history of the city and its people. An interesting fact about this group of predictions is that prophecy number 27 as we have been counting them has had its fulfillment in our own day! Jesus predicted (22) the doom of the Jews, (23) that they would fall by the edge of the sword, (24) and that they should be led captive into all nations. At this time the Jews are still scattered among many nations, and by some (such as Russia) are still virtually held captive. Of course now that Israel has once again become a nation, many Jews have returned to their native homeland. Jesus predicted (25) the doom of the city, and (26) the desolation wrought by the Gentiles. Jesus asserted (27) that Jerusalem was to be “trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Until our own day, after the victory of Israel in the 1967 six day war, Jerusalem has during all these intervening centuries been controlled not by Jews but by Gentiles (non‑Jews). But now Jerusalem is controlled by the Jews, showing that on the calendar of Biblical prophecy that the “times of the Gentiles” are now at their end. Jesus predicted that (28) the city of Jerusalem would continue to the time that the Jews would be reclaimed.

 

Christ’s prophecy contained a time element which (29) limited the opening act of this drama of the ages to the lifetime of the generation then living.

 

Lastly, Christ foretold these events (30) as a sovereign act of retributive justice, that these were days of vengeance (Luke 21:22) brought by God in punishment for unbelief and disobedience, even as Moses wrote and warned in prediction (Deuteronomy 28) long before.

 

There may be some who read these pages who are well acquainted with the details of Bible prophecies. Such persons will know that Bible prophecy operates under a law of double reference. This permits events predicted by the prophet to occur near his own day to confirm his truthfulness and inspiration as a prophet, yet these events are but a picture or type of a yet greater fulfillment in the future. So it is with Christ’s great prophecy about Jerusalem. Jesus said repeatedly (as John 13:19 and 14:29) that “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” There is yet a coming day when, just before His personal return in power and great glory, Jerusalem will undergo a great time of tribulation called in the Bible the time of Jacob’s trouble. Even now in our day the national alignments predicted in the Bible which will one day set themselves against Jerusalem are taking shape.

 

At the time of the onset of tribulation upon the city of Jerusalem there will be, according to Bible prophecy, a small group of Jews who, believing the Bible, heed its predictions and escape the horrors of the Great Tribulation under the wrathful rule of the Anti‑Christ by fleeing to a fascinating hideaway called Petra.

 

This prophecy by Jesus Christ of the fall of Jerusalem is a miracle of prediction unmatched—outside the Bible—in all literature. The chance that thirty specific prophecies could come true by sheer accident can be no greater than one chance in 1,073,741,824.

 

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #431, Proverbs 29:2

The Nugget:

Pro 29:2  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. 

My Comment:

Today is a very important Election Day.  I hope all Christians (and non-Christians too) who may  read here will make sure to have cast their ballot for the candidates of their choice today.

Christians and non-Christians may well be deeply divided this year over their choice for the President of the United States of America.  I must respect each individual’s choice and conscience.  But once again, at the risk of making some people uncomfortable or unhappy, I will make some observations about the top two candidates for the highest office in the land.

Most of my adult life I have voted straight Democratic.  I rejected the Republican Party for good reasons.  As an educator in the public school system in Detroit, I well knew that the Republicans were against the public schools and public school teachers. They still are.  Republicans, on that issue, ought to be ashamed of themselves.  They are against the principle of due process, and are therefore on that issue diametrically opposed to what the Bible teaches.  I think I have written more than one post here with a title something like “The Republicans are not your friends!”

Republicans are for “right to work” laws, and states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan have passed such laws, in full violation of Psalm 15:4, the final clauses in that verse.  That is a most serious violation of Biblical Law, Law that is still applicable today, the violation of which will risk the loss of eternal life for anyone who supports such violation.  Don’t think so?  Go back and read the whole Psalm, starting with Psalm 15:1 and see it in “black and white” for yourself.  The purpose of so-called “right to work” laws is to negate contractual responsibility.  Such laws are designed to undermine the power of unions.  Unions are necessary to preserve the rights of employees against the arbitrary violation of negotiated rights and provisions in union contracts, particularly due process rights.

Many Christians are against unions, especially when workers are required to be union members.  When I had my first job, working for Michigan Bell Telephone Company as a power room operator, I was against union membership, but joined because it was required.  Talking with my father about the issue, he remarked, “The only reason we need unions is because of bad management.”  I’ve quoted my Dad here several times before on this matter.  See my earlier posts under the category “Politics and the Bible,” to the right on this page.  Many Christians and many broadcasters in the “mainstream media” mistakenly believe that union dues go to the support of political candidates that may not be supported by some union members.  This is false.  Union dues support union expenses.  Political contributions are made voluntarily and separately and are not a part of the union dues.

But today, voters have clear and very opposite choices to make.

I will be blunt:  No Christian has any business voting for the current Democratic candidate for President.  The current candidate is too flawed, too compromised with criminal elements that do not support our country’s values.  The current candidate has proven entirely untrustworthy when it comes to proper handling of this country’s national security matters for she arranged to have secret and top secret documents stored on her own unsecured servers.  This alone disqualifies her from any public office according to “black letter law.”

Our problem is that this country has become lawless, clear to the very top offices in this land.  The laws are not fully and promptly enforced, a clear violation of Scripture.  To solve this problem, there must be a change in leadership.  The opportunity to change this leadership is today.  This is, without question, the very last opportunity in our lifetimes to effectively make such a change for the better.

Don’t miss this opportunity by refusing to vote, or refusing to vote for the one candidate who stands for nationalism, not globalism;  who is not “bought and paid for” by lobbyists and special interests;  who stands for law and order;  who promises to enforce our immigration laws and “build a fence” to stop illegal entry into this country;  who stands for the Constitution;  who fully supports the Second Amendment;  who stands behind and fully supports Christians;  who personally believes in the Bible;  who supports our ally Israel in the middle east in accordance with Genesis 12:3;  who is concerned about the plight of our inner cities and knows what to do to make them prosperous once again;  who supports our veterans;  who understands economics and knows how to solve the terrible economic plight this country is now in;  who will replace the disaster called “Obama Care” with a much better, workable idea;  who knows what to do to bring jobs back to America; who will select the best qualified candidates for the Supreme Court, perhaps the most important issue of all in terms of protecting the direction of this country for years to come.  And, if this candidate does not seem Christian enough for some of you, consider his running mate, who most certainly and without question or shadow of doubt is a solid, genuine, mature Christian believer.  I am praying that should the Republican candidate for President and Vice President win, that the Vice President will have and take the opportunity to help the President grow in his Christian faith.

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Daily Bible Nugget #430, John 3:3

The Nugget:

John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

My Comment:

Born once, die twice.

Born twice, die once.

My good friend, Don Rees, used to repeat that saying from time to time.  Don is the one who introduced me to my elderly friend, Uncle Frank.  If you are only born once, you will die twice:  once physically, once spiritually and eternally.  If you are born twice, you will die just once physically, but you will live eternally with Jesus Christ.  The second birth is a spiritual birth, and takes place when you have made a personal choice at a specific time and place to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and take Him into your life and trust in Him alone for your eternal salvation.

The New Birth has nothing to do with water baptism.  It has nothing to do with church membership.  It has everything to do with you coming to Christ, confessing your sin, confessing your need of a Savior from sin and its penalty, and your receiving Christ into your life.  You must be born again:  it is not optional.  Experiencing the New Birth, once it has happened in your life, will be looked upon as the most important experience of your life.

On November 7, 1953, on a Saturday morning in Detroit, Michigan, I received Christ and was genuinely saved while I was all alone delivering papers for my Detroit Shopping News paper route on Lumpkin Street.  As I crossed the street in the middle of the block to reach the houses on the east side of the street, I thought about the fact that crossing the street in the middle of that block–my usual habit on that little-traveled street–could result in a fatal accident, however unlikely.  If I were to die then and there, I thought about whether I would go to heaven.  I realized that though I had attended church at Highland Park Baptist Church since infancy when my parents carried me there, I knew I had never personally received Christ.  Just then, right there, I stopped under a little oak tree and prayed to receive Christ and personal salvation.  I continued on my way whistling the little Gospel song, “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.”  I have most certainly been soundly saved ever since that day, and from the Bible have absolute assurance that I now possess eternal life (John 5:24;  1 John 5:12, 13).

You can have eternal life and assurance of salvation–get it the same way I did now 63 years ago.

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #429, 1 Chronicles 12:32

The Nugget:

1Ch 12:32  And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

The Question:

Mr. Smith, how do you answer a Jehovah’s Witness when they tell you that the Bible and Jesus are against voting?

My Answer:

I take them to Luke 3:14, which shows the Bible does not condemn or forbid military or political participation in government.

Erastus was a public official, the treasurer of the city of Corinth, who is mentioned throughout Paul’s ministry, with no suggestion in Scripture that he should abandon his post! (see Acts 19:22;  Romans 16:23;  2 Timothy 4:20).

When asked the question about whether or not Jews should pay taxes, Jesus responded that we should render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and render to God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17).

In 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 3, we are commanded to pray for those in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  Surely it would only be logical, it would only be reasonable, that when we are given the opportunity to “put feet to our prayers” by obeying 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 3,   we take advantage of the privilege and right that we are given to vote to select those who will exercise authority in government in our behalf.  Not to do so is a violation of James 4:17, where we are told that he that knows to do good, and does not do it, is guilty of sin.

In this election in the fall of 2016, the stakes are very high.  It is crucial that everyone, particularly those who claim to be Christians, vote for the presidential candidate who best represents the values genuine Christians cherish.  To be perfectly blunt, no Christian should choose to vote for Mrs. Clinton, for she has been proven time after time to be devious, untruthful, and a hazard to our national security (evidenced by how she knowingly did not properly handle classified documents related to national security and her use of a private server to hide what she was doing).  Her economic program ideas are nonsensical (in the third debate she claimed her programs would not add one penny to the national debt).  Her ability to relate to Russia is very questionable.  Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is truthful;  he has good moral character (he recently also accepted Christ as his personal Savior);  his statements about Mr. Putin and Russia demonstrate that he intends to be a peacemaker;  he is the only candidate who does not drink at all or smoke.  He has stated repeatedly that he will stand up for Christians.  He believes the Bible.  He stands firmly with the nation of Israel.  He said he will do what he can to undo the Johnson Amendment which restricts the free speech of our pastors (including Pastor Moss, the pastor of my Facebook friend who asked me this question) in the pulpit, so that pastors will be able to discuss moral and political issues in church in their sermons once again.  Mr. Trump will also select conservative justices for the Supreme Court who will follow the Constitution, not re-write law “from the bench.”  It is imperative that all Christians vote, and not give lame excuses to not do so.

An interesting verse that relates to this subject from the Old Testament is 1 Chronicles 12:32, “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”  See the Note given in the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury for this verse, which reads in part:  “That is, as the following words indicate, intelligent men, who understood the signs of the times, well versed in political affairs, and knew what was proper to be done in all the exigencies of human life; and who now perceived that it was both the duty and political interest of Israel to advance David to the throne.”

There are some very pertinent passages in Proverbs that also apply, but I have probably shared enough Scripture with you to make the point.

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Daily Bible Nugget #428, Proverbs 11:27

The Nugget:

“Anyone can find the dirt in someone.  Be the one that finds the gold.”  Proverbs 11:27

My Comment:

My thanks to my Facebook and otherwise long-term friend and member of the Lamplighter College and Career age Sunday school class I was asked to teach, Mrs. Susan Tewksbury Bringard, who posted this verse on Facebook today, though the name of the version or translation is not given.

Surely in the current  political debate here in the United States of America the mainstream media has gone to extreme lengths to dig up dirt on the Republican candidate, Mr. Donald Trump.  This election season is a marvelous lesson in propaganda techniques.  The most prominent of the techniques that I repeatedly notice is that called “ad hominem,” “attack the man.”  And that is about all they have done, with a vengeance.

The so-called “free press” has abandoned the professional standards of journalism and has engaged in an ongoing tirade of verbal abuse and misrepresentation of Mr. Trump in every report I’ve seen or read concerning him.  My advice:  do not depend upon mass media, mainstream news sources, for your information alone.  Notice that the mainstream media, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the rest have not treated Mrs. Clinton in the same way.  There is no even-handedness, no fairness, no balance, no objectivity.  The New York Times, once the “newspaper of record” that printed “all the news that’s fit to print” now is a mouthpiece for the political Left and the Obama Administration.

The best way to overcome the poisoned wells of media bias is to listen carefully to all that the candidates have to say, so that you hear it first-hand from each source.  Watch how they are portrayed in visual media, and even then be careful, for there are techniques used to make someone look bad by how the camera is positioned.  Read what the candidate has written both before and currently, especially books, whenever such are available.

Last night I listened to the second presidential debate on the radio, station WJR in Detroit.  Then today, thanks to another Facebook friend who furnished me the link, I was able to watch the debate allegedly in full on line.

Here is my comment on what I saw:

I listened to the debate live last evening, and I noticed that this video, labeled “FULL,” was edited, for just before the last question was answered, Mr. Trump gave the floor to Mrs. Clinton, remarking that he was indeed a gentleman, and would let her go first.  This exchange did not appear in the video.  Earlier in the debate, Mrs. Clinton was “booed,” and I missed seeing that in the video also.
 
It is interesting to compare the impression I received from just hearing the audio last night to the experience of now seeing the event, not just hearing it.  There are points that made a greater impression for me when heard than when seen, particularly Trump’s discussion of eliminating state boundaries for the purpose of insurance coverage and availability of providers to compete across state lines in order to reduce medical costs by promoting competition between providers. 
 
This touches upon one of the most important financial issues faced by our nation.  If monopoly practices in both the insurance and the medical sectors of our nation can be eliminated–and they should be eliminated  by enforcing existing black letter law which forbids price fixing practices–medical costs could be brought down to where nearly everyone could afford to pay directly for medical services, medicines, and medical insurance. The reduction in prices for services and medicines received would be so great that insurance protection would rarely need to be invoked.
 
This medical monopoly issue is the most important issue now faced by this country, for if it is not resolved during the next  presidential term, medical related spending by the federal government will exceed the present federal budget itself. 
 
Mathematically this involves the “rule of 72,” which accurately predicts how long a given rate of increase takes to double the expense or return.  At 9% (dividing 72 by 9) it takes just 8 years to double. 
 
Nine per cent is the rate of increase of government expense in the federal budget devoted to medical expense.  Given what we already spend now, it is mathematically impossible to sustain another doubling of this item in the federal budget.

Now to get back to Proverbs 11:27.  This is how it reads in the King James Version:

Pro 11:27  He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.

It is good to compare other modern English versions for this verse.  If you do so, you will get more insight into all that the original Hebrew text may mean.

As it stands in the KJV, the first thing I notice is that this verse contains cause/effect relationship statements.  The first cause statement:  “He that diligently seeketh good.”  Those who diligently seek good, among other things seek the best in others (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, 6), experience the effect of “procureth favour.”  On the other hand, those who seek mischief (that is the cause statement) will find that mischief shall come to themselves (that is the effect statement).

Another important way to study Proverbs 11:27 is to carefully consult the cross references for this verse from sources that give as complete a set of cross references as you can find.  Here are the cross references for Proverbs 11:27 as I have them so far:

27.  diligently. Shochair, properly, “rising early to seek” what is greatly desired.  +Jb 8:5 (*S#7836h).  +Ge 19:27.  +Ge 21:4.  22:3.  seeketh good.  Am 5:14.  +*Mic 6:8.  1 Cor 13:4-6.  procureth favour.  Ge 47:25.  Lk 6:38.  *Ga 6:8.  He 6:10.  he that seeketh mischief.  ver. Pr 11:19. Pr 17:11.  1 K 20:7.  *Est 7:10.  *Ps 7:14, 15, 16.  9:15, 16.  10:2.  57:6.  it shall come to him.  +**Ge 6:13.  +*Nu 32:23.  Ga 6:7.

Be sure to read the cross referenced passages above by hovering your “mouse” over each reference to have the Bible verse or verses appear.  You will enjoy seeing the interesting connections  Proverbs 11:27 has with the rest of the Bible.

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Daily Bible Nugget #427, 1 John 3:23

The Nugget:

1Jn 3:23  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

My Comment:

1 John 2:3 tells us, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”  John tells us later in this short book of the Bible that he has two commandments specifically in mind:  (1) that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and (2) love one another, as he gave us commandment.

To “believe on the name” is an idiom which means believe in the person and character of Jesus Christ as it is revealed and displayed to us in the New Testament.  We need to believe all that the New Testament declares about Jesus Christ.  John mentions as of first importance that we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  John already gave his full witness and testimony to this fact when he wrote the Gospel of John.  Anyone or any group or religion that does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is therefore mistaken in belief, and will not be accepted by God.  If you are not sure whether or not you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, I would encourage you to carefully read and re-read the Gospel of John and even the other Gospel accounts until you reach this point in your spiritual life.

The second commandment John draws attention to is the command that we “love one another” (also found in John 13:34).  This commandment is broad-based, and covers many things God wants of and for us.

John’s statement of these two commandments may well relate to the answer Jesus gave when asked which is the greatest commandment of all (Mark 12:30, Mark 12:31). Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Then Jesus added further that the second greatest commandment was like to that one, namely, to love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus said the whole of God’s law, God’s commandments, are based upon and summed up in these two great principles. In context, the scribe who had asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment then responded that Jesus was correct.  Jesus responded to the scribe by saying that the scribe “was not far from the kingdom of God.”  Notice, therefore, that to fulfill these two great commandments, even if that were possible, would not qualify you to inherit the kingdom of God.  To qualify for that, you must also fully and truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as John specified in 1 John 3:23.

Notice in particular, that being a church member, or being baptized, does not make you a Christian.  To be saved, to be a Christian, you must have come to the place in your life where you have received Jesus Christ as both your Lord and your Savior (John 1:12;  Acts 10:36;  Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10,  Romans 10:13) and have followed the example Jesus gave in Luke 18:13.  Once you have taken Christ into your life and have experienced what it means to be born again or born from above by faith (see John 3:7 and context), the Holy Spirit will work in you to literally transform your life:  2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of this as having all the old things pass away, such that all things in your life have become new.  There is no salvation without this transformation.  This cannot be “worked up” on our own; it is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives (Galatians 5:22, 23) as we continue to carefully read and study the Bible which alone is capable to work in us to make us what God wants us to become (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

A most important verse to keep in mind is Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”  This verse asserts that holiness is the most important issue possible to address, for without it, we shall never see the Lord.  That is a strong statement:  one of the strongest statements in the Bible.

Holiness is but little understood, rarely addressed, and generally not practiced today, far as I read and what I see going on in my limited view of the world at large.  It surely seems to be of no concern to most people, even those who would identify themselves as Christians.  So kindly permit me to step on toes and become very brutal in how I address this topic.

On Facebook I have a number of friends, and am thankful for each one, and try to keep them specifically in my prayers. Some friends are my former public school students.  Some friends are friends of those students, but were never in any of my classes.  Some friends are members or otherwise associated with the ministry of one of my former students. I am most thankful for any influence for good I may have had upon my former students.  I will say that I can discern quite a difference between those who have been students of mine and those who have not, speaking of my former students who are now my friends on Facebook compared to some of my friends on Facebook who were never students of mine but who are friends of my former students. I hope what I write here will be a blessing to them (and everyone else who may read here) and an encouragement to move in the right direction spiritually.  What follows is based upon a comment I wrote on Facebook last night that directly addresses the matter of holiness:

Young ladies need to get right with God and stay close to Him by keeping in His Word, the Bible. There should be no single mothers, except if the husband has died. 

Single women must seek God’s guidance in finding a husband before doing anything that could bring about a so-called unplanned pregnancy. 

But all the burden cannot be placed on women. Men need to get right with God and stay close to Him by reading the Bible, by learning how to study the Bible, and by preparing to be the spiritual leader in the home. 

Find a husband or a wife by looking in the right place to meet him or her. Bars, clubs, and other worldly settings (1 John 2:15, 16, 17) are not where Christians should be finding the person God would have them marry. 

Get right with God. Live a life of holiness (Hebrews 12:14). The Bible directs us not to drink alcoholic beverages at all.

[This is a truth that is not evident in most English Bible translations.  The Lavender New Testament more closely follows the original Greek text and has helpful notes.  At Titus 2:2 where the King James Version reads “be sober,” the LNT more accurately reads “to be without wine.”  Footnote c explains:  “Without wine from nephalios, meaning abstinence from wine or alcohol.  Friberg says ‘…strictly holding no wine, without wine;  of persons sober…abstinent.‘  Cf. Eph 5:18;  1 Tim 3:2, 11.  These passages are normally translated that the use of alcoholic beverages in moderate drinking is acceptable.  But moderate drinking does not accord with the meaning of this word as used in the New Testament, or with circumspect living as a Christian.” Friberg is the author of an important Greek lexicon.  There is much more to be found in the other helpful notes on pages 368 and 369 of the Lavender New Testament].

The Bible also commands us not to get drunk (Proverbs 20:1 and cross references;  Ephesians 5:18) . It also tells us that those who are drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 11). 

I have told Christian young ladies in the past (in the Bible Discussion Club at Cass Technical High School as well as in my high school Sunday school class and Bible studies) that if their supposed boyfriend won’t take an interest in attending Bible studies and prayer meetings with them then that is a good indication that he is not the right person for a young lady who wants to follow the Lord in all things. 

Christians are to marry Christians, not unbelievers (1 Corinthians 7:39;  2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 16). All these things need to be explicitly taught in the home, in Sunday school, in church so that our young people don’t lose out on the best God would have for them.

Does all this sound a bit old-fashioned to you? Guess what. The Bible tells us not to get rid of the old landmarks (Proverbs 22:28). The old days may not have been perfect, but they were much better than the trends we see now.

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The Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity

On Facebook I have read some comments that deny the doctrine of the Trinity.  I wrote the following comment to provide some basic Bible evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity most certainly is taught by the Bible.

Those who will take the time to carefully study the Bible itself, following the 24 rules of interpretation I have given in the October, 2010 archives at Real Bible Study, will learn that though the history of the doctrine of the Trinity as it developed in the “church” shows one means of deriving the doctrine, the better means is to see that the doctrine is what is taught in the Bible itself.
 
The doctrine of the Trinity is not named as such in the Bible.  There are many things Bible-believing Christians understand in and from the Bible by terms that are not found in the Bible itself.  You will not find the term “rapture” in the Bible, but the doctrinal teaching is definitely there.  You won’t find the term “second coming” in the Bible either, but the doctrine is there.
 
The doctrine of the Trinity is derived from a careful study of the Bible by means of necessary inference.
 
I have given the Bible evidence for the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity in both The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and in my just-released Bible study software available for use in the e-Sword Bible study software program, under the title The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.
 
Facebook is not the best venue for discussing the topic, because the evidence requires longer posts for accurate discussion.  I can more easily discuss Bible doctrine at my Real Bible Study website.  I will, therefore, post this comment there.
 
But in brief, I would say that the Bible clearly teaches the deity of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is called God at John 20:28.  From that passage if you check into the cross references I have provided you will see that Jesus is called God elsewhere at John 1:1;  John 5:18;  John 8:24;  Isaiah 44:6;  Isaiah 45:21-23;  Matthew 1:23;  Matthew 14:33;  Romans 9:5;  Ephesians 5:5;  Philippians 2:6, 10, 11;  2 Thessalonians 1:12;  Titus 2:13;  Hebrews 1:8;  2 Peter 1:1;  1 John 5:20.
 
The Holy Spirit is called God in Acts 5:3, 4.
 
That the Holy Spirit is a person, not merely an influence, is demonstrated by the fact that the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30).
 
So, there are three persons who are each called God in the Bible:  the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
 
Jesus Christ is not the Father, but was sent by the Father (John 3:17;  Galatians 4:4).  They are, therefore, two separate persons, not the same person.  When Jesus prayed to the Father, He surely was not praying to Himself (John 11:41, 42;  John 14:16;  John 16:26;  John 17:1, 5).
 
At this present time, the Bible teaches, Jesus Christ is in heaven in the form of a man (1 Timothy 2:5), where He is our mediator.  Therefore, Jesus Christ in heaven is a separate person from God the Father.  The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will return to this earth in the same form as He left this earth, in human form, as declared most emphatically in Acts 1:11.
 
Therefore, by necessary inference, we understand from the Bible that there are three  persons who are each called God, so we speak of the fact that there is one God, who exists in three persons, such that we must conclude there are three persons in the Godhead.  This is the teaching of Scripture.  This doctrine of one God in three persons is given the name or called the doctrine of the Trinity.
If you have questions, or information to the contrary, raise a question or post your contrary evidence in the comment section below.
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Daily Bible Nugget #426, 1 John 2:3

The Nugget:

1Jn 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

My Comment:

In my high school Sunday school class of many years ago, one of my pupils, Peggy Roberts, asked a most insightful question.  She asked, “Mr. Smith, why is the plural ‘commandments’ used here, not the singular?” She remarked that she was well aware of the one “new commandment” Jesus gave (John 13:34), but she wondered what are the rest of the commandments? Her question led me to a multi-year study of this matter, and resulted in the extensive note I have placed at 1 John 2:3 listing all the commandments of Christ I could find in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and in my newest resource, released one month ago, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. I have told “the rest of the story” in that note.

Back when I was in high school, even still more years ago, I made a study of the book of 1 John, following the directions I have since placed on this site in the category to the right, “How to Study the Bible.” I placed a note in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge that is retained in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury at 1 John 5:13.  I have been sharing that note, point by point, now over some period of time, in these Daily Bible Nuggets.

Our assurance of eternal life is not dependent upon our feelings. It is not a “hope so” salvation.  We do not need to wait until we die to find out if we were right.  John gives us several marks of true believers in his first epistle.

This assurance is grounded upon the individual believer possessing the marks of a true believer discussed throughout this epistle.

Here is the outline itself:

A true believer lives:

(1) in constant fellowship with God, 1 Jn 1:3; 1 Jn 1:7; 1 Jn 2:6,

(2) true to the Gospel, 1 Jn 2:24,

(3) with love for others, 1 Jn 3:18, 19; 1 Jn 4:7,

(4) in obedience to God, +**1 Jn 2:3 note. 1 Jn 3:23; 1 Jn 5:2, 3, 4, 5,

(5) untainted by the world, 1 Jn 2:15, 16, 17; 1 Jn 5:4, 5,

(6) consistently victorious over Satan, 1 Jn 3:8, 9; 1 Jn 4:4; 1 Jn 5:18,

(7) concerned about souls, 1 Jn 5:16; see +*Jas 5:20,

(8) assured of personal salvation, 1 Jn 4:17; **1 Jn 5:13.

How can we “keep his commandments” if we do not know what they are?

John himself summarizes the commandments of Christ by boiling them down to just two:

(1) That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ,

(2) and love one another, as he gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).

John is very clear that if we truly believe on  Christ, we will love one another. He gives that as one of the marks of being a true believer.  If we truly have love for one another, we will welcome each other, or (as expressed in Romans 15:7) we will “receive one another.” We won’t shun one another. We won’t disparage one another.  We will listen to one another. We will learn from one another, we will share insights and concerns with one another and be blessed by fellowship with one another. We will help one another as appropriate and as opportunity affords.  If this is not our practice, then it may be that we do not truly believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these practices that evidence genuine belief in Jesus Christ are sadly lacking in many places,  places that worship God but have not taken care to structure for fellowship. Be sure to always welcome strangers and newcomers to the fellowship you attend.  You never know what blessing you may be to them, or what blessing they may become to you (Hebrews 13:1, 2).

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Daily Bible Nugget #425, John 8:12

The Nugget:

John 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

My Comment:

I took some time today to answer several of the alleged “Contradictions in the Bible” being posted by one or more Muslims in the “Islam and Christianity Debate Group.”

Here is the proposed “contradiction” proposed by Uthman Muhammad Aboki which I just addressed:

1st Timothy 6/16 “…(GOD) dwelling in the LIGHT which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see…” CONTRADICTS 1ST KINGS 8/12 : “Then spake Solomon, the Lord said that He would dwell in the THICK DARKNESS.”

In my answer below I addressed the contradiction thematically rather than directly.  The direct answer would be that 1 Timothy 6:16 addresses where God permanently dwells, which Paul speaks of as “the light which no man can approach unto.”  I see no problem there.  In contrast, 1 Kings 8:12 speaks of the fact that the Lord said He would dwell in the thick darkness.”  Where is the thick darkness where God would dwell?  In the Holy of Holies in the completed Temple Solomon would build, in a cloud above the mercy seat. Two different settings, thus two quite different aspects of His dwelling are spoken of, but this is not a contradiction, but a distinction as to place and manner of dwelling.

My Answer:

Once again, a supposed “contradiction” reveals a rather superficial reading of the Bible.
 
The themes of “light” and “darkness” are quite prominent in the Bible.
 
I am reminded of the Ninth Plague of Darkness in Egypt:
 
Exodus 10:22  And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
Exodus 10:23  They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
 
I am reminded of the cloudy pillar, which brought darkness to the Egyptians in pursuit of the Israelites, and gave light by night to the Israelites:
 
Exodus 14:19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exodus 14:20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
 
There is even a very significant moral truth related to these contrasting themes of light and darkness expressed in the book of Proverbs:
 
Proverbs 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:19  The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
 
This corresponds to the condition of those who are lost in darkness and refuse to see the light, compared to those who truly seek the Lord by reading and studying His written Word in the Bible, which is the source of spiritual light (Psalm 119:130),
 
Proverbs 28:5  Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
 
Psalm 119:130  The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
 
On this very theme our Lord Jesus Christ gave a most serious warning,
 
Luke 11:35  Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
 
Mat 6:23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
 
John 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
 
Joh 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
 
Make very sure that it cannot be said of you that you love darkness rather than light!
 
 
 
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Daily Bible Nugget #424, John 17:17

The Nugget:

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  (KJV)

Joh 17:17 Make them holy by the true word: your word is the true word. (Basic English Bible)

My Comment:

The Bible claims to be the literal word of God.  The Bible claims to be true.  One might argue that it is not valid for a Book to testify in its own behalf.  That is an invalid argument on the very surface.  A person accused of a crime in a court of law is allowed to testify in his or her own behalf.  The real issue is, can the claim of the Bible to be true be sustained?

Once again, I ventured back to view the Pew Research article that investigated why some Americans left religion behind, and found in the comment section two more interesting comments that are to a degree typical of some who reject the Bible:

Ron Lee • 2 days ago

 

There is no logical reason for anyone to accept your god(s), mythology, or the Christian Bible as “truth” over any others.

At least Ron Lee knew enough to capitalize “Christian” and “Bible” which is better knowledge of the proper conventions of written English than I have seen most Christian posters on the Internet and Facebook demonstrate or put to use.  Take it from a retired English teacher:  the word “Bible” when it refers to the Christian Bible is always capitalized!

However, the truthfulness or validity of Ron’s claim cannot be established.  I have whole shelves of books here in my personal library that present very strong evidence to the contrary.  I do not know anything about Ron Lee, but if this is the opinion he holds, he most likely falls into the category of unbelievers and skeptics that have never seriously read and studied a scholarly work written in defense of the Bible and its claims.

Unfortunately, some of the best books on subjects like this go out of print.  The best book I have ever encountered on this subject is A Lawyer Examines the Bible by Irwin H. Linton, published, actually reprinted, by Baker Book House about 1969. An important feature of Linton’s book is that he cites the scholarly arguments of the greatest apologists of the past in enough detail to convey the full strength of their arguments.

Another volume in an altogether different vein is titled Why Christianity of All Religions? by Hendrik Kraemer, a solid top scholar in the field of world religions, a work published by the Westminster Press in 1962.  Hendrik Kraemer has written a number of other books, including The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World and World Cultures and World Religions:  the Coming Dialogue.  Hendrik Kraemer, former professor of the history of religions in the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, received his doctor’s degree in Oriental Languages, Cultures, and Religions from Leiden University.

So, for someone on the Internet to post a comment saying “There is no logical reason for anyone to accept…the Christian Bible as ‘truth’ over any others” would indicate the poster may not have done his homework before making such a claim.

Another poster commented:

Anonymous • 2 days ago

 

I left Christianity for the same reason I don’t believe any other religion; “if you can’t show it you don’t know it.” Aron Ra, And every religion claims some special knowledge about some deity/s and/or an afterlife that they have absolutely no evidence of. “That which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchen

 

I left “Faith” before I knew these people existed. All it took was a little probing to discover everything I was taught in church was complete conjecture. It had no foundation in reality at all.

If this “Anonymous” poster is stating the truth, it appears that what he was taught in church did not register, or was inadequate.  That ought to alert all pastors and Christian readers here that every church must do a better job of teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of teaching Christian evidences, of teaching the Bible and how to read it and study it for yourself, and the need to teach the evidences which confirm the truth of the Bible.

As a public high school English teacher, I told my school administrators, “If the student did not learn, the teacher did not teach.”  They were amazed that I would ever say such a thing, especially since I was the Union Representative for the school!  The same principle holds for the Church:  if the student did not learn, then the Church did not teach!  You may need to re-focus your Christian education program at your church so that this does not happen, or happens very rarely.

“Anonymous” claims what was taught in church “had no foundation in reality at all.”

You may be very sure that whoever “Anonymous” might actually be, this person was not a pupil in my Sunday school class, or in the Bible Discussion Club I was asked to sponsor by the school administration at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.

Everyone involved in Christian ministry at any level needs to learn better how to present content, not pablum, when it comes to teaching and sharing the Gospel.

The foundation in reality Anonymous somehow missed is the historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb on the third day, the most attested and documented historical event of all history (1 Corinthians 15:1, 2, 3, 4) before the age of the printing press.

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