Sharing by: Pam Crawford
The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit in honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”
HE IS RISEN INDEED!
This year in preparation of Easter I decided to do something different. Instead of giving something up, I decided to dig my heels in and explore the many different religious views out there. I wanted to check out for myself the controversy that appears to stem around God and the historical figure we Christians call Jesus. I have to admit I was surprised at what I discovered. I use to think we needed to get a grip on the Easter Bunny phenomenon that took over this holiday, but after some intense study, I think the Easter bunny is the least of our concerns. It is clear that on American soil in the year 2012, Christianity is being challenged by numerous different belief systems. This past Sunday not everyone was celebrating that Jesus has risen. It's pretty apparent that not everyone believes that the final battle on this earth will come at the hands of a resurrected Jesus who overcomes the forces of evil (Revelation 19:11-21).
Life’s Application Commentary:
"Psalm 110 is one of the most-quoted psalms in the New Testament because of its clear references to the Messiah. Many people have a vague belief in God but refuse to accept Jesus as anything more than a great human teacher. But the Bible does not allow that option. Both the Old and New Testaments proclaim the deity of the one who came to save and to reign. You can’t straddle the fence, calling Jesus “just a good teacher,” because the Bible clearly calls him Lord."
For those of you who believe that Jesus was crucified and rose again, you might be surprised to learn that your view is not accepted by many other religions. This fact became critical to me as I recently received an invitation to attend a Mormon Church service. The invitation came from a lovely couple and had I not known their view on my Savior, I may have joined them. I may have also joined the sweet Jehovah’s Witness gal that regularly knocked on my door last summer to invite me to her Kingdom Hall.
I feel extremely passionate that we understand that not everyone honors or accepts the risen King as Lord and Savior. Sometimes this is the mindset of people all around us and we must be on alert. Some of these people live with us, some are our relatives, others work with us at our jobs and some socialize with us. Because I am limited to space I will only spotlight four views and I encourage you to look at others such as the Unification Church, Unity School of Christianity, Scientology, Wicca, New Age, Islam, Nation of Islam, Baha’I World Faith, Hinduism, Hare Krishna, Transcendental Meditation, and Nichiren Buddhism. I told you that there were many and these just touch the surface of the many religious views and cults out there. I gathered my information from several different resources then I crossed referenced to a chart from Rose Publishing. If you’re interested you could search for “Christianity, Cults and Religions” at www.rose-publishing.com.
*Biblical Christianity claims that “Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity. As God the Son, He has always existed and was never created. He is fully God and fully man (the two natures joined, not mixed). As the second Person of the Trinity, He is coequal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In becoming man, He was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus is the only way to the Father, salvation and eternal life. He died on a cross according to God’s plan, as full sacrifice and payment for our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day, spiritually and physically immortal. For the next 40 days He was seen by numerous eyewitnesses. His wounds were touched and He ate meals. He physically ascended to Heaven. Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of the world to establish God’s kingdom and judge the world.”
*Judaism views “Jesus as either an extremist false messiah or a good but martyred Jewish rabbi (teacher). Many Jews do not consider Jesus at all. Jews (except Messianic Jews and Hebrew Christians) do not believe he was the Messiah, Son of God, or that he rose from the dead. Orthodox Jews believe the Messiah will restore the Jewish kingdom and eventually rule the earth.”
*Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that “Jesus is not God. Before he lived on earth, he was Michael, the archangel. Jehovah made the universe through him. On earth he was a man who lived a perfect life. After dying on a stake (not a cross), he was resurrected as a spirit; his body was destroyed. Jesus is not coming again; he “returned” invisibly in 1914 in spirit. Very soon, he and the angels will destroy all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
*Mormonism claims that “Jesus is a separate god from the Father (Elohim). He was created as a spirit child by the Father and Mother in Heaven, and is the “elder brother” of all men and spirit beings. His body was created through sexual union between Elohim and Mary. Jesus was married. His death on the cross does not provide full atonement for all sin, but does provide everyone with resurrection.”
*Christian Science says that “Jesus was not the Christ, but a man who displayed the Christ idea. (“Christ” means perfection, not a person.) Jesus was not God, and God can never become man or flesh. He did not suffer and could not suffer for sins. He did not die on the cross. He was not resurrected physically. He will not literally come back.”
*Rose Publishing Inc.
The Word tells us that Jesus is coming back (John 14:3) and we should be concerned for those who are distorting the Word of God. Call me naïve if you must, but I have to wonder this out loud. Why after 2,000 + years has no one uncovered the remains of this historical figure, a so called man, the “good teacher” of sorts? Could it be they are dead wrong and the witnesses who encountered the resurrected Christ might have it right?
Inevitably the choice of what we believe is ours. May I suggest you take the time to explore that of what you believe or that of what you doubt while there is still time? According to Chuck Swindoll of Insight for Living, “we can’t only know what we believe as Christians, we need to know what others believe as well.” Be blessed.
Evidence That Demands A Verdict #1 (Josh McDowell).
: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972 San Bernardino, CA
Christianity – Passion for the Gospel by Charles Swindoll and Greg Laurie
Jehovah’s Witnesses – How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower by
David A. Reed
Mormonism - Mormonism 101: Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson.
Judaism – Share the New Life with a Jew by Ceil Rosen and Moishe Rosen
Luke 24, John 19:33-34, Mark 15:43-45, Matthew 28.
Need more? Examining the Witnesses of the Resurrection
In Christ by grace,
In Christ by grace,