"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Did God Command Joshua to Kill the Canaanites?

Richard Dawkins is a well-known atheist from England. Twenty years ago he said, "I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."

Dawkins believes that there is no God and takes particular aim at the God of the Bible in his best-selling book The God Delusion. He writes the following:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pesilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
I'll save you the time of having to look up Dawkins' fancy words by succinctly summarizing what he's saying:
"The Old Testament God is a fictional psychopath who delights in hurting, torturing and killing people."
No wonder Richard Dawkins is an atheist. If I believed that's how the Bible reveals God, I'd be an atheist too.

Dawkins and other atheists like to ask the question: "How could a loving God tell Joshua and the Israelites to kill the Canaanites?"  Sadly, even some modern Christian evangelicals write similar things.

To many people, the revelation of God's character in the Old Testament is unpalatable, unlikeable, and ultimately unbelievable, not to mention inconsistent with the revelation of Jesus' character in the New Testament.

I want to show you in this post why anyone who says the God of the Old Testament is not a God of love is flat out wrong.

God in the Bible

The Bible tells us God is love (I John 4:8). God doesn't have love; He is love.

God is also immutable (Malachi 3:6). He doesn't change. God is love during the past Old Testament days, these present New Covenant days, and during any future ages that may come.

Everyone delights in reading about the ethics and love of Jesus in the New Testament. But many forget that "in Jesus, all the fulness of the Godhead bodily dwelt" (Colossians 2:9).

When you look at Jesus, you're beholding the invisible and immortal God (John 14:9). "If you've seen Me," Jesus said, "you've seen the Father."

God is the invisible, immortal, and transcendent Creator. That means you'd never see or comprehend God, except when God "condescends" to our level of understanding.

This condescension of God is what theologians call The Incarnation.

God became flesh.

Chili-con-carne is "chili with meat." The Incarnation is the invisible, immortal and transcendent God "putting on meat" or flesh.

God came as a Man.

When Jesus angrily destroyed the money tables of the businessmen who were robbing the poor in His house (the Temple), it was a loving act of God's judgment (see Mark 11:11-19). When Jesus damned a fig tree that was not bearing fruit so that it immediately died, it was a loving act of God's judgment (Matthew 21:18-22). Fig trees are designed by God to bear figs.

God will destroy something when the destruction produces something better, like a better world.

That old barn you tore down, why did you destroy it? Answer: To put something better in its place. When you took your dog to the vet, why did you make the difficult decision to "put the dog down"? Because your dog was cancer-ridden.

The context of an act of destruction is everything.

The wicked are destroyed in fulfillment of God's righteous determination to destroy evil.

God is love.

God displays His love for those He created in His image by "waiting" for their repentance of sin.  But if repentance is not forthcoming, God destroys the unrepentant as a loving act on behalf of His Creation.

This is what happened at the Flood.

Noah proclaimed for decades that God's judgment of destruction was imminent because of the rampant wickedness throughout the world.

But the people did not believe Noah.

So the wicked eventually perished in Noah's day,  even though they'd been warned of God's judgment (II Peter 2:5).

Interestingly, God left the door of the Ark open seven days with Noah's family already inside. One can't help but think that anyone who repented of their sins and stepped into the Ark would have been saved from the coming destruction (see Genesis 7:1-4).

But nobody stepped through that door.

Christ Is the Door

Jesus said, "I am the door; whoever enters in by me shall be saved" (John 10:9).

Just as in the days of Noah when God showed patience, mercy, and love to the wicked people of the world, God displayed love, grace, and mercy to the Canaanite people in Joshua's day before He ultimately destroyed them because of their wickedness and unrepentance.

It cannot be said enough that when God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites it had nothing to do with race, religion, or land

God's command to destroy the Canaanites had everything to do with the wickedness of the Canaanites.

The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s grandson Canaan.  The term "Canaanites" is used broadly in Scripture to refer to all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, including the Hivites, Girgashites, Jebusites, Amorites, Hittites, and Perizzites (see Judges 1:9–10).

The biblical representation of Canaanite activities is always negative. Whether it was their rampant sexual immorality in the worship of their fertility god Dagon, or their practice of sacrificing their children in burnt offerings to their god Baal or their sun god Chemosh, or their deep and abiding evil behaviors toward others who lived around them, the Canaanite people deserved to be destroyed for the world to be a better place.
"For the wages of  sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
God waited for 400 years for the Canaanites to repent of their sins.

The Canaanites knew the truth. They descended from Noah, the preacher of righteousness. They had heard with their own ears of God and His power. But they rejected God. They loved their sins and rejected the loving Creator who called them to leave their sins (Joshua 5:1). 

Again, God waited for the Canaanites to repent. For centuries, God waited. 

When God called Abraham as His own and promised him the land of Canaan, God told Abraham he and his descendants would have to wait to take possession of the land of Canaan "because the sin of the Canaanites is not yet complete" (Genesis 15:6). 

Destruction was coming to the Canaanites like destruction came to the wicked in the days of Noah, but God waited... and He waited. 

"God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11) declares the Old Testament Scriptures.

But just as a judge without any pleasure sentences a criminal to capital punishment in our day, so the Judge of the Universe decided to destroy the Canaanites in Joshua's day. 

The time had come for the Canaanites to experience the natural consequences for their unrepentant sins.

The time had come for God to destroy the Canaanites. 

Again, sometimes the most loving thing God can do is to destroy the wicked. 

God used the army of Israel to implement the just sentence of Canaanite destruction. Joshua was the instrument of destruction for the Canaanites, but God was the Author of the just sentence of destruction for the Canaanites.

God said to Joshua:
 “I brought you into the land of the Canaanites…and the Canaanites fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land when I destroyed them before you” (Joshua 24:8).
There are some Christians who struggle with the portrayal of God in the Old Testament as it relates to the ethics and love of Jesus in the New Testament.

But Jesus tells us exactly the same thing about the final end of the wicked that God told Joshua about the final end of the Canaanites. What will happen to the wicked throughout time is exactly what happened to the Canaanites in Joshua's day. 
"Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28), 
Those are the loving words of  Jesus.

Listen to Jesus again:
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear My voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." (John 5:27-30)
Again, those are the loving words of Jesus. This judgment of the wicked in the resurrection is very similar to the judgment of God in the land of Canaan. There is no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, but for the love of His world, God will destroy the unrepentant sinner.

One day the wicked will be raised from the dead to give a detailed account of their sins to Christ. This should terrify the wicked (2 Corinthians 5:11), but just as in the days of Noah and in the days of Joshua, the idea of coming judgment is something to scoff, not something to ponder.

Christ will judge the resurrected wicked for their sins and ultimately sentence each of them to die what the Bible calls "the second death" (Revelation 20:12-15).

The unrepentant at the Judgment will perish with "everlasting destruction" (II Thessalonians 1:9). The Apostle Paul calls it everlasting destruction because there will be no reversal of it through resurrection, as was true of the destruction at the first death.

It is to save sinners from this eternal destruction of perishment that God in His great love sent for us His Son.
"For God so loved this world, that He gave us His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have life throughout the ages to come" (John 3:16). 
That's real love.
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:7-8)
And it is through the repentance of our sins and our faith in Person and work of Jesus Christ that we are given by God the priceless gift of immortal life (I Corinthians 15:53-55).

But the unrepentant wicked who die without faith in God's grace through His Son will not be recipients of this stunning gift of immortal life throughout the ages to come. They've never repented of their sins and they've never opened their hearts, minds and lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The prophet Malachi describes the Day of Judgment in the last chapter of the Old Testament:
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3). 
I'm not sure why Christians have a problem with the Bible saying God commanded the destruction of the Canaanites in Joshua's day.  Jesus says the same destruction will occur to all the resurrected wicked on Judgment Day.

The Good News is that anyone who has repented of their sins and embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will hear God say:
“Your sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17.
The Scriptures Teach Neither Universal Salvation Nor Universal Immortality 

In a reaction to the unbiblical teaching that God eternally torments the wicked rather than destroys them, some Christians have taken to the false teaching of universal salvation. 

Some of these hopeful universalists are friends of mine. 

I've written about Paul Young's hopeful universalism

I've written about C.S. Lewis and George McDonald and their vivid writings on the same subject. 

Now comes an entirely new crop of intelligent evangelicals who write with the belief that God will ultimately save everyone to enjoy His love for the ages to come. 

These modern evangelicals love Jesus. But some, like Pastor Brian Zahnd who recently wrote Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News, seem to embrace their idealized philosophies more than they do the inspired Scriptures. 

Pastor Zahn writes that "the depictions of God in the OT" should be subordinate to the "revelation of God seen in Jesus."

That's the Pastor's philosophy that drives the theme of his book. 

Pastor Zahn believes that God’s wrath in the Old Testament is but a mere metaphor and does not really point to a real and tangible anger from God toward sinners.

The Old Testament, Pastor Zahn writes,  presents God as capricious, malevolent, and vengeful, say these modern evangelicals, a very similar view to that of atheist Richard Dawkins. 

While appreciating my hopeful universalist friends who long to exalt the love of God to the world, I can't accept their philosophy that the God of the Old Testament is not the Jesus of the New Testament.

He is. 

I believe the reason Pastor Zahn and others fight the philosophical battle of pitting wrath against love and the Old Testament God against the New Testament Jesus is because they've never questioned their acceptance of the false and prevalent non-biblical teaching that the wicked are inherently immortal and live forever. 

Christian universalists believe (contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible) that the wicked can never not exist. Because of this, they choose to believe God will one day deliver the unrepentant wicked from their torments by convincing them at some point during the eternal ages of His unconditional love. 

Hopeful universal salvation is much more palatable to these philosophical evangelicals than the teaching that the wicked will be tormented by God forever and ever for their sins. 

But the Bible does nowhere portray the wicked as living forever. 

The wicked perish (Psalm 37:20). 

Pastor Zahn and other evangelicals have reacted to the ancient and false Greek philosophy of inherent immortality by adopting a false but modern western philosophy that God's love will ultimately rescue everyone, even those who die in a state of unrepentance. 

Pastor Zahn's book does not grapple with the specific biblical texts that state God destroys the wicked (like Psalm 94:23) because, in Pastor Zahn's mind, the wicked are immortal and can't be destroyed.

Though I admire the passion to exalt God's love among my Christian universalist friends, I cannot accept their philosophy.

I too have a passion to exalt the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ, but my foundation of truth is in the Bible, and not philosophy.

The Bible teaches me that the wicked will perish.

But a loving God has sent us His Son, so that sinners like me, by faith in Christ and repentance of sins, might live forever! (Romans 1:17).

That is indeed Good News.

So, "Did God command Joshua to kill the Canaanites?"


And their destruction is a picture of the Day of Judgment when those resurrected from the dead by the power of Christ will give an account for their sins and afterward experience the same destruction of death, but this time for eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

I once had someone say to me, "everlasting destruction" is "a cup of hope" compared to everlasting and eternal torment.

I responded.
"Any man who calls everlasting destruction a cup of hope is unfamiliar with the rich blessings of eternal life." 
May we always be people who see "the glory of God" in the face of Jesus Christ, who passionately exalt the love of God by sharing the gospel of grace to a fallen world, and who adhere to the inspired and infallible Word of God rather than the errant and misleading philosophies of men. 

Politics and Religion Are Always Mixed Regardless: Israel, Kirk Humphreys, and the First Amendment

The old saying "religion and politics ought never mix" is utterly false.

Religion and politics always mix whether we like it or not.

Nobody can help it.

What is supreme in a person's heart is one's religion, be it Deity or dogma. One's supreme belief gives birth to one's politics.

God and government or god and government can never be separated. You always govern with a view toward the supreme.

For example, if a person believes in a Supreme Being who has communicated His will to His creation, then that person's view of government will be based on the Supreme Being and Divine law.

However, if a person does not believe in a personal Supreme Being, that doesn't mean he or she is not religious. Religion, by definition, is "a pursuit or interest of supreme importance." A person's supremely held dogma or philosophy is as much a god as a Supreme Being.

Two people; two religions; two views of government.

The inner worship of one's god drives the open wrangling for one's government.

Religion and politics are always mixed.

As an example, The Founding Fathers believed in a Supreme Being that they called "nature's God." The connection between their belief in a personal God and the government they founded is obvious when you walk the capitol grounds in Washington. The word  “God” (with a capital "G") is engraved in marble or stone everywhere. The Founders sought to obey God's revealed will, which they called "natural law."

Today, many Americans serve a different god. This god is a philosophy of self, lived out with the belief that "my desires, my rights, and my will" are supreme.
If I speak it, it is true. If I desire it; it shall be. If you disagree with me, you blaspheme my god, which is me. 
Religion and politics are always mixed.

Let me prove it.

The Nation of Israel and Jerusalem as the Capital 

Former President Jimmy Carter told me that when he was at the Camp David Peace Accords in 1979 with Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat a heated discussion broke out regarding the modern borders of the nation of Israel. When President Carter asked Menachem Begin where he believed Israel's boundaries should be located, Begin opened a Bible to Genesis 15 and pointed to God's words to Abraham:
"Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river Egypt unto the great river, the river of the Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18). 
Menachem Begin's religious beliefs drove his politics.

Some Americans believe that Israel will give up the Golan Heights and the West Bank through political pressure from the West.

It's not going to happen.

The politics of Israel is driven by their religion. Israelis believe God gave them the land of Israel. 

Likewise, Anwar Sadat, a follower of the Koran, based his political views on Surah 5:21 which states:
"O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah's cause] and [thus] become losers." 
Arabs who live in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria have their politics driven by their religious beliefs. They will never agree to the Jews living in the Holy Land, and they will never acquiesce to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, and they will politic based on their religious beliefs.

But what about American politics? Where will America and our government stand on Israel?

It depends.

It depends on the religious beliefs of the American people who hold the political power.

Kirk Humphries and the University of Oklahoma

Kirk Humphries is the vice-president of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. He is also a voice on one of Oklahoma's most-watched television political opinion shows, a Sunday morning show called Flashpoint. Kirk is currently in a firestorm over remarks he made about homosexuality.
“Is homosexuality right or wrong?” Mr. Humphreys asked. “It’s not relative. There’s a right and wrong, you just said it. So it’s either right or wrong. If it’s OK, then it’s OK for everybody. Quite frankly, it’s OK for men to sleep with little boys, if it’s OK.”
 Some Oklahomans are asking Mr. Humphries to resign from his positions of leadership. Mr. Humphries is being called "a homophobe," a "bigot," and "a disgrace" to the state of Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma.

The Lost Ogle, a satirical online newspaper in Oklahoma, said of Kirk Humphries:
"(he is) an out-of-touch, inarticulate, conservative theocratic voice..."
The definition of theocratic is "a form of government in which God or a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler." 

The Lost Ogle got it right. Kirk Humphries believes the highest lawgiver is God, and he believes the Bible to be the Word of God. The Bible calls homosexuality a sin against God and a barrier to entry into the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

Of course, those with a different philosophical persuasion who serve another god believe differently. And their religious belief drives their politics of governance.

It shouldn't surprise many that Kirk Humphreys is siding with The Founding Fathers in his views on homosexuality.

I happen to know Kirk Humphries and his family. Kirk and his wife and children are some of the most personable, generous, and compassionate people you'll ever meet.

Kirk is a religious man. His religion is Christianity. He bases his beliefs on what he believes God communicates to him through the Bible.

Those asking Kirk Humphries to resign are just as religious. It's just that their god is different than Kirk Humphries' God. This is an observation, not a condemnation.

Every person serves a Deity or a dogma.

Religion and politics are always mixed.

The First Amendment 
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
The First Amendment guarantees five things:

1. The government will not establish a particular religion - The Founding Fathers rightly assumed every person is religious. The First Amendment prohibits government resources from supporting a particular religious sect to the exclusion of others.

2. The government will not prohibit the free exercise of a particular religion - The Founding Fathers wanted people to worship freely as they believed, without government interference, as long as such worship did not physically harm other persons or do damage or destruction to other persons' property (e.g., "violate natural law"). Such harm to others or other's property is the very definition of "terrorism." 

3. The government will not abridge the freedom of speech - abridgment, by definition, means "to curtail, shorten, condense, or reduce." In America, a Muslim has the right to speak freely, a Christian has the right to speak freely, an atheist has the right to speak freely, as well as any other person of a particular religious sect, be it a sect that worships a Supreme Deity or a supreme dogma.

4. The government will never take away the right peaceful assembly - The government can't close a house of worship because the government doesn't like the dogma or Deity worshipped. 

5. The government will never punish the person who seeks help or relief from violations of the promised freedoms mentioned above -  a freedom that citizens of countries led by autocratic, dictatorial regimes can only dream of having. 

Religion and politics always mix. 

The First Amendment is a guarantee that your freedoms as an American to believe a certain way, worship a certain way, speak a certain way, and gather a certain way, will never be forcibly removed or threatened with punishment or retaliation by those in authority. 

The Founding Fathers would never have dreamed of the day in America when the religious people most likely to be politically blackballed, threatened or coerced to worship, believe and speak a certain way are those who believe in the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible. 

Don't be fooled.

Everyone's religious. 

It's just that one person's god is not another's God.

Which religious belief leads to the best form of civil governance?

That's a question best answered before the fall of any republic.

Patriarchs to Predators -'Now Make Me a Sandwich'

Our country is embroiled in a national sex scandal. Males are being removed from employment, censured publicly, and sometimes even prosecuted for sexual crimes in the workplace.

Women who've been sexually abused by men are speaking out.

Today, TIME Magazine named the #METOO movement Person of the Year

The rampant sexual abuse and objectification of women in the workplace is tragic.

Evangelical pastors and churches bear some of the responsibility. 

The false doctrine called patriarchy, a belief held by many evangelical pastors and churches, is the root that blossoms into the fruit of sexual predation. Patriarchy is the belief that males hold all the power and privilege and females and children are merely property and possessions who must submit to male authority.

Sadly, many evangelical pastors actually teach patriarchy.

These Christian ministers say they believe the Bible, but their views of biblical Christianity are skewed and they unwittingly feed the monster of abuse. These ministers speak of the spiritual authority of males over females, husbands over wives, and male pastors over parishioners - as if the alleged spiritual authority of males is something honorable. 

Dipping patriarchy into the sweetness of spirituality only disguises the deadly poison. 

Years ago I wrote the forward for Jon Zen's book What's Up with Paul and Women. I wrote:
"The viper known as 'the doctrine of male authority' has bitten the church. The toxin emitted by this errant teaching affects the females within our assemblies. It debilitates their God-given gifts, denigrates their Spirit-led ministry, and downplays their role as New Covenant priests. The modern institutional church has misconstrued and misinterpreted Paul's writings on the subject, while at the same time ignoring Jesus's words and life on the same subject."
Jon points out in his book that the church's adherence to the false doctrine of patriarchy has led to the sexual and physical abuse of women in culture and the institutional church.
Since women were seen as "lower beings," husbands were granted the right to correct or chastise their wives. This "gave religious and legal sanction for the absolute control of the 'male mind' over the 'female body,' in the form of physical violence."Thus a perverted theology led to the church's sanctioning of wife-beating. The Council of Toledo in A.D. 400 "decreed that [clergy] had the right to beat their wives more severely than ordinary fellows: 'A husband is bound to chastise his wife moderately, unless he be a [clergy], in which case he may chastise her harder.' A later passage states that 'if wives of clergy transgress their [husbands'] commands, they may beat them, keep them bound in their house and force them to fast but not unto death.'" [What's With Paul & Women, page 56]
Lest one thinks such thinking is relegated to the ancient church, I give you the case of Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey.

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, the Moore Police Department released video footage of Senator Shortey caught in a hotel room with an underage boy. Senator Shortey has pleaded guilty to federal charges of child prostitution and possession of child pornography.

Senator Shortey is an evangelical Christian. He is a leader at his evangelical church. He is a "committed Christian" who works in volunteer ministry through his church.

When the Senator opened the hotel room door he was wearing a T-Shirt with a verse reference of Ephesians 5:22. 
"Wives submit yourself unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." 
Underneath the textual reference were the words:
"Now make me a sandwich." 
Whether it's the sexual abuse of women or the sexual predation of children, evangelical males who set themselves up as "lord" over others - demanding actions by others to gratify one's sensual or sexual desires - is a false and tragic representation of true Christianity.

The Bible teaches mutual submission and mutual service. Christ gives no Christian any pass for taking advantage of another human being by claiming authority over another person, whether it be spiritual, marital, or patriarchal authority.

Anyone who "lords" over another person is the antitheses of what it means to be a Christian. Listen to Jesus:
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." (Matt. 20:25-27)
It's time for evangelical leaders and churches to awaken to the dangerous and damaging consequences of propagating the false teaching of male patriarchy.

It creates men who demand sex and sandwiches from the objects they possess. 

I'm Marked in Ink with a TAV by the Man in Linen

9:11 has become a symbolic number for the United States.

It's our national emergency number for those in crises. It's the date of the worst terrorist strike on American soil. It's the number people think of when in trouble.

All of us have been in trouble of one kind or another. We've all made mistakes. Some sins are more egregious than others, but there's not one of us without fault.

I became a friend to Sean Sellers before he was executed by the State of Oklahoma. Sean had murdered his own family but had surrendered his life to Christ while on death row. I was there when he was executed.

Rachelle and I have a friendship with a woman who solicited herself on the streets of Dallas for years. She, too, has given her life to Christ. She's now leading a portion of our Celebrate Recovery ministry.

Over the years we've become close to people who've done some really awful things, ruining their lives and the lives of others by their actions.

Life is messy, and we are part of that mess.

But the gospel is Jesus loves sinners.
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst." (I Timothy 1:15)
But I must ask a difficult question. Does Jesus accept all sinners?

I propose that Jesus accepts only those sinners who dial up 9:11.

Ezekiel 9:11 is the Bible's 9:11.
"And, behold, the Man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, "I have done as You have commanded me." (Ezekiel 9:11). 
Allow me to explain why this Bible verse is so important.

Ezekiel 9 records a vision that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel had been captured by the King of Babylon and is now living in exile as a prisoner. The year is 591 B.C. and the Temple in Jerusalem is still standing.

But not for long.

Five years later (586 B.C.) God would use the wicked Babylonian army (e.g., "the Chaldeans") to destroy His Temple and the city of Jerusalem because of the wickedness and sins of the people.

The Glory was departing Jerusalem (see Ezekiel 8).

In Ezekiel's vision, he sees seven men enter the city, "and one Man was in linen with an inkhorn around His waist" (Ezekiel 9:2). An inkhorn was a container full of ink, sometimes the horn of an animal. A feather with a pointed stem would be the natural pen.

The Man in linen was sent by God to "mark with ink" the people in Jerusalem who were "grieving, weeping and in deep sorrow" over the detestable things they'd done (Ezekiel 9:4). The other six men were executioners who were to "destroy by death" those without the mark (Ezekiel 9:5).

God told the six men:
"Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark."
The Seventh Man, the Man in linen with the inkhorn around His waist, is an Old Testament type of Jesus Christ. The Man in linen had a specific mission.
"Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." (Ezekiel 9:4
The people of Jerusalem had done some abominable things. All of them. But there are some who are "grieving, weeping and in deep sorrow" over the detestable things they'd done (Ezekiel 9:4).

Ezekiel 9:11 tells us the Man in linen did as He was commanded, and all those marked with ink were saved from destruction.

God delivers sinners who grieve over sin.

The "mark" that the Man in linen puts on the foreheads of those in mourning translates the Hebrew word TAV (also spelled "taw" or "tau" when transliterated into English). In addition to meaning a "mark," this is the name of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

The TAV is an equal-armed cross + (as in the upper right corner of the diagram to the right). The Man in linen with the "cup of ink" or "inkhorn" (KJV) marked people with a sign in the shape of a cross.

The Man in linen died for those who mourn over their sin.

The only people delivered from destruction via "the mark of the cross" are those who mourn over sin.
"Blessed are they who mourn," Jesus said, "for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).
To be a Christian doesn't mean you've never done anything wrong.


To be a Christian - to be one who is saved from the coming destruction - means you've been marked by the Man in linen with the cross because you mourn over your sins.

Our Inherent Mortality and the Gift of Immortality

Death, by definition, means "the end of life."

If someone dies, he or she lives no longer. The question that has been asked throughout the centuries is this: "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14).

The Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - all of whom lived hundreds of years prior to the coming of Jesus Christ - believed things contrary to the Hebrew Scriptures. They taught their followers that life never really ends for anyone. For these Greek philosophers, the "soul" or "spirit" within a man is inherently and naturally immortal. Therefore, they declared, the soul exists forever -  even independent of the human body.

To the Greeks, the soul of a man was like the trick birthday candles you tried to blow out as a child. No matter how hard you tried, the candles couldn't go out. For the Greeks,  it was considered impossible for the "soul" of a person not to exist. They simply defined death as the separation of  "the soul" from the body, not the end of life. Socrates explains:
"Is death not the separation of soul and body? When the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and body is released from the soul, what is this but death? (Five Great Dialogues, Classics Club, 1969, p. 93). 
Socrates (c. 470-399 B.C.) and his disciples taught that the soul of a man, once freed from the body at death, is rewarded by the Creator according to the good deeds done on earth or is punished for the bad deeds done on earth.

Socrates postulated his belief in the separation of the soul from the body after Malachi finished penning the last book of the Old Testament. So the belief that souls of human beings are inherently immortal became part of Greek thinking after the close of the Old Testament Hebrew canon.  Grecian King Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.) conquered the known world, so Greek philosophy became part of most civilized cultures in the ancient world.

The Hebrew writers of the Scriptures, contrary to Socrates and the Greek philosophers, taught that death meant the end of life.

There is life after death, but it is only because God raises the dead. This is the teaching of the Bible. In fact, the resurrection from the dead is a central tenet of the Bible.

Jesus explained that the resurrection was taught in the Pentateuch:
"As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." (Mark 12:25-27). 
God isn't the God of the dead for they cease to exist. He is the God of the living.  At the resurrection, the dead are raised to life. Some of the dead are raised to be judged for the evil things they've done in this life. After their judgment, they will be sentenced to die a second time (Revelation 20:14).

Others are raised from the dead to receive the grace gift of immortal life. 
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him should not perish (e.g. "the second death"), but have everlasting life." (John 3:16
The prophet Daniel spoke of the resurrection:
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt" (Daniel 12:2). 
Possibly the clearest teaching of the resurrection in the Old Testament is from the typology of the Festival of Firstfruits (see I Corinthians 15:20-23). The Bible is replete with the teaching that life after death only occurs because of the resurrection from the dead.

Many erudite biblical scholars have shown how the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the resurrection of all human beings from the dead is the crux of biblical faith. Death doesn't mean continued life. Death means cessation of life. Resurrection from the dead is the only way life after death occurs.

This truth causes some people to be upset.
"People were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead" (Acts 4:2).
It's easier for most people to believe that nobody ever dies (e.g. "because people are immortal and can't die") than it is to believe people die and that God raises the dead. I heard on the radio today a New Age charlatan who is charging money for a conference where she will "communicate with your dead loved ones" as if your dead loved ones continue to exist in the form of a spirit or ghost.

Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer of songs like Joy to the World, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and other renowned songs clearly stated his belief that nowhere in Scripture is it taught that "the soul" is inherently and naturally immortal.
"There is not one Place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word Death, as it was first threatened in the Law of Innocency, necessarily signifies a certain miserable Immortality of the Soul, either to Adam, the actual Sinner, or to his Posterity.... (The Ruine and Recovery of Mankind - p. 228).
Yet even the Hebrew religious leaders in Jesus day had come under the influence of Socrates and the Greek philosophers. The Sadducees, the educated religious elite in Jerusalem, many of whom had been trained in Greek philosophy, scoffed at the resurrection. Why is the resurrection needed, they philosophically pondered, if the essence of a man is the soul of a man, the soul which can never die or cease to exist?
"Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees--religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead." (Luke 20:27 NLT). 
Evangelicalism in our day has some similarities to Sadduceeism in Jesus' day. Though we evangelicals will speak of the resurrection of the dead, and although resurrection from the dead is part of our official confessions, we evangelicals often privately scratch our heads over the concept of resurrection because we've been conditioned to believe that death doesn't mean the cessation of life, only the separation of the soul from the body and the continuation of life.

Resurrection to those who've adopted Greek philosophy seems irrelevant and unneeded.

But Jesus declared:
"Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming  in which all who are in the graves will hear His foice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:28-29 NKJV).
I've actually had Christians say to me, "What's the big deal about the resurrection? Why would those already in heaven need anything else?"

Good question.

Some evangelicals seem unable to grasp that death means "the end of life."

If death means the cessation of life, then if life after death occurs, a resurrection is required.

The Bible teaches that God alone is immortal (I Timothy 6:16). Every living creature that the immortal God creates is therefore inherently mortal. Everyone dies. That includes male and female human beings. We are naturally and inherently mortal beings.

If mankind is to obtain to life eternal, it must be a gift from the immortal God.

Adam and Eve were created as spiritual living beingswith the ability to relate to the invisible, immortal Creator and with other things in God's realm (e.g. "Kingdom things"). Adam's spirituality separated both Adam and Eve - for the Bible calls both the "male and female" Adam (see Genesis 1:27)  - from the animals that God created.

You never see a dog bowing in prayer before eating. Nor do you see a horse with hooves raised to the heavens in worship. Animals are not spiritual like the human race. We relate to the spiritual realm.

Though Adam and Eve were created with the capacity to relate to the God, after their fall in their relationship with God, spirituality died. Adam and their descendants became "dead in their trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) toward God.

Mankind now needs a resurrection of spiritual life to relate to God and the things of God. This is what the Bible calls "the new birth" (John 3:7).

Unless a descendant of Adam is "born again" by the Spirit of God (John 3), that person will be unable to relate to the spiritual.
"For a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishiness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (I Corinthaisn 2:14). 
Don't misunderstand. Spirituality doesn't mean a man is a spirit. Angels are spirits, and contrary to what you hear at funerals, men and women never become angels.

Man is a physical being that is capable of relating to the spiritual realm. To be a spiritual person with the ability to relate to spiritual things requires regeneration from God (e.g. "the re-beginning (generation) of spiritual life").

Human beings are living, breathing creatures (nephesh) with abilities that other living, breathing creatures (nephesh) do not have, for God created humans in His image. When you read the Old Testament and come across the English word “soul" or the phrase "living soul," these words translate the Hebrew word nephesh. The literal meaning of nephesh is “a breathing creature.

Living creatures (nephesh) created by God in Genesis 1 and 2 include both man and animals.

The New Testament Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word nephesh is psuche.  Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words defines psuche as “the essence of life, the act of breathing, taking breath." 

The Bible teaches that God gives life (breath) to every nephesh. At death,  the breath of God returns to Him who gave it and the body goes to dust.  
"When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust." (Psalm 104:29). 
"Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it..." (Isaiah 42:5). 
"The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of God gives me life" (Job 33:4). 
When God made the first man (Adam), the Bible says in Genesis 2:7 that God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living creature (nephesh)."

Again, nephesh is also the Hebrew word also used for animals in Genesis 1.
"And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures (nephesh) according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so" (Genesis 1:24)
But animals don't have the ability to relate to the spirit realm or to the things of God. They are not spiritual nephesh, but they are nephesh.

Mankind is different from animals in that God created us "in His image" (Genesis 1:26).

If you are looking for a biblical definition of what it means to be created in the image of God, you won't find one.

However, if you look closely at Genesis 1 you'll see the living creatures (nephesh) that the Bible identifies as animals differ from the living creatures that the Bible calls mankind (nephesh) in two fundamental ways.

God made Adam and Eve with the potential for spirituality (a relationship with God) and the potential for immortality (a life that continues forever). These two potentials seem to reflect God's image (spirituality and immortality).

Adam and Eve lost both qualities for themselves and their posterity in their sin against God.

But the last Adam (Jesus Christ) brings both potentials back into play for the sinful human race.

The immortal God created spiritual nephesh in His image (e,g. Adam and Eve) with the ability to fellowship with Him and with free access to the tree of life (Genesis 2:9), the fruit of which gave Adam and Eve the gift of living forever. As long as they related to their Creator in love, obedience, and submission, they would live forever in relationship with God.

But when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator and broke that relationship, God banished them from the Garden and from access to the tree of life. God gave the reason for His banishment:
"Lest Adam stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). 
The first Adam and all who descend from him are now under the sentence of death. For the wages of sin is the sentence of death (Romans 6:23).

The death of things and all nephesh (e.g., "breathing creatures") other than man is natural, but the death of nephesh (mankind) created in the image of God is contrary to the gift of eternal life God gave promised man contingent upon obedience to Him.

Adam and his descendants have lost the gift of immortality and we all experience mortality (death), for all have sinned. Every human being is born dead spiritually toward God and under the sentence of physical death. Physical death is described by the prophet Ezekiel.
"The soul (nephesh) that sins, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20). 
Think carefully. Death is natural (e.g. "a part of nature") for every living creature (nephesh) as well as plants, stars, objects, etc. - but death is unnatural for the nephesh that God made in His image.

Death for mankind is a consequence of the first man's rebellion against God.

The Scripture teaches that there is coming a day when all descendants of Adam will be raised from the dead to either be judged for their sins and die again or to be granted immortal life through the work of the last Adam, Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:42-46).
"This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (II Timothy 1:10). 
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). 
I do not believe the Scriptures teach universal reconciliation but I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I do not believe the Scriptures teach the wicked will live forever in conscious torment though I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I believe the Scripture teaches those in Christ are given the gift of immortal life, and those outside of Christ will be judged for their sins and suffer eternal destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9).

Let the prophet Malachi have the last word.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 4:1-3). 
Sola Scriptura. Sola Gratia. Sole Fide. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria.

The Cataclysmic World that We All Call Home

It's not my intention to frighten those who read this post. Intentionality aside, I am sure that a few of you who read what follows will find it hard to sleep tonight.

We live in a world where natural cataclysms are the norm.

By cataclysms, I mean continent-cracking, life-losing, empire-ending geophysical eruptions of volcanic, tectonic, and stellar activity.

The lie propagated by government scientists and state educators is uniformitarianism. Evolution, atheism, and humanism are all built on this philosophy which  states "no swift and radical change in nature has taken place in the past because nothing like it is observable in the present." 

According to the uniformitarian, the world slowly - over billions and billions of years - experiences changes in the landscape, climate, and environment through the slow and uniform forces of nature. Mountains were formed eons ago. Seas were filled millions of years ago.

Slowly...slowly...slowly...the world evolves.

Not so fast! (Pardon the pun.)

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky was a brilliant scholar, linguist, anthropologist and scientist who died in 1979. In seven epic books, Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval, the three-volume Ages in Chaos, Mankind in Amnesia, and Stargazers and Gravediggers, Velikovsky shows that worldwide, earth-shattering catastrophes are the norm.

Nature will often suddenly, violently and cataclysmically shake the world. Velikovsky irrefutably showed how these cataclysms occurred in ancient history (ex. 23rd Century B.C., 15th Century B.C., 8th Century B.C. etc.) and how they are likely to happen again in the future.

Charles Darwin, the father of uniformitarianism, denied continental catastrophes but admitted in a private letter that the extinction of mammoths in Siberia "was for him an insoluble problem" (Whitley: Journal of the Philosophical Societ of Great Britain, XII (1910), p. 56).

You see, the mammoths froze instantly.

In 1831/1832 Darwin sailed around the shoreline of South America.  He kept a diary. After examining massive amounts of fossilized bones belonging to extinct mammals, Darwin wrote:
"Certainly, no fact in the long history of the world is so startling as the wide and repeated exterminations of its inhabitants." (Charles Darwin: Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World, dated January 9, 1834)
Darwin's uniformitarianism gave him no answer for the massive, sudden and violent changes in landscape and climate that exterminated whole species.

Uniformitarians find it difficult to answer why there are seashells on the summit of Everest, a place where even eagles and birds can't fly and only recently has man's foot stepped? If sea urchins were deposited billions of years ago on Everest, why are they still extant and not dust? Uniformitarians struggle with explaining how hippopotamus bones, elephant bones, and the bones of other mammals not native to England are found in caves there? It's impossible for a uniformitarian to explain why there's fossilized wood and other weird plant life in Antartica. What's going on in the world?

Velikovsky explains. He states:
"The origin of new species from old are caused by the processes that can be duplicated in laboratories - by excessive radiation or some other irritant in abnormal doses, thermal or chemical, all of which must have taken part in natural catastrophes of the past, and could have played a role in building new species, as the case of new plants in the bomb craters appears to indicate. 
Great catastrophes of the past accompanied by electrical discharges and followed by radioactivity could have produced sudden and multiple mutations of the kind achieved today by experimenters, but on an immense scale. The past of mankind, and of the animal and plant kingdoms, too, must now be viewed in the light of the experience of Hiroshima and no longer from the portholes of the Beagle." 
Velikosvky, a close friend to Albert Einstein, showed in his book Worlds in Collision how Venus is relative newcomer to the planetary orbital system and that civilizations across the world recorded massive natural catastrophes during the 15th century B.C. as Venus passed in close proximity to earth.

Velikosvky brilliantly shows in Earth in Upheaval how the geological layers of the earth and massive mountain ranges with fish on top can only be explained by massive earth splitting, fountains of waters rising from the deep caused massive tsunamis, tectonic plates shoved into each other raising seabeds into mountain ranges, and the creation of  new oceans vast deserts during the 23rd century B.C.

Atheists, evolutionists, and humanists hated Velikovsky. Carl Sagan would often lie about Dr. Velikovsky to humiliate him publicly. Educators banned him.

But science keeps vindicating Velikosvky, including NASA's research in 1963 that proved Venus temperature and gases were precisely what Velikosvky said they would be if Venus was a newcomer to the planetary orbital system.

Velikosvky was brilliant. He was not a Christian. He was a scholar of the infinite degree.

Others may comment on this post and call Dr. Velikosvky a quack and a pseudo-scientist. Dr. Einstein considered him a genius.

The inventor of radio-carbon dating, when shown by Velikosvky the errors of assumption made in the initial research, was unable to dispute Velikosvky because he didn't know as much as Velikosvky and admitted such.

What's the point?

Simply this. If the world is indeed a chaotic place, with a history of cataclysms that destroyed empires and changed the face of the earth, then one should expect such cataclysms in the future normal. Add mankind's new technologies into the equation, and the chances of a future cataclysm on earth only rise.

So if Yellowstone explodes and covers the United States in darkness for decades, it's not the end of the world, it's only the world being the world.

And if the west coast of America falls into the sea and a new coastline is formed in Utah, that event will only be the world being the world.

And if a manmade nuclear explosion occurs (again) and kills millions, it will only be a continuation of the chaos that has come to this world since the fall of man.

This is the cataclysmic world we call home.

That for which we all can be thankful is the knowledge that the One who Created the world will always remain in charge, fulfilling His good purposes.
"Disaster will come upon disaster...(for) only by His word the present heavens and earth are reserved"  (Ezekiel 7:26; II Peter 3:7). 
Happy Thanksgiving!

A Promise about Kingdom Giving Worth Pondering

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

When Jesus speaks of time, it’s usually with the language of “this present age” and “the age to come,” or “this present age” and “in the resurrection” (see Luke 20:34-35). 

The resurrection, the central tenet of Christian faith, separates “this present age” from “the age to come.” 

In this present age, when you and I are willing to give up assets, family, and income - for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s sake - He promises that we will receive a hundred times as much assets, family and income in this present age.  

I do not believe I have ever noticed this promise before. Typically, I have thought (and taught) that what a person gives in this age may only redound in blessing in the age to come. 

That’s not what Jesus says. 

Jesus promises that whatever you give in this age for the Kingdom will come back to you 100 fold in this age. Lest you think He’s thinking that what comes back your way is a “spiritual” blessing and not a “material” blessing, Jesus repeats the exact same nouns - houses, family, farms - in the 100 fold blessings you receive. 

Those who read my writings know that I have little sympathy for what is commonly known as the prosperity gospel and no patience for prosperity preachers. Their problem is the desire to “get rich” on the backs of the poor. Jesus condemns religious leaders who want riches for riches sake. 

However, I am a biblicist.  I believe what Jesus says.  So I am not going to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. 

Next time you feel impressed to give something for the Kingdom’s sake (to a person, a ministry, a church, etc.) consider this promise from Jesus. Give. Don’t worry about having enough to live. Give for the Kingdom and He’ll give you 100 fold in return.  

In other words, don’t worry about material or familial blessings “in this age.” Seek first His Kingdom and all these other things (home, family, income, etc...) are given to you by Him who promised a 100 fold blessing. Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor worry, yet they are clothed in splendor more than Solomon was in his day. How much more does Jesus care for you.

Give to the Kingdom in this age and worry not about a thing in this age. 

He’s got your back.

Even in the persecutions that come your way for His sake. 

The Tube of Time and Eternity Outside the Tube

We are creatures of time.

We plan for the future, reflect on the past, and live in the present.

But what if time is created by the Creator and exists for only a season? What if there is a "beginning" to time and an "ending" to time? What if one could live "outside of time" (eternity) and from eternity actually enter the tube of time at different places at the will of the Creator?

Sound ridiculous?

It may not be as wild a thought as one might initially think.

A scientist named Albert Einstein (1879-1955) thought about time, space, and eternity entirely different than others before him. All except for Spirit-inspired biblical writers (as we shall see).

Albert Einstein wasn't as big a genius as many believe. But Einstein had a very curious mind. He thought about things that others rarely considered. Einstein took time to imagine. And, most importantly, Einstein wasn't afraid to think differently about things that others firmly believed.

As an example,  Einstein began imagining a person flying in space at the speed of light (e.g. Superman). Einstein asked himself a question:
"If a man flew at the speed of light with his arm fully outstretched and his hand holding a mirror in front of his face, would the flying person be able to see himself in the mirror?"
Strange question? Not to Einstein's curious mind. It was a difficult question to answer because the hypothetical flying man would be flying at the speed of light. So what about the speed of the light traveling from the man's eye to the mirror and back? How does the man's flying speed alter the speed of the light bouncing between the man's pupil and the mirror? Would the flying man be able to see himself flying?

For a decade (1895-1905), Einstein imagined possible answers to his hypothetical question. Again, Einstein imagined the answers. He used his mind, not his laboratory. Or maybe even better, his mind became his laboratory.

Einstein thought through whether the man would be able to see anything since he was flying at the speed the light, the same speed as the light traveling from the man's pupil to the mirror. He also considered whether the man's flying speed change the speed of light coming toward his eye from the mirror and distort the image? Einstein then pondered whether the man would see his face bigger or smaller than it actually was. Einstein also reflected in his mind what observers on the ground would see or not see looking at the flying man at the speed of light.

A Famous Formula

After a decade of thought, Einstein concluded that the speed of light was constant. In other words,  Einstein speculated that light never changed speed, regardless of the observer's movement toward or away from the source of light.  

So out popped Einstein famous formula E=mc² (energy equals mass times the constant speed of light

Up until Einstein's time, everyone thought that time and distance were constants, but the speed of light, like the speed of everything else in the universe, was variable. 

But Einstein was willing to think about the speed of light in ways different than everyone else. After making the assumption that the speed of light was constant, Einstein returned to the mathematical and electromagnetic equations that had already been worked out years before and plugged in the letter "C" (a constant) to represent the fixed speed of light (whatever it might be) and out came the formula E=mc².

Here is where it get's crazy.

IF the speed of light is constant, Einstein knew from math that time and distance had to be relative.

That means time and distance are not fixed. Hypothetically, someone would be able to advance in time or go back in time, as well as jump to long distances by folding time. That seemed crazy and unscientific, and actually, it was, because Einstein thought it rather than proved it.

Even so, in 1905, Einstein publicized his formula in a three-page paper entitled Does The Inertia Of A Body Depend On It's Energy Content?" The paper had no footnotes and not one single reference to support it.

The scientific establishment went nuts. Einstein, they said, was insane.

Twenty years later, when technology had advanced sufficiently for science to prove or disprove Einstein's theory of relativity, the science proved that Einstein's guess was correct.

The speed of light is constant.

Time and distance are relative.

I'll put this in another way that is consistent with the teaching of Scripture. People created by God in the universe are living in a tube of time that God created, with the Creator and His Kingdom both inside and outside this tube of time.
"And God said, "Light!" (Genesis 1:3). 
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:13)
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." (Psalm 90:2)
"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality." (I Corinthians 15:51-52)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). 
Time is linear. But eternity is outside of time. Therefore, anything eternal must be thought about differently than how we think of time. Outside of time doesn't mean "at the end of time." Outside of time means "outside the tube of time."

An Illustration of the Tube of Time

Imagine a tube of your creation. Suppose you are the One outside that tube. You determine to allow two ants to crawl into one end of the tube. Then, since you are outside the tube, you may choose to seal both ends of the ant tube. Inside, the ants begin their linear journey to the other end of the tube. Along the way, the ants procreate and other ants are born. After a season, the first two ants die, but a colony of ants now exists in the tube. As far as the ants are concerned, nothing exists outside the dimension of their tube, but they hear stories in their ant language passed down from the first two ants who had seen the One outside the tube.  The One outside the tube (you) knows the beginning from the end (of the tube). The One outside the tube is from everlasting (from before the beginning of the tube) to everlasting (form long after the end of the tube), completely outside the tube of ant time.

That's an illustration of a tube of time.

In the tube of time known by man, God created time and placed those He created "in His image, male and female" (Genesis 5:1-2) inside time.

The Creator exists outside of time.

But in "the fullness of time," (as measured inside the tube, and according to God's plan), the Creator entered the tube of time, coming as Man, to communicate eternity with us (see Galatians 4:4-7).

Humans live and die in the tube of time.

But the Creator raises from death those who die in time.

Some raised from the dead by the power of God will be given immortal life and live in His Kingdom for eternity (outside of time). Others will be raised to judgment and will be sentenced to die a "second death" (Revelation 20:14) which the Bible calls eternal death, to separate this second death from the ordinary death that occurred in the tube of time (see II Thessalonians 1:7-9 and Romans 6:23).

From the perspective of the one who dies in the tube of time, the resurrection is immediate. But since the resurrection takes one "outside of time" (see I Corinthians 15 and Luke 20:27-40), the resurrection marks the beginning of the eternity, literally called "age upon age" (Hebrews 1:8). Life immortal after the resurrection is lived in a dimension with which we are unaccustomed.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
A Couple of Thoughts About Eternity

If resurrection to immortal life begins a life lived outside the tube of time, it might be interesting to consider a couple of questions:
1. Is it possible for those who've experienced the "ressurection to immortal life" to  live in the eternal Kingdom of Christ (heaven) outside of time but come back through a portal into the tube of time?
The Scriptures may give a "Yes" to that question.

Moses and Elijah appeared in time on the Mountain of Transfiguration (see Matthew 17) from their homes outside of time.

Certain Old Testament men and women of faith who'd been raised to immortal life at the general resurrection came back into the tube of time when Christ was raised from the dead (see Matthew 27:52).  Jesus is the Firstfruits of resurrection, and the general resurrection is "yet to come" - that is from our perspective "in time." However, the resurrection takes God's people "outside of time" - above the "tube of time" if you will. So it seems that God determined to confirm His Son's resurrection by allowing "saints of old" (Matthew 27:52) to enter time from their eternal homes to confirm Christ and His eternal Kingdom to the early disciples.

The Scriptures also teach that we are likely to entertain "messengers unawares" in this life (Hebrews 13:2).  These messengers from eternity can be angelic who come into our sphere of space-time as guardians and protectors to those who've been ordained to "eternal life" (Hebrews 1:14), but it is also possible that since the word translated "angels" is actually "messengers," God could send a message to this world from those "in the resurrection."

So it may be wise to consider this world as a multi-dimensional epoch movie with both script and orchestration written and conducted by the Creator. God knows the end from the beginning. And as the eternal and immortal Creator who exists both inside and outside the tube of His creation, He can send "in time" His people who've been gifted with immortality. The resurrection takes His people "outside of time." It could be possible that some might be allowed - at the discretion of their heavenly Father -  to go back in time into this world's events to accomplish His purposes for the glory of God and the good of His people in "the tube of time."

Sound crazy? Not if time and distance (space) are relative and Light is constant.
2. Is it possible that death is called "sleep" in the Scriptures because the resurrection is the fountainhead of the eternal?
We lean toward thinking of eternity linearly and have difficulty considering eternal things existing outside the tube of time. If the Creator and His Kingdom are immortal and eternal, it means that Christ's Kingdom is outside the tube of time.
"The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His Kingdom rules over all" (Psalm 103:19). 
Yet, for our sakes, He enters time. His Kingdom culminates for us (at least from our perspective) outside of time (e.g. "forever and ever") when He raises us from the dead and gives us eternal life. The Bible teaches that the resurrection is when  "man's last enemy (death) is destroyed" (I Corinthians 15:26).

We are told Jesus Christ "waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet" (Hebrews 10:13).

"Waiting" is something that only occurs in the tube of time. Jesus conquered death in His resurrection. But before He ascended He said, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear My voice and come out - some to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28).

Jesus waits - in terms of the tube of time - for the general resurrection. He's the firstfruits. His people are the full harvest. The general resurrection is coming "in the tube of time."

But time is shattered at the general resurrection. All are raised by God to His Kingdom outside of time. Those in Christ are gifted with immortal life to live forever outside of the dimension of space and time as we know it. Those apart from Christ are sentenced at the judgment to an eternal death.

There are some practical implications of seeing the resurrection to immortal life as an event in "the tube of time" which inaugurates immortal life "outside of time" (John 5:28). 

One implication is how we think about "heaven" inside the tube of time.

Often we think of loved ones who are in heaven "now" (thinking as one in the tube of time). But if we all wait for the general resurrection, then when we think of heaven we must always consider ourselves with our loved ones outside the tube of time (in eternity). There's nothing wrong with thinking of your loved ones in eternity now - outside of time - but you must imagine yourself with them, for you are!

The resurrection is the transition from inside the tube of time into the eternal. From our perspective, it happens "in time," but from an eternal perspective, it is outside the tube of time.

Obviously, it is impossible to "prove" anything I've said in this post. I'm just thinking through and imagining - like Einstein did from 1895-1905.

God's Word is the science of eternity.

Because we are not yet experiencing life outside of time, our minds must become the laboratory until God takes us to the lab.