For readers and followers of this blog, for this series only if you wish to reblog An Inconvenient God in individual chapters or in its entirety, I am okay with this. I had foreseen this as being a book, but when I reached the end, I had said all there was for me to say and it is clearly not enough for a book.
At different points in each chapter I ask questions. I do not ask them in search of answers for myself because I already know where I stand. I ask them as catalyst for the reader to consider.
Chapter Three – God’s 401k Plan
After God’s recorded communication channel with man fell silent, God again gave man an incentive to return to righteous living by opening heaven up for occupation as a retirement plan for believers. In order to pass the word around about the application process, God sent His son Jesus, to spread the word about qualification for heaven or if it makes it more relatable to you, Club God, where once you become a member, there are no dues. However, to get a membership in Club God, there is a probationary period which will be discussed later.
Before opening up heaven as a retirement plan for those who choose to live by His guidance, the only choice for retirement from earth was death, an eternity of nothingness.
- Did God do this because he decided that an additional incentive was needed to get mankind back on track?
- Is this not further evidence that God is a loving Father and not a vengeful God?
The Qualifications of the Messenger
One day a child was born to the virgin Mary who had been visited by an angel of God telling her “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) The first prophecy was filled.
While growing up, Jesus had an uncanny ability to quote scripture. At a young age, he was able to preach the word and discuss the spirit of the word. He finally left home and travelled to the river Jordan where he was baptized by John the Baptist. From here, he went into the desert for forty days where the devil tried to tempt him to prove he is the son of God. Afterwards, hearing John the Baptist was imprisoned, Jesus travelled to Galilea where he started his ministry. The second prophecy was filled.
Whether you look at the ancestral lineage of Jesus through his maternal or earthly paternal side, they both lead back to King David. Some have trouble with the lineage because Jesus is the son of God and therefore they claim that he not related to Joseph.
If your earthly father was not alive to raise you and your mother remarried a man who gave you the spiritual and moral guidance needed to be an upright adult citizen, would you not call him father? Even if you say “no” to this answer, Jesus lineage to King David is still established through his mother Mary. The third prophecy was fulfilled.
Then Jesus did travel throughout the land preaching the word and feeding the spiritually hungry. He cured lepers, gave sight to the blind, made the crippled walk and resurrected the dead as he went on his way. There were many who witnessed his deeds and gave testimony to the miracles. He preached in the temples and showed the priests how they were abusing their positions. He did not fear the priests and Pharisees as the rest of the Hebrews did and for that, they denied his holiness and schemed to have him killed.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem with his disciples, on the eve of Passover, he told them “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Prophecies six, eight, nine and ten fulfilled.
Though they thought they were getting rid of the one who could jeopardize their way of life which by this point in time was not a life of serving God, but serving themselves, they were also unwittingly fulfilling another prophecy. Finally, they convinced the Roman authorities to arrest Jesus and Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus to be crucified. As Pontius Pilate questioned Jesus, He remained silent and did not answer the accusations. Jesus was forced to carry the instrument of his death from Pilate’s palace to the point of execution, people lined the streets and stoned and spat on Jesus. The fourth, seventh and twelfth prophecies were fulfilled.
The Roman guards mocked Jesus and made a crown of thorns which was placed on his head before he was made to walk through the city carrying the crucifix on which he was to die. When they reached Calvary, Jesus was crucified with a common criminal crucified to his left and another to his right. The fifth and fourteenth prophecies were fulfilled.
The fulfillment of the eleventh prophecy of Isaiah that said the messiah “Will be sought out by the gentiles to me is one of the most revealing. A gentile is simply someone who is not Jewish. If you look at the period directly following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus what you see is very telling.
After the ascension of Jesus into Heaven, the Jews again rebelled against the Romans. The Roman Empire took on the Jews and defeated them soundly. Those who were not sold into slavery were dispersed into regions of Babylon, Egypt and Judea which is called the “diaspora” (the dispersement). The Romans then took the land where the Jews had been living for generations and renamed it Syria Palaestina (Palestine) which remained the same until the late 1940’s.
Yet, the Christian upstarts who were led initially by the disciples of Jesus were sought out by the gentiles who were citizens of the empire that sentenced him to death. They were not sought out to persecute anymore, they were sought out for spiritual healing and multitudes of Romans converted to Christianity. The eleventh prophecy was fulfilled.
Back to Jesus, after being crucified, Joseph of Arimathea who was a secret follower of Jesus went to Pilate and asked for his body. Joseph had remained a secret follower of Jesus in order to try and protect him in front of the Sanhedrin, a council of influential people from the city to decide religious matters. Pilate ordered the body of Jesus to be released to Joseph. Another secret disciple and member of the Sanhedrin was Nicodemus who gathered up the myrrh and aloes used for embalming. The two wrapped Him in clean linens and buried him in Joseph’s own sepulcher and had a large stone moved in to seal the grave. The seventeenth prophecy was fulfilled.
At the time of Jesus’ death, the temple veil was torn from top to bottom, the earth shook, and rocks split. This showed everyone that Jesus was not only the son of God, but God had removed the separation between him and His people. The veil was a very heavy tall cloth that separated the Holy of the Holies, from the outer sanctum. It is said that no man could rip it because it was so heavy but by it being ripped from the top down it showed that it was the hand of God that tore it and not any human. The sixteenth prophecy was fulfilled.
Throughout His adult life, Jesus had caused the lame to walk, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the dead to live. These actions were witnessed by many and recorded for others to know that the fifteenth prophecy was fulfilled.
He also taught fairness, kindness, and virtue throughout His ministry to all that heard Him speak. He never spoke vengeful words and by His own teachings He fulfilled the eighteenth prophecy.
This leaves us with only one prophecy that has not been covered. The thirteenth prophecy of Isaiah that said He would save those who believe in Him. I saved this one for last because it is the most beautiful selfless gift that could ever be given. Jesus died and shed his blood so that we can live. He became the New Passover whereas in the Old Testament the Jews were instructed to paint blood over their thresholds so the angel of death would pass them over, Jesus washed his blood over us so that we can live eternal life. John 3:15 says “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
To expound on this, there is more than one occasion in the Bible that tells how Jesus fed the multitudes with very little physical sustenance. He not only fed the physical needs of those who came to hear him preach, He satiated their spiritual needs at the same time.
Another consideration to think about here is the Old Testament with all the laws God put on man made it impossible to live a completely virtuous life and results in every human being condemned to eternal death. Then Jesus comes along in the New Testament and gives us salvation from the eternal death by taking the penalty for all of our sins. That my friends, is the ultimate magnanimous gift that anyone could ever receive.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus did not tout his fulfillment of the prophecies; that was left to the writers of the “Good News” (Gospels). Matthew wrote about how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that the messiah would be descended from David. Mark wrote about how Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, the Christ, by God Himself, pagans, demons, and yet the Jews continued to deny Him. Luke, the physician gave eye witness accounts of the miracles to Jesus to prove to the educated that he was the Messiah. John spread the word of Jesus to the gentiles while the Jews continued to deny him.
Having met all the requirements set by God through Isaiah, Jesus is the Messiah that was prophesized. I would say that is the ultimate 401k Plan and there is no plan with a better retirement package.
I have many questions about what happened 2000 years ago, but I take solace in that even without those questions answered I know what is truly important and have taken God up on his 401k Plan that his messenger Jesus laid out for us.
- Did God punish the Jews for failing to see that Jesus was of God’s spirit by allowing the diaspora?
- Was Jesus sent to give the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes a chance to see the error of their ways and return to the righteous path?
- Were the Pharisees and the Romans programmed to do what they did no matter what their will may have been so that Jesus would be the catalyst to draw vast numbers of gentiles to the God of Abraham?
- How could the Pharisees, Essenes, and Sadducees not see that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies by Isaiah concerning the messiah?
- Did the Pharisees, Essenes and Sadducees know he was the Messiah but choose to have him crucified to prevent him from upsetting their level of luxury?