Books of a Fether

Christian Basics Handbook ©2017 | free PDF


God With Us

Jesus is the central figure of the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, the focus of the Bible is on what God made, what and how it went wrong, how it would be restored, and who would restore it. The Messiah (Hebrew) and the Christ (Greek) both mean “the anointed one”, which describes someone who is set apart for some spiritual purpose. This was done to priests and kings for example, and it was typically signified by putting a fragrant oil on the person’s head. The Old Testament predicts the coming of one who would redeem the world, and the New Testament identifies Jesus as that individual.

Is Jesus God, or just a higher created being?

Let’s consider all these passages of scripture and see what conclusion we can reach:

While some passages in the New Testament address the humanity of Jesus, others address his divinity; Jesus alone is two types of beings in one. So when we see Jesus speaking of obeying the Father, he is being our role model as a human. When we see Jesus speaking of unity with the Father, he is showing that he is God. We have to be careful to include all that the scriptures say about him, rather than only some.

Was Jesus always the Son in eternity past?

The first chapter of Hebrews, along with Philippians 2:5–11, make it quite clear that Jesus took on human form at a point in time, rather than having always been in a Father–Son relationship. It should go without saying that a Father must preceed his son in time, so it’s impossible for Jesus to have been the Son in eternity past. Jesus certainly existed as a distinct entity or “person” of the Trinity, as also did the Father and Spirit, but he did not take on human nature until he was conceived in Mary.

Even if we think about this purely in terms of sound reasoning (logic), to be eternally lower in rank is a statement of inferior essence, not merely an inferior role being played by one who is equal in essence. It is a contradiction to claim that Jesus is the same essence as the Father but has always been lower in rank. Either Jesus was always a lesser god, or he was not always the Son; there are no other possible choices.

Consider also the fact that even human sons do not remain under the authority of their fathers for life; an adult son sill retains the relationship but the authority structure is gone.

Did Jesus really fulfill all the prophecies of the Messiah?

The original Christians were such because they believed Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah, and surely people closest to the events, and to the scriptures Jesus quoted, would be better qualified to make that assessment than people living thousands of years later. Below is a brief list of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled:

As Jesus walked with two people on their way to Emmaus after his resurrection, he explained from the scriptures that the Messiah first had to die (Luke 24:27). He used the Greek translation known as LXX or The Septuagint, not the original Hebrew text. The Hebrew text used in most translations today is called the Masoretic text, which was done centuries after the time of Christ. That text deliberately obscured some Messianic passages, because early Christians had been proving Jesus to be the Christ from the LXX (ref. The Phantom Pharisee).

When was Jesus born, and when did he die?

The material for this section is taken from the author’s document, A Chronology of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

What year was Jesus born?

Clues from scripture

Clues from secular history

Clues from astronomy

What time of year was Jesus born?

With reference to John the Baptist

With reference to the shepherds and secular rulers

What did Jesus do (or not do) while growing up?

Explicit scriptural statements

Implicit scriptural statements

Conclusions regarding theories of activities outside of Judea

How long was Jesus’ public ministry?

When did it begin?

When did it end?

When was Jesus crucified?

Determining the year

Determing the season

Determining the day

Extra-Biblical corroboration

When did Jesus rise from the dead?

Considering the Jewish feasts

Considering the Roman guards

Considering the testimony of eyewitnesses

What did Jesus do up to the time he ascended to heaven?



Manner of ascension

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Considering the testimony of eyewitnesses both friendly and hostile, and the fact that the Bible cannot be dismissed as historical record just because it’s the Bible, as well as the undeniable impact on world history (including the calendar used by most of the civilized world), there is plenty of evidence to support the claim that Jesus did literally and physically rise from the dead. Historical facts in general are established by the same criteria, so we can at least say that there is enough evidence to suppor the claim, and not enough to deny it. A prior disbelief in miracles cannot serve as proof that none have happened.

Why does it matter that Jesus rose from the dead?

The resurrection of Jesus is proof that he came from God, and of course it was the ultimate fulfillment of all the prophecies about the Messiah as Redeemer. This historical event, supported by the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses, is never going to change; it is as established a fact as any other. Without this, our faith in the next life is futile and pointless (see 1 Corinthians 15, especially verses 14 and 19).

Unlike any other religion or philosphy, whose founders or gods did not love all mankind enough to die for them and then rise again, the Christian faith in this fact cannot be changed by whim or reinterpretation. Acceptance of the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is a strong spiritual anchor that gives us a real hope for what lies beyond this life. And this hope never depends on us performing certain tasks or rituals, or on meditation or self-punishment. It is a gift, which can only be either accepted or rejected. We are offered adoption as God’s own children, not as mere slaves or “consciousness”.

So whether or not it matters that Jesus rose from the dead is a question each individual must answer. Does it matter that our Creator loves us and wants us to choose to return his love? Does it matter that we have hope for an end to the suffering of this life, or that our lives really do have meaning? Does it matter that inner peace can be received as a gift, rather than worked for with no guarantee that we’ll ever get it? Does it matter that there will be ultimate justice against all who did evil, and mercy for all who humbled themselves and repented? Does it matter that we’ll see our departed loved ones again, if they too had been adopted as God’s children?