Friday, March 28, 2014

The Rainbow

The most refreshing, even exciting, experience is when the earth has been washed by a gentle rain, the sun reveals itself again and a rainbow appears in the sky! Sometimes it's a double rainbow and at other times we see both ends of the rainbow from the same vantage point. It's as if what we see is a mysterious entrance to heaven. The arch is the door to a realm unseen! 

From a metereological standpoint rainbows are the light of the sun reflected of water droplets in the sky. They always appear opposite the sun and the sun exposes a spectrum of colors hidden to the eye under normal conditions. With a primary rainbow the blues appear on the inside and the reds on the outer perimeter. When there's a double rainbow, the color spectrum is reversed. In order to see the rainbow the observer has to be in an optimum position. The angle has to be right. A second observer standing opposite actually sees a different rainbow than does the first observer. Rainbows are not material. They cannot be touched and if you get near one, it disappears. Rainbows are real, but their not objects!

Rainbows are a parallel to God!  God is as real as real can be, but he's not material in existence. Like the rainbow God reveals himself at times to those who look toward him. In order to see God our position has to be just right. He only reveals himself to observers who believe in the reality of him even though they can't touch him; those who have faith!  The sun is akin to the Father. The rays are the Son and Holy Spirit. The Son can't be seen except through special glasses; the lens of salvation. When the believer has faith his position is just right for seeing the Son. Just as the rays of the Sun reflects off the water droplets in the sky, Jesus is can be seen in the rainbow. What has always been  there is revealed. When the light of the heavens is revealed it's in splendor! All the beauties of the pallet are manifested in the rainbow. Just as the spectrum of light is beautiful in the rainbow, it represents the grace of Jesus. There is beauty in grace!

After the flood God speaks to Noah. Whenever God speaks to man, that spokesman, called The Word, is Jesus Christ! It was  Jesus speaking to Noah. He made a covenant and it was a promise of a coming Messiah:
Genesis 8:21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
Genesis 9:8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you..."
Genesis 9:11 And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
Genesis 9:16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Simply said: Man is corrupt. God knows the evil of our hearts. As disobedient children we don't respond well to punishment. God doesn't want to force us to love him. He wants for us to freely love him. Therefore, he promises grace for mankind! He made a deal. That deal is called the Noahic Covenant and it is a promise of Jesus!  God will no longer punish all mankind. Some of the righteous were casualties (collateral damage) of God's revenge for the sins of man. We would never again be judged as a community, but as individuals. That's grace. That's a beautiful promise!

That promise was that God will set the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the deal which was just consummated. The covenant is between God and the individual. It's no longer a covenant of law (and punishment), but one of grace. The rainbow is the seal by which man is sealed and the bow is the door to Paradise, hope in a Savior. He stands at that door and knocks and all that may can enter. Unlike the door of the ark where God decided who was to enter, the door to Paradise is open for all who believe!

The rainbow is a picture of Jesus. For those who're born again, we see him. That's our special vantage point. It's a beautiful sight; the rainbow. An even more beautiful sight is the Glory of God as manifested in Jesus! When we see that rainbow we see a promise, we see hope! God is an entity. He's in the expanse. That rainbow reflects the expanse into view. God's always there, but he's not always seen. The rainbow let's his glory be seen. God is light and that light is revealed through the special photography of the rainbow; God revealed is Jesus. The rainbow is a picture of Jesus!

"Well, what about the double rainbow?" you ask. There is another counterpart of Jesus; another essence of God. It's the Holy Spirit! Just as Jesus is the light which saves us and is reflected outwardly, the secondary rainbow represents the Holy Spirit whose light is from the outside in. He resides in us who see the light! As a Messiah was pictured  by the primary rainbow, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is represented by the double rainbow. Looking toward the light, the inner bow comes first and the outer bow is finally revealed. That's just as Jesus was first to be experienced, then the Comforter came!

When we see the rainbow we see much! We see God the Father as the light in the sky and that same light reflected through the cleansing water is Jesus. Beside Jesus, in the secondary rainbow, is revealed the Holy Spirit. The secondary rainbow isn't quite as luminous as the primary. That's because Jesus is the Way! The Holy Spirit is to assure us the reality of the Son. The Holy Spirit is important and is there, albeit unseen, but we're not to worship the Holy Spirit, we're to worship Jesus for he is the Way! In the picture of the rainbow, if we look closely, the Trinity is revealed!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

OMG: Is it appropriate?

I've really noticed an exponential violation of the The Third Suggestion... I mean Commandment!  People use any one of God's many names as exclamation points and expressions of surprise. Aren't they going to be surprised when their life is flashed before them at the Great White Throne Judgment! Everything we do is seen and heard by our majestic God. He is without name because as he says "I AM"!  No name would do him justice. What we call God are mere feeble attempts at expressing who he is. For the most part, his names are titles and descriptions, but those words are endearing to God and are our display of adoration! (Even in the use of his titles we can't seem to honor him.)

God accepts those titles. He was called by the Hebrews the tetragrammaton, "JHWH" which has been transliterated much later into what some say is God's true name, Jehovah.  That's not God's name either, but it is a good attempt. Jews take The Third Commandment so seriously that they neither speak nor write God's name. Christians don't seem to have the same standards. We believe that we don't have to because of the New Covenant. However, the Covenant of Grace is not a ticket to disrespect and irreverence!

First off, The Greatest Commandment is to love god and one like unto it is to love others. Loving God is a summary of the First Commandment through the Fourth. Loving others is summarized by the Fifth Commandment through the Tenth. Also, Jesus said he didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. That means that Jesus provides the physical means allowing us to love the spirit of God and a Spirit which indwells within us such that we can love others. The Ten Commandments are all about love and reverence for God which is an indicator of our love!

With that said, how do we show love to God? How are we reverent to Him? We obey! Jesus told us that if we love him we are to obey his commandments. The Covenant of Grace provided by the advent of Jesus isn't a ticket to disobey, but a call to love. Loving is obedience, not because we're forced to, but because that's our hearts desire.  That's Jesus fulfilling the law! We still obey God, but it's not out of coercion or threat, but out of reverence for God who died for our sins on the Cross! That's fulfilling!

With commands, love and reverence in mind; with Jesus in mind, let's look closely at The Third Commandment:
Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
First off, this is a commandment! "Thou shalt not" was spoken by God! He also wrote it in stone... twice, because all the Commandments were already broken as Moses was reading them! God wrote them again and they're still preserved. This is not a "Suggestion". It's not just "A Good Idea" or "Make Me Feel Good". This is a commandment! A commandment written by God to whom Moses took off his sandals because he was standing on Holy Ground! Moses was reverent to the Writer, by yet we're not reverent to the Savior!

A person used God's name as an exclamation. When I commented on that, she said "I didn't mean anything by it!"  That's an innocent excuse and many use God's name in vain out of ignorance or carelessness. Those days are over if you're reading this! "In vain" means lacking any worth or just plain foolishness.. Using God's name without reverence is "in vain" and the foolish have little regard for respect! Taking the Lord's name in vain is using his name when you're not truly worshiping him. I venture to say that the average Christian uses God's name in vain more in foolishness than in awe!

You say "I never use God's name in vain. I never use g.d. or anything like that!" Well, lets look at just a few of God's names:
Biblical Names of God (From Christianity):
Advocate - 1 John 2:1
Almighty - Revelation 1:8
Alpha - Revelation 1:8
Amen - Revelation 3:14
Angel of the Lord - Genesis 16:7
Anointed One - Psalm 2:2
Apostle - Hebrews 3:1
Author and Perfecter of our Faith - Hebrews 12:2
Beginning - Revelation 21:6
Bishop of Souls - 1 Peter 2:25
Branch - Zechariah 3:8
Bread of Life - John 6:35,48
Bridegroom - Matthew 9:15
Carpenter - Mark 6:3
Chief Shepherd - 1 Peter 5:4
The Christ - Matthew 1:16
Comforter - Jeremiah 8:18
Consolation of Israel - Luke 2:25
Cornerstone - Ephesians 2:20
Dayspring - Luke 1:78
Day Star - 2 Peter 1:19
Deliverer - Romans 11:26
Desire of Nations - Haggai 2:7
Emmanuel - Matthew 1:23
End - Revelation 21:6
Everlasting Father - Isaiah 9:6
Faithful and True Witness - Revelation 3:14
First Fruits - 1 Corinthians 15:23
Foundation - Isaiah 28:16
Fountain - Zechariah 13:1
Friend of Sinners - Matthew 11:19
Gate for the Sheep - John 10:7
Gift of God - 2 Corinthians 9:15
God - John 1:1
Glory of God - Isaiah 60:1
Good Shepherd - John 10:11
Governor - Matthew 2:6
Great Shepherd - Hebrews 13:20
Guide - Psalm 48:14
Head of the Church - Colossians 1:18
High Priest - Hebrews 3:1
Holy One of Israel - Isaiah 41:14
Horn of Salvation - Luke 1:69
I Am - Exodus 3:14
Jehovah - Psalm 83:18
Jesus - Matthew 1:21
King of Israel - Matthew 27:42
King of Kings - 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16
Lamb of God - John 1:29
Last Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:45
Life - John 11:25
Light of the World - John 8:12; John 9:5
Lion of the Tribe of Judah - Revelation 5:5
Lord of Lords - 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16
Master - Matthew 23:8
Mediator - 1 Timothy 2:5
Messiah - John 1:41
Mighty God - Isaiah 9:6
Morning Star - Revelation 22:16
Nazarene - Matthew 2:23
Omega - Revelation 1:8
Passover Lamb - 1 Corinthians 5:7
Physician - Matthew 9:12
Potentate - 1 Timothy 6:15
Priest - Hebrews 4:15
Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6
Prophet - Acts 3:22
Propitiation - I John 2:2
Purifier - Malachi 3:3
Rabbi - John 1:49
Ransom - 1 Timothy 2:6
Redeemer - Isaiah 41:14
Refiner - Malachi 3:2
Refuge - Isaiah 25:4
Resurrection - John 11:25
Righteousness - Jeremiah 23:6
Rock - Deuteronomy 32:4
Root of David - Revelation 22:16
Rose of Sharon - Song of Solomon 2:1
Ruler of God's Creation - Revelation 3:14
Sacrifice - Ephesians 5:2
Savior - 2 Samuel 22:47; Luke 1:47
Second Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:47
Seed of Abraham - Galatians 3:16
Seed of David - 2 Timothy 2:8
Seed of the Woman - Genesis 3:15
Servant - Isaiah 42:1
Shepherd - 1 Peter 2:25
Shiloh - Genesis 49:10
Son of David - Matthew 15:22
Son of God - Luke 1:35
Son of Man - Matthew 18:11
Son of Mary - Mark 6:3
Son of the Most High - Luke 1:32
Stone - Isaiah 28:16
Sun of Righteousness - Malachi 4:2
Teacher - Matthew 26:18
Truth - John 14:6
Way - John 14:6
Wonderful Counselor - Isaiah 9:6
Word - John 1:1
Vine - John 15:1

Normally, one of these names are used along with a modifier. Normally, the modifier is "My ________!" , "Oh, my ______!" or "_________ damn". Likewise using the name Lord, God or Jesus without worshiping, denigrating or irreverently is using it in vain. Some Christians come up with substitute vanities: "My Word", "My Gosh", "My Stars" and so forth. What are we supposed to say:
Matthew 5:37 "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."
You have no need to say "Oh, my anything!"  Just say nothing unless it needs to be "yes" or "no". Matthew 5:37 is an indirect method of saying The Third Commandment. God is always the same! Reverence for The Old Testament God and the Son of God, Jesus, is the same!  "What if I hit my thumb with a hammer?" There's no need to bring God into the situation unless you're praying for relief, but if you have to say something try "Ouch!" It's very fitting. As for myself, I say when I'm surprised "Yipes, Stripes!" which I heard in a gum commercial when I was a kid. It's corny, but it's not disrespectful. Likewise, if you're surprised or joyful for trivial things, just say "Wow!" God will appreciate that! It leaves his name out of an irreverent situation. Our goal shouldn't be to obey so that we're not damned to hell, but to obey because we love Jesus!  That's evidence of salvation:
1 John 2:3 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
So you're a Christian, but make no attempt to keep his commandments? Read this passage again! Do you truly love him? Do you love him enough to obey? Do you respect the Lord who died in your place? Think about that when you use his name so casually. God's gracious! You don't "Go Straight to Hell" when you disobey, because you have Christian liberty, but that liberty should be expressed with reverence and with love!

The last part of The Third Commandment is that God "won't hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain". You aren't innocent if you meant nothing in saying it. You're guilty. It's not that you disobeyed God because that's what he has come to expect out of us! It's that you sin, by not loving him enough to obey. On the other hand, if you love God as much as he desires, using his name in vain would be a moot point. Our love would be so sincere that our minds would be on pleasing and by pleasing, we don't disappoint!

Our casual "OMG" (even the acronym because the thought is still there) or using Jesus' name without sincerity is wrong. It's a sin. It's rebellion. It's apathy toward our God who we pledge to love!
John 21:17 "He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
Jesus asked Peter three times: "lovest thou me?" I ask you one time, "Lovest thou Jesus?"  If "thou knowest" that you love him, do what pleases him. What are you feeding the sheep? Are you serving the Word or are you serving the excitements of the world?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jesus: King of the Jews

There had been a war for independence in Judea for over 300 years Before Christ (B.C.),  firstly with the Greeks and secondly with the Romans. The Macabbees (Seven Macabee brothers led the revolt) fought Hellenistic influences of the Selucide Empire and formed the Hasmonean Dynasty (Jewish) which lasted  from 164 BC for one-hundred years. During this time Judaism became prominent again in Judea and the people were very nationalistic and ethnocentric. If a person wasn't of the Jewish bloodline they were unclean! Jews reigned supreme.

In 63 B.C. the Romans expanded their empire into Judea, replacing the Hasmonean Dynasty. In 37 B.C. Judea became a tributary of Rome under Herod the Great. This was the Herodian Kingdom and upon Herod's death Judea was divided between his four sons, becoming the Tetrarchy of Judea in 4 B.C. Herod ruled all Judea at the time of Jesus' birth.  Victory was followed by restoration of Jewish power and finally defeat again at the hands of the Romans. The Jewish nation had been fighting for their land up until the time of Jesus and even afterward when the Jews completely destroyed Jerusalem and Herod's Temple in 70 A.D.

 Revolution was the mindset and anticipation of a great restoration of the Hasmonean Dynasty was the dream. All the Jews needed was a new king, a David, to arrive, defeat the invaders and restore the majesty of Israel!  Many thought that Jesus was the sought after "King of the Jews"!

From Judaism 101 The Messianic Idea in Judaism "Mashiach: The Messiah" The following is said about the Jewish Messiah, who is totally different than the Christian Messiah. Then it be best to use the term "Mashiach":

"Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.:
It's  obvious that the Mashiach was to be the heir of King David and his charge will be to restore Israel to its majesty, empower the Jewish nation, propagate Judaism, rebuild Jerusalem, and restore the Temple as the abode of God. Their Mashiach was not to be the Son of God as Messiah, but a mighty warrior and king who would win the revolution and re-establish the Kingdom of David!

Let's see what the Messiah delivered!
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
Matthew 1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
Of course Jesus wasn't of the seed of Joseph, but was of the Holy Ghost. However, Joseph was the parent who raised Jesus.
Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli... (back to) ... 31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David..."
Since Joseph's genealogy came through Solomon, son of David, and this genealogy came through Nathan, son of David, it would appear that Matthew 1 gives Joseph's line and Luke 3 gives Mary's. However, one thing is sure: Jesus was the son (line) of David. This is called "cognatic primogeniture". Jesus was descended from David on both is maternal and "paternal" sides as far as civil (Jewish) law was concerned!

The Jews were expecting a king of the line of David. Jesus is that king! A descendant of a king is called a "pretender to the throne";  a person who claims entitlement to an unavailable kingship in this case, referring to a descendant of a former monarch, whose throne is occupied by another, claimed by a rival, or has been abolished. In this case, at the time of the birth of Jesus,  Herod the Great was king. Herod the Great, "King of the Jews" wasn't even Jewish! He was a convert and of an impure race! The kingship wasn't available to Jesus! The throne wasn't empty. A crisis was at hand!

As with any pretender to the throne, they are a threat to those in power. Jesus, who was pronounced  "king" was a threat to Herod..
Matthew 2:1 "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."
Yes, Herod felt threatened! He knew scripture well enough to know that trouble was brewing and as many kings afterward, when threatened, he sought to have the newborn king killed!
Matthew 2:13 "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:"
Herod, as did the Jews, believed Jesus to be a threat. He knew the tenets of Judaism.  Herod wasn't of the line of David. Herod was the son of Antipater, an Idumean, who was king in place of Hyrcanus, who was of the Jewish Royal Family, but had died. Hence, King Herod the Great wasn't of the line of David, was not of the Jewish Royal line and was only a "poser" to the throne. The pretender, Jesus, born of Mary and the Joseph the carpenter, was the legitimate heir the throne!

There's one problem: Jesus came to be king, but not in the traditional sense! He came to rule, but not Judea. He came to rule in the hearts of man:
John 18:36 "Jesus answered (Pylat) , My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
Jesus came not to war and defeat the forces of the invader. He came to win men's hearts and defeat Satan. He knew that within the heart there wages war in everyone. Man is at war with principalities and the deceptions of the deceiver. Jesus won that war! It was won when his blood was shed on the cross at Calvary! Now those who believe live in the pretender's kingdom; the true heir to the throne:
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Jesus rules in his kingdom. Believer's live in the King's Kingdom, but where is that Kingdom? Let's see:
Luke 17:20 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Until we are resurrected our "hearts" are the "Kingdom of God"! In that "kingdom" is peace, order, righteousness and even the temple! All these things are what the Jews are still waiting for in the Mashiach:, but what we have in the Messiah! But where is the Temple? Is it missing in the Kingdom of God?
1 Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye (those born again) not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
Yes, there's the Temple. It's in the believer. Therein dwells the "Spirit of God", the Holy Spirit. He lives in the believer just as he lived in the Holy of Holies in the Tent and in the Temple! Jesus lives within the believer. That's his Kingdom! The Christian lives in that same Kingdom! "This world is not my home. I;m just passing through!", according to the words of the song.
Matthew 27:36 "And sitting down they watched him there (on the cross); 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left."
The King was finally deposed (so they thought). He was assassinated to save the throne for an illegitimate reason. Just as most kings are deposed, this King they tried to humiliate by placing him between two thieves. For this king it was a privilege to die in humility. This king came to be a servant. His service was the ultimate!

In times of war the prosperous paid the poor to fight their battles. The substitute solider often died vicariously for the person whose duty it was to fight, but never had to pay the price he deserved. In the American Civil War many escaped tribulation and death because another was paid to do it for them!

Likewise, Jesus paid the substituted for us. However, he became a servant. His sacrifice was a gift. We never paid him and will never be able to! That's grace. For that grace we do owe Jesus one thing: we are to love him! That's reverence for what he did in our place. If you're a Christian do you have reverence for the King? If you have never been born again, is it right that you neglect to love and honor your substitute? The one who died in your place? Think on these things.

Oh, that temple that the Jews wanted to restore. It was built by Herod and destroyed in 70 A.D. However, the true Temple lives today! It's there in the Kingdom of God and is in millions of places worldwide. God's promise to Abraham is complete! His seed will inherit the earth.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nothingness for eternity?

Are you comfortable right now? Is your mind clear? Turn off the music and dim the television. I'm going to make you uncomfortable! Some of you anyhow. It's time to think about the most important thing you'll ever think: What happens after you're gone? Will you just cease to exist for eternity? Will your existence float around in darkness for ever and ever? That's what we all need to think about. I did last night.

There are no exclamation points in what I write, but we need to exclaim. I am. I exist. I am here and I think. I communicate and love life. I don't want it to end. Where do I go from here?

Some people believe in annihilationism. Those who believe that we're reduced to non-existence when we die. These folks believe in total destruction rather than everlasting punishment. It's a Christian heretical belief, unfortunately. That's what I thought on last night. Rather than going to heaven or even hell, do I get off easy if I'm a sinner, by just ceasing to exist? Is that a good thing? Is there comfort in that?

I looked at me last night. Right now let's look at you. You're no different than the trillions before you. You like to think you're special, but outside God, you're not! (I use an exclamation point here to draw your attention. You're no more special than any other human and your end will be in accordance to those before you). 

Soloman said in Ecclesiastes1:9 "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

Almost no one before you has received special treatment and neither will you.  Let's take an example. The Bible mentions King Sargon in Isaiah 20:1. History at one time made no mention of this king. The Bible was alleged to be in error because it spoke of a king who never existed. However, later archeology found that King Sargon really existed and not only existed, but was one of the greatest kings ever! 

Gale Encyclopedia of Biography says "The Assyrian king Sargon II (reigned 722-705 B.C.) was one of the chief architects of the late Assyrian Empire and the founder of its greatest line of kings."

Wouldn't you know it. God was right all along! That's not the point, though. You are the point. If the greatest of the greatest was long forgotten, what about your legacy? Will you be forgotten? I say that you and I will be lost to history. You and I will be annihilated in a few years. It will be as if we never existed! Think about the world without ___________ (your name here). Think about eternity without you. You enjoy life now, but if you're no longer, that's profound! Space and time is never ending.

Let's suppose that you cease to exist, but you have awareness that you once existed and while your soul and mind floats around in eternal darkness without end,  you contemplate your situation. You were once, but now you're not! There is no more fellowship, no love, no emotion of any type, no happiness and certainly no joy. ________ (insert your name)  no longer exists. It's unbearable to think about an eternity without you. That's what I was thinking last night. It's depressing, even frightening, to think of eternal non-existence. Some Christians believe that's all there is!

For awhile King Solomon thought what I thought last night:

Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

Maybe Solomon is right!  Let's look at the alternatives in the afterlife: 1) annihilation, 2) damnation and 3) salvation.  Solomon said (when he was in apostasy) that the dead are annihilated. They cease to exist. Rather than for eternity knowing that they existed, the dead don't know anything. It's as if they never were! He thought that there shall be no reward, no afterlife and all memory of them will be erased by time. Not only will there be no reward in death, but there will not be negative rewards either. There will be no damnation for there is nothing after death. He thought that about himself and he was the wisest king ever!  Annihilation is a profound idea, is depressing and fatalistic! How can anyone live with eternal non-existence facing them. There is no hope for eternity. Close your eyes right now and imagine yourself never existing again. Your years, even days, are numbered:

Psalm 90:10 says "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

Let me examine myself. Where am I? If I'm normal my days are 70 years. I'm 65. My life is 93% over as long as I continue on. If I'm blessed my life may be longer. I may live to be 80 years old. I then have 19% of my time left. That's not long! Eighty years out of the 6000 years man has lived is only 1.3% of my life out of all known time. My lifespan is insignificant! 

I take comfort in knowing that I have 15 more years to live!  I can enjoy that. But what if!  Guy de Maupassant said “The only certainty is death.” (He forgot taxes!). However, he's right! The only thing certain is that we won't live forever. Death comes upon all mortals and always has (except for Elijah and Enoch who were special cases).  From the moment we die man lives with the anxiety of eminent death.  Believing in death without reward is hopelessness. Believing in death with the fear of punishment is unbearable and fearing annihilation is mind-boggling and frightening. Let's look at eternal punishment now.

I don't like the thought of non-existence. Thinking those thoughts are suicidal thinking in themselves. I couldn't enjoy life, even live life, if I thought that all would soon end! But what if there really is a hell?

Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

The Book of Life are the names of those who believe in and accept Jesus as their savior. That entails a personal belief and decision. We decide our own fate! We're not Christians because our parents were or because we go to church faithfully. It's loving Jesus and knowing that he died for ______ (your name). If you haven't personally made this decision and have faith, your name is not in the Book of Life. Your destiny is a lake of fire! That's your negative reward. You get what you deserve because believing is so easy and believing is our salvation!

Do you fear death? That's the easy one! But, you should fear the second death because it's worst than the first and horrible:

Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

Mark 9:43 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched..."

Have you ever had unbearable pain? Perhaps a stove burn or a severe toothache or migraine headache? You endure the pain in anticipation that it will soon end. In hell, not only is the pain unbearable, but it is eternal and unquenchable. As bad as non-existence is and how bad it frightened me, eternal damnation in hell is thought shattering. "Please, Lord, have mercy on me and save me from that!" says the sinner! That's what we're saved from when we're saved! We're saved from eternal destruction and it's our choice to make:

Matthew 25:46 "And these (unbelievers, the unsaved) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Our choice is then, heaven or hell. Annihilation is a fantasy. It's a false hope. That's what those damned think so they can live life! Even though there is fear in damnation, neither is there any hope at all in annihilation!

John 6:40 "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

This verse is comforting. It allows me to put away thoughts of eternity. Although, just as those who knew their civilization was dying, put away all thoughts of death and partied on, is a way to cope, it offers no hope. It's just existing and is futile! Those on the Titanic partied as they sank. They ignored the onset of certain death because that's the easy way. That's the road most traveled. However, by not thinking on things doesn't change reality! I need hope and you need hope, so think now on eternity without ________ (your name here).

How about that hope?

Romans 15:13 "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
After thinking of annihilation last night, I thought of hope: Hebrews 11:1
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

My faith gives me hope and I'm saved by faith in Jesus! Therefore, my faith is in the Lord and his grace to save me, although I'm a sinner and deserve eternal death, gives me hope! I can cope with life because my hope is in the unseen! My hope is confidence in the resurrection. I may die and surely will, but I will die only once! There will be no second death for me. Nor will I lie moldering in the grave. I know that since Jesus lives I too will live for eternity. There is hope in eternal life, but defeat in non-existence or damnation!

How do you get this hope? You consider your choices. "Fire and brimstone" preaching may only scare you to make a short run to the altar for "fire insurance", but if you think about grace and how Jesus loved you, even in rebellion, you'll come to love the One who paid for your hope! Hell scared me to consider Jesus and the choice I had to make. Even if I just cease to exist there's got to be more to eternity than that! For me and my household for which I pray, we choose life; we choose salvation; we choose Jesus!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Will we recognize Jesus?

No one knows why, but after the resurrection, even those closest to him; family and friends, failed to know that it was him. Were they of so little faith that in spite of seeing Jesus they didn;t believe or did he truly change. Did he just hide his appearance for mysterious reasons or did his countenance cause him to be unrecognized? Let's examine this issue in the light that although speculation is guessing, it's an attempt to base it on scripture. However, consider that even the church fathers proposed that Jesus was the "Angel of God" of The Old Testament.

After the Resurrection why did some fail to recognize Jesus? Here are three instances(not counting the one in John where the apostles were fishing) where Jesus was not recognized:

John 20:11 "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

Luke 24:13 "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden (held) that they should not know him17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas (likely the cousin of Jesus), answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight."

Mark 16:9 "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country."

It appears that none recognized Jesus by his normal characteristics after he was resurrected. Let's look at the situation and see:

Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. However, we know from the John account that this was Mary who "knew not it was Jesus". Mary  didn't recognize Jesus! She thought he was the gardener.

In the evening we know from John that the disciples saw Jesus and had no problem believing it was him because they saw the injuries. Furthermore, they had been filled-in by the women (Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things) who were reminded of what Jesus said about his own death and Resurrection (Luke 24:8) However, Thomas still doubted that it was truly Jesus:

John 20:25  The other disciples therefore said unto him (Thomas), We have seen the Lord. But he (Thomas) said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Thomas saw Jesus eight days later, had to be convinced and he was, but not by recognition of Jesus' face, but by the scars. The other men were convinced by the evidence of the crucifixion. Mary and the others women believed because they were reminded of Jesus' own words about himself, not because of his attributes!

Why was Jesus not recognized? Why were his features changed? Could it be:

Matthew 28:2 "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men."

Could it be that Jesus rolled back his own stone? 

Jesus didn't need anyone to roll back the stone to free him from death! He could do it himself because death had no power over him:

Acts 2:24 "God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it."

Jesus could have called the angels to free him, but Jesus came to free mankind, and he did it by himself. The angels weren't there on the cross assisting him in death. Neither were there angels freeing Jesus from the tomb. He already had the power of God because he IS God and a mere stone didn't roadblock THE STONE, the Cornerstone!

Throughout scripture (The Old Testament), Jesus is the "Angel of the Lord"! Matthew 28: 2 describes Jesus as he appeared at the transfiguration when his face and countenance was changed:
Luke 9:28 "And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

Matthew 17:1 "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And (Jesus) was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Jesus may very well have been the "Angel of the Lord" who rolled his own gravestone aside. He left his grave and rolled the stone aside, not that he be freed, but that his disciples could enter. He had the capacity to merely walk through the stone or the wall of the sepulchre for that matter! Is there any evidence for this?

John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

The doors were closed then in came Jesus. He came through another closed door just as he may have come through the stone door at the tomb!

I believe that Jesus died, was resurrected, defeated the grave by merely walking through the door, rolled the door away as the "Angel of God, and left the area to wait for his followers to come to see the miracle!

Why did his followers fail to recognize him? Just as he was changed as the tranfiguration, he was changed at the resurrection! He told Mary not to touch him yet because had had yet to ascend to the Father! 

We know that Mary was not allowed to touch Jesus prior to his ascension, but was Thomas allowed to do so? Thomas never had to touch Jesus. John 20:29 said he too believed because he has seen! Thomas never go as far as touching Jesus. He saw the scars.

Jesus surely wasn't recognized because his face and countenance had changed! This coupled with those whose belief was tested never dreamed that Jesus really defeated the grave, but God said he would to Hosea the Prophet:

Hosea 13:14 " I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes."

Jesus destroyed the grave for himself first and those who believe in Him secondly! The grave ceased to be the grave, in my opinion, when he just walked through the the door and left! No grave could hold him! It's his power. God is omnipotent (all-powerful) and Jesus is God! He willed the universe into existence and it was! He merely ignored the stone which he had created because it was of him and under his power!

Likewise, the grave will never hold the patriarchs, the martyrs, and the saints. We will rise from the grave (without the help of angels) and meet Jesus in the air just as he wills it! 

This commentary is original. No one knows why those who met him after the resurrection failed  to recognize him. Mary, his close friend didn't. Cleopas a possible first cousin didn't and the wife of Cleopas, who was probably the second person on the Emmaus road, didn't!  His close followers never recognized him by his appearance, but by his witness and scars! Jesus was changed. He was glorified! 

Philippians 3:21 "Who (Jesus Christ) will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

Jesus changed. Those around him saw a glorified Jesus. His countenance had changed. Likewise, we too will be glorified. We will be changed. Our perishable body will be replaced by the imperishable by the power of Jesus. It will still be us, but we too will be changed!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Manna... The Bread of LIfe

It occurred to me that Judaism is not the antecedent of Christianity for John 1 tells us that Christ was with God at the creation. Hence, the true religion has always been Christianity. The Old Testament Patriarchs who had faith, had faith in Christ! After having this thought, I read from church father Ignatius in his letter to the Magnesians A.D. 110:

"Christianity did not base its faith on Judaism, but Judaism on Christianity, in which every tongue believing in God is brought together."

Ignatius is credible. He knew and spoke with the Apostle John. Although his words are not canon, since he was martyred fro Christ, he was surely a spiritual presbyter of Christ.

Prior to this, many years ago, it occurred to me that the Old Testament is all about Christ! God had a plan all along. That plan was Jesus, Christ in the flesh. As such the Messiah spoke to righteous men throughout the ages. When Adam spoke to God in the Garden it was Christ. When Noah had faith, it was faith in Christ and his salvation. When Abraham had faith, it was faith in Christ. Who is the Messiah? Who is the Christ? He is the Word, soon to be born of a virgin and named Jesus!

To understand the concept that Christ IS the Son of God, it's best to understand the Trinity; the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Tertullian, about the year A.D. 200 explained the trinity best: God who defies definition in his awe is called God, Son of God and Spirit. He is without name. He says that he is "I AM WHAT I AM". God is how we refer to the majesty which encompasses the Cosmos, a Greek name for God. The entire expanse is God because he's omnipresent. Tertullian compared him to the sun which shoots out rays of light. (This analogy is good because God is light; Shekinah!) The sun itself represents the Father and the rays the Son of God and Spirit. The rays of the sun are as much sun as the sun itself, but the rays are distinct. They are of the sun and are no less sun than is the sun. The rays shine forth and light mankind. The rays are what man sees, but they emanate from the sun. Just as the sun is a metaphor for God, the rays are metaphors for the Son of God and the Spirit of God. The rays are just as much God as is the sun, yet the rays are of the sun just as the Son of God is of God. Hence, the Son of God and God are one and the same! Likewise, the same metaphor can be used for the Spirit of God.

Therefore, since Holy Scripture tells us that man cannot look upon the face of God, represented by the sun, we can look upon the light emitted from the sun, the Son of God as represented by the sun's rays. Likewise, when God spoke to man, it was the Son of God speaking. It was he who was to be Jesus! Many instances in the Old Testament we have the Son right there in different manifestations, appearing to, speaking with, withstanding alongside and even wrestling with man!

All Old Testament scripture points toward Jesus and is a story of the Son of God here on earth, dealing with mankind and providing fellowship and faith! Yes, Christianity preceded Judaism and that faith comes short of salvation. Only by Jesus can one enter the kingdom of God and they don't have to have the faith of Abraham, that faith that the Son of God dwelt with man all along! Yes, Christianity is the antecedent of Judaism!

The Jewish nation, under Moses had just left Egypt where they lived as slaves. God delivered them from enslavement which represents sin, as does Egypt itself. God delivered the Jews from sin! As the Jews came into the wilderness actually called "Sin", they began to grumble. They believed they would have been better off as slaves in Egypt (representing bondage to sin). God provided the freedom to the Jews at the cost of the firstborn of every Egyptian. They were the blood sacrifice, blood being necessary for atonement. The firstborn of the Jews were saved by sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts. This represents the saving blood of Jesus and the wooden door frame the cross of Jesus.

The "glory of the Lord" came to Aaron in the wilderness. That Glory was the Son of God who was later born of a virgin and named Jesus. The Glory of the Lord provided meat (quails) and a type of bread (manna) to save the Jews from starvation! This manna (bread was what they called it) was the "bread of life" and was from the Son of God!

Exodus 16:14 "And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat."

Exodus 16:31 "And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."

The manna was described as tasting like wafers flavored with honey! This was not only a staple, but a great-tasting food. The Son of God provided!  (No wonder many churches use wafers for the Eucharist!).

The Encyclopedia of Judaism says about manna:

"Exploration in the Sinai peninsula has revealed in fairly recent times a food that strongly resembles the biblical manna. Myriads of insects that cover the trees, particularly the tamarisk, secrete drops of liquid up to the size of a pea that crystallize and have a sweetish taste. Roaming Bedouin use it as food. It must be gathered early in the morning before the ants devour it. These characteristics accord with the biblical description of manna. "

The Jews were saved from perishing in Sin by bread supplied from "the glory of God", the Son of God! Moses in writing the Book of Deuteronomy said:

Deuteronomy 8:2 "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

The manna, the bread of life, pointed toward salvation by belief in Jesus. Just as the Jews were destitute (in Sin) and needed salvation from perishing (in the Wilderness), Jesus, the Bread of Life saves man from perishing.! What a picture. Moses saw that picture. He (and Joshua) knew that he was standing again on Holy Ground! We see below that after Joshua took over for Moses and they escaped Sin, who appeared again:

Joshua 5:
11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua, after being saved from perishing along with his "household", there appeared unto him a man with a sword, the captain of the host of the Lord. This "man" again was the "ray of the sun", the Son of God, to be called Jesus. We know that because Joshua fell on his face and worshiped! The ground on which he stood became holy because he was standing in the presence of God, the Son of God!

For continuity, we're to look at the New Testament. John tied together all the "loose strings" This isn't just my idea, but the Apostles came together and wrote about it under John's signature:

John 6:30 "They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven."

Jesus said that Moses was not the giver of what they called "bread" (manna). God provided. Moses didn't save them. God (The Son of God) saved them. God (The Father) "giveth you the true bread from heaven". That "true bread", not just called "bread" and not the "real saving bread", but the real thing, Jesus, came from the Father in heaven!  You see, Moses and Joshua knew Jesus! They saw Him, talked with Him and was delivered by Him (Jesus) 1200 years before he was born of a virgin! Jesus identified himself. He made it clear that he is the "bread of life", the real McCoy, as pictured in the Exodus:
John 6:35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

Jesus said two things with one expression, "I am the bread of life". By saying "I am" he names himself as God. By saying "bread of life" he's calling himself Savior, the Son of God, Jesus! The manna in Sin represented the true bread of life, Jesus Christ! Jesus made a difference in the manna, not true bread, and himself, the "True Bread":

John 6:48 "I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die."

The manna (called bread) came down from heaven. The Jews lived for a season, but died. Moses even died, not being allowed to step forth on the Holy Land, Canaan, a picture of Paradise, a land of milk and honey! However, Jesus, "is the bread" and he too came down from heaven, but unlike so-called bread which allowed man to die, Jesus, the true bread, will provide eternal life! That's our hope. Jesus saves! 

How is it "that a man may eat thereof"? We partake of Jesus. We accept his atonement for our sins. That he delivers us from sin (not Sin), and that by faith in his body and blood we are saved; our bodies and souls! We remember that Jesus saved us from perishing in hell (not the Wilderness) by his vicarious death on the cross (not the door frame):

1 Corinthians 11:23 "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Here we have Jesus, using the bread so that we'll remember that his body was broken for us that we might be saved. The bread represents the Son of God (aka Son of Man) in that God took on a human body and he died in our place! He called himself the "bread of life" and that's what he did with his body. He saved us! When we take Communion (The Lord's Supper), if we accept his sacrifice, we honor the "bread of life"! That Bread of Life was crudely represented 3200 years ago to a million Hebrew household by manna from heaven. It was given by the Son of God for the posterity of his people so that they might see him in human form, as Jesus!

The Son of God appeared in the cool of the garden, in the burning bush which was never consumed, as a man with a sword, as a cloud, as Shekinah, in the firey furnance, and wrestling with Jacob, along with many other contacts. Finally, the Son of God appeared just as we are. As Jesus. He felt what we felt, finally! He was tempted as we are. He understands us. He feels for us and he saves us, Step forth into Paradise: if we'll only eat of the Bread of Life!

For me an my household, we choose Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Deluge: How can it be?

Genesis 7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; 17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

First off the earth is a sphere. Christopher Columbus knew that. He read it in the Bible!

Isaiah 40:22 "It is he (God) who sits above the circle of the earth..."

The earth for all practical purposes is a sphere with no more egg-shape than a billiard ball according to scientific resources:

Diameter of Earth at the equator is 12,756.2 kilometers. 
Diameter of Earth through the poles is 12,713.6 kilometers. 
Difference of 42.6 kilometers.

The "bulge" is at the equator and that's due to the gravitational pull of the moon creating the tidal effect.

God knew the earth wasn't flat long before it was proven so, so let's "assume" God knows what he's talking about:

Job 22:14 (ESV) "Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see, and he walks on the vault of heaven."

I would suppose that God has a good view of what he created! Yes, he's "upstairs", but he's not "the man upstairs"! He's beyond definition. God is inexplicable and if we could explain him, we would be as God ourselves!
Let's look at the first oddity. Verse 20 says the water did "prevail" fifteen cubits upward. It would appear that it rose only fifteen cubits above its normal level. The Hebrew "long cubit" is 20.4" (distance from the elbow to the fingertips), hence the waters prevailed 300 feet. Of course no mountain would be covered at that depth! If we look at some other translations it reads a little more differently:

Genesis 7:20 (ESV) "The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep."

All the "high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered". Mount Everest in nearby Tibet is 29,038 feet tall. Assuming it was around the same height in Noah's time, the water would have reached the depth of 29,328 feet or so. The earth at the equator is approximately 20,531 miles. Hence, the water rose 5.5 miles above it's normal or 11 miles larger diameter. That's a lot of water! The earth increased in size as much as the a minute 0.05% ! Is that possible?

The water now on earth is likely the same water that was there in Noah's time plus some minor amounts created by the chemical reaction of hydrogen with water. Some water was taken into space with our missions. That too is negligible! However, for the most part what we have now is what we had then! The mass of the water doesn't change and there are only negligible volumetric changes! The water cycle changes how much is in the ocean and how much in the heavens, but over time we still have the same amount of moisture on the earth. God spoke of this hydrologic (evaporation along with electrolysis of lightening and condensation) cycle:

Job 36:27 (ESV) "For he draws up the drops of waterthey distill his mist in rain, 28 which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly."

Ecclesiastes 1:6 "The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again

Isaiah 40:12 (ESV) "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?" 

Isaiah 55:10 (ESV) “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earthmaking it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater..."

These verses accurately describe the hyrdrologic cycle which scientist (Nils Wallerius) discovered circa 1739. (God knew what he created in a day, but man took 6000 years to figure it out!)

Looking at the volumetric equation for a sphere, O'll calculate the approximate  deluge:


Since we're looking at the change in the volumes we have 4/3 x 3.14159 x (20542/2)cubed minus 4/3 x 3.14159 x (20531/2) cubed = 4583647250487- 4531359977065 = 52287273422 cubic feet of water. There are 7.48052 gallons per cubic foot of water. Hence this is an additional 6,989,791,274 gallons of water! That would fill a pool and a half for sure. That's 121,350 gallons a minute worldwide. The surface of the earth is 196.9 million square miles. That's 35.5 gallons per minute per square mile. That's possible and God did it, but how?

Let's look at the choices: (Noting that there was no water created. If so, it would still be there. water mass is a constant).

1) The polar ice caps melted adding to the amount rained.
2) Earthquakes in the depths heaved the water out of the oceans faster than it drained back, along with the rain.
3) The moon shifted its orbit and created vast tidal waves which added to the rain. 
4) If the entire earth was covered over the highest mountain, it could be that they were, but not all at once. In other words, with time the depth of the water varied at different places on the earth. 
5) Only the world known by mankind, the inhabited world, flooded.
6) Purely a one-time miracle of God.

From "How Stuff Works" if the Antarctic Polar Ice Cap melted they say this:

"There are 326 million trillion gallons of water on the entire earth. If the Antarctic melted the water would rise 200 feet. At the other end of the world, the North Pole, the ice is not nearly as thick as at the South Pole. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. If it melted sea levels would not be affecte­d (sic)."

 If the frozen poles melted the depth of the oceans would only increase by 200 feet. We're looking for 5.5 miles of increased depth of water! Melting ice caps don't even come close to the volume needed. 

Let's look at "guess" # 2: Earthquakes caused tsunamis which heaved water from the oceans to the land mass. Scripture says something about that:

Genesis 7:11 (ESV) 11"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened."

Tsunamis aggravated the hydrologic cycle. Rather than waiting on evaporation and condensation only to occur, earthquakes pushed water forth and i covered the land. Japan got a taste of this of this on its Pacific coast in 2011. However, of the 65 documented cases of tsunamis in history, the worst known was the Lituya Bay megatsunami, in 1958 which had a record height of 1740 ft. Still far from 5.5 miles deep, but it does show the possibility in Noah's time of a flood of that magnitude!

This explanation is a candidate for the most plausible from scripture because it could be that way and that's what God said in Genesis! That also allows for the oceans to empty for a time and become the receptacle when the water receded, leaving the total mass of the water constant!
Guess #3 is that the moon moved closer to the earth for some reason, causing great tidal waves. The moon being in close proximity, would exert a stronger gravitational pull causing the earth to fracture and the internal pressures to cause the aforementioned tsunamis. Here, we have a plausible event which fits scripture without specifically mentioning that the moon was moved. Tidal waves, added to the tsunamis, would have caused the depths heaved onto land. That would make it possible that it was indeed a world-wide event. The waters would recede when the moon for whatever reason resumed its orbit. Since God created the "lesser light" (the moon) it's understandable that he was able to move it for a reason. After all he made the earth and moon stand still one day in Joshua's time:

Joshua 10:12 "At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stoppeduntil the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel."
There seems to be a problem! "There has been no day like it before or since"! However, in Noah's time, the sun and moon would not have stopped, but the moon only would have altered it's course. Scripture doesn't say that the moon shifted, but neither does God specifically say how he parted the waters for Moses. It was by a strong east wind, but what caused the east wind to change. God didn't say what manner of climate control he used. Likewise, he could have used the moon to cause the quakes and the flood!

Guess #4 is that the entire earth flooded, but not specifically all at the same time. Guess # 3 (moon shifted)  explains this phenomena. This guess doesn't contradict scripture and it is in reality how guess #3 worked,

Guess #5 is that the flood was only over the world known to man. Looking again at the flood story:

Gen 7:19 "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered."

Remembering that God's word was inspired to the patriarchs who wrote scripture. Moses wrote this. Did he get it wrong and how did he get it?

Methuselah, the longest lifespan ever, lived 969 years and died in Jewish year 1656, the year of the flood in Noah's time. ("The World before the Flood"). It's likely that he died in the flood! Noah lived 10 generations up to Abram's time who would have been a young man by those standards (about 58)!  That leaves 476 years between the birth of Abraham and Moses.  According to Genesis 25:7 Abraham lived 175 years. That leaves only 300 years! One can surely see that 300 years is a short span of time for history to be passed along and others could have lived even longer. It is possible that Moses got the deluge story only second hand, although it's not documented.

There is archaeological evidence of the deluge in Bible lands. (See Haley's Bible Dictionary), However, so far there is little evidence if any that it was a worldwide event. Although science would rule out a worldwide event, God is plain in this case. All the hills under the heavens were flooded. It doesn't say all at one time, but that they all were. However, we can leave room that God may didn't explain what men at that time could not understand. He's done that several places in scripture.

Guess #6 is that it was a one-time miracle of God and that's that! Just as Jesus raised Lazurus from the dead, and that's impossible, God flooded the earth! Since God created it all, that too is plausible. However, in most Bible miracles of nature, God used nature for the miracle. Given that thought, my own "vote" is that God created the miracle in the known world. That agrees with the evidence and agrees with the vernacular used "all the high hills under the whole heavens", albeit "whole" at that time. A tsunami with rain would surely be sufficient to raise the water that high in the world populated at that time.

We need an example such that those dogmatic don't accuse me of apostasy! When did God "exaggerate" to make a point?

Mark 10:25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

This is an exaggeration. A camel could never go through the eye of a needle, at least without another miracle and we're not talking miracles here. I've heard every reasoning in the book about what Jesus (God) meant with this statement. He was obviously exaggerating to make a point. No, this is not lying any more than his parables and metaphors were lying. Jesus was merely saying that those who love money have a heavy, almost impossible burden. We know that God used "love of money" as the barrier to heaven, not riches itself!

Just to show how ignorant we are of God's mystery, no sooner than writing this (about Guess #5), I realized how wrong I am! It had to be the whole world. Dinosaurs were worldwide. They were destroyed. The flood was as good a theory as any. If only the known earth was flooded how did  the dinosaurs die? If only the Bible lands had been populated where did American dinosaurs get there?  It shows educated ignorance on my part! With that, it was a miracle of God which no one knows the manner!

In summary, the flood is another mystery of God. It's interesting to second guess God, but God doesn't want us to know everything! Just as he destroyed the Tower of Babel and scattered the people for seeking the heavens, he doesn't choose for us to know what he knows. His ways are his and we just don't need to know. That's called faith! 

If we seek proof or evidence, our hope of heaven is in vain, because by definition "hope" is in things unseen. Unseen things are not scientifically verifiable... just like the cause of the flood! God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He just wants our love, not our questions about his majesty!