When Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb she was down on empty. She said, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” The Apostle John, on the other hand, had a different reaction to the empty tomb. When he stepped into the tomb and saw the linen wrappings and face-cloth, it says that he saw, and believed. John was UP ON EMPTY. In this message from John 20:1-10, we look into the empty tomb to learn how we also can be up on empty. (40:23)
Easter, like Christmas, is a religious paradox. On the one hand, it is a Christian celebration with great biblical meaning – the birth of Christ at Christmas and the resurrection of Christ at Easter. But on the other hand, it is a pagan holiday with heathen origins and with significant mythological connections. As a result of this paradox, many Christians feel like they are on the horns of a dilemma. Since it has heathen connections, they reason, should we as Christians celebrate the holiday? (33:35)
Listen to Dr. Dan Hayden’s review of the Four Blood Moons Theory using the audio player below. The following is a transcription of the main points from his verbal critique:
Sometimes you think things are going to go one way, but all of a sudden it surprises you and goes a totally different way. That is my impression of this new theory of the Blood Moons prophecy. At first I thought it was going to be something special and spectacular, but I have discovered it is not quite that.
For awhile as I traveled around the country I was asked numerous times, “Have you read Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger?” (It was the topic of prophetic conversation for several years.) Jonathan Cahn, a messianic rabbi in New Jersey, took two verses out of Isaiah and applied them to the 9-11 attack on the twin towers in Manhattan, New York. But the verses were really about the Assyrians attacking the northern tribes of Israel. Cahn had found several coincidences that applied to America and I believe his conclusion was correct – that America is on the downturn and that God either is judging or will judge America. But his exposition of Isaiah was a huge stretch. Then he applied the Shmita year to the 9-11-2001 attack and also to the American 2008 financial collapse – and that was a bigger stretch. All of this contained strong evidence of mystical thinking related to the Jewish scriptures. Cahn had done previous studies using the mystical approach of the Cabala, so I was not surprised to find The Harbinger to be another product of that thinking. Yet it continues to be a popular book, now with a study guide and a movie.
I begin with this illustration because Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change is another book conceived by a messianic rabbi using the same methods of Cabalistic mysticism. Rabbi Mark Biltz of El Shaddai is the influence behind both the prophecy journalist Bill Koenig who has written on this subject, and Pastor John Hagee, author of Four Blood Moons. John Hagee is pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas that boasts about 20,000 active members. He has a television and radio ministry throughout America and in 249 nations around the world through Trinity Broadcasting Network. Pastor Hagee is also the national chairman of Christians United for Israel, which shows his strong interest in Israel and in messianic studies.
Part 1: Divine Clockwork – Luke 1:5-25 (43:19)
God is always on time. There is no such thing as early or late with Him. His sovereign plan of the ages is finely tuned and everything He has ordained occurs on schedule. This is what Paul was referring to when he said, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4)
The Gospel of Luke is unique as it begins by intertwining the conception and birth of John the Baptist with the virgin conception of Mary. Luke was a careful historian and knew the importance of that connection. The birth of Christ is indeed a study in DIVINE CLOCKWORK.
Part 2: Time to Prepare – Luke 1:57-80 (51:39)
According to Luke’s Gospel, that first Christmas began early – six months early to be exact. Luke begins his Gospel by telling us of the special conception of John in Elizabeth’s womb and then of the virgin conception of Jesus, six months later, in the womb of Mary. After describing the birth of John, he then introduces the birth of Jesus – again, six months later. Immediately following these accounts, Luke then jumps to the ministry of John as the one who prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus.
In all of this there is a pattern of lead time that, in a special way, exhibits the mercy of God. God was not only preparing the way for Jesus – He was also giving an opportunity to the people to preare themselves for the coming of Christ. God in His Mercy was giving them time to prepare for the most significant decision in their lives – will they receive Jesus Christ as the Savior.
Part 3: The Moment of Truth – Luke 1:26-56 (31:12)
Mary’s miraculous virgin conception is one of the most wonderful stories in the Bible. It begins with an amazing conversation between a young Jewish girl living in Nazareth and an angel who has come directly from the presence of God. Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will conceive a seed in her womb apart from any intimate experience with a man and Mary immediately humbles herself to accept this miracle from God – even though it will be misunderstood by others.
The scene then shifts to the hill country of Judea, about seventy miles south of Nazareth where Mary visits Elizabeth. There Jesus and John meet for the first time as babies in their mothers wombs – Dr. Luke must have loved this part of the story. Then we are treated to Elizabeth’s Benedictus and Mary’s Magnificat, two wonderful responses from two incredible women. What a story!
Part 4:God’s Perspective of Time – Galatians 4:1-7 (41:44)
God’s Perspective of Time – Galatians 4:1-7 – Our perspective of time versus God’s perspective of time