A few days ago a co-worker remarked during a conversation on the economic downturn that â€œItâ€™s a sign of the end, the end of days.â€ Well, maybe so and maybe not. The end is certainly nearer today that it was yesterday. But, maybe in his case itâ€™s just a sign of bad exegesis.
One inconvenient fact is found distinct with all man made religions. It remains true whether the religion is ancient or new, or offspring of another. Whether Hittite, Sumerian, Canaanite, Assyrian and Babylonia, Egyptian, that of Zoroaster and all the way up to the Hindu, Buddhist, and beyond, all man made religions past or present engaged in or engage in idolatry. Each such religion held in esteem, revered, or held due to political persuasion a person, a king or line of kings, perhaps a mullah, a religious heir, or a chosen or appointed person of authority, lord of lands, territories or philosophies, one holding the office of enlightenment, or of a god, the chief god, the lone high prophet, the identified head or high priest of the given religion.
The point is that there was (and will be) a man or woman at the helm, no matter what. We of course can say the same of some who claim to follow Christ. That what they actually follow is made of manufactured or mummified remains, maybe marble or wood; and worse, is as was just said, a man or woman who has received some special dispensation perhaps along with a perquisite and a good stipend.
Now when the current high and mighty die, whether pope, priest, or favorite son, then a chosen heir, perhaps another priest takes over. In short, some person always gets top billing usually the king or chief, the first friend or wife. These slots usually pay pretty well. And that person or persons is then also worshiped and held in high esteem. This is true whether or not an actual idol or image ever gets involved. It was and is idolatry. The same is true of despotic states and regimes. The same is true for the denominational forms of Christianity that rely upon structures found outside the Scriptures; they revere the position and rank of some person, a titular head, whether elected or arisen through caveat or in usurpation or out of some popular consensus. Some person is in charge somewhere, and if in charge they must be worshiped as the provider god, the holy one, perhaps as the apostle on earth.
Yet, the founder and heirs of each such organization will all surely die and continue to do so. Those of long ago have been entombed somewhere, no matter how mighty and in spite of what they may have claimed, or what was claimed about them. There is no evidence that Muhammad ascended from anywhere to anyplace; it is his heirs who have made that claim long after his death. Buddha died of eating poisoned mushrooms, and somebody took up his cause and many have stood in his stead. Joseph Smith was shot by a jealous husband, and Brigham Young stood forth to lead; and so it goes. Once the founder dies, then the scramble for succession and perpetuation begins. A religion may have died along with the founder in the same fashion as regimes die when the inventor or chief instigator exits the scene. And when nations fell then often the religion of that nation fell too. When they die; it dies. When the line died, the religion or state machine slowly ground to a halt. Occasionally some following has the organization, the powerful others, who are strong enough or organized enough to manage things and keep things going, continuing to keep the systems alive, and the adherents under control. Rome and its religion and the state that came out of it lasted for about a millennium in one form or another; and we could reasonably argue that the Roman Catholic Church is an extension of that. China’s monarchies lasted nearly as long. Islam has done well by its masters since the seventh century.
Only a single record is found of a leader who had no interest at all in raising up earthly heirs and in building empires. He offered entrance into a kingdom, but a kingdom not of this world with soldiers who do not fight and who do not bear arms. The price of admission is only strict submission; and the reward is eternal life. No other had ever or has ever offered (or could hope to deliver) these things. This person built no foundation for the perpetuation of His line for He had none; and He provided no path that glorified His followers in office. He built neither state nor state religion; others took up those efforts allegedly in His name. He built no palace or city, and erected no statue; others found how to provide those things absent his authority. He wasn’t after land, houses or gold. His teaching is empty of such things – they were never mentioned.
This man died and is yet alive. That is what the record indicates. He died and was resurrected, and His earthly remains were never again located or seen. He is the firstborn from the dead. No tomb has ever been found and no monument was erected by his immediate followers or by their near ancestors (only long after things had passed by did any such thing occur).
This One made no provision for perpetuation or continuance and died a pauper, as no other leader of any similar claims or like things ever has. He had no succession and no successor. But He offered a legitimate claim to being God on earth.
This person is Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Most High God. The rest never dared to make such a claim; that is where it is accompanied with any form of witness or evidence in support. And those who have been so bold to falsely make a similar claim, to paraphrase His Apostle – their graves are with us to this day.
Only Jesus came with (as was both said of Him and as He Himself said) the authority of God and was God with us, called with the titled honor and name of Immanuel. The proof was in His works, sayings and deeds, the likes of which have never been duplicated or written about any of the rest of these, or by any known before or since. Another title and honor is Son of God, as He was born of woman but is Himself also begotten of God into earthly form. For the God of heaven and earth, Our Father, said of him, “This is my beloved Son; hear him.”
All of this has been attested to and was accompanied with records and the report of witnesses canonical and historical, even to include the nonbeliever and heretical.
The remains of all of the rest are found in museums or there have been monuments and temples built over the places where they fell, never to rise again. Multiple ruins attest to this. Some of these remains are stored in vaults along with the bodies of their predecessors. They are holy men one and all; or so we have been told. The ones whose graves are no longer known were either lost in antiquity or the bodies had been propped up and falsely worshiped until finally found in a state of corruption, or until wind and time took care of the residue. The modern ones will in time surely find their way to the grave just as will this writer. There is only the Lord God Almighty and His only begotten Son – the Son of God who is the Savior of all who would call upon His name. Honor Him and Worship Him.
So, why do we so quickly bow to men and their notions and ignore the Word of God? Why are we so quickly drawn to eternal destruction?