Are you familiar with the idea of religious pluralism? Pluralists believe that all religions are essentially teaching the same things and directing their practitioners to the same goal. You may have seen the “Coexist” bumper stickers where the word is spelled with the various symbols of major religions. That’s a pluralist message. Pluralism is best illustrated by the parable of the elephant.
A Christian’s loyalty ultimately rests in God. A Christian recognizes God’s sovereignty in their lives over human governments, administrations, organizations, or any other form of authority. Throughout history this has placed God’s followers at odds with many of man’s institution. Worldly men are always striving for influence over other men. Whether it is through social status, governmental institutions, or religious authority men are always placing themselves in a position where they are able to exert influence and control over others.
Until recently, I always wondered why Thomas would not believe. Here was Jesus, the Son of God. Thomas spent over three years listening to Jesus explain truths concerning His Father, His death, and His resurrection. Thomas watched as five loaves and two fish feed five thousand men plus women and children. Was he not the one in John 11 who was willing to die with Christ, proving a level of commitment to Him and to His word.
In Jesus’ trial before Pilate, the apostle John quotes the Roman governor, “What is truth?” Though uttered nearly two thousand years ago Pilate’s question resonates in contemporary Western culture. Previous generations considered truth absolute: “true for all people in all places for all times.” Absolute truth is objective which means it stands apart from individual opinion or experience. However, contemporary culture believes truth is relative or subjective. The individual is empowered to define right and wrong as they see fit without any external influences such as the Bible. A culture that embraces relative truth leaves its participants asking, “What is truth?”
The truth matters. God’s truth matters. If God tells us something it must be important. As His followers we must never take for granted the fact that Satan will never stop trying to subvert the Bible.
Religious experience is problematic because there is no means of verification other than one’s own “experience.” For example, an individual might claim a vision of Jesus, a voice from above, the apparition of an angel, or, Ezekiel-like, transportation to an unfolding realm. To follow such a thing, a person must have more faith in the declarer’s experience than having faith in God. Through taking the word of a man we make ourselves susceptible to that individual’s influence. Thus it becomes possible for us to enter their game or delusion, which ever it may be.
The knowledge of the glory of God is today revealed in the face of Jesus, as it once was in the face of Moses, but in a vastly superior way. As Moses came down from the mount with the law and a countenance reflecting God’s glory, so did Jesus—He just happened to be coming down from a much loftier, heavenly peak with a perfected law and, since He is the express image of God’s person, His glory and God’s are one.
As has been shown in earlier entries on this site, prophecy provides proof that 1) the prophet of old prophesied truth, and thus 2) spoke of the future in a way that no man, apart from the power of an all knowing being, could. Therefore, we can deduce that if the prophets of old were confirmed by what they spoke, there must be a Higher power providing these men with the ability to foreknow.
In Ezekiel 2:4 God tells Ezekiel that he is being sent to the children of Israel, “a rebellious nation,” to say to them, “thus says the Lord.” Ezekiel, throughout the entire book of prophecy bearing his name, states the same thing: thus says the Lord. (See Ezekiel 6:1, 12:17, 22:33, etc.) This is a very important statement made in Ezekiel, and he is not alone among the prophets in its use. Jeremiah begins his book stating these were the words of the Lord (1:2,4).
Over the last sixty years there has been a drastic increase in the number of available Bible translations. By my count, there have been at least fifty full (both Old Testament and New Testament) English Bible translations published since 1949, and at least twenty-five of those fifty were published after 1990. It appears this trend will continue with more translations being published every year. There is no doubt that the Bible being translated from the original languages (Old Testament was written in Hebrew and New Testament was written in Greek) into other languages is a praiseworthy event.