Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. – Henry David Thoreau
I remember the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. After the solar eclipse, horrible things just kept happening. Massive hurricanes were relentlessly battering the Western Hemisphere. A chain of hellish wildfire set the forests of the West in flames. Two earthquakes struck Mexico in rapid succession. North Korea threatened the U.S. with nuclear war. Mass shootings took scores of lives in Las Vegas and Texas. I remember going on Facebook and reading a post that connected the events of 2017 to the prophecy in Luke 21:25-26.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
As an agnostic, I posted an article claiming that Luke 21:25-26 does not prophesy 2017. I argued that the prophecy was about the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. However, I looked up any solar eclipses prior to the Siege of Jerusalem. Not a single solar eclipse appeared over Jerusalem in 70 AD. Then, on September 23, 2017, the sign of the woman with birth pangs appeared in the constellation Virgo. This was prophesied in Revelation 12:1-2.
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
If the events of today were in any way Biblical, I set out to find evidence disproving the resurrection or even the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. I had been considering the conspiracy theory that the Flavian dynasty of Rome invented the pacifist savior Jesus story to put down the militaristic Messianic movement of Judea occurring in the 60s AD (as argued in Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill). However, when you date Paul’s epistles, you realize he discusses Jesus as early as 50 AD, two decades before the Siege and two decades after the crucifixion. In addition, the Gospel of Luke flows directly into the Acts of the Apostles which ends before the well-documented trial and execution of the apostle Paul. This would mean that Luke and Acts were written before 68 AD at the latest.
So what if Paul and the apostles of Jesus made up the resurrection? If you can disprove the resurrection, Jesus is no longer a supernatural figure but simply a man. I consulted this page and discovered a few things. The Gospel’s account of Jesus clearly indicates that Jesus died because water and blood came out of him when he was speared. This is evidence of death by asphyxiation. There are theories that the disciples stole the body and hid it or that the disciples were all delusional about the resurrection. However, it is very difficult to prove group hallucination as that phenomenon is very individualized. What if the apostles simply lied? Then, they paid a high price for a hoax. Would you be crucified upside down because you said that Jesus was resurrected when you knew he wasn’t? I wouldn’t.
I concluded that the resurrection was indeed a historical event. That was the only conclusion that made sense. Now let’s say you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected and that believing in him gives you eternal life. If you were an eyewitness, you would realize that a resurrection is not a natural event but a supernatural one. You would conclude that the resurrected individual was trustworthy and divine, even the Son of God. If he’s the Son of God, what he saws is to be taken seriously. This is the crux of Christianity.
Still, I did not instantly find my place in Christ. It was a process. After researching different theologies, I found out about Unitarian Universalism. I attended a service on October 29, 2017, and I really enjoyed the service because they used the song “What a Wonderful World” in their service. I wanted to learn more about the Biblical foundations for universalism. I also hoped that I could meet people that were about the same age as I. However, I found that the Biblical evidence against universalism was way stronger and the young adult population at the UU Congregation was lacking. I realized that I was ultimately lying to myself by attending UU services because I wanted Jesus. Yet, I still had to look for a congregation where I could grow in my spiritual journey with people my own age. Having lasting friendships outside of work and school is important.
Back in 2013 when I was in my junior year of college, I was called to play bass guitar on Friday nights for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Geneseo. I enjoyed playing bass, but I felt like I was lying to myself. Here were all these people who believed, and I simply didn’t feel like the Spirit was flowing through me. I hadn’t truly believed in a personal God since about August 2006 (back when people still used AIM). I felt like I couldn’t enjoy the fruits of the services if I didn’t believe. I felt sad because I felt like this group of people cared about me. I definitely didn’t feel a part of the fast-paced college culture of drinking and risky behavior. However, I didn’t feel a part of the Christian group either. I felt that my group was small. It’s hard to find non-believers who don’t engage in some sort of risky behavior.
Flash forward to December 2017. I was about to give up hope in finding a congregation with a young adult presence. I figured I would go to the Binghamton University InterVarsity Fellowship’s website to see if they offered anything for non-students. I didn’t find on-campus events for non-students. However, I did see a list of five churches that students at BU attend. I settled on Grace Point Church in Vestal after watching videos of the praise band. If there are young people leading the band, perhaps there are young people in the congregation.
On December 3, 2017, my roommate and I attended a service at Grace Point. It was a small leap of faith, but it was worth it. The band was simply too good for words. I absolutely adored their song selection — “Glorious Day” was transformative for me. The guest speaker’s sermon was absolutely awesome. I was not disappointed. I filled out an info card and within just a few hours, the young adult coordinator reached out to me. Talk about prompt! He informed me of a young adult Christmas Party the next night! Everything just seemed to click together. I got introduced to some new faces and people I think I will be good friends with. I came back the next Sunday, and I’ll be back Monday night for the young adult group that meets that night.
When I found my place in Christ, I prayed and prayed and prayed. I pray everyday. I don’t pray for material things. That’s not the purpose. Christ died to reconcile God’s people with God. I prayed to be delivered from my sins. I wept for the people who not found their place in Christ. I reached out to someone who then promised to consider it. I recommended the movie The Case for Christ. The man in it tries to disprove the resurrection and ends up believing not on intuition but on evidence. This was a lot like the process that led me to believing.
Fortunately, there is a lot of good news. That’s what the Gospels are. Good news. If you put your trust in Christ to cleanse you of your sins, you will be rewarded. And now I’m in the process of spreading this news to others, the lost children of God who need Him back in their lives.
Based on the Book of Revelation, there is a Great Tribulation that lasts either 3.5 or 7 years. Whether it is upon us or not, we live and die in the midst of a battle between good and evil. Follow the Word of God and build a relationship with God through prayer. Let the Lord do the heavy lifting.
The absolute truth never left. “It is the nature of God to conceal a thing” but there will be a revelation of the absolute truth in the future.
Please reach out to me below if you would like to discuss this very important topic. The stakes have never been higher.