1/27/2023

WAS MARIO MURILLO RIGHT TO REBUKE CERTAIN CONTEMPORARY "PROPHETS"?

Was Mario Murillo right to publicly rebuke certain contemporary “prophets” (see his statement here: https://tinyurl.com/3ne94r3d)? The answer is clear, not only from Scripture, but also from history. In fact, there is an example from history with amazing parallels to this situation.

Peter Cartwright (1785-1872), for example, was a circuit-riding Methodist revivalist who saw great revival and thousands come to Christ during his many years of ministry. He also encountered and contended with a prophetic movement that based its beliefs and actions on visions, dreams, prophecies, and supposed angelic visitations.

In his autobiography, Cartwright tells of members of this group attending his interdenominational camp meetings, and how, on at least one occasion, he publicly rebuked them for drawing attention to themselves with their supposed prophetic manifestations. He also tells of several meetings with their leader, Joseph Smith, whom he called “Joe Smith.”

Cartwright Meets “Joe” Smith

Cartwright says that “Joe Smith” shared with him his vision for the restoration of the church of the New Testament. According to Smith, during a time of revival in upper state New York he had prayed about which church was the right one. Smith said that during this time of prayer,

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 90).

According to Smith, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit appeared in this vision and told him not to join any of the churches, for none was the true church. Revealing his true prideful motives, Smith said to Cartwright, “If you will join me, we could sweep, not only the Methodist church, but all the churches, and you would be looked up to as one of the Lord’s greatest prophets” (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 94).

Smith Proves to be Angry and Unteachable

Cartwright began questioning Smith about his doctrine and it soon became obvious that Smith had left behind Biblical truth and was following sensational teachings based on prophecies, visions, and supposed angelic visitations.

As Cartwright continued pointing out his error from Scripture, he said that Smith’s anger boiled over and “he cursed me in the name of his God.” Smith angrily retorted,

I will show you, sir, that I will raise up a government in these United States which will overturn the present government, and I will raise up a new religion that will overturn every other form of religion in this country (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 92).

Visions & Angelic Visitations

Joseph Smith and his early followers based their beliefs almost solely on their subjective experiences with prophecies, visions, and angels. On one occasion an angel named Moroni supposedly appeared to Smith and told him where to find the plates on which were inscribed the Book of Mormon, written in an ancient Egyptian text.

Smith claimed that while he and an associate, Oliver Cowdery, were translating the book, John the Baptist as well as Peter, James, and John appeared to them and ordained them to the priesthood of Melchizedek.

How impressive! Demons will always play on human credulity and pride, telling one how important they will be if they accept this revelation.

In 1831, based on a supposed revelation from God, Smith and many of his followers migrated to Kirkland, Ohio. There they built, and in 1836, dedicated the first Mormon temple. According to one Mormon historian, there was a spiritual outpouring almost unmatched in ecclesiastical history. Smith himself wrote a detailed description, saying,

A noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting on the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven P.M. (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 92-93).

Those of the modern prophetic movement would likely have designated Joseph Smith as a “prophet” or “seer,” just as they have so many today. We should, however, recall the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:6-12 where He warned against adopting honorific titles that would set some above and separate from others. The reason was, you are all brethren and whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:8,12).

What We Can Learn from Mormonism

Out of this group that based its beliefs on prophecies, visions, and angelic visitations, has grown a movement that today claims millions of followers around the world. While some of their beliefs are obviously Christian in origin, they also hold to many beliefs that have no basis in Scripture and are at odds with Biblical Christianity.

For example, Mormons teach a form of polytheism, claiming that the planets of the universe are ruled by different gods and that Elohim—the God of the Old Testament—is the god of this planet. They also teach that Elohim had a wife who, as the Eternal Mother, bore his offspring. According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus is merely the oldest of the offspring produced by the Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and we are all his spirit brothers and sisters (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 93).

Their strange doctrines came forth because they failed to “test the spirits” and “judge” the prophecies and visions in their midst as Scripture commands. Cartwright regarded the Mormons as a living example of Satan’s ability to transform himself into an “angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:13-14).

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Here are some suggestions that can help us avoid repeating the same mistakes as this movement.

1.    Measure everything by the Word of God. Let the Bereans of Acts 17:11 be our guide. They were commended because, instead of naively accepting what Paul and Silas preached, they searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether those things were so. When strange prophecies and unusual manifestations began to appear in the early Methodist revival, John Wesley exhorted the people, “Try all things by the written word and let all bow down before it. You’re in danger of enthusiasm every hour, if you depart ever so little from the Scripture: yea; from that plain, literal meaning of any text, taken with the context” (Hyatt, Prophets and Prophecy, 45).

2.    Keep Christ Front and Central. Many prophetic movements have gone awry because of losing their focus on Jesus and becoming preoccupied with their own spirituality and exotic experiences. In the January 1907 issue of the Apostolic Faith, the leaders of the Azusa Street revival wrote, We do not have time to preach anything else but Christ. The Holy Spirit has not time to magnify anything but the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are simply a voice shouting, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ When we commence shouting something else, then Christ will die in us.”

3.    Avoid Pride and an Elitist Mindset. As mentioned above, Cartwright said that Smith told him that if he would join him, “We could sweep, not only the Methodist church, but all the churches, and you would be looked up to as one of the Lord’s greatest prophets.” Smith also claimed that he and his followers were the true church of the New Testament and that all other churches were false churches (the Mormons still believe this). That is elitism and pride! We must remember that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5b).

So, was Mario right to rebuke these modern prophets? I think so! Now that you have read the above article, tell me what you think. 

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is a revivalist, historian, and Bible teacher with a passion for this generation to see another Great Awakening. This article was derived from his book, Prophets and Prophecy, available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.

1/25/2023

HOW I LEARNED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIVINE HEALTH AND DIVINE HEALING

This past week I had my regular physical at the VA Clinic in Fort Worth, TX. No issues. No medications. The doctor said, "Your health is excellent." I then decided to give him a testimony. I said to him,

My faith in Jesus Christ is very important to me. Thirty-five years ago, when I was forty, I was very sick and God gave me 3 directives for coming out of it: (1) Change my eating habits; (2) Get proper rest; and (3) Walk two miles per day. Obeying those directives changed me for the rest of my life.

He was very impressed and commended me for my pursuit of health. He also became very personable and friendly. When he had finished his examination, he asked if I wanted to come back in the normal time frame of  6 months. I said, "How about in 1 year?" He replied, "That is fine since I am not doing anything for you."

Through the very challenging but rewarding experience, which I mentioned to the doctor, I learned the difference between Divine health and Divine healing. At the onset of the sickness, I was seeking for a miraculous healing, but it never came. When, however, I stopped seeking healing and began seeking the Healer, He gave me a personalized path for Divine health.

Indeed, as I implemented His directives, the heart palpitations and pains in the chest eventually disappeared. It took 3½ years, but the high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol all stabilized and became normal. Now, thirty-five years later, I am still experiencing the blessing of following His directives for Divine health.

Indeed, if Divine healing is based on faith, then Divine health is based on obedience. When God revealed Himself to Israel as Yahweh-Rophe, “the LORD Your Healer,” it was in the context of them being obedient to His directives. God said,

If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26-27).

We see the same principle in the New Testament. Jesus miraculously healed a man of paralysis, but since He wanted him to have ongoing Divine health, He later found him and admonished, See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you (John 5:14). Divine healing is not a guarantee of Divine health.

In retrospect, I can see that the unkindest thing God could have done at the onset of my sickness would have been to give me a miracle of healing. I would not have made any changes and would likely be dead today because of an unhealthy lifestyle. He loved me enough to force me to make changes.

When we go to a human doctor, he will prescribe a remedy after his examination. Too often, it is pharmaceuticals that only address the symptoms and not the root of the problem. When, however, you bring your case to Dr. Jesus, and put yourself in His hands, He will prescribe a remedy that will address the root of the problem and put you on your own personalized path to Divine health.  

I am very thankful and give glory to God that He taught me the difference between Divine health and Divine healing. With the Psalmist, I say,

It is goo to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and your faithfulness every night (Psalm 92:1-2).

This article is derived from the small book, 3 Keys to Answered Prayer, in which Dr. Eddie Hyatt gives a detailed account of how God brought him out of sickness by giving him a personalized path to healing and Divine health. 

1/24/2023

RECLAIMING AMERICA'S DIVINE DESTINY

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent eight years in a Soviet labor camp and observed how the Marxists sought to erase Russia’s Christian past, said,  “To destroy a people you must first sever their roots.”

Secularists have known that America’s history stands in the way of her being transformed into a socialist, godless state. This is why, for several decades, there has been all-out effort to purge America of her Christian past and reframe her as a racist, evil nation in need of “fundamental transformation.”

The truth is that America was founded by godly people with a deep sense of Divine destiny. They envisioned a land of individual and religious liberty from which the Gospel would be taken to the ends of the earth. This is obvious from many historical documents. Consider the following.

In the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims stated that they had come to this land for two purposes: (1) for the glory of God and (2) for the advancement of the Christian faith. Twenty-three years later, in 1643, thousands of new immigrants had arrived and many new towns had sprung up. The United Colonies of New England was formed, and the opening statement of their Constitution reflected the same vision. It reads,

Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the Liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 31).

A Great Awakening, beginning in 1726, revitalized the faith of the descendants of those earliest immigrants. Even Benjamin Franklin described how his hometown of Philadelphia was transformed by this awakening, and how houses on every street were filled prayer and the singing of praises to God (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 79). 

As documented in my books, 1726 and Abolitionist Founding Fathers, this Great Awakening had a direct bearing on both the founding of America and the ending of slavery on this continent.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the First Continental Congress opened in 1774 with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. Each succeeding session was then opened with prayer. During the Revolutionary War, no less than fifteen proclamations for days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving were issued by the Continental Congress.

As commander-in-chief of the American forces, George Washington ordered that each day was to begin with prayer led by the commander of each unit. He also proceeded to appoint Christian chaplains throughout the army. It was no accident that he took the very first presidential oath of office with his hand on a Bible.

Yes, America’s founding generation had a sense of Divine destiny. Many of those at the 1787 Constitutional Convention believed that God had led them in the formulation of the U.S. Constitution. This was the conviction of James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, who declared,

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in critical stages of the Revolution (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 127).

That the Founders wanted Christianity to spread from America’s shores to the ends of the earth is obvious from their writings and prayers that they prayed. For example, Washington recorded a prayer in his prayer journal that reads, “Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 132).

John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, wanted the entire earth to hear the Good News of Jesus. This was made clear in a Proclamation he issued for a day of prayer and fasting while serving as governor of Massachusetts. In this 1793 Proclamation, he expressed his desire,

That with true conversion of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior . . . and finally to overrule all the commotion in the world, to the spreading of the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, in its purity and power among all the people of the earth (Hyatt, 1726: TheYear that Defined America, 173).

This sense of Divine destiny was expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1892 ruling in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States. After examining thousands of historical documents, the nation's highest Court stated,

The churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town, and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation ((Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 170).

This sense of Divine destiny in the founding generation and succeeding generations has been extinguished by secularist historians who have re-written our history and severed our roots. It has also dampened hopes of another Great Awakening because in cutting us off from our past we have lost the sense of who we are as a nation and people.

This is not Christian nationalism. America’s founders had no desire to impose their faith on anyone, which is why they formulated the First Amendment. Neither do we. Nor does it mean that we think America is better than any other nation.

This is simply recognizing that God works through nations to move the flow of history in the direction of His eternal will and purpose. We simply want to recognize and acknowledge that God had a purpose in bringing forth this nation. We want to reclaim America’s Divine destiny.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt has a passion to see America return to her founding principles of faith and freedom through another national, spiritual awakening. He has written several books on the topic, including 1726: The Year that Defined America, from which this article was derived.

1/09/2023

WHY WE MUST "REMAIN FIRM IN GOING FORWARD"

As we enter this New Year, the words of Moses to Israel, "remain firm in going forward," are resonating in my heart. These words were spoken at a very critical moment when Israel was about to cave to fear, return to Egypt, and resign themselves to a life of slavery. I am convinced that these are words God would have us remember in 2023.

The Temptation to Go Back

After numerous devastating plagues, culminating in the first Passover when all the firstborn among the Egyptians died, Pharaoh urged Moses to take the Israelites and leave. After 400 years of bondage, Moses led this large company of former slaves from the land of their captivity toward the land God had promised them. However, they are not out of Egypt before the challenges begin.

They come to the Red Sea and there is no bridge; nor are there any ferry boats to carry them across. What are they going to do? In the meantime, Pharaoh decides that he has made a terrible mistake in letting these Hebrew slaves go free and he decides to go after them and bring them back.

So, as Israel looks at the Red Sea wondering how they will get across, they look back and see Pharaoh coming with his army and 600 chariots. Their emotions begin to run wild; first with fear and then with anger at Moses whom they blame for getting them into this predicament. Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us bringing us out of Egypt (Exodus 14:11)!

They Must Continue Going Forward

Moses did not react to their fear and anger. He was living and functioning from an inner core conviction and faith that transcended anything that might be happening on the outside. We too must live from the inside out in 2023. Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today. (Exodus 14:13).

The Hebrew word for “stand” in this verse is yatsab and it means “to stay” or “to remain firm.” The Hebrew word for “still” is nasah and it literally means “to start on a journey” or “to go forward.” Moses literally tells the people to “REMAIN FIRM IN GOING FORWARD.”

Moses assures them that if they will remain firm in their decision to leave Egypt for the land of promise, they will see the salvation of the LORD that very day. “Salvation” is translated from the Hebrew word yeshuwah, from which comes the name of our Messiah—Yeshua. It carries meanings of “deliverance,” “victory,” “prosperity,” and “well-being.”

In other words, if they will get past their fear and anger, and move forward in faith, they will see God intervene on their behalf. They will see His salvation—His yeshuwah.

They See His Salvation

They heeded the words of Moses and one of the greatest miracles of the Bible occurred. The Red Sea parted, and they crossed to the other side on dry ground. After they were safe on the other side, the sea rolled back and drowned Pharaoh and his army as they pursued them through the parted sea.

What a relief! They were now safe and free, completely cut off from that former life of bondage. No wonder Miriam and the women took their tambourines and began to dance before the LORD and to lead the entire company in prophetic songs of praise. When they made the decision to “remain firm in going forward,” they saw His salvation

We Too Must Remain Firm in Going Forward

We, the people of God, will face many challenges in this New Year, but we must never turn back and compromise the truths of God's word. We must never cave to the ways and manners of Egypt. We must remember the words of Moses to Israel, for as we “remain firm in going forward,” we too will see His salvation in 2023.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is a Bible teacher, revivalist, and ordained minister. He has written numerous books on revival, documenting how Great Awakenings have shaped America's character and destiny, and explaining why another such Awakening is the only hope for America. His books are available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.

1/05/2023

WHY DR. KING CALLED AMERICA'S FOUNDING A "SACRED HERITAGE"

Writing in 1963 from the Birmingham city jail where he had been incarcerated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed his conviction that his fight for civil rights would succeed because of America’s unique heritage. He wrote,

Our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America . . . We will win our freedom because the “sacred heritage” of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.

Calling the country’s heritage “sacred” indicated that Dr. King believed there was something special and of God in America’s founding. He obviously considered the Jim Crow South where he lived and worked to be a sharp departure from America’s founding vision.

Frederick Douglass (1816-1895), the former slave and passionate abolitionist, came to the same conclusion 100 years before Dr. King. In his early years, he felt he had no part in America; but after years of research he completely changed his thinking. In a July 4th speech in 1852, Douglass called the U.S. Constitution “a glorious liberty document,” and declared,

I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men.

Douglass called the founders “brave men” because they took a bold stand against slavery at a time it was accepted and practiced in most of the world. The eminent Black scholar, Dr. Thomas Sowell, has said,

Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 90).

History shows that it was the Great Awakening (1726-1770) in Colonial America that shattered racial and cultural barriers and unleashed anti-slavery outrage throughout the Colonies (see Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 89). This Christian Awakening resulted in virtually every founding father, even those who owned slaves, taking a public stand against it.

By the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, virtually every founder, including George Washington, agreed with John Adams, America’s 2nd president, who declared,

Every measure of prudence ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 36).

As a result, America’s founders formulated founding documents that contain no classifications based on race or skin color. The words “slave” and “slavery” are nowhere to be found. Instead, the Constitution speaks of “citizens,” “persons,” and “other persons.”

Indeed, America’s founding generation understood America’s founding documents to be anti-slavery documents, guaranteeing liberty and justice for all. Abolitionists often quoted from both the Declaration and the Constitution in their fight against slavery (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 54-55).

America’s Founders believed they had set the nation on a course for the soon elimination of slavery at a time it was practiced throughout the world. They did not, however, anticipate the invention of the cotton gin in 1798 nor how succeeding generations would backtrack on their vision of Liberty for all.

Abraham Lincoln understood this and insisted that his fight against slavery was a continuation of the fight begun by America’s founders. He said,

In the way our Fathers originally left the slavery question, the institution was in the course of ultimate extinction . . . All I have asked or desired is that it should be placed back again upon the bases that the Fathers of our government originally placed it upon (Hyatt, Abolitionist Founding Fathers, 59-60).

Dr. King understood America’s true origins, which is why he could speak of the nation’s “sacred heritage.” This generation must rediscover and reconnect with this “sacred heritage” if the America of Washington, Douglass, Lincoln, and King  is to survive.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s books, 1726: The Year that Defined America and Abolitionist Founding Fathers, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

12/20/2022

FOLLOW THE SCIENCE TO JESUS AND HIS MIRACULOUS BIRTH

Faith in Jesus and His miraculous birth does not require the so-called “blind leap of faith.” The reliability of the Bible has been demonstrated by the modern science of archaeology. Archaeology has shown that Luke, who gives the most detail concerning Jesus’ birth, is a world-class historian, accurate in the minutest details in his Gospel and in Acts.

Luke gives the most detailed account of the Nativity and mentions Mary 12 times, more than any other biblical writer. In addition to the birth of Christ, he also gives special, detailed attention to the birth of John the Baptist and many see his gynecological interests to be a result of his training as a physician.

At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke, whom Paul calls “the beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14, indicates that he has made a thorough investigation of the things about which he is writing, including the Virgin Birth. This investigation included his utilization of eyewitness accounts of the events described.  

The detail Luke presents about the Virgin Birth does indicate that he has derived his information from a primary source, either Mary herself or someone to whom Mary had relayed the intimate details of the event.

Luke Gains a Reputation for Accuracy

At one time, it was thought that Luke was mistaken concerning the events he portrayed surrounding the birth of Christ (Luke 2:1-5). Critics argued that there was no census and that everyone did not have to return to their ancestral home. They also pointed out that Josephus had dated the governorship of Quirinius of Syria, whom Luke mentions, as beginning in A.D. 6, too late for the birth of Christ.

In every case, however, modern archaeological discoveries have proven the critics to be wrong. In the case of Quirinius, it was found that he actually served two separate terms as governor, the first beginning around 7 B.C., which fits perfectly with the time of Christ's birth. The accuracy of Luke as a historian was confirmed by the famous historian, A.N. Sherwin-White, who carefully examined his references in Luke/Acts to 32 countries, 54 cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake (Hyatt, Christmas Is For Real, 9).

The late F. F. Bruce, one of the most respected of New Testament scholars, noted that where Luke has been suspected of inaccuracy by modern critics, archaeology has again and again proved Luke to be right and the critics wrong (Hyatt, Christmas Is For Real, 8).

A World-Renowned Archaeologist is Convinced

The affirmation of Luke as a world-class historian, accurate in the minutest details, began with Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939), a world-renowned archaeologist and Oxford professor. Ramsay, an agnostic, set out to scientifically disprove the Bible, but his archaeological investigations carried him to a completely different conclusion.

Ramsay was a product of the skeptical, German higher criticism of the 19th century.  He believed the New Testament to be an unreliable religious treatise written in the 2nd century by writers far removed from the events described. Ramsay decided he would demonstrate his thesis by retracing Luke’s account of Paul’s travels in Acts and doing archaeological excavations along the way.

However, after years of retracing Luke’s account of Paul's travels and doing careful archaeological excavations along the way, Ramsay completely reversed his view of the Bible and first-century history. He became convinced that the Gospel of Luke and Acts were written in the first century by the traditional author, and he acquired a very high regard for Luke as a historian. He wrote,

Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense; in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians (Hyatt, Christmas Is For Real, 10-11).

In 1896, Ramsay began publishing his discoveries in a book entitled St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen. The book caused a furor of dismay among the skeptics of the world, for its affirmation of the biblical record was totally unexpected. The evidence was, in fact, so overwhelming that many atheists gave up their atheism and embraced Christianity.

Over the next 20 years, Ramsay published other volumes showing how he discovered Luke to be accurate in the tiniest details of his account. In his book, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, he wrote,

You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment (Hyatt, Christmas Is For Real, 11).

Ramsay eventually shocked the world, announcing that he had become a Christian. He wrote, “I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the Biblical record]. He followed the science and it led Him to Jesus.

Not only Ramsay, but other archaeologists have found their skepticism dissipating as they did the real scientific work in the field. William F. Albright (1891-1971), the renowned archaeologist and late professor of Semitic languages at John Hopkins University, began his career as a skeptic. But after years of archaeological investigations in the land of the Bible, he wrote,

The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details and has brought recognition to the Bible as a source of history (Hyatt, Christmas Is For Real, 11-12).

Our Faith Has a Solid Historical Base

With such overwhelming evidence for the Biblical record, it raises the question as to why there remains so much skepticism and unbelief about the Virgin Birth and other miracles recorded in the Bible. This question was answered by Yale archaeologist and professor, Dr. Millard Burrows, who said,

The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural (Hyatt, Christmas is for Real, 21).

In other words, the barrier to faith is not an intellectual one, but a heart that is committed to unbelief. Any honest seeker who will follow the science and take an enlightened step of faith in Jesus will find the Holy Spirit coming in and witnessing to their heart that Jesus was truly born of a virgin. 

They can then experience the joy of singing Christmas hymns, such as the one penned by Charles Wesley, the Oxford graduate and co-leader of the great Methodist revival. In his hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” he wrote,


Christ by highest heaven adored,

Christ the everlasting Lord.

Late in time, behold Him come,

Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,

Hail the incarnate Deity,

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.


This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Christmas Is For Real, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt is also the author of 1726:The Year that Defined America, which documents how the 18th century Great Awakening had a direct bearing on the founding of America and the abolition of slavery.


12/15/2022

THIS TOO IS LOVE

The nice, gentle Jesus of popular culture who is kind and sweet to everyone and reproves no one, is a caricature not found in Scripture. The Jesus of Scripture, while very compassionate, also confronts and rebukes, sometimes even in anger. 

When Jesus Became Angry

For example, Jesus was obviously infuriated at how the temple worship in Jerusalem had become merchandised. He made a whip, and with eyes blazing, entered the temple area, turning over tables, and shouting at the merchants to take their goods away from there. It is written, He shouted, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13).

In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus rebuked the cities where His greatest miracles had been done because they did not repent. He excoriated them, saying,

Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida!  And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.

In Matthew 23 Jesus lets loose His anger on the religious leaders of the day calling them “hypocrites” and “blind guides.” He sums up His anger toward them in verse 32, exclaiming, Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the damnation of hell

This too is love for His anger was directed at those who were distorting truth, misusing God's people, and rejecting God's ultimate visitation to them in Himself. 

Jesus Never Condones Sin

The picture of Jesus as this soft, effeminate person who would never offend or confront anyone about their life is nowhere to be found in Scripture. He is, instead, the epitome of strength and self-confidence, willing to confront where there is injustice and wrong. He is very compassionate toward sinners, but never affirms them in their sin.

For example, to the woman whom the Pharisees brought to Him saying she was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus showed great compassion and forgiveness but instructed her to, Go and sin no more (John 8:11). To a man He had earlier healed of paralysis, Jesus found Him in the temple and warned, Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you (John 5:14).

Jesus wants the best for everyone, but He recognizes the reality of sin and evil in the world, which robs us of His best. His love confronts these destructive attitudes and behaviors. To the believers in Ephesus who had tolerated sinful, destructive behavior, Jesus exhorted, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent (Revelation 3:19).

Clarifying Love

The challenge we face in communicating God’s love to this generation is that their concept of love has been shaped, not by the Bible, but by Hollywood and the entertainment industry. When we say, “God loves you,” they envision a kindly person with warm, sweet feelings who never confronts or opposes. This is very misleading.

God loves everyone in the sense that His intentions toward everyone is for good. He does not, however, love everyone in the sense of feeling warm affection toward everyone and embracing their attitudes and behaviors. Only those who have put their faith in Him and made Him the object of their affection, experience the warmth of His affection, acceptance, and love.

Yet, even His own children are on the receiving end of His loving correction and rebukes. This is made clear by Hebrews 12:56, which reads, My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. Why? The writer goes on to say, Because the Lord disciplines the one He loves

Yes! This too is love!

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is a Bible teacher and revivalist who is on a mission to reconnect America with her severed Christian roots. His books on this topic and other themes are available from Amazon and his website at http://eddiehyatt.com.