“The Bible is elegantly true”, proves Alexander The Great??

In a little over three weeks, we will be celebrating Alexander the Great’s 2368th birthday! There may be a few Facebook events popping up soon for celebrations. Alexander the Great lived the kind of eventful life that every young, rough, adolescent boy dreams of having. Wars, fighting, and winning those wars. Men admired him and neighboring countries feared him. Being taught for most of his childhood by the one and only Aristotle, Alexander definitely possessed an astutely educated mind.

In 336 BC, Alexander became king of Macedon. The rest of his life was then devoted to conquering land and gaining power…. as well as removing anything and anyone that came in his way. When it came to ego and basic morals, he immediately went bunkers – as history tells us that most tyrannical kings seem to do. Alex (can I call you Alex?) killed his family members, past allies, he conquered Greek city-states, Egypt, and most of Asia itself. If we are going to compare wit, leadership, and tactical brilliancy, then Alex laughs in the face of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and also makes Bin Laden seem as smart as Aaron Hernandez.

Lastly, there was one particular conquest that set Alex apart from any others before him. After defeating Persia, his new goal was to take control of the key port of Tyre. Now it just so happens that Tyre was located on an island approximately half a mile from the mainland and was heavily fortified with walls up to 150-ft high! In this day and age we have the Navy and Air Force that can easily get to an island, but they did not have this luxury. Not letting this stop them, Alex and his engineering buddies devised a plan to connect the mainland to the island. They realized the water was very shallow, being only 3 feet deep. So they collected rubble, old boulders, and other remaining ruins from the nearby “old city” of Tyre that was still connected to the mainland and threw it all in the water to form a small road. This, in modern-day engineering terms, is called a jetty. With this jetty created from pieces of an old ruined city, 30,000 army men were now to be able to travel over water to destroy the “newly” rebuilt Tyre. They used every scrap they could to build it until the “old” Tyre was completely empty. Alex did, indeed, get what he wanted. It was an epic battle.

They eventually conquered the “new” island of Tyre. However, why is this important? What is so awesome and incredibly mind-blowing about this, is that God foretells of this occurrence happening to Tyre about 257 years before this event took place.

In 590 BC, the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 26:1 to 28:19) foretold that King Nebuchadnezzar’s army would lay siege to Tyre; and that over time, other nations would also go to war against Tyre, continually scraping its foundations to bare rock and would lay its stones and debris in the midst of the sea. Ezekiel further prophesied that eventually Tyre would never be rebuilt again and that it would be a place for the “spreading of nets.”

When this scripture was written, Tyre was a thriving city in Asher. It was NOT an island at all. What Ezekiel said is that nations will come like waves (i.e. over time) and eventually wipe Tyre clean away. Three years later Nebuchadnezzar goes to war against Tyre…followed by the Chaldeans, the Assyrians, the Greeks, Saracens, and the Crusaders over the span of many many years. I would not be shocked if my grandparents went to war against Tyre as well. Apparently it was the cool thing to do. During all this time of losing wars, and before Alexander The Great came in, the few citizens left in Tyre we able to build an island off the mainland, the “new” Tyre. The “old” Tyre was still in Asher but was destroyed to rubble. It was not wiped clean yet as scripture said it would be. However, God said that “old” Tyre would eventually be wiped clean and thrown in the ocean. Sooooo, if this doesn’t happen, maybe God lied to us. Well, that’s where Alexander The Great came into play. One of the ways God’s sovereignty worked over Alex was to fulfill His own prophecy of finishing the complete dismantling of the “old” Tyre AND throwing its rubble and other pieces into the ocean. Which we just mentioned that Alex and his army did exactly that.

The prophecy came true to the last detail. As all of God’s prophecies seem to do. Boom Shocka Locka. God wins once again. Scuba divers today can dive along the jetty to see many of the granite columns Alexander’s army dumped into the sea. In all of history, Tyre is the only city to have all of its rubble cast into the sea. Even the prophetic detail of the fishing nets in those verses has proved accurate. For hundreds of years fishermen have spread out their nets to dry on those jetty rocks.

How awesome is it that we have a holy and loving God that says he’s going to do something and then he actually does it. God says let there be light and there is. He tells the earth to flood and it does. Jesus tells a dead man to wake up and the man does. I love our Father. He fills me with awe.

Psalm 115:3 ; Isaiah 43

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Hmmm, where the heck was God’s “soverignty” during crazy events like the African Slave Trade???

A very lovable friend of mine has recently said that he’s having serious doubts about the existence of God. It is to the point where he does not believe anymore. His reason:

“If there is a God, then why would he allow so much destruction and violence to take place in this world?”

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17It’s a great question. My favorite atheist by far is Christopher Hitchens and, sadly, that’s one of his main points. However, an opposing question that’s rarely ever asked is:

“If there is a God, what is the deeper meaning of what he is doing in allowing some tremendously bad things to take place in this world?”

9-11-firefighters-flagI’m not saying that God directly causes cancer in people. I’m not saying he flew a plane on 9/11 into the twin towers or that he directly ordered the numerous genocides in Africa. But he most definitely could have stopped all those things from happening. There are numerous places in the Bible where he outright stops sin from taking place. The concept of God ordaining and being in control of everything is one of the toughest, most complex and controversial concepts of The Bible.  But it is true and is very real. At the end of the day, he is trustworthy and has a much different perspective than you and I. {And lets remember that people are the ones fighting the wars and causing destruction. If there is no God and people are sooo awesome, then why is there so much destruction and violence in the world?}

One thing I am constantly learning about God is that he is more for my joy than I am. He loves me more than I do and knows me better than I know myself. I graduated college in August and it took 4 months to find a job. Whereas if I were to write my own life-script, I would’ve gotten a job within 2 weeks after graduation.

To my constant surprise, during those sometimes boring, sometimes lonely, sometimes stressful 4 months God did an overwhelming amount of beautiful things that, in the end, were for my good and for His ultimate glory. I am so thankful for it all and would not write the script differently.

Now let’s go bigger. Let’s go global. The African Slave trade, for one example, was a tragic time in world history. We look back at the degradation and consumerism of those innocent human lives with shame.

If there was a God, why would he allow the African Slave Trade to take place?? What happened to God disciplining those who murder and steal?? Is this Almighty God not sovereign anymore? Ummm, if there was a God that hated sin, was he asleep during all of this????

slave-ship01sNo one in their right mind would argue that the African Slave trade was evil and filled with wrong intentions. But throughout the sinfulness of man during that era, God continued to do what he always does; reconciling all things to himself.

Here’s a fact. In the 1800s, there were less than 9 million believers in Africa. Today there are 516 million believers there. The most dramatic advance in all of Christian history. #MindBlown

Before explaining God’s sovereignty over Africa, it’s best if we can first see a quick biblical example.

The Old Testament repeatedly pointed towards a Kingdom of God coming to to the earth. When Jesus was on Earth he would constantly talk about the Kingdom of God. He describes the kingdom as a tiny seed that is planted, sprouts up, and grows. Right before he ascends into heaven he says to 500 believers, “go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, & to the ends of the earth.”  The church start doing big things baby. They grew to about 3000 people….but they still remained within Jerusalem, even after Jesus specifically told them other locations. So God, in his sovereign power, basically allows/destines Stephen to be stoned to death. After this happens, a large persecution takes place against the Church by the Sanhedrin and the Christians are forced into Judea, Samaria. (Mark 4:26, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:41, Acts 7) Coincidence?

So while Stephen and other people get persecuted….God’s plan is spreading out further and further, like he inteded. Christians are now preaching the Gospel in Judea and Samaria. And we can go on and on to Rome, European history, the Americas, yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes God ordains tremendously beautiful movements of revivals or just natural church growth that spur on Christianity to the ends of the earth. But sometimes he uses the not-so beautiful. Either way, God wins. There are times in scripture where sorrow, pain, and frustration are given to men as a gift by God to save them (other times it is a result of our sin or dark spiritual warfare). Sometimes a loving grandmother suddenly passes away, but then her wayward children and their families find the Lord because of it.

an-african-churchFrom the time of Acts until the early 1800s, Christianity never really takes off in Africa at all. The Catholic Church was the only form of Christianity there but it had no lasting results. The Catholic Church, missionaries, and anything else was outdone by the overbearing Islamic presence there. But things changed when the African Slave trade arrived. Two British-Protestant Christians who loved the Lord, took part in the largest influence in the history of Africa. Thomas Fowell Buxton sought to put an end to the slave trade by encouraging local commercial and agricultural initiatives in its place. Henry Venn was responsible for laying down the principles of more “temporary” missionaries to Africa. This also led to better schools and education, principles that gave Africa a foundation that they never had. Over the next 200 years, the Gospel spread within their culture and language, becoming the largest Christian population on the planet. 380 million believers.

And we don’t even have to go to the Bible for reflection, we can just look at history….what the heck would the world look like in the African Slave trade never happened? 180 degrees of difference.

The Kingdom of God is a seed that is planted. It sprouts and it continually grows. This is unlike any fairy tale or theory, but it is happening right now before our very eyes. united-church-of-god-celebrate-feast-of-tabernacles-kingdom-of-god.jpg.crop_display

If we have the end in mind, patience increases and anger decreases.

The things of this world occur so that men would seek him, even though God is not far from each of us. He is intimately aware of each of us, and does whatever he pleases in order that he is glorified and that we may have full and eternal joy in Him (Acts 17:24-27, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 139:13-16, Daniel 4:35). Those are very “unpolitically correct” and unpopular verses; but when they are dwelt on properly a huge weight is taken off our shoulders and we love him even more dearly with more joy to live with.