The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Originally published in 2000; revised 2007; & 2011 (extensively)
Introduction

There is one question, which I am sure everybody asks themselves at least once in their lifetime, 'Why am I here?' The answer to this question determines how we live our lives on this planet. It shapes our whole outlook on life. Consciously or unconsciously it forms our beliefs, our morals and our reason for living. But the real issue, which is behind the answer to this question, is that of truth. What is the truth? There has to be truth or fact. So no matter what our belief or opinion may be concerning our existence, this in and of itself will not mean a thing if it's not true. We will all find out one day, but can we know the truth now, while we are still alive?

Is there more than just what we see around us, beyond the material? Is death the end of it all? Who are we? If there is a God, can we know Him? If God exists, then why is there evil and suffering, especially that which is caused by religious wars and the like? And does it really matter? Much more could be added, but these are some of the more common questions that we ask ourselves at some stage in our lives. Everybody is searching for the answers to these questions, though few would openly admit to it. In fact, most do not consciously realise that they are longing for the answers, and consequently they search in all the wrong places, seeking satisfaction and fulfillment, sometimes at great cost to themselves and others. I was one of them.
As we take a look at the world around us, we see drug abuse in every form, rising to epidemic proportions. This in turn is leading to increased crime, particularly violent crime. Sexual immorality and increasing perversions are becoming the norm. Greed, selfishness and hatred abound. The meaning of the word 'family' is becoming increasingly hybrid. Humanity is sinking further and further into darkness and corruption. Despair has replaced all hope for many. Shockingly, these characteristics are particularly prevalent in the 'Christian' west! Yet without hope, we lose our reason and purpose for living.

Although there is nothing new under the sun, the state of humanity today is far worse than ever before. This is largely due to the fact that during the past few centuries there has been incredible progress in many things, and with the increase of knowledge we have discovered much that has enlightened us (particularly in the western, 'Christian' nations). Yet with all these benefits and blessings, humanity's heart is harder and darker than ever. Also, some of these blessings have become a curse to humanity and the earth. This is also due to the rapid expansion of the race, populating the planet with billions of people within a short span of time. The many good things in life are being spoilt by the increasing evil. Why? It seems that 'history teaches us that we learn nothing from history.'

I strongly believe that the solution to all of this is simply love and truth, yet these are the very things that are often being rejected and ridiculed. Why is humanity so messed up? Why is there such evil within the human heart? This article will attempt to briefly answer these 'heavy' questions. So let us begin our journey to discover what I believe (for good reason) is the truth.
Is there a Creator?

Firstly, Where did everything originate from and why? Is there a Creator; a God; a Supreme Being? The majority of humanity, from the earliest times, have believed in a divine being (or beings) of some kind or another, a creator who brought the universe into existence. Evidently, there has to be a logical reason for this. Granted, most of these beliefs were often shrouded in myth, some of which were simply ridiculous stories with no air of truth in them at all (at least to our modern mind). Yet even some myths and legends generally have some morsel of truth contained within them. From a comparison of ancient religions and beliefs, it strongly suggests that there was an original source, based on fact, about the origins of humanity and other events - for example, a great universal flood. Yet somewhere along the line the facts of these ancient events were lost or corrupted. But one thing is certain. The whole of nature and the universe cries out the fact that there has to be a Designer and Creator. To my mind, it's the only logical conclusion.

Imagine this scenario: There is a room, which is full of various materials. Suddenly there is a huge explosion! What remains is a perfectly formed computer, with all its peripherals! It even has power, and also has an operating system with specific applications! But for what purpose? There isn't one! Now would anybody in their right mind believe and accept this story? Of course not! It's preposterous! And also where did the materials come from? In fact where did the room originate? Who built it? Obviously, it all had to start somewhere. Like the proverbial 'chicken and the egg', there has to be an original source for everything. It all has to stop at the First Cause, the real Beginning.
It is commonly taught that the universe began with 'the Big Bang'. This may have been the case, although many scientists are rejecting this theory now, but how could something of such immense proportions, which in turn brought all the elements of the universe into existence from apparently nothing, have just happened, without any influence or external power whatsoever? And more importantly, why? Science doesn't claim to give us the answer to why the universe exists, but it does claim to tell us how it all occurred. Much can be explained concerning the continuing activity of the birth of stars and planets, and how the elements interact with each other, even down to the tiniest particle of the atom. And much can be revealed on how our solar system was formed. BUT, when it comes to honestly explaining how the earth's atmosphere and plant life, and particularly animal and human life, were created and formed into an organised system of living matter unlike anything in our solar system, something which is so awesome and complex - science CANNOT explain it! Instead they delve into the realm of science fiction 'hocus pocus' clearly implying that this all just happened magically, and that all organic life 'evolved' from some microscopic 'bug' from outer space! And this is taught as scientific fact!

Of course, I am aware that the theory of evolution is described in many different ways by scientists, and that there are variations of opinion, but I have yet to see any hard evidence to prove that the 'bacteria to man' evolution is correct. I know I'm not a scientist in any way whatsoever, but I can still assess what they say and research the facts and arrive at my own conclusions. And my conclusion about the theory of evolution is that the facts of nature tell me that this is biologically and scientifically impossible! The only logical and honest explanation is that of a Designer and Creator. (I'm not against the idea or possibility of God using evolution as a means of creation, but I just don't see the evidence for it
*).
With all the technological advances in recent times, especially in the fields of Science and Biology, it is astounding to me that anyone at all would reject the belief in a Creator. Some of the greatest evidence is found in the field of Genetics (as well as Mathematics). How could DNA, which is a biological (written) code, more amazing than any computer software program, have just happened randomly! To my understanding, new information cannot be added to the code for each species, especially through 'evolutionary processes', yet information can be lost, which results in mutations. The original code has all the evidence of a Designer, as does the whole of creation. In fact, as far as I'm aware, it is biologically impossible for any species to 'evolve' into another completely new species, or by cross breeding, to generate any offspring.

As another example, consider the electrical design in the human body. The process whereby electrical impulses are sent to and from the brain via trillions of nerve cells (neurons) that are interconnected, is far superior to anything that humanity has ever created. How can anyone honestly believe that this occurred randomly by evolutionary processes! It's absolutely illogical! The reason why scientists refer to electrical theory and design when describing the nervous system is because God designed and created the whole universe, including the human body, so that humanity could discover and 'invent' things, patterned after that which already exists.
Yet much of what is presented to us as scientific, is found on closer examination to be, in fact, man's theories and beliefs. This is largely due to the influence of Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species.' Generally speaking, I believe his theory was greatly flawed, and many evolutionists are beginning to see that there are problems with his theory. In many ways, I sympathise with Darwin as a man on a quest of discovery, a man who was plagued by pain and loss. I can even understand why he had difficulties with his Christian faith, though sadly he appeared to reject it. Nevertheless, I believe his scientific theories were incorrect concerning the origins of man and the animals.

There have been many television documentaries made recently on the subjects of the origins of the universe, the dinosaurs and humanity. I find most of them fascinating, but rather than give us the hard facts, they appear to have succumbed to the lure of fictitious entertainment and the realm of myth. Of course, we are all fascinated with 'mysteries' and 'monsters', but should it be at the expense of truth? I strongly believe that true science will not conflict with truth, only the incorrect interpretation of it will. (For further reading on Creation issues, see the section entitled Creation above).

As humans, we are clearly distinct from the lower animals, no matter how many similarities there may be with apes or other beasts, and we inherently long for meaning and purpose. Surely we're not just here to battle our way through the trials of life, with its highs and lows - and then die?! If so, why do we search for love and meaningful relationships? Anyone, who has experienced real love in its many forms, will know that we do not want it to end. This is on a level way above all other animals. Why do we sense deep within that the tragedy of death is not as it should be, although it can be a merciful release to those in great pain and suffering?
The most common objection to the belief in a Creator is the existence of suffering and death, which almost every religion seeks to avoid rather than answer satisfactorily. Yet even though suffering in life creates a huge dilemma, whatever belief you may hold, and it is also difficult for us to associate such things with a loving God, nevertheless, to disbelieve in a Creator in no way leaves us with a satisfactory answer to our existence. If there isn't a God, then nothing makes any real sense at all. Life becomes a meaningless game of 'chasing after the wind!' Hence, according to this view, there are no absolutes! And there isn't any judgement or ultimate justice! Therefore, we can all do exactly as we please - 'eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!' Very convenient for some, or so it seems. This is exactly what many evil dictators have believed! (Adolf Hitler is a prime example in recent history). And this is one of the major reasons why the world is in a state of chaos and corruption! According to this view, it's all about surviving rather than about truly living.

And where did human love come from? Or our natural conscience indicating right and wrong? Or what about natural laws and principles? (Just take a look at Mathematics and Physics). Or our hearts cry for justice? Or the longing for something better, something spiritual and out of this world? There are numerous questions, but I believe there's only one satisfactory answer - a Creator God.

Yet when we consider all of the suffering in the world, even this 'evil' in all its terrible manifestations has to be a part of God's overall plan. (The biblical meaning of 'evil' is a 'calamity' of some kind, but not that which is necessarily 'wrong'. In this sense, evil from the hands of a righteous God is never wrong, but evil from the hands of men is generally always wrong). Subjectively, this is very hard for us to understand, but objectively it makes a lot of sense. We need the contrasts in creation to appreciate opposites, whether it be good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, truth and error, light and darkness, health and sickness, etc, etc. All experience is relative. This isn't an excuse for some to commit evil acts, because eventually justice will be done. God will eventually be justified for allowing sin and death to enter His creation, by bringing untold blessing to all his children when His purpose is complete.
Who is this Creator?

We have now established the strong probability that there has to be a God (well, some may beg to differ on that one!). Now there can only be One Creator, One God, because there can only ultimately be one unifying, original Source for all things. Even nature appears to teach us this principle in many areas that all things can be traced back to one source or singularity, like every tree or plant has its own root. If there were many gods, then who was created first, and by whom? Even if there were 'aliens' who created humanity and placed us here, as some believe, then where did they come from, etc? No, I don't think so. There has to be one original Source, outside the dimensions of everything we know, a God, who has always existed, a Being, who is so awesome, so infinite that our puny, finite minds cannot comprehend it. We can only accept it by faith, after considering the facts.

It's a fascinating fact that from the earliest times, humanity has been obsessed with the stars and 'outer space'. This isn't an accident! Their greatest mistake, though, has been to worship the celestial bodies, rather than look beyond them to what they represent. I believe that there are 'aliens', but they are certainly not terrestrial in any form! They are spiritual, not fleshly. (That is the greatest 'conspiracy theory' of them all!).
The meaning of the word 'God' in many languages is describing the power and position of the Creator, as a 'Placer' and 'Subjector', the Almighty One who has absolute authority over everyone and everything else. This is another reason why there can only be one God, because only one can have absolute authority. All other authority is delegated. Even within the pantheon of gods of ancient 'pagan' religion there was usually a chief god who's power and authority was greater than the others. This was often the sun god, as the sun is the source of all power and light in our solar system.

But is God male or female? And does he or she have a name? Has God revealed himself or herself to humanity? As we shall soon see, I do not believe that God has any gender as we would understand gender, though He has chosen to reveal Himself as Father. He is Spirit, in the highest sense of the word, and therefore invisible. He pervades everything, from the far reaches of the universe, to the tiniest particle of the atom, to the spiritual dimensions and beyond. He is the Life Force within all living things. 'He is not far from any one of us.' 'In Him we live and move and exist.'

He is neither male nor female, yet He created both on the earth. Humanity was created in His likeness, with a specific order of the male first and then the female. This is evidenced by the fact that the male is the source of the life-seed for procreation. But before we can know His name, or much else for that matter, God must reveal Himself. Even though creation itself reveals something of God, it is still very vague, and can generally appear very cruel and cold. When we see the chaos and disasters in nature, it seems that God has lost control or just doesn't care!
One of the best ways for him to reveal himself is by doing so to more than one person, as confirmatory witnesses, and for them to record in writing what he has to say, so that others, across time and space, can read it. For humans to know this God, he needs to have an exact image or representation as a unique Channel to mediate between God and humanity, a 'Son' who would be first among many other sons.

The Channel whereby He would personally reveal Himself must be suited to the human senses. He would need to be visible and audible. He would also need to establish a way for His revelations to be proven by humanity, so as to expose any deception by His enemies, human or otherwise. The ultimate form of communication would be to appear on earth as a human being, to partake of human flesh and blood, and to reveal His heart so that all may know Him.

This is exactly what He has done.
God has revealed Himself as Yahweh or Jehovah, which literally means 'will-be-ing-was,' meaning that he encompasses all time and space (this is from the Hebrew language). In fact, He has more than one name, but each name describes one or more of His attributes. He chose to identify Himself with one particular people, through no worthiness of their own, and make them into His special nation. Then by revealing Himself to them, as their God and King, He temporarily established His kingdom among them, but due to their continued disobedience, the Kingdom has been given to a chosen remnant from amongst ALL nations, whom God will use as His channel to reveal Himself to the rest of the world. That nation was (and spiritually is) Israel.

God's revelation of Himself, and His plan for mankind, including the past history of the race and the future of all things (and much more), was written down over a period of about 1600 years, by about 40 different human channels of prophets and apostles, all of which, with maybe one exception, were of the nation of Israel. More will be said about this later.

It is, of course, what is commonly referred to as the Bible. More accurately, it is the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, commonly called the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively. The sad fact is that the Bible has been greatly criticised and sometimes ignored, even discarded altogether, often due to the hypocrisy and false teaching of the religions and sects that claim to believe in its contents. But we must not allow this to hinder our search for the truth, which it surely contains. Much of what is taught by Christendom as being biblical is found on closer examination to be not actually the case at all. There are many 'orthodox' teachings, ancient and modern, which need to be seriously considered afresh, so that a more accurate understanding of the truth can be gained.

By studying the Scriptures with a fresh approach, laying aside all preconceived ideas, will result in great blessing, and a better understanding of the truth (though granted this is rather difficult as everyone has their own presuppositions when approaching the Bible). You will find that the Bible is a unique book, which contains the amazing revelation of the one and only Creator, who can be known personally as Father. You will find no greater God than the One revealed in this Book.
How do we know that the Bible is God's Word?

To many, the Bible is an old-fashioned, hard to understand book, which is only read in church, and by religious fanatics! This is partially true, but there are many people who approach it differently. For those who admire and respect classic literature, the Bible cannot be ignored, if solely for that reason. It stands alone amongst the numerous sacred writings and philosophies of the world, as a truly unique piece of ancient literature. The same can be said of its history. But this is no ordinary book.

Historically speaking, much of what the Bible was once ridiculed for has actually been found to be true through the field of archaeology
[1]. In some respects this also applies to the fields of Geography, Astronomy and other sciences. Nothing factual or historical in the Bible has been proven to be untrue (though, of course, some aspects are dealing with spiritual or supernatural events, some of which is a matter of interpretation). The 20th Century has seen many amazing advances in these areas, as well as many others, which has only served to give greater evidence of the Bible's accuracy and authenticity.
There are many 'secular' archaeologists who are beginning to see things very differently. Some, with no axe to grind, are drawn to the Bible to uncover much that has been hidden or misunderstood. (Take for example Egyptologist David Rohl in his book entitled 'The Test Of Time', which has been released as a TV documentary called 'Pharaohs and Kings - A Biblical Quest'). In many instances, that which for hundreds of years has been accepted as 'conventional' is being challenged and, in most cases, is successfully shaking the very foundations of traditional teaching and thought. Some of these theories, I believe, are moving closer to the truth.

Be that as it may, I would be dishonest if I said that there weren't any difficulties with certain biblical texts, especially the early chapters of Genesis and the creation account, and how these things fit into the theories of modern science (these issues will be considered in the Creation section). Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the Bible is trustworthy and that it is ultimately a Divine document written by human hands.

Even when so called 'discoveries' are publicised that claim to disprove the Bible, they are usually based on one of the following:
a) Faulty translation of the biblical text
b) Incorrect interpretation of the biblical text
c) Faulty premise based on human theories
d) Or even fraudulent claims!

As intimated earlier, I believe that true science will not conflict with the truth contained in Scripture. It's how the facts are interpreted that really counts.

Now when it comes to the Biblical manuscripts, they have been amazingly preserved and copied down through the centuries, even though there has, at times, been problems with the correct translating method. But considering the time-span and the volume of words, the accuracy of the Bible is astonishing. There is much evidence for this within the museums of the world, the Dead Sea Scrolls being a classic example. Therefore, if we cannot trust the Bible, then all other ancient literature and historical artifacts may as well be discarded! We would then have no reliable history to learn anything. And although a lot of criticism is often aimed at the Bible and its 'dubious' history, as some contend, the principle used is usually one of 'guilty of being incorrect before being proven innocent' rather than 'innocent and speaking the truth until proven guilty!'
The Bible also contains the greatest book of law and morals in the world, the whole Law being summed up in the Ten Commandments. Granted, the penalties of the law need to be understood in their ancient context, and certain aspects of the law have been superceded for the Christian in accordance with the New Testament apostolic teaching, nevertheless, the standard of its righteousness and justice and truth is unlike anything else. In fact, it's standard is taken higher in the New Testament. This is where many feel uncomfortable with the Bible, and rightly so. Who among us can live out a perfect life? - NO-ONE! Yet much of the teaching of Christendom and other religions is that we need to strive and obey these laws to be accepted by God, or otherwise we will end up being sent to an eternal hell of torment or something to that effect! This is Legalism.

On the opposite side, there are many people who seem to prefer to lead a life of debauchery and evil, hence they repudiate these Laws and the Bible in general. Evolutionary thinking can lead to this kind of attitude, and the result is that there aren't any absolute morals, and there isn't any coming judgement. This 'atheistic, antinomian, libertarian view' inevitably leads to anarchy and lawlessness and greater corruption, depending on the individual! I believe this view is illogical. Think of where we would be without rules - even sport and games would cease to exist - or else be very lawless, where anything goes! We all need order not chaos! Rules, principles and code are written into the core of the universe! Why should morals be excluded!
We know that fire burns, therefore we do not place our hands in it! Does that law rob us of our freedom? Yes, but heeding it saves us from a lot of pain and destruction! Yes, the Bible does teach that each of us will be held accountable for our words and actions in this life, but God's judgements, no matter how severe, are always for correction and ultimate blessing. The laws are there to keep us from real harm, and, paradoxically, to show us that we all need God's power and grace in order to live righteously.

I believe that the real message of God's Word is the greatest message that humanity and all creation will ever hear. It emphasises God's love and grace, alongside His righteousness and justice. It brings real joy and peace, which no experience on earth can duplicate, and it gives expectation (a sure hope) for the future. It also gives us the power to live a life of true freedom from guilt and shame, and from the weaknesses of our flesh, that inevitably leads us into slavery. It can open our eyes to a whole new world, a great adventure! And I guarantee that you will not be able to find anything better than this in the whole universe! So now let us briefly survey this incredible book.
The Bible

The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew and a small part Aramaic (a sister language), was firmly established many centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. The book of Job was probably the earliest book, possibly written about 2000 BC (or maybe a little later), nevertheless, the books of Moses (the first five books of the OT) were probably originally written about 1400 BC. The latest book in the Old Testament is Malachi (along with Nehemiah) written during the 430's BC.

The New Testament, originally written in Greek, was firmly established as a whole a few centuries after Christ, although recent evidence suggests that all of the NT books were written in the first century before 70 AD.
[2] They are therefore historically reliable documents which contain eye-witness accounts concerning the life of Jesus and the early christian community. Although various church councils were later used (with Divine oversight) to decide the canon of Scripture, time has proved that their decisions were correct. In fact, an in-depth examination of the Bible will show that all the books contained therein carry their own weight as proof of their authenticity. Each writer of Scripture was evidently inspired in a unique manner, by God's Spirit, to write what they did. It is not the babblings of crazy or imaginative men!
The Bible is a cohesive whole, a complete revelation of God to humanity, written over a period of about 1600 years! This progressive revelation needs to be taken into account when studying the Bible. Many Bible scholars have used the following quote, originally spoken by an eminent teacher,

"Imagine taking 66 medical books, written by 40 different physicians and surgeons, during a period of 1600 years, of various schools of medicine, and bind them all together, and then undertake to doctor a man according to that book, what success would you expect to have, and what accord would there be in such a medical work."

The Bible is such a book, spiritually speaking, and claims to be the very Word of the Living God (e.g. see 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12-13; 2 Peter 1:21). This is surely a book that cannot be ignored or treated lightly.
The Evidence of Prophecy

What is most probably the greatest evidence for the Bible being what it claims to be are its prophetic predictions. Within its pages, Yahweh declares that He is God and there is no other. He alone makes known the end from the beginning. He not only foresees, but plans everything. He promises to do what He has planned and spoken. (See Isaiah 46: 9-11; Numbers 23: 19). The whole of the Bible stands or falls on this declaration. So the Bible, therefore, has to claim 100% fulfillment. No other book or sacred writing has dared to make that claim.

Some people would say that prophecies, in general, are very vague and therefore are left to the individuals interpretation of what each prophecy may mean. This is often true, especially in the case of seers like Nostradamus, but biblical prophecy is much more specific and detailed. Yes, it requires correct interpretation, but the context should reveal what that is, along with an accurate knowledge of the whole revealed picture.
Studying Scripture requires an open heart and mind, and a lot of discipline, along with some understanding of the historical context. To truly appreciate and understand any piece of literature, particularly ancient literature clearly requires much study and contemplation. You get out what you put in. Without these keys, the Bible can seem to be a very strange and contradictory book; another piece of religious literature dreamed up by a nation who wanted to be special, with a unique and powerful God! But those who seek the truth with an open heart will receive spiritual enlightenment, to begin to understand the wonderful message contained within its pages - revealed and yet hidden; an open book, yet closed. Having said all that, we must bear in mind that the Bible is essentially a covenant book for a covenant people - although its ultimate message is for the whole world.

Firstly, let us take a look at God's great prophetic sign - the nation and land of Israel. God had chosen this nation (and also the land) to be His people, even though only a remnant are the true spiritual Israel of God. As we shall see, this has nothing to do with any inherent goodness or superiority within them as a people, in fact quite the opposite, but is solely on God's choice. Through Israel, God is proving to the whole world that He is, in fact, the one and only God. The majority of biblical prophecy is concerned with Israel and God's dealings with them, foretelling their disobedience and chastening, the two major exiles from the land (the Assyrian and the Babylonian captivities) and their subsequent restoration, and their final official exile (the Roman captivity), though in recent times the State of Israel is trying to reverse this exile of their own accord. Yet even this is in accord with God's plan. The fact that the Jews have survived all these centuries as a distinct people is further evidence of prophecy being fulfilled. Ultimately, the true spiritual Israel of God, composed of Jew and Gentile, will be a blessing for the whole world. (For example, see Deuteronomy 28; Isaiah 60-62; Jeremiah 30-31; Ezekiel 37; Micah 4: 1-8; Amos 9: 11-15; and Zechariah 8: 12-14).
It is an undeniable fact, to any keen observer, that hundreds of specific prophecies have been fulfilled in the ancient history of the Israelites, as well as in the history of the many nations and Empires that had anything to do with God's people in the Middle East. This is especially true concerning the Empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome (see the book of Daniel). Also Egypt and some of the Arab nations figure quite prominently in the Bible and they have been promised great blessing within God's plan (see Isaiah 19: 19-25). For a much more detailed study on prophecy, see the section above entitled The Great Prophetic Plan Revealed.

Prophecy provides irrefutable proof that God exists, that He is the God of the Bible, and that He is the one who is guiding history, but as none of us were there in the past, a lot of this has to be accepted by faith. For many this is not very satisfying, but that is not the end of it. There is still much to be fulfilled in the very near future! God will one day fully manifest His kingdom, bringing in a New Creation and a New World Order. In the meantime, the nations of the world will continue to try to establish their own utopia, a counterfeit kingdom of God, but it will ultimately fail - because judgement is coming and justice will be done. This is also the reason why many men and women have sought to conquer the world or lay claim to being a Messiah figure who will save the world. Yet there is one man who has already appeared, claiming to be the Messiah, who has also prophesied that He will yet appear again, to claim His rightful place. His coming will be conclusive proof that the Bible is indeed the Word of God.
The Messiah

The appearing of a messiah-saviour figure to humanity has been believed and expected from the dawn of history. Every religion and belief system contains some element of this truth, albeit in various forms - that of a spiritual Messenger-Prophet-Leader-King-Messiah, etc, bringing humanity into a new age of freedom, peace, love and spirituality. The reason for this is quite simple - there is a promised Messiah, who is God's unique Channel, earlier alluded to.

The fullest and greatest portrait that we have of the Messiah is contained within the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures. Throughout the Old Testament there are numerous prophecies which give specific details of the Messiah's birth, His character, His mission, His death, and most important of all, His resurrection to immortality! One of the main reasons for revealing all of these details ahead of time is so that when the Messiah finally appears, He can be identified beyond any doubt. One very important fact is that He will be an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah. Nevertheless, when these details are pieced together, there seems to be two contradictory portraits of the Messiah, or even two Messiah's! Let us take a brief look at these two portraits.
Portrait 1 - He will be a warrior King descended from the line of King David of Judah, who will appear with great glory and power to judge unbelieving Israel and the whole world. He will save an Israelite remnant and a remnant from the rest of the nations, and will establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Portrait 2 - He will be of humble beginnings, ministering to the people in relative quietness and humility. His main characteristic is that of a servant. He will die a sacrificial death for the transgressions of Israel, and the sins of the whole world. Yet miraculously, He will rise from the dead, as the ultimate proof of His Messiahship, and will eventually save all of humanity from death.

Also, what is common to both portraits, is the fact that somehow He will be, in a unique sense, the Son of God. He will enter this world as a human, and yet also be of heavenly or celestial origin. He will be the ultimate Channel to reveal His Father to all creation. (It is not the purpose of this article to consider in depth the details of these prophecies of the life of Christ. This will be covered in other studies, God willing. We will only take a brief, overall look at this point).
About 2 BC, a child was born in Israel, who changed the history of the world. The events surrounding His birth, life, and more importantly His death, cannot be ignored. His name was Joshua of Nazareth or more commonly known as Jesus. (Joshua or Yeshua is from the Hebrew - Jesus is from the Greek. Both mean Yahweh - Saviour). The four historical accounts in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - commonly called the Gospels - give us the necessary details to prove conclusively to the discerning, that this Yeshua of Nazareth is indeed the promised Messiah or Christ (Messiah is from the Hebrew, Christ is from the Greek. They both mean 'Anointed', a figurative expression for the presence and power of God's Spirit).

Yet Israel, as a whole, rejected Him, even though the Jewish and Roman authorities could not find a legitimate reason for His trial and subsequent death penalty. This was because Jesus had done nothing wrong, which even Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, admitted. One reason for their rejection was due to a major mistake by the scribes and teachers of the law, in understanding the Messianic prophecies. They did not see that the portraits spoke of one man, who would appear twice within human history, in two different roles. Those who had grasped something of this truth, then made the mistake of looking for the Messiah-King, and not the Messiah-Servant. The Messiah-King portrait was more appealing to the flesh. (This appears to be one of the reasons why Judas Iscariot made his huge mistake of betraying Christ, which he realised too late).
Yet even this rejection had been predicted in Scripture. It was God's plan and purpose that Jesus should die, by crucifixion, to pay the correspondent ransom price for the cause of humanity's mortality and consequent sin (i.e. sin being the missing of the mark of God's perfection due to inherent death). As God's unique Son, Jesus had been conceived by the power of God's Spirit. This resulted in Him being a human without the corrupting influence of death in His flesh, which is naturally passed on by every male. That is why the Messiah could not have a human father. Jesus was so full of life, He was able to conquer sickness and death in others, and perform miracles in nature. His unique authority also gave Him power over spiritual forces of darkness. This is why He was able to live a perfect life, pleasing to His Father, without making one mistake, i.e. to sin.

Yet He willingly laid down His life, to die the awful, humiliating death of a criminal, so as to reveal the Father's heart of love and righteousness for all creation. By doing so, all of creation will one day be freed from its slavery to corruption and death. He is the sacrificial Lamb of God that takes away the sins and transgressions, not only of Israel, but of the whole world. He is the One who has reversed the consequences of Adam's initial disobedience (which brought death to all humanity) by bringing justification to all.

Yet only a minority has ever truly believed this, including at the present time, but I believe that one day everybody will know. For this to be true, of course, it means that everyone who has ever lived will need to be resurrected at some point in time, and receive their judgement before Christ. Justice will be done. This leads to the most amazing evidence of all - the Messiah's resurrection to immortality. This new humanity or new creation has already begun in one important individual - within human history!
The Resurrection

Many have tried to disprove the resurrection story of Jesus, but to their own amazement, they have ended up believing it! Many others, including academics, have also arrived at the startling conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth did actually occur as the Bible says it did! [3] The resurrection was the crowning event that proved beyond doubt that Yeshua was, and is, indeed the Messiah. Without the resurrection, the remaining messianic prophecies, which Jesus attached to Himself, cannot be fulfilled. No prophecy in Scripture has yet failed. And I don't believe we will be disappointed with what remains to be fulfilled either.

The resurrection is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of death. Death is an unrelenting enemy, taking everyone to a place of complete nothingness (notwithstanding the possibility of an intermediate spiritual state after death). No matter how much we try to avoid it or dress it up in beautiful language, it remains as a dark enemy. Many belief systems, including Christendom, try to teach us the pleasant 'fact' that death is really life in another sphere, but nothing will alter the devastating truth that death is death - and generally speaking, death is not a good thing! When we sleep, I believe we are experiencing something of what death will be like, but without the dreams, and without waking up!
This is why there has to be a resurrection, an eventual 'waking up' to the reality of what life has been about. All wrongs will need to be put right. The truth about our existence and the original purpose for humanity will need to be revealed to all of us. There is only One who has ever claimed He would conquer death - Jesus of Nazareth. As proof, God raised Him from the dead as a sign that His sacrifice had been accepted, and that death and sin - along with the spiritual archenemy of God, Satan himself - have been overpowered and subdued. Christ Jesus is the ultimate Victor and Champion of the universe. At present, though, this fact is hidden from the majority of humanity, but one day it will be revealed to all. 'Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.'

So why aren't we seeing any effects of this yet? In a spiritual sense we already are! Nevertheless, the ultimate day of resurrection and judgement is still yet to come at the glorious appearing of Christ Himself to renew all things. Until then, only One has immortality - Christ Jesus. He may be hidden from humanity's sight, living in the spiritual dimension, which Scripture calls the celestials or heavens, but someday soon the truth contained within the Bible will be validated. Of course, this sounds like 'fairy tale' language for those without faith in the spiritual things of God. Time will tell!

The resurrection is a hard thing for the soulish, fleshly mind to accept, but when believed by the spiritual mind that knows the power of God, it is not hard to accept at all. If God created all things, and is the Life Force within all living things, then resurrection to immortality is not a problem! Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the Messiah-Servant portrait. He will yet return, as He promised, to complete the Messiah-King portrait.
* My views on Creation & Evolution have been changing since this was written. See the Creation & Evolution section for new articles.
[1] see this link from Christian Answers.net
[2] particularly John A. T. Robinson's book Redating the New Testament
[3] For example, see Frank Morison Who Moved The Stone? and works by Lee Strobel
Copyright © Gerry Watts, 2000; revised 2007; 2011
Recommended Bible translations: New International Version (NIV; easier to read) and the Concordant Version (a more accurate translation for serious study).
Conclusion

For those who have the spiritual eyes to see and the spiritual ears to hear, the Word of truth is out there, everywhere. It pervades every area of life, even though the human channels are often oblivious of their part in declaring it. One such example is in the movies.

One of my favourite films is Braveheart. This movie contains so much scriptural truth, which I am sure was not intended by Mel Gibson and the writers. Whether the film is accurate as to the historical events portrayed in it is beside the point, but as a movie it is extremely biblical. It actually portrays the two roles of Christ, in reverse order - though not perfectly in every detail of course! (For a more detailed explanation of this, see the Movies section in the Treasure Cave). There are some great lines in the film, but one really stands out,

"Every man dies, but not every man really lives."

Another of my favourite films is Joe Versus the Volcano starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This movie is full of classic lines that embody much truth, but this is one of the best,

"Almost the whole world is asleep, everyone you meet, everyone you see, everyone you talk to - only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."
The meaning and purpose of our existence is to know the absolute reality of LOVE, LIFE and TRUTH, which brings JOY, PEACE, and FREEDOM. In other words - to know God as Father, through His Son. This is eonian (or age-abiding) life (commonly mistranslated in the Bible as 'eternal' or 'everlasting' life. See the article The Concordant Version and others for further explanation in the Archives section).

At present, God is offering His hand of friendship to all, not reckoning their offences to them at the present time - He is conciliated to the world and refuses to change His disposition, even in the face of such wickedness and arrogance, and great offence. That's why the world is still here - and the only reason why! Nevertheless, the Judgement Day is coming.

Therefore, for the sake of what Christ Jesus has done on behalf of us all, may we believe and receive reconciliation now with the One who loves us far more than we can comprehend. Only then may we truly know age-abiding life (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-21).