Heaven7 – Seven “Stepping-Stones” to Heaven
“Code of Ethics”
The Ten Commandments
(Holy Bible (NIV), Exodus 20: 1-17)
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol.
- You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
The Two Great Commandments
(Matthew 22: 37-39)
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
(Hebrews 9: 27)
… Man is destined to die once, and after that, to face judgment.
(Revelation 20: 11 – 15)
… And each person was judged according to what he had done …
(Revelation 21: 8; Revelation 20: 10)
… The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur … they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
(Revelation 21: 1-27)
Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth … it shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal … the city of pure gold … the street of the city was of pure gold … the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light … there will be no night there … nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful … there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain … he who overcomes will inherit all this.
7 “Stepping-Stones” to Heaven
- You need Heaven, not hell’s never-ending torment!
- Heaven is a free gift that is not merited, earned, or deserved; you do not get it by default.
- Problem: Your sin cannot enter Heaven, since God is Holy and you cannot save yourself from hell.
- Solution: Jesus Christ died for you, and was resurrected to save you from hell, and give you Heaven.
- Trust in JESUS CHRIST ONLY for Heaven; “… if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10: 9, 10.)
- Turn away from things that displease God, and let Him direct ALL aspects of your life.
- Seriously recommend Heaven to others, then, go to Heaven! … And enjoy!
1. You need heaven (eternal life), not hell!
|Ecclesiastes 5:2||for God is in heaven …|
|Daniel 2:28||but there is a God in heaven …|
|Romans 6:23||the gift of God is eternal life (Heaven) through Jesus Christ our Lord …|
|1 John 5:13||I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.|
|Matthew 7:13-14||Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.|
|Revelation 21:1-4,7||then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God … I heard a loud voice … saying … “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will be passed away.” … He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.|
|Revelation 21:10-11||and he … showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.|
|Revelation 21:18-19||the wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.|
|Revelation 21:21||the street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.|
|Revelation 21:23-25||the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light , and the Lamb is its lamp … the nations will walk by its light … there will be no night there.|
|Revelation 21:27||..nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.|
|2 Timothy 4:18||The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.|
|Hebrews 11:16||Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.|
|Revelation 22:3,5||No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.|
Hell was originally made for Satan and his followers, and for all who rebel against God; Satan was once called Lucifer, Star of the Morning, who was banished from heaven when because of pride/arrogance, he thought within himself that he would be like God, the Most High. Unrepentant sinners, who are all followers of Satan, will be cast into hell on Judgment Day with Satan.
|Revelation 12:7-9||and there was war in heaven … and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world …|
|Isaiah 14:12-15||How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … yet thou shalt be brought down to hell …|
|Luke 10:18||(Jesus said) … I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven …|
|Revelation 20:11-13||Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books … each person was judged according to what he had done.|
|Revelation 20:15||If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.|
|Romans 6:23||for the wages of sin is death ….|
|Revelation 20:14||and death and hell were thrown into the lake of fire ….|
|Revelation 21:8||but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death..|
|Revelation 20:10||and the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone … and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.|
|Hebrews 10:26,27||If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.|
|Hebrews 10:28-30||Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? … “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.|
2. Heaven is a free gift; it is not merited, earned or deserved.
|Romans 6:23||the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.|
|Ephesians 2:8,9||it is the gift of God … not by works, so that no one can boast.|
|Romans 5:21||grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might rein through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.|
|John 17:3||Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.|
3. Your sin cannot enter Heaven, since God is holy.
|Habakkuk 1:12,13||O Lord … your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong …|
|Hebrews 12:14||without holiness no one will see the Lord.|
|Isaiah 59:2,3||but your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.|
|Exodus 34:7||he does not leave the guilty unpunished …|
|Numbers 32:23||be sure your sin will find you out.|
|Ezekiel 18:4||the soul who sins is the one who will die.|
|Jeremiah 31:30||everyone will die for his own sin …|
|Genesis 18:25||will not the Judge of all the earth do right?|
|Romans 3:10,23||there is none righteous … for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.|
|1 Corinthians 6:9,10||Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.|
|1 John 1:8,10||If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us … if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.|
|Isaiah 53:6||we all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way …|
|Psalm 51:5||surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.|
|Romans 5:12||sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned.|
4. Only God can cleanse your sin and save you from hell.
|1 John 1:7||the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin.|
|Micah 7:18||God pardons sin and forgives … transgressions … You … delight to show mercy.|
|Galatians 3:10-11||All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Deuteronomy 27:26) Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)|
|James 2:10||For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.|
|Proverbs 14:12||There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.|
|Psalm 51:7||Cleanse me … and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.|
|1 Timothy 2:5,6||For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men …|
|Acts 4:12||Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.|
|John 14:6||Jesus answered, “I am the way — and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”|
|1 John 4:10||This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.|
|Hebrews 9:28||So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people …|
|Titus 3:4-5||but when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy …|
|John 15:13||Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.|
|1 Peter 2:24||He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree …|
|Isaiah 53:4,6,10||surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows … and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all … yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer …|
|2 Corinthians 5:21||God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.|
|John 1:29||The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! …”|
|1 John 4:9||This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.|
|1 Peter 3:18||For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God …|
|John 3:16||for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.|
|1 John 3:16||This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us …|
|Jeremiah 31:3||The Lord appeared … saying … “I have loved you with an everlasting love … “|
|1 Timothy 1:15||Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.|
|Philippians 2:6-8||Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!|
|Luke 23:33||When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left.|
|Isaiah 53:5,6||But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.|
|Romans 5:8||But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.|
|Ephesians 1:7||In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.|
5. By faith alone, accept God’s Son Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
|Ephesians 2:8||for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith …|
|Romans 10:9-11||if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Everyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16)|
|Acts 16:31||believe in the Lord Jesus , and you will be saved — you and your household.|
|1 John 5:11,12||God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.|
|1 John 1:9||If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.|
|John 6:47||(Jesus said) I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.|
|Matthew 11:28||Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.|
|Psalm 51:16,17||You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.|
|John 1:12,13||Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.|
|Revelation 3:20||Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.|
|2 Corinthians 6:2||I tell you, now is the day of salvation.|
|Proverbs 27:1||Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.|
|Psalm 51:1,2,10||Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin … create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.|
|Hebrews 11:6||And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.|
|Acts 10:43||All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.|
|John 5:24||(Jesus said) I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.|
|John 3:3||In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”|
|1 Corinthians 1:18||For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.|
|1 Corinthians 1:21||For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.|
|John 3:36||Whoever puts his faith in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see that life, for God’s wrath remains on him.|
|Habakkuk 2:4||the righteous will live by … faith …|
|Isaiah 26:4||Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord … is the Rock eternal.|
6. Obey and worship God sincerely.
|John 14:15||(Jesus said) if you love me you will obey what I command.|
|Mark 12:29-31||The most important (commandment) answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.|
|Matthew 4:10||Jesus said to him … it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” (Deuteronomy 6:13)|
|2 Timothy 2:15||Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.|
|2 Timothy 3:15,16||the holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.|
|Hebrews 10:22-25||let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, … let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.|
|Isaiah 26:3||You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.|
|Acts 20:7||On the first day of the week we came together to break bread …|
|Matthew 18:20||For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.|
|1 John 5:18||we know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin …|
|Matthew 10:32,33||(Jesus said) “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”|
|Romans 10:13||Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.|
|John 6:37||All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.|
|Colossians 3:16||Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and counsel one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.|
|Acts 17:11||they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day …|
|Psalm 119:11||Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.|
|John 15:7||If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.|
|Philippians 4:6,7||Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.|
|1 Timothy 2:1-4||I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.|
|Ephesians 6:18||And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.|
|Psalm 34:1||I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.|
|Romans 12:9||Love must be sincere; Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.|
|Romans 14:19||Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.|
|Matthew 6:20||But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven …|
|Acts 20:35||I showed you … by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”|
|Matthew 5:11,12||(Jesus said) Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.|
|2 Corinthians 4:17,18||For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.|
|Isaiah 41:10||So do not fear, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.|
|1 Peter 5:7||Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.|
|Philippians 4:19||And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.|
|Romans 8:28||And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.|
|Psalm 23:1||The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.|
|Romans 8:38,39||neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.|
|1 Corinthians 6:19,20||..your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, … You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.|
|Ephesians 5:18||…Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.|
|Galatians 5:22,23||But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.|
|1 Thessalonians 4:16,17||For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.|
|Matthew 24:42||Therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come.|
7. Zealously tell others about Heaven.
|Matthew 28:19,20||Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.|
|Proverbs 11:30||he who wins souls is wise.|
Come, let us go to heaven!
A prayer of repentance to God
- Almighty God, before You I confess that I am a sinner, and I repent of my sins.
- I now come to Your Son, Jesus Christ;
- I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior;
- I thank the Lord for dying for me and bearing away my sin;
- I believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead;
- I will confess Him before others as my Lord;
- I desire from this day on in everything, to seek the approval of my Lord, Amen!
Happy (Spiritual) Birthday!
If you have repeated this prayer sincerely, today is your spiritual birthday! Happy birthday! Well done! Please tell me that you have decided to accept Christ. I would like to encourage and stand together with you as we travel toward Heaven. I would also like to send you some helpful literature.
Kindly call (305) 454-1528 (International, Magicjack line) and leave a message if necessary.
Or, please e-mail me at the following Internet addresses also:
Please visit our website at http://www.radiopazamor.com; you can contact us there also.
Please also listen to Christian radio (different genres):
… Radio Te Amo
… Radio I Love You
… Radio Te Amo Paz Amor
… Radio Te Amo Tropical
… Radio Te Amo Romance
… Radio Te Amo Jazz
… Radio Fe Love
The information contained in the following sections was acquired from the following sources:
Why I Believe, by Dr. D. James Kennedy,
Messiah: Prophecies Fulfilled, by Dr. D. James Kennedy,
The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail, by Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe,
Geek Proof Your Faith, by Greg Johnson and Michael Ross.
About the Bible
The Bible features 66 books by 40 authors, from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, fishermen, philosophers, poets, statesmen, and scholars, yet it is totally consistent. It was written over a period of 1600 years, on 3 continents, Africa, Asia and Europe. The 66 books of the Bible are divided into the Old Testament (containing 39 books) and the New Testament (containing 27 books). These books contain many types of writings including stories, poems, history books, and lists of laws, for example. Parts of the Bible have been preserved for over 4,000 years. The Bible is archaeologically accurate. It has had a tremendously great influence on people, answering their deepest questions, about purpose, death, eternity, among others. By reading the Bible, Christians learn something of their history, and discover how God wants them to live. Many people have found that God seems to speak to them through it in special ways. As they think about the words, they really do learn more and more about God and about how they should respond to God’s love. That is why Christians want people to read it for themselves.
The Old Testament
Originally, the Old Testament was passed down orally through men whose job it was to memorize what had been told to them by preceding generations. Their entire purpose in life was to make sure that succeeding generations knew what God had done among their people. When language began to be written down using an alphabet, about the 5th century B.C., the Scriptures were copied repeatedly by scribes. Copying was a constant process since the climate caused the material onto which they copied the Scriptures, thin parchment(animal skins) and papyrus, to deteriorate over time. The Old Testament Scriptures were all copied down in Hebrew or Aramaic up until 285 B.C. Greek culture dominated this period of history. King Ptolemy of Alexandria (where the world’s greatest library was located) enlisted 70 of his most educated scholars who knew Jewish law and could translate Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek. These 70 worked separately. They concluded their work after 72 days; each translation corresponded exactly to the others! This became known as the LXX (70) or the Septuagint.
The New Testament
The New Testament contains 27 books which were written by the earliest Christians in churches scattered in different countries, hundreds of miles apart. They kept in touch by writing letters to each other. These letters (sometimes called ‘epistles’) were the first parts of the New Testament that were written down. Stories of Jesus were also written down; this meant that people all over the world could read them and thus get to know about Jesus’ life and teachings. The writers lived and wrote approximately A.D. 40-100. About A.D. 140, a heretic developed his own Bible and began to preach from it. The church needed to offset his influence by determining what the real canon or measuring rod of the New Testament Scripture was. The church decided that only manuscripts that could, beyond doubt, be traced to those who lived when Christ lived (that is, Peter, Paul, Matthew, John, James, Jude) or those who had a close association with the apostles would be allowed to be called Scripture. (It is said that Luke wrote Acts under Paul’s influence and that Mark wrote the book of Mark by copying down what Peter said.) Around A.D. 367, Athanasius of Alexandria produced the earliest list of New Testament books that corresponds exactly to the books of which the present New Testament is comprised. There are more than 5,330 Greek New Testament parchment fragments still in existence, some of these dating to within a century of the apostles. There are also about 8,000 Latin parchment, and hundreds more in dozens of other ancient versions. This many are still intact despite the fact that the Roman Emperor Diocletian gave a standing order that all Scriptures be burned if discovered. Christians chose to die rather than deny the faith by surrendering New Testament Scriptures for destruction. Within 200 years, all but 11 verses of the New Testament were quoted by early church fathers, in 36,289 citations.
The Old Testament contains 2,000 predictive prophecies, including 333 prophecies about the Messiah, with 456 specific facts or details, that were all fulfilled by Jesus. These prophecies were written between c. 1500 B.C. and 400 B.C. The prophecies of the Bible are extremely specific, detailed, and exactly fulfilled. These prophecies concerned themselves with things of which there was/is no likelihood that they would ever come to pass. It was written, for example, that the Messiah would be crucified — “they pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16b, c. 1000 B.C.) This prediction was made before the Phoenicians invented crucifixion! Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. These prophecies predicted the opposite of what human beings would naturally expect. In hundreds of instances, the fulfillment of the prophecy took place hundreds of years after the death of the prophet. These prophecies deal with scores of cities with which Israel had dealings and with dozens of nations contiguous with or near Israel. The futurity of those nations/cities is described in the Old Testament; its accuracy can easily be verified by reference to a good encyclopedia.
Roman Crucifixion: Jesus of Nazareth Crucified
History reveals that a Jewish man named Jesus of the town called Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and then sentenced to death by crucifixion, around A.D. 30. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) stated that the scourging applied to Jesus produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar of the cross on which he was to be crucified, to Golgotha, where he was crucified. Here, his wrists were nailed to the crossbar, and after this was lifted onto the upright post, his feet were nailed to this post. JAMA concluded that the major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Death soon resulted, primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. The death of Jesus was then ensured by the thrust of a soldier’s spear into his side. “Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross. (JAMA, March 21, 1986–Vol 255, No 11, pages 1455-1463); (this article was relied on heavily for the material contained here, regarding this topic.)
Jesus, or his crucifixion, is mentioned by the Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius, by non-Roman historians Thallus and Phlegon, by the satirist Lucian of Samosata, by the Jewish Talmud, as well as by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. The New Testament biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contains the most extensive and detailed descriptions of the life and death of Jesus. These accounts have been confirmed by historians and archaeological findings. Jewish, Roman and contemporary Christian authors provide further insight concerning the first-century Jewish and Roman legal systems and the details of scourging and crucifixion. The Shroud of Turin, considered by many to represent the actual burial cloth of Jesus, as well as archaeological findings provide us with valuable information concerning Roman crucifixion practices.
The Jewish and Roman Trials of Jesus
Jesus and his disciples observed the Jewish Passover meal of A.D. 30 in an upper room in a home in southwest Jerusalem, and then traveled to the Mount of Olives, which is northeast of the city. This Last Supper would have been observed on Thursday, April 6 (Nisan 13); Jesus would have been crucified on Friday, April 7(Nisan 14). In Gethsamane, in the Mount of Olives, Jesus suffered great mental anguish, knowing that the time of his death was near. The physician Luke states that his (Jesus’) sweat became like blood; medically, bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis) may occur in highly emotional states or in persons with bleeding disorders. Hemorrhaging into the sweat glands causes the skin to become fragile and tender, and in the cold night air, may have produced chills. Shortly after midnight, temple officials arrested Jesus in Gethsemane and took him first to Annas and then to Caiaphas who was the Jewish high priest for that year; these had been plotting to arrest Jesus for about three years. Caiaphas and the political Sanhedrin then tried Jesus and concluded that he was guilty of blasphemy. The guards blindfolded him, spat on him, ridiculed him, and struck him in the face with their fists. Just after daybreak, Jesus was tried before the religious Sanhedrin, with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they concluded that he was guilty of blasphemy, which was a crime punishable by death. Permission for an execution had to be acquired from the governing Romans, so, early in the morning, the temple officials took Jesus to the residence and governmental seat of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea. But here, instead of presenting Jesus as a blasphemer, they presented him as a self-appointed king who would undermine Roman authority. Without making any charge against Jesus, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Judea. Herod also made no official charges and returned Jesus to Pilate, who, again, could find no basis for a legal charge against. The people persistently demanded crucifixion, Pilate finally acquiesced, and handed over Jesus to be flogged/scourged and crucified.
Various factors, emotional and physical, rendered Jesus especially vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the flogging/scourging. He had suffered great emotional stress during the 12 hours between 9PM Thursday and 9AM Friday. He had also suffered abandonment by his closest friends the disciples; he was betrayed by one of them; another vehemently denied knowing him. He also underwent a physical beating after the first Jewish trial. He also knew that there were various illegalities associated with the Jewish and Roman trials. In addition, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, he had been forced to walk more than 2.5 miles to and from the sites of the various trials, all the while under intense ridicule. All these factors acted in concert to make him particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the flogging/scourging.
The Roman Flogging/Scourging of Jesus
Scourging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution. They used a short whip called a flagrum or flagellum. This consisted of several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at various intervals. Staves were sometimes used. The man to be flogged was stripped of his clothing and his hands were tied to an upright post and his back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers called lictors, or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death, at which time the soldiers would taunt their victim. While the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbon of bleeding flesh. Immense pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock.
Jesus was severely whipped at Pilate’s residence; his scourging was particularly harsh. The Roman soldiers were amused that Jesus had claimed to be a king, and mocked him by placing a robe on his shoulder, by pressing a crown of thorns down on his head, and placing a wooden staff as sceptre in his right hand. They then spat on Jesus and beat him on the head with the wooden staff. When they tore the robe from Jesus’s back, they most likely reopened the scourging wounds. Jesus was most probably left in a preshock state by the severe scourging, with its attendant intense pain and appreciable loss. His skin was rendered very tender by hematidrosis. The physical and mental abuse which Jesus suffered at the hands of the Jews and the Romans, and the lack of food, water and sleep served to impact very negatively on Jesus’ weakened state. His physical condition was, even before the actual crucifixion, at least serious and quite possibly critical.
The Romans perfected crucifixion as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. It was an absolutely disgraceful and cruel method of execution which was usually reserved for foreigners, slaves, revolutionaries and the vilest of criminals. Roman law usually protected Roman citizens from crucifixion, except usually in the case of soldiers who deserted.
The condemned man usually carried his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion, which was outside the city walls. Usually, he was naked. The entire cross weighed over 300 lbs, and so the man carried only the crossbar or patibulum, which weighed 75 to 125 lbs, across the nape of his neck and balanced along both shoulders. His outstretched arms were usually tied to the crossbar. At the execution site, the victim was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic, by law. The condemned criminal was then thrown to the ground on his back with his arms outstretched along the crossbar. At this time, his flogging wounds most likely would be torn open again and become contaminated with dirt. With the arms outstretched, but not taut, the wrists were then nailed to the crossbar. Archaeological findings indicate that the nails used by the Romans were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inches long with a square shaft 3/8 of an inch across. The likelihood of painful periosteal injury would be great. The driven nail would either crush or sever the large sensorimotor median nerve. This stimulated nerve would produce undoubtedly excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. This severed median nerve would result in paralysis of a portion of the hand. The victim and crossbar were then lifted to the vertical post or stipes. The feet were next nailed, one atop the other, to the vertical post of the cross. More than likely, the deep peroneal nerve and branches of the medial and lateral plantar nerves would have been injured by the nails. With each respiration, the painful scourging wounds would be scraped against the rough wood of the cross. Blood loss could thus be expected to continue throughout the entire ordeal. All the while, soldiers and the crowd would taunt and jeer the condemned man; soldiers would then divide up the man’s clothes among themselves.
The length of time the man would survive generally ranged from 3 to 4 hours to 3 to 4 days; this appears to have been inversely related to the severity of the scourging. Roman soldiers could hasten death by breaking the legs below the knees. It was common for insects to light on and burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears and nose of the dying, helpless man, and birds of prey would tear at those places also. It was customary for the corpse to be left on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals. No one was intended to survive crucifixion. By custom a Roman guard would pierce the body with a sword or lance; this was a wound to the heart through the right side of the chest.
Crucifixion produced excruciating pain. Beyond this, the major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was a marked interference with normal respiration, especially exhalation. The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched shoulders and arms, tended to fix the intercoastal muscles in an inhalation state; this hindered exhalation, and breathing was shallow. Hypercarbia would soon result, and the onset of muscle cramps or tetanic contractions due to fatigue and hypercarbia would further serve to hinder respiration. The victim, to breathe adequately, would have to lift his body by pushing up on his feet and by flexing his elbows and bringing forward his shoulders. But this maneuver would place the entire weight of body on the tarsals; this would produce searing pain. In addition, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists around the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the already damaged median nerves. Lifting the body would also cause the body to painfully scrape against the rough wooden cross. Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the outstretched and uplifted arms would add to the tremendous discomfort. Resultingly, every attempt at breathing would become agonizing and tiring, and would inevitably lead to asphyxia. And so, hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia, dehydration, stress-induced arrhythmias, congestive heart failure were the chief causes of crucifixion. Crucifracture, the breaking of the legs below the knees, led to an asphyxic death within a matter of minutes, since the victim could not push up his body in an attempt to breathe. No doubt, death by crucifixion was every sense of the world, excruciating.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
About 9 AM, after flogging and mocking Jesus, the Roman soldiers put Jesus’ clothes on him and led him along with two thieves out to be crucified. Jesus was so weakened by the flogging that he could not carry the crossbar the 1/3 mile out to Golgotha, the crucifixion site. A man called Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to carry the cross. At Golgotha, Jesus’ clothes, except for a linen loincloth, were again removed. This reopened scourging wounds. He was offered the wine mixed with myrrh, but after tasting it, refused it. Finally, he was crucified. Throughout the crucifixion, the soldiers, civilian crowds including the Jewish religious and political leaders taunted Jesus. The soldiers cast lots for his clothing. Jesus spoke seven times from the cross. Speech occurs during exhalation, therefore these short, terse utterances must have been extremely and excruciatingly painful and difficult. About 3 PM that Friday, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, bowed his head, and died. The Roman soldiers as well as the crowd recognized his moment of death.
The Jews did not want the bodies of the three crucified men to remain on the cross after sunset, which was the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. They therefore asked the Roman Pontius Pilate to order crucifracture to hasten the deaths of the three crucified men. The soldiers then broke the legs of the two thieves; when they went to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and did not break his legs. Instead, a soldier pierced his side with a spear, producing a sudden flow of blood and water. Later that day, the body of Jesus was taken down and placed in a tomb.
There is no getting around the fact that Jesus was crucified and died as a result; for that, God almighty holds all unrepentant sinners accountable!
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ And Its Impact
History records that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, died as a result of crucifixion, was buried in a tomb, and shortly after this (in 3 days) showed himself alive by many infallible proofs, being seen by over 500 people for 40 days. It is by the resurrection that Jesus Christ is declared the Son of God with power. It is by the resurrection that Christ’s atoning sacrifice is declared to be accepted by God the Father. This is, indeed, the center of the Christian faith.
The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been examined more than evidence for any other fact of history. Many scholars and academicians, including skeptics, have weighed and considered the evidence. They have concluded that the resurrection was a reality, was a historical event, and that anyone who examined the evidence honestly would be convinced that it occurred. One skeptical lawyer (Frank Morrison of Britain) set out to write a book repudiating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But he found the evidence for it so overwhelming that he was forced to accept it and became a believer of Jesus Christ. A great scholar, Simon Greenleaf, the Royall Professor of Law at Harvard from 1833-48, who helped to bring Harvard Law School to preeminence and who has been referred to as the greatest authority on legal evidences in the history of the world, focused on the resurrection in the light of all the laws of evidence. He concluded that the resurrection of Christ was a reality, that it was a historical event, and that anyone who examined the evidence for it honestly would be convinced that this was the case. All Scripture and testimony of hostile enemies of Christianity and unbelievers declare that the church was spread everywhere because the Apostles declared that Christ rose from the dead, and that he ascended into heaven.
The Jews held their Sabbath doctrine for thousands of years. As a result of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week, a group of early Christians, all Jews, changed the day of worship from the seventh to the first day of the week. Christ appeared to his disciples on the first day of the week, and poured out his Spirit on the church at Pentecost on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, Christ’s disciples met to worship him. Jews held the Passover to be the most significant event in the history of their nation. As a result of the resurrection, they abandoned it in favor of the celebration of Easter, the day Christ rose from the dead. Christian sacraments too, point not only to the death and suffering of Christ, but also to his resurrection in power. Christian art has been found in the catacombs of Rome, from the time of the persecutions which took place in the first century A.D.; representations of the resurrection of Christ have been found carved into the walls. Hymns were sung to the resurrected Christ in the earliest days of the Christian church, during the first century A.D.
The Christian church was founded as a result of the resurrection. The Christian church is the largest institution that has ever existed in the history of the world. It is 5 times larger than the Roman Empire at its zenith; over 1 billion, 300 million persons profess to worship Jesus Christ as the risen and living Son of God. Historians consider that the Christian church can be traced back to Jerusalem in A.D. 30, when Jesus died and was resurrected. The Church, which is the largest institution in the world, began in A.D. 30 when the Apostles of Jesus Christ began to preach that he had risen from the dead. These fearful, timid cowards were transformed into bold proclaimers of the Gospel. These witnesses of the fact that Christ was resurrected were faithful, suffered and died, most of them sealing their testimony with their own blood. The resurrection was at the heart and substance of the message of the early Christians. The very first message given at Pentecost was entirely about the resurrection, about prophecies regarding it and their fulfillment, and its impact, including the fact that because he was risen, Jesus Christ could grant the remission of sins to those who believe in him. He says “I am he that liveth and was dead … I am alive for evermore … whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (Rev. 1:18; John 11:26). Jesus and his resurrection are the only hope for all mankind. He is willing to live in our hearts if we repent of our sins and trust in him who died for us and rose again from the dead.
You never know when you will die. WHERE ARE YOU GOING … Heaven or hell? Be wise: decide now!
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