|Vol. 15 No. 7 July 2013||
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Mankind has long opined certain matters as being justified due to the fact that they were deemed legal by civil law. However, the fact remains that something deemed legal by civil law does not necessarily make that action moral or justified in the sight of Almighty God. Civil law is not the “end all” for the child of God. We are accountable to a higher standard of authority (Acts 5:29). Certain things may seem justified because civil law considers them legal, but in the sight of God, they may still be lethal! Consider:
Murder is legal but lethal! Mankind has boisterously proclaimed the murder of unborn babies as legal, but in God’s eyes abortion is and will always be lethal! Under the Mosaic regime God was clear on the issue of murder, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; cf. Deuteronomy 5:17). God’s commands regarding the sin of murder under the Christian regime are crystal clear as well (Matthew 5:22; James 2:11; 1 John 3:15). According to Almighty God, who created mankind, life begins in the womb of the mother (Isaiah 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-14; Job 3:13-16; 39:13-16; Luke 1:41-44; James 2:26). Thus, if one takes the life of an unborn baby, he or she is a murderer! Although civil law deems such murders legal, truly these merciless slaughters are lethal!
Mind-altering drugs are legal but lethal! Many are now “legalizing” drugs like marijuana in the U.S. Recently, Colorado legalized “pot” for those over the age of 21. The consumption of alcohol has long been legal for those over the age of 21 as well. However, what does God say on this subject? Anything that damages self-control and sobriety is “off limits” to the one who desires to please God (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-30; Ephesians 2:2; Galatians 5:19-23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Often what the legislature declares legal, the Lord declares lethal!
“Marriage” is legal but may be lethal! Numerous states are now boasting the legality of “same sex” unions and calling it marriage. However, no matter what a governing body deems as marriage, God’s marriage law is eternal—one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:21-24)! God abhors the presumptuous sin of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). Calling poison, punch, will never change its deadly effects; and calling “same sex” unions, marriage, will never lessen the lethal effects either. Homosexuality may be legal in man’s eyes, but it is lethal in God’s!
Sadly, when mankind attempts to justify sin, he will change laws to make himself feel better and ease his conscience. Before you engage or support an activity (or a political candidate that endorses such), make certain you consult the One and only true Lawgiver (James 4:12). Truly Jeremiah’s words are needed, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Be sober and be vigilant; what civil law deems legal, God may deem lethal!
We have heard about Mount Everest because it is the highest mountain on earth at the height of 29,029 feet, but did you know that there are seven mountains in its vicinity that reach from less than 21,000 feet and some which are over 27,000 feet in altitude? They are less known because of the reputation of Mount Everest and its height.
Did you realize that there were six other miracles that occurred at the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord? Because of the importance and significance of the Savior’s death and resurrection, these miracles are less known because of the greatest events pertaining to Jesus Christ.
Three Hours of Darkness: Matthew 27:45 reads, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.” The darkness came during Passover when the moon was full so it was not an eclipse of the moon. Luke 23:45 says, “Then the sun was darkened [obscured].” Tertullian said, “In the same hour too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives.”
Pontius Pilate sent the following report to Tiberius, emperor of Rome: “And when he had been crucified, there was darkness over the whole earth, the sun having been completely hidden, and the heaven appearing dark, so that the stars appeared, but had at the same time their brightness darkened, as I suppose your reverence is not ignorant of, because in all the world they lighted lamps from the sixth hour until evening. And the moon, being like blood, did not shine the whole night, and yet she happened to be at the full.” It was a singular witness to the power and Godhead of Him Who was crucified. It was a signal that even the most brutal and depraved could understand.
The Rendering of the Veil: Matthew 27:51 records, “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…” The veil was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide and 4 inches thick. It occurred at 3 p.m. when the priests would have been busy with evening sacrifices. The rendering of the veil occurred simultaneously with the death of Jesus. Only the high priest could enter through the veil into the most Holy Place. Now we all are priests and can approach our Great High Priest without going through any man (Hebrews 4:14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 10:19-22).
The Earthquake: Matthew 27:51 notes, “…And the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” This earthquake was unusual. It rent the rocks but did no damage to Jerusalem, which was nearby. It did not disturb the cross, and it discriminated among the graves; only the graves of the righteous dead were opened.
The Opening of the Graves of the Righteous Dead: Matthew 27:52-53 observes, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the Saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves. After His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” God knows the location of every grave where His saved ones are at rest. All the dead will eventually rise from their graves (John 5:28-29).
The Undisturbed Grave Clothes: Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Add to that John 20:6-8: “Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.”
The grave clothes were lying there, not folded like the handkerchief. Undoubtedly, Jesus arose from the grave clothes, and they remained in the form of his body. The stone was not rolled away to permit Jesus to leave but rather to let the witnesses into the tomb. John 20:8 chronicles, “Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.”
The Resurrection of the Saints: Matthew 27:53 says, “And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” What if uninspired men had witnessed this event? How would have pages of newspapers been written? The Bible does not satisfy our curiosity regarding this happening, but we do know, “So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54).