I have just completed my 57th year, having lived 35 years under socialism and 22 years in a capitalist system. The inhabitants of the socialist or Soviet-block countries were more or less deprived of religion. Religious people were not acceptable to and made ridiculous by the authorities and social organizations alike. Interestingly, however, party members (in Hungary there was only one political party, called the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, which had about 800,000 members, the country’s population being about 10 million) had, as a rule, their children baptized in church, in secret, of course. So-called name-giving parties were organized, mainly at the parents’ state-owned enterprises, which were meant to substitute for baptizing in church. The first Bible I saw in my life belonged to my grandma, who lived in the country. In the bookstores, you could not buy any. I was baptized as a Roman Catholic in the provincial town where my churchgoing grandparents lived. I admired the interior of the Catholic Church where they took me. As a little child, I did not understand anything of the sermons. I only remember the strange spicy odor and the ceremonial atmosphere. Actually, I was an atheist but always had the feeling that there had to be someone “up there”. I had no proof and I did not really seek any. When Hungary became a democracy in 1989, western churches, mainly from the US, such as the Mormon Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses, began to appear in our country. From 1991 to 2001, I attended the regular gatherings and congresses of Jehovah’s Witnesses and learned a lot from their lectures and literature, which were of a very high standard. Nevertheless, I always had questions (which they could not answer), thus they were not willing to baptize me. Finally, we parted by mutual agreement. Parallel to my starting to attend the congregation of JWs, I happened to read a book by a Soviet archaeologist named Amusin, which was first published in the then Soviet Union. The book was about the Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1947 at Qumran. The Soviet scholars involved in the research work were forced to admit that the Scrolls, including, among other things, 25 copies of the Book of Isaiah, which contained prophecies about the Messiah, were produced NOT LATER than the 2nd-1st century BC. And they were copies already! This was what definitely persuaded me that the Scrolls of the Bible were from a Supreme Being, from God. In the light of this, I attended the gatherings of JWs and devoted myself fully to studying the Word of God. After some time, however, I noticed that, though their organization was so excellent that it could only be from divine inspiration, their teachings were not always flawless. I happened to read the book entitled "Babylon Mystery Religion" by Rev. Ralph Woodrow, which, regretfully, he has since withdrawn and replaced it by his new book entitled "Babylon Connection". A chapter in "Babylon Mystery Religion" addressed the issue of the three days and three nights that Jesus spent in the tomb. I asked the elders about this, whose explanation for Jesus being 36 hours in the tomb instead of 72 hours as is written in Mat 12:40 was not acceptable to me. Since they could not give an answer that was acceptable to me, they suggested to me that I write to the Governing Body in Brooklyn. I did so and their answer was that I should not concern myself with such things and should not “precede” Jehovah; in other words, I should wait until Jehovah makes them reveal the truth about this topic. There were also other questions upon which I could not agree with JWs, thus I decided to leave them. Rev. Ralph Woodrow wrote about a Wednesday Crucifixion and Saturday Resurrection, which, in my opinion, proved to be false. I spent some years in investigating this issue and finally I came to the hopefully right conclusion: a Tuesday Crucifixion and Friday Resurrection. First, I had to determine the exact calendar day of Jesus’ death. Based on historical and biblical evidence, I established that Jesus died on March 25, 31 CE [Common Era] (Nisan /Abib/ 15, 3791) on a Tuesday, at 3pm. Based on biblical calculation, I also determined the exact time of Jesus’ birth: September 26, 4 BCE [Before Common Era], at 3pm, and His baptism: September 26, 27 CE, at 3pm.
I included my findings in my book and also in my article entitled “How Could Jesus Have Spent Three Days and Three Nights in the Tomb?”. Now that these important dates of Jesus’ life are known, they should be made widely known. And this is what seems nearly impossible. I wrote about this in my article “Why Is It Nearly Impossible To Break Through The Wall Of Resistance?”.
I am sure that happy and privileged are those who have access to this information about Jesus and can strengthen their belief in what Jesus foretold about His being three days and three nights in the tomb. As Jesus said, this is the sign of Jonah, the only sign Jesus gave, which, in my view, may well be the yardstick for Jesus to “measure” our faith in Him and in His Father Yahweh God. Make use of the opportunity granted to you and deepen your faith in Jesus who promised to come and “separate the sheep from the goats”. Remember that God announced the birth of Jesus first to shepherds who were not even churchgoers, despite God’s clear injunction, because looking after their sheep was a full-time occupation, and not to the priests. Be a modern-day shepherd worthy of God’s grace and study and interpret God’s Word whenever you can, pleasing God rather than men! God bless you!
By Sandor Balog
Word Count: 959
Sandor Balog (pen name: Attila B. Magyar), author of Palm Wednesday.