TO BElieve OR NOT TO BElieve?
by Sandor Balog
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Firstly, we should consider the Old Testament (OT) as God’s account of the origin of the earth, life on earth and of the universe. The OT tells us about original sin, God’s judgment and His scheme for salvation to be implemented by Jesus. The OT also tells us about the Hebrews, whom God chose to be His people, most probably for demonstrational purposes. The main theme of the OT, apart from revealing and praising God and His works, is constituted by God-inspired prophecies concerning Jesus.
Secondly, from the Bible, we can learn about Jesus’ earthly ministry. He fulfilled the prophecies of the OT. He also performed miracles, the greatest one being the resurrection of Lazarus, with the special help of God and God’s Holy Spirit, foreshadowing the future resurrection of all the dead. Jesus left His Testament, i. e. His teachings to His disciples and, through them, to all of His subsequent followers. With the death of His disciples, the age of miracles was over. Any "miracles" that might have happened since then cannot be of divine origin.
Thirdly, since, as various signs show, we are now living in the end times, should we not ask ourselves how we should behave to please God?. It is not mentioned in the Bible that Jesus will judge people by their denomination or whether or not they go to church. What then is the criterion we need to satisfy? I know of only one such criterion: the sign of Jonah. Jesus said that this would be the only sign. This means that if someone truly believes and proclaims, after having duly examined this topic in the Bible, that Jesus was three days and three nights in the tomb as He had foretold, they will be in a favorable position before Jesus. The accent is on “truly” – as this is not a kind of “deal”. This, however, goes together with keeping Jesus’ Two Commandments complemented with what we are told in Acts 15:20: “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.”
I assume your target is salvation. Picture yourself with a bow in your hands, aiming at the target, being continuously distracted by churchmen and pastors of various churches and denominations, as well as theologians, media theologians, writers of books and articles (I do not mean myself, of course:-)) on biblical issues. If you are not careful, their babble will put you off and you will miss the target. Let the Bible be your only basis, and what is more, not only one Bible version but as many as are available, including literal translations. You should then judge things for yourself, since it is your everlasting life that is at stake. So, do not accept at face value what I say to you either. Check it out for yourself – you cannot shirk your personal responsibility. There is not much time left for making your decision on “pleasing God rather than men”. The assistance I can render to you in doing so is contained in my article entitled “How Could Jesus Have Spent Three Days and Three Nights in the Tomb?” available throughout the web. Just consider: is it not at least interesting that someone who was born in 1954, in Hungary, baptized a Catholic, educated in atheist schools in socialist Hungary, obliged to learn Russian and Marxism-Leninism and socialist economics, obliged to join the Communist Youth Association, took an interest in studying the Bible, voluntarily joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses, attended their regular gatherings and congresses from 1991 to 2001 but was not baptized by them due to his always having questions (which they could not answer), wrote a book in Hungarian and had it translated into American English so that it could be spread worldwide? And that he wrote the above-mentioned article on the three days and three nights, available, of course, free of charge to those seriously interested in this topic? And that he also determined the exact calendar day Jesus died on, consequently also the exact calendar date of Jesus’ birth and baptism? You can ask ANYONE in the world, including Pope Benedict XVI, if these dates are known. Their answer will be: No, it is not possible to determine them. All churchmen and theologians are fully aware that they have three options: 1) to remain absolutely silent on the issue, 2) to argue, without having read the article, against this doctrine by underrating the writer in person, comparing him either with the multitude of churches, churchmen, theologians and other scholars that have not been able to discover these facts or with the mystical notion of the Early Christian Fathers, and underrating the significance of what he has discovered (which I have experienced several times), 3) to accept that the findings of the writer are correct. This latter is rather difficult as not only reputation but a huge amount of money is at stake. So, for them, the situation can be summarized by the highwayman’s familiar demand: “Your money or your life!”
Having all this in mind and inspired by Hamlet’s celebrated words, allow me to suggest you should ask yourself the following, by no means rhetorical question: To be(lieve) or not to be(lieve)? Your answer is literally of vital importance – to you.
By Sandor Balog
Word Count: 886
Sandor Balog (pen name: Attila B. Magyar), author of Palm Wednesday.
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