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Jerusalem Assignment

Wasn’t able to post something on arrival last night in Jerusalem, but did get a picture of a new section of “the holy city,” at night, out of my hotel window.

The 10 hour flight from Newark to Tel Aviv was long but uneventful (except that the plane’s video system wasn’t working :-). Even caught a few hours of sleep before landing at Ben Gurion airport at about 4:30 in the afternoon (We are now 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time back home).

Am here with our Day of Discovery Television production crew to meet with a group of scholars, who over the last 10 years, have been working to respond to claims that historical evidence does not support the supernatural Jesus of the Bible.

For example,

In a special “Secrets of Christianity” edition of the US News and World Report, Amy Bernstein writes, “Like massive desert sand dunes that shift and re-form, some of the most cherished beliefs about early Christianity are collapsing, and fresh ideas are replacing them. During the past six decades, crucial discoveries of ancient texts, coordinated scholarly and scientific research and new archaeological finds have helped to reorient the the thinking about a time that once appeared to be fixed in stone forever.”

Bernstein goes on to say that behind this research are efforts to answer “the most compelling questions of all: Did Jesus really exist, and if so, who was he?”

Wish you could have been here this morning to hear the group of scholars we’re meeting with as they explained why they believe the storyline of the Bible is more plausible, historically speaking, than the conclusions of critics.

Our reason for being here is that we share the concern of these scholars for those (especially young people) who keep reading in the media claims like I’ve quoted above.

I believe these scholars are showing, once again, that the supernatural claims of the Bible are part of a big story that fits human experience far better than the explanations of those who begin their research with anti-supernatural assumptions and then claim that they are only being logical when they reject all supernatural elements in the Bible.

I’m reminded of a line in the New Testament that refers to those who “are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Tim 3:7).

I’ll try to post daily here what happens as our week unfolds…

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24 Responses to “Jerusalem Assignment”

  1. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Yes, it will always be a never ending battle in this world, I believe, for the spirits will always be present to deny in any and every way possible that Jesus is God come in the flesh.

    And thankfully we have scholars who work on Jesus’s and Paul’s time in a way that helps us make good sense of what is written to us in Scripture as God’s word.

    Blessings on your time in Israel.

  2. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh I would give anything to be a fly on the wall in these discussions. It tickles me because if scientists would even look at things through the realization of creation how many more problems would be solved rather than always going against the truth. I really envy you Mart. Whoops envy! LOL Enjoy and I look forward to what you can relay back to us. Deborah

  3. Michael l. Ridgeway says:

    Matthew 3:8 YA’SHUA YAWEH JESU THE WAY TRUTH THE LIFE Numbers 6:24-25Love in CHRISTwho is the breath of life!!!

  4. poohpity says:

    I had one more thought, how can one question the legacy that was left behind or question the truths when applied. I guess some have to have something else to do rather than serving the suffering. We could meet to try to figure out how to put an end to world hunger or disease. Oh wait maybe we could figure out why people are so cruel to each other.

    I guess they are searching for evidence so they too can believe. I think this is one of those times when God is looking at us like a parent when a child is looking for something when it is right in front of their noses and He is chuckling.

  5. elena_william says:

    Mart, I’m so grateful for what you are going to share. Like Poohpity, I too would love to be a fly on the wall…listening in on your discussions. I have an intelligent teenager at home who will leave to get a university education in 2 years’ time. I have only 2 years left to share with her evrything I know and believe. I’m all ears to hear scientific evidence about my cherished beliefs so that I can share this with young people. God bless and thank you.

  6. BruceC says:

    May God bless you and all the others there for the Lord’s work you are doing. And I also pray for those skeptics that refuse to believe and also try to convince others of the same folly. But in these days I guess it’s what we are to expect and is just a part of the greater spiritual warfare we are engaged in.
    I will pray for you and all the others my brother Mart!

  7. paul bishop says:

    Mart: Peace be with you! I long for the day when
    we can be bodily with our Lord. I have lots to
    learn from you, your family has been in leadership
    and ministry for how many generations? I hope that
    you have a safe and fruitful mission to Israel and
    safe return……….Be right! It is Sunday—-
    I will watch Day of Discovery on television. The
    only advice I have is to maintain the purity of
    the work that you do.

  8. desert rose says:

    Praise God that there are men who are willinging to meet with these scholars.  I am reminded of my daughter and her family, all who now do not believe the entire Bible.  My daughter is studying religion in college and has thrown away so much of the Bible.  “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.”  It takes faith to believe and I have to make sure I keep my compass fixed on faith and the Lord Jesus Christ, because she is so compelliing and what she is learning at college seems so right.  I just have to keep telling her that I believe, and then she replies “So when Paul tells the servants to obey your masters, then you believe in slavery?”  It is hard to watch someone turn their back on their Christian upbringing and embrace “wordly knowledge.” But, my God, said we only need the faith of a mustard seed and we can remove mountains. Such a little amount of faith, so I look to our God to turn their hearts to him. I am thankful you are in a position along with the others to uphold the truth of the word of God.

  9. wpleasant says:

    “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent…” Numbers 23:19

    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” Romans 8:1

    I thank God for the work he has given you and the scholars and knowledge He has provided. It is encouraging to hear that men of God are countering some of the many lies being foisted upon this generation about Jesus. My wife and I were watching just this week an hour long television profile of a heretical preacher who is saying that no one is going to hell and that everyone is going to heaven. “Even Hitler”. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit many are going to be susceptible to man’s reasoning and not God’s truth through faith. I am not different than many in that I sometimes wish Middle Eastern scholars and archeologists could find many of the artifacts and articles referred to in the Bible to dampen the naysayers, but it is the Holy Spirit that strengthens our faith. Those who haven’t received Christ are not going to believe no matter how much “evidence” is found.
    Jesus said, “… blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. John 20:29

    Thanks for the photos. May God continue to give you His wisdom and knowledge for the benenfit of the body of Christ.

  10. Bev says:

    At last I’ve been able to log in. I will thoroughly enjoy this time now with you via cyber. Keep it up because it really is fanominal and encriching to my soul. Perhaps when Canadians first try to log in, Canada, our country would NOT come up in your listings. Took awhile, but I’m here now. I’m 75yrs. old and not a geek.
    I still will use the “Daily Bread” in paperback, as my beloved dog, “Justice Prevails” sits on my lap as Iread aloud the devotional and Biblical references, upon arising in the morning. Such a reassuring peace to start my day.
    God Bless & thank you,
    Bev. Atkins

  11. dep7547 says:

    desert rose, I pray that you will continue to have faith that every seed of the word of God that you have planted in your daughter’s heart will blossom more fruitfully than you imagined at the times you had planted them! Paul assures us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all that we can ask or imagine. When I went back to college, the theology courses definitely challenged my faith. However, since I had been saved for ten years already at that point, those challenges were no more difficult to overcome than the doubts that Satan had raised throughout my life.

    In fact, I began to encourage those doubts just so I could experience God blowing away Satan’s logic! The very first test that I faced in my Christian walk was having Satan convince me that I had basphemed against the Holy Spirit. I was actually frightened at the thought and began retracing my thoughts to see where I might have erred. Then, God showed me through his word that he defined it so vaguely that a man could not know enough about this sin lest he be tempted to commit it in anger! Man, you could feel the rush of air as Satan fled from god’s presence.

    I learned from that experience just how underhanded the devil will fight. When it came to college, my lord had well prepared me for facing this logic; however, some of my beliefs really had to be modified–primarily, my judgmental attitude towards sinners. I, too, had to face the logic that wpleasant states about heretics preaching that everyone is going to heaven. I walked away from that class knowing that as God promised,some would be there; I also remember that Jesus prayed that only the son of perdition would be found there. To this day, I am certain that I will find many in Heaven who in this life, I never would have guessed would make it.

    The hardest fact I had to face was learning that a growing number of theologians were becoming atheists themselves. This has given me much trouble in trusting that I can find a house of worship that I can believe in. Worship is such a vital experience to our spiritual well-being that it pains me to be so critical of whether the man in the pulpit who is asking for money really believes in the god he is collecting for or if he is preying on the mindless superstition of the masses to advance his own plans.

  12. daisymarygoldr says:

    Thanks for the update! Cool pics (especially the night scene) indicative of a cool assignment…hope it is not all scholarly and no fun! BTW, the dysfunctional video was a sure blessing in disguise:)
    I agree with you on 2 Tim 3:7…

    It is interesting to note that other faiths and philosophies are not subjected to the same vitriolic treatment. This in itself is sound proof of the Bible being the solid truth of God that convicts the world of ‘sin’ and calls for ‘repentance’- an antithesis to ‘pride’ which breeds unbelief that prevents a person from believing Jesus Christ (John 16:9).

    Today, there is no dearth of knowledge and the planet is saturated with information. We have Moses and the Prophets of the OT, Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and eyewitnesses who lived with Him in the NT and today we also have(for the stony-hearted) the “cries of the stones” being excavated as archaeological evidence.
    “…They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess 2:10)

    There are some who believe without seeing, some who have to see and believe and still others who like Paul having been blinded by the god of this world need a direct “Christ encounter”. The Good News is that God loves us all and “…is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to ‘repentance’(2 Peter 3:9)!

  13. daisymarygoldr says:

    desert rose, tell your daughter (praying for her…) that Christians have willed themselves to being slaves of God (Rom 6:22) and slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6) because He first set the example of being a servant.
    Therefore, we joyfully obey and serve our earthly masters (Christians or non-Christians) as a testimony of our loving service to Christ our heavenly master.
    The Bible has clear instructions about slavery in Deuteronomy 15:12-15, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 4:1 and condemns slavery to satan who is the author of oppressive or racial slavery. In fact God is quick to judge and deliver His people from all kinds of oppressive slavery to sin (unbelief, alcohol, drugs, smoking etc)

  14. Gena says:

    I have a college aged child who after taking up some Philosphy courses now believes the bible is nothing more than just a good collection of fictional, small novels, but recently he opened up an opportunity for a lively debate between him and me. He opened with the pre-text that the Church and the Government are nothing more than businesses that want people’s money. He belongs to a rock band, so I told him if the band needed a certain piece of equipment and it was expensive…and everyone believed in the band – wouldn’t you want to help each other by pooling in resources? I went on to explain I tithed – it wasn’t much, but I did, because it was what I believed God would like for me to do and since I can’t fix things like church roofs, etc. – I was happy to contribute as a Believer. After a lengthly conversation which included how God worked in my life supernaturally, he admitted that he needed to research this topic more. He did ask if belief in God was a chemical brain thing, but at least he said he needed to look into the topic more. Let me offer a flip sided view to this… I have an acquaintance who when his daughter gave birth to her first child, mentioned that she was interested in returning to the family church and her dad (the acquaintance) squelched that shut tightly! I told him that her interest in response to her child’s birth was because it was a supernatural miraculous act of God and that it was only natural that one would look to God in thanks. I would like to be present to listen in on these discussions in Jesusalem, but not as a fly. *smile*.

  15. BruceC says:

    I went to church this AM and had a wonderful time in the Lord with my “family”. Just wanted to let you know Mart that Cherry Valley Assembly of God in Cherry Valley,NY is holding you and the others with you up in prayer to our Wonderful Lord!

  16. cecile robes-stubbs says:

    Another indication of the end times, as satan tries to turn fiction into fact. By removing the “capstone” (ie Christ)upon which Christianity is built, he (satan) will cause Christians to lose faith and allow our spiritual temples to tumble. When we “worship” science more than we worship Christ/God we lose our faith and discernment. I’m not worried about “non-believers” b/c they already worship at the altars of money/science/technology/self – this type of research can only serve to fortify their self-delusions. No,I am concerned about the believers who struggle every day – who at times may often question their faith – looking for some ephemeral thread to grab onto as a definitive proof of their faith. . . to say “aha!” I knew/believed all along that they would find the “truth”. Those who may succumb to some scientific postulate that would destroy their wavering faith – unable to rebound and then lost forever. . . I only pray that our hearts are as open as our minds when it comes to evaluating God thru a microscope.

  17. hal.fshr says:


    I appreciate your team being over in Jerusalem to interact with what these scholars come up with. My favorite book on the subject of the historic reliability of the Scriptural record about Jesus Christ is F. F. Bruce’s The New Testatment – Are They Reliable? Keep us posted on how things go.

  18. poohpity says:

    I am confused again if we as believers, believe in the Word of God being the Word of God. What would cause us to read any body else’s experience when even Moses started with the predictions as to what would happen in Israel if God’s people did not put God first in our lives. The WHOLE BIBLE tells us and it is happening even in our churches in America but Christians do not read the BIBLE so how can one discern the truth.

  19. Niivam says:

    God richly bless your entire team for making this trip.
    There is no better time to do this than now. Please keep us posted on your findings and I hope there will b e a documentary out of this trip.

  20. FishingSI says:

    Hey Mart, please let us know if this meeting/broadcast will ever be made available. And if so, where? Thanks.

  21. pegramsdell says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated. Good job. I’ll be praying for you and the team. God bless you!

  22. dejean33 says:

    Hallelujah !!!

    My first thought …..

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen, and w/ out faith it is impossible to please God because we must first believe that He exsist, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11: 1, and 6

    My second thought …..

    Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the INVISIBLE things of Him from the creation of the world are CLEARLY SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1 : 19 – 23

    But you know what ….

    Jesus said, ” No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6 : 44

    Our part in this ?
    Love God w/ all of our being, then love thy neightbor as thy self — !

    … When we love it is actually God loving throught us -and people will then SEE Him !!!!!!

    Oh, the Wisdom of Our God, and to think that He shares this w/ us !!!!!

    Hallelujah !!!

  23. mel30135 says:

    This is the age old struggle. The Apostle’s Creed was written for this very same reason. Gnostics were discrediting the supernatural and Christians had to stand up and set themselves apart from this lack of faith in a supernatural God. Paul himself wrote to refute claims that the resurrection was false (Acts 17& 1Corinthians 15). I’d say these men are in good company. I pray that Christians around the world would step up and support their effort.

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