The Most Popular Brand Name in History
Vol: 26 Issue: 25 Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Depending upon who you ask, Christianity accounts for just under one third of the world’s population, or about 2.2 billion people. That is a pretty impressive number, given that it represents the followers of a Jewish laborer that lived 2000 years ago in Judea, a sleepy backwater of the Roman Empire.
No person in all history made an impact even approaching that of Jesus Christ. His impact is felt far beyond Christianity. For an alleged fraud, the impact this one Man had upon the history of mankind is incalculable.
One could easily make the argument that if Jesus had not lived and died and was resurrected in what is today modern Israel, there wouldn’t be a modern Israel.
The Balfour Declaration issued in 1917 that set aside a homeland for the Jewish people was prompted by the fact that Lord Balfour was a Christian.
In 1906 a meeting took place in Manchester between Chaim Weizmann and Lord Balfour, who was impressed by Weizman’s personality. He asked Weizmann why Palestine – and Palestine alone – could be the basis for Zionism.
“Anything else would be idolatry”, Weizmann protested, adding: “Mr. Balfour, supposing I were to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?”
“But Dr. Weizmann”, Balfour retorted, “we have London”, to which Weizman replied; “That is true, but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.”
The reasons for Balfour’s support of the Jewish cause have been widely debated. In his book about the Balfour Declaration, Leonard Stein referred to Balfour’s sharp condemnation of Antisemitism. “It is a shame for Christianity how this people was treated.”
However, if one were to believe the mainstream media or the US educational system or pretty much anything emanating from the halls of US government, Jesus Christ is at best, a divisive historical figure and at worst, a myth.
For a myth, He sure is popular. Not just among the world’s 2.2 billion Christians, but pretty much across-the-board.
Islam ‘adopted’ Jesus (Isa), not as the Son of God and Savior of mankind, but as a ‘Prophet’ of almost-equal rank with Mohammed. By this device, Islam can therefore claim that Jesus Christ of the New Testament was really a Muslim.
But the Koran claims that Isa was born in the normal way, had a normal marriage, normal kids, lived a normal life and died a normal death. ‘Isa’ is another Jesus. “Isa” holds neither the keys to Heaven nor Hell and can save no one.
Buddhists, who deny the existence of a personal Creator God, make room in their theology for Jesus Christ. Buddhism offers no form of redemption, forgiveness, no heavenly hope, or a final judgment to those practicing its system.
But Buddhists claim that Jesus was Himself a Buddhist. “Jesus Lived in India” and “The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity” by Holger Kersten are both popular books among Western Buddhists.
Nicholas Notovitch allegedly discovered scrolls in a monastery in Hemis claiming Jesus traveled to the east while a young man and studied the scriptures of several faiths, including Buddhism. But the Buddhist Jesus is not the Jesus of the Gospel, Who taught in the Temple in Jerusalem at age 12.
This is another Jesus, and another gospel.
Jehovah’s Witnesses lay claim to Jesus Christ, but also deny His Deity, teaching that Jesus was a created being who was ‘a god’ but not God Himself.
The zeal of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to win new converts puts most Christian efforts to shame. But the JW’s ‘Jesus’ is not God, and salvation comes by a selective works-based process in which only 144,000 Witnesses will share.
(There are modern revisions of this JW doctrine in order to maintain membership, but founder Charles Taze Russell was dogmatic about salvation being limited to 144,000 believers.)
In any case, the ‘Jesus’ of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is another Jesus.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sounds way more ‘Christian’ than its shorter appellation, ‘Mormon’. Mormon missionaries are as dedicated to preaching their gospel and winning new converts as are the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But their Jesus is another Jesus. The Mormon Jesus isn’t the Son of God, but a Son of a god, a god who was once a man living on the planet Kolob.
Following the recipe for godhood (he later transmitted to Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York on mysterious golden tablets sometime around 1830,) the man from Kolob became the same god as God the Father of Jesus. Observant Mormons will eventually get their own universes to be gods in.
The Mormon Jesus reestablished his Kingdom in Independence, Missouri, before changing his mind and relocating his headquarters to Salt Lake City, Utah. His spirit-brother’s name is Lucifer.
Like the others, neither their gospel nor their Jesus offers hope of salvation. But making room for Jesus is good marketing if one wants to convince others to join up.
It boils down to this simple equation: If you want to have a credible religion, well then, since you don’t already have a Jesus, you will need to borrow mine.
As noted, attaching the Name of Jesus to your religion is great advertising. Like having a TV star advertising a particular medicine to lower your cholesterol.
First off, you didn’t know you needed something that lowers your cholesterol.
Before you know it, you are off to ask your doctor if a product that cures something you don’t know you have that incidentally causes flatulence, insomnia, flaking skin, heart palpitations, rashes, male pattern baldness, uneven tire wear and leaky plumbing is right for YOU!
All the while, you’re fully aware that the actor knows no more about pharmacology than you do, and probably doesn’t have a cholesterol problem either.
But he seems like such a believable guy!
So does Jesus, except that the REAL Jesus’ endorsement is too expensive. Embracing the REAL Jesus means becoming a REAL Christian.
Islam would have to give up the sword. Buddha would have to give up pantheism and all that meditation stuff. The Watchtower Bible Society would have to give up its publishing company. The Mormons would have to give up both polygamy here and godhood in the hereafter.
It’s cheaper and easier to just invent a fake Jesus and hope nobody looks at the details too closely.
The Bible make reference to another gospel and another Jesus, not obliquely, but head-on. The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of God, warned bluntly;
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2nd Corinthians 11:4,13-15)
To the Galatians, he wrote,
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
To underscore his point, Paul repeated himself:
“As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
The various claimants to the Name of Christ deny His Deity, His Virgin Birth, His Resurrection, His purchase of Redemption and His offer of salvation by grace through faith.
But they covet His Name like no other.
Mohammed is claimed by Islam alone. No other religion claims Buddha as their own except Buddhists. Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Smith are revered only within the sects they founded.
Their Jesus cannot save. He has no power. They follow another Jesus, and different gospel.
Two thousand years ago, six hundred years before Mohammed, 1800 years before Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell, and before the modern Western Buddhists discovered Jesus, the Apostle Peter said of the Name of Jesus;
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above; Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
This is something one wouldn’t ordinarily consider fulfilled Bible prophecy. It is as normal as air to a Christian. Of course the Name of Jesus is above every other Name — if one is a Christian living in 21st Western culture.
But when Peter and Paul trod the earth, Christianity was a tiny breakaway Jewish cult. Today, the Name of Jesus is known throughout all the world, above all other names, above all other religious figures, above all other religions.
His is a Name claimed by all, as a necessary, if not critical element, to any claim to religious authenticity.
Significantly, the only major religion that refuses any claim to Christ is Judaism — another fulfillment of Bible prophecy often overlooked.
Paul was himself a Jew, and a Pharisee, and had a great love for his people. Indeed, he offered to exchange his own salvation for that of the Jews. (Romans 9:3)
But 2000 years ago, this Pharisaic Jew turned Apostle prophesied that Israel would reject Jesus until His Return. As they have, to this point in history, Name recognition notwithstanding.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)
The Gospel of Jesus is under assault from all directions by smooth-talking apologists preaching another gospel and another Jesus because they need the Power of Jesus’ Name to endorse their product.
The reason is because Jesus is real. He is alive, He is God, and the world instinctively knows it. It doesn’t matter what they teach, or what they believe, or how incredible it is.
What does this all mean? It is powerful evidence, when you take the time to consider it as evidence, and it is impossible for a skeptic to refute.
Attach the Name Jesus to a religion that practices polygamy in Utah as a means to attaining godhood in another galaxy and “bingo!” The next thing you know, there are two nice young fellas from Salt Lake City wearing white shirts and black ties knocking at your door to ask if you know the ‘rest’ of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first thing you’ll find is that you hear lots and lots about Jesus, but not so much about Kolob. Why? Because the Name Jesus means instant religious credibility, just as His eyewitnesses predicted.
Because they saw the REAL Jesus.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)