The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

When the Rooster Crows:

“Research done in North-Central India, where the sun only becomes visible after it has risen higher than surrounding mountains, documents the onset of crowing approximately two to three hours before sunrise with initial intervals of about 30 minutes that decrease to about seven minutes at the time of sunrise—even though the sun is not actually visible at the moment of sunrise.”

Do you remember Cornelius the Rooster? He was the mascot for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. In my childhood commercials, the sun didn’t come up until Cornelius crowed. Television was my only exposure to Roosters and I thought they only crowed right at sunrise. I was totally confused when I moved to Panama and heard them crowing 24/7. While Panama roosters don’t seem to have much sense of time, according to researchers, other parts of the world have pretentiously punctual poultry. In fact, a new study (done by Nagoya University in Japan) “shows that roosters don’t need the light of a new day to know when it’s dawn—rather, their internal clocks alert them to the time.”

Roosters are reliable enough that prior to our chronographically fixated age, people told time by them. The Greek word alektorophōnía, literally means “roosters voice” but is sometimes translated “third watch.” Although the Greeks and Romans had developed other ways of marking time throughout the night, the three hours prior to sunrise was still called “cockscrow.” Mark 13:35 uses the word in Jesus’ parable counseling vigilance in watching for His return,

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.”

Interestingly, Jesus mentions only the watches of the night … the times when it is most difficult to be alert and aware. This was exactly His point. Jesus continues, “If (the master) comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!”  The specific servant mentioned in Jesus’ parable was the door keeper. While others slept, he stayed alert through the dark watches of the night, ready to welcome his master home. Many considered the final watch, just before the breaking of dawn, the most difficult time to stay awake. The night has been long, the Master tarries … but He is coming. Wake up!

Sources: Scientific American article, “What time does the cock crow?” by Krystal D’Costa, November 30, 2011; National Geographic article, “How a Rooster Knows to Crow at Dawn” by Jane J. Lee, March 19, 2013.
 
 


End-Times Crisis

Not many realize, but 2018 marks a period of crisis for many End-times preachers. They are coming down to a make or break date for the past seventy years of their teaching. Dates for Christ’s return have been set, passed and forgotten throughout the history of the Church. As Dispensationalism grew in popularity over the past 150 years, teachers began predicting the date of the Church’s Rapture. When Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948, speculations about that date exploded. Teachers keyed in on the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:32-34,

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Noting that Israel is often equated with a fig tree in the Bible, many interpreted their national rebirth as the greening of the tree in Jesus’ parable. If correct, we were just one generation from beginning of the end. 1948 + 40 years (which everyone insisted was the span of a Biblical generation) = the magic number. That’s why so many End-Times preachers staked their reputations on 1988 bringing the rapture of the Church.

When that date passed, speculators had to adjust their approach. Psalm 90:10 says, “The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength.” So, suddenly a Biblical generation was 70 to 80 years. And they’re still setting dates. According to Dr. F. Kenton Beshore, “If you extend that from 1948, the outside date for the millennium would be 2028. Take off seven years for the Tribulation and the outside date for the rapture would be 2021.” But what about their “inside” date? This is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s nationhood. That would mean the rapture of the Church should take place sometimes this year. In any case, the next three years is make or break.

Later in Matthew 24, Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” My recommendation is that we stop calculating dates … and start living like He could come back today!

 
 
 


The Third Law of Laddernity

Everyone celebrates the famous Albert Einstein, but how many people appreciate the genius of Alfie Epstein. Just this past Wednesday I was contemplating his Third Law of Laddernity. Epstein’s law describes a phenomenon with which every tradesman and handyman is well acquainted. The precocious intellect stated the law rather urbanely, using terms like hypotonus, angle of acclivity and bangnacity … but I’ll try to put the law in layman’s terms. The force of gravity on small objects increases exponentially with every step you take up a ladder.

You’re trying to attach a hanger bracket for a shade to the ceiling at an elevation of roughly 1,400 hundred feet, and suddenly the screw jerks sideways, is torn from your hand and hurtles to earth at exactly the farthest point from your ladder. It is likely that the screw (did I mention it’s your last one) will come to rest under a heavy object too close to the floor to reach under. You believe this was just clumsiness … but it was actually the Law of Laddernity. If you are working alone, the effect quadruples! If your wife is out of earshot … determine the power of the affect by taking the obtuse angle of a ladder, multiplied by the number of steps, times ten to the thirty-forth power. Some jobs just weren’t meant to be done alone.

A person could have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ in total isolation … but that wasn’t Plan A. The Christian life was not meant to be lived in alone. I easily could produce dozens of Bible verses that speak to God’s design for Christian community. Maybe just one will do for now.

Epstein and his law are fictitious … but this law isn’t:

Carry each other’s burdens and it this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

 
 


Anti-Social Media

I have a confession … I tend to seek and then agree with opinions that match what I already believe. Judging from what I witness on network news and social media, I don’t think I’m unusual.

There’s a website that puts out five-minute op-ed videos that I really enjoy watching. The videos are conservative, small-government, pro-life, anti-socialistic and multicultural in a good sense. They often have people espousing views that you wouldn’t expect them to hold based on their ethnicity. One recent video featured a Bedouin from the Gaza Strip, who joined the Israeli Defense Force for love of his country. I didn’t expect that. I know we shouldn’t prejudge what a person will think based on their origin or ethnicity, but most of us do that too.

So the videos sometimes challenge me … but for the most part I like them because they have a reasonable, well-balanced, logical worldview … just like me (sarcasm, tongue in cheek). I just found a ten-minute video that says watching those videos, “will make you dumber.” The videos that make me feel affirmed, boil another guys blood. If we have a penchant for seeking, wallowing in and passing on only those things that line up with the way we already think, what hope do we have of objectively assessing any idea? Add to this the phenomena being called “Fake News” and it makes me despair of really knowing anything. What can be done?

Start reading your Bible more than you watch your favorite news source. But here’s a crucial proviso: you must pray that God will fill you with the meaning of His Word … and protect you against filling His Word with your meaning. I believe God’s Word is objective truth, but I need the Holy Spirit to guard me against subjecting His Word to my desires and will. Jon Wiziarde’s personal culture (we all have one) must bend the knee to the culture of Jesus Christ.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

 



The Contrast of Grace:

Ugliness and beauty are most themselves in each other’s company. On the backside of Cinnamon Pass, Colorado, headed for Silverton, Sue and I drove through a valley that had been ravaged by mining. It’s treeless, red mud slopes were littered with the rusting tools of someone’s fortune. The miners left it looking like the surface of Mars. Just around a bend was another valley so verdantly pristine that my eyes felt like a direct connection to my Creator. Man’s worst and God’s best in the space of half an hour.

I felt that way in my Bible reading this week. I slogged through the heart-sickening end of the Book of Judges. My Bible innocuously entitled the story, “The Levite and His Concubine.” It’s a drama so dark and bloody you couldn’t even show it on network television. God’s brutal honesty about the depravity of man and the consequences of evil. It’s ugly.

Just on the other side of that dark valley, you come to the Book of Ruth. Ruth isn’t beautiful all at once … like passing between those valleys in Colorado, there is a transition from the scarred to the sacred. The book begins with disobedience, tragic consequences and a woman so bereft she changed her name to “Bitter.” But in four short chapters, the full beauty of God’s providential love unfolds.

Noble, wealthy Boaz puts his reputation and fortune on the line to rebuild the name of a disobedient dead man. Boaz is a vivid Old Testament picture of Christ. What impressed me with this reading was how Boaz treated his destitute relatives. The Law of Moses required that he leave the edges of his field uncut and to allow the poor to pick up what the harvesters missed (Leviticus 23:22). Boaz went beyond law and showed grace to Ruth. 

Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.” Ruth 2:15-16

Ruth went home after a day in the field with so much grain that Naomi instantly knew that some field owner had gone beyond the expected and deep into grace. Though I sometimes forget, that is the way my Father treated me in Christ … the gleanings, plus the full heads of grain and no rebuke. My worst, answered and abundantly covered by His Best. (See Romans 8:32)