Participants: David Down
Series Code: DUTP
Program Code: DUTP000007
00:01 The city of Athens was at the heart of the
00:03 ancient Greek world, and the Acropolis was one of the
00:06 architectural wonders of the world.
00:08 Nearby was the Areopagus where learned philosophers discussed
00:13 the great issues of life and eternity.
00:16 We also discuss these issues in this program on ancient Greece.
00:56 For this program we are in Athens, and in particular we are
01:02 in front of the Acropolis.
01:05 You can see it up there.
01:08 And, of course, the Greek word Acropolis comes from the two
01:12 Greek words, Pollos, meaning city, and Ekron, meaning top or
01:16 high, in this case.
01:17 And so this is the high city, or top city, and it was the very
01:22 heart of Athens.
01:28 This is the well known Parthenon which is derived from the Greek
01:32 word meaning virgin, because it was dedicated to a goddess
01:34 by the name of Athena, from which, of course,
01:37 the city of Athens takes its name.
01:39 It was originally occupied by a statute, which was
01:43 40 meters high, and this statute was adorned with gold and ivory.
01:49 Subsequently a tyrant by the name of Lecheries decided he
01:53 needed the gold.
01:54 There was nearly a ton of gold in it, so he took the gold
01:57 to pay his troops.
01:58 But it certainly is a magnificent building even today,
02:01 isn't it?
02:07 The Acropolis was more than just a temple; it was a fortress.
02:12 And in time of attack it was defended very fiercely.
02:17 The most notable instance of that was in the year 480 B.C.
02:22 when Greece was invaded by the forces of the Persian Xerxes.
02:28 He's known in the Bible as Ahasuerus,
02:30 in the book of Esther.
02:31 When his forces approached Athens the Greek defenders
02:36 just packed up and left.
02:37 They all went out to the Pillipanies Peninsula.
02:40 But there was a group of sturdy defenders who stayed in the
02:44 Acropolis and fought to the last.
02:45 Xerxes forces were only successful by adopting
02:50 a stratagem which Alexander the Great used to very
02:54 great effect in later years.
02:56 That was to attack a city at its strongest point.
03:00 That was up that wall there.
03:01 Well now, that was where he was least expected, so he took
03:06 the forces by surprise.
03:07 They broke into the Acropolis and massacred all the occupants,
03:12 and then burned the Acropolis.
03:14 A tragic thing as far as the Acropolis was concerned,
03:17 but it was burned with fire.
03:21 Below the Acropolis was the Aggerate, or marketplace,
03:25 where the daily business life of Athens took place.
03:28 Here were beautiful buildings and temples.
03:31 The elite of Athens could stroll through the stall with its
03:36 marble pillars.
03:37 On every street there were life-size statutes, and altars
03:41 to the many Greek gods.
03:43 Unless the Athenians had omitted any of the deities
03:47 there was an altar to the unknown god.
03:50 The great Apostle Paul came to Athens and was appalled
03:54 with the way the city was given to idolatry.
03:57 The Bible says that he disputed in the Aggerate daily with them
04:01 that met him.
04:02 This came to the ears of the Athenian philosophers who
04:06 challenged him to go up to the Areopagus, a low hill between
04:10 the Agara and the Acropolis.
04:14 Now can you just visualize the scene?
04:16 Here's the Apostle Paul standing in the midst of these learned
04:22 men; the elders of the city, and the philosophers,
04:29 and they're all out for an argument, you know.
04:30 They're all ready to criticize.
04:33 They're gathered around him.
04:34 But, of course, Paul himself was a very well educated man,
04:39 and a brilliant elocutionist.
04:43 He was a good match for them.
04:46 What he said here in Acts 17 is one of the most brilliant
04:51 discourses you can read anywhere.
04:52 I'll read it to you.
04:54 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,
04:57 Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you
05:01 are very religious.
05:02 That would please them, of course.
05:04 For as I was passing through, and considering the objects
05:07 of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription,
05:11 TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
05:13 You see the Greeks worshipped so many gods they didn't want
05:16 to miss anyone, so just in case they missed somebody here was an
05:19 altar to the unknown god.
05:22 Therefore the one whom you worship without knowing
05:26 him I proclaim to you.
05:27 That was masterly!
05:28 You see he used this altar to the unknown god to lead him
05:32 to the true God; Jesus Christ.
05:35 God who made the world and everything in it, since he is
05:40 Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples
05:43 made with hands;...
05:44 Now that, of course, was a reference to the
05:47 Acropolis behind us.
05:48 It must have pricked their hearts a little bit to have him
05:53 say this, but of course, it was truth.
05:55 And Paul went on to say, Therefore since we are the
05:59 offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divine nature
06:04 is like gold, or silver, or stone, something shaped by
06:07 art and man's devising.
06:09 Well that's what was up there, you see, the images,
06:11 the statues, and so forth.
06:13 Truly these times of ignorance; God overlooked, but now commands
06:18 all men everywhere to repent.
06:20 Now that was very gracious.
06:21 He wasn't condemning them.
06:23 He was simply saying, Look, the times of that ignorance;
06:26 God's going to overlook that.
06:27 And, of course, that's what God does with us.
06:28 When we do something wrong, and don't realize it's wrong,
06:31 God doesn't pounce on us and condemn us for it.
06:34 But, He says, because He has appointed a day on which He will
06:42 judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he ordained,
06:45 he has given assurance of this to all by raising him
06:49 from the dead.
06:50 Now you see, he referred to the judgment, and that's something
06:55 people today need to think about.
06:56 There's a judgment day coming.
06:57 It's not a case of what you can get away with.
06:59 It's a case of what you'll be called to account for later on.
07:03 God is going to judge the world by that man whom
07:06 He has raised from the dead.
07:11 Now did you notice where Paul puts the emphasis, as far as the
07:15 future immortal life is concerned?
07:17 He referred to Jesus Christ rising from the dead;
07:20 and He did.
07:22 He rose physically, bodily, and that's where the Bible puts the
07:27 emphasis, as far as the future immortal life is concerned.
07:31 Here in the book of Colossians 3:4 Paul says,
07:38 When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will
07:42 appear with him in glory.
07:44 Now that's when Jesus Christ returns to this world.
07:47 And he says, then you will appear with him in glory.
07:51 That will be at a resurrection.
07:54 We're going to come back to life!
07:55 Don't make any mistake about that.
07:57 Whether you believe it or not; whether you like it or not;
07:59 we're all going to come back to life.
08:00 That's what Jesus Christ says.
08:02 And so that is where the emphasis is.
08:05 It's a very real eternal future life.
08:08 Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth.
08:11 Right here in this beautiful world made new is where the
08:16 people of the God will enjoy all of eternity.
08:18 You know, there's a beautiful verse in Job 19:25.
08:23 Job says, For I know that my redeemer lives, and he shall
08:28 stand at last on the earth: and after my skin is destroyed,
08:33 this I know that in my flesh I shall see God:...
08:38 So with Job it was a very real future life.
08:41 Bodily he was going to see the Lord face to face.
08:46 That is where the Bible puts the emphasis when it talks about the
08:51 future immortal life.
08:52 The prophet Isaiah had visions of this future life to come.
08:58 He says in Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new
09:03 heavens and a new earth:...
09:04 They shall build houses, and inhabit them;
09:08 they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
09:11 So nobody's going to be having to rent a house.
09:14 Nobody's going to have to go to a market to buy fruit,
09:18 or vegetables.
09:19 No, you'll be able to have your own.
09:21 And it goes on to say here, as the days of a tree, so shall
09:26 be the days of my people, and my elect shall long enjoy the
09:30 work of their hands.
09:31 Now that's where some people howl in protest.
09:33 They say, You've got to be kidding!
09:35 We're going to have to work there?
09:37 Yes, we'll work, alright, but you'll just love it.
09:40 The sort of work you'll enjoy; the sort of work that Adam and
09:43 Eve had in that perfect world that God made for them.
09:47 And it says, for they shall be the descendents of the blessed
09:51 of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
09:54 You know, mothers have had some sad experiences;
09:58 a little baby torn from their arms by death.
10:01 Now those are the ones that will be restored; their offspring
10:04 with them.
10:05 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together;
10:08 the lion shall eat straw like the ox: and dust shall be
10:12 the serpent's food.
10:13 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain,
10:16 says the Lord.
10:17 There won't be any wild beasts of prey there.
10:20 Everything will live at peace one with another.
10:23 In fact it says in chapter 11 verse 6, The wolf also shall
10:27 grow with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with
10:30 the young goat;...
10:31 You know if they do that now there's usually only one left
10:34 after a little while.
10:35 ...the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
10:38 and a little child shall lead them.
10:40 Isn't that a beautiful picture?
10:41 I just love that!
10:44 So the future immortal life is not in a place of
10:49 disembodied spirits.
10:50 It's in a very real place.
10:52 And there will be very real people there.
10:55 I want to read to you what it says in Isaiah 35:4
11:00 behold, your God will come; he will come and save you.
11:05 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the
11:10 deaf shall be unstopped.
11:11 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the
11:16 dumb sing:...
11:17 That's going to bring a lot of encouragement to people
11:19 who have disabilities. Isn't it?
11:20 Everything is going to be perfect there, you see.
11:23 There won't be any disabilities; no problems.
11:25 It will be a perfect new world.
11:27 And I like this verse in Revelation 21:1 where it says,
11:31 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:...
11:34 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the
11:38 tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,...
11:42 God himself is going to be here in person!
11:46 No more invisible!
11:47 You will see God.
11:49 Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
11:54 It goes on to say, And God will wipe away every tear
11:57 from their eyes;...
11:59 Why would people be crying in this new earth?
12:01 Well, I'll tell you.
12:02 When the Lord comes and we enter into that wonderful life
12:07 eternal, you're going to look around and you'll find somebody
12:10 missing, and that will bring tears to your eyes.
12:13 But God is going to wipe away those tears, and wipe away the
12:17 memory, the sad memory of those that are lost.
12:19 And God will wipe away all tears; there shall be no more
12:23 death, no cemeteries there, nor sorrow, nor crying,...
12:28 there shall be no more pain: (No hospitals, no suffering;
12:32 a land without any problems) ... for the former things have
12:36 passed away.
12:37 And finally in Revelation 22 it says, He showed me a pure
12:41 river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the
12:46 throne of God and of the Lamb.
12:47 In the middle of its street, on either side of the river,
12:50 was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits,
12:53 each tree yielding its fruit every month:...
12:56 We're going to eat fruit, you see.
12:57 You know, I like fruit.
12:58 I think one of the fruits that is going to be there are mangos.
13:00 I love mangos.
13:01 But just whatever fruit you like; it's going to be there.
13:04 And we will live there; we'll eat there; we will find it a
13:09 very real place.
13:10 But there is an interesting question: will we know
13:15 one another there?
13:18 We are at Emmaus.
13:20 This is the church that commemorates the incident that
13:23 occurred at this place.
13:24 Inside this church are some beautiful lead-like windows
13:28 that tell the story of what happened here at Emmaus.
13:31 On the day of the resurrection, in the afternoon,
13:35 two of the disciples were returning from Jerusalem
13:38 to the village of Emmaus.
13:40 They were very disappointed.
13:43 Their hopes had been crushed by the crucifixion.
13:45 They couldn't understand it.
13:46 And as they walked along they talked in disconsolate terms
13:51 of their disappointment.
13:52 But as they walked they were joined by a stranger whom at
13:56 first they did not recognize.
13:57 He asked them what they were talking about, and they told Him
14:02 about the crucifixion and how they were disappointed.
14:05 And then He explained to them from the Bible how the Christ,
14:09 the messiah, must needs suffer like this.
14:12 Their hearts burned within them.
14:15 When they came to Emmaus they invited Him in to have supper
14:19 with them, and so He went in.
14:21 They put the bread on the table, and then the stranger reached
14:25 out His hands and blessed that bread.
14:28 And there was something about the way He did it
14:31 that rang a bell.
14:33 They recognized that it was the risen Lord.
14:35 And as soon as He disappeared from their sight they hurried
14:40 back to Jerusalem to tell the wonderful news that they had
14:43 seen the Christ who was crucified and had now
14:46 risen from the dead.
14:48 He'd already appeared to the disciples.
14:51 And while they were talking there
14:53 Jesus Himself stood among them.
14:55 They could hardly believe it.
14:56 They thought it must be a spirit.
14:58 But in Luke 24:39 it says, Behold my hands and my feet,
15:04 that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit does not
15:10 have flesh and bones, as you see I have.
15:13 He was just not a risen spirit; He was a risen person;
15:16 in a risen body; a real person!
15:19 And that's the way it is in the resurrection.
15:21 We will be real people; not just unidentifiable spirits,
15:25 but real people who will know each other.
15:28 A similar thought is expressed at the time of the resurrection
15:32 when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb.
15:36 She expected to just come and anoint the body of Jesus.
15:42 But instead of that a voice spoke to her.
15:46 She thought it was the gardener.
15:48 Through her tear dimmed eyes she did not recognize Him.
15:51 But then He spoke one word, Mary, and there was something
15:56 about that tone of voice that she recognized,
15:58 and she acknowledged Him as her Lord.
16:01 She knew Him by His voice.
16:03 And so it is in the life to come.
16:05 We're going to know each other by our mannerisms;
16:08 by our voices; by our appearances.
16:11 We'll be real people!
16:12 Won't that be wonderful?
16:15 A real life to come!
16:17 I want to be there, don't you?
16:21 How can we be sure that Jesus Christ is all that He claimed
16:25 to be?
16:26 In our next program here in Israel, we'll follow in the
16:30 footsteps of Jesus.
16:31 And as we go around we'll show you some very real evidence
16:35 on which to build your faith in Christ.
16:37 The program is called Israel's Promised Messiah.