In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a team of explorers set out from England to do something that no one before had accomplished—cross Antarctica from one side to the other across the South Pole. Disaster struck when the team’s ship, Endurance, became entrapped in ice and eventually sank after her hull was crushed. Marooned on nearby Elephant Island, there seemed little hope for their survival.
In 1985, for the first time in more than fifty years, Congress authorized the issue of official US government gold coins. Beginning in 1986 these new coins came on the market. Each of these American Eagles, as they are known, is guaranteed by the US Mint to contain the stated amount of pure 22 karat gold. They come in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1-ounce sizes, and buyers from around the world trust these coins because they trust the promises of the United States government that the coins are what they claim to be.
George Washington Carver became one of the most honored and respected scientists of his generation by focusing on the very simple peanut. Eventually he would discover some three hundred uses for this most basic and seemingly insignificant common food. Carver attributed all of his scientific discoveries to God.
In the sixteenth century, there was a protestant reformer in England by the name of Hugh Latimer. He was known as a great preacher of his day and as a result he had many opportunities to speak. Once he found that he was to preach before the King Henry VIII of England. As he thought about his great responsibility to bring a message before the king he realized that the message that God laid on his heart was not the message that the king would want to hear.
Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” That may be a common response to truth, but it places those who respond thusly on the road to tragedy and destruction. There is no way to love and follow God without loving and following truth. The two cannot be separated.
“We understand, of course, that there are times the Bible uses figurative language. For example, Jesus is called the Lamb of God 28 times in the book of Revelation. This does not mean that He is a literal lamb. The term lamb, in reference to Christ, is intended to give us a symbolic picture of Christ as our atoning sacrifice. But the symbolic use of lamb does not eliminate the literal truth of Christ as our atoning sacrifice.”
Likewise, the use of language that is sometimes figurative in relation to the end times does not rob it of its literal meaning.
“Perhaps the most remarkable movement in philosophic thought that has occurred in any age was the rise and general acceptance by scientific circles of the evolutionary theory as propounded by Darwin, Huxley and Spencer. It was remarkable that men of science, whose peculiar boast it is that they deal only with established facts, should have so readily departed from this rule and accepted a system based upon hypothesis only, and which was, and is still after the lapse of forty years, without a single known fact to support it.
Once the devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort.
“A piece of the truth,” the devil replied.
“Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort.
“No,” said the devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
Truth taken out of context and twisted is the basis for many false religions.
There is a tale told of the great English actor, Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: “I wish you would explain to me something.”
“Well, what is it? I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher.”
“What is the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.”