I appreciated the article "Professor Epstein Winds Up Bible Lecture Series." The library has profited the community. Our Bible-censoring culture needs his comment. People need to be familiar with the Bible in order to understand our culture. I was also glad to hear Dr. Epstein's comment about those who tend to soften the teaching of Jesus. We should always try to understand what a writer is saying rather than pretend the writer agrees with us.
Dr. Epstein said that he was more concerned with what Jesus said than the question of who He was. He implied that they crucified Jesus for what He taught. In fact, they crucified Him for who He claimed to be. John 10:33 says, "...for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." When Pilate crucified Him, he wrote the charge above the cross. It read, "Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19).
Dr. Epstein is free to state his skepticism about the book of Revelation. He was wrong in stating that the book "has no hope." God gives no hope to a God-rejecting world that He will judge. On the other hand, He is going to end the world, as we know it, and make a new world. Many will turn to God in the midst of judgment so hope is still available for all. They go on to an eternal state in a new heaven and a new earth described in chapter 21 and 22. The final note of hope invites any and all to come to Him now, before the judgment. Revelation 22:17 says, "...let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." The final two verses give the hope of Jesus' promise that He is coming again and offers grace to all. I confess that God gives no hope to those who refuse His offer. However, for those who repent from going their own way and put their trust in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, there is eternal hope.
Everyone may choose to believe what he or she will. Nevertheless, the Bible offers solid instruction in living, and on how to live forever. Jesus said "... unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). He also said, "...you are unwilling to come to Me that you might have life" (John 5:40). Jesus further said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). The angels voiced that hope at His birth, when they said, "for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). I end with another great verse of hope. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Dr. John Michael Thomas
Pastor of The Bible Church of Port Washington