Looking for answers. The Da Vinci Code. Acts 8:24

 

1. I suppose the conversation with the Ethiopian could have gone very differently.

    Tell me.. said the Ethiopian as he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.. who is the prophet talking about .. is it himself or is it someone else?

    AND Philip said…

    That’s interesting.. I’ve never come across that part of the scriptures before. Who is it.. Isaiah you say… Let me have look at it. Sorry mate… I haven’t a clue what the passage is going on about. Can you give me a lift to Gaza?

 

    For the man in the chariot to discover the truth…

    he needed to meet someone who knew the truth.

 

2. Or maybe the conversation could have gone something like this…

    “Tell me…” said the Ethiopian as he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.. “Who is the prophet talking about .. is it himself or is it someone else?

    And Philip replied

    Well the words that everyone thinks were spoken by the prophet Isaiah were actually written by a Babylonian King who was a follower of the cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis. It’s lucky you met me…

 

    If the man in the chariot was looking for answers .. it is possible that he could have asked his question and been given a wrong answer isn’t it? 

 

    For the man in the chariot to discover the truth…

    he needed to meet someone who knew the truth.

 

    Let’s think about something else for a moment…

 

1. Perhaps you know that long ago in ancient Egypt, among the many gods and goddesses that were worshipped… there was a cult who worshipped the goddess Isis.   Here is a representation of this goddess.

   

    Devotees of this cult have persisted through the centuries, although they have often needed to hide their allegiance to Isis. So great was the conspiracy of the mainstream faiths against them, that the name of the followers of this cult was given to a most unpleasant human disease. The skin condition that we know now as Psoriasis.

   

    You may not be aware that the word PSORIASIS is actually a combination of characters from the western Latin alphabet and ancient akkadian symbols that were used by Egyptian priest in addition to the hieroglyphs, the picture writing, that we are all so familiar with.  

    This word in it’s original form

    PSOR – ISIS  means…

    “those who have been touched by the goddess.”

    You see the identification of this unpleasant and highly visible skin condition with the followers of the  ISIS cult was a way in which the leaders of mainstream religions tried to dissuade others from joining them.

 

    Nevertheless the followers of Isis always made sure that the sacred secrets of their cult were passed on from one generation to another. Still today.. everywhere for those who have eyes to see… there is evidence that the followers of Isis are active and even growing in number…

 

    ISIS is the name given to the BOB DYLAN fan magazine. Followers of ISIS have infiltrated education at every level… organising education trips, institute of research at Oxford. In the media.. in health and care… the ISIS symbol is used to challenge mainstream religions and to let them know that the followers of ISIS will never be silenced. 

 

    You do know don’t you that I’m making all this up?!!!   (i.e. the section in RED Times font)

 

    Well not quite all. There is some fact mixed in with a whole lot of fiction. But basically what I have just said is rubbish.

 

    And if you have read this book ( along with 40 million others) (Da Vinci code) you will see that the writer of this book  talks about Isis and made up a connection between the worship of goddess Isis and the painting of the portrait that we know as the Mona Lisa. It’ s a story – that’s all.

 

2. As the build up to the release of the Da Vinci Code film continues, it is perhaps important to be reminded that it is all “pretend.”  The Da Vinci Code is a story. It’s made up. There are no new historical truths revealed in the book that can undermine your faith. It is possible though that the writing of fiction as if it were fact could confuse people.

   

    Just as I made up something about the followers of Isis, so Dan Brown.. in a much more skilful and accomplished way... made up a story about Mary Magdalene who was married to Jesus and who bore his child and whose followers have guarded this secret ever since. It’s a story.

    The trouble is that the author makes up historical statements... just like I did.

 

    For instance at one point one of the characters says that it was not until a special council of the church was held in the fourth century AD that people decided that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead and was the Son of God.

 

    “My dear,” Teabing declared, “until that  moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man  nonetheless. A mortal.”

    “Not the Son of God?”

    “Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.”

    “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?” “A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added..

 

    There was a Council of Nicea in 325 AD. But what the author has written is not history… it is make-believe.

    From the very earliest times Jesus was recognised to be the Son of God. We have written evidence documents from within twenty years of the day of the resurrection that shows that the followers of Jesus, the first disciples, and apostles who died martyrs deaths for the sake of Jesus… never regarded him as just a prophet, another guru, another teacher.

    They knew that he was God come to be with us.

    You will not find a scholar or a historian anywhere who will say that the first followers of Jesus just thought he was a prophet. It’s rubbish to say that they did. My story about Bob Dylan being a secret devotee of the cult of the goddess Isis is much more believable.

3. It would take a long time to go through the Da Vinci code and point out all the “made-up” historical statements that there are in it. Lots of the statements have no connection at all with fact… like the idea that Walt Disney was part of the worldwide conspiracy to communicate the secret truths of the followers of Mary Magdalene. If you want to find out more about the factual errors and made up history in the book… there is stuff in the foyer today.

 

4. The problem is... what if people, read this book and don’t know how to distinguish truth from fiction.

 

    For the man in the chariot to discover the truth…

    he needed to meet someone who knew the truth.

    That’s where we come in isn’t it ?

 

 

5. Philip was guided by the Holy Spirit to talk to someone who was wanting to understand what the bible says.

 

    Don’t you think the Holy Sprit might be wanting to prompt Christians today to be ready to speak to people who – like the man in the chariot – now have questions to ask.

 

    Here is an advert that the churches in Australia have produced… it is being aired on their TV stations at the moment.

 

    Show video.

 

    I liked the humour in that clip.

    We don’t have to be afraid of questions that people might ask. The Christian faith is rooted in historical truth. There is evidence for who Jesus is, evidence for his life, evidence for his death, evidence for his resurrection. There is historical evidence to show that the gospels we read today are the same as what was written originally. There is historical evidence about the development of the early church, evidence about the beliefs of the early church.

 

    How will our conversations go?

    If somebody says - is it true that the first followers of Jesus didn’t think that he was the Son of God?

    Will we say…

    Oh.. that’s a new one on me.

    Or will you say nothing and try to change the conversation as quickly as possible.

    Or will you be able to say… “that’s interesting. Would you like to know why I believe that there is evidence that Jesus himself claimed to be God and his first followers recognised that he was much more than just a teacher or prophet.”

   

    The bible says…  

   ….you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

    But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way

    1 Peter 3:15-16

 

    Will you be able to give a reason for your belief?

 

    What is written in the Da Vinci Code is not historical fact... but historical fiction.

    It may mislead some people… but it is also likely to prompt many people to ask questions.

 

    Can you tell people why we can be confident that the Gospels we read today were written within less that 70 years of the ministry of Jesus.

   

    Could you tell them, for instance, that if they wanted to see a fragment of the gospel of John that is old enough to have been read by his grandchildren.. can go to the John Rylands library in Manchester and see it.

    It is just historically absurd to say that not until 325 AD did the followers of Jesus honour him as  the Son of God.

 

 

    I don’t think we should be angry or upset about this book. I don’t think that we should be outside cinemas protesting and saying we are offended by it.

 

    We should be asking God to help us to make the most of the opportunity to talk about our faith in Jesus to friends and neighbours  and colleagues at work who may see this film.

 

 

    For the man in the chariot to discover the truth…

    he needed to meet someone who knew the truth

… and who was ready and willing to speak to him.

 

 

    For the men and women of this nation to discover the truth about Jesus… they need to meet with people who know that truth and are ready to communicate that truth.

 

 

 

    Maybe we should have an evening where we revise some of the stuff that many of you have already done with me on the Alpha course… the historical evidence for Jesus and the reliability of the bible. Maybe we need to tackle point by point a few of the issues raised in this book. Let me know what you think.

 

    May God make us effective in speaking the truth to the people he sends to meet us.