Did Jesus come to our Earth or some other Planet?

I was involved in early evangelism of three small and isolated tribes in the interior of Papua New Guinea. They lived three (or more) exhausting days walk over a rugged mountain range to the south. This was done with the help of Christians from the Yuna tribe.

Each day the people gathered in a house and I would tell Bible stories through an interpreter. The first few days the people listened politely but with little response. This day I related the story of the woman at the well. I explained arid climates (something they knew nothing about) and what a well is (their climate includes almost daily downpours. Never in their lives have they felt a shortage of water). When I finished the story of John 4, lively debate erupted in their languages and I waited in wonder until there was a pause. I asked the interpreter what was going on. He said something along these lines:

“We are of two different opinions and we don’t know what to think. Our question is, did Jesus come to our planet or did he go to the moon or somewhere else?”

Confused, I asked for clarification. He said, “Where Jesus lived, you tell us they had to dig in the ground to get water, that doesn’t sound like our earth, so it must be somewhere else. Perhaps one of the lights we see in the sky.”

So, the next hour was spent with me trying to convince them that indeed Jesus came to our world to save all of us. I explained that Israel was in a distant part of our world, and people can travel there by airplane. This was interpreted into their languages and they were not impressed. I then said I have seen pictures of Israel and I know people who travelled there and saw it with their own eyes. More discussion. Still not convinced. I prayed (silently) asking the Lord for help, then He answered.

I remembered an Israeli classmate from Bible School, Naphtali, who was actually from Bethlehem. As this was relayed to the people, I witnessed dramatic change in the room. When the discussion slowed the interpreter said, “Now we know that Jesus really did come to our earth to save us.” Why? “Because we know you, and you personally know someone from Jesus’ clan. So, he could not have gone to another planet, he had to have come here.”

This was a major breakthrough. If this question was left unanswered, months or years of teaching and preaching would be met with skepticism and doubt. PTL! So many cultures around the world are Relationship focused, Relationship oriented. Logical arguments and reasoning do not go far on their own. How important it is to KNOW PEOPLE.

With an Alert Mind

“Devote yourselves to prayer, with an alert mind and thankful heart.” Col. 4:2.

I have been praying for 60 years. I am told that the Lord already knows what I will pray for, and He already knows what He will do about it. This “knowledge” of God’s knowledge HINDERS my prayer life. Worship and praise and thanksgiving still make sense, but prayer requests? I honestly cannot get my head around asking an all-knowing Being for something that he already knows I will ask for, and has already decided what he will do in response.

In any other situation, I would call this a “farce!”

I DON’T GET IT!      I HONESTLY DON’T GET IT!

I am writing this essay today [Dec. 4,5,6,7,8,9, 2020] in an honest attempt to figure “it” out.

I am sorting through my theological brain. Sorting through the Scriptures that have led my pursuits for decades. The slogans I have come up with. The preaching and writing I have presented to others. I am shaking it all up like a penny jar and ready [I hope] to dump it out for the whole world to see.

Laugh if you will. Argue if you want. But at least give it some thought and get back to me.

First, lets take note of three things:

1. Human beings severely overestimate our ability to comprehend things beyond our reach. The eternal, infinite, holy BEING exists and behaves 1000 levels above our paygrade. Let’s get this into our thick skulls.

Evidence:

  • “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isa. 55:9. (All quotations from NLT).
  • “God … is able … to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Eph. 3:20.

2. From cover to cover, the Bible portrays the eternal, infinite, holy BEING as genuinely interacting with his human creatures and responding to them. Never lose sight of this!

Evidence:

  • Gen. 18:17-33 – Abraham barters with God.
  • Exo. 33:12-23 – Moses bargains with God.
  • Lev. 26:3-46 – God lets his people determine much of their future.
  • Jer. 26:1-19 – God allows people to determine His response.
  • Mat. 7:6-11 – God’s children told to ask.
  • Acts 10:30-33 – An army officer told how to obtain the Lord’s blessing.
  • Acts 28:7-9; Jam. 5:14-15 – Prayers bring about healing.

Therefore, as a professor of mine stressed, the Bible shows that “God chooses to move through time with us.” (David Needham).  If God sets this parameter, us creature-lings should act accordingly. Don’t bring the doctrines of God’s omniscience and predestination into our prayer lives!

3. The eternal, infinite, holy BEING admits that he keeps secrets from us.

Evidence:

  • “The Lord has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them.” Deut. 29:29.
  • “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.” Isa. 45:15.

So then, where does this lead us?

Let’s stop pretending to be a colony of ants able to debate the merits of astrophysics! God’s eternal nature, God’s omniscience, is totally beyond our comprehension!

Here are 5 suggestions.

1. Learn to stay in our lane and Let God alone be God – the eternal, infinite, holy BEING!

  • He is eternal in nature and orientation, who chooses to invade our time-based life and world.
  • Life for us is sequential and spatial. One event follows after others, which will then be followed by more and more.
  • Therefore, pray in the “now” for changes and developments we desire to see in the future.

2. Let God have the right to reveal what He chooses to reveal when He chooses to reveal it.

  • Dive into, and hang on to, a relationship of trust, over just a knowledge-based trust. John 13:7.
  • We are alerted to spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18; 1 Thes. 5:8), but note that the armor is defensive, protective. We are told to “stand firm”, not to “march and attack.”  
  • “But we worship at your throne – eternal, high and glorious!” Jer. 17:12.

3. Live forever in the ever-developing “now”, not in some yet to be experienced future.

  • What did Jesus do at the funeral of a corpse he was about to resurrect? “Then Jesus wept.” John 11:35.
  • “That is why the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today when you hear his voice…’” Heb. 3:7.
  • “You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that…” Heb. 3:13.

4. Pray for others 20 times more than you pray for yourself.

  • “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Eph. 6:18.
  •  “I pray for you constantly.” Eph. 1:16. “We always pray for you.” Col. 1:3. “So we keep on praying for you.” 2 Thes. 1:11.
  • The love God has for you, he has equally towards everyone in your life. Rom. 5:8.

5. Let God embrace you. Let Him reassure you. He wants you to know, wants you to FEEL His solid heart-love for you.

  • David was caught in an absolutely horrible situation when he prayed and wrote Psalm 52. But, within that horror he could honestly say, “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.” Psa. 52:8. This is genuine relationship. It exceeds, overcomes, and outlasts any and all circumstances.
  • Live and breathe Psalm 23.

This article is incomplete. Input from you and others is most welcome. I myself have only begun this journey of learning to pray with integrity. May God bless us. 

Reggie Howard.