Baptism and Citizenship
The traditional explanation for Jesus’ insistence that John should baptize him, is that “Jesus was setting an example of what his followers should do.”
In Passport Please, Jesus explains to John the Baptist that he, Jesus, must be baptized, or there will be dire consequences between the earth and the Kingdom of Heaven.
This video is my take on why the traditional explanation just doesn’t hold water.
Simple arithmetic applied to the book of Genesis tells us that Abraham was born 293 years after Noah’s flood. Archeologists agree that Abraham lived around 2000 BC, give or take 100 years. That dates the flood at 2293 BC, give or take, based on the Bible. Some may ask, is there any reliable data about the great flood that does not depend on the Bible?
How about data from NOAA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, our climate and weather experts? On the NOAA website, we learn that scientists drilled deep into Peru’s Huascaran glacier and extracted samples of ice. The deeper they drilled, the older the ice. By melting each sample and analyzing the water, scientists got a picture of what was in the earth’s atmosphere at the time each sample was frozen into ice.
A graph was then constructed from the results, giving a record of what was in the earth’s atmosphere, for the past 20,000 years. The left side of the graph starts in 1950 AD and goes backwards in time, BP (Before Present) as you move to the right.
We see something remarkable happened around 2293 BC (remember that date?) We see the largest spike of atmospheric dust in over 15,000 years, a global “dust bowl,” which appeared then disappeared as an immediate, cataclysmic event. But what does that have to do with Noah's flood? Keep reading…
If, as it says in Genesis 7, all the forests, fields and plants on the planet were deep underwater for a year or more, then when the earth dried out, there would be no vegetation anywhere with roots to hold soil from blowing away in the wind. One would expect global “dust bowl” conditions of “Biblical proportions.” We know that seeds can survive such conditions, and within a few decades, plant roots would again grip the soil and the dust would subside.
Thanks to the US government for giving scientific data that agrees with what the Bible tells us about Noah’s flood! You can see the original graph at the NOAA website:
For more on the “how” of the flood, see “The Bible, Genesis and Geology” an excellent book by Gaines Johnson.
For the “why” of the flood, read Passport Please Second Edition by Pete Nielsen. www.passport-please.com You've never heard the Bible told like this before!
NEWS REPORT: The government is fighting off calls to reverse its long-standing policy of detaining criminals who try to enter the country. Activists say the policy often bars entry to “otherwise good people,” for minor infractions.
Refusing to budge, a government spokesperson explained, “Every detainee will have the chance to state their case at an immigration hearing. However, we are disappointed they did not take advantage of the process for clearing their criminal records while still in their home country.”
At this point, if someone said…
- the government is that of the Kingdom of Heaven
- the border is between earth and Heaven
- the criminals are humans who break any Kingdom laws
- the policy of stopping criminals at the border prohibits anyone under condemnation of sin from entering the Kingdom of Heaven
- the immigration hearing is the great white throne judgment, and
- the process is claiming the pardon made available by Jesus, who paid the penalty for their violations of Kingdom law
…we start to get a picture of what the Bible says about crossing the border into Heaven.
A different way to tell the story? The Bible is clear on how one can gain entry into Heaven, when their time comes. Despite this, for billions of intelligent people in the 21st century, the requirements for entry into Heaven somehow remain a mystery.
Proclaiming the Bible, exactly as written, is undeniably powerful, though many are suspicious of religion, and of messages that use religious terminology. How might we tell the story of the kingdom mission to save the world, without being perceived as preachy?
Stories and drama? Jesus told stories beginning with, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” Ezekiel performed street drama [Ezek 4], and the prophet Agabus acted out Paul’s future in front of the believers [Acts 21]. Another story is Passport Please. It tells the big picture of the Bible without the using the words God, angels, sin, salvation, worship, etc. It tells the Bible story in geopolitical terms, following the example of scripture:
- Jesus identified himself to Pilate as a foreign Head of State (John 18:36-37)
- Paul said he was a citizen and an Ambassador of the Kingdom (Phil 3:20, 2 Cor 5:20)
- Jesus is the judge who decides the fate of the detainees (John 5:22, Rev 20:11-12)
- There will be a legal proceeding where humans will judge angels (1 Cor 6:3)
However you do it, today is a good day to talk with someone about what it takes to cross the border into the Kingdom.
Earlier this year, I spoke about Passport Please to an out-of-state youth group. The morning of the event, I opened my hotel room door and saw this photo on the front page of USA Today. It was a story about the US leaflet-dropping campaign in Afghanistan.
It is common practice in warfare to give “fair warning” to the local population about impending attacks in their homeland. The warning usually includes a clear description of who the enemy is, the reason behind the attacks, and how civilians can avoid danger.
Apparently, the Kingdom of Heaven agrees that the people of earth deserve fair warning before the invasion. Billions of copies of a “kingdom warning leaflet” —the Bible— have covered the earth in over a thousand languages. It is by far the most widely distributed, widely translated book on the planet.
The Bible warns readers of a devastating invasion of the earth to be launched by the Kingdom of Heaven (Revelation 6-22). It identifies clearly who the enemy is (Satan, 1 Peter 5:8), the reason behind the impending attack (Satan has taken control of the earth, 1 John 5:19), and how people can avoid danger (Declare allegiance to Jesus and believe that death is not the end, Romans 10:9). Of course, not wanting to tip their hand, the leaflet is intentionally vague on exactly when the invasion will be launched (no one knows the day or hour, Matthew 25:13). Of course, as with any such leaflet, each person will decide for themselves whether or not to take the warning seriously.
With the issuance of a postage stamp in 1952, the US government commemorated the fact that this Kingdom leaflet campaign has been an ongoing operation for over 500 years. I’d say that’s fair warning.
Read more about Kingdom plans for the earth and it’s people in Passport Please, the big-picture of the Bible. www.passport-please.com You have never heard the Bible told like this before.
If you are interested in having the author speak at your group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since 2007 when I pushed the “send” button to publish Passport Please, I’ve kept a personal copy to mark-up with new insights on the story. Sometimes while reading the Bible, I’ve jotted a note and said, “I wish I’d put that in the book.”
Fast forward five years. Those notes have been incorporated into the story. I pushed the “send” button again and Passport Please Second Edition is now available through this website.
A number of new plot elements have been added to the story. Every one is backed up with endnote references from the Bible. Here are just a few…
- That infamous forbidden fruit tree in the Garden of Eden—what challenge did former General Lucifer throw down before it was planted?
- Everyone in the world except Noah’s family drowned in the flood, but hundreds of years later, giant descendants of the pre-flood Nephilim were found living in the Promised Land (Numbers 13). How in the world did they get there?
- Why did Jesus give cryptic responses to the two men (Pilate and Caiaphas) who had the authority to set him free?
These and other new plot elements are all right out of the Bible, with references for each in the back of the book.
Maybe you’re not very religious—no problem—neither is Passport Please. Even though this novel is taken 100% from the Bible, you won’t find any of the following words in this story (except in the endnotes): God, Lord, Satan, demons, angels, commandment, sin, repentance, sacrifice, salvation, redemption, baptism, confession, worship, forgiveness, atonement, sanctification, justification, priest or church.
There is no stained glass in this story. This Second Edition is still a fast-moving, geo-political adventure of countries in conflict.
I hope you enjoy it. If you do, tell someone about it. Thanks!
The Bible is full of statements that encourage us to view Heaven as if it were another country.
Countries have: the Bible says:
Citizens Our citizenship is in Heaven! Philippians 3:20
Diplomats We are Christ’s Ambassadors Corinthians 5:20
Head of State You are right that I (Jesus) am a king John 18:37
Armed Forces The armies of heaven followed Revelation 19:19
Secure Borders No one can cross from there to us Luke 16:26
System of Taxation Bring your full tithe into the storehouse Malachi 3:10
Advanced weapons Our weapons have divine power 2 Corinthians 4:10
Every country has their own rules about who is allowed in. They publish those rules to help avoid embarrassing situations at the border. The Kingdom of Heaven is also pretty specific on their entry requirements. Since Johan Gutenburg produced the first mechanically printed Bibles over five hundred years ago, Kingdom immigration policies have been available globally in printed form, and they are now online.
Most people say they’d like to go to Heaven when they die, but many are unclear on Heaven's immigration policies. Specifically, they are fuzzy (but hopeful) on whether or not they will be allowed in.
Imagine a man from another country stepping off the plane in New York, and coming face-to-face with the passport control officer:
TRAVELER: America! It’s hard to believe I’m really here. What do I have to do to enter the country?
OFFICER: May I see your passport, please?
TRAVELER: Where can I get one of those, officer?
OFFICER: Didn’t you look at the immigration handbook? They are available free in your country, in print and online.
TRAVELER: (smiling) I figured you could just tell me when I got here—and here I am!
OFFICER: I see. (waving for a guard to join them) This man will escort you to a special waiting area. NEXT PLEASE!
The gates of heaven will probably be quite different than passport control at JFK, but based on the Bible, I expect there will be at least a few similarities. For anyone interested in what the Bible says about getting through passport control into the Kingdom of Heaven, I invite you to read Passport Please, Second Edition. Nobody wants to find themselves in an embarrassing situation at that border.