No one likes to be wrong. But because opinions, ignorance and stupidity exist, it turns out someone has to be wrong sometimes. And that someone is usually me. Never is this more evident than during the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. The official start of the tournament is today and, like most of you, I’ve done my best at filling out a bracket.
A lot of you filling out brackets like to use the ‘chalk’ strategy. That’s probably the best move if you’re trying to win. My strategy, however, is a little more nuanced. I like to call it ‘reverse chalk’. Unlike ‘chalk’, where you pick all the better seeds to win, ‘reverse chalk’ is all about the underdog. Will I have a perfect bracket? Probably not. Could I be the only person on the planet on Friday to be able to claim that I picked every single upset in the first round? You betcha’. And that’s what makes this strategy all worth it. Go Catamounts!
Just like how I think my bracket could win, even though it’s about to be quickly proven it won’t, there is stuff in the Bible it seems everyone believes that, as it turns out, is just not true.
#3: God changed Saul’s name to Paul after his conversion.
This is one of those things you learn as a kid in Sunday School. Saul was the bad guy who killed Christians. Paul was the good guy who became a Christian. You just accepted it and thought nothing of it. That is until you actually read it for yourself.
Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus happened early in Acts 9 so you would think from that point on he would be referred to as Paul. But he was still called Saul for the rest of chapter 9. And chapter 11. And 12. It’s not until Acts 13.9 that we discover his name change.
“But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him…”
Turns out, he was always called Paul. It was his Roman name. Saul was his Jewish name. He probably referred to himself more as Paul so he could relate better with the Gentiles, seeing as that was who God called him to share the Gospel with. Plus, Saul sounds like a hippie name. He did wear sandals, however.
Not sure if he wore tie dye
#2: The Mark of the Beast
You really don’t have to know the Bible all that well to know this number. It’s in plenty of horror movies and secular books and who knows what else. The number I’m referring to is, of course, 666. And it’s the number that will be on all the heathens’ foreheads when the Mayans come back in their spaceships to kill all the zombie dinosaurs to save Princess Peach…or something like that. Revelation is hard to understand. But the Bible makes it pretty clear what this number is…if you have the wisdom.
This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. -Rev. 13. 18
We can gather 3 things about this verse. 1) This number is not the number of a beast but the number of a specific man, or specific group of men. 2) Only a certain few people could understand this verse. 3) Those certain few could calculate this symbolic number to identify the specific man or group of men.
This number has nothing to do with the future Anti-Christ(s). Some members of the original audience were able to decipher the code so this man was obviously their contemporary, not ours. So if you were looking forward to seeing people with this tattooed on their bodies, don’t worry. I know a guy.
He may charge for an arm and a leg, though…get it?
#1: Lukewarm Christians at Laodicea
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” -Rev. 3.14-16
Oh, those crazy Laodiceans. They weren’t good but they weren’t all that bad either. They were just apathetic. And there’s nothing God hates worse than an apathetic Christian. But there’s one sentence that doesn’t make sense to me. Why would God say, “I wish you were either hot or cold”? Why would God want a Christian to be cold? I guess this is where context comes in.
Laodicea was an okay little town ( it didn’t have an Outback or anything) that lay between two other towns: Colosse and Hierapolis. There was a water system that flowed between these three towns. Colosse was known for its fresh, cool drinking water. Hierapolis was famous for its warm, medicinal water. Guess what Laodicea was known for?
Nope, not cheese. Good for nothing lukewarm water. Water that you had to spit out if consumed.
Well this brings a whole new meaning to the table then. God didn’t want them to be either good or bad, he wanted them to be either good like the cool waters of Colosse or good like the warm waters of Hierapolis. Not useless like their lukewarm water or my NCAA Tournament bracket.