This past Halloween, my wife and I had the privilege to ride the Goodyear Blimp out of Carson. Fortunately, my prayers were answered and it was a nice, clear Saturday morning with gentle winds. Assisted by the crew, we climbed up the steps and boarded The Spirit of Innovation’s gondola, a tiny metal passenger and cockpit area about 6 feet wide and 15 feet long.
We were instructed to put on headphones to communicate with each other above the roar of the blimp’s twin propeller engines. I noticed that there weren’t any seatbelts and no bathroom. For some reason, I also noticed that there were no parachutes either. We were surrounded by windows, some of which were open.
I don’t mind saying that to me, takeoff in a blimp was a little unnerving. I thought the takeoff would be more like a balloon ride, gently rising from the ground to our eventual altitude. The reality is a bit more dramatic. Using a wooden “elevator wheel” to the right of the pilot’s seat, our pilot pointed the airship up and off we went.
“Where do you want to go?” the pilot asked. “Can we fly over the ocean?” I asked (seemed safer). “You bet!” he replied and we headed west towards Long Beach. Using foot pedals to operate the rudder, the pilot steered the blimp like a boat crossing a river with a strong current. “These aircraft are the ships of the skies,” he said. “They perform a lot like ships or even submarines. The wind is the equivalent of ocean currents.”
Once we were up to our cruising altitude, I began to relax (a little). Blimpin’ was actually more pleasant than air ballooning. The roar of the engines made it more like flying in a small airplane, just slower. I began to reflect on the many times I looked up at the Goodyear Blimp flying over Dodger Stadium or the Rose Parade.
Actually, it was an illustration using the Goodyear Blimp that helped me understand the eternal nature of God. At every funeral I have attended, I have heard people comfort one another by saying, “He (or she) is in Heaven now.” Theologians will tell you that Heaven is an eternal timeless zone, or dimension, where everything is now.
As mere mortals, living in a time-frame, we have tremendous difficulty understanding the resurrection of the dead. When does it happen and so forth? I believe, that the minute my soul and spirit leaves this physical body, I will enter into the eternal timeless zone where everything is now.
The Bible says, “And that which has been is now, and that which shall be has already been” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). Even Dr. Albert Einstein, who formulated the famous Theory of Relativity in 1905, said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Judd Matsunaga rides aboard the Goodyear Blimp.
It was the insight of Dr. Einstein, in considering the nature of our physical universe, says that we live in more than just three dimensions, and that time itself is a fourth physical dimension. This insight led to his famous General Theory of Relativity — and to the discovery that time itself is also part of our physical reality.
“Fourth Dimension? Say Judd, what are you talking about?” All right, let’s go to Pasadena on New Year’s Day. We’re sitting on our favorite bleacher at the corner of Colorado and Orange Grove, just below Bob Eubank’s and Stephanie Edward’s Channel 5 television booth.
The City of Torrance float is coming down the street. It’s got an American flag and an Olympic torch. The front says, “Louis Zamperini — A Race Well Run.” As the float goes by, the crowd “oohs” and “ahhs.” And as the float goes by and moves down the street, here comes the Dole Packaged Foods float.
You might remember that the Dole float was titled the “Rhythm of Hawai’i” and won the Sweepstakes Trophy for most beautiful entry in parade. “Isn’t that beautiful?” people would say as they gazed at the fire and red hot lava spewing out of the two volcanoes at the back of the float.
Just a few minutes ago, the people at the beginning of the parade were entranced by its beauty. But now it is past them and it has come to us. But it also passes by and now four blocks down the crowd is “oohing” over the Dole float, and we are watching another float come into view. Where we are sitting, the Dole float went by four minutes ago. It has now moved on down in the procession down Colorado Boulevard.
We are now watching the Sierra Madre float come by. It’s titled “I Think I Can” and features a choo-choo train going up a hill. Well, where this float now is, in four minutes will be where the Dole float now is. In other words, the Sierra Madre float will be where the Dole float now is. Where the Dole float was, the Sierra Madre float now is.
Because we are watching it all go by in a procession, it is constantly moving in a procession as does time. However, if you could get up into the Goodyear Blimp, you could see the entire parade from beginning to end. Thus, you could see the City of Torrance float, the Dole Packaged Foods float, and the Sierra Madre float all at one time.
God, looking down on the procession of history, can see the entire scene at once in one view. He can see Adam sitting in the garden 6,000 years ago, where we are now, and the glorious coming again of Jesus Christ in the Millennium. God can see the whole procession of time at once.
Thus, God speaks of things as existing, though in my time-frame they have not yet existed. For God sees them; He knows they are going to exist, because He is outside of the time-frame, and thus He speaks, and that is where prophecy comes in. God just speaking of what He is looking at what He can see. He is not bound by time.
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the best evidences there is to know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. God declares, “Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.” (Isaiah 46:10) One way to authenticate the message is to demonstrate that its source is from outside of our time domain.
The Bible contains hundreds of specific prophecies that have already been fulfilled — with 100% accuracy. No other book in the world contains fulfilled prophecies. This includes the sayings of Buddha and Confucius, the Koran, the Hindu Vedras, and the Book of Mormon. If only one of the hundreds of prophecies didn’t come true, it would discredit the entire Bible.
For example, 1,000 years before Jesus was born on Christmas day, God spoke through His prophets and declared that the coming Savior would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Another prophet said that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Another prophet said that He would be from the House of David (Jeremiah 23:5). Another prophet said He would be crucified (Psalm 22:1).
In the book “Science Speaks: (Moody Press, 1963), author Peter Stoner said that the science of probability rules out mere coincidence, “The chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017.” That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.
In order to help us comprehend this staggering number, Stoner illustrates: “Suppose that we take 10 to the 17th power silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.
Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”
In conclusion, the Christmas message — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) is not just another religious story. It’s the only one that is backed up with mathematical certainty. Just as the angel of the Lord brought to the shepherds that very first Christmas morning, I find real comfort in their “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). I hope you do too. Merry Christmas!
Judd Matsunaga, Esq., is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Matsunaga & Associates, specializing in estate/Medi-Cal planning, probate, personal injury and real estate law. With offices in Torrance, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena and Fountain Valley, he can be reached at (800) 411-0546. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.