VIDEO Day of Triumph (1954)

Feb 3, 2014

The best way to described the economically assembled religious picture Day of Triumph is “sincere”. Though the film details the Last Days of Jesus Christ (Robert Wilson), top billing is bestowed upon Lee J. Cobb as Zadok, leader of the Zealots. The all-character-actor cast includes James Griffith as Judas, Tyler McVey as Peter, Lowell Gilmore as Pilate and veteran western heavy Anthony Warde as Barabbas. The biggest “name” in the cast is Joanne Dru as Mary Magdalene, while relative newcomer Touch (later Mike) Connors appears as Andrew.

The film was the last directed by Irving Pichel, who’d previously helmed the independently produced religious drama Martin Luther.

Declaring the Unknown God To All

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

There has long been a history of belief in God in the Western world—especially in the United States. The Gallup and Pew organizations are well known for their surveys, all expressing a fairly consistent level of over 80 percent of the U.S. population who affirm a belief in God.1 As the gospel spread west over the centuries, the United States became one of the more openly Christian nations, maintaining an underlying spiritual strength in the general population. A recent Harris Interactive Poll, however, noted a rather significant drop over the past four years, from 82 percent to 74 percent.2 Other recent surveys have noted that there is a growing shift toward unaffiliated identity with organized religion and an increasingly personal and independent view of spiritual ideology among young adults.3

But although a significant majority still seems to believe in God, the accompanying questions reveal that the god believed in is not the God of Scripture. Just as the Stoics and Epicureans of Paul’s day reserved space in their philosophies for an unknown god to worship (like a backup deity—just in case one was missed), so most indigenous populations across the globe believe in a Great Spirit or High God that rules the universe and the other deities in a distant and mysterious way.

It is of interest that the number of those who believe in Darwinism (although still a minority of the population) has increased over 10 percent since 2005 (from 42 percent to 47 percent.2 In the Darwinian belief system, natural selection takes the place of the omnipotent and omniscient Greek Zeus of Paul’s day, personifying nature to orchestrate the evolution of the universe and all its myriad parts. This Unknown God of the modern intellectual world is no different from the pantheism of the sophisticated pagans who assembled at the Areopagus to “tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).

Indeed, there is a sense in which all humanity has a belief in an omnipotent and omniscient Being. Yet the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) blinds their minds “through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The Zeus of the Greeks and the Wakan Tanka of the American Indians have “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:23).

Declaring the Creator

The religions of the world recognize a superior Force or mysterious Supreme Being that somehow superintends the universe. God has written His signature across the heavens so clearly that all humanity knows a creator exists (Romans 1:20). “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). There is no escaping the knowledge that God exists, but individual salvation occurs only when the gospel is declared and faith is imparted through the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:17).

With the exception of his ministry among the Jews and in the synagogues, Paul always began his preaching with a declaration of who the Creator is. Whether to the ignorant crowd at Lystra (Acts 14) or the educated elite in Athens (Acts 17), Paul boldly proclaimed “the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (Acts 14:15). While a belief in God is the initial step toward salvation (Hebrews 11:6), “there are many gods and many lords” (1 Corinthians 8:5). The one God in whom and by whom salvation comes is none other than the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16). “No one comes to the Father” unless they come through “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Sadly, many of our churches have, either by choice or neglect, failed to connect the unique foundational authority and power of the Creator with the vicarious act of the Savior. The atonement is taught and the resurrection is celebrated, but His miraculous ability as Creator to effect salvation is often mysteriously encapsulated in the love of God—glossed over as a dogmatic necessity but rarely praised and honored as the reason that salvation could ever occur!

God does not take this critical point lightly. As the end of the age is closing, a great angelic herald is sent “flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6-7).

If we are ever to reach those still searching for the Unknown God, we must declare who Jesus is as well as what He did at Golgotha!

Declaring the Lordship

Among the important issues that Paul stressed to the philosophers in Athens was that the One who “made the world and everything in it” was also “Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24). While that may seem like a passing comment in the short quotations from Paul’s debate on Mars Hill, the Lordship of the Creator is not just an interesting doctrine—it is critical to our worship and to our relationship with our Savior.

The statements of grandeur and authority made by Jesus about Himself are not self-serving boasting. They are His revelation to us of the unique and eternal transcendence of who He is. Without such knowledge, our finite and natural mind could never even grasp the edges of the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent I AM of eternity!

-I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. (Isaiah 45:5)
– For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:18)
– Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)

All too often our perception of the Savior stresses His love for us (and certainly without His love there could be no salvation); yet the tender and gracious side of our Lord must not obscure the fact of our being “bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). While the love of God draws us to Him, once faith has been exercised and righteousness imputed we become “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Our love for God then expresses itself in obedience to His Word: “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

If the Unknown God is declared to be the Creator, then it most easily follows that He is the Lord of all, to be worshiped and obeyed as we work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Declaring the Judgment

After insisting that the god the Stoics and Epicureans ignorantly worshiped was in reality the great God of creation, that they had more than sufficient evidence surrounding them of His omnipotence and omniscience, and that they had best understand Him as the Lord of heaven and Earth, Paul struck the bold chord that this Unknown God had already “appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

That sent the crowd scurrying for the exits! No more academic interest—their neutrality vanished.

What is there about God’s judgment that brings such open resistance? When the specific mission of the Holy Spirit was revealed to the apostle John, we are told that the New Testament ministry of the Spirit to unsaved humanity was to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11).

– I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)
– For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)
– I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened….And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books….And they were judged, each one according to his works. (Revelation 20:12-13)

Without the physical presence of the Lord Jesus, we have no perfect example. But the Holy Spirit’s trifold mission to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment is obvious, and He now uses the agency of the spoken word of witnesses and the written word of Scripture to bring that conviction (John 16:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7). We, the twice-born, are “an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3). If we shy from speaking of the awesome and eternally final judgment of God, a full third of the mission of the Holy Spirit is compromised.

There is no softness to the coming judgment of God. If salvation is to come to those who may genuinely be seeking the Unknown God, then we who have been rescued from that very judgment must declare that God’s judgment is certain and sure.

Declaring the Gospel

But as certain as the righteous judgment of the Holy God is, so is the salvation available through the unfathomable grace of our Creator, who “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Although God Himself is without peer and beyond our understanding, He has revealed Himself in and through the Lord Jesus.

As Paul spoke to the scoffers and scholars in Athens, he noted that God had even designed the boundaries of nations so that as men “grope” for an understanding of the Unknown God, He “is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). The good news of God’s provision through the incarnation of the Lord Jesus requires an awareness of God as Creator, Lord, and Judge of all the earth. Even though the “heavens declare” and every day and night “speak” of God’s glory (Psalm 19:1-2), the sinful state of man rushes to exchange “the truth of God” for something else—anything—that can subjugate the Creator to the creature (Romans 1:25).

– Failure to present Christ as Creator negates His power to save.
– Failure to present Christ as Lord belittles His authority to rule and demand obedience.
– Failure to present Christ as Judge refutes His holiness.

As long as man relegates the Unknown God to a mystery or an “X factor” in religion, man retains superiority over his realm and rejects all other authority. We who have the honor to receive “the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5) must declare a full account of who the Savior is for those who “might grope for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:27). We are the ambassadors. We have the knowledge. We even have the promise: “Those who seek me diligently will find me” (Proverbs 8:17).


Gallup poll #1690-Religion. Posted on June 2014, acessed June 2014.
Shannon-Missal, L. Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines. The Harris Poll® #97. Posted on December 16, 2013, accessed July 2, 2014.
“Nones” on the Rise. Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Posted on October 9, 2012, acessed July 2014.

* by Dr. Henry Morris III, D.Min. who is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry Morris III, D.Min. 2014. Declaring the Unknown God. Acts & Facts. 43 (9).

The Blessings of a Spirit-Filled Life

1 John 2:3-6

There was a time when I was so disheartened that I wondered whether I should remain in the ministry. How could I tell people that Jesus would give them peace and joy while I felt discouraged by my own failure to be godly? I understood what “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23) meant but was never sure which of those qualities, if any, would be apparent in me from day to day.

God let me stew in my anxiety until I was fully committed to finding out if His Word was true or not. I encountered my answer in a biography of Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Missions. For a long time he, too, felt that his efforts fell short of the Lord’s expectations. But Taylor came to realize that God wanted believers to trust Him fully and rest on His promises. So when Jesus Christ said to abide in Him, He meant that His followers were to stop striving and struggling. Instead they were to trust Him to subdue their flesh.

As a child, I’d been taught that a person got saved and then went to work for God. You did the best you could to act in a godly manner, think right, and speak wisely. When your best wasn’t good enough, well, you tried harder. Such an impossible expectation was wearing me out, and now the idea of letting Jesus Christ work through me sounded both biblical and liberating.

A branch doesn’t bear grapes because of its determined efforts to get sunshine; rather, it simply abides in the vine, and fruit appears. The vine does all the work. In the same way, believers are to abide in the Savior so that spiritual fruit can grow in their life.

Who Gets Weary?

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)

Everyone gets weary, and everyone must rest. Even in Eden before sin came into the world there was a weekly day of rest, and each day of work in the Garden was followed by a night of rest in sleep. The Lord Jesus Christ, in the days of His sinless human flesh, occasionally became “wearied with his journey” (John 4:6) and had to rest. On one occasion, He was so weary that during a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee He was “asleep on a pillow” (Mark 4:38) while the disciples tried to keep their ship from destruction. He once advised these fretful and busy disciples to “come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). We sometimes need to come apart before we fall apart!

In the New Jerusalem, with our new bodies, we perhaps will not need rest and sleep, for “there shall be no night there” (Revelation 22:5). In our present frail tents of clay, however, we do need rest, for God made us so. In one area of life, on the other hand, we are twice admonished to “not be weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).

And when we do get weary, and perhaps are not yet able to stop and rest, we can draw on God’s strength, for He “fainteth not, neither is weary.” “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31). HMM

“I will love The, O Lord, my strength.”

Psalm 18:1-24

When David was firmly established, and had routed his enemies, he spake unto the Lord the words of a sacred song which we find in—Psalm 18:1-24

Psalm 18:1-7

Oh! the power of prayer, it can move heaven and earth. It can climb to heaven and bring the Lord down to earth to help his people. Thus snares are broken, sorrows removed, death defeated, and Satan foiled. Who would not pray?

Psalm 18:8

This is an Oriental method of expressing fierce wrath. God came to help his servant, burning with indignation against his foes. The following verses describe the Lord as interposing in storm and tempest to help his afflicted servant.

Psalm 18:9, 10

God helps his people speedily. He will be in time, for the winds are the coursers of his car.

Psalm 18:11-14

Who can stand against this terrible God? Who can injure those whom he protects?

Psalm 18:15-18

His enemies were beforehand with him, but even then God was his all-sufficient aid.

Psalm 18:19-24

Happy is the man who can from his heart bless God that he has been kept pure and true; for he shall find, as David did, that the Lord will sooner bow the heavens and dry up the seas, than leave the godly to their enemies.

This Psalm is so long, that we must reserve the remainder for our next worship.


No change of times shall ever shock

My firm affection, Lord, to Thee;

For Thou hast always been my rock,

A fortress and defence to me.


Thou my deliv’rer art, my God,

My trust is in Thy mighty power;

Thou art my shield from foes abroad,

At home my safeguard and my tower.


Love Bears All Things, Believes All Things, Hopes All Things, Endures All Things

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As Paul continues giving us the characteristics of agape love in First Corinthians 13, he moves to the next four points in his message. He explains to the Corinthians (and to us) that genuine agape love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (v. 7).

The eleventh point that Paul makes in this wonderful text is that love “beareth all things….”

The word “beareth” is the Greek word stego, which means to cover, as a roof covers a house. Built within the word stego is the concept of protection, exactly as a roof protects, shields, and guards the inhabitants of a house from exposure to the outside influences of weather. The roof of a house is designed to shield people from storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, hail, snow, wind, blistering hot temperatures, and so on. This protection is vital for survival in most climates, preventing people from either freezing to death or burning as a result of continual exposure to sunlight.

By using this word stego (“bear”), the apostle Paul is giving us a powerful illustration. First, we must understand that there are many different seasons to life, and not all seasons are pleasurable. In fact, some seasons of life are very stormy and difficult. There are moments when external circumstances assail us from without. If we have no shield to guard us during these stormy times, it becomes much more difficult for us to survive spiritually.

Paul lets you know that agape serves like a protection for you. Like the roof of a house, a friend who moves in the agape love of God will stay near in times of trouble. That friend will hover over you to protect you from the storms of life. Rather than expose you and your flaws to the view of others, a person who operates in this kind of love will conceal, cover, and protect you, for real agape love is always there in times of trouble to lend support.


The phrase “beareth all things” could be translated:

“Love protects, shields, guards, covers, conceals, and safeguards people from exposure…”

Paul goes on to mention the twelfth characteristic of agape love, saying that love “… believeth all things….” The word “believeth” is actually the word pisteuei, which is the Greek word meaning to put one’s faith or trust in something or someone. The tense used in the Greek text lets us know that this is a constant, continuous entrusting of one’s faith in something or someone—involving a “never-give-up” kind of belief that something will turn out the very best. In light of this, the Greek phrase could actually be taken to mean that love “believes the best in every situation.”

Don’t misunderstand; agape love isn’t stupid, nor is it blind. It sees everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly. But because agape is so filled with faith, it pushes the disconcerting, disturbing, negative realities out of the way. This doesn’t mean agape ignores problems or challenges. It just makes a choice to see beyond the problems and conflicts, to strain forward to see the highest potential that resides in every person.

Let’s apply this to your children. Perhaps it is true that they are having problems right now or that they have done some things in the past they shouldn’t have done. But there is still hope! Today is a new day, and agape simply cannot give up believing that they will turn around! Although the past may have been filled with troubled times, the future is bright for those who believe God! Therefore, agape continually presses ahead full of faith—reaching forward by faith to see the other person whole, sound, healed, saved, redeemed, and right in the middle of God’s will for his or her life.

You see, the agape love of God just doesn’t know how to quit! It hangs on even when the going gets tough! It just keeps believing the very best, no matter what.

So I urge you to take a good, honest look at yourself to see if you are operating in this kind of high-level love. Do you strain forward to believe the best, or do you pick people apart and point out all their flaws and weaknesses? Do you see their potential through the eyes of love, or do you look on them through eyes of criticism? Never forget that love believes the best!


The phrase “believeth all things” could be translated:

“… Love strains forward with all its might to believe the very best in every situation….”

Paul gives us his thirteenth point about love when he says that love “… hopeth all things….”

The Greek word for “hopeth” is the word elpidzo, which depicts not only a hope, but an expectation of good things. This means that rather than assuming failure or a bad result in someone’s life, the agape love of God always expects the best in someone else. It not only expects it, but it is filled with an anticipation to see the manifestation of the thing hoped for.


The phrase “hopeth all things” could be taken to mean:

“… Love always expects and anticipates the best in others and the best for others….”

Next, Paul mentions the fourteenth characteristic of agape love, telling us that love “… endureth all things.” The word “endureth” is the Greek word hupomeno, which we have discussed several times before. It is the word hupo, which means under, and the word meno, which means to stay or to abide. Compounded together, it depicts the attitude of a person who is under a heavy load but refuses to surrender to defeat because he knows he is in his place. Because this person knows he is where he’s supposed to be, he has therefore decided that regardless of what tries to come against him, he is going to stay put and refuse to move!

This means agape never quits or throws in the towel. It simply doesn’t know how to quit. Real agape says, “I’m committed to be here—to stay with you and to work it out, regardless of the cost or the time involved. I am not quitting. I am here to stay!”

You see, that is what the Bible means when it says love “… endureth all things.” This kind of love is completely contrary to the flesh, which says, “I’ve done all I’m going to do. I’m not wasting any more of my life. I’m finished, and I’m leaving!”


A contemporary translation of the phrase “endureth all things” could be the following:

“… Love never quits, never surrenders, and never gives up.”

As you look into the mirror of God’s Word and examine the characteristics of agape love, can you say that this kind of love is operating in your life? Would others say that you have been a “roof” for them—protecting, covering, concealing, and guarding them during the hard and difficult seasons of life? Would others say you believe the best about people, or that you tend to be nit-picky and critical of others? Have you made the decision to “stick it out,” regardless of how long it takes?


When all of these Greek words and phrases are translated together, an expanded interpretive translation could read:

“Love protects, shields, guards, covers, conceals, and safeguards people from exposure; love strains forward with all its might to believe the very best in every situation; love always expects and anticipates the best in others and the best for others; love never quits, never surrenders, and never gives up.”

Today I want to encourage you to do the right thing by determining to learn to operate in this high-level agape love of God. This divine love is already shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit, so now it’s up to you to open up your heart and let this divine river of love flow forth from you to others.

Are you going to open your heart and let God’s love spill out to those around you? The choice is now before you!


Lord, I ask You to help me learn to operate in this supernatural, life-changing, high-level love. Please help me to quit judging others for the problems in their lives and to start thinking about how I can protect and cover them in times of difficulty. Holy Spirit, please help me believe the best about them. I also ask You for the strength to remain committedto stick by their side until the victory has been won and they have become everything You intended for them to be! I am anticipating a new surge of Your power and strength right now to help me get started on this path, and I’ll keep believing and confidently expecting until I see the results in my life that I know You want!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that God’s love operates mightily in my life! Because I walk in agape love, I protect, shield, guard, cover, conceal, and safeguard people from exposure. The love of God in my heart compels me to strain forward with all my might to believe the very best in every situation and the best about every person. This love of God that has been shed abroad in my heart never quits, never surrenders, and never gives up on other people. I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Have others believed the best about you in the past, even though you didn’t give them much reason to hope for a turn around in your life?
  2. Has anyone ever been a “roof” to you—protecting, concealing, and covering you in a time of weakness? What did this mean to you? Have you ever gone to that person and thanked him or her for being such a help in your time of need?
  3. Who is the one person in your life right now whom you are believing will make a big change in his or her life? How much time do you spend praying for this person every day?


Three Reasons Why You Are Important

First, simply because of who you are:


He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sightI have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindnessYou [God] created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful… ” (Ephesians 1:4; Jeremiah 31:3; Psalm 139:13, 14)


Second, because of what you cost:


He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healedThe Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us allChrist died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God… ” (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1 Peter 3:18a)


Third, because of what you can become:


The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nationIf you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundation… ” (Isaiah 60:22a; 58:10-12)


Why not take a moment, right now. Go over to the mirror and look at that unique individual whom God has beautifully crafted. Wow! Created in His image! Try to imagine the billions of DNA that have singly been arranged in accordance with His perfect plan. Because He delighted in creating you just as you are, there is no one quite like you in all the universe.


And He knew from eternity past that the Savior would go to the cross for you.


In His infinite wisdom, He has set forth a marvelous blueprint for your life that perfectly coincides with His eternal purposes, plan, and glory. No one else can, or should do what He ordains for you.


Why don’t you pause for a moment now and thank Him.