Week 5: Eternity in Their Hearts (part 2) October 12-18

  • View Week Five Video (Dr. Daniel Kikawa).
  • Read Eternity in Their Hearts, pages 97-192, Chapters 3-7.
  • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using Operation Japan. 
  • Post thoughts and questions online.
  • Participate in a telephone conference call.


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    JD Week 5


    I thoroughly enjoyed Eternity in Their Hearts. We rarely take the time to step back and review God’s divine plan promised thru the Abrahamic covenant. Don Richardson spells it out so clearly.
    Several years ago, my heart was opened to missions & evangelism & unreached people groups. God used books like Eternity in Their Hearts and Todd Ahrend’s Abrahamic Revolution to open my eyes and heart.
    Re-reading this book now was a great experience and refresher on why missions is important. Missions are important because they are important to God. And every people group has been prepared for centuries to participate in the Lord’s table.
    Thank you for including this book in our curriculum.

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    Jim Woo

    As I was reading, I began to wonder why missionaries seem to want to present the gospel the way that is natural to them and then whoever accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, that’s great. If not, shake the dust off and move on. Since God has left so many ways back to Him in different cultures, why hasn’t anyone found the right one for the Japanese culture? And then I watched the video. Haha. Never mind. I’ll just wait for Dr. Kikawa.

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    Minako's thoughts

    Minako Wilkinson

    The gruesome traditions of headhunters and cannibalism in some tribal peoples were hard to read in Chapter 3. But I was amazed at the “redemptive analogies” in the customs of these people groups. I have heard about the biblical symbols in Chinese characters, and I think it’s very feasible that the peoples who developed from Noah’s descendants after the Flood came to what is now China and told about the pre-Flood history including about Johovah God. The connection between “the Sacred Four” in N. American native peoples and the various references to number four in the Bible didn’t seem very convincing to me, but if these biblical references of number four speak to native Americans, that’s great.

    Chapter 4 was difficult to understand at first and I had to read it twice, but when I understood the unfortunate influence of this faulty theory by Tylor, I saw the parallel in strong Darwinian influence upon our society (even upon the Church) today. But Tylor’s theory led to Schimidt to document 12 volumes of monotheism all over the world.

    I became familiar with much of the content of Chapter 5 and 6 when I took a course, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement several years ago, but some things in Chapter 6 struck me. One of them was that Jesus’ anger at the Temple occurred at the Court of the Gentiles, which had become the place for greed of merchants. To think that Jesus’ heart for the Gentiles was partly what caused Him so much anger was very touching to me. Another point that Richardson makes that struck my heart is that the place where Jesus was crucified might have been the same area where Isaac was offered in the area of Mt. Moriah. I knew that Gen 22 was a foreshadow of the Messiah’s death, but I didn’t know that the significance of the two events taking place in the same place.

    Speaking of the place of Jesus’s death and Abraham’s offering of Isaac, we have a place called Mount Moriya in Nagano, Japan, and there’s a tradition very much like the account in Gen 22 in an old shrine called “Suwa Taisha” (Suwa Shrine) in Nagano. They have a festival called “Ontosai” where 75 deer were offered as sacrifices and a priest offered an eight-year old boy as a sacrifice but when the priest raise da knife to kill the boy, someone riding on a horse stepped in to save the boy (https://www.japan-pr.org/%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%97/%E7%A5%9E%E7%A4%BE%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%97/%E5%BE%A1%E9%A0%AD%E7%A5%AD/) There are many YouTube videos about this festival, one of which is by Pastor Arimasa Kubo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtE-JZYLA8o. Some people (including Pastor Kubo) speculate that some of the lost ten tribes of Israel might have come to Japan and started this type of festivals. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but I think it is significant that God preserved this festival which closely resembles the account of Gen 22.

    Until I read Chapter 7 I hadn’t thought about the point that Richardson makes that the 12 apostles didn’t understand nor did they obey Jesus’ great commission until later. Even after the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they were strongly entrenched by their Jewish traditions and customs, and they couldn’t think beyond their own cultural constraints regarding the Abraham Factor. In the same way we are blinded by our own understanding of the gospel from our own cultural grid. Cross-cultural missions require humility on our part and God’s empowerment upon us, His timing and opening of the hearts of the people we’re trying to reach.

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    Week 5 reflection


    It is the first time for me to read the book, eternity in their hearts and I found this book as very much challenging and impressing. There are already so many evidences and revealings of the existence of God in every culture and this book is teaching us how we should embrace the indigenous culture in connection with effective mission work. Before I take this class, I didn’t really know about the influence of cultural differences in mission work. So it was an eye opening opportunity for me to see what kinds of practical obstacles I have to face in my future ministry. I am looking forward to learn more from the lecture, readings and everyone’s sharings.

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    Mariko's thoughts and questions


    In honesty, “Eternity in Their Hearts” was incredibly challenging to read. I wish I could comprehend it a lot more in-depth. When I read chapter 3 to 7 of this book, I got a much deeper appreciation of God’s plan. How awesome He is! Richardson described it well as God’s heart for all the nations from the very beginning. There is no mistake what He does and how he follows through his intricate plans to reach all of us! It’s been very fascinating to discover His way of reaching out to the different nations. Through reading this book, I’m more confident of God’s love and care for all of us and none of us are in the crack outside of His grace and mercy!

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    week 5 Harumi

    Harumi Butler

    Week 5 comment

    This week’s reading was tough for me as I was traveling back to the US for my daughter’s wedding and a lot of things were going on. I have glanced through some of the pages so quickly and to be honest, chapter 4 was hard for me to understand because of the complicated theories and theologies in it. Perhaps I will re-read this section later to understand more. When it came to the section of talking about Chinese characters, I was able to relate to it. As I grew up in Japan I have memorized so many Chinese characters. Several years after being saved, I found out about the hidden Biblical messages in Chinese characters I have been using growing up. It was very exciting to find out about that then, but by reading this book I now realize that I can use these Chinese characters and the stories in them to introduce Biblical stories with non-believers that are around me. It was very exciting to read the part that talks about the Abrahamic covenant. For me to continue to be a “charged particle” by the gospel of God is exciting. “God will pursue His ancient purpose to the very end” is exciting.

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    Esha: CSE101: Week 5


    I enjoyed reading “Messiah for all people” chapter. It outlines carefully all of Jesus’ interactions with the “outsiders” and the “uncircumcised”. I have used many of these passages in my Bible study with non-believers, to show them that Jesus didn’t just come for Jewish people. In the past studies, I have noticed that students from Asia really relate to the stories of Jesus reaching to people who are not from His own culture. It demonstrates them that Jesus also came for “them”. I have used “woman at the well” portrayed as “Hafu” and Syrophoenician woman as someone complete outsider “Gaijin” and these Bible studies have always generated great enthusiasm and participation.

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    Mike's Week 5 Observations and Questions


    Richardson does a masterful job of weaving in the Abrahamic Covenant and the “Melchelzidek Covenant” as a way of organizing his book. I found his insights into the disciples lack of obedience in taking the gospel to the gentiles and the resulting persecution that scattered the early church and into gentile lands to be helpful. As I reread Acts again and looked at this pattern it also occurred to me that it took the conversion of Saul/Paul to raise up a man to take the gospel to the gentiles. Paul was uniquely equipped to be that bridge having been born outside of Israel and fluent in more than just Hebrew. Ultimately, in cross cultural work it is looking for those Paul’s who can translate the gospel into new cultures that are required for the gospel to spread. It was the Karen pastor Ko Thah-byu who after learning that the good news and the lost book had arrive – he is the one who spread it everywhere among his people. He could explain how this was truly the good news and the book they were waiting for to restore their lost relationship with Y’wa. May we find and help disciple more Ko Thah-byu like men and women.