MUSIC MONDAY My letter to Patricia Arquette who appears in the video “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down

Johnny Cash’s version of the traditional God’s Gonna Cut You Down, from the album “American V: A Hundred Highways”, was released as a music video on November 9 2006, just over three years after Cash died. Producer Rick Rubin opens the music video, saying, “You know, Johnny always wore black. He wore black because he identified with the poor and the downtrodden…”. What follows is a collection of black and white clips of well known pop artists wearing black, each interacting with the song in their own way. Some use religious imagery. Howard sits in his limo reading from Ezekiel 34, a Biblical passage warning about impending judgment for false shepherd. Bono leaning on a graffiti-filled wall between angel’s wings and a halo, pointing to the words, “Sinners Make The Best Saints. J.C. R.I.P.” A number of artists wear or hold crosses.

Faces in Johnny Cash God's Gonna Cut You Down music video

Artists appear in this order: Rick Rubin, Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terence Howard, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Q-Tip, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake (Sgt Peppers Artist), Sheryl Crow, Denis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Tommy Lee, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks), Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin and Owen Wilson. The video finishes with Rick Rubin traveling to a seaside cliff with friend Owen Wilson to throw a bouquet of flowers up in the air.

March 16, 2019

Patricia Arquette

Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2605
USA

Dear Patricia,

I understand that you are Jewish. If Johnny Cash was here today, I bet he would share something like this below from the scriptures. Johnny was a student of the whole Bible. He wrote the book THE MAN IN WHITE about the apostle Paul and it took him 10 years to write and in that book you can tell that he spent much time in research asking Jewish leaders what life was like for the Jews in the 1st century in Palestine while being occupied by the Romans.

I know that you will spending lots of time in the scriptures and I wanted to share with you some key scriptures that talk about the Messiah. Patrick Zukeran of Probe Ministries wrote the article below:

Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?

A serious study of the Gospels leads a person to one of three conclusions about Jesus: He was (1) an evil lying villain, (2) a preposterously deluded madman, or (3) the Messiah, the Son of God. It is ludicrous for anyone who has studied His life to take the position that He was simply a good teacher. Only one of the three conclusions is a logical possibility.

Jesus made some outrageous claims no ordinary person would dare to make. First, He claimed to be God. His statements of equality with God meant He believed that He possessed the authority, attributes, and adoration belonging to God. He proclaimed authority over creation, forgiveness of sins, and life and death. He declared to possess the attributes of God. He emphatically stated that He was the source of truth and the only way to eternal life. Only Jesus among the significant leaders of history made such claims.

Here are a few of His outrageous claims. When “Philip said, Lord, show us the Father.’ Jesus answered. . . .Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’” (John 14:8-9). Once, when the Pharisees were disparaging Jesus and challenging Him, Jesus responded, ” I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33). It is clear in these two statements, Jesus claimed to be God. His opponents clearly understood His declaration of equality with God.

When challenged by the scholars on His authority over Abraham, the father of the Jews, Jesus replied, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!’ I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:56-58). Jesus clearly believed He had existed two thousand years earlier and knew Abraham.

On the issue of life and death Jesus stated, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Here He believed He had authority over life and death.

Finally, Jesus accepted and encouraged others to worship Him. Throughout the Gospels the disciples worshiped Jesus as seen in Matthew 14:33 and John 9:38. Jesus states in John 5:22-23, “Moreover, the Father judges no one but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent Him.” Jesus knew the Old Testament command “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matt. 4:10). Despite this, Jesus encouraged others to worship Him. Either He was mad (insane), or He was who He claimed to be and deserves our worship as God incarnate.

After reading such claims, it is impossible for anyone to say He was merely a good teacher. A man making claims like these must either be a diabolical liar, insane, or God incarnate. For the remainder of this essay we will be discussing which of these conclusions is most plausible.

A Villain, A Madman, or God Incarnate?

We have established at this point that Jesus made some astounding claims about himself. He presumed to be God, claimed the authority and attributes of God, and encouraged others to worship Him as God. If, however, Jesus was a liar, then He knew His message was false but was willing to deceive thousands with claims He knew were untrue. That is, Jesus knew that He was not God, He did not know the way to eternal life, and He died and sent thousands to their deaths for a message He knew was a lie. This would make Jesus history’s greatest villain (and perhaps, a demon) for teaching this wicked lie. He would have also been history’s greatest fool for it was these claims that lead Him to His death.

Few, if any, seriously hold to this position. Even the skeptics unanimously agree that He was at least a great moral teacher. William Lecky, one of Britain’s most respected historians and an opponent of Christianity writes, “It was reserved for Christianity to present the world an ideal character which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love.”{1}

However, it would be inconsistent and illogical to believe that Jesus was a great moral teacher if some of those teachings contained immoral lies about himself. He would have to be a stupendous hypocrite to teach others honesty and virtue and all the while preach the lie that He was God. It is inconceivable to think that such deceitful, selfish, and depraved acts could have issued forth from the same being who otherwise maintained from the beginning to the end the purest and noblest character known in history.

Since the liar conclusion is not logical, let us assume He really believed He was God but was mistaken. If He truly believed He had created the world, had seen Abraham two thousand years before, and had authority over death, and yet none of this was true, we can only conclude that He was mad or insane.

However, when you study the life of Jesus, He clearly does not display the characteristics of insanity. The abnormality and imbalance we find in a deranged person are not there. His teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, remain one of the greatest works ever recorded. Jesus was continually challenged by the Pharisees and lawyers, highly educated men whose modern day equivalent would be our university professors. They were fluent in several languages and were known for their scholarship of the Old Testament and Jewish law. They challenged Jesus with some of the most profound questions of their day and Jesus’ quick answers amazed and silenced them. In the face of tremendous pressure, we find He exemplified the greatest composure.

For these reasons, the lunatic argument is not consistent. If both the liar and the lunatic options are not consistent with the facts, we must take a serious look at the third option: that Jesus was really God. The next question is, does He prove to have the credentials of God? Let us investigate this possibility.

Messianic Prophecy

Thus far we have learned that Jesus is unique among all men for the profound statements He made about His divinity. We concluded that it is impossible to state He was simply a good moral teacher. From His amazing statements, He must be a liar, a lunatic, or God. Since the first two were not conceivable, we will begin looking at the third alternative, that He really is God. First, we must see if He had the credentials for these claims.

One of the most incredible types of evidence is the testimony of prophecy. The Old Testament contains a number of messianic prophecies made centuries before Christ appeared on the earth. The fact that He fulfilled each one is powerful testimony that He was no ordinary man. Allow me to illustrate this point using eight prophecies.

• Genesis 12:1-3 states the Messiah would come from the seed of Abraham.

• Genesis 49:10 states that He would be of the tribe of Judah.

• 2 Samuel 7:12 states that Messiah would be of the line of King David.

• Micah 5:2 states that He would be born in the city of Bethlehem.

• Daniel 9:24 states He would die or be “cut off” exactly 483 years after the declaration to reconstruct the temple in 444 B.C.

• Isaiah 53 states that the Messiah would die with thieves, then be buried in a richman’s tomb.

• Psalm 22:16 states upon His death His hands and His feet would be pierced. This is quite significant since Roman crucifixion had not been invented at the time the Psalmist was writing.

• Isaiah 49:7 states that Messiah would be known and hated by the entire nation. Not many men become known by their entire nation, and even less are despised by the entire nation.

Now calculate the possibility of someone fulfilling these by coincidence. Let us suppose you estimate there is a one in a hundred chance a man could fulfill just one of these prophecies by chance. That would mean when all eight are put together there is a 1/10 to the 16th power probability that they were fulfilled by chance. Mathematician Peter Stoner estimates 1/10 to the 17th power possibility that these prophecies were fulfilled by chance.{2} Mathematicians have estimated that the possibility of sixteen of these prophecies being fulfilled by chance are about 1/10 to the 45th power.{3} That’s a decimal point followed by 44 zeroes and a 1! These figures show it is extremely improbable that these prophecies could have been fulfilled by accident. The figures for fulfillment of the 109 major prophecies are staggering.{4}

Skeptics have objected to the testimony of prophecy, stating they were written after the times of Jesus and therefore fulfill themselves. However, the evidence overwhelmingly shows these prophecies were clearly written centuries before Christ. It is an established fact even by liberal scholars that the Old Testament canon was completed by 450 B.C. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, was completed in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus in 250 B.C. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1948 contained the books of the Old Testament. Prophetic books like Isaiah were dated by paleographers to be written in 100 B.C.{5} Once again, these prophecies were confirmed to have been written centuries before Christ, and no religious leader has fulfilled anything close to the number of prophecies Jesus has fulfilled.

Notes
1. William Lecky, History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne (New York: D.Appleton and Company, 1903), p. 8.
2. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict (San Bernadino, Calif.: Here’s Life Publishers, 1979), p. 167.
3. Norman Geisler, When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, Ill.:Victor Press, 1990), p. 116.
4. Tim LaHaye, Jesus, Who is He? (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Books, 1996), p. 176.
5. Norman Geisler and William Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), pp. 365-66.
6. Peter Carsten Theide and Matthew D’Ancona, Eyewitness to Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1996), p. 163.
7. Anonymous, “One Solitary Life,” quoted in Tim LaHaye, Jesus, Who is He?, p. 68.

Bibliography

1. Craig, William Lane. Apologetics: An Introduction. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.

2. Geisler, Norman. When Skeptics Ask. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Press, 1990.

3. Geisler, Norman, & Nix, William. A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

4. Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1902.

5. LaHaye, Tim. Jesus, Who Is He? Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Books, 1996.

6. Lecky, William. History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1903. Page 8.

7. Lewis, C. S. Miracles. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1960.

8. Little, Paul. Know Why You Believe. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1988.

9. Nash, Ronald. Faith and Reason. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1988.

10. McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands a Verdict. San Bernadino, Calif.: Here’s Life Publishers, 1979.

11. Stott, John. Basic Christianity. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity Press, 1971.

12. Theide, Peter Carsten, and D’Ancona, Matthew. Eyewitness to Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

13. Walvoord, John. Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Press, 1990.

©2000 Probe Ministries.


About the Author

Patrick ZukeranPatrick Zukeran is a Hawaii-based research associate with Probe Ministries. He has a B.A. in Religion from Point Loma Nazarene University, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is an author, radio talk show host, and a national and international speaker on apologetics, cults, world religions, Bible, theology, and current issues. His nationally syndicated radio talk show “Evidence and Answers” is broadcast on the KTLW Network (covering the West Coast), through all of Asia (through World Harvest Radio), and on the web at evidenceandanswers.org. Before joining Probe, Pat served for twelve years as an Associate Pastor. He can be reached at pzukeran@probe.org.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe’s materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565

You and I have something in common and it is the song GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN. You were in the video and my post about that video entitled, People in the Johnny Cash video “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is the most popular post I have done in recent years. It ranked #1 for all of 2015 and I have over 1,000,000 hits on my http://www.thedailyhatch.org blog site. The ironic thing is that I never knew what a big deal Johnny Cash was until he had died. I grew up in Memphis with his nephew Paul Garrett and we even went to the same school and church. Paul’s mother was Johnny Cash’s sister Margaret Louise Garrett.

Stu Carnall, an early tour manager for Johnny Cash, recalled, “Johnny’s an individualist, and he’s a loner….We’d be on the road for weeks at a time, staying at motels and hotels along the way. While the other members of the troupe would sleep in, Johnny would disappear for a few hours. When he returned, if anyone asked where he’d been, he’d answer straight faced, ‘to church.'”

Have you ever taken the time to read the words of the song?

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee talkin’ to the man from Galilee
He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John go do My will!”

 Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand

Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
___
Johnny Cash sang this song of Judgment because he knew the Bible says in  Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.” The first part of this verse is about the judgment sinners must face if not pardoned, but the second part is about Christ who paid our sin debt!!! Did you know that Romans 6:23 is part of what we call the Roman Road to Christ. Here is how it goes:
  • Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)
  • The Penalty for our sin is death.
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  • The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
  • If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
    For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)
    …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS:If one repents and puts trust in Christ alone for eternal life then he or she will be forgiven. Francis Schaeffer noted, “If Satan tempts you to worry over it, rebuff him by saying I AM FORGIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THE WORK OF CHRIST AS HE DIED ON THE CROSS!!!

  • American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a traditional version of the song. Musician Sean Michel covered the song during his audition on Season 6 of American Idol. Matchbox Twenty also used the song before playing “How Far We’ve Come” on their “Exile in America” tour.

  • The New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem have also covered the song.[citation needed] Canadian rock band Three Days Grace has used the song in the opening of their live shows, as well as the rock band Staind . Bobbie Gentry recorded a version as “Sermon” on her album The Delta Sweete. Guitarist Bill Leverty recorded a version for his third solo project Deep South, a tribute album of traditional songs. Tom Jones recorded an up-tempo version which appears on his 2010 album Praise & BlamePow woW recorded a version with the Golden Gate Quartet for their 1992 album Regagner les Plaines and performed a live version with the quartet in 2008. A cover of the song by Blues Saraceno was used for the Season 8 trailer of the TV series DexterPedro Costarecorded a neo-blues version for the Discovery channel TV show Weed Country (2013). Virginia based folk rock band Carbon Leaf covered the song many times during their live shows.
  • Chart positions[edit]

    Moby version: “Run On”[edit]

    Chart (1999) Peak
    position
    UK Singles Chart 33

    Johnny Cash version[edit]

    Chart (2006) Peak
    position
    UK Singles Chart 77

  • American Idol contestant ministers in Chile

  • SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)–Sean Michel smiled through his distinctive, foot-long beard as he slid the guitar strap over his shoulder and greeted the crowd at El Huevo nightclub with what little Spanish he knows. The former American Idol contestant and his band then erupted into the sounds of Mississippi Delta blues-rock.But unlike other musicians who played that night, the Sean Michel band sang about every person’s need for God and the salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.”We came down [to Chile] to open doors that other ministries couldn’t,” said Jay Newman, Michel’s manager. “To get in places that only a rock band could — to create a vision for new church-planting movements among the underground, disenfranchised subcultures of Chile.”The Sean Michel band recently traveled through central Chile playing more than 15 shows in bars, churches, schools and parks. The group consists of Southern Baptists Sean Michel, lead singer; Alvin Rapien, lead guitarist; Seth Atchley, bass guitarist; and Tyler Groves, drummer.”Although we’re a blues rock ‘n’ roll band, we’re an extension of the church,” Michel said. “We’re kind of like ‘musicianaries,’ if you will.”MISSIONS-MINDED MUSICIANSThe band formed after Michel and Newman met as students at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. While there, the two began recording and selling Michel’s music as a way to raise money for mission trips to Africa and Asia.”We were just trying to raise money for a mission trip, but we’d also seen God speaking to people through the music,” Michel said. “So we were like, ‘Well, maybe we need to do something with this,’ and we became a music ministry. But it’s always been rooted in missions and … in the Great Commission.”Michel graduated from Ouachita in 2001, Newman in 2004. In 2007, Newman talked Michel into auditioning for American Idol. The exposure Michel received through the television show gained a wider audience for their ministry.”The whole American Idol thing was so weird,” Michel said. “We just kind of went on a whim. But the Lord used it in a big way.”During his tryout, Michel belted out a soulful rendition of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The video of the audition went viral on the Internet.

    Soon he was doing radio interviews in which he identified himself as a Christian and directed listeners to the band’s Gospel-laden MySpace page. On their next mission trip to Asia, Michel and Newman found that being recognizable gave them access to venues they couldn’t have entered before.

    The band is now an official extension of First Southern Baptist Church of Bryant, Ark., where the musicians have long been active members serving in the music and youth ministries. Every mission trip they have taken has involved working with International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries.

    “We’re Southern Baptist,” Michel said. “That’s who we roll with.”

    TOUR DE FAITH

    “With short-term mission trips, you can plan, but you just got to be willing for your plans to change,” said Michel. When the band arrived in Chile, they were surprised to find that their schedule wasn’t nearly as full as expected. Almost no public venues had booked shows, and many rock-wary churches had declined to host the band.

    “The biggest barrier we had was the pastors,” said Cliff Case, an IMB missionary in Santiago, Chile, and a 1984 graduate of Ouachita Baptist. “The older pastors on two or three different occasions gave excuses for not doing it. It was a real frustration in that sense.”

    Disappointed by the lack of interest, the band prayed for God’s help. They met Jose Campos — or Pépe, as the band came to know him. Campos works with music and youth for the Ministry of the Down and Out, an independent Christian ministry that seeks to reach the often-overlooked demographics of Santiago.

    Campos was able to use his connections to book shows for the band in venues they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

    “Had we met Pépe (Campos) two or three weeks before the group came, there’s no telling how many shows we might have done,” said Case, who met Newman at Ouachita when Case and his wife, Cinthy, were missionaries-in-residence there.

    Campos booked the show at El Huevo, possibly Chile’s most popular club. Playing there has given the band musical credibility among Chilean rockers. And, one Chilean church reported that a youth accepted Christ after hearing Newman talk before a show. The band already is contemplating a return tour next year.

    OPENING NEW DOORS

    Sharing the Gospel through their songs is only the beginning for the Sean Michel band. Their vision is to be a catalyst to help churches — and missionaries — connect with the lost people of their communities.

    “God is not saving the world through rock bands,” Michel said. “He’s saving the world through the church. And it will always be through the local body.”

    The band wants to see churches take ministry beyond the church doors.

    “If you’re going to want to legitimately reach lost people, you’re going to have to get out,” Michel said. “Go out into the dark places. Those are the places we need to be to reach out.”

    The band’s ministry in Chile opened new doors for IMB missionaries to reach the young, musical subculture of Chilean society.

    “They laid the groundwork for more opportunities,” Case said. “Now we have a network of who to talk to and how to get organized. We can focus on how to use the work they’re doing so we can win people to the Lord and plant some churches.”


    Tristan Taylor is an International Mission Board writer living in the Americas.

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