The Apple Of God's Eye

November 30, 2009

The Emotional Perfection Of Jesus Christ

mysteryshrink.com

Emotion is sometimes looked upon as being a negative experience, but in reality this is only because some have not grown up emotionally. This is especially so in mainstream religion, which promulgates emotional fervor as the basis of legitimate religious experiences.  In that sense, God becomes a nebulous sentiment and repentance a hazy feeling. Yet neither Jesus Christ nor His disciples ever set such an example.

Jesus Christ was not some overly sentimental preacher, nor was He emotionally detached, in a catatonic state of nirvana like high. If you study your Bible, you will see He was always in complete emotional control, yet he was able to show emotion at the right time and for the right reasons, setting us an appropriate and perfect  display of emotional maturity. He showed that emotion can be a valid part of religion, if expressed properly.

Here are some examples:

  1. He was filled with deep emotion as He looked out over Jerusalem, whose deceived and erring people He loved (Matt. 23:37). He cried out for Jerusalem in an intelligent expression of feeling. In Luke 19, He beheld the city and wept over it (verse 41).
  2. He was also moved with compassion for the multitudes that followed Him in Matt. 9:36. Jesus Christ desired to send the Good News to these spiritually bankrupt people and he lamented the lack of labourers for the plentiful harvest (verse 37). He saw the potential if there were only more labourers.
  3. In Mark 6, when He was about to get away for some much needed rest, the multitudes kept following. Christ reacted emotionally to this, but in an outflowing and serving way.  He was moved a their religious poverty and desired to teach them, as well as feed them because they were hungry (verses 31-34). See also Matt. 15:30-32.
  4. Christ sighed with feeling as He healed a deaf man in Mark 7:31-34. “Sighed”is the same term as used in Rom. 8:23, where God’s people groan within themselves. Seeing someone in need just moved Him too much to stand idly by.
  5. Even when confronted with antagonistic Pharisees, Jesus Christ did not react with anger, but sighed deeply within Himself for their lack of faith in seeking a sign (Mark 8:12). Although He was angry at what the Pharisees were doing to people’s religion, He perfectly controlled and expressed His emotions, using them to serve the work of God.
  6. The image of a soft spoken Christ is also false, as “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried [aloud] saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink'” (John 7:37). This shows He was a powerful and dynamic speaker.
  7. When Christ found men selling in the temple and exchanging money, He deliberately made a small scourge and drove them all out of the temple, overthrowing the tables (John 2:13-14). Rather than being a violent tantrum, this was an expression of righteous indignation and zeal (root – boiling over), as expressed in verse 17. The zeal of God’s house and the vision of God’s plan for all mankind was all consuming for Jesus Christ.
  8. When the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Christ in Mark 10, it says He was much displeased. But this wording does not do justice to Christ’s emotions. In the original Greek, it means ” moved with indignation.” He was passionate even about the little children.
  9. Christ groaned in the spirit and was troubled (visibly moved, perhaps in controlled anger) at the lack of faith the Jews expressed after Lazarus died. ” Troubled”  here is the same word as used on the night of His last Passover when He was betrayed and ultimately crucified. Jesus wept (shed tears) over this lack of faith in verse 35.
  10. At Christ’s last Passover, He was also full of emotion and  a desire (craving or longing) to celebrate this Passover with His disciples. Even though He was about to die, He spoke of being joyful (deep godly joy – John 15:11), showing a deep motivation for the work of God behind His feelings.
  11. The final emotional struggle for Christ came when He was near the end of His physical life. He began to react to the gravity of what was about to befall Him, becoming ” very heavy,” (Mark 14:33). Jesus Christ being human, still had to fight His own feelings and was probably terrified. The Greek (Thayers) implies that the phrase “very heavy” is the strongest of three Greek words…in the New Testament for depression.” That is why He was exceedingly sorrowful unto death in verse 34 and ” full of heaviness” (Ps. 69:20). These were not wrong emotions because Christ did not act only on them.  He re-focused on His Father’s will through prayer so fervent, it caused Him to sweat blood (Mark 14:35). He would not allow these emotions to become sinful, which is why Hebrews 12:4 says it was a prayer of ” striving against sin.” He did not allow emotions to control Him.

So we can see that it can be supremely masculine to show proper emotion. He did not allow these emotions because of persecution against Him, or personal suffering, but the anguish of seeing those He loved reject the truth and turn the wrong way. This is at the heart of emotional maturity – the state of development from taking to the state of giving. Christ’s emotions always demonstrated the ” give”  way. This requires control and right direction of feelings, tempers, impulses.

God’s law should always guide us in the right direction because it is the way of love towards Him first, above ourselves, and then to others, equal with love for self.

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November 28, 2009

Hallowing God’s Name

mommylife.net

God tells us in Exod. 20:4 that He wants to be worshipped without obstacles or aids – “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…”

And in verse seven, we are told not to take the Lord’s name in vain, which is a serious admonition. We have to worship God and reverence Him, working to uphold His name, office and position in the family as preeminent above all, in all the universe. We cannot take that name in vain.

The word “vain” means evil, wickedness, falsehood, lie or anything without substance.

Malachi knew we had to honour our Father. God is looking for honour and fear, yet many despise the name of God – they argue back (Mal. 1:6):

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts…”

The problem with modern churchianity is that they are enthralled with the presence of God, but forget that they must also honour the name of God. This is done by keeping the commandments of God, which are all about honouring the Father. Without these, our worship is nothing more than vain and repetitious and there is no real relationship or connect with the Father.

Notice in Luke 11:2 the importance of addressing the Father and hallowing His name:

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”

God’s name has to be held with the deepest reverence and fear and should carry supreme authority in our life. He is holy and righteous, so that he understands that we understand. We have to express a proper level of reverence.

Conduct of Christians shows honour to God

If we say one thing and live another, we are hypocrites and blaspheme the name of God. We need to clean our minds and thoughts and commit to live what we hear.

In II Sam. 12: 9 – a curse is announced  because of David’s sin, to restore honour and dignity to the God family name:

“Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.”

David had falsely represented the God of Israel so God had to deal with it publicly, as David did not deal with it in his own life (II Sam. 12:14).

“Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

In the same way, true Christians who are representatives of God on earth, can also give occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme God’s name. Mark 7:6-7 says such Christians worship in vain, with their lips. Profess God with words, but worship is in vain. A good example already mentioned is the law of God, which so many want to throw away despite clear scriptural proof that we are still to keep it today. Sabbath keeping and tithing are other examples. Such Christians call on God but refuse instructions:

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  (Luke 6:46).

Prayer without obedience is a subtle form of blasphemy. We have to submit to God after our prayer, as it is respect and honour to Him. This thought is furthered in Matt. 7:21, which shows that not every one that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who fulfill the will of our Father receive blessings.

We can also blaspheme God’s name when we show partiality to certain people. We have to walk worthy of the name God called us by. It is our name – now and the future (James 2: 2-3, 7-8). Respecting people is a sin, or an offense against the law.

Meaning of God’s name

God officially announced the meaning of His name to Moses at Mt. Sinai and elaborated on what He said at the bush in the wilderness (Exod. 34:5). He also showed Moses what His name represents and that every human being would at one time have the opportunity to worship God as Moses did. In truth, this was a synopsis of the plan of God.

Psalm 111 shows us that we have to reverence God’s name because it is Holy. If we call ourselves by the name of God, then we are changing the way we live and depart from sin. We are different from this world – we live our spiritual life all day long (II Tim. 2:19).

If we do it right – according to biblical instructions – we will have the name of God as our name (Rev. 3:12).

Should Christians Protest Civil Laws?

bayarealawyers.com

You can study the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find one instance where one of God’s servants ever led a protest against a human government. The apostle Paul wrote, “Let every [person] be subject unto [obey] the higher powers”(Rom. 13:1). The Revised Standard version translates it: “Let every person be subject tot he governing authorities.”

No matter what country you live in, you are to obey the governing authorities in everything. – except, of course, any requirement to disobey God’s higher law. Thus we are to comply with all laws, even traffic laws and income tax laws, that don’t cause us to disobey one of God’s laws.

As the apostle Peter told the Jewish authorities of his day, “We ought to obey God, rather than men.” (Acts 5:29).

Regarding the paying of taxes, true Christians are to obey the established tax laws of the land, no matter how seemingly unfair. In principle, we should claim every tax exemption the government allows – but we should never protest taxation by refusing to pay what is required.

Jesus Christ set us an example to follow. The people of His day detested the Roman tax system. But Jesus Christ paid His taxes (Matt. 17:24-27). He taught: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things which are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).

True Christians are subject to the government of man and no government should find occasion to find them guilty of not obeying its laws.

Climategate: Lying Scientists, Esoteric Interpretations And Mystical Lore!

I read this article about the march of the world’s politicians towards Copenhagen, which continues in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed “climategate”. The author in the Toronto Sun gives the reason as the alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green, which shrug off legitimate science. He suggests they stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.

The Trumpet.com goes another step further and publishes some of the more than 1,000 e-mails, released last week after servers of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (cru) were hacked and the information was posted on the internet.

Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition tonight confirmed the story with the director of Britain’s Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, who said that his organization has been hacked, and the data flying all over the internet appears to be genuine.

“Jones said, ‘We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.'”

Here’s the entire story and below are some sample from the e-mails, with all of them here in searchable format:

  • Doctored data:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

  • Frustration with facts that do not support the global warming theory:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

  • Destroying evidence:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

  • Blacklisting scientists who disagree:

I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.

It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ.

The Hacker

The hack is believed to have been the work of a cru insider who has essentially blown the whistle on their operations. Some are calling the Climategate scandal the greatest in modern science. The documents definitely appear to confirm long-held suspicions of skeptics: that the global warming theory is a politically motivated farce.

The Wall Street Journal has tried to contact many of the scientists who sent and received the e-mails in question. It reports,

Some of those mentioned in the e-mails have responded to our requests for comment by saying they must first chat with their lawyers. Others have offered legal threats and personal invective. Still others have said nothing at all. Those who have responded have insisted that the e-mails reveal nothing more than trivial data discrepancies and procedural debates.

Yet all of these nonresponses manage to underscore what may be the most revealing truth: that these scientists feel the public doesn’t have a right to know the basis for their climate-change predictions, even as their governments prepare staggeringly expensive legislation in response to them.

Telegraph columnist James Delingpole has been alerting his readers to the shaky foundation under the global warming theory for years. On November 20, he wrote:

In September—I wrote the story up here as “How the global warming industry is based on a massive lie”—cru’s researchers were exposed as having “cherry-picked” data in order to support their untrue claim that global temperatures had risen higher at the end of the 20th century than at any time in the last millennium. cru was also the organization which—in contravention of all acceptable behavior in the international scientific community—spent years withholding data from researchers it deemed unhelpful to its cause. This matters because cru, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the ipcc. …

Climate Is Hijacked

We already know that the climate change nonsense doesn’t work because  Europe’s five-year-old cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) market — the Emissions Trading Scheme — has done nothing to make the world cooler. The entire scheme does nothing more than “make hedge fund managers, speculators and Big Energy giddy with windfall profits, while making everyone else poorer by driving up the cost of energy, and thus of most goods and services, which need energy to be lighted, heated, cooled, grown, constructed, manufactured, produced and transported.”

Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in [anthropogenic global warming], with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.

I’m thinking this was not the work of a hacker, but rather a disgruntled insider and there is, apparently, enough evidence in the papers & emails to be seriously embarrassing to the climitista alarmists. In my opinion, someone should give that ‘insider’ a Nobel Prize! Watch for a lot of spin being created to counter the impending dose of sunlight.

Further Links On The Subject

  • BBC story (confirms hacking, nothing about the content)
  • The Guardian (confirms; says skeptics think it proves a collusion)
  • George Monbiot (a top AGW champion): shaken by a “major blow”; Jones should resign
  • Hans von Storch: they should resign, science fixes itself (moderate climate boss, read the “News”)

  • Real Climate (confirms hacking, suggests that the climate scientists are frustrated angels)
  • Glenn Beck YouTube Video on Climate Change cover-up
  • Lateline video about this global warming cabala

November 27, 2009

What Does The Bible Teach Regarding Tattoos?

tattoo-pearcing.blogspot.com

Tattoos have become a craze among young people today. But does the Bible have anything to say about the subject? Most would say no, but then, they would be wrong! God’s word plainly condemns such practices in Lev. 19:28, which reads, “Ye shall not…print [tatoo] any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

A true Christian attitude is one of giving and service. It should demonstrate humility and modesty. A Christian should not appear strange or outlandish in attire. It fact, there are warnings against such attitudes and rebellion.

“Body art” and tattoos are generally motivated by vanity, sexual lust and rebellion; attitudes condemned throughout the Bible. Even if someone says he or she isn’t doing it for those reasons, we should avoid all “appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22).

Christians are told by God to be a light to this world (Matt. 5:13-16), and their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. They must glorify God with it. God does not want graffiti on His temple (I Cor. 6:19-20). We must ensure that our appearance is clean, wholesome and modest. It must be based on God’s law.

November 24, 2009

Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

Filed under: Marriage — melchia @ 8:38 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Where did Cain get his wife? Notice Genesis 5:4: “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he begot sons and daughters.” Obviously Cain married one of his sisters — one of Adam’s daughters — and Seth, Cain’s brother, did likewise.

Adam and Eve, as God proposed, were fruitful (Genesis 1:28). In today’s world, when many couples are having no more than one or two children, it’s hard for us to grasp how many children Adam and Eve probably had during their great span of life of nearly a thousand years. Adam lived almost one sixth of all the time from his creation until now.

It was not wrong to marry a sister or a brother in the beginning — no physical harm would result. More than 2,000 years later, in the days of Abraham, a man could still marry a half sister. It was not until the days of Moses that God forbade brothers to marry their half sisters (Leviticus 18:6, 11).

In pre-Flood days, when people lived for centuries, they did not age as we do today. They were able to continue bearing children, undoubtedly, for hundreds of years. After the Flood, because of living contrary to God’s laws, the human life span became greatly shortened.

November 23, 2009

Jesus Christ: Once Divorced, Yet Twice Married?

blogprints.wordpress.com

Strange as it may seem, Jesus Christ already had a wife! In Exodus 19 and 24, the LORD of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ Himself (I Cor. 10:4) made a covenant with ancient Israel at Mount Sinai. This covenant was a marriage agreement. Notice Jeremiah 3:14: here the LORD (Christ) commands His wife, “Turn, O backsliding children … for I am married unto you.”

But ancient Israel did not carry out her part of the marriage covenant. She was an unfaithful wife (Ezek. 16). God had made His righteous Law a part of that covenant. But because of sin, which is the transgression of that Law, God had to separate Himself from His wife (Isa. 50:1; 59:1-2). “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce” (Jer. 3:8).

Though He put her away, the marriage covenant Christ anciently made with Israel was binding until death. Neither party was free to marry another (Matt. 19:3-9). However, Christ’s death on the stake freed Him from that marriage (Rom. 7:1-4).

Human marriages fail as a result of broken laws. Breaking laws again by allowing divorce and remarriage, contrary to God’s law, would only create more misery. To fully understand that God hates divorce, we have to prove and understand from the Bible that human marriage is a type of the coming future marriage to Jesus Christ. Look at what God says in Mat. 19:8:

“He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so,” (Matt. 19:8)

He warns us to be very cautious in our thoughts and dealings with divorce, which is never an acceptable choice to God, not even for reason of adultery, addiction, spiritism, criminal or immoral conduct.

God’s Laws on Divorce Simplified

The laws of God concerning marriage and divorce are really quite simple. Jesus Christ explained them so that even a little child could understand them. “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6).

Here Jesus Christ cut through a lot of chaff and human reasoning. He showed that man was created for marriage and what God had joined together should not be “put asunder.” Some people in Christ’s day did not like His answer. Men still don’t like this answer. But this law is the foundation of the marriage institution and it is the basis of family life. As Mr. Armstrong stated, this “is the Divine law on which the stability—or the fate of a nation rests!” (Ibid).

The intellectuals and lawyers of Christ’s time quizzed Christ a little further on this issue. Remember, they didn’t like His answer. “They said unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” (Matt. 19:7-10).

This was a stinging answer from Christ. He said that Moses allowed them divorce because of the hardness of their carnal hearts. In other words, ancient Israel could not understand the spiritual dimension to God’s purpose for marriage or live by the spiritual laws concerning marriage. Jesus Christ was essentially putting God’s truth about marriage and divorce “back-on-track.”

Christ was very clear here that God never intended to allow divorce—“from the beginning it was not so!” Christ also stated that to separate what God had joined together and remarry another is committing adultery.

In these verses, Christ allowed an exception to God’s rule—“except it be for fornication.” Simple enough, right? No, we also need to know what the word “fornication” means.

The Porneia Controversy

What exactly does the word “fornication,” as used by Christ in Matt. 19 mean? This word in the Greek language is porneia. It does not mean adultery in marriage, nor does it give adultery as a reason for allowing a divorce. Granted, the Greek porneia has more than one meaning. So does the English word, “saw.” It may mean “did see,” or it may mean an instrument with jagged teeth for cutting through wood. We determine by its use in the sentence, in the context of that sentence, which meaning of the word applies. So it is in the case in which Jesus used the Greek word porneia. The translators of the King James Bible in 1611 knew that Jesus intended the definition “fornication” as an act prior to marriage.

Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Consider that! If in this case porneia should have been translated “adultery” instead of premarital fornication, then, in the English look how absurd would be Jesus’ statement. He would have said, whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of adultery, causeth her to commit adultery. In other words, he divorced her for the sin of adultery, and causes her to commit again the same act for which he divorced her. That would not make sense!

Further, same sentence (verse 32): “whosoever shall marry her” (that is put away for adultery) “committeth adultery.” He who would marry this particular divorced woman would be committing adultery only because she is still the wife of the man who divorced her! To say that Jesus gave adultery as grounds for divorce introduces confusion, and misrepresents what Jesus said to be ridiculous!

The simple fact is that the word “porneia” does describe premarital sexual relations—a capital sin. Jesus Christ used porneia to describe illicit sexual relations prior to marriage—only! He was not describing illicit sexual conduct after marriage.

Marriage not binding in case of premarital adultery

The only way that a man marrying a divorced woman commits adultery is if the woman is still the bound wife of the man who divorced her. But when Jesus gave the only grounds as premarital fornication, that can mean only that the marriage was not binding—God never bound that marriage in the first place. The woman had committed fornication prior to the marriage, had not told the man, and therefore he was defrauded—the marriage was never binding! Why? Because God knew, but the man did not. God never bound that marriage. The man was unknowingly defrauded. If she had told him, and he forgave her anyway, then the marriage would have been bound by God. In that case if he divorced her he did not do so legally in God’s sight, and he caused her, by marrying another, to commit adultery.

In both Matthew 5 and Matthew 19, both the translated English words ‘fornication” and “adultery” are mentioned. In the original Greek the word translated “fornication” was porneia, and a different Greek word was used for adultery, moicheia. If Jesus had meant “adultery” to be the only grounds for divorce and remarriage, he would have used the word moicheia instead of porneia. The very fact He did use the Greek porneia in the same sentence with moicheia shows definitely He did not intend porneia to mean adultery—unfaithfulness after marriage.

So, porneia does not mean adultery. Even God and Jesus Christ show us through the Bible that an adulterous act is not grounds for divorce.  “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD” (Jer. 3:1). Ancient Israel played the harlot with God, and God actually encouraged Israel to return unto him.

A liberal ministry often fails to address two other scriptures related to the laws governing marriage and divorce. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Rom. 7:1-3). Paul shows here very clearly that only death can sever a marriage bound by God. In essence, if a man and a woman married and could live forever, then their marriage would be forever! Our marriage with Christ will be forever. Christ already is spirit. We will become spirit at the first resurrection. Because we will live eternally, our marriage will be eternal. Our human marriages must picture our marriage to Christ in faithfulness.

Paul also taught, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (I Cor. 7:10-11). Paul explains here that if married people divorce, they must either reconcile with their mate or remain single.

Only two reasons for divorce

First, Jesus gave fornication (prior to marriage) as the grounds for nullifying a marriage. This clearly was a form of fraud. When discovered (in nearly all cases) immediately after marriage, it simply meant God, knowing of this fraud, had actually not bound the marriage—and what followed therefore was actually an annulment, not a divorce.

However this did not apply in cases of marriages by unconverted people. God never bound them anyway—they were bound by man’s law, and any divorce and/or remarriage would be according to man’s civil law. But the church would not apply this annulment if the couple had continued living together for a period of time. There could be other types of fraud—such as marriage enforced at the point of a gun.

The second cause for divorce is based on 1 Corinthians 7. Paul there speaks, verses 8-9, to the unmarried and widows. In verses 10-11 he speaks to the married. Beginning verse 12 he speaks to “the rest.” If a converted man has a wife…if she be pleased to live with him, he must not divorce her—he has no grounds for divorce and remarriage.

Likewise the woman in God’s Church, if she has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her despite her religion, she shall not leave him (verse 13).

But if the unbelieving one leaves—cuts off the marriage because of the Church member’s religion—let him or her depart. Now notice this! The believing Church member is not given grounds for breaking off the marriage. It is only IF the unbelieving one leaves—severs the marriage relationship—then and only then is the believer (Church member) no longer bound and free to obtain a divorce (verse 15).

This could occur in at least two ways. 1) The believing Church member has been newly converted, and the mate refuses to live with him or her because of the religion. 2) Both had been in the Church, but one falls away, turns bitter against the Church, refuses to live as husband or wife with the still loyal member. In this case the embittered one, leaving the Church, has become an unbeliever.

We must take special note of several facts:

“Fornication” or premarital sex is grounds for annulment, not divorce. With this understanding the only cases for allowable divorce and remarriage within God’s Church are: the case of an unconverted mate departing the marriage over religion; or the case of a member becoming an unbeliever and then departing the marriage. The converted mate is then free to remarry, but only within God’s Church. Why? See II Cor. 6:14:

“Do not keep company with those who have not faith: for what is there in common between righteousness and evil, or between light and dark?”

Believers should not marry unbelievers, as this scripture shows. it creates confusion and disharmony.

We must remember that God hates “putting away.” If a Christian is already married to an unbelieving mate who is please to dwell with him, it would be a grave sin for a that member to manipulate an unconcerted mate to leave a marriage. Living with an unconcerted mate can be difficult at times, even if that mate is kind and supportive. But that is not a valid reason for “pushing” that mate out of a marriage.

Again, we must look at marriage to an unconverted mate from God’s perspective:

Now Paul gives an important reason for the converted mate continuing in the marriage, IF the unbelieving one is willing. Notice I Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.”

To thoroughly understand this we need to go clear back to Adam and Eve. When God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, and with sword-flaming angels barred anyone from going back in—or having access to the tree of life (the Holy Spirit)—God said, in effect:

“You have made your decision. You have rebelled against me, denied me as your God, your Revealer of knowledge, your Ruler. Therefore I sentence you and the World that shall be born from you to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF from me—except for the VERY FEW I shall specially call into my service to prepare for the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus confirmed this when He said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).

Now the nation of ancient Israel was specially called by God the Father for a special purpose—even though they were still cut off from receiving the Holy Spirit.

But the unconverted mate is put in a special category—not called necessarily to receiving the Holy Spirit or spiritual conversion—but simply NOT CUT OFF from God. They are free to seek God, if they will, and to become converted. They are placed in a special category, neither converted, or CALLED for God’s special duty in conversion—but, on the other hand, NOT actually CUTOFF—not in the category Jesus spoke of, saying no such unbeliever CAN come to Jesus, except by special call to salvation by God the Father. They are free to seek God and to seek conversion IF THEY WILL—not CUT OFF!…

If the husband or wife who is IN the Church divorces the unbelieving nonmember who is willing to continue the marriage, that Church member puts the unconcerted mate in the CUTOFF category—whereas such nonmember mate might have been saved for eternal life in God’s Kingdom.

We must never forget that the only way to fully understand the Bible on the issue of divorce and remarriage is by seeking God’s will.

Christ will soon marry again. Only this time He will marry a repentant, forgiven, sinless “spiritual Israel.” This is the New Testament Church soon to enter the Kingdom of God. Read Revelation 19:7: “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.”

Sources:

  1. Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete? by Herbert W Armstrong
  2. WCG Pastor General’s Report, 1980, Herbert W Armstrong

November 21, 2009

Emotional Maturity In Prayer

morethancoping.wordpress.com

How’s your prayer? Is it dead earnest and with rending of heart – in deepest, intense feeling? Don’t mistake this for thoughtless and uncontrolled emotion! This is full mental realization of purpose – of need – seeking God with all our strength and might.

Scripture shows that we can pray with superficial emotion, and not the type that God wants (Hos. 7:14). The Moffat version translates this scripture as: “They never put their hearts into their prayers.” This shows that we can have three states of emotional immaturity in our prayer:

1. Emotion getting the better of us.
2. Suffocating emotion because we’re afraid to feel anything.
3. Being indifferent altogether.

    God desires proper, thought driven and earnest emotion. He doesn’t want fake emotions or those tied up somewhere else. And He certainly does not appreciate  prayer with absolutely no personality or enthusiasm.

    Prayers need to be intense – surrendered and yielded to the great God in tears. The example was set for us in Heb. 5:7 where it says: “In the days of His flesh Christ offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears…” These were His prayers throughout His human life – not just on his last night!

    God has graciously granted, by astonishing miracles, many answers to earnest prayers. But Christians will receive no real answer except this prayer comes earnestly from the heart. Casual, routine prayers will never get through to God – will receive no answer – because they are a matter of duty and without feeling or emotion. Perhaps this makes plain the reason why most people have never received an answer in their prayers.

    Prayers need to have motivation and emotional connection to God.  Passion, enthusiasm and compassion for others  must fill prayer life. This is the prayer of the emotionally grown-up. It expresses gratitude and joy for self, mercy and sympathy for others, reverence and adoration in worship of God.

    “Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.” – C. H. Spurgeon. You can feel the emotional connection and expression in prayer if your whole being is in touch with God. Even though the emotion is a physical reaction, it accompanies or reacts from true, spiritual experience.

    November 20, 2009

    Catholic Church: Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned!

    clericalwhispers.blogspot.com

    The child abuse crisis in the Catholic church has been the subject of considerable attention, law suits and two major research projects. In 2004, the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People released a study titled, A Report On The Crisis In The Catholic Church In The United States.”

    In addition, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York published empirical data on the nature and scope of the abuse problem in dioceses and religious orders across the country in its report: “The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and deacons in the United States 1950-2002, was also released in 2004.

    Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

    According to this article in the Guardian.co.uk, the Vatican lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger. Defiantly, it said that the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

    The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

    Yet, of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn in compensation to victims.

    Archbishop Silvano Tomasi also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common. He also added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.”

    Now that may be so, but many see this as nothing less than a damage control counter-attack — a feeble attempt to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths. It’s not working. The Vatican must be held to account, something it has been unwilling to do so far. It has not opened its files, changed its procedures worldwide, and openly reported ALL suspected abusers to civil authorities.

    Sex abuse report pays special attention to homosexual priests

    Looking further into the subject, I perused CatholicNews.com where it stated that when the bishops’ National Review Board issued its report on the causes and context of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, it paid particular attention to a long-controversial issue — the ordination of homosexually oriented men.

    A four-page section of the report is titled, “Special Issues Relating to Sexual Orientation, which states that “81 percent of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys, showing that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior. In light of that, it said, the current crisis cannot be addressed without consideration of issues related to homosexuality.

    While the board found a homosexual dimension in the preponderant abuse of young males by Catholic clergy, one of the John Jay researchers (Louis Schlesinger) who specializes in issues of sexual anti-social behavior said the board was correct only in part. He said the real problem is in the disorder of pedophilia, adult sexual attraction to young people, not in the person’s sexual orientation as such. “Some married men prefer adolescent males,” he said, repeating “married men” to emphasize the heterosexual character of their adult relationship.

    Gay subculture in Catholic church?

    The National Review Board said that, “In the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, there developed at certain seminaries a ‘gay subculture,’ and at these seminaries, according to several witnesses, homosexual liaisons occurred among students or between students and teachers. Such subcultures existed or exist in certain dioceses or (religious) orders as well.”

    The board said it believes a failure to take disciplinary action against that conduct “contributed to an atmosphere in which sexual abuse of adolescent boys by priests was more likely.”

    Noting the current debate going on in the church over the acceptability of ordaining homosexually oriented men, the board said it spoke with some bishops who do not accept homosexual candidates and others who do.

    Are homosexuals more inclined to molest in a chaste lifestyle?

    The Review Board stated further: “For those bishops who choose to ordain homosexuals, there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny and perhaps additional or specialized formation to help them with the challenge of chaste celibacy.” The board quoted one of the bishops it interviewed: “Training for celibacy is different if someone is homosexually oriented or heterosexually oriented. The occasions of sin are different. The danger flags are different.”

    So why hire those who have inclinations opposite those that the Bible teaches? Is homosexuality not deemed a sin in the Bible? In both the Old and New Testaments, male and female homosexual acts are denounced as abominable, unnatural, vile perversions. Please read Genesis 19:1-13, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Judges 19:22-24, I Corinthians 6:9-10, I Timothy 1:9-10. In no scriptural reference is homosexuality approved!

    In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks of a people who “deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie…. Their women exchanged the normal practices of sexual intercourse for something which is abnormal and unnatural. Similarly the men, turning from natural intercourse with women, were swept into lustful passions for one another…receiving, of course, in their own personalities the consequences of sexual perversity” (Romans 1:25-27, Phillips translation).

    I Tim. 3:1-4 says: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous…disobedient to parents, un-thankful, unholy, without natural affection…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…. From such turn away” (I Timothy 3:1-4). God wants us to avoid unnatural and unholy things—especially those that destroy families. The Catholic church merely condones such destruction by hiring those of homosexual inclination.

    God, therefore, commands us to avoid the serious sin of homosexuality—and the Catholic church which says it is the true church of God-should then follow that admonition, should it not? That is, IF it was the true church of God.

    So now the question posed was, “Are homosexual men more inclined to molest in a chaste lifestyle?” First, the use of sex within marriage between a man and a woman is the only God-ordained pure expression of romantic love. Many people will disagree, but homosexual thoughts are perverted – God says so. Think about it: Why would a wise Creator God design humans to be attracted to a member of their own gender? He wouldn’t. The Genesis account shows that our first parents, Adam and Eve, had a natural attraction for one another. And any good high school anatomy class supports the fact that a man and woman are compatible physically and can produce offspring. It was God’s original intent and purpose for man and woman to be sexual partners—not man with man or woman with woman.

    Anyone can be tempted by a fleeting thought to commit a wrong sexual act. That is a temptation. But it becomes a sin if it is given in to and allowed to stay in the mind. Homosexuality is a lust (of the flesh), just like adultery or any other sexual sin. And allowing lusts to continue in your mind is dangerous, because thoughts usually lead to actions.

    Jesus Christ taught that it is a sin even to look at someone else in lust (Matthew 5:28). Lingering thoughts or fantasies about illicit sex (in a chaste lifestyle while around young boys) can develop warped feelings or desires and cultivate evil practices that are nearly impossible to break.

    The Catholic church admits that the abusers were homosexuals, and it admits it hires them. Do their thoughts about men (or young boys) merely go away while being priests? A chaste lifestyle is unbiblical and merely leads to temptation and wrong sexual thoughts. God says to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5).

    Will the Catholic church accept blame?

    While the Catholic church says child abuse is unacceptable, its actions and statements do not convey anything resembling repentance. In fact, the forthcoming statements more closely show defiance. Another CatholiccNews.com article featuring a 90-minute program broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network says that sex abuse stems from a crisis of faith and morality. Sounds great, but then it is said that: “This is a societal problem, not a Catholic problem,and the work of the National Review Board provides “a model for everyone else to do a self-examination of their own institution.”

    So why try to shift the blame? Does it matter if the problem exists elsewhere? Is this not like a thief telling the judge at sentencing that he is a thief because others are also thieves? Can a murderer blame other murderers for his actions? Clean your own house and don’t worry about others! You are supposed to be (though I dispute this) the true church of God. This abuse is happening in YOUR house. Who cares, as board member William R. Burleigh emphasized, “Things do not happen in the church that are not part of general society.” Does that make it right, or less of a crime? It sounds more like the feeble excuse a seven year old child makes in blaming his sibling for his own actions.

    How many priests abuse children?

    A study done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York shows about 4 percent of U.S. priests ministering from 1950 to 2002 were accused of sex abuse with a minor. The 4,392 clergymen — almost all priests — were accused of abusing 10,667 people, with 75 percent of the incidents taking place between 1960 and 1984. During the same time frame there were 109,694 priests, it said.

    The sex-abuse related costs totaled $573 million, with $219 million covered by insurance companies. The study noted, however, that the overall dollar figure is much higher than reported; 14 percent of the dioceses and religious communities did not provide financial data and the total did not include settlements made after 2002, such as the $85 million agreed to by the Boston Archdiocese.

    FindLaw.com says the shocking and most telling of all was the statistic as to the percentage of abusers who were ever incarcerated — only 2% (3% were prosecuted and convicted but apparently, of those, a third either will not serve time, or have yet to serve time). I believe that it is primarily because the Church simply transferred the offending priests rather than report them to authorities. It made them a conspirator. That is why they have had such big judgments levied against them and why they have been advised by their own legal counsel to make such huge settlements. It shows a pattern.

    Though the Catholic church likes to point fingers elsewhere to divert attention, other religions and institutions didn’t cover the problem and therefore receive front page news, by simply moving pedophile priests around the country for decades. They also didn’t threaten the victims with hell if they complained. This tells us the Church dramatically failed in its obligations to the public good. And it also tells us that one current “remedy” for abuse that the Church is still putting forward — more self-policing — will never work.

    The United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops says that priests are not more likely to be child molesters than others simply because they are celibate, and that celibacy does not distort ones’ sexuality or attract a larger proportion of men with sexual problems. It states, “In fact, the sexual difficulties and inner psychological problems that give rise to child sexual abuse are largely in place long before a person enters into the formation process for a celibate priesthood.

    So here we have the shift of blame again. It is NOT a celibate lifestyle (without the contact required of humans by male and female) that is to blame, but it definitely is thoughts previously harboured by men entering into the priesthood. So say the experts and so says the Catholic church. Proof enough?

    While no mainstream researcher would suggest that there is any link between homosexuality and true pedophilia, that is, sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent minors, the Bible says otherwise. It tells us that homosexual thoughts are “lusts of the flesh,” or the senses [Eph. 2:3].

    Citing statistics that say most adults in society who sexually molest minors are not homosexually oriented is a cop out. The rejoinder to this is the fact that most victims of priests are young males, and this to me is not open to misinterpretation. A significant number of priests who sexually molest minors are involved with post-pubescent adolescent males, about 14 to 17 years of age.

    The United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops will even admit that it appears to be true that many in this sub-population of priest child-molesters are homosexually oriented, but it then offers the lame excuse that “theirs is a particular kind of homosexuality, which one might call “regressed” or “stunted.” It downplays the significance of the problem by saying that homosexual men are emotionally stuck in adolescence themselves, and so are at risk for being sexually active with teenage males. The issue is therefore not so much homosexuality but rather their stunted emotional development.”

    So therefore the problem is not that the church ordains homosexuals, but rather “regressed or stunted homosexuals?” That is, those who should not be blamed because of their own terrible childhood. Sounds like a large dash of liberalism to me. let’s give rights to the perpetrators because they themselves are victims. So therefore the solution, then, is not to ban all homosexuals from ordained ministry, but rather to screen out regressed homosexuals before ordination.

    I can tell you this – a self policing of such sorts will never work. The sociologist and Catholic priest Andrew Greeley predicted long ago that the number of victims was probably on the order of 100,000. Decades ago, psychologist Richard Sipe, an expert on the issue predicted that as much as 6-8 % of priests sexually abused minors. Why are the numbers deemed so high? FindLaw.com says psychologists estimate that only a fraction of childhood sexual abuse victims ever come forward, anywhere from 5-35%. But let’s pity the poor regressed homosexuals, right?

    ReligiousTolerance.org states: “Even if, as one researcher estimates, six percent of priests sexually abuse youth or children, then that still leaves an average of almost 19 priests out of every 20 who are non-abusive.”

    Such language to me sounds pathetically weak. 1 in 20 is an astonishing figure! AllAboutReligion.com estimates there to be 400,000 Catholic Priests, worldwide. At six percent, that’s 24,000 pedophile priests that are molesting children — in the supposed true church of God.

    Conclusion

    While the Catholic church has recently taken some steps to tackle the problem, it also has gone into defensive mode and in my opinion, has not been repentant. Changes seem forced, purely because its sordid past has been revealed. This is proven by not accepting 100% blame and by the decades long cover-up.

    In moral panics, as in wars, truth is often the first victim. Here we have the supposed church of God lying and breaking the ten commandments. We’ve witnessed a large number of priests – supposedly people of God – undertaking a crime so heinous, Jesus Christ would be aghast. In the true church of God, no cover up would be allowed. No such crime would be tolerated, and beyond the minimum time of proving the facts, accused priests should be removed from duty. The situation would be immediately remedied, as Christ loved children and God the Father is all about family. Yet this pope, and past popes, have known about the allegations for decades.

    By taking upon itself to operate in a private sphere untouched by concerns with the public good, the Church by its own actions increased the number of crimes, pushed the numbers of victims to stratospheric heights and destroyed its own credibility on social and faith issues. My point – this is not the true church of God, as led by Jesus Christ as the head. By their fruits you shall know them….

    November 18, 2009

    2012 (End Of World) Mayan Myth Debunked!

    Filed under: Prophecy,Prophets - False — melchia @ 8:36 am

    t4toby.wordpress.com

    I recently had a discussion with a friend about the supposed impending approach of the end of the world, as allegedly foreseen by the Maya and represented by the “end” of their calendar on December 21, 2012. In a nutshell, this calendar is about to roll up the red carpet of time, swing the solar system into transcendental alignment with the heart of the Milky Way, and turn Earth into a shooting target for a rogue planet heading our way.

    Already more than a half dozen books on the subject are marketing astronomical fears about the supposed 2012 end time. And of course there was the film “2012” which heavily promoted a focus on this particular date, along with cracking continents, plunging asteroids, burning cities, and a tsunami throwing an aircraft carrier through the White House. This is not much different than the Millennialism that was prevalent leading up to January 1st, 2000.

    As a Christian, I can say without reservation that these claims are completely without merit. In Is.a 41:22, God says “Let them (doubters) bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things (of times past), what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come (in the future). Here God is defying those who claim to know things in advance, or in the past. He alone claims this power and man has no such ability.

    However, I will also show that these claims also have no scientific merit either. The non-ending of this calendar ( as promoted by hucksters), mixes in a bit of mysticism, some astrology, some mayanism, and numerology, along with utter nonsense. The result is an incoherent mess of ideas and baseless claims, many of them contradicting each other.

    The Mayan Calendar Explained

    “The Mayan Calendar was constructed by an advanced civilization called the Mayans around 250-900 AD, who viewed time as a meshing of spiritual cycles. While the calendars had practical uses, this represents the Mayan date of approximately 1012 years, 7 months and 1 day.

    So what does this have to do with the end of the world? The Mayan Prophecy is wholly based on the assumption that something bad is going to happen when the Mayan Long Count calendar runs out. Experts are divided on this issue, but as the Maya used the numbers of 13 and 20 at the root of their numerical systems, the last day could occur on 13.0.0.0.0. When does this happen? Well, 13.0.0.0.0 represents 5126 years and the Long Count started on 0.0.0.0.0, which corresponds to the modern date of August 11th 3114 BC. Have you seen the problem yet? The Mayan Long Count ends 5126 years later on December 21st, 2012.”

    “Archaeologists and mythologists believe that the Mayans predicted an age of enlightenment when 13.0.0.0.0 comes around; there isn’t actually much evidence to suggest doomsday will strike. If anything, the Mayans predict a religious miracle, not anything sinister. Mayan archaeo-astronomers are even in debate as to whether the Long Count is designed to be reset to 0.0.0.0.0 after 13.0.0.0.0, or whether the calendar simply continues to 20.0.0.0.0 (approximately 8000 AD) and then reset. As Karl Kruszelnicki writes:

    …when a calendar comes to the end of a cycle, it just rolls over into the next cycle. In our Western society, every year 31 December is followed, not by the End of the World, but by 1 January. So 13.0.0.0.0 in the Mayan calendar will be followed by 0.0.0.0.1 – or good-ol’ 22 December 2012….” – Excerpt from Dr Karl’s “Great Moments In Science.” (universetoday.com)

    “We also have to consider that this is a theoretical reconstruction of the Mayan calendar, since it hasn’t been in use for hundreds of years. The Mayan epoch shown above was hotly debated by archeologists for many decades. The date shown is a consensus date, originally proposed by J.E.S. Thompson, and supported by carbon dating and other methods. However, this particular date for the Mayan epoch could still be off by some amount, possibly by years. Thus any eschatological theories based on this calendar would have to be adjusted accordingly.” (SacredTexts.com)

    One thing to note for Christians: the Mayan calendar, as we have seen, dabbles heavily in pagan mythology and use, whereas the Bible tells us in Exod. 20:3 that we should have no other gods before the true God.

    And Exod. 23:24 states:  “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and break down their images.”

    Common Misrepresentations About 2012

    On the Griffith Observatory site, it lists the five most common misrepresentations about the 2012 end of time date:

    1. The Maya Calendar is “Ending”

    FALSE. The Maya calendar is not spooling up the thread of time. It is coming to the end of a particular cycle in an unending sequence of cycles. According to the rules of the Maya calendar system, a primary interval, Baktun 13, for all practical purposes ends on the winter solstice, 2012. Although pseudoscientific claims have linked this calendrical curiosity to a Maya prophecy of the end of time, there is no evidence for ancient Maya belief in the world’s end in 2012 or even in any unusual significance to the cycle’s completion.

    The Maya calendar relied on multiple cycles of time. In Maya tradition, these cycles of time run far into the future, and there are ancient Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions that project time into the future well beyond 21 December 2012. At the end of Baktun 13 (a period of 144,000 days or 394 years), a new baktun will begin. There is no Baktun-13 end of time. The notion of a Baktun-13 transformational end of time is modern. It originated in Mexico Mystique, a book published in 1975 by an American writer, Frank Waters, who made computational errors.

    2. We Are Emerging from a Galactic “Beam”

    FALSE. In 1987, the notion of the Maya forecast of the end times was linked to a “beam” from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The writer who introduced this galactic element also promoted it through 1987’s Harmonic Convergence. According to him, we emerge from the beam on winter solstice, 2012 because that’s when the Maya calendar “ends.” In reality, there is no galactic beam either observed or predicted). There is no astronomical or observational fact here, just assertion.

    3. The Sun’s Pathway Through the Milky Way Is Somehow Related.

    FALSE. Others have also noted the gradual precessional shift of the Sun’s position at winter solstice across the Milky Way. They have claimed the winter solstice Sun will coincide with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in 2012. This is not true. The winter solstice Sun never coincides with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. There is no “galactic alignment” on winter solstice, 2012. There is no meaningful midpoint across the Milky Way. A midpoint for the winter solstice sun’s precessional passage across the Milky Way cannot be defined to a century, let alone a single day (and certainly not to 21 December 2012).

    4. A Planetary Alignment Will Destroy the Earth.

    FALSE. Some have claimed an alignment of planets occurs on winter solstice, 2012, and will cause a catastrophic reversal of the earth’s magnetic field. There is no such planetary alignment on winter solstice, 2012, and even if all the planets did align in this fashion, it would not cause such a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field. There have been numerous planetary alignments and they have had no effect on the Earth.

    5. The Mysterious Planet Niburu Is Headed Our Way.

    FALSE. Conspiracy fatalists are convinced that the imaginary planet Niburu is out there and headed our way. According to this bizarre scenario, NASA, the astronomical community, and presumably everyone else “in the know” allegedly have observed the approach of the planet, placed an embargo on this knowledge, and are deliberately misleading the public. Of course all of this is nonsense as there is absolutely no evidence of the existence of such a planet at all.

    Scientific Explanations

    “The primary source of the idea that the world will end on 2012 comes from Monument 6 of the Mayan ruin known as Tortuguero in the Mexican state of Tabasco. Monument 6 has the only known inscription depicting the end of the current 13-baktun era in 2012.

    An incomplete inscription refers to “the end of the 13th b’ahktun which we will see in the year 2012,” along with the word “utom,” translated as “it will happen.” A crack in the inscription makes reading what follows difficult if not impossible, though there is a phrase translated as “he [perhaps a god] will descend.”Some see that as an indication of a cataclysmic event. But other Maya experts point out that the same verb (descend) is used as part of many Mayan dedication events and seems to not necessarily have a destructive connotation.

    Many have taken that fragment of a sentence carved in stone and run with it, adding the supposed Maya knowledge that, according this sfgate article, “the Earth’s axis wobbles, slightly changing the alignment of the stars every year. Once every 25,800 years, the sun lines up with the center of our Milky Way galaxy on a winter solstice, the sun’s lowest point in the horizon. That will happen on Dec. 21, 2012, when the sun appears to rise in the same spot where the bright center of galaxy sets.”(Examiner.com)

    Responding to all that doomsday talk with a healthy dose of skepticism, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have launched a Web page to dispel the myths surrounding the momentous occasion. NASA explains the calendar ends like your kitchen calendar ends on December 31, 2009. That does not mean the world is going to end in 2009. It means you need a new calendar.

    On an FAQ page called, “2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?” they point out that the Planet Nibiru was predicted to hit the Earth in May of 2003, and as far as we know, it didn’t. And someone just pushed reset, and now it’s coming in 2012. Even if a collision with Nibiru were real astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.

    NASA also states that the Earth reverses its magnetic polarity once every 400,000 to 500,000 years. There’s absolutely no reason to think it will happen now, [and] no reason to think it will cause a problem if it did.

    As for dark rifts, this is just a place where there are dust clouds in the Milky Way. When did someone decide to be afraid of that?

    So to lay it to rest, their website explains succinctly: “There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.”

    So it seems that the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and overhyped TV specials that cleverly mix predictions from Nostradamus and the Mayas to fool the unwary.

    November 14, 2009

    Life In Space: If You Can't Find It, Redefine It!

    news.bbc.co.ukAccording to a BBC News article, Nasa’s experiment last month to find water on the Moon was a major success. The space agency smashed a rocket and a probe into a large crater at the lunar south pole, hoping to kick up ice. Scientists who have studied the data now say instruments trained on the impact plume saw copious quantities of water-ice and water vapour.

    So what does this mean for us? Though we know the moon is devoid of life, the fact that water has been found on it means that this substance could be found on other planets. And water is, of course, is the only substance known to support living organisms.

    This leads us to an interesting observation. After decades of finding that space is devoid of life, scientists which often mock the notion of a God as Creator, believe they may have found the answer: redefine “life.”

    Why? Because surely if life springs forth as a result of evolution, we would see it developing somewhere else in the universe in addition to our rather tiny planet. Yet, despite the billions spent on deep space telescopes, manned missions to space, probes to Mars—and despite seeing galaxies farther away than anyone thought possible—no one has found even a blade of grass, much less sentient life.

    And so the  National Academies of Science has have come up with a novel approach to the problem: simply redefine what the word life means. Their report gives the following criteria for life as an alternative to nasa’s current expectations:

    • A thermodynamic disequilibrium of some sort, from which energy can be harvested
    • A chemical environment that allows the persistence of covalent bonds
    • A liquid environment
    • A molecular inheritance system that can support Darwinian evolution

    With these dumbed down criteria, the proper conditions for life in space have already been found. Most places in the universe have some sort of thermodynamic disequilibrium, and many have liquids—just not water. And so the ultimate claim of scientists is that living organisms could develop in conditions completely foreign to Earth. And now that nasa has new criteria available for its use, they continue to find no life outside of their own globe of existence.

    The next question then begs – why make such a profound push to find life in space? Because the evolutionary theory depends on it. If life really evolves, the evolution of life in space would be scientifically equivalent to the coming of the Messiah. Scientists hold their beliefs about the origins of life on faith—and the emptiness of space proves it.

    Instead of redefining life in a pathetic attempt to plug holes in the evolutionary dogma, we should ask instead why space is devoid of life. Look the obvious in the face and try to define it first, rather than chasing the evolutionary tail.

    Even religious teachers offer no reasonable answers as to why God created an entire universe filled with stars, planets, black holes, comets and nebulae—and then left it vacant except for a single planet in the Milky Way. Many now try to marry the evolutionary theory with a concept of creation, making God out to be a complete liar.

    But there are definitive answers in the Bible which help us to  better understand why science can’t answer fundamental questions—and how this links to your incredible human potential. All you have to do is read this book.

    Muslim Violence: Politically Correct Weakness Was Inevitable Precursor To Fort Hood Deaths!

    www.freerepublic.comAccording to a November 10 Newsmax article, 10 Percent of 2000 U.S. Mosques Preach Jihad and extremism, the FBI Estimates.

    Here are some astounding facts about Islamic thought in the USA. About a quarter of the Muslims in America ages 18 through 29 believe that suicide bombings can be justified, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Generating those attitudes are imams who preach jihad and hatred in American mosques and postings on the Internet, according to FBI counter terrorism officials interviewed for the book, “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack. The same source said, “It’s not the Irish, it’s not the French, it’s not the Catholics, it’s not the Protestants, it’s the Muslims.” …

    The Bible shows that we have a muddled, minority-privilege, criminal-as-victim rationalization within our societies. This view is fueled largely by our liberal leadership and media’s look-the-other-way response and pretending the greatest danger in the war on terror is increased discrimination against peaceful American Muslims. Nothing, but nothing seems to prevent us from prioritizing “sending the right message” to the Islamic world over dealing with the truth.

    That sort of thinking puts into perspective  the problem facing us as we ponder the meaning of Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s slayings of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. Numerous signs point to Hasan’s jihadist motives:

    1. His attendance at a mosque with a jihadist hate preacher—Anwar al-Awlaki, the same “spiritual adviser” to three of the 9/11 terrorists.
    2. His labeling of the war on terror a “war on Islam.”
    3. His identifying his nationality not as American, but Palestinian.
    4. His being reprimanded during his postgraduate work for inappropriately proselytizing for Islam.
    5. His efforts, noted by U.S. intelligence officials, to contact members of al Qaeda.
    6. His evident approval of a Muslim terrorist killing an Army recruiter in Arkansas this past summer.
    7. His statements (according to colleague Col. Terry Lee), that Muslims had the right to attack Americans, and that “maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Times Square.”
    8. His lecture to doctors at Walter Reed in D.C. where he warned that “adverse events” could occur if the military didn’t release Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors.
    9. His statement, in the same presentation, calling non-Muslims (in the words of the Sunday Telegraph) “infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire,” and saying they “should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.”
    10. His statement to a neighbor the morning of the attack, as he gave her a Koran with his business card, “I’m going to do good work for God.”
    11. His shout of “Allahu Akbar!” (Allah is great) before he mowed down his victims.

    More motives are appearing by the minute and it is clear that the radical element of Islam influenced Hasan.

    Don’t expect many retractions from any who assume Hasan’s religion had no bearing on his motive in the attack. That is because political correctness is cherished more than truth. Most in power or in the press have downplayed the jihadist connection from the moment the tragedy happened. They ascribed the attack to Hasan’s supposed mental imbalances, stress from counseling traumatized soldiers, or harassment he endured for being Muslim. Everything at all, except the fact that he is a Muslim with extreme views.

    Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army chief of staff, said it’s important not to speculate about the role his Muslim faith played in the outburst. Well, why not given the facts stated above? Because his concern is to prevent a backlash against Muslims in the military.

    President Obama also issued a statement saying, “We don’t know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.”  sounds noble right, except this is the same man who, before knowing all the facts, glibly judged that the Cambridge police’s actions against Henry Louis Gates fit a pattern of racial profiling in America.

    I don’t see that these 13 murders will do anything to change the culture of political correctness strangling our Western nations. They have a stubborn, unshakable conviction that the best way to fight Islamist terrorism is to avoid offense. This runs parallel to a prophecy in Isaiah which states: “[W]e have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.”

    The Prophet Moses warned that the end-time nations of Israel, of which the U.S. is one, would suffer. Among their punishments: “The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.” And why? “For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them” (Deuteronomy 32:25, 28).

    Doesn’t the above information adeptly show a nation void of counsel and bereft of understanding? As long as we continue to cherish political correctness above truth and value diversity over life itself, we will continue to suffer. The reason? Our life is void of God’s word.

    November 12, 2009

    How To Have God Answer Your Prayers

    www.webexhibits.orgCan we take God’s Word literally? Does God mean what He says in it?

    Jesus thought so. He said, “Thy word is TRUTH” (John 17:17). The apostles constantly taught and acted as if God’s Word were literally true. They also believed every word of God (Matt. 4:4).

    To get results in your prayers, you should believe in the God of the Bible. Believe His Word is truth. And be willing to act on God’s Word and His commands.

    The Bible reveals seven basic conditions which you should fulfill to be certain of answered prayers. What are they?

    Seek God’s Will

    In James 4:1-4, the apostle showed that the people of this world fail to receive help because they often neglect to ask God’s help. And when they do, it is only to ask for their own selfish ends. To ask selfishly is to “ask amiss.” You can expect no answer to such a prayer.

    To get an answer, follow Jesus’ example when He said, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). But can you know God’s will? “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).

    Study God’s Word as Paul commanded Timothy (II Tim. 2:15). Then you will begin to think more as God thinks. You will come to know what God’s will is in every circumstance. If you believe and know that God is love, that His will is for our good, then you will want to pray according to God’s will.

    You need not always have a specific promise in the Bible to know that something is God’s will. Through experience and guidance, you will learn how to apply the principles of God’s revealed will to any situation which may arise.

    The point is that you must pray according to God’s will to receive an answer. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:14-15). God’s Word reveals that by fulfilling this condition you know that God will answer your prayers!

    Asking according to God’s will is the overall, fundamental condition of answered prayer. All other conditions could be grouped under this one because they are the specific points of God’s will in regard to prayer. The following six, together with and magnifying this first condition, will ensure answered prayers.

    Believe God

    Most people do not realize that a lack of faith is simply a disbelief that God will keep His promises or back up His Word. Have you ever thought of it that way?

    Real FAITH is not an emotional “feeling” that you generate by thinking certain thoughts over and over. You don’t “talk yourself into,” or “think yourself into” real, believing faith. Godly faith is simply your willingness – through God’s help – to quietly, patiently trust God to perform His Word. Abraham had that kind of faith. The apostle Paul wrote of him: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:20-21).

    James was inspired to write that a man must have faith to receive answers to his prayers (James 1:5-7) . A man who wavers will not receive an answer. “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (verse 7).

    God has made hundreds of promises in His Word which we can claim. Do you completely TRUST God to keep His promise to heal, although consulting a doctor for help and advice as to what physical law you are breaking? If you really believe God will heal, then trust Him to do it! Faith without works is dead (James 2:20). To have answered prayers, you must have faith – and you must act on that faith.

    Be Fervent

    It is common in our day for parents to teach their children memorized prayers. The father often mumbles a hurried, routine prayer of thanks at the table. The minister either reads or recites from memory an eloquent prayer which sounds very impressive. Is God impressed? The “fruits” show that God rarely hears such prayers, for they are usually not answered.

    This is so because people don’t put their hearts into their prayers (Hosea 7:14). They don’t “cry out” to God with their whole being as the ancient prophets did – and as Christ did when He prayed.

    On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus needed strength from God for the coming ordeal. He needed to get really close to God. He knelt down and began to pray that God’s will, not His own, would be done. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). He prayed earnestly – with all His heart.

    In James 5:16, we read, “The effectual FERVENT prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We have to pray fervently, earnestly, zealously, if we expect God to hear.

    Fear and Humility

    Man has a cocksure, self-sufficient attitude and thinks he can get along fine without God. He neither fears God nor respects God’s Word as an authority in his life. He is vain, egotistical, self-important. Is it a wonder that God fails to answer the prayers of such men?

    The very first prerequisite to knowledge of God is to fear Him and respect His Word. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

    Carnal man needs to realize that he is only dust until he receives the Spirit of God, which is the begettal to eternal life. Eternal life is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23), not something we already have. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

    We need to fear God, realizing that our lives are in His hands. We should be humble, realizing that any gifts or talents we may have are ours because God gave them to us. When we can approach our Creator in that attitude – respecting His power and authority over our lives – then He will hear our prayers.

    When Christ was in the human flesh, even He feared God as we should. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb 5:7). When we fully realize our own helplessness, then we will cry out to God as we should.

    Peter wrote “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5). The attitude of humility and godly fear is vital in prayer, and at all times.

    Be Persistent

    In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus spoke a parable to teach us that we should always pray, and never give up hope. He showed that even an unrighteous judge would finally hear the pleas of a widow who kept coming to him. So we should keep praying to God, even though He doesn’t answer right away.

    God has made many promises in His Word. But He has nowhere said that He will perform them at the time, or in the way that we choose. Sometimes it is very good for us not to have our prayers answered immediately. God is building patient faith into our characters.

    James was inspired to write, “the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3) . If God doesn’t answer your prayers immediately, exercise patience and keep praying until He does answer.

    Don’t nag at God. He has supreme wisdom to know when and how would be best to answer your prayers. But if you have prayed as you should, He WILL answer. God always keeps His promises! So be persistent. Keep praying in faith, and God is bound to perform His part.

    Obedience

    A sixth condition of answered prayer is one which is neglected and violated consistently by most professing “Christians.” This hinges directly on the before-mentioned fact that very few people today really know the true God. People do not look to God as the AUTHORITY in their lives. Instead, they make a “god” out of this world’s society and its customs, traditions, and religious practices.

    God inspired Paul to write, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey” (Rom. 6:16). If you obey the ways of sin practiced in this world, you are putting this society and its pagan customs in the place of the true God!

    God wants more than “lip service.” He requires OBEDIENCE !

    If you haven’t learned to fear the true God and accept His Word as the authority in your life, then you don’t even really know God. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).

    How can men persistently refuse to keep God’s commandments, and then expect Him to answer their prayers? Peter answers, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Peter 3:12).

    Sin is simply breaking God’s Law (I John 3:4). God will not hear the prayers of those who persist in sin – in evil. If people would obey God, they would get answers when they pray. Then God wouldn’t seem so far away, so unreal – as He probably does to most of you? Think it over. Then do something about it.

    Does God ever hear the prayers of the unconverted? Yes, He does. God himself has blinded the eyes of many to the truth at this time (Rom. 11:7-8). It is His responsibility that they don’t know the truth yet. So God does sometimes hear and answer the prayers of those who obey as far as they know.

    The lepers and cripples who came to Jesus to be healed didn’t know all of God’s truth. But they did realize that Jesus was sent from God and could heal. And they acted on what they knew. So it is a matter of your heart or attitude. If you come to God in a humble, repentant spirit and are determined to obey Him to the best of your knowledge, He will hear your prayers. But this is no excuse for anyone who knows the truth to disobey God!

    True Christians can have a special confidence that God will answer their prayers if they are obedient. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22).

    Use Christ’s Name

    The seventh condition of answered prayer is the correct use of Christ’s name. This is a greatly misunderstood subject, and the use of Christ’s name is often abused.

    After Jesus had been with His disciples for over three years, and had taught them God’s will and how to obey it, He said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). These verses give us the privilege of employing Christ’s name – asking by His authority – when we pray to God. But most people misunderstand how we can ask “in Jesus’ name.”

    When our government sends an Ambassador to another country, he is given authority to carry out certain business in the name of the United States Government. He can act in the name of our government because it has conferred on him the authority as its chosen representative to carry on certain business on its behalf. His authority is limited to do only what the government has specifically authorized him. If he exceeds his delegated authority, his actions are null and void and will not be backed up by his government.

    That is the way we are to ask things “in Jesus’ name.” Christ has given His ministers the duty of performing certain functions in His name – or by His authority. We can rightfully ask for things “in Jesus’ name” only when we know that it is His will – that His authority stands back of it.

    Just rattling off the words “in Jesus’ name” to a prayer that is contrary to God’s will and Christ’s will is of no avail whatsoever.

    Those who abide in Christ and are God’s children have the privilege of praying in Christ’s name. Jesus explained, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). The words of Jesus Christ MUST abide in us to have what we ask for granted. That is, we must obey what

    Yes, Jesus’ words must abide in you. You must ask according to His Will. You must abide in Him – belong to Him. “Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). And God gives His Holy Spirit to them that OBEY Him (Acts 5:32).

    So to pray in Jesus’ name, you must at the same time be yielding to His will to the best of your knowledge. “In Jesus’ name” means by His authority. You are praying through Him as your High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

    Christ – our High Priest – was tempted in all points like we are (verse 15). He understands our weaknesses. It is His revealed will to give us of His Spirit (Luke 11:13) and to help us live a more abundant life (John 10:10). You need to study God’s Word to know the principles of His will, that you may ask by His authority.

    Praying in Jesus’ name is a great privilege. Use Jesus’ name correctly, and your prayers will be answered because of the authority conferred through Him.

    Action Will Follow

    If you faithfully conform to these seven conditions of answered prayer – with God’s help, you may then have absolute confidence that God will hear and answer your prayers. You will be changing, growing closer to God each day. You will be actively seeking and doing His will.

    This intimate contact with the Creator of Heaven and Earth will give you a peace of mind and quiet confidence that nothing can destroy. But your confidence will not be in self, but in the greatest power there is. In every trial and problem, you have the right to call on the Supreme Power – the active, living God who reveals Himself in the Bible.

    God has inspired an example of how He heard and answered even the prayers of an unconverted man because that man was in a right spirit, and had obeyed what he knew. In II Kings 20:1-11, we read the account of how king Hezekiah was about to die and sought God’s deliverance.

    God’s own prophet, Isaiah, had told Hezekiah that he would die. But Hezekiah knew that God was an all-merciful God, and that he had obeyed God the best he knew how and could.

    So Hezekiah “wept sore” and besought God’s intervention (verse 3). He put his heart in his prayer!

    In spite of the fact that He had previously told Isaiah that Hezekiah would die, God heard and answered Hezekiah’s fervent prayer! He added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life!

    What a result of prayer! But was that all? No. Hezekiah did not doubt God’s power to intervene and act as this world does. He made a further request that God would give him a special sign that he would be healed (verse 8).

    God’s servant, Isaiah, gave Hezekiah the choice of the sign – the shadow would either go forward ten degrees, or backward ten degrees. Hezekiah said it would be harder for the shadow to go backward ten degrees. “And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward” (verse 11).

    Because of Hezekiah’s faith, obedience, and fervent prayers, God Almighty not only healed him and added fifteen years to his life, but He actually caused the sun to reverse itself in the heavens!

    This was not an “optical illusion.” God’s miracles are real! “For with God NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE” (Luke 1:37). If you believe that God’s Word is truth, this should inspire you to pray as never before!

    November 10, 2009

    Did Jesus Christ Walk On (Frozen) Water?

    authorlauradavis.blogspot.comIt seems that Bible hating scientists and scholars will come up with as much nonsense as possible to discredit true miracles of Christ. Here at Turkishpress.com, a Florida State University oceanographer suggests that when Jesus Christ walked on the Sea of Galilee, there were pockets of fresh water in the lake which were frozen.

    In his research of the history of lakes published in the April issue of The Journal of Paleolimnology, Doron Nof said temperatures dipped low enough in Jesus’s time in the region to freeze parts of the Sea of Galilee, but admits it may have been a special circumstance.

    His explanation itself requires some faith to believe. Nof suggests that the ice could have been thick enough to walk on, although the frozen area would have been surrounded by slightly saltier water emanating from salty springs along the lake’s western shore — salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.

    “Since the springs ice is relatively small, a person standing or walking on it may appear to an observer situated some distance away to be walking on water,” Nof said.

    Nof himself believes this to be an unusual local freezing process (or phenomenon), or in other words, an unproven theory.

    Here is some proof contrary to what this scientist says:

    1. When water is surrounded by ice packs, areas of open water are small and there is little chance for wind to work up vigorous waves. In such calm conditions, ice forms in unbroken sheets called ‘nilas’. These are easy to walk on.
    2. However, Mark. 6:48 tells us that the wind was fierce, a common condition on this lake. As soon as you introduce swell, you get an entirely different form of ice,” according to Jeremy Wilkinson of the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, UK. Under these conditions, globs of ice crystals tossed about in the water combine to form first a soupy mixture called ‘grease ice’, and then round ‘pancakes’ of thin ice a metre or two in diameter. These pancakes have areas of open water between them, making them extremely hazardous to traverse.

    Source: Wilkinson J. et al. Eos Trans. AGU 10, 81-82 (2009).

    We should also consider that Peter himself went unto the water and walked for a while. But rather than the scripture saying he slipped over the ice and began to sink. It says:

    …”And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  (Matt. 14:29-31)

    Notice that Peter began to sink only wen he doubted. It says nothing of a slip or fall. The word “began” to sink also implies it was not a sudden event. This is exemplified through the time frame. Peter had time to speak a complete sentence and Christ had time to react and catch him, which would have been extremely problematic to do with a slip.

    Coupled with the fact that Nof said this unique ice forming probably happened over the lake only once every 160 years, it seems really odd to me that this would be at the exact time that Jesus Christ was on the earth.

    As a last proof that this scientist is merely “faith” illiterate, Nof also suggested in 1992 that the parting of the Red Sea that allowed the Jews to flee Egypt in the Exodus may have been caused by very strong winds that created an unusually low tide exposing part of the sea bottom. Again, an extremely odd occurrence to happen right at the time of a proclaimed miracle.

    Scientists like Nof who propagate such nonsensical theories should not be given voice in mainstream papers to deceive the masses. But since most mainstream media is also against the Bible, it does make sense as to why he is given space to proclaim his theories. The last time I checked, science was supposed to be about facts, not speculation.

    Defining God's Law For The Disobedient!

    godwordistruth.wordpress.comMany today teach that God’s Law was nailed to the cross and is no longer in effect. They say we are now under the new covenant and the old covenant is gone. The Old Testament was for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. They teach that we are at liberty from the law since we are now under grace. Scriptures such as Rom. 3:28 are used to show you “that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” and others such as Rom. 6:14 which states that “…ye are not under the law, but under grace.” So what about it? Is it true that the law was indeed nailed to the cross?

    Why law?

    In love God created man in His own image. God loves human beings and He wanted them to be happy—to have peace, and to enjoy life. In order to make such a happy state possible, God set in living motion the spiritual laws which form the very WAY to every physical, mental and spiritual well-being—to avoid sorrow, suffering, anguish, insecurity, boredom, emptiness, frustration, violence and death. These spiritual laws provide the way to happy, invigorating, vital, interesting and joyful living.

    God’s proposition to ancient Israel was to make them the world’s most prosperous, most blessed and powerful nation—they were to have the supreme blessing of having the guidance, protection, help, of the all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful God, as their sole King and Ruler. Their government was to be a theocracy. God was the Lawmaker, not a congress, or parliament. He  would appoint leading men to execute His orders. And what was to come from the very voice of God for them to obey? A great law that already existed even as the laws of gravity and inertia—the laws of physics and chemistry—already existed. Only this was a spiritual law! God’s voice was to reveal that living, inexorable law in specific words, as a definite code.

    “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Eternal thy God …” and then the voice of God spoke to that mass of people the words of the Ten Commandments! (Exod. 19)

    On that very first day of Pentecost (called festival of firstfruits, or festival of weeks, in the Old Testament), God gave His law—His way of life—to His people. This came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s nation on Earth.

    Then, many centuries later, on the day of Pentecost, a.d. 31, God gave His Holy Spirit to His people—the love of God to fulfill that law. And that came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s Church on Earth!

    And if you think this law was for “Jews only,” you couldn’t be more wrong! Have you not read, in Acts 7:38, that those Israelites “received the lively oracles to give unto us”—for us who, under the New Testament, are Christians?

    Sin defined

    By Bible definition, sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) and without the law, there can be no sin (Rom. 4:15). Were the law really nailed to the cross, we would have no guidepost to tell us what sin actually is, and as we know, we can’t even enter into [eternal] life without keeping the commandments. This makes the “no law” arguement very difficult to defend.

    John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Did you get that? Commandment keeping is associated directly with the law of God! Love is the way of giving, serving, sharing. That is why John 14:15  says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Imagine that. We cannot even pretend to love Jesus Christ if we don’t love His spiritual laws. Can it get any more real than that?

    The love of God is eternal and so is the law of God. Perhaps that is why Mat 5:18 says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

    Yet man seems to think nothing of casting it away, despite these plain words. Observe more closely, now, the Sabbath command.

    “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). God said remember this day! So men have insisted on forgetting—or trying to change it to a different day!

    Christ said, in the sermon on the mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,” so professing Christians think He did come to destroy it!

    Christ said, in the same sermon on the mount: “Swear not,” so professing Christians universally hold up their right hands and swear.

    Christ said: “Love your enemies,” so professing Christians—pretending to follow Him—hate their enemies and go to war to kill them.

    Christ said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” so professing Christians say, “It’s impossible to keep God’s law, let alone to be perfect. Christ kept it in our stead, and then abolished it.”

    Christ commands “Do!”—and His professed followers don’t!

    Christ commands “Don’t!” and His professed followers do!

    Perhaps it is time to stop following the crowd and to keep God’s word the way it was intended – spiritually, not carnally.

    November 7, 2009

    Jesus Christ Did Not Convert One Single Individual During His Ministry

    Filed under: Jesus Christ — melchia @ 8:44 am
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    www.bible-history.comReader Question: You made the statement in one of your posts that Jesus Christ never converted even one individual during His ministry. So then why does Luke 19:9 point out where Jesus said to Zacchaeus that today salvation had come to his house? Also, the thief on the cross was promised eternal life (Luke 23:43). What about this?

    Answer: You probably have assumed that Jesus promised the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise that day. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember the thief had asked earlier, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). The plain fact is that Jesus has not yet come into His Kingdom (Luke 11:2; 19:11; I Thes. 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:23, 49-52). And after all, Christ died that same day and was in the grave — not Paradise — for a total of three days and three nights (Matt. 12:39-40; I Cor. 15:3, 4).

    Rather, the correct wording of Luke 23:43 proves that Christ promised the thief (on the day of His crucifixion — that day) that the thief would eventually be (“shall… be”) in His Kingdom — Paradise — when it comes to the earth.

    The inspired Greek word order with proper punctuation should read: “Verily I say to thee today, ‘With me shalt thou be in paradise.’ ” Notice that Christ’s use of the word “today” was stressing the time He made His promise, not the time of the fulfillment of the promise. The verse is not correctly punctuated in most English translations. Punctuation was added centuries after the original Greek was written.

    Now, what did Christ mean when He told Zacchaeus that “this day is salvation come to this house…”? (Luke 19:9.) Christ was the direct Emissary of the Kingdom of God. He is the “Captain” of our salvation (Heb. 2:10). The Author and Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ, had come to Zacchaeus’ house.

    But look further. Christ nowhere said that Zacchaeus was given God’s Spirit — or converted — that day. Unless a person has God’s Spirit he cannot be truly converted (Rom. 8:9). Zacchaeus was — by Christ’s visit — being offered an opportunity to learn about the Gospel which leads to salvation. But, being offered an opportunity to hear the announcement of God’s government is vastly different than actually being begotten and filled with God’s Spirit. Recall that Peter repeatedly heard that same announcement, but was not converted during Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 22:32; John 7:39; 16:7).

    There is, of course, little doubt that Zacchaeus was converted after the Holy Spirit was made available in general to the common people on the day of Pentecost — 31 A.D. (Acts 2).

    The fruits of Jesus’ ministry — and the results of His death and resurrection — have opened the door that will eventually lead mankind to the knowledge of, and opportunity for, salvation. But Jesus during His earthly ministry did not come to convert the world.

    November 6, 2009

    What Is Satan's Ultimate Fate?

    tasaweer.wordpress.comThere are many false doctrines circulating in modern “Churchianity” about Satan the devil. Some believe he is merely the embodiment of all that is evil, and therefore not a real being, but just a bad “idea” in the minds of men. Others believe Satan appears as a red, dancing monster with wings like a bat, horns, a tail and a pitchfork. 

    But What Is the Truth?

    The Bible reveals that Satan is the god of this present world. Paul expressly says: “In whom the god of this world (Greek “aion”, or “age”) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).

    In trying to overthrow Christ, Satan boasted, “All this power will I give thee (all the kingdoms of the world), and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6).

    Had Satan made this statement falsely, Christ would certainly have refuted it! And yet, Christ said not one word to contradict Satan’s presumptuous remarks about the kingdoms of this world. Jesus did, however, rebuke the devil for tempting Him by means of the kingdoms of this world.

    Jesus warned His disciples that the majority would be deceived, and going in the broad, wide, easy way — the way of following that which seems right to a man — to destruction! (Matt. 7:13.)

    The deceiver is called the “prince of the power of the air” in Eph. 2:2. John’s vision plainly showed Satan as the deceiver of the whole world, who was cast down with his angels, who are now called demons (Rev. 12:9).

    Satan’s Work

    www.darkstar1.co.ukScripture shows that fully one third of all the multiplied millions of the angels followed Lucifer in his rebellion, and were cast down to the earth with him! (Compare Rev. 12:4 with Rev. 1:20.) These fallen angels, remember, are spirit beings! To accomplish his work of deception, with the ultimate goal of destroying human beings, Satan utilizes these millions of disobedient spirits! He is called the princes of demons (Matt. 12:24).

    Satan began — by trying to destroy Adam and Eve — the very first humans on the earth. Again, when God sent His own Son, Satan tried to have Him killed — to thwart His every purpose! Finally, when it was time according to God purpose to allow Christ to be killed, Satan the devil was a direct instrument in executing Christ. He entered personally into Judas! (John 13:27.)

    What About the Everlasting Fire?

    At this present time, God is directly allowing Satan to be used as His instrument in blinding the world, so the lesson of mankind will be so firmly and completely etched in its own blood that there will never again be a society existing in total rebellion against God’s government! God is the One who has “concluded (shut up) them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32). He says He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should finally come to repentance! (II Peter 3:9.)

    At the beginning of Christ’s millennial rule over the nations, Satan is to be bound, and cast into an abyss (Rev. 20:1-3). This condition of restraint will last during the thousand years, and then the devil will be momentarily allowed freedom to deceive the nations again (verse 3)! But consider what occurs next!

    Jesus said He is going to cast unrepentant, carnal-minded humans into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). This parable of the sheep and the goats is another example of a parable of Christ that makes no special reference to the time element, but is showing a spiritual lesson and principle to be learned! The separation described in verse 32 takes place over a period of 1,100 years! — to the end of the 100-year period after the Millennium.

    This everlasting fire is not the conventional hell preached about by mainstream Christianity. Fire is a physical, chemical thing! It is the combustion of physical objects with oxygen which changes the physical objects into ashes and gaseous vapour!

    Notice that the wicked (the same ones Christ referred to) are to be ashes under the feet of the righteous! (Mal. 4:3.) Therefore, this fire Christ spoke of in Matthew 25 is a fire that consumes human beings! But Satan is a SPIRIT being not affected by fire!

    The “Age-Lasting” Fire

    www.soulmanna.netNext, let’s notice carefully some significant facts about the fire Christ will use to destroy His enemies! When Jesus returns to this earth as KING, His first act will be to destroy, not all the wicked, but that “wicked ONE.”

    Next, turn to Revelation 20:10. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet (were).” There is no verb “are” in the original Greek, as the King James revisers have added in italics! See an interlinear or any concordance!

    Notice that the devil will be cast into the (not just “a,” but the definite article “the” is in the Greek) lake of fire where the Beast and the False Prophet were cast!

    This is the same fire. It was burning at the precise beginning of the millennium when the Beast and False Prophet were thrown into its flames; it will be burning at the end of the millennium, when Satan is thrown into the same fire! That’s why it is called an age lasting fire in Matthew 25:41 because it does, literally, last for an age — the millennial age!

    What About the Demons?

    Christ said the fire was being prepared for the devil and his angels! So they, too, are to be thrown into the lake of fire!

    A commonly misunderstood explanation of this is found in I Peter 3:19-20. People have assumed, because they base their religious philosophies on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, that Christ was busy preaching to some supposed “souls” of men in hell!

    Your Bible plainly states the time element in these verses. Christ did the preaching, not during the three days and nights when He was dead in the tomb (I Cor. 15:3 and 20) but “WHEN once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing …” (I Peter 3:20).

    But notice to whom Christ witnessed about the flood. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison”! (Verse 19.) Who were these “spirits”? Certainly not men — nor the “souls” of men, since men do not have immortal souls!

    II Peter 2:4 says: “For if God spared not the angels (spirits) that sinned, but cast them down to hell (prison — “hell” is a mistranslation from the Greek “tartaroo” which means a “condition or position of restraint,” as an “imprisonment”), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

    The “spirits in prison” are the sinning angels, or the demons that have perverted their ways and followed Satan, and are bound to the earth — imprisoned here by the power of God until their day of judgment.

    The Lake of Fire

    This tremendous conflagration will be so intense, so white-hot, that the surface of the whole earth will literally melt with the fervour of the flames! Peter describes this awesome time as a melting of the very elements, a time when all the works on the earth are burned up — dissolved! (II Peter 3:10-11.)

    Christ shows this time occurs after the final Great White Throne Judgment when God’s plan is complete. After this final judgment, even death and the grave are destroyed (Rev. 20:13-15). The surface of the earth will become for a time just as if it were the blazing surface of the sun! This is the great Gehenna fire that Christ talked of, that will destroy the wicked. It is into this vast, seething lake of fire that Satan and his angels will have been cast.

    But remember! This fire is physical! It consumes the bodies of the wicked, but spirit is not combustible!

    How a Spirit Can Suffer

    God created our bodies with a type of “safety device” against too much pain! When the physical human body is subjected to extreme pain, it will reach a certain point and then lapse into unconsciousness! The mind does not continue to register the pain — even though the body continues to suffer!

    A disembodied spirit — one that cannot any longer physically manifest itself — is an uncomfortable, miserable spirit! Jesus described this condition of mental torment when He said, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out”. (Luke 11:24).

    This is further illustrated by the account of Christ’s experience with the many demons who had entered the man in the country of the Gadarenes. Jesus commanded the spirits to come out of the man, and they “besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:10). “And all the devils (demons) besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them” (verse 12).

    When Philip was performing miracles at Samaria, he cast out many demons, who came out of people “crying with loud voice” (Acts 8:7) showing their frustration and anger at being deprived of their dwelling place! (Luke 8:28.)

    God says the demons know of His power — they are aware of the great authority of God! We are told that willful sinners are going to be left with a certain fearful looking for of judgment (Heb. 10:26-27) and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Verse 31.)

    James said, “Thou believest that there is one God? Thou doest well: the devils (demons) also believe, and tremble”! (James 2:19.)

    Satan Will Not Be Destroyed!

    Satan is NOT ultimately destroyed. Turn again to Revelation 20, and verse 10. Notice that the devil is cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and False Prophet were cast, And Satan and his demons shall be tormented day and night forever and ever!

    This expressly states Satan will be tormented for the ages of the ages! (See “International Critical Commentary”, an interlinear or other such Bible helps. ) This expression in the Greek means for all eternity — for time everlasting!

    But notice carefully the verse states Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and tormented forever! It does not say that he will remain in the fire forever! The fire is on this earth! The fire is an age-lasting fire, which will not be burning after God’s new heaven and new earth are established! Since Satan is to be tormented forever, and the fire is to finally consume the physical objects it is burning until it burns out, Satan does not remain in this lake of fire forever! Satan is a spirit! Fire cannot consume spirit — and a spirit cannot die! Jesus Christ said so!

    For a clinching proof, turn to Luke 20:34, Christ begins to explain to the hypocritical Sadducees about the resurrection.

    “… The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die anymore, for they are equal unto the angels …” (verses 34-36).

    Jesus tells us the angels cannot die! Satan is a fallen angel! Therefore Satan cannot die! So what happens to him and the angels?

    The lake of fire will end when the new heavens and new earth are established, and Satan is to be tormented unto the ages of the ages! It also shows his torment while in that fire is going to be mental, at seeing all he has strived toward, worked for, plotted for, burned up.

    Christ preached to the spirits on this earth during the time of the flood as a witness to them! The flood was a type of the yet future destruction of the earth — this time by fire! Christ was warning them of the impending destruction of all their works — and their everlasting banishment from this earth! The exact nature of their punishment is yet to be decided!

    Jude gave a slight indication of the possibility of the nature of that punishment when he used the demons as a type in warning Christians about false teachers who had crept in unawares.

    Verse 11 shows these errors are exactly that of the sinning angels in that they too tried to usurp authority! This, as shown in the example of Korah (Numbers 16), does not sit well with God.

    Jude continues, “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars (see Rev. 1:20, where stars are symbols of angels) to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever! (Verse 13.)

    Which blackness of darkness is this? Rev. 20:1-2 describes a bottomless pit in which Satan and His demons are thrown for a thousand years, only to be loosed again at the end of the Millennium for a short while to try man a final time. It is no great stretch of the imagination to believe that this will then also be his final place of abode after this time, never to again bother man. It is the ultimate bottomless pit – dark, empty and void of anything except these creatures. Now they can never again interact with anyone – for eternity.

    November 4, 2009

    Proving God's Calendar Correct!

    JEWISH-CALENDARThe Scriptures are the standard against which any arguement for a Christian should stand or fall. Without such a standard to compare with, any attempt to prove a thing becomes futile, subject to misinterpretation.

    Think for a moment! How would you prove that a rug you bought was 9 by 12 feet? You would need a ruler, a standard to measure by. How would you know the ruler to be correct? The final word on the matter would come from the Bureau of Standards in Washington which keeps masters on hand for every weight or measurement.

    Now how will you check the new moons? Are you certain the first day of the month is in the correct place or should it be a day or two earlier? Where is the master, the standard to go by?

    Here is the answer! What advantage did Paul have being a Jew? “Unto them [the Jews] were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1,2). Oracles are communications from God. These must be our final authority in the problem with regard to new moon dates. The question now arises, where is the oracle which will solve the problem of new moon dates? Is the Jewish calendar such an oracle?

    Who gave the Jewish people their calendar? Suppose you found it to be the same person who preached for 3 1/2 years, chose 12 disciples to be apostles and then gave His life on the cross, to be resurrected three days later. Would you be willing to hear Him?

    Notice Stephen’s testimony to the High Priest concerning Moses and Christ, “This is he [Moses], that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel [or messenger — Christ] which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:38).

    How to Prove It

    Now consider this: The One who became Jesus Christ spoke to Moses and Aaron (not to the entire congregation) saying, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” These two men were to instruct the people to use this Sacred Calendar.

    GOD gave the Calendar. Man is to use it. Is man to stand in judgment of God as to whether this divine communication, this oracle, is proper or not? Hardly.

    The knowledge of the inner working of the Calendar was retained by God’s appointed physical priesthood until the year 360 A.D. In that year the Jewish leaders published the information for all to know, so the broken and scattered Jewish nation (and Christians as well) would be able to continue the observance of God’s Feast Days in accordance to the new moons as calculated from Jerusalem.

    Jerusalem was always the point from which the new moons were observed and sanctified. It was the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, that determined when the new moon was apparent. And it was their responsibility to notify the Jewish communities of the beginning of the months.

    However, by 360 A.D. when oppression and persecution threatened the continued existence of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish leaders took an extraordinary step to allow the scattered Jews to keep the new moons, festivals and Holy Days always at the same time. They then made public the system of calendar computations that hitherto had been an apparently guarded secret of the priesthood.

    Thus, all Jews (and Christians) throughout the world could know when the new moon would occur according to Jerusalem time and consequently they could celebrate the same day all over the earth in unity.

    It should be obvious now how to prove all things. Check them against the Oracles of God. What are these Oracles preserved by God through the Jewish people? Three: The Scriptures, The Sabbath, and The Calendar.

    It was God’s prerogative to give these communications and commands. It was God’s responsibility to see that they were preserved down to our time. It was God’s judgment that a stiff-necked, rebellious, unchanging Jewish people should be given the assignment to preserve His Calendar, His Sabbath, His Scripture. With God behind them you may be sure that they carried out this task.

    Do the Jews Obey?

    The matter of whether the Jews have obeyed these Scriptures, rested on this Sabbath, kept the correct days in the correct manner on this Calendar, is an entirely different question.

    There is no need to follow the Jews in their rebellion. Stephen continues, “Our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.” In rejecting Moses, they rejected Christ whom he represented.

    If you reject Moses today, if you reject the Oracles given through Moses, you also reject the One who sent him. The overwhelming majority of those of you who read this had ancestors who did reject Moses and Christ as their leaders and were condemned to die in the wilderness.

    The real reason now becomes apparent why it is so hard for us to turn our hearts and minds to the true way that God has given to us. We have inherited this same stiff-necked rebellious nature.

    Questions Answered

    Doesn’t the faint crescent of the new moon become visible at an earlier time to the observer in California than to an observer in Jerusalem?

    Yes, it does and for a number of reasons.

    Mainly that the day travels from east to west across the globe. A day starts on the eastern coast of China or Australia (or even earlier with the islands just to the west of the International Date Line). It requires 24 hours to make a complete circuit arriving once more at the International Date Line. The moment of sunset thus travels westward across the earth. It would occur in Jerusalem 10 hours earlier than in California, which is 10,000 miles farther west.

    This 10 hour difference would allow the moon to move 5 degrees eastward through the background of stars away from the sun’s position. The crescent of the new moon could thus be seen one day earlier by California observers about 40 per cent of the time. What are God’s instructions? If the people of Jerusalem, where God’s permanent headquarters are to be, cannot see this crescent of the moon following sunset, then the entire world east and west of that city must delay beginning the month till the following sunset.

    This is the ordinance as it was given by God. We are not free to begin earlier because of the way we see it.

    Another 6 hour difference as to the date for the new moon is introduced by the practice of delaying the ending of a day till midnight. Your almanac and Roman calendar “new moon” dates follow this pagan practice. This factor alone would shift the date of the new moon one day earlier 25 per cent of the time. Yet this pagan source is the one that many of you have used to check God’s Sacred Calendar. Isn’t it time we shift our allegiance to God’s Oracles and away from the customs and terminology of the heathen?

    Still another factor makes this crescent of the new moon visible earlier in California. Just as the path of an eclipse of the sun moves from west to east across the earth so the moment at which the crescent would become visible (if the observer’s time were just after sunset) also moves from west to east across the globe and for the same reason. Up to 6 1/2 hours are required for this moment to cross the earth.

    Thus while the day comes to us from the east, the month (or the moment the month might begin) sweeps across the earth from the west. It is natural for the western observer to want to begin his month too early. But it is God’s calendar and His month based on that calendar that we ought to follow.

    A Difference in Latitude

    Another question: Does one’s latitude also make a difference in his ability to see this crescent of the new moon in the west just after the sun goes down?

    Yes, this also affects the problem on all except two days of the year, the day of the spring equinox (March 21) and of the autumnal equinox (September 23).

    On these two days the sunset line runs straight north and south on the surface of the earth from south pole to the north. Latitude thus makes no difference in sunset time on these two days. Sunset would be six o’clock (sun time) for everyone. (The fact that standard time is commonly used for an entire time belt and is based on mean solar time would mean that the time shown by our clocks might vary up to 50 minutes and in certain localities over an hour from sun time.)

    During the summer months the sunset line curves toward the northeast with a portion of the north Polar region in continual sunlight. During the winter months the sunset line curves toward the northwest with a portion of the north polar region in darkness 24 hours a day. (These statements are for the northern hemisphere only. The conditions are reversed south of the equator.)

    The moment at which an observer at any point on the earth might see the crescent of a new moon and want to begin his month varies widely. Even the factor of whether the moon is north or south of the ecliptic, slightly affects the ability of the observer to see the crescent, especially in the extreme latitudes.

    Conjunction or Crescent

    A third question: Is the new moon noted on the Roman calendar or in an almanac or astronomy book the same term as the new moon on God’s Sacred Calendar? Not at all. The term “new moon” from these secular sources refers to the conjunction (or molad) of the sun and moon rather than the visible crescent which could first be seen about six hours later.

    The astronomer’s “new moon” is the moment an eclipse of the sun might occur. (The moon is usually above or below the sun rather than in front of it. Thus eclipses do not occur at each of these “new moons”.) But remember that this conjunction occurs at least 6 hours before any observer anywhere can see the new moon crescent with his eyes.

    God’s new moon on the other hand is the beginning day of a month, a day that begins at sunset at least 6 hours after this conjunction. Both the conjunction and sunset must be calculated for the Jerusalem area not for our local area. Then the first day of the new month moves west across the earth.

    Delay for Preparation

    A fourth question: Isn’t the first day of God’s Sacred Calendar sometimes delayed for special reasons?

    Yes. One reason for delaying the beginning of a month is to prevent the day of Atonement (Annual Sabbath) from falling on a Friday which is a preparation day. Another is to prevent any of the autumn annual festivals from falling on a Sunday. All feasts which follow Pentecost represent the SECOND PART of God’s Plan. They must not fall on Sunday which would represent the FIRST part of God’s Plan which began 1300 years ago.

    Timed for the Future

    A final question: Don’t the Jews themselves admit that the computation of the length of the month and length of the year upon which this Sacred Calendar is based are not quite in perfect accord with the present day figures provided by the very exacting measurements of our modern astronomers?

    Yes, this is true. It would be more surprising if it were not true. There are slow accumulative changes in the length of the month and year over centuries of time.

    This minute variation which makes 13 Sacred Years slightly longer than 19 astronomical years is a very important clue to chronology. But that subject is too long for this article! This variation, however, does not affect the mathematical calculation of new moons.

    Is it unusual that the One who planned the Sacred Calendar should be one step ahead of both the astronomers of the time of Moses and the present twentieth century? With a perfect understanding of the movements of the heavens as well as the needs of man, God looked forward over a six thousand year period and prepared a Calendar that would keep in harmony with the heavens throughout the entire time.

    It was this system that was restored to the children of Israel as they were being freed from bondage and it is this system that is preserved for us today by God through the Jewish people.

    No need exists for any change or alteration in the Sacred Calendar prior to Christ’s return and we look for no such change from the Jewish people. The published dates of the Jews and of our Sacred Calendar which cover the entire twentieth century are absolutely correct.

     

    Source: Good News, October 1957

    November 1, 2009

    A Background To The Parabolic Teachings Of Jesus Christ

    bloggingthebible.comAmong the greatest and most profound of all biblical teachings are the parables of Jesus Christ. During His 3½-year ministry, Jesus expounded from 30 to 50 parables (depending on whose estimate you wish to accept). There are some important reasons why Jesus used the parabolic method of teaching. For today’s Christian there is much vital meaning contained within these rustic examples taken from everyday life in ancient Judea and its environs.

    Should it be surprising that Jesus used parables? Not if you understand something of the Jewish world in Christ’s day. Says Alfred Edersheim: “Perhaps no other mode of teaching was so common among the Jews as that by parables” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972).

    The Jewish people were quite familiar with the parabolic method of teaching. In a footnote on the same page, Dr. Edersheim informs us: ” ‘… Every ancient Rabbinic work is literally full of parables.”

    The Old Testament itself contains many parables. The prophet Ezekiel used at least four. A good example is found in Ezekiel 17:2: “Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel.” The prophet then unfolds a strange story of a great eagle and a giant cedar tree. In the same chapter, he explains the meaning of this unusual story.

    In II Samuel 12 the prophet Nathan tactfully used a parable to convey a message from God to David.

    Isaiah 5:1-6 also contains a parable that was used as a song— again conveying an important message to the people by the parabolic method. Verse 7 explains the meaning.

    In most cases a parable is a story drawn from everyday life. It is usually symbolic or metaphoric in nature and often conveys a profound spiritual lesson. Most parables use imagery to which the average person can readily relate. As the hearer comes into contact with the image or symbol — a field, a fig tree — he is easily reminded of the parable in which the associated imagery is used.

    In order to gain the maximum value from Jesus’ parables, we must, therefore, acquire at least a rudimentary. understanding of the elements used in those stories. And we must gain an elementary understanding of the geography involved.

    Why Jesus used parables

    There are several good reasons why Christ chose to use the parabolic method of teaching.

    The main, obvious reason is that it was commonly accepted among the Jewish people of that day. When a teacher launched into a parable, most listeners knew how to receive such teaching. But there is yet another reason, which has escaped many commentators. Jesus clearly explained it in Matthew 13:10-13:

    “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

    Jesus knew that the general populace was not yet ready to receive the deeper truths of His way of life. Had He explained certain parables plainly, they would have been accountable for what they had learned. As James later said:

    “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

    The truth of God is too precious to be thrown about indiscriminately! In Matthew 7:6 Jesus taught us an important principle: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

    He was not calling people “dogs” or “swine”; He was merely illustrating by analogy the reaction of some people to the truth of God.

    A Christian should, therefore, use discretion in determining to whom he will explain the undiluted stronger truths of God.

    Jesus sent His disciples on a preliminary evangelistic tour with this instruction: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

    And this is exactly what Jesus was doing in speaking to the people in unexplained parables.

    Jesus always privately explained the intended spiritual meaning of each parable to His disciples. But there are other instances in which the people to whom the parable was addressed also knew the intended spiritual meaning! It depended upon who was addressed and under what circumstances.

    Not all parables were given to the masses of people who followed Jesus. Some were given exclusively to the disciples.

    Others were addressed to the religious leaders of the day, the scribes and Pharisees. And they knew exactly what Jesus meant.

    The grouping of the parables

    What many have not realized is that the parables were given in three distinct sets or groupings. Each set or group of parables had a theme or overall message. And each set became progressively stronger in its meaning and impact.

    Each group of parables was presented against a different geographical background and at three distinct points in Christ’s ministry. Each set was provoked or stimulated by a different set of circumstances.

    To gain the most out of a study of the parables, one must examine them in their proper chronological sequence and historical context.

    The Galilean parables

    Having grown up in Nazareth, Jesus later moved to the town of Capernaum near the Sea (or lake) of Galilee, where He may have owned a home. It was in the province of Galilee that He worked as a carpenter.

    This provides the setting for the first group of parables, which may be called the Galilean parables. This set of parables was given early in Jesus’ ministry.

    “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side [Sea of Galilee]. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables .” (Matthew 13:1-3).

    Jesus was sitting in a small boat (probably a fishing vessel) near the shore of the lake of Galilee. A large crowd was standing on the gently sloping hillside, which blended into the calm and beautiful lake.

    This setting provided a natural amphitheater. The boat functioned as a speaker’s platform or stage; and His voice was carried across and reflected by the water to the shore, where the people were standing. The sloped sides of the lakeshore provided a natural acoustical backdrop for the audience. In short, the speaking conditions as found in nature were as nearly ideal as possible in the days before electronic amplification.

    Six parables to the people

    This first set consisted of 10 parables. The first six of these are addressed to the people. The remaining four were exclusively for the disciples. Remember, the account of Jesus’ ministry is given in four different biographical books, called gospels.

    To gain a truly comprehensive picture of all of Jesus’ parables, each of these accounts must be carefully compared. The first three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are called synoptics. That is, they are all thought to have basically originated from a common source, perhaps the gospel of Mark.

    Each writer wrote from a somewhat different point of view. The apostle John apparently wrote much later and did not see the need to include much of the material written in the first three books.

    For an accurate picture of this first grouping of parables, it is best to compare Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8. In so doing, you will notice that Mark includes two parables in this first set that are not found in Matthew 13.

    The list of parables in the first set is as follows:

    1. The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9),

    2. The Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30),

    3. The Lamp Under the Bushel (Mark 4:21-25),

    4. The Grain of Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32),

    5. The Kingdom Like Leaven (Matthew 13:33) and

    6. The Seed Cast Into the Ground (Mark 4:26-29).

    This represents the set of six parables given to the people.

    “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).

    The prophet spoken of is Asaph, a Levite and the leader of the singers in ancient Israel. He had written many centuries earlier: “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old” (Psalm 78:2). So Jesus was actually fulfilling prophecy when He spoke these parables.

    The first group of six parables was not explained to the people at that time. But Jesus, in private, did personally explain each one to the disciples at a later time.

    “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field” (Matthew 13:36). (He had explained the parable of the sower to them in verse 18.)

    The remaining four parables

    Jesus gave the disciples four additional parables. In each case the explanation was self-evident. These last four parables in this first set were not given to the people in general. They may be listed as follows:

    7. The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44),

    8. The Merchant Seeking Pearls (Matthew 13:45-46),

    9. The Net Cast Into the Sea (Matthew 13:47-50) and

    10. The Householder and His Treasure (Matthew 13:52).

    These parables were given as lessons to the disciples in particular. Jesus did not obscure the meaning in any way. Rather, He illustrated some important moral and spiritual lessons aimed directly at the disciples.

    A common theme runs throughout these 10 parables, whether they be addressed to the general public or to the disciples. They all refer to the Kingdom of God. Each parable is designed to motivate those who understand to really want and desire the Kingdom.

    They show how the Kingdom will grow and ultimately dominate the entire world. They demonstrate the need to seek God’s coming Kingdom with every fiber of our beings.

    Source: The Good News, March 1979

    Male Teachers: An Increasingly Rare Breed!

    1Something is seriously wrong in the field of education. Although it has a long list of perceived shortfalls with people, one thing largely overlooked is an unsettling trend: About 80 percent of America’s teachers are female. Similar trends exist in Britain, Australia and Canada.

    To many, it would seem unlikely that a teacher’s gender would affect students academically. A recent study performed by Thomas S. Dee, an economist at Swarthmore College, indicates otherwise.

    Dee discussed his findings in the fall issue of Education Next. “Learning from a teacher of the opposite gender has a detrimental effect on students’ academic progress,” he wrote. “My best estimate is that it lowers test scores for both boys and girls by approximately 4 percent of a standard deviation and has even larger effects on various measures of student engagement” (2006, No. 4).

    Dee then highlighted the impact on America’s boys. “Adverse gender effects have an impact on both boys and girls, but that effect falls more heavily on the male half of the population in middle school, simply because most middle-school teachers are female” (ibid.).

    Further on, Dee stated, “Similarly, these results suggest that part of boys’ relative propensity to be seen as disruptive in these grades is due to the gender interactions resulting from the preponderance of female teachers.” (Trumpet.com)

    A study carried out for the Training and Development Agency in Britain, which is responsible for training teachers, said that boys performed better in education if they have a male teacher in their primary school. The study of more than 1,000 men revealed that almost half (48 per cent) cited male primary teachers as having the most impact on them during their school life. In addition, 35 per cent said male primary school teachers had challenged them to work harder at school (The Independent).

    The firm presence of mature men as examples and role models of manhood and masculinity has a critical impact on the rounded development and maturity of all students, especially boys. Think back to the days of the brawny, athletically competent and physically strong gym teacher. He was instrumental in forming character, determination and stick-to-itiveness, as well as inspiring many teenage boys to emulate him in physical prowess and masculine traits.

    “Male principals also seem to be heading the way of the dodo bird. In times past, this deep voiced man commanded the respect of even the most boisterous troublemaker. He also forged long friendships and his experience allowed him to be strong in authority, have the courage to confront adversity, and posses the ability to act decisively and forcefully when conditions warranted.

    Now none of this means that male teachers are more important than female teachers to the education of children and teens. But it most assuredly points to the fact that it is wrong to dismiss men as being less important than female teachers. Rather than looking for fault, we have to understand the differences between the sexes. Male teachers provide leadership and education in areas that female teachers are generally weaker in, while female teachers excel in the areas that men are generally weaker in. A balanced education supplies young students with a healthy balance of both men and women.” (Trumpet.com)

    Even as early as 1870, in the United States at least, teaching was largely a female-dominated profession. But the strong  father figure was a central tenet in the family home. Today however, the current 4:1 ratio of female to male teachers and the increasing numbers of children growing up in single parent families virtually assures that most children are missing out on strong male role models. Countless boys are now growing up with a narrow, media-designed, shallow definition of what they are to become, how they are to act, and what their role in society is. Misguided, feminized boys often mature into misguided, feminized men. Never before have we had such a drastic void of stable, masculine role models. (Indiana University Bloomington)

    Sadly, it’s an inappropriate example of living in a democracy where we try to promote equality and fairness, egalitarian values in our schools. We’ve got these schools as an institution that are supposed to reproduce our culture and our values, but are extremely stratified based on gender. (Menteach.org)

    And many parents are too busy to get to know the realities of the educational environments in which their children grow up, and are always looking for scapegoats in the figure of male teachers. “Abuse” allegation has now reached levels of downright hysteria, with some seeing a potential abuser in the person of every male teacher. This, in turn, makes even the most dedicated teacher bow out from the pressure, running from accusations that, even when unfounded, can ruin reputations and turn lives upside down. This is too bad as male teachers teachers help boys to provide a glimpse of potential for their own futures: a reason to work hard, to play fair, to demand respect from the world around them. It matters, too, for girls. If the first proper contact a girl has with men is as a teenager, when her hormones are raging, the consequences of her lack of experience of them are already too obvious. (Softpedia)

    Never in history has there been such a drastic void of stable, masculine role models. It is a strong indication of Isaiah 3:12, which tells us that women will be leading men in our modern society, causing them to err. We need to ensure there are enough strong men in our schools to impact our children through their leadership examples.

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