The Apple Of God's Eye

June 13, 2011

Hypotheses, Intellectual Curiosity And Controversy = Scientific Truth?

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Never has there been an age like this one. An avalanche of scientific information is pouring down on us and few can keep up with the torrent of new knowledge. But is man the wiser for all this new knowledge?

Are the latest conclusions of geology, of archaeology, or history any nearer the truth? Or are we being crushed by the sheer weight of new ignorance — new superstitions, this time garbed in the respectable clothes of Scientific Knowledge?

It would seem this ought to be the wisest, most knowledgeable generation that has ever lived. But it is not! And there is a reason. Never in the history of the world have so many been speculating so much. Speculation, hypothesizing, intellectual guessing have become the lifeblood of the sciences — especially the social sciences. The result is an age typified by a chaos of ideas.

The reason? Only those facts which fit an hypothesis are concerned! The purpose of hypothesis is not eternal truth — only intellectual curiosity to see whether the hypothesis be so! No wonder the scholarly world is in confusion? That the genuine history of man has been rejected and forgotten. That Scripture is labeled “unscientific” and “myth”

WHY HYPOTHESES?

Scientific and historical journals are filled with “learned” conflicts and controversies. These conflicts are not due to a lack of factual material. There are often “too many” facts. Controversies in philosophy, in science, in education are the direct result of hypothesizing. Theories and hypotheses by their very nature breed controversy. What is needed is a true view of the factual material already available. Present material is more than sufficient to solve every one of the primary questions regarding Man, his origin in time, and the record of his experiences.

Can the facts of geology, of archaeology, of human history and the Bible be reconciled? Not if the method of study now in vogue in the educational world is used! Crowning the heap of discarded theories with another hypothesis will not resolve the problems.

Yet a solution is possible. The facts of geology, of archaeology, of human history and the Bible are reconcilable. It is the hypotheses and theories of Science and Theology that are not! No one, caught up in the vicious cycle of intellectual guessing, finds it easy to divorce facts from hypotheses. But once one is willing to do that, the gnawing questions of science and history find answers.

Why haven’t men been willing to face facts, and forget hypothesizing? The answer is simple. Facts do not automatically organize themselves into clear and unmistakable answers. There is always the need of some kind of yardstick, some standard, to guide man in organizing the myriads of facts lying mutely before him.

A geological stratum by itself does not answer when? or why? A potsherd by itself does not reveal who? or when? Even a written record by itself often fails to convey motive, proof of accuracy, or history of transmission.

Scholars and scientists must of necessity resort to some external framework or yardstick by which the recovered facts may be judged. Only two choices are available — hypothesis or Divine Revelation. The educated world has chosen the former. It has, without proof, rejected the latter. Hypotheses appeal to human vanity, to intellectual curiosity, to the desire to hear of something new. Divine Revelation requires acknowledgement of a Higher Power, the subjection of human reason to the revealed Mind of the Creator. But human reason revels in its own superiority. By nature it opposes and exalts itself against Higher Authority.

No wonder educators take for granted that the facts of geology, of archaeology, or human history contradict the Bible. Not until human beings are willing to acknowledge God, to acknowledge His Authority, His Revelation, will they ever come to a satisfactory — and satisfying — explanation of Man and the Universe. Not until human reason is conquered will the scholarly world enjoy the privilege of understanding the meaning of geology, of archaeology, of history and the Bible.

Why don’t today’s educators know the answers to these problems? Because they have discarded the key that would unlock the answers. That key is God’s revelation of essential knowledge for man — the Bible. But men don’t want God telling them anything authoritatively. They therefore refuse even to test whether the Bible is authoritative.


Source: Compendium Of World History, Volume 2, by Dr. Herman Hoeh

May 29, 2011

Did God Create A Devil?

Filed under: Angels,God,Satan — melchia @ 2:21 am
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Is there a devil? Many people talk about the devil and Satan. Others scoff and say it’s just superstition and imagination. But is there a devil? According to most Christians the Bible is supposed to teach that the devil is “the god of this world.”

What does the Bible actually teach? To find out let’s look back to the very beginning in Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God ….” God was before all. The next word in the King James version is “created.” “God created.” He created the heaven and the earth.

But the very next verse says this: “The earth was without form, and void.” The Hebrew words for “without form, and void” are tohu and bohu. Translated into English they mean chaotic, in confusion, waste, and empty.

When God created the heaven and the earth, did He create this earth originally in a state of confusion? Did He create it all topsy-turvy and chaotic?

World NOT Created in Chaos

We read in I Corinthians 14:33 that “God is NOT the author of confusion.” God is the author of peace. God is the author of order and of law.

Why would He create the earth in disorder and then have to straighten it out? That doesn’t make sense! One scholar points out that the Hebrew word for “created,” bara, used in Genesis 1:1, “implies that the creation was a perfect work.” That very word “created” implies a perfect and a beautiful order and system, not chaos or confusion!

The book of Job shows God talking with Job about the creation. God is saying to Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” There is the implication here that Job had directed the building of some very great edifice — such as the great pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Job was righteous and somewhat proud of his accomplishments. God was whittling him down to humility by a comparison of accomplishments.

God continues, “Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened [margin, “sunk”]? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7.)

It is significant that the great pyramid is a building where the corner stone is not laid in the foundation, but the final stone to be laid — at the pinnacle. The “morning stars” are light-(truth-) bringing angels and archangels, according to Biblical interpretation of symbols. As creations of God, they also are referred to as “all the sons of God.” So this, too, implies a perfect and glorious creation of the earth. (more…)

May 9, 2011

Shocking Proof: Why The Jews Rejected Christ

tented.blogspot.com

Ever since the time of Adam man has rebelled against the government of God. As the Supreme Ruler of the universe, God has decreed that 6000 years be allotted to man to decide for himself whether he will voluntarily submit to the Government of God and keep holy the time He made holy.

Man universally has rejected God’s rule, His authority, His holy days. But God has not been idle in human affairs.

What GOD is doing these 6000 years very few recognize.

Now is not the time God is trying to save the world. He is rather calling out of the world a select few whom He chooses. To us He reveals Himself, His Will and His Purpose. But we must voluntarily choose to obey Him — and to keep holy the days He set apart.

In the days of Moses God first organized His Church and revealed to them His Plan. To keep that Church in the knowledge of that Plan, the Eternal ordained seven annual festivals. These festivals pictured the seven steps in carrying out God’s Plan.

When the Old Testament Church departed from celebrating these festivals, they lost the knowledge of the plan. This is exactly what had happened to the Jews in New Testament times! The Jews did not understand the prophecies of the first coming of Christ because they were not keeping the one festival (Passover) which pictured that Christ was coming first as the paschal lamb. They knew He would come later — at the close of 6000 years of history (pictured by the Feast of Trumpets) — as the conquering King!

The Jews knew five out of the seven steps in God’s Plan because they still observed five out of the seven festivals. But the two festivals on which they had become confused and divided pictured the very part of God’s Plan which they had lost! The Passover pictured the coming of the Messiah as the Passover lamb — to bear our sins (I Corinthians 5:7). Having changed the day of the true Passover the Jews cut themselves off from their God.

To change the day, to neglect it, is sin. And sin cuts one off from God. Hence they were unable to recognize the true gospel when it came to them through Jesus Christ. They were not expecting Christ, the Messiah, to come as a man to bear the sins of the world. They were expecting only a conquering king. Had they been celebrating the true Passover on its right day, instead of confusing it with the Feast night of the days of Unleavened Bread, they would have known that their Messiah would first come as a man to bear the sins of the world!

No wonder the Jews crucified the Saviour! They had forgotten the true Passover! (more…)

April 25, 2011

A Fate Worse Than Death!

What is the most terrible thing that could happen to a human being?

Did you know that there is a sin so great, so devastating in its awfulness, that even the great mercy of God cannot overlook it, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ cannot wash it away? A sin that can never be forgiven.

Jesus warned that it could happen. “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29, RAV throughout except as noted).

Who could commit such a dreadful sin, and subject themselves to such an appalling fate — to lose all hope of forgiveness and salvation?

Jesus addressed these stern words to self-righteous religious leaders of first century Jerusalem. They had developed an implacable contempt for Jesus. During his ministry, Jesus occasionally clashed with them, and several times he warned them of the dire consequences of their attitude. Finally, they trumped up charges against him and occasioned his crucifixion by the Romans.

But was this the unpardonable sin?

An unpardonable sin is by no means the special province of bigots. Have you ever noticed this scripture in the epistles of John, whose writings usually epitomize love, tolerance and forgiveness? “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that” (I John 5:16). (more…)

February 12, 2011

The Truth Of God’s Word

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The Bible is the inspired Word of God and as such is truth:

2 Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Psalms is also full of references to biblical truth, in particular, Psalm 119, which has four references alone.

Psalm 119:89- Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

And again:

Psalm 119:160- All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

And a few other references from both the Old and New Testaments:

2 Samuel 22:31- As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.

Luke 21:33- Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

One more:

Proverbs 30:5- Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Obviously the list goes on.  Those are just a few of the dozens of verses testifying to the reliability of scripture to guide our lives in conduct of morality and right and wrong.

Abortion and homosexuality are a denial of an absolute biblical truth.  Heading this perversity is a doctrine that has infiltrated our schools, our homes, the media, and the lives of every person in Western society –  evolution and the morality and worldview that it entails. With the idea that humans are nothing more than advanced animals comes the disregard for human life.  Abortion is a direct result of the success of evolution in our society.

Evolution and the Bible cannot mix, because they are fundamentally opposed to each other.  Evolution was invented for one purpose, and one purpose only- to provide people with an excuse to reject God.  That is it’s sole purpose. It goes against everything the Bible teaches, from creation to the sanctity of human life to the very existence of God.

Even so called Christians have tried to work it into the scriptures, with the result that some denominations have been made a laughingstock.

Evolution teaches that we are nothing more than advanced animals, and that homosexuality is just another way for evolution to keep mankind’s population in control. This is precisely why they compare humans to animals with seemingly homosexual tendencies. But comparing animals to humans is irrelevent, since animals do not possess the same level of intelligence as humans. And population control presumes that evolution can think, or act ahead of itself, which is preposterous. This sort of foolish talk is mere nonsense from blinded adherents.

The word of God teaches that mankind has a beautiful future with God, while evolution teaches that we have this short life and nothing else. Why would anyone choose the latter?

February 7, 2011

Was Jesus Really Tempted In All Things?

Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are (Heb. 4:15).

Yet we know He wasn’t crippled or handicapped. He didn’t live through old age. He wasn’t forced into retirement and then forced to try to make ends meet on a pension.

How, then, can Jesus understand all that humans go through?

What about the myriad temptations and problems with which this modern world confronts us? Jesus didn’t live in a society quite like this — far from it, in fact.

If we are to come boldly to God’s throne of grace (verse 16), how can we be sure that Jesus understands what we feel and mean? After all, He is God — an immortal, almighty spirit being — we are mere flesh, and very weak. If Jesus has never experienced the exact sufferings that we do, how can He understand our personal needs?

Sure, we realize that Paul said most trials are common to all (I Cor. 10:13). And in Christian fellowship we are often surprised and comforted to find someone else who has gone through similar difficulties as ourselves.

Yet we each have experienced unique pains, trials and sufferings that we feel no one else can properly understand. And we may even wonder whether God Himself can. Is God able to really appreciate the depth of troubles we go through?

Peter tells us that Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example (I Pet. 2:21). In what specific sufferings did Jesus lead the way? What confidence can we have that He does understand the personal traumas of each and every one of His people? Let’s look at the facts. (more…)

November 21, 2009

Emotional Maturity In Prayer

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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.

    April 29, 2009

    The Facts Behind The Fictional Da Vinci Code

     

    150What do you know about “The Da Vinci Code?” Millions of words and thousands of commentaries have been written about a code that DaVinci might have created. So where do I begin to provide a meaningful commentary from a godly perspective on this craze? Perhaps with three words: “It’s a novel!” That means – simply and plainly – the book is a made-up story.

    In 2006, this book was made into a feature film starring Tom Hanks. It was, of course, a highly controversial film that whetted the appetites of conspiracy buffs worldwide and fueled already present doubts and misconceptions of those who do not know or believe the Word of God.

    The Da Vinci Code’s blasphemy is nothing new. It’s just another highly promoted, celebrity-enhanced, big budget effort to discredit God and His Word. It is a compilation of half-truths and heart-felt heresies being sold to biblically illiterate seekers, particularity in denominational church settings where gullible participants involve themselves for the love and acceptance of a compromised collective. Let’s have a closer look at the novel.

    Is Judas the betrayer a myth?

    This book is too poorly founded to even have the title of pseudo history. Dan Brown simply pulls things out of the air. The opening page’s claim of historical reality served to confuse millions, and reading further, one witnesses a radically different view of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. It even portrays Judas, not as a traitor to Jesus Christ, but as a hero. Imagine that!

    There have also been headlines in the past about the gospel of Judas being found in Egypt. It is estimated to have been put there some nearly 2,000 years ago, with 13 sheets in 1,000 fragments being found. But is this really so important to all of us? Does our salvation depend upon a tattered and worn document, maybe a couple of thousand years old? Is there any credence we can give to those writings? Do we really know what these fraudulent documents are all about, and which ones to believe?

    We have to be careful of a deeper deceit here. If  modern Christianity were preaching the truth the way it should, these writings would not have much of an impact at all. But the whole world is deceived, and that includes religion. We need to be proving all things in this very, very information-glutted age when there’s no telling what we may be reading.

    The biggest problem however is that we simply don’t know the Bible. Do you know the difference between the real gospel and a counterfeit gospel? You have to, by proving all things, as God says. Organized religion won’t help you because their deceit is just shocking. And now people are digging these things out of caves, and somehow they capture the imagination of the world with what they find.

    But do you know something? Every single one of them is really attacking the Bible, and attacking the Christ of the Bible. They’re anti-Bible, and they’re anti-God. But if we are going to be defenders of the truth for God, we’re going to have to begin to speak out on these issues.

    Here is an excerpt from The Da Vinci Code:

    “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.”

    Some people may fall for such words, but they’re wrong and you can prove it! This character says: “History has never had a definitive version…” and that is absolutely, TOTALLY false! It has had a definitive version. The problem is they have rejected it! Does anybody have proof of what they say? Does ANYBODY really prove their view?

    Christ taunts the critics by saying, “Well, PROVE Me now herewith! God isn’t backing down from the critics, and neither should we.

    A different Christ

    Now, obviously these are different views of Jesus Christ, and Christians are supposed to follow Him, but how can you do so if you don’t know Him and if you don’t know which books He inspired? And He absolutely, dogmatically states that He did! Do you honestly believe that His real teachings come from a lost gospel someone dug out of a cave? Does that really make any sense?

    Notice 2 Timothy 3:16:

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Now,  can you prove that? Do you know what scripture really is? Is the lost book of Judas, Mary, Philip, or Thomas scripture? No, they are not! Brown’s book focuses on goddess worship, or worship of the divine feminine. He ties this pagan mysticism to Mary Magdalene. I mean really, he would have us believe that Christ and Mary Magdalene were active participants in a pagan sex cult? Brown is so far out in left field, he takes his proof from Da Vinci’s painting of “The Last Supper,” assuring gullible readers that it is Mary Magdalene sitting next to Christ, not John.

    What is really diabolical about such statements is that Jesus Christ being involved in a pagan sex cult instantly disqualifies Him as being our Savior. Remember, He offered Himself as a sinless offering for all of mankind. If He was into such debauchery, we all  can fold up our tents and go fishing. There really wouldn’t be any more point in believing, would there? But there is not a single shred of evidence for what is being said!

    Do you know your Bible?

    If you don’t know the Bible, then some of these conspiracy theories start to sound pretty credible. I mean look, isn’t the Bible then just the work of men? Without scriptural knowledge, how do you dispel your doubts, even though Brown doesn’t offer any proof but just makes bold, blatant statements?

    Now think about this! The author takes his proof from a Da Vinci painting, of all things! It would be ridiculously laughable, if this subject weren’t so serious! Is that really proof enough for the reader? Does such nonsense take precedence over the inspired Word of God? Does a painting by a man who didn’t know much about the Bible and God, in the first place really hold vital clues for us about God? Even if it did, who says this one interpretation is the right one? Wouldn’t many people have many interpretations? No, what we should look for are the bold statements made by Jesus Christ throughout the Bible. He tells us that this Bible was preserved, the Old Testament by the Jews, and the New Testament by the Greeks. That’s proven by the Bible, itself.

    Was Mary a church leader?

    Brown plays upon the Gnostic legends that Christ wanted Mary to head the Church, but Peter and the other apostles (painted as chauvinists) prevented this from happening after Christ’s death. Legends say Mary became a famous preacher founding Christian communities.

    Notice, it is legend that says so. Nowhere in the Bible – our most reliable historical account of the life of Jesus – does it claim that Jesus and Mary were married. Nowhere in the writings of the early leaders of Christianity is there any reference to any such “marriage.” And amazingly, nowhere in the Gnostic writings – about which Dan Brown so endearingly speaks – is there an statement that Jesus and Mary were married. This error in Brown’s book makes Mary Magdalene out to be more important than Jesus Christ, and really, this fact has attracted a large feminist audience to the book.

    But if you know anything about the Bible, then this is about as contemptuous as anything ever written. God the Father is in charge, and then Jesus Christ, not some human female. Luke 8:1-3 tells us that Christ actually cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. That should tell us something about her previous mental and spiritual condition, until God healed her.

    Those same demons that influenced Mary now still roam this earth and heavily influence men, and even possess them. Doesn’t your Bible say that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)? But who believes that anyways?

    Isaiah 46:9-10 says,

    “I am God, and there’s none like Me.” There’s no one in God’s class! It is He that reveals secrets about what is to happen in the latter days…Dan. 2:38. You should be able to prove your Bible alone by comparing prophecy to news magazines or news sources! One-third of your Bible is prophecy, and 90% of that prophecy is being fulfilled today, so it’s easy to prove that God is prophesying today. The books of Daniel and Revelation are for the end time, as is the main focus of all the Major and Minor Prophets.

    Why don’t we believe?

    Secular and religious people stumble because they hate the government of God. In many cases, they don’t even know what it is. They assume that the Bible is not the infallible revelation of a supernatural God — without the scientific proof they demand on material questions. Most fundamentalists believers simply assume that this book is NOT the infallible Word of God. Have they proven this fact? Absolutely not! Religious people lean the other way. They simply assume the Bible is right, and when pressed with heavy questions, they have no good answers. In either case. you just can’t make statements and not prove them. Does such a stance  even make sense? But God always offers proof, we simply have to look for it!

    A warning for man today!

    In John 5:39, Jesus Christ told the Jews in His day to search the scriptures, because in them is eternal life. This was a warning. If we, like the Jews of old, think we have eternal life, we aught to consider what happened to them. They entered into a holocaust, with all kinds of cannibalism, pain and untold suffering. This is merely a type of what’s coming upon the world in this end time – the great Tribulation. The Jews were warned but didn’t listen. They believed in a false religion without evidence or proof. They didn’t know Christ, and the world today doesn’t know Christ. They talk about His person, but they don’t talk about His message.

    But shouldn’t we know that message inside and out? Christ said, “The scriptures testify of Me. “Search the scriptures,” He said. That means both the Old Testament and the New Testament, which are solidly intertwined together. Many New Testament quotes are from the Old Testament. Don’t throw it away because Christ said we ought to live by EVERY word of God (Matthew 4:4). Why would we be given half a Bible that is correct, and half that is not correct? Does this make sense? No wonder they err, not knowing the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29). They should know the scriptures, but they don’t, nor the power of God.

    God says to “prove all things” and He gives people every opportunity to do so. The proof is abundant and it’s not even that hard to prove the Bible if we’ll just apply our minds and work at it. That knowledge than change our lives and we’ll know exactly what this Bible is all about.

    April 12, 2009

    Bet You Don't Know Who Is The Real Jesus?

     

    Editors Comment: This great little article is from the Trumpet.com which really highlights the deficient view of a false Saviour by mainstream Christianity. I can’t say it enough times that most denominations are seriously deficient in Bible knowledge; in any real depth of scriptural understanding or interpretation. What a testament to how many people are deceived by man made religions with unbiblical doctrines and an abundance of pagan traditions.

    It doesn’t matter if one argues against my statements; they are easily provable from the Bible. If critics are happy being deceived, that’s fine. But here you’ll only find biblical truth. Have a go at the article below and prove it from your Bible. I’ll guarantee your particular denomination’s beliefs will start to look silly – mighty fast.

    ———————————————————————— 

    The Real Jesus

    By Stephen Flurry

    The Trumpet.com, April 10, 2009

    This is the time of year newsmagazines often grace their covers with a pale, tender-skinned, soft-spoken, long-haired, womanish figure wearing a beard. It’s supposed to be Jesus. But these erroneous depictions of Christ look nothing like the Jesus described in your Bible.

    The real Jesus was a powerfully built, masculine man—a rugged outdoorsman. He was a man who was master of every situation. He was a people-person and a dynamically persuasive teacher. He was a man of upstanding character—an upholder and promoter of God’s perfect law of liberty.

    Isn’t it time you became acquainted with the Jesus of the Bible?

    Christ’s Family

    Prior to his 3½-year ministry, Jesus Christ was brought up in a large family as the oldest of five brothers and at least three sisters (Matthew 13:54-56). Traditional Christianity depicts Jesus’s stepfather as some kind of uneducated, deadbeat dad who was baffled by his stepson’s remarkable genius. Joseph was supposedly married to a superior woman.

    The real Joseph, however, was the loving head, provider, protector and primary educator of this extraordinary family. He was a “just” man, Matthew wrote, with sterling character. Upon learning that Mary was pregnant, Joseph initially intended to secretly dissolve the engagement for the sake of his own reputation—and Mary’s.

    But while Joseph “thought on these things,” an angel appeared unto him and said that Mary had conceived of the Holy Spirit. In response to the angel’s instructions, Joseph obeyed God, risked his upstanding reputation in the community, took a pregnant woman to be his wife and accepted her firstborn son as one of his very own.

    In northern Galilee, Jesus became known as the son of Joseph (John 6:42). As a teenager and young adult, Jesus worked outdoors, developing into a master craftsman on his stepfather’s carpentry crew.

    “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). This was due, in large part, to the indomitable influence of His mentor and stepfather, Joseph.

    When Jesus was 12, for example, Joseph took his wife and children to Jerusalem to observe the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Only males were required to go to Jerusalem for the three annual festival seasons (Exodus 23:14-17). But Joseph was a successful businessman and family man—so he took the entire family.

    It was during this trip to Jerusalem that Jesus wound up in the temple reasoning with the doctors of the law. Having learned to be an exceptional student under His father’s direction, Luke’s account says that Jesus was “hearing” and “asking questions” (Luke 2:46). He was listening and learning from some of the most distinguished educators of His day—this was no ordinary 12-year-old.

    His parents, having lost track of Jesus on the way home, returned to Jerusalem to find Him in the temple. They were “amazed.” The teachers of the law were “astonished at his understanding.”

    From that point forward, Scripture says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (verse 52).

    The real Jesus grew up in a well-balanced, God-fearing household where His physical father served as head and His mother as a submissive and loving helpmeet and homemaker.

    Jesus as Master

    In his Trumpet column last week, Robert Morley wrote about the dearth of male teachers in elementary and primary schools today. “Why is society robbing young boys of the masculine role models they need?” he asked. When Morley was a boy, his favorite teachers were the stronger, more authoritative male role models he could look up too.

    Isn’t it the same for you? Think back on the male teachers who impacted your life most when you were younger.

    Now think about Jesus Christ—the greatest orator and teacher who has ever lived. Why should we imagine Him to be an effeminate weakling who somehow moved the masses while speaking in hushed tones?

    “Follow me,” He supposedly whispered to the fishermen, tax collectors and businessmen of His day and, of course, they promptly dropped everything to learn a new profession.

    That is not the Jesus of your Bible. The real Jesus “waxed strong” physically and spoke with such powerful conviction and clarity that He astonished the masses! “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

    Jesus Christ did not teach or even look like the self-righteous religious figures of His day. After the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the Jewish commoners wanted to make Jesus a king (John 6:15). His wildly popular impact early on in His ministry enraged the jealous chief priests and Pharisees. “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation,” they reasoned in John 11:48. They demanded their officers to apprehend this persuasive scholar. But none of the officers would lay hands on Him.

    “No man ever spoke like this man!” they said in John 7:46 (Revised Standard Version).

    Jesus Christ simply did not fit into the mold of what people thought a religious leader should look and sound like. He was a hard-working, rugged-looking, masculine family man. He loved construction and numerous other outdoor activities like sailing, hiking and camping. He was an avid reader and studier—conversant in every imaginable topic.

    And He loved people. He socialized so much His critics accused Him of being a glutton and winebibber! In actual fact, Jesus was the friendliest man who ever lived. He loved being among crowds. He interacted with Samaritans, the blind and lame, the elderly, and women and children. He broke bread with Pharisees, tax collectors and sinners.

    Then there were His students—the disciples. Most of those who dropped everything in order to follow the Messiah later sacrificed their very lives for this impressive, God-fearing man. “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” His disciples lamented after Jesus was gone (Luke 24:32).

    Jesus lived the abundant life (John 10:10). He practiced what He preached. And in living in accordance with all of God’s holy laws, He left for us a perfect example to follow (1 Peter 2:21).

    Strive to follow those steps set before us by Jesus Christ—the real Jesus, as depicted in the pages of your Bible.

    April 1, 2009

    Is The Bible True?

    blog.catholic-convert.com/?m=20080416   

    blog.catholic-convert.com/?m=20080416

    DID the children of Israel REALLY cross the Red Sea? We are told in the Bible that Israel fled Egypt during the Days of Unleavened Bread. That they were driven out because the Egyptians had been SUPERNATURALLY PUNISHED by God. But at the last minute, Pharaoh changed his mind! It took yet another miracle to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt, says the Bible — the “miracle of the Red Sea.” DID THIS MIRACLE REALLY HAPPEN? 

    Do Miracles Happen Today? 

    It is time we asked ourselves if it takes a miracle TODAY for Christians to separate from this world, to come out of this world’s society, and to live as God has ordained? Those who say that the miracle of the Red Sea did not happen are, the same people who today say we do not have to rely on any supernatural power to overcome this world. 

    The supreme lesson we must learn from the Days of Unleavened Bread is that, after Christ has PASSED OVER our mistakes and overlooks our past, we have to go through a period of separating from this world — and in this process we cannot extricate ourselves from this world WITHOUT A DIVINE MIRACLE. This miracle is something that God, not man, has to perform — just as God performed, according to the Scripture, THE MIRACLE OF THE RED SEA! God told the children of Israel, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” 

    Now let’s look through the story of what really took place during the seven days of Unleavened Bread — from the time the children of Israel left the land where they observed the Passover to the time they crossed the Red Sea. 

    Modern critics have all kinds of theories as to the directions the children of Israel took when they journeyed in Egypt from the city of Rameses, where they met at the night of the Festival, to the Red Sea. One sometimes wonders where the children of Israel would have been taken had all the modern critics instead of Moses led them from Pharaoh! 

    What portion of the land of Egypt did Israel journey through upon leaving? What is the route of the Exodus? Did the crossing of the Red Sea really occur? 

    The Background of the Story 

    Let’s turn, for the background of the story, to Genesis 15:18, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, FROM THE RIVER OF EGYPT unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” 

    Is this “river of Egypt” the Nile? 

    Some modern critics tell us “no.” They claim it is, instead, a dry river bed, which flows only in the winter, in midst of the Sinai peninsula. 

    But the Bible plainly declares it is the River OF EGYPT, not the river of THE SINAI PENINSULA. It is not the river of the Philistines. It is the river of EGYPT! There is only one river of Egypt — the Nile. 

    If God had not given Abraham’s descendants dominion to the river of Egypt, but had given them only a dry river bed in the middle of the Sinai desert, then what right have his descendants — the British and other Western Europeans — had to build the Suez Canal? Why was it wrong for Nasser to have taken over the Suez Canal unless it belonged to Israel in the first place? 

    The very fact that God used Israel to build the Suez Canal is in itself proof that the children of Israel should possess the land of Egypt to the Nile! 

    Certainly from fulfilled prophecy the river of Egypt is the Nile. 

    We have this confirmed in Joshua 15:4. This Scripture tells us that the border of the land in the south passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.” 

    Also in verse 47, “Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof.” 

    When we come to I Kings 8:65, we find the same border: “And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath [near the Euphrates] unto the river of Egypt” celebrated a festival. 

    Now we want to find out if God ever caused the children of Israel to possess the territory east of the Nile. Was the land east of the Nile ever possessed by the children of Israel? 

    Where Is Goshen? 

    Notice what the Egyptians themselves promised for the children of Israel because of what Joseph did for them. Here is what we find in Genesis 45:10, “And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen,” says Joseph to his father at Pharaoh’s command, “and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast.” 

    Jacob and all of the family of Israel could dwell in the land of Goshen. But — where is the land of Goshen? 

    Modern scholars tell us that it is a small, semi-desolate area east of the Nile halfway between the Nile and the Suez Canal today. This is supposed to be the land with which God blessed Jacob in the land of Egypt. 

    Because critics have assumed this is the land of Goshen, they cannot believe that there were 600,000 Israelite men, beside women and children, at the time exodus occurred. 

    Of course in this area which the scholars tell us is the land of Goshen, there couldn’t have even been 6,000 men, beside women and children, with all of their cattle. The fact is, scholars haven’t understood where the land of Goshen is. 

    Genesis 46:28 tells us more of the story. “And he [Jacob] sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen.” Jacob was coming down from Beersheba in Palestine into Egypt. “And they came into the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up [northward] to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him.” 

    Did you notice that Joseph was not in the land of Goshen? Joseph dwelt where Pharaoh was. And Pharaoh was at Memphis, the capital of lower Egypt. “Joseph made ready his chariot, AND WENT UP TO MEET Israel his father.” He went up to Goshen. He was going NORTH. Therefore, the land of Goshen was NORTH of the capital of Egypt at this time. 

    Now verses 33 and 34 of Genesis 46: “And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?” — Joseph instructs his father to say this — “That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers; that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” Egyptians often hired foreigners to tend to their cattle. So the purpose was to have the children of Israel dwell in the land of Goshen to tend cattle there. 

    Chapter 47, verse 5 picks up the story. “And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; IN THE BEST OF THE LAND make thy father and brethren to dwell; IN THE LAND OF GOSHEN let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.” 

    Did you notice that Pharaoh said to the children of Israel, “The land of Egypt is before you, the best of the land, the land of Goshen.” This is the portion of Egypt that Pharaoh is actually turning over to the children of Israel because of what Joseph did! Remember, God told Abraham that his descendants were going to control land to the river of Egypt — the Nile. This is how God began to fulfill that promise! 

    Now to verse 10: “And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, IN THE BEST OF THE LAND, IN THE LAND OF RAMESES, AS PHARAOH HAD COMMANDED.” 

    The best of the land, in verse 6, is called “the land of Goshen,” while in verse 11, it is called “the land of Rameses.” Obviously, then, the land of Goshen and the land of Rameses are the same! It is the best of all the land of Egypt. 

    The Land of Rameses 

    One of the titles belonging to rulers of Egypt was “Rameses.” This title, one of several applied to the rulers of Egypt, existed from the beginning of Egyptian history — long before the “Pharaoh Rameses the Great” of history, who actually began to reign about 790 B.C. 

    Ancient Egypt was a feudalistic world. In feudalism the king claims theoretically to own everything. He leased the land out to his princelings and lords (who lease parts of their land to others of still lower rank), but the king reserves a certain portion for himself. 

    Pharaoh naturally reserved the best land for himself — the land of Goshen. It belonged personally to Pharaoh. So Pharaoh was not taking land leased to his lords. He is granting this territory to Joseph, who was next highest in the kingdom, for his service. The fee for receiving the land of Goshen or Rameses is stated in verse 6: “And if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over MY cattle.” 

    Where were Pharaoh’s cattle? In the land of Goshen, the land of Rameses. Pharaoh knew that if Joseph could bless all Egypt as he had done, his family would also be bound to bless his own stock. But in so doing, the Egyptians granted the right of the children of Israel to this territory. And by command of their ruler all the land of Goshen, the land of Rameses, is given to the children of Israel — as partial fulfillment of God’s promise that Abraham’s seed should extend to the river of Egypt, to the Nile. 

    Goshen During the Plagues 

    Continuing the story with Exodus 8:22. Another dynasty has risen up; Moses is dealing with a new Pharaoh. One of the plagues is about to occur: “I will sever in that day,” God says, “the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou [Pharaoh] mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people: and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.” 

    And this sign did occur, “… the Lord did so” (verse 24). These flies contaminated and plagued all the land of Egypt where the Egyptians were, but the flies did not plague the land where the children of Israel dwelt. 

    The land of Goshen is a particular territory where the children of Israel were dwelling. This was the land that had once belonged to the royal house. God makes a separation between that land and the rest of the land of Egypt. 

    Verse 26, chapter 9 tells us almost the same thing: “Only in the land of Goshen, WHERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE, was there no hail.” 

    Now to Exodus 12:19, the night of the Passover. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt” — this was midnight on the 14th day — “from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon [or the prison-house] and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And HE CALLED FOR MOSES AND AARON BY NIGHT, AND SAID, RISE UP, AND GET YOU FORTH from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said [if they were to stay there any longer], We be all dead men.” 

    In verses 34 and 35 the story continues. “The children of Israel … borrowed of the Egyptians” among whom they had been living. The next night — the 15th of Abib — having “spoiled the Egyptians” and driven their cattle, the Israelites came to the city of Rameses. 

    Stop for the moment and consider these facts. God told Moses, “Go not out of your houses until the morning.” 

    Moses and Aaron naturally would have remained in their house this night — all of the night of the 14th. But Pharaoh, who was not a firstborn son, came out of his house by night to find Moses and urge him and all Israel to leave. 

    Modern critics tell us that Pharaoh at this time lived in the city of Thebes in upper Egypt, the land of ancient Sheba. But they are wrong! Pharaoh’s headquarters was at the city of Memphis. The ruling dynasty in Moses’ day came from Xois in the Delta, but the capital of all lower Egypt was at Memphis. This is where the government administration originated. It was at Memphis that Pharaoh that night rose up and went to Moses, and said, “Get out of the land and all your people, and he was urgent on them.” 

    Pharaoh could not have been far from where Moses was. That very night, he saddled his camel and went to Moses and Aaron! Wherever the children of Israel observed the Passover was a place very NEAR THE CITY OF MEMPHIS! 

    Remember, Israel dwelt in all the land of Goshen, but they had assembled in one particular area to keep the Passover. From this area they journeyed on the daylight part of the 14th of Abib to the city of Rameses, and met there the next night, the night of the 15th! 

    The Night of the Exodus 

    “The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle” (Ex. 12:37-38). 

    From here the children of Israel left on the night of the 15th! (Deut. 16:1). 

    Numbers 33:3 makes it even plainer. The children of Israel “departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE EGYPTIANS. 

    Between the morning after the Passover and the next night, “the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so they lent unto them,” that is, PAID them, “such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians,” that is, they took their wages that the Egyptians withheld from them for nearly two centuries. 

    Then they gathered at RAMESES. Where was this city? 

    Let me read what Josephus plainly tells us. Josephus, “Antiquities Of The Jews,” Book II, Chapter XV. “So the Hebrews went out of Egypt, while the Egyptians wept, and repented that they had treated them so hardly … Now they took their journey by LETOPOLIS, a place at that time deserted, but where BABYLON was built afterwards, when Cambyses laid Egypt waste.” So Rameses was the city of Letopolis, which later under Persian rule, was called the city of Babylon. Did you know there was also a Babylon in Egypt as well as in Mesopotamia where Nimrod started his kingdom? 

    What city is this today? Josephus, writing in Greek, calls this the city of Letopolis — a Greek name for Rameses. POLIS means city in Greek. A METROPOLIS is a “mother city.” So Letopolis was the city of Letona — one of the names of Semiramis or Easter, the Queen of Heaven. It is the same from which LATIN has come. So this was one of the cities dedicated anciently to the Queen of Heaven. No wonder it was also called BABYLON later! 

    Smith’s Classical Dictionary Of Greek And Roman Biography” says of the city of Babylon in Egypt that it “is in later-times called Fostat OR OLD CAIRO, a fortress in lower Egypt on the right bank of the Nile exactly opposite to the pyramids of Giza, and at the beginning of the canal which connected the Nile with the Red Sea. 

    The city of Rameses, built by the children of Israel in honor of the Pharaoh, was Letopolis, the very city which today the Mohammedans call Old Cairo! 

    Notice the accompanying map. God gave the children of Israel the land all the way to the Nile River. The land east of the Nile toward Palestine was the land of Goshen. That’s where the cattle of Israel were grazing. 

    The capital city of lower Egypt was Memphis. That is where Pharaoh had his court. 

    The children of Israel, when they assembled in Kameses, were assembling at Old Cairo. Since they reached Rameses or Old Cairo on the night after the Passover, they must have assembled for the Passover a little to the south of Old Cairo — near Memphis, Pharaoh’s capital. Memphis is on the west side of the Nile. Old Cairo is a little farther north on the east of the Nile River. Old Cairo is but a suburb of modern Cairo today. It is just an old section of town. Most visitors are not even permitted today to see Old Cairo because it is such a ramshackle place — though it is not as deserted today as the children of Israel found it then. That is why they met there — because there weren’t Egyptians living in that area. 

    Many Bible maps cannot be relied upon. They disagree with each other and with the Bible. The producers of these maps do not use the Bible as evidence, but their human theories instead! 

    Josephus at least should know as much as the scholars today. And when you put his evidence with the Bible, it’s very clear that it had to be near the city of Memphis where they kept the Passover! As the congregation of Israel were leaving northward they gathered at the city of Rameses, which Josephus calls Letopolis — Babylon or Old Cairo in Egypt. 

    Israel Builds Pyramids 

    Israel naturally had their headquarters near Memphis because at Memphis, the Egyptian orders were issued. That is the region where the pyramids were built. Interestingly enough, as we go through the account of Josephus we find the following surprising facts. Josephus tells us in his “Antiquities Of The Jews” (Book II, chapter IX) that the children of Israel were forced to channel [make channels for the river], to build walls for the Egyptians and make cities and ramparts … they set them also to build pyramids after the pattern of the Great Pyramid, and by all this wore them out …” 

    The majority of the pyramids start from Old Cairo and go SOUTH, not north. The children of Israel must have labored in the area centered at the region of Old Cairo and on south throughout the heart-land of Egypt. 

    Notice a plain statement in the “Imperial Bible Dictionary” (published in England, Volume 5, subject, Rameses”): “Immediately south of this region of Old Cairo there is an area where there were ancient quarries in a rocky mountain, from which much of the material for the pyramids was procured, AND IN WHICH THE POOR JEWS ARE SAID BY MANETHO [an Egyptian historian] to have worked.” 

    This confirms what Josephus tells us in his work entitled “Apion,” Book I, chapter 26. Near these quarries on the east of the Nile opposite Memphis is an area called “Mera-vad-Musa, or the ‘Habitation [or dwelling] of Moses.'” Moses was the leader and as he communicated back and forth with Pharaoh it is logical that opposite Memphis, where many of the lesser pyramids were build, Moses should have his headquarters — to this day bearing the name, “the Habitation of Moses.” 

    Now continuing with the “Imperial Bible Dictionary:” “From thence [that is, MERA-VAD-MUSA or the Habitation of Moses”] they moved northward, passing, as Josephus says, by ancient Babylon or Old Cairo, and then by or over the site of modern Cairo, proceeding along the direct route to the land of Canaan, as far as Succoth, or BERKET EL HADJ, the ‘Pool of the Pilgrims,’ …” “Succoth” merely means booths — or an encampment. It was where Moslem pilgrims, to this day, can go from Egypt over to Mecca, the holy city of the Mohammedan religion. It is on the way that led out of Egypt to the wilderness of the Red Sea. 

    But let us go on to Numbers 33 and read the rest of the account. “And they departed from Rameses [Old Cairo] in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month … and went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments. And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth. 

    “And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. And they removed from Etham, and turned again [literally turned back] unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol. And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and PASSED THROUGH THE MIDST OF THE SEA into the wilderness, and went three days journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.” 

    The miracle of the Red Sea! Did it really happen? 

    What Road Did Israel Take? 

    Now let us pick up the story with Exodus 13:17: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through THE WAY OF THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES.” Here we have the first of several highways named. 

    In ancient Egypt there were major roads which went out of Egypt. One was “the way of the Red Sea” which was southeast from the Delta. Another was “the way of Etham,” or “the wilderness of Shur” which went from Egypt through Beersheba. It was the road by which Jacob came down into Egypt. The third is “the way of the land of the Philistines” which went up from the coast through Gaza by the Mediterranean. See the accompanying map. 

    As Israel was proceeding north through Old Cairo, they could have easily taken the way, or the highway of the Philistines — the Philistine highway. Many assume that this road must have been by the Mediterranean. They are wrong! The way of the land of the Philistines extended far into Egypt. 

    While the Israelites were still in Egypt, they could have traveled by the road that led northward to the land of the Philistines. But, instead of taking that, near as it was, God said, “Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt,” GOD LED THE PEOPLE ABOUT THROUGH THE WAY OF THE WILDERNESS OF THE RED SEA. 

    This is another road. This is the most southerly of the three major roads in Egypt. Instead of taking the northerly route which would have taken them through the land of the Philistines, or the middle route in an easterly direction through Beersheba, they took the road leading southeast into Sinai and Arabia. God led them, not straight north, but through the way of the Red Sea. 

    This is the common road that even to this day the Moslem pilgrims take to the holy city of Mecca in Arabia. It is a road that has been used from the very beginning of time when human beings have dwelt in the land of Egypt. 

    Continuing: “And the children of Israel went up harnessed [or, in ranks of five] out of the land of Egypt” marching up the road. “And Moses took the bones of Joseph [perhaps from the Great Pyramid just west of Old Cairo?] with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth,” the first stopping point on this road which went toward the Red Sea. And from there, they took their journey “and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness [of Sinai].” 

    At this point, they could have gone straight out of Egypt into Sinai, and Pharaoh never could have caught them! All they had to do was to follow the road just as the Arabs do today — out of Egypt through the Sinai peninsula down through Arabia to Mecca. 

    Here they were at the border of Egypt, just north of the Red Sea, not by the Mediterranean. What happened next? 

    Now “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night” (Ex. 13:21). It took them the seven days of Unleavened Bread to leave Egypt altogether. 

    God “took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (verse 22). “And the Lord spake unto Moses (Exodus 14:1-2), saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they TURN [don’t continue, but turn sharply to the right] and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.” They now camp by the seashore. 

    Where Are These Places? 

    The “Imperial Bible Dictionary” tells us again. “Pihahiroth, therefore, must have been the name of some natural locality, such as a mountain, or a range of mountains, a cliff, precipice, cape or promontory. It is said of the children of Israel, when [they were] overtaken by Pharaoh at the Red Sea, that they were entangled in the land, being shut in by the ‘wilderness’ or mountains (Ex. 14:3).” 

    Israel could not have gone farther in its line of march. Pharaoh had them bottled up in front of the Pihahiroth range of mountains! Did God make a mistake in leading them by the hand of Moses? 

    Israel ended up on an area at the upper portion of the Red Sea by the Gulf of Suez where there is a huge mountain range that comes right down to the sea. When they got into this area, it was like entering a bag. They could not go any farther by land. The only place they could go was out into the water because the mountain range comes right down to the seashore. 

    Opposite Pihahiroth was Baalzephon. This must have been a city where Baal was worshipped. Zephon means “the north.” This was “Baal of the North” — the Baal that comes down from the north pole, clad in red and white every December 25! This was the ancient seat of Santa Claus worship. 

    They also camped near Migdol. Where was it? 

    Trumbull, in his book called “Kadesh Barnea,” page 377, reveals something about the city of Migdol: “A short distance to the northwest of Suez … there is a station, or a pass, known as El Maktal” — the Migdol. “It is directly on the line of the Hajj route.” The HAJJ is a modern Arabic term for “the way of the Red Sea.” The modern El Maktal is “near the track noted … as the ‘Way of the Bed’ween into Ancient Egypt.'” “Wilkinson judged ‘from its name and position,’ that this represents ‘the Migdol of the Bible.'” 

    As they encamped before Pihahiroth, which is a mountain range, and Baalzephon, then Baalzephon was on the north, and Pihahiroth was the mountain range on the south. Then between Migdol, in the west, and the Red Sea, in the east, there is an area large enough for the children of Israel to be bottled up. 

    The Red Sea is nearly 8 miles across here! There is a very extensive area — many thousands of feet wide — which could have opened up for the children of Israel to cross. 

    Crossing the Red Sea 

    Let’s continue with Exodus 14:3: “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.” And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, “And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel.” Pharaoh overtook them camping by the Red Sea on what probably was the sixth day of Unleavened Bread. 

    The Israelites were now frightened. They said in verse 12, “Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians. For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, THAT THEY GO FORWARD” — into the water? No! 

    Notice: “But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, AND DIVIDE IT: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” 

    The miracle was wrought when Moses stretched his rod forth. The sea parted thousands of feet wide! Then the winds came in to drive back the waters and to build them up as a wall on either side! 

    Now verse 21: “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back.” It was a miracle! Contrary to seasonal weather a strong wind blew “all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel WENT INTO THE MIDST OF THE SEA UPON THE DRY GROUND: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, EVEN ALL PHARAOH’S HORSES, HIS CHARIOTS, AND HIS HORSEMEN. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it.” 

    Here was an area wide enough for 600 chosen chariots of the Egyptians to race through, beside a great many troops in order to capture the nearly 2,000,000 Israelite men, women and children. Verse 28, the waters “returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; THERE REMAINED NOT SO MUCH AS ONE OF THEM. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” 

    Egypt Left Desolate 

    Pharaoh’s army was slain. There was not one left (Psalm 106:11). Read Exodus 15:4: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are DROWNED in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 

    God won the battle for the children of Israel. They were delivered out of the land of Egypt. They now rested on the peaceful shores of Sinai, where even today such names as “Ayn Musa” and “Ras Musa” testify to the Exodus. Not one of the Israelites perished, but all the Egyptians who pursued were overthrown. 

    Josephus adds some vivid details to the same story! “The number that pursued after them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand footmen, all armed. They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was … a [ridge of] mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army” (“Antiquities Of The Jews,” Josephus, page 76). 

    A few verses in Psalm 77 are worth reading at this point. “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings” (verse 11). What were God’s doings? 

    We find them in verse 16: “The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: THE LIGHTNINGS LIGHTENED THE WORLD: THE EARTH TREMBLED AND SHOOK. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leadest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” 

    Thunder and rain and great lightning shook the land that night. In early morning the waters just poured in on PHARAOH AS HIS CHARIOT BECAME STUCK IN THE MUD AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA — AND HE IS THERE TO THIS DAY! 

    Psalm 78 also tells us a little about it. Verse 12: “Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, IN THE FIELD OF ZOAN.” The word “field” here is properly translated elsewhere as “country” or “kingdom.” 

    The “land of Egypt” is “the field,” or “the country,” or “the kingdom of Zoan.” Zoan gave its name to Egypt because it was the earliest city built in Egypt (Numbers 13:22 says that it was built 7 years after Hebron and was apparently the first city built in post-flood Egypt). 

    The country of Egypt was named after Zoan just as Israel was often named after SAMARIA, or Judah was named after JERUSALEM. 

    The miracles that God wrought WERE IN THE LAND OF EGYPT — in the land of Zoan. They mean the same thing! These miracles did not occur in some obscure field outside the city of Zoan near the Mediterranean! 

    Egypt’s Historians Admit What Happened 

    That is the story of the miracle of the Red Sea. And it is corroborated from the Egyptians’ own record of history! 

    From the Exodus forward, Egypt was for almost four centuries overrun by Amalekites (or Hyksos, the Egyptian word for “shepherds”) and punished for having enslaved the Israelites. Even as late as the days of Saul and David the Amalekites dominated Egypt. 

    In I Samuel 30 David meets an Egyptian slave left by his Amalekite master to die in the wilderness. “And David said to him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me …” (verse 13). 

    The ancient Egyptian historian Manetho admits all this: “There was a king of ours whose name was Timaus [the Greek form of Thom, a king of the 14th dynasty]. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us, and there came after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts [the Amalekites], and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them …” (“Against Apion” by Josephus, Book I, Part 14). 

    So the historical record of Egypt, when rightly understood, CONFIRMS THE BIBLE. There was neither Pharaoh nor army left to defend the country! They disappeared in the Red Sea without leaving a trace. Not until the days of King Saul did Egypt recover her former power (See “Ages In Chaos,” Vol I). 

    The miracle of the Red Sea did happen! The Bible is true! And the same living God who delivered ancient Israel from the world will intervene miraculously for us today to deliver us from our enemies. If we trust him and wait upon him, we, too, “shall see the salvation of the Lord.” 

    Source: Good News, July 1959, Vol. VIII, Number 7, Herman L. Hoeh 

    March 8, 2009

    Is The Word "Amen" Of Pagan Origin?

    Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 6:53 am
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    Some say the word “Amen,” used at the end of a prayer to God is of pagan origin. It is true that an Egyptian pagan  god was called AMEN (the supposed personification of air or breath and represented by a ram or a goose). But there is absolutely no evidence to link the Hebrew word amen –meaning “truth” or “so be it” — in any way to this or any other pagan deity.

    What we do find is that the inspired writers of the Bible were led to use this Hebrew word frequently. Surely that is endorsement enough. But, there’s more, as we’ll see shortly. First, however, what about the claim that those who wrote the Bible got this word from the Egyptians?

    It would appear that if anyone “borrowed” this word from another people, the Egyptians got it from what was once the pure language spoken by everyone prior to the building of the Tower of Babel. Was this a deliberate counterfeit? In the Bible we find that Jesus Christ is called “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14).

    How does the Bible define this word? Notice again the passage just cited. Jesus is “the Amen, the faithful and TRUE witness.” Its use here, directly connected with the word TRUE and emphasizing the TRUTH for which Christ stands, shows conclusively what its meaning is as used in the Scriptures.

    If our own use of the word is based on the Hebrew, we need not fear that we are sinning when we use it. Of course, if we attribute existence or power to some mythical god in our minds as we use it, we are using it wrongly and not the way those who wrote the Bible did. See Romans 14:23, last part.

    Jesus Himself included the word AMEN as part of the model prayer. He gave for all Christians (Matt. 6:9-12). Therefore it is not incorrect to use it.

    March 7, 2009

    Noah's Flood: Is It Believable?

    Is the Flood merely a Hebrew myth? Does the biblical record of the Noachian Deluge and the Ark make sense in the light of modern, scientific findings?

    During the past few hundred years, the credibility of the Bible has come under serious question. Many have found it difficult to believe in a book which speaks of Jonah and the “whale”; an extra-long day in the time of Joshua; Christ walking on water; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego surviving the fiery furnace; Adam and Eve; the Israelites crossing the Red Sea; and a host of similar accounts written in a positive, it-actually-did-happen fashion.

    Perhaps the long biblical account of Noah’s Flood in Genesis has evoked more questions than any other. Is it unreasonable to believe in the Flood? In the Ark? Have modern scientific findings truly made the scriptural account out of date?

    While the many ramifications of the Flood cannot be discussed here in length, this article will examine the main objections to the biblical Flood and the Ark. We will see that the Bible is consistent with other fields of knowledge. Scripture is reasonable! Let’s examine the various major questions voiced about Genesis 6-9 and see how recent data actually verifies this ancient record.

    Was the Flood Local?

    It has now become popular among many to think of the Flood as merely a limited regional event. During the past century, the once commonly accepted universality of the Flood met with great opposition. One by one leading scientists and theologians sided with evolutionary and uniformitarian concepts. Soon no place was found for a worldwide deluge. Surely, it was reasoned, if the Flood is a reality, it was only a local Mesopotamian event.

    It is not my purpose to present a comprehensive biblical exegesis on the universality of the Flood. However, to assume anything else is clearly contrary to the weight of biblical revelation and reason.

    The need for a sea-going Ark is a compelling reason to believe in the Flood’s intercontinental effects. Why command Noah to build an Ark when he could have simply migrated to a non-flooded region? Neither would it make sense to take animal representatives of all kinds aboard the Ark if only a limited area of the earth were to be inundated (Gen. 6:19-20).

    The specific reason for the Flood was to destroy all air-breathing land life — especially man himself (Gen. 6:17). Archaeology demonstrates that man had migrated around the world. Anything less than a universal destruction would not have accomplished God’s primary purpose of the Flood. So it is logical to believe that the Flood was of universal scope when both Scripture and reason are considered.

    Where Do You Get Enough Water?

    But what, then, of the origin of the Flood waters? Is there enough water on the earth to entirely cover it? If one observes a globe carefully, he might come to the conclusion that “earth” is an inapt name. For instead of being mainly terra firma, its surface is over 71 percent water. We live on a watery planet.

    In addition, bear in mind the oceans average 12,450 feet in depth, while the average surface height of the land is only 2,600 feet. The proportion is clearly overwhelmingly in favor of the ocean and not the land. We are not told in the Bible exactly how God flooded the earth. Remember the Flood was not a natural event. It was brought on supernaturally by God, though He used natural agents.

    What are the natural facilities God could have used in accomplishing His purpose? Here are some of the possibilities: 1) Elevate the ocean basins and thus force water onto the land, 2) lower the continents as units, or 3) add water to the oceans from underground basins (see Scientific American, May 1966, article, “Water Under the Sahara.”) God undoubtedly used a combination of factors to bring about His will. In the same way, when the Flood waters receded, they would have drained back into the place God made for them — the ocean basins and underground reservoirs.

    What About “All Those Animals”?

    Did the Ark have sufficient capacity to carry representatives of all the land animals? Consider the stated size of the Ark. “The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits” (Gen. 6:15). Historical records for the exact length of the cubit in modern terms are vague. Our research places it at around 22.5 inches. If valid, this would mean the Ark was 563 feet long, 94 feet wide, and 56 feet high. Its three-million cubic-foot volume would have had a displacement in water weight of 66,000 tons. This is the same capacity as 1000 American railroad freight cars. That’s ocean-liner size!

    But if the cubit were equivalent to 18 inches, there would still have been plenty of room in its 450-foot length, 75-foot breadth, and 45-foot height hulk. This would still have given it a 500 freight car, 1.5 million cubit feet, carrying capacity. It was not until the 19th century that larger vessels were constructed. It shows the existence of skilled knowledge and ability in that ancient world not again demonstrated until recent times. Archaeologists are confirming this generally unexpected level of knowledge as they find more and more evidence of advanced skills among early humans. (See such books as Mysteries from Forgotten Worlds by Charles Berlitz, Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1972.)

    How much room did Noah need for “all those animals”? Some misunderstand, thinking that the Ark had to house representatives of every variety of animals. One pair of every KIND of unclean (unedible) and seven pairs of each clean KIND (edible) were taken aboard. Each “kind” of creature represented a number of varieties. For example, over 100 breeds of dogs have now been developed. They are all of the same Genesis “kind.” Only one pair of the dog kind needed to be on the Ark.

    God originally put within each “kind” of creature a fantastic genetic capability. As time passed, more and more varieties appeared, but these variations of the same “kind” of creature did not all have to be aboard the Ark bodily. They were there genetically within the pair (or seven pairs, as the case may be) taken on the Ark.

    It isn’t necessary to consider sea life. It survived in the Flood waters. There were also many other simple forms of aquatic life that were not harmed by water. Consider that some 60 percent of the animal kingdom live in the sea, and 28 percent of the animal kingdom are insects. The remaining 12 percent average the size of a rhesus monkey.

    IF insects had to be taken on the Ark (and this is a moot question), with every pair of known modern species of insect given 16 cubic inches of space, only 21 freight cars of space would be required. (Counting Genesis kinds only, the required space is far less.)

    Accurate estimates of the number of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species on earth today is about 18,000. (Again, recognizing that only kinds, not necessarily species, were included, there would have been far fewer actual animals aboard the ark.)

    Most animals are unclean, and there were a pair of each unclean animal. But let’s be liberal and say 40,000 rhesus-monkey-size animals were on the Ark. How much space would be required to house them? A letter about animal housing was sent to the London Zoo. Their answer was: “Most animals can be maintained in very close confinement indeed for long periods and remain perfectly healthy. A rhesus monkey, say, can be maintained indefinitely in a cage about 2 ft., 6 inches cubed” (15 cubic feet).

    If the cubit were 22.5 inches long, 40,000 cages, each large enough for a rhesus monkey, would have only taken up 20 percent of the Ark’s three-million cubic-feet carrying capacity. So it becomes plain that the interior of the Ark was totally adequate for the animals, the food supply, and the humans aboard it during the Flood.

    How Did the Animals Get Where They Are Today?

    Each isolated land mass or continent has animals or birds not found elsewhere. Australia has its kangaroo, koala bear, duckbilled platypus, and Tasmanian devil. North America boasts the beaver, rattlesnake, raccoon, turkey and opossum. South America offers the llama, capybara, and sloth. Asia has its peafowl and panda bear. Africa has the giraffe, hippopotamus and zebra. Certain island groups also have kinds of animals not found elsewhere. How did all these animals become segregated after leaving the Ark?

    Consider that God — not Noah — originally brought the animals to the Ark (Gen. 6:20). It would not have been a difficult matter for Him to see to it that they also redistributed themselves after the Flood. God is the Originator of animal migration. It was His will that the animals — as well as mankind — replenish and repopulate limited geographical realms after the Flood (Gen. 9:1; 10:5; 11:8-9). It should be no surprise to see both men and animals even today basically segregated around the world. This principle ought to seem basic. All forms of life exist in the specific land areas where they can best flourish.

    Neither are the major land masses of the earth as isolated as one might suppose. They have been even less isolated in the past. Witness the existing land bridge between Asia and Africa — the Sinai Peninsula — and Central America between the North and South American continents. The Bering Straits between North America and Asia are quite shallow. Thousands of square miles are covered by water less than 150 feet deep. Large areas of present ocean between Southeastern Asia, the East Indies, and Australia are less than 600 feet deep. This illustrates that such present-day isolated communities are not impossibly separated from each other by great expanses of deep ocean. This factor may play a part in animal migration after the Flood.

    Also, as men travel and migrate, they traditionally take with them familiar plants and animals. Some go with them accidentally. Many animals have spread to new areas in this manner — the rabbit to Australia, the English sparrow and European corn borer to the Americas, etc. Recent discoveries are showing that much sea traffic existed in the ancient world. The Bible itself shows that Solomon’s ships plied the seas and brought back precious items and animals to the Middle East from great distances (I Kings 9:26-28; 10:22; II Chron. 9:10). It is logical to conclude that animals were shipped between other areas as well.

    It has also been demonstrated that animals have reached isolated islands on floating masses of vegetation or on storm and flood debris. This has been pointed out by such authors as Rachel Carson in her now classic work, “The Sea Around Us.” Whenever an island emerges from the sea, it soon becomes the home of various sorts of animals and plants.

    Where Is the Flood in Geology?

    Prior to the nineteenth century it was commonly believed the Flood was responsible for practically all geologic phenomena. Whenever a fossil was found, the finder would immediately think of Noah’s Flood. But soon cracks in the idea developed. If Noah’s Flood was truly responsible for most or all of the earth’s fossils, then why isn’t the fossil record thoroughly mixed up?

    Why do certain layers only contain certain fossils? Why, for example, aren’t dinosaur remains ever found mixed with tigers, lions and other forms of modern mammal life? Mammal remains are almost entirely missing from the world of the “terrible lizards.”

    This enigma multiplies when one considers that the stratigraphic record can only be understood to represent a passage of time greater than the year of Noah’s Flood. The bulk of the geologic record represents a sequence of events which cannot be fitted into the short time span of the Flood itself.

    For this reason, there was often a difference of opinion among theologians and nineteenth-century Bible-believing scientists as to where the evidence of the Flood is to be found in the rocks. Estimates have ranged from the entire geologic column to a thin clay layer at the site of ancient Ur! (Sir Leonard Woolley, Excavations at Ur, London, Ernest Bonn, Ltd., 1954.)

    A proper understanding must begin with a knowledge of both the Bible and the earth’s silent, yet revealing, fossil record. The avowed purpose of God in the Flood was to destroy both man and beast from the face of the earth. This is clearly the reason God sent a flood of waters. It was a time of great extinction. This is the first vital clue. But we also need to remember that the Flood was a relatively recent event. Biblical chronology would place it about 43 centuries ago. Therefore we should expect to find the evidence for the Flood towards the top of the earth’s layered sequence.

    The third clue involves man himself and his world. We live in a world of mammals, birds, and flowering plants. It should be a world quite similar to the pre-Flood world. The Ark, remember, housed representatives of all kinds of air-breathing land life forms. What we find around us today should fundamentally be the same type of life Adam and his pre-Flood descendants saw around them. It would be logical to expect certain varieties to become extinct in the Flood, but their kind and type should still be with us today.

    In summary, we could expect to find geological evidence of the Flood by: 1) noting a time of extinction in the fossil record, 2) looking toward the top of the geologic sequence of rocks, and 3) looking for an extinction of animal types which are familiar to us today. What evidence is. there, then, in the geological column which would lend weight to the worldwide catastrophe precipitated by Noah’s Flood?

    Extinction Mystery

    Dr. George Miller, former supervisor of the famous Los Angeles La Brea Tar Pits, had this to say about the “sticky” problem of extinction.

    “We have had two eras of mass vertebrate extinction in the world’s existence: that of the dinosaurs … and that of the large mammals at the end of the Pleistocene or Ice Age…. When that period was over, mammoths, mastadons and saber-toothed cats were extinct — all over the globe.”

    It is a mystery. The saber-toothed cats, for instance, were very successful animals. They …. died out completely. Why? Catastrophe? Plague? Earthquakes? A change in environment or climate? We do not know.

    “We do not know, either, the answer to the mysteries within the mysteries. For example: horses….spread throughout the world — reaching the other continents, we think, across the land bridge in which is now the Bering Strait. Camels followed almost the same pattern. Yet … both horses and camels became extinct in the Western Hemisphere. Horses remained wiped off the face of the Americas until the Spaniards reintroduced them a mere 500 years ago. Again, why?” (Holliday, Kate, West Magazine, July 30, 1972, “By Tar Preserved,” pp. 11, 14.)

    This revealing quote gives some fundamental facts of paleontology — points we will do well to consider. Note there have been TWO times of mass vertebrate extinction in the entire history of the earth. The first was the extinction of the dinosaurs (and it could also be added, flying reptiles and marine reptiles). The second and more recent vertebrate extinction was that of mammals (commonly giant size compared with those living today).

    The mammalian extinction is especially interesting. It is recent. Mammals are the dominant vertebrates of today. And, as might be suspected, their selective disappearance after a period of successful life is a mystery to science.

    End of Giants

    Take, for example, North America, where there was the imperial mammoth in the west and the mastodon in parts of the northeast. Further north, the woolly mammoth lived carefree along the fringes of the glaciers. North America was an elephant’s paradise.

    But these giant, now extinct, forms of elephants were not alone. In that day of giants, we find beavers as big as bears, giant armadillos, giant ground sloths weighing as much as present-day elephants, bison with fantastic six-foot horn spans, the great saber-toothed cats and giant jaguars. These, along with horses and camels, vanished. Why? The land was well suited for them. The Ice Age was over. Yet about 70 percent of all native North American mammals with an adult body weight of over 100 pounds became extinct in a time of plenty.

    About a hundred years ago, scientists began to see the magnitude of the extinction problem. Alfred R. Wallace, who developed the idea of biological evolution simultaneously with Charles Darwin, was struck by the abrupt, strange and recent decimation of mammal life. In 1876, Wallace noted:

    “We live in a zoologically impoverished world, from which all the hugest, and fiercest, and strangest forms have recently disappeared … yet it is surely a marvelous fact, and one that has hardly been sufficiently dwelt upon, this sudden dying out of so many large Mammalia, not in one place only but over half the land surface of the globe” (Alfred Russel Wallace, Geographical Distribution of Animals, New York: Hafner, 1962, Vol. 1. p. 150).

    Now after 100 years, scientists know the effect was worldwide. A global disaster struck the earth after the Ice Age that hit the animal kingdom very hard. South America lost nearly all its large animals. Europe and Asia suffered losses as well. The day of giant mammals had come to an end.

    One writer wisely noted: “The dinosaurs and the saber-toothed cats did not die out because they had somehow failed. They apparently died out because of some powerful and unusual forces entirely beyond their control” (Science Digest, “The Great Dinosaur Disaster,” Daniel Cohen, March 1969, p. 52).

    “Powerful and unusual” forces? Yes, indeed! And in the case of the recent mammal extinction, the agency appears obvious — the Noachian Flood! (The earlier dinosaur extinction has its place in time before the creation of man.).

    We have seen how the scriptural record presents a viable solution to a long-standing scientific mystery. Although many details are yet to be clearly understood, the Christian can remain confident that the findings of science continue to support the words of Scripture.

    Source: Robert E. Gentet, The Good News, December 1973

    March 3, 2009

    The Cross Versus The Stake, Which One Is Correct?

    Many have tackled the subject of whether Christ died on the cross or stake, yet as far as I can tell, there is still no conclusive answer among debaters. To say that it is assumed that the instrument of torture was a cross is a gross understatement. The vast majority believe this fact, but we have to remember that the majority is not always right.

    When Christ came to earth as a human being, it was NOT the majority which believed what He said, but the minority. Remember, there were only 120 disciples at the time of Pentecost (Acts 1:15), even after Jesus Christ preached to multiple thousands and had the disciples teach far and wide. Then, as now, the vast majority is WRONG . The teaching about Jesus Christ as the central figure of the gospel is incorrect and glosses over the fact that Christ said he came to tell the world about the gospel, or message, from the Father. He, unlike Christian religions today, did not glorify himself.

    The doctrine of the cross has been carefully cultivated from that ancient Babylonian Mystery religion furthered by a particular church at Rome. Anything coming from this paganised denomination masquerading as a religion is not something God would ever associate with his Son, or His true Church. This is the subject we will discuss now.

    Different views on form of wood

    The New Testament does not specifically describe the instrument upon which Christ died. Writers hold various views on the form of the device used in the public execution of Jesus, and differ about the meaning of the Greek word “stauros” (σταυρός) and xylon (ξύλον). Though these words do not indicate the precise shape of the instrument, they give us vital clues.

    The following accounts use the Greek word xulon which, when translated “tree,” can also mean “a stick, club…or other wooden articles” (Strong’s).

    “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5:30).

    “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 10:39).

    “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre” (Acts 13:28-29).

    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).

    “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Pet. 2:24).

    Stauros defined

    The word Xulon is unlike dendron which is used of a living, or green tree, as in Matthew 21:8; Revelation 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4 etc.  Stauros (an upright stake) can also be used in place of the word Xulon, the instrument to which criminals were nailed for execution.

    A lot of the confusion arises from the English word cross, which believers try to forcefully insert into scripture.This word is “the translation of the Latin crux; but the Greek stauros no more means a crux than the word ‘stick’ means a ‘crutch’…. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone…. There is nothing in the Greek of the N.T. even to imply two pieces of timber.” (The Companion Bible)

    The Imperial Bible Dictionary also denies the connection to the cross: “The Greek word for cross, stauros’, properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground…. Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and this always remained the more prominent part.”

    In his book, “The Non-Christian Cross,” John Denham Parsons wrote: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross.”

    Hermann Fulda, another author, agrees in his own writings, “The Cross and Crucifixion”: “Jesus died on a simple death-stake: In support of this there speak (a) the then customary usage of this means of execution in the Orient, (b) indirectly the history itself of Jesus’ sufferings and (c) many expressions of the early church fathers.” Fulda also points out that some of the oldest illustrations of Jesus impaled depict him on a simple pole.

    Pagan sources

    It is the Catholic church which later capitalized on the imagery of the cross, and blatantly used it as a symbol of their faith contrary to the Ten Commandments they profess to keep. To the Catholic church, the sign and image of the cross are all in all. No prayer can be said, no worship engaged in, no step can be taken without the frequent use of the sign of the cross. It is looked upon as a refuge from all dangers and the infallible protection from all powers of darkness. It is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High, which makes it such an abomination to God.

    “To say that such superstitious feelings and worship for the cross ever grew out of the saying of Paul, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ is absolute absurdity, a shallow subterfuge and a foolish pretence.” Those fully indoctrinated by that Romish Pagan (Catholic) mother church now support the use of the cross with relatively recent (though debatable in their connection) archeological findings and historical accounts, while wholly ignoring “the ancient Babylonian Mysteries which were applied by paganism to the same magic purposes, honoured with the same honours as the Catholic church gives it today. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians – the true original form of the letter T – the initial of the name of Tammuz.” (The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop)

    The cross had further uses especially in Egypt. It represents the Tree of Life, the age-old fertility symbol, combining the vertical male and horizontal female principles, either as an ordinary cross, or better known in the form of the crus ansata, the Egyptian ankh (sometimes called: the Tau cross), which had been carried over into our modern-day symbol of the female, well known in biology.

    Questions and Answers

    There are some incidental arguements (parodied the same way) all over the internet which some state as proof of a cross over a stake, yet they can easily be explained.

    1. Question: If Jesus was crucified on an upright stake, then why does John 20:25 say that “nails” were used as opposed to a single “nail”? And why did both hands of Christ show holes?

    Answer: One nail through both hands leaves a hole in both the left and right hand. Though the word “nails” is used, [ἧλος or hēlos] implies the singular — “of uncertain affinity; a stud, that is, spike: – nail.”

    John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible states: “That nails were used in the crucifixion of Christ, is certain …How many were used, whether three, as some, or four, as others, or more, as were sometimes used, is not certain, nor material to know. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions read, “the place of the nails”; that is, the place where the nails were drove.”

    ——————

    2. Question: In view of John 21:18-19, how can a crucifixion be on an upright stake if the hands are outstretched?

    Answer: Outstretched simply means fully extended especially in length. Hands can be outstretched up or sideways.

    ——————

    3. Question: If Jesus was crucified on an upright stake, then why does Matthew 27:37 say a sign was put above Jesus’ head instead of above His hands?

    Answer: Whether a sign is put above his head or above his hands, it would still constitute being above His head. This arguement is an agonizing way of splitting hairs.

    ——————

    4. Question: The sign should have fitted three rows of properly readable letters from a distance. Could such a sign have fit in between the head and the points where the hands where pierced by either a ‘nail’ or ‘nails’.

    Answer: The answer to this requires a small degree of common sense. Please reread the answer to the previous question.

    ——————

    5. Question: The thieves that died with Him were described as being on the right hand and the left, as opposed to “at the side of” or “at His left and right”

    Answer: This is merely colourful use of verbiage. “Right hand” is Strong’s # 1188 (δεξιός or dexios); meaning the right side or (feminine) hand (as that which usually takes): – right (hand, side). For example, Jesus who sits on the right hand (side) of God – I Pet. 3:22.

    Conclusion

    Some state that only Christ’s sacrifice for us — not the exact shape of the wood on which He died — is important. But I am not persuaded that the relative lack of detail on the subject in the Bible is proof that we should take this approach. I Thess. 5:21 admonishes us to prove all things.

    Others say that the cross was used as a means to an end — the punishment or death of a criminal — therefore Jesus Christ did not choose his instrument of death. But didn’t He? Only people thinking carnally (without the Holy Spirit), would utter such a statement. Do not various prophecies of old (such as Psalm 22) point to the instrument of death before the event happened? Or do we simply ignore Old Testament prophecies because some erroneously believe they are no longer in effect?

    We must remember that God is a God of miracles. He foretold the method of His death and would certainly know in advance that the symbolism of this pagan sign would be (and was) appropriated for the use by religion today. This does not however in any way mean that God would allow the physical use of the pagan cross in the death of His Son. Any student of the Bible who has even a rudimentary understanding of the loathing God has for anything pagan, will know this is a ludicrous assertion.

    So the mere fact that the traditional cross figures so prominently in pagan religious custom today (which includes mainstream religion), ought to give serious pause for thought. The symbol, and the supposed means, were later substituted by a church which impersonated the “little flock” of Jesus Christ. The Cross was adopted in an attempt to make Christianity more familiar and “friendly” to the pagan converts.

    I believe that God purposely left out the information on the shape of the “stake” because He knew pagan counterfeit religions would indeed appropriate the symbol of the cross. Yet lack of Biblical information on this subject is actually a strong indicator of faith needed, as well as vigorous study required, to understand that this symbol is NOT associated in any way with the true Church of God, including its very Head and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    Therefore, true Christians do not wear crosses, as a mere physical object does not assist in worshipping God. Their use is needed to keep the mind of adherents physically focused on objects, rather than understand that their faith is dead and empty. True Christians deeply appreciate Christ’s sacrifice and God the Father’s eternal love for them in giving up His only Son. They walk by the faith of Christ, not by sight of eyes (II Cor. 5:7). The Bible plainly states that God is Spirit and we are to worship Him in both spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

    February 24, 2009

    What Is The Biblical Name For The True NT Church Of God?

    Have you ever noticed that churches in this world are often named after men, a devised system, or a kind of church government? The name may even offer insight into a significant doctrine they emphasize, or what men hope to make it — all-encompassing, universal or catholic. But is this the correct way to identify the true Church of God? After all, there is only one true Church of God – not thousands comprising a babble of confusing religions, beliefs, or doctrines!

    So what are we looking for? I mean, the Bible should help us identify the name of God’s Church, right? Of course it does! Wherever that one true Church is, it will be named the “Church of God.” Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:11, 12: “…Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me…. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name.”

    A person’s name is important. When one acts in another’s name, one acts in his stead — by his authority. The name designates the source of the authority — it designates who the person is for whom one acts. It’s clear from the scripture above that the true Church is to be kept in the name of the Father, which takes the authority of His name. Since the name of the Father is God, the Church is simply named the Church of God. You can see why it would be important not to name it after a man or any other man-devised idea.

    Twelve times in the New Testament, the Church is named the Church of God. In five such passages where the true name of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ — the Church as a whole — is indicated. Thus, when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members on earth, the name is “the Church of God.” Here are these five passages:

    1. Acts 20:28: The admonition to the elders is to “feed the Church of God.”

    2. I Corinthians 10:32: “Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God.”

    3. I Corinthians 11:22: “…or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not?”

    4. I Corinthians 15:9: Paul wrote: “I persecuted the Church of God.”

    5. Galatians 1:13: This verse repeats the one last given — “I persecuted the Church of God.”

    Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true Church is called “the Church of God,” often in connection with the place or location. Here are four more passages:

    6. I Corinthians 1:2: “The Church of God which is at Corinth.”

    7. II Corinthians 1:1: “The Church of God which is at Corinth.”

    8. I Timothy 3:5: In speaking of an elder in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy: “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?”

    9. I Timothy 3:15: “…Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God.”

    In speaking of the local congregations collectively, not as one general body, but as the total of all local congregations, the Bible name is “the Churches of God.” Here are the final three verses of the twelve which name the Church:

    10. I Corinthians 11:16: “We have no such custom, neither the Churches of God.”

    11. I Thessalonians 2:14: “For ye, brethren, became followers of the Churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus.”

    12. II Thessalonians 1:4: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the Churches of God.”

    In some New Testament instances, a descriptive adjective is added to the name, as the Church of God at Corinth, or the Churches of God in Judea. But that is not all. Many have appropriated God’s name (the Church of God), but are not proclaiming the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Neither are they teaching obedience to God’s Ten Commandments or repentance of transgressing that Law. They pervert nearly all of the doctrines found in the Bible to suit their own agendas, so by their fruits we understand that they are not representative of God.

    While this is not an exhaustive study into the matter, it does provide oversight into the subject and gives a clear analysis from scripture into which direction we have to look in identifying His Church.

    February 23, 2009

    Between The Testaments, Part 3

    From: The Good News Of Tomorrow’s World

    September 1971

    By Ernest Martin and Harry Eisenberg

    In the last installment, we saw how a majority of people were weaned away from their observance of God’s laws by the pressures of the Hellenistic culture. Under the rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies, they became interested in the education and culture of the surrounding nations. Later, under the domination of a cruel Seleucid Syrian king, the Jews revolted against Syria. The revolt was successful, and Hellenism, as a culture of which the Syrians were great exponents, was now discredited.

    The priests (those descended from Aaron), many of whom had been leading Hellenists, were looked upon with distrust by many. Now laymen were beginning to make their voices heard in religious disputes. This was the rise of the Pharisees. It was a layman’s party, though some priests also belonged to it.

    The Sadducees

    No one questioned the right of the priests to officiate in the Temple. But the priests pointed to Deuteronomy 17:8-13 as giving them, and not the lay teachers, the authority to teach and to decide questions pertaining to religion. They and their supporters organized themselves into the party of the Sadducees (name taken from Zadok, the High Priest in Solomon’s day).

    The priests as a whole were wealthy. This and their previous support of Hellenism caused the people to mistrust them by and large. Josephus tells us, “The Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side” (“Antiquities of the Jews”, XIII, x, 6).

    Lay Teachers Justify the People’s Errors

    And yet the main reason for the popularity of the Pharisees and the rejection of the Sadducees was neither the tainted past nor the wealth of the priests. It was in the teachings of the Pharisees themselves. During the period of religious anarchy under Hellenistic rule, the continuity of official teachers of the law had been broken. Hellenism had made its inroads.

    Consequently, when the Maccabean War came to an end, and some teachers did think of returning to God’s Law, it was found that “many new customs and practices for which there were no precedents in the traditions of the fathers, and not the slightest indication in the Book of the Law, were observed by the people and considered by them as a part of their religious laws and practices” (Lauterbach, “Rabbinic Essays”, Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, p. 195).

    In short, the people had adopted many customs and ideas which were in truth clearly pagan. The best example of these is the belief in the immortality of the soul already mentioned. “The difficulty was to find a sanction in the Torah (the Law) for the new customs and practices which had established themselves in the community …” (Herford, “Talmud and Apocrypha”, Soncino Press, London, 1933, p. 66). The teachers should have shown the people they were sinning (Isa. 58:1). Instead they chose to justify them. This should not seem strange. It was done in Jeremiah’s day (Jer. 23:21-22) and in Isaiah’s (Isa. 30:10).

    Pagan Customs Called Jewish!

    And yet the Scripture plainly states: “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:2). Consequently, the teachers taught that the new customs the people had adopted were not really pagan — they were actually Jewish!

    They reasoned this: “It is hardly possible that foreign customs and non-Jewish laws should have met with such universal acceptance. The total absence of objection on the part of the people to such customs vouched for their Jewish origin, in the opinion of the teachers” (Lauterbach, p. 211). These teachers told the people that it simply was not possible for them, being Jews, to have inherited any heathen custom or practice. They furthermore taught that since the customs were “Jewish,” then they must have been taught by Moses himself. (This is no different from today, when churchgoers by the millions assume that the original apostles observed Sunday, Easter, Christmas and the like.)

    “Accordingly, the teachers themselves came to believe that such generally recognized laws and practices must have been old traditional laws and practices adopted by the fathers and transmitted to the following generations in addition to the Written Law. Such a belief would naturally free the teachers from the necessity of finding scriptural proof for all the new practices” (ibid.).

    In other words they claimed that these customs, since they were not WRITTEN in the Old Testament, must have been handed down ORALLY from Moses — by word of mouth. Actually, these traditional laws — these oral laws — were not from Moses nor any of the prophets. There is not a single reference in the Scripture that Moses gave the Israelites any oral or traditional laws that were to be transmitted to posterity along with the written Word. The Bible states just the opposite. It plainly says that Moses wrote the whole Law in a book. Notice. “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were FINISHED …” (Deut. 31:24). There is no such thing as an “oral law of Moses.”

    Oral Law Gains Acceptance

    The theory of the “oral law” was accepted only gradually — a matter of a few years, rather than months. “The theory of an authoritative traditional law (which might be taught independently of the Scriptures) was altogether too new to be unhesitatingly accepted … the theory was too startling and novel to be unconditionally accepted” (Lauterbach, p. 211 ).

    The greater opposition to the so-called “oral law” came from the priests who, as a whole, declared that the Scripture was the only necessary code of laws to obey. “This apparently simple solution offered by the priestly group in the Sanhedrin did not find favour with the lay members of that body” (ibid., p. 209). And, with the passage of time, the lay teachers ultimately came to constitute the majority of representatives in the Sanhedrin. These Pharisaic lay teachers succeeded in convincing the people that they were right and that the priests were wrong.

    Some of the people’s fears concerning the priestly Sadducees were apparently valid, however. Many of the priests did become worldly minded and they found worldly politics far more interesting than religion. The Sadducees eventually adopted the belief that there was no resurrection and that angels did not exist (Act 23:8). This was probably a result of the influence of the Greek Epicurean philosophy. It taught that there was no future life of any kind and that man should therefore seek as many physical pleasures in this life as possible, since that was all there was.

    New Laws of the Pharisees

    Many of the Pharisees came to believe what they were doing was God’s will. “It is certain that they (the Pharisees) regarded themselves as the successors of the prophets, and not merely in fact but by right” (Herford, p. 71). Based on this claimed authority, they adopted a method of teaching what they believed to be laws of God, without any initial reference to Scripture for authority. “Finding no convincing proof for such laws in the Bible, they taught them independently of scriptural proof, i.e., in the MISHNAH-form” (Lauterbach, p. 229).

    MISHNAH-form was the name given for laying down laws to be observed, apart from Scripture. This is not to say MISHNAH-form avoided Scripture altogether. But it was only AFTER a law had already been accepted that the Scriptures might be checked for corroboration. Sometimes “affirmation” of a new law was forced from Scriptures totally unrelated to the particular subject. The word MISHNAH is related to the Hebrew root meaning “second” and “study.” MISHNAH-form was the SECOND form that the Pharisees adopted for “STUDY” as opposed to the original form of properly expounding the Scriptures, which was called MIDRASH-form. This older, original form was known as “teaching after the manner of Moses” (“Talmud”, Temurah 156, “Yebamoth” 72b).

    MIDRASH-form is based on deducing laws, teachings, legends, etc., from the Scripture. As time went on it too became perverted. “Whenever there was the remotest possibility of doing so, they would seek by means of new hermeneutical rules (rules pertaining to Biblical interpretation) to find in the words of the Torah support for these traditional laws” (Lauterbach, p. 212).

    Thus the Pharisees were able to “find” the traditions they were now approving of by twisted interpretations of Scripture. In doing this they still claimed to be using the MIDRASH-form. Ezra is said to have taught in MIDRASH-form when he, and his helpers “read in the book in the law of God distinctly and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8).

    There was, however, one major point which Ezra was aware of, but which the Pharisees missed. It is this: God, in the Bible, never contradicts Himself. Malachi, a contemporary of Ezra was inspired to write: “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3: 6). But many of the traditional laws the Pharisees approved of did contradict Scripture. What’s more, many of them even contradicted one another. With the introduction of the new MISHNAH-form, Scripture came to be less relied on than before. New laws, which were not even necessarily traditional, could be enacted.

    The Pharisees found the MISHNAH-form to be an important weapon in their conflict with the Sadducees. Laws that were accepted after being handed down in the MISHNAH-form tended to enhance the authority of the Pharisees, since it was SOLELY on their authority that the law was accepted. The very first individual of whom we have any record who began to teach new commandments in the MISHNAH-form, apart from the scriptural basis, was Jose ben Joezer of Zareda.

    Jose laid down three new commandments. The first concerned the eating of a certain locust; the second, the blood of slaughtered animals; and the third, the touching of a dead body. In doing this he became known as “Jose the Permitter” (“Talmud”, Abodah Zarah 37b). “Furthermore, Jose is called ‘the Permitter,’ evidently because in all three decisions he permits things that were formerly considered forbidden” (Lauterbach, p. 219).

    These new laws of Jose were not customs the people had inherited from Hellenism. “It is therefore evident that these Halakot (rules) … were not older traditional laws transmitted by Jose as a mere witness, but Jose’s own teachings. He was the one who ‘permitted’ and he deserved the name (the Permitter)” (ibid., p. 218). These commandments of themselves were not earth-shaking violations, but they did set a precedent! Eventually others began to set down all sorts of new laws. These are what Jesus called “the commandments of men” (Mark 77).

    The Prosbul of Hillel

    Many others ultimately followed in the steps of Jose. If the majority of Pharisees agreed on a new decision, it was accepted as the Word of God — even if Scripture taught just the opposite. Of the myriad of new laws laid down, perhaps the best example and the best known is the Prosbul of Hillel. Hillel the Old headed a Pharisaic school in the days of Herod. He was noted for his gentleness and was greatly beloved among the people, but his decisions, nonetheless, were not always in keeping with the Word of God.

    For example, “All private loans are automatically remitted at the end of the Sabbatical Year (Deut. 15:2) and hence it became difficult to obtain loans immediately before the onset of that year. In order to avoid hardship and encourage lending, Hillel instituted the “Prosbul” (Greek: “for the court”), which is a declaration made before a court of law by the creditor, and signed by witnesses, stating that all debts due him are given over to the court for collection. Since the remission of loans during the seventh year applies only to individuals but not to public loans, the effect of the Prosbul is to render the individual’s loan public, and it is therefore not remitted” (Werblowsky and Wigoder, “The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion”, art. “Prosbul,” p. 312).

    Hillel’s motive was apparently quite practical. And yet the Bible clearly states: “Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD (Eternal) against thee, and it be sin unto thee” (Deut. 15:9).

    Rather, God says: “Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when you givest unto him: because that for this thing the Eternal thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto” (verse 10). It was because of rules like the Prosbul that Christ told the Pharisees, “Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matt. 15:6).

    Hillel saw that the poor were unable to obtain needed loans and was trying to remedy the situation, but he was not doing it God’s way! God says: “Trust in the Eternal with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). There were many such instances where the Pharisees enacted many new laws, based solely on their own human reasoning in an attempt to make what they thought would be a better way of life. Yet God tells us: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).

    Cause and Effect

    The Pharisees’ error was a classic one. Seeing wrong situations, but relying solely on themselves, they attempted to treat the EFFECT rather than the CAUSE. Notice the case of Hillel’s Prosbul. God plainly tells us that the CAUSE of the problem was in the HEARTS of the people (Deut. 15:9). Today too many see the problems besetting mankind. Governments have their solutions and the revolutionary activists have theirs. But all attempt to treat ONLY THE EFFECTS of the problems. None gets at THE REAL CAUSE — which is to be found for the most part in carnal human nature with its greed and pride.

    Today, God is treating the cause of man’s ills in some individuals. He is presently changing the hearts of a few. “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them an heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11.19). God’s Law as revealed throughout all of Scripture is indicative of God’s CHARACTER. It is a giving, serving, sharing, concern for the other person as well as the self, and can be summed up by the word LOVE — love first of all toward God and then towards fellowman.

    God’s Law shows us exactly how He would live if He were a human being. And this is precisely what Jesus did when He emptied Himself of His divinity and took on human flesh — He never once broke a single law of God. The rise of Pharisaism in the period between the Testaments represented an attempt on the part of these people to keep the Law. But they lacked a clear understanding of their own human nature as revealed in the Scriptures. Notice God’s deeply felt near-lament in Deuteronomy 5:29: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever”!

    But “such an heart” was not in them at that time. They had only the human nature that we all naturally possess — the heart that is “… deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9.) Joshua told his generation, “… Ye cannot serve the Lord nor is it in ours.

    But man was not left without hope. There was a promise of better things to come. “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deut. 30:6).

    The Pharisees as well as the other sects of the period wanted to serve God and keep His commandments. They had, as the Apostle Paul (who well knew) put it, “… a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Not aware of the necessity for a change in their own human nature, they found it necessary to change God’s Law. Not that this was done outwardly, but rather by forced interpretations, rationalizations, attempted codifications of laws that are all-encompassing, and new laws that were not admitted always to be new.

    By changing the Law, they made it of “none effect.” That is, it did not have the effect that God’s laws should have on those who keep them. Inasmuch as the Pharisees did keep SOME of the laws correctly SOME of the time, it did have SOME good effects. But the overall results that come by living in total harmony with the laws the Creator set in motion simply were lacking. Pharisaic society did not abound with the love of God. You could never convince the Sadducees (with whom they often disputed) that it was otherwise. Nor could you convince the Romans. Nor could you convince the unlearned Jews of that day, whom many of the Pharisees thumbed their noses at with the epithet “am-ha-aretz” (“people of the land” — the term is used in a derogatory sense throughout the Pharisaic writings).

    Pharisaic society was filled with strife. When Alexander Jannaeus, one of the Maccabean kings, ruled, the Pharisees were virtually at WAR with him and there was much bloodshed. The Talmud itself is a record of the Pharisees striving among themselves, one with another in religious DEBATES, each one trying to convince the others of the correctness of HIS particular idea, rather than all working harmoniously to seek GOD’S will.

    Today, professing Christianity is treading down the same well-worn path the Pharisees mistakingly took. Where is the sect that has not attempted to read its own ideas into the Bible which it professes to obey? And where is the denomination that is truly bearing the fruits of God’s Spirit — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance? Indeed which one even knows what true love is?

    Don’t YOU follow the crowd. DON’T be led down the garden path into religious deception by any who would warp, distort and twist the scripture to their own destruction. As you peruse the pages of your Bible, we encourage you to search the scriptures daily WHETHER THESE THINGS BE SO (Acts 17:11). But by the same token we also ask that you apply the same criterion to all who claim to represent God! Remember, “… if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

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