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Month: February 2018

CLAY SEAL OF ISAIAH THE PROPHET APPARENTLY FOUND

CLAY SEAL OF ISAIAH THE PROPHET APPARENTLY FOUND

For the first time, archaeological evidence (a seal impression) of Isaiah has been discovered, it seems. See the article by Michelle Starr published on February 23, 2018. The book of Isaiah is quoted more often than any other prophetic Old Testament book, and is second only to Psalms in overall New Testament quotes:

The Biblical figure Isaiah who prophesied the coming of the Messiah may have been an actual real person.

Researchers have found an ancient clay seal from around the time he was reportedly alive, marked with his name. read more

HOW DO WE KNOW MARK ENDS AT 16:8, AND NOT 16:20?

HOW DO WE KNOW MARK ENDS AT 16:8, AND NOT 16:20?

snake handler
Modern day snake handlers derive their practice from Mark 16:17-18

Promoters and believers in faith healing often use Mark 16:17,18 as “Biblical support” for their “healing” practices:

“They will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover” (NKJV).

Snake handling “Christians” love these verses because they say:

“They will take up serpents” (NKJV)

How do we know Mark 16 ends at verse 8 and not 20? The two best available Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus do not have either the usual 12 verse ending or the shorter ending. Neither does manuscript 304, the Sinaitic Old Syriac, some manuscripts of the Sahadic Coptic version, manuscripts of the Armenian translation, and some versions of the Georgian translation. It is significant that it does not appear in any manuscript prior to the fifth century. This passage is included in a number of other, later manuscripts, but with critical marks such as asterisks or obeli (marks to indicate that a passage is spurious, doubtful or corrupt), which tell us that the scribe knew of the questionable nature of these verses. The shorter ending is found in some less important manuscripts. In some other manuscripts, this shorter ending is combined with the longer ending. Codex W, an important early Greek manuscript, adds an entire paragraph between verses 14 and 15. All of this together is strong proof that Mark 16:9-20 was not originally part of Mark’s Gospel. Bible scholar and translator Jerome, around 400 CE, said “Almost all the Greek codices (are) without this passage”. read more

“EVOLUTION” DID NOT INTERVENE ON ‘MONSTER’ PENGUINS

“EVOLUTION” DID NOT INTERVENE ON ‘MONSTER’ PENGUINS

Let’s take a look at an article published on December 13, 2017 entitled “Evolution intervened on ‘monster’ penguins” in USA Today:

“Talk about your big bird. Scientists on Tuesday announced the discovery of a new species of an ancient giant penguin, one that was nearly 6 feet tall and weighed about 220 pounds, roughly the same height and size as an average man.

Fossilized remains of the extinct penguin were discovered in the Otago region on New Zealand’s South Island. The new species is named Kumimanu biceae: In the Maori language of New Zealand, Kumi means “monster,” and manu is the word for “bird.” read more

LEARN ONE THING FROM BILLY GRAHAM’S LIFE CONFESSION

LEARN ONE THING FROM BILLY GRAHAM’S LIFE CONFESSION

Prominent preacher Billy Graham confessed his major life regret in an interview some years back. You would think that anyone who had personally known and associated with so many prominent people for so long, including 12 U.S. Presidents, would be proud of such hobnobbing with the political “stars” of the world. But guess what he confessed?

Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

“If I had to do it over again, I would avoid any semblance of involvement in partisan politics.”

“An evangelist is called to do one thing, and one thing only: to proclaim the Gospel.” read more

WHY AVOID THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY STORY? (John 7:53-8:11)

WHY AVOID THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY STORY? (John 7:53-8:11)

Revised on May 25, 2020

“Yahweh’s promises are promises unalloyed, [like] natural silver which comes from the earth seven times refined”—-Psalm 12:6 NJB

The phrase “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone” (paraphrased from John 8:7 KJV), has become entrenched everyday speech and in popular culture, for one thing due to the immense popularity of the KJV.  The vast majority of Christians, including Pastors, do not know, and are totally unaware in fact, that the account of the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53-8:11 was not part of the original Bible! People just “know”, in their “hearts” they think, that Jesus really said these words, since they’ve heard this story all of their lives, and sermonized in churches. The phrase at John 8:7 is often used to let others know not to take sin too seriously, and not to “judge” others. It is often quoted by those who want to excuse their own deliberate sin, which they know the Bible condemns. read more

DISCOVERIES PROVE DANIEL TRUE ABOUT BELSHAZZAR AND THE CRITICS WRONG

DISCOVERIES PROVE DANIEL TRUE ABOUT BELSHAZZAR AND THE CRITICS WRONG

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream.”—Daniel 7:1 NIV

“In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision.”—Daniel 8:1 NIV

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.”—Daniel 5: NIV

Nabonidus Chronicle mentioning Belshazzar
Cyrus of Persia reveals his exceedingly low estimation of the character of Belshazzar in the Nabonidus Chronicle

Until the 1870’s, Daniel (and works dependent on it) was the only source of information about Belshazzar. Critics, therefore claimed that Daniel’s references to Belshazzar were fiction, and the author of Daniel was a fraud. At that time, all other extant sources said Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon. Critics were silenced when archival texts began to be discovered in Babylon, beginning with the Nabonidus Chronicle, which was written shortly after Babylon’s capture by the Medes and Persians in 539 BCE. Today, Belshazzar is well-authenticated as a historic personage through archaeological studies. In fact, at least 37 archival texts have been discovered naming Belshazzar, and revealing his position to be exactly what the Bible says it to be. read more

HERODOTUS AND THE FALL OF BABYLON

HERODOTUS AND THE FALL OF BABYLON

The Greek historian Herodotus (c. 480-425 BC) produced one of the most famous books of ancient Greece, the History. Its focus is the series of wars between Persia and the Greeks that lasted from approximately 490 to 479 BC. Herodotus devoted a great deal of attention to the background of the wars and in the process gave a fairly sweeping view of the eastern Mediterranean world during the sixth and fifth centuries BC.

Herodotus
Brick inscription reads: “Cyrus, king of the world, king of Anshan, son of Cambyses, king of Anshan. The great gods delivered all the lands into my hands, and I made this land to dwell in peace.”

The Greek word historiai (literally “investigations”) aptly describes how Herodotus went about collecting and recording information about the customs and histories of the peoples he encountered. He is regarded as the father of Western history writing because he tried to confine himself to human events and to avoid myths.

At times, however, claims from Herodotus are of questionable value. It is incorrect to assert, as some have, that Herodotus simply invented his stories. He did, however, include rumor, legend and gossip in his histories and sometimes may have misunderstood his sources.

Herodotus’ account of the fall of Babylon (History, 1.189-191) in 539 BC relates to the prophetic account of Jeremiah 50-51, as well as to Daniel’s indication that Babylon fell overnight during a festival (Daniel 5:30-31). Herodotus began with a fantastic tale of how Cyrus’ horse drowned in the Gyndes River and how he. to punish the river by making it weak and shallow, compelled his army to spend a summer diverting it into 360 channels. Arriving at Babylon, Cyrus faced the prospect of a prolonged siege. Babylon was large enough to store food for many years, so any attempts to starve the city into submission would have been futile.

But, Herodotus noted, the city had one peculiar characteristic: The Euphrates River ran through the middle of Babylon and divided it into two parts. Cyrus decided that the river channels under the walls provided the only chance of gaining entry, but the volume of water and the strength of the current were too great. Yet the Persian king hatched an ingenious plan: He posted soldiers at the points at which the Euphrates entered and left the city and instructed his men to move through the river when it became fordable. Meanwhile, the noncombatants went upstream and diverted much of the river into an artificial marsh. When the water level had dropped sufficiently, the Persian soldiers made their way in and captured the Babylonian capital.

What are we to make of this account? Most historians believe that Herodotus’ version of events is at least to some degree confused and misleading. In his actual conquest of Babylonia, Cyrus’ forces proceeded down from the north and rapidly overcame resistance. A second front was opened against Babylon by a certain Ugbaru, governor of Gutium. Ugbaru proceeded to capture Babylon for Cyrus with astonishing speed, and Cyrus himself entered the city shortly thereafter.

Several factors may have contributed to the Persian victory. First, Cyrus may have kept the bulk of the Babylonian forces occupied with his army while Ugbaru came in from the rear. Second, the Babylonian regime was unpopular, and the people seem to have welcomed Cyrus as a liberator. Third, Ugbaru appears to have entered Babylon by subterfuge (as is reflected in the version of the story about the diversion of the Euphrates).

It is certain, however, that Babylon fell suddenly. Herodotus is correct in stating that the Euphrates bisected the city, and the Nabonidus Chronicle confirms that it fell without a battle. Thus the account about diverting the Euphrates may be true. Both Daniel 5 and Herodotus stated: “Owing to the sheer size of the city, so say the inhabitants, those in the outlying areas were captured without those in the center knowing about it.”

Daniel 5 recounts the story of Belshazzar’s feast, and can be regarded as an independent witness. Herodotus, in this account as elsewhere, was colorful and not always fully reliable, but he appears to have preserved something of (and perhaps a good deal of) the true story.

SOURCE: NIV Archaeological Study Bible

WHO IS THE ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND GOD?

WHO IS THE ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND GOD?

“This, then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven . . . “—Matthew 6:9 NIV.

“No one comes to the Father except through me”—John 14:6

“There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”—1 Timothy 2:5 NIV

While they all give ‘lip service’ (Mark 7:6-13) to the principles that the scriptures above express, Christian denominations have differing views on the exactly how the mediatorial relationship between them and God operates. So, yes, they all “say” that Jesus is the mediator, but in actual practice things are not exactly the way the Bible says they should be. For example, Catholics teach that Christians must go through their priesthood and their hierarchy, including their Pope, to have a relationship with God. Others teach that one can only have a relationship with God through their particular denomination, organization, or church. Some have even thought, or taught that a relationship with God was only possible through one particular pastor. Trinitarians often simply ignore this vital relationship. Let’s make clear what the scriptures say about this:

“The true worshippers will worship the Father”—John 4:23

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved”—John 10:8 NIV.

The Father of Jesus, Almighty God, is the only one who should be worshipped, according to the scriptures. But we must go through his Son, Jesus Christ, to have this relationship. Why?

“Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here”—Hebrews 9:11 NIV read more

THE PROPHETIC ACCURACY OF DANIEL—REGARDING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES IV

THE PROPHETIC ACCURACY OF DANIEL—REGARDING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES IV

Antiochos Epiphanes IV
Antiochos Epiphanes IV

Actions of this Syrian King are foretold over 350 years in advance by Daniel’s God Yahweh, revealing them to his prophet for recording in Daniel 8:9-12, 23-25; 11:21-39. These visions are so extremely accurate in prophetic detail that critics, doubters and unbelievers claim that it is impossible that Daniel could have recorded them “in the first year of Darius the Mede”, which was in 537-536 BCE (Dan 11:1 NIV), or “in the third year of Belshazzar” (Dan 8:1 NIV), which was about 551 BCE. read more

Science and the Bible now agree: The universe is old and is expanding

Science and the Bible now agree: The universe is old and is expanding

Expanding universe
If the universe is expanding, it had a beginning. The Bible tells us what happened in the beginning.

In the last 100 years, science has discovered  that the universe is expanding. However, the men who wrote the Bible spoke of this concept when it was written almost 3,000 years ago. But many people believe the Bible and science contradict one another, primarily because of the unscriptural assertions of “Young-Earth Creationism”. Is this really so? Let’s examine some basic scientific concepts about the universe and see how they compare to what the Bible says.

First Law of Thermodynamics – E = mc2

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter and energy are interchangeable (E=mc2).

Now, keeping these things in mind, let’s consider a few verses from the Bible:

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26 NIV)

“Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 CSB)

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 CSB)

This is exactly what God did when he transferred some of his energy into the matter making up the universe. It is also proves that Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Both science and the Bible now agree that the universe had a beginning.

Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy for an isolated system can never decrease over time. “Entropy” is a measure of unusable energy  within a closed or isolated system (the universe for example). As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, “entropy” increases. Entropy is also a gauge of randomness or chaos within a closed system. As usable energy is irretrievably lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase. This means that left to itself, the universe will become less organized or disorganized over time.

  • Fact 1: The universe began in a highly ordered state.
  • Fact 2: The universe remains highly ordered.
  • Thus, we can infer that God created and maintains the universe.

The universe would have become somewhat less organized over time, had God not created it from the beginning and maintained it through its estimated 12 to 15 billion year existence. In contradiction to “Young Earth Creationism”, which asserts that the universe is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, the Bible is in complete agreement with science that the universe is billions of years old. The following scriptures give Biblical testimony to the fact that God not only created the universe in the beginning, but he also continues to maintain it in a highly ordered state.

“Through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” (Colossians 1:16-17 NLT)

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.” (Psalm 19:1-4 NLT)

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20 NLT)

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,  or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust…. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? … He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in…. ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One…. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” (Isaiah 40:12-15, 17-18, 22, 25, 28 NIV)

“Do you know how the clouds hang poised,  those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? … The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.” (Job 37:16, 23 NIV)

“Have you grasped the celestial laws? Could you make their writ run on the earth?” (Job 38:33 NJB)

The Universe had a Beginning

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 CSB)

The Universe is Expanding

Early in the  twentieth century, astronomer Edwin Hubble found that galaxies are moving away from each other. This discovery led him to believe that the universe is expanding. Hubble’s discovery was upsetting to many scientists of his time, because if the universe is expanding, then –  at some time in the distant past – the universe had a beginning. And if the universe had a beginning, it would confirm what the Bible had said all along. Albert Einstein said the whole idea “irritated” him, although later in life he accepted the idea that the universe had a beginning. Arthur Eddington, a British mathematician and astronomer said that he hoped a “loophole” could be found to avoid the implication that the universe had a Creator.

But the prophets of the Bible knew that God had “stretched out the heavens” long before the expanding universe theory was proposed by Hubble and other scientists in the last 100 years. The prophets of the Bible had already revealed this in the Scriptures:

“He alone stretches out the heavens.” (Job 9:8 NIV)

“He stretches out the heavens like a tent.” (Psalm 104:2 NIV)

“He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40:22 NIV)

“The Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out.” (Isaiah 42:5 NIV)

“I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens.” (Isaiah 44:24 NIV)

“It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” (Isaiah 45:12 NIV)

“My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” (Isaiah 48:13 NIV)

“You forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?” (Isaiah 51:13 NIV)

“But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” (Jeremiah 10:12 NIV)

“He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” (Jeremiah 51:15 NIV)

“The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person.” (Zechariah 12:1 NIV)

As we can see, the Bible said all along what science has just recently discovered.

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