4/18/15

From Jim McGuiggan... GOD AND THE POWERFUL

GOD AND THE POWERFUL

When we think of “sin” many of us think mainly in terms of gossip and sexual immorality, drunkenness, non-attendance for worship and such. Sin’s bigger than such considerations—not smaller, bigger! The scriptures speak of it as a king that reigns, a law-giver with a law, a slave owner with slaves and other such metaphors. Sin is a cosmic smog that envelopes the planet and finally makes sick every human born into it and then they cough into the air their own contribution to the pollution. It is this that God moved in and as Jesus to deal with—Sin and not just “sins”.
The scriptures make it clear that God established governments, gives them power and then holds them responsible for how they use that power. He gives it that the governments should act as his minister in getting God’s creation goods to the people under their care. Respectable people in places of great power will meet God one day as surely as the moral libertine who thumbs through his dirty little magazine or drools over his online porn. Respectable sins will be answered for just as surely as the sleaze.
God brought Sodom down because, among other things, in its arrogance it wouldn’t take care of the poor and the needy (Ezekiel 16:48-50). God brought Babylon down because, in part, it took advantage of the needy and vulnerable (Daniel 4:27) and God sent Israel into a long exile because, in part, it oppressed the poor and needy in greed and exploitation (Amos 4:1 and elsewhere). Jesus Christ will return and will right all wrongs and all those who have used their great power to exploit the vulnerable and make themselves rich and gain a reputation will answer to him. Those who in their hurry to add even more to their personal treasure so they can live in even greater luxury and do it at the expense of the millions who look to them for protection and guidance—they will answer to Him! And we’re not to look only at sleazy little landlords who gouge their vulnerable hundreds; we’re to look at the highly-respected people in places of great power who in their mansions only read of Dickens-looking rat-traps where extortion flourishes and the poor live in despair.
There’s a day coming when those who have truly been exploited and crushed all their lives will find themselves cared for and catered to and allowed to breathe free and live in honour. There’s a day coming when the powerful will be brought low, when their specious talk and their oily tongues will be silenced. They will not then be speaking to people who don’t know what they're talking about; they will not then be talking to people who can’t answer them back; they will not then be talking to the masses who are overwhelmed by words or “reasons” they don’t understand. They’ll be talking to JESUS!
God bless every person of power who even at great personal cost will blow the whistle on anything that exploits the unsuspecting and unprotected vulnerable who don't count for much other than “things” and “statistics” to be used.
What follows is Jenny Thompson’s report for HSI. I’ve said it before and I need to say it again: I don’t have to find myself in agreement with all HSI’s opinions but it keeps us up to date with what’s going on in the world of the powerful medical brotherhoods.
__________________
Call it “blinders therapy”. Load a patient up with high doses of powerful drugs for three years, and when you see the faintest glimmer of positive results, call it a success and pop the corks for a celebration. 

And what about serious adverse side effects? That's what the blinders are for. 

Long-term outcomes in a haze 

It almost reads like a parody of mainstream medical practice... 

Your patient with type 2 diabetes has atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). Solution? Simply pour on the cholesterol-lowering statins and ACE inhibitors in an attempt to get the numbers you want: lower LDL [bad cholesterol] and lower BP. 

Unfortunately, you’re treating a human being, not a compilation of numbers. 

But don’t bother telling that to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) – a division of the National Institutes of Health. NHLBI funded a relatively new trial called SANDS (Stop Atherosclerosis in Native Diabetics Study), which set out to answer the question: Can atherosclerosis be stopped or reversed when the condition is attacked with high drug doses? 

STUDY PROFILE: 

* Researchers recruited 500 American Indians: each subject was over the age of forty, had type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure 
* Subjects were divided into two groups: one group aimed to reach “standard” recommended LDL cholesterol and blood pressure targets, and one group was “aggressive” in aiming for substantially lower targets 
* For three years, study clinicians examined each subject once every three months, adjusting doses of statin drugs and blood pressure drugs as needed in order to reach standard or aggressive targets 
* Ultrasound was used to track atherosclerosis in each subjects’ carotid arteries 

Results: Subjects in both groups met their standard or aggressive targets. Atherosclerosis decreased in the aggressive group, but actually increased in the standard group. Rates of cardiovascular disease events (such as heart attack) were about the same in both groups. 

Let’s not fail to put the spotlight on one very revealing detail: About 250 type 2 diabetics with high cholesterol followed a standard statin drug regimen for three years, and their atherosclerosis progression didn’t stop, it ADVANCED. If I’m diabetic and my doctor has convinced me to sign on for a lifetime of statin use, that’s not quite the outcome I would hope for. 

As for adverse side effects, here’s how the SANDS authors summed up the risk-benefit ratio in JAMA: “The lack of difference in occurrence of events and the increase in adverse events and serious adverse events attributable to the BP lowering raise the possibility that there may not be favourable long-term outcomes.” 

But don't think NHLBI officials will let a little thing like THAT spoil their party

Here’s the headline Reuters news service went with in reporting SANDS results: “Drug Regime Reverses Heart Disease Risk.” And that’s quite true as long as you completely ignore the details. 

Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI director, gave Reuters this shiny bright load of happy-talk: “For the first time, we have evidence that aggressively lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure can actually reverse damage to the arteries in middle-aged adults with diabetes.” 

Of course, Dr. Nabel is well aware that a patient must commit to a lifetime regimen of very high doses of statin drugs in order to push LDL levels as low as they went in the SANDS trial. 

An NHLBI press release also offered this quote from the lead author of the study, Dr. Barbara V. Howard, : “Our message to doctors, nurses, and patients is that you can reach your goal levels, and we should work together to help you do that.” In other words:In spite of the clear warning at the end of her own study, Dr. Howard seems to believe we should work together to sign you up for the mega-statin lifetime plan. 

And to put things into perspective, we’ll finish up with this note from MedPage TodayDr. Howard reported serving on the advisory board of Merck. Merck makes Zocor. Zocor was the statin used in the SANDS trial.”

Thompson then added this about the swine-flu vaccine promotion. 

“New vaccines never behave in the way you expect them to.” 

That ominous observation comes from Dr. Tom Jefferson, who is the coordinator of the vaccines section of Cochrane Collaboration, a research review association. 

Even more ominous: His comment appears in a news article that reveals a disturbing concern about the H1N1 vaccine. 

Recently, the Health Protection Agency (UK's FDA) sent a letter to about 600 neurologists alerting them to the possibility that the H1N1 vaccine may prompt Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a paralyzing immune system disorder. 

As I mentioned before, more than 500 people who received the H1N1 vaccine in 1976 were diagnosed with GBS. Twenty-five of those patients died, while only one death was linked to H1N1. 

It’s reported that this newest H1N1 vaccine is being rushed through production and testing so the first doses can be available this month.


Meanwhile, Health and Human Resources officials fear that the seasonal flu shot will be ignored in favour of the H1N1 shot. So this week they’ve started recommending that everyone get their seasonal flu vaccine now, and then get the H1N1 shot when it's available. 

This ride is starting to get very scary. Stay tuned... 

Jenny Thompson
HSI director
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

Christianity, Islam, and Science by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=255

Christianity, Islam, and Science

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

The Roman Empire was terminally ill by the end of the second century A.D. It had used its skills in administration, engineering, and military strategy to dominate a region spanning three continents. But its heart was weakened by the rise of an absolutist monarchy led, all too frequently, by weak, ineffectual emperors. Slowly, the Roman armies abandoned the most distant outposts and could not prevent the Vandals, Goths, and Huns from penetrating the innermost parts of the Empire. The Goths sacked major Greek cities in 268, gave the same treatment to Rome in 410, and in 476 deposed the last Western Roman Emperor. Deprived of Roman law and economy, much of the region plunged into disorder and poverty.
Lost from the scene was a significant portion of classical Greek science, including Ptolemy’s astronomy, Euclid’s mathematics, Galen’s anatomy, and Aristotle’s naturalistic writings. But it hardly could be said that nothing was going on in these “Dark Ages,” as some are inclined to characterize the next few hundred years. In particular, the establishment of monasteries in the sixth century provided a means for religious training. Literacy improved because instruction depended on readings from the Bible, commentaries, and works of the church Fathers.
Monasteries also provided access to the relatively scant classical works available in Latin. Through the writings of Augustine (354-430), scholars were especially familiar with Plato’s Timaeus. This work lent itself to Christian interpretation because it argued that the Universe had a first cause—an eternal self-mover—that created motion and order. Further, because Plato’s god was good, he created a world that was good for us, the creature. Unlike the Christian God, this self-mover was not a personal god; he did not love man, he was not omnipotent, and he was not the object of worship. However, Plato’s arguments for a Creator-God, combined with biblically based expectations of seeing God’s handiwork in creation (e.g., Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), encouraged medieval theologians to affirm the fundamental intelligibility of God’s creation. Although Augustine frowned upon the systematic study of nature, the concept of nature’s basic orderliness provided an important key to the development of modern science (Jones, 1969, p. 133).
During this same period, Arabic-Islamic science had reached tremendous heights. It led the world in mathematics, physics, optics, astronomy, and medicine. The stability and wealth brought by the spread of Islamic power in the seventh and eighth centuries fostered patronage of higher learning. In 762, al-Mansur established Baghdad as his new capital, and “cultivated a religious climate that was relatively intellectual, secularized, and tolerant” (Lindberg, 1992, p. 168). Over the next few generations, Arab scholars enhanced their own knowledge with medicine from Persia, mathematics from India and China, and the classical Greek heritage preserved in Byzantium. Much emphasis was given to knowledge that had special utility for Islamic culture. For example, the Chinese abacus, and the Hindu system of numbers and place-valued decimal notation, were used to advance trigonometry and Ptolemy’s astronomy. These, in turn, could be used to determine the direction to Mecca and the times of prayer for any town in the Muslim world.
Crucial to the development of Arabic science was a massive translation program begun by Hunayn ibn Ishaq (808-73), a member of the Nestorian Christian sect. Arabs filled their numerous libraries with tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of books, whereas the Sorbonne in Paris could boast of a paltry two thousand as late as the fourteenth century (Huff, 1993, p. 74). Despite this clear superiority, why did modern science arise in Western Europe, and not in the Islamic world?
Some Muslim leaders, like some of their counterparts in early medieval Europe, had a low regard for the study of nature. Academic pursuits were tolerated, but learning was divided into traditional studies based on the Qur’an, and “foreign” studies based on knowledge obtained from the Greeks. Although there were Arabic rationalists, there were also those who saw in this rationalism a threat to the authority of the holy writings. A conservative reaction in the late tenth century, together with a decline in peace and prosperity, impeded further scientific advance in the Muslim world (Lindberg, 1992, pp. 180-181). According to the emerging Islamic orthodoxy, man was not a fully rational creature, and no room was allowed for a purely rational investigation of God’s creation (Huff, 1993, pp. 100,115).
It was in this very early period of decline that the baton of science began to pass gradually into the hands of the Europeans, especially those who came into contact with the wealth of Islamic knowledge in Spain. Perhaps the next most significant event was the fall of Muslim-held Toledo in 1085. Many important Arabic and classical works from its vast library were translated into Latin. Within a century, these had begun to filter into centers of learning all over Europe. They arrived at a time when scholars such as Anselm (1033-1109) already were reviving the role of reason in faith. Their arrival coincided also with the development of the university as a legal entity with political and intellectual autonomy (Huff, 1993, p. 335). No similar institution appeared in the Arabic world until the twentieth century due, in part, to the orthodox Muslim concept of nature and reason. Religious constraints also played a role in late medieval Europe, but an academic world committed to the biblical views of man’s rationality and freedom of choice provided a fertile ground for the rise of modern science.

REFERENCES

Huff, Toby E. (1993), The Rise of Early Modern Science (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press).
Jones, W.T. (1969), The Medieval Mind (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, second edition).
Lindberg, David C. (1992), The Beginnings of Western Science (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

Are There Lost Books of the Bible? by A.P. Staff

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=66

Are There Lost Books of the Bible?

by A.P. Staff
Q.
I have heard that there are certain “lost books” mentioned in the Bible—books to which we no longer have access. Is this true? And if so, what impact does this have on the biblical text itself, or on a Christian’s faith?

A.

In a manner that is somewhat similar to a modern research paper, citations appear in both the Old and New Testaments. The inspired writers sometimes referred to certain works that no longer exist—a fact that has caused some people to question the accuracy and completeness of the Bible. Atheists and skeptics claim that if it was truly God’s Word, then it would not lack any composition cited. Massimo Franceschini, an Italian convert to Mormonism, has suggested that the biblical text is more than sixty-five percent incomplete, due, in part, to the “lost books” cited within the Bible itself (Franceschini, 2002). If the Bible is, at most, thirty-five percent complete, then the Christian faith can be no more complete than that. Duane Christensen, in the October 1998 issue of Bible Review, listed twenty-three referenced books that have been lost in antiquity (14[5]:29), to which we can add seven additional works mentioned in the Bible. Such compositions as the Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18), the Acts of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29), and Paul’s previous Corinthian letter (see 1 Corinthians 5:9) are among the thirty cited works—twenty-eight from the Old Testament era, and two from the New Testament era—that are not included in the canon of Scripture, and that are missing from secular history. The contents of these books are known only by the fact that they are cited or quoted. Upon further examination, however, it appears that some of them actually may exist in another form.
Some scholars argue that a large number of these citations probably refer to the same composition. For example, the references found in 1 and 2 Kings to the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and the Acts of Solomon, possibly denote a single work (Christensen, 14[5]:29). It is a common practice, even in modern society, to refer to one thing by several different names. For example, a person may refer to Josephus’ work, Wars of the Jews, as “Josephus,” “Josephus’ Wars,” “Jewish Wars,” “Wars of the Jews,” “Josephus’ Jewish Wars,” etc.—all of which designate the same composition. In similar fashion, the many works cited throughout Kings and Chronicles very possibly refer to different sections of a single work. If there was a single original (one referred to by several names), it was likely a highly detailed record of the reigns of the kings in Israel and Judah. As a king lived and died, the records of his reign were added to this work by a scribe, prophet, historian, record keeper, or even by the administration of the next king, making it a composite work of many writers. The various names for this single account might have designated certain sections that made up the composite work. The differences between Kings’ and Chronicles’ naming and citing of the sections of the original, can be understood by the differences that exist among modern citation styles. The style of citation, list of works cited, and information provided vary widely, for example, among such modern-day guides as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationThe Chicago Manual of Style, and Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Nevertheless, each one of these provides sufficient information to refer the reader to the original source. Similarly, the writer of Kings’ style of citation, and the writer of Chronicles’ style of citation, both mentioned the original, but did so in a different manner. Nevertheless, both provided the reader with enough information to locate the section referenced in the source.
The idea of a composite source makes sense when applied to Jewish oral tradition. The Talmud—a collection of Hebrew oral law and legal decisions (the Mishna), along with transcribed scholarly discussions and commentary on the Mishna (the Gemara)—holds that Jeremiah wrote Kings, and that Ezra wrote Chronicles (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45). [NOTE: There is no internal evidence for Jeremiah’s authorship of Kings, but 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-4 are almost identical, which supports Talmudic tradition of Ezra’s authorship of Chronicles.] One theory regarding the citation of lost books is that they were source material for the writers of Kings and Chronicles. Jeremiah possibly edited and/or condensed the original source (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) into the book of Kings, sometime before or during the Babylonian exile. This new, inspired book of Kings provided a summary of the histories of Israel and Judah for the captives to carry with them—a much smaller, lighter book than the original detailed work. After returning from the Babylonian exile, Ezra composed another history of the Hebrew nation—Chronicles. According to this theory, he used the same original work as Jeremiah for his primary source, but referred to the sections by different names than the ones used by Jeremiah. To this, he added parts of Samuel, Isaiah, possibly Lamentations, and some non-extant works. Like Jeremiah’s compilation, Ezra did this by inspiration. While the original source no longer exists, a condensed form of it survived through the inspired writings.
However, it also is possible that the original work to which Jeremiah and Ezra referred was not a source for their books, but was an uninspired composition of historical significance to which the reader could look for additional information. Under this theory, Jeremiah and Ezra received everything for the composition of their respective works, but also were inspired to include a reference for “extra information.” God did not require every single detail to be preserved in the biblical accounts of the history of the Jewish people, so He revealed what the authors of Kings and Chronicles needed to know, while guiding them to insert a “for more information, please see...” in the text.
Both of these theories allow for verbal inspiration. The first theory suggests that God inspired Jeremiah and Ezra to look at the single historical work as a source, and then He guided them (via the Holy Spirit) to include exactly what He wanted from that source into Scripture. According to the second theory, God revealed to Jeremiah and Ezra the necessary history, and then guided them to place a citation in the biblical text in order to refer the contemporary reader to a then-extant historical book. Some of the “lost books” are references to sections of this source, and others are different names for books that are not lost, but currently reside within the canon of Scripture.
Work Cited
Cited In
The Book of the Wars of Yahweh
Numbers 21:14
The Book of Jashar
Joshua 10:12-13;
2 Samuel 1:19-27
The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
1 Kings 14:29; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
1 Kings 14:19; et al.
The Acts of Solomon
1 Kings 11:41
Book of the Kings of Israel
1 Chronicles 9:1-2;
2 Chronicles 20:34
Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel
2 Chronicles 16:11; et al.
Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah
2 Chronicles 27:7; et al.
Acts of the Kings of Israel
2 Chronicles 33:18
Acts of Samuel the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Gad the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Nathan the Prophet
1 Chronicles 29:29
History of Nathan the Prophet
2 Chronicles 9:29
Prophesy of Ahijah the Shilonite
2 Chronicles 9:29
Visions of Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 9:29
Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 12:15
Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani
2 Chronicles 20:34
Acts of the Seers
2 Chronicles 33:19
Midrash of the Prophet Iddo
2 Chronicles 13:22
Midrash on the Book of Kings
2 Chronicles 24:27
Book by the prophet Isaiah
2 Chronicles 26:22
Vision of Isaiah the prophet
2 Chronicles 32:32
Book of the Chronicles
Nehemiah 12:23
Some additional writings, referenced in the Old Testament
and New Testament, can be added to Christensen’s list:
Book of the Covenant
Exodus 24:7; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia
Esther 10:2
Book by Samuel
1 Samuel 10:25
Laments for Josiah
2 Chronicles 35:25
Chronicles of King David
1 Chronicles 27:24
Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans
Colossians 4:16
Paul’s previous Corinthian letter
1 Corinthians 5:9
List of the “lost books”/“lost writings” of the Bible (per Christensen, 1998, with additions)

Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and Acts of Solomon (non-extant)

These names probably refer to sections of the original, detailed source either used by Jeremiah (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Kings, or mentioned by Jeremiah as a source for additional information. The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah is cited in 1 Kings 14:29; 15:7; 15:23; 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 12:19; 14:18; 15:6; 15:36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17; 21:25; 23:28; and 24:5. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:5; 16:14; 16:20; 16:27; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:18; 10:34; 13:8; 13:12; 14:15; 14:28; 15:11; 15:15; 15:21; 15:26; and 15:31. However, the Acts of Solomon is referred to only in 1 Kings 11:41. This compilation probably contained the records of each king’s reign, official decrees, judgments of the court, census reports, taxation records, etc.

Book of the Kings of Israel, Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel, Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, Acts of the Kings of Israel, and Chronicles of King David (non-extant)

These five titles possibly were Ezra’s references to sections of the same source from which Jeremiah wrote Kings. According to the two theories, either he used this single historical work (again, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Chronicles, or he referenced it as additional, uninspired information. The Book of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 20:34. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel is cited in 2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 28:26; and 32:32. The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah is referred to in 2 Chronicles 27:2; 35:27; and 36:8. Finally, the Acts of the Kings of Israel, and the Chronicles of King David, are alluded to in 2 Chronicles 33:18 and 1 Chronicles 27:24, respectively.

Acts of Samuel the Seer, Acts of Gad the Seer, and Acts of Nathan the Prophet (1 & 2 Samuel)

The only citation to these works is found in 1 Chronicles 29:29. This probably refers to 1 and 2 Samuel, which Talmudic tradition says was written by Samuel until his death (see 1 Samuel 25:1), and was finished by Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45-46). With this explanation, it stands to reason that Ezra was referring to one work (Samuel) by its composite authors—Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. So these three “lost books” probably cite a single, currently existing work, known to us as 1 and 2 Samuel. [NOTE: In the Hebrew Bible, 1 and 2 Samuel were one book (Samuel), as were 1 and 2 Kings (Kings) and 1 and 2 Chronicles (Chronicles). Also, Nehemiah was added to the end of Ezra in the Hebrew text, and Hosea through Malachi were one book—which resulted in the Hebrew Bible being twenty-four books (Josephus combined two of those, making a total of twenty-two), instead of the thirty-nine in our present-day Old Testament.]

Book by the Prophet Isaiah and Vision of Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah)

The two “lost books,” cited in 2 Chronicles 26:22 and 2 Chronicles 32:32, respectively, are said to have contained the records of King Uzziah and King Hezekiah. Isaiah lived during the reigns of these men (Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 36:1-39:8), so these citations likely refer to the book of Isaiah that exists in our current canon.

Lament for Josiah (Lamentations 3)

In 2 Chronicles 35:25, it is recorded that Jeremiah composed a lament at the death of Josiah, who was the last unconquered king of Judah, and wrote it “in the Laments.” The book of Lamentations was the work of Jeremiah that mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred not long after the death of Josiah. It is highly likely that the lament mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:25 is included in Lamentations. It is perhaps in chapter 3, where the tone of the lament changes. There seems to be continuity between 2:22 and 4:1. Chapter 2 talks of God’s anger toward Jerusalem and the result of it, a thought that is continued in chapter 4. Chapter 3 takes on a more personal tone, which could be indicative of the personal grief experienced by Jeremiah at the death of Josiah. It is very possible that, in lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem (Lamentations 1-2), Jeremiah’s grief at the death of Josiah came freshly to his mind, and he digressed in his lament over Jerusalem to include the sorrow of Josiah’s passing (Lamentations 3). Following this digression, his thoughts returned to Jerusalem (Lamentations 4-5).

Book of the Chronicles (1 & 2 Chronicles)

Nehemiah mentioned a record of the Levites, which was kept in the Book of the Chronicles (Nehemiah 12:23). Since Nehemiah and Ezra were contemporaries, it is probable that Nehemiah was referring to the Chronicles written by Ezra—our 1 and 2 Chronicles. It appears that Nehemiah may have been citing 1 Chronicles 9:10-22 specifically, which contains a record like the one mentioned by Nehemiah.

Book of the Covenant (The Pentateuch)

Four places in the Old Testament refer to the Book of the Covenant: Exodus 24:7; 2 Kings 23:2; 23:21; and 2 Chronicles 34:30. This is another name for the Pentateuch, which is sometimes called the Law (see Deuteronomy 30:10; 31:26; 2 Kings 17:13; et al.) or the Law of Moses (see Joshua 8:31; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3; et al.).

The Book of Jashar (Non-extant)

Recently, certain scholars have written about the Book of Jashar, especially in light of its “rediscovery.” There are only two quotations from the Book of Jashar: Joshua 10:12-13 and 2 Samuel 1:18-27. From these references, it appears that the Book of Jashar was either a book of songs or poems compiled throughout the ages by the Israelite nation, or a record of upright individuals among the Israelites (see McClintock and Strong, 1968, 4:785). The word “Jashar” is commonly translated “just” or “upright,” but some scholars contend that it may be a corruption of the Hebrew word for “song” (Christensen, 1998, 14[5]:27).
Currently, five works claim to be the Book of Jashar, but all are spurious or recent compositions. The most popular of these is a manuscript forged by the Rosicrucians, a secret society dating back to the seventeenth century. The original supposedly was “found” by Alcuin—an Anglo-Saxon from Northumbria—in Gazna, Persia, and translated at some point during the eighth century A.D. The translation, which is the manuscript that is extant today, was “rediscovered” in 1721 and printed in London in 1751. This writing—which continues to be published despite the lack of evidence for its authenticity—is viewed to be a forgery produced no earlier than the eighteenth century (see Christensen, 14[5]:30; McClintock, 4:768-788).
The Book of Jashar was used as source material by Joshua, as well as by Gad and Nathan. It no longer exists in its original form, and the five different recent works are almost universally rejected as forgeries.

The Book of the Wars of Yahweh (Non-extant)

Also called the Book of the Wars of the Lord, this composition is quoted in Numbers 21:14. The quotation is in lyrical form, so it is possibly a book of poetry or a hymnal. Some have suggested that the Book of Jashar and the Book of the Wars of Yahweh are the same work (Christensen, 14[5]:30). Moses quoted it, so the date of its composition must have been prior to the completion of the Pentateuch, perhaps during the wanderings in the wilderness. Nothing else is known about it, and it survives only in Moses’ quotation.

Other Old Testament Works (Non-extant)

Many of the “lost books” actually exist either in a condensed form or under another name. However, some compositions now exist as mere citations in the Old Testament. The History of Nathan the Prophet, Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and Visions of Iddo the Seer are all cited together (2 Chronicles 9:29). If this is a form similar to the 1 Chronicles 29:29 reference to Samuel (using the composite authors for the citation), then it is possible that this was a single compilation cited by mentioning its authors. The same can be said of the Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 12:15). Another possibility is that these, along with the Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34), are all sections in a single work titled Acts of the Seers, which is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 33:19. Since the authors were prophets or seers, their works could have been gathered into a single book of prophetic revelation, similar to the manner in which the works of the twelve minor prophets were gathered into a single book (the Twelve Prophets). It is possible that Ezra used the composite work (if they were placed together), or the individual works, as additional source material in composing Chronicles, or that he cited them in the same manner as the single historical work. So far as we know, these books no longer exist, except in name.
Two other non-extant, but cited, works are commentaries on certain books. The Midrash of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22) was a commentary on a specific writing that contained the record of King Abijah of Judah. [NOTE: A midrash is a Jewish commentary, sometimes translated as “annals” or “commentary.”] Perhaps the work on which Iddo wrote his commentary was the original source used by Jeremiah and Ezra to compose Kings and Chronicles, respectively. Another possibility is that it was Kings itself. The Midrash on the Book of Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27) was possibly a commentary on either Jeremiah’s Kings or the original source for Kings and Chronicles. These midrashim could have been a single work, with the two citations referring to different parts of it. Ezra used these midrashim either as sources for his inspired composition of Chronicles, or as places to look if the reader wanted more information—but the originals have been lost.
Two remaining Old Testament-era books no longer exist except through citations: the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia, and a book by Samuel. The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is mentioned in Esther 10:2. This is not considered a “lost book” of the Bible, because it was the official record of the Persian Empire, not an inspired source. It seems to be referenced in Esther 2:23 and 6:1, where the King of Persia is shown placing records in the book and reading from it. The Book of Esther mentions this contemporary Gentile source in order to point the early reader to further details about the Persian Empire, similar to Paul’s quotations from the Cretan poet Epimenides and the Cilician poet Aratus to make his point in Acts 17:28 (Bruce, 1977, p. 44). The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is a lost secular historical record. It is not a lost biblical record.
Recorded in 1 Samuel 10:25 is Samuel’s writing of a book concerning the “behavior of royalty.” The biblical record said that he had “laid it up before the Lord,” but nowhere do we find anything that bears the markings of this book. The citation possibly could be a reference to the part of Samuel composed by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1-24).
To summarize, eight of the “missing” Old Testament books probably are referring to Samuel, Isaiah, Chronicles, the Pentateuch, and Lamentations. Eight others appear to refer to sections of a single source used by the inspired Old Testament writers, making it only one “lost” historical record. Six others were written by prophets and seers, and might have been sections in a non-extant prophetic work known as the Book of the Seers. Two more were commentaries, which also could have been a single work, and two more were books of hymns or poetry. Therefore, the original number of Old Testament-era “lost books,” twenty-eight, actually numbers only a half-dozen. However, along with the “missing” books of the Old Testament era, there are two epistles referred to in the New Testament that some consider “lost books.”

Paul’s Letter to the Laodiceans

Paul, in Colossians 4:16, mentioned an epistle that he sent to the church at Laodicea. Since an epistle by this name is not found in our New Testament, some have claimed that it is non-extant. While this is one option, there are other possibilities. Some scholars say that it may actually exist in the canon of the Bible, but under a different name. According to this theory, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians was written as an encyclical letter, meaning that it did not have one single destination. There is internal and external evidence to support this theory. Certain characteristics of the letter (like the omission of the phrase “in Ephesus” from Ephesians 1:1 in certain reliable manuscripts), the fact that some early Christians were not aware of the “in Ephesus” for verse 1, and a heretical reference to Ephesians as Paul’s epistle to the Laodiceans, appear to support this theory (Metzger, 2000, p. 532). Yet, the possibility remains that Paul’s letter to Laodicea was lost somewhere, perhaps in Asia Minor, before it could be copied (or the copies were destroyed or lost as well). [Passing mention should be made of a spurious epistle from the fourth century that claimed to be Paul’s letter to Laodicea (Bruce, 1988, pp. 237-240). ]
However, there is another possibility. The text never stated that the epistle was from Paul to Laodicea. It simply says that the Colossian church was to procure a certain letter in the possession of the Laodicean church. This would mean that the church at Laodicea probably had some canonical writing that Paul wanted the Colossian church to read, which would mean that there is no missing Laodicean letter. Of the three explanations (lost Laodicean letter, encyclical Ephesians, or canonical epistle in the possession of the Laodiceans), the latter appears to make the most sense. Most likely, the “missing” epistle to the Laodiceans was just a canonical epistle in the possession of the church in that city. Apparently, there was a section of it that Paul desired the Colossian brethren to read, and so he gave them directions for its procurement.

Paul’s First Corinthian Letter

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to Paul’s missing previous Corinthian letter. Technically, the epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians could be called more properly 2 and 3 Corinthians, because Paul actually did write an earlier letter to the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul said: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.” While some would argue that Paul is referring to a previous section of 1 Corinthians (perhaps 5:1-8) rather than referring to a previous epistle, he then continued (in verse 10) to explain exactly what he meant by that statement, which is not what is said in 5:1-8. After explaining what the statement from the previous letter meant, Paul continued in 5:11 by showing the contrasting point, “But now I have written to you...”—explaining the difference between the statement from the previous epistle and the one from our 1 Corinthians.
What are we to say? This truly is a lost writing of the apostle Paul, and nothing is known about it except that it existed, it was sent to the Corinthian church, and it dealt with sexual immorality. With this book, and with the other “lost books,” we now must ask the question...

Do We Really Need These Books?

When mentioning the “lost books” of the Bible, many people wonder, “Why do we no longer have these books?,” and “Do we really need them?” First, some of the so-called “lost books” probably are references to inspired books that still exist, but by another name. Others were historical references used as sources for inspired books, such as Kings and Chronicles, and so the Jews saw no need to treat them with special reverence, nor to strive to preserve them. Some were books of poetry or song that were uninspired, but served as a record of Hebrew culture. Others were non-Hebrew sources, making them non-biblical compositions and therefore not canonical writings. Many of these “lost books” probably are references to sections of the same work, making the actual number of non-extant books cited in the Bible less than a dozen. However, we must face the fact that some compositions cited by the Old and New Testament writers no longer exist.
While under subjugation to the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires, the Jews ultimately were able to preserve only those books that were holy and inspired—everything else was destroyed or lost. While this is unfortunate, it should not affect our faith adversely. The books we have are inspired, and came from inspired men who sometimes mentioned non-inspired sources for recording historical fact, giving places to find additional information, or simply to make a point. These men, like modern researchers, felt compelled to cite their sources, but did not intend these sources to become writings on a par with Scripture. The missing books that are cited in the Old Testament apparently did not bother the Jews, who recorded in the first century A.D. that their writings consisted of only twenty-two to twenty-four works that correspond exactly to our thirty-nine, except for a difference in order and division (Josephus, 1987, Against Apion, 1:38-40; Bruce, 1988, pp. 28-34; Rodkinson, 1918, V:44-45). Obviously, the “lost books” did not present a problem to Jesus and the apostles, who accepted the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) as all they needed. They quoted from none of these books, and the only things they quoted as Scripture were the books of the Old Testament. To accept that God allowed the inspired writers to employ sources in composing historical books of the Bible does not negate inspiration by the Holy Spirit. If these men used sources, God still guided them by the Holy Spirit to correct, compile, and add to the uninspired source material. One of the gospel writers (Luke) apparently consulted various sources in compiling his letter (Luke 1:1-4). As was previously mentioned, Paul quoted Epimenides and Aratus in Acts 17, and quoted Epimenides again in Titus 1:12. It was not uncommon for the authors of the Bible to use or quote, by inspiration, either uninspired works or inspired works that no longer exist.
God obviously did not intend certain works to be preserved, because His hand would have guided their perpetuation, just as He guided the continuation of the canonical books. Like the lost Corinthian letter, it is likely that other inspired books were written that God intended for a particular historical setting, but did not intend to be preserved in the canon of the Bible. God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3), and our knowledge of Him is complete through the revealed Word. None of the books God intended to be in the Bible is lost, and the phrase “lost books” refers only to those books of which no record exists. Whatever these “lost books” contained is irrelevant, because we have the Word of God exactly as He wanted us to have it—nothing more, and certainly nothing less.

REFERENCES

Bruce, F.F. (1977), The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Christensen, Duane (1998), “Lost Books of the Bible,” Bible Review, 14[5]:24-31, October.
Franceschini, Massimo (2002), “Lost Books,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bibleman.net/Lost_Books.htm.
Josephus, Flavius (1987), The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1968 reprint), Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Metzger, Bruce M. (2000), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), second edition.
Rodkinson, Michael L. (1918), New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (Boston, MA: The Talmud Society), [On-line Version], URL: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm, ed. J.B. Hare.

A Leap Into the Dark? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=558

A Leap Into the Dark?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One of the most abused verses in all of Scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Often, those who “expound” upon the apostle Paul’s statement explain that faith implies something less than knowledge—that is, they teach that we must accept evidence blindly and take a “leap of faith.” Many so-called teachers and preachers, when commenting on 2 Corinthians 5:7, argue for a separation of faith and facts. German theologian Hans Kung upheld this idea of “biblical” faith when he wrote: “Even in faith, then, there is no certainty entirely free from doubt. In faith, we must commit ourselves to something uncertain” (1980, p. 61). Similar to Kung’s ideas about faith is the statement of televangelist Robert Schuller, who suggested: “Faith is a commitment to an unprovable assumption” (1984). If these men are correct, faith is either something based on no proof at all or something composed of a small amount of knowledge and a big dose of uncertainty that allows men to “act like” they know something when, in fact, they do not. Is this the kind of faith to which Paul was referring when he wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians?
Second Corinthians 5:7 is both amplified and clarified by verse 16 of that same chapter: “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” In other words, in the past Jesus had been present in the flesh, and hence could be known by sight. But, at the time Paul wrote his letters to the Corinthians, the situation had changed—Christ no longer was on the Earth. Thus, the apostle Paul clarified his statement about not walking “by sight” with the phrase “now we know Him thus no longer.” Of course, Christ still could be known, but not “after the flesh.” Had Paul written 2 Corinthians while Christ still was living upon the Earth, these passages (5:7,16) never would have been included among his remarks. But since they were written at some point after Christ’s ascension, Paul therefore was compelled to make the comparison he did in 2 Corinthians 5:7.
His point, quite simply, was this. There was a time when faith and sight went together. That is to say, at one time in history, men walked by faith because of sight (cf. John 4:41; 20:25-29). However, eventually followers of Jesus possessed a faith in Him that was not based upon sight, but instead upon such things as credible testimony, deduction, and revelation. Jesus indicated His approval of those whose faith is based upon knowledge gained in ways other than by sight when he told “doubting” Thomas: “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Today, Christians can have a genuine faith without sight, thanks to such things as credible testimony from reliable eyewitnesses (such as Peter, James, John, and Paul) and other means of knowledge that are not necessarily dependent upon having personally seen something firsthand (cf. 1 Peter 1:8-9). All of us believe in people, places, and events that we never have seen personally, yet that does not diminish their factuality. Nor does the absence of “sight” weaken the faith routinely produced via credible testimony from people of the past who did witness such things. Truly, one may “walk by faith, not by sight,” and still possess knowledge-based faith.
One thing is for sure: the Bible nowhere discusses or recognizes the legitimacy of any concept such as a “leap of faith.”

REFERENCES

Kung, Hans (1980), Does God Exist? (New York: Doubleday).
Schuller, Robert (1984), “The Hour of Prayer,” February 5.

Can We Prove Jesus Was a Real Person? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=876

Can We Prove Jesus Was a Real Person?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

You may find this surprising, but there are many people in the world today who actually think that Jesus is nothing more than a fantasy figure that various secret societies created 2,000 years ago. Allegedly, His name belongs in the same fictional writings that contain such fairy-tale characters as Peter Pan, Hercules, and Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Gerald Massey, in his book, Gnostic and Historic Christianity, has “informed” us that “[w]hether considered as the God made human, or as man made divine, this character [Jesus—EL] never existed as a person” (1985, p. 22). Skeptics like Massey, Acharya (1999), and others believe that Christians have been deceived into thinking that there really was a man named Jesus, when, in fact, He never lived.
How do those of us who believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ respond to such allegations? Can we really know that there was a sinless, miracle-working, death-defying man named Jesus who lived upon the Earth approximately 2,000 years ago, or have we accepted His existence blindly?
Even though the New Testament proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus actually lived, it is by no means the only historical evidence available. Around the year A.D. 94, a Jewish historian by the name of Josephus mentioned Jesus’ name twice in his book, Antiquities of the Jews. In section 18 of that work, Josephus wrote: “And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure” (emp. added). Then, in section 20, Josephus documented how a man named Ananus brought before the Sanhedrin “a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others” (emp. added).
About 20 years later, Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote a book surveying the history of Rome. In it he described how Nero (the Roman emperor) “punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called).” He went on to write that “their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus” (Annals 15:44, emp. added). Even though Tacitus, Josephus, and other historians from the first and second centuries A.D. were not followers of Christ, they did have something to say about Him—and they even verified that Jesus was a real person Who was so famous that He even attracted the attention of the Roman emperor himself!
Another obvious reason to believe that Jesus was a real person is because our entire dating method is based upon His existence. The letters “B.C.” stand for “before Christ,” and the letters “A.D.” (standing for Anno Domini) mean “in the year of the Lord.” So when a history teacher speaks of Alexander the Great ruling much of the world in 330 B.C., he or she is admitting that Alexander lived about 330 years before Jesus was born.
Even though this is only a sampling of the evidence relating to the man known as Jesus, it is enough to prove that He was a real person, and not just some imaginary character. We do not accept His existence blindly—it is a historical fact!

REFERENCES

Josephus, Flavius (1957 reprint), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John Whitson).
Massey, Gerald (1985), Gnostic and Historic Christianity (Edmond, WA: Holmes Publishing Group).
Acharya, S. (1999), The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press).
Tacitus, Cornelius P. (1952 reprint), The Annals and the Histories, trans. Michael Grant (Chicago, IL: William Benton), Great Books of the Western World Series.