"FAITH IS THE VICTORY!" In Overcoming Sin INTRODUCTION 1. The theme for this series is "Faith Is The Victory!", with the following text as the basis for our study... For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1Jn 5:4-5) 2. In our previous study, we saw that the faith which overcomes the world is... a. A strong conviction and trust in Jesus: 1) As the Christ, the Son of God - cf. Ac 8:37 2) As the way, the truth, and the life - cf. Jn 14:6-7 3) Who alone provides the way to God and eternal life - cf. Jn 6: 68-69 b. A strong conviction and trust in Jesus that comes by: 1) The Word of God - Ro 10:17 2) The evidence provided by the Word of God - Jn 20:30-31 3. The "world" we can overcome by faith in Jesus includes anything that can hinder our relationship with God, even such things as... a. Anxiety e. Discontentment b. Boredom f. Fear c. Depression g. Grief d. Despair h. Loneliness 4. Our purpose in this series is to illustrate how faith in Jesus helps us to overcome such things, but it is important that we first talk about overcoming SIN... a. While sin is not taken too seriously these days, it should be b. The problem of sin must be overcome if we are to overcome anything else 1) In some cases, sin may be the underlying cause of problems we face 2) In any case, unless we overcome sin, we will not have God's help to overcome the problems before us! - cf. Isa 59:1-2; 1Pe 3:12 5. In this lesson, I wish to do two things... a. Carefully define the problem of sin b. Explain how faith in Jesus can overcome the problem of sin [Let's begin then by considering...] I. THE PROBLEM OF SIN A. THERE IS THE "GUILT" OF SIN... 1. First, everyone is guilty of sin - Ro 3:23 a. Even if one has committed just one sin, it as though they have committed them all! - cf. Jm 2:10 b. That is because sin is so terrible, and God is so holy! 2. There is both "legal" guilt and "emotional" guilt a. Legal guilt means you have violated God's law 1) God has a Law, and if we break it, He holds us accountable - 1Jn 3:4 2) The price of such guilt is "death", i.e., eternal separation from God - Ro 6:23; Re 21:8 b. Emotional guilt pertains to one's conscience of sin 1) When we know we have done wrong, we feel "guilty" 2) Our conscience becomes burdened by such "guilt" for our sins 3. Even if we have so hardened our conscience that we feel no "emotional" guilt, the "legal" guilt remains a. God still holds us accountable, and will judge us on the last day - Jn 12:48; Ac 17:30-31 b. Until then, unforgiven sin also prevents God from coming to our aid - Isa 59:1-2; 1Pe 3:12 1) Which means we must bear our burdens alone 2) Whatever comfort, peace, and strength God might provide, is not for one who remains in their sin! - Isa 57:19-21 B. THERE IS THE "POWER" OF SIN... 1. The problem of sin is not limited to guilt a. As if the guilt of sin weren't bad enough! b. Sin also has the power to enslave a person so that they can't do what they really want to do! 2. Jesus described the power of sin - Jn 8:31-34 a. In passage often misapplied to talk about truth leading to freedom (e.g., political) b. The freedom under consideration is freedom from the slavery of sin! c. When one commits sin, they become a slave of sin! 3. Paul vividly depicted what his life was like under the bondage of sin, from which the Law of Moses could not deliver - Ro 7: 14-24 a. He was "sold under sin" - Ro 7:14 b. He could not do what he wanted, and what he did not wish to do, he did - Ro 7:15 c. He found that "sin dwells in me" - Ro 7:17,20 d. Though he desired to do good, "how to perform what is good I do not find" - Ro 7:18 e. He found himself brought "into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" - Ro 7:23 f. It made him "wretched", crying out for deliverance from "this body of death" - Ro 7:24 [Sin is a like a powerful drug, to which we become enslaved (addicted). Until we somehow are set free from the power of sin, the guilt of sin separates us from God; any problem we have, therefore, we face alone, with no assistance from God! But through faith in Jesus, there can be victory in overcoming sin! Let's see how...] II. HOW FAITH IN JESUS OVERCOMES SIN A. BY PROVIDING THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN... 1. Remission of sins is promised to those who believe in Jesus - Ac 10:43 a. Made possible by the shedding of His blood - Ep 1:7 b. Jesus became our "propitiation" (a sacrifice designed to appease) - 1Jn 2:2; 4:9-10 c. Through His blood we are "justified" (i.e., declared "not guilty"), and therefore spared from the wrath of God to come - Ro 5:9 2. Such forgiveness is promised to those whose faith in Jesus moves them to repent and be baptized - Ac 2:38; 3:19 a. Repentance - that "change of mind" in which we turn from sin to serve God b. Baptism - that "burial" in which we are united with Christ into His death, that we might be crucified with Him and then rise to walk in newness of life - Ro 6:3-7 3. Forgiveness continues as we repent and confess our sins in prayer - Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:9 -- In this way Jesus deals with the "guilt" of sin (legal and emotional - cf. He 9:14) B. BY PROVIDING THE POWER OVER SIN... 1. In Ro 6:6-7, Paul speaks of freedom from sin... a. "we should no longer be slaves of sin" b. "...has been freed from sin" 2. Later, in Ro 8:1-2,12-13 he describes where this "power" comes from... a. It is "the law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ" which frees one from "the law of sin and death" b. In particular, how the Spirit enables us to "put to death the deeds of the body" c. With the aid of the Spirit, we now have the help of God to overcome sin! - cf. Ep 3:16,20-21; Php 4:13 3. The promise of the Spirit was given by both Jesus and His apostles a. To those who believe in Him - Jn 7:37-39 b. To those who repent and are baptized - Ac 2:38-39 c. I.e., to those who obey Him and become "children of God" - cf. Ac 5:32; Ga 3:26-27; 4:6; 5:16 -- In this way Jesus deals with the "power" of sin CONCLUSION 1. To the one who is willing to believe in Jesus, with a trust and conviction to do what He says, then "Faith Is The Victory!" 2. There is certainly victory over SIN... a. Over the legal and emotion guilt of sin b. Over the power of sin which easily enslaves us -- This He does through the gift of His blood, and the gift of the Holy Spirit! With such wonderful gifts, we can now have the kind of relationship with God by which we can also overcome whatever else the world might throw at us...
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011
Has Noah's Ark Been Found?
|by||Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.|
Q.Has Noah’s ark been found?
A.In short, no, the ark has not been found. However, it is worth digging into this question a little deeper, because claims of discovery or sightings are so frequent.
People have reported seeing the ark many times over the last 150 years. They include Turkish soldiers, Russian pilots, Kurdish villagers, and foreign travelers. Most of the sightings and searches have focused on Greater Ararat (17,011 feet above sea level), although the biblical “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4), where the ark came to rest, probably refers to a much larger geographic area. The mountains are located in a politically troubled part of eastern Turkey, bordering Armenia and Iran. Ararat’s size and location have contributed to a variety of proposed sites, and some colorful adventures.
Most search efforts in the last few decades have attempted to pinpoint the locations given by previous “eyewitness” reports. One such report receiving much attention in the past year came from George Jammal—a Palestinian living in California. In an unsolicited letter to the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and in a taped interview with ICR scientist John Morris, Jammal claimed to have discovered the ark in 1984. He alleged also to have a piece of wood from the ark, although Morris (1994) says he never was able to confirm this or the location of the find. Then in 1992, Sun Pictures began work on a film called The Incredible Discovery of Noah’s Ark. Although Morris had little confidence in the details of Jammal’s story, he referred Jammal to Sun, who used him extensively. During that interview, Jammal produced the mysterious timber.
The two-hour show, which aired on CBS in February 1993, switched between sensational stories about the discovery of the ark, and excellent scenes portraying evidence for a global flood. In either case, the anti-creationists were not happy. They expected CBS to make a public apology, but CBS and Sun maintained that the show was simply entertainment. What really caused a stir, however, was the revelation that Jammal literally cooked up his piece of wood, working in collusion with prominent humanist Gerald LaRue. Critics have had a field day using this incident to discredit the whole Ark show. Yet while the humanists snicker over their prank, we may ask which is worse: that Sun Pictures naively accepted someone’s claims at face value, or that people worked deliberately to lie and defraud? In any case, the film did not present a verifiable discovery of Noah’s ark, and Morris now regrets his involvement with Jammal (1994, p. 3).
Another controversial claim received wide attention in the early 1990s. Various video tapes and articles were in circulation proclaiming that the ark had been found 12-15 miles south of Greater Ararat (e.g., Yocham, 1991). Actually, this story began more than three decades ago. In 1959, a Turkish pilot had noticed a large, boat-shaped object in aerial photographs of the area, and an article in Life magazine the next year brought it to the world’s attention. Despite high expectations, a scientific expedition in 1960 showed that this was neither a boat nor the remains of Noah’s ark. However, one of the expedition’s members, René Noorbergen, published a book in 1974 claiming that this object was indeed the ark (Shea, 1988, p. 8).
The site’s most vigorous promoter is self-styled biblical archaeologist Ron Wyatt. Since his first visit in 1977, Wyatt has convinced various scientists to investigate the site. While many of these scientists believe in the Flood account, their results, plus surveys carried out by Turkish geologists, have shown convincingly that this boat-shaped object is a natural geologic formation. Various claims, such as having mapped the subsurface structure of a boat or having discovered wooden and metallic artifacts, are all false (Snelling, 1992).
No doubt more claims will come to light in the future. We must ask: Who is making these claims, and can the details be verified? Considering that the Ararat region has experienced volcanic and glacial activity, the likelihood of finding recognizable remains of an ancient wooden vessel is extremely remote. Therefore, Christians should treat ark discovery claims with a high degree of skepticism.
Shea, William (1988), “Noah’s Ark,” Archaeology and Biblical Research, 1:6-14,35, Winter.
Snelling, Andrew A. (1992), “Amazing ‘Ark’ Exposé,” Creation Ex Nihilo, 14:26-38, September-November.
Yocham, Virgil (1991), Noah’s Ark (Lubbock, TX: Sunset Extension School, VHS tape recorded June 1991).
Divine Design and the Pine Tree
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The naturalistic explanation given by evolutionists for the existence of the created order cannot meet the dictates of logic that characterize the unencumbered, unprejudiced human mind. The more one investigates the intricacies and complexities of the natural realm, the more self-evident it is that a grand and great Designer is responsible for the existence of the Universe. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming and decisive.
Take, for example, the pine tree. Some 120 species and subspecies of the pine tree exist worldwide (“What Are...?,” n.d.). The Ponderosa pine tree (pinus ponderosa) is one of America’s abundant tree species, covering approximately 27 million acres of land (“Ponderosa Pine,” 1995). A young Ponderosa pine has brownish-black bark that changes to a distinctive orange-brown color as the tree grows older. The bark is segmented into large plate-like structures whose appearance has been likened to a jigsaw puzzle. This unusual design has a purpose. If the tree catches fire, these plates pop off as the bark burns. The tree, in effect, sheds its burning bark! This design, along with the great thickness of the bark, allows the tree to be very resistant to low intensity fires (“Ponderosa Pine,” n.d.). Since design demands a designer, who is responsible for this intricate design?
Courtesy sxc.hu and Jesse Adams
Yet another species of pine tree is the Whitebark Pine (pinus albicaulis). This tree possesses a symbiotic relationship with a bird species known as the Clark’s Nutcracker. The tree is dependent on this bird for reproduction, while the seed of the tree is a major source of food for the bird. This mutualistic relationship is further seen in the fact that Whitebark pinecones do not open and cast seed when they are ripe. The cones remain closed until the Nutcracker comes along, pries the cone open with its bill, and stores the seed within a pouch beneath its tongue. The bird then caches the seed to be used later as a food supply. Some of these seed caches are forgotten, or are not needed, thus enabling the tree to reproduce (“Whitebark Pine,” n.d.). Such amazing design—with no Mind behind it? Illogical!
Ponderosa pine tree
Courtesy bigstockphotos.com and Angela McElroy
Indeed, the realm of nature literally shouts forth the reality of the all-powerful Maker Who alone accounts for the intelligent design of the created order. As the psalmist so eloquently affirmed: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.... There is no speech, nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Indeed, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). Only a foolish person would conclude there is no God (Psalm 14:1).
“Ponderosa Pine” (no date), USDA Forest Service, [On-line], URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/resources/trees/PonderosaPine.shtml.
“Ponderosa Pine” (1995), Western Wood Products Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.wwpa.org/ppine.htm.
“What Are Pine Trees?” (no date), The Lovett Pinetum Charitable Foundation, [On-line], URL: http://www.lovett-pinetum.org/1whatare.htm.
“Whitebark Pine” (no date), USDA Forest Service, [On-line], URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/resources/trees/WhitebarkPine.shtml.
Assumptions and the Age of the Earth
|by||Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff scientist Dr. Houts who holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and serves as the Nuclear Research Manager for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.]Scientific advances continue to confirm the Bible in all areas where science can be applied. Advances in life science have shown that even the simplest life is vastly more complicated than anything humans have ever made, and believing life could somehow “make itself” is more absurd than believing a space shuttle could do the same (Miller, 2013). Research related to the human genome has uncovered the incredible complexity of DNA, and the idea that random mutations followed by natural selection could somehow turn a single cell into all of the different forms of life we see around us is being further discredited each day (Sanford, 2008). In these areas (and others) it is obvious that true science is the Christian’s friend, and the enemy of religions that use evolution as their foundation.
Because true science continues to discredit the Theory of Evolution, atheists have been forced to focus discussion on topics where conclusions are drawn primarily based on the assumptions that are made, and not on actual science. If an unsuspecting individual can be convinced to accept atheistic assumptions, they can then often be convinced that atheism may be true or, at least, that portions of the Bible may be false.
One example is the subject of “age.” When one examines the subject, it becomes clear that all dating methods rely on assumptions that may or may not be correct. Because all dating methods ultimately rely on assumptions that cannot be empirically proven, the battle is no longer a scientific one (where the atheist or agnostic would lose), but a battle to convince individuals (and society) to accept atheistic assumptions without question. Within groups already dedicated to finding an atheistic explanation for the Universe and everything in it, the atheist has the upper hand.
Assumptions Related to Carbon DatingAn excellent example of the importance of assumptions is Carbon-14 dating. In a nutshell, if a person assumes the Bible is false, Carbon-14 dating can be used to “show” the Bible is false. If a person assumes the Bible is true, then Carbon-14 dating is shown to be consistent with the biblical account.
More specifically, an atheist will usually assume that the Earth is billions of years old, and that uniformitarianism has generally prevailed. Although minor adjustments are allowed, an atheist would also typically assume that there have been no large scale changes in the atmospheric ratio of Carbon-14 to carbon (14C/C; currently about one part per trillion) for at least the past several hundred thousand years.
From a Christian perspective, the Bible makes it clear that the Earth was created a few thousand years ago. In addition, a global flood occurred within the past 5,000 years. Uncertainties in the distribution and concentration of Carbon-14 at the end of Creation week, coupled with the potential for significant (two orders of magnitude) changes in Carbon-14 concentration caused by removal of carbon from the biosphere during the Flood, make it impossible to estimate Carbon-14 concentrations in the atmosphere much before a few centuries after the Flood. Additional uncertainties are added due to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, the Sun’s magnetic field, the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth’s atmosphere, and other factors which can dramatically affect Carbon-14 production rates.
To estimate the age of a carbon containing sample, the standard equation C = Co (e-λt) is used, where C is the currently measured Carbon-14 (14C) concentration; Co is the 14C concentration at the time of an organism’s death (assumed); e is the base of natural logarithms (2.71828); λ is 0.6931 divided by the half-life of 14C; and t is time. Solving the equation for time (given the current 14C half-life of 5,730 years), one obtains t = ln(C/Co)/-0.000121, where “t” is the time in years since the source of the carbon in the sample died.
The importance of the assumptions that are used to date a specimen can be demonstrated as follows. Suppose a carbon containing sample is found with a Carbon-14 concentration 2% that of today. Using the typical atheistic assumptions stated above, the age would be calculated as t = ln(0.02)/-.000121 = 32,330 years. However, if biblically consistent assumptions are made, a significantly different age would be estimated. For example, if a reasonable assumption was made concerning potential effects of the Flood (for instance, that near the time of the Flood Co was 1/30th that of today), then the same measured data would yield an age of t = ln(0.02/0.0333)/-.000121 = 4,210 years.
From the same measured 14C/C ratio, one could either make atheistic assumptions and obtain a biblically inconsistent date, or make biblically consistent assumptions and obtain a biblically consistent date. The same measured data yields a non-biblical date (32,330 years) if the Bible is presupposed to be wrong (i.e., no Flood and no recent Creation) and a biblically consistent date (4,210 years) if potential effects from even a single biblical event are taken into account.
In addition to the Flood, there are numerous other factors that could affect Co in artifacts created near the time of the Flood. For example, the total energy in the Earth’s magnetic field has been measured to be decreasing with time (Humphreys, 1984). The Earth’s magnetic field shields the Earth from cosmic rays that form Carbon-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere. The stronger the magnetic field, the fewer cosmic rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and the lower the amount of Carbon-14 produced. The stronger magnetic field of the past could thus cause carbon-dated objects (using atheistic assumptions) to have a calculated age older than reality. It is also impossible to determine how much (if any) Carbon-14 was present in the original Creation, and if Carbon-14 was present, how it was initially distributed.
From a biblical perspective, the Flood was the most recent physical event that would have had a significant effect on the ratio of 14C/C. Consequently, the effect of assumptions on samples created more than a few centuries after the Flood are greatly reduced. Once the 14C/C ratio had time to stabilize following the Flood, both biblical models and atheistic models would use the same assumption for the initial condition, i.e., that the 14C/C ratio was about the same when the sample was formed as it is today.
Biblical and secular written records generally agree, and when there are disagreements, an assumption is made as to which source to believe. For very old objects, some archeological dating methods (including pottery styles, burial layer, etc.) give biblically inconsistent dates. However, most of these methods are ultimately calibrated to Carbon-14 dating. If the Carbon-14 dates are wrong (due to incorrect assumptions applied to the initial 14C/C ratio), then the dating methods calibrated to those dates will also be wrong. Attempts have also been made to use tree ring patterns for calibration, but those are also influenced by assumptions, especially if the potential for sub-annual tree ring growth following the Flood is taken into account (Miller, 2014).
Assumptions Related to other Radiometric Dating MethodsAssumptions dominate other radiometric dating methods as well. For example, secular radiometric dating methods assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant. In addition, assumptions are made about the initial concentration of all of the isotopes that are involved in the dating method, and assumptions are made about the addition or removal of isotopes throughout the life of the sample. If any of these assumptions is incorrect, significant errors can be introduced into the estimated age.
Major anomalies associated with radiometric dating methods can be resolved by biblically consistent models. For example, Carbon-14 is found in diamonds and coal purported to be hundreds of millions of years old. However, Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, meaning ½ of the atoms decay (in this case beta-decay to Nitrogen-14) every 5,730 years. It was noted by the RATE group that the detectable presence of Carbon-14 in any sample indicates that its age is less (possibly much less) than approximately 100,000 years; otherwise, the Carbon-14 would have decayed below detectable levels (DeYoung, 2005, p. 175; NOTE: RATE [Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth] refers to an eight year research project conducted by the Institute for Creation Research). The presence of Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds strongly contradicts evolutionary theory, which claims that both coal and diamonds formed millions of years ago. The “problem” (from an evolutionist’s standpoint) of Carbon-14 in coal has also been reported by Lowe (1989, 31:117-120), Giem (2001, 51:6-30), and others. Additional information related to Carbon-14 dating and anomalies is given in Batten, 2002.
Attempts to resolve the contradiction between measured Carbon-14 concentration and assumed age include postulating potential contamination of samples, errors with the equipment used to detect Carbon-14, and in-situ production of Carbon-14 from the decay of uranium or thorium mixed with the sample. Contamination and equipment error have been ruled out, and current decay rates are orders of magnitude lower than those required to make in-situ production a viable explanation (Jull, 1985, 20:676). However, if radioactive decay rates were greatly accelerated (by a factor of a billion or more) during Creation week or the Flood, then additional investigation could be warranted to determine if in-situ production of Carbon-14 could be a potential explanation for at least some of the Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds.
Other observations made by the RATE group are also consistent with periods of greatly accelerated radioactive decay during Creation week or the Flood. One of the findings of the RATE group was excess helium retention in zircons. This finding indicates that based on measured helium diffusion rates, the observed radioactive decay in zircons must have occurred within the past several thousand years. If it had taken longer, the helium generated via alpha decay would have diffused out of the zircons. The group’s observation is that significant radioactive decay has occurred, and it has occurred recently (DeYoung, p. 176).
An additional finding of the RATE group is that ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo beta decay tend to be significantly different (younger) than ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo alpha decay. This could suggest that whatever mechanism God used to change decay rates during Creation week and around the time of the Flood had a different effect on alpha emitters than it did on beta emitters (DeYoung, p. 121). The RATE group has also performed research related to radiohalos, fission tracks in zircons, and potential mechanisms for alleviating issues (such as high heating rates) introduced by accelerated radioactive decay (pp. 174-183). Among other implications, the observations of the RATE group indicate that assumptions used in radiometric dating may be false, and that ages estimated through use of radiometric dating may be incorrect by several orders of magnitude.
In addition to recent research performed by both Christian and secular scientists alike, other lines of evidence have been known for years that are consistent with a relatively recent Creation (Humphreys, 2000). These include the rate at which galaxies “wind up” (too fast for long ages), the amount of mud on the seafloor (too little), the amount of sodium in the sea (too little), the rate at which the Earth’s magnetic field is decaying (too fast), the number of stone age skeletons (too few), the development of agriculture (too recent), and numerous others. Biblically based theories also exist for interpreting what we observe in the Universe, given a relatively recent Creation (e.g., Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004; Faulkner, 2013). Other biblically consistent interpretations have also been proposed (Williams and Hartnett, 2005, p. 180).
Assumptions Related to the Origin of the UniverseAssumptions related to “age” are not limited to radiometric dating methods. Perhaps some of the most egregious assumptions are associated with the “Big Bang” theory, the current attempt to develop an atheistic explanation for the origin of the Universe.
Serious contradictions between the predictions of the Big Bang theory and actual astronomical observations have been known for decades. By the mid-1970s, the evidence against the theory had become so overwhelming that “explanations” were required. “Dark matter” and “dark energy” were contrived, and initially said to make up 50% of the Universe. That number has since grown and, at present, a total of 96% of the Universe needs to be made of dark matter and dark energy in order to preserve the Big Bang theory.
Christians and non-Christians alike readily acknowledge that dark matter and dark energy are merely hypothetical entities that, by definition, cannot be directly observed. For example, former NASA administrator Mike Griffin once asked the value of “discovering that literally 95% of the Universe consists of dark energy or dark matter, terms for things that we as yet know nothing about? But they make up 95% of our Universe” (Griffin, 2007). He went on to write that someday we may learn to harness these “new things.” When asked about dark energy, physicist Michael Turner of the University of Chicago quipped: “The only thing we know about dark energy is its name” (Griffin, 2007).
While dark matter and dark energy have been given specific properties, those properties were specifically chosen to help resolve serious problems with the Big Bang. Additionally, dark matter and dark energy can be distributed throughout the Universe in any fashion desired. When observations are still contradicted, concepts such as “dark flow” and “dark light” can be invoked. Other contradictions are resolved by concepts such as “inflation,” which in themselves are merely conjectures aimed at resolving other serious problems with the Big Bang.
With this approach, any set of data can be claimed to support any theory desired. All that is required is the judicious use of “fudge factors.” Consider this mathematical analogy: one could predecide that 100 must be the answer to the question, “what does X + Y equal?” Values for “X” could then be sought, and no matter what values for “X” were found, a value for “Y” could be chosen to obtain the desired answer. In the analogy, “X” is actual astronomical observations, “100” would be the desired answer (support for the Big Bang theory), and “Y” is the fudge factors (dark matter, dark energy, inflation, etc.) needed to make the equation true. The actual astronomical observations (“X”) become somewhat irrelevant, because no matter what data is taken, “Y” (the fudge factors) can be chosen to claim the observations support the Big Bang theory.
Circular reasoning is then invoked to pretend the approach is valid. For example, in the case of the Big Bang theory, maps showing the location of dark matter have been developed. In reality, all these maps show is the specific ways dark matter must be invoked to avoid contradictions between actual observations and the Big Bang theory.
Christians are not the only ones who have noticed the non-scientific nature of the Big Bang theory. For example, in the May 22, 2004 issue of New Scientist, an open letter to the scientific community appeared written primarily by secular scientists (cosmologystatement.org). The letter was subsequently signed by hundreds of other scientists and professors at various institutions. Two representative paragraphs from the letter are as follows.
The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed—inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.
What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles (Lisle, 2008, p. 103, emp. added).Although the signers of the letter were not necessarily endorsing biblically based theories, unlike atheistic theories, biblically based theories are very consistent with astronomical observations (Faulkner, 2013; Humphreys, 1994).
Adherence to Faulty Assumptions Hinders True ScienceTremendous spiritual damage is done by the promotion of atheism through the pretense of atheistic theories being scientific. Ironically, though, the strict adherence to atheistic theories (regardless of countering evidence) also does tremendous damage to the advancement of science.
For example, for a secular theory of cosmology to be considered, it must adhere to atheistic (and non-scientific) tenets such as the “Copernican Principle,” which essentially states that Earth cannot be at a special location within the Universe. That principle drives not only fundamental assumptions behind the Big Bang theory, but the means by which alternative theories can be seriously pursued.
Consider the August 2009 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science and quoted in the popular press, including USA Today (Vergano, 2009):
Mathematicians have come up with an answer Monday for the mystery of “dark energy” tearing the universe apart at an accelerating rate. It ain’t there. Blake Temple and Joel Smoller suggest that “expanding waves” from the Big Bang “are propelling the trillions of galaxies filling the universe apart…. Dark energy is an illusion if their equations are right.” However, “the only problem is that for the equations to work, we must be ‘literally at the center of the universe’...” says physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University in Tempe. I think this is plausible mathematics, but it doesn’t seem physically relevant.Science News publicized an analogous article from Physical Review Letters in 2008, stating:
If Earth and its environs are centered in a vast, billion-light-year-long bubble, relatively free of matter, in turn surrounded by a massive, dense shell of material, then gravity’s tug would cause galaxies inside the void to hurtle toward the spherical concentration of mass, say theorists Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth College and Albert Stebbins of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. That process would mimic the action of dark energy—a local observer would be tricked into thinking that the universe’s expansion is accelerating (Cowen, 2008).The article further notes: “But that scenario violates the Copernican principle, a notion near and dear to the hearts of physicists and cosmologists, including Caldwell and Stebbins” (Cowen, 2008).
Both models eliminate the need for “Dark Energy,” the fudge factor that accounts for 73% of the Universe according to the traditional Big Bang theory. However, neither model has been seriously pursued because both violate the arbitrary assumption that the Earth cannot be in a special location (i.e., the “Copernican principle”). Many cosmologists feel a special location would imply the existence of God.
But what if the Earth is in a special location? The secular models described in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science and Physical Review Letters actually correspond quite well with the biblically consistent models proposed by Russ Humphreys and others, especially when the potential effects of gravitational time dilation are taken into account (Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004). These models explain how stars that are billions of light years distant can be seen from an Earth that is less than 10,000 years old, all based on a straightforward reading of the Bible.
The assumption that radioactive decay rates have always been constant may also be hindering scientific progress. For example, scientists have discovered that changes in radioactive decay rates can be induced. The June 8, 2009 CERN Courier noted:
It is a common belief that radioactive decay rates are unchanged by external conditions, despite many examples of small shifts (particularly involving external pressure and K-capture decays) being well documented and understood. However, Fabio Cardone of the Institute per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati in Rome and colleagues have shown a dramatic increase—by a factor of 10,000—in the decay rate of thorium-228 in water as a result of ultrasonic cavitation. Exactly what the physics is and whether or not this sort of effect can be scaled up into a technology for nuclear waste treatment remain open issues (Reucroft and Swain, 2009).Recent observations also suggest that radioactive decay rates (typically assumed to be constant) can change due to causes that are not yet fully understood. For example, in August 2010, a team of scientists from Purdue and Stanford universities announced that the decay of radioactive isotopes fluctuates in sync with the rotation of the Sun’s core. The team has published a series of articles in Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, and Space Science Reviews. Although the measured change in decay rate is small (~0.1%), the fact that change occurs at all is extremely significant. Team member Jere Jenkins noted: “[W]hat we’re suggesting is that something that can’t interact with anything is changing something that can’t be changed” (Gardner, 2010).
When considering the effects of assumptions on the estimated age of the Earth and Universe, it can also be instructive to look at the effects of assumptions in other areas related to the debate between atheism and the Bible. For example, in 2009 Richard Dawkins wrote: “What pseudogenes are useful for is embarrassing creationists. It stretches even their creative ingenuity to make up a reason why an intelligent designer should have created a pseudogene…unless he was deliberately setting out to fool us” (Dawkins, 2009, p. 332). What if scientists had believed Dawkins, and had given up researching “pseudogenes” because those scientists decided to assume pseudogenes were simply useless evolutionary leftovers? Fortunately most scientists did not, and by 2012 extensive evidence had been uncovered that pseudogenes have functions related to encoding proteins and gene expression. There is also sequence conservation in pseudogenes. In 2012, the ongoing ENCODE project (which includes 32 laboratories from around the world) simultaneously published 30 scientific papers detailing new discoveries. Among their conclusions were that “vast parts of the human genome thought to be ‘junk DNA’ are really filled with millions of cellular ‘switches’ helping choreograph the roles genes play in human life and disease,” and that nearly all DNA “has some function in cellular creation and growth” (Roop, 2012). With advancements in true science, the evolutionist’s argument for assuming “junk DNA” is rapidly fading away, much as their assumption of “vestigial organs” did in the late 20th century.
Biblically consistent assumptions have been shown superior in other areas as well. Models based on those assumptions have successfully predicted the strength and behavior of planetary magnetic fields, where secular models have failed (Humphreys, 1984). Models that take into account effects from the global Flood are not only consistent with the geologic record, but do an excellent job predicting the observed extent and effects of the ice age including the ice sheets that remain today (Oard, 2005). The biblical claim that all humans are descendants of one man and one woman, and that “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26, NASB) is fully supported by modern genetics (Purdom, 2014). The argument that “science” somehow supports racism (directly or indirectly made by Darwin, Haeckl, Hitler, et al.) has been thoroughly rebuffed (Houts, 2007).
ConclusionIt is difficult to imagine how the Bible could make it any clearer that God created the Universe in six literal days a few thousand years ago. While apparently well meaning attempts have been made to devise compromise positions, the technical and theological problems with these attempts are well documented in the literature (e.g., Lyons, 2014; Thompson, 2000; Sarfati, 2004; Miller, 2012; Mortenson, 2005).
First Peter 3:14-15 states: “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness andreverence” (NASB, emp. added). Christians must not allow themselves to be intimidated by contemporary human wisdom. While on the surface that “wisdom” can appear convincing, closer examination has always supported the Bible.
The Bible also warns us not to distort Scripture in order to accommodate contemporary human wisdom. Second Peter 3:16 states: “as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (NASB).
For some it can be hard to understand how the Earth can be a few thousand years old when they have been told “science” says it is a few billion years old. Individuals in that situation must resist the temptation to distort Scripture in order to pretend the Bible is consistent with that prevailing worldview. Although the distortion may be done with the best of intentions, its end can be disastrous. Proverbs 14:12 tells us: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
Throughout history, Christianity has been attacked in a variety of ways. While the attack based on “age” is currently en vogue, it is becoming easier to rebut given advances in true science. Romans 3:4 remains as true today as it was in the first century: “[L]et God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘that you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged’” (NASB).
ReferencesBatten, Don (2002), “Does Carbon Dating Disprove the Bible?” Answers in Genesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/pdf/media/radio/Carbondating.pdf.
Cowen, Ron (2008), “A Special Place,” Science News, 7:18, June.
Dawkins, Richard (2009) The Greatest Show on Earth (New York: Free Press).
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AZ: Master Books).
Faulkner, D.R. (2013), “A Proposal for a New Solution to the Light Travel Time Problem,” Answers Research Journal, 6:279–284.
Gardner, Elizabeth (2010), “Purdue-Stanford Team Finds Radioactive Decay Rates Vary With the Sun’s Rotation,” Purdue University News Service, http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100830FischbachJenkinsDec.html.
Giem, P. (2001), “Carbon-14 Content of Fossil Carbon,” Origins, 51:6-30.
Griffin, Michael (2007), “Space Exploration: Real Reasons and Acceptable Reasons,” Quasar Award Dinner, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, January 19, http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/168084main_griffin_quasar_award.pdf.
Houts, Michael (2007), “Evolution is Religion, Not Science: Part 1,” Reason & Revelation, 27:81-87, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=2299.
Humphreys, D. Russell (1984) “The Creation of Planetary Magnetic Fields,” CRSQ , 21, December.
Humphreys, D. Russell (1994), Starlight and Time (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Humphreys, D. Russell (2000), “Evidence for a Young World,” Answers in Genesis, www.answersingenesis.org.
Jull, A.J.T. (1985), “Carbon-14 Abundances in Uranium Ores and Possible Spontaneous Exotic Emission from U-Series Nuclides,” Meteoritics, 20:676.
Lisle, Jason (2008), “Does the Big Bang Fit With the Bible?” in The New Answers Book 2, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Lowe, D.C. (1989), “Problems Associated with the Use of Coal as a Source of 14C Free Background Material,” Radiocarbon, 31:117-120.
Lyons, Eric (2014), “Creation and the Age of the Earth,” Reason & Revelation, 34:86-89,92-95, July, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1169.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/4509.
Miller, Jeff (2013), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Jeff (2014), “Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate Review: Tying Up Really Loose Ends,” Reason & Revelation, 34:38-47,50-59, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4801
Mortenson, Terry (2005), “‘Millions of Years’ and the Downfall of the Christian West,” Answers in Genesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org.
Oard, Michael J. (2005), The Frozen Record (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research).
Purdom, Georgia (2014), The Genetics of Adam and Eve, Answers in Genesis.
Reucroft, Steve and J. Swain (2009), “Ultrasonic Cavitation of Water Speeds Up Thorium Decay,” CERN Courier, June 8, http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/39158.
Roop, Lee (2012), “DNA Research Breakthrough Features Huntsville’s Hudson Alpha Institute,” Huntsville Times, September 5, http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/09/dna_research_breakthrough_feat.html.
Sanford, J.C. (2008), Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome (Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications).
Sarfati, J.D. (2004), Refuting Compromise (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Thompson, Bert (2000), Creation Compromises (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Thompson, Bert (2004), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Vergano, Dan (2009), “Mystery Solved: Dark Energy Isn’t There,” USA Today, http://blogs.usatoday.com/sciencefair/2009/08/mystery-solved-dark-energy-isnt-there.html.
Williams, Alex and John Hartnett (2005), Dismantling the Big Bang (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
California’s Continual War Against Biblical Values
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
In October 2009, California passed a law that designated every May 22 as gay day, which public schools (K-12) are expected to celebrate. [The day is officially called “Harvey Milk Day” in honor of Mr. Milk, a 1970s homosexual activist (Tran, 2009).] On July 14, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that “require[s] public schools in the state [of California—EL] to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” (“California Governor…,” 2011, emp. added). What else do California lawmakers have in store for their state?
Earlier this year (2012), California State Senator Ted Lieu authored a bill (SB 1172) that would ban “gay cure” therapy. According to Examiner.com, “The California State Legislature appears to be on the brink of sending Governor Jerry Brown a bill which would impose sanctions for providing professional help intent upon redirecting children’s behavior with regards to sexuality” (Wimer, 2012). This would be “a first-of-its-kind state law that would restrict parents from trying to ‘cure’ their minor children’s same-sex attractions” by taking them to Christian therapists (Crogan, 2012). According to Senator Lieu, “We (the government) intervene all the time to restrict the rights of individuals and parents regarding health issues” (e.g., laws prohibiting minors from purchasing tobacco products and alcohol), so why not step in to stop something that he and others deem unnecessary and damaging (Crogan)?
The bill to ban homosexual therapy in California is simply the latest example of how far the homosexual community (and those who represent them) will go to silence the opposition. One cannot help but wonder what the next step will be? If a Christian therapist in California can no longer counsel a teenager about the sinfulness of homosexual actions and ways to overcome homosexual feelings (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), how much longer will preachers be able to preach on the sinfulness of it without being prosecuted? How long will it be before DHS knocks on the door of a Christian family and threatens to take away the children if the parents do not discontinue spreading so-called “hate speech” in their home? Where will the intrusion on Christian families who believe in the all-authoritative Word of God end (cf. Romans 1:26-27)?
If SB 1172 is signed into law in California, one also wonders if parents will legally be able to get professional help from Christian counselors regarding the sinfulness of pornography, fornication, pedophilia, bestiality, or some other sexual sin. Again, where will the slippery slope end?
Senator Lieu stated that at least part of his motivation for sponsoring the bill was because he “wanted parents to understand that this therapy is,” according to him, “crazy” (Wimer, 2012). In actuality, what is “crazy” (spiritually speaking) is rejecting God’s will about the sinfulness of all sexual relationships outside of a scriptural marriage between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:1-10). What is foolish is calling “vile,” “shameful…lust” (Romans 1:26-27; cf. Miller and Harrub, 2004) normal and incapable of being controlled.
Two thousand years ago, Peter and John were commanded by Jewish officials “not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). Their response needs to be echoed from roof tops across America as various governing bodies continue to encroach on our religious freedoms. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, emp. added).
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
REFERENCES“California Governor Signs Bill Requiring Schools to Teach Gay History” (2011), CNN, http://articles.cnn.com/2011-07-14/us/california.LGBT.education_1_california-governor-signs-bill-gay-history-state-textbooks?_s=PM:US.
Crogan, Jim (2012), “California Law Barring Parents from ‘Curing’ Gay Children Moves Through Legislature,” Fox News, August 18, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/18/california-law-barring-parents-from-curing-gay-children-moves-through/.
Miller, Dave and Brad Harrub (2004), “An Investigation of the Biblical Evidence Against Homosexuality,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=557.
Tran, Mark (2009), “Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Law Establishing Harvey Milk Day,” October 13, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/13/schwarzenneger-law-harvey-milk-day.
Wimer, Keith (2012), “California Senate Bill 1172 Outlaws Counseling for Homosexual Minors,” August 19, http://www.examiner.com/article/california-senate-bill-1172-outlaws-counseling-for-homosexual-minors.
Book of Revelation (3)The central message of the book of Revelation is that God alone is to be worshiped and served and that that truth is to be maintained when the Roman beast rises against the people of God. The central message of the book is that the Roman Empire is the expression of the world spirit (the Dragon, Satan) that opposes God’s kingdom purpose as it shows itself in Jesus Christ and his followers. The central message is that when the smoke clear it’s the followers of the Lord Christ that are triumphant and that his Lordship is made concrete and local here on the earth. The Roman Empire claims dominion but it’s a satanic claim. They "prove" it by brutality and cruelty. The church insists that Jesus has dominion and they prove it (as followers of Christ) by outliving, out-suffering and out-lasting Rome
The Glorious Woman (12:1-17)
We’ve glanced at the people of God under the image of 144,000 Israelites so here’s a brief look at the people of God presented in the image of a glorious woman. The people of God are spoken of as individuals throughout scripture, of course, but very often they are spoken of as a corporate whole. The image of a woman is then used. See Lamentations 1:1, Ezekiel 16:2,32, Isaiah 47:1,5,7,8 and Micah 4:10 as a few examples out of a host. The woman is seen as the corporate whole and the individuals are spoken of as "her children" (see Revelation 12:7 as an example).
This glorious woman wears a crown of twelve stars (12:1) which identifies her as the representative of the whole people of God. The high priest in the Old Testament wore a breastplate on which twelve precious stones were placed. He carried them on his heart into the Holy of Holies and made atonement for the whole house of Israel. The splendor of this glorious woman is that in her crown she has the inner nature of the twelve tribes of Israel (see again the comments on the 144,000 and see Revelation 7:4-8). The number twelve (see later) is the number of God’s people.
She wears the sun and has the moon under her feet (12:1). These are the appointed sources that bring light to the world. The Woman is that light-bearer. See Philippians 2:15 and Matthew 5:14-16 and elsewhere.
This picture borrows heavily from the Old Testament. Here you have a woman and her seed opposed by the Serpent (12:9) and that’s what we find in Genesis 3:1-5, 14-15. We find the Woman pregnant, about to give birth and the Dragon waiting to destroy the newly born. This is what we find in Exodus 1:15-16 when the Egyptian king sought the death of the newly born. Here we have the Dragon trying to destroy the Woman by using a river at flood (12:15) and that’s what we find in Exodus 1:22. (Isaiah 51:9-10 speaks of Egypt as a dragon. In that day she was how satanic forces expressed themselves.)
The Woman is to be persecuted by the dragon. She suffers a wilderness experience (12:6,14) but even in the wilderness God takes care of her. This echoes the case of Elijah being cared for during the famine that lasted three and a half years (more later) and it reminds us of Israel in the wilderness sustained by God. The Dragon cannot destroy the Child or the Woman (see Matthew 16:18) so he turns on the "rest of her seed". When the Woman’s children are seen as contained in her—they are a single whole. They are seen as her "children" when they’re looked at as individuals (see 12:11,17).
Remember: The Woman is the People of God viewed as a corporate whole, a single unit. The People of God viewed individually are called "her children".
The Glorious City (21:2—22:5)
The glorious city is the people of God. We saw that the Roman Empire was seen under the images of a wicked Woman and a famed City. The people of God are seen as a glorious Woman and a glorious City.
The Holy City is described as a bride adorned for her husband (21:2). Pay special attention to the fact that when the angel shows John the "bride of the Lamb" (21:9) it is a holy City he shows him (21:10). Now the wife of the Lamb (21:9) is the People of God, the church of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32).
Much of the language and imagery of the People of God as a City is taken from Old Testament texts. Note that the City is a square with walls 1,500 miles high, wide and long. They are 200 feet thick (see 21:15-17). Security is being stressed here for no ancient army could storm such a city. Can you imagine walls 1,500 miles high? Mount Everest is what? Nearly 30,000 feet tall. That’s something like 6 miles high, isn’t it? These walls are pictured as 230 times the height of Everest.
The City is square, stressing stability, and it’s modeled on the Holy of Holies, which was a square. And Israel encamped in a square with the Tabernacle where God dwelled at the center of that square. The Tabernacle was structured as a series of squares.
But it isn’t just stable and secure it is glorious, with golden streets, walls of precious gems and twelve gates that are a single pearl each. There are twelve gates with twelve angels on guard, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are on the gates and there are twelve foundations on which are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:12-14 and compare Ephesians 2:20). God and the Christ dwell within (21:22) and the Tree of Life is there and gives twelve kinds of fruit twelve times a year (22:2). The City gives light to the nations of the world (21:24) and the leaves from its Tree of Life give healing to the nations. TheTree of Life makes us think of the Garden of Eden and the river flowing out of the City (22:1) that benefits the earth reminds us of the the river that flowed out of the Garden to water the earth (see Genesis 2:8-14 and Ezekiel 47:1-12).
Everything about this City is in contrast to the evil City of chapter 18. Everything about this City and Woman is in contrast to the Woman and City of chapter 17-18. This City is good for the nations and the other is bad for them. This City has God dwelling in it and the other has all kinds of abominations dwelling in it. This City is eternal and glorious and the other is destroyed by burning and is brought to the ground.
Chapter 18 gives a picture of the evil City when the whole story is told. Chapters 21 and 22 give a picture of the glorious City when the whole story is told. The evil City had its day of glory and power but God finally judges it—it is destroyed and humiliated. The glorious City has been trampled on (see 11:2) but it is finally vindicated and made to triumph.
The description of the glorious City in chapters 21-22 is a description of the triumphant People of God—after they have come through their sore years under the Roman oppressor.
The Two Witnesses (11:3-12)
The two Witnesses are the People of God! (Later, see the brief remarks on the number "two".) The description of the two Witnesses is taken mainly from the Old Testament. The couples on which they are modeled include Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha and Zerrubabel and Joshua son of Jozadek (see this in 11:4-6). Just a quick glance at the careers of these men shows that they’re God’s representatives in an ungodly world and in troublous times. Moses and Aaron smote the earth with plagues, Elijah and Elisha called fire down out of heaven, Elijah is taken up into heaven and Zerrubabel and Joshua were the two light-bearers that stood before the Lord in Zechariah 4:11-14.
The two Witnesses successfully proclaim the word of God while dressed in sackcloth (11:3). In this vision they have the credentials (miraculous signs) that prove they are indeed God’s representatives and they have the sackcloth that says they are God’s witnesses during times of trouble. Though clothed in sackcloth they can’t be stopped. That’s in the first scene.
In the second scene describing their work they are attacked and killed (11:7). Their enemies rejoice in what seems like a clear victory over their tormentors (11:7-10). After all, their bodies lie dead for three and a half days (they must surely be dead). But the two Witnesses are raised (like their Master) and are taken up into heaven (11:11-12).
Again the experience of the Church is being imaged. The Witnesses wear sackcloth so they’re in trouble but they still carry out their mission and can’t be stopped. They are killed but they can’t be made to stay dead. (Compare Paul’s description of the church under hardship in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 and 6:4-10, especially 6:9.)
Summary: In this section the People of God are pictured for us in three images. A glorious Woman, a glorious City and two Witnesses. The Woman is persecuted but protected, enemy soldiers march in the glorious City but the citadel (11:2) is never taken. The Witnesses wear sackcloth and are slain but no one can keep them from completing their mission and death can’t hold them. You will remember that the 144,000 go through the great tribulation but come out dressed for a Jewish Tabernacle feast—all glory and rejoicing. Note that in all this there is pain but protection and trouble but triumph. This trouble and triumph theme runs throughout the book.
©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
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com
The World English Bible
2 Samuel 16-18
2Sa 16:1 When David was a little past the top of the ascent, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, and one hundred clusters of raisins, and one hundred summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.
2Sa 16:2 The king said to Ziba, What do you mean by these? Ziba said, The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as are faint in the wilderness may drink.
2Sa 16:3 The king said, Where is your master's son? Ziba said to the king, Behold, he abides at Jerusalem; for he said, Today will the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.
2Sa 16:4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, all that pertains to Mephibosheth is yours. Ziba said, I do obeisance; let me find favor in your sight, my lord, O king.
2Sa 16:5 When king David came to Bahurim, behold, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera. He came out, and cursed still as he came.
2Sa 16:6 He cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
2Sa 16:7 Thus said Shimei when he cursed, Be gone, be gone, you man of blood, and base fellow:
2Sa 16:8 Yahweh has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and Yahweh has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son; and behold, you are caught by your own mischief, because you are a man of blood.
2Sa 16:9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please let me go over and take off his head."
2Sa 16:10 The king said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Because he curses, and because Yahweh has said to him, Curse David; who then shall say, Why have you done so?
2Sa 16:11 David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, who came forth from my bowels, seeks my life: how much more may this Benjamite now do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for Yahweh has invited him.
2Sa 16:12 It may be that Yahweh will look on the wrong done to me, and that Yahweh will requite me good for his cursing of me this day.
2Sa 16:13 So David and his men went by the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
2Sa 16:14 The king, and all the people who were with him, came weary; and he refreshed himself there.
2Sa 16:15 Absalom, and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.
2Sa 16:16 It happened, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, Long live the king, Long live the king.
2Sa 16:17 Absalom said to Hushai, Is this your kindness to your friend? Why didn't you go with your friend?
2Sa 16:18 Hushai said to Absalom, No; but whom Yahweh, and this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his will I be, and with him will I abide.
2Sa 16:19 Again, whom should I serve? Shouldn't I serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in your father's presence, so will I be in your presence.
2Sa 16:20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give your counsel what we shall do.
2Sa 16:21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, Go in to your father's concubines, that he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father: then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.
2Sa 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent on the top of the house; and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.
2Sa 16:23 The counsel of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if a man inquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
2Sa 17:1 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
2Sa 17:2 and I will come on him while he is weary and exhausted, and will make him afraid; and all the people who are with him shall flee; and I will strike the king only;
2Sa 17:3 and I will bring back all the people to you: the man whom you seek is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace.
2Sa 17:4 The saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
2Sa 17:5 Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he says.
2Sa 17:6 When Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, Ahithophel has spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not, speak up.
2Sa 17:7 Hushai said to Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel has given this time is not good.
2Sa 17:8 Hushai said moreover, You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are fierce in their minds, as a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
2Sa 17:9 Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will happen, when some of them are fallen at the first, that whoever hears it will say, There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.
2Sa 17:10 Even he who is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, will utterly melt; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men.
2Sa 17:11 But I counsel that all Israel be gathered together to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that you go to battle in your own person.
2Sa 17:12 So shall we come on him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him we will not leave so much as one.
2Sa 17:13 Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there not be one small stone found there.
2Sa 17:14 Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For Yahweh had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that Yahweh might bring evil on Absalom.
2Sa 17:15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel that way; and I have counseled this way.
2Sa 17:16 Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Don't lodge this night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people who are with him.
2Sa 17:17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying by En Rogel; and a female servant used to go and tell them; and they went and told king David: for they might not be seen to come into the city.
2Sa 17:18 But a boy saw them, and told Absalom: and they went both of them away quickly, and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down there.
2Sa 17:19 The woman took and spread the covering over the well's mouth, and strewed bruised grain thereon; and nothing was known.
2Sa 17:20 Absalom's servants came to the woman to the house; and they said, Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan? The woman said to them, They have gone over the brook of water. When they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
2Sa 17:21 It happened, after they had departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David; and they said to David, Arise and pass quickly over the water; for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you.
2Sa 17:22 Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they passed over the Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them who had not gone over the Jordan.
2Sa 17:23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, and arose, and got him home, to his city, and set his house in order, and hanged himself; and he died, and was buried in the tomb of his father.
2Sa 17:24 Then David came to Mahanaim. Absalom passed over the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.
2Sa 17:25 Absalom set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man, whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab's mother.
2Sa 17:26 Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.
2Sa 17:27 It happened, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim,
2Sa 17:28 brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and meal, and parched grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse,
2Sa 17:29 and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David, and for the people who were with him, to eat: for they said, The people are hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
2Sa 18:1 David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2Sa 18:2 David sent forth the people, a third part under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.
2Sa 18:3 But the people said, You shall not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you are ready to help us out of the city.
2Sa 18:4 The king said to them, I will do what seems best to you. The king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
2Sa 18:5 The king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. All the people heard when the king commanded all the captains concerning Absalom.
2Sa 18:6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the forest of Ephraim.
2Sa 18:7 The people of Israel were struck there before the servants of David, and there was a great slaughter there that day of twenty thousand men.
2Sa 18:8 For the battle was there spread over the surface of all the country; and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
2Sa 18:9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the sky and earth; and the mule that was under him went on.
2Sa 18:10 A certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.
2Sa 18:11 Joab said to the man who told him, Behold, you saw it, and why didn't you strike him there to the ground? and I would have given you ten pieces of silver, and a sash.
2Sa 18:12 The man said to Joab, Though I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I still wouldn't put forth my hand against the king's son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.
2Sa 18:13 Otherwise if I had dealt falsely against his life (and there is no matter hid from the king), then you yourself would have set yourself against me.
2Sa 18:14 Then said Joab, I may not wait thus with you. He took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
2Sa 18:15 Ten young men who bore Joab's armor surrounded and struck Absalom, and killed him.
2Sa 18:16 Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held back the people.
2Sa 18:17 They took Absalom, and cast him into the great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones: and all Israel fled everyone to his tent.
2Sa 18:18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself the pillar, which is in the king's dale; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in memory: and he called the pillar after his own name; and it is called Absalom's monument, to this day.
2Sa 18:19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king news, how that Yahweh has avenged him of his enemies.
2Sa 18:20 Joab said to him, You shall not be the bearer of news this day, but you shall bear news another day; but this day you shall bear no news, because the king's son is dead.
2Sa 18:21 Then said Joab to the Cushite, Go, tell the king what you have seen. The Cushite bowed himself to Joab, and ran.
2Sa 18:22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But come what may, Please let me also run after the Cushite. Joab said, Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?
2Sa 18:23 But come what may, said he, I will run. He said to him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.
2Sa 18:24 Now David was sitting between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate to the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man running alone.
2Sa 18:25 The watchman cried, and told the king. The king said, If he be alone, there is news in his mouth. He came apace, and drew near.
2Sa 18:26 The watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the porter, and said, Behold, another man running alone. The king said, He also brings news.
2Sa 18:27 The watchman said, I think the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. The king said, He is a good man, and comes with good news.
2Sa 18:28 Ahimaaz called, and said to the king, All is well. He bowed himself before the king with his face to the earth, and said, Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king.
2Sa 18:29 The king said, Is it well with the young man Absalom? Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's servant, even me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I don't know what it was.
2Sa 18:30 The king said, Turn aside, and stand here. He turned aside, and stood still.
2Sa 18:31 Behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, News for my lord the king; for Yahweh has avenged you this day of all those who rose up against you.
2Sa 18:32 The king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? The Cushite answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you to do you hurt, be as that young man is.
2Sa 18:33 The king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would I had died for you, Absalom, my son, my son!
Joh 21:1 After these things, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself this way.
Joh 21:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.
Joh 21:3 Simon Peter said to them, "I'm going fishing." They told him, "We are also coming with you." They immediately went out, and entered into the boat. That night, they caught nothing.
Joh 21:4 But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus.
Joh 21:5 Jesus therefore said to them, "Children, have you anything to eat?" They answered him, "No."
Joh 21:6 He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." They cast it therefore, and now they weren't able to draw it in for the multitude of fish.
Joh 21:7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea.
Joh 21:8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish.
Joh 21:9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.
Joh 21:10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."
Joh 21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasn't torn.
Joh 21:12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." None of the disciples dared inquire of him, "Who are you?" knowing that it was the Lord.
Joh 21:13 Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise.
Joh 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead.
Joh 21:15 So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
Joh 21:16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?" Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, "Do you have affection for me?" He said to him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:18 Most certainly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don't want to go."
Joh 21:19 Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. When he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."
Joh 21:20 Then Peter, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved, the one who had also leaned on Jesus' breast at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray You?"
Joh 21:21 Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?"
Joh 21:22 Jesus said to him, "If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me."
Joh 21:23 This saying therefore went out among the brothers, that this disciple wouldn't die. Yet Jesus didn't say to him that he wouldn't die, but, "If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?"
Joh 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his witness is true.
Joh 21:25 There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn't have room for the books that would be written.