From Mark Copeland.. "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT" Idolatry And Sorcery

                       "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT"

                          Idolatry And Sorcery


1. As we continue our examination of the "works of the flesh" listed in Ga 5:19-21...
   a. We come to sins which modern man may think do not affect him
   b. These are the sins of "idolatry" and "sorcery" - Ga 5:20a

2. However, as we examine them more closely, I believe we shall find
   that these sins are not as far removed from us as we might think...
   a. Indeed, most people practice idolatry!
   b. And many people engage in some form of sorcery!

[This is true of many Christians as well, so perhaps we should give
these words our careful attention...]


      1. In the beginning stages of idolatry, no one worships the idol
         or image itself
         a. The idol simply served two purposes:
            1) To localize the god it represents
            2) To visualize the god it represents
         b. It is simply designed to make it easier to worship the god
            represented by the idol
      2. Inevitably, however, people will wind up worshipping the idol
         or image itself
         a. We see this in various forms of Catholicism
         b. Where the leaders say the image is not an idol, only an "icon"
         c. But who can deny that the average worshipper begins to view
            the image itself as something "holy" and to be "revered"?
         d. Thus that which is "created" begins receiving adoration 
            rightfully due the "Creator"
      3. According to Ro 1:19-23, the basic error of idol worship is
         the worship of the "created thing" rather than the "Creator of
         all things"!

      1. Idolatry is not just the adoration or worship of images
      2. Paul defines "covetousness" as idolatry - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
         a. Any strong desire for material things that replaces our 
            desire for God is a form of idolatry!
            1) Our hearts are such that they are drawn to whatever is 
               our treasure - Mt 6:21
            2) If our treasure is earthly things, our heart (devotion)
               is drawn away from God
            3) We cannot serve material things and God at the same 
               time! - Mt 6:24
         b. Thus we can be idolaters when we make things other than God
            Himself our priority in life, such as:
            1) Our job
            2) Our house
            3) Our family
            4) Our hobby

[So when we find admonitions like this one...

      "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." - 1Jn 5:21

...let's not be so presumptuous to believe that we are too "modern" or
sophisticated to need such a warning.  We might need it more than we 
realize!  The same can be said for warnings against the next sin...]

II. PHARMAKEIA (witchcraft, sorcery, magic)

      1. PHARMAKEIA is found to be used in three ways
         a. Medically, to the use of drugs with no bad meaning at all
         b. The misuse of drugs so as to poison, not cure
         c. The practice of sorcery and witchcraft, which often used 
            drugs to cast spells and alter the behavior of others
      2. The practice of witchcraft and sorcery is strongly condemned
         in the Bible
         a. In the Old Testament - Exo 22:18
         b. In the New Testament - Re 21:8
      3. In Ac 19:18-20, we find a remarkable example of repentance
         related to the practice of magic

      1. There is an increasing number of religions based upon the 
         occult, and that make use of drugs in their religion
      2. The "recreational" use of drugs also falls into this 
         a. Remember that altering the behavior of others through such
            drugs was a basic function of sorcery and witchcraft
         b. What difference is there between using drugs to alter 
            others' behavior, and your own?
         c. This is not to discount the proper medicinal use of drugs
         d. But just as the Bible condemns drunkenness, which is an 
            altered state brought on by alcohol (a drug), so it would
            seem to condemn similar use of other drugs


1. As we continue our study of the "works of the flesh", we should keep
   in mind that each one of these sins is a perversion of something 
   which in itself is good; as illustrated by Barclay...
   a. Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness - perversions of the
      sexual instinct which in itself can be a beautiful thing and a
      part of true love between a man and a woman
   b. Idolatry - a perversion of worship
   c. Sorcery - a perversion of the proper use of drugs
   d. Hatred, contentions, jealousies - perversions of that noble 
      ambition and desire to do well which can spur one to greatness
   e. Outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions - perversions of righteous
      indignation without which the passion for goodness cannot exist
   f. Dissensions, heresies, envy - perversions of the devotion to 
      principle which can produce the martyr
   g. Drunkenness, revelries - perversions of the happy joy of social

2. Indeed, the following is so true:

   "The awfulness of the power of sin lies precisely in its ability to
   take the raw material of potential goodness and turn it into the 
   material of evil." (Barclay)

I implore us all to devote our lives in the proper worship of God and 
His Son Jesus Christ, and to abstain from the misuse of anything God 
has created for good purposes!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

In the News: "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus" by Kyle Butt, M.A.


In the News: "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus"

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

From most of the pictures that you have seen of “the box,” you might think that it was the size of a large coffin. Yet, at approximately 10 inches wide, 20 inches long, and 12 inches high, this box doesn’t fit our modern idea of a coffin. In fact, it’s more like a limestone Rubbermaid® crate than a coffin. At first glance, this “box” is not so unusual at all. During the first-century B.C., and continuing until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Jews used these containers to “rebury” their relatives. Generally, the bodies of the deceased were placed on a shelf or floor of a tomb; then, about one year after the original burial, friends or relatives would open the tomb, remove the bones, and place them in an ossuary. Occasionally, ossuaries contained the bones of multiple individuals. The outer decorations varied widely from one to the next. Some were bland, with no inscriptions, while others had carved designs or the names of the individuals buried therein.
The particular ossuary that has captured the world’s attention boasts of no great decoration. In fact, a small, 7.5-inch Aramaic inscription is the only thing that sets it apart from the most boring of ossuaries. Yet, that tiny inscription not only has set it apart from other ossuaries, but also has set it apart from all other archaeological finds to date. That inscription reads: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
The first question that arises is whether this is the James of the Bible. While there are at least two Jameses mentioned in the Bible to which this inscription likely does not apply, one James is mentioned who seems to fit the description quite well. Matthew noted in his gospel regarding Christ:
...He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?” (13:53-56).
According to Matthew, then, the Jews recognized Jesus as the brother of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and they also attributed at least two sisters to these brothers. Furthermore, Paul mentioned “James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19). Apparently, this same James became a prominent leader of the Jerusalem church (see Acts 15:13; 21:18-19; Galatians 2:9,12). Additionally, James the brother of Jesus very likely was the writer of the New Testament book by the same name. Secular sources also verify the idea that Jesus had a brother named James. Josephus wrote that the Jewish high priest “assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus...whose name was James” (20:9:1). The historian then proceeded to document that James was stoned.
Naturally, it first must be established that the ossuary is an authentic artifact from a time that would correspond to Jesus Christ and His brother James. In the premiere article about the inscription appearing in the November/December 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] André Lemaire detailed several facts that make a strong case for the inscription’s authenticity. As an expert in ancient inscriptions, he stated: “This type of bone box is generally to be dated between about 20 B.C.E. [Before Common Era—KB] and 70 C.E [Common Era—KB].... Moreover, the cursive shape of three of the letters (dalet, yod and aleph) indicates an even narrower span of time: the last decades before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.—the exact period when James, the brother of Jesus, would have died” (2002, 28[6]:28). Hershel Shanks, the editor of BAR, had the ossuary’s composition tested by the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, which concluded that the limestone was used extensively “during the Second Temple period,” and that no modern elements or chemicals had been used to “doctor” the box to make it appear old. In addition, the patina (dirt and other build-up on the box) passed the authenticity test (p. 29).
As far as can be proven to date, the box has all the signs of authenticity. But can we conclude that the Jesus and James of the inscription are the identical characters of the New Testament writings? While the names of James, Jesus, and Joseph were common during the first century, they would not often have been found in the exact same sequence of relationship as on the ossuary and in the biblical text. Lemaire concluded that “there were therefore probably about 20 people” who would have fit the inscription (p. 33). Yet the odds narrow even more, since only rarely would a brother’s name be included on an ossuary. In the November 4, 2002 issue of Time, David Van Biema reported that Lemaire believes “there is a 90% chance that the James on the ossuary was the biblical brother of Jesus” (2002, 160[19]:72). In the original BAR article, Lemaire stated that the ossuary “very probably” documents Jesus the Christ.
There are voices of opposition to the suggestion that this inscription refers to Christ. Since the artifact was not retrieved from its original environment, it cannot be attributed to a specific location. In the November 4, 2002 issue of Newsweek, reporter Kenneth Woodward quoted Bruce Chilton of Bard College: “If you cannot say where an artifact was found and where it has been for nearly 2,000 years, you cannot pretend to draw lines of connection between the object and the people it might mention” (2002, 140[19]:48).
At present, we cannot be dogmatic about the ossuarial evidence, but we can state dogmatically that the name of Jesus Christ refuses to vanish into obscurity, and that His life, teachings, and personality continue to be the most influential of any human ever to walk the Earth.


Lemaire, André (2002), “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus: Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Jesus Found in Jerusalem,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 28[6]:24-33, November/December.
Van Biema, David (2002), “The Brother of Jesus,” Time, 160[19]:70-73, November 4.
Woodward, Kenneth (2002), “A Clue to Jesus?,” Newsweek, 140[19]:48-49, November 4.

Following the Toucan’s Nose to a Designer by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Following the Toucan’s Nose to a Designer

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

The writers and editors of National Geographic are notoriously guilty of saturating their articles with evolution. That is why it is almost humorous to read articles in the periodical that seem to slip by the editors—articles that, if read in a straightforward manner, defy evolution. For instance, in the December, 2006 issue, the editors included a tiny, one-page article titled “Power Beak.” This article discusses the beak of the toucan. John Eliot, the author of the article, interviewed Marc André Meyers, “a materials scientist at the University of California, San Diego.” Meyers believes the unique design of the toucan beak could be used to produce strong, lightweight materials used in vehicles.
Meyers describes the toucan beak as a beautiful structure. He then goes into some engineering detail:
The surface is made of keratin, the same material in fingernails and hair. But the outer layer isn’t a solid structure. It’s actually many layers of tiny hexagonal plates, overlapping like shingles on a roof. The interior is different from the shell, made of bone. It consists of a light yet rigid foam made of little beams and membranes. And some areas of the beak are hollow (Eliot, 2006, p. 30).
On the same page, to the right of Meyers’ comments, the reader can see two pictures from a microscope—one of the hard foam inside the beak and the other of the “shingle” layers of keratin. To the left of the comments there is a toucan head and beak, in which the layers are shown in a cross-section-like diagram. The combined pictures look like they are straight out of an engineer’s portfolio.
What is Eliot’s assessment of the toucan’s beak? In a simple, yet oh-so-telling, sentence, Eliot said: “[T]he toucan’s beak is ingeniously designed to be both strong and light weight.” Look closely at the wording. He says the beak is “ingeniously designed.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “ingenious” as: “Marked by inventive skill and imagination. 2. Having or arising from an inventive or cunning mind; clever” (2000, p. 900, emp. added). Notice that the word “ingenious” implies an inventive or cunning mind. What inventive or cunning mind engineered the beautiful design of the toucan beak? It could not have been the evolutionary process, since evolutionists themselves admit that the process has no ultimate goals and no creative mind powering the system. The only logical answer is the supernatural mind of God. If the editors of National Geographic would only follow the nose of the toucan, they would find the ingenious Designer—and they would stop writing false, evolutionary propaganda.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Eliot, John L. (2006), “Power Beak,” National Geographic, 210[6], December 12.

Big Bang Collides with Scientific Evidence by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Big Bang Collides with Scientific Evidence

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Popular media outlets delight in talking about the Big Bang as if it is a scientifically proven event that can be documented and studied. In fact, it is discussed in such matter-of-fact terms that few who read the “latest news” about the Big Bang would ever realize that not only has science never verified that it happened, but legitimate science has shown that it could not have happened (see Lyons, 2007; Thompson, et al., 2003).
A recent article posted on Yahoo! provides an excellent example of the kind of scientific misrepresentation that runs rampant in the popular media. In the article, the author Maggie Fox bases the entire thrust of the report on the assumption that the Big Bang occurred, with no scientific evidence to validate that assumption. Then she writes as if scientists know exactly what happened during the Big Bang, an event that only happened in the imaginations of the scientists. For instance, Fox noted that scientists have “created the hottest temperature ever in the lab—4 trillion degrees Celsius—hot enough to break matter down into the kind of soup that existed microseconds after the birth of the universe” (2010, emp. added).
The scientific fact here is simply that matter was heated to four trillion degrees Celsius, assuming we are able to measure heat that high. The erroneous interpretation of that fact is that this heated material can tell us something about what happened “microseconds after the birth of the Universe.” Modern science cannot tell us how the Universe came into existence, unless it assumes the Big Bang took place (even though said explosion is a scientific impossibility). It is ironic that for many years, Bishop Ussher’s biblical chronology was ridiculed because he stated that the world started precisely on Sunday, October 23rd, 4004 B.C. (“Bishop Ussher...,” n.d.), and yet Big Bang proponents insist that they know exactly what happened microseconds after the birth of the Universe. [NOTE: Ussher’s chronology is used only to show the inconsistency of Big Bang advocates, not because it is believed that his chronology is correct.]
Figure 1
Artist’s concept of crucial periods in the development of the Universe according to Big Bang inflationary cosmology
This latest “Big Bang” research stems from experiments done by using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) in New York to force gold ions together. What was the multimillion-dollar RHIC designed to do? According to Steven Vigdor of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, the collider was built “to create matter at temperatures first encountered in the early universe” (as quoted in Fox, 2010). Notice again the backwards nature of this research. The collider was not designed to manifest evidence that the Big Bang occurred, but instead was designed based on the false assumption that it did, and all the “evidence” is then interpreted in a Big Bang framework.
This bias in favor of the Big Bang is clearly evident throughout Fox’s article (and most modern cosmological research). In fact, Fox matter-of-factly wrote: “Something happened in the milliseconds after the Big Bang to create an imbalance in favor of matter over anti-matter. If there had not been this disparity, matter and anti-matter would have simply reacted to create a universe of pure energy” (2010, emp. added). Fox is referring to the fact that any time lab scientists have been able to change energy into matter, that matter always appears paired with its anti-matter particle. As Williams and Hartnett explain:
Just as energy can produce matter by this quantum pair production method, so when the matter and antimatter particles come together again they annihilate one another and revert back to energy. This has profound and unwelcome implications for big-bang theory, because our universe is made of ordinary matter, not equal amounts of matter and antimatter.... Since our universe consists only of matter (as far as we can tell—though there are probably small amounts of matter/antimatter pairs associated with localized high-energy events), it is a reasonable conclusion that our universe could not have been produced by quantum pair production. This is one of those situations where the evidence refutes the paradigm but supporters of the paradigm see it only as an unsolved problem (2005, p. 126, emp. added).
When Fox says “something happened,” and “if there had not been this disparity,” what she means is that the Big Bang theory is not a scientific possibility without some unknown force or situation that would favor matter over antimatter. And since she and her fellow Big Bang enthusiasts begin by assuming that the Big Bang actually happened, the scientific evidence that precludes it as a possibility is brushed aside, and a mysterious “something” is conjured out of the cosmological magic hat to provide the Big Bang with supernatural powers that can circumvent all known natural laws.

Click image for larger picture.
Alleged Origin of the Universe
Graphic representation of the alleged evolutionary origin of the Universe, from the Big Bang to the present, including the initial expansion phase, the production of matter, and galaxy formation. Courtesy of Center for European Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland.
With the creation of more and more particle colliders around the world, rest assured that Fox’s article will not be the last praising the Big Bang as the point of origin of our Universe. It is equally true that, due to the false assumption that the Big Bang actually occurred, those articles will be plagued with similar scientific misrepresentations, overstatements, and misinterpretations of data. What is really colliding in much of this type of research is not sub-atomic particles, but prejudiced Big Bang bias with honest scientific inquiry. The light generated from such collisions is enough to illuminate the words of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” if the modern scientific community would simply open its eyes to the truth.


“Bishop Ussher Dates the World at 4004 BC” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/ussher.htm.
Fox, Maggie (2010), “Hottest Temperature Ever Heads Science to Big Bang,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100215/sc_nm/us_physics_temperature;_ylt= Ai_Sl2CSFy5ElWLiiswfVH.s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFpaHY1YmNuBHBvcwMzOARzZWMD YWNjb3JkaW9uX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDaG90dGVzdHRlbXBl.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “The Big Fizzle: Admissions from an Astrophysicist,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3393.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub and B. May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.
Williams, Alex and John Hartnett (2005), Dismantling the Big Bang: God’s Universe Rediscovered (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).

Cloning--Scientific and Biblical Ramifications [Part II] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Cloning--Scientific and Biblical Ramifications [Part II]

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part series appeared in the May issue. Part II follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]
As a result of the success of recent experiments in genetic engineering, the cloning of humans is on the minds of many, both among the general populace and with in the scientific community. In the past, the cloning of humans was a subject best discussed within the genre of science fiction novels, not scientific journals. When scientists, or science writers, did discuss the possibility of human cloning, their comments usually went something like this:
This is far beyond the reach of today’s science. There is a vast difference between cloning an embryo that is made up of immature, undifferentiated cells and cloning adults cells that have already committed themselves to becoming skin or bone or blood. All cells contain within their DNA the information required to reproduce the entire organism, but in adult cells access to parts of that information has somehow been switched off. Scientists do not yet know how to switch it back on (Elmer-Dewitt, 1993, p. 66).
In this statement, Philip Elmer-Dewitt, a writer for Time magazine, echoed what seemed to be a commonly-shared view among the researchers involved in genetic engineering. No one had been able to clone mammals using adult somatic cells, because for some unknown reason a great portion of the DNA in those cells had been “switched off.” But, as the old saying goes, “That was then; this is now.”


What a difference four years makes in science! In the Table of Contents of the February 27, 1997 issue of Nature (the official organ of the British Association for the Advancement of Science), there appeared what seemed at first glance to be an innocuous article titled “Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells” (Wilmut, et al., 1997). That article, however, announced the results of scientific research so significant that it not only would make history, but change forever the way scientists viewed cloning in both animals and humans.
Researchers from the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland had accomplished what almost everyone in the scientific community thought to be impossible. Headed by embryologist Ian Wilmut, Scottish scientists produced a lamb using genetic material from the mammary cell of an adult ewe. The young lamb, named Dolly, did not owe her existence to a procreative act occurring between a ram and a ewe. Instead, Dolly was the result of a laboratory exercise in cloning. When her existence was announced, the entire world gasped—first in disbelief, then in amazement! As Time put it, the Scottish researchers had succeeded in
...scoring an advance in reproductive technology as unsettling as it was startling. Unlike offspring produced in the usual fashion, Dolly does not merely take after her biological mother. She is a carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit so exact that she is in essence her mother’s identical twin (Nash, 1997, p. 62).
Technique used by Wilmut, et al. to clone a sheep. Their breakthrough involved starving body cells of nutrients, thus interrupting the normal cycle of growth and division. In this quiescent stage, the cell can be “reprogrammed” to function as a newly fertilized egg (after Travis, 1997, 151:215).
Here is what Dr. Wilmut did to make Dolly a reality. As noted earlier, embryonic cells are easier to use in cloning experiments than adult somatic cells because they are, for the most part, undifferentiated. In other words, they have not matured to the point where they have been able to carry out the instructions contained in the DNA within their nucleus that direct them to become skin cells, brain cells, eye cells, etc. In its young, embryonic state, an undifferentiated cell can become any other cell in the body, because it has the capacity to activate any given gene on any given chromosome. Non-embryonic somatic cells, however, already have carried out their DNA instructions, and as a result are differentiated (i.e., in their mature state, they have become hair cells, muscles cells, nerve cells, etc.). As a result, huge portions of the DNA instructions have been “deactivated,” so that mature cells can carry out their particular function(s). Thus, much of the information coded within the DNA of adult cells no longer is accessible, having been “turned off ” at maturity because it no longer is needed by the cell.
In the past, most scientists involved in the broad area of genetic engineering thought that the differentiation process was irreversible. However, Dr. Wilmut and his coworkers disproved that idea by devising a way to “reactivate” the portions of the DNA molecule that previously had been deactivated, thus making adult somatic cells candidates for cloning.
First, the team of Scottish scientists searched for a mechanism that would allow them to arrest the normal cell cycle (i.e., the process through which all cells go as they mature and prepare to reproduce themselves). They surmised that this might be accomplished by starving cells of the nutrients they normally would need to grow. Some of the cells chosen for the experiment were from the udder of a Finn Dorset ewe. Once deprived of these critical nutrients, the mammary gland cells fell into a sort of “suspended animation” (what, in live animals, would resemble hibernation), a state in which they remained for one week.
Second, using the procedure (discussed previously in this series of articles) known as “nuclear transfer,” Dr. Wilmut took an unfertilized oocyte (i.e., an egg cell) from a Scottish Blackface ewe and carefully removed its nucleus, leaving the remainder of the cell (cytoplasm, cell membrane, etc.) completely intact (see Stewart, 1997). Then, he took the quiescent mammary gland cell, placed it next to the oocyte, and gently applied short bursts of electrical current, which prompted the egg cell to bond with the somatic cell and absorb its nucleus (containing a full complement of chromosomes) as its own. As a result, the egg cell possessed the number of chromosomes it would contain if it had been fertilized by the male’s sperm. The biochemical activity usually associated with a zygote (the cell that results when sperm and egg combine) then began to occur.
Third, after one week of carefully-monitored growth, the laboratory-engineered embryo then was inserted into the uterus of a surrogate ewe, to see if it would implant successfully and grow to term.
All of this may sound quite simple, but it is not. Dr. Wilmut’s success came only after a long string of failures. In fact, he reported in his article in Nature that out of 277 eggs fused with udder cells, he and his team were able to produce only 29 embryos that survived more than six days. Of those 29, all died before birth except Dolly.


To the uninitiated, all of this may seem at best much ado about nothing, or at worst a complete waste of time, effort, and money. Why go to all the trouble and expense to clone an animal, when normal reproductive processes can produce an animal without all the fuss? “Just let nature take its course,” some might say.
There is much more to it than that, however. Cloning has the potential to make animal husbandry more effective and efficient. Imagine (to use just one example) the plight of the dairy farmer searching for a way to breed cattle that produce better milk in greater quantities. If he could isolate one or more cattle that consistently produced more, and better, milk than all the others, he could have them cloned, thus guaranteeing whole herds of the highest quality milk-producing animals.
In addition, cloning has the potential both to reduce human suffering, and to extend human life. Suppose (again, to choose just one hypothetical example) that scientists were able to discover a mechanism by which they could genetically alter chimpanzees so that portions of their immune systems, or products manufactured by those immune systems, were indistinguishable from those found in humans whose own immune systems were diseased or damaged, and thus incapable of fighting off disease to sustain life. These chimpanzees then could be cloned so that as many copies as needed could be produced, thereby ensuring life-saving animal products in an endless supply for use in humans.
Further, cloning has the potential to enlarge our knowledge about how cells differentiate and reproduce. Using the information gleaned from the study of the cell during cloning, scientists believe they could learn more about why cancer cells grow out of control, or why birth defects occur. In short, cloning does hold forth immense potential in many different areas and, used properly, could offer tremendous benefits to mankind (see Scientific American, 1997).
The operative phrase, here, however, is “used properly.” With cloning, as with many of the technologies offered by modern science, there can be serious scientific and biblical ethical implications. Rarely is the technology, in and of itself, morally objectionable; instead, it is the use of the technology that makes it so. Part of the problem is the fact that science itself is not equipped to deal with moral issues. There is nothing within the scientific method, for example, that can dictate whether nuclear energy should be used to destroy cancer cells, or entire cities. That is a judgment far beyond the scope of science to make.
Unfortunately, once the technology is made available, there are those who are prepared to employ it, regardless of any ethical problems that might be associated with it. Since many within the scientific community either do not believe in God, or do so only accommodatively, they neither are interested in, nor restricted by, the guidelines and principles set forth in His Word. As a result, in their eyes the simple fact that the technology is available is reason enough to use it. Within the scientific community, this is referred to as the “technological imperative”—whatever can be done should be done!


In regard to cloning, the most pressing questions on almost everyone’s mind are: (a) why would anyone want to clone a human in the first place; (b) if attempts at cloning humans are successful, would a clone be an exact duplicate of the original; (c) will we eventually be able to clone humans; and (d) most important, would humans produced by cloning possess a soul?
Why would anyone want to clone a human? First, parents might want to clone a child as a “replacement” for one that had died. Second, parents might want to clone a child to provide compatible organ transplants for a diseased relative. [There have been cases of women wanting to become pregnant so they could abort the child to provide fetal brain cells for transplantation into a relative (e.g., a parent suffering from Parkinson’s Disease).] Third, individuals might want to have themselves cloned to guarantee immortality—if not in soul, at least in body. Fourth, some may desire to clone a human simply for the prestige and adulation that inevitably will result from having accomplished what no one else has been able to do. A Nobel Prize can provide a very strong incentive indeed!
If attempts at cloning humans are successful, would a clone be an exact duplicate of the original? A clone would be an exact genetic duplicate of the original—the word “genetic” providing a critical distinction. Merely possessing identical genes does not guarantee identical people. Ask anyone with identical twins. In fact, twins would be more alike than clones for the simple reason that the twins would have shared the same environment, upbringing, etc. People are more than merely a “bag of genes.” Each of us is the end-product of many different external forces that influence us from cradle to grave. Our personalities and attitudes are formed by parents, friends, teachers, daily routines, societal interactions, and many other factors that affect us during our lifetimes.
Will we be able to clone humans eventually? That remains to be seen. No scientist can answer that question, for to do so would be to possess the ability to predict the future—something neither a scientist, nor science, is equipped to do. Furthermore, there are too many unknowns. We do not know if human adult somatic cells will respond the same way adult somatic cells from sheep responded. We do not know if the process used to produce Dolly (nuclear transfer) would work in humans. And so on.
However, if the question were reworded so that it asked, “Will scientists attempt to clone humans?,” I think the answer would be “yes.” An analogy might be helpful. When mountaineers are asked why they ascend a challenging (and often life-threatening) mountain, they routinely respond: “...because it’s there.” Some scientists likely will take the same approach. When asked why current technology should be used to clone humans, they will respond: “...because it’s there.” One writer has suggested:
...it is not a question as to whether we will attempt to clone a human being or not. Many technical hurdles will have to be overcome first before we can attempt to produce cloned humans, so they say. But if the moral and ethical scientists want to wait, or even shrink in fear from such an undertaking, there are many in the world who have the financial means, who do not have any scruples or reservations about cloning humans. What about them? (Sinapiades, 1997, p. 6, emp. in orig.).
I believe it no longer is a matter of if attempts will be made to clone humans using this new technology, but only when. Eventually some scientist, or group of scientists, will yield to the temptation to apply the Scottish scientists’ methodology to the human race.
If (and this is a big “if ”) scientists are successful in cloning humans, the most pressing question then becomes—will the people so produced possess a soul? Much of the debate occurring today (especially in religious circles) centers on this question. For example, three staff writers for U.S. News & World Report posed the question, “Would a cloned person have its own soul?,” and answered it as follows: “Most theologians agree with scientists that a human clone and its DNA donor would be separate and distinct persons. That means each would have his or her own body, mind, and soul” (Herbert, et al., 1997, p. 63).
In addressing what at the time was the unlikely possibility of the cloning of humans, Gish and Wilson asked: “What do we say, then? Would a clone be truly human? The answer is that, indeed, he would be human, for its life came from human life even though in a manner different than is usually the case” (1981, p. 174). In addition, they noted, the cloned human “is already alive, responsible to God for his actions, needing to preserve his own body against sickness, to see that he is properly fed, and all the rest. Each clone would have its own individual responsibility, its own soul” (p. 172).
I concur with such an assessment. In James 2:26, James made this observation: “The body apart from the spirit is dead.” The point, of course, was that when the spirit departs the body, death results. But there is an obvious, and important, corollary to that statement. If the body is alive, it must be the case that the spirit is present. This is a biblical principle that cannot, and must not, be ignored—especially in light of the present controversy. The simple fact of the matter is that if (again, a very big “if ”) scientists succeed in cloning living humans, those clones would possess a soul.
But only God can instill a soul. It is He Who “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). It is only “in Him” that “we live, and move, and have our being...” (Acts 17:28). The real issue is not whether man is intelligent enough to clone a human, but whether or not—should that eventually happen—God will choose to instill the lifeless creature in the laboratory with a soul. This is a question no one can answer.


Very often it is the case that with increased knowledge also comes increased power. And with increased power comes the potential for misuse or abuse of that power. The question, “will we be able to clone humans?” is not the same question as “should we clone humans?” The first is a question to be answered by an appeal to science; the second is a question to be answered by an appeal to the Word of God.
Oddly, at times those who do not believe in God or His Word as an objective moral standard seem to understand the ethical/moral issues better than some Christians. For example, long before the technology was available that could lead to human cloning, evolutionist Gunther Stent of the University of Southern California stated: “The idea of cloning humans is morally and aesthetically completely unacceptable” (as quoted in Howard and Rifkin, 1977, pp. 125-126). Compare that with the comment of Christian ethicist Randy Harris of David Lipscomb University: “Although there has been a good deal of rhetoric on the evils that are just ahead, I have yet to hear a cogent ethical argument as to why even the cloning of a human would be wrong” (1997, p. 16).
There are, in fact, several “cogent ethical arguments” that can, and should, be made against the cloning of humans, only two of which I would like to mention here.

Cloning’s “Failures” Represent Dead Human Beings

It is one thing to attempt—and fail—277 times using sheep cells in an attempt at cloning. Sheep are animals that do not possess souls, and that are not made in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). But it is quite another thing to try—even once—and fail in an attempt to clone a human. Embryos are living human beings! [On occasion, pro-abortion forces often argue that embryos within the womb are “not living.” If that is the case, then leave them alone. This, of course, is hardly an option, because in nine months the end-result is a human baby—something impossible to explain if the embryo was “not living” to begin with.] A laboratory littered with dead and dying sheep embryos is one thing; a laboratory littered with dead and dying human embryos is quite another!
Ask any knowledgeable ethicist, Christian or otherwise, and he or she will confirm that basic medical ethics requires that in any experiment, the subject must know the risks and give “informed consent.” In the case of cloning, however, the tiny embryo being produced (and that more often than not will die) can do no such thing. With cloning—if the success rate of the Scottish scientists is taken at face value—the failure rate will be staggering.
Basic medical ethics also requires that the experiment be to the subject’s benefit. Laboratory procedures for cloning humans scarcely would be to the benefit of the cloned embryos. Scottish scientist Wilmut and his colleagues saw 277 of the embryos they had produced perish before they saw a single one live. What if the same failure rate held true for the cloning of humans? Or, for the sake of argument, suppose that somehow the failure rate could be cut in half (in other words, out of 277 attempts, “only” 139 human embryos died in the process)? Would that then be ethically and morally acceptable? It would not! Producing human embryos—with the full knowledge that many more of them will die than will live—is indeed (to quote evolutionist Stent) “morally and aesthetically completely unacceptable.” Medical ethicist Paul Ramsey has suggested that we cannot even develop the kinds of reproductive technologies being discussed here “without conducting unethical experiments upon the unborn who must be the mishaps (the dead and retarded ones) through whom we learn how” (as quoted in Restak, 1975, p. 65).
Human life, as a gift from God (Acts 17:25), is sacred. The Proverbs writer observed that “there are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” (6:16-17). Yet there is a tendency to ignore these divine principles, and to view human life as that which may be destroyed capriciously. Should Christians consider laboratories teeming with the dead and dying human embryos that resulted from failed attempts at cloning to be a “cogent ethical argument” against such procedures? Or should they instead, to use Leon Kass’ words, simply “leave it so that discarding laboratory-grown embryos is a matter solely between a doctor and his plumber” (as quoted in Restak, 1975, p. 65)?
Further, in examining the ethical issues surrounding procedures such as these, the implications of the various technologies must be acknowledged. For example, if cloning were possible:
  1. It could be used to provide children for unmarried people.
  2. Parents could pre-select the sex (and many other attributes) of their child(ren).
  3. Women’s liberation would be complete, since no male would be needed. The old Cockney saying, “It takes a man to make a girl,” no longer would be true.
  4. Large batches of human clones could be made for statistical studies.
  5. Clones could be produced in order to harvest “spare parts” for transplants (e.g., bone marrow, organs, etc.).
  6. People enamored of their own importance could ensure that exact genetic replicas of themselves were brought into existence via cloning—by tens or hundreds if they so desired.
If we scrutinize the alleged benefits of human cloning, there is less here than at first meets the eye. Producing people for spare parts, or to use as guinea pigs, is repugnant. David Lygre wrote: “The current risks of abnormality and our reverence for human life should rule these experiments out” (1979, p. 44). Indeed they should.

Cloning Circumvents God’s Plan for Reproduction

In a series of articles authored some years ago, Wayne Jackson remarked that these scientific experiments “strike at the very heart of God’s arrangement for human reproduction within the circle of the family unit and all that this involves” (1979, 15:3; see also Jackson, 1994, pp. 27-36). The use of such things as donor sperm, donor eggs, surrogate mothers, and cloning stand in stark contradistinction to God’s divinely designed plan for the home. While many things, biblically, could be said about God’s design of the home, one thing is clear. It is through the family unit (which includes both a husband and wife in the procreative act) that God intended for children to be brought into this world. According to divine design, marriage is to precede the bearing of children (1 Timothy 5:14). And it is not by accident that Moses recorded: “And the man [Adam—BT] knew Eve, his wife; and she conceived...” (Genesis 4:1; emp. added). Jack Evans correctly observed that God’s
...spiritual law says the oneness of the flesh can be approved only by Him in the marriage of the male and female who are producing another part of their flesh (Hebrews 13:4; I Corinthians 6:16; 7:1-5). Thus, the Bible teaches that the male and female producing the offspring of the one flesh, according to spiritual law, must be married to each other. ...It is obvious that marriage precedes bearing children. Thus, if the female bearing the child is not married to—is not one flesh with—the male in the reproduction process, they violate God’s spiritual law (1987, p. 358).
God’s plan is that children be produced through the husband and wife via their “one flesh” covenant. The world often forgets that childbearing never was intended to be an end within itself, but is part of a much larger plan.
Any action that ignores, or nullifies, God’s plan for the home, and reproduction within the framework of the home, must be avoided and opposed. Cloning does just that. It circumvents the principle of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh,” and through that procedure bringing children into the world. The family unit was planned to provide an atmosphere of love and trust (Proverbs 15:17; 17:1), which would create an ideal environment for spiritual growth. To ignore these truths is to miss the real meaning of the divinely planned family, and the procreative acts that God placed within that family unit.


Each day brings exciting new scientific discoveries. Improved techniques block pain and prevent suffering. New medicines cure or prevent diseases. Advancements in knowledge and methodology continually work to mankind’s benefit. As Suzuki and Knudtson concluded:
There is no reason to fear the stunning new conceptions of human hereditary disease now emerging from genetics research. In fact, we can rejoice that this new genetic knowledge is certain to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of many previously untreatable genetic disorders. At the same time, each of us shares responsibility for ensuring that techniques allowing the manipulation of the human genome are never exploited for arbitrary and self-serving ends or in ways that fail to consider the potential long-term consequences of large-scale genetic repair on human populations (1989, pp. 206-207).
Certainly, the faithful child of God may support many scientific advances that cure disease, alleviate suffering, and make life better. But the Word of God is the criterion against which every advance must be measured. The end does not always justify the means.


Elmer-Dewitt, Philip (1993), “Cloning: Where Do We Draw the Line?,” Time, pp. 65-70, November 8.
Evans, Jack (1987), “Is Surrogate Motherhood Sinful?,” Gospel Advocate, 129:358, June 18.
Gish, Duane T. and Clifford Wilson (1981), Manipulating Life: Where Does It Stop? (San Diego, CA: Master Books)
Harris, Randy (1997), “Will There Ever Be Another You?...Ewe?,” Christian Chronicle, 54[5]:16-17, May. [Harris is one of several scientists, theologians, and philosophers whose positions on cloning are presented in a special two-page spread, edited by Lindy Adams.]
Herbert, Wray, Jeffrey L. Sheler, and Traci Watson (1997), “The World After Cloning,” U.S. News & World Report, 122[9]:59-63, March 10.
Howard, Ted and Jeremy Rifkin (1977), Who Should Play God? (New York: Dell).
Jackson, Wayne (1979), “Ancient Ethics in a Modern World,” Christian Courier, 14:41-47; 15:2-4,6-8, May/June.
Jackson, Wayne (1994), Biblical Ethics & Modern Science (Stockton, CA: Courier Publications).
Lygre, David (1979), Life Manipulation (New York: Walker).
Nash, J. Madeleine (1997), “The Age of Cloning,” Time, 149[10]:62-65, March 10.
Restak, R.M. (1975), Pre-Meditated Man (New York: Viking).
Scientific American, “Special Report: Making Gene Therapy Work,” 276[6]:95-106.
Sinapiades, Mike (1997), “Cloning, Clowning, or What?,” First Century Christian, 19[2& 3]:6, February/March.
Stewart, Colin (1997), “An Udder Way of Making Lambs,” Nature 385:769,771, February 27.
Suzuki, David T. and Peter Knudtson (1989), Genethics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Travis, John (1997), “A Fantastical Experiment,” Science News, 151:214-215, April 5.
Wilmut, Ian, A.E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A.J. Kind, and K.H.S. Campbell (1997), “Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells,” Nature, 385:810-813, February

From Jim McGuiggan... Homosexuality and such

Homosexuality and such

The biblical teaching on homosexuality is consistent and clear. It's regarded as sin in both Testaments. Very occasionally you find a serious scholar in this present age and Western culture that disputes that claim but more often you'll find a serious scholar who admits the Bible teaches against homosexuality and takes issue with what it teaches. At least that scholar has heard the Bible's own message though he isn't prepared to accept it.
Much more often you'll find scholars who feel the need to remind us often that heterosexual sin is just as surely sinful as homosexuality. This is legitimate and right since heterosexual sin is increasingly "understood" and put up with by believers while homosexuality is still seen as "in a class by itself" and intolerance I think would be the order of the day. This is tragically wrong even though I understand that homosexuality generates pastoral problems that are more difficult to work with than heterosexual sins. But that's another discussion for another time.
The number of practising homosexuals is still very small compared with heterosexuals (you might remember that the very inflated figures for practicing homosexuals were exposed several years ago). It's easy to be conned into thinking the number of practicing homsexuals is enormous when celebrities, TV personalities, TV presenters get the lion's share of the popular media time but the numbers remain tiny. The truth is, the numbers game doesn't matter much relative to truth on any life question. I won't stop even to illustrate that truth much less prove it.
The number of practicing homosexuals among seriously religious people is even smaller per capita so churches are sort of "sheltered" from contact with that kind of sexual sin and what you're not used to you tend to react more strongly against.
And since it's the case that seriously devout people see sexual behavior as something more than biological pleasure, since they see it as rich in theological as well as moral significance (see 1 Corinthians 6:13-20) their response to sexual sin is strong, even if the sexual since is the or own--in that case the response shows itself in feelings of guilt and shame.
Now it's true that Christians sometimes make more of sexual sin than they do of rank injustice or other forms of unrighteousness and show themselves to be imbalanced but a non-believer might be surprised that this is not normative (at least not in my experience) and that Christians have an honest shot at being a balanced people. (Maybe I'm painting a better picture of us than is warranted but I can only tell you that this is what I see and hear.)
We take sexual behavior seriously and we believe homosexuality is one of the marks of a society that has turned from God. And we believe that it is one of the marks that God is judging society (see Romans 1:24-27 and note "God gave them up" which stresses God's judicial act as seen in homosexuality, among other things). This belief may be true or false but it is what we believe.
Now, right or wrong, we have been shaped by the Hebrew-Christian scriptures and our opposition to homosexuality is the result of that shaping. That being true, maybe we should be given the credit for being sincere in our faith rather than being branded as irrational homophobics. I confess that I do personally know some believers who can't even bear to discuss the subject and a very few who appear (at times) to be irrational in their opposition to it. Add to that the almost lunatic behavior of some people you see publicly protesting on the streets. [I don't believe that all public protesting is objectionable but you have to be a different kind of religious person to walk the streets with a big painted sign saying something like: SEXUAL PERVERTS BURN IN HELL! and think you're furthering God's eternal purpose.]
It just isn't possible to persuade someone shaped by the Hebrew--Christian scriptures to pretend that homosexuality is a guiltless "sexual preference". I think homosexuals need to make up their minds to that!
I heard one homosexual gentleman on a television show rage, I mean rage, when someone said he thought homosexuality wasn't natural. No one can say what is "natural," the homosexual man fumed. I recognize that this can be disputed from various perspectives but there's little point in homosexuals trying to convince heterosexuals that "nature" has not designed females as the sexual counterpart of males. I know that doesn't settle the overall dispute but there'll be no mutually understanding if at least some of the patently obvious truths aren't being conceded.
Maybe this will help make my point clear. The question of bestiality and the rights of a human to have sex with dogs and horses and sheep is gaining some more interest in the American media. Harvard not long ago hosted a seminar on this very matter, taught by a lesbian who owned a flourishing sex shop. She called for great tolerance toward those who engaged in this behavior. It's all a question of one's preference, don't you see.
I don't doubt for a moment that once society and its government utterly dispenses with morality issues and debate about "moral standards" that everything is legally up for grabs and that one of these days some poor soul will be pleased to hear that the law allows him to lie down with his dog or anyone else's for that matter.
Right now those of us who judge homosexuality to be sinful (and hence immoral) are called homophobic so I wonder what we'll be called when the courts begin to debate the legality of having sex with sheep or pigs. I don't mean these last remarks to be nothing more than inflammatory or derisive [at least I don't consciously have that in mind] but I'd be pleased if homosexuals would refrain from calling us homophobic. The bulk of us are not Muslimophobic or any other phobic. Homosexuals are "citizens" and if they are to be viewed as "citizens" then they have "citizens' rights" and if they protest for changes in society's laws they are expressing their rights in a democratic society. That makes sense to me.
But homosexuals need to give Christian people the benefit of the doubt. We're not sinless, we're not always wise, we're not always courteous and we don't always treat one another well so we won't always treat homosexuals well. But our convictions run deep, we may be wrong in what we believe but we believe what we believe because we have been shaped by the Hebrew--Christian scriptures. We don't hate homosexuals, we fervently disagree with their views but, dear God, we have sense enough to know you can't one moment verbally beat the blood out of a homosexual and then in the next breath tell him that God loves him and has come to bless him in the Lord Jesus.
They should try to give us some credit and we'll try not to be self-righteous, pompous and overly-wise. Homosexuals should try to understand WHY we think as we think. We think that if we were to say, "Sexual preference is nobody's business!" that sex with animals is approved and from there marriage to animals is approved.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

From Gary... Bible Reading July 16

Bible Reading  

July 16

The World English Bible

July 16
1 Chronicles 10-12

1Ch 10:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain on Mount Gilboa.
1Ch 10:2 The Philistines followed hard after Saul and after his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.
1Ch 10:3 The battle went sore against Saul, and the archers overtook him; and he was distressed by reason of the archers.
1Ch 10:4 Then said Saul to his armor bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith, lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armor bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell on it.
1Ch 10:5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell on his sword, and died.
1Ch 10:6 So Saul died, and his three sons; and all his house died together.
1Ch 10:7 When all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and lived in them.
1Ch 10:8 It happened on the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.
1Ch 10:9 They stripped him, and took his head, and his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines all around, to carry the news to their idols, and to the people.
1Ch 10:10 They put his armor in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the house of Dagon.
1Ch 10:11 When all Jabesh Gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,
1Ch 10:12 all the valiant men arose, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
1Ch 10:13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against Yahweh, because of the word of Yahweh, which he didn't keep; and also because he asked counsel of one who had a familiar spirit, to inquire thereby,
1Ch 10:14 and didn't inquire of Yahweh: therefore he killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.
1Ch 11:1 Then all Israel gathered themselves to David to Hebron, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh.
1Ch 11:2 In times past, even when Saul was king, it was you who led out and brought in Israel: and Yahweh your God said to you, You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel.
1Ch 11:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before Yahweh; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of Yahweh by Samuel.
1Ch 11:4 David and all Israel went to Jerusalem (the same is Jebus); and the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, were there.
1Ch 11:5 The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, You shall not come in here. Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David.
1Ch 11:6 David said, Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and was made chief.
1Ch 11:7 David lived in the stronghold; therefore they called it the city of David.
1Ch 11:8 He built the city all around, from Millo even around; and Joab repaired the rest of the city.
1Ch 11:9 David grew greater and greater; for Yahweh of Armies was with him.
1Ch 11:10 Now these are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who showed themselves strong with him in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of Yahweh concerning Israel.
1Ch 11:11 This is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam, the son of a Hachmonite, the chief of the thirty; he lifted up his spear against three hundred and killed them at one time.
1Ch 11:12 After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men.
1Ch 11:13 He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where there was a plot of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines.
1Ch 11:14 They stood in the midst of the plot, and defended it, and killed the Philistines; and Yahweh saved them by a great victory.
1Ch 11:15 Three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the army of the Philistines were encamped in the valley of Rephaim.
1Ch 11:16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
1Ch 11:17 David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me water to drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
1Ch 11:18 The three broke through the army of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to Yahweh,
1Ch 11:19 and said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this: shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men.
1Ch 11:20 Abishai, the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three; for he lifted up his spear against three hundred and killed them, and had a name among the three.
1Ch 11:21 Of the three, he was more honorable than the two, and was made their captain: however he didn't attain to the first three.
1Ch 11:22 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, he killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab: he went down also and killed a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow.
1Ch 11:23 He killed an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with his own spear.
1Ch 11:24 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had a name among the three mighty men.
1Ch 11:25 Behold, he was more honorable than the thirty, but he didn't attain to the first three: and David set him over his guard.
1Ch 11:26 Also the mighty men of the armies: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
1Ch 11:27 Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite,
1Ch 11:28 Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, Abiezer the Anathothite,
1Ch 11:29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite,
1Ch 11:30 Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,
1Ch 11:31 Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite,
1Ch 11:32 Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite,
1Ch 11:33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
1Ch 11:34 the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan the son of Shagee the Hararite,
1Ch 11:35 Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite, Eliphal the son of Ur,
1Ch 11:36 Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite,
1Ch 11:37 Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai the son of Ezbai,
1Ch 11:38 Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri,
1Ch 11:39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor bearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
1Ch 11:40 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,
1Ch 11:41 Uriah the Hittite, Zabad the son of Ahlai,
1Ch 11:42 Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a chief of the Reubenites, and thirty with him,
1Ch 11:43 Hanan the son of Maacah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite,
1Ch 11:44 Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite,
1Ch 11:45 Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joha his brother, the Tizite,
1Ch 11:46 Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai, and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite,
1Ch 11:47 Eliel, and Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.
1Ch 12:1 Now these are those who came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, his helpers in war.
1Ch 12:2 They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in slinging stones and in shooting arrows from the bow: they were of Saul's brothers of Benjamin.
1Ch 12:3 The chief was Ahiezer; then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite, and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth, and Beracah, and Jehu the Anathothite,
1Ch 12:4 and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty, and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Jozabad the Gederathite,
1Ch 12:5 Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite,
1Ch 12:6 Elkanah, and Isshiah, and Azarel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites,
1Ch 12:7 and Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.
1Ch 12:8 Of the Gadites there separated themselves to David to the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, that could handle shield and spear; whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the roes on the mountains;
1Ch 12:9 Ezer the chief, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third,
1Ch 12:10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
1Ch 12:11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
1Ch 12:12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
1Ch 12:13 Jeremiah the tenth, Machbannai the eleventh.
1Ch 12:14 These of the sons of Gad were captains of the army: he who was least was equal to one hundred, and the greatest to one thousand.
1Ch 12:15 These are those who went over the Jordan in the first month, when it had overflowed all its banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.
1Ch 12:16 There came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the stronghold to David.
1Ch 12:17 David went out to meet them, and answered them, If you be come peaceably to me to help me, my heart shall be knit to you; but if you be come to betray me to my adversaries, seeing there is no wrong in my hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.
1Ch 12:18 Then the Spirit came on Amasai, who was chief of the thirty, and he said, "We are yours, David, and on your side, you son of Jesse: peace, peace be to you, and peace be to your helpers; for your God helps you." Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.
1Ch 12:19 Of Manasseh also there fell away some to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they didn't help them; for the lords of the Philistines sent him away after consultation, saying, He will fall away to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads.
1Ch 12:20 As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zillethai, captains of thousands who were of Manasseh.
1Ch 12:21 They helped David against the band of rovers: for they were all mighty men of valor, and were captains in the army.
1Ch 12:22 For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like the army of God.
1Ch 12:23 These are the numbers of the heads of those who were armed for war, who came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of Yahweh.
1Ch 12:24 The children of Judah who bore shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, armed for war.
1Ch 12:25 Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valor for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.
1Ch 12:26 Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.
1Ch 12:27 Jehoiada was the leader of the house of Aaron; and with him were three thousand and seven hundred,
1Ch 12:28 and Zadok, a young man mighty of valor, and of his father's house twenty-two captains.
1Ch 12:29 Of the children of Benjamin, the brothers of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept their allegiance to the house of Saul.
1Ch 12:30 Of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand eight hundred, mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers' houses.
1Ch 12:31 Of the half-tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, who were mentioned by name, to come and make David king.
1Ch 12:32 Of the children of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brothers were at their commandment.
1Ch 12:33 Of Zebulun, such as were able to go out in the army, who could set the battle in array, with all manner of instruments of war, fifty thousand, and who could order the battle array, and were not of double heart.
1Ch 12:34 Of Naphtali one thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty-seven thousand.
1Ch 12:35 Of the Danites who could set the battle in array, twenty-eight thousand six hundred.
1Ch 12:36 Of Asher, such as were able to go out in the army, who could set the battle in array, forty thousand.
1Ch 12:37 On the other side of the Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half-tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, one hundred twenty thousand.
1Ch 12:38 All these being men of war, who could order the battle array, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.
1Ch 12:39 They were there with David three days, eating and drinking; for their brothers had made preparation for them.
1Ch 12:40 Moreover those who were near to them, even as far as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on donkeys, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, food of meal, cakes of figs, and clusters of raisins, and wine, and oil, and cattle, and sheep in abundance: for there was joy in Israel.

Jul. 16, 17
Acts 11

Act 11:1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Act 11:2 When Peter had come up to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision contended with him,
Act 11:3 saying, "You went in to uncircumcised men, and ate with them!"
Act 11:4 But Peter began, and explained to them in order, saying,
Act 11:5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision: a certain container descending, like it was a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners. It came as far as me.
Act 11:6 When I had looked intently at it, I considered, and saw the four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky.
Act 11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter, kill and eat!'
Act 11:8 But I said, 'Not so, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.'
Act 11:9 But a voice answered me the second time out of heaven, 'What God has cleansed, don't you call unclean.'
Act 11:10 This was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Act 11:11 Behold, immediately three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent from Caesarea to me.
Act 11:12 The Spirit told me to go with them, without discriminating. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house.
Act 11:13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying to him, 'Send to Joppa, and get Simon, whose surname is Peter,
Act 11:14 who will speak to you words by which you will be saved, you and all your house.'
Act 11:15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning.
Act 11:16 I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.'
Act 11:17 If then God gave to them the same gift as us, when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?"
Act 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life!"
Act 11:19 They therefore who were scattered abroad by the oppression that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews only.
Act 11:20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Act 11:21 The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
Act 11:22 The report concerning them came to the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem. They sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch,
Act 11:23 who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad. He exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should remain near to the Lord.
Act 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and many people were added to the Lord.
Act 11:25 Barnabas went out to Tarsus to look for Saul.
Act 11:26 When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. It happened, that for a whole year they were gathered together with the assembly, and taught many people. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Act 11:27 Now in these days, prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Act 11:28 One of them named Agabus stood up, and indicated by the Spirit that there should be a great famine all over the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius.
Act 11:29 As any of the disciples had plenty, each determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea;
Act 11:30 which they also did, sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.