9/18/15

From Gary... God- at the end of the rainbow!!!

































It is nice to see that someone has a sense of humor.  However, when you really "have to go", even an outhouse is a welcome sight!!!  It may not be a "pot of gold" but when you NEED it, you REALLY NEED IT!!! The way God treats is something akin to this.  What I mean is that God gives us what we really need, not just something we may vainly want.

Jesus said...

Matthew, Chapter 6 (WEB)

27  “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?   28  Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin,   29  yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.   30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 


  31  “Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’   32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   33  But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.


Enough said!!!


From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" The Establishment Of The Kingdom



                      "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM"

                    The Establishment Of The Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

1. We've seen the nature of the kingdom as revealed in the Scriptures...
   a. It is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical kingdom - cf. Lk 17:20-21; Jn 18:36
   b. It is the reign of God as manifested in the person of Jesus Christ
      - cf. Mt 12:28; 28:18

2. We now consider questions related to the establishment of the kingdom...
   a. Has the kingdom of God been established?
   b. Is the kingdom of God yet to be established?
   c. Is the kingdom God therefore present or future?  Could it be both?

[Let's seek to answer such questions by first noting scriptures which speak of...]

I. THE KINGDOM OF GOD FORETOLD

   A. PRIOR TO JESUS' COMING...
      1. By the prophet Daniel - Dan 2:44
         a. God would establish a kingdom in the days of the fourth
            empire (Roman)
         b. A kingdom which would never be destroyed
      2. By the angel Gabriel - Lk 1:31-33
         a. Her son (Jesus) would be given the throne of David
         b. Of His kingdom there will be no end

   B. DURING JESUS' MINISTRY...
      1. At the beginning - Mk 1:14-15
         a. The time was fulfilled (the time foretold by Daniel?)
         b. The kingdom is "at hand" ("has come near" NRSV)
      2. At the height - Mt 12:28; Mk 9:1-9
         a. The kingdom "has come upon you"
         b. The kingdom "present with power"
      3. At the end - Lk 23:42,51; Mk 15:43; Ac 1:3,6
         a. The thief on the cross and Joseph of Arimathaea looked for
            the kingdom
         b. After the resurrection, Jesus taught and His disciples
            inquired about the kingdom

[During His earthly ministry, there was much anticipation about the
kingdom.  His miracles and transfiguration were a preview of the glory
and majesty of His reign (cf. 2Pe 1:16-18).  It would be after His
ascension to heaven that we read of...]

II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD PRESENT

   A. THE KINGDOM NOW EXISTS...
      1. By virtue of Jesus' authority and rule
         a. He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
         b. He has been made both Lord and Christ - Ac 2:36
         c. All things have been placed under His feet - Ep 1:20-22
         d. All authorities and powers have been made subject to Him 
            - 1Pe 3:22
      2. The reign of God is now administered by Jesus
         a. He is now "the ruler over the kings of the earth" - Re 1:5
         b. He has received power to rule the nations with a rod of iron
            - Re 2:26-27
         c. He is "King of kings, and Lord of lords" - 1Ti 6:14-15
         d. He must reign until all enemies are placed under His feet 
            - 1Co 15:25-26

   B. THE KINGDOM IS NOW PRESENT...
      1. Note what is said about those in the church
         a. They were being called into the kingdom - 1Th 2:12
         b. They had been translated (conveyed) into the kingdom - Col 1:13
         c. They were receiving the kingdom - He 12:28
         d. They were companions in the kingdom - Re 1:9
      2. The church is that community of souls in whose hearts Christ is
         recognized as sovereign
         a. They have confessed Christ as Lord - cf. Ro 10:9-10; 1Pe 3:15
         b. They freely submit to the Lord in the day of His power - cf. Ps 110:1-3
      3. Thus the terms "church" and "kingdom" are often used
         interchangeably
         a. As when Jesus spoke to Peter - Mt 16:18
         b. The comments made to Christians in the church - Col 1:13;
            1Th 2:12
         c. The description of those in the seven churches of Asia - Re1:4,6,9

[The kingdom of God (i.e., the reign of Christ) reaches beyond those in
the church (cf. Ps 110), but it benefits those in the church (cf. Ep
1:22-23).  Its benefits are such that we often read of...]

III. THE KINGDOM OF GOD FUTURE

   A. JESUS SPOKE OF ITS FUTURE...
      1. In the parable of the tares - Mt 13:40-43
         a. The kingdom is both present and future
         b. At the end of the age, the righteous will shine in the
            kingdom of their Father
      2. In describing the judgment - Mt 25:34
         a. When the Son of Man comes in His glory
         b. Those blessed will inherit the kingdom prepared from the
            foundation of the world

   B. APOSTLES WROTE OF ITS FUTURE...
      1. The apostle Paul
         a. Exhorting Christians to be steadfast and holy - Ac 14:22; 
            1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21
         b. Expounding on the hope of the resurrection - 1Co 15:22-26, 50
         c. Expressing his own hope for the future - 2Ti 4:18
      2. The apostle Peter, describing how we might have an abundant
         entrance "into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior
         Jesus Christ" - 2Pe 1:10-11

CONCLUSION

1. When Jesus ascended to heaven...
   a. He sat down on the throne of David as both Lord and Christ - Ac 2:29-36; cf. Lk 1:31-33
   b. He began His kingly reign that exceeds far beyond that of David 
      - Dan 7:13-14; cf. Ac 1:9-11
      1) David ruled over the nation of Israel
      2) Jesus rules over all things, including His church - Ep 1:20-22
   -- While His reign (kingdom) was prefigured even during His earthly
      ministry, it was fully established when He ascended to heaven and
      sat God's right hand

2. While His kingdom is present, it is also future...
   a. When He comes, it will not be to establish His kingdom, but
      deliver it to God - 1Co 15:22-26
   b. He will do so, having removed all things that offend and practice
      lawlessness- Mt 13:41
   -- The kingdom of God in Christ, inaugurated with His first coming,
      will be culminated at His second coming!

Indeed, the kingdom that began when Jesus ascended is an everlasting
kingdom that will never be destroyed!  When He returns, don't you want
to be a part of that kingdom He delivers to the Father?  Then you must
be born again (cf. Jn 3:3-5; Tit 3:5; Mk 16:15-16)...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" The Nature Of The Kingdom



                      "THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM"

                       The Nature Of The Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous study we noted the proclamation of the kingdom of God...
   a. In the preaching of Jesus - e.g., Lk 8:1; Ac 1:3
   b. In the preaching of Paul - e.g., Ac 19:8; 28:30-31
   -- Certainly the gospel of the kingdom should be an element of our
      preaching today

2. This naturally leads one to ask, "What is the kingdom of God?"
   a. Is it a literal kingdom, i.e., a physical kingdom?
   b. Is the kingdom present or future?
   c. What relationship is there between the church and the kingdom?
   -- The answers to such questions will help us understand the "gospel"
      of the kingdom

[In this study we will seek to ascertain the nature of the kingdom, as
taught by Jesus and His apostles.  We note first that...]   

I. THE KINGDOM IS SPIRITUAL, NOT PHYSICAL

   A. THE TEACHING OF JESUS...
      1. In His remarks to a scribe - Mk 12:28-34
         a. Who questioned Him about the greatest commandment
         b. Who commented on the reply Jesus gave
         c. Prompting Jesus to say, "You are not far from the kingdom of God"
            1) The scribe's understanding put him in close proximity to
               the kingdom
            2) Implying that the kingdom would be a spiritual entity
               rather than a physical one
      2. In His response to the Pharisees - Lk 17:20-21
         a. "The kingdom does not come with observation"
            1) People will not be able to say "See here!" or "See there!"
            2) We should not expect the kingdom to be physical like the
               kingdoms of men
         b. "The kingdom of God is within you" (in your midst, NASB)
            1) This verse is capable of two interpretations
               a) The kingdom of God is in the heart
                  1] Or will be in the heart
                  2] It certainly wasn't in the heart of the Pharisees
                     at that moment
               b) The kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ
                  1] The rule or reign of God will be in the person of
                     Jesus (see below)
                  2] Which reign was foreshadowed by Jesus' very
                     presence and power - cf. Lk 11:20
            2) Either interpretation suggests a spiritual rule rather
               than physical one
      3. In His reply to Pontius Pilate - Jn 18:36
         a. "My kingdom is not of this world"
            1) His kingdom would not be an earthly kingdom
            2) Thus His disciples would not need to propagate with the
               use of force
         b. "You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born..."
            1) Though not a physical kingdom, a true kingdom nonetheless
            2) He came into this world to establish a kingdom

   B. THE TERMINOLOGY OF MATTHEW...
      1. Matthew refers to it as "the kingdom of heaven" in his gospel
      2. A quick comparison of the gospels indicate the terms "kingdom
         of God" and "kingdom of heaven" refer to the same thing
         a. Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15
         b. Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20
         c. Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31
      3. Why did Matthew use the expression "kingdom of heaven"?
         a. Perhaps in view of the Jews' reluctance to use the name of
            God (out of reverence)
         b. Perhaps in view of the Jews' misconception of the coming kingdom
            1) Many anticipated a physical kingdom
            2) The expression "kingdom of heaven" (literally, "kingdom
               of the heavens") would emphasize a spiritual kingdom

[The kingdom is not a literal kingdom with geographical boundaries and
earthly headquarters, but a spiritual kingdom emanating from heaven. 
Perhaps we can best express it this way...]

II. THE KINGDOM IS THE REIGN OF GOD IN CHRIST

   A. THE TERM "KINGDOM"...
      1. As used by the Jews
         a. It often stressed the abstract idea of rule or dominion
         b. Not a geographical area surrounded by physical boundaries
      2. Consider its use by Jesus in Mt 6:10
         a. "Your kingdom come; Your will  be done..."
         b. Note the Hebrew parallelism (saying the same thing in two
            different ways)
         c. I.e., the kingdom (or reign) of God would come as His will
            was done on earth
      3. Consider its use by Jesus in Mt 6:33
         a. "But seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness"
         b. The righteousness of the kingdom is that conduct in
            conformity to God's will
         c. I.e., we seek the kingdom (or rule) of God to the extent we
            submit to His righteousness

   B. THE KINGDOM AS IT RELATES TO JESUS...
      1. In one sense, the kingdom (or reign) of God has always existed
         a. God ruled in the affairs of man in ages past - cf. Ps 103:19; 145:1,13
         b. A lesson learned by Nebuchadnezzar - cf. Dan 4:1-3,32,34-35
      2. In a special way, God would exercise His rule in the affairs of men
         a. As foretold by Daniel - Dan 2:44
         b. As proclaimed by Gabriel concerning Jesus - Lk 1:31-33
      3. This God would do in the person of Jesus Christ
         a. As foretold by David - Ps 2:1-12; 110:1-3
         b. Manifestations of this rule were evident even during His
            earthly ministry - cf. Lk 10:1,8-11; 11:20; Mt 12:28
         c. Though the full extent of this rule would begin after His
            ascension - cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22; Re 2:26-27; 3:21

CONCLUSION

1. There are likely more questions concerning the kingdom, especially
   regarding its establishment...
   a. Has the kingdom been established?
   b. Is the kingdom present, or future?  Or is it both?
   c. What will Christ do when He returns?
   d. Where does the church fit into all this?
   -- These questions will be addressed in our next study

2. But I trust that we have established these facts about the kingdom of
   God as proclaimed by Jesus
   and His apostles...
   a. The kingdom of God is spiritual, not physical
   b. The kingdom involves the rule of God in the hearts of men
   -- In particular, the kingdom is the rule of God manifested through
      the person of Jesus Christ

3. At this point, perhaps we would do well to ask ourselves...
   a. Is the kingdom of God in us?
   b. Are we far from the kingdom of God?

Our willingness to submit to the will of God as taught by Jesus can help
answer these questions:

   "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom
   of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
                                                             (Mt 7:21)

Are we doing the Father's will?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The "Twelve"? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=177

The "Twelve"?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Numerous alleged Bible discrepancies arise because skeptics frequently interpret figurative language in a literal fashion. They treat God’s Word as if it were a dissertation on the Pythagorean theorem rather than a book written using ordinary language. They fail to recognize the inspired writers’ use of sarcasm, hyperbole, prolepsis, irony, etc. Such is the case in their interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:5. Since Paul stated that “the twelve” (apostles) saw Jesus after His resurrection, these critics claim that Paul clearly erred, because there were not “twelve” apostles after Jesus’ resurrection and before His ascension. There actually were only eleven apostles during that time. [Judas already had committed suicide (Matthew 27:5), and Matthias was not chosen as an apostle until after Jesus’ ascension into heaven (Acts 1:15-26).] Skeptics claim Paul’s use of the term “twelve” when speaking about “eleven” clearly shows that the Bible was not given “by inspiration of God.”
The simple solution to this numbering “problem” is that “the twelve” to which Paul referred was not a literal number, but the designation of an office. This term is used merely “to point out the society of the apostles, who, though at this time they were only eleven, were still called the twelve, because this was their original number, and a number which was afterward filled up” (Clarke, 1996). Gordon Fee stated that Paul’s use of the term “twelve” in 1 Corinthians 15:5 “is a clear indication that in the early going this was a title given to the special group of twelve whom Jesus called to ‘be with him’ (Mark 3:14). Thus this is their collective designation; it does not imply that all twelve were on hand, since the evidence indicates otherwise” (1987, p. 729, emp. added).
This figurative use of numbers is just as common in English vernacular as it was in the ancient languages. In certain collegiate sports, one can refer to the Big Ten conference, which consists of eleven teams, or the Atlantic Ten conference, which is made up of twelve teams. At one time, these conferences only had ten teams, but when they exceeded that number, they kept their original conference “names.” Their names are a designation for a particular conference, not a literal number. In 1884, the term “two-by-four” was coined to refer to a piece of lumber two-by-four inches. Interestingly, a two-by-four still is called a two-by-four, even though today it is trimmed to slightly smaller dimensions (1 5/8 by 3 5/8). Again, the numbers are more of a designation than a literal number.
Critics like Steve Wells, author of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, misrepresent the text when they claim Paul taught: “Jesus was seen by all twelve apostles (including Judas) after Judas’ suicide and before Jesus’ ascension” (2001, emp. added). Paul did not teach that Jesus was seen by all twelve of the original apostles (including Judas). The text says simply that Jesus “was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” As already noted, skeptics reject the explanation that Paul used the term “twelve” in a figurative sense (yet they must admit that such numbers can be, and frequently are, used in such a way). These critics also disregard the possibility that the twelve may have included Matthias, the apostle who took Judas’ place (Acts 1:15-26). Although in my judgment Paul was using “the twelve” in a figurative sense, it is possible that he was including Matthias with “the twelve.”
Matthias had been chosen as one of the apostles long before Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, and we know he was a witness of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:21-22). In fact, it is very likely that he was part of the group that “gathered together” with the apostles when Christ appeared to them after His resurrection (Luke 24:33). When Paul wrote of “the twelve,” it may be that he was using a figure of speech commonly referred to as prolepsis (the assignment of something, such as an event or name, to a time that precedes it). Thus no one can say for sure that Matthias was not included in the twelve apostles mentioned by Paul.
Does Paul’s reference to “the twelve” in 1 Corinthians 15:5 contradict Jesus’ appearances to ten of the apostles on one occasion (John 20:19-23) and eleven on another (John 20:26-29)? Not at all. Either he simply used a figure of speech common to all languages—where a body of persons (or groups) who act as colleagues are called by a number rather than a name—or he was including Matthias.

REFERENCES

Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Fee, Gordon D. (1987), The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible [On-line], URL: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html.

Spit and Bible Inspiration by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=2627

Spit and Bible Inspiration
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Old Testament contains over 300 specific prophecies pertaining to the coming of Christ to Earth. These prophecies constitute absolute proof for the inspiration of the New Testament, since the Old Testament is easily verified to have been completed centuries before Christ’s advent. Indeed, eight centuries before Jesus Christ arrived on the planet, the prophet Isaiah predicted and described His coming in detail. For example, in a strongly Messianic section of his oracles, Isaiah described the mistreatment of the Christ would endure at the hands of His enemies: “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
Observe the specificity of this prophetic utterance. Among other things, the prophecy predicted that Jesus would endure a physical ordeal that included being spit upon. Such a bold, forthright allusion is certainly daring—if the predictor is merely guessing. Nevertheless, this prediction was minutely fulfilled some 700 years later, as recorded in the New Testament. Matthew records that at His trial before the Jewish high priest, unnamed individuals “spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?’” (Matthew 26:67; cf. Mark 14:65). Some hours later, under the authority of the procurator Pontius Pilate, Roman soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, where the entire garrison of soldiers subjected Him to numerous indignities, including being stripped of clothing, having a crown of thorns pressed down upon His head, and being mercilessly mocked. “Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head” (Matthew 27:30; cf. Mark 15:19). Incredibly, Jesus even predicted His mistreatment, including the spitting, before it happened (Mark 10:34; Luke 18:32).
How could a man writing 700 years earlier predict something as minute as one person spitting on another? And keep in mind that the two separate occurrences (one before the high priest and the other before the Romans) were committed by perpetrators who were not the least interested in fulfilling prophecy. To predict hundreds of years in advance that someone would spit on Jesus is proof of Bible inspiration. Isaiah and the rest of the writers of the Bible demonstrate that they functioned under the superhuman, overruling power and influence of the Holy Spirit. They were guided by the God of the Universe.

Snake in a Bottle by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=856

Snake in a Bottle

by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Collaborative evidence, by itself, stands unable to prove a case, yet when combined with other evidence, can be quite convincing. So it is with certain arguments for the Bible’s inspiration. Suppose it could be shown that the Bible, time and again, documents certain grains of wisdom that hold true today? Undoubtedly, if the Bible were the Word of God, it would exhibit such wisdom.
Consider the case of getting drunk by consuming alcohol. On numerous occasions, the Bible mentions the negative effects of drunkenness. Proverbs 23:29-32 gives a lengthy description of what happens to those who “linger long at the wine.” They have woe, sorrow, complaints and wounds without cause. Those who get drunk “will see strange things,” and the alcohol will bite them “like a serpent” and sting them “like a viper.” In chapter 20 of the same book, the Proverbs writer observed: “Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
Indeed, the negative effects of drunkenness in our society, and globally, cannot even begin to be measured. In an insightful book titled None of These Diseases, medical doctors S.I. McMillen and David E. Stern brought to light the fact (which is well known in the medical community) that drunkenness does terrible damage to the body and the spirit. On pages 43-54, they provided a litany of drastic consequences related to alcohol. Not the least of them are nerve damage, brain damage, heart damage, damage done to the unborn, and sexual disorders. Furthermore, it can be shown that alcohol plays a part approximately 53 percent of murders, 57 percent of rapes, up to 80 percent of suicides, and 47 percent of robberies. All of this does not even include the 17,000 lives lost on the highways every year caused by drunk driving. Neither does it come close to putting into words the pain of children abused by drunken fathers, or the destruction of countless homes.
Not only does the Bible’s stance on drunkenness add credence to its divine inspiration, but it also offers a practical solution to solving many of the ills of our society—that solution being to stop getting drunk! How long, O nation, will we continue to ignore the Bible’s warnings about alcohol. Will we wait until it is too late?

REFERENCES

McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.

Simcha Jacobovici and the Quest to Find Who Wrote the Bible by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=3732

Simcha Jacobovici and the Quest to Find Who Wrote the Bible

by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


The media is often critical of the Bible. This is nothing new to Christians, who can see mischaracterizations of the Bible virtually everyday. Documentaries and television programs describe the Bible in terms that most Christians find strange. Interviews often feature leftist scholars who seem to specialize in casting doubt on God’s Word. There are a few refreshing voices in the media that take a rather high view of the Bible, however.
Simcha Jacobovici is a Jewish Canadian filmmaker who hosts the television program the “Naked Archaeologist.” His goal is to “demystify” archaeology, thus making it “naked” for all to see. Naked archaeology is like the naked truth—stripped of preconceptions and exposed for all to see. To most of us living in the United States, he is familiar for his documentaries The Exodus Decoded and The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Both programs offered a new take on the biblical texts that differed from traditional, straightforward interpretations. Yet Jacobovici is also an Orthodox Jew and holds the Bible in the highest esteem. This makes him something of an enigma for many viewers.
The subject of one of Jacobovici’s television programs is to find proof underlying the events recorded in the biblical text. The Biblical Archaeology Review Web site has a free episode of “The Naked Archaeologist” entitled, “Who Wrote the Bible?” (http://www.bib-arch.org/multimedia/who-wrote-bible-free-video.asp). During the program, Jacobovici interviews Baruch Halpern, a professor of Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Halpern is a historian and archaeologist, and has led the archaeological dig at Tel Megiddo (biblical Megiddo). He is highly regarded by most biblical scholars, but he seems to meet his match in Jacobovici.  Near the beginning of the episode, the two discuss the authorship of the Pentateuch:
Jacobovici: “I wonder, who wrote the Bible?”
Halpern: “A bunch of different people.”
Jacobovici: “I read the five books of Moses, the Torah, and I never get the feeling that Joe wrote book number one, and Sam wrote book number two. I don’t get that impression.”
Halpern: “That’s because you’re coming at it from the perspective of the tradition rather than from a fresh, unbiased view.”
For thousands of years, Christians and Jews have read the first five books of the Bible as the singular work of Moses. Modern readers are no different. Scripture claims in numerous places that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Exodus 34:27; Matthew 19:8; Romans 10:5; et al.). Given features such as opposition to Egyptian mythology and the presence of Egyptian loanwords and names, there is nothing to indicate that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch. Halpern claims that it is only because of tradition that Jews and Christians view the Pentateuch as the work of Moses. The problem with Halpern’s statement is that his view is anything but unbiased. He also approaches the Bible from the perspective of tradition! In his case, it is from a particular academic viewpoint: the documentary hypothesis.
The documentary hypothesis states that the Pentateuch is composed of four major documents: J (the Yahwist), E (the Elohist), D (the Deuteronomist), and P (the Priestly writer). Allegedly, these were edited together over hundreds of years by redactors, eventually producing what we call the Pentateuch. Proponents of this view claim Moses never wrote a single word, with most of the work being pious fiction authored by anonymous scribes.
One of the characteristics of modern scholarship is the absolute refusal to reappraise the documentary hypothesis. It is passed dogmatically from professor to student in university Bible and religious studies departments. The theory is as inviolable and as sacrosanct in biblical studies as Darwinian evolution is in scientific studies. That demonstrates the key difficulty with the theory: proponents of the view are not open to considering new evidence that may overturn part, or all, of the theory. They, too, are firmly rooted in their own tradition.
It may be difficult for some viewers to conceal a smile when Jacobovici says, “Nowhere do I get the feeling that there are different authors.” That is precisely what Christians also believe. Halpern’s response is interesting. He fires back with a single shot aimed to prove the multiple authorship of the books of Moses: the presence of “doublets” in the Bible. He defines these as “pairs of identical or nearly identical stories with slight variation.” Examples would be the “two” creation stories of Genesis 1-2 or the stories in which Abraham and Isaac lie to the Egyptian pharaoh about their wives.
Doublets occur frequently in the biblical text, not only in the Pentateuch, but elsewhere. The assumption is that these stories bear strong resemblance to one another because they are duplications. In truth, the biblical writers, like other authors in the ancient Near East, used repetition for effect. Readers should also recognize that scholars have no tangible evidence that these stories are duplications. The only place they occur is in Scripture, and the assumption is that ancient scribes duplicated the stories. There is no evidence that they ever did, and it is grossly unfair to judge ancient writers by modern standards. Many modern scholars no longer consider this as evidence for the documentary hypothesis.
Jacobovici later forces Halpern to admit that there is no tangible evidence for the documentary hypothesis:
Jacobovici: “The point is that unless you have a reason to go to the fantastical, why shouldn’t you just accept the simple, which is, you know, it’s not two traditions, or three or four, it’s one tradition?”
Halpern: “There’s nothing fantastic about the idea that tradition grows over time and that various parties contribute to a tradition. In fact, that’s what we see in every other religious tradition that we have.”
Jacobovici: “You have to agree that not a single archaeological shred has ever been found of the existence of the documentary hypothesis.”
Halpern: “That’s absolutely correct.”
Jacobovici could have gone farther. Not only have critical scholars failed to produce so much as a single shred of physical evidence for the putative documents of J, E, D, and P, they have yet to produce any document from the ancient world that was edited in like manner. Not one example exists of the kind of editorial activity critics propose went into the production of the books of Moses. Religious texts in the ancient Near East were not whimsically altered by scribes. The scribe’s duty was to copy canonical compositions, such as religious texts, with complete fidelity. Concerning the absence of evidence, Kenneth Kitchen states:
[T]he basic fact is that there is no objective, independent evidence for any of these four compositions (or for any variant of them) anywhere outside the pages of our existing Hebrew Bible…. The standards of proof among biblical scholars fall massively and woefully short of the high standards that professional Orientalists and archaeologists are long accustomed to, and have a right to demand (Kitchen, 2003, p. 492, emp. added).
When questioned about whether Moses wrote any of the Bible, Halpern responds, “Not a thing.” He follows with the shocking statement: “I forgot to tell you these people were illiterate until basically the 8th century B.C.” Jacobovici’s response? “I think I’ve got him on that one.” He travels to the Sinai desert to see an alphabetic inscription dating at least as early as the time of Moses. While the inscription is not conclusive, there is other evidence Jacobovici could have considered. Three important Hebrew inscriptions dating to the tenth century B.C. contradict Halpern’s outlandish statement. The Tel Zayit Inscription is an abecedary—a list of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The Gezer Calendar is a small tablet outlining the agricultural seasons. The oldest inscription found to date is a potsherd from Khirbet Qeiyafa, whose text has distinct parallels to several biblical passages (see Bryant, 2010). If the Hebrews were illiterate until the 8th century, who created these Hebrew inscriptions in the 10th century?
It is entertaining to see a filmmaker and amateur archaeologist outduel an ancient historian widely recognized as an authority in his field. The episode demonstrates a vital point that every Christian should note: just because a person is a recognized scholar does not mean he or she is inevitably correct in their criticisms of the Bible. The history of biblical scholarship is full of antiquated theories that were once held as absolute fact, but are now totally abandoned. Given the evidence that archaeologists and biblical scholars now have, the documentary hypothesis is surely destined to join them. Moses may not have signed his work, but theories offered by critics thus far have failed to pass the test of plausibility when all of the evidence is considered. [NOTE: Over a century ago, J.W. McGarvey wrote a masterful and decisive refutation of the documentary hypothesis, titled The Authorship of the Book of Deuteronomy With its Bearings on the Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch.]

REFERENCES

Bryant, Dewayne (2010), “The Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=124&article=3492.
Kitchen, Kenneth (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Love is not Jealous, so Why is God? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=777

Love is not Jealous, so Why is God?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The argument goes something like this: (1) 1 John 4:8 indicates that “God is love;” (2) 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that “love is not jealous” (NAS); and yet (3) Exodus 20:5, along with several other passages, reveals that God is “a jealous God.” “How,” the skeptic asks, “can God be jealous when several verses say God is love and 1 Cor. says love is not jealous?” (McKinsey, 1992). Simply put, if love is not jealous, and God is love, then God logically cannot be called jealous. Or conversely, if love is not jealous, and God is jealous, then God cannot be considered loving. Right? How can these verses be anything but contradictory?
The term “jealousy” most often carries a negative connotation in twenty-first-century America. We pity the man who is jealous of his coworker’s success. We frown upon families who react to a neighbor’s newly found fortune by becoming overcome with jealously. And we are perturbed to hear of a jealous husband who distrusts his wife, and questions every possible wrong action that she might make, even going so far as demanding that she never leave the house without him. Add to these feelings about jealousy what various New Testament passages have to say on the subject, and one can understand why some might sincerely question why God is described at times as “jealous.” The apostle Paul admonished the Christians in Rome to “behave properly,” and put off “strife and jealousy” (Romans 13:13, NAS). To the church at Corinth, Paul expressed concern that when he came to their city he might find them involved in such sinful things as gossip, strife, and jealousy (2 Corinthians 12:20). And, as noted above, he explicitly told them that “love is not jealous” (1 Corinthians 13:4). James also wrote about the sinfulness of jealousy, saying that where it exists “there is disorder and every evil thing” (3:16; cf. Acts 7:9). One religious writer described such jealousy as “an infantile resentment springing from unmortified covetousness, which expresses itself in envy, malice, and meanness of action” (Packer, 1973, p. 189). It seems, more often than not, that both the New Testament and the “moral code” of modern society speak of “jealousy” in a negative light.
The truth is, however, sometimes jealously can be spoken of in a good sense. The word “jealous” is translated in the Old Testament from the Hebrew word qin’ah, and in the New Testament from the Greek word zelos. The root idea behind both words is that of “warmth” or “heat” (Forrester, 1996). The Hebrew word for jealousy carries with it the idea of “redness of the face that accompanies strong emotion” (Feinberg, 1942, p. 429)—whether right or wrong. Depending upon the usage of the word, it can be used to represent both a good and an evil passion. Three times in 1 Corinthians, Paul used this word in a good sense to encourage his brethren to “earnestly desire (zeelo├║te)” spiritual gifts (12:31; 14:1,39). He obviously was not commanding the Corinthians to sin, but to do something that was good and worthwhile. Later, when writing to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul was even more direct in showing how there was such a thing as “godly jealousy.” He stated:
I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it (2 Corinthians 11:2-4, emp. added).
Paul’s burning desire was for the church at Corinth to abide in the love of God. As a friend of the bridegroom (Christ), Paul used some of the strongest language possible to encourage the “bride” of Christ at Corinth to be pure and faithful.
In a similar way, Jehovah expressed His love for Israel in the Old Testament by proclaiming to be “a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24). He was not envious of the Israelites’ accomplishments or possessions, but was communicating His strong love for them with anthropomorphic language. The Scriptures depict a spiritual marriage between Jehovah and His people. Sadly, during the period of the divided kingdom, both Israel and Judah were guilty of “playing the harlot” (Jeremiah 3:6-10). God called Israel’s idolatrous practice “adultery,” and for this reason He had “put her away and given her a certificate of divorce” (3:8). This is not the “lunatic fury of a rejected or supplanted suitor,” but a “zeal to protect a love-relationship” (Packer, p. 189). Jehovah felt for Israel “as the most affectionate husband could do for his spouse, and was jealous for their fidelity, because he willed their invariable happiness” (Clarke, 1996, emp. added). Song of Solomon 8:6 is further proof that love and jealousy are not always opposed to each other. To her beloved, the Shulamite said: “Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord” (NAS). In this passage, love and jealousy actually are paralleled to convey the same basic meaning (see Tanner, 1997, p. 158)—that (aside from one’s love for God) marital love is “the strongest, most unyielding and invincible force in human experience” (NIV Study Bible, 1985, p. 1012). In this sense, being a jealous husband or wife is a good thing. As one commentator noted, married persons “who felt no jealousy at the intrusion of a lover or an adulterer into their home would surely be lacking in moral perception; for the exclusiveness of marriage is the essence of marriage” (Tasker, 1967, p. 106).
Truly, love has a jealous side. There is a sense in which one legitimately can be jealous for what rightfully belongs to him (see Numbers 25). Such is especially true in the marriage relationship. Israel was God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6). He had begun to set them apart as a special nation by blessing their “father” Abraham (Genesis 12:1ff; 17:1-27). He blessed the Israelites with much numerical growth while living in Egypt (Exodus 1:7,12,19; Deuteronomy 26:5; cf. Genesis 15:5; 46:3). He delivered them from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 3-12). And, among other things, He gave them written revelation, which, if obeyed, would bring them spiritually closer to Jehovah, and even would make them physically superior to other nations, in that they would be spared from various diseases (see Exodus 15:26). Like a bird that watches over her eggs and young with jealousy, preventing other birds from entering her nest, God watched over the Israelites with “righteous” jealousy, unwilling to tolerate the presence of false gods among his people (see Exodus 20:3-6; Joshua 24:14-16,19-20). Such “godly jealousy” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2) was not what Paul had in mind in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

REFERENCES

Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Feinberg, Charles Lee (1942), “Exegetical Studies in Zechariah: Part 10,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 99:428-439, October.
Forrester, E.J. (1996), “Jealousy,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Electronic Database Biblesoft).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1992), [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/chas1222/bepart56.html.
NIV Study Bible (1985), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Packer, J.I. (1973), Knowing God (London: Hodder and Stoughton).
Tanner, J. Paul (1997), “The Message of the Song of Songs,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 154: 142-161, April.
Tasker, R.V.G. (1967), The Epistle of James (London: Tyndale Press).

Life on Mars? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=280

Life on Mars?
by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


A group of scientists believes it has found evidence for life on Mars (McKay, et al., 1996). NASA was ecstatic, and quick to point out that its personnel and funds were behind the project. This could not have come at a better time for the struggling Space Agency. The organization’s multi-billion dollar budget for the proposed orbiting space station—which NASA thinks is essential for manned explorations to Mars—has been the target of deep cost-cutting measures. July 1996 marked the twentieth anniversary of the first Viking landing and, in late 1996, NASA launched the first of two new Mars-bound probes.
However, NASA’s vested interests explain only part of the hype. Most important, we have the first serious claim of life beyond our own planet. For some observers, the ramifications reach even farther. According to NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, the new finding “gets to the foundations of beliefs of the human species.” Supposedly, this speculation about Mars will only trouble “creationists and Christian fundamentalists who adhere to a literal interpretation of Genesis” (Monmaney, 1996). But should Bible believers be disturbed by these findings? Let us take a look at the evidence.
In 1984, a geologist picked up a 4½ pound rock from the icy wastes of Antarctica. The sample,ALH84001, was very unusual, but it had all the physical and chemical signs of being a meteorite. Ten years later, a scientist identified this rock as belonging to a rare group of meteorites, apparently blasted in our direction by impacts on the Martian surface. [Eleven other meteorites have a similar composition to ALH84001. One of these meteorites, EET79001, has crystallized “bubbles” containing gas matching the atmosphere of Mars as measured by the Viking landers. The inference, therefore, is that all these meteorites have a common origin, i.e., Mars.] Also, researchers suggest that ALH84001came from a rock formed in the planet’s earliest geologic era.
In their paper, David S. McKay and his colleagues offered several clues that, they believe, add up to evidence for life on ancient Mars:
  • ALH84001 contains relatively high concentrations of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Converting organic matter into coal, or grilling a hamburger, are just two ways of creating PAHs on Earth. The authors suggest that the meteorite’s PAHs resulted from the chemical alteration of organic matter in the original rock.
  • The sample contains carbonate globules with magnetite crystals and iron-sulfide minerals, both of which are produced by, or contained in, certain bacteria on Earth.
  • The globules show tiny egg- and tubular-shaped features that may be the fossilized remains of bacteria. The authors speculate that the bacteria grew in calcium-rich waters that had penetrated the cracks of the rock, and were preserved as the fluid hardened into carbonate.
However, each of these clues, taken individually, is not unique to life. For example:
  • Completely inorganic processes can form PAHs. Astronomers have detected these compounds in interstellar space, and in the atmospheres of cool stars.
  • Magnetite, iron sulfides, and carbonates commonly form by inorganic processes.
  • Several researchers believe that the globules in ALH84001 formed at high temperatures inhospitable to life (Harvey and McSween, 1996).
  • Apart from their external appearance, the bacterium-like shapes on the globules show no cell walls or other features unique to living organisms, and are hundreds of times smaller than any such fossils found on Earth.
  • The proportion of sulfur isotopes in another Martian meteorite suggests the absence of organic activity.
Obviously, the claims are very tenuous. William Schopf, who was present at the NASA conference, voiced many of the objections listed above (see Grady et al., 1996). “The biological explanation,” he said, “was unlikely.” Another critic was John F. Kerridge—lead author on a paper advising NASA on a strategy for finding life on Mars. Although impressed with the science in the paper, Kerridge concluded that it “fell far short of establishing the case for evidence of biological activity.” Even McKay, as the project’s team leader, denied having found the “smoking gun” of life, let alone “absolute proof ” of life, either past or present. “We’re just saying we have found a lot of pointers in that direction” (as reported by Kerr, 1996). With regard to more complex organisms, Goldin insisted that there is “no evidence or suggestion that any higher life-form ever existed on Mars.”
This is not the last we will hear of such research; scientists will continue to offer less ambiguous evidence for extraterrestrial life. Of course, Bible believers have every right to be as skeptical of the Martian-rock claims as anybody else. Ken Ham offered the following response in light of Scripture:
The Bible does not say whether or not life is found elsewhere in the universe. However, because the Earth was created first and the Sun, Moon, and stars were made on the fourth day, it seems likely that because the Earth was center stage in the Creation, everything else was created for the Earth. We can’t be dogmatic about this, but it is most likely that only Earth has life (1996, 3[9]:3; for a slightly different viewpoint, see Jackson, 1996).
Given the current evidence, there is no reason to conclude that intelligent life exists anywhere except on Earth (Thompson, 1991). Ham, and others, also point out that if there ever was life (or at least, the remains of life) on Mars, then perhaps it was carried there by the solar wind from Earth’s outer atmosphere. Life, wherever we may find it, owes its ultimate existence to the Creator-God (Exodus 20:11).
Evolutionists believe that this latest discovery might help them understand how life can come from nonliving chemicals. Certainly, from their perspective, if life can arise by purely natural means once, then it can arise many times. This would suggest that there are universal principles at work. Surely these should be so obvious, and so pervasive, that we would have some experience of life’s appearing from nonlife. But this is not the case, and there is no reason to think that life on Mars will solve this most intractable problem of materialistic evolution.

REFERENCES

Grady, Monica, Ian Wright, and Colin Pillinger (1996), “Opening a Martian Can of Worms?,” Nature, 382:575-576, August 15.
Ham, Ken (1996), “Life in the Rock?,” Answers in Genesis Newsletter, 3[9]:1-3,7-8.
Harvey, Ralph P. and Harry Y. McSween (1996), “A Possible High-Temperature Origin for the Carbonates in the Martian Meteorite ALH84001,” Nature, 382:49-51, Nuly 4.
Jackson, Wayne (1996), "Has Evidence of Primitive Life Been Found on Mars?," Christian Courier, 32[6]:21-23, October.
Kerr, Richard A. (1996), “Ancient Life on Mars?,” Science, 273:864-866, August 16.
Kerridge, John F. (1996), “Mars Media Mayhem,” Science, 274:161, October 11.
McKay, David S. (1996), “Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relic Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001,” Science, 272:924-930, May 17.
Monmaney, Terence (1996), “Launch Pad for Flights of Wonder,” L.A. Times, Saturday, August 31.
Thompson, Bert (1991), “Is There Intelligent Life In Outer Space?,” Reason & Revelation, 11:37-40, October.
[See related article: “Mars Rock Update”]

Lessons Learned in the Practice of Law: God is a Perfect Judge by Kevin Cain, J.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3793

Lessons Learned in the Practice of Law: God is a Perfect Judge

by Kevin Cain, J.D.


[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. auxiliary staff writer, Kevin Cain, who holds degrees from Freed-Hardeman University (B.S., M.Min.) and the Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law. A former Briefing Attorney of The First Court of Appeals, his current practice focuses on litigation at the trial and appellate levels in both State and Federal Courts.]
I am an attorney. I make a living studying the law, applying the law, and helping my clients navigate the murky waters of the legal profession. Over the years practicing as an attorney, I have come across cases, legal maxims, rules of law, statutes, and experiences that remind me of subtle lessons that God has long ago passed on to us through His holy Word. It simply reminds me of the great wisdom and superiority of God and His ways. One of these lessons was impressed upon me at a recent hearing.
I do not practice criminal law, but many trial courts have a combined civil and criminal docket—meaning they try both civil and criminal cases. Therefore, when I show up at the courthouse for a hearing on a civil case, I often sit and listen to people in orange jumpsuits plead guilty and beg for the judge’s mercy while I wait for my hearing to be called. Usually the assistant district attorney (ADA) and the defense attorney have reached a deal before the defendant pleads guilty. However, this agreement merely results in a recommendation from the ADA to the judge for purposes of sentencing the defendant. The judge may or may not accept this recommendation. The judge may give the defendant deferred adjudication or probation, or he may sentence the defendant to jail time. Rarely does the judge pass a sentence that is harsher than the sentence recommended by the ADA—rare, but not impossible.
I recently sat in a courthouse and listened to an attorney and the defendant’s mother plead for leniency and mercy on behalf of the defendant, who had just plead guilty to arson. The defense attorney begged for probation, while the ADA recommended 10 years in prison. The judge sentenced the 22-year-old man, with his one year-old daughter in the court room, to 15 years in prison. The defendant wept silently, and his mother wept bitterly as her son was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs to begin his 15 years in prison. I do not envy the judges who have to make life-changing decisions like this.
In this lifetime, on this side of eternity, we will never know perfect judgment, where justice and mercy are perfectly blended together resulting in judgment that is perfectly fair. Judges are faced with pleas for mercy, tears of sympathy, and cries for justice. What is a judge to do? Each judge must ask, “Is this defendant truly sorry and changed, or is he simply regretting that he got caught and sorry he is facing judgment?” While we often hear of judges who appear to have exercised poor judgment in their sentencing, and presume that we could do better, this is not a job I want day in and day out. As a judge stares down his gavel at a defendant pleading for his life, how is a judge to know if that person is truly sorry, sincere, or is simply putting on a show?
The true God we read of in the Bible is a perfect judge. He knows the hearts and minds of men. Our God searches the hearts of men—that is, he knows our every thought (Romans 8:27).  God tries our hearts and our minds (Psalm 7:9). “The Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9). God can look past the external distractions that so often mislead, and He looks directly into our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Because of God’s ability to know our thoughts, our motives, and the intents of our hearts, He is a perfect judge who will exact perfect judgment. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). “And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Psalm 9:8). Our God will judge us all with precision, bringing together mercy and wrath perfectly. “But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth: with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4). In other words when God judges this world, separating the saved from the lost, we will still be able to say, “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37). When we pray for forgiveness, only God knows if we are truly sincere, sorry, and changed. God is a perfect judge.
A person can stand before a judge and fool him into leniency based on a purely external show of feigned sorrow. Another person may incur the judge’s wrath even though he is truly heart-broken and penitent. Nevertheless, our God looks beyond the external tears, confessions, pleas, and apologies; and He knows those who truly have torn hearts and those who merely demonstrate an external, superficial show of sorrow (Joel 2:13). “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7). God is a perfect judge.
Our biases and inconsistencies on this subject are obvious and apparent. When we hear of some person (whom we have never met) who has committed some atrocious crime, we immediately think, “I hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law, and even beyond that if possible.” However, when it is me or someone I personally know who is facing criminal prosecution, we immediately pray and beg for mercy and understanding from the judge, because we truly are sorry. So, where is the balance, and what is the answer?
In the United States, we have a legal system that is literally second to none. Many people risk their lives every day around this world defending this nation and our liberties and rights. Among those rights, according to the U.S. Constitution, is the right to a trial by jury. People are dying every day in an effort to enter this country of ours to have access to our legal system that is driven and founded on concepts of liberty, justice, and equity. We have a judicial system where disagreements are settled in a civil manner in the court house, not in the streets at the hands of an angry mob. However, our legal system is far from perfect and has more problems and flaws than most attorneys, judges, and jurists would care to admit. We will never know perfect judgment in this lifetime. And thankfully, I am not called to judge every person to determine where they will spend eternity, much less attempt to exact some form of temporary justice for every wrong that is committed today. Rather, God wants me to present every person with God’s Word (Matthew 28:19-20)—the very text, law, and code that will be the guide by which everyone will someday be judged (Revelation 20:12). God wants me to stand in the gap and warn the world of the righteous judgment to come (Ezekiel 3:17-19; 22:30). God will take care of the judging. My role is not to ensure perfect judgment in my time, but to prepare for perfect judgment in God’s time.  God is a perfect judge.