From Gary.... "If's"

This man changed the world; forever!!  He has been an inspiration to millions and by his efforts, those of his race are enjoying freedoms never before experienced in the U.S.A.. He reminds me of another person- Paul the Apostle....

2 Corinthians, Chapter 11 (WEB)

  16  I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. 17 That which I speak, I don’t speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast.  19 For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. 20 For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face.  21 I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet however any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also.  22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.  23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. 24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one.  25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep.  26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers;  27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness. 

  28  Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies.  29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness.

Later in his life, we read...

Acts, Chapter 28 (WEB)
 30  Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who were coming to him, 31 preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance. 

Paul endured great hardships for the cause of Christ, and even during the last two years of his life, he continued to preach and teach concerning Jesus from a Roman prison. Only God knows how many untold millions upon millions have benefited from his efforts.  

Dr. Martin Luther King and the Apostle Paul, although separated by culture, distance and time, have something in common- they kept moving forward no matter how many "if's" they encountered.

To every Christian who is reading this- No matter what "If's you encounter- keep moving forward!!!

From Gary... Bible Reading January 21

Bible Reading  

January 21

The World English Bible

Jan. 21
Genesis 21

Gen 21:1 Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did to Sarah as he had spoken.
Gen 21:2 Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
Gen 21:3 Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
Gen 21:4 Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
Gen 21:5 Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.
Gen 21:6 Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me."
Gen 21:7 She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
Gen 21:8 The child grew, and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
Gen 21:9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
Gen 21:10 Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this handmaid and her son! For the son of this handmaid will not be heir with my son, Isaac."
Gen 21:11 The thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son.
Gen 21:12 God said to Abraham, "Don't let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For from Isaac will your seed be called.
Gen 21:13 I will also make a nation of the son of the handmaid, because he is your seed."
Gen 21:14 Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder; and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Gen 21:15 The water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
Gen 21:16 She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Don't let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.
Gen 21:17 God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Don't be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
Gen 21:18 Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand. For I will make him a great nation."
Gen 21:19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy drink.
Gen 21:20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the wilderness, and became, as he grew up, an archer.
Gen 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.
Gen 21:22 It happened at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do.
Gen 21:23 Now, therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me, and to the land in which you have lived as a foreigner."
Gen 21:24 Abraham said, "I will swear."
Gen 21:25 Abraham complained to Abimelech because of a water well, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.
Gen 21:26 Abimelech said, "I don't know who has done this thing. Neither did you tell me, neither did I hear of it, until today."
Gen 21:27 Abraham took sheep and cattle, and gave them to Abimelech. Those two made a covenant.
Gen 21:28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
Gen 21:29 Abimelech said to Abraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves mean?"
Gen 21:30 He said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that it may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well."
Gen 21:31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because they both swore there.
Gen 21:32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Abimelech rose up with Phicol, the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
Gen 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.

Gen 21:34 Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines many days.

 Jan. 21, 22
Matthew 11

Mat 11:1 It happened that when Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Mat 11:2 Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
Mat 11:3 and said to him, "Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?"
Mat 11:4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
Mat 11:5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Mat 11:6 Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me."
Mat 11:7 As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses.
Mat 11:9 But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Mat 11:11 Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
Mat 11:12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come.
Mat 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 11:16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions
Mat 11:17 and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you didn't dance. We mourned for you, and you didn't lament.'
Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.'
Mat 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."
Mat 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn't repent.
Mat 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Mat 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Mat 11:23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until this day.
Mat 11:24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment, than for you."
Mat 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.
Mat 11:26 Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight.
Mat 11:27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and he to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
Mat 11:28 "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

From Roy Davison... The Lord is our Judge, Lawgiver and King!


The Lord is our Judge, Lawgiver and King!

“For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).
As is true of every effective government, God's kingdom has judicial, legislative and executive powers.
Because in worldly governments, people in power tend to misuse their power, the judicial and the executive powers are separated in democracies. Sometimes the legislative and executive powers are also separated.
God does not misuse His power. He knows everything, including “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Because of His holiness, justice, knowledge, wisdom, love, goodness, mercy and power, the Lord is infinitely qualified to serve as Judge, Lawgiver and King.

The Lord is our Judge.

A judge is someone who is authorized to decide questions brought before a court of justice. A judge makes his decision after evaluating the facts and applying the law.
God is “the Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25). “He is coming to judge the earth” (1 Chronicles 16:32). “God is a just judge” (Psalm 7:11). “The Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness” (Psalm 9:7, 8).
The heavenly Father has appointed His Son, Jesus Christ, to “judge the living and the dead at His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:1). “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).
God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
On your calendar you have no doubt noted important appointments. What could be more important than our appointment with God on Judgment Day? “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9, 10).
Judgment Day is drawing near. It is extremely important that we know the basis upon which we will be judged.

The Lord is our Lawgiver.

A lawgiver is someone who is authorized to draft and enact laws. A law is a rule of conduct imposed by authority, which one is obligated to obey, usually with a designated punishment for violation.
“There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12).
It is extremely important that we know the law of the Lord because compliance or non-compliance will determine whether we spend eternity in heaven or in hell. And eternity is a long, long time.
The law of the Lord must be learned. The Lord was well-disposed towards king Jehoshaphat of Judah because “his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 17:6). He sent leaders throughout the country to teach the law: “So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people” (2 Chronicles 17:9).
Ezra the priest “had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).
Of “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) Paul wrote, “I delight in the law of God” and “I serve the law of God” (Romans 7:22, 26). He also explained that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
Of the Messianic reign it was predicted, “Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
The Lord has given us His law. By learning and obeying His law we are getting ready for the day of judgment. 

The Lord is our King.

A king is the sovereign ruler of a kingdom, the highest authority over a realm.
“The Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10).
“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1).
“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:6-8).
The armed forces of a king support his authority. Our King is Yahweh Zebaoth, Lord of hosts, Lord of heavenly forces.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7-10).
When the king of Syria wanted to capture Elisha, “he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, and said, 'LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:14-17).
At various times God's people were rebuked when they sought help from the Egyptian army, rather than placing their confidence in the power of God: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD!” (Isaiah 31:1).
Our King has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). “He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God'” (Isaiah 44:6).
To Jesus, who is called 'the First and the Last' in Revelation 2:8, Nathanael said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
“They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: 'Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested'” (Revelation 15:3, 4). 
“The LORD shall reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:18).
When the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, John heard loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).
And the most wonderful thing about all of this is, that our Judge, Lawgiver and King is also our Savior! “For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). Amen.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

From Jim McGuiggan... Cooking a kid in its mother's milk

Cooking a kid in its mother's milk

"Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk." Exodus 23:19. It’s been suggested that there were idolatrous practices that involved doing just this so this law prohibits that. Perhaps. But then there were idolatrous practices which involved roasting, butchering, bleeding and all kinds of things that were embodied in Mosaic ritual practice so why weren't these forbidden? A Ugaritic text has been offered as a parallel to Exodus 23:19. It’s a text that needs reconstructed and the most likely reconstruction of it is debated. It might say, “Cook a kid in milk, a lamb in butter.” In any case, this isn’t a parallel to the biblical text which doesn’t forbid cooking a kid in milk. This passage forbids cooking a kid in its mother’s milk.
It’s true the Mishnah forbids the cooking of any meat in milk (except fish and locusts—Hullin 8:1) but that was done to avoid the possibility of offending against the Exodus 23:19 law. The rabbis even forbade the eating of cheese and meat together. But the Pentateuchal law three times forbids cooking a kid “in its mother’s milk.” Maybe there is a Canaanite fertility rite being opposed but there is no clear indication that this is so.
Maybe Chadwick is right, the simplest explanation is the correct one. In 23:5 the law urges Israel to assist the overburdened animal even if you have an emotional conflict with its owner. In 23:10-11 the law provides food for even the wild animals. In 23:12 the law provides rest for the domestic animals—note the "so that". The psalms assure us that God provides food and drink for the whole creation, animals and birds included (Psalm 104:13-14; 145:15-16; 147:8-9 and elsewhere).
Exodus 23:19 may then be an expression of God’s care for the animal world (which has theological and moral ramifications for us in terms of ecology and human relationships). In offering the first fruits sacrifice of animals, 22:30 tells us the animal is not to be separated from its mother for a full seven days (cf. Leviticus 22:27; Deuteronomy 22:6-7). While such laws have religious significance, there is no reason to choose the strictly religious significance and reject the humane. It seems very clear that all the laws of the covenant, in some way or another, have ramifications for the life of Israel at the human level and nurtured compassion, fairness and sensitivity.
Deuteronomy 25:4 says the ox must not be muzzled while he treads out the corn. The law shows concern for the ox. Paul’s use of it in 1 Corinthians 9:9 does not deny that, it simply makes the point that if indeed God’s cares for oxen—which he does—he certainly cares for his human servants. To accuse Paul of denying not only what OT texts taught but also what every Jew of his day believed is nonsense! Just the same, we need to note what he did with a passage that legislated concerning a non-reasoning creature. He believed that the principle of the text went beyond oxen to people. Should that surprise us? His Master said, If God feeds the birds which are sold two for a farthing, he will feed his people who ‘are much more valuable’ (Matthew 6:25-26 and parallels).
In a fairly well controlled and self-sufficient community such as Israel things were simpler than they are today in a world of international commerce. It isn’t always possible to assess fairly what is gratuitous violence, greed or cruelty. The killing of baby seals for food and clothing by those who live in that part of the world is not in the same league as killing them to make luxuries for bored people who have more money than they know what to do with. To abort a developing human to save the life of the mother, whatever else one might think of it, we shouldn’t put in the same category as using aborted developing humans to manufacture cosmetics.
Whatever else is true about Exodus 23:19, people have always felt it shows a kind of callousness and perverseness, a perverting of nature, to take what was meant to sustain and nourish the offspring and make it the instrument of its death; to use what the baby delighted in to cause its death.
To force a defenceless mother to choose or assist in the death of her child has that kind of spirit in it. The Nazi camp-commander, approached by the Jewish mother, begging him to spare her two little boys, cruelly said he’d allow one to live but she had to make the choice or both would die. He “cooked a kid in its mother’s milk.” To seduce a girl, by well-oiled speech to choose between her family and the baby growing within her is to “cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” For a young man (or woman) to use the deep emotion of one who loves them as the means of getting them to dishonour themselves is “to cook a kid in its mother’s milk.”
There are many ways to engage in this kind of perversity.
There are people who use their illness as a tool to hurt those who love them deeply and dearly. Counting on that love and devotion, in a fit of spite and with sly purpose, they sometimes feign pain or feign worse pain than they’re really experiencing, or injure themselves to break the carer’s heart. He (or she) has done something that has offended them, you see, so they use their sickness as a weapon but it can only work as a weapon when they can be sure of the love of the one they wish to hurt. Such people are ill in more ways than one. They “cook a kid in its mother’s milk.”
Children, in spite, to inflict pain, sometimes engage in things they know will grieve the hearts of the parents [“I’ll make them sorry! If I end up on the streets or addicted they’ll feel guilty!”]. They count on the love of the parents and they use that love to bring about grief and profound pain. They “boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”
And, yet, so common, so widespread.   So perverse!

The Finger of God by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Finger of God

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Skeptics have railed against the Bible on account of its allusions to God’s body parts. For example, the Bible speaks of the arm of God (Job 40:9), the hand of God (Job 19:21), the face of God (Job 13:24), the eyes of God (Deuteronomy 11:12), the ears of God (Psalm 130:2), the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3), the voice of God (Job 40:9), and even the “finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Attentive Bible students are aware that all such references are simply accommodative language—anthropomorphisms (man forms)—in which the Scriptures provide humans with a reference point for relating to God’s activity. The Bible clearly teaches that God isspirit—not physical (John 4:24). He does not possess physical mass. Jesus Himself stated, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50). It is difficult for humans to conceptualize an infinite, eternal Being Who is not composed of physical matter, since humans are subject to space and time, and experience existence in a setting that is preeminently material. Nevertheless, while we may have difficulty fully understanding the nature of a nonphysical Being, the concept itself is neither self-contradictory nor incoherent.
For example, when Moses and Aaron unleashed the plagues by the power of God upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian population, Pharaoh’s magicians concluded: “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19). They simply meant that the plague was God’s doing—that the affliction was the result of God’s power. In like manner, the Bible states that the original Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on two tablets of stone were “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18; cf. Deuteronomy 9:10). In other words, God authored them and supernaturally placed them in writing on the stone tablets. Another sample of this type of figurative speech is seen in the declaration of the psalmist regarding God’s creative activity: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4, emp. added). Obviously, God does not have fleshly fingers, nor would He find it necessary to use them if He had them. Being the ultimate Mind, He can bring into existence ex nihilo (out of nothing) whatever He chooses by simplywilling it into existence.
This same figure of speech is seen in the New Testament as well. Jesus stated: “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20, emp. added). He simply meant that His actions were by divine agency. Observe the alternate wording of a parallel passage where, in place of the “finger of God,” the text has the “Spirit of God”: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). It is evident that “finger” simply refers to deity (whether the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit) manifesting His presence and power in a time-space continuum.
Those scholars who have devoted their lives to studying dead languages, discovering their linguistic intricacies, figurative features, and idiomatic expressions, have long recognized this particular figure. For example, E.W. Bullinger, who published a monumental volume in the nineteenth century titled Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (1898), labeled this linguistic attribute “anthropopatheia” or “condescension,” which he identified as “the ascription of human passions, actions, or attributes to God” (p. 871). He devoted several pages to illustrating this figure of speech (pp. 871-897). In his specific remarks regarding the “finger” of God, he wrote: “A Finger is attributed to God, to denote the putting forth of His formative power, and the direct and immediate act of God” (p. 881). John Haley, who in 1874 produced the respected and scholarly reference work Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, defended the “immateriality” of God on the grounds that all such anthropomorphic passages “are simply bold figures and startling hyperboles in which the Orientals are wont to indulge” (p. 63). He identified the expression “finger of God” as referring to God’s “direct agency.”
The Bible has been the target of a myriad of attacks by skeptics for over 2,000 years. It will undoubtedly continue to be so. No other book in all of human history has been the object of such sustained, frenzied, and antagonistic scrutiny. For the honest, unbiased investigator, the Bible’s supernatural attributes continue to validate its authenticity.


Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Haley, John W. (1977 reprint), Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Schoolbooks, Easter Eggs, and Homosexuality by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Schoolbooks, Easter Eggs, and Homosexuality
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The vigorous culture war being waged in America over homosexuality and same-sex marriage is escalating. One by one, the dominoes continue to fall, softening attitudes and creating more acceptance for behavior that the Founders and the bulk of the American population once deemed morally deplorable. Two cases in point: dozens of homosexual and lesbian couples with children crashed the annual White House Easter egg hunt—a tradition held each year on the White House lawn since 1878. To identify themselves, the couples wore rainbow colored leis around their necks. Their stated purpose was “to make their presence felt in American society” (“Gay Parents...,” 2006). The organizing entity, Family Pride Coalition, explained that they were helping the President to “understand that gay families exist in this country and deserve the rights and protections that all families need” (“White House...,” 2006).
Another case in point: A second grade teacher at Estabrook Elementary in Lexington, Massachusetts recently read a fairytale book to her class. The fairytale book was not the Grimm brothers’ Cinderellaor Hansel and Gretel. Nor was it Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes or The Princess and the Pea. No, not hardly. It was King and King—a book about two princes who marry each other, acquire children, and are shown kissing on the last page. The book targets children ages six and older. The Lexington Superintendent of Schools boasts that the school system is committed to “diversity and tolerance” and maintains that he has no legal obligation to notify parents when children are being exposed to such material since same-sex marriage is now legal in Massachusetts (Jan, 2006). Of course, the Left Coast 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had already ruled that parents do not have a fundamental right to control when, where, and how their children are taught about sex (Parker, 2005).
Most Americans are unaware that the public school system is being inundated with educational materials that promote the homosexual agenda, materials that are specifically designed to prepare the next generation to embrace homosexuality. The public school system is being systematically rearranged to eliminate parents from the loop so that they will cease “interfering” with educators who seek to indoctrinate children with their anti-Christian values. The books appearing in various school libraries around the country are legion, including And Tango Makes ThreeHeather Has Two Mommies; Daddy’s RoommateJack and Jim: Picture BookOne Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue DadsThe Sissy DucklingWho’s in a Family?Molly’s FamilyIt’s Perfectly NormalBest, Best Colors; and My Two Uncles. Imagine what America is going to be like 10 to 15 years from now when the children nurtured by such books are adults. (Parents may want to give more consideration to homeschooling).
Christians and others who continue to oppose homosexuality will remain the objects of abuse, ridiculed as “homophobic,” “intolerant,” and “judgmental.” But “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The Bible is still the inspired Word of God. The Creator has said that same-sex relations are sinful (Romans 1:24-28). The spread of such behavior will result in national destruction, as recognized by the great English jurist, William Blackstone (who exerted a profound influence on the Founding Fathers and American jurisprudence):
[T]he infamous crime against nature...is an offence of so dark a nature.... THIS the voice of nature and of reason, and the express law of God, determine to be capital. Of which we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven: so that this is an universal, not merely a provincial, precept (1769, 4.15.215-216).
[NOTE: As soon as funds are available, Apologetics Press plans to publish an outstanding children’s book that counters the onslaught of the homosexual’s war on America’s youth titled: Does God Love Michael’s Two Daddies?]


Blackstone, William (1769), Commentaries on the Laws of England, [On-line], URL: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/blackstone/bk4ch15.htm.
“Gay Parents Quietly Crash White House Easter Party” (2006), Yahoo News, April 17, [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060417/ts_alt_afp/u spoliticseaster_060417200009.
Jan, Tracy (2006), “Parents Rip School Over Gay Storybook,” Boston Globe, April 20, [On-line], URL: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/04/20/parents_rip_school _over_gay_storybook/.
Parker, Kathleen (2005), “Parents Take Another Hit in the Culture Wars,” Orlando Sentinel, G3, November 6, [On-line], URL: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/orlandosentinel/access/922392231.html?dids= 922392231:922392231&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Nov+6%2C+2005&author=Kathl een+Parker%2C+Sentinel+Columnist&pub=Orlando+Sentinel&edition=&startpag e=G.3&desc=Parents+take+another+hit+in+the+culture+wars.
“White House Easter: Gay Friendly?” (2006), CBS News, April 13, [On-line], URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/national/main 1496408.shtml.

God Put Wits In Godwits by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


God Put Wits In Godwits
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

At one time, Michael Johnson was the fastest man alive. He once covered the last 100 meters of a 200-meter race in 9.6 seconds (“The Fastest Man...,” 2007). A human running at a speed of 28 mph is quite impressive, but neither Michael Johnson nor any other human can maintain such a speed for more than a few seconds. Marathon runners may be able to run 26.2 miles without stopping, but no one averages more than 13 mph while running great distances. Although the human body is a meticulously designed “machine” (see Jackson, 2000), which functions perfectly for its intended purpose on Earth, there are limits to what a person can do. When these limits are compared to the speed and distance a particular bird recently flew, one gains a greater appreciation for God’s wondrous creation.
In February 2007, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey fitted 16 shorebirds, known as bar-tailed godwits, with satellite transmitters. One of the godwits, dubbed E7, made its way from New Zealand to Alaska over the next three months, flying 9,340 miles with one five-week-long layover near the North Korea-China border (Hansford, 2007). After nearly four months, the godwit began its uninterrupted flight back to New Zealand. Amazingly, this little bird, which normally weighs less than one pound, flew 7,145 miles in nine days without stopping, averaging 34.8 mph. Without taking a break to eat, drink, or rest, the godwit flew “the equivalent of making a roundtrip flight between New York and San Francisco, and then flying back again to San Francisco without ever touching down” (“Bird Completes...,” 2007). Equally impressive, the godwit’s approximately 16,500-mile, roundtrip journey ended where it began. Without a map, a compass, or even a parent, godwits can fly tens of thousands of miles without getting lost.
Scientists have studied the migration of birds for decades and still cannot adequately explain this “age-old riddle” (Peterson, 1968, p. 108). Their stamina and sense of direction is mind-boggling. In his book Unsolved Mysteries of Science, evolutionist John Malone reported how much progress man has made over the last few centuries in understanding how birds are able to journey thousands of miles with pinpoint accuracy (2001, pp. 114-122). Yet, he concluded his chapter on bird migration, saying:
Partial explanations abound, but every book or scientific article on bird migration is full of conditional words and phrases: “It may be...but it also might not be.” We know more about how birds might achieve their epic flights around the world, but there are still far more mysteries than there are explanations. The tiny songbird that reappeared to build its nest in the apple tree outside your window—and we know from banding that it can indeed be exactly the same bird—has been to South America and back since you saw it last. How can that be? This is one case where it may be nicer not to know—simply allow yourself to be swept up by awe and wonder (p. 122, emp. added).
Try as they might, evolutionists attempting to explain the complexities of bird migration can only offer woeful (and often contradictory) theories, at best (Peterson, p. 108). How can a person reasonably conclude that non-intelligence, plus time, plus chance equals a one-pound, bar-tailed godwit flying 7,145 miles in nine days without stopping for food, water, or rest? The “awe and wonder” to which John Malone alluded should be directed toward neither mindless evolution nor the birds themselves, but to the “great and awesome God” (Daniel 9:4) Who has done “wondrous works” and “awesome things” (Psalm 106:22), including endowing birds with the amazing trait we call “instinct.” Truly, it is not by evolution or man’s wisdom that a bird “soars, stretching his wings toward the south” (Job 39:26). Rather, “the stork in the sky knows her seasons; and the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration” (Jeremiah 8:7, NASB), because all-knowing, all-powerful Jehovah is the Creator of them all.


“Bird Completes Epic Flight Across the Pacific” (2007), ScienceDaily, September 17, [On-line], URL:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070915131205.htm.
“The Fastest Man on Earth?” (2007), [On-line], URL: http://www.eis2win.co.uk/gen/news_sprintrecords020805.aspx.
Hansford, Dave (2007), “Alaska Bird Makes Longest Nonstop Flight Ever Measured,” National Geographic News, September 14, [On-line], URL: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070913-longest- flight.html.
Jackson, Wayne (2000), The Human Body—Accident or Design? (Stockton, CA: Courier Publications).
Malone, John (2001), Unsolved Mysteries of Science (New York: John Wiley & Sons).
Peterson, Roger (1968), The Birds (New York: Time-Life Books).

The Da Vinci Code and the Dead Sea Scrolls by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Da Vinci Code and the Dead Sea Scrolls

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Schøyen Collection MS 1655/1
In 1947, a number of ancient documents were found (by accident) in a cave on the northwest side of the Dead Sea. This collection of documents, which has become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, was comprised of old leather and papyrus scrolls and fragments that had been rolled up in earthen jars for centuries. From 1949 to 1956, hundreds of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts and a few Greek fragments were found in surrounding caves, and are believed by scholars to have been written between 200 B.C. and the first half of the first century A.D. Some of the manuscripts were of Jewish apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings (e.g., 1 Enoch, Tobit, and Jubilees); others are often grouped together as “ascetic” writings (miscellaneous books of rules, poetry, commentary, etc.). The most notable group of documents found in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea is the collection of Old Testament books. Every book from the Hebrew Bible was accounted for among the scrolls, except the book of Esther.
The Dead Sea Scrolls make up one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all times. Jews and Christians often point to these scrolls as evidence for the integrity of the Old Testament text. Prior to 1947, the earliest known Old Testament manuscripts only went back to about A.D. 1000. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bible scholars have been able to compare the present day text with the text from more than 2,000 years ago. What they have found are copies of Old Testament books separated in time by more than a millennium that are amazingly similar. Indeed, the Old Testament text had been transmitted faithfully through the centuries. As Rene Paché concluded: “Since it can be demonstrated that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transmitted for the last 2,000 years, one may reasonably suppose that it had been so transmitted from the beginning” (1971, p. 191).
So what does all of this have to do with The Da Vinci Code? According to Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novelare accurate” (2003a, p. 1, emp. added). Yet notice how Brown uses one of his main fictional characters (Leigh Teabing) in the book. In an attempt to disparage the New Testament documents, Teabing alleged the following about them and their relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls:
“[S]ome of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert” (Brown, 2003a, p. 234).
“These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls, which I mentioned earlier,” Teabing said. “The earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible” (p. 244).
Although Brown asserted on the very first page of his book that “[a]ll descriptions of...documents...in this novel are accurate” (emp. added), and even though he claimed “absolutely all” of his book is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred (see Brown, 2003b), among the manyinaccurate statements he made in his book are those quoted above regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Simply put, the Dead Sea Scrolls are not in any way “Christian records;” they are Jewish writings from a Jewish religious sect, most of which predate the time of Christ (and thus Christianity) by several decades, and in some cases one or two centuries. These scrolls contain no “gospels.” In fact, Jesus of Nazareth is never even mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Such a reckless use of one of the greatest biblical archaeological discoveries ever should cause readers to see The Da Vinci Code for what it really is—a fictional novel bent on raising unnecessary suspicion about the trustworthiness of the Bible. Interestingly, the “documents” Brown used in hopes of casting doubt on Christianity, are, in actuality, some of the greatest pieces of evidence for the reliability of the Old Testament. What’s more, the Old Testament was “the Bible” of the early church. It is from these “Scriptures” that first-century Christians gleaned a greater understanding about Jesus, Who, as taught in the Old Testament, was the Christ, the prophesied Messiah (Acts 8:32-35; 17:10-11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). In that sense, the Hebrew Scriptures contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls collection marvelously “match up with the gospels in the Bible.”


Brown, Dan (2003a), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
Brown, Dan (2003b), “Today,” NBC, Interview with Matt Lauer, June 9.
Paché, Rene (1971), The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

"Technicalities" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“Are you telling me that just because I don’t belong to your church, or just because I haven’t been baptized into the remission of sins, or just because I use the instrument when I worship God, or just because I don’t attend every worship service, or just because I don’t partake of the Lord’s Supperevery Sunday—that I can’t make it to heaven? I can’t believe that God would condemn me on a technicality! Besides, that’s legalistic!”
Many, many religious people are characterized by this attitude. Their perceptions of God and His grace serve to minimize the necessity of being overly concerned about strict obedience to every command of God. This attitude is manifested in the idea that arriving at correct doctrine is irrelevant to establishing a right relationship with God. But this is precisely what the Bible teaches. Doctrinal purity does not necessarily guarantee a right relationship with God, but a right relationship with God is impossible without doctrinal purity. Both “spirit and truth” (i.e., proper attitude and proper adherence to truth—John 4:24) are essential to a right relationship with God. Even if some religious individuals give the impression that they have gone “overboard” on truth, yet with insufficient attention to proper attitude, no solution is achieved by abandoning, compromising, or softening adherence to truth in an effort to accept those who are determined to remain unconformed to truth.
The very nature of God and truth is at stake in this discussion. Truth, by its very definition, is narrow, specific, fixed, and technical. God is a God of truth Who operates within the parameters of truth. Since He is God, He does not, and cannot, vary from truth and right. Man’s definition of what constitutes a “technicality” rarely matches God’s definition. More often than not, the very items that humans brush aside as unimportant and trivial, are those things upon which God lays great importance. Herein lies the crux of man’s problem. We decide what we think is important, and then proceed to structure ourreligion around those self-stylized premises, assuming divine sanction and “grace.” Never mind the fact that “it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Never mind the fact that “the wisdom of this world” is foolish to God (1 Corinthians 1:20). And never mind the fact that such an attitude and approach betrays great arrogance.
In everyday living, we understand very well the principle that those things that appear to be trivial or mere technicalities can be crucial to survival. The incorrect dosage of medicine in a medical emergency—even milligrams—can mean the difference between life and death. One or two miles over the speed limit can secure the offender a ticket. Accidentally putting gasoline into a diesel engine can ruin an automobile. I suppose one could label each of these examples as “technicalities,” but doing so does not alter the magnitude of their importance or the extent to which they impact reality.
In biblical history, the same principle holds true. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating from one piece of fruit from one tree (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu—the right boys, at the right place, at the right time, with the right censers and the right incense—nevertheless were destroyed for incorporating foreign fire into their incense offering (Leviticus 10:1-2). Moses was excluded from entrance into the Promised Land because of his one mistake at Kadesh—striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-12). Saul was deposed as king for sparing the best sheep and cattle, and the life of one individual out of an entire nation (1 Samuel 15). Uzzah was struck dead for merely reaching out and steadying the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-7). God rejected Uzziah because he entered the temple, merely to burn incense (2 Chronicles 26).
Many more examples could be considered. These are no more “technical” or “trivial” than New Testament regulations pertaining to vocal (as opposed to instrumental) music in worship (Ephesians 5:19), unleavened bread and fruit of the vine at the Lord’s Table (Matthew 26:26-29), and the qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). We must refrain from attempting to second-guess God, or deciding for ourselves what we think is important to Him—“that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). We need to be attentive to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)—even those portions that humans deem unimportant or peripheral. When people are clamoring, “Those matters are not salvation issues,” we need to reaffirm the words of Jesus, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23).