12/30/19

"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES" Epilogue & Conclusion (12:8-14) by Mark Copeland



"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

Epilogue & Conclusion (12:8-14)

INTRODUCTION

1. With advice given to the young (11:9-12:7), Ecclesiastes then draws
   to a close - 12:8-14

2. The book has often been misunderstood and abused...
   a. By taking passages out of context
   b. By drawing conclusions which ignore the author's own conclusion

3. But in the last seven verses, we find...
   a. A restatement of the result of the Preacher's search for meaning
      - 12:8
   b. An epilogue that describes the Preacher's continuing work, the
      value of wisdom, and a warning against the wrong kind of study
      - 12:9-12
   c. The grand conclusion drawn from the Preacher's search for meaning
      and purpose in life - 12:13-14

[With the "Epilogue And Conclusion" before us, we can guard against the
misapplications some have made of this book.  Therefore let's begin
with...]

I. THE THEME RESTATED (8)

   A. A THEME REPEATED THROUGHOUT THE BOOK...
      1. In the Prologue - 1:2
      2. Prior to describing his search for meaning - 1:14
      3. Throughout the course of his search:
         a. The vanity of pleasure - 2:1
         b. The vanity of industry (labor) - 2:11,22-23; 4:4
         c. The vanity of human wisdom - 2:15
         d. The vanity of all life - 2:17
         e. The vanity of leaving an inheritance - 2:18-21
      4. Throughout his words of counsel and wisdom:
         a. The vanity of earthly existence - 3:19-21
         b. The vanity of acquiring riches over family - 4:7-8
         c. The vanity of political popularity - 4:16
         d. The vanity of many dreams and many words - 5:7
         e. The vanity of loving abundance - 5:10
         f. The vanity of wealth without the gift of God to enjoy it
            - 6:2
         g. The vanity of wandering desire - 6:9
         h. The vanity of foolish laughter - 7:6
         i. The vanity of injustice in this life - 8:14
         j. The vanity of the days of darkness - 11:8
         k. The vanity of childhood and youth - 11:10

   B. WHICH MUST BE REMEMBERED IN ITS CONTEXT...
      1. He is referring to the vanity of life "under the sun"
         a. As stated in the prologue - 1:3,9,14
         b. In describing the vanity of his labor - 2:11,17-20,22
         c. In relating the evil that he saw - 3:16; 4:1,3,7,15; 5:13;
            6:1; 8:9; 9:3,6,11; 10:5
         d. In giving his counsel - 5:18; 6:12; 8:15,17; 9:9,13
      2. I.e., when life is viewed solely from an earthly perspective
         a. Examining life solely on its own merits
         b. When God and the afterlife are not taken into the equation
      3. When viewed from this perspective...
         a. There is no advantage of wisdom over folly - 2:15-16
         b. Man is no different than animals - 3:19-21
         c. The dead know nothing and they have no more reward - 9:5-6
         -- But it would be a misapplication to use these passages to
            deny life after death, or that there is no value in seeking
            after true wisdom

[If life "under the sun" is all there is, then truly, "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity." But we have seen throughout the book that the
Preacher gave wise counsel for dealing with the vanity of life. That he
continued such work is evident from the next four verses...]

II. THE EPILOGUE (9-12)

   A. THE PREACHER'S ONGOING WORK...
      1. He continued to teach others, and to seek for knowledge, truth
         and righteousness - 12:9-10
      2. This certainly sounds like Solomon - 1Ki 4:30-34; 10:4-8;
         cf. Ec 1:1,12,16; 2:9
      -- Note that his conclusion about life's vanity did not lead him
         to despair or inactivity!

   B. THE VALUE OF THE RIGHT KIND OF STUDY...
      1. The words of the wise are of great value - 12:11-12a
         a. They are like "goads", prodding our thinking, moving us
            along in the right direction
         b. They are like "nails", that which can provide stability and
            steadfastness in our lives
         -- Especially those "given by One Shepherd" (i.e., inspired by
            God)
      2. But not all knowledge is beneficial - 12:12b
         a. There is no end to the making of books (with the printing
            press and the Internet, this is even more so!)
         b. Much study is wearisome to the flesh (cf. 1:18)
         -- Since one can't study every book, one must be selective as
            to which "shepherd(s)" they will follow!

[Since life "under the sun" is filled with so much vanity, we are
admonished by the Preacher by both example and precept to seek out the
right kind of wisdom to guide our short sojourn here on earth.  That
leads us finally to...]

III. THE GRAND CONCLUSION (13-14)

   A. FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS...
      1. This is "the whole duty of man" (KJV, RSV) - 12:13
         a. This summarizes the answer to his own question - cf. 2:3
         b. This is man's reason for being, his "prime directive" for
            his existence
      2. To "fear God"
         a. That is, to revere God, to hold Him in awe
         b. This is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge - Pr 1:7;
            9:10
         c. This reverence will help prolong life, and protect one from
            much evil - Pr 10:27; 14:26,27
      3. To "keep His commandments"
         a. A charge given to the nation of Israel - Deut 13:4; 30:16
         b. A charge given to the disciples of Jesus - Jn 14:15
         c. The basis by which we know that we know and love God - 1Jn 
            2:3-4; 5:3
      -- To reverently obey God, "walking in the fear of the Lord" (Ac
         9:31), this is the purpose of life and the key to true
         happiness! - Pr 22:4

   B. THE BASIS FOR THIS CONCLUSION...
      1. Having taken "everything" into consideration
         a. Not just from what may be observed in life "under the sun"
         b. But from wisdom given by revelation as well (cf. Ec 2:3,9;
            1Ki 4:29)
         -- I.e., the conclusion of the "whole" matter!
      2. In view of the coming Judgment - cf. 3:17; 11:9; Ac 17:30-31
         a. In which every work will be judged - Ro 2:16
         b. Whether it be good or evil - 2Co 5:10

CONCLUSION

1. People have often searched for the meaning of life...
   a. From philosopher to the common man
   b. Asking questions like:
      1) "Why am I here?"
      2) "What is my purpose for life?"
   -- Many have concluded that there is no purpose, and fallen into
      despair

2. But a search that begins with the wrong assumptions invariably leads
   to the wrong conclusion...
   a. Such as assuming that there is no God, nor life after death
   b. If what we see in this life is all there is, then truly "vanity
      of vanities, all is vanity!"

3. The Preacher with his own experiences, and his God-given wisdom...
   a. Has demonstrated that, yes, life from an earthly perspective
      alone is truly vanity!
   b. Has taught us that by fearing God and keeping His commandments,
      one can endure the vanities and perplexities of life, while
      enjoying the good things in life!
   c. As penned by the Psalmist:

                           PSALM 112
               The Blessed State of the Righteous

      Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
         Who delights greatly in His commandments.

      His descendants will be mighty on earth;
         The generation of the upright will be blessed.

      Wealth and riches will be in his house,
         And his righteousness endures forever.

      Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
         He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

      A good man deals graciously and lends;
         He will guide his affairs with discretion.

      Surely he will never be shaken;
         The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

      He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
         His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

      His heart is established;
         He will not be afraid,
         Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

      He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;
         His righteousness endures forever;
         His horn will be exalted with honor.

      The wicked will see it and be grieved;
         He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
         The desire of the wicked shall perish.

May we be like the Preacher, then, and continue to seek out "acceptable
words", "words of truth" (12:10), especially those from the words of
Jesus:

      "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
                                                             (Col 2:3)


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Prophecy of Cyrus by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





The Prophecy of Cyrus

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Imagine taking a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and visiting the State House where the Constitutional Convention took place in 1787. During the tour, your guide points to a document dating back to just this side of the convention—about the year 1820. The piece of parchment tells of a man named George W. Bush from Austin, Texas, who would be President of the United States within the next 200 years. But how could someone know that a man named George W. Bush would be born in the United States? And how could someone know more than a century before Mr. Bush was born that he would be President of the United States? Furthermore, how could someone in 1820 know that a man from Texas (named George W. Bush) would be President of the United States when Texas wasn’t even part of the Union yet? Such a prophecy truly would be amazing, yet obviously no such prediction was ever made. In fact, despite all of the publicity that “psychic hotlines” receive, only God can foretell the future.
One of the reasons we can know the Bible is from God is that it contains hundreds of prophecies about individuals, lands, and nations similar to the example above. One such prophecy was about a man named Cyrus and two nations: Babylon and the Medo-Persian Empire. Isaiah vividly described how God would destroy the powerful kingdom of Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms” (13:19). Writing as if it had already occurred (commonly known as the “prophetic perfect,” frequently employed in the Old Testament to stress the absolute certainty of fulfillment, i.e. Isaiah 53), Isaiah declared Babylon would fall (21:9). He then prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isa.13; 21:1-10). Later, he proclaimed that the “golden city” (Babylon) would be conquered by a man named Cyrus (44:28; 45:1-7). This is a remarkable prophecy, especially since Cyrus was not born until almost 150 years after Isaiah penned these words.
Not only did Isaiah predict that Cyrus would overthrow Babylon, but he also wrote that Cyrus, serving as Jehovah’s “anointed” and “shepherd,” would release the Jews from captivity and assist them in their return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple. All of this was written almost 200 years before Cyrus conquered Babylon (539 B.C.). Amazing!
In case you are wondering about the factuality of this story, secular history verifies that all of these events came true. There really was a man named Cyrus who ruled the Medo-Persian Empire. He did conquer Babylon. And just as Isaiah prophesied, he assisted the Jews in their return to Jerusalem and in the rebuilding of the temple.
Truly, “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

The Perfect Analogy by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.




The Perfect Analogy

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


One of the problems with William Paley’s design arguments, critics allege, is that his analogies were imperfect. For example, while we know that watchmakers exist and make watches, or at least that such skill is available, we cannot be sure that nature has such a Maker. In other words, while the watchmaker is real and apparent, we know of God only by inferring His existence from the things He supposedly designed.
The clearest response to this claim comes from archaeology, which rummages through nature looking for evidence of human activity. On occasion, it unearths something with no modern analogy. For example, archaeologists still do not fully understand how the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid, and no one is building such pyramids today. Yet few people would argue that it is anything but a feat of ancient Egyptian engineering.
The argument applies equally to future events. Carl Sagan wrote that a “single message from space” would show evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe (1979, p. 275). Just recently (1993), he and his co-workers declared that Earth harbors not only life, but intelligent life, based solely on data gathered from the Galileo spacecraft. Researchers hope to use similar techniques in identifying intelligence from extraterrestrial radio emissions (even in a “single message”). Yet they would know nothing about the cause of that message, apart from inferring that it must be intelligent enough to make such a transmission.
This is precisely the argument used by Paley, and modern science has served only to sharpen his analogies. Paley saw design in the wonders of life, but through our knowledge of DNA, we can observe the genetic code responsible for that life.
How do we know that something has an intelligent cause, like DNA or a message from space? Simple order is not enough (e.g., a crystal of salt, or the sequence of letters “aabbaabb”). Nor is mere complexity sufficient (e.g., a random arrangement of molecules, or the sequence of letters “adndjbsaf”). Rather, it must contain information, or specified complexity (e.g., a sequence of binary digits making up a computer program, or the sentence “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”). Using four chemical “letters,” DNA contains instructions for thousands of different proteins, enzymes, and hormones. This information is so like the products of intelligence—especially language and computer programs—that we must infer an intelligent cause of life (Geisler and Anderson, 1987).

REFERENCES

Geisler, Norman L. and J. Kerby Anderson (1987), Origin Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Sagan, Carl (1979), Broca’s Brain (New York: Random House).
Sagan, Carl, et al. (1993), “A Search for Life on Earth from the Galileo Spacecraft,” Nature, 365:715-716, October 21.

The Origin of Peoples by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.





The Origin of Peoples

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


As we look among the peoples of the world—from the Inuit to the !Kung, from the Norwegian to the Greek, and from the Indian to the Tutsi—we see a mind-boggling array of skin color, hair type, stature, and facial features. On top of all that physical diversity, we must add differences in culture and language. With technological advances, humans have lived (if only for a short time) at the South Pole, on the peaks of the Himalayas, and beyond Earth itself. Even before the advent of modern science, we have occupied the remotest islands, the driest deserts, and the coldest steppes. It is difficult to imagine any other creature that has been so successful at colonizing so many different parts of this planet (we’ll give the cockroach its due!).
For all these differences, we constitute a single, biological species. Men and women with roots in different continents meet, marry, and have healthy families. This unity frustrates any attempt to parcel the world’s populations into distinct subspecies or races. We perceive great diversity because our brain is so cleverly designed to detect patterns and distinguish among individuals of our own kind. Such heightened perception of the human form is something we cannot ignore, and shapes a host of psychological responses such as physical attraction and group identity. Still, at the biological level, this variation reflects minute differences in our genetic code. We see a few of these in our physical appearance, but find many more only at the cellular or molecular level. One person may have resistance to a particular disease, while another is able to digest milk as an adult. Whether on the inside or outside, the combination of many subtle differences makes you and me stand out as individuals within a group, and our similarities identify us with humanity as a whole.
How did these differences arise? Like Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories, we could spin all sorts of tales to explain why different peoples are the way they are. We could tell a story about how the Scandinavians became tall, and another story about how they became light-skinned. The goal for this traditional Darwinian approach is to answer the following question: How does a particular trait enhance survival value, or enable the production of more offspring? One anthropology textbook emphasizes the “pervasiveness of adaptation in the microevolution (small-scale differentiation) of man” (Keesing and Keesing, 1971, p. 51). As we will see, this turns out to be more of a hope than a claim based on evidence.
There is the assumption, also, that we need a lot of time to explain human variation because evolution works at a steady, snail’s pace. Charles Darwin took this as a matter of principle, but not all evolutionists agree. A few dissenters, citing examples from the fossil record, believe that species arise during brief moments of intense change, rather than by slow accumulation of new features (e.g., Eldredge, 1985, pp. 21-22). So, too, within human populations, distinct groups might arise during significant natural or cultural events. In addition, more evolutionists are expressing concern about the “molecular clock.” This was supposed to represent the rate at which genetic differences have accumulated in two related species. However, the calculation depends on knowing the date of the presumed common ancestor. Not everyone may agree on this date, or even on whether the two species are closely related. In any case, evolutionists assume that humans have diverged from each other at about the same rate we diverged from chimpanzees—our supposed closest relative. However, a closer look at families of known lineage has revealed mutation rates that are almost twenty times higher than previous estimates (Gibbons, 1998). The upshot is this: we cannot trust the Darwinists’ intuitions on the time it would take to produce the differences we see in human populations. The rate may be neither slow, nor steady.
For the moment, I would like to set aside the question of time (but see my sidebar article), and focus on the biological bases for some of the differences that have arisen among our kind.

IN LIVING COLOR

The difference we tend to notice most is coloration, which depends almost entirely on the relative abundance of melanin. This is a pigment of the hair, skin, and irises. It seems to play a role in protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Exposure to the Sun increases melanin, causing that tanning effect so prized by light-skinned Westerners. At first glance, it looks as if the inhabitants of equatorial regions, where sunlight bears down with the greatest intensity, would have the most melanin. After all, sub-Saharan Africans, and Australian Aborigines, have more melanin than northern Europeans.
Around 1913, Charles Davenport suggested that humans carried two genes for color, and that each gene consisted of “black” or “white” alleles (one allele from the mother, and one from the father, for each gene). Hence, our coloration depends on the number of black and white alleles we received from our parents. Davenport noted correctly that children inherit these genes independently of other characteristics, such as straight versus curly hair. This explains why albino Papuans look different from albino Scots.
As usual, the advance of science has revealed a far more complicated story. Geneticists now believe that almost half a dozen genes have a significant effect on pigmentation (Wills, 1994, pp. 78-79). These genes reside in the nucleus of every cell in our body, along with copies of all the other genes we inherited from our parents. However, color genes express themselves in only one place—the melanocytes. These are specialized skin cells that have a monopoly on melanin production. Each melanocyte is an incredibly complex chemical factory, transforming raw materials into granules of melanin, which it delivers to neighboring cells.
Also, there is more to the making of skin color than turning genes on or off to make black, white, and a couple of shades in between. We all possess the essential ingredients for making melanin; all of us could be black or brown (the only exceptions are albinos, whose bodies make no melanin at all). Actual coloration varies according to the pigment package delivered by the melanocytes. The end product depends not only on slight genetic differences, but also on environmental stimuli (such as exposure to strong ultraviolet radiation).
The story does not end there. Skin also includes keratin—a fibrous protein that contributes to the toughness of the skin, and which grows to form nails and hair. Because this substance has a relatively high concentration of sulfur, it adds a yellow hue to our palette of skin colors. Asians (especially from the Far East) happen to have an extra thick layer of keratin which, when combined with melanin, contributes to the yellow-brown color of their skin.
The science of genetics helps us understand how small changes can account for the rainbow of human coloration. Truly, when we consider the magnitude of these differences at the genetic level, our obsession with skin color seems blown out of proportion.

NATURAL SELECTION AND HUMAN VARIATION

We know that there are variations in features such as skin color. Why, or how, did these variations arise? As noted earlier, a knee-jerk response is to invoke natural selection, but there are a few good Darwinian tales.
For instance, around 40% of the people in equatorial Africa carry an abnormal hemoglobin gene that deforms red blood cells into a crescent or sickle shape. Anyone who carries this trait, plus a normal copy of the gene, may appear to have the best of both worlds. For a start, the normal gene is dominant, and so counteracts the recessive mutated gene. Then, if malarial parasites invade the red blood cells, there is a tendency for the cells to deform and die, along with their unwanted guests. Unfortunately, people who have two copies of the abnormal gene develop sickle-cell anemia, and will die an early death unless they have access to good medical treatment. Finally, anyone not “lucky” enough to inherit the abnormal gene has no anemia, but no immunity from malaria either.
Of course, the picture is not all rosy for the people who carry just one copy of the sickle-cell gene. If they marry another carrier, some of the children could inherit two bad copies, and suffer from sickle-cell disease (see diagram below). With this in mind, it is callous to speak of the sickle-cell trait as a “good” or “beneficial” mutation. Nonetheless, the trait persists because the threat of death from malaria appears to outweigh the threat of death from sickle-cell anemia. In this instance, nature may have preserved a particular trait because it confers a survival advantage.
Sickle-cell genetics
Sickle-cell genetics: In this example, two parents each have a normal (Hb A) and an abnormal (Hb S) hemoglobin allele. There is a 1 in 4 chance that a child will have normal hemoglobin (Hb A/Hb A), a 1 in 2 chance that a child will be a carrier for the sickle-cell trait (Hb A/Hb S), and a 1 in 4 chance that a child will have sickle-cell anemia (Hb S/Hb S).
For most variations that give human populations their distinctive characteristics, it is difficult to know what forces of selection have been at work. For instance, scientists used to think that the Pygmy people of southern Africa were short because food was scarce. Further studies show normal levels of growth hormone, but reveal a genetic defect that prevents their bodies from using the hormone to its fullest extent (Fackelmann, 1989). But the question is this: Did nature select this mutation because it offered survival advantages, or did this characteristic arise as a result of random variation?
The answer is not so obvious, because we know so many exceptions to the rules of natural selection. Take the Japanese, for instance. Their teenagers are considerably taller than their grandparents ever were. The difference is a matter of improving diet, not genetics. For hundreds of years, the people of Japan have survived without nature’s selecting mutations for smaller stature. So how do we know that a scarce food supply was responsible for the survival of growth-limiting changes in the Pygmy?
The list of just-so stories is endless. Why are the Inuit relatively short and bulky? Because this helps them retain heat. Why are some groups in Africa relatively tall and slender? Because this helps them lose heat. In each case, we could list a dozen exceptions. What about those tall peoples who have survived quite well in cold areas, like the Dutch? And what about those short peoples who have done just fine in hot areas, like the Pygmies?
If Africans have less hair to keep them cooler, as some have suggested (Folger, 1993), then how have Asians done so well in cold climates with relatively little body hair? Asians also have an epicanthic fold—an extra layer of skin on the upper eyelid. We could spin a story about their eyes adapting to the winds of the Mongolian steppes, or the bright glare of snow. Even so, is this enough? Are variations in the structure of the eyelid a matter of life and death? Were individuals who had this epicanthic fold much more likely to survive than those who lacked it?
Similar questions confront the origins of skin color. Precisely how has natural selection worked to preserve dark and light skin coloring? The traditional explanation makes what seems to be a sensible link between the strong sunlight of the tropics, and the protective powers of melanin. Natural selection, so the argument goes, has favored the survival of dark-skinned people in equatorial areas. If light-skinned people lived in the tropics, they would suffer from higher rates of skin cancer. Then what prevented Africans from migrating to higher latitudes? The answer, we are told, lies in vitamin D. To make this important substance, humans need exposure to ultraviolet light. If people in higher latitudes were too dark, their skin would not be able to make enough vitamin D. A shortage of vitamin D results in rickets, which has a severe effect on bone development. So everything works out perfectly: light people get a little melanin to avoid rickets; and dark people get a lot of melanin to avoid skin cancer. Whatever the explanation, many researchers remain convinced that some sort of evolutionary process must be responsible for lighter and darker strains of humans (see Wills, 1994, p. 80).
The story seems less plausible, however, when we try to imagine how selection might have worked. For instance, skin cancer is deadly; it is something that afflicts lighter-skinned people who spend much time in strong sunlight. People of European ancestry living in the sunny climes of Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii suffer the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. As we look back in history, however, the danger of dying from basal cell carcinomas and melanomas hardly would compare to the vagaries of childhood diseases, plagues, strife, starvation, and natural hazards. It is hard to imagine that in a mixed population of light-and dark-skinned people living near the tropics, evolution selected the traits for dark skin because cancer gradually eliminated their lighter-skinned neighbors.
Unlike the skin cancer scenario, the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D is a definite survival advantage. However, exposure to the Sun is not an absolute requirement. Oils from cod, halibut, sardines, salmon, and mackerel provide a rich source of vitamin D (Sackheim and Lehman, 1994, p. 516). Not surprisingly, such fish figure prominently in the diets of Scandinavians and the Inuit. With the right foods, they are able to overcome a disadvantage of living in areas where the Sun is weaker, and in which the cold climate dictates many layers of protective clothing.
Still, this does not explain why Africans remained in tropical zones. They could have moved northward, and endured doses of cod liver oil as much as any European child. Today, thanks to vitamin supplements, people of African descent survive in England and Canada without a high incidence of rickets. When we look to the original population of the Americas, the story blurs altogether. People of brownish complexion live across every climatic zone, from Alaska in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south. Apparently, no mechanism has been at work to sort skin color by latitude.
There are many other problems with the climatic theory of skin color (Diamond, 1992, pp. 114-117), and still, we have barely touched the rich storehouse of human variety. Perhaps apparently neutral characteristics will turn out to have some survival advantage (Patterson, 1978, p. 70). For example, researchers have found a correlation between ABO blood groups and resistance (or susceptibility) to different diseases. Further, blood groups seem to have a strong geographic distribution. We may discover that a particular blood type became concentrated in a region where it offered a slightly better chance of survival. On this point, however, all we have so far is another Kiplingesque story. No doubt, natural selection has had some impact on human history, but it seems largely inadequate to explain a good portion of the variations that exist between different human populations.

THE MAKING OF A PEOPLE

If natural selection has played a minor role in human history, then how do we explain the range of observed features? One possible mechanism is a phenomenon known as the “founder effect.” We see this most often in small, isolated communities that have an unusually high incidence of rare, inherited disorders (Diamond, 1988, p. 12). After some genealogical detective work, medical researchers are able to trace their patients’ ancestries to a single couple or a small group of close relatives—the founders. This seems to be the case with French Canadians, particularly those of eastern Quebec, whose ancestors emigrated from the Perche region of France in the 17th century. Small pioneering groups, together with early marriages, large families, and isolation, have created a pronounced founder effect. One study found that only 15% of the settlers contributed 90% of the genetic characteristics in people suffering from one or more of five genetic disorders (Heyer and Tremblay, 1995).
Settlers
Pioneers in Chicoutimi (c. 1886), which is now the modern administrative center of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. This part of Quebec was settled by a few, closely related families. Today, 9 or 10 rare genetic diseases are relatively common among the people of the region.
It is only natural that much of our information on founder effects should come from the study of debilitating, and often fatal, diseases. If medical researchers can pin the problem to a faulty gene, then this may suggest a treatment or cure. Also, genetic testing can tell prospective parents whether they will pass these mutations on to their children. If the effects of the disease will come later in life, people may want to start certain medical treatments, or make changes in diets, that will ease or delay the worst symptoms.
However, the record books include a few cases not related directly to diseases. In a now classic study, H. Bentley Glass (1953) found that the Dunkers—a community of German Baptist Brethren in Pennsylvania’s Franklin County—are, in most respects, very similar to other people of European descent. Their religious customs require them to dress a certain way, and marry within the community, but otherwise their physical appearance is not unusual. Although there have been some outside marriages, most of the surviving members are descended from fifty families that emigrated from Germany in the early 1700s. Glass found that the frequencies of blood types and other genetic traits among the Dunkers differ from the frequencies of these features among U.S. and German populations. It seems unlikely that any selective forces were in operation to favor the survival of Dunkers with blood group A, for instance. Therefore, Glass concluded, the founding population of Dunkers included, purely by chance, an unusually high proportion of people with blood group A.
The founder effect itself is part of a broader concept known as genetic drift, which occurs anytime the frequency of a genetic trait changes within a population. If, in the case of the founder effect, the emigrating group carries a set of unique or rare traits, then those traits will be that much harder to find among the people who stay behind. In other words, there will be a drift away from those characteristics.
In some cases, a highly prolific individual or family may skew the genes of a relatively diverse population, and this may occur in combination with some other form of genetic drift, such as the founder effect. For example, groups of Ashkenazic Jews moved eastward out of Germany in the 17th century, and were isolated culturally from the surrounding population. Several rare inherited disorders, such as Tay-Sachs disease, afflict this group at high rates. Evolutionists have thought this to be a sign of natural selection at work. Perhaps the population hung on to these genes because they offered some survival advantage, such as resistance to tuberculosis and other maladies of the crowded ghettos in which they lived (Diamond, 1991). However, Neil Risch believes otherwise, at least in the case of idiopathic torsion dystonia, which occurs at a rate of one in three thousand among the Ashkenazim today (Glausiusz, 1995). First, migration patterns favor genetic drift via the founder effect in these people. And second, historical records show that wealthier couples had more children. If a mutation arose in one of these families, as Risch infers from the genetic data, then it could become more frequent in later generations. This is a matter of misfortune, not adaptation.
Of all the forms of genetic drift, population bottlenecks are the most dramatic. Typically, these occur when wars, natural disasters, epidemics, and other catastrophes wipe out all but a small remnant of the original population. For instance, a flood could drown an entire tribe, except for a fortunate few in a remote village. These survivors would bequeath their genetic characteristics to subsequent generations. If there were a high degree of relatedness among the survivors, then their descendents may appear quite distinct from neighboring peoples. Of course, the Bible shows the Flood of Noah to be the greatest bottleneck of all time. According to the Genesis account, all of us must trace our ancestry to Noah’s three sons and their wives.
Finally, another piece of the puzzle may be mate selection. We are quick to point out the ways in which we differ from our spouse, and we see a positive side to that. “Opposites attract,” so the saying goes, but the Beach Boys knew better. “I seen all kinds of girls,” the Californian band harmonized, but “I wish they all could be California girls.” Underneath the superficial differences lie the grand similarities. Not always, but more often than not, we marry someone who grew up nearby, speaks the same language, and belongs to the same cultural, religious, social, and political group (Diamond, 1992, pp. 99-109). The result is a barrier, obvious or otherwise, that may exist between two neighboring peoples, or even between groups who live cheek-by-jowl.

THE BIBLICAL VIEW

Evolutionists may argue that an explanation for human diversity simply is unavailable to anyone who adopts a literal interpretation of the Bible. They may reason that creationists have no access to any mechanism that would cause change, because this means accepting evolution. This is a common misunderstanding. Creationists object, not to microevolution, but to macroevolution. One works by natural selection acting on mutations to create limited variation; the other assumes unlimited variation. One seems to work; the other is highly problematic. For our present purposes, we need account only for variation on a small scale, and within a single species at that. There is no reason to eliminate adaptation out of hand, especially as it seems to work in cases like sickle-cell anemia.
Further, many evolutionists imagine an entirely Darwinian plot. This may seem to threaten the biblical view on the grounds of time, assuming that adaptation implies a slow, gradual process. Not everyone agrees on this tempo of change and, certainly, genetic studies are revealing ample non-Darwinian strategies.
The key biblical event must be the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). Up to this point, as far as we can tell, three lines of descent were living in close proximity, and then a miracle occurred. God gave them different languages so they could not work together on the Tower (11:7). They could have dug their heels into the rich soil of the Fertile Crescent, and trained a few good translators, but God “scattered them abroad” (11:8).
We cannot be sure on what basis the partitioning occurred. In the Table of Nations (Genesis 10), each line of descent appears by family and language, according to their lands and nations (10:5,20,31). It seems most likely, therefore, that the division occurred by the principal family units present at the time of the confusion and dispersion. This corresponds to the time of Peleg, in whose days “the earth was divided” (10:25). It is at this point that the mechanisms described earlier must come into full force. If the human population scattered over the face of the Earth, then there was a sudden outpouring of founding groups. Each extended family, isolated from others by language, would carry its own set of genes into the world. From these groups, and within these groups, developed the peoples of the world.

REFERENCES

Diamond, Jared (1988), “Founding Fathers and Mothers,” Natural History, 97[6]:10-15, June.
Diamond, Jared (1991), “Curse and Blessing of the Ghetto,” Discover, 12[3]:60-61, March.
Diamond, Jared (1992), The Third Chimpanzee (New York: HarperCollins).
Eldredge, Niles (1985), Time Frames: The Evolution of Punctuated Equilibria (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Fackelmann, K.A. (1989), “Pygmy Paradox Prompts a Short Answer,” Science News, 136[2]:22, July 8.
Folger, Tim (1993), “The Naked and the Bipedal,” Discover, 14[1]:34-35, November.
Gibbons, Ann (1998), “Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock,” Science, 279:28-29, January 2.
Glass, H. Bentley (1953), “The Genetics of the Dunkers,” Scientific American, August. Reprinted in Human Variation and Origins (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman), pp. 200-204.
Glausiusz, Josie (1995), “Unfortunate Drift,” Discover, 16[6]:34-35, June.
Heyer, E. and M. Tremblay (1995), “Variability of the Genetic Contribution of Quebec Population Founders Associated to Some Deleterious Genes,” American Journal of Human Genetics, 56[4]:970-978.
Keesing, Roger M. and Felix M. Keesing (1971), New Perspectives in Cultural Anthropology (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston).
Patterson, Colin (1978), Evolution (London: British Museum/Cornell University Press).
Sackheim, George I. and Dennis D. Lehman (1994), Chemistry for the Health Sciences (New York: Macmillan).
Wills, Christopher (1994), “The Skin We’re In,” Discover, 15[11]:76-81, November.

“WHEN THE SUN SHINES IT WILL SHINE THE CLEARER” by Jim McGuiggan




“WHEN THE SUN SHINES IT WILL SHINE THE CLEARER”

At one point Frodo is overcome by the evil ring he bears and must destroy and he is near to giving himself up to its evil power and Sam saves him in the nick of time. Still blinded by the ring’s power, Frodo pulls his sword on Sam and has it at his throat and Sam gasps to his deranged friend:“It’s me, it’s your Sam, don’t you know your own Sam?”
Frodo recovers and confesses the job’s too much for him.
Frodo: “I can’t do this Sam.”
Sam: “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here, but we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered, full of darkness and danger they were. Sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when there’s so much bad that had happened?
But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.
A new day will come, and when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those are the stories that stay with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. How folk in those stories had lots of chances for turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.”
Frodo: “What are we holding on to Sam?”
Sam: “That there’s some good left in this world Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for.”
There’s so much that is gospel-like here. In light of the Story, the one that ultimately matters, there are things and people and a glorious Lord worth fighting for, worth living for and worth dying for.
Is this not Hebrews 11:32-40? Does that truth not help us to want to continue the war until the return of the King?
A new day WILL come! Because HE is coming.In the meantime He is making His presence felt in and through all the friends who travel with us! Flawed friends, it’s true, but friends who travel with us on the same quest, helping us to fulfill our unique place in the service of the King. We each in the divine drama that is life have to bear the ring of evil to its total destruction and others can’t do it for another but as Sam in the final episode says before picking up the exhausted Frodo: “If I can’t carry the ring for you I can carry you.”
(Holy Father, help us to recognize that we are not alone in bearing burdens, that others bear burdens too. And we fervently ask you to supply sufficient strength that we don’t become fixated on our own and that we will help one another to bear what we can’t bear for them. And perhaps we will find that in helping them we too are helped. Would you do that? In light of Jesus we know you must be happy with such a request.)

EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS? BY STEVE FINNELL



EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS? BY STEVE FINNELL


Do the historical writings of early Christians validate Biblical truths? No, they do not. The Bible proves that early Christian writers were accurate in their views as long as they did not contradict Scripture.

The Bible validates Christian beliefs. Christian beliefs do not prove the Bible to be true.

Christian Quote: Justin Martyr 110-165 AD There, the one who refuses to be baptized is to be condemned as an unbeliever, partially on the basis of what Jesus told Nicodemus... "that, out of contempt, will not be baptized, shall be condemned as an unbeliever, and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says: 'Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again: He that believes and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Justin Martyr "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol.7, pg. 456-457.)

The words of Jesus do not need to be validated by Justin Martyr. Jesus words were validated by God the Father. Justin Martyr words are true because he repeated the words of Jesus.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.(NKJV)
Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

Water baptism is essential to salvation because the Scriptures proclaim as fact.

Baptism by immersion is the only valid baptism because of Scripture, not because Christian writers say it is so.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.(NKJV)

You cannot be buried under a sprinkle nor by having water poured on you.

God does not need early Christian writers to validate His word. It is just the opposite, Christians need Scriptures to confirm their views. 

Though I Give My Body by B. Johnson



Though I Give My Body

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).
The key Greek word in this passage is psoomizoo (NT:5595), which is translated to feed the poor. It signifies to divide into morsels, and put into the mouth. This in turn implies carefulness and tenderness in the way in which it is administered. The picture of a bird feeding its young may come to mind or the picture of a mother feeding her child. This may also be applicable to distributing property in small portions. During New Testament times, charity (alms to the poor) was usually distributed at a rich man’s gate (Luke 16:20) or in some public place.
To make the case as strong as possible, Paul says that if ALL that a man had were dealt out in this way, in small portions, so as to benefit as many as possible, and yet were not done because of true love for God and man, it would all be false, hollow, hypocritical, and really of no value to his salvation. It would profit nothing. Though good might be done to others, yet where the “motive” was wrong, it could not meet with God’s approval or gain his favor. Wealthy individuals often desire praise for being benevolent, and so we read grandiose accounts of their giving billions to “charity.” It was against such a desire for praise and renown that Jesus directed some of his most severe reproofs (Matthew 6:1-4).
A second phrase, “Though I give my body to be burned” (evidently as a martyr, or a witness to the truth) seems to be saying, “Though I should be willing to lay down my life in the most painful manner,” and have not charity (love), it would profit me nothing. Ancient prophets were often called to suffer martyrdom. These all died in faith (Hebrews 11:34; Hebrews 11:13). Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace because they were worshippers of the true God; but by God’s miracle they were not consumed in the flame (Daniel 3:19-26; Daniel 3:28).
We know from historical accounts that Christians were persecuted and tortured for their faith (Acts 15:26), and burning became the common way in which Christians suffered. This was true under Nero and during the Inquisition. It was also true in the persecutions in England in the time of Mary. However, many modern day “martyrs” have not been a glory to God. During the Vietnam War, protesters oftentimes immolated themselves in order to force the US to get out of that conflict. Today the suicide bombers are willing to die to force the world to submit to their false religion. Is this mode of death endured because the individual loved the Lord and wanted to glorify Him in his death? Certainly not. Men may desire to be martyrs for various causes. Not a few have been willing to give themselves to the flames who never knew anything of love for the true God of heaven.
If I have no true love for God, I will perish, after all. Love is more valuable and precious than all the offerings and sacrifices by themselves. Nothing can take its place; nothing can be connected to salvation without it. The bottom line is motive. If we have no love for God or His people, all our sacrifices and good works are in vain.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading for December 30 and 31 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for December 30 and 31 

World  English  Bible



Dec. 31
Malachi 1-4

Mal 1:1 An oracle: the word of Yahweh to Israel by Malachi.
Mal 1:2 "I have loved you," says Yahweh. Yet you say, "How have you loved us?" "Wasn't Esau Jacob's brother?" says Yahweh, "Yet I loved Jacob;
Mal 1:3 but Esau I hated, and made his mountains a desolation, and gave his heritage to the jackals of the wilderness."
Mal 1:4 Whereas Edom says, "We are beaten down, but we will return and build the waste places;" thus says Yahweh of Armies, "They shall build, but I will throw down; and men will call them 'The Wicked Land,' even the people against whom Yahweh shows wrath forever."
Mal 1:5 Your eyes will see, and you will say, "Yahweh is great--even beyond the border of Israel!"
Mal 1:6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, then where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? Says Yahweh of Armies to you, priests, who despise my name. You say, 'How have we despised your name?'
Mal 1:7 You offer polluted bread on my altar. You say, 'How have we polluted you?' In that you say, 'Yahweh's table contemptible.'
Mal 1:8 When you offer the blind for sacrifice, isn't that evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, isn't that evil? Present it now to your governor! Will he be pleased with you? Or will he accept your person?" says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 1:9 "Now, please entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With this, will he accept any of you?" says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 1:10 "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you," says Yahweh of Armies, "neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same, my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name is great among the nations," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 1:12 "But you profane it, in that you say, 'Yahweh's table is polluted, and its fruit, even its food, is contemptible.'
Mal 1:13 You say also, 'Behold, what a weariness it is!' and you have sniffed at it," says Yahweh of Armies; "and you have brought that which was taken by violence, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring the offering. Should I accept this at your hand?" says Yahweh.
Mal 1:14 "But the deceiver is cursed, who has in his flock a male, and vows, and sacrifices to the Lord a blemished thing; for I am a great King," says Yahweh of Armies, "and my name is awesome among the nations."

Mal 2:1 "Now, you priests, this commandment is for you.
Mal 2:2 If you will not listen, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name," says Yahweh of Armies, "then will I send the curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.
Mal 2:3 Behold, I will rebuke your seed, and will spread dung on your faces, even the dung of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.
Mal 2:4 You will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that my covenant may be with Levi," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 2:5 "My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him who he might be reverent toward me; and he was reverent toward me, and stood in awe of my name.
Mal 2:6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many away from iniquity.
Mal 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 2:8 But you have turned aside out of the way. You have caused many to stumble in the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 2:9 "Therefore I have also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according to the way you have not kept my ways, but have had respect for persons in the law.
Mal 2:10 Don't we all have one father? Hasn't one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
Mal 2:11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the holiness of Yahweh which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Mal 2:12 Yahweh will cut off, to the man who does this, him who wakes and him who answers, out of the tents of Jacob, and him who offers an offering to Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 2:13 This again you do: you cover the altar of Yahweh with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, because he doesn't regard the offering any more, neither receives it with good will at your hand.
Mal 2:14 Yet you say, 'Why?' Because Yahweh has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
Mal 2:15 Did he not make one, although he had the residue of the Spirit? Why one? He sought a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
Mal 2:16 For I hate divorce," says Yahweh, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with violence!" says Yahweh of Armies. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you don't deal treacherously.
Mal 2:17 You have wearied Yahweh with your words. Yet you say, 'How have we wearied him?' In that you say, 'Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of Yahweh, and he delights in them;' or 'Where is the God of justice?'

Mal 3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!" says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 3:2 "But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like launderer's soap;
Mal 3:3 and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to Yahweh offerings in righteousness.
Mal 3:4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to Yahweh, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.
Mal 3:5 I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don't fear me," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 3:6 "For I, Yahweh, don't change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Mal 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says Yahweh of Armies. "But you say, 'How shall we return?'
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation.
Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this," says Yahweh of Armies, "if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough for.
Mal 3:11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 3:12 "All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 3:13 "Your words have been stout against me," says Yahweh. "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against you?'
Mal 3:14 You have said, 'It is vain to serve God;' and 'What profit is it that we have followed his instructions, and that we have walked mournfully before Yahweh of Armies?
Mal 3:15 Now we call the proud happy; yes, those who work wickedness are built up; yes, they tempt God, and escape.'
Mal 3:16 Then those who feared Yahweh spoke one with another; and Yahweh listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before him, for those who feared Yahweh, and who honored his name.
Mal 3:17 They shall be mine," says Yahweh of Armies, "my own possession in the day that I make, and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
Mal 3:18 Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who doesn't serve him.
Mal 4:1 "For, behold, the day comes, it burns as a furnace; and all the proud, and all who work wickedness, will be stubble; and the day that comes will burn them up," says Yahweh of Armies, "that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Mal 4:2 But to you who fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings. You will go out, and leap like calves of the stall.
Mal 4:3 You shall tread down the wicked; for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make," says Yahweh of Armies.
Mal 4:4 "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.
Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes.
Mal 4:6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Dec. 30 and 31

Revelation 21, 22

Rev 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.
Rev 21:2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away."
Rev 21:5 He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words of God are faithful and true."
Rev 21:6 He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.
Rev 21:7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.
Rev 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Rev 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride."
Rev 21:10 He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Rev 21:12 having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 21:13 On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Rev 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15 He who spoke with me had for a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.
Rev 21:16 The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, Twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
Rev 21:17 Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
Rev 21:18 The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.
Rev 21:19 The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
Rev 21:20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.
Rev 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Rev 21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.
Rev 21:23 The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Rev 21:24 The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Rev 21:25 Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),
Rev 21:26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.
Rev 21:27 There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Rev 22:1 He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.
Rev 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.
Rev 22:6 He said to me, "These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon."
Rev 22:7 "Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev 22:8 Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things.
Rev 22:9 He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
Rev 22:10 He said to me, "Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still."
Rev 22:12 "Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.
Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Rev 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star."
Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.
Rev 22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He who testifies these things says, "Yes, I come quickly." Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen.