1/29/20

Bible Reading for January 29 & 30 by Gary Rose



Bible Reading for January 29 & 30

World  English  Bible


Jan. 29
Genesis 29

Gen 29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east.
Gen 29:2 He looked, and behold, a well in the field, and, behold, three flocks of sheep lying there by it. For out of that well they watered the flocks. The stone on the well's mouth was large.
Gen 29:3 There all the flocks were gathered. They rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again on the well's mouth in its place.
Gen 29:4 Jacob said to them, "My relatives, where are you from?" They said, "We are from Haran."
Gen 29:5 He said to them, "Do you know Laban, the son of Nahor?" They said, "We know him."
Gen 29:6 He said to them, "Is it well with him?" They said, "It is well. See, Rachel, his daughter, is coming with the sheep."
Gen 29:7 He said, "Behold, it is still the middle of the day, not time to gather the livestock together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them."
Gen 29:8 They said, "We can't, until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth. Then we water the sheep."
Gen 29:9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she kept them.
Gen 29:10 It happened, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
Gen 29:11 Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Gen 29:12 Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son. She ran and told her father.
Gen 29:13 It happened, when Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister's son, that he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things.
Gen 29:14 Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. He lived with him for a month.
Gen 29:15 Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?"
Gen 29:16 Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Gen 29:17 Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive.
Gen 29:18 Jacob loved Rachel. He said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter."
Gen 29:19 Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me."
Gen 29:20 Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
Gen 29:21 Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her."
Gen 29:22 Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
Gen 29:23 It happened in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her.
Gen 29:24 Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid to his daughter Leah for a handmaid.
Gen 29:25 It happened in the morning that, behold, it was Leah. He said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Didn't I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?"
Gen 29:26 Laban said, "It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn.
Gen 29:27 Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me yet seven other years."
Gen 29:28 Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. He gave him Rachel his daughter as wife.
Gen 29:29 Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah, his handmaid, to be her handmaid.
Gen 29:30 He went in also to Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Gen 29:31 Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
Gen 29:32 Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Reuben. For she said, "Because Yahweh has looked at my affliction. For now my husband will love me."
Gen 29:33 She conceived again, and bore a son, and said, "Because Yahweh has heard that I am hated, he has therefore given me this son also." She named him Simeon.
Gen 29:34 She conceived again, and bore a son. Said, "Now this time will my husband be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore was his name called Levi.
Gen 29:35 She conceived again, and bore a son. She said, "This time will I praise Yahweh." Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

Jan. 30
Genesis 30

Gen 30:1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I will die."
Gen 30:2 Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
Gen 30:3 She said, "Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her."
Gen 30:4 She gave him Bilhah her handmaid as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
Gen 30:5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son." Therefore called she his name Dan.
Gen 30:7 Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed." She named him Naphtali.
Gen 30:9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
Gen 30:10 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 Leah said, "How fortunate!" She named him Gad.
Gen 30:12 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy." She named him Asher.
Gen 30:14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:15 She said to her, "Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes, also?" Rachel said, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, "You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." He lay with her that night.
Gen 30:17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
Gen 30:18 Leah said, "God has given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband." She named him Issachar.
Gen 30:19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
Gen 30:20 Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons." She named him Zebulun.
Gen 30:21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
Gen 30:22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.
Gen 30:23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
Gen 30:24 She named him Joseph, saying, "May Yahweh add another son to me."
Gen 30:25 It happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
Gen 30:26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you."
Gen 30:27 Laban said to him, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake."
Gen 30:28 He said, "Appoint me your wages, and I will give it."
Gen 30:29 He said to him, "You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me.
Gen 30:30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?"
Gen 30:31 He said, "What shall I give you?" Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it.
Gen 30:32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire.
Gen 30:33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen."
Gen 30:34 Laban said, "Behold, I desire it to be according to your word."
Gen 30:35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
Gen 30:36 He set three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
Gen 30:37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
Gen 30:38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink.
Gen 30:39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
Gen 30:40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn't put them into Laban's flock.
Gen 30:41 It happened, whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods;
Gen 30:42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn't put them in. So the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
Gen 30:43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.


Jan. 29, 30
Matthew 15

Mat 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 15:2 "Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat bread."
Mat 15:3 He answered them, "Why do you also disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Mat 15:5 But you say, 'Whoever may tell his father or his mother, "Whatever help you might otherwise have gotten from me is a gift devoted to God,"
Mat 15:6 he shall not honor his father or mother.' You have made the commandment of God void because of your tradition.
Mat 15:7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8 'These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9 And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine rules made by men.' "
Mat 15:10 He summoned the multitude, and said to them, "Hear, and understand.
Mat 15:11 That which enters into the mouth doesn't defile the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."
Mat 15:12 Then the disciples came, and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying?"
Mat 15:13 But he answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted.
Mat 15:14 Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit."
Mat 15:15 Peter answered him, "Explain the parable to us."
Mat 15:16 So Jesus said, "Do you also still not understand?
Mat 15:17 Don't you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly, and then out of the body?
Mat 15:18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man.
Mat 15:19 For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies.
Mat 15:20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands doesn't defile the man."
Mat 15:21 Jesus went out from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Mat 15:22 Behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!"
Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. His disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away; for she cries after us."
Mat 15:24 But he answered, "I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Mat 15:25 But she came and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, help me."
Mat 15:26 But he answered, "It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mat 15:27 But she said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you even as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Mat 15:29 Jesus departed there, and came near to the sea of Galilee; and he went up into the mountain, and sat there.
Mat 15:30 Great multitudes came to him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others, and they put them down at his feet. He healed them,
Mat 15:31 so that the multitude wondered when they saw the mute speaking, injured whole, lame walking, and blind seeing-and they glorified the God of Israel.
Mat 15:32 Jesus summoned his disciples and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away fasting, or they might faint on the way."
Mat 15:33 The disciples said to him, "Where should we get so many loaves in a deserted place as to satisfy so great a multitude?"
Mat 15:34 Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish."
Mat 15:35 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground;
Mat 15:36 and he took the seven loaves and the fish. He gave thanks and broke them, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.
Mat 15:37 They all ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces that were left over.
Mat 15:38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
Mat 15:39 Then he sent away the multitudes, got into the boat, and came into the borders of Magdala.

"THE BOOK OF DANIEL" The Vision Of The Time Of The End - II (11:2-35) by Mark Copeland


"THE BOOK OF DANIEL"
The Vision Of The Time Of The End - II (11:2-35)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the tenth chapter, we saw the beginning of the final vision
   recorded by Daniel...
   a. A vision that pertains to what will affect Daniel's people (i.e.,Israel)
       - Dan 10:14
   b. Describing what will occur "in the latter days, for the vision
      refers to many days yet to come" - Dan 10:14
   c. Its words were to be closed and sealed "till the time of the end"- Dan 12:9
   -- For such reasons this vision has been called "The Vision Of The
      Time Of The End"

2. In the introductory remarks of the vision, we were given a glimpse
   of the spiritual warfare that was going on "behind the scenes"...
   a. With angelic forces withstanding each other - Dan 10:13a,20
   b. With angelic forces helping each other - Dan 10:13b,21; 11:1

[Beginning with Dan 11:2, "The Vision Of The Time Of The End" begins in
earnest.  The "glorious man" proceeds to tell Daniel what will happen
"in the latter days" (Dan 10:14), beginning with...]

I. THE PERSIAN-GREEK CONFLICT

   A. FOUR PERSIAN KINGS WILL ARISE...
      1. Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth - Dan 11:2
         a. The fourth shall be far richer than them all
         b. By his strength and riches, the fourth shall stir up all
            against Greece
      2. As confirmed by history, these kings who followed Cyrus (Dan 10:1) were:
         a. Cambyses
         b. Smerdis
         c. Darius Hystaspis (Darius the Great)
         d. Xerxes (called Ahasuerus in the book of Esther - Es 1:1)

   B. A MIGHTY GREEK KING SHALL RISE AND FALL...
      1. A mighty king shall arise - Dan 11:3
         a. He shall rule with great dominion
         b. He shall do according to his will
         -- This was Alexander the Great
      2. His kingdom shall be broken and divided into four pieces - Dan 11:4
         a. This was also prophesied in Dan 8:21-22
         b. The kingdom will not be given to his posterity, nor will
            the dominion be as great
         c. As confirmed by history, Alexander's empire was eventually
            divided between his four generals after he died in 323 B.C.
            1) Seleucus I - who began the Seleucid (Syrian) empire,
               from Turkey to India
            2) Cassander - who took over Macedonia (Greece)
            3) Lysimachus - who took Thracia (between Greece and
               Turkey)
            4) Ptolemy I - who ruled over Egypt

[At this point, the "glorious man" begins to describe an extended
conflict between "the kings of the North" and "the kings of the South"
which will have a big impact upon the people of Daniel (Israel)...]

II. THE EGYPTIAN-SYRIAN CONFLICT

   A. THE CONFLICT WILL BEGIN...
      1. The "king of the South" will gain in strength - Dan 11:5a
         a. This king is Ptolemy I
         b. Who ruled Egypt (306-284 B.C.)
      2. As well as "one of his princes", who will gain power over the other 
          - Dan 11:5b
         a. This is thought to refer to one of Alexander's princes (generals)
         b. In which case it is Seleucus I, who ruled Syria (312-280 B.C.)
      -- Caught in the middle between Syria and Egypt, Israel will bear
         the brunt of much of the conflict between these two empires

   B. THERE WILL BE A FAILED ALLIANCE...
      1. The "daughter of the South" will go to the "king of the North"
         - Dan 11:6a
         a. The event occurred in the reigns of Ptolemy Philadelphus
            (284-246 B.C.) and Antiochus Theus (261-246 B.C.)
         b. Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus was given to
            Antiochus, upon the condition that Antiochus divorce his wife Laodice
         c. Hoping to make peace between Egypt and Syria
      2. But the "daughter of the South" will not retain her authority - Dan 11:6b
         a. Two years after the marriage, Berenice's father (Ptolemy
            Philadelphus) died
         b. Antiochus put her away and restored his first wife Laodice
         c. Laodice killed Antiochus, and Berenice fled, but was later
            put to death along with her children and attendants

   C. THE SOUTH WILL RISE IN ANGER...
      1. A "branch of her roots" will come with an army - Dan 11:7
         a. This was Berenice's brother, Ptolemy Euregetes (246-221 B.C.)
         b. Who failing to save his sister, attacked Syria to avenge her death
      2. The avenger (Ptolemy Euregetes) will succeed - Dan 11:8
         a. Euregetes took their gods, princes, and precious articles to Egypt
         b. Euregetes ruled longer than the next Seleucid king,
            Seleucid Callinicus (246-226 B.C.)

   D. THE CONFLICT WILL ACCELERATE...
      1. The "king of the North" (Seleucid Callinicus) will try to
         invade the kingdom of the South - Dan 11:9-10
         a. He does not succeed, though his sons (Seleucid Ceraunus and
            Antiochus the Great) shall stir up strife
         b. One son in particular, Antiochus the Great (225-187 B.C.),
            does succeed in overwhelming Egypt (actually, regain Syrian
            land taken by Egypt)
      2. The "king of the South" will respond in rage - Dan 11:11-13
         a. This king of Egypt is Ptolemy Philopator (221-204 B.C.)
         b. Angry that Antiochus the Great regained control of Syrian
            territory, he gathered a great army and defeated Antiochus
            at Raphia
         c. His victory was short-lived, for Antiochus returned with a
            better-equipped army in 203 B.C.
      3. Others will contribute to the war against the South - Dan 11:14
         a. This included Philip, king of Macedon, who aligned with Antiochus
         b. Also some violent Jews, prompted by what they perceived as
            the fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall
      4. The "king of the North" shall prevail against the South, but
         then fall - Dan 11:15-19
         a. Again, this is Antiochus the Great
            1) The forces of the South were not able to resist him
            2) He stood in the "Glorious Land" (Israel) with
               destruction in his power
         b. He tried to strengthen his kingdom by giving his daughter in marriage
            1) His daughter Cleopatra, given to Ptolemy Epiphanes (204-180 B.C.)
            2) But she came to favor the purposes of her husband rather
               than her father
         c. Antiochus then turned his attention to the coastlands (Mediterranean)
            1) Making war with the Romans
            2) But was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus, a Roman military leader
         d. Defeated by the Romans, Antiochus the Great returned home
            and died soon after

[At this point our attention is focused on one leader of the Seleucid
(Syrian) empire, who would have a powerful impact upon the people of
Daniel, Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.)...]

III. THE RISE OF ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES

   A. PRECEDED BY A TAX COLLECTOR...
      1. One who will impose taxes on the "glorious kingdom" (Israel?) Dan 11:20
         a. This is Seleucus Philopator (187-175 B.C.)
         b. Oldest son of Antiochus, and his immediate successor
      2. Whose reign will be short-lived
         a. Compared to his father, who reigned thirty-seven years
         b. Who died, not in battle, but was poisoned

   B. THEN WILL COME A VILE MAN WITH NO HONOR...
      1. Held in contempt, the people will not give him honor - Dan 11:21
         a. His official name was Antiochus "Epiphanes" (the  Illustrious)
         b. His people refereed to him as Antiochus "Epimanes" (the Insane)
      2. He shall take the kingdom peaceably, but with intrigue - Dan 11:21-24
         a. This may refer to his dealings with the Egyptians (or perhaps Israel)
         b. After making a league with them, he will act deceitfully
            and become strong with a small number of people
         c. Through peaceful means he will plunder the riches places of
            the province
      3. He will provoke the "king of the South" - Dan 11:25-28
         a. Two times Antiochus invaded Egypt
         b. The Egyptian king, Ptolemy Physcon, sought to oppose him,
            but was betrayed by his own people
         c. Both kings were deceitful liars, but their plotting was
            subject to the times and manner appointed by God
         d. On his return home, Antiochus passed through Israel, and
            was moved against the holy covenant (the institutions of
            the Law of Moses)

   C. HE WILL BRING BLASPHEMIES AGAINST ISRAEL...
      1. Once again Antiochus Epiphanes will head toward the South 
         - Dan 11:29-30a
         a. This was his third invasion
         b. But he was not as successful as before
         c. For Roman ships from Cyprus (Kittim) threatened reprisal 
      2. Frustrated, he will take out his rage against "the holy
         covenant" - Dan 11:30b-32a
         a. By showing regard for those who forsake the holy covenant
         b. By defiling the sanctuary fortress (i.e., the temple)
         c. By taking away the daily sacrifices
         d. By placing there "the abomination of desolation"
         e. By flattering those who do wickedly against the covenant
      3. In the years 169-167 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes:
         a. Took the city of Jerusalem and plundered the temple
         b. Commanded the Jews to worship the Greek idol which he set
            up in the temple
         c. Put an end to daily sacrifices and polluted the altar by
            offering swine flesh on it
         d. Forbid circumcision, the observance of the Sabbath, and
            possession of a copy of the law

   D. THOSE WHO KNOW GOD WILL RESIST VALIANTLY...
      1. They shall be strong - Dan 11:32b-33a
         a. Carrying out great exploits
         b. Instructing many 
      2. When they fall, they shall receive aid - Dan 11:33b-34
         a. For many days they shall fall by sword, flame, captivity and plunder
         b. They will receive a little help, even from many through intrigue
      4. When those of understanding fall, it will be to refine them- Dan 11:35
         a. To purge them, and make them white
         b. Until "the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time."
      -- The events described here were fulfilled during the Maccabean
         period, which began in 168 B.C. with the revolt of Mattathias
         (an elderly priest) and his five sons

CONCLUSION

1. Up to this point, there is little controversy over the content of the vision...
   a. It describes the conflict between the Persians and the Greeks,
      followed by the conflict between the Syrians and the Egyptians
   b. The latter described in detail, because Israel was caught in the middle
   c. Israel in particular would suffer the blasphemies of one Syrian
      king, Antiochus Epiphanes

2. From Dan 11:36 on, there is quite a diversity of opinions...
   a. Some believe Antiochus Epiphanes is still the subject
   b. Others suggest that a Roman emperor is being described
   c. Still others believe it refers to someone yet to come

We shall examine the remaining portion of this chapter and the final
chapter in our next study...

Note:  The historical information in this lesson was taken from Albert
       Barnes' commentary on Daniel.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What did atheistic author Mike Davis allege was the “smoking gun” that proved to him once and for all that “Christianity could not possibly be true”? What “sealed the issue” and led him to believe “Jesus was wrong...and no more deserving of our belief than any other guy”? When did the case against the Bible and Christianity become “closed”? In chapter one of his book, The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity, Davis explained that Matthew 24:34 was the deciding factor.
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus stated: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” According to Davis, since “Jesus tells his listeners that the judgment day will come before the generation he’s speaking to passes away,” and since that generation passed away 1,900 years ago, Jesus “could not have been divine” and the Bible is “untrustworthy” (2008, pp. 1-2). In actuality, what Davis confesses ultimately “proved” to him that the Bible and Jesus are unreliable is nothing more than a misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus was not mistaken in His comments in Matthew 24:34—Jesus’ generation did not pass away prior to witnessing the things Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:4-34. But, Jesus did not foretell in those verses what Davis assumes He foretold. Davis and many others believe that, prior to verse 34, Jesus was describing events that would take place shortly before Judgment Day at the end of time. The fact of the matter is, however, Jesus was prophesying about the coming destruction upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and not the final Judgment.
When the disciples went to show Jesus the temple buildings (Matthew 24:1), Jesus said, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (24:2). Later, when Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Him three questions, beginning with “when will these things be?” (24:3). In verses 4-34, Jesus revealed several signs that would indicate Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple, was near. [NOTE: “The fall of the Hebrew system is set forth in the sort of apocalyptic nomenclature that is characteristic of Old Testament literature, e.g., when the prophets pictorially portray the overthrow of Jehovah’s enemies (cf. Isaiah 13:10-11; 34:2ff; Ezekiel 32:7-8)” (Jackson, n.d.); cf. Matthew 24:29-31; see Miller, 2003.] In verses 35-51 (and all of chapter 25), Jesus answered the disciples’ last two questions: “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). To summarize, in Matthew 24:4-34 Jesus foretold of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while in 24:35-25:46 He commented on His future return and final Judgment of the world.
How sad it is that so many atheists and skeptics believe they have disproven the Bible and Christianity, when, in reality, they have simply twisted the biblical text to mean something God never intended (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The fact that Mike Davis highlights Matthew 24:34 as the verse that once and for all proved to him the Bible is unreliable should tell us something about the extreme weakness of the skeptic’s case against Christianity.

REFERENCES

Davis, Mike (2008), The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament (Outskirts Press: Denver, CO).
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “A Study of Matthew 24,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/19-a-study-of-matthew-24.
Miller, Dave (2003), “There Will Be No Signs!” http://apologeticspress.org/articles/1838.

“Breaking Bread” on the “First Day” of the Week by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





“Breaking Bread” on the “First Day” of the Week

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


As the apostle Paul was making his way toward Jerusalem near the end of his third missionary journey, he met with several disciples in the coastal city of Troas. Although he was “hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16), he tarried in Troas for seven days with several other disciples (20:4-6). According to Acts 20:7, “[O]n the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Since Luke indicates that Paul did not break bread until after his lengthy lesson and the resurrection of Eutychus (20:11), many have questioned whether Paul and the disciples ate of the Lord’s Supper on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday? Others have wondered whether “to break bread” in Acts 20 even has anything to do with the Lord’s Supper. What can be said about such matters?
Admittedly, to “break bread” in Bible times often referred to the eating of common meals. God once warned His prophet Jeremiah not to “break bread for the mourner” (Jeremiah 16:7, RSV). Jesus “took bread...and broke it” with the disciples to whom He appeared on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:30,35). The early Christians are said to have continued daily “breaking bread from house to house” eating “food with gladness and simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:46). Paul once “took bread and...broke it” and instructed his 275 companions on board a ship to Italy to eat it for their “preservation” (Acts 27:34-35, NASB). In ancient times, to “break bread” was a figure of speech known as synecdoche where a part (to break bread) was put for the whole (to eat a common meal, regardless of the kind of food and drink consumed).
In New Testament times, however, the phrase “to break bread” was also used to describe the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted this special supper while celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread with His disciples shortly before His death.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29, emp. added).
In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Paul addressed the subject of the Lord’s Supper with these words: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (emp. added). Paul later reminded the Corinthians of the night in which Jesus first instituted this memorial feast, saying, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, emp. added). Because part of this memorial supper that Christians are commanded to keep involves the actual breaking of bread, the expression “to break bread” was used in reference to the Lord’s Supper in the early church (cf. Behm, 1965, 3:730). Similar to how this phrase was used as a synecdoche in regard to common meals, it was also used to represent the Lord’s Supper (where consumption of both the bread and the fruit of the vine is referred to as simply “the breaking of bread”).
Because the phrase “to break bread” refers both to common meals and the Lord’s Supper, one must examine the context of passages in order to understand which one is being discussed. For example, since in Acts 2:42 “breaking bread” is listed with other religious activities carried out by the church such as teaching, praying, and fellowshipping (from the Greek koinonia, which may include several aspects of “joint participation,” including free-will offerings on the first day of the week—cf. Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; see Jackson, 2005, p. 31), one may logically conclude that “the breaking of bread” is a reference to the early Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper. [The use of the article in this verse also leaves the impression that a particular event is under consideration, rather than a common meal where “food” (Greek trophe, a word never used of the Lord’s Supper—Barnes, 1956, p. 59) is served for the purpose of gaining nourishment (e.g., Acts 2:46; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:33-34).]
But what about the use of the phrase “to break bread” in Acts 20:7? What textual indicators are present that warrant the phrase in this passage to be understood as the Lord’s Supper? First, the term “to break bread” is a first aorist active infinitive (Robertson, 1997). Since infinitives in Greek and English denote the objective or purpose of action for the principal verb (cf. Mounce, 1993, p. 298), one can know that Paul, Luke, and the disciples at Troas “gathered together” for the primary purpose of “breaking bread.” When this information is processed in light of the fact that Paul earlier had written to the church at Corinth and implied that the purpose for them coming together was to partake of the Lord’s Supper (in an orderly manner—1 Corinthians 11:20,33), then the passage in Acts 20 makes much better sense: “to break bread” was (or at least included) the eating of the Lord’s Supper. What’s more, Paul remained in Troas for seven days despite being in a hurry to get to Jerusalem before Pentecost (which was about 31 days, 10 stops, and 1,000 miles away—cf. Acts 20:6,13-16; 21:1,3,7,8,15). Why tarry in Troas for seven days? It was not simply to eat a common meal with the saints. Rather, Paul desired to worship with the church in Troas “on the first day of the week,” which included observing “communion” with them (1 Corinthians 10:16).
But did Paul and the church at Troas really observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday? First, it is possible that the bread Paul broke after spending all night preaching and talking was part of a common meal that he would have gladly received before beginning his extended journey to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, when Luke’s terminology in Acts 20:11 is carefully examined, it appears that Paul ate two separate meals with the disciples: the Lord’s Supper first (“had broken bread”), followed by a common meal (“and eaten”). This latter expression (“and eaten,” Greek geusamenos) “is nowhere used of the celebration of the Supper, whereas in Acts 10:10 it is applied to taking a common meal” (Jamieson, 1997). The former expression (“had broken bread”) has the Greek article before “bread” (lit., “had broken the bread,” ASV, emp. added) and “seems plainly to denote the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; their intention to do so being expressed in Acts 20:7, but their actually doing it nowhere if not here” (Jamieson, 1997; cf. Robertson, 1997; Woods, 1976, pp. 67-70; Wycliffe, 1985).
If Paul, then, waited to “break bread” until after midnight (20:7,11), would this not have been a Monday-morning observance of the Lord’s Supper? Regardless of whether the memorial feast was observed before or after midnight, one can be assured that it took place on Sunday, because it was “on the first day of the week” that the disciples met “to break bread.” The reason that eating the Lord’s Supper after midnight would have been acceptable conduct for many Christians is because the Jewish method of counting time was still widely acknowledged. The Jews and the Romans used different standards for calculating the hours of the day, and although both systems split the day into two periods of twelve hours, a new day for the Romans began at midnight (cf. Pliny, n.d., 2:79), whereas a new day for the Jews began in the evening at sundown and lasted until sundown the following day. Luke, like Matthew and Mark, used the Jewish method of reckoning time in both his gospel account and in the book of Acts (cf. Luke 23:44; Acts 2:15; 23:23; cf. also John 19:14; 20:1,19). Thus, Paul’s pre-midnight preaching corresponded to our Saturday evening, but was the beginning of their “first day.” Regardless of whether they observed the Lord’s Supper on the evening of the first day or the morning of the first day, it was observed on the proper day, the day on which Jesus rose from the grave (Luke 24:1)—the first day of the week.
Christians should count it a privilege and honor to observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:22), and commune with the Lord and His people (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Sadly, some in the twenty-first century may attempt to justify observing this sacred supper on some occasion other than the first day by alleging that the early Christians observed it on Saturday night or Monday morning. The important thing to remember in this discussion, however, is that the early disciples came together on the first day of the week to observe this memorial feast. In the first century, when the Jewish method of reckoning time was still widely accepted, the first day began on what we call Saturday evening and ended Sunday evening. In the twenty-first century, most (if not all) people count time from midnight to midnight. Since God did not specify which method of time to use, but did specify the numerical day of the week in which the supper of the Lord is to be kept, Christians should abide by the standards of time wherever they reside.
[For discussion on whether or not Christians should partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, see Miller, 2003]

REFERENCES

Barnes, Albert (1956), Notes on the Old and New Testaments: Acts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Behm, Johannes (1965), “klaoklasisklasma,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jackson, Wayne (2005), The Acts of the Apostles: From Jerusalem to Rome (Stockton, CA: Christian Courier Publications).
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Sunday and the Lord’s Supper,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2304.
Mounce, William D. (1993), Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, trans. Bostock and H.T. Riley, [On-line], URL: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plin.+Nat.+2.79.
Robertson, A.T. (1997), Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Woods, Guy N. (1976 reprint), Questions and Answers (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman College).
Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1985), Electronic Database: Biblesoft.

"This is the Way God Made Me"--A Scientific Examination of Homosexuality and the "Gay Gene" by Dave Miller, et al.





"This is the Way God Made Me"--A Scientific Examination of Homosexuality and the "Gay Gene"

by Dave Miller, et al.


The trumpets were left at home and the parades were canceled. The press releases and campaign signs were quietly forgotten. The news was big, but it did not contain what some had hoped for. On April 14, 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project—two years ahead of schedule. The press report read: “The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over” (see “Human Genome Report...,” 2003, emp. added). Most of the major science journals reported on the progress in the field of genetics, but also speculated on how the information would now be used. The one piece of information that never materialized from the Human Genome Project was the identification of the so-called “gay gene.”
Homosexuality has been practiced for thousands of years. Simply put, homosexuality is defined as sexual relations between like genders (i.e., two males or two females). It was Sigmund Freud who first postulated that parental relationships with a child ultimately determine the youngster’s sexual orientation. But this “nurturing” aspect has effectively given way to the “nature” side of the equation. Can some behaviors (e.g., alcoholism, homosexuality, schizophrenia) be explained by genetics? Are these and other behaviors influenced by nature or by nurture? Are they inborn or learned? Some individuals believed that the answer would be found hiding amidst the chromosomes analyzed in the Human Genome Project.
The human X and Y chromosomes (the two “sex” chromosomes) have been completely sequenced. Thanks to work carried out by labs all across the globe, we know that the X chromosome contains 153 million base pairs, and harbors a total of 1168 genes (see NCBI, 2004). The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the Y chromosome—which is much smaller—contains “only” 50 million base pairs, and is estimated to contain a mere 251 genes. Educational institutions such as Baylor University, the Max Planck Institute, the Sanger Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, and others have spent countless hours and millions of research dollars analyzing these unique chromosomes. As the data began to pour in, they allowed scientists to construct gene maps—using actual sequences from the Human Genome Project. And yet, neither the map for the X nor the Y chromosome contains any “gay gene.”
What is the truth regarding homosexuality? Too often, speculation, emotions, and politics play a major role in its assessment. The following is a scientific investigation of human homosexuality.

BEHAVIORAL GENETICS AND CIVIL RIGHTS

In an effort to affect public policy and gain acceptance, the assertion often is made that homosexuals deserve equal rights just as other minority groups—and should not be punished for, or forbidden from, expressing their homosexuality. The fight for the acceptance of homosexuality often is compared to “civil rights” movements of racial minorities. Due to America’s failure to settle fully the civil rights issue (i.e., full and equal citizenship of racial minorities), social liberals, feminists, and homosexual activists were provided with the perfect “coat tail” to ride to advance their agenda. Using this camouflage of innate civil liberties, homosexual activists were able to divert attention away from the behavior, and focus it on the “rights.”
The argument goes like this: “Just as a person cannot help being black, female, or Asian, I cannot help being homosexual. We were all born this way, and as such we should be treated equally.” However, this argument fails to comprehend the true “civil rights” movements. The law already protects the civil rights of everyone—black, white, male, female, homosexual, or heterosexual. Homosexuals enjoy the same civil rights everyone else does. The contention arises when specific laws deprive all citizens of certain behaviors (e.g., sodomy, etc.). We should keep in mind that these laws are the same for all members of society. Because of certain deprivations, homosexuals feel as though “equal” rights have been taken away (i.e., marriage, tax breaks, etc.).
Skin color and other genetic traits can be traced through inheritance patterns and simple Mendelian genetics. Homosexuals are identified not by a trait or a gene, but rather by their actions. Without the action, they would be indistinguishable from all other people. It is only when they alter their behavior that they become a group that is recognized as being different. If we were to assume momentarily that homosexuality was genetic, then the most one could conclude is that those individuals were not morally responsible for being homosexual. However, that does not mean that they are not morally responsible for homosexual actions! Merely having the gene would not force one to carry out the behavior. For instance, if scientists were able to document that a “rape gene” existed, we certainly would not blame an individual for possessing this gene, but neither would we allow him to act upon that rape disposition. Neil Risch and his coworkers admitted:
There is little disagreement that male homosexual orientation is not a Mendelian trait. In fact, a priori, one would expect the role of a major gene in male homosexual orientation to be limited because of the strong selective pressures against such a gene. It is unlikely that a major gene underlying such a common trait could persist over time without an extraordinary counterbalancing mechanism (1993, 262:2064).
Evan S. Balaban, a neurobiologist at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, noted that
the search for the biological underpinnings of complex human traits has a sorry history of late. In recent years, researchers and the media have proclaimed the “discovery” of genes linked to alcoholism and mental illness as well as to homosexuality. None of the claims...has been confirmed (as quoted in Horgan, 1995).
Charles Mann agreed, stating: “Time and time again, scientists have claimed that particular genes or chromosomal regions are associated with behavioral traits, only to withdraw their findings when they were not replicated” (1994, 264:1687). It appears that the gay gene will be added to this category of unreplicated claims.
The real issue here is homosexual actions that society has deemed immoral and, in many instances, illegal. Since no study has firmly established an underlying genetic cause for homosexuality, arguments suggesting “equal rights” are both baseless and illogical.

REAL STATISTICS

Anyone who has tuned into prime-time television within the past few years has observed an increasing trend of shows featuring characters who are homosexual—and proud of it. It seems as though modern sitcoms require “token” homosexuals in order to be politically correct. The perception is that these individuals share the same apartment buildings, offices, clubs, etc., with heterosexual people, and that we need to realize just how prevalent homosexuality is. So, exactly what fraction of the population do homosexuals actually represent?
The famous Kinsey Institute report often is cited as evidence that 10% of the population is homosexual. In his book, Is It a Choice?: Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gays and Lesbians, Eric Marcus used the Kinsey studies to demonstrate that one in ten people is homosexual (1993). In truth, Kinsey never reported figures that high. The Kinsey Report clearly stated that: “Only about 4 percent of the men [evaluated] were exclusively homosexual throughout their entire lives.... Only 2 or 3 percent of these women were exclusively homosexual their entire lives” (see Reinisch and Beasley, 1990, p. 140). However, there is good reason to believe that the real percentage is not even this high.
While no one has carried out a door-to-door census, we do have a fairly accurate estimate. Interestingly, these statistics came to light in an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2003, in the Lawrence vs. Texas case (commonly known as the Texas sodomy case). On page 16 of this legal brief, footnote 42 revealed that 31 homosexual and pro-homosexual groups admitted the following:
The most widely accepted study of sexual practices in the United States is the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS). The NHSLS found that 2.8% of the male, and 1.4% of the female population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (Laumann, et al., 1994).
The study also found that only 0.9% of men and 0.4% of women reported having only same-sex partners since age 18—a figure that would represent a total of only 1.4 million Americans as homosexual (based on the last census report, showing roughly 292 million people living in America). The resulting accurate figures demonstrate that significantly less than one percent of the American population claims to be homosexual. The NHSLS results are similar to a survey conducted by the Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey (1986) of public school students. The survey showed that only 0.6% of the boys and 0.2% of the girls identified themselves as “mostly or 100% homosexual.”
The 2000 census sheds even more light on the subject. The overall statistics from the 2000 Census Bureau revealed:
  • The total population of the U.S. is 285,230,516.
  • The total number of households in the U.S. is 106,741,426.
  • The total number of unmarried same-sex households is 601,209.
Thus, out of a population of 106,741,426 households, homosexuals represent 0.42% of those households. That is less than one half of one percent!
But since most people are not mathematicians, we would like to make this point in a way that most individuals will be able to better comprehend. If we were to start a new television sitcom, and wanted to accurately portray homosexual ratios in society, we would need 199 heterosexual actors before we finally introduced one homosexual actor.
And yet modern television casts of three or four often include one or more homosexual actor(s). The statistics from the 2000 census are not figures grabbed from the air and placed on a political sign or Web site to promote a particular agenda. These were census data that were carefully collected from the entire United States population, contrary to the limited scope of studies designed to show a genetic cause for homosexuality.

IS HOMOSEXUALITY GENETIC?

It is one of the most explosive topics in society today. The social and political ramifications affect the very roots of this country. But is the country being told the truth concerning homosexuality? Is there really a genetic basis for homosexuality?
Former democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean signed a bill legalizing civil unions for homosexuals in Vermont. In defending his actions, he commented: “The overwhelming evidence is that there is a very significant, substantial genetic component to it. From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people” (as quoted in VandeHei, 2004). Dean is not alone in such thinking.
Homosexual Population Pie ChartMost people are familiar with the idea that research has been performed that allegedly supports the existence of a gay gene. However, that idea has been a long time in the making. Almost fifty years ago, the landmark Kinsey report was produced using the sexual histories of thousands of Americans. While that report consisted of a diverse sample, it was not a representative sample of the general population (Kinsey, et al., 1948, 1953). In 1994, Richard Friedman and Jennifer Downey published a review on homosexuality in The New England Journal of Medicine. In reviewing Kinsey’s work, they noted:
Kinsey reported that 8 percent of men and 4 percent of women were exclusively homosexual for a period of at least three years during adulthood. Four percent of men and 2 percent of women were exclusively homosexual after adolescence (1994, 331:923).
With this “statistical information” in hand, some sought to change the way homosexuality was viewed by both the public and the medical community. Prior to 1973, homosexuality appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official reference book used by the American Psychiatric Association for diagnosing mental disorders in America and throughout much of the rest of the world. Homosexuality was considered a sickness that doctors routinely treated. In 1973, however, it was removed as a sexual disorder, based on the claim that it did not fulfill the “distress and social disability” criteria that were used to define a disorder. Today, there is no mention of homosexuality in the DSM-IV (aside from a section describing gender identity disorder), indicating that individuals with this condition are not suitable candidates for therapy (see American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
Physicians treating patients for homosexuality (to bring about a change in sexual orientation) frequently are reported to ethics committees in an attempt to have them cease. Robert Spitzer lamented:
Several authors have argued that clinicians who attempt to help their clients change their homosexual orientation are violating professional ethical codes by providing a “treatment” that is ineffective, often harmful, and reinforces in their clients the false belief that homosexuality is a disorder and needs treatment (2003, 32:403).
Thus, the stage was set for the appearance of a “gay gene.”

SIMON LEVAY—BRAIN DIFFERENCES

The first “significant” published study that indicated a possible biological role for homosexuality came from Simon LeVay, who was then at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California. In 1991, Dr. LeVay reported subtle differences between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men (1991). LeVay measured a particular region of the brain (the interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus—INAH) in postmortem tissue of three distinct groups: (1) women; (2) men who were presumed to be heterosexual; (3) and homosexual men.

LeVay’s Reported Findings

LeVay reported that clusters of these neurons (INAH) in homosexual men were the same size as clusters in women, both of which were significantly smaller than clusters in heterosexual men. LeVay reported that the nuclei in INAH 3 were “more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the women. It was also, however, more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the homosexual men” (1991, 253:1034). This difference was interpreted as strong evidence of a biological link to homosexuality. LeVay’s assumption was that homosexual urges can be biologically based—so long as cluster size is accepted as being genetically determined.

Diagram showing INAH area

Diagram showing INAH area. LifeART images copyright © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Problems with LeVay’s Study
When looking at the methodology of the LeVay study, one of the key problems is that the study has never been reproduced. As William Byne noted, LeVay’s work
has not been replicated, and human neuroanatomical studies of this kind have a very poor track record for reproducibility. Indeed, procedures similar to those LeVay used to identify nuclei have previously led researchers astray (1994, 270[5]:53, emp. added).
Additionally, of nineteen homosexual subjects used in the study, all had died of complications of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS has been shown to decrease testosterone levels, so it should be expected that those who suffered from that condition would have smaller INAH. Byne continued his comments on LeVay’s work.
His inclusion of a few brains from heterosexual men with AIDS did not adequately address the fact that at the time of death, virtually all men with AIDS have decreased testosterone levels as the result of the disease itself or the side effects of particular treatments. To date, LeVay has examined the brain of only one gay man who did not die of AIDS (270:53).
Furthermore, in a scientific environment where controls and standards are a necessity, LeVay did not possess a complete medical history of the individuals included in his study. He therefore was forced to assume the sexual orientation of the non-AIDS victims as being heterosexual, when some may not have been. In addition, bear in mind that he had no evidence regarding the sexual orientation of the women whose brains he examined. LeVay has admitted:
It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain (as quoted in Byrd, et al., 2001, emp. added).
Many have argued that what LeVay discovered in the brains of those he examined was only a result of prior behavior, not the cause of it. Mark Breedlove, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, has demonstrated that sexual behavior has an effect on the brain. In referring to his own research, Breedlove commented: “These findings give us proof for what we theoretically know to be the case—that sexual experience can alter the structure of the brain, just as genes can alter it.... [I]t is possible that differences in sexual behavior cause (rather than are caused by) differences in the brain” (as quoted in Byrd, et al., parenthetical item in orig.). Considering this type of research, it makes sense that a homosexual lifestyle (and/or the AIDS condition) could alter the size of the nuclei LeVay was measuring.
What exactly did LeVay find? In actuality, not much. He did observe slight differences between the groups—if you accept the method he used for measuring the size of the neuron clusters (and some researchers do not). When each individual was considered by himself, there was not a significant difference; only when the individuals involved in the study were considered in groups of homosexuals vs. heterosexuals did differences result. Hubbard and Wald commented on this lack of difference:
Though, on average, the size of the hypothalamic nucleus LeVay considered significant was indeed smaller in the men he identified as homosexual, his published data show that the range of sizes of the individual samples was virtually the same as for the heterosexual men. That is, the area was larger in some of the homosexuals than in many of the heterosexual men, and smaller in some of the heterosexual men than in many of the homosexuals. This means that, though the groups showed some difference as groups, there was no way to tell anything about an individual’s sexual orientation by looking at his hypothalamus (1997, pp. 95-96, emp. added).
Being homosexual himself, it is no surprise that LeVay observed: “...[P]eople who think that gays and lesbians are born that way are more likely to support gay rights.” In a Newsweek article, LeVay was quoted as saying, “I felt if I didn’t find any [difference in the hypothalamuses], I would give up a scientific career altogether” (as quoted in Gelman, et al., 1992, p. 49). Given how (poorly) twisted LeVay’s data are, and his own personal bias, his abandonment of science may have ultimately been of greater service.

Brain Plasticity—A Fact Acknowledged by All Neuroscientists

Today, scientists are keenly aware of the fact that the brain is not as “hard-wired” or permanently fixed as once thought—an important factor that LeVay failed to acknowledge. One of the properties of plastic is flexibility—many containers are made out of plastic so that they will not shatter when dropped. In a similar manner, the brain was once considered to be rigid, like Ball® jars used for canning—but we now know the brain is “plastic” and flexible, and able to reorganize itself. Research has shown that the brain is able to remodel its connections and grow larger, according to the specific areas that are most frequently utilized. Given that we know today that the brain exhibits plasticity, one must ask if the act of living a homosexual lifestyle itself might be responsible for the difference LeVay noted? Commenting on brain plasticity, Shepherd noted:
The inability to generate new neurons might imply that the adult nervous system is a static, “hard-wired” machine. This is far from the truth. Although new neurons cannot be generated, each neuron retains the ability to form new processes and new synaptic connections (1994).
Interestingly, since Shepherd’s textbook was published, additional research has even documented the ability of neurons to be generated within certain areas of the brain. This information must be considered when examining comparative anatomical experiments such as LeVay’s. These cortical rearrangements that occur are not as simple as unplugging a lamp and plugging it into another socket. The changes observed by researchers indicate that if the brain were represented by a home electrical system, then many of the wires within the walls would be pulled out, rewired to different connections in different rooms, new outlets would appear, and some would even carry different voltages. Due to the colossal connectivity that takes place within the brain, any “rewiring” is, by its very nature, going to have an effect on several areas—such as INAH3. Scientists understand these things, yet LeVay’s work is still mentioned as alleged support for the so-called gay gene.

BAILEY AND PILLARD—
THE FAMOUS “TWINS” STUDY

One of the most frequently cited studies used in promoting the genetics of sexual orientation is a 1952 study by Kallmann. In this famous work, he reported a concordance rate (or genetic association) of 100% for sexual orientation among monozygotic (identical) twins (1952, 115:283). This result, if true, would prove nearly insurmountable for those people who doubt the biological causation of homosexuality. However, Kallmann subsequently conjectured that this perfect concordance was an artifact, possibly due to the fact that his sample was drawn largely from mentally ill and institutionalized men (see Rainer, et al., 1960, 22:259). But Kallmann’s research opened the door to twin studies in regard to sexual orientation.
Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard, researchers at Northwestern University and the Boston University School of Medicine, carried out a similar experiment, examining 56 pairs of identical twins, 54 pairs of fraternal twins, 142 non-twin brothers of twins, and 57 pairs of adoptive brothers (1991, 48:1089-1096). Bailey and Pillard were looking to see if homosexuality was passed on through familial lines, or if one could point to environmental factors as the cause. Their hypothesis: if homosexuality is an inherited trait, then more twin brothers would be expected to have the same orientation than non-twin or non-biological brothers.

THEIR REPORTED FINDINGS

  • 52% of identical (monozygotic) twins of homosexual men were homosexual
  • 22% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
  • 11% of adoptive brothers of homosexual men were homosexual
  • 9.2% of non-twin biological siblings reported homosexual orientations (Bailey and Pillard, 1991, “A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation”)
  • 48% of identical twins of homosexual women were likewise homosexual
  • 16% of fraternal (dizygotic) twins were likewise homosexual
  • 6% of adoptive sisters of homosexual women were likewise homosexual (Bailey and Benishay, 1993, “Familial Aggregation of Female Sexual Orientation”)

PROBLEMS WITH BAILEY AND PILLARD’S STUDY

While the authors acknowledged some of the flaws with their research, they still were quoted in Science News as saying: “Our research shows that male sexual orientation is substantially genetic” (as quoted in Bower, 1992, 141:6). However, the most glaring observation is that clearly not 100% of the identical twins “inherited” homosexuality. If there was, in fact, a “gay gene,” then all of the identical twins should have reported a homosexual orientation. And yet, in nearly half of the twins studied, one brother was not homosexual. In a technical-comment letter in Science, Neil Risch and colleagues pointed out: “The biological brothers and adoptive brothers showed approximately the same rates. This latter observation suggests that there is no genetic component, but rather an environmental component shared in families” (1993, 262:2063). In fact, more adoptive brothers shared homosexuality than non-twin biological brothers. If there was a genetic factor, this result would be counter to the expected trend. Byne and Parsons noted:
However, the concordance rate for homosexuality in nontwin biologic brothers was only 9.2—significantly lower than that required by simple genetic hypothesis, which, on the basis of shared genetic material, would predict similar concordance rates for DZ [dizygotic] twins and nontwin biologic brothers. Furthermore, the fact that the concordance rates were similar for nontwin biologic brothers (9.2%) and genetically unrelated adoptive brothers (11.0%) is at odds with a simple genetic hypothesis, which would predict a higher concordance rate for biological siblings (1993, 50:229).
A more recently published twin study failed to find similar concordance rates. King and McDonald studied 46 homosexual men and women who were twins. The concordance rates that they reported were 10%, or 25% with monozygotic twins—depending on whether or not the bisexuals were included along with the homosexuals. The rates for dizygotic twins were 8% or 12%, again, depending on whether bisexuals were included (King and McDonald, 1992). Byne and Parsons commented: “These rates are significantly lower than those reported by Bailey and Pillard; in comparison of the MZ [monozygotic] concordance rate, including bisexuals (25%), with the comparable figure from Bailey and Pillard (52%)” (p. 230). They went on to observe: “Furthermore, if the concordance rate is similar for MZ and DZ twins, the importance of genetic factors would be considerably less than that suggested by Bailey and Pillard” (p. 230, emp. added).
Another factor that may have had a drastic affect on the results of this study (and other similar studies) centers on methodology. Bailey and Pillard did not study a random sample of homosexuals. Instead, the subjects were recruited through advertisements placed in homosexual publications. This method can be deemed questionable because it is highly dependent on the readership of those publications and on the motives of those who respond. Thus, it may lead to skewed results—for example, inflated rates of concordance in identical twins owing to preferential participation (see Baron, 1993). Hubbard and Wald observed:
The fact that fraternal twins of gay men were roughly twice as likely to be gay as other biological brothers shows that environmental factors are involved, since fraternal twins are no more similar biologically than are other biological brothers. If being a fraternal twin exerts an environmental influence, it does not seem surprising that this should be even truer for identical twins, who the world thinks of as “the same” and treats accordingly, and who often share those feelings of sameness (1997, p. 97).
In summarizing their findings, Byne and Parsons stated: “Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biologic theory to be lacking” (50:228). Commenting on Bailey and Pillard’s report, researchers Billings and Beckwith wrote:
While the authors interpreted their findings as evidence for a genetic basis for homosexuality, we think that the data in fact provide strong evidence for the influence of the environment (1993, p. 60).
When evaluated scientifically, twin studies fail to provide any valid support for the longed-for “gay gene.”

DEAN HAMER—THE GAY GENE
ON THE X CHROMOSOME

Two years after Simon LeVay’s report, a group led by Dean H. Hamer of the National Cancer Institute allegedly linked male homosexuality to a gene on the X chromosome. His team investigated 114 families of homosexual men. Hamer and his colleagues collected family history information from 76 gay male individuals and 40 gay brother pairs as they searched for incidences of homosexuality among relatives of gay men.
In many families, gay men had gay relatives through maternal lines. Thus, they concluded that a gene for homosexuality might be found on the X chromosome, which is passed from the mother alone. They then used DNA linkage analysis in an effort to find a correlation between inheritance and homosexual orientation.

THEIR REPORTED FINDINGS

Because many of the families with a prevalence of homosexual relatives had a common set of DNA markers on the X chromosome, Hamer’s group assumed a genetic etiology. Of the 40 pairs of homosexual brothers he analyzed, Hamer found that 33 exhibited a matching DNA region called q28—a gene located at the tip of the long arm of the X chromosome. In summarizing their findings, Hamer and colleagues noted: “Our experiments suggest that a locus (or loci) related to sexual orientation lies within approximately 4 million base pairs of DNA on the tip of the long arm of the X chromosome” (1993, 261:326, parenthetical item in orig.). This discovery prompted Hamer and his colleagues to speculate:
The linkage to markers on Xq28, the subtelomeric region of the long arm of the sex chromosome, had a multipoint lod score of 4.0, indicating a statistical confidence level of more than 99 percent that at least one subtype of male sexual orientation is genetically influenced (261:321, emp. added).
It is important to note that Hamer did not claim to have found a “gay gene,” or even the set of genes, that might contribute to a propensity for homosexuality. According to Chicago Tribune staff writer, John Crewdson, what Hamer claimed to have found was “statistical evidence that such genes exist” (1995).

PROBLEMS WITH HAMER’S STUDY

One of the most significant problems with Hamer’s approach is that he and his colleagues did not feel that it was necessary to check whether any of the heterosexual men in these families shared the marker in question! Would it not be useful to know whether or not this “gay gene” is found in heterosexuals? Even if only a few of them possess the gene, it calls into question what the gene or the self-identification signifies. Additionally, Hamer never explained why the other seven pairs of brothers did not display the same genetic marker. If this is “the gene” for homosexuality, then one must assume all homosexual individuals would possess that particular marker—and yet that was not the case in Hamer’s study.
In a letter to Science, Anne Fausto-Sterling and Evan Balaban pointed out some of the additional problems with Hamer’s study. They noted:
Despite our praise for aspects of Hamer, et al.’s work, we feel it is also important to recognize some of its weaknesses. The most obvious of these is the lack of an adequate control group. Their study demonstrates cosegregation of a trait (which Hamer, et al. have labeled “homosexuality”) with X chromosome markers and the trait’s concordance in homosexual brothers. This cosegregation is potentially meaningful if the mother is heterozygous for the trait. In this case, segregating chromosomes without the markers should show up in nonhomosexual brothers, but Hamer, et al. present no data to that effect (1993, 261:1257, emp. added).
Fausto-Sterling and Balaban continued:
This sensitivity to assumptions about background levels makes Hamer, et al.’s data less robust than the summary in their abstract indicates.... Finally we wish to emphasize a point with which we are sure Hamer, et al. would agree: correlation does not necessarily indicate causation (261:1257).
In other words, Hamer’s methodology leaves something to be desired. One also should keep in mind that Hamer’s sampling was not random, and, as a result, his data may not reflect the real population.
George Rice and his colleagues from Canada looked intently at the gene Xq28. They then observed: “Allele and halotype sharing for these markers was not increased over expectation. These results do not support an X-linked gene underlying male homosexuality” (1999, 284:665, emp. added). Rice, et al., included 182 families in their study. They noted:
It is unclear why our results are so discrepant from Hamer’s original study. Because our study was larger than that of Hamer et al., we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as was reported in that study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual orientation at position Xq28 (284:667).
That is a tactful way of saying that any claims of having found a “gay gene” were overblown, if not outright false, and that Hamer’s results are dubious at best. Commenting on the study of Rice and his colleagues, Ingrid Wickelgren remarked: “...the Ontario team found that gay brothers were no more likely to share the Xq28 markers than would be expected by chance.... Ebers interprets all these results to mean that the X linkage is all but dead” (1999, 284:571, emp. added).
In June of 1998, University of Chicago psychiatrist Alan Sanders reported at the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association that he, too, had been unable to verify Hamer’s results. Looking for an increase in Xq28 linkage, Sanders’ team studied 54 pairs of gay brothers. As Wickelgren indicated, Sanders’ team had found “only a weak hint—that wasn’t statistically significant—of an Xq28 linkage among 54 gay brother pairs” (284:571). Commenting on the validity of Hamer’s study, Wickelgren quoted George Rice: “Taken together, Rice says, the results ‘suggest that if there is a linkage it’s so weak it’s not important’” (1999, emp. added). Two independent labs failed to reproduce anything even remotely resembling Hamer’s results.

CHANGEABILITY OF HOMOSEXUALS—
EVIDENCE AGAINST GENETICS

An individual born with diabetes has no hope of changing that condition. Likewise, a child born with Down’s syndrome will carry that chromosomal abnormality throughout his or her life. These individuals are a product of the genes they inherited from their parents. Homosexuality appears to be vastly different. Many people have been able to successfully change their sexual orientation. [Truth be told, some individuals experiment with a variety of sexual partners—male/female—often, going back and forth. One might inquire if the bisexuality denotes the existence of a “bisexual gene?”] Ironically, however, the removal of homosexuality as a designation from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association has kept many physicians from attempting to provide reparative therapy to homosexuals.
Robert Spitzer conducted a study on 200 self-selected individuals (143 males, 57 females) in an effort to see if participants could change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual (2003, 32:403-417). He reported some minimal change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation that lasted at least five years (p. 403). Spitzer observed:
The majority of participants gave reports of change from a predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year (p. 403).
In summarizing his findings, Spitzer declared: “Thus, there is evidence that change in sexual orientation following some form of reparative therapy does occur in some gay men and lesbians.” He thus concluded: “This study provides evidence that some gay men and lesbians are able to also change the core features of sexual orientation” (p. 415).
Six years earlier, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) released the results of a two-year study stating:
Before treatment, 68 percent of the respondents perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual, with another 22 percent stating that they were more homosexual than heterosexual. After treatment, only 13 percent perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual, while 33 percent described themselves as either exclusively or almost entirely heterosexual (see Nicolosi, 2000, 86:1071).
The study also reported:
Although 83 percent of respondents indicated that they entered therapy primarily because of homosexuality, 99 percent of those who participated in the survey said they now believe treatment to change homosexuality can be effective and valuable (p. 1071).
These data are consistent with the ongoing research project of Rob Goetze, who has identified 84 articles or books that contain some relevance to the possibility of sexual orientation change (2004). Of the data reported, 31 of the 84 studies showed a quantitative outcome of individuals able to change sexual orientation. These are not studies that merely speculate on the ability to change; they actually have the numbers to back it up! All of these data come on the heels of warnings from the Surgeon General, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and all of the major mental health associations, which have issued position statements warning of possible harm from such therapy, and have asserted that there is no evidence that such therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation. For instance, the 1998 American Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation noted:
...there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation.... The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior (see American Psychiatric Association, 1999, p. 1131).
Thus, physicians are caught in a quandary of a double standard. On the one hand, they are told that it is “unethical” for a clinician to provide reparative therapy because homosexuality is not a diagnosable disorder, and thus one should not seek to change. Yet, they contend that not enough studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of reparative therapy. The message is loud and clear: “Do not do this because it is unethical to ask a homosexual person to change. However, truth be told, we have not collected enough data to know if a person can safely change his or her sexual orientation.”
In situations where sexual orientation is being measured, studies face serious methodological problems (i.e., follow-up assessment, possible bias, no detailed sexual history, random sampling, etc.). But even given these serious shortcomings from behavioral studies such as these, there are sufficient data to indicate that an individual can change his or her sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual—something that would be an impossibility if homosexuality were caused by genetics.

CONCLUSION

Consider the obvious problem of survival for individuals who allegedly possess a gay gene: individuals who have partners of the same sex are biologically unable to reproduce (without resorting to artificial means). Therefore, if an alleged “gay gene” did exist, the homosexual population eventually would disappear altogether. We now know that it is not scientifically accurate to refer to a “gay gene” as the causative agent in homosexuality. The available evidence clearly establishes that no such gene has been identified. Additionally, evidence exists which documents that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation. Future decisions regarding policies about, and/or treatment of, homosexuals should reflect this knowledge.

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