"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Chapter Eleven by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                             Chapter Eleven

Having stressed the importance of faith for salvation (He 10:39), the
author defines faith (1-3) and then illustrates faith’s role in the
lives of many Old Testament saints (4-40).


   *  The meaning of faith for New Testament Christians

   *  The examples of faith in Old Testament believers


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Faith defined - He 11:1-3
   - Faith exemplified - He 11:4-40

2) What is faith as defined in this chapter? (1)
   - Confidence in what we hope for, assurance about what we do not see
     (cf. NIV)

3) What we do understand by faith concerning the worlds? (3)
   - They were framed by the word of God, they were not made by things

4) List the names of Old Testament saints mentioned in this chapter
   - Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses,
     Israel, Rahab
   - Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets

5) What did these "heroes of faith" look forward to receiving? (13-16)
   - The promises, especially regarding the heavenly country and city
     prepared by God

6) List some of the amazing things done by faith. (33-35)
   - Subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises
   - Stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire
   - Escaped the edge of the sword, became valiant in battle, turned
     armies to flight
   - Women received their dead raised to life again

7) List some of the things these people of faith endured. (35-38)
   - Torture, mocking, scourging, chains of imprisonment
   - Stoned, sawn in two, wandering destitute in mountains and caves,
     afflicted, tormented

8) What did these "heroes of faith" obtain? What did they not? Why?
   - A good testimony
   - The promise (i.e., the Messianic promise)
   - That they might be made perfect together with us (i.e., salvation,
     the heavenly city)

9) From this chapter, what do we learn about faith and works?
   - True faith leads to action, faith without works is dead (cf. Jam

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Chapter Ten by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                              Chapter Ten

The animal sacrifices of the Law (the first covenant) are shown to be
insufficient, while the death of Christ fulfills the will of God and
perfects those who are being sanctified (1-18).  A three-fold
exhortation based on what Christ has done (19-25) is followed by the
fifth of six warnings, this one against despising God’s grace with
willful sin (26-39).


   *  Why Christ’s sacrifice is superior to animal sacrifices

   *  The importance of drawing near to God and assembling with brethren

   *  The terrifying condition of Christians who persist in willful sin


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The superiority of Christ’s sacrifice - He 10:1-18
   - Exhortation to draw near and hold fast - He 10:19-25
   - A warning against despising - He 10:26-39

2) Why were animal sacrifices insufficient? (1-4)
   - They did not make one perfect, because they could not take away

3) In coming to do the will of God, what has Jesus done? (9)
   - He took away the first (covenant) that He may establish the second

4) What distinguishes Christ’s sacrifice from those of OT priests?
   - He offered one sacrifice for all time, capable of perfecting those
     being sanctified

5) What three-fold exhortation is based on what Jesus has done? (22-24)
   - Let us draw near, let us hold fast, let us consider one another

6) What should we not forsake? (25)
   - The assembling of ourselves together

7) What’s meant by "sin willfully"?  What’s the consequence of doing so?
   - To knowingly persist in sin (i.e., presumptuous, rebellious sin)
   - No sacrifice for sin, certain fearful expectation of judgment and
     fiery indignation

8) Of what is one guilty when they persist in sin? Why should one be
   afraid? (29-31)
   - Trampling the Son of God underfoot, counting the blood by which one
     is sanctified a common thing, insulting the Spirit of grace
   - God will judge His people, it is a fearful thing to fall into the
     hands of the living God

9) What three things do we need to receive the promise of God? (35-39)
   - Confidence, endurance, faith

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Chapter Nine by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                              Chapter Nine

To appreciate the difference between the two covenants, their respective
sanctuaries and divine services are compared.  First the earthly
sanctuary and the limitations of its divine services are reviewed
(1-10); then the greater and more perfect heavenly sanctuary with
emphasis on its better sacrifice, the blood of Christ Himself (11-28).


   *  The symbolism of the earthly tabernacle and its divine services

   *  The superiority of the heavenly High Priest and His sacrifice


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The earthly sanctuary and its service - He 9:1-10
   - The heavenly sanctuary and its sacrifice - He 9:11-28

2) Describe the two parts of the earthly tabernacle and what they
   contained (2-5)
   - Holy place: lampstand, table of showbread, altar of incense (cf.
     Exo 30:1-7)
   - Holiest of All:  ark of the covenant, with the items in it, and the
     mercy seat

3) What were the limitations of the earthly tabernacle and its services?
   - Symbolic, and could not make one perfect in regard to the
   - Imposed only until the time of reformation

4) Of what was Christ the High Priest? (11,24)
   - Of good things to come, of the  greater and more perfect tabernacle

5) What sacrifice did Jesus offer? (12,14)
   - His own blood, offered without spot

6) What does the sacrifice of Christ accomplish? (12,14-15,26,28)
   - Eternal redemption (even for transgressions under the first
   - Cleansing consciences from dead works to serve the living God
   - To put away sin, once and for all

7) When did the new covenant (testament) come into force? (15-17)
   - Not until Jesus died on the cross

8) What is appointed for men? (27)
   - To die once, and then the judgment

9) For whom will Christ appear a second time for salvation? (28)
   - Those who eagerly wait for Him

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" Chapter Eight by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                             Chapter Eight

Having demonstrated Jesus’ superiority to prophets, angels, Moses, and
Levi, the author summarizes: we have a High Priest at God’s right hand
who is Minister and Mediator of a better covenant established on better
promises (1-6).   Our attention is then directed toward that New
Covenant which has replaced the Old Covenant (7-13).


   *  The main point of all that has been said:  "We have such a High

   *  The two covenants (the first and old, replaced by the second and


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The new ministry of Christ - He 8:1-6
   - The new covenant of Christ - He 8:7-13

2) Where is our High Priest?  In what does He minister? (1-2)
   - Seated at the right hand of God; the sanctuary and true tabernacle
     build by God

3) If Jesus were on earth, what could He not be? (4)
   - A priest

4) What served as a copy and shadow of the true tabernacle? (5)
   - The earthly tabernacle Moses was instructed to build

5) In what way has Jesus obtained a more excellent ministry? (6)
   - He is the Mediator of a better covenant, established on better

6) Why was it necessary to replace the first covenant with the second?
   - The first was not faultless; there was fault with those under the

7) Which covenant was the first, old covenant? (9)
   - That made with Israel when God led them out of Egypt (i.e., Mosaic

8) List characteristics of God’s new covenant foretold by Jeremiah.
   - God’s laws will be in their minds and written on their hearts
   - He will be their God, and they shall be His people
   - None shall teach his neighbor to know the Lord, for all will know
   - He will be merciful, and remember their sins no more

9) With the new covenant, what happened to the old covenant? (13)
   - It had been made obsolete, old, and ready to vanish away

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

Are You Informed About Islam? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Are You Informed About Islam?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

With the advent of 9/11, our world, and the way we view it, has been forever altered. As you well know, Islam has not only captured international attention, it is expanding its influence and making extensive encroachments into American culture. Over 1,200 mosques dot the American landscape—most built within the last two decades. Influential American authorities, from politicians to public school educators, are promulgating the equal acceptance and pluralistic promotion of Islam in public life. The first Muslim in recent American history was elected to theU.S. House of Representatives and took the oath of office on a Quran (Warikoo, 2007). The Democratic National Committee recently invited a Shi’ite Imam to lead the opening prayer at their winter meeting (“Imam Leads...,” 2007).
The time is here. Christians, and for that matter, Americans, can no longer afford to be uninformed about the threat that Islam poses to Christianity and the nation. It is imperative that Christians recognize the critical need to influence the expanding numbers of Muslim converts in our prisons as well as those entering the country. We simply must “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Allow me to remind you that Apologetics Press has produced a book that will both inform you about Islam, as well as prepare you to help Muslims see the truth. The Quran Unveiled examines Islam’s holy book with a view toward ascertaining whether it is, in fact, of supernatural origin. If the Quran is from God, it must possess the self-authenticating attributes and characteristics of divine inspiration. If it is not from God, though it may possess certain positive, even valuable, qualities, it must be rejected as disqualified to legislate human behavior in an absolute and ultimate sense.
The Quran Unveiled provides the reader with a meticulous assessment of several significant teachings of the Quran. Here are some of the critical questions answered in the book:
  • Does the Quran teach that a man may have up to four wives?
  • Does the Quran teach that Christians are “infidels”?
  • Does the Quran endorse violence and killing in order to advance Islam?
  • Does the Quran teach that Jesus is the Son of God—or simply a human prophet?
  • Does the Quran teach that virgins await those who enter Paradise?
Allowing the Quran to speak for itself, The Quran Unveiled provides sufficient evidence to bring the reader to the firm realization that the Quran and the Bible stand in stark contradistinction to each other.
Many people refuse to consider the beliefs of others, and simply stick with those beliefs to which their family and cultural environment exposed them. But in order to grasp the full extent of the chasm that exists between the Bible and the Quran, one should read both thoroughly. Muslims should read the Bible, and Christians should read the Quran. The disparity between the two is monumental.
Apologetics Press continues to pursue its cutting-edge articulation of New Testament truth as it relates to current culture. The Quran Unveiled is one more important resource in the “A.P.arsenal” in our ongoing defense of the Christian Faith and our warfare against the forces of Satan. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We urge you to secure your personal copy today. Or, if you prefer, we also have available The Islam Seminar DVDs that allow you to view a live lecture and PowerPoint presentation of much of the material contained in the book.


“Imam Leads Democrats in Prayer of Conversion” (2007), World Net Daily, February 3, [On-line],URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54085.
Warikoo, Niraj (2007), “Ellison: Quran Influenced America’s Founding Fathers,” Detroit Free Press, January 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070105/NEWS01/70105032/ 0/NEWS02.

A Giant Among Pygmies by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


A Giant Among Pygmies

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Ancient books thrill our imaginations with vivid pictures of worlds and cultures from long ago. Beautiful poetry, accurate history, and interesting narrative are but a few of the literary devices these ancient writers employed with captivating genius. Take the writings of Homer, for instance. His epic poems The Illiad and The Odyssey rank among the most influential pieces of literature ever written. It often has been said that a person cannot know Greece without reading Homer. Or consider The Histories of Herodotus, who was said to have revolutionized the way the world recorded history. He changed it from mere folklore and yarn stringing into documentation of actual fact. Also call to mind the writings of Josephus, which shed radiating light on the relationship between the Roman Empire and the Jewish nation in the early years of the first century A.D. And we must not neglect The Annals by Tacitus, which gives us a bird’s-eye view into some of the most intricate workings of the Roman Empire during the later part of the first century and early part of the second century A.D.
But one ancient book has outshone all of these. In America alone, it generates a 200-million-dollar market every year. It is the best-selling book of all times. Translated into over 800 languages, introduced into over 200 countries, the Bible, and more specifically, the New Testament, stands as the greatest literary achievement the world has ever read.
Yet, as we look at these monumental works of literature, we might wonder how we know Homer actually wrote the Illiad, and how many copies from the past have we discovered? Or how do we know that Josephus wrote in the first century A.D.? Did we find a copy of his works with a handy title page and copyright date in the front cover? And if we did, how many of these copies have we found? And what about the New Testament? Have we found many copies of it? If so, how old are they, and how do they compare with the evidence that verifies the other ancient works? I think the following chart answers many of these questions and speaks for itself.
How Does the New Testament
Measure Up to Other Ancient Books?
Title of Ancient BookDate it was WrittenDate of Earliest ManuscriptNumber of Manuscripts
Homer’s Illiad700 B.C.Unknown643
History of Herodotus425 B.C.A.D. 9008
Josephus’Jewish WarsA.D. 70A.D. 4009
Histories of TacitusA.D. 100A.D. 9002
New TestamentA.D. 35-100A.D. 1255735
Based solely on the actual manuscripts evidence available, the New Testament stands as the most historically documented piece of ancient literature ever written. F.F. Bruce once stated: “It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians” (1953, p. 19). Aside from any discussion as to the inspiration of these documents, simply looking at their overwhelming manuscript evidence should quickly alert even the most skeptical observer to the fact that the documents of the New Testament are “special” to say the very least.


Bruce, F.F. (1953), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fourth edition.

“The Laws of Thermodynamics Don't Apply to the Universe!” by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


“The Laws of Thermodynamics Don't Apply to the Universe!”

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Many in the atheistic community have realized various problems with their theories in light of what we know about the laws of thermodynamics. In order for atheism to be a plausible explanation for the origin of the Universe, matter must either be eternal or have the capability of creating itself (i.e., spontaneous generation). Yet the Second Law of Thermodynamics implies that the first option is impossible, and the First Law implies that the second option is impossible (see Miller, 2007 for a more in depth discussion of the laws of thermodynamics and their application to the origin of the Universe). Upon grudgingly coming to this conclusion, but being unwilling to yield to the obvious alternative (i.e., Someone outside of the Universe put matter here), some have tried to find loopholes in the laws that will allow for their flawed atheistic ideologies to survive.

A common assertion being raised today by some is that the laws of thermodynamics do not apply to the Universe as a whole, and therefore cannot be used to prove that God played a role in the origin of the Universe. More specifically, some question whether our Universe can be considered an “isolated system” (i.e., a system in which mass and energy are not allowed to cross the system boundary; Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 9). In their well-known thermodynamics textbook,Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics, Van Wylen and Sonntag note concerning the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “[W]e of course do not know if the universe can be considered as an isolated system” (1985, p. 233). Dr. Robert Alberty, author of Thermodynamics of Biochemical Reactions, is quoted as saying, “I do not agree that the universe is an isolated system in the thermodynamic sense” (as quoted in Holloway, 2010).

What if the Universe is not an isolated system? How would that fact impact the creation/evolution controversy? First of all, the creationist has always argued that the Universe is not an isolated system, or at least has not always been one. According to the creationist, in the beginning, God created the Universe’s system barrier, then crossed it and placed energy and matter within the system—thus making the Universe non-isolated. So, recognizing that the Universe is, in fact, not an isolated system would really mean that some evolutionists are starting to move in the right direction in their understanding of the Universe! Acquiescence of this truth by atheists in no way disproves the existence of God. In fact, quite the contrary is true. Admission that the Universe is not isolated does not help the case for atheism, but rather tacitly acknowledges a creator of sorts. [More on this point later.]

What this admission would do, however, is make some of the creationists’ arguments against atheism less applicable to the discussion about the existence of God—specifically some of the uses of the laws of thermodynamics and their application to the Universe as a whole. For instance, if the Universe is not an isolated system, it means that something or someone outside of the Universe can open the proverbial box that encloses the Universe and put matter and energy into it. Therefore, the Universe could be eternal, as long as something/someone is putting more usable energy into the box to compensate for the energy loss and counter entropy. Thus, the argument against the eternality of matter by way of the Second Law of Thermodynamics could potentially be null and void. Also, with a non-isolated system, it could be argued that the original, imaginary pre-Big Bang ball (which never actually existed—since the Big Bang is flawed [see May, et al., 2003) was not eternal in its existence. Further, it could be contended that it did not have to spontaneously generate in order to explain its existence. Rather, energy and matter could have been put here from a source outside of this Universe other than God.

From a purely scientific perspective, one of the problems with claiming that the Universe is not isolated is that such an assertion presupposes the existence of physical sources outside of this Universe (e.g., multiple universes outside of our own). And yet, how can such a claim be made scientifically, since there is no verifiable evidence to support such a contention? Stephen Hawking has advanced such an idea, but he, himself, recognizes the idea to be merely theoretical (Shukman, 2010). Speculation, conjecture, assertion—not evidence. As Gregory Benford wrote: “This ‘multiverse’ view represents the failure of our grand agenda and seems to me contrary to the prescribed simplicity of Occam’s Razor, solving our lack of understanding by multiplying unseen entities into infinity” (Benford, 2006, p. 226). Belief in the multiverse model is like proclaiming the existence of fairies just because you can imagine one. But such speculation is hardly scientific evidence—and that is the problem.

What does the scientific evidence actually convey today? We live in the only known Universe, and it had to come from somewhere. That is a fact. If the Big Bang occurred, and all matter and energy in the Universe—everything that exists—was initially in that little imaginary sphere the size of the period at the end of this sentence (or much smaller, depending on which “expert” cosmologist you ask), by implication, the evolutionist admits that the Universe is of a finite size. That is a fact. A finite Universe is an isolated system. Since the Universe as a whole is the onlytrue isolated system, the laws of thermodynamics apply perfectly. That is why some reputable scientists examine the evidence, draw reasonable conclusions, and articulate statements in reputable textbooks like the following:
  • “Isolated system: It is the system which exchange [sic] neither matter nor energy with the surroundings. For such a system, the matter and energy remain constant. There is no such perfectly isolated system, but our universe can be considered as an isolated system since by definition it does not have any surroundings” (Senapati, 2006, p. 64, emp. added).
  • A spontaneous process in an isolated system increases the system’s entropy. Because the universe—our entire surroundings—is in contact with no other system, we say that irreversible processes increase the entropy of the universe” (Fishbane, et.al., 1996, p. 551, italics in original).
The truth is, if one is unwilling to accept the existence of God, yet desires to accept the laws of science, one must conjure up other options for how the Universal box could have been legally opened and its contents altered. Envision several atheists sitting around a table speculating options, no matter how wild, in order to avoid conceding the existence of God, and you will have a clear picture of how many in the scientific community operate today. “Okay, people. How did we get here? Think!” “Other universes?” “Maybe.” “Nothing put us here?” “Not bad.” “Aliens?” “Why not?” “The God of the Bible?” “Shut your mouth. You are unscientific. Leave the room.” How can evolutionists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking safely postulate the existence of alien creators without being laughed out of the spotlight, while creationists get expelled from the scientific community for recognizing the reasonable answer to the matter of origins (Stein and Miller, 2008; BBC News, 2010)?

Ironically, when the atheistic community asserts alleged creative agents outside the Universe, they tacitly acknowledge a creator of some sort. What is the difference between these concessions and the true Creator? Why not accept the God of the Bible? The answer is obvious. Their brand of designer comes packaged without the demands and expectations that come with belief in God. Very convenient—but sad and most certainly unscientific.

Note also that accepting the possibility of alternative creative causes leaves atheists with the same problem with which they started. They claim to use the laws of physics to arrive at the multiverse conclusion (Shukman, 2010). But if the laws of physics apply to their conclusion about multiple universes, why would the laws of physics not apply to those universes? If the laws of science apply to those hypothetical universes (and it would be reasonable to conclude that they would since, according to atheists, the universes interact), then the matter of origins has merely shifted to those other universes. How did they come into being? There are still only three options—they always existed (in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics); they created themselves (in violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics); or they were created. The laws of thermodynamics still echo the truth from the remotest parts of the created order: “You cannot explain it all without God in the equation!”

The truth is, the scientific evidence leads unbiased truth-seekers to the conclusion that there simply must be a Creator. How do we know that the laws of thermodynamics are true on Earth? No one has ever been able to document an exception to them (except when divine miracles have occurred). They always hold true. Why does the same principle not hold when observing the rest of the Universe? As Borgnakke and Sonntag articulate in Fundamentals of Thermodynamicsconcerning the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics:
The basis of every law of nature is experimental evidence, and this is true also of the first law of thermodynamics. Many different experiments have been conducted on the first law, and every one thus far has verified it either directly or indirectly. The first law has never been disproved.... [W]e can say that the second law of thermodynamics (like every other law of nature) rests on experimental evidence. Every relevant experiment that has been conducted, either directly or indirectly, verifies the second law, and no experiment has ever been conducted that contradicts the second law. The basis of the second law is therefore experimental evidence (2009, p. 116-220, emp. added).
There has been no verifiable evidence that the laws of thermodynamics have been violated throughout the Universe. Sure, there has been speculation, conjecture, and theory that it “could” happen. Yet, through it all, the laws still stand unscathed. Granted, atheists may cloud the air when they blow forth their unreasonable, unproven, jargon-filled, imaginary fairy-dust theories, but when the fairy-dust settles, the laws of thermodynamics still declare the truth to all who will listen (Psalm 19:1). The scientific evidence shows that there is unmistakable order and design in the Universe. Design implies a Designer. The God of the Bible. Now that’s scientific.


BBC News (2010), “Hawking Warns Over Alien Beings,” April 25, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8642558.stm.

Benford, Gregory (2006), What We Believe But Cannot Prove, ed. John Brockman (New York: Harper Perennial).

Borgnakke, Claus and Richard E. Sonntag (2009), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (Asia: John Wiley and Sons), seventh edition.

Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.

Fishbane, Paul M., Stephen Gasiorowicz, and Stephen T. Thornton (1996), Physics for Scientists and Engineers (New Jersey: Prentice Hall), second edition.

Holloway, Robert (2010), “Experts on Thermodynamics Refute Creationist Claims,” http://www.ntanet.net/Thermo-Internet.htm.

May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,”Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Senapati, M.R. (2006), Advanced Engineering Chemistry (New Delhi: Laxmi Publications), second edition.

Shukman, David (2010), “Professor Stephen Hawking Says No God Created Universe,” BBCNews, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11172158.

Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

Van Wylen, Gordon J. and Richard Sonntag (1985), Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics(New York: John Wiley and Sons), third edition.

“Hell” is Back In the News by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


“Hell” is Back In the News

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In their book Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs, George Gallup, Jr. and D. Michael Lindsay reported that a Gallup poll taken in May 1997 showed that only 56% of Americans held a firm conviction in the existence of hell (1999, p. 30). One reason that a growing number of Americans disbelieve in the reality of hell is likely due to its virtual disappearance from our vocabulary. Non-Christians basically use it only as a profane expression. Christians rarely address the subject in their discussions. Sermons on the subject of hell have been in decline for years. One denominational “pastor” was quoted in U.S. News & World Report a few years back, saying: “My congregation would be stunned to hear a sermon on hell” (“Revisiting...,” 1991, 110[11]:60). I once heard the late evangelist Wendell Winkler tell about preaching in a meeting in Oklahoma. After preaching a lesson on hell, the local preacher, who had been in that city for 22 years, told Winkler that in those 22 years, the church there had held 44 gospel meetings (two per year). During those meetings, a total of 527 sermons had been preached. Wendell Winkler’s lesson was said to be the first one on the subject of hell that they had ever heard in those meetings.
Preaching about eternal hell appears to be so rare that when a notable religious leader addresses the issue, it draws attention even from many major media outlets. Recently, Pope BenedictXVI, in a speech delivered outside of Rome, stressed that the impenitent risk “eternal damnation.” Hell “really exists,” he said, “and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more” (as quoted in Owen, 2007). FOX News, the Boston HeraldTimes Online, and the Melbourne Herald Sun are only a few of the media elites who carried this story. “The pope really believes in an eternal hell.”
Warning others about the judgment to come is not popular. Teaching in the streets and churches about an eternal hell is as sparse as rain in the Sahara. Although the papacy itself is unscriptural (see Pinedo, 2005), Christians can appreciate the fact that Benedict XVI would address such a politically incorrect subject. Truly, it is high past time for faithful Christians around the world to get back to teaching a truth that Jesus and the Bible writers repeatedly taught: hell is real andeternal (Matthew 5:22; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).


Gallup, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends inU.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).
Owen, Richard (2007), “The Fires of Hell are Real and Eternal, Pope Warns,” TimesOnline, March 27, [On-line], URL:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1572646.ece.
Pinedo, Moises (2005), “The Pope, the Papacy, and the Bible,” Apologetics Press, [On-line],URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2724.
“Revisiting the Abyss,” (1991), U.S. News & World Report, 110[11]:60, March 25.

A Messiah Who "Sneaks" Into History? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


A Messiah Who "Sneaks" Into History?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

As Paul stood before King Agrippa’s throne, relating the story of Christ, he declared of the Messiah’s life: “This thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). Those few words have reverberated through centuries of history as one of the hallmarks of the story of Jesus. Never was the life, death, or resurrection of Christ meant to be kept secret—as something might be when it is stored away in a box in an abandoned attic, to be discovered later by accident only by a fortunate few. Rather, the many facets of Christ’s earthly ministry were readily available for inspection by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
In fact, centuries before Christ set foot on the Earth in human form, the prophets of old repeatedly had spoken of His impending arrival. Over 300 messianic prophecies fill the pages of the Old Testament. God did not try to “sneak” the Messiah into human affairs under cover of darkness and without warning. Truth be told, He went to considerable effort to announce to the world the news of its heralded Savior.
One such instance can be found in Genesis 49:10, wherein Moses wrote: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes.” The word “Shiloh” has long been recognized by biblical scholars as another name for the Messiah. This verse, then, explains exactly when the Messiah was to arrive—when the scepter had departed from Judah.
So what is the “scepter,” and when did it depart from Judah? The scepter was a staff kept in possession of the elders of each of the twelve tribes of Israel and engraved with the name of the tribe. It symbolized the national sovereignty and judicial power of God’s people. As long as the scepter was in place, the Jews could govern themselves, excommunicate one of their own, and even administer corporeal punishment (including the death penalty).
Figure 1
Artist’s concept of Paul before King Agrippa
(image courtesy of ArtToday.com)
Interestingly, the scepter remained in place even while the Jews were in captivity under both the Babylonians and the Medes and Persians. It also remained in place for a time under Roman captivity—until the Emperor instituted procurators. When that occurred, even first-century Jews recognized the departure of the scepter because the Romans (around A.D. 11) took away the Jews’ right to administer capital punishment. One Jewish teacher, rabbi Rachmon, put the situation in these terms: “When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come’ ” (as quoted in McDowell, 1999, p. 195).
When the members of the Sanhedrin found that they could not put Jesus to death themselves, but had to request instead that Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, do so on their behalf (Luke 23:24), they should have known the Messiah was in their midst, for that was the exact prophecy Moses had recorded. The scepter had indeed departed from Judah—and the Messiah had indeed come! Yet the Jews ignored the voice of God and demanded the death sentence for His only begotten Son. Why? Because they were the people who “always resisted the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51).
Woe to those individuals in our day and age who ignore the powerful evidence that God has provided as proof of the deity of His precious Son, Jesus Christ! Let us ensure that we today do not become as blind to Christ’s Sonship as those first-century Jews.


McDowell, Josh (1999), The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).

"Flying Dragon" Bones and Dinosaur Fossils by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


"Flying Dragon" Bones and Dinosaur Fossils

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Evolutionary scientists claim humans and dinosaurs could not possibly have co-existed. They insist that dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans arrived on the scene. Yet the available historical and physical evidence proves that dinosaurs and humans lived together only a few thousand years ago (see Lyons and Butt, 2008). One proof of this fact is the abundance of “dragon legends.” These legends, from all over the world, describe creatures that match many of the dinosaurs and flying reptiles in the fossil record (pp. 13-45).
The evolutionary attempts to explain away the similarities between dinosaurs and the creatures historically labeled as “dragons” fail completely. For example, in the Zhucheng, China area, over 50 metric tons of fossils have been collected, with thousands more fossils still in the ground (Cha, 2010). Dinosaur fossils are so plentiful that paleontologist Xu Xing said they “can even be found in some farmers’ private courtyard areas next to their houses” (2010). Local residents have been “digging up ‘flying dragon’ bones for use in medicinal concoctions for generations” (2010, emp. added). Residents have long associated the dinosaur fossils with the ancient creatures known as “flying dragons.”
It is no mere coincidence that descriptions of dinosaurs and flying reptiles match the ancient descriptions of dragons. As Daniel Cohen stated: “No creature that ever lived looked more like dragons than dinosaurs. Like the dragons, dinosaurs were huge reptiles.... It sounds as though the dragon legend could have begun with dinosaurs” (1975, pp. 104,106). The Bible clearly states that God created all creatures, both flying reptiles and dinosaurs, as well as humans, on days five and six of Creation. The repeated references to dinosaur fossils being connected to dragon legends adds historic evidence to the convincing case that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past and were not separated by millions of years.


Cha, Ariana (2010), “China Spends Billions to Study Dinosaur Fossils at Sites of Major Discoveries,” The Washington Post, January 26, [On-line], URL:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012503035_pf.html.
Cohen, Daniel (1975), The Greatest Monsters in the World (New York: Dodd, Mead, & Company).
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

"Under God" is Under Fire by A.P. Staff


"Under God" is Under Fire
by A.P. Staff

At first glance, the news seemed encouraging. According to a decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court on June 14, 2004, the phrase “under God” will continue to be included in the Pledge of Allegiance. However, this is not as encouraging as it appears. Instead of ruling on the merits of the case, eight of the nine justices (Justice Scalia recused himself from ruling) decided that the respondent did not have the proper standing to bring a case before the Supreme Court, leaving the Pledge of Allegiance open to further attacks.
The case began in 2000, when Michael A. Newdow filed a lawsuit in the Eastern California District of the Ninth Circuit against the U.S. Congress, President Bush, the State of California, the Elk Grove Unified School District, and school superintendent David W. Gordon. In his suit, Newdow, who is an atheist, claimed that requiring his daughter to recite the phrase “under God” every morning in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the clauses of the Constitution that prohibit the establishment of a national religion and the free exercise of religion (Stevens, 2004, p. 4).
The Pledge of Allegiance originated in the 1892 celebrations of Columbus Day, and read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” The wording was revised several times over the course of the next sixty-two years, the final change coming in 1954 when President Eisenhower approved the addition of the words “under God.” He said: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war” (“The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance”).
The district court ruled that the Pledge was constitutional, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually overturned the ruling. Following motions filed by Sandra Banning—the mother and legal custodian of Newdow’s daughter—and a custody ruling by the California Superior Court, the Court of Appeals amended its opinion. The new opinion omitted any statement on the overall constitutionality of the Pledge, but ruled that the school district’s policy—requiring teachers to lead students in reciting the Pledge every morning—did violate the Constitution. The Elk Grove School District then appealed to the Supreme Court, asking if Newdow had proper standing to bring the suit, and, if so, whether the policy of required recitation violated the Constitution (Stevens, pp. 5-7).
Writing for the court, Justice Stevens said: “Nothing that either Banning [the girl’s mother] or the School Board has done, however, impairs Newdow’s right to instruct his daughter in his religious views” (p. 13). The court ruled that Newdow could not bring the case, since he was not the legal custodian of the child, and so overturned the amended opinion of the Ninth Circuit. Thus, this ruling left undecided the merits of the Pledge’s constitutionality.
However, in a concurring opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist: “On the merits, I conclude that the Elk Grove Unified School District (School District) policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words ‘under God,’ does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment” (2004, p. 1). In another concurring opinion, Justice O’Connor wrote: “Like the Chief Justice, I believe that we must examine those questions, and, like him, I believe that petitioner school district’s policy of having its teachers lead students in voluntary recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance does not offend the Establishment Clause” (2004, p. 1). In a third concurring opinion, Justice Thomas wrote: “We granted certiorari [certiorari is a review of a decision by a lower court] in this case to decide whether the Elk Grove Unified School District’s Pledge policy violates the Constitution. The answer to that question is: ‘no’ ” (2004, p. 1).
Where does this leave the Pledge of Allegiance? As shown by the concurring opinions above, three of the eight justices who ruled in the case were prepared to decide that it is constitutional to recite the Pledge with the phrase “under God” intact. For now, the Pledge of Allegiance remains a reminder that the United States of America was founded on the belief of a Supreme Being. Whether or not that view continues, however, remains to be seen.
The application to Christians is that taking “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance would put the United States farther down the slippery slope as it heads toward becoming a godless, morally depraved nation. This country was founded upon the common law principles of the Old World, which were, in turn, founded upon biblical, godly morals. If we are not under God, then the sky is the limit to our degeneration.


O’Connor, Justice Sandra Day (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line],URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
Rehnquist, Chief Justice William H. (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line],URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
Stevens, Justice John Paul (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line], URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
“The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance,” Flag Day Foundation, [On-line], URL: http://www.flagday.org/Pages/StoryofPledge.html.

Was Cainan the Son of Arphaxad? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Was Cainan the Son of Arphaxad?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Luke 3:36 is the only verse in the Bible where one can read of the patriarch Arphaxad having a son named Cainan. Although another Cainan (the son of Enosh) is mentioned seven times in Scripture (Genesis 5:9-10,12-14; 1 Chronicles 1:2; Luke 3:37), outside of Luke 3:36, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, is never mentioned. He is omitted in the genealogies of Genesis 10 and 11, as well as in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 1:1-28. When the son of Arphaxad is listed in these genealogies, the name always given is Salah (or Shelah), not Cainan. According to some skeptics, either Cainan’s omission from the genealogies in Genesis and First Chronicles represents a genuine mistake, or Luke was in error when he wrote that Arphaxad had a son named Cainan.
One important thing that we learn from the various genealogies throughout Scripture is that sometimes they contain gaps—gaps that are intentional and legitimate. Thus, just because Luke 3 contains a name that is not recorded in Genesis 10 or 11, or in First Chronicles 1, does not necessarily mean that someone made a mistake. The fact is, terms such as “begot,” “the son of,” and “father”—which often are found in genealogies—occasionally have a much wider connotation in the Bible than might be implied when such words are used in modern-day English. Jacob once called Abraham “father,” even though Abraham was really his grandfather (Genesis 32:9). About 2,000 years later, the Pharisees also referred to Abraham as their “father” (John 8:39). The term “father” in these passages obviously means “ancestor.” In the first verse of the New Testament, Matthew wrote of Jesus as being “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Obviously, Matthew knew that Jesus was not an immediate son of either David or Abraham; he simply used these words in the same flexible way that the ancients frequently used them. [Later in his genealogy, Matthew intentionally omitted some other names as well (e.g., Joash, Amaziah, and Azariah; cf. Matthew 1:6-16; 1 Chronicles 3:11-12). We do not know for sure why Matthew did not include these names in his genealogy (most likely it was for memorization purposes). However, we can be certain that if these gaps represented a legitimate discrepancy, the Jews would have brought it to the attention of Christians 2,000 years ago when they sought to discredit Jesus’ royal lineage.]
The simple fact is, just because one genealogy has more (or fewer) names than another genealogy does not mean that the two genealogies contradict one another. The controversy surrounding Luke 3:36 is readily explainable when one considers the flexibility that the ancients employed in recording the names of “fathers” and “sons.”
Still, the insertion of the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 may have a far different explanation— one that (in my mind) is more plausible, yet at the same time is more complicated to explain, and thus less popular. It is my studied conclusion that the “Cainan problem” is the result a scribal error made when copying Luke’s gospel account.
Realizing that the New Testament originally was written in Greek without punctuation or spaces between words, the insertion of the name Cainan easily could have crept into Luke’s genealogy. Notice what the original text (in agreement with Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and 1 Chronicles 1:18,24) might have said:
If a scribe happened to glance at the end of the third line at toukainan, he easily could have written it on the first line as well as the third. Hence, instead of reading of only one Cainan, what we read today is two Cainans:
As you can see, it would not be difficult for a weary scribe to copy “Cainan” inadvertently from Luke 3:37 as he was copying 3:36 (see Sarfati, 1998, pp. 39-40; Morris, 1976, p. 282).
Although some apologists reject the idea that the insertion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is a copyist’s error, the following facts seem to add much credence to this proposed solution.
  • As stated earlier, this part of Luke’s genealogy also is recorded in Genesis 10:24, 11:12, and in 1 Chronicles 1:18,24. All of these Old Testament passages, however, omit the Cainan of Luke 3:36. In fact, Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, is not found in any Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament.
  • Cainan is omitted from all of the following ancient versions of the Old Testament: the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, the Targum (Aramaic translations of the Old Testament), and the Vulgate (a Latin translation of the Bible completed sometime between A.D. 382 and 405) [see Hasel, 1980, pp. 23-37].
  • Cainan’s name is absent from Flavius Josephus’ patriarchal listing in his historical work, Antiquities of the Jews (see Book 1, Chapter 6, Sections 4-5).
  • The third-century Christian historian, Julius Africanus, also omitted Cainan’s name from his chronology of the patriarchs, and yet he had copies of both the gospels of Luke and Matthew (see his Epistle to Aristides, chapter 3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers).
  • The earliest known copy of Luke (a papyrus codex of the Bodmer Collection dated between A.D. 175 and 225) does not contain this Cainan (see Sarfati).
Many are quick to point out that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) mentions the name Cainan, and thus verifies that he was the son of Arphaxad, just as Luke 3:36 indicates. The problem with this line of defense is that the oldest Septuagint manuscripts do not include this reference to Cainan (Sarfati, 1998, p. 40). Patrick Fairbairn indicated in his Bible encyclopedia that this Cainan does “not appear to have been in the copies of the Septuagint used by Theophilus of Antioch in the second century, by Africanus in the third, or by Eusebius in the fourth” (1957, p. 351). He goes on to state that it also was left out of the Vatican copy of the Septuagint (p. 351). That “Cainan” was a later addition to the Septuagint (and not a part of it originally) also is evident from the fact that neither Josephus nor Africanus mentioned him, and yet all indications are that they both used the Septuagint in their writings. [They repeat too many of the same numbers of the Septuagint not to have used it.] Thus, as Larry Pierce concluded, “It appears that at the time of Josephus, the extra generation of Cainan was not in the LXX [Septuagint—EL] text or the document that Josephus used, otherwise Josephus would have included it!” (1999, p. 76). As Henry Morris concluded in his commentary on Genesis: “[I] t is altogether possible that later copiers of the Septuagint (who were not as meticulous as those who copied the Hebrew text) inserted Cainan into their manuscripts on the basis of certain copies of Luke’s Gospel to which they then had access” (Morris, 1976, p. 282).
Although it may be appropriate to view Luke 3:36 as supplementing the Old Testament genealogies, when all of the evidence is gathered, it appears that the name Cainan in Luke 3:36 was not a part of God’s original Word, but is the result of a copyist’ s error. And as we have discussed in other articles, errors made by copyists do not represent legitimate Bible contradictions. [Click the link for more information on copyists’ errors].
“The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus” (1971 reprint), Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 125-140.
Fairbairn, P. (1957 reprint), “Genealogies,” Fairbairn’s Imperial Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2:351.
Hasel, Gerhard F. (1980), “Genesis 5 and 11: Chronologies in the Biblical History of Beginnings,” Origins 7[1]:23-37, [On-line], URL: http://www.ldolphin.org/haselgeneal.html.
Josephus, Flavius (1987 edition), Antiquities of the Jews, in The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Morris, Henry M. (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Pierce, Larry (1999), “Cainan in Luke 3:36: Insight from Josephus,” CEN Technical Journal, 13[2]:75-76.
Sarfati, Jonathan D. (1998), “Cainan of Luke 3:36,” CEN Technical Journal, 12[1]:39-40.
Sarfati, Jonathan D. (no date), “How do You Explain the Difference between Luke 3:36 and Genesis 11:12?” [On-line],URL: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/3748.asp.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “Inspired Writers and Competent Copyists,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/608.