"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN" Chapter One by Mark Copeland

                      "THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN"

                              Chapter One

The Elder greets the elect lady and her children (1-3), expressing joy
over hearing her children were walking in truth, with a plea to love one
another (4-6).  He then warns of deceivers (antichrists) who deny Jesus
as coming in the flesh, telling her not to receive into her home those
who do not bring the doctrine of Christ (7-11).  Hoping to see her soon,
he concludes with greetings from the children of her elect sister


   *  Walking in truth and love, abiding in the doctrine of Christ

   *  Identifying antichrists, refusing to support false teachers


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Greetings - 2Jn 1:1-3
   - Walking in truth and love - 2Jn 1:4-6
   - Beware of deceivers and false teachers - 2Jn 1:7-11
   - Farewell - 2Jn 1:12-13

2) What four phrases related to truth are used by John in his greeting?
   - Love in truth, known the truth, truth abides in us, in truth and

3) What caused John to rejoice greatly? What plea did he make? (4)
   - That children of the "elect lady" were walking in the truth
   - That they love one another

4) How does John define love? (6)
   - That we walk according to His commandments

5) Who does John describe as "a deceiver and an antichrist"? (7)
   - One who does not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh

6) Why did John counsel self-reflection? (8)
   - That we not lose those things we worked for, to ensure we receive a
     full reward

7) What happens if one transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine
   of Christ? (9)
   - He does not have God

8) What phrase clearly contradicts the Oneness doctrine of the Godhead?
   - "...both the Father and the Son"

9) How was one to respond to those who did not abide in Christ’s
   doctrine? (10)
   - Neither receive him or greet him, lest one shares in his evil deeds

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN" Introduction by Mark Copeland

                      "THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN"


In the 1st century A.D., the early church enjoyed remarkable growth and
spread throughout the world at that time (Ac 8:5; Ro 10:14-18; Col
1:5-6,23).  What accounted for this spread of the gospel?

There were likely several factors, but one was the hospitality of the
early Christians...

   *  Paul was able to travel and depend upon Christians opening their
      homes to him - cf. Phm 1:22

   *  He encouraged Christians to support those who were teachers of
      good things - Ga 6:6

   *  John commended and encouraged those who provided lodging and
      support for traveling missionaries - 3Jn 1:5-8

Showing such hospitality was not without its potential for supporting
the spread of false teachers and their doctrines.  It would be easy for
teachers of error to take advantage of the Christians’ natural
propensity to be hospitable to strangers.  Thus it was necessary to
counsel Christians to use proper discernment in sending traveling
teachers on their way.

The Second Epistle of John, consisting of just one chapter, addresses
this very problem.


The author identifies himself as "The Elder", believed by most
conservative scholars to be the apostle John.  The internal evidence
that supports this conclusion:

   *  The three epistles attributed to John utilize much the same
      language and ideas

   *  All bear similarity to concepts and language to the Gospel of John

   *  The term "elder" would be a fitting description of John as the
      author writing in his old age

As for external evidence, Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp (who in turn
was an associate of John), quotes from it and mentions the apostle John
by name.  Both Clement of Alexandria and Dionysius, living in the third
century A.D., credit John with being the author.


The epistle is addressed to "the elect lady and her children."  Taken
literally, the epistle is written to a particular woman and her
children.  Many scholars understand this to be the case (e.g., Plummer,
Ross, Ryrie).  Some have even supposed the Greek words for "elect lady"
may refer to given names, such as:  Electa the Lady, The chosen Kyria,
Electa Kyria.

Taken figuratively, it could refer to a local church.  Scholars who hold
to this view include Brooke, Bruce, Marshall, Stott, and Westcott.  They
understand that "elect lady and her children" (1) and "children of your
elect sister" (13) refer to two particular congregations.

Desiring to allow the most obvious meaning of Scripture to be the most
correct meaning, I am willing to accept the literal view.


Ephesus is usually suggested as the location from which John wrote this
epistle, as he was known to live there in the later years of his life.
Estimation of the date of writing varies widely, some placing it before
the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.).  Most however place it around
90-95 A.D.


In such a short letter, the purpose is rather straightforward and

   *  Encourage brotherly love, and keeping the commandments of God
      - 2Jn 1:5-6

   *  Warn against supporting or encouraging false teachers - 2Jn

Based on 2Jn 1:7, the false teachers were likely precursors of the
Gnostics (see introduction to 1st John).  As for the theme, I would

                       Walking in truth and love


Here is a simple outline of the book, from the ESV Study Bible...

Greeting:  The Elder’s Love (1-3)
The Elder’s Joy And Request (4-6)
The Elder’s Concern (7-8)
The Elder’s Warning (9-11)
Closing:  The Elder’s Farewell (12-13)


1) Who is author of The Second Epistle Of John?
   - The Elder, likely John the apostle who wrote the gospel of John

2) Who were the original recipients of this epistle?
   - Literally, the elect lady and her children; figuratively, a local

3) When was it written?
   - Most date it from 90-95 A.D.

4) What has been suggested as its two-fold purpose?
   - To encourage brotherly love, and keeping the commandments of God
     - 2Jn 1:5-6
   - To warn against supporting or encouraging false teachers - 2Jn

5) What has been suggested as its theme?
   - Walking in truth and love

6) What are the main divisions of this epistle as outlined above?
   - Greeting:  The Elder’s Love (1-3)
   - The Elder’s Joy And Request (4-6)
   - The Elder’s Concern (7-8)
   - The Elder’s Warning (9-11)
   - Closing:  The Elder’s Farewell (12-13)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Islamic apologists have attempted to bolster the credibility of their beliefs by claiming that the Bible, itself, makes reference to the coming of the prophet Muhammad. Ironically, this claim comes even in the face of the prevailing Islamic contention that the Bible has been corrupted, and thus cannot be relied upon as an accurate record of God’s Word. Nevertheless, the reader is urged to weigh these claims in light of the exegetical evidence for five of these passages.

Isaiah 29:12

First, Muslims appeal to Isaiah 29:12—“Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, ‘Read this, please’; and he says, ‘I am not literate.’” Muslims insist that the book referred to in this verse is the Quran, that the one to whom the book was delivered is Muhammad, and that the one who ordered Muhammad to read the book is Gabriel. They claim that Muhammad fits the description of this individual, since Muhammad was illiterate when the angel Gabriel revealed the words of Allah to him.
To understand the context of the verse, one must remember that Isaiah, who lived in the 8th century B.C., is known as the “Messianic prophet” because he prophesied so many details about Jesus—not Muhammad. Isaiah 29 is in a context in which God pronounced woes on Judah for her sins at that time, i.e., 702 B.C. The context indicates that within a year, the great Assyrian king Sennacherib would lay siege to Jerusalem in 701 B.C. (vs. 3). Jerusalem (called “Ariel”) would be attacked by her enemies and punished for her crimes against God, and then those enemies would, themselves, also receive their just desserts (vss. 4-8). God’s people were in the throes of deliberate spiritual blindness, and Judah’s false prophets/seers were not helping the situation (vss. 9-10). Notice that Isaiah then described the unwillingness of the people of his day to heed the truth by comparing them to a literate person who is told to read something, but refuses, excusing himself by saying the document is sealed (vs. 11). It then is delivered to an illiterate person, but he excuses himself by saying he cannot read (vs. 12). The point is that the people of Isaiah’s day refused to pay attention to God’s Word spoken through His prophets. They did not want it! Verses 13-16 explain that because of their closed minds, they would all suffer for their rejection of His Word when the Assyrians arrived to besiege the city. But, as usual, God revealed a better day when people would listen (vss. 17ff.). Having examined the context, it is transparently evident that these verses have absolutely nothing to do with Muhammad!

Deuteronomy 18:18

A second verse that Muslims brandish in support of their claims is the promise of a coming prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18—“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Muslims claim that the prophet to whom God referred was Muhammad.
Again, a simple examination of additional biblical evidence reveals that the statement made to Moses was divinely intended to refer to Jesus Christ—not Muhammad. Shortly after the establishment of the church of Christ and the Christian religion (in A.D. 30 in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus—Acts 2), two of the twelve apostles, Peter and John, went to the Jewish temple and healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-11). When people began to gather in large numbers out of amazement at what had happened, Peter used the opportunity to preach the Christian message to them (Acts 3:12-26). He made several crucial points pertaining to the person of the Christ: (1) the recently crucified Jesus was, in fact, the One Whom the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had glorified (vs. 13); (2) God had raised Him from the dead (vs. 15); (3) it was the “name” (i.e., authority/power) of Jesus, and faith in Him, that procured the miraculous healing of the lame man (vs. 16); (4) the suffering of Christ was predicted previously by God through the prophets (vs. 18); (5) at the conclusion of human history, God will send Jesus back (not any of the prophets, let alone Muhammad)—an unmistakable reference to the Second Coming of Christ immediately preceding the Judgment (vss. 20-21; cf. Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.). It is at this point that Peter quoted from the passage in Deuteronomy and applied it to Jesus—not Muhammad (vss. 22ff.). Peter’s inspired application is unmistakable; he clearly identified Jesus as the fulfillment: “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (vs. 26). Observe further that God stated explicitly that the prophet that He would raise up would come "from your brethren" (vs. 15; cf. vs. 18). In context, He was speaking to Moses, who was a descendant of Isaac. Arabs descended from Ishmael, not Isaac. Muhammad was not from the brethren of Moses and the Jews--he was an Arab. Muhammad does not fit the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18.

John 14-16

A third attempt by Muslims to gain credibility for their viewpoint by linking their beliefs to the Bible concerns the multiple allusions to the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14, 15, and 16. John 16:7 reads: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I go not away, the Helper will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” Again, Muslims claim that Jesus was referring to Muhammad. Yet anyone who has spent even a minimal amount of effort examining the teaching of John chapters 14, 15, and 16 is astounded that anyone would claim that the “Helper” (NKNV), or “Comforter” (KJV), or “Counselor” (RSV, NIV)—the one who stands beside (paracletos)—is to be equated with Muhammad. The three chapters have as their setting Jesus giving His twelve apostles special encouragement and specific admonitions in view of His eminent departure from the Earth. He reassured them that even though He was about to exit the planet, He would not abandon them. They would not be left “orphans” (14:18). He would send in His place the Holy Spirit Who would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance those things that Jesus had taught them (14:26). The term translated “Helper” occurs three times in the context (14:26; 15:26; 16:7). Without question, Jesus was referring to the power and directional assistance that the apostles would receive from the Holy Spirit beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:4). A simple reading of the three chapters makes this conclusion inescapable.
Since Muslims do not believe in the notion of Trinity (God in three persons—Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), they reject the reality of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is referred to in the Quran, it is speaking of the angel Gabriel (Surah 2:87,253; 16:102; see Pickthall, n.d., p. 40, note 3). But using their own reasoning, the “Helper” cannot refer to Muhammad since the context specifically identifies the “Helper” as the “Holy Spirit:” “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (14:26). If the Quran is correct, and the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, then John 14:26 teaches that the Helper is Gabriel—not Muhammad! No, John 16:7 does not refer to Muhammad.

John 1:19-21

A fourth passage brought forward in an effort to show biblical support for Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet of God is John 1:19-21—“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’” Muslims claim that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. Muslims point out that the three questions that were posed to John the baptizer in this passage show this expectation to be true. They further maintain that since the Jews distinguished between the Christ and the Prophet, Jesus Christ was not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15,18.
Muslims certainly are correct in their observation that the Jews of Jesus’ day thought that the Christ and the Prophet were two separate personages. But the meaning and proper application of the Bible does not rest on the perceptions and misconceptions of mere humans. The Bible records the opinions and viewpoints of a wide range of individuals throughout human history—including Satan himself (Matthew 4:3,6,9)—even though their opinions and viewpoints were incorrect. The Bible does not authenticate such opinions simply by reporting them. The Jews were confused.
The real question is, does the Bible indicate whether the Christ and the Prophet were/are to be understood as the same person? As already noted, the apostle Peter certainly thought so (Acts 3:12ff.). So did the great evangelist and Christian martyr, Stephen. Standing before the highest-ranking body of the Jewish religion, the Sanhedrin, and in the presence of the highest-ranking religious figure in Judaism, the high priest, Stephen recalled the words of Moses from Deuteronomy (Acts 7:37), and then forthrightly declared Jesus to be the Just One Whom they had betrayed and murdered (vs. 52). The “Just One” is precisely the same person that Peter identified as the fulfillment of the Deuteronomy passage, i.e., Jesus Christ. Likewise, Paul referred to Jesus (not Muhammad) as the “Just One” (Acts 22:14). An objective appraisal of the biblical data yields the unmistakable conclusion that the Bible identifies the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 as Jesus Christ—not Muhammad. Jesus is both the Christ and the Prophet.

Song of Solomon 5:16

A fifth passage alleged to be a reference to Muhammad is found in Song of Solomon 5:16, where it is claimed that Muhammad is actually referred to by name in Hebrew. In English, the verse reads: “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!” (NKJV). A phonetic transliteration of the underlying Hebrew text reads: Kheeco mahm-tah-keem vuh-coollo ma-kha-madeem zeh dodee veh-tseh ray-ee beh-note yerushalayim. Muslims claim that the bolded word, though translated “altogether lovely,” is the name of Muhammad (Naik, n.d.). Consider six linguistic evidences that dispute their claim:
1. The second syllable (kha) utilizes the Hebrew letter heth which has a hard initial sound like the “ch” in the Scottish word “loch.” It is to be distinguished from the Hebrew letter he which is the same as the English letter “h.” If Muhammad was being referred to, the simple “h” would have been more linguistically appropriate.
2. Muslims claim that the eem (or im) in ma-kha-madeem in the Hebrew language was “added for respect” (Naik). This claim is untrue and unsubstantiated. The letters constitute the standard form for changing a singular to a plural—like adding “s” or “es” in English (cf. Weingreen, 1959, pp. 35ff.). As the eminent Emil Rödiger (who was professor for oriental languages at the University of Halle and the student of the well-known German Orientalist, H.F.W. Gesenius) noted in his editorial comment in the prestigious Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar: “The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew” (p. 418).
3. The meaning of the Hebrew ma-kha-madeem is different from the meaning of the word “Muhammad” in Arabic. According to Sheikh Abd al-Azîz, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the word “Muhammad” is derived from the Arabic root word hamd meaning “praise.” It is the emphatic passive participle of that root and can be translated as “the Oft-Praised One” (n.d.). However, the Hebrew term (makh-mahd) in the passage under consideration has a completely different meaning. It refers to “grace, beauty” (Gesenius, 1979, p. 464), “a desirable thing, delightfulness” (Brown, et al., 1906, pp. 326-327), “a pleasant thing” (Payne, 1980, 1:295), or “precious” (Holladay, 1988, p. 190). English translations render the term “altogether lovely” (NKJV, NIV), “wholly desirable” (NASB), and “altogether desirable” (ESV, RSV). No reputable English translation would render the underlying Hebrew as “Muhammad.” All Muslims have done is happen upon a Hebrew word that phonetically sounds somewhat like “Muhammad” and have erroneously concluded the word must be referring to him. Such handling of linguistic data is irresponsible.
4. Further, the claim that Muhammad is intended in the verse completely disregards the context and message of the book of Song of Solomon. The book consists of a dialogue between Solomon, his Shulamite bride-to-be, and the “daughters of Jerusalem,” with perhaps even God interjecting His comment (5:1b), as well as the Shulamite’s brothers (8:8-9). The term used in 5:16 that Muslims claim refers to Muhammad is also used in 2:3 to refer to the Shulamite’s beloved—“Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight.” “Great delight” is the Hebrew word also used in 5:16; in both cases the words of the Shulamite refer to her beloved—not Muhammad.
5. Forms of the same Hebrew word are used elsewhere in the Old Testament, yet Muslims do not claim that those passages refer to Muhammad. Rightly so, since those verses cannot be forced to fit the notion that Muhammad is under consideration. For example, Isaiah 64:11 mourns the destruction of Jerusalem: “Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; And all our pleasant things are laid waste.” “Pleasant things” is a form of the same word in Song of Solomon 5:16. Would the Muslim contend that Muhammad was “laid waste” in Jerusalem? Additional occurrences of the same word—which dispel the misuse of the term by Muslims—are seen in 1 Kings 20:6; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Lamentations 1:10,11; Ezekiel 24:16,21,25; Hosea 9:9,16; Joel 3:5; et al. (Wigram, 1890, p. 687).
6. Even if the Hebrew word “lovely/desirable” in Song of Solomon were the Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic word “praised one,” it still would not follow that Muhammad is being referred to in the Bible. Instead, it would simply be an indication that the underlying word stands on its own as a term used for other applications. For example, the Hebrew word for “bitter” is mah-rah. It is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the concept of bitter. Yet, due to her unpleasant circumstances in life, Naomi (meaning “pleasant”) requested that her name be changed to “bitter” (mah-rah) to reflect her bitter predicament. It does not follow, however, that when the Hebrew word “bitter” appears in the Old Testament it refers to Naomi. If parents today were to name their child John, it would not follow that they intended to reflect an association with others in history who have worn the name John. Muslims have the cart before the horse. Their claim is equivalent to parents naming their child “wonderful” or “special”—and then claiming that an ancient writer had their child in mind when the writer used the word “wonderful” or “special” in referring to another person contemporary to the writer.


All of the above verses may be understood with a little study and consideration of context. Those who would attempt to use these verses to apply to Muhammad demonstrate that they have a very superficial, cursory understanding of the Bible. The truth is available for anyone who cares to “check it out.” But searching for the truth requires effort. It requires proper motivation, sincerity, and honesty. Yet it can be done. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).


al-Azîz, Sheikh Abd (no date), “The Meaning of the Prophet’s names ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ahmad,’” Islam Today, http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-14-738.htm.
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (1906), The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Holladay, William (1988), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Naik, Zakir (no date), “Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Bible,” Islam 101, http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/mBible.htm.
Payne, J. Barton (1980), hamad in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Weingreen, J. (1959), A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Clarenden Press), second edition.
Wigram, George W. (1890), The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint).

Biblical Wisdom Still Relevant by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Biblical Wisdom Still Relevant

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

About 3,000 years ago, one of the wisest men to have ever lived penned through divine inspiration this statement: “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Solomon’s statement speaks to the fact that in many cases, it is the emotional and spiritual attitude of an individual that sustains his or her physical existence as much or more than physical factors. On March 28, 2006, a brief article on loneliness provided some excellent modern scientific documentation for Solomon’s sentiments.
The study was in no way exhaustive since it only looked at information from about 229 adults. But the results were quite interesting. In a nut shell, the study showed that loneliness can be a potential factor that increases blood pressure. The study further indicated that when individuals became more emotionally connected to others and less lonely, their blood pressure can decrease. In fact, the authors of the study suggested that the “magnitude of the effect of loneliness on blood pressure is comparable to the magnitude of reduction that can be achieved through weight loss and exercise” (Hawkley and Berry as quoted in Minerd, 2006). Thus, one can see that the physical factors of losing weight and exercise can potentially be matched or eclipsed by the emotional attitudes of an individual, exactly as Solomon suggested.
Drs. Hawkley and Berry noted that many factors in the culture of the United States tend to increase the opportunity for loneliness and that, “under these circumstances risk of loneliness increases, and along with it so does risk of morbidity and mortality” (Minerd, 2006). In other words, emotional distress “dries the bones.”
Solomon’s ancient wisdom is as relevant to today’s society as it was to his three millennia ago. The Bible’s timeless nature is exactly the product that what would be expected from an all-knowing God Who can declare “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10).


Minerd, Jeff (2006), “Loneliness Weighs Heavily on the Heart,” [On-line], URL: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Hypertension/tb/2947.

Are We “100% Sure” Goldilocks Planet has Life? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Are We “100% Sure” Goldilocks Planet has Life?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein recently reported on a new planet that seems to be in what scientists call the “Goldilocks zone.” What is the “Goldilocks zone?” Very few places in our Universe maintain conditions that are suitable for life. One of those conditions is that liquid water must be present. The “Goldilocks zone” is a specific distance from any star that is “not too hot, not too cold. Juuuust right,”—a situation that allows water to remain in its liquid form (Borenstein, 2010). According to atheistic, evolutionary ideas about the origin of the Universe, in theory, there should be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of planets in our Universe that maintain conducive conditions for life to “begin.” In fact, we are incessantly informed by the media and the scientific community that it is just a matter of time before we discover other planets where life has evolved from non-living chemicals. One would think, according to the propaganda about life arising in other places, that a little liquid water and a few amino acids thrown together will inevitably produce life.

Thus, we have a report of the first Earth-like planet that could possibly “support life.” The planet, labeled Gliese 581g, is the sixth planet from a dwarf star named Gliese 581. Borenstein described the planet in the following way:
It is about three times the mass of Earth, slightly larger in width and much closer to its star—14 million miles away versus 93 million. It’s so close to its version of the sun that it orbits every 37 days. And it doesn’t rotate much, so one side is almost always bright, the other dark. Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between—in the land of constant sunrise—it would be “shirt-sleeve weather,” said co-discoverer Steven Vogt (Borenstein, 2010).
Gliese 581g is of interest, then, because there is a chance that it could have liquid water on its surface. Of course, as Borenstein noted: “It’s unknown whether water actually exists on the planet.” What, then, is so important about liquid water, as opposed to any other constraints that are necessary for life to survive? Vogt said that “chances for life on this planet are 100 percent” since “there always seems to be life on Earth where there is water.” Wow! Look at that reasoning. This new planet might have some water, so we are 100% sure there is life on the planet. We are not even 100% sure it has water. How in the world could we be sure it has life?

The false idea that finding liquid water is the equivalent of finding biological life is easy to debunk. Take some water, kill all the microscopic organisms in it so that no life exists. Add any amino acids or “building blocks” of life that you want, then shock the mixture, blow it up, heat it, cool it, or whatever else you want to do, and see if you get life. News flash—you don’t get life! Louis Pasteur proved that almost 150 years ago (Butt, 2002). Yet Vogt boldly stated: “It’s pretty hard to stop life once you give it the right conditions” (as quoted in Borenstein). And what, pray tell, are the right conditions? Vogt can’t tell you, and neither can any other human alive. Water is certainly not “the right conditions” for life, because we can supply water to any mixture of non-living chemicals all day long for the next 20 billion years and not get life.

What, in reality, are the “right conditions” for life to begin? There is really only one: an intelligent Creator must superintend the process. “In the beginning was water,” will not produce life. But “in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth,” will supply the necessary condition for life on Earth or any other planet—God. Beware of the false assumptions that fill the media and “scientific” discussions of other planets and life in outer space.


Borentstein, Seth (2010), “Could ‘Goldilocks’ Planet Be Just Right for Life?”, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100929/ap_on_sc/us_sci_new_earths.

Butt, Kyle (2002), “Biogenesis—The Long Arm of the Law,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1769.

Are Children Born With Sin? by Moisés Pinedo


Are Children Born With Sin?

by  Moisés Pinedo

Have you ever seen the face of a newborn child, touched the soft skin of his rose-colored cheeks, and sensed his innocence when looking into his beautiful eyes? In stark contrast, Catholic teaching alleges that “small infants are sinful!” The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares:
Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called (1994, 1250, emp. added).
The Bible teaches that children do not bear the sin of their parents (Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:20). However, Catholics are quick to point out that David declared: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). To understand this passage, we must keep in mind that the subject of Psalm 51 is David’s sin, not original sin. Consider the nouns and possessives David used to indicate that the sin which he was talking about was the sin he committed: “Blot out my transgression” (vs. 1); “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (vs. 2); “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (vs. 3); “Against You, You only, have I sinned” (vs. 4); etc. There is not even the slightest allusion to some kind of original sin in the psalmist’s supplication. In fact, it was from his own sin and transgression that the psalmist desired to be freed.
But, why did he refer to the moment in which he was formed in the womb of his mother? The psalmist could have been using hyperbole (cf. Psalm 58:3; Colley, 2004), or emphasizing the condition in which his mother conceived him. In the latter case, although he was born without sin, he was born into a world that was covered, plagued, and influenced by sin.
Consider also that the psalmist made these pleas for forgiveness as an adult. He used present-tense verbs to plead for forgiveness: “Have mercy upon me...blot out my transgressions” (vs. 1); “Wash me thoroughly...cleanse me from my sin (vs. 2); “I acknowledge my transgressions” (vs. 3); “Purge me with hyssop...wash me” (vs. 7); “Make me hear joy and gladness” (vs. 8); “Hide Your face from my sins...blot out all my iniquities” (vs. 9); “Create in me a clean heart...renew a steadfast spirit within me” (vs. 10).
David’s pleas for forgiveness were due to a sin (or sins) that he committed long after his birth. The psalmist himself made this fact clear in a parallel passage, where he prayed: “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions” (Psalm 25:7, emp. added). If Psalm 51 is a plea to be freed from original sin, how do Catholics explain that God anointed, blessed, and used David while he bore the sin of the first man?
Additionally, the psalmist declared that he was “shapen” and “conceived” in iniquity (51:5, KJV). This is not a reference to birth (as Catholicism claims), but to conception. To be consistent with the Catholic idea that Psalm 51 supports the dogma of original sin, we must conclude that original sin is transmitted at the moment of conception. If that is the case, the Catholic Church will have to rework its theology concerning baptism to include a way to “baptize” children before birth to save them from “the power of darkness” (Cathecism..., 1994, 1250).
To arrive at a correct interpretation of Psalm 51, we also must consider other biblical passages where similar expressions are used. For example, Isaiah declared: “The Lord has called me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother He has made mention of my name” (49:1). In Jeremiah 1:5, God told His prophet: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.” If by the expression, “I was brought forth in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5), David alluded to the original sin he bore, how do Catholics explain Isaiah and Jeremiah’s declarations of sanctity from the womb? Were these two prophets born without the contamination of original sin? According to Catholicism, only Jesus and Mary were born in a completely holy condition. These passages cannot be reconciled with the Catholic dogma of original sin (see Colley, 2004).
But, what about Romans 5:12, where the apostle Paul wrote that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”? Does this verse teach that we bear Adam’s sin? No. As we observed in another article (cf. Pinedo, 2009), this verse teaches that death—the consequence of sin—spread to all men, not because Adam sinned, but “because all sinned” (5:12; cf. Romans 3:23). Of course, this “all” cannot refer only to Adam. Nothing in the Bible teaches, indicates, or implies that children are born with sin.
Paul indicated that where there is no law, there is no sin (Romans 3:20; cf. John 15:22). And the apostle John declared that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). If infants cannot know the Law of God or understand it, they cannot commit lawlessness.
Jesus Himself said: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, emp. added). Paul declared that none who are unclean can enter into the kingdom of heaven (Ephesians 5:5). Jesus added: “[U]nless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, emp. added). If children come to the world with a “fallen human nature and tainted by original sin” (to use the words of the Catechism), why would men have to become as little children, who are also “contaminated” with sin? The Bible is clear: sin is not inherited. No baby has ever been born bearing the guilt of Adam’s sin. No one bears the responsibility for Adam’s sin but Adam himself.


Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), (Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Did David Authorize Infant Baptism?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2626.
Pinedo, Moisés (2009), “Was Mary Sinless?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240062.

Genealogies and the Virgin Birth of Christ by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Genealogies and the Virgin Birth of Christ

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Rarely (if ever) have I read the words “genealogy” and “exciting” in the same sentence. It seems most people consider the genealogies of Christ as some of the Bible’s dullest reading. They frequently are described as boring, dry, and monotonous—full of “begets” that many would just as soon “forget.” In reality, however, exciting pearls of truth often are overlooked. One of these truths that escapes the reader who simply skims (or skips) the genealogies is the virgin birth of Christ.
In Matthew’s genealogy of Christ, it may be that one fails to see how the verb “begot” is used 39 times between Abraham and Joseph (verses 2-16a). And yet, instead of claiming that Joseph begot Jesus, Matthew wrote: “…and Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (1:16, emp. added). This wording stands in stark contrast to the format in the preceding verses (“Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, etc.”). Joseph did not beget Jesus; rather, he is referred to as “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.” The Holy Spirit was emphasizing the fact that Jesus was not conceived as the result of anything Joseph did. Rather, Mary “was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, emp. added). An angel even informed Joseph that he was not the father of Jesus, rather that which was conceived [literally, “begotten”] in her was “of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
Matthew gave us a second “hint” of the virgin birth of Christ when he wrote: “…and Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (1:16, emp. added). One might assume that the “whom” in this verse refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father. Others may think it is talking about both Joseph and Mary as His parents. An English teacher likely would point out that we cannot tell to whom the word “whom” belongs in this verse, because when the English word “whom” is used in a sentence it can refer to either men or women; or, it can refer to both. Though usually we can tell the meaning by the context in which the word is found, such is not the case in Matthew 1:16. Our English translations simply do not reveal the marvelous truth concealed in this verse. In order to unveil this “Gospel gem,” one must consult the language in which the New Testament was written originally—Greek. The English phrase “of whom was born Jesus” is translated from the Greek relative feminine pronoun (hes). In this verse, the feminine gender can refer only to Mary. Biblical genealogies regularly emphasize the fathers who sire a child, but here Matthew indicates that Jesus received His humanity only from His mother. Thus, Joseph is excluded from any involvement in the birth of Christ, the Son of God.
While Matthew’s genealogy clearly establishes Christ as the legal heir to the throne by tracing His ancestry down through the royal line of the kings of Israel all the way to Joseph the carpenter (and to Jesus), he still emphasizes Mary as the biological parent “of whom” Jesus was born. What accuracy! What precision! What a wonderful truth found within a genealogy so often overlooked.

“Living Fossils”—Evolution’s Innate Circular Reasoning by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


“Living Fossils”—Evolution’s Innate Circular Reasoning

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Another earthshaking find within the evolutionary community only spotlights once again the inherent irrationality of the faltering, fallacious theory. During a Southeast Asian expedition, retired Florida State University science professor, David Redfield, captured the first photos of the Laotian rock rat, once believed to have gone extinct more than 11 million years ago. The fossilized remains, collected previously from sites in Pakistan, India, Thailand, China, and Japan, were thought to verify this last known relative of a long-extinct family of rodents known as Diatomyidae (“Retired Professor Captures...,” 2006). Surprise, surprise—another alleged “ancestor” eliminated from the tattered evolutionary tree.
Observe the two contrasting, conflicting, mutually exclusive approaches to the created realm:
1. Evolution: All animals we see today are advanced forms of primitive precursors, and descendants of a single ancestor. As more advanced forms have evolved by means of adaptation, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and genetic mutation, the earlier forms were naturally displaced and disappeared. Fossils, millions of years old, represent life forms that were the evolutionary predecessors of present life forms, but which went extinct long ago.
2. Creation: God created a spectrum of animals during the six-day week of Creation. While reproducing only after their own “kind” (an ambiguous Hebrew term that likely parallels the modern taxonomic classification “family”), these animals were created with the genetic potential for producing a variety of other species, giving rise to the diversity of animal life presently on the planet. Along the way, due mostly to environmental factors, many animals have become extinct. However, other species have escaped detection by humans for centuries, only to be rediscovered in some remote area.
Which of these two viewpoints fits the actual physical facts? Obviously, the latter. Evolutionists repeatedly find themselves in the embarrassing position of discovering that the alleged evolutionary ancestors of current life forms, that supposedly went extinct millions of years ago, are in fact still living. They are forced to cover their tracks by inventing a self-contradictory, nonsensical term to identify these anomalies—in this case, “living fossils.” But that’s like a round square. Philosophers and logicians refer to such duplicitous posturing as irrational and “logical contradiction.” Evolutionists call it “science.”


“Retired Professor Captures a ‘Living Fossil’ on Video” (2006), Research in Review, June 13, [On-line], URL: http://www.rinr.fsu.edu/rockrat/more.html.

Abortion and the Ungodly Irrationality Surrounding Unwanted Infants by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Abortion and the Ungodly Irrationality Surrounding Unwanted Infants

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

To say that the descendants of Abraham were growing in number is an understatement. According to Exodus 1:7, while in Egypt “the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.” The more the Egyptians afflicted them, “the more they multiplied and grew” (1:12; cf. 1:20). As Jehovah had promised, the “few” had become a “mighty” nation of “many” (Genesis 46:3; Deuteronomy 26:5)—so many, in fact, that the “Egyptians were in dread of the children of Israel” (Exodus 1:12). Even Pharaoh became alarmed to the point that on two different occasions he called for the slaughter of all male Israelite newborns. In an attempt to thwart Divine Providence’s promised growth of Israel (Genesis 12:2; 22:17; 46:3), Pharaoh took it upon himself to call on “all his people” to throw Israel’s neonatal sons into the river (Exodus 1:22). Infanticide ensued. “Drown the Hebrew infants.” “Destroy those abominable babies” (cf. Genesis 43:32). “Feed them to the crocodiles.”
Some 80 years later, God severely punished Egypt for their wrongdoings. He brought ten dreadful plagues upon Pharaoh and all his land (Exodus 7-12). Moses described God’s “great” and “mighty” judgment upon Egypt as “the chastening of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 7:19; 11:2). The psalmist wrote how God “cast on them [the Egyptians] the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, by sending angels of destruction among them. He made a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, but gave their life over to the plague, and destroyed all the firstborn in Egypt” (78:49-51). Granted, Egypt’s sins were many—from their idolatry, to their mistreatment of the Hebrews, to their refusal to let God’s people leave Egypt—but do not think for a minute that Jehovah had forgotten Egypt’s massacre of Abraham’s innocent descendants. Those precious children were “a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Jehovah had “graciously given” them to Israel (cf. Genesis 33:5). He created them in His own image and gave them life (Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 17:25; Ecclesiastes 12:7)—life that Pharaoh had no right to choose to take from them (only God has that right; see Butt, 2009, 29[12]:89-95).
Three thousand six hundred years ago, Egypt was plagued with baby murderers. From the tyrannical king, to all those who assisted him in drowning Israelite infants in the Nile River, Egypt revealed itself as a bloodthirsty country. (Interestingly, the first punishing plague God sent upon Egypt was turning water to blood, while the last was striking down all of Egypt’s firstborn.) Scripture repeatedly affirms that God detests the sin of murder. In patriarchal times, murder was wrong, and punishable by death: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed” (Genesis 9:6). Under the Law of Moses, the prohibition of murder was listed as one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13), and likewise carried a punishment of death (Numbers 35:30). The wisest man who ever lived (aside from Jesus, of course) noted in the Old Testament book of Proverbs: “[T]he Lord hates...hands that shed innocent blood” (6:16-17; cf. 1 Kings 3:12). According to the New Testament, governments have the God-given authority to take away the physical life of murderers (Romans 13:4). Furthermore, impenitent murderers will also “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). From Genesis through Revelation, God emphasized the sanctity of human life, while simultaneously making clear His hot displeasure with those who disregard it.


In ancient Egypt, only Pharaoh was considered to be like a god, the supposed incarnation of the Sun god, Ra. Pharaoh also was thought to be the sole person who bore “the image of god.” The Egyptian canal digger and the merchant, the taskmaster and the Hebrew slave, all were thought innately inferior because they were not divine image bearers (or so they had been told). Such a designation was not applied to the common man in Egypt, nor anywhere else for that matter. Outside the Bible, archaeologists and historians have never found where mankind in general was said to have been created in the “image” of a particular god. Three Akkadian texts from the Sargonic period of Assyria’s history use the Akkadian cognate of tselem (“image”), but it is employed only in a context where kings are being discussed (Miller, 1972, 91:294-295). The rulers of empires were the sole beings referred to as “images” of gods.
According to the first chapter of the Bible, however, the Creator of the Universe has honored all humans by endowing them with certain qualities that are intrinsic to His nature. Genesis 1:26-27 describes all mankind with language that previously had been applied only to the supreme rulers of nations:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female
He created them.

Make no mistake: “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God” (Genesis 5:1). [For a discussion of what being made in the image of God means, see Lyons and Thompson, 2002.] Thousands of years after Creation, James warned Christians not to curse men because they “are made after the likeness of God” (3:9, ASV, emp. added). [NOTE: The English verb “are made” (ASV) derives from the Greek gegonotas, which is the perfect participle of the verb ginomai. The perfect tense in Greek is used to describe an action brought to completion in the past, but whose effects are felt in the present.] Although Adam and Eve are the only two humans to have been specially created by God (Genesis 2:7,21-22), all humanity shares the honor of being made in God’s likeness—which is why God condemns murder. Following the Flood, God said, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6, emp. added). Murder is forbidden because man is made in the image of God.
The newborns that Pharaoh drowned in ancient Egypt were Divine image bearers. Likewise, the infants that Herod slew some 1,500 years later also bore the likeness of God (Matthew 2:13-17). They were all 100% human beings. They were not rocks or plants. They were not animals. They were not merely blobs of living tissue. They were humans who had been given living spirits by “the Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9). What’s more, these babies were pure and sinless. They were (by creation) children of God, who had never separated themselves from Him (Ezekiel 18:20; cf. Matthew 18:3-5), and who now live in the afterlife in paradise (cf. 2 Samuel 12:23).


Pharaoh slaughtered infants for population control purposes. Herod butchered babies in hopes of killing the King of kings. These men were wicked rulers who implemented hideous policies and practices. However, what is taking place in America today is no less revolting. The morally inept leadership of the United States, and those who willfully chose to put them into office, are just as guilty as the bloodthirsty, tyrannical baby killers of the past. Why? Because every year in America far more babies are brutally murdered than were killed in Egypt and Palestine in the days of Moses and Jesus.
More than one million innocent, unborn children are slaughtered each year in the United States of America (“Facts...,” 2008). In 2008, Guttmacher Institute reported that “from 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred” (“Facts...”). Forty-five million! That is more people than currently reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee...combined. The murder of unborn children has occurred with such frequency since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973 that few people ever stop to consider the brutality involved. I recently became aware of one high school student who went to school pregnant, left to have an abortion, then returned to finish the school day. (No, her parents were not informed of her “choice” beforehand.) “Just a casual procedure in a doctor’s office, that’s all it was.”
In truth, there is nothing casual about the slaughter of an innocent child. Have you ever considered what mothers and doctors do in order to abort a baby? (Most abortionists don’t want you to know, much less see, how abortions are performed!) In a murderous abortion procedure called “suction aspiration,” doctors use a knife-like device, and suction from a powerful hose and pump (“29 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner”—“Abortion Methods,” 2010), to chop and suck a baby out of the mother’s womb. In the “dilation and evacuation” abortion procedure, doctors actually use plier-like devices to twist and tear four-month-old unborn babies into pieces. Usually this requires crushing the baby’s skull and snapping the child’s spine in order to extract them. When mothers choose to abort their unborn babies who are older than four months, doctors often use a procedure called “saline injection” (i.e., salt poisoning). The strong salt solution that doctors inject through the mother’s abdomen acts as a corrosive and burns the baby inside and out. Normally, the child will suffer for an hour or more before dying. However, in some cases the children survive and are born alive. In most of these instances, they are helplessly left to themselves to die outside the womb. Still, a few have survived and lived to tell their story (see “Gianna Jessen,” 2006). When performing partial-birth abortions doctors normally deliver all of the baby except the head, then puncture the base of the skull with a pair of scissors, before removing the child’s brain with a hollow tube (“Abortion Methods,” 2010). This is sick! This is sadistic! Today’s abortions make Pharaoh’s command to cast the neonatal Israelites into the river sound like compassionate killing. No doubt, the cries of America’s innocent infants are being heard by the Creator. The shed blood of these blameless babies has been witnessed by our holy, just God who “hates...hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17).


Some people believe that unborn humans at various embryonic stages are more animal-like than human. Ernst Haeckel first proposed this idea in the latter part of the 1800s. He insisted that what lived inside a woman during her pregnancy was not human until the latter part of the gestation period. Even though science disproved Haeckel’s ridiculous idea long ago, it is a myth “popular culture has never fully abandoned” (Gould, 2000, 109[2]:44). Sadly, some pro-abortionists still try to comfort themselves by insisting that the human embryo may be going through the stages of our alleged evolutionary ancestors, and thus they supposedly are not really human when aborted (see Jackson, n.d.). Other pro-abortionists seem happy to just take a “leap of faith” and hope that what is inside a pregnant woman is not a living, human being. Still others, like pro-abortion President Barak Obama, claim not to know when an unborn child is fully human. In a Presidential Candidates Forum on August 16, 2008, President Obama declared that knowing when an unborn child deserves human rights is “above my pay grade” (“Saddleback...”). Though the President claims ignorance on the matter, his hypocritical actions speak volumes: he still strongly supports pro-abortion policies. If President Obama truly does not know when an unborn infant deserves human rights, then why is he “a consistent champion” of allowing millions of Americans to mutilate their unborn children (“Women,” 2009)?
The fact is, common sense, science, and Scripture all show that an unborn embryo/baby is a living, human being. Do nonliving beings hiccup, suck their thumbs, or respond to touch, pain, cold, sound, and light? Of course not. Yet unborn babies do all of these things (see “Fetal Development,” 2003). They have a beating heart and a working brain. They are, beyond any doubt, living, human beings! Only the cold, callous heart would think otherwise. [For information on life beginning at conception, see Major, 1995.]
Although she recanted her views about abortion several years ago, relatively few people know that “Jane Roe,” the pseudonym that Norma McCorvey assumed as the lead plaintiff in the infamous Roe v. Wade case, no longer supports abortion. After over 20 years of supporting the pro-abortion platform, McCorvey suddenly began opposing abortion and has been for several years now. Why did this pro-abortion poster child become pro-life? What led to her change in thinking? Why does she now adamantly oppose the slaughtering of innocent unborn babies? According to McCorvey, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” came while she was working in an abortion clinic and was instructed to enter a room where aborted fetuses were kept. Her assignment was to count the body parts of an infant that had just been aborted—to make sure the doctor had retrieved the entire baby from the mother’s womb. McCorvey, who had previously worked in at least three other abortion clinics, stated, “I went back to the parts room, and I looked at this tiny little infant, and I freaked” (as quoted in McGrew, 2002, emp. added). “Jane Roe,” the woman who symbolized a woman’s right to have an abortion (i.e., Roe v. Wade), was forced to look upon the body parts of an aborted “fetus” and became convinced that it was a human being. Why? Because it looked like a human being. Unborn babies look like humans beings because they are human beings!
When Samuel Armas was a 21-week unborn baby, USA Today photojournalist Michael Clancy snapped what arguably would become the most famous pre-natal photograph ever. On August 19, 1999, Dr. Joseph Bruner, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, performed spina bifida surgery on Samuel while he was in utero. During the surgery, Samuel, who was only about half way through the normal gestation period, was pictured with his tiny hand resting on one of the doctor’s fingers. Samuel was born 15 weeks later. When Samuel’s surgery was first reported more than 10 years ago, many eyes were opened to the preciousness and humanity of early unborn children (for more information, see Miller, 2009). More recently, however, another baby, who further testifies to the humanity of unborn children, captured the headlines. Her name: Amillia Sonja Taylor. She was born on October 24, 2006 in south Florida. What makes Amillia so special? Doctors believe she “spent less time in the womb than any other surviving infant” (“Florida Baby...,” 2007). Amillia’s mother, Sonja, carried Amillia for less than 22 weeks. At delivery, she was only 9½ inches long and weighed less than a can of soda. But, she was a living human being. Four months later, Amillia weighed 4½ pounds, was 15½ inches long, and was almost ready to go home for the very first time (“Doctors Extend...”). Two years later, she was a healthy toddler (“Amillia...”).
Amillia did not turn into a human 15 to 18 weeks later—when most babies are delivered—she was a human at 22 weeks, had been human since she was conceived, and deserved rights like any other human. She was not lifeless matter—a mere blob of tissue. She was not a plant. She was not an animal. She was a living, growing human being. Millions of “Samuel Armases” and “Amillia Taylors” have been brutally mutilated on the holy grail of a “woman’s right to choose.” How can anyone look at pictures of an unborn child such as Samuel Armas, or a 10-ounce baby such as Amillia Taylor, and come to the conclusion that at 22 weeks old they are not human beings?
Consider some things that science has discovered about unborn babies in the first trimester of a mother’s pregnancy.
Day 22—heart begins to beat with the child’s own blood, often a different type than the mother’s
Week 5—eyes, legs, hands begin to develop
Week 6—brain waves detectable; mouth, lips present; fingernails forming
Week 7—eyelids, toes form; nose distinct, baby kicking and swimming
Week 8—every organ in place; bones begin to replace cartilage, fingerprints begin to form
Weeks 9 and 10—teeth begin to form, fingernails develop; baby can turn head, frown
Week 11—baby can grasp objects placed in hand; all organ systems functioning; the baby has fingerprints, a skeletal structure, nerves, and circulation
Week 12—the baby has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including the nerves, spinal cord and thalamus (“Diary of an Unborn Baby,” n.d.).
In addition to the support that common sense and science give for the living humanity of unborn children, Scripture is equally clear on the subject. Seven hundred years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah said of himself: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name” (49:1, emp. added). Similarly, several years later, the prophet Jeremiah spoke of how the Lord knew of him in utero: “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations’” (Jeremiah 1:5, emp. added). The Creator of life has testified through inspiration that He views pre-born infants as living, human beings—real people whom He calls, sanctifies, and ordains. Had the mothers of Isaiah and Jeremiah aborted them, they would have been unlawfully taking the lives of precious children.
God made this equally clear in the Law of Moses. In fact, he specifically addressed the life and value of an unborn child in Exodus 21:22-23. He informed Moses: “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life.” Notice how God equates the life of all humans—both the unborn and the already born: “life for life,” He said. If God did not view a “premature” baby as a living human being, then one could not take “life for life.” Rather, it would be more like “a living human for a blob of matter.” But unborn children are not merely blobs of tissue; they are lovely, living, human beings (cf. Miller, 2004).
When the angel Gabriel informed Mary about the pregnancy of her cousin, Elizabeth, the angel of God said that she had “conceived” (Luke 1:36). Conceived what? What was inside of Elizabeth? A mass of meaningless matter? A non-living non-human? An animal evolving into a person? What had Elizabeth conceived? Gabriel informed Mary that Elizabeth had “conceived a son.” What’s more, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth prior to the births of John the Baptizer and Jesus, Luke, the physician, called the unborn baby in Elizabeth’s womb a “babe,” and even noted that he “leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41,44). Luke used this term (Greek brephos) at least four other times. Twice he used it in reference to Jesus lying in a manger after His birth (Luke 2:12,16), once when referring to young infants whose parents had sought the Lord’s blessings (Luke 18:15), and once in reference to the babies that Pharaoh had exposed in ancient Egypt (Acts 7:19; cf. Exodus 1:22).
In each of these cases, brephos refers to children, to boys and girls, to sons and daughters—to living human beings whom the psalmist said are fearfully and wonderfully made, formed, and woven by Almighty God (139:13-16). Man should be careful tampering with Jehovah’s creation whom He fashions in His image!


Mommas Can Murder, But Daddies Can’t?

Few things enrage a community more than finding out that a pregnant woman has been murdered. Towns struck with such an atrocity often rise up and declare that justice must be served: “Violators should be charged with two counts of murder, not just one.” In recent times, men committing such heinous crimes have been charged with double murder. From Missouri to California, from Ohio to Utah, prosecutors have been pushing for maximum penalties by charging men, who allegedly have killed their pregnant wives (or girlfriends), with two counts of murder. Just last year, a California man was convicted of murdering both a mother and her unborn baby after he brutally stabbed the mother (and child) repeatedly with scissors (Ertelt, 2009).
It is encouraging to know that our judicial system has seen fit to prosecute those who murder unborn babies, and to make the guilty pay the highest penalties allowed. In these situations, our judicial system has treated the unborn baby as he/she really is—a human being. “A person guilty of murdering an unborn child is guilty of murdering a person.” This is what we are being told over and over again by those who seek to charge men, who take the lives of a woman and her unborn baby, with double murder.
But wait a minute! How can an unborn child be considered a human being in one situation (when a man takes the life of a woman and her baby), but then, when a pregnant woman wants to take the life of her unborn child, the baby becomes an “appendage” of the mother’s body? “The baby is not a human being, just an extra lump of tissue that the mother can discard at will.” If the father intentionally kicks a baby while in the mother’s womb, killing the child, he likely will be sentenced to prison, or possibly to death (and rightly so—Genesis 9:6). On the other hand, if a mother goes to an abortion clinic and pays a doctor to insert an instrument into her uterus literally to pull and shred the baby into pieces, snapping the spinal cord, and crushing the skull, she has done nothing illegal.
How, in the name of common sense, can our courts rule that when a woman takes the life of her own child, “it is a choice,” but when someone else takes that life, “it is murder”? Such reasoning makes no sense. Abortion-rights activists, at least, are consistent in this regard. As Heather Boonstra, senior public policy associate at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, stated: “The law cannot hold both that a pregnant woman is two persons and at the same time allow her to have an abortion” (as quoted in Simon, 2001).

Inhumane to Kill Dogs, but not Humans?

In August 2007, many people, including myself, were disappointed to learn that a well-known professional football player (Michael Vick) plead guilty to sponsoring, financing, and participating in the brutal sport of dog fighting. Vick even admitted that he was partly responsible for hanging and drowning a number of dogs that did not perform well in certain “test” fights (see United States v. Michael Vick). For his crimes, Vick was sentenced to 23 months behind bars, most of which were served in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
I certainly believe that Vick’s actions (i.e., the drowning of dogs, etc.) can be described as appalling and somewhat sadistic. What’s more, he knowingly participated in a sport which has been outlawed in every state in America. He deserved some kind of punishment for his actions. But, we must recognize that Vick’s acts were done against animals. Though dogs may be “man’s best friend” (and I happen to love dogs), they still are just animals—not humans. They are every bit as much an animal as cows, crows, chickens, deer, monkeys, horses, and pigs.
How absurd, inconsistent, and immoral is the United States’ judicial system when a person must serve nearly two years in prison for fighting, hanging, and drowning animals, yet,
if a woman slaughters a 22-week-old unborn human, she supposedly is blameless. The fact that doctors in the United States can legally rip unborn babies to pieces, chop them up with knife-like devices, or puncture their skulls with a pair of scissors before sucking out their brains, is atrocious. Are we to believe that Vick’s actions against dogs were “inhumane,” but what happens to approximately one million innocent, unborn babies every year in America is not? What could be more inhumane than willfully, selfishly, arrogantly, and brutally taking the life of a human—one of God’s image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:6)? Baby murderers freely walk the streets of America every day, but dog fighters are jailed for inhumane acts—against animals? How absurd!

Overpopulation Problem?
Don’t Pollute the Planet with Babies?

More than 3,500 years ago, Pharaoh observed that the children of Israel were growing and multiplying so rapidly that he became fearful of problems such a large number of slaves might cause. Exodus chapter one makes clear that Pharaoh gave two separate execution orders upon Israel’s newborn sons because of what he perceived as an overpopulation problem. Sadly, such “reasoning” is still used today.
In 2006, evolutionary environmentalist Dr. Eric Pianka was named the Distinguished Texas Scientist of the Year. At his award ceremony in Beaumont, Texas, attendee Forrest Mims reported how Pianka
began laying out his concerns about how human overpopulation is ruining the Earth. He presented a doomsday scenario in which he claimed that the sharp increase in human population since the beginning of the industrial age is devastating the planet. He warned that quick steps must be taken to restore the planet before it’s too late. Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures. Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.... His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population is airborne Ebola (Ebola Reston), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years (Mims; cf. Butt, 2008).
Most people find Dr. Pianka’s suggestions insane. Who in his right mind would propose spreading airborne Ebola around the planet for the purpose of reducing the world’s population? Ridiculous? Before dismissing Texas’ 2006 “Distinguished Scientist” as a raving lunatic, consider a more palatable form of population reduction.
In 1977, Paul and Anne Ehrlich and John Holdren (who currently serves as President Obama’s “science czar”) penned a book titled: Ecoscience: Population, Resources, and Environment. In the book, Holdren and the Ehrlichs assert that “there exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated.... [U]nder the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs could be enacted” (p. 1280). What kind of “population-control programs” exactly? They specifically noted: “compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion,” which “could be sustained under the existing constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger society” (p. 1280, emp. added). Is there really much difference between the Pharaoh of Exodus one and President Obama’s science czar (cf. Matthew 5:21-22; 15:18)?
The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail ran a story a few years back about a woman (Toni Vernelli) who “terminated her pregnancy in the firm belief she was helping save the planet” (as quoted in Courtenay-Smith and Turner, 2007, emp. added). According to Vernelli, “Having children is selfish.... Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population” (2007). Vernelli indicated her desire to “save the planet—not produce a new life which would only add to the problem.” She went on to describe procreation as “something negative” and claimed that there were many others with similar planet-saving ideas. The Daily Mail concurred, saying, “Toni is far from alone” (2007).
Thirty-one-year-old Sarah Irving was in complete agreement with Vernelli. “[A] baby,” she said, “would pollute the planet.... [N]ever having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do” (2007, emp. added). Sarah and her fiancé Mark Hudson told the Daily Mail, “In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.... It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth” (emp. added). In the minds of environmentalists and atheists, including Freedom from Religion’s President Dan Barker, murdering unborn children can be considered “progress” and a “blessing” (see Barker, 1992, p. 135; see also Barker and Rankin, 2006), while bringing children into the world may be “negative” and “morally wrong.”


Some 2,700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah warned of those “who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter...who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (5:20-21). Sadly, Isaiah’s description of the ungodly fits America to a tee. In this country, we call unbridled lust “love,” we describe immodest apparel as “stylish,” we refer to homosexuals as being “gay,” and baby murderers we call “pro-choice”—protectors of “women’s rights.” (Whatever happened to children’s rights?)
What will become of those who “call evil good, and good evil”? What is God’s reaction to those who “rejoice in iniquity” rather than truth (1 Corinthians 13:6)? Isaiah spoke of God’s judgments and punishment:
Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets (5:24-25).
According to the psalmist, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (9:17).
Both the Bible and history teach us that God does not tolerate wicked, bloodthirsty nations forever. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven. He raised a mighty army to punish the wicked inhabitants of Canaan (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12). He sent “angels of destruction” upon Egypt, and gave them “over to the plague, and destroyed all the firstborn” (Psalm 78:49,51). What will be America’s fate? If our “Christian” country’s murderous methods do not cease, what can we expect? We can expect that God will severely judge our nation in this life, while individually rendering “each one according to his deeds” in the afterlife (Romans 2:5-10). In the meantime, may our longsuffering Savior grant Christians the courage to “take up the whole armor of God” and “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:13,10).


“Abortion Methods” (2010), http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/.
“Amillia Turns Two” (2008), http://growingyourbaby.blogspot.com/2008/10/amillia-taylor-turns-2.html.
Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation).
Barker, Dan and John Rankin (2006), “Evolution and Intelligent Design: What are the Issues?” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ID_Debate.mp3.
Butt, Kyle (2008), “The Bitter Fruits of Atheism [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 28[7]:49-55, July, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3740.
Butt, Kyle (2009), “Is God Immoral for Killing Innocent Children?” Reason & Revelation, 29[12]:89-95, December.
Courtenay-Smith, Natasha and Morag Turner (2007), “Meet the Women Who Won’t Have Babies—Because They’re Not Eco Friendly,” Daily Mail, November 21, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=495495&in_page_id=1879.
“Diary of an Unborn Baby” (no date), National Right to Life Foundation, http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/fetusdevelopment.html.
“Doctors Extend Hospital Stay of Tiniest Premature Baby” (2007), Associated Press, February 20, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252878,00.html.
Ehrlich, Paul, Anne Ehrlich, and John Holdren (1977), Ecoscience: Population, Resources, and Environment (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman and Company), http://www.scribd.com/doc/22480029/Ecoscience-Population-Resources-Environment-1649-Pgs-John-holdren.
Ertelt, Steven (2009), “California Man Convicted Killing Both Pregnant Girlfriend and Unborn Child,” http://www.lifenews.com/state4210.html.
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“Florida Baby Delivered at 21 Weeks Won’t Go Home as Planned” (2007), Associated Press, February 20, http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-02-20-tiny-baby_x.htm.
“Gianna Jessen” (2006), http://www.abortionfacts.com/survivors/giannajessen.asp.
Gould, Stephen Jay (2000), “Abscheulich! (Atrocious),” Natural History, 109[2]:42-50, March.
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “The ‘Link’ Between Evolution and Abortion,” Christian Courier, http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/958-the-link-between-evolution-and-abortion.
Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Parts I/II],” Reason & Revelation, March/April, 22:17-23,25-31.
Major, Trevor (1995), “The Value of Early Human Life,” Reason & Revelation, 15[2]:9-15, February, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/259.
McGrew, Jannel (2002), “‘Jane Roe’ Tells Story of Change at Fundraiser,” Prattville Progress, May 1.
Miller, Dave (2004), “Abortion and Exodus 21,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2598.
Miller, J. Maxwell (1972), “In the ‘Image’ and ‘Likeness’ of God,” Journal of Biblical Literature, September, 91:289-304.
Miller, Joshua Rhett (2009), “Ten Years Later, Boy’s ‘Hand of Hope’ Continues to Spark Debate,” Fox News, May 6, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519181,00.html.
Mims, Forrest (2006), “Dealing with Doctor Doom,” The Citizen Scientist, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/index.html.
“Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum” (2008), August 16, http://www.clipsandcomment.com/2008/08/17/full-transcript-saddleback-presidential-forum-sen-barack-obama-john-mccain-moderated-by-rick-warren/.
Simon, Stephanie (2001), “Debate Grows on Whether Fetuses Should Have Special Legal Status,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6A, June 17, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=20010617&id=G8AaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XjAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6739,6695111.
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What Did Jesus Think About the Messiah Being the Son of David? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Did Jesus Think About the Messiah Being the Son of David?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 testify that Jesus was the “Son of David.” In fact, the book of Matthew begins with these words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (1:1, emp. added). The New Testament is also abundantly clear that this Son of David is “the Christ” or “the Messiah.” When the Samaritan woman at the well said to Jesus, “‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He’” (John 4:25-26, emp. added). What’s more, just before Jesus’ crucifixion, when the Jewish high priest asked Him directly, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am.” (Mark 14:61-62, emp. added). Thus, the New Testament clearly affirms that Jesus was both “Christ” and the “Son of David.” [NOTE: The term “Christ” is transliterated from the Greek term Christos, while “Messiah” is transliterated from the Hebrew/Aramaic term Meshiach. Both have as their meaning, “the anointed One.”]
In the September/October 2008 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Hebrew University professor Israel Knohl alleged that Mark 12:35-37 (cf. Matthew 22:41-46 and Luke 20:41-44) “blatantly clashes” with New Testament references of Jesus being “the Son of David” (2008, 34[5]:61). When Jesus asked, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?” (Mark 12:35), Jesus supposedly “rejects the idea that the Messiah is the son of David” (Knohl, p. 61). Knohl claimed:
To demonstrate that the Messiah is not the son of David, Jesus quotes Psalm 110, attributed in the Hebrew Bible to David himself. As the text of Mark (12:36) recites, David speaks in the psalm: “David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared...” Jesus then recites a passage from the psalm: “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet.” Jesus then uses this passage to prove his point: “David himself calls him [the Messiah] ‘Lord,’ so how is he his son?” That is, David speaks of the Messiah as “my Lord,” rather than as “my son.” The Messiah therefore cannot be a son of David. Using Psalm 110 as his proof text, Jesus here refutes the scribes’ view that Christ, the Messiah, should be a son or descendant of David (p. 61, emp. added).
Knohl went on to state that Psalm 110 is “historically reliable,” and Mark 12:35-37 “must be authentic.” The implication is that those Bible passages which designate Jesus as the “Son of David” (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38) are unreliable.
Knohl is correct that Psalm 110 and Mark 12:35-37 are “historically reliable” and “authentic,” but he has failed miserably in his interpretation of Mark 12:35-37 (and parallel passages in Matthew 22:41-46 and Luke 20:41-44). When Jesus asked the Pharisees “how is He [the Messiah] then his [David’s] Son,” if David calls Him “Lord,” He was neither denying His credentials to be the Messiah nor the fact that the Messiah would be a “Son of David.” On the contrary, Jesus was trying to get His hearers to understand that the Messiah, though David’s Son, is greater than David, for King David called Him “my Lord.” It was self-evident to first-century Jews that the Messiah would be a descendant of David (Psalm 89:3-4; 132:11-12; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:1-16; 12:23; 21:9,15; Luke 3:23-38). Jesus was not denying that fact. Rather, He wanted his hearers to reach the same conclusion that Peter previously reached after Jesus asked a similar question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13, NASB). Peter confessed to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). How could the Messiah be a descendant of David as well as be the One to whom David 1,000 years earlier called “Lord”? Answer: He was deity Who put on flesh. This is the truth with which Jesus confronted the Pharisees, and “no one was able to answer Him a word” (Matthew 22:46), because
they believed not in the divinity of Christ. They supposed that he would be only a man.... By propounding the question, Jesus gained two important points: he showed that the promised Christ was to be divine, and he showed that his own claim to be the Son of God was in perfect harmony with his claim to be the Christ. If he is the Christ, then he is David’s Lord (McGarvey, 1875, p. 194).
Jesus, the Son of David, is greater than any man who ever lived, including the greatest king Israel had ever known. He was his “Lord.” Jesus is superior. Interestingly, even the writer of Hebrews referred to Psalm 110:1 as he impressed upon his readers Jesus’ superiority over the angelic realm (1:13).
Knohl’s alleged contradiction, between Jesus’ reference to Psalm 110 in the synoptic gospels and the biblical references of the Messiah being the “Son of David,” is easily resolved when the Bible is “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). Jesus rejected neither His being the “Son of David,” nor “the Messiah.” In truth, He was both.


Knohl, Israel (2008), “The Messiah: Son of Joseph,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 34[5]:58-62, September/October.
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight AR: Gospel Light).