"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Wisdom Regarding Alcohol by Mark Copeland

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        Wisdom Regarding Alcohol


1. A serious problem today involves the consumption of alcohol...
   a. More than thirty percent of Americans at some time in their lives
      has had an alcohol use disorder - Bridget Gant, National Institute
      On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism
   b. Nearly 100,000 people die every year of alcohol-related causes
      - Dr. James C. Garbutt, medical director of the Alcohol and
      Substance Abuse Program (UNC at Chapel Hill)
   c. Alcohol is more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana
      or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems
      - Professor David Nutt, Bristol University
   d. Alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital
      emergency rooms - ibid.

2. The Book of Proverbs warns against the dangers of alcohol...
   a. Whether in the form of wine or strong drink
   b. With the potential of leading one astray - Pr 20:1

[What further wisdom can be gleaned from Proverbs concerning alcohol?
Let's see...]


      1. A warning against those who love wine - Pr 21:17
      2. A warning against spending time with winebibbers and drunkards
         - Pr 23:20-21
      -- Alcohol has been the downfall of many businessmen

      1. It can lead to woe and sorrow, contentions and complaints,
         wounds without cause and redness of eyes - Pr 23:29-30
      2. It is seductive, and can destroy one just like the seductress
         - Pr 23:31-32; 5:3-5; 6:24-26
      3. It can alter your senses, leading you to say things you'll
         later regret (e.g., "office parties") - Pr 23:33
      4. It gives a false sense of security, exposing you to great
         danger (e.g., "driving drunk") - Pr 23:34-35
      -- Alcohol has destroyed many lives, both those who drink and
         innocent ones who cross their paths

      1. Which is why kings and princes were to abstain - Pr 31:4-5
      2. It is better reserved for the dying and devastated - Pr 31:6-7
      -- Alcohol is not for those who would be wise

[Indeed, "Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is
led astray by it is not wise." (Pr 20:1).  Because of such warnings,
and with the serious problems with alcohol in our society, let's review
what is said about...]


      1. Drunkenness
         a. A work of darkness, not an element of the armor of light
            - Ro 13:11-14
         b. Conduct that not repented of will keep one out of the
            kingdom of God - 1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21
         c. Conduct suitable for church discipline - 1Co 5:11-13
      2. Social drinking
         a. We are to dedicate ourselves to doing the will of God, not
            the lusts of men - 1Pe 4:1-2
         b. Thus we are to abstain from drunkenness, revelries, drinking
            parties - 1Pe 4:3
         c. Though we should expect others to think ill of us for
            abstaining - 1Pe 4:4
      -- The popular and common use of alcohol has no place in the life
         of the Christian

      1. Concern for the weaknesses of others - Ro 14:14-18
         a. Are we willing to destroy the one for whom Christ died?
         b. Are we more interested in righteousness, peace, and joy in
            the Holy Spirit?
      2. Willingness to forego wine if a stumbling block to others - Ro14:19-21
         a. Do we know someone who struggles with alcohol abuse and
         b. Do we love them more than any presumed right we may have to
      3. Evidently Timothy had chosen  to forego wine for such reasons
         - cf. 1Ti 5:23
         a. Paul prescribed that Timothy drink wine for medicinal
         b. Wine was often used to purify water, yet for some reason
            Timothy had abstained
      -- The Christian must prayerfully consider the role of influence
         regarding alcohol


1. What is wisdom regarding the consumption of alcohol...?
   a. In view of the warnings found in Proverbs?
      1) It can lead to poverty
      2) It can destroy lives
      3) It impairs judgment
   b. In view of the teachings found in the New Testament?
      1) Prohibitions concerning drunkenness
      2) Concerns regarding influence on weaker brethren

2. What is wisdom in light of the problems of alcohol abuse in our
   society today...?
   a. Shall we flirt with the seducing effects of alcohol?
      1) Alcohol can be tempting and easily ensnare the unsuspecting
      2) If one in three have succumbed, might not we?
   b. Shall we be insensitive to the weaknesses that many have regarding
      1) Alcohol is the number one drug problem we face today
      2) If one in three have problems with it, dare we become stumbling
         blocks to them?

It shouldn't take the wisdom of Solomon to see that Christians should
take the dangers of alcohol seriously and be proactive in helping
themselves and others to remain free from its clutches...!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Wisdom Regarding Speech by Mark Copeland

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        Wisdom Regarding Speech


1. Christians are to give careful heed to their speech...
   a. Avoiding corrupt words, speaking that which edifies - Ep 4:29
   b. Abstaining from filthy talk, giving thanks instead - Ep 5:4

2. The book of Proverbs has much to say about speech...
   a. The power of speech
   b. Both to tear down and to build up - Pr 11:9,11

[What wisdom can be gleaned from Proverbs concerning our speech or
language?  First, there is the...]


   A. LYING...
      1. Which is an abomination to God - Pr 12:22; 6:17-19
         a. Lying lips, a lying tongue
         b. Bearing false witness
      2. Often fostered by hatred - Pr 10:18; 26:24-28
         a. In efforts to hide hatred
         b. Trying to disguise one's true feelings
      3. Which will prove to be short-lived - Pr 12:19; 20:17; 21:6
         a. Just for a moment
         b. Sweet at first, but only a fleeting fantasy
      -- Lying will eventually destroy the liar, and often the one lied

      1. Not sincere compliments, but deceitful praise to win another's
         favor and to manipulate
      2. Also a source of ruin - Pr 26:28; 29:5
         a. Often crushing others
         b. By entrapping those who are flattered
      3. Often used effectively by the adulteress - Pr 6:24; 7:21
         a. A truly evil woman
         b. Who uses enticing speech to seduce
      -- Like lying, flattery can destroy both the user and subject of

   C. GOSSIP...
      1. Also known as the tale-bearer, slanderer, whisperer - Pr 11:13
         a. Who reveals secrets
         b. Unlike a faithful person
      2. Betrays and destroys friendships - Pr 17:9
         a. By repeating a matter
         b. When one who truly loves will remain silent
      3. Creates strife - Pr 16:27-28; 26:20-22
         a. Revealing the perverse character of the gossip
         b. Whose words are like wood to a fire
      4. Destroys character and integrity - Pr 11:9; 25:9-10
         a. The work of a true hypocrite
         b. Whose own reputation will eventually be ruined
      -- Whether true or not is incidental; gossip destroys both the
         user and the subject

   D. CURSING...
      1. Especially one's parents - Pr 20:20; cf. Exo 21:17; Lev 20:9
         a. Such a person's lamp would soon be put out in deep darkness
         b. Under the Law of Moses, it was a capital offense
      2. But also another's associate - Pr 30:10
         a. Even maligning a lowly servant can be disastrous
         b. The master (or servant) may turn on you
      -- Speaking evil of others harms one's self as much as those
         spoken against

[As James tells us in his epistle, there is great danger in misuse of
the tongue (Jm 3:2-12).  But there can also be much good done through
proper speech (Pr 15:4)...]


      1. Words of the righteous - Pr 10:11,20-21
         a. A well of life
         b. As choice silver
         c. That feeds many
      2. Pleasant words - Pr 16:24
         a. Like a honeycomb
         b. Sweetness to the soul, health to the bones
      3. Comforting words - Pr 12:25
         a. Addressed to the anxious and depressed
         b. Making their hearts glad
      -- Such speech reveals the good heart of the speaker

      1. Well-timed words - Pr 15:23; 25:11
         a. Spoken in due season, how joyful and good it is!
         b. Like apples of gold in settings of silver
      2. Well-thought words - Pr 15:28
         a. Studied carefully by a righteous person
         b. On how best to answer
      -- Such speech reveals the wisdom of the speaker

      1. That benefits the one who speaks - Pr 13:2-3; 15:1-2; 21:23
         a. Preserving the life of the one who guards his mouth
         b. Defusing potentially violate situations
         c. Keeping one's soul from trouble
      2. That reveals true knowledge and understanding - Pr 10:19; 17:
         a. By sparing words, with a calm spirit
         b. Which even a fool can benefit from
      -- Such speech will enhance the reputation of the speaker


1. From Proverbs we learn the value of being careful of our speech...
   a. Avoiding much harm to ourselves and to others
   b. Doing much good to ourselves and to others

2. Which may help us appreciate why Paul was so concerned that
   a. Let their speech always be with grace - Col 4:6
   b. Let no unwholesome word come out of their mouths, only good words
      - Ep 4:29

Do we truly appreciate the importance and wisdom of the right kind of

The Quran and the Trinity by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Quran and the Trinity

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

When reading the Quran, one is surprised time and time again with the fact that the Allah of the Quran conducts himself quite differently from the God of the Bible. Of course, “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God,” like its equivalent Old Testament Hebrew term elohima general term for deity that was used by the Jews to refer both to the one true God, as well as to the false deities of their pagan neighbors (e.g., Genesis 35:2; Deuteronomy 29:18; Daniel 3:25). So the term “God” in whatever language (English, Arabic, or Hebrew) is a generic term to refer to deity. Muslims claim that the Allah they worship is the same God that Abraham and the Jews worshipped. Nevertheless, it is possible for one to pay lip service to following the God of the Bible, and yet so recast Him that He ceases to be the same Being about which one reads on the pages of the Bible. The meaning and identity that each culture or religion attaches to the word may differ radically.
Many current Christian authors do this very thing when they claim to be writing about the Jesus of the New Testament. They misrepresent Jesus, recasting and refashioning the Jesus of the Bible into essentially a different Being than the One depicted on the pages of the New Testament—one who is unconcerned about obedience, and whose grace forgives just about everybody unconditionally (e.g., Lucado, 1996). But that is not the Jesus of the New Testament. They have so misrepresented the person, nature, and conduct of Jesus that for all practical purposes, their writings depict a different Jesus.
In like fashion, the Quran has Allah saying and doing things that the God of the Bible simply would not say or do. Actions and attitudes are attributed to Allah that stand in stark contradistinction to the character of the God of the Bible. Though Allah is claimed by Muslims to be the same God as the God of the Old Testament, the Quran’s depiction of deity is nevertheless sufficiently redefined as to make Allah distinct from the God of the Bible. This stark contrast is particularly evident in the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
The Bible depicts deity as singular, i.e., there is one and only one divine essence or Being (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19). However, the Bible also clearly depicts God as a triune Being—three distinct persons within the one essence—with a triune nature. For example, during the Creation week, God stated: “Let us...” (Genesis 1:26, emp. added). Both the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) and Christ (John 1:1-3) were present and active at the Creation with God the Father. The New Testament alludes to the “Godhead” (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9). At the baptism of Jesus while He was in human form, the Father spoke audibly from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17). All three are sometimes noted together (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Each person of the Godhead is fully God, fully deity, fully divine. Jesus is repeatedly referred to as God (Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1-3,14; 8:58; 20:28; Micah 5:2). The Holy Spirit is also divine (John 14:26; 15:26; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 9:14).
In contrast to the biblical portrait, the Quran goes out of its way to denounce the notion of Trinity:
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three”—Cease! (it is) better for you!—Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendant majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him (Surah 4:171-172, emp. added).
They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden Paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil‑doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Surah 5:72-74, emp. added).
The Christian is surely startled to read such forthright denunciations on those who believe in the Godhead as depicted in the Bible. The Quran declares in unmistakable terms that those who do believe in the Trinity will be excluded from paradise, and will experience a “painful doom” by burning in the fire of hell.
Regarding the third person of the Godhead, Muslims insist that the Quran knows nothing of the Holy Spirit—all seeming references simply being, in the words of Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall, “a term for the angel of Revelation, Gabriel (on whom be peace)” (Pickthall, p. 40). Thus the Quran denies the person of the Holy Spirit, acknowledges the existence of Jesus while denying His divinity, and insists that the person of Allah is singular in nature. The Quran and the Bible are in dire contradiction with each other on the doctrine of the Trinity.


Lucado, Max (1996), In the Grip of Grace (Dallas, TX: Word).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).

Did the Hebrew Writers Borrow from Ancient Near Eastern Mythology? by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


Did the Hebrew Writers Borrow from Ancient Near Eastern Mythology?

by  Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

For centuries, the bulk of the people in the West regarded the Bible as the Word of God. They saw it as the inerrant and inspired revelation of God to His creation. Beginning in the mid-1800s, some academicians began rejecting the inspiration of the Bible. This came, in part, after the discovery of ancient mythological texts. Upon examining the textual evidence, skeptics highlighted the Bible’s similarities with other literature and claimed it to be only one sacred book among a larger body of myth. After studying the Bible’s differences from ancient mythology, other scholars viewed these discoveries as confirmations of the Bible’s uniqueness.
Perhaps the most dominant viewpoint in biblical studies concerning the biblical text is that the Bible contains significant amounts of mythology borrowed from Israel’s neighbors (although we should quickly add that truth is not determined by majority opinion). This presumption has dominated biblical studies for nearly two centuries. But as additional texts have surfaced, more cautious scholars have backed away from this viewpoint. Indeed, myth was once seen as pure fiction, but now scholars are beginning to realize that this may not necessarily be the case. The belief that myth may contain small nuggets of historical truth is gaining popularity, even if we recognize that tales of the gods were nothing more than the work of inventive scribes. So where does this leave the Bible? The question we must ask is this: is the Bible pure myth, or is it something else?
We must first determine what we mean by “myth.” It is a notoriously difficult term to define, and scholars use it with a variety of nuances (see Kreeft and Tacelli, 1994, pp. 212-213). Some define it as any story including the supernatural. Most separate myth from legend, with the former being stories about the gods, and the latter being stories—with varying degrees of historical truth—about human beings. In modern parlance, some use it to refer to fiction, especially the body of stories about a particular character (e.g., the mythology of Superman or Captain America). But if we look at the term as it bears on the sacred texts of the religions in the ancient Near East, it has a clearly defined usage.
In his book The Bible Among the Myths, Old Testament scholar John Oswalt notes the radical differences between mythological texts and the Hebrew Bible (2009). The Bible and ancient myth came from two fundamentally different worldviews. Although he identifies nearly a dozen different points, we will examine four in particular.


In the Bible, God’s moral character is    identified with holiness and righteousness. To be more accurate, it is His character that defines holiness. His attributes set the standards for behavior. They are ethically and morally pure and upright. Furthermore, since He is perfect and cannot fundamentally change (Malachi 3:6), He can become neither any better nor any worse. His goodness is celebrated throughout the Bible (Psalm 16:2; 31:19; 107:1). He cannot be tempted or tempt another (James 1:17), or look upon evil with any measure of approval (Habakkuk 1:13). Individuals mirror God’s holiness, in part through ethical living (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16).
The gods of the ancient Near East often commit evil acts and frequently give themselves over to debauchery. In Egyptian myth, the chaotic god Seth murders his brother Osiris and dismembers the body. In an Egyptian myth titled “The Contendings of Horus and Seth,” Seth attempts to rape his nephew Horus during a contest over who will take Osiris’ place (Lichtheim, 2006, 2:219). Rape is a common theme in the Greek myths, where women and even goddesses are violated with a frequency that would shock many modern readers. In the Atrahasis Epic, the gods are outraged because humanity is keeping them awake at night. They attempt to silence humanity through various means, including disease and famine, and finally send a flood to destroy humanity for the sake of a good night’s sleep (see Foster, 1997). The gods are not above getting drunk, either. In one Ugaritic text, called “The Myth of El’s Banquet,” the Canaanite god El (or Ilu) becomes inebriated, and on his way home meets an unidentified animal which causes him to soil himself and fall down into his own excrement (see Pardee, 1997). Such inglorious stories are nowhere to be found in the Bible about God. The God of the Bible can in no way be compared to deities of human invention.


The biblical account of mankind’s creation is the most complete and noble of any in ancient Near Eastern literature. Other accounts of man’s creation must be pieced together from various fragments (as in Egypt), or else depict man as little more than an afterthought (as in Mesopotamia). Regardless of the specific tradition, the requirements are clear: man is created to serve the gods, to perform services for them, and, should they fail, incur divine wrath. As Walton observes:
while Israelites viewed man as created to rule, Mesopotamians viewed him as created to serve…. The fact that the Israelites viewed man as the centerpiece of creation afforded him a certain dignity, undergirded by the fact that he was created in the image of God. In contrast, Mesopotamians did not see man as created with dignity. Human beings achieved their dignity by the function they served (1989, p. 29).
He adds that humanity was originally created “in a barbarous state,” with humanity being “an unplanned afterthought, created for the sake of convenience” (p. 30).
The biblical account of Creation is vastly different from its Near Eastern counterparts. Man is the apex of creation. He has dignity because of who he is, not what he does. He is created as a kind of governor or viceroy charged with stewarding God’s creation (Genesis 1:28). Furthermore, this creation was prepared with man in mind (cf. Genesis 1:29-30), for his use and enjoyment. Although he is also created to worship his Creator, it is not a wearisome task. The New Testament further reveals that worship is also meant for the benefit of fellow believers (Acts 2:46-47; Ephesians 5:19), in addition to giving honor to God.


What the gods required of humanity in other cultures could not be known with any accuracy. The most a person could do was to infer the will of the gods based on their circumstances. If all was well and life was going smoothly, then it was apparent that the person was indeed doing the gods’ will. Should they suffer misfortune or tragedy, it must have meant that the person had offended the gods. It became their task to determine which god they might have offended through omens and offer the appropriate sacrifices. This was no easy task, and could be viewed as something of a guessing game. In contrast, God clearly outlined what He expected of mankind with precision through His spokesmen. His will is revealed clearly as a matter of public record, made known through readings to the people (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). The people were warned before punishment, rebuked afterwards, and told specifically what needed to be done to please God.


The biblical authors had a worldview by which history was viewed as linear. The past, present, and future all had great importance. Specifically, the past served as a reminder, which God makes clear is important enough to signify with memorials, such as piles of stones (e.g., Joshua 4:19-24), or the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-39). The future is also important in the biblical worldview, as we see in the prophet Joel’s concern about the coming Day of the Lord (Joel 2:1-11), or Christ’s teaching about His impending return (Matthew 24:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The biblical writers considered all phases of time to be important.
There was virtually no understanding of history in the modern sense among the cultures of the ancient Near East. The Near Eastern view of history was cyclical and assigned little importance to the past or to the future. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (circa 484-425 B.C.) is called the “father of history” for good reason—prior to his time there was little or no recording or analysis of the past for its own sake. Historiography, as we know it, did not exist (an exception may be seen in the Babylonian chronicles, which record the history of Babylon from the eighth century through the third century B.C.). The past had very little importance outside its use as propaganda by monarchs interested in glorifying themselves (see Oswalt, 2009, pp. 111-137).


Mythology is much more than exciting stories filled with fantastic monsters, magic, and imaginative details. It is a way of thinking—a worldview. Careful comparison of the biblical text with myth makes it clear that the Bible and ancient Near Eastern mythology are not merely different from one another—they are radically so. Even a cursory reading is enough to give most people a feeling that the Bible and myth are quite different, even if they immediately may not be able to put their finger on why. Thanks to the discovery and study of ancient texts, the differences are easy to detect. The Bible, unlike Near Eastern mythology, has an air of dispassionate objectivity that puts it in a category by itself. The Bible and ancient mythology are so different from one another that any allegations of wholesale borrowing on the part of the biblical authors must be rejected by those who handle the ancient evidence with care.


Foster, Benjamin R., trans. (1997), “Atra-Hasis” in The Context of Scripture, Vol. 1: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World, ed. William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger (Leiden: Brill).
Kreeft, Peter and Ronald Tacelli (1994), The Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press).
Lichtheim, Miriam (2006), Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume 2: The New Kingdom (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).
Oswalt, John N. (2009), The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Pardee, Dennis, trans. (1997), “Ilu on a Toot” in The Context of Scripture, Vol. 1: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World, ed. William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger (Leiden: Brill).
Walton, John H. (1989), Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Cell Nuclei: Anything but Random by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Cell Nuclei: Anything but Random

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

At the heart of biological evolutionary theory is randomness. Evolutionists claim that the human body is the result of random mutations prompted by natural selection. According to the University of California at Berkeley, “The mechanisms of evolution—like natural selection and genetic drift—work with the random variation generated by mutation” (“Mutations...,” n.d.).
However essential a pillar of evolution the random may be, it is antithetical to what we actually observe in nature, even in the basic unit of all living matter—the cell (Aw, 1982, p. 127). New research suggests that the nucleus of a mammal cell is made up of component parts arranged in a pattern which can be predicted statistically (“Scientists Prove...,” 2006). Systems biologists worked with mathematicians to identify, for the first time, “spatial relationships” governing the distribution of an important control protein in the nucleus, in relation to other components within the nuclei of mammal cells (“Scientists Prove...,” 2006).
The study, published in PLoS Computational Biology, reports that, “[i]t is becoming increasingly clear that nuclear macromolecules and macromolecular complexes are compartmentalized through binding interaction into an apparent three-dimensionally ordered structure” (McManus, et al., 2006). The widespread protein CBP acts on certain genes within the cell nucleus, causing them to make specific proteins at different times throughout the life of the cell (“Scientists Prove...”). The scientists developed a probability map for the nucleus and determined that CBP pockets are more likely to be located closest to the gene regions with which they are known to modify (“Scientists Prove...”).
Also, scientists at Purdue University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a technique that automatically locates and maps proteins involved in regulated cell behavior (“New Cell Imaging...,” 2006, p. 46). This allows the cancer researcher, for example, to verify the distinction between multiplying cells that are harmless and those that are malignant (4:46).
Perhaps these new advances constitute substantial progress in scientific examination of cellular life, but they certainly are not the first observations of incredibly sophisticated organization in the cell. Indeed, to observe cells at all is to observe strict organization in the human body itself, for the body is composed in a hierarchy of organs, tissues, and cells. And while it may be very useful to try to put things such as DNA and proteins in the perspective of a cell, “the amazing beauty and complexity of a cell is not always easy to grasp because of the very small sizes involved.... Cells have typical radius [sic] of 10 to 30 microns” (one micron equals a millionth of a meter; Baldi, 2001, p., 22).
Cellular divisions of organic matter were identified and given the name “cells” as long ago as 1663 by the English scientist Robert Hooke (Pfeiffer, 1964, p. 9). Although some 17th-century scientists realized how ridiculous it would be to suggest that something as obviously structured as a human body was composed of randomly assembled components, they did not understand fully the complexity of the cell. Ernst Haeckel, the famed proponent of embryonic recapitulation, contended even in 1877: “the cell consists of matter called protoplasm, composed chiefly of carbon, with an admixture of hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur. These component parts, properly united, produce the soul and body of the animated world, and suitably nursed become man” (as quoted in Eiseley, 1961, p. 346).
By the mid-20th century, technology had opened the eyes of scientists to a deepened examination of the cell’s inner workings:
The microscopic blob of jelly called the cell is a remarkable entity. The most remarkable thing about it is the very fact that it is alive—not with a murky primordial glow, but as fully and vibrantly alive as a tiger or an oak tree. In a remarkable miniaturization of life’s functions, the cell moves, grows, reacts, protects itself and even reproduces. To sustain this varied existence, it utilizes a tightly organized system of parts that is much like a tiny industrial complex. It has a central control point, power plants, internal communications, construction and manufacturing elements (Pfeiffer, 1964, p. 16).
Reports of cellular organization do not surprise creationists, who understand that each cell is built according to fundamental design principles. Considering that even the most minute cell is capable of the five activities of life (metabolism, growth, reproduction, responsiveness, and autonomous movement), it only makes sense that the “brain” of the cell—the nucleus—is organized in a recognizable pattern.
In their cytology textbook, Cell Biology, Roberts, Nowinski, and Saez wrote: “[I]t has been demonstrated that beyond the organization visible with the light microscope are a number of more elementary structures at the macromolecular level that constitute the ‘ultrastructure’ of the cell. We find ourselves in the era of molecular biology...” (1970, p. 3). That was 1970, a few years after the advent of the electron microscope, which made it possible to study intracellular structures and their interrelationship. Scientists consistently have found that different parts of the cell relate to each other. Baldi wrote that the cell structure could be illustrated by a football stadium:
In the stadium, proteins come in many shapes and sizes, but typically have the dimensions of a tennis ball.... [P]roteins are extremely busy in the stadium as they continually bind and interact with each other.... Somehow proteins must find their way to the region of their activity: the football field (nucleus), the rest of the stadium (cytoplasm), the wall around the stadium (membrane), or even the external world in the case of secreted proteins. They are what keeps the stadium functioning, by generating energy, removing waste, exchanging food and other signals with the external world, producing other tennis balls, fighting enemies, and so on.... From time to time, proteins take care of the very complex events by which an entire stadium is precisely duplicated into two stadiums... (2001, pp. 23-24).
Evolutionists believe that the first living cell appeared 3.5 billion years ago and gradually increased in sophistication and organization (Baldi, 2001, p. 25). How and why did it appear? Is it reasonable to assume that the original nucleus, in all its complexity and organization, simply came together for no apparent reason, and then summoned the remaining cellular parts to join in the fight for existence? Is the origin of the cell explicable on strictly natural bases?
Such is illogical for several reasons, not the least of which is the existence of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and its vital role in the nucleus and in the life of the cell. The DNA is a supermodule that carries the coded information for the replication of the cell. It stores coded information in a chemical format and then uses a biologic agent (RNA) to decode and activate it. As Darrel Kautz has stated: “Human technology has not yet advanced to the point of storing information chemically as it is in the DNA module” (1988, p. 45, emp. in orig.; see also Jackson, 1993, pp. 11-12). The DNA regulates life and directs its synthesis (see Thompson, 2003, pp. 78-86).
The DNA, all within the nucleus, stores a tremendous amount of information. If transcribed into English, the DNA in the human genome would fill a 300-volume set of encyclopedias of approximately 2,000 pages each (Baldi, 2001, p. 21). As Jackson concluded, “a programmed message is not self-explanatory in terms of its origin. One must assume that someone wrote the initial program. A program does not write itself! Similarly, it is obvious that someone has programmed the data in the DNA” (1993, p. 11). The cell, with its complex nucleus, could not have developed accidentally.
Furthermore, consider cellular reproduction and the important role of DNA in the process. In mitosis, cell division is “a mathematically precise doubling of the chromosomes and their genes. The two chromosome sets so produced then become separated and become part of two newly formed nuclei” so that “the net result of cell division is the formation of two cells that match each other and the parent cell precisely in their gene contents and that contain approximately equal amounts and types of all other components” (Weisz and Keogh, 1977, pp. 322,325).
We demonstrated that the cell could not have developed accidentally. For the sake of argument, however, suppose that a single cell did “appear.” What then? Evolutionists are burdened to explain how and why the first living cell, 3.5 billion years ago, would have perceived a need to divide itself and reproduce. Evolution quickly becomes a logistical conundrum.


For purposes of research and experimentation, scientists depend on regular patterns at the cellular level. Such is possible only because cells exhibit precise organization. To believe evolution is to believe that the random gave rise to the organized by accident. Such a position is increasingly recognized as irrational in the presence of cellular organization. Sir Fred Hoyle, a prominent British scientist, has argued that the chance of higher life-forms emerging accidentally is comparable to the chance that a Boeing 747 jet could be assembled by a tornado sweeping through a junkyard (1981, 294:105). Thankfully, we have a more sensible explanation: “It is He Who has made us” (Psalm 100:3). God designed the eukaryotic human cell and its nucleus!


Aw, S.E. (1982), Chemical Evolution: An Examination of Current Ideas (San Diego, CA: Master).
Baldi, Pierre (2001), The Shattered Self (Cambridge, MA: MIT).
Eiseley, Loren C. (1961), Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men Who Discovered It (Garden City, NY: Anchor).
Hoyle, Fred (1981), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105, November 12.
Jackson, Wayne (1993), The Human Body—Accident or Design? (Stockton, CA: Courier).
Kautz, Darrel (1988), The Origin of Living Things (Milwaukee, WI: Darrel Kautz).
McManus, Kirk J., et al. “The Transcriptional Regulator CBP Has Defined Spatial Associations with Interphase Nuclei” (2006), PLoS Computational Biology, [On-line], URL: http://compbiol.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/ journal.pcbi.0020139.
“Mutations are Random” (no date), University of California at Berkeley, [On-line], URL: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIC1aRandom.shtml.
“New Cell Imaging Method Identifies Aggressive Cancer Cells Early” (2006), Bioscience Technology, 4:46-47, April.
Pfeiffer, John (1964), The Cell (New York: Time).
Roberts, E.D.P., Wiktor W. Nowinski, and Francisco A. Saez (1970), Cell Biology (Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders).
“Scientists Prove that Parts of Cell Nuclei are Not Arranged at Random” (2006), Imperial College London, [On-line], URL: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/ news_20-10-2006-8-43-24.
Thompson, Bert (2003), The Case for the Existence of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Weisz, Paul B. and Richard N. Keogh (1977), Elements of Biology (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Choose the God of Your Choice? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Choose the God of Your Choice?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Christian religion has fallen prey to the pluralistic, multi-cultural mindset of American culture. Religion is now fashioned according to the prevailing mentality that citizens have a right to make their own choices and “do their own thing.” “That’s the American way!” After all, “I have my rights!” “My view is just as good as the other guy’s.” Unfortunately, such self-centered arrogance does not prepare one for humble submission to God (James 4:10). It only encourages compliance with self-stylized religion, i.e., religion that is structured according to one’s own desires. Paul referred to this approach as “self-imposed” or “will worship,” i.e., worshipping according to one’s own will (Colossians 2:23).
Religious conditions in the first century were such that most people believed in a multiplicity of gods (e.g., Acts 17:16). But, in reality, there was only one God (Ephesians 4:6). The fact that men fabricated elaborate trappings like images, temples, etc., and took their religion seriously, did not alter the fact that they were involved in vain worship and false religion (cf. Matthew 15:9; 2 Peter 2:1). Telling them that there was only one God, or that one god was not just as good as another, would not have been a popular teaching. In fact, the doctrine of “one God” was perceived as a genuine threat to the polytheism of the day, and as a serious challenge to the Empire’s religious health. Polytheism had so permeated first-century society that acceptance of the doctrine of “one God” was virtually inconceivable for most people.
History repeats itself many times over. Our day is really no different from those first-century environmental factors. While Americans historically have rejected the notion of “many gods” (although even this foundational truth is changing), the concept of “many churches” has been embraced fully. The prevailing attitude is “attend the church of your choice,” and “one church is as good as another.” But the concept of multiple churches is as foreign to the New Testament as is the idea of multiple gods. The exact same passage that affirms only one God (Ephesians 4:6), affirms only one church (Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23). Either out of ignorance, discontent, or pride, men have taken it upon themselves to fabricate their own churches, stylizing doctrine, organization, worship, and name according to their own desires. Some never seem to realize that Jesus did not leave anyone free to fashion his or her own church (Matthew 15:9; 16:18). All false doctrines, false teachers, and false churches will be rejected (Matthew 15:13).
Let us not encourage people to “join the church of your choice.” Rather, let us urge them to respond obediently to the Gospel of Christ—through faith, repentance, and water baptism (Acts 2:38)—so that they may be “added” (Acts 2:47) to the church of Christ’s choice (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:23).

Resurrected “Savior-Gods” and the Prophets of Old by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Resurrected “Savior-Gods” and the Prophets of Old

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Periodically, critics of Jesus question why there are so many stories of “savior-gods” (outside of Judaism and Christianity) that sound somewhat similar to the story of Jesus. Why would various civilizations (e.g., Egyptians, Greeks, etc.) that existed centuries before the time of Christ have “legends” about god-like characters who worked miracles, conquered death, and were revered by their followers? What logical answer can be given as to why stories similar in some ways to the Gospel story existed hundreds or thousands of years before Jesus?
Although several reasonable answers have already been given to the above questions in past articles (e.g., Butt and Thompson, 2001a and 2001b), another logical explanation for the presence of these stories revolves around the prophets of old. When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and lawyers for their hypocrisy, He mentioned their unrighteous ancestors and made the following statement:
Therefore the wisdom of God also said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,” that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation (Luke 11:49-51, emp. added).
According to Jesus, God used prophets as far back as “the foundation of the world,” specifically from the time of Abel, Adam’s second son recorded in Scripture. The apostle Peter made a similar statement while preaching to thousands of Jews in Solomon’s Portico.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21, emp. added).
“Since the world began,” God has revealed messages to mankind via His prophets. Sometimes these messages were regarding the coming physical destruction upon a particular nation (e.g., Jonah 3:1-10; Nahum 1-3). At other times, they were about one particular person or tribe of people (e.g., Genesis 40; 49). But no prophecies were more important (nor more prevalent in Scripture) than those concerning Christ. And, God’s spokesmen have been foretelling His Coming specifically since the earliest of times. Luke recorded how, after the birth of John the Baptizer, his father, Zacharias, “was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,”
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began (Luke 1:67-70, emp. added).
God’s prophets have not foretold the coming of a great Redeemer only since the Mosaic period, nor were prophecies concerning the Savior of the world limited to the Jewish people. Zacharias rejoiced that God was sending the Redeemer and Savior of Whom the prophets had spoken “since the world began.” Admittedly, most all of the Messianic prophecies recorded in Scripture appear after God revealed to Abraham that through his seed “all the nations of the world shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18; 12:1-3; 49:10; etc.). Yet, one recorded messianic prophecy goes back centuries before Abraham—all the way to Adam and Eve’s tenure in the Garden of Eden. There God informed the serpent following his deception of Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). In this very first messianic prophecy, a suffering, but victorious, Redeemer is pictured.
Thousands of years later, hundreds of similar prophecies about the Christ were given to the Israelites. It is logical to conclude, however, that similar messianic prophecies would have been delivered by other prophets outside of Judaism. The patriarch Enoch, just seven generations from Adam, “walked with God three hundred years” and “prophesied” (Genesis 5:22; Jude 14). His great-great-grandson Noah, whom the apostle Peter described as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), very likely knew of the Messianic prophecies during patriarchal times, and may very well have received direct revelation from God on the matter (similar to how God spoke to him regarding the Flood—Genesis 6:13-21). Centuries later, non-Jewish, God-fearing men such as Melchizedek, king of Salem, “the priest of the Most High God” (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1), Job, and others worshipped and served the one true God.
We have no way of knowing how many of God’s spokesmen through the centuries have prophesied about the coming of a Savior. We do know, however, that some prophecies about Christ are virtually as old as the world itself, and the Bible nowhere pretends to contain every Messianic prophecy ever spoken.
One may reasonably conclude that a chief reason nations outside of Israel possessed stories of savior-gods who share many commonalities with Jesus is because they had heard either inspired prophets foretell the Redeemer’s coming, or the prophecies made “from the foundation of the world” had been passed down to them by word of mouth. Interestingly, some of the first people on Earth to recognize the arrival of the Messiah were men the Bible calls—not Jews—but “wise men (magi, NASB) from the East” (Matthew 2:1). From where did these men receive such knowledge? How did they know that a particular “star in the East” (Matthew 2:2) would indicate the Messiah’s entrance into the world? The fact is, they received Divine direction (cf. Matthew 2:1-12).
Truly, God’s scheme of redemption through a “hero” that would save the world from sin and death has been revealed since the fall of man. Simply because civilizations from the past (outside of Judaism and Christianity) possessed similar “redemption” stories and/or knowledge of a Redeemer should not be troubling or surprising. They likely were based (at least partly) on messages preached by the prophets of old.


Butt, Kyle and Bert Thompson (2001a), “Jesus Christ—Unique Savior or Average Fraud? [Part 1],” Reason and Revelation, 21[2]:9-15, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/156.
Butt, Kyle and Bert Thompson (2001b), “Jesus Christ—Unique Savior or Average Fraud? [Part 2],” Reason and Revelation, 21[3]:17-24, March, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/475.

Abraham’s Camels by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


Abraham’s Camels

by  Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

A fairly common charge against the Bible is that the Patriarchal narratives contain a number of anachronistic details, the domestication of camels being one of them. Based on the findings of two archaeologists at Tel Aviv University, Israel (Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef, 2013), a flurry of recent articles have claimed that camels mentioned in the patriarchal narratives constitute an anachronism, and that domesticated camels did not appear in ancient Israel until around the 10th century B.C. It should be quickly pointed out, however, that the archaeologists do not state explicitly their discovery contradicts the Bible. The popular media, however, has done quite a job—perhaps predictably so—in sensationalizing the issue.
The views of camel domestication in the ancient Near East range from the early third millennium B.C. to the ninth century B.C. Those skeptical of the historicity of the biblical narratives generally believe that camels were domesticated far too late to have made an appearance during the time of the patriarchs. Egyptologist Donald Redford states: “[C]amels do not appear in the Near East as domesticated beasts of burden until the ninth century B.C.” (1992, p. 277). Archaeologists Israel Finklestein and Neil Asher Silberman state: “We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticates as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 B.C.E.” (2001, p. 37). Even W.F. Albright, who was a staunch defender of the Bible, stated, “the domestication of the camel cannot antedate the end of the 12th century B.C.” (1951, p. 207).
The later use of camels is well attested. The Assyrian monarch Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C.) mentions kings of Arabia giving him camels to carry water for a military incursion into Egypt in 671 B.C. Likewise, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (c. 825 B.C.)—which depicts Jehu of Israel giving tribute to the Assyrians—indicates that the Assyrians received “two-humped camels” from Egypt. Furthermore, scholars have long known that merchants preferred camels to donkeys for traversing arid regions in the first millennium. The question is whether any evidence of the domesticated camel exists to support their appearance in the book of Genesis.


Evidence shows that camels were known as early as the 4th millennium B.C., and domesticated before the beginning of the second. Biblical scholar Joseph Free surveyed the available evidence and concluded that the camel was well known in Egypt from earliest times, as early as the Fourth Dynasty (Free, 1944). Michael Ripinsky notes that excavations carried out over a century ago established the presence of camels in Egypt dating back at least to the First Dynasty (3100-2850 B.C.) with additional evidence indicating they were known in Pre-Dynastic times (prior to 3100 B.C.) (1985, 71:136-137). Although the domestication of the camel may have come much later, it nevertheless preceded the age of the patriarchs.
Ancient texts mention the camel in passing, but do so in ways that indicate they had been domesticated early in Mesopotamian history. A lexical text found at Nippur known as HAR.ra-bullum, alludes to camel milk (Archer, 1970, 127[505]:17). To risk stating the obvious, one does not simply milk a wild animal. Another text from the ancient city of Ugarit mentions the camel “in a list of domesticated animals during the Old Babylonian period (1950-1600)”, suggesting that it, too, was domesticated (Davis, 1986, p. 145). A fodder-list from Alalakh (18th century B.C.) includes the line 1 SA.GAL ANSE.GAM.MAL (269:59), translated as “one (measure of) fodder—camel” (Wiseman, 1959, 13:29; translation in Hamilton 1990, p. 384). Animals in the wild do not need feeding; they forage for themselves.
A cylinder seal from Syria (c. 1800 B.C.) depicts two short figures riding a camel. Gordon and Rendsburg state, “The mention of camels here [in Genesis 24] and elsewhere in the patriarchal narratives often is considered anachronistic. However, the correctness of the Bible is supported by the representation of camel riding on seal cylinders of precisely this period from northern Mesopotamia (1997, p. 121). While the riders on the seal seem to be deities, it nevertheless demonstrates the concept of camel riding (for illustration and discussion, see Gordon, 1939, 6[1]:21; Collon, 2000, Fig. 8).
Numerous discoveries of figurines depicting domesticated camels have been found from a wide range of locations in the ancient world. From the territory of Bactria-Margiana near present-day northern Afghanistan (late 3rd to early 2nd millennium) comes a copper alloy figurine of a camel equipped with a harness, now housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Terracotta models of camel-drawn carts (dating as early as c. 2200 B.C.) have been discovered at the city of Altyn-Depe in present-day Turkmenistan (Kirtcho, 2009, 37[1]:25-33). A bronze figurine of a kneeling camel found in Byblos (19th-18th century B.C) is incomplete, with the hump (and its load) missing. However, the figurine has a slot in its back where the hump could be attached separately. Early in the 20th century, excavations conducted by the British School of Archaeology at Rifeh, Egypt explored a tomb and discovered a pottery figurine of a camel bearing a load of two water jars. Based on the pottery in the tomb, William Flinders Petrie dated it to the Nineteenth Dynasty (c. 1292-1187 B.C.) (Ripinsky, 1985, 71:139-140).
A rock inscription in hieratic (a type of Egyptian script) found near Aswan has an accompanying petroglyph of a man leading a dromedary camel. It is thought to date to the Sixth Dynasty (c. 2345-c. 2181 B.C.; Ripinsky, p. 139). If interpreted correctly, this petroglyph gives evidence of the domestication of the camel in Egypt roughly 2300-2200 B.C., centuries before the patriarchs ever visited. Additional petroglyphs in the Wadi Nasib, Sinai include a depiction of a man leading a dromedary. One author tentatively dates these petroglyphs to 1500 B.C. based on the presence of nearby inscriptions whose dates are known (Younker, 1997).
Finally, a curious piece of evidence comes from the ancient city of Mari. A camel burial (c. 2400-2200 B.C.) was discovered within a house. Ancient people often buried their animals, and this could hardly be explained away as a wild camel wandering into a home and subsequently buried by the occupants.


In the final analysis, we can say that the evidence for the domestication of the camel in patriarchal times is clear, but limited. Clear, because the evidence indisputably points to the domestication of the camel very early. Limited, because the camel does not appear to have been widely used, and the few and rather brief allusions to camels in texts seem to mirror the limited role they played in the ancient Near East at that time. As regards the Bible, the evidence suggests that the camel was indeed used for transportation, even if it was not the most popular choice of animals available to ancient travelers and workers.
The Bible records the existence of domesticated camels in the patriarchal narratives, but their footprint is actually quite small. They are listed among the very last items in the total wealth of both Abraham (Genesis 12:16) and Jacob (30:43; 32:7,15). They are mentioned as being used for travel by the patriarchs (Genesis 24:10-64; 31:17,34) and by the Midianites (Genesis 37:25). The Egyptians used them for transport as well (Exodus 9:3). Despite their use for transportation, however, the donkey appears as the favored mode of transportation for the patriarchs. In the ancient Near East as a whole, the same might be said during the early second millennium B.C.—the camel was known and domesticated, but not widely used until later.
Free makes an important observation that applies today just as much as it did a half century ago: “Many who have rejected this reference to Abraham’s camels seem to have assumed something which the text does not state. It should be carefully noted that the biblical reference does not necessarily indicate that the camel was common in Egypt at the time, nor does it evidence that the Egyptians had made any great progress in the breeding and domestication of the camel. It merely says that Abraham had camels” (Free, 3:191). Kitchen sums up the matter: “[T]he camel was for long a marginal beast in most of the historic ancient Near East (including Egypt), but it was not wholly unknown or anachronistic before or during 2000-1100” (2003, 339, italics in orig., emp. added).
Those claiming the absence of domesticated camels during the patriarchal age must deny a wealth of evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the evidence is both early and spread over a large geographical area. It includes figurines, models, petroglyphs, burials, seals, and texts. While some of this evidence is relatively recent, some of it has been known for over a century. Critics often claim that believers refuse to consider any evidence that has a bearing on the validity of their faith. It would appear that in the case of Abraham’s camels, the opposite is true.


Albright, William Foxwell (1951), The Archaeology of Palestine (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books).
Archer, Gleason (1970). “Old Testament History and Recent Archaeology from Abraham to Moses,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 127[505]:3-25.
Collon, Dominque (2000), “L’animal dans les échanges et les relations diplomatiques,” Les animaux et les hommes dans le monde syro-mésopotamien aux époques historiques, Topoi Supplement 2, Lyon.
Davis, John J. (1986), “The Camel in Biblical Narratives,” in A Tribute to Gleason Archer: Essays on the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody Press), pp. 141-150.
Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Asher Silberman (2001), The Bible Unearthed (New York, NY: The Free Press).
Free, Joseph P. (1944), “Abraham’s Camels.” Journals of Near Eastern Studies, 3[3]:187-193.
Gordon, Cyrus H. (1939), “Western Asiatic Seals in the Walters Art Gallery,” Iraq, 6[1:3-34.
Gordon, Cyrus H. and Gary A. Rendsburg (1997), The Bible and the Ancient Near East (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.), fourth edition.
Hamilton, Victor P. (1990), The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Kirtcho, L. B. (2009), “The Earliest Wheeled Transport in Southwestern Central Asia: New Finds from Alteyn-Depe,” Archaeology Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, 37[1]:25-33.
Kitchen, Kenneth A. (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Redford, Donald B. (1992), Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Ripinsky, Michael (1985), “The Camel in Dynastic Egypt,” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 71:134-141.
Sapir-Hen, Lidar and Erez Ben-Yosef (2013), “The Introduction of Domestic Camels to the Southern Levant: Evidence from the Aracah Valley,” Tel Aviv, 40:277-285.
Wiseman, Donald J. (1959), “Ration Lists from Alalakh VII,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 13:19-33.
Younker, Randall W. (1997), “Late Bronze Age Camel Petroglyphs in the Wadi Nasib, Sinai,” Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin, 42:47-54.

Babies, Eagles, and the Right to Live by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Babies, Eagles, and the Right to Live

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

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As traditional American values (i.e., biblical values) continue to be systematically jettisoned from our current culture, moral and spiritual confusion have been the inevitable result. This disorientation is particularly evident in the passionately held, conflicting viewpoints of the abortion controversy. On Monday, January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in a 7-to-2 vote, that abortion—baby murder—would be legalized and made available on demand throughout America. Such abortions, stated the Court’s edict, could be performed up to and including the ninth month, with the doctor’s permission, if the physical or mental health of the prospective mother was deemed “at-risk.” Three decades later since that fateful day, more than forty million babies, and counting, have been butchered.
Ironically, the foundational principles of the American way of life, articulated by the Founding Fathers and subsequent spokesmen, speak to this matter. The Declaration of Independence boldly declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (emp. added). The United States Constitution announced: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America” (emp. added). The fifth amendment of the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights states: “Nor shall any person...be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” (emp. added). And Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, reminded his audience: “Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (emp. added).
Yet, abortion advocates subtly shift attention away from the living status of the unborn baby to the “rights” and “choice” of the mother. Abortionists style themselves “pro-choice.” The hypocrisy and utter self-contradiction of such thinking is evident in the equally passionate stance on “animal rights.” Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years in attempts to “save the whales.” A “ruckus” has frequently arisen over the plight of endangered animal species, from the spotted owl and the dolphin, to the Snail Darter in the Little Tennessee River. One electric power provider in Utah and Colorado was fined $100,000, given three years probation, and ordered to retrofit its utility lines due to the occasional electrocution of protected bird species by its electric lines and equipment.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act provides for the protection of two species of eagles by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of either eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg without a permit. “Take” means to pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest, or disturb. Felony convictions for the violation of this act carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment (or five years under the Lacey Act; “Bald Eagle,” 2002). Get this: A human being may be fined a quarter of a million dollars and put in prison for five years for collecting eagle eggs, but that same person is permitted by federal law to murder an unborn human infant! Eagle eggs, i.e., pre-born eagles, are of greater value to society than pre-born humans!
To view the preservation of animal life as equally important—let alone more important—than the preservation of human life is a viewpoint that is seismic in its proportions and nightmarish in its implications. Whatever one’s stance may be with regard to the environment and animal life, the blurring of the distinction between man and animal, so characteristic of the atheistic, humanistic, and hedonistic perspective throughout human history, inevitably contributes to moral decline, ethical desensitization, and the overall cheapening of the sanctity of human life. Instead of fretting over the potential loss of an alleged cure for AIDS or cancer due to the destruction of the rain forests, we would do well to spend that time weeping and mourning over the loss of millions of babies whose unrealized and incomprehensible potential for good has been forever expunged by abortion. The remarkably resourceful potential of those extinguished tiny human minds to have one day found a cure for cancer far surpasses the value of moss and fungi in some Third World rain forest.
If the right to life applies to birds, fish, and mammals—whether in pre- birth or post-birth form—how in the world can anyone arrive at the conclusion that pre-born human infants are any less deserving of protection? What person, in their right mind, would assign more objective worth to an animal than to a human? The abandonment of sense and sanity in assessing God’s Creation, with His endowment of humans with qualities that set them miles apart from animals, has led to the nonsensical and utterly irrational thinking that presently permeates civilization. The widespread societal sanction of abortion, along with other morally objectionable behaviors like illicit drug use, gambling, and the consumption of alcohol, have together gradually and insidiously chipped away at the moral foundations of America. In the words of former United States Court of Appeals judge, Robert Bork: “The systematic killing of unborn children in huge numbers is part of a general disregard for human life…. Abortion has coarsened us” (1996, p. 192, emp. added).
It is absolutely imperative that people view reality from the perspective of the Supreme, Transcendent Ruler of the Universe. As Creator, He alone is in the position to define value and human life. God is spirit (John 4:24). He created humans in His image (Genesis 1:26). Humans are not animals. Humans possess a soul—a spirit. Animals do not. Unborn babies possess a spirit, and are regarded by God as human (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44). How dare we regard them any differently!
Should we be concerned about our environment? Should we give a proper measure of care and concern to the animal population? Certainly. God cares, and provides, for His nonhuman creatures (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Matthew 10:29). However, in contemplating the “birds of the air” (which certainly includes the bald eagle and the spotted owl), Jesus’ own assessment of the situation is sobering, authoritative, and decisive: “[H]owmuch more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24,  NIV, emp. added; cf. Matthew 6:26; 10:31).


“Bald Eagle” (2002), http://midwest.fws.gov/eagle/protect/laws. html.
Bork, Robert (1996), Slouching Towards Gomorrah (New York: ReganBooks).

Did Jesus Err when He Spoke of Prophecies about His Resurrection? by Branyon May, Ph.D.


Did Jesus Err when He Spoke of Prophecies about His Resurrection?

by Branyon May, Ph.D.

Skeptics and Bible critics frequently accuse the Bible of containing discrepancies and contradictions that, if true, would militate against its being the inspired Word of God. One such instance centers on two passages in the New Testament that deal with Christ’s resurrection.
In Luke 24:46, Christ stated: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day.” Paul echoed Christ’s words when he spoke of the fact that Christ “was buried; and that He hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). To the Christian, these verses represent the reason for our hope of life beyond this Earth, and sum up Christ’s earthly mission “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The greatest single declaration of love came when Jesus Christ endured the pain and torture of crucifixion and bore our iniquities. This also is the answer we are to offer “to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). To the critic of the Scriptures, however, the passages in Luke 24:46 and 1 Corinthians 15:4 represent a “sticking point” in regard to the harmony and unity of the Bible, and it is at this time when we need to step forward to provide answers to those who have asked us concerning our hope.
The question presented is this: Did Jesus err when He alluded to certain prophecies concerning His resurrection on the third day? This question centers on the phrases “thus it is written” and “according to the scriptures.” The critic asks where in the Scriptures the prediction of Christ’s third-day resurrection can be found? The fact is, there are no specific passages in the Old Testament that speak directly of the Lord’s resurrection on the “third day.” However, there are other options available to acquit the Lord of the charge of having erred.
(1) The prophet Hosea wrote: “After two days will He revive us: on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him (6:2). Although the passage does not speak specifically of the Messiah’s resurrection on the “third day” it could have reference to Christ. Two views on this verse are prevalent. In his commentary on the book of Hosea, Burton Coffman discussed both of them. (a) First, he suggested that the message of the verse was “viewed as the expectation of the people who supposed that their quick and easy repentance would result in their complete and immediate restoration” (1981, p. 110). This idea takes the words of the prophet as an “immediate application” to rectify the terrible situation in which the children of Israel once again found themselves. [The fact that they were facing God’s wrath and needed to repent is evident from chapter 5, verses 10 and 11: “I will pour my wrath upon them like water…because he was content to walk after man’s command.”] (b) This verse also could be seen, not as an immediate “revival” or “raising up” of the nation, but as a prophecy pointing to the “new life” found in Jesus Christ that would yet rise out of the old Israel (Coffman, p. 110). This concept evinces a “remote fulfillment” of Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day, through which “we may live in His sight” (Hosea 6:2).
(2) Another possibility could be that Jesus, in referring to the Scriptures, was not referring to one particular passage, but was referencing the whole body of Old Testament prophecies about His suffering, death, burial, and resurrection. “The point of Jesus’ words is not that such-and-such a verse has now come true, but that the truth to which all of the Scriptures point has now been realized!” (Green, 1997, p. 857). As we examine chapter 24 of Luke, we twice see Jesus expound upon the Scriptures. Before teaching the apostles in Jerusalem, He told them that “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). All through this section, Christ spoke of the Old Testament in its entirety, rather than referring to any specific passage. Thus, there is a contextual precedent, so that when Jesus stated “thus it is written,” it would be reasonable to associate this with the whole of the Scriptures pointing to His last days. When Jesus said that it was “necessary for the Christ to suffer,” He referred back to something Isaiah had predicted many years earlier.
He was despised, and rejected of men; man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:3-5).
Following His suffering and death, He was indeed “to rise from the dead” as can be seen from the prophecy in Psalm 16:8-10: “I have set Jehovah always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption.”
(3) A further possibility in regard to the passage in 1 Corinthians could be that Paul, while writing to the church at Corinth, was referring to the works written by some of his contemporaries, in particular Matthew or Luke’s gospel account(s). Some might wonder how this could be, since in that day and age, travel and communication were by foot or animal, and thus were very slow. It is not possible to speak with dogmatism about the exact dates of the circulation of the some of the New Testament books, but we do have a precedent for this type of reference within Scripture. Actually, we have this exact scenario between Paul and the gospel according to Luke—in the first epistle the apostle wrote to Timothy. In it, Paul, after discussing the qualifications of elders, quoted Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7, and referred to both verses as “Scripture” (1 Timothy 5:18). Another example where a contemporary’s work is considered Scripture can be found in 2 Peter 3:15-16. Here, Peter acknowledged that Paul’s wisdom was given to him by God, and further classified Paul’s epistles as possessing the same kind of inspiration as the “other scriptures.” Thus, Paul could have been referring back to Luke, or he could have been speaking of Matthew 12:40, where Jesus compared His time in the tomb with Jonah’s “three days and three nights in the belly of the fish.”
Each of the suggestions offered above represents a viable option as a response to the critic’s suggestion that the passages in Luke 24:46 and 1 Corinthians 15:4 represents some kind of “discrepancy” within the biblical text.
Coffman, James Burton (1990), The Minor Prophets—Hosea, Obadiah, and Micah (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
Green, Joel B. (1997), The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

The Menace of Radical Preterism by Wayne Jackson


The Menace of Radical Preterism
The word “eschatology” derives from the Greek word, eschatos, meaning “last.” It has to do with the biblical doctrine of “last” or “end-of-time” things. The term embraces such matters as the return of Christ, the end of the world, the day of judgment, and the resurrection of the dead.
One philosophy of eschatology is known as “preterism.” The term “preter” issues from an original form meaning “past.” Preterism, therefore, is an interpretive ideology which views major portions of Bible prophecy, traditionally associated with the termination of earth’s history, as having been fulfilled already.
But the term “preterism” is flexible. Some scholars, for instance, have dated the book of Revelation in the late sixties A.D. They contend that virtually the whole of the Apocalypse, therefore, was fulfilled by A.D. 70 - when Judaism was destroyed by the invading Roman armies. A more moderate form of preterism moves the fulfillment of Revelation forward somewhat. These scholars hold that while Revelation was penned near the end of the first century, the major focus of the book is upon the fall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476); consequently they feel there is little beyond that date that is previewed in the final book of the New Testament.
While we do not agree with either of these concepts of the book of Revelation, we consider them to be relatively harmless.
On the other hand, there is a form of preterism that is quite heretical. This theory argues that all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled; nothing remains on the prophetic calendar.
This radical preterism was championed by James Stuart Russell (1816-95), a Congregational clergyman in England. Russell authored a book titled, The Parousia, (from a Greek word meaning “coming” or “presence”), which first appeared in 1878. Russell set forth the idea that the second coming of Christ, the judgment day, etc., are not future events at the end of the current dispensation. Rather, prophecies relating to these matters were fulfilled with Jerusalem’s fall in A.D. 70. There is, therefore, no future “second coming” of Christ. Moreover, there will be no resurrection of the human body. Also, the final judgment and the end of the world have occurred already - with the destruction of Jerusalem.
Advocates of this bizarre dogma claim that the preterist movement is growing wildly. It probably is expanding some - though likely not as prolificly as its apologists would like everyone to believe. Occasionally the sect will get a thrust when a prominent name becomes identified with it. For example, noted theologian R. C. Sproul has apparently thrown his hat into the preterist ring - at least to some degree. Recently he characterized J. S. Russell’s book as “one of the most important treatments on Biblical eschatology that is available to the church today” (quoted in The Christian News 1999, 17).
Radical preterism (also known as “realized eschatology” or the “A.D. 70 doctrine”) is so “off the wall” - biblically speaking - that one wonders how anyone ever falls for it. But they do. And, as exasperating as it is, the doctrine needs to be addressed from time to time. One writer, in reviewing the A.D. 70 heresy, recently quipped that dealing with preterism is like cleaning the kitty litter box; one hates to fool with it, but it has to be done. He can just be thankful that cats aren’t larger than they are.

The Basis for the Dogma

Preterists strive for consistency in their view of Bible prophecy. The goal is admirable. But when a series of propositions is linked, and they are grounded on the same faulty foundation, when one of them topples - like dominos in a line - they all fall. So it is with the A.D. 70 theory.
Here is the problem. In studying the New Testament material relative to the “coming” of Christ, preterists note that:
  1. there are passages which seem to speak of the nearness of the Lord’s coming - from a first-century vantage point (cf. James 5:8);
  2. they observe that there are texts which indicate a “coming” in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (cf. Matthew 24:30);
  3. combining these, they conclude that the Savior’s “second coming” must have transpired in A.D. 70; and
  4. furthermore, since the Scriptures are clear as to the fact that the resurrection of the dead, the judgment day, and the end of the world will all occur on the day the Lord returns, the advocates of realized eschatology are forced to “spiritualize” these several happenings, contending that all will take place at the same time. In this “interpretive” process, a whole host of biblical terms must be redefined in order to make them fit the scheme.
And so, while preterists attempt to be consistent, it is nonetheless a sad reality that they are consistently wrong!

Prophetic Imminence

A major fallacy of the preterist mentality is a failure to recognize the elasticity of chronological jargon within the context of biblical prophecy. It is a rather common trait in prophetic language that an event, while literally in the remote future, may be described as near. The purpose in this sort of language is to emphasize the certainty of the prophecy’s fulfillment.
Obadiah, for instance, foretold the final day of earth’s history. Concerning that event, he said: “For the day of Jehovah is near upon all the nations” (v. 15). This cannot refer to some local judgment, for “all nations” are to be involved. And yet, the event is depicted as “near.”
There are numerous prophecies of this nature, including passages like James 5:8 - “the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James could not have been predicting the literally imminent return of the Savior, for such knowledge was not made available to the Lord’s penmen. Not even Jesus himself knew of the time of his return to earth (Matthew 24:36).

The Components Explained and Briefly Refuted

Let us give brief consideration to the four eschatological events that are supposed to have occurred in A.D. 70 - the Lord’s second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the day of judgment, and the end of the world.
First, was there a sense in which Christ “came” to folks at various times and places? Yes, and no serious student of the Bible denies this. Jesus “came” on the day of Pentecost via the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:18). The coming was representative, not literal. The Lord warned the brethren in Ephesus that if they did not repent, he would “come” to them in judgment, and they would forfeit their identity as a faithful congregation (Revelation 2:5). In describing the horrible judgment to be inflicted upon rebellious Jerusalem, Jesus, employing imagery from the Old Testament, spoke of his “coming” in power and glory (Matthew 24:30). Again, this was a representative “coming” by means of the Roman forces (cf. Matthew 22:7). Verse thirty-four of Matthew 24 clearly indicates that this event was to occur before that first-century generation passed away.
The Lord’s “second coming,” however, will be as visibly apparent as his ascension back into heaven was (Acts 1:11). Indeed, he will be “revealed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7), or “appear” to all (2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28).
It is a mistake of horrible proportions to confuse the symbolic “comings” of Christ with the “second” (cf. Hebrews 9:28) coming. And this is what the preterists do.
Secondly, it is utterly incredible that the preterists should deny the eventual resurrection of the human body - just as the Sadducees did twenty centuries ago (Acts 23:8). The entire fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians was written to counter this error: “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead [ones – plural]?” (15:12).
But those who subscribe to the notion of realized eschatology spiritualize the concept of the resurrection, alleging that such references are merely to the emergence of the church from an era of anti-Christian persecution. In other words, it is the “resurrection” of a cause, not a resurrection of people.
The theory is flawed in several particulars, but consider these two points:
  1. The Scriptures speak of the “resurrection” as involving both the good and the evil, the just and the unjust (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). Where, in the preterist scheme of things, is the resurrection of the “evil”? Was the “cause” of evil to emerge at the same time as the “cause” of truth?
  2. As noted above, the resurrection contemplated in 1 Corinthians 15 has to do with the raising of “dead ones” (masculine, plural) - not an abstract “cause” (neuter, singular). Significantly, the bodily resurrection of Jesus is cited as a precursor to the general resurrection - in this very context (15:20,23). Christ charged that those who deny the resurrection of the body are ignorant of both the Scriptures and the power of God (Matthew 22:29).
Third, the Bible speaks of a coming “day of judgment” (Matthew 11:22). Preterists limit this to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. But the theory simply does not fit the facts. The devastation of A.D. 70 involved only the Jews. The final day of judgment will embrace the entire human family - past, present, and future (Acts 17:31). The citizens of ancient Nineveh will be present on the day of judgment (see Matthew 12:41), as will other pagan peoples. But these folks were not in Jerusalem in A.D. 70. How can clear passages of this nature be ignored?
Here is an interesting thought. When Paul defended his case before the Roman governor, Felix, he spoke of “the judgment to come,” and the ruler was “terrified” (Acts 24:25). Why would a Roman be “terrified” with reference to the impending destruction of Judaism - when he would be on the winning side, not the losing one?
Fourth, according to the preterists, the “end of the world,” as this expression is employed in Bible prophecy, does not allude to the destruction of this planet. Rather, “world” has reference to the Jewish world, thus, the end of the Jewish age. This, they allege, occurred in A.D. 70.
But this view simply is not viable. Consider these two brief but potent points.
  1. The responsibilities of the Great Commission - to teach and immerse lost souls - was commensurate with that era preceding the “end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20). If the “end of the world” occurred in A.D. 70, then the Lord’s Commission is valid no longer. This conclusion, of course, is absurd.
  2. In the parable of the tares, Jesus taught that at “the end of the world” the “tares” (i.e., evil ones) would be removed from his kingdom and burned (Matthew 13:39-40). Did that transpire with the destruction of Judaism? It did not. The notion that the “end of the world” is past already is false.
The dogma of preterism - or realized eschatology - is erroneous from beginning to end. For a more detailed consideration of this matter, see our book, The A.D. 70 Theory.

A Common Method of Propagation

The doctrine of preterism is so radically unorthodox that its advocates realize that their efforts to win converts represent a formidable task. Consequently, they have developed a covert strategy that seeks to quietly spread their novel dogma until such a time when congregational take-overs can be effected. The distinctive traits of this discipling methodology are as follows.
  • It is alleged that this system represents an attractive, consistent method of interpretation. But there is no virtue in consistency, if one is consistently wrong!
  • Preterists criticize what they call “traditional” views of interpreting Bible prophecy. They suggest they have a new, exciting approach to the Scriptures - with a spiritual thrust. Of course the “new” is always intriguing to some.
  • The messengers of realized eschatology frequently are secretive in their approach. They select only the most promising candidates with whom to share their ideas. Eventually, then, the A.D. 70 theory will be woven subtly into classes, sermons, etc.
  • When ultimately confronted relative to their teachings and methods, they will argue that eschatological issues are merely a matter of opinion, and that divergent views - especially theirs - should be tolerated. This, of course, ignores plain biblical implications on these themes (cf. 2 Timothy 2:16-18; 2 Peter 3:16). If church leaders fall for this ploy, more time is gained for the indoctrination of the entire congregation.


Wise church leaders will inform themselves relative to the theory of preteristic eschatology. If such ideas are discovered to be circulating within a local church, the proponents of such doctrines should be dealt with quickly and firmly. It is a serious matter.
Wayne Jackson
  • Jackson, Wayne. 2005. The A.D. 70 Theory. Stockton, CA: Christian Courier Publications.
  • Sproul, R. C. 1999. The Christian News, June 7.
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Published in The Old Paths Archive