4/19/21

Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1 by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3758

 

Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The most fundamental question that a person can (and should) ask is: “Where did the Universe and everything in it (including myself) come from?” Before a person seeks answers to questions such as, “Why am I here?” or “Where am I going?” he first needs to know from whence he came? It is fitting that the only God-inspired book in the world—the Bible—answers this very question in its opening statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added). In the subsequent verses, man is informed that not only did God create the heavens and the earth, but He made everything in the heavens and on the Earth (Genesis 1:2-31; cf. Exodus 20:11). According to Scripture, everything that exists in the physical Universe ultimately came from an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite Creator (Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Psalm 139; 90:2).

The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curricula for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe”:

How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).

Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an atheist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.”

So which is it? Did everything in the physical Universe come into existence via the supernatural or the natural? Was it caused by a purely naturalistic Big Bang or an infinite Mighty God? How did Earth get here? How did the other seven planets in our Solar System come into being? Whence came the Milky Way and the billions of other galaxies in the Universe? How did the multiplied quadrillions of stars (some of which are hundreds of times bigger than the Sun) come into existence? Although atheistic, evolutionary scientists are fond of ridiculing Genesis 1:1 as being unreasonable and unscientific, the fact is, Scripture’s explanation for ultimate origins is both sensible and scientific.

First, a study of the material Universe reveals that all physical effects must have adequate causes that precede the effects (a truism known as the Law of Cause and Effect). One drop of rain does not flood an entire city, a paper airplane cannot carry an astronaut to the Moon, nor can a fire extinguisher cool the Sun. But what about the effect of the Universe itself? What was its cause? Was the gargantuan Universe caused by an explosion of a minute ball of matter or by an omnipotent Creator? Just as easily as one can know that a paper airplane is unable to transport an astronaut to the Moon, he can know that naturalistic explanations (e.g., Big Bang theory) are not adequate causes for the Universe. But God is.

Second, from what we observe in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionists allege that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, yet they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. An attempt was made a few years ago in the April 28, 2007 issue of New Scientist magazine titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” Notice the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (194[2601]:33, emp. added). The fact is, a logical, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. It cannot exist so long as the First Law of Thermodynamics is true (i.e., in nature matter/energy cannot create itself).

Third, since the physical Universe exists, and yet it could not have created itself, then the Universe is either eternal or something/someone outside of the Universe must have created it. Relatively few scientists propose that the Universe is eternal. In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe if atheists believed it always existed. What’s more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2007). But, if matter is not eternal, and it cannot create itself, then the only logical conclusion is that something/someone outside of nature (i.e., supernatural) caused the Universe and everything in it. Christians call this Someone, “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).

Finally, not only do the scientific Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Cause and Effect support the truth of Genesis 1:1, so also does the fact that design demands a designer. Just as sure as a painting demands a painter and a law a law-giver, the orderly, law-abiding, picturesque heavens and Earth demand, not a random, mindless, unexplained explosion (when have explosions ever caused order and design?), but an intelligent Designer. As the psalmist wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). What’s more, “the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Indeed, both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4) that “He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

Naturalistic explanations for the Universe and its laws leave an explanatory void that only a supernatural Being (i.e., God) can fill. If man will only open his eyes and ears, he will discover what both Heaven and Earth reveal: that “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Rather, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added).
 

REFERENCES


Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

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

“The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194[2601]:28-33, April 28.

Science as a Tool of Evangelism by Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5478

Science as a Tool of Evangelism

by  Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.

Romans 1:20 states: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Acts 17:16-34 gives the account of Paul speaking to the men of Athens about “God, who made the world and everything in it.” The fact is, mankind’s general understanding of Creation can be used as a very effective tool for evangelism. Advances in science continue to confirm the Bible and refute philosophies that are opposed to the Bible.

Regardless of the specific approach, evangelistic efforts must focus on encouraging people to study the Bible, obey the Gospel, and remain faithful.  Colossians 3:2 tells us: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Mark 8:36 states: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Acts 2:38 reads: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Topics that are easy to understand can often be effective in encouraging people to consider the Bible with an open mind. For example, most individuals will agree that they can make choices. The most important choice we will ever make is discussed in Joshua 24:15, which states:

[C]hoose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

But how could we make even the simplest of choices if God had not given us a spirit? The answer is, we could not.  From science we know that chemical and physical reactions follow the natural laws that God established. If humans were nothing more than a collection of several thousand trillion trillion (octillion) atoms undergoing a sophisticated chemical reaction (as atheists allege), then we could have no free will whatsoever. Acknowledgment that we can make choices is an acknowledgement of God, which can be an excellent first step in our efforts to evangelize. Once a person acknowledges God, we can then focus on helping them realize that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, and that we need to live our lives accordingly.1

From science we know that life cannot make itself from non-living material.2 The fallacy of “spontaneous generation” can be discussed at any technical level desired. Perhaps the simplest way to initiate a conversation would be to point out that hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent in the field of biotechnology, with extremely sophisticated laboratories, and highly intelligent researchers. Yet, no one has ever come close to making life from non-living material.  Even attempts to make simple, self-replicating molecules in highly contrived environments continue to fail. Given a few billion dollars, mankind was able to create the space shuttle. Does that somehow add credence to the idea that space shuttles can create themselves? Obviously not. Claiming life (which humans cannot make) could somehow create itself is vastly less scientific than claiming cell phones, cars, airplanes, or rockets (all of which humans can make) could make themselves.

Science has also shown us that information is being lost from the genome—not gained3—further refuting religions based on Darwin’s theory of evolution. Organs and structures once thought to be “vestigial” have been shown to have useful functions,4 and the whole concept of vestigial organs and structures is now viewed as nothing more than an example of scientific ignorance that was overcome by advances in real science. Homologous and analogous physical structures are exactly what Christians would expect given that God created all life.  As the Bible states, it is the spiritual difference between humans and animals that make humans completely unique (Genesis 1:26-27). Ideas that contradict the Bible in areas related to the age of the Earth or the origin of the Universe have also been shown to be seriously flawed and based on arbitrary assumptions.5 In short, there are numerous areas of science that Christians can simply and effectively use in evangelism.

But what about topics that are difficult to discuss with individuals who are skeptical about everything? Many agnostics are committed to the idea that nothing can be known for certain. While our primary concern should be the effect that idea has on the agnostic’s willingness to study the Bible and obey the Gospel, the idea that “nothing can be known” can also affect secular conversations that we may have. Those conversations can, in turn, affect our ability to establish the trust necessary for effective evangelism.

Two contemporary examples include the idea of a “flat Earth” and the idea that the U.S. never landed astronauts on the Moon. While a person’s views on those subjects are unimportant compared to their view of Christ, useful conversations can still be had. Calm, logical discussions on secular topics can often lead to calm, logical discussions on spiritual topics.

Moon Landing

Interesting parallels can be drawn between the methods that are used in attempts to convince people that the U.S. did not land on the Moon and the methods that are used in attempts to convince people that the Bible is not God’s inerrant Word. For example, one argument used against the Moon landing is that there is a “geographical dependence” on whether or not a person believes we landed on the Moon. A Gallup Poll taken in 2001 showed that 5% of Americans believed the Moon landing was faked, and 6% did not know. At the same time 28% of Russians believed the landings were faked, and up to 75% of people in Cuba and in countries that were heavily influenced by Cuban teachers believed the landings were faked. If a person grew up near Cape Canaveral, knew people who worked on the Apollo program, witnessed Saturn V launches firsthand, and believed the U.S. landed on the Moon, his belief could be dismissed as a “geographical dependence.” The observation is made that if that same person had grown up in Cuba, he likely would not have believed in the Moon landing.  But even if that suggestion were true, does it have any bearing at all on whether or not the U.S. actually landed on the Moon? Obviously not. Likewise, atheists will often observe that if a person grows up in an area where knowledge of the Bible is strong they are much more likely to become a Christian than a person who grows up in an area where there is no knowledge of the Bible, and where becoming a Christian is punishable by death. But does that “geographical dependence” have any bearing at all on whether or not the Bible is true? Again, obviously not.

Moon-landing skeptics and agnostics often ask that if we were able to land on the Moon, why have we not returned to the Moon? One answer could be that the initial goal was achieved (land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth) and that additional goals (such as establishing a lunar outpost) will be achieved in the future. In the same vein, people often ask, “If Christ came to Earth once, why has He not returned?” The Bible gives very clear answers, such as 2 Peter 3:9 which states: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Skeptics and agnostics also point out that the Moon landings seemed too perfect. The U.S. first landed on the Moon with only six months to spare (to meet the stated objective), and the final Moon landing occurred just before the Soviet Union allegedly deployed technology that could prove the landings were fake. (The Soviet Union actually had adequate technology throughout the program.) All of the landings also occurred under the Nixon administration. 

Similar accusations are also made against the Bible. Christ perfectly fulfilled all Old Testament prophecies, and the Bible (written by 40 different authors over a period of 1,600 years) is perfectly consistent. The obvious answer for this perfection is given in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Numerous other methods are used to instill doubt concerning the U.S. Moon landing, but perhaps the most popular is “with all of the inconsistencies with the Moon landing claim, how can anyone still believe we landed on the Moon?”  Numerous examples are then typically presented, including cross hatches in front of photographed objects, odd looking (non-parallel) shadows, a flag that appears to be “waving,” no blast craters from landers, no visible flame from ascent stages, high radiation levels in the Van Allen belts (how could the astronauts survive?), no stars visible in photographs, footprints in Moon dust are too well preserved, etc.6 Direct evidence of fraud is also mentioned.  For example, in 2009 the Moon rock at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam was examined and found to be petrified wood. There is missing data (Apollo 11 telemetry), and a woman in Perth, Australia even claims to have seen a soft drink bottle in the frame while watching the Moon landing.

In an analogous fashion, the “numerous inconsistencies” approach is often used against the Bible.7 Questions include: “How could a loving God allow pain and suffering?” “How can God simultaneously be omniscient and give us free will?” “How can the Earth be less than 10,000 years old and the Universe appear the way it does?” “How could a virgin give birth?” “How could Jesus be resurrected from the dead?” In both cases, a good approach is to ask the skeptic which alleged inconsistency troubles him the most, and then spend whatever time is necessary fully addressing his concern. Logically sound explanations exist for all alleged contradictions with the Moon landing, just as logically sound explanations exist for all alleged contradictions within the Bible. In two extensive volumes, Eric Lyons examines and refutes many of the most popular allegations against the Bible.8

From the standpoint of positive evidence, there are also many analogies between belief in the Moon landing and belief in the Bible. Developing and launching a 7.8-million-pound thrust, 363-foot-tall rocket (the Saturn V) was a key aspect of the Moon landing, and millions of people saw the Saturn V launch with their own eyes. Likewise, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are a key aspect of Christianity, and hundreds of people saw the risen Christ with their own eyes (1 Corinthians 15:6). Hundreds (likely thousands) of people both inside and outside of the U.S. were involved in the preparations where they could have easily shown the Moon landing to be a hoax (if the landings had been), but no one did. Likewise hundreds (if not thousands) of people were in a position where they could have refuted Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection had it not occurred, but they did not. In fact, those closest to Jesus (and those who would have needed to be involved in any type of fraud) were willing to die for their knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.

One final analogy can be made relative to discussions about Moon landings. Just as the Moon landings will be reconfirmed when mankind returns to the Moon, the Bible will be reconfirmed when Christ returns to the Earth (Philippians 2:9-11).

Flat Earth

A similar subject of interest is the recent surge in belief in a flat Earth, seemingly led by a handful of professional athletes and others. As with discussions related to the Moon landing, it is important to keep our minds set on things above. While Romans 14:15 speaks specifically about food, the same sentiment applies to other subjects as well. We should not risk destroying “one for whom Christ died” over a disagreement related to a secular idea.

Two recent articles provide numerous facts and observations related to refuting the idea of a flat Earth—biblically and scientifically.9 If an agnostic or skeptic is committed to a belief, though, a “rescue mechanism” can almost always be devised to claim that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, their belief is true. Ironically, the same techniques used to garner support for a flat Earth have been used to gain acceptance for the Big Bang, an equally false but more widely accepted cosmology. Observations that contradict either the flat Earth or the Big Bang theory are typically explained away through the use of sophisticated fudge factors, or by framing the theories in a way that any observation or piece of experimental evidence can be accommodated.10

First Corinthians 9:22 states “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Along those lines, it is important that we be able to discuss virtually any subject in a non-confrontational manner. Three ideas related to flat Earth discussions can involve contacting a friend, purchasing (or borrowing) a telescope, and working with a local university.

For instance, the mobility of 21st-century society and the ability to affordably travel and communicate over long distances have allowed many people to develop friendships around the world.  If a person has a friend living a few time zones away (i.e., a few thousand miles east or west of him) and at roughly the same latitude, then a simple text or phone call can provide good evidence for a spherical Earth. For example, a call could be made near sunset, and the friend could be asked about the Sun’s position in the sky at his location. The spherical Earth model would exactly predict the response, which would be either “the Sun set a few hours ago” (if the friend lived to the east) or “the Sun won’t be setting for a few hours” (if the friend lived to the west). While there might be a set of “fudge factors” that could be applied to certain flat Earth models to allow for the same response, the use of those factors would show the models to be highly contrived at the very least. A friend living at very high latitudes (e.g., Fairbanks, Alaska; Iceland; Greenland; etc.) could also add to the discussion based on the extreme differences in solar position between winter and summer. A friend living in the opposite hemisphere (e.g. New Zealand, Tasmania, etc. for people living in the U.S.) could be used to obtain other useful data. All of the observations and discussions would show the consistency of a spherical Earth model, and present extreme difficulties for a flat Earth model.

Buying or borrowing a telescope can also be useful in many ways.  Not only do telescopes allow detailed observation of God’s creation from Earth, but they also allow us more fully to appreciate Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” 

From the standpoint of a flat Earth discussion, a telescope can (given clear skies) allow us to view objects on the horizon where the lower portion of the object is blocked because of the curvature of the Earth. A classic example is a ship traveling out to sea. As the ship gets further away, a greater portion of the ship “disappears” below the horizon. This effect is again exactly what is expected on a spherical Earth, and very difficult to explain in a flat Earth model.

Universities are often involved with the launch of high altitude balloons. While the curvature of the Earth is much more obvious from orbit, it can still be discerned from altitudes that can be attained by balloons. If a skeptic or agnostic feels that all international space programs are somehow “covering up” evidence for a flat Earth, perhaps more personal involvement with a local university would encourage them to think otherwise. Some universities have also begun launching experiments on sub-orbital and even orbital flights, which could provide even more opportunity for first-hand observations that the Earth is spherical.

Although beliefs—such as the U.S. never having landed on the Moon or the Earth being flat—are typically attributed to agnostics and skeptics, it is important to remember that both non-Christians and Christians alike can have inaccurate beliefs on secular topics. When discussing any secular topic, we need to remember to keep our mind set on things above. We should focus on spiritual issues and not worry too much about correcting false secular beliefs that have little bearing on eternity. However, it is also important to note that vigorously promoting a false secular belief can have a negative influence on our ability to evangelize. Christians should be very careful about accidentally losing influence by endorsing a secular fad that, while popular in certain circles, is ultimately incorrect.

Another observation concerning both belief in a faked Moon landing and belief in a flat Earth—no matter what the evidence—people can still choose to believe what they want to believe. Likewise, regardless of the evidence, an atheist or agnostic can, ironically, still choose to believe they have no free will, choose to believe that life somehow made itself, choose to believe that all of the information in the genome somehow created itself, and choose to believe the many other falsehoods required to deny God. 

While science is an excellent tool for evangelism, we also know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). We need to stay focused on encouraging people to read God’s Word, obey the Gospel, and remain faithful. Our ultimate commission is summarized in Matthew 28:19-20—

Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

ENDNOTES

1 Additional discussion concerning “free will” is given in Kyle Butt (2016), “Atheism and Free Will,” Reason and Revelation, 36[10]:110-118, October, http://apologeticspress.org.

2 Jeff Miller (2017), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition.

3 J.C. Sanford (2014), Genetic Entropy (FMS Publications).

4 Jerry Bergman and George Howe (1990), “Vestigial Organs” are Fully Functional (Creation Research Society).

5 Alex Williams and John Hartnett (2006), Dismantling the Big Bang (Master Books); Don DeYoung (2005), Thousands… Not Billions (Master Books).

6 “Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories” (2017), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing_conspiracy_theories.

7 Kyle Butt (2013), A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

8 Eric Lyons (2003/2005), The Anvil Rings: Volumes 1 & 2 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

9 Branyon May and Alana May (2017), “Flat or Spherical Earth?  Evaluating Astronomical Observations,” Reason and Revelation, 37[8]:86-95, August, http://apologeticspress.org; Justin Rogers (2017), “Does the Bible Teach a Flat Earth,” Reason and Revelation, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5428&topic=24#.

10 Additional discussion in Mike Houts (2015), “Assumptions and the Age of the Earth,” Reason and Revelation, 35[3]:26-34, March, http://apologeticspress.org.

Saturn: A Ringed World by Alana May, M.S.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5474

Saturn: A Ringed World

by  Alana May, M.S.

[Editor’s Note: Alana holds a Master’s degree in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama.]

Saturn

Saturn is probably the most recognizable planet in our Solar System with large, bright rings encircling it. It is the sixth planet from the Sun, the second largest Gas Giant planet, and about twice as far from the Sun as Jupiter. Saturn is an intriguing planet—from its size, to its wide rings, to its diverse moons.

The Creation account in Genesis tells us that all heavenly bodies were created on the fourth day of Creation (Genesis 1:14-19). When the Bible says that God created the stars on the fourth day, this description includes all the other objects in space that we can observe, including the planets. The term “light” (vs. 14) simply means “luminous body or luminary.” To the ancient astronomers, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were known as “wandering stars.” Since they appeared as lights in the sky, they were called stars, and since their relative motions differed from the majority of other objects, they were described as wandering. Actually, the Greek term translated “wandering” is where we get our English word “planet.”

The Migration Problem

Saturn, the ringed beauty, attests to God’s greatness and splendor, but it also speaks loudly against evolution. In studying distant objects, astronomers often create computer simulations to test their theories. They must take into account the physical properties of the system in question and apply the physical laws of the Universe to predict how the objects might behave.

One of these models that astronomers use is how a solar system might form. A simplified view of the evolutionary planetary theory goes something like this: Gas and dust particles surrounding a star are gravitationally bound in a protoplanetary disk. Over millions of years, these particles coalesce into planetesimals, which continue to acquire more particles over millions of years, and eventually form into full planets.1

However, when trying to explain the formation of the solar system from an evolutionary standpoint, the models fail to explain why a gas giant like Saturn has not merged or migrated into its host star before the planet had time to form. Evolutionary astronomers call this the “migration problem,” which basically states that the gravitational interaction between the protoplanetary disk and the massive gas giant cores would cause them to move rapidly toward and merge into the central star.2

The Rings of Saturn

In October of 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched on its mission to Saturn. It was loaded with a multitude of equipment, cameras, and other scientific instruments that astronomers hoped would help us learn more about Saturn and its moons. By July of 2004, Cassini-Huygens had made the 890 million-mile journey to Saturn. The Cassini mission allowed astronomers to get an amazing, up close look at Saturn, its rings, and moons. In April of 2017, Cassini started its “Grand Finale” mission, making weekly passes of Saturn’s rings, and diving through a 1,200 mile space between the planet and rings, until it made its final descent into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, 2017.3

While all of the Gas Giants have a ring system, Saturn’s is by far the most prominent. Saturn’s rings are not solid, uniform structures, but are made of billions of particles. Looking at Saturn’s rings face-on reveals gaps within the rings. These divisions have been classified among the ring groups and labeled alphabetically in the order they were discovered. Each ring grouping orbits Saturn at a different speed.

The width of Saturn’s rings varies. At the thickest point, the main rings are just over a half mile thick, where the thinnest point can be just 30 feet. Saturn’s rings extend outward away from the planet a distance of approximately 175,000 miles, which is equal to three-fourths of the distance between Earth and the Moon.4

The ring material also varies greatly in size. The smallest particles can be tiny clumps of ice, while the largest can be bigger than an automobile. While the ring structure of Saturn is amazing to behold, the origins of the structure have continually stumped the modern scientific community. Based on their evolutionary timetables and long periods of time, evolutionary astronomers have not been able to satisfactorily answer the question of where the rings came from and cannot reconcile the rings’ “youthful” appearance and reflectivity.5 Based on their evolutionary models and constraints, the ring structure should have dissipated long ago, and the rings should be much darker than they are due to dust and particles settling on the icy chunks that make up the rings.

God’s Design

Everything God created is meant to reflect His glory. Saturn is an excellent example, as we see magnificent beauty in this Gas Giant planet and order in the structure of its rings. Evolution cannot explain the origin of the majestic planet. The only reasonable answer is that God, the Grand Designer, created this stunning planet. “Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men” (Psalm 66:5).

ENDNOTES

1 “Discovering Planets Beyond” (no date), Hubblesite (Baltimore, MD: Space Telescope Science Institute), http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/discovering_planets_beyond/how-do-planets-form.

2 "The Locked Migration of Giant Protoplanets" (2006), Journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, March 21, https://phys.org/news/2006-03-migration-giant-protoplanets.html.

3 “The Grand Finale Toolkit” (no date), Cassini Science Communications Team,
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/.

4 Bill Dunford (no date), “Saturn: Rings,” NASA, http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Saturn&Display=Rings.

5 S├ębastien Charnoz, et al. (2009), The Origin and Evolution of Saturn’s Rings,” in Saturn After Cassini-Huygens, ed. M.K. Dougherty, L.W. Esposito, S.M. Krimigis, pp. 537-535, https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0912/0912.3017.pdf; https://www.universetoday.com/107353/where-did-saturns-rings-come-from/.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Widow’s Mites (12:41-44)

 

 
 
"THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

The Widow’s Mites (12:41-44)

 INTRODUCTION

1. Teaching in the Temple (on Tuesday of the Last Week), Jesus addressed...
   a. The doctrines of the religious leaders
   b. The practices of the religious leaders

2. At the end of the day, with the last incident of His public ministry, Jesus...
   a. Observed people putting money into the treasury of the temple
   b. Made an observation about the contribution of one poor widow

[Jesus had just warned against pretentious scribes who "devour widows’
houses" (Mk 12:40).  In contrast, consider the remarkable example of one poor widow...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. PUTTING MONEY IN THE TEMPLE TREASURY...
      1. Jesus observed people placing money in the treasury - Mk 12:41
      2. This may have been one of 13 receptacles, in the area known as The Women’s Court
      3. These receptacles were marked, indicating how the money would
         be used (temple tribute, wood, sacrifices, incense, etc.)

   B. THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE RICH...
      1. Many who were rich gave large amounts - Mk 12:41
      2. That in itself was commendable, reminiscent of the first
         contributions for the tabernacle - cf. Exo 35:20-29; 36:2-7

   C. THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE WIDOW...
      1. One poor widow threw in two ‘mites’ (Grk., leptos) - Mk 12:42
      2. Worth a ‘quadrans’ (Grk., kodrantes), which was 1/64th of a ‘denarius’ (a day’s wage)
      3. If a day’s wage was $25, a ‘quadrans’ would be worth 75 cents, a ‘mite’ 40 cents

   D. THE OBSERVATION OF JESUS...
      1. The widow gave more than all who had given to the treasury - Mk 12:43
      2. They gave out of their abundance, she gave all she had, her entire livelihood - Mk 12:44

[Jesus was so impressed, He called His disciples.  He stressed the
importance of His observation by prefacing His remarks with "Assuredly,
I say to you".  In the spirit of His observation, here are...]

II. SOME OBSERVATIONS

   A. A LESSON FOR DISCIPLES...
      1. Note that Jesus "called His disciples to Himself" - Mk 12:43
      2. This indicates that the teaching was intended for them and for
         all subsequent disciples - J.A. Brooks (NAC)
      -- What can we learn from the example of the widow’s mites?

   B. THE VALUE OF A GIFT...
      1. It is well to remember that God measures giving, not by what we
         give, but by what we keep for ourselves; - R.A. Cole (TNTC)
      2. The value of a gift is not the amount given, but the cost to
         the giver. - J.R. Edwards (PNTC)
      3. God measures the gift by the sacrifice involved (cf. 2Sa 24:24). - A. Black (CPNIVC)
      4. The Lord estimates giving by our motive, our means, and by how
         much we have left. This is a great encouragement to those who
         have few material possessions, but a great desire to give to
         Him. - Believer’s Bible Commentary
      -- We learn that the liberality of the poor is often greater than that of the rich!

   C. THE IMPORTANCE OF A PERSON...
      1. What matters in God’s sight is not what a person has
      2. But the devotion which causes one to give even at great personal cost
      3. Thus even the poorest of the poor can be "rich" (in faith) - cf. Jm 2:5
      -- We learn that people should be measured by their faith, not their wealth!

   D. THE APPROVAL OF VOLUNTARY POVERTY...
      1. Many today would criticize the widow
         a. For not providing for her future
         b. For her lack of foresight and prudence
         c. For becoming dependent upon Israel’s welfare system -  cf.Deut 24:19-21; 26:12-13
      2. Yet her voluntary poverty is just one example found in the Scriptures
         a. Jesus chose a life of voluntary poverty - Lk 9:58
         b. He counseled some to do the same in their service as a disciple - Lk 18:22
         c. Teaching His disciples to be trust God’s providential care - Mt 6:31-33
      -- We learn that voluntary poverty can be a viable option for some disciples

   E. JESUS IS STILL WATCHING HOW PEOPLE GIVE...
      1. The ‘giving’ of Ananias and Sapphira did not go unnoticed - cf.Ac 5:1-11
      2. Those who give liberally and cheerfully will be noticed - e.g.,2Co 8:1-5; 9:6-7
      3. Just as all that we do is noticed by God - He 4:13
      -- We learn that our giving does not escape the careful eye of our Lord!

CONCLUSION

1. The story of the widow’s mites should prompt prayerful reflection...
   a. Regarding our own giving to the Lord’s cause, to charity
   b. We may think we excel at giving, but do we really?

2. The story of the widow’s mites also prepares us for what is to come in Mark’s gospel...
   a. She exemplified sacrificial giving in the service of the Lord
   b. Soon we will read of the Lord who gave all in service to us!

   "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He
   was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His
   poverty might become rich." - 2Co 8:9                                                            

Excutable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Where to Turn in Times of Trouble? by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2020/07/09/where-to-turn-in-times-of-trouble/

Where to Turn in Times of Trouble?

Paul Faulkner once told a story about a man who was trying to share his faith in Jesus with a woman who was going through a tough time.

The woman told him that her life was falling apart. Nothing was working. Her daughter had been killed in an accident. Her husband was unfaithful to her. Now, she was about to lose her job.

“When the world crashes in on you…to whom do you turn?” asked the man.

After a long pause, she replied, “I guess I just go to myself.”

Later she admitted that the one word that most described her was “ALONE.”

How sad. Yet this woman’s plight is descriptive of many today who try to face trial and trouble alone. Without help. Without hope. And without God.

Today, we are experiencing a lot of trouble in our world. COVID-19. Racism and racial tension. Social and cultural disruption. Political posturing and infighting. Murder and mayhem in our cities. A breakdown of law and order. Weakness and indecision in our leaders.

On a personal basis, many are suffering physically, financially, mentally and emotionally. Hopes have been shattered. Homes are being torn apart by death or divorce. And hurting people are often feeling isolated and alone.

In our Bible reading today, we’re reminded that we’re not alone in times of trouble.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
–Psalm 46:1

#1 God is.

The Bible never argues the existence of God. It is assumed. The Psalmist saw God’s handiwork in the world. He witnessed God’s creative power in the universe. And felt God’s divine presence within and through the wondrous functioning of the human body.

Our world has lost its way spiritually. If people believe in God, often it’s a god of their own choosing. Not the one, true God. The Bible is discounted. Faith is attacked. And prayer is ridiculed. In the beginning of the Pandemic, when Vice-President Pence suggested we needed to pray, he was mocked for his faith.

While this post won’t convince the unbeliever, Christians need to reject the skepticism and cynicism of an unbelieving culture, revive their faith, and return to God.

#2 God is our Refuge.

The word refuge is an allusion to the cities of refuge in Israel, which were a place of safety, security and protection for someone who had accidently killed someone.

Twenty-four times the Psalmist described God as his refuge. He’s a refuge for the oppressed. From enemies. For the poor. In times of trouble. When calamity strikes. When friends forsake us.

God is called a “strong refuge.” “A safe refuge.” “A rock of refuge.”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
–Ps 46:7

#3 God is our Strength.

The Psalmist often refers to God as “my strength.”

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
–Ps. 28:7

Human strength is limited, finite, and often unreliable. But God provides mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to deal with adversity. Triumph over temptation. And overcome trial and trouble.

#4 God is our Help.

Notice the emphasis. God is our help. Our present help. Our very present help.

God is there. He is not a mere spectator in our pain. But present to provide assistance and support.  Refuge, strength and help will not come accidently or miraculously. Through prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship with God’s people, and a relationship with Jesus Christ, we can access God’s provisions, promises, and power.

When you face trouble, trial and temptation, heed the advice of the wise man: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

DO MEN HAVE FREE-WILL? by steve finnell

 

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2016/11/do-men-have-free-will-by-steve-finnell.html

DO MEN HAVE FREE-WILL? by steve finnell

Do men have the free-will to reject or accept Jesus as Lord and Savior? Some believe that God has predetermined those who will be saved and those who will burn in hell for all eternity. The truth is all men who hear the gospel preached can accept it and be saved or reject it and be lost. Men do have free-will.

 Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(NKJV)

All men have free-will.

John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you  that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (NKJV)

Why would Jesus condemn men for not believing; if in fact it was through no fault of their own?

 All men have free-will.

Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand . Repent, and believe in the gospel."(NKJV)

Why did Jesus command men to repent and believe if it was impossible? You do not have to ask men to repent if they are forced to believe.

All men have free-will.

John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."(NKJV)

Why would God's wrath abide with men whose only choice was to not believe in Jesus?

All men have free-will.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

Why would the apostle Peter tell those on the Day of Pentecost to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins if they had already been selected for salvation through no choice of their own?

All men have free-will.

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things shall be added to you.(NKJV)

Was Jesus confuse when He told them to seek the kingdom of God? How can men with no free-will seek God's kingdom?

All men have free-will.

Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!(NKJV)

How could Jerusalem have been unwilling if they did not have free-will?

All men have free-will.

Matthew 24:5 "For many will come in My name, saying . 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.(NKJV)

No person can be deceived unless they have free-will. Adam and Eve could not have been deceive by Satan except for the fact they had free-will.

All men have free-will.

Luke 24:47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name  to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.(NKJV)

Why would Jesus say repentance would be preached to men who could not repent. How can men repent who have no free-will?

All men have free-will.

Romans 10:21 But to Israel he says:"All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient  and contrary people.(NKJV)

It is impossible for men to disobey if they have no free-will.

All men have free-will.

Acts 13:45-46.....46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.(NKJV)

You cannot reject the word of God unless you have free-will.

Al men have free-will

Acts 17:30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (NKJV)

Why would God command men to repent if they did not have the free-will to comply?

All men have free-will.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

Why would God condemn men for not believing if they lacked the capacity to believe?

ALL MEN HAVE FREE-WILL!

Hope by Sandra F. Cobble

 

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Cobble/Sandra/Fontaine/1933/hope.html

Hope

Born in 1933, raised in the ghetto of Los Angeles (Watts), the victim of psychological child abuse, in an orphanage nearly a year, in numerous foster homes, a failure in high school, and without any hope whatsoever for the future, yet this week I am graduating from Motlow State Community College with honors.

Was I afraid to return to school after having been out nearly thirty-two years? I was not just afraid; I was terrified! I was afraid the instructors would embarrass me in front of the class. I was afraid I would not know how to write an essay. And I was afraid of examinations.

Was college like I thought it might be? NO! No instructor purposely embarrassed any student. There was a writing lab with an instructor who patiently helped me write my first few essays. The examinations were not nearly as hard as I had imagined them to be. I found the instructors to be warm, caring human beings who wanted their students -- wanted me -- to be successful.

What is ahead? Hope! I have been accepted as a student at David Lipscomb College. I am hoping to eventually obtain a doctorate in language and linguistics. Although I am in my fifties, I am looking forward to a career in adult education. What is ahead? A chance to make a worthwhile contribution to society. A chance to help others as someone has helped me.

"Sure", you may say, "Anyone can hope when all is going well. But MY world has fallen apart. All I feel is despair." A few days after the foregoing was written as a basis of a speech to a group of older students about to enter college, my world fell apart. A drunken driver rammed the back of my motor scooter, throwing me to the pavement. The accident left me permanently paralyzed from the chest down. A resulting heart problem left me unable to regain full strength. And a skull fracture resulted in the inability to remember in some areas of thought. Can any hope still remain? "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" ( 1 Cor. 13:13 NKJV).

Yes! According to Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon the word for "hope" -- elpis, may be defined as "expectation". We recognize that hope actually has two elements -- expectation and desire. Do I still have the expectation of a career in adult education? No. But a career was not an end in itself. Rather, it was a means to an end -- to glorify God. To glorify God by making a worthwhile contribution to society. To glorify God by helping others as someone has helped me. And these things I can still do. For I can still smile. I can still listen. I can still encourage others. And I can do these things in such a way as to glorify God. Yes, hope can and does remain!

Sandra F. Cobble

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

Bible Reading for April 19 and 20 by Gary Rose

 


Bible Reading for April 19 and 20

World  English Bible

 

Apr. 19

Numbers 29, 30

Num 29:1 In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets to you.

Num 29:2 You shall offer a burnt offering for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:3 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the ram,

Num 29:4 and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;

Num 29:5 and one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you;

Num 29:6 besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and the meal offering of it, and the continual burnt offering and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.

Num 29:7 On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; and you shall afflict your souls: you shall do no manner of work;

Num 29:8 but you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh for a pleasant aroma: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish;

Num 29:9 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the one ram,

Num 29:10 a tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs:

Num 29:11 one male goat for a sin offering; besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings.

Num 29:12 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work, and you shall keep a feast to Yahweh seven days:

Num 29:13 and you shall offer a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh; thirteen young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they shall be without blemish;

Num 29:14 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for every bull of the thirteen bulls, two tenth parts for each ram of the two rams,

Num 29:15 and a tenth part for every lamb of the fourteen lambs;

Num 29:16 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:17 On the second day you shall offer twelve young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:18 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:19 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings.

Num 29:20 On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:21 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:22 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:23 On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:24 their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:25 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:26 On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:27 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:28 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:29 On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:30 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:31 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offerings of it.

Num 29:32 On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:33 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;

Num 29:34 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:35 On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly: you shall do no servile work;

Num 29:36 but you shall offer a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;

Num 29:37 their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the ordinance:

Num 29:38 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.

Num 29:39 You shall offer these to Yahweh in your set feasts, besides your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meal offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.

Num 29:40 Moses told the children of Israel according to all that Yahweh commanded Moses.


Num 30:1 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded.

Num 30:2 When a man vows a vow to Yahweh, or swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Num 30:3 Also when a woman vows a vow to Yahweh, and binds herself by a bond, being in her father's house, in her youth,

Num 30:4 and her father hears her vow, and her bond with which she has bound her soul, and her father holds his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond with which she has bound her soul shall stand.

Num 30:5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he hears, none of her vows, or of her bonds with which she has bound her soul, shall stand: and Yahweh will forgive her, because her father disallowed her.

Num 30:6 If she be married to a husband, while her vows are on her, or the rash utterance of her lips, with which she has bound her soul,

Num 30:7 and her husband hear it, and hold his peace at her in the day that he hears it; then her vows shall stand, and her bonds with which she has bound her soul shall stand.

Num 30:8 But if her husband disallow her in the day that he hears it, then he shall make void her vow which is on her, and the rash utterance of her lips, with which she has bound her soul: and Yahweh will forgive her.

Num 30:9 But the vow of a widow, or of her who is divorced, even everything with which she has bound her soul, shall stand against her.

Num 30:10 If she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath,

Num 30:11 and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and didn't disallow her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond with which she bound her soul shall stand.

Num 30:12 But if her husband made them null and void in the day that he heard them, then whatever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband has made them void; and Yahweh will forgive her.

Num 30:13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

Num 30:14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows, or all her bonds, which are on her: he has established them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.

Num 30:15 But if he shall make them null and void after that he has heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity.

Num 30:16 These are the statutes, which Yahweh commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between a father and his daughter, being in her youth, in her father's house. 

 

Apr. 20

Numbers 31, 32

Num 31:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

Num 31:2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward you shall be gathered to your people.

Num 31:3 Moses spoke to the people, saying, Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute Yahweh's vengeance on Midian.

Num 31:4 Of every tribe one thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, you shall send to the war.

Num 31:5 So there were delivered, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.

Num 31:6 Moses sent them, one thousand of every tribe, to the war, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand.

Num 31:7 They warred against Midian, as Yahweh commanded Moses; and they killed every male.

Num 31:8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain: Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they killed with the sword.

Num 31:9 The children of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their livestock, and all their flocks, and all their goods, they took for a prey.

Num 31:10 All their cities in the places in which they lived, and all their encampments, they burnt with fire.

Num 31:11 They took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of man and of animal.

Num 31:12 They brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the children of Israel, to the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan at Jericho.

Num 31:13 Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them outside of the camp.

Num 31:14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who came from the service of the war.

Num 31:15 Moses said to them, Have you saved all the women alive?

Num 31:16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against Yahweh in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of Yahweh.

Num 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.

Num 31:18 But all the girls, who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Num 31:19 Encamp outside of the camp seven days: whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves on the third day and on the seventh day, you and your captives.

Num 31:20 As to every garment, and all that is made of skin, and all work of goats' hair, and all things made of wood, you shall purify yourselves.

Num 31:21 Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who went to the battle, This is the statute of the law which Yahweh has commanded Moses:

Num 31:22 however the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,

Num 31:23 everything that may abide the fire, you shall make to go through the fire, and it shall be clean; nevertheless it shall be purified with the water for impurity: and all that doesn't withstand the fire you shall make to go through the water.

Num 31:24 You shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean; and afterward you shall come into the camp.

Num 31:25 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

Num 31:26 Take the sum of the prey that was taken, both of man and of animal, you, and Eleazar the priest, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the congregation;

Num 31:27 and divide the prey into two parts: between the men skilled in war, who went out to battle, and all the congregation.

Num 31:28 Levy a tribute to Yahweh of the men of war who went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the cattle, and of the donkeys, and of the flocks:

Num 31:29 take it of their half, and give it to Eleazar the priest, for Yahweh's wave offering.

Num 31:30 Of the children of Israel's half, you shall take one drawn out of every fifty, of the persons, of the cattle, of the donkeys, and of the flocks, even of all the livestock, and give them to the Levites, who perform the duty of the tabernacle of Yahweh.

Num 31:31 Moses and Eleazar the priest did as Yahweh commanded Moses.

Num 31:32 Now the prey, over and above the booty which the men of war took, was six hundred seventy-five thousand sheep,

Num 31:33 and seventy-two thousand head of cattle,

Num 31:34 and sixty-one thousand donkeys,

Num 31:35 and thirty-two thousand persons in all, of the women who had not known man by lying with him.

Num 31:36 The half, which was the portion of those who went out to war, was in number three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep:

Num 31:37 and Yahweh's tribute of the sheep was six hundred seventy-five.

Num 31:38 The cattle were thirty-six thousand; of which Yahweh's tribute was seventy-two.

Num 31:39 The donkeys were thirty thousand five hundred; of which Yahweh's tribute was sixty-one.

Num 31:40 The persons were sixteen thousand; of whom Yahweh's tribute was thirty-two persons.

Num 31:41 Moses gave the tribute, which was Yahweh's wave offering, to Eleazar the priest, as Yahweh commanded Moses.

Num 31:42 Of the children of Israel's half, which Moses divided off from the men who warred

Num 31:43 (now the congregation's half was three hundred thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep,

Num 31:44 and thirty-six thousand head of cattle,

Num 31:45 and thirty thousand five hundred donkeys,

Num 31:46 and sixteen thousand persons),

Num 31:47 even of the children of Israel's half, Moses took one drawn out of every fifty, both of man and of animal, and gave them to the Levites, who performed the duty of the tabernacle of Yahweh; as Yahweh commanded Moses.

Num 31:48 The officers who were over the thousands of the army, the captains of thousands, and the captains of hundreds, came near to Moses;

Num 31:49 and they said to Moses, Your servants have taken the sum of the men of war who are under our command, and there lacks not one man of us.

Num 31:50 We have brought Yahweh's offering, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, armlets, and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and necklaces, to make atonement for our souls before Yahweh.

Num 31:51 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of them, even all worked jewels.

Num 31:52 All the gold of the wave offering that they offered up to Yahweh, of the captains of thousands, and of the captains of hundreds, was sixteen thousand seven hundred fifty shekels.

Num 31:53 (For the men of war had taken booty, every man for himself.)

Num 31:54 Moses and Eleazar the priest took the gold of the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it into the Tent of Meeting, for a memorial for the children of Israel before Yahweh.


Num 32:1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that behold, the place was a place for livestock;

Num 32:2 the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the princes of the congregation, saying,

Num 32:3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Sebam, and Nebo, and Beon,

Num 32:4 the land which Yahweh struck before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock; and your servants have livestock.

Num 32:5 They said, If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession; don't bring us over the Jordan.

Num 32:6 Moses said to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brothers go to the war, and shall you sit here?

Num 32:7 Why do you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which Yahweh has given them?

Num 32:8 Your fathers did so when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to see the land.

Num 32:9 For when they went up to the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which Yahweh had given them.

Num 32:10 Yahweh's anger was kindled in that day, and he swore, saying,

Num 32:11 Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

Num 32:12 save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun; because they have wholly followed Yahweh.

Num 32:13 Yahweh's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander back and forth in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, who had done evil in the sight of Yahweh, was consumed.

Num 32:14 Behold, you have risen up in your fathers' place, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of Yahweh toward Israel.

Num 32:15 For if you turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and you will destroy all this people.

Num 32:16 They came near to him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones:

Num 32:17 but we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them to their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land.

Num 32:18 We will not return to our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.

Num 32:19 For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan, and forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side of the Jordan eastward.

Num 32:20 Moses said to them, If you will do this thing, if you will arm yourselves to go before Yahweh to the war,

Num 32:21 and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before Yahweh, until he has driven out his enemies from before him,

Num 32:22 and the land is subdued before Yahweh; then afterward you shall return, and be guiltless towards Yahweh, and towards Israel; and this land shall be to you for a possession before Yahweh.

Num 32:23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against Yahweh; and be sure your sin will find you out.

Num 32:24 Build cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which has proceeded out of your mouth.

Num 32:25 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke to Moses, saying, Your servants will do as my lord commands.

Num 32:26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our livestock, shall be there in the cities of Gilead;

Num 32:27 but your servants will pass over, every man who is armed for war, before Yahweh to battle, as my lord says.

Num 32:28 So Moses commanded concerning them to Eleazar the priest, and to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of Israel.

Num 32:29 Moses said to them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over the Jordan, every man who is armed to battle, before Yahweh, and the land shall be subdued before you; then you shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:

Num 32:30 but if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.

Num 32:31 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As Yahweh has said to your servants, so will we do.

Num 32:32 We will pass over armed before Yahweh into the land of Canaan, and the possession of our inheritance shall remain with us beyond the Jordan.

Num 32:33 Moses gave to them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, according to the cities of it with their borders, even the cities of the surrounding land.

Num 32:34 The children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,

Num 32:35 and Atrothshophan, and Jazer, and Jogbehah,

Num 32:36 and Beth Nimrah, and Beth Haran: fortified cities, and folds for sheep.

Num 32:37 The children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kiriathaim,

Num 32:38 and Nebo, and Baal Meon, (their names being changed), and Sibmah: and they gave other names to the cities which they built.

Num 32:39 The children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites who were therein.

Num 32:40 Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh; and he lived therein.

Num 32:41 Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its towns, and called them Havvoth Jair.

Num 32:42 Nobah went and took Kenath, and its villages, and called it Nobah, after his own name. 

 

Apr.  19

Luke 11

Luk 11:1 It happened, that when he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples."

Luk 11:2 He said to them, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come. May your will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven.

Luk 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

Luk 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' "

Luk 11:5 He said to them, "Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,

Luk 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,'

Luk 11:7 and he from within will answer and say, 'Don't bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give it to you'?

Luk 11:8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.

Luk 11:9 "I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you.

Luk 11:10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

Luk 11:11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won't give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?

Luk 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won't give him a scorpion, will he?

Luk 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

Luk 11:14 He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. It happened, when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the multitudes marveled.

Luk 11:15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons."

Luk 11:16 Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven.

Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls.

Luk 11:18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.

Luk 11:19 But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges.

Luk 11:20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.

Luk 11:21 "When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe.

Luk 11:22 But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.

Luk 11:23 "He that is not with me is against me. He who doesn't gather with me scatters.

Luk 11:24 The unclean spirit, when he has gone out of the man, passes through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he says, 'I will turn back to my house from which I came out.'

Luk 11:25 When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order.

Luk 11:26 Then he goes, and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

Luk 11:27 It came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!"

Luk 11:28 But he said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it."

Luk 11:29 When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet.

Luk 11:30 For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will also the Son of Man be to this generation.

Luk 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here.

Luk 11:32 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here.

Luk 11:33 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light.

Luk 11:34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is evil, your body also is full of darkness.

Luk 11:35 Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn't darkness.

Luk 11:36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light."

Luk 11:37 Now as he spoke, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. He went in, and sat at the table.

Luk 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed himself before dinner.

Luk 11:39 The Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness.

Luk 11:40 You foolish ones, didn't he who made the outside make the inside also?

Luk 11:41 But give for gifts to the needy those things which are within, and behold, all things will be clean to you.

Luk 11:42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.

Luk 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces.

Luk 11:44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like hidden graves, and the men who walk over them don't know it."

Luk 11:45 One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you insult us also."

Luk 11:46 He said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won't even lift one finger to help carry those burdens.

Luk 11:47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

Luk 11:48 So you testify and consent to the works of your fathers. For they killed them, and you build their tombs.

Luk 11:49 Therefore also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute,

Luk 11:50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

Luk 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary.' Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

Luk 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you took away the key of knowledge. You didn't enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered."

Luk 11:53 As he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be terribly angry, and to draw many things out of him;

Luk 11:54 lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch him in something he might say, that they might accuse him. 

 

Apr. 20

Luke 12

Luk 12:1 Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Luk 12:2 But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known.

Luk 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers will be proclaimed on the housetops.

Luk 12:4 "I tell you, my friends, don't be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

Luk 12:5 But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Luk 12:6 "Aren't five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God.

Luk 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.

Luk 12:8 "I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God;

Luk 12:9 but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God.

Luk 12:10 Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

Luk 12:11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, don't be anxious how or what you will answer, or what you will say;

Luk 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what you must say."

Luk 12:13 One of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

Luk 12:14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"

Luk 12:15 He said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses."

Luk 12:16 He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.

Luk 12:17 He reasoned within himself, saying, 'What will I do, because I don't have room to store my crops?'

Luk 12:18 He said, 'This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

Luk 12:19 I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry." '

Luk 12:20 "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared-whose will they be?'

Luk 12:21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Luk 12:22 He said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, don't be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear.

Luk 12:23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

Luk 12:24 Consider the ravens: they don't sow, they don't reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds!

Luk 12:25 Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height?

Luk 12:26 If then you aren't able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest?

Luk 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luk 12:28 But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?

Luk 12:29 Don't seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious.

Luk 12:30 For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things.

Luk 12:31 But seek God's Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.

Luk 12:32 Don't be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

Luk 12:33 Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don't grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn't fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys.

Luk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luk 12:35 "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning.

Luk 12:36 Be like men watching for their lord, when he returns from the marriage feast; that, when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him.

Luk 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord will find watching when he comes. Most certainly I tell you, that he will dress himself, and make them recline, and will come and serve them.

Luk 12:38 They will be blessed if he comes in the second or third watch, and finds them so.

Luk 12:39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not allowed his house to be broken into.

Luk 12:40 Therefore be ready also, for the Son of Man is coming in an hour that you don't expect him."

Luk 12:41 Peter said to him, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everybody?"

Luk 12:42 The Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times?

Luk 12:43 Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes.

Luk 12:44 Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has.

Luk 12:45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My lord delays his coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken,

Luk 12:46 then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn't expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn't know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful.

Luk 12:47 That servant, who knew his lord's will, and didn't prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes,

Luk 12:48 but he who didn't know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whoever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

Luk 12:49 "I came to throw fire on the earth. I wish it were already kindled.

Luk 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

Luk 12:51 Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.

Luk 12:52 For from now on, there will be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

Luk 12:53 They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

Luk 12:54 He said to the multitudes also, "When you see a cloud rising from the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it happens.

Luk 12:55 When a south wind blows, you say, 'There will be a scorching heat,' and it happens.

Luk 12:56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don't interpret this time?

Luk 12:57 Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?

Luk 12:58 For when you are going with your adversary before the magistrate, try diligently on the way to be released from him, lest perhaps he drag you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.

Luk 12:59 I tell you, you will by no means get out of there, until you have paid the very last penny."