It's Imperative!!!
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In light of the nine-year-old boy, Jamel Myles who recently committed suicide after confessing to his mother that he was gay, the question that parents need to ask themselves is: “When is it appropriate to have a conversation about suicide, about your child’s sexuality, about their gender identity, and about marriage according to the Bible?” Too often many parents take for granted that their child will automatically make the right decision about these particular issues without explaining it to them, and when they go the opposite direction, they are left scratching their head for answers. In an era where homosexuality, transgenderism, and gender fluidity are being pushed down the throat of American society like never seen before in history, it’s no wonder why kids Jamel’s age are committing suicide! They are confused about who they are, they are confused about what they are, they are confused on what to believe, and there is a major lack of biblical training in the home that’s causing the confusion.

With the LGBT agenda forcing its way on TV, forcing its way in the public schools, and even forcing its way on cartoons, it’s definitely time to re-evaluate when to have this kind of conversation with your own children. Why? Because if the parents don’t initiate this conversation, Satan and the world would be honored to fill in the gap. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour," and just like Satan devoured Jamel, believe it or not, he's after your child, along with all those who are weak-minded and limping in their faith. "The thief comes only but to seek, kill, and destroy," and the sooner people realize how real Satan is, the sooner people will prepare themselves and their children for spiritual warfare! What happened to Jamel Myles is not only tragic, but his suicide should cause grave concern to all parents. His death is the reason why it's imperative to train your children up in the ways of the Lord because if not, your child will become vulnerable and susceptible to the attacks of the devil. Teaching your children the ways of the Lord gives them a solid foundation to stand on whenever they confront the influences of the world. However, when the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, "to train a child up in the way he should go," it’s important to know exactly what that means. Does training a child up include teaching them about the sin of suicide, their sexuality, their God-given biology, and biblical marriage? You better believe it! If the Bible speaks about it, you should teach your child about it! Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, “These words I am commanding you today must be kept in your mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates."

There needs to be a major emphasis on the Word of God taught in the home in order for your children to be able to distinguish what’s right and what’s wrong whenever they encounter certain situations and whenever they come across certain teachings. According to Jason DeRouchie at desiringgod.org, "the overall context of Proverbs suggests the act of dedicating in Proverbs 22:6 is focused more on an intentional, sustained, God-dependent shepherding of our children’s hearts as they grow into adulthood — one in which the children themselves are aware of the parents’ trajectory-setting intentions. This is not a passive calling for dads and moms." In other words, training your child up in the ways of the Lord is not supposed to be some passive, unintentional, complacent, or cliche kind of upbringing. NO! Training your child up in the ways of the Lord has to be imperative, intentional, direct, and assertive! It needs to incorporate a teaching on the whole Word of God! Jesus said in John 17:17, "sanctify them with the truth, for your Word is truth." 

When it comes to teaching your children the ways of the Lord, this must include a multitude of teachings outlined in the Bible that should be taught to them throughout their entire childhood, which should be done out of love and out of awareness to the trends of contemporary society. This should include the moral law of God such as the Ten Commandments. It should include the greatest two commandments given by Jesus himself in Matthew 22; "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself." It should include the Biblical definition of marriage given at the beginning of Genesis 1:27, and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:5. It should include the fact that God created them male and female, not what the world is teaching today that a child has the option to choose their own gender. It should include that every person was made in the image of God and knitted in their mother’s womb. It should include that life begins at the moment of conception when the Lord said in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart.” Lastly, it's imperative for parents to teach their children that their bodies is not only a gift from God, but the body is also the temple of the Holy Spirit, and “whoever destroys the temple, God will destroy," according to 1 Corinthians 3:17.  These are just some of the teachings that need to be addressed in the household when it comes to suicide, sexuality, and marriage at an age-appropriate level. 

As for me and my household, the best way to train a child up in the ways of the Lord is to model the Christian lifestyle in the presence of your children. In other words, parents need to be intentional in demonstrating a life of holiness and biblical righteousness so that your children can know and understand what it means to live a Godly and righteous life; especially in an age where the world has an overwhelming influence on your child. If there has ever been a time to be intentional with your child, the time is most certainly now! When it comes to teaching your child about suicide, sexuality, and biblical marriage, first, your child has to understand that God’s Word is the foundation and final authority on morality and all truth! Psalm 19:7-11 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward."

Once a child understands that God’s Word is the final authority, then you can begin to underline certain teachings in the Bible such as suicide, sexuality, gender identity, marriage, etc. Moreover, when your child witnesses something immoral on TV, on the internet, on a video game, or something their friends did, then you as the parent can point back to the Word of God and ask them, “What does the Bible say about this matter?” Training your children up in the ways of the Lord at an early age allows your children to always go back to the foundational truth of God’s Word whenever they witness something in the world or desire something that's contrary to what the Bible teaches. For instance, if your child witnesses two boys or two girls kissing each other on the lips, or hears another kid wanting to kill themselves they can automatically spot unrighteousness when they see it. Then parents can ask their children, what does God have to say about this in his Word? If the Bible is being taught appropriately and effectively in the home, then they should be able to answer the question biblically without hesitation, and if they can't, what a wonderful opportunity to present the truth of God's Word to them. 

Furthermore, it’s also important to make known to your children that when they see something they know is wrong, to not treat that child as an outcast or bully them, but to demonstrate the love of Christ to them despite their wrongdoing. The Golden Rule is always binding no matter the human encounter; "to treat others as you want to be treated." Children are not to criticize other children or talk down to them, but to demonstrate God’s love to them even when they are in the wrong. Doing this may provide an opportunity to lead them on the narrow road that leads to righteousness and to save them from whatever they are doing wrong. It's imperative to teach your children the ways of the Lord because if you don't, Satan will be thrilled to take your spot! Please keep the family of Jamel in your prayers, along with all the other children who are being led astray, and please provide a greater emphasis and teaching on the Word of God in your homes for the sake of your own children.

Below is an article that gives some tips on how to approach sexuality with your own kids.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2015/september/how-to-teach-your-kids-about-homosexuality.html

Misconceptions Clarified XIII; "Does The Bible Approve Same-Sex Marriage?"
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Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified XIII, "Does The Bible Approve Same-Sex Marriage?" 

Since the Obergefell vs Hodges decision in 2015, the LGBT agenda has obviously grown tremendously in speech and practice to the extent that anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle has been labeled all sorts of derogatory names. The outcry for acceptance has been so loud that it has penetrated the mainstream church and caused several of them to split on this controversial issue, and unfortunately, it won’t be too long when the churches who advocate for traditional marriage will be in the minority. Just look at the Revoice Conference held at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis on July 26th-28th, a prominently conservative denomination of Christianity who are now opening their doors of accommodation to the LGBT agenda. The mission of the Revoice Conference “is to engage in "supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality." Their whole intent is to essentially mix two brands of doctrine together as one. That’s how intentional and effective the voice of the LGBT community has become. 

Yet, the question that remains to be answered is... “Does the Bible approve of same-sex marriage?” Does the Word of God need to conform to the societal changes of the 21st century and be reinterpreted to accommodate the world? What about those who believe the Bible to be authoritative for traditional marriage? Do they now need to reopen their minds to same-sex marriage and just accept their interpretation of the scriptures? Or, what about the argument that the Bible doesn't actually mean what it says when it comes to homosexuality? Were the scholars who had a role in the English translation of the scriptures throughout the past five centuries in error? Moreover, did the writers of the Bible who spoke against same-sex relations and claimed inspiration by God misspoke? What about the Jewish culture where the scriptures actually derive from, did they have it wrong all these years that homosexuality was immoral? These are some of the questions that comes to mind whenever this controversial subject arises, which this article will briefly explore. 

Take for instance, Leviticus 18:22 which says, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, that is detestable.” Now, is this verse suppose to mean something different from what it says? When Moses was outlining what was sexually forbidden in Leviticus 18, he gave very specific examples such as sex with a relative, sex with your mother, sex with your sister, sex with your daughter, sex with your in-laws, sex with your father’s sister, sex with your brother’s wife, sex with a woman on her menstrual cycle, or sex with an animal were all specifically forbidden. In Leviticus 18, Moses is very detailed in this entire account, and if scripture means something different than what it says, does that mean that scripture is not plain when it says that “you should not have sexual intercourse with your mother?” Of course not! So, how is it different all of a sudden when Moses said, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.” How is it different when Moses specifically said in Leviticus 20:13, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own head.” If this clear command in scripture doesn’t mean what it says, then the command to not have sexual intercourse with your mother also doesn’t mean what it says, which opens Pandora’s Box of permissibility of everything sexually forbidden in Leviticus 18! 

You see, this is where a lack of knowledge is truly destroying the people of God! When it comes to the interpretation of the ancient scriptures, people interpret scripture with a 21st century lens by saying that it wasn't specific enough or it doesn't say verbatim this or verbatim that (even though the scripture above is obviously plain). Anyone who does any kind of cultural study on Judaism or an exegesis of the original languages understands that when the Bible speaks of “sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman,” or “sexual immorality” or that “men committed shameful acts with other men,” the audience of that era understood exactly what that meant. They spoke in terms their audience could identify with and understand, not with our 21st century standards of "form criticism," a methodology developed in the 19th century to examine scripture.

Moreover, when it comes to the forbidden sexual relations outlined in scripture, did God intend his word to be subjective to however his people want to interpret it? No!! God is not a man that he should lie nor the son of man that he should change his mind. Jesus is the same yesterday, the same today, and the same forevermore! The natural design of procreation is between a male and a female, no Bible is needed for that, and Paul says in Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” 

In other words, God made it plain to humanity through his Word and through the "natural" order of creation of what's natural and what’s unnatural. In order to charge a cell phone the natural way, it needs a plug and a socket to get juice. Likewise, God designed his creation a natural way for them to be fruitful and multiple, and any other way outside this design would be deemed unnatural. Furthermore, God took it one step further by preserving his word that clearly says in Genesis 1:27 that He created them male and female to become one flesh. And then Jesus came into the picture and confirmed that Word that was in the beginning of Genesis when he said in Matthew 19:4-6, "Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 

Even Paul was incredibly specific regarding what was included under the umbrella of sexual immorality when he said in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.” If this is not specific enough, the newer English translations are even more specific than ever before. For instance the NET Bible, a very recent translation says,  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice the Greek word "arsenokoites" is translated as “practicing homosexual,” which means, “one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.” So, this idea that the Bible isn’t specific enough is thrown right out the window with the newer English translations that’s steadily trying to keep up with the ever-evolving English language while getting rid of archaic terminology. Even during the days of the KJV in the 17th and 18th century, terms such as fornicators, effeminate, and abusers of themselves was very specific during that era. There was no ambiguity regarding what Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10 meant. It was only at the turn of the 21st century where the LGBT community inserted the ambiguity, questioned the authority of scripture, and became law by the United States government in 2015. And while advocates of the LGBT agenda dispute the above verses, there is not one verse in all of scripture that God approves of same-sex anything. There is not one single instance in all of scripture that God said He created them male and male or female and female to become one flesh! The same argument of specificity used by the LGBT community against traditional marriage backfires on their own doctrine of homosexuality because there is no specific terminology or examples that someone can point to approving of any act of homosexuality. Not one!!! 

Unfortunately, the underlying problem that our church has continued to explore and make awareness of, is Satan’s influence in the world and how he’s constantly prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can get to question the authority of scripture, just like he did in the beginning with Adam and Eve when he said, "Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The devil has been a liar since the beginning of creation and he's been questioning the Word of God on this particular topic by saying, "Did God really say that marriage is just between a male and a female?" Therefore, when it comes to the question, “Does the Bible approve same-sex marriage,” the answer is an astounding NO according to the scriptures. As mentioned previously, there’s nowhere in scripture that affirms same-sex relations or same-sex marriage. Matter of fact, every single English Translation (except the Queen James Bible that is obviously biased), all contain a consistent variation of interpretation that same-sex relations is a sin in need of repentance. The sin of homosexuality along with every other sin is exactly why Jesus stepped off his throne in heaven, became flesh, dwelt among men, was crucified, and rose from the dead to destroy the work of the devil, and to wash whoever accepts Him as Lord and Savior, and repents from their sin. In the same passage in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Paul says at the end, “Some of you once lived this way (referring to those caught up in the sin of homosexuality and the other sins outlined in the passage), but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 

Misconceptions Clarified XII; "Is Jesus God?"
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"Is Jesus God?"

Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified XII; "Is Jesus God?"

It's difficult to believe that Christian Way Ministries is already on its twelfth episode of Misconceptions Clarified which started a year ago on July 12th, 2016 when we introduced our very first article; "Is Christianity a Myth?" Who would have ever thought (besides God alone) that Christianity would have to defend against so many criticisms throughout the centuries... It's disconcerting to read the bulk amount of misconceptions that clouds the water of Christianity like never seen before in the 21st century. This can be largely attributed to Satan, to the internet, and to the media-nites as Amir Tsarfati puts it. Reluctantly, the more the devil tries to seek, kill, and destroy God's people with his lies, the greater the opportunity for the body of Christ to stand firm on the faith and cast down every argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.

So, next up on our list of misconceptions to clarify is considered one of the most controversial questions there is to ask regarding the nature of Christ; "Is Jesus God?" Matter of fact, this question is so controversial that the answer to it has literally caused some kind of division in every single religion around the world today, which makes perfect sense why the answer to the question regarding the deity of Christ has caused so much schism. In John 14:6 Jesus made the greatest exclusive claim there is to make by any man; "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Just this statement alone will either make a person rejoice in the Lord or retract a person all together from the faith. Additionally, the answer to who Jesus is has also caused many headaches within the church itself. The controversies such as Gnosticism, Arianism, and Docetism are just a few heresies the church had to contend with. The reality of the situation is that since the time of Christ, people have been debating the nature of Christ with questions such as... Is Jesus God? Is Jesus just a prophet? Is Jesus the messiah prophesied in the scriptures? Is Jesus just a religious fantasy? Or is Jesus truly the Son of God? 

There are so many questions, doubts, and answers to this very important question ("Is Jesus God") that it has become an arduous task to distinguish between the lies from the truth in this age of information we are engulfed in. The unfortunate part about it is that this article believe it or not is just another one in an Olympic-sized pool of swimmers trying to butter-fly stroke their way to the answer of infinite proportion. Even Jesus knew how controversial this question would be when He asked his disciples in Matthew 16:13, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" And, they responded with not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different answers of some of the rumors that were circulating during that time. "Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say Jeremiah, some say one of the prophets," and Simon says, "you are the Son of the living God."  Furthermore, what's fascinating about their response is how the disciples caught wind of those various rumors before the days of the internet. On the other hand, if a person Googles the question "Is Jesus God?" on the internet it will populate approximately 141,000,000 results. Therefore, even though this article will probably not offer anything new that hasn't been thought of already, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will convict and lend some added substance to this question. 

Now, one of the more common criticisms that arises in this debate, especially in non-trinitarian and atheistic circles pertains to what Jesus said and what Jesus didn't say in the scriptures. For instance, the fact that Jesus didn't say word for word, "I am God" is one of the major points used to discredit the deity of Christ. However, this "exact-words" argument is insufficient by itself to discount the nature of Jesus because in order to prove a claim of deity, Jesus would have to prove beyond words that he was God. Hence, one can postulate that Jesus was well aware of this and tactically avoided making certain claims about himself until the time was right. For instance, an undercover law enforcement agent in a foreign context isn't going to reveal certain claims about himself that's going to compromise his mission, right? Well, likewise, Jesus didn't compromise his overall mission by revealing certain claims about himself before the time was right. As a matter of fact, there are several instances throughout the New Testament after Jesus performs a miracle where he tells them, "See that you don't tell anyone." Jesus commands them not to say anything because he was focused on the "greater" mission of salvation, not on making boisterous claims about himself that could have possibly compromised his overall objective beforehand. This is particularly important especially when he ultimately knew that his actions would speak for themselves. Besides, how likely were the people going to believe that Jesus was God if he went around protesting in Jerusalem with a sign that read, "I AM GOD" in big capital red letters... Not very likely! Instead, Jesus allowed the disciples to make up their own minds based off his own actions and teachings. To add some perspective to this, a mother can broadcast on a local news channel all day long that she is a parent to her child, but we all know that it's going to take more than words to prove that she is one, right? It's going to take action to fulfill the duties of a parent, and likewise it's going to take action to fulfill the claim of deity. As the old saying goes, "actions speak louder than words!" 

One last point that needs to be addressed regarding this "exact-words" claim pertains to those who actually made certain claims of deity throughout history. After doing some research, come to find out, the list of pseudo-messiahs who made verbal claims of being the messiah or the second coming of Christ was longer than anybody would have imagined. The claims of messiahship is actually humorous considering how their actions fell a thousand football fields short of their words. Not with Jesus though! The miracles Jesus performed throughout his ministry confirmed everything he spoke, which is a big difference! The resurrection of Jesus alone which is documented by several internal and externals sources overshadows every claim made by these pseudo-messiahs combined. Therefore, even though Jesus avoided the "exact-words" claim "I am God" during his ministry, his teachings along with his deeds in the scriptures paint a perfect picture of the "Real Jesus!"

Additionally, before this article goes any further, there is one more thing Jesus said that critics use in conjunction with the "exact-words" argument to diminish his deity. In John 14:28 when Jesus told his disciples in the context that they should be glad that he was going back to the Father, he told them that the Father is greater than he is. Now for many, this is solid proof that Jesus is not God. Why? Because Jesus clearly states that the Father is greater than him, and if the Father is greater than Jesus, then how can Jesus be equal to God? Well, this logic makes sense whenever we think of "greater" in terms of being better at something than another person. However, this is not what Jesus was essentially saying even though it appears like it. Sometimes, the English translation of the ancient scriptures doesn't capture the overall meaning of certain words. Anytime the Word of God is examined it's always important to research certain words in its original language. For instance, the Greek word for "greater" (meizon) can also mean greater in position. So, when Jesus says that the Father is greater than he is, Jesus wasn't saying that the Father was better than him. No! The "incarnate" Jesus (also known as "God in the flesh") was in a lower position in the flesh than the Father who is in heaven. In other words, Jesus stepped off his throne in heaven, took on flesh, took on a lower role, and took on a lower "earthly" position in order to reconcile humanity back to himself. Which means, that while Jesus was here on earth, the Father in heaven became greater than Jesus in position, not greater than him in nature. When a member in the military gets promoted to a higher rank above his peers, that member doesn't become some "super" human by nature over their peers (although some do feel that way). No! All it means is that one becomes greater in rank and in position, that's it! And likewise, this is exactly the scenario we find in the context of John's gospel.

Unfortunately, the problem many people have when discussing this particular topic pertains to the true nature of Christ. For some, Jesus is just some created being that did a lot of good works and taught a lot of good things. However, the scriptures paint a completely different story regarding the true nature of Jesus when they are examined with an aerial point of view. Meaning, when the whole Bible is taken into consideration. For instance, in John 1:1-3 it says that "In the beginning (key word beginning) was the Word (Logos/Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was GOD." Then in verse 2 it says that "He (Jesus) was 'with' God in the beginning." Lastly, in verse 3 it says, "Through Him (Jesus) ALL things were made and without Him (Jesus) nothing was made that was made." Now, the question that still needs to be answered is, "who can create something besides God alone?" Nobody! The inventions attributed to humanity came out of preexisting material. But, the things Jesus created in the beginning was ex-nihilo; brought into existence out of nothing by his very word! 

Nonetheless, if this passage in the Gospel of John isn't convincing enough for you, journey with us to the book of Daniel 7:9 really quick. It says, "As I looked, thrones (not throne, but thrones) were set in place, and the Ancient of Days (God) took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool." Now, the next question that needs to be addressed is, if the Father is Spirit according to John 4:24, and the Holy Spirit is Spirit, who is this person whose clothing is white as snow and whose hair is white as wool? Has the light bulb turned on in your mind yet??? If not, hold on to your seats because it's about to get real bright in just a second! In Daniel 7:14 it says, "He (the son of man, which is the exact same title Jesus applies to himself in Luke 5:24) was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all peoples, nations, and men of every language 'WORSHIPPED' him." This verse right here is a pen-dropping moment!! Who but God alone can receive worship?! Absolutely nobody. Only God can receive worship, and here we have scriptural evidence of Jesus being worshipped along with many other passages in the Bible to include Matthew 2:11, Matthew 14:33, Luke 24:52, Revelation 4:10, and Revelation 7:11. Which means that Jesus is God!! You see, in order to fully comprehend the true nature of Christ must fully open their minds to the entirety of the scriptures. One of the rules of engagement when it comes to biblical interpretation is context. Hence, for this particular topic, the context of the whole Bible should be taken into consideration in order to gain a full understanding of the nature of Christ. 

So, when it comes to the question, "Is Jesus God" there is so much more where that came from. According to the scriptures, Jesus is much more than a man, he is much more than a prophet, and he is much more than a teacher. In John 17:5, Jesus prays to the Father to glorify him with the glory he had with the Father before the world began. Meaning, to elevate Jesus back to his rightful equal position (not nature) he had with the Father in heaven before he willingly took on a lower earthly position to save his lower earthly creation. This interpretation aligns perfectly with everything else that Jesus said and everything else that Jesus did to demonstrate that He is in fact, God in the flesh. In other words, when it comes to the question "Is Jesus God?" we have to consider the totality of Jesus' life to answer this particular question. We can't look at the exact words he didn't say or isolate certain passages to conclude that Jesus isn't God. We can't make an objective verdict on a matter without taking into consideration the entirety of the available evidence. And we can't include "the Father is greater than I" in John 14:28, and exclude "the Father and I are one" in John 10:30 in our determination of the matter. That's not sound biblical interpretation! We can't exclude the abundance of evidence that demonstrates that Jesus is God, and include only what fits our preconceived agendas. 

The name of the game when it comes to researching the truth about anything is objectivity! And even though everyone has their own presuppositions, we can't exclude the obvious! We can't exclude the response of the Pharisees in Luke 5:21 ("who can forgive sins but God alone") when Jesus said to the paralytic "your sins are forgiven." We can't exclude the many works of healing, exorcisms, and miracles Jesus performed that no other man in the history of humanity has been able to duplicate. We can't exclude the fact that the Pharisees were ready to kill Jesus in John 5:18 and in John 10:33 because Jesus claimed to be God. We can't ignore the fact that Jesus was condemned to death by crucifixion for blasphemy because he claimed to be God. We can't exclude the one piece of revolutionary evidence that far outweighs any other deed in history; the resurrection from the grave on the third day! We can't ignore the passage in John 10:18 where Jesus says, "I have authority to lay my life down and authority to take it up again." We can't exclude the response by Thomas the skeptic when the Lord revealed his wounds to him when he said in John 20:28, "My Lord and my God." And we definitely can't exclude the fact that the disciples worshiped Jesus when they saw him after the resurrection in Matthew 28:17. We can't minimize all of this evidence that speaks volumes that Jesus is God just because Jesus didn't say these exact words, "I am God." This is not sound research, but a syllogism to reject the truth! 

Furthermore, if Jesus was to come down right now and say these exact words "I am God" people would still not believe. So, to use this "exact-word" argument to discredit the deity of Jesus is a cheap escape from the truth. It’s a total rejection of who Christ really is and it’s a lack of knowledge of the scriptures! When Jesus was before the council in Luke 22:70 they asked him, "are you then the Son of God?" Jesus didn't say no. He said, "You are right in saying I am." When the Jews were mocking Jesus in John 8:48-58 when they said, "you are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham," Jesus didn't say, "ah, you got me, I've never seen Abraham before. Nope! Jesus said, "Before Abraham was born, I AM!" And when Paul was warning the church against deceptive philosophy in Colossians 2:8, Paul didn't say that all the fullness of Jesus' humanity lives in bodily form. Nope! Paul said, "For in Christ all the fullness of the 'Deity' lives in bodily form." So, even though Jesus didn't say the exact words, "I am God." Jesus and others had a lot more to say than those three words, which speaks more than volumes! Yet, all of this evidence is ignored, rejected, and overlooked all because Jesus didn't say the exact words of another person or from a poor hermeneutical application. For some, this is just a case of the misunderstanding, but for others, this is an intentional dismissal of the available evidence. Therefore, whoever makes the argument that Jesus is not God simply reject him from a lack of knowledge or reject him from a lack of faith, and depending on how you answer this question will determine where you spend the rest of eternity.

So again, we ask you the same question Jesus asked Peter two thousand years ago that is just as prevalent then as it is today; "Who do you say that Jesus is?" If Jesus is not God, then his sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world is null and void because only a perfect God could save humanity from their sins and reconcile us back to himself!  

#JesusIsGod #TheTruthShallSetYouFree #Road2TheCross.Org

For more information, click on the links below, or click on the YouTube video by David Woods. 

https://www.gotquestions.org/is-Jesus-God.html

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/jesus-is-god/is-jesus-god/

 

 

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified XI; "Did Jesus Go To Hell???"
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"Did Jesus Go To Hell???"

Welcome again to Misconceptions Clarified, Episode XI where we are steadily casting down any argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5. As you probably already know, we live in an era now where there exists so many different interpretations regarding the Bible, regarding Christianity, and regarding the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that it becomes more and more challenging to filter out the truth. However, despite the various interpretations that exist today, this could actually be viewed as an opportunity to do the research and provide some clarity to the body of Christ on certain topics. For instance, this episode is going to deal with the ancient belief of Jesus' descension into hell after his death by crucifixion. Now obviously, the belief that Jesus descended into hell comes from an interpretation of several scriptures found in the Bible. The primary verse leading the charge in this particular doctrine comes from Paul's letter in Ephesians 4:9, "What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?” In addition, there are other verses such as Psalm 16:10 which says that "He will not abandon my soul to Sheol," and 1 Peter 3:19 where it says he went and preached to the spirits in prison. Others point to Abraham's bosom in Luke 16:19-31 or to the fact that Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades according to Revelation 1:18. And even some refer to Ephesians 4:8 where he ascended on high to lead the captives captive or to Romans 10:6-7 where it says, "Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down.)" These are all great verses of scripture utilized and interpreted to confirm the belief that Jesus descended into hell. 

Moreover, the interpretation of these verses led to the adoption of Jesus' descension into hell in the early church creeds such as the Apostle's Creed, which summarizes the tenets of the Christian faith. In line 7 and 8 of the Apostles Creed it says that he (Jesus) "Was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose. He ascended into heaven." So, this belief that Jesus descended into hell is a long standing tradition that has been recited in the church for many centuries. To challenge a belief of the early church is risky business to say the least! However, part of the mission here at Christian Way Ministries is to take those risks of faith, not because it's our right, or because we want to go against a particular doctrine to gain some kind of attention, but only from the motivation of seeking the truth of God's Word. And from this motivation and from a closer look into the scriptures and into this particular doctrine, we are not entirely convinced to conclude that Jesus did in fact descend into hell according to the scriptures. Here's why.... 

First, it is very important to clarify the different terminology used to describe "hell" in the scriptures. For example, in the Old Testament the Hebrew word used to describe hell is "Sheol," which is defined as the underworld or the place where the wicked are sent, and is also defined as the designation for the abode of the dead, known in today's vernacular as the grave. Nonetheless, the complexity of the Hebrew language presents a significant challenge of interpretation in trying to determine which definition or version of a particular word the author is intending to use. For instance, in Psalm 16:10, King David says that "he will not abandon my soul to Sheol." But, does this mean that God will not abandon his soul to hell where the souls of the wicked are placed? Or, does this mean that God will not abandon his soul to the grave where the dead bodies of both the righteous and the wicked go? Well, the answer is not so clear of the author's intent by just scratching the surface of the scripture, and since it's not entirely clear, many have developed another theory that suggests King David was referring to the souls of the righteous being placed in an intermediate state of rest in hell until the resurrection of Jesus. Hence, the reason why many assume Jesus had to descend into hell in order to set the captives free. 

However, in order to figure out which version of Sheol King David was referring to, it's important to understand the portion in the verse that deals with the soul (nephesh), and since specific words in the Hebrew language can contain several different meanings, the interpreter is faced with trying to figure out which meaning the author is trying to use in the context. For example, if someone says, it's going to take a "minute" to put gas in the tank," it could mean a literal 60 seconds or it can be used in a figurative sense to mean a few minutes because the tank was empty. But, if you are on the outside looking in and don't understand the intent of a "minute" in the context, you might interpret it incorrectly by assuming from your own understanding of what a minute means to you, and not the person. Which is exactly why the author's intent along with the examination of the original language of certain words is so important. And believe it or not, after further investigation into the Hebrew word for soul (nephesh), come to find out, it can also refer to the living being, to the self, to the creature, to the mind, to the heart, and even to the will of a person.

So, when David says that he will not abandon my soul to Sheol, one has to figure out which meaning the author was trying to use for soul. In addition, notice also that in Genesis 1:21, the Hebrew word for soul (nephesh) is also used to describe every living creature (nephesh) that moves. Hence, we have the same Hebrew word (nephesh) used in 2 different contexts, written by 2 different authors in 2 different periods of history. Which means that the interpreter has to plug and play the different variations of soul (nephesh) along with Sheol in the context in order to gain the best possible interpretation of the author's intent. And unfortunately, this plug and play process is one of the reasons why there exists various interpretations for not only Psalm 16:10, but also for other passages throughout the Bible. Nevertheless, if one translates soul as the "living being" or the "self" in Psalm 16:10 and the "physical grave" for Sheol, it now translates that "he will not abandon my body, or my self to the grave." The New International Version of the Bible simply says, "because you will not abandon me to the grave." This makes for a better fit, especially when King David refers to the physical body in the very same verse that "the Holy One (Jesus' body) will not see decay," which is a messianic reference to how Jesus' physical body will not be abandoned to the grave, and likewise a futuristic hope of how our physical bodies will not be abandoned to the grave, but will receive a new and glorious body when the time comes. The consistency of this interpretation not only makes greater sense, but flows better, and it doesn't provide any room for the advancement of other theories such as the soul of the righteous going to an intermediate department in Sheol as some have suggested. 

Moreover, notice that there's a science to interpreting the ancient scriptures known as "hermeneutics" for those who are eager to go deeper into God's word. Reading the English translation of the Bible alone will give a person everything they need for their own salvation and how to be more like Christ. Nevertheless, when it comes to the more complicated doctrines like Jesus' descension into hell, a person must apply the four rules of engagement for biblical interpretation in order to gain a greater understanding, which includes: 1). Examining the original languages i.e. Hebrew and Greek. 2). Interpreting the verse in its context i.e. immediate context, context of the chapter, context of the whole book, and even the context of the whole Bible, along with the historical context. Additionally, part of understanding the context includes knowing the genre of a particular verse or book in scripture i.e. narrative, prophecy, wisdom, etc. 3). Knowing the author's intent or which definition the author is most likely trying to use for a particular word. 4). And scripture interpreting scripture. Are there any other verses in the Bible that confirm or correlate with another verse of scripture. And a bonus rule one can use to aid in their biblical interpretation is to investigate what the early church fathers had to say about a particular doctrine, since they were the closest to the situation. Now, this is not to say that the early church fathers got it right all the time, but knowing what they believed about one of these more difficult arguments will add some perspective. If a person applies all of these rules for biblical interpretation, the greater and the more sound the interpretation will be. 

So, now that this episode has established a greater understanding of the word Sheol in Psalm 16:10, the Greek word for hell (hades) in the New Testament is also defined as the place where the bodies of the dead go to, and it's also known as the place where the soul of the wicked go to as well. Essentially, Sheol and Hades contain the exact same meaning. However, 9 of the 11 instances the word Hades is used in the New Testament refers to the place where the souls of the wicked go, not the grave nor the "invented" holding place where the souls of the righteous go. On the other hand, the Greek word for grave (mnemeion) was more commonly used throughout the New Testament to refer to the actual place the bodies of the dead go to but, since Peter is quoting King David in Acts 2, it makes sense that he would use Hades instead of grave (mnemeion) because of its close association with the word Sheol in Hebrew. Therefore, for the purposes of interpretational clarity, since Peter is referring to the physical resurrection of Christ in the context of Acts 2:14-37, it's consistent to interpret his soul in verse 31 to his physical life just like it was interpreted in Psalm 16:10, that "He will not abandon his physical life to the physical grave, in order to fulfill the prophecies of a physical resurrection." Make sense... 

The only other word for hell used in the New Testament is Gehanna, which describes the activity in hell; a place of torment, a place of everlasting punishment, a place of fire, and a place of eternal separation from God. Gehanna is also used to describe a physical place south of Jerusalem known as the Valley of Hinnom mentioned in Joshua 15:8 where the filth and dead animals were cast out and burned. Outside of these terms, (Gehanna, Hades, Sheol, and mnemeion) to describe the grave and hell, the abyss is the only other place mentioned in the book of Revelation that's associated with hell where the evil spirits are detained in the bottomless pit. 

With that being said, notice how Paul uses neither of these terms in regards to Jesus' descension into hell in Ephesians 4:9. Why is that? Again, 9 out of the 11 references Hades is used in the New Testament refers to the place in hell where the souls of the wicked go, and the reference in Acts 2 is used to refer to the grave simply because Peter was quoting King David. But, notice also that Paul avoids using the Greek word mnemeion for grave. Why is that? Well, since Hades was normally associated with the abode where the souls of the wicked go after death, and since mnemeion was strictly used to refer to the grave or to a tomb, Paul avoids this terminology at the end of Ephesians 4:9 and instead says, that Jesus descended to the "lower earthly regions" to refer to a combination of his death, his burial, and in a sense to his incarnation. Not that Jesus' soul descended down to the place where the souls of the wicked go to in hell. This explains why Paul avoids using words like Hades, Gehenna, or even mnemeion (grave) in his description of Jesus' decsension to the lower earthly regions. Furthermore, in Luke 23:43, Jesus tells one of the criminals on the cross, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." And 3 verses later, right before Jesus dies on the cross, he calls out with a loud voice and says, "Father into your hands I commit my Spirit." Now, there's no denying that when Jesus commits his Spirit to the Father, that the Father was in no other place but in paradise, also known as heaven itself. 

In regards to the passage in Luke 16 of Lazarus and the Rich Man, many consider Abraham's bosom to be that intermediate place where the souls of the righteous go, mainly the souls of the Old Testament Saints prior to the resurrection of Christ. However, one must take into consideration that Jesus was speaking in parable to his disciples to describe in general two destinations where the soul of the righteous and the wicked go after death where a great chasm exists. Meaning, once physical death occurs in our fleshly bodies, that's it! The soul will go to one of the two places, either to heaven or to hell where the soul will not be able to cross from one side to the other. To suggest that there's another place in hell, or to say that there's an intermediate place between heaven or hell, or to say that a person goes to a place called purgatory, or to say that paradise is the place the souls of the Old Testament saints went to until Jesus rescued them would be adding or taking away from the scriptures. Abraham's bosom is just a figurative illustration of where his soul rests and according to the Greek language, all it means is "Abraham's side," not this intermediate place of rest many suggest his bosom to be. Abraham's bosom doesn't give any evidence for an intermediate place nor does it give any weight to Jesus' decsension into hell. Furthermore, let's not forget that before the resurrection of Christ, Abraham was credited righteous in Genesis 15:6, Enoch walked with God and was taken away by God in Genesis 5:24, and 2 Kings 2:11 says that Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. None of these references suggest an intermediate place of rest in Sheol or Hades, or any other place except the place where God resides in heaven.

The only other passage mentioned to advance this particular doctrine is 1 Peter 3:18-19 which says, "He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built." Now, according to this particular passage there is literally nothing that says Jesus' soul descended into hell. It says, that Jesus was made alive by the Spirit, through whom he (the Spirit) went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed. The question that remains to be answered is how the Spirit went about making this proclamation of the Gospel to the spirits in prison. Did the Spirit have to actually descend into hell to make such a proclamation? Certainly not. Some scholars suggest that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ was so powerful in itself that His victory over death by crucifixion made that proclamation at that moment over the powers of evil sealing their condemnation forever. Meaning, Jesus nor the Spirit had to actually descend into hell to preach to the spirits in prison because the Lord's resurrection was so powerful in itself that it not only preached to the evil spirits in prison from where the resurrection occurred, but the resurrection still preaches to the living beings in the twenty-first century! Praise the Lord! That's how powerful the resurrection of Jesus was and is today. In Matthew 28:4, the resurrection was so powerful that the Roman guards who were executioners by employment were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men. Wow!

Therefore, when it comes to whether or not Jesus descended into hell, there's not enough evidence from the scriptures to suggest that He did. Now, this is not to say definitively that Jesus did not descend into hell, and that a person needs to believe one way or the other to be saved. No! We at Christian Way Ministries wants to provide clarity on some of these difficult doctrines and to challenge the body of Christ to go deeper into the scriptures by examining the original languages, and so forth. Even if that means challenging some of the longstanding traditions of the church just to make sure we are not adding or taking away from the Word of God according to Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18. And for those who are on the fence or have doubts about the doctrine of hell, please know that according to the scriptures, hell is indeed a real place of eternal separation from God. Which means, that if you haven't received the free gift of salvation which comes by grace alone, your soul and eternity is headed towards hell if you don't repent and accept Christ into your heart. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." All you have to do is open the door of your heart so that Jesus can come in to your life! And all you have to do is confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you shall be saved (from spending eternity away from God, Romans 10:9). 

God bless all the Lord's people!  

For more information, please visit the links below:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/apostles_creed.cfm

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article=851

Misconceptions Clarified X; "Who Were The Sons Of God?"
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Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified Episode X; "Who Were the Sons of God?" 

In Genesis 6:1-2 it says, “When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” Now, when it comes to who the sons of God are in this passage, there are many competing views on the internet, on YouTube, and even passionately discussed in social circles. Some say they are fallen angels, some say they are powerful rulers, and some say they are the descendants of Seth who intermarried with the daughters of Cain. However, all of these answers cannot be true and this episode will briefly consider the two major positions between the fallen angels and the descendants of Seth to see which piece best fits the biblical portrait. 

The first position in question is the "fallen angels" perspective. Some interpret the "sons of God" in this particular passage to mean fallen angels. Now, those who side with this conclusion compare it to the passage in the beginning of Job chapter 1 and 2 where the sons of God present themselves before the Lord. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the Hebrew word for sons of God is "ben-elohiym," which includes angels as a possible definition. However, the translation for sons of God as "fallen angels" is where the ball begins to go out of bounds. For instance, the Hebrew word for fallen, "nephal" is not located in the passage, which begs the question; How can an assumption be made on the actual moral state of these sons of God minus the usage of the available Hebrew terms to describe their fallen condition, if they were truly sinful angels? For example, in Isaiah 14:12 the prophet uses the Hebrew word nephal to describe how Lucifer, the son of the dawn has fallen from heaven, but yet this is not the case for the sons of God in Genesis 6. Furthermore, the comparison by those who side with this fallen angel position of Genesis 6 and the book of Job are incoherent simply because many commentaries consider the sons of God in the book of Job to be holy angels, not fallen angels. In addition, there were three other words that could have been used in the Hebrew language to describe these sons of God as angels to include keruwb, seraph, and malak, and yet none of these words were used either. Which means that if the sons of God were really angels, why use ben-elohiym? This appears to be a very odd and inconsistent interpretation for the author to describe the sons of God as fallen angels while avoiding the Hebrew terminology used to describe them as fallen angels. 

If anything, the connotations associated with the description for the "sons of God" in scripture suggest the opposite of an upright moral being versus a fallen one. For instance, John 1:12-13 says that "all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become sons of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." Which means, that if we use the Lord's interpretation of who the sons of God are for Genesis 6, it would suggest a holy connotation instead of a fallen angel interpretation. It doesn't appear to be scripturally consistent for the sons of God in Genesis 6 to be morally depraved angelic beings while the sons of God in John 1 or even Job to be morally upright. In other words, if the sons of God in Genesis are truly sons of God, they cannot also be fallen angels. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:21, "you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons." And this same concept can be applied in this episode to mean that you cannot interpret the "sons of God" as fallen angels. Therefore, if the sons of God in this passage were indeed fallen angels, it would make sense that God would have guided the author to use the available Hebrew terminology in order to avoid any confusion. But, then again, even if that was the case, other arguments would have surfaced to confuse the matter. 

Another problem with this viewpoint of the fallen angels interpretation pertains to how they were able to produce children from a biological standpoint with the daughters of men, especially when Jesus said to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:30, "that at the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like angels in heaven." Meaning, if God created the institution of marriage between male and female, and if that marriage dynamic is eliminated at the resurrection where God's people will be like angels, then this idea that the fallen angels reproduced children with the daughters of men doesn't appear to be likely. However, there are other instances in scripture of angels appearing in human form such as Jude 1:6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4-8. There's also a reference in the book of Enoch 6:1-3 which is a very popular Jewish account that speaks of "the sons of heaven saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: Come let us choose us wives from among the children of men and have children with them." So, there's definitely a held belief that there were angels that intermingled with humanity, but unfortunately, this article can't prove or disprove with any certainty either position. 

The second view in question is that the sons of God are really the sons of god or human beings from the descendants of Seth; in particular the sons of Enosh. Scholars who side with this position linked Genesis 4:26 to describe the sons of God in Genesis 6, which says; "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” And according to various other passages throughout the Bible, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will not only be saved, but will also have the right to be called sons and daughters of God according to 2 Corinthians 6:18. So, the interpretation that the sons of God are actually human descendants who called upon the name of the Lord is a more reasonable explanation and finds continuity throughout the rest of scripture. It also better explains from a biological perspective the whole intermarriage dynamic. Furthermore, it makes sense that the author contrasted the sons of God (those who called upon the name of the Lord) with the daughters of men (those who didn't call upon the name of the Lord), and how that can serve as a spiritual analogy for God's people today of the importance to marry someone who is equally yoked in Christ. Whereas the contrast wouldn't necessarily fit the puzzle as tight with the fallen angels perspective. 

Again, there is no conclusive evidence for who the sons of God are in Genesis 6. But, the position that gives the best reasonable explanation from the scriptures is that the sons of God are human descendants who feared the Lord. Exactly which descendants are in view in this particular passage is speculative. Nevertheless, the sons of God is best interpreted as human descendants  who feared God and married human daughters of those who didn't fear God. The fallen angels theory unfortunately leaves open more questions than it gives answers. 

Additionally, it's also important to clarify the misconception that the text in Genesis 6 doesn't actually state that the intermarriage between the sons of God and the daughters of men created the Niphilim, because it says in verse 4 that “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them." The Nephilim were already present in the earth when the sons of God entered into the daughters of men, not that the Nephilim were created from this inter-marital relationship. Hence, just because the Nephilim, the sons of God, and the daughters of men are grouped together in the verse, doesn't conclude such an interpretation for the creation of the Nephilim. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days and even after according to the text. So, it's extremely important to stick with what the Bible actually says and be careful not to add or take away from the text by making unbiblical assertions. 

Lastly, the issue of who the sons of God are, or who the daughters of men represent, or whether or not the Nephilim were created by this marriage, is much larger than what this episode described. The real issue at hand is Satan who wants the body of Christ to focus and debate these secondary matters that have no bearing on salvation and have no bearing on exercising the Great commission to reach the lost. The more Satan can get the body of Christ to focus on these secondary matters, the less time spent on the battlefield winning souls for Jesus. Now, this is not to say that Christians shouldn't cast down every argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God or to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you as this episode has clearly tried to do, but that these secondary doctrines shouldn't provoke sharp disagreements or allow them to take us away from the true mission, which is to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything Jesus commanded.

#Misconceptions #Clarified #FAQs #Road2TheCross.org

For more information on this particular topic, please click on the blue link below: 

http://www.scriptureoncreation.org/bible-question-answer/sons-of-god-in-gen-6/?view=mobile

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/1-6.htm

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified IX; "Jesus Story Stolen?"
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Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified episode IX; "Jesus Story Stolen?"

When considering the uniqueness along with the evidence for the case of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there can only be one conclusion; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died on the cross by crucifixion, who rose from the dead on the third day, whose tomb was left empty, and who appeared to the multitudes in his post-resurrected body. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest attested supernatural miracle in all human history. Unfortunately, there exists a numerous amount of criticism against the resurrection of Jesus by many unbelievers who assert that the resurrection is a myth stolen from other religions. Many critics of the Christian faith conclude that Christianity in general is not authentic, but only a copy of mythological antiquity. Therefore, the objective of this analysis will attempt to clear the air on whether the account of Jesus and the resurrection was a story stolen from other religions. This study will analyze Jesus side by side to Horus, Mithra, Dionysus, Attis, and Krishna to see if there exists any credible evidence to support the accusation of stealing.

Who is the Son of Man?

However, before this comparative study gets into the details, it's important to understand who the Son of Man is in the Bible. In the Gospel of Matthew 16:13, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Now, fast forward to the twentieth-first century, and who do the contemporaries say the Son of Man is? The list of speculations regarding the person of Jesus Christ is so long that this article will not be able to cover them all. However, to make the long story short, many say Jesus was a myth, that his story was stolen from other religious accounts, and that he was just a great prophet and teacher. Furthermore, skeptics assert that Jesus did not die on the cross nor did he rise from the dead, but that he fell unconscious on the cross and that he was revived in the tomb in his mortal body. Even the chief priests and elders concocted a lie in Matthew 28:13 that the disciples stole Jesus’ dead body while they were sleeping. David Hume, one of the main opponents of the eighteenth century critically defends against the possibility of supernatural events, thus invalidating the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by saying, “there is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men.” The amount of theories and criticisms against Jesus and the Christian faith are so vast that a library could be built with books just on this subject alone. On the contrary, Christians respond to the question of who the Son of Man is just as Peter responded to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew; that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Therefore, let’s begin this brief exploration by examining these allegations of plagiarism. 

Horus the Egyptian God

When considering the variety of theories pertaining to the account of Jesus Christ, there are obvious contradictions among them. For instance, the first theory pertains to the Egyptian account of Horus. According to Peter Joseph’s documentary Zeitgeist, Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous, Acharya S. The Christ Conspiracy, and Peter Gandy’s The Jesus Mysteries, these are just a few sources that insist Christianity copied the account of Horus and applied it to Jesus Christ. Horus was hypothetically born on the 25th of December, born of a virgin woman with a star in the east, adorned by three kings, had twelve disciples, baptized into ministry at the age of thirty, suffered death by crucifixion, and resurrected on the third day, almost identical to the account of Jesus Christ. At face value, this claim of Horus appears very attractive to the naked eye, but a closer look will reveal the truth. First, in the Bible, there are no references to Jesus being born on the 25th of December, nor a specific number of Magi that visited Jesus, which automatically voids these two claims. Furthermore, according to The Complete God and Goddess of Ancient Egypt, there is no mention of Horus being born of a virgin birth on the 25th of December, no mention of an eastern star, no mention of being baptized, no mention of being visited by three kings, nor any mention of twelve disciples. As a matter of fact, there are many accounts of Horus in Egyptian mythology and one of them says that he was born to his mother Isis who gathered her dead husband’s (Osiris) dismembered body parts, reunited them together, magically revived his phallus, and became impregnated giving birth to Horus posthumously. There is no specific mention of Horus dying, only his father Osiris was killed by his brother Seth. So, if there is no account of Horus death, how can he be resurrected? The concept of the resurrection, (an actual human having died and came back to life) was not rooted or believed it could happen in ancient mythology according to N.T. Wright. The idea of the resurrection pertained to human beings, not mythological gods such as Horus. Jesus Christ is a validated historical human being with several eyewitness testimonies to his resurrection, which is completely opposite to the mythical god Horus, who is a non-historical human being with no historical attestations. Additionally, death by crucifixion was not even practiced by the ancient Egyptians and this method of capital punishment did not come into existence until approximately twenty-five hundred years after the legend of Horus. In essence, the arguments regarding the similarities between Horus and Jesus have been refuted just within this brief examination. Moreover, how the disparity between Jesus and Horus originate on the same scale of comparison is incomprehensible after examining the evidence. The only conclusion this article can calculate is that it was invented with a priori objective to disprove the tenets of Christianity. 

Krishna the Indian God

In addition to Horus, there are other mythological accounts that make similar contentions to the historical Jesus of Nazareth. For instance, the Indian god Krishna is supposedly born of a virgin birth with a star in the east, along with a resurrection. According to Indian Mythology by Paul Hamlyn, these specific claims could not be further from the truth. Krishna was the last of eight sons born to his mother Devaka who was married to Vasudeva. There is no evidence in the legend of Krishna of a virgin birth, nor a star in the east. In regards to the resurrection of Krishna, once he dies by a passing hunter who mistakenly strikes his heel with a bow like Homer’s Iliad story of how Achilles died, there is no mention of Krishna resurrecting from the dead. The only other detail pertaining to Krishna’s death is that his body never goes through the process of deterioration and basically the story ends at Krishna’s death. So, how does a comparison between Jesus and Krishna even come into fruition? It more than likely derived from a blatant position to disapprove the case for Christianity, especially since these comparisons are not even in the vicinity of association.

Dionysus the Greek God

Another drastic example of this sort of comparison of Jesus comes from the Greek god Dionysus. On a side note, it is important to highlight that it is not the ancient Greeks, or the ancient Egyptians, or the ancient Indians, or the ancient Romans who are making these accusations that Christianity borrowed from their religion. These are modern day foreigners to these ancient cultures that are drawing up these outrageous charges against Jesus and the Christian faith attempting to dissuade the masses through their writings, through social media, through television, and through the internet. Now, Dionysus was also allegedly born of a virgin, performed miracles, and resurrected from the dead. Surprisingly, according to ancient Greek mythology, there is no reference to a virgin birth, and even the resurrection of Dionysus is greatly exaggerated in its comparison to Jesus. Furthermore, Dionysus did not suffer death by crucifixion as the adversary asserts, but was torn apart and eaten by titans. Again, how does this comparison equate to Jesus Christ being condemned to death on the cross by the Romans? Where are the similarities? Critics claim that Christianity forged the resurrection of Jesus from ancient mythology, but judging from the evidence thus far, this is hardly the truth. Skeptics are struggling to string together these scandalous theories to undermine the tenets of the Christian faith and the results of their formulations are pathetic. In regards to the resurrection of Dionysus, there is a reference to the god of wine being brought back to life from his tragedy of being eaten by the titans. However, according to the debate between Gary Habermas and Tim Callahan, there are no sources of the resurrection of Dionysus that actually predate Christianity.  In sum, it is plausible to conclude that it was not Christianity who borrowed from Greek mythology, but just the reversal.

Attis The Greek God

Again, it appears at this point in the investigation unfair to compare Jesus Christ, a validated historical human being to a bunch of mythical gods. Nevertheless, this analysis must continue to unravel the pieces of this comparative equation by dismantling the next contestant in the Greek god Attis. As with the other three ancient mythical gods mentioned above, Attis contains the exact same characteristics according to the exact same adversaries outlined in paragraph three. The account of Attis is not as widely attested to unlike the other gods mentioned in this investigation. As a matter of fact, several Greek mythological books in the local library did not even mention the Greek god Attis. Nevertheless, after examining the available information, the legend of Attis is even more far-fetched. For instance, the virgin birth of Attis consists of the Olympian gods casting away the male organs which turned into an almond tree. Once the almond tree was ripe enough, Nana the daughter of the Greek god Sangarius picked an almond, put it in her bosom and became pregnant, which is how Attis arrived on the mythical scene. If this sounds slightly awkward, the alleged crucifixion of Attis entails his own castration. Furthermore, the resurrection of Attis is murky considering the contradictory reports on whether or not there is an actual resurrection of Attis. According to Elliot Nesch’s refuted documentary on Zeitgeist, the resurrection account of Attis is practically non-existent, and what remains available does not predate Christianity. It is yet inconceivable to think how the mythical god Attis is seriously compared to the historical Jesus. Nonetheless, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Therefore, what Christianity has to compete against in the twenty-first century regarding heretical worldviews is practically the same scenario the first-century church had to contend with, just with different contenders and with a different means in which information is communicated.

Mithra the Persian God

The last of the ancient gods that needs to be addressed regarding the major comparisons is the Persian god Mithra. As with the other gods, Mithra is also supposedly born of a virgin, crucified, and resurrected. Notice how all five mythological accounts are constructed together in effort to make a stronger case that Christianity plagiarized from these various myths. At minimum, they all claim a virgin birth, a performance of miracles, and a resurrection. After further evaluation into the fable of Mithra, the comparison is resoundingly more of a contrast. On a side note, there needs to be a distinction made between the Old Persian Mithra and the Roman Mithra. Since the allegations of this assignment refer to Christianity borrowing from ancient mythology, it is only logical to examine Mithra in the Persian context since Christianity predates the Roman Mithra. Examining the Roman Mithra will not do this brief investigation any justice to the criticisms because it could possibly lead to the opposite conclusion that the myth borrowed from Christianity. However, with that being said, Mithra’s birth record is a rather intriguing account of him emerging from a rock. Now, unless the rock was a virgin, this can hardly be a parallel to the virgin birth of Jesus by Mary who was impregnated by the Holy Ghost. In regards to the resurrection of Mithra, there are no sources predating Christianity that even mentions the death of Mithra. Therefore, a resurrection minus a record of death is implausible from a general understanding. As mentioned earlier, a resurrection is mainly thought to be a new life after a period of being dead. Without a period of being dead, there cannot be a new life in this sense.

No conclusive Evidence

Unfortunately, for the opponents of Christianity, the evidence for ancient mythology regarding their rising and dying gods is inadequate against the case for Jesus Christ. Generally, when considering the thousands upon thousands of gods that men have created in their imaginations, it might be possible to find a couple of accounts that appear similar to the historical Jesus. As a matter of fact, the disparity between Jesus and anybody else in all of human history is so great that people have to purposely invent theories to depreciate the love God has shown for his creation through his Son Jesus Christ. To advocate a comparison of Jesus Christ to a falcon-headed god in Horus, to a guardian of cattle in Mithra, to a castrated god in Attis, to an alcoholic god in Dionysus, and to a blue Indian god in Krishna is a complete insult and contempt to the Christian faith. To actually believe in the biased comparisons of ancient mythology to Jesus Christ shows a lack of commitment to objective academic research. Even in the community of nonbelievers there exists a division among them regarding the authenticity of Christianity. However, no matter what evidence exists to support the Christian faith, no matter what archaeology continues to uncover regarding anything biblically related, unbelievers will continue to find an alternate route around the destination of belief in Jesus and his resurrection. In the Gospel of Luke 16:31, Jesus said to his disciples, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Therefore, if first-century opponents were not convinced by the resurrection of Jesus, neither will opponents in the twenty-first century be slightly moved to believe in the case for Christianity. God could literally appear on the scene (which he did two thousand years ago) and say that He is God and many will still not believe. 

Miracles Comparison

The only other thing the gods of ancient mythology had slightly in common with the historical Jesus is that they all performed some type of miracles. However, the miracles performed by Jesus and the ancient gods are very different in nature simply because the miracles of the ancient gods are mythical and made-up, whereas the miracles of Jesus are historically attested and confirmed. For example, Krishna’s defeat of Naraka and how he captured Naraka’s sixteen thousand, one hundred virgins and married each one of them can be considered a miracle. The legend states, “Krishna now settled down with his sixteen thousand one hundred and eight wives (the eight wives he was already married to before the defeat of Naraka) and was able to delight them all simultaneously.” How Krishna satisfied more than sixteen thousand women at the same time is unimaginable to mentally process unless one believes a miracle occurred. Nevertheless, the rationale behind the mention of this particular miracle of Krishna is to show evidence of its imaginary nature. There are many other miracles attributed to the ancient gods of antiquity, however, nothing revolutionary was performed by these gods mentioned in this assignment.

Jesus Christ on the other hand performed signs and wonders no mythological god can compare to. In John 21:25 it says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Again, the main reason why Jesus should not be equated to the ancient gods is simply because Jesus is a true validated historical person being compared to a bunch of myths, fables, and legends. It is like trying to compare apples and oranges. While both are considered fruit and while both can be compared, this does not mean they should be compared because when the comparison is conducted on both the apple and orange, the comparison turns into a contrast. Meaning, there are more differences than similarities. The same concept applies when examining the mythological accounts of Horus, Krishna, Attis, Dionysus, and Mithra, which are just fantasies developed in the imaginations of men linked to a man in Jesus who was not an invention, but a real person. It seems a little unfair to justify such an assessment and yet, even though the scales are unbalanced, the historical Jesus still overshadows anything men could fabricate in their own minds. Even if this analysis was to compare any other historical person to the historical Jesus, it still would not matter, because Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, and no one and no god can be objectively mentioned in the same sentence as the savior of the world.   

Additionally, while miracles are generally associated with deities, when comparing the apples to oranges concept of these miracles of the ancient gods to Jesus Christ in this analysis, they end up on opposite ends of the comparative spectrum. While there was enough room in the books that it would be written for every one of the miracles performed by the ancient gods, there was not enough room for the miracles performed by the historical Jesus. That’s the difference! When comparing the miracles of the ancient gods in this examination, there were no miracles of healing, no miracles of controlling nature, no miracles of raising actual people from the dead, no miracles of fulfilled prophecy, and no miracles of exorcisms. Furthermore, there are no references of large crowds gathering to hear the teachings of these gods, no encounters of civil authorities, and definitely no death by crucifixion, no empty tomb, no resurrection, and no post-resurrected appearances to the multitudes. At a closer examination of Jesus to the mythological gods of ancient paganism, the comparison is not even close!

Conclusion

In summary, as mentioned previously, this analysis was meant to be brief and there is so much more that could have been mentioned. One of the countless differences between the God of Christianity and the mythological gods of antiquity pertains to the actual teachings. After examining the many different portraits on the gods of ancient paganism, the teachings on morality was practically absent, whereas the moral teachings taught by Jesus Christ are transcendent. A comparison on Jesus’ teachings alone would require a separate investigation. Everything about Jesus is significantly different from all five pagan gods put together. However, the most noteworthy difference between the God of Christianity and the mythological gods of antiquity is that God sent his one and only son Jesus into the world to perform various miracles, and to separate himself from the mythical gods of stone through his bodily resurrection. The accomplishment over death changed the whole historical dynamic and provided a new hope for anyone who would come to believe in the Son of the Living God. Furthermore, Jesus is the only revolutionary figure to ever live who transformed the calendar from B.C., (Before the Common Era/before Christ) to A.D. (Anno Domini/after death). None of the ancient gods mentioned in this comparison are credited for changing the course of history in such a manner as Jesus did. These gods did not have this profound effect where thousands of people converted over to believe in them like they did in early Christianity. Moreover, there are no references to any martyrs for these mythological gods, yet, The Seed of the Martyrs is how Christianity grew exponentialy in the early church, in which critics have no answer for. Nevertheless, when performing an exhaustive investigation of any ancient god or any other human being side by side to the historical Jesus of Nazareth, there is no one who can do it like Jesus! What sets Jesus Christ apart from the rest of the playing field is his bodily resurrection! As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “Death has been swallowed up in victory,” all because of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!              

#Misconceptions #Clarified #Jesus #Is #Authentic  

For more information please consider the references below and click on the YouTube video debunking the Zeitgeist documentary for the "real truth."  

http://beginningandend.com/jesus-copy-horus-mithras-dionysis-pagan-gods/ Accessed January 26, 2015.

Habermas, R. Douglas Geivett and Gary. In Defense of Miracles; A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.

Hamilton, Edith, and Steele Savage. Mythology / S. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1942.

Ions, Veronica. Indian Mythology. London: Paul Hamlyn, 1973.

Nesch, Elliot. "Zeitgeist REFUTED & DEBUNKED! (Religious Portion)." YouTube. Accessed March 3, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFI6m6Icav4

Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2003.

Wright, N.T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Great Britain: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2003.

 

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified VIII; "Adam's First Wife???"
Photo by BibleArtLibrary/iStock / Getty Images

 

Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified episode VIII; "Adam's First Wife?" 

In today’s current generation, it is quite easy to be swept under the tsunami of information that's available at the touch of a button or at the sound of your voice. The advancement of technology has made it convenient enough that all a person has to do is just ask a question to either Siri on your cellphones, to Alexa on Echo, or to Google’s Assistant for the answer. It’s that simple! The age of information that we live in today is so accessible, so abundant, and so contradicting that if you are not careful, it will have you question your own personal beliefs. That’s why the Bible says in Colossians 2:8 to “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

For instance, the resurgence of the mythological tale of Lilith has many people second guessing if Adam had a "first-wife" before Eve in the book of Genesis. One of the main reasons why this legend is resurfacing on major social media platforms is not only due to the age of information we find ourselves engulfed in, but it also stems from a lack of understanding of the scriptures regarding how Cain obtained a wife. Since the Bible only mentions Adam and Eve's three sons, (Cain, Abel, and Seth) how did Cain find his wife? Furthermore, how was Adam and Eve going to fulfill the command by God to be fruitful and fill the earth with only sons??? Well, on the surface of this concern, it appears to be a legitimate question to ask considering that the Bible doesn't specifically give the answer to Cain's wife. However, this episode will dig beyond the surface of the matter to provide some clarity to its viewers regarding where Cain found his wife and if Adam's supposedly "first-wife" has any ring of truth. 

Unfortunately, one of the most common criticisms of the Bible is that it doesn’t provide all the answers. So, instead of just accepting the fact that the Bible isn’t comparable to the modern devices the world has at its disposal where a person can ask any question and it gives them the answer, some have tried to “fill-in-the-gap” themselves. Fortunately, there are a couple of explanations why the Bible may appear to be silent or lack certain details on specific situations, people, or events. First, the authors of ancient scripture more than likely didn’t have the critical methods of the twenty-first century on their minds when they were recording or transcribing their accounts. Meaning, Moses probably wasn’t thinking about accommodating biblical critics three thousand years into the future when he penned down the Torah.

Another reason why the Bible leaves out certain information is simply because God (the One who is responsible for the Bible’s entire composition) intentionally excluded those details. For some, this may not serve as a good enough answer, however, Paul says in Romans 9:20, “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, why did you make me like this? Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

In regards to the account of Adam and Eve and their three sons, one of the primary reasons why the author focuses on Cain, Abel, and Seth was to provide a lineal history, that would lead to Jesus Christ, the ultimate promise of salvation! When it comes to interpreting the Bible, one of the rules of engagement is the context, and when you consider the context of the whole Bible, the only way the authors of the Bible could trace-back the lineage from Jesus to Adam was by recording the male ancestors of each generation. Moreover, notice that in Genesis chapter five the lineage from Adam to Noah doesn’t mention any of their wives by name. Why? Because some of them probably married multiple wives like Lamech did in Genesis 4:19, which would have complicated the genealogy. Furthermore, many of the wives had more than one child, and if the genealogy was recorded through the wives, the task would have been even more daunting for Moses to record the genealogy of all the wives and their children. Therefore, God saw it divinely appropriate to document and preserve the lineage of humanity through Adam in order to demonstrate how the covenantal promises were transferred down through the generations where it would find its ultimate fulfillment in His Son, Jesus Christ. It's simply all about Jesus!! 

Now, this is not to say that women didn’t play an important role in the grand scheme of God’s ultimate plan of salvation. For instance, not only is Eve the mother of all living according to Genesis 3:20, but there are five mothers mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy, which include Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Solomon’s mother, and the mother who birthed the Savior of the world, Mary. Hence, these are the women Matthew documented to verify the family tree from Adam to Jesus.

So, there’s a reason why the authors of the Bible wrote what they wrote. They were carried along by the Holy Spirit in their writing, not by their own agendas. In 2 Peter 1:20 it says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, when it comes to the question, “where did Cain find his wife,” it is important to note that while the Bible didn't specifically mention Cain’s wife, the Bible does say in Genesis 5:4, “Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.” This passage is extremely important because not only does it indirectly give us the answer to the question of where Cain found his wife, but it also cancels out this notion that Adam had another wife, or a “first wife.” 

Besides, the legend of Lilith originates from an ancient Sumerian poem found on a tablet dated back in 2,000 BCE. In the epic, Lilith is a demoness to Inanna where Gilgamesh kills the dragon and terrifies Lilith to flee to the desert. The myth of Lilith is completely legendary in its composition and nothing more. For a more in-depth description of Lilith, please click on the link: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/lilith/

Intriguingly, there is one mention of “liyliyth” in Isaiah 34:14 who is identified as “the screech owl” in the text, and defined as the Babylonian female goddess known as a night demon who haunts the desolate places of Edom. However, nowhere in the Hebrew etymology is Lilith associated with Adam in general or as his "first wife.” Hence, the question that remains to be answered is, how did Lilith become associated as Adam’s wife in the first place??? Well, it wasn’t until fourteen centuries after the Septuagint was compiled in the third century BCE that Lilith was forged and attached to Adam from The Alphabet of Ben Sira in medieval Judaism. FOURTEEN centuries afterwards folks!!! This is way too late of an embellishment to be taken seriously! There are absolutely no ancient sources that associates Lilith as Adam’s “first-wife!” Even in the passage of Isaiah 34:14 fails to connect Lilith with Adam, yet, somehow and someway there are some people who still believe this to be true.

The fact that people actually consider Lilith as Adam's first wife with any smear of validity is beyond perplexing! How does a medieval advancement of an ancient mythological tale become a matter of serious inquiry to Adam in the book of Genesis? This doesn’t make any sense at all! Even after further examination on the legend of Lilith, there is not even the faintness ring of truth to Lilith being Adam’s “first wife.” The only other explanation of how this legend reemerged is Satan; who is the father of lies and who has been a liar since the beginning. The enemy is only out but, to seek, kill, and destroy! He is only prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour! And Satan only masquerades himself as an angel of light to deceive God’s people into the pit of informational abyss. Satan is utilizing the platforms of the twenty-first century such as the internet, Youtube, and social media to spread his lies, which is the only other possible explanation why the legend of Lilith has resurrected from the grave of fiction.

Therefore, please watch where you obtain your information from because we know that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and sound mind. And, be careful not to add or take away from the Book of Life! In Deuteronomy 4:2 Moses says, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord.” Proverbs 30:6 says, “Do not add to his words or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” And John commands everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll in Revelation 22:18-19, “If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from the person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”

 

#Time4Truth #Misconceptions #Clarified

Misconceptions Clarified VII; "Biblical Creation and Noah's Flood Plagiarized???"
Photo by Sielan/iStock / Getty Images

 

Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified Episode VII; “Biblical Creation and Noah’s Flood Plagiarized???"

It is with great joy that Christian Way Ministries has this wonderful opportunity and platform (glory be to God) to briefly investigate this claim of plagiarism on creation and Noah’s flood in the book of Genesis from ancient Near Eastern texts such as the Enuma Elish and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Often times critics of the Bible assert that the accounts of creation and Noah’s flood are not only mythological, but also nothing short of fabricated, borrowed, and plagiarized stories. Many critics say that the biblical writers picked certain ancient Near Eastern accounts and advanced them to formulate their own version of creation and the flood. In addition, some critics believe that since the ancient Near Eastern texts predate the biblical texts of the Bible, that any similarities contained in the accounts of the Bible to these ancient stories must have been copied. Hence, the purpose of this episode is to see if there is any truth to this claim of plagiarism.

Now, before this episode goes forth in its brief investigation, the first order of business that needs to be considered is the actual dates of these ancient accounts in view. First, it's true that the ancient Near Eastern texts are in fact older than the surviving biblical texts. For example, the Enuma Elish tablets date to approximately 1100 BCE and part of the Epic of Gilgamesh dates to approximately 1800 BCE. In contrast, the oldest surviving text from the Hebrew Bible, the Ketef Hinnom also known as The Silver Scrolls, which contains a fragment of the Priestly Blessing from the book of Numbers dates to approximately 650 BCE. Moreover, there are many other older archaeological findings that confirm places, people, and events in the Bible, but the Ketef Hinnom is the oldest biblical scroll found thus far. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight one of the possible reasons why archaeologists have yet to find any other scrolls that predate the Ketef Hinnom. The material utilized by the ancient Israelites to record their history were written on scrolls, which is a less durable material than the clay tablets the ancient Near East used to record their stories. In Exodus 17:14, “The Lord said to Moses, write this on a scroll (cepher) as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it.” Therefore, the means by which these ancient cultures used to record their traditions is one explanation as to why archaeologists could uncover older ancient Near Eastern texts than the Old Testament.  

On the other hand, even though the ancient Near Eastern texts predate the biblical texts, only a small portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh was dated around 1800 BCE, while the most preserved version of the seven tablets was dated way later around the 10th century BCE. Scholars also suggest that these ancient accounts are older than the actual dates given to the artifacts. Which means, that before writing came into existence, the only other method the ancients used to pass down their tradition was orally. The argument that the ancient Near Eastern accounts are earlier sources than the biblical accounts is very difficult to confirm with any kind of certainty when considering the oral tradition. Nevertheless, the question that remains to be answered is, "Are the biblical accounts of creation and the flood plagiarized from ancient Near Eastern texts?" 

Again, it is important to note that just because the ancient Near Eastern texts predate the ancient biblical texts does not automatically render a guilty verdict of plagiarism for any similarities that exist between these accounts. Furthermore, the term plagiarism is indeed a modern concept that is defined as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.” Meaning, that in order to charge someone of plagiarism, (like how a teacher may charge a student for plagiarizing another student’s work without referencing it) there must be some kind of evidence for plagiarism beyond highlighting mere similarities. Like word for word sentences or paragraphs, like strong exact details of a particular account when examined side by side, or like someone witnessing another person copying someone else’s work. As a former seminary student, when the teacher gave the whole class an assignment to write about, there were bound to be resemblances between the students papers. However, in order for a student to be accused of plagiarism the teacher had to find the above criteria of exactness.

So, when there is an accusation of plagiarism, there must be specifics and real evidence, not mere similarities. Additionally, I’m certain that Christian Way Ministries isn’t the only organization who tackled this controversy of biblical plagiarism before, and even though there may exist some comparable features between this article and other articles, this by itself does not automatically render a guilty verdict of plagiarism. If this was the case, then whenever a particular event occurs, or whenever a particular topic is spoken on, there should only be “one” agency to report on it in order to avoid any hint of plagiarism, which is ridiculous to say the least. Some kind of higher authority (like a teacher to student scenario) has to point the finger on specific ways Christian Way Ministries plagiarized information as its own, and likewise archaeology has yet to unearth a single ancient source that points the finger at the biblical authors for any kind of plagiarism. Only modern day critics who are at minimum 25 to 30 centuries removed from when these ancient accounts were penned down are making such outlandish assertions!  

With that being said, let’s briefly examine the creation/flood accounts of the ancient Near East and the Bible to see if any sort of plagiarism exists between the accounts themselves… First up is the Enuma Elish which contains the Seven Tablets of Creation, and for the sake of this episode, it will only quote the first 21 lines of the First Tablet, the first 25 lines of The Fifth Tablet, and first 16 lines of The Sixth Tablet. If you desire to read the whole Enuma Elish, please just click on this link; http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/enuma.htm.

The First Tablet:

“When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained; 
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...
Ages increased,...
Then Ansar and Kisar were created, and over them....
Long were the days, then there came forth.....
Anu, their son,...
Ansar and Anu...
And the god Anu...
Nudimmud, whom his fathers, his begetters.....
Abounding in all wisdom,...'
He was exceeding strong...
He had no rival -
Thus were established and were... the great gods.”

The Fifth Tablet:

“He (Marduk) made the stations for the great gods;
The stars, their images, as the stars of the Zodiac, he fixed.
He ordained the year and into sections he divided it;
For the twelve months he fixed three stars.
After he had ... the days of the year ... images,
He founded the station of Nibir [the planet Jupiter] to determine their bounds;
That none might err or go astray,
He set the station of Bel and Ea along with him.
He opened great gates on both sides,
He made strong the bolt on the left and on the right.
In the midst thereof he fixed the zenith;
The Moon-god he caused to shine forth, the night he entrusted to him.
He appointed him, a being of the night, to determine the days;
Every month without ceasing with the crown he covered him, saying:
"At the beginning of the month, when thou shinest upon the land,
Thou commandest the horns to determine six days,
And on the seventh day to divide the crown.
On the fourteenth day thou shalt stand opposite, the half....
When the Sun-god on the foundation of heaven...thee,
The ... thou shalt cause to ..., and thou shalt make his...
... unto the path of the Sun-god shalt thou cause to draw nigh,
And on the ... day thou shalt stand opposite, and the Sun-god shall...
... to traverse her way.
... thou shalt cause to draw nigh, and thou shalt judge the right.
... to destroy..."

The Sixth Tablet:

“When Marduk heard the word of the gods,
His heart prompted him and he devised a cunning plan.
He opened his mouth and unto Ea he spake
That which he had conceived in his heart he imparted unto him:
"My blood will I take and bone will I fashion
I will make man, that man may
I will create man who shall inhabit the earth,
That the service of the gods may be established, and that their shrines may be built.
But I will alter the ways of the gods, and I will change their paths;
Together shall they be oppressed and unto evil shall they....
And Ea answered him and spake the word:
"... the ... of the gods I have changed
... and one...
... shall be destroyed and men will I...
... and the gods .
... and they...”

Now compare for yourself the account of Genesis 1:1-31 side by side which you can click on the link to read for yourself.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1%3A1-31&version=NIV

Now, after examining the Enuma Elish and the Genesis account of creation side by side, where is the proof of plagiarism? Where are the word for word sentences or paragraphs? And, where are the verbatim exact details between these accounts? First, before Marduk and the details of creation enter the story in the Third Tablet, there was confusion and many wars between the many gods in the Enuma Elish. In contrast, Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and before the beginning there was nothing else recorded. No war, no other gods begetting other gods, no clashing of gods, no confusion, no chaos, or nothing else recorded or existed before God (Elohim) brought it into existence. Another major difference between the two accounts is Tiamut the mother of heaven and earth who is defeated later in the Fourth Tablet; “And unto Tiamat, whom he had conquered.” So, here we have the so-called “creator” god Tiamat in the Enuma Elish who is defeated by a “created” god Marduk and becomes the chief god. The major difference is that the one who beget the unnamed heaven and the unnamed earth (Tiamat) in the beginning is later defeated in the Enuma Elish, whereas the creator God (Elohim) of the Bible is the only God of the whole Bible who can never be defeated and who has absolutely no rival. Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides me there is no God.”

Additionally, this episode can go on and on between the differences contained in both creation accounts like the names of the gods in the Enuma Elish is obviously different from the name of God (Yahweh Exodus 3:14) in the Bible.

-The creator god of the Enuma Elish is a mother god whereas the creator God (Elohim) in the Bible has masculine connotations in the Hebrew etymology.

-The Enuma Elish speaks of multiple gods involved in creation whereas Genesis speaks of only one God (Elohim) who is responsible for all creation.

-Marduk “ordained the year and into sections he divided it; for twelve months he fixed three stars,” whereas Genesis 1:14 says, “let the lights serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.” There’s nothing in Genesis 1-2 where God ordains a divided year into twelve months.

-Marduk caused the “Moon-god to shine forth,” whereas God (Elohim) created the moon as a lesser light to govern the night.

-Marduk spoke, “My blood will I take and bone will I fashion, I will make man,” whereas Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make mankind in our image and after our likeness,” and Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground (not from my blood and bone) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

-Marduk says, “I will alter the ways of the gods, and I will change their paths; together shall they be oppressed and unto evil shall they…,” whereas Genesis 1:31 says, “God (Elohim) saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

-In the Genesis account, evil comes unto the scene from human disobedience to God after He saw everything He created was very good, not the other way around like the Enuma Elish.

Again, after considering the above references the charge for plagiarism is just not present when comparing the two creation accounts side by side. Yes, there are some minor similarities such as a created world, seven days, mankind, a moon, sun, and stars, but in the gritty details and even on the surface, they are vastly different. Furthermore, the Enuma Elish contains no hint of actual history in its account, whereas Genesis 2:13-14 contains examples of two major historical rivers known as the Tigris and the Euphrates along with two geographical locations in the land of Cush and Ashur. The Enuma Elish contains no genealogies of mankind from the very first man onward, whereas the Genesis account provides multiple detailed genealogies of the very first man and how long each of them lived. Lastly, the Enuma Elish doesn’t even provide a name for the very first created man. So, this charge of plagiarism by critics has no solid evidence to support their claim outside of the mere similarities, which by itself does not warrant a guilty conviction of plagiarism.

In regards to the Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah’s Flood in Genesis 6-7, below is a snippet of both accounts side by side. If you want to read the Epic of Gilgamesh in full, please feel free to click on the link. http://www.aina.org/books/eog/eog.pdf

“The ground-space was one acre, each side of the deck measured one hundred and twenty cubits, making a square. I built six decks below, seven in all, I divided them into nine sections with bulkheads between.”

Genesis 6:15-16 says, “This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.”

-Noah’s ark was more than doubled the size and half the decks of Gilgamesh’s boat. Big difference!!

“On the seventh day the boat was complete”

-Genesis doesn’t specifically say how long it took Noah to build the ark, however, from Genesis 5:32 and Genesis 7:6 when Noah entered the ark, it was approximately less than 100 years, not seven days. Even with modern technology and the latest equipment, it took Ken Ham and his crew approximately 2 years to build the Ark Encounter located in Kentucky per the specifications outlined in the Bible. For the Epic of Gilgamesh to state that an acre-sized boat measuring 120 cubits with six decks was built in only 7 days is as unrealistic as it gets no matter the manpower and technology. Big difference!!

“I loaded into her all that I had of gold and of living things, my family, my kin, the beast of the field both wild and tame, and all the craftsmen.”

-In Genesis 7:7 only Noah, his wife, his sons, and pairs of clean and unclean animals entered the ark, not Noah’s craftsmen too. Big difference!!

“Then Ishtar the sweet-voiced Queen of Heaven cried out like a woman in travail: "Alas the days -of old are turned to dust because I commanded evil; why did I command thus evil in the council of all the gods? I commanded wars to destroy the people, but are they not my people, for I brought them forth?”

In Genesis 6:5-7 says, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created.”

-Unlike the Epic of Gilgamesh where Ishtar commanded evil, the reason for the flood in Genesis was because of mankind who was only evil “all-the-time.” Big, big difference!!

“I looked for land in vain, but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain, and there the boat grounded; on the mountain of Nisir the boat held fast, she held fast and did not budge. One day she held, and a second day on the mountain of Nisir she held fast and did not budge. A third day, and a fourth day she held fast on the mountain and did not budge; a fifth day and a sixth day she held fast on the mountain. When the seventh day dawned I loosed a dove and let her go. She flew away, but finding no resting-place she returned. Then I loosed a swallow, and she flew away but finding no resting-place she returned. I loosed a raven, she saw that the waters had retreated, she ate, she flew around, she cawed, and she did not come back.”

In Genesis 8:4 it says, “and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat,” not on the mountain of Nisir.

-According to the Epic Gilgamesh it took 6 days for the flood to reside, whereas as in Genesis 8:3-4 it took Noah's flood 150 days to recede, which is more realistic for a "global" flood. Furthermore, in Genesis 8:6-12 Noah sent out a raven first, and then sent out a dove three times before the dove did not return, whereas Gilgamesh sends out in order a dove, a swallow, and a raven. Again, big difference!!

In conclusion, the exaggerated claim that the Bible plagiarized its accounts of creation and the flood from ancient Near Eastern texts contains not one solid piece of corroboration. After examining each account side by side, there are way too many differences than there are similarities. Mainstream scholarship is practically in agreement that the ancient Near Eastern texts are mythological in nature because they hardly contain any historical data that can be validated. On the other hand, even though some do consider the Bible to be mythological, there is a far greater consensus in academic circles that the genre in the book of Genesis is largely historical narrative, which again is, a big difference. The creation of the universe, the creation of mankind, along with the flood in the book of Genesis are very descriptive and differ from the mythological Near Eastern accounts on several major fronts as mentioned above.

Lastly, in order to prove that any kind of plagiarism took place, there has to be some type of evidence to support such a claim, which would be extremely difficult if not impossible to prove simply because we are so far removed from when these accounts were written. To say that the Bible plagiarized from the ancient Near Eastern texts is just a general unsubstantiated claim with no specifics. If ancient history itself didn't provide any external charges of plagiarism, then for anyone to make an assumption of plagiarism after 30 centuries is practically in vain. That's like trying to convict somebody for a crime 3 thousand years later... To say that the mere existence of minor similarities between these accounts is all that's needed lacks the ample support to convict either one of plagiarism. That’s also like saying, a person looks like this other person who committed a crime, and therefore because that person looks like the other person, it’s solid proof that the look-alike person committed the crime. That’s not how it works in a courtroom setting! Yet, this is exactly what critics do with the accounts contained in the Bible. If the Bible even has a small scent of similarity to any other document in antiquity, the critics gavel is immediately hammered down for plagiarism. This is not true objective research, but just an outright attempt to reject God and the Bible. I mean, for all we know the ancient Near East could have plagiarized from the oral tradition of the ancient Israelites, but there is just no way to prove such a claim unless archaeology discovers something to confirm it. Therefore, the verdict according to the available evidence examined is simply a unanimous, "not guilty!" 

For more information on where we received some of our information, please click on the links below. Thank you for tuning in, and hopefully you are more informed on this matter of controversy. God bless all the Lord’s people!

#Truth #Therapy #Misconceptions #Clarified #NoPlagiarism

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-c001.html

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/enuma.htm

http://www.aina.org/books/eog/eog.pdf

http://www.religioustolerance.org/noah_com.htm

http://www.ancient.eu/article/225/

http://www.ancient.eu/gilgamesh/

https://phys.org/news/2010-07-oldest-written-document-jerusalem.html

 

   

 

 

 

 

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified VI; "Can Religion and Politics Coexist?"

Welcome to Misconceptions Clarified episode VI, where this article will be focused on answering the question, "Can Religion and Politics Coexist?"

Now, with the recent political situation trending between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and with the current religious climate of pluralism in the United States of America, it is almost a sin to discuss religion and politics together in the same conversation. There is this very familiar phrase that often gets quoted at places of businesses or any other establishment like the church that religion and politics should not be mentioned under the same breath. Everyone pretty much knows the phrase, "Don't mix politics with religion," unless you are ready to do battle. That's how critical discussions involving religion and politics can reach because of certain beliefs, and when those beliefs get challenged by those with opposing views, tensions can rise really quick, which is the reason why many try to avoid such conversations. However, should religion and politics be kept separated just because people have different opinions? Or, can religion and politics coexist together?

You see, there is this huge misconception that religion and politics should be kept away from each other like a cat and mouse. Unfortunately, trying to keep a person's faith (which compromises one-third of the human make-up) away from the activities associated with the governance of a country is like trying to keep a male dog away from a female dog in heat in the same room. It's just not going to happen! Here's why... First, as mentioned previously, faith/spirituality is part of the human make-up. Second, politics also known as the activities associated with the governance of a country directly affects humanity because there are laws that govern every country in the world on matters pertaining to religion. For instance, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution "prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances."

Hence, the constitution itself (a political document) automatically clarifies the misconception that politics and religion cannot coexist because the very core document that governs the United States of America contains a clause respecting the free exercise of religion. Nevertheless, some might oppose this argument by citing the doctrine of separation of church and state to say that religion and politics cannot coexist. However, many who use this argument take the whole concept of separation of church and state out of context. When Thomas Jefferson wrote his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 regarding the separation of church and state, it was to ensure that those who practiced their religious beliefs would not be persecuted for their faith. His letter had nothing to do with a literal interpretation that politics and religion should be completely separated from our government, from our schools, and from our secular institutions. Yet, this faulty interpretation has caused many institutions across the United States from even discussing religion, especially anything pertaining to Christianity, which is the reason why prayer has been eliminated out of the public schools. This misinterpretation of Thomas Jefferson's letter written to a "church" was used as ammunition to exclude any discussion of religion, which goes completely against the vision of the American forefathers. And believe it or not, America was established by Christians and the language incorporated in the constitution was constructed on Christian principles. Therefore, this idea that religion and politics cannot coexist is just a lie from Satan, who by the way is the father of lies according to John 8:44.

On the flip side of things, what does the Bible have to say about the coexistence of religion and politics??? Well, as everyone probably already knows, the bible itself (a book of faith) is composed of many historical accounts that contain interactions between God and his people. However, little do people know that faith and politics are embedded throughout the pages of the Bible. For instance, Joseph became second in command to the Pharaoh in the Book of Genesis chapter forty-one. And as mentioned previously, politics involve the activities associated with the governance of a country. Hence, with Joseph being second in command, the position came with an enormous amount of responsibility that obviously involved politics, which is a great example of how religion and politics coexisted in the life of Joseph. Another figure in the Bible that contains a combination of religion and politics at work is Moses, who had the responsibility of governing a whole nation out of Egypt to the brink of the Promised Land. There are four books in the Bible (Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers) that are dedicated alone to how Moses led Israel politically and spiritually. His responsibility was so great that Jethro his father-in-law had to give him some tips on how to better govern Israel in Exodus 18. In addition to that, the Bible also contains fifteen judges, and reluctantly Samuel (another great example) is someone who served in both capacities as a judge and priest. And if this isn't enough evidence that religion and politics can coexist, the Bible also contains the history of the kings of Israel in which many of them were very religious. King David in particular was a king and a man after God's own heart according to 1 Samuel 13:14.

Furthermore, majority of the American Forefathers such as John Adams, Patrick Henry, James Madison, George Washington and many others were Christians who served in major political functions. As a matter fact, George Washington said in his first general order to his own troops: "Every officer and man...to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country." In 1777, the Continental Congress approved $300,000 dollars to be spent on the purchase of Bibles and were to be distributed across the 13 colonies. Additionally, in 1782 the United States Congress approved the Holy Bible to be used in all schools. So, this idea that politics and religion cannot coexist or that separation of church and state had to be completely removed from each other was never the intent of the forefathers of this great nation. Only the Lord knows how the American patriarchs would react to the liberal climate of the twenty-first century...

In conclusion, not only is there evidence from the constitution along with the historical evidence of the American forefathers who loyally tangled their faith along with their politics together, there is also plenty of evidence in the Bible, which clarifies the misconception that religion and politics has coexisted historically and can coexist today. Unfortunately, the problem many people have when discussing the issues pertaining to religion and politics stems from a lack of understanding that people have different political and religious beliefs. And until we understand that there exists a difference of opinions, there will always be dissension that will arise anytime faith and politics are grouped together in the same conversation.

Lastly, Christians in all circumstances need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves when it comes to this kind of dialogue. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, that we are to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, but we are to do it with gentleness and respect. This is the key for Christians anytime they are engaged in these kind of conversations involving religion and politics; to be gentle and to be respectful to everybody whose views may be different. There are ways to voice religious or political views with those who have opposing views, by being gentle, by being respectful, by being kind, by listening, and by asking the right questions. Christians need to cast down this misconception (gently and respectfully) that religion and politics cannot coexist, and start getting more involved with the activities governing this great nation. Unfortunately, it's because Christians believed this misconception that religion and politics cannot coexist, it's because Christians have disengaged from assuming political roles in our government, and it's because the church has taken a step back from the political scene that enabled this country to go from a known "Christian nation" to a "nation of citizens." So let’s pick up the mantle, let's run the race marked out for us with perseverance, and let's fight the good fight for the faith by getting more involved in the realm of religion and politics in order to restore the foundation God established in the beginning. 

#Misconceptions #Clarified #Religion #Politics #Can #Coexist

Want more information please check out David Barton's DVD series American Heritage or click on this link: http://faithofourfathers.net

 

Misconceptions Clarified V; Slavery in the Bible Immoral..?
Photo by stephanjungck/iStock / Getty Images

Welcome to “Misconceptions Clarified V” where this episode will focus its attention on the slavery in the Bible. Now, before this article gets into the specifics, it is our prayer that whoever reads this article will be open to observing this sensitive topic from a different perspective. Unfortunately, the scars of slavery are cut so deep in history that anytime this subject is discussed, all kinds of emotions arise especially when it pertains to American slavery and the slavery mentioned in the Bible. There are many people who have very strong opinions against slavery (and rightly so), however, the agenda of this episode is not to stir up dissension, but to provide a better understanding. When people read about the slavery in the Bible, there are some who question its practice and question God on why he allowed such an institution to take shape. Moreover, some consider the slavery in the Bible to be immoral and reject God because of it.  However, was the slavery in the Bible considered immoral? Was the practice of slavery by the Israelites the same as the practice of slavery in America? And, why would a loving God tolerate such a tradition and develop laws governing the institution of slavery?

Critics specifically mention Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21:20-21, and even magnify what Jesus said in Luke 12:47-48 to mean that Jesus not only approved slavery, but also condoned the beating of slaves. Nevertheless, is there any truth to these claims? Is the slavery found in the Bible really immoral? Well, the answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.” Here's why. First, when examining the slavery in the Bible, one must study the practice of slavery for each nation independently. Many times when the topic of slavery is discussed, there's this assumption that all slavery was the same in all nations when in fact, it’s not. For instance, Egyptian and Hebrew slavery in the Bible were two different types of slavery governed by two different set of laws. In Genesis 15:13, before slavery was even introduced, God told Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in their own land and enslaved in hard bondage for four hundred years. But, in Leviticus 25:44 when the Israelites were delivered out of captivity, Moses said that male and female slaves were going to come from the nations around them. Meaning, slaves from other nations were going to volunteer themselves into the hands of the Israelites, which is a big difference from being held against one’s own free will like what the Egyptians did to the Israelites. You see, the main difference between Egyptian and Hebrew slavery is that one was forced and the other was volunteer, which is why slavery must be examined independently within each nation, not grouped together as one universal tradition.

Another problem many critics have when it comes to the slavery in the Bible is that they unknowingly perceive the slavery in the bible to be similar to the form of American slavery, which is not true. In order to understand ancient scripture, one must remove themselves from their own context to really grasp what was going on. Obviously, what was practiced approximately 3500 years ago will not be exactly the same in the modern era. Now, this is not to say that some Hebrews didn't mistreat their slaves because there are always a few bad apples that fall from every tree. However, just like the Egyptians, American slavery was also a forced system, whereas Hebrew slavery was performed on a volunteer basis. There is this huge misconception that when Israel was delivered out of captivity that they left Egypt on some vendetta to see how many slaves they could capture like how it was in America. That's the wrong answer! As a matter of fact, people from other nations were throwing themselves at the mercy of the Israelites because they heard how God delivered them from the most powerful nation on earth at the time. Therefore, the Israelites didn't have to force people into slavery because they were volunteering themselves, which isn't slavery at all if one volunteers their labor in exchange for food, shelter, wages, or to satisfy a debt. A better term for this kind of volunteer service would be servitude or indentured servant, not the negative connotations associated with slavery.

Furthermore, Moses issues a decree against slave traders in Exodus 21:16 that somehow seems to get overlooked which says, “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” In addition, Paul in the New Testament also condemns slave trading in 1 Timothy 1:9-10; “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” Which means that the reason the law of Moses contains laws pertaining to slavery was to protect those who volunteered themselves into service from any lawbreakers. And believe it or not, when you compare the Law of Moses to any other ancient law codes such as the Hammurabi or the Hittite laws, the Law of Moses was by far a better code that protected all people to include runaway slaves from other nations.

So, this idea that the law of Moses permitted forced slavery or that God approved the incarceration of the free will is a complete perversion of the scriptures. There is nothing immoral about a person volunteering their labor to satisfy a debt, to make a living, or to provide for their families. As a matter of fact, the law of Moses in Exodus 21:2-6 not only permitted servants to be released from their contractual obligations after 6 years like how athletes can become free agents after their contracts expire, but servants could serve their masters for life if they loved their masters, which many of them did. Why? Because life as an indentured servant was not a bad way to make a living contrary to popular belief. And for those wondering why male and female slaves from other nations would volunteer themselves as servants… The answer is simple! Because the law of Moses protected any "volunteer" slave from being mistreated. It says in Exodus 22:21, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” And in Deuteronomy 23:15 it says, “If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.” Hence, little do people realize that the male and female slaves that volunteered themselves were already slaves to other nations. They volunteered their labor to the Israelites because the law of Moses protected them from being mistreated unlike the other nations, which proves the fact that God actually cares for all his people regardless of race, age, or status!

Therefore, this misconception regarding the immorality of slavery in the bible has been clarified. The answer to the question, "is the slavery in the bible immoral" depends on the nation under investigation. If it's in reference to ancient Egyptian slavery, then yes because people were forced beyond their own free will. But, if it's in reference to Hebrew slavery, then no because people volunteered themselves. There is nothing immoral about a person volunteering their labor in exchange for benefits, which is no different from those who live in the 21st century who volunteer their labor in exchange for a pay check. So, if you are reading this and have struggled with this issue, just remember that the practice of slavery was a night and day difference from Egypt to Israel to America, and needs to be examined independently in order to gain a better understanding. Many times walls are built up as soon as the word slavery is mentioned, and anyone seeking the truth must remove any prejudices out of the equation to find the truth. And, even though the institution of forced slavery is immoral, it’s not because of God that the institution of slavery existed in the first place. That’s the wrong answer again! In the Bible, it says in Genesis 1:31 that after God saw all that he made, it was very good. Unfortunately, slavery entered the scene of human history because of sin, because of disobedience to God’s holy commandments, and because humanity abused the authority, the dominion, and the free-will God created them to have in the beginning of creation. It’s not because of God that slavery existed, it’s because of his creation who abused the image they were made out of! That’s the reason why! The finger points back to creation, not to the Creator!

Oh, and before this article ends, one last item that needs to be clarified pertains to what Jesus said in Luke 12:47-48. Sadly enough, critics of the Bible love to isolate certain scriptures to prove their objections and one perfect example of this comes from the parable of Jesus that had nothing to do with his "approval" of beating slaves. Jesus was merely citing an example of how a master beats his slave for going "against" the master's will to demonstrate the need for the body of Christ to act accordingly even though we do not know when our Master in heaven will return back to earth to judge the living and the dead. Jesus' parable to the disciples had nothing to do with his approval of slavery. However, since the disciples were familiar with slavery, it was appropriate for Jesus at the time to use slavery as an example to teach the disciples how they need to keep a watchful eye on their Master's return. In order to understand exactly what Jesus was saying in the parable, one needs to read the whole context starting from Luke 12:35. The only reason why the slave in the context was being beat in the first place wasn't because the master was abusing his power over the slave, but it was because the slave was abusing his power by beating the menservants and maidservants because the master was taking a long time in his coming, and when the master found out what the slave did, he beat the slave with many blows. Again, this misconception that Jesus approves slavery is just a misinterpretation of the text, and clarified after further evaluation. This parable just demonstrates to us today that when we abuse our God-given rights as human beings, whether you believe in God or not, that God will punish the wicked, the evil doers, and the disobedient. God is always watching and his eyes run to and fro throughout the whole universe. So even though the Lord might seem to be taking a long time in his coming, everyone can rest assure that when He does come again that justice will be served. Hence, it is our prayer that anyone who might be on the border line of their faith reading this will reevaluate their objections, ask for forgiveness, and come to the true light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Be blessed and see you on the next installment of Misconceptions Clarified.

#MisconceptionsClarified #Time4Truth #TruthTherapy

For more information, please click on the video below or purchase "Confound The Critics; Answers for Attacks on Biblical Truths" a book by Bodie Hodge that clarifies many of the misconceptions surrounding the Bible and Christianity. 

 

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified IV; "Is the God of the Bible a Genocidal Maniac?"

“Is the God of the Bible a Genocidal Maniac?”

Welcome to the fourth installment of misconceptions clarified where this week’s topic will focus on the genocide of the ancient Canaanites and the Amalekites in the Old Testament to see if God is guilty of committing genocide. Now, if the revealed God in the Bible is an all-loving benevolent God, why did He order the extermination of a whole nation of people? This can be a very troublesome proposition for those who are not of the Judeo-Christian faith, and especially for those who are highly critical of the Bible itself. Unfortunately, there are many people who are quick to reference the genocide in the Bible, and according to The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins says, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Let’s see if there is any truth to this claim…

First, in Deuteronomy 20:17 God commands the Israelites to completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. At first glance, this particular passage appears to be a cruel order from an all-loving God. But, before we convict God of genocide off of one single passage, why would God command not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six groups of people to be completely destroyed? Let’s dig a little deeper to see what these ancient people are all about, in particular the Canaanites.

According to Genesis 9:18, Noah’s son Ham was the father of Canaan, and when Ham saw his father naked and drunk, instead of covering his father up and remaining silent, he leaves his father naked and tells his brothers. When Noah finds out what Ham did, he said in Genesis 9:24, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Then in Genesis 10:16-18, the passage says that the Amorites, the Jebusites, and the Hivites are the descendants of the Canaanites. The scripture also says in Genesis 15:13-21 that the Canaanites and their descendants would occupy the promise land in a dream given to Abram. Then in Deuteronomy 7:1-5, God tells the Israelites that when they enter the promise land possessed by the Canaanites and their descendants that not only are they to completely destroy them, but they are not to intermarry with them, they are not to give their daughters to their sons, and they are not to take their daughters for their sons. Why? Because in verse 4 it says, “for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods.”

But, it gets much deeper than this! So far, according to the scriptures the Canaanites and their descendants were cursed, were the lowest of slaves, possessed the promised land, and committed idolatry; a violation by the way of the very first two commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai; to not have any other gods before the Lord and to not make for yourself an idol because God is a jealous God. Now, notice in Deuteronomy 7:5, God commands the Israelites when they enter the promise land to break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn their idols in the fire. Moreover, Molech was one of the gods the Canaanites used to sacrifice their children to as a form of worship according to Leviticus 18:21, along with several other practices such as homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and pederasty. To put this into greater perspective, imagine in the 21st century people killing their kids, having sex with little boys, and having sex with animals in the name of some god… Not only would these hideous acts be broadcast all over the media, but the death penalty would be sought in many cases for anyone who would kill their own children. Hence, this begs the question, was God’s charge to exterminate the Canaanites and their descendants just, or was God unjust in his actions? Notice also what the Lord tells the prophet Ezekiel in 18:25... “Yet you (the people who accuse God of his unjust ways) say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, O house of Israel (and everybody else): Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?"

It gets even better than this! While many are quick to point to God’s wrath, many fail to realize how patient God is with his people. In Genesis 15:16, God exercised extreme patience with the Canaanites and their descendants by subjecting his own chosen people the Israelites to Egyptian bondage four hundred years until the sin of the Amorites (a descendant of the Canaanites) reached its full measure. Which means that the Canaanites and their descendants had at least four generations to repent from their sins, and guess what..? They continued sacrificing their kids and committing such hideous crimes for four hundred years.
Again, “Is God a genocidal maniac,” or "Is God just in his actions?" Does anybody see how God was willing to be patient and subject His own chosen people in order to bring the wicked to repentance, and after waiting four hundred years, God finally said enough is enough! Is it not the ways of the people that are unjust???

But, what about the Amalekites? God told King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:1-3, “go attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men, women, children, infants, cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.” Now, how could an all-loving God order the extermination of poor little innocent infants and children??? Woe! This can’t be an all-loving God, right? Well, at first glance, this may appear to be really cruel to kill harmless infants and children. However, depending on your presuppositions or depending on your agenda will determine how you look at the situation. For many, the sole objective is to disprove God’s existence, or to prove that the God in the Bible is some kind of “genocidal maniac”  and thus God can't be all-loving. On the other hand, a person can look at this from a different perspective and ask, “what did the Amalekites do to make God order Saul to totally destroy everything to include infants and children?” You see, if people ask the right questions, and examine everything the Amalekites did throughout the Bible, the answer to why God commanded such an order would make perfect sense.

What’s the evidence…? In Exodus 17, when the Israelites were in the wilderness and vulnerable from thirst, the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. In Deuteronomy 25:17, Moses reminds the Israelites of how the Amalekites came and attacked them when they were weary and worn. In Numbers 14:45, the Amalekites joined the Canaanites to attack the Israelites. In Judges 3:13, the Amalekites joined the Moabites to attack the Israelites. In Judges 6:3, the Amalekites again joined the Midianites to attack the Israelites. Furthermore, because Saul failed to completely destroy the Amalekites, they would continue to be a thorn in Israel’s side when Hammon the Agagite tried to destroy the Jews during the reign of Esther approximately five hundred year later. Unfortunately, according to the scriptures the Amalekites were a very wicked people who were on a mission to exterminate the Israelites, and it wasn’t until the reign of Saul almost five hundred years later after their first encounter with the Amalekites that God said enough is enough!

Again, instead of asking the question, “Is God a genocidal maniac,” the question should be, "How patient is God's judgement for the people who were trying to completely destroy his chosen nation?" How patient has God been with you in your sin??? In all reality, God exercised a patience unimaginable in this day and age. Just imagine another country steadily trying to destroy America, and America does nothing for five hundred years… Or, just imagine if God was to allow such wicked acts by the Canaanites and the Amalekites to continue on throughout the generations to the extent that maybe today’s society would still be sacrificing their kids as a normal part of everyday life. God’s people should be thankful that he intervened and discontinued such a wicked act instead of falsely accusing God of genocide. The evidence from the scriptures points to the guilt, points to the sin, and points to the wickedness of the ancient Canaanites and the Amalekites, not God in his final act of judgement against them.

Finally, the main reason why many people get confused about these specific passages that call for the extermination of certain people in the Bible is because of a poor interpretation of the scriptures. When it comes to interpreting ancient scripture, a person has to always take into consideration the ancient languages, the author’s intent, the scriptural and historical context (which in this case the context of the whole Bible is necessary to really understand who the Canaanites and the Amalekites are), and to allow scripture to interpret scripture. You see, the problem many people have is that they isolate certain passages and base their conclusions from those isolated passages, which is poor hermeneutics. In order to gain a sound interpretation of a particular passage in the Bible, a person must consider the context i.e. scriptural, historical, and sometimes the whole Bible to gain the best interpretation. Therefore, to answer the question above, “Is the God of the Bible a Genocidal Maniac,” the answer according to the scriptures is ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! God was completely just in his actions, even against infants and children who would have followed in the same generational footsteps of their wicked ancestors. Fortunately, for all the children who did die before they reached the age of accountability, death was a better solution than to live a life full of wickedness and reap eternal damnation. Either way, God was loving, God was patient, God was just, and God even saved some of the children from reaping eternal separation from God; thus clarifying the misconception!

#Time4Truth #Misconceptions #Clarified #GodisJust #GodisPatient

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Please click on the links below for more information or check out the video by Sam Shamoun explaining the so-called genocide in the Bible: http://www.gotquestions.org/Canaanites-extermination.html; https://bible.org/article/canaanites-genocide-or-judgment 
 

Misconceptions Clarified III; "Is the Doctrine of the Trinity Unbiblical?"

Is the Doctrine of the "Trinity" Unbiblical???

When it comes to the doctrine of Christianity, the Trinity is one of the most controversial aspects of the Christian faith.  For many, the three-in-one concept of God is difficult by itself to comprehend. For others, the three-in-one concept denotes polytheism (belief in more than one God) instead of monotheism (belief in only one God). And for some, the challenge is in the actual term, "Trinity" which is not found in one single instance in the Bible, and therefore, it cannot be biblical, right? But, how many people know that just because a certain word is not found in the Bible does not mean that it is unbiblical? The term "Trinity" was created to describe who God is since obviously there was no such term that defined God's three-dimensional being. Whatever the case may be, let's examine what the Bible really has to say in regards to God having more than one person to himself.

Before this article gets into the biblical evidence, it's important to note that many anti-Trinitarians reference Deuteronomy 6:4 to defend their position which says, "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one." However, what exactly does the author Moses intend to mean when he says "The Lord your God is one"? Does Moses mean that God is one in dimension, or one in quantity? Well, according to the Hebrew transliteration "echad" the word "one" not only means one in quantity, but it also means “united” as one or “altogether” as one. Meaning, God's multiple dimensions of himself i.e. Father, Son, Holy Spirit are altogether united as "One God." 

The problem many people have when it comes to the hermeneutics (the interpretation) of the Bible is that they use a 21st century perspective to interpret the ancient scriptures. For example, the definition for the term "one" in the English language means literally one in quantity. However, in the ancient Hebrew language a word could have more than one meaning i.e. literal, numerical, and, or figurative. Additionally, in the Hebrew language each character also represented numerical value. Therefore, when it comes to the interpretation of the ancient Hebrew language into a modern language like English, there are a few variables to keep in mind in order to gain a sound interpretation, which are the ancient languages itself, the historical and scriptural context, the author's intent, and scripture interpreting scripture. 

And speaking of scripture, is there any evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity (not the term itself) found in the Bible? Well, see the evidence for yourself! 

In Genesis 1:1-2 it says, "In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Now, there are a couple of challenges anti-Trinitarians face with this particular passage. First, why did the author Moses use a plural term for God "Elohim" instead of the singular term "El" if God was singular in dimension? Second, why would the author Moses again identify "The Spirit of God" separately in this passage if there is only "one" person to God's being? 

Here's the answer: Because Moses knew that there was more than one person at work. Because Moses knew that there was more than one aspect to God's being. Because Moses knew that there was more than one dimension of God operating altogether as One God. And because Moses knew that God was plural in being, but only One Triune God. 

Let's briefly examine the two other persons of God's being according to the scriptures. First, "The Angel of the Lord" is mentioned in a multitude of occasions in the Old Testament to include Genesis 16:7-14, Genesis 31:10-13, Genesis 48:15-16, Exodus 23:20-23, Judges 2:1-5, Zechariah 3, and Psalm 34:6-7. This Angel of the Lord is identified separately from God himself, who possesses attributes only God can possess such as forgiving sins, giving life, judging the earth, and knowing all things just to name a few. Please read these passages to see for yourself the Angel of the Lord at work functioning in the role as God. For more information on the Angel of the Lord, please visit this website: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_26.cfm

The other person of God at work who possesses attributes that only God himself can possess is the "Spirit of the Lord" mentioned in Psalm 104:30, Psalm 139:7-12, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Ezekiel 37:12-14, Job 33:4, 2 Samuel 23:2, Isaiah 63:10, 11, 14, Genesis 1:2, and Exodus 33:14. This is absolutely amazing because the Angel of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord are identified separately from God himself, but working as God themselves! Which is exactly what Moses intends to mean in Deuteronomy 6:4; that God has three dimensions to himself united together as "One." And believe it or not, this is just scratching the surface on the abundance of scriptural references pertaining to the doctrine of the Trinity in which anti-Trinitarians would have to contend with. 

Lastly, notice also that all of the above references are found in just the Old Testament. The New Testament references for the doctrine of the Trinity include Mark 1:10-11, Matthew 3:17, Luke 3:22, John 10:30, John 16:13-15, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Ephesians 4:4-6, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and the clearest reference comes from Matthew 28:19 where Jesus commands his disciples, “to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The scriptural evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity is inarguable, and the challenge for anti-Trinitarians in this particular passage is this: if Jesus is not God himself and if the Holy Spirit is not God himself, why didn't Jesus just command his disciples to baptize his people in the name of the Father only? Furthermore, if Jesus really wasn't God himself, why would Jesus command his disciples to baptize his people in the name of "created" beings like you and I? It doesn't make sense or add up that Jesus would make such a command if He truly wasn't God in the flesh. 

Hence, here's the truth: The Father is God, The Son (Jesus) is God, and The Holy Spirit is God united all-together as "One" Triune God according to the scriptures; which is exactly what Moses meant in Deuteronomy 6:4 that the Lord your God is united as "One." Additionally, notice what Jesus said in John 5:46, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." Which means that Jesus is the only person who can stand in the place of "The Angel of The Lord" in the Old Testament. 

So, the final answer is, "NO" the doctrine of the Trinity is not unbiblical, but very biblical. Why? Because even though the term "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible, that does not mean the doctrine itself is unbiblical. Additionally, even though the Bible doesn't quote God specifically as saying, "I Am the three-in-one God" doesn't mean God is not Triune. And even though the name "Jesus" is not mentioned specifically in the Old Testament does not mean Jesus was not present or at work. We have to always remember that the authors of the Bible were not concerned about appeasing the literary criticisms of the 21st century! 2 Peter 1:21 says, "For prophecy never had it origins in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

#Time4Truth #Trinity #Misconceptions #Clarified

Please click on the YouTube Video below by Sam Shamoun, a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who explains the doctrine of the Trinity from an Old Testament perspective.

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified II; "Is Sunday Christian Worship Rooted in Paganism?"

Is "Sunday" Christian Worship rooted in Paganism?

Welcome to the second episode of Misconceptions Clarified where this article will be answering the question on whether or not worshipping Jesus Christ, the God of all creation on Sunday was affiliated or influenced by Roman Mythology. Unfortunately, many critics of the Christian faith will go to the extreme by taking any single aspect of Christianity that may appear similar to another tradition and accuse the whole of Christianity as pagan, unauthentic, or plagiarized.

According to Arthur Weigall and others, the early Christian Church was influenced by Roman Mithraism; a tradition that revered the sun and considered Sunday a sacred day for Mithra. However, just because there is a similarity in one tradition to another does not mean it is a borrowed tradition. The worship of the "sun" and the worship of the "Son" of the Living God on Sunday are totally two different and separate traditions. That's like saying that the name "David" and the name "Davis" are the same name and the same person because of the similarity between the two names. NONSENSE! Just because there's a similarity, just because it sounds almost the same, and just because it appears at face value the same, does not mean it is the same. Just because the Babylonians worshipped the moon on Saturday does not mean that the Jews plagiarized this tradition and called it the Sabbath. Just because the months in the Hebrew calendar have Babylonian origins does not mean the Hebrew faith was borrowed from the Babylonians. And Just because the Emperor Constantine instituted Sunday as a day of rest, does not mean Christianity is rooted in Roman Paganism. Obviously, the mythological Roman god of Mithra who was born out of a rock is not the same as the historical Jesus of Nazareth who Christians worship. How these two are even compared side by side just shows the desperate attempts by opponents to discredit Christianity. But, how many people really know that there are a multitude of pagan traditions that uphold at least one day out of the week as sacred... In reality, there are only seven days in one week and over six thousand worldviews that are indirectly competing for one of those days. Nevertheless, just because one tradition worships on a day another tradition worships, does not mean any plagiarism has occurred.

In fact, a deeper investigation into the origins of Christian worship on Sunday reveals that the Lord's Day was instituted by the Lord Jesus himself, which can be proven by scripture and proven by the early history of the church. For instance, The Teaching of the Apostles also known as the Didache says in 14:1, "And on the Lord's own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure." In Justin Martyr's Second Apology he says, "The weekly worship of the Christians, on the day called Sunday all who live in the country gather together to one place." And in Pliny the Younger's Epistle 10:96 to Emperor Trajan he says, "they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god." (*On a side note, these three sources mentioned above are very early sources dated in the first and the second century.)

Let's examine what the scripture says... In the Gospel of Matthew 5:17 Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount (the best sermon of all-time) that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. Now, before the incarnation of Jesus (God in the flesh) the Israelites were operating under the Old Covenant given to Moses at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19, Exodus 24, and inscribed on the new tablets in Exodus 34. Unfortunately, the Israelites were rebellious over and over again, and they violated the covenant of God to the extent that the Old Testament prophets began to speak of a "New" and "Everlasting Covenant" in Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:40, Ezekiel 37:26, Isaiah 55:3, and Isaiah 61:8. Then during the Last Supper in Luke 22:20, Jesus quotes Moses in Exodus 24:8 and adds a new variation to Moses by saying, "this cup is the 'new' covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Meaning, when Moses sprinkled the blood of the bull on the people and said, "this is the blood of the covenant" Jesus fulfilled that Old Covenant with his own blood and established the "New and Everlasting Covenant" with his resurrection. 

In addition, when Jesus gave up his spirit in John 19:30, he said, "it is finished." Meaning, the Old Covenant in which the High Priest had to make atonement for the sin of the people over and over again was "paid in full" by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. So, when Jesus finished/fulfilled the shadow of the Old Covenant, Jesus thus establishes his "New and Everlasting Covenant" with his resurrection from the dead on Sunday, which would be considered the Lord's Day according to Revelation 1:10. The primary reason why Christians worship the Son of the Living God (not the sun in the sky) on Sunday has nothing to do with Roman Mithraism, but it has everything to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ early on Sunday morning according to Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1. 

Furthermore, there are two instances recorded in the Gospel of John 20:19 & verse 26 on the "first day of the week" where Jesus appeared to his disciples in his post-resurrected body. Another major factor for Christian worship on Sunday occurs at Pentecost, a fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks in Leviticus 23 that was celebrated fifty days after the Passover on a Sunday in which the disciples gathered in the upper room and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 20:7, on the "first day of the week" they gathered together to break bread, and in 1 Corinthians 16:2 on the "first day of the week" they gathered to set aside a sum of money. So, there is plenty of scriptural evidence that supports the early church gathering together on the first day of the week to commemorate the most revolutionary event in all of human history, which occurred on Sunday the first day of the week; the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lastly, back to the fulfillment of the Old Covenant/Old Testament by Jesus Christ, the book of Hebrews is where it gets real interesting regarding the "New Covenant." Just see for yourself the multitude of passages that refer to the "New Covenant." In Hebrews 7:18 it says, "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." In Hebrews 7:22 it says, "Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant." In Hebrews 8:6 it says, "But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." In Hebrews 8:13 it says, "By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete (fulfilled); and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear," which included the old temple tradition. In Hebrews 9:1-10 it talks about the earthly tabernacle (the temple) and how it was in place only "applying until the time of the new order." In Hebrews 9:15 it says, "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant." In Hebrews 10:1 it says that "the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the realities themselves." And finally in Hebrews 10:9 it says "He (Jesus) sets aside the first to establish the second."

So, whoever accuses Christianity of pagan plagiarism lacks a serious knowledge of early church history and the scriptures. And whoever accuses Christianity for worshipping God on Sunday instead of the Sabbath also fails to realize that Jesus Christ fulfilled the old order of things and established the new order of his New Covenant, in which anyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior by faith are not bound by the Law of Moses, a law that was unable to make anything perfect. The same instance can be found in the Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15 that ultimately decided Gentile converts were not bound by the Law of Moses in regards to circumcision and dietary laws to become followers of Christ by faith. Christians across the spectrum are not bound by the old way of things, but only the new order of things established by the Lord Jesus himself through faith. How Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday has nothing to do with Roman mythology and does not violate any Sabbath law.

The new order of things established by Jesus himself included the church, the Lord's day on Sunday the first day of the week (Revelation 1:10), the fulfillment of the temple where the Holy Spirit resides in those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:11), the fulfillment of the sacrificial system (Hebrews 10:11-12), the fulfillment of the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17), the fulfillment of the festival of First Fruits which occurred the day after the Sabbath (1 Corinthians 15:20&23; Leviticus 23:9-14), and a fulfillment of the Old Covenant all together (Hebrews 7:18). The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that the Old Testament was a temporary covenant established by God through Moses on Mount Sinai and the New Testament is a "New and Everlasting Covenant" established by God himself in the flesh through his Son Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:14 says, "We are not like Moses who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." And it is our prayer that people will truly come to the saving knowledge of the "New Covenant" established by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and stop grasping for straws in their desperate attempts to criticize every single angle of the Christian faith.

If you want more information on this particular topic, please visit the links below:

http://www.bible.ca/7-Mithraism.htm, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/sabbath.cfm, http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/the-lords-day/, http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BQA/k/168/What-is-Lords-Day-Revelation-110.htm

#Time4Truth #MisconceptionsClarified #ChristianityIsAuthentic #SundayWorship

 

David Martinez
Misconceptions Clarified I; "Is Christianity a Myth?"

When it comes to the God in the Bible, to Jesus Christ, and to the Bible itself, anyone can find a multitude of misconceptions about Christianity in general on the Internet, on YouTube, on the bookshelf, and on the television. All you have to do is Google, “is Christianity a myth” and it will populate over two million results. It is quite amazing though to read the extent some of these critics will go just to discredit Christianity.

For instance, one misconception that many people are familiar with pertains to the Bible's human composition, and since the Bible was authored by human beings, it cannot be trusted as inspired revelation by God because it was written by human hands. Yet, the crazy thing about this misconception is that when someone criticizes the Bible, people are quick to believe them even though their work was humanly composed. What a logical paradox, right? If this is the case, then how can anybody believe in anything ever written by human hands? Especially, over the Bible that claims not once, not twice, not three times, but thousands of times its divine inspiration, and solidified with divine miracles. It is one thing to say or to write that something is inspired by God, and a completely different thing when that inspired saying or that inspired writing is confirmed by divine miracles. Jesus says in John 14:11, "to at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." Meaning that the bible is not just a bunch of written words written by a bunch of human authors in vain. But, the Bible is a divine written compilation composed by several human authors that was confirmed by the many miracles performed by God himself, which separates the Bible from any other book in the whole world. The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:21, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Furthermore, this misconception that the Bible cannot be trusted because of its human composition should be a standard applied across the spectrum. If one standard is to be applied, shouldn't it be applied universally? If the Bible cannot be trusted because of its human composition, shouldn't that same standard be applied universally?

Intriguingly, the misconceptions, the criticisms, and the lies that are being spread in the twenty-first century about Christianity is really nothing new believe it or not. The picking and choosing what to believe and what not to believe despite the evidence is in fact very common. It is documented in the Gospel of John 5:43-44 of Jesus' confrontation with the Jewish leaders that many will believe other human beings over the God who manifested himself in the flesh; who by the way performed many miracles beyond any other human being in all of human history combined to include the resurrection from the worst type of capital punishment in the crucifixion. And, even though the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is historically documented by very early Christian and Non-Christian sources, even though the science of archaeology has proven the Bible correct on a multitude of occasions, and even though the fulfillment of prophecies contained in the Bible is unlike any other book in the whole world, these sources cannot be trusted because of its human origins… NONSENSE!! If this is the case, then nothing ever written can be trusted, which ultimately eliminates any argument against Christianity because of their human composition. So, whoever advocates this position against the Bible immediately loses credibility for their own argument, and therefore, the misconception is cleared! If the Bible cannot be trusted because of its human composition, then nothing ever written can be trusted (which we know not to be true) to include the works of those who use this kind of argument.

So, if anyone wants to search for the truth “objectively” minus any biases or any anti-Christian agendas by utilizing "credible" academic sources (not a YouTube video or a Facebook post), a person can and will surely find the real truth. You just have to research what you research! Double check the references, double check the information, and double check when the source was written. The problem many people have when it comes to research is that people tend to believe non-witness testimony over eyewitness testimony. People tend to believe the first thing they see or read instead of digging deeper into their research. However, little do some know that the twenty-seven books found in the New Testament are all eyewitness historical testimonies written no later than the first century, yet people want to believe what other people are saying two thousand years after the life of Christ, which is NONSENSE again. If you want to know the truth, you have to examine the sources closest to the situation, not farthest from the situation!  

Lastly, Jesus makes this very exclusive claim in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” and if you examine the life of Jesus individually against any other human being to ever live on this planet earth, you will come to the conclusion that He was indeed the “unique” Son of the Living God; the Word that became flesh and dwelt among men, and the "only way" to the Father in heaven. Unfortunately, there are many people who will just not believe even though the evidence speaks for itself. God could have inscribed the Bible with his own finger like He did with the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and yet, people will still find ways to discredit God, discredit his son Jesus Christ, and discredit the written revelation of God in the Bible.

Jesus said it best in Luke 16:31, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

#Time4Truth #Misconceptions #Clarified

What Is Faith???

In a world where science and the advancements of technology dominate the 21st century American context, the idea of "having faith" almost appears to be going out of style like the radio cassette tape or like a pair of bell-bottoms in a 70's club. Unfortunately, there is this major misconception regarding the definition of what faith really means. For some, faith is believing in something that's unknown, unseen, or uncertain. For others, faith is living life with blindfolds on, and for those who are really heavy into science, faith is an abstract idea that cannot be investigated under a telescope, or provide the necessary evidence for God's existence. The notion of "having faith" just doesn't cut it for many anymore. 

Nevertheless, little do people know that everyone has faith in something whether they believe it or not. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the "evidence" of the things we do not see. To shed some perspective on this particular passage, there are many examples in life people put their faith in without seeing it with their own eyes. For instance, the air we breathe is a perfect example of having faith in something that cannot be seen, and the rising and falling of our chest is the evidence of that air. Another example of faith pertains to the evolutionists who believe in the theory that the world is billions of years old even though they weren't there in the beginning. They trust in their interpretation of the available facts and believe it to be true. Another good example of applied faith can be drawn from people who lived in the past. For instance, many people believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States and a great general even though no one living today was alive to witness him lead this country or do battle. Yet, there exists a great amount of faith that the historical records of George Washington's life, leadership, and presidency are true. 

Well, the same concept applies to Christians who believe and have faith that Jesus Christ really lived, really died, and really rose from the dead on the third day. Christians do not need to see Jesus to believe that He lived and performed everything recorded in the scriptures. Why? Because the Bible (a historical book) along with the extra-biblical historical evidence corroborates his life, his death, and his resurrection, which can be trusted as truth. Furthermore, in the New Testament Jesus told doubting Thomas in John 20:29, "blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed (faith)."

Therefore, having faith is knowing, having faith is trusting, having faith is assurance, having faith is facts, having faith is evidence, and having faith is confidence in something or someone that cannot be seen with the naked eye to be true. In other words, by faith Christians understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Christians know that Jesus Christ truly lived, truly sacrificed his life on the cross for the forgiveness of sin, and truly left the grave empty appearing to the disciples and the multitudes in his post-resurrected body. And without faith in the evidence of Jesus Christ, it is "IMPOSSIBLE" to please God according to Hebrews 11:6. So, this idea that having faith is weak or having faith is vanity is a misunderstanding of what faith really means. As a matter of fact, having faith is essential in the journey of life, especially the Christian walk because without faith it is "IMPOSSIBLE" to please God, and without faith it is impossible to believe in anything that occurred in the past.  

Therefore, if you are reading this post and are struggling with your faith, remember that faith is facts, not indecisiveness! And just in case you are wondering how a person gains faith, Paul says in Romans 10:17 that faith comes from hearing the message, and that message comes from the Word of God in the Bible, which is given at the Lord's church. And once you hear the Word that is sharper than any two-edge sword, the faith you obtain will be the catalyst to your spiritual action, to your spiritual passion, and to your spiritual works. The Bible says in James 2:26 that just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

#Time4Truth #FaithisFacts #GotFaith?

Evidence for the Resurrection???

After celebrating Holy Week, one of the busiest weeks in the calendar year, there still exists many doubts, many questions, and many criticisms regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Did Jesus truly rise from the dead? Is there any evidence for the resurrection? Or, is this whole idea of a resurrection just a myth?

For some, no matter how much evidence there might be to support the idea of a resurrection they will never come to belief. However, coming back to life after being pronounced dead is not so uncommon. Just google "Lazarus Syndrome" or just google people who were pronounced dead that came back to life to see for yourself that the idea of life after death is not just some fairy tale. Hence, if people come back to life from the emergency room and from the mortuary, then it is absolutely possible that God could raise his own Son from the dead forever, right? Unfortunately, what happens in the ER or in the mortuary won't satisfy the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But, before you close the case on the resurrection of Jesus as unsolved or false, consider five points that favor the resurrection to be true. First, let's begin with the death by crucifixion on the cross. Did Jesus really suffer death on the cross? Of course he did! No credible academic scholar will disagree with this fact that Jesus really died on the cross. There was no way Jesus survived the cross! I repeat, there was no way Jesus survived the crucifixion! Why? Because death was guaranteed by crucifixion, and one method the Romans used to ensure death was by breaking the legs of the criminals so they couldn't lift themselves up to breathe. The two criminals Jesus was crucified along side with had their legs broken and by the time the Romans came to break the legs of Jesus, he was already dead, which prompted the Romans to verify that Jesus was dead by taking a spear and piercing his side. So, there is no doubt that Jesus really died on the cross.

The second point is the tomb. Being that Jesus died on Preparation Day, right before the Sabbath began, the Jews requested to have the bodies taken off the cross. They buried Jesus in a tomb nearby, sealed the tomb, and posted guards at the Pharisees request in order to nullify Jesus' own claim of raising his temple in three days. Hence, the Jews went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to the burial of Jesus because they themselves feared the reality of Jesus resurrecting from the dead. The Jews never requested from the Roman governor for any other crucified victim that a seal be placed on their tomb and that guards be posted on 24 hour watch to ensure no one tampered with their tomb, except for Jesus. Think about that for a second...

The third point is the empty tomb. The body of Jesus was never found! I repeat, the body of Jesus Christ was never found! What other explanation can one devise for the empty tomb; a tomb that was sealed and guarded by Roman authorities, except the resurrection...

The fourth point is the multiple attestations of the reappearance of Jesus Christ in his glorified body. Jesus reappeared to his disciples, to 500 people at one time, to doubting Thomas, and to Saul of Tarsus. The multiple appearances Jesus made after the crucifixion adds further weight to the truth of his resurrection. Furthermore, the Bible contains not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 consistent historical eyewitness accounts of the arrest, the crucifixion, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus. That's really solid evidence!

The fifth point pertains to the desperate and hostile explanations created to explain away the truth of the resurrection. In Matthew 28:11-15 it says that to this day the Jews widely circulated the fabricated story that the disciples stole the body. Unfortunately, instead of acknowledging the truth of what really happened, the chief priests devised a lie that's still widely circulated today. So, if you are reading this and had doubts about the resurrection of Jesus, please remember that Satan is out to seek, kill, and destroy anything of God, especially the most revolutionary account in all of history, the resurrection of Jesus. There are millions of fabricated reports on the internet, on social media, on television, on the radio, on YouTube, and by others with an anti-theistic agenda. In order to get to the bottom of the truth, you have to go back and investigate artifacts two thousand years ago, not contemporary material. The closer you get to the scene, the better chance you have to find out the real truth, and the lesser chance the truth is corrupted by legend, myth, or false reports. 

For information on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, we recommend Lee Strobel's Case for Christ, or N.T. Wright's exhaustive Case for the Resurrection.

#Time4Truth #God'sNotDead #TheEmptyTomb

 

 

Why did God become a man?

In today's day and age, there are a multitude of questions that surrounds the Christian faith, and one of those questions this post is going to address pertains to the incarnation (God made flesh) of Jesus. If Jesus is God as he claimed to be in John 8:58 where he told the Jews, "before Abraham was born, I Am," then why did God become a man? Why would a perfect God step off his glorious throne in heaven and come down and dwell among a wicked people? For some, this might not make any sense.

Well, there are five reasons why God became a man through Jesus Christ. The first reason why God became a man was to reconnect the broken relationship between God and humanity that occurred in the Garden of Eden. We have to remember that once Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, not only did they break the relationship like how a couple may break their relationship because of infidelity, but they were unable to restore that relationship back together. Why? Because the act of disobedience put humanity in a fallen state where only an unfallen God could repair it. For example, once a rock falls completely to the ground, the rock is incapable of picking itself back up into the air, right? The fallen rock would need an external factor to lift it off the ground. Well, the same concept applies to humanity. Once Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they were like the fallen rock unable to lift themselves up from their own sin. They needed an external factor, an unfallen God to lift them up from their sin, which is why God became a man. Paul says in Romans 5:11, "but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Which means that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we now have reconciliation with God where our relationship with God has been restored, repaired, redeemed, and reconnected. But, the only way to receive this reconciliation is belief in the One God has sent (John 6:29).

The second, third, and fourth reasons why God became man are detailed in Hebrews 2:14-18; "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

Essentially, God became a man not only to repair the broken relationship, but to also destroy the power of the devil, to liberate those who lived their lives in fear of death, to make atonement for our sins, and to help those who are being tempted. Wow! God did all of this for us??? Let me get this right… God stepped off his throne in heaven, put on the flesh of mankind, walked in the wilderness for 40 days, dealt with several temptations by Satan, betrayed by his own family, betrayed by his own friends, suffered so much anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane that he sweated drops of blood, arrested by the Romans authorities, tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin, remained silent against his accusers, suffered severe mutilation, crucified by Pontius Pilate, and buried in a tomb of the dead. Jesus did all of this so he can help those who are being tempted??? MY GOD! Jesus did all of this for you so that whenever you are being tempted or whenever you are suffering from something in your life, you have someone you can look up ^ to that can relate to everything you are going through! I mean how awesome is it to know that we serve a God who knows, who has been through, and who can relate to exactly what you are going through in your life…  Who is the son of man that You care for him that much that You would send your one and only Son down into the world to suffer and to die by the hands of his own creation? The ultimate and fifth answer to why God would do such a thing to become a man is all because of LOVE folks! I repeat, it was all because of LOVE folks! Romans 5:8 says, "but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  

#Time4Truth #Love #is #the #Reason!!

The Purpose of the Tree of Knowledge?

Genesis 2:17, "But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Since the Bible was written centuries ago, there has been a countless number of questions surrounding the Christian faith. One of the most intriguing questions of them all is: "Why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden knowing that Adam and Eve would choose to eat the fruit instead of obeying God?"

This question here is one of the more difficult questions simply because there is no direct answer found in the Bible. However, there is a reason why God doesn't outline every single answer and detail for his people in his word because if God did give us all the answers, the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent to guide his people into all truth and into all understanding would be out of a job, right? Nevertheless, the mainline argument presented to those who are challenged by the presence of suffering and evil in the world and why Adam and Eve disobeyed God is the doctrine of Free Will and love. When God created humanity, he created them in his image and after his likeness in Genesis 1:26, which means that human beings possess some of the same qualities as the Creator God such as his freedom, his relational nature, and his love. In order for God's people to purely love God and to purely have a relationship with God, God had to create his people with complete freedom. So when God created humanity, God had to also create the opportunity for them to love and obey him, which is where the tree of knowledge comes into the picture. The tree of knowledge provided that opportunity for Adam and Eve to obey or disobey God. Just like a woman is given the opportunity to say yes or no when a man asks for her hand in marriage, is the same opportunity God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Without that opportunity of obedience, the pure relationship and love God seeks with his creation is unavailable.

Which means that the tree of knowledge is absolutely necessary in the story of creation. God used the tree of knowledge of good and evil as a vehicle of opportunity, which unfortunately became a curse through Adam and Eve's decision to eat the forbidden fruit. This does not mean that God created evil. It means that God created the possibility of evil to exist through the opportunity made available from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; not the actual evil that came into existence through the disobedience and sin of Adam and Eve. We have to remember that is was humanity that sinned against God and not the reversal! On a brighter note, the good news of the Gospel is that even though God knew beforehand that the wrong opportunity would be selected in the Garden, God still chose to move forward with his creation. Why? Because God knew that his gift of love, his gift of life, his gift of grace, and his gift of salvation would be better than the curse of sin! Romans 5:15 & 16 says, "The gift is not like the trespass, and the gift is not like the result of one man's sin."

Therefore, just as Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the same tree of opportunity is afforded to the rest of humanity in which all fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). I John 1:8-9 says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." However, if we make the most of every opportunity like Paul commands the church in Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5, and "if we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins." We have to always remember that there will be an abundance of opportunities to do right or wrong, to go left or right, and to obey or disobey God's word. So, before you make a decision on whatever opportunity is presented before you, first pray that opportunity aligns with God's will, and then once God approves, make the most out of that opportunity. If you choose the wrong opportunity, instead of beating yourself up mentally, make the most out of that opportunity by repenting and learning from it. Even if you are placed in an opportunity through no fault or decision of your own, still make the most out of that opportunity because you never know the blessings that can come from it. Most importantly, remember that God made the most out of the failed tree of opportunity presented to Adam and Even by sending his one and only Son Jesus Christ to die on the curse of a tree. Paul says in Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

So, while we have life, while we have breathe in our nostrils, while we have forgiveness of sin, and while we have opportunities, make the most out of them because you never know how long those opportunities will be available. Job 1:21 says, "The Lord gave and the Lord takes away."

#Opportunity #Forgiveness #Time4Truth

"All Things Hold Together"

Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

If you woke up this morning and are reading this, first, give the Lord some praise for giving you another day…!

Second, remember that everyone who woke up this morning, woke up to their own set of circumstances, their own set of trials, and their own set of challenges in this life. So, if you are feeling lonely this morning about your situation, “don’t!” I repeat, “don’t!” There is somebody around the world going through something similar and, or even worse, and believe it or not, everyone has a situation that they are dealing with; whether it’s death, whether it’s sickness, whether it’s family, whether it’s relationships, whether it’s finances, whether it’s employment, whether it’s the streets, whether it’s court, or whether it’s the enemy. Every person that woke up this morning has to jump over some kind of hurdle.

However, don’t let your circumstances overwhelm you. Be encouraged because the scripture says in Colossians 1:17, that in him, (in Jesus), all things hold together. So, no matter what you may be going through in your life, no matter how separated your relationships may be, no matter how helpless you may feel, no matter how weak you may get, no matter how broke you may feel, no matter how sinful you were, no matter how tempted you are, and no matter how Satan is trying to destroy you, in Jesus Christ you have his strength, in Jesus Christ you have his forgiveness, in Jesus Christ you have his grace, in Jesus Christ you have an escape, in Jesus Christ you have eternity, in Jesus Christ you have his fullness, in Jesus Christ you have his image, in Jesus Christ you have his mind, in Jesus Christ you have his power, and in Jesus Christ you have the victory! In Jesus Christ you have every tool you need to carry out your assignment here on earth because Jesus is the glue, Jesus is the tape, Jesus is the staple, Jesus is the thread, Jesus is the latch, Jesus is the paper clip, Jesus is the Velcro, Jesus is the rope, Jesus is the nail, and Jesus is the laminin that holds all things together in the world and in your life. Just like the protein molecule laminin which is shaped like the cross and responsible for holding all the major components of the human body together, Jesus is the symbolical laminin that holds all of creation together until he returns again... Glory to God!

So, no matter what you may be going through in your life, remember what the Bible says.., that God is still with us, that God will never leave you nor forsake you, that God is pleased to make “you” his own, and that in Jesus Christ all things hold together.

Therefore, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). #Time4Truth

Thank you Jesus for holding all things together!!

"White as Snow"
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As the eastern parts of the United States continues to get blitzed with snow, the snow is a spiritual reminder of what God did for the whole world. The Bible says in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

You see, despite the fallen state of the world, the snow is a spiritual reminder of how God takes away the colored-stained sins of the world and turns them white as snow. And God changed the color of our scarlet and crimson-like sin by sending his Son Jesus Christ into this fallen world to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will never perish, but have everlasting life." Paul says in Romans 5:8, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. 

So, no matter the mistakes, no matter the sins, no matter the wickedness, and no matter the wrong-doing anyone has committed in their life, God can change the color of that sin from crimson to snow through his son Jesus Christ who died for the sins of the whole world. That's the Good News of the Gospel!! (G.O.S.P.E.L. G.od's O.wn S.on P.urchased E.ternal L.ife) 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Furthermore, God not only sent his Son Jesus into the world to change our crimson color sin into white, but to also remember our sin "no" more. The Bible says in Hebrews 8:12, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." And, the only way God will remember your sin no more is to believe in his One and only Son Jesus Christ, to believe that God raised him from the dead, and to believe that Jesus' purpose for dying on the cross was to redeem humanity from their sins bridging the world back to restoration with the Father in heaven. Therefore, as the snow continues to fall on your front yard, or for those who are seeing the snow fall from a distance on television, on the internet, on social media, or wherever you may be witnessing the eastern snow storm, let the snow be a spiritual reminder of what God did through his son Jesus Christ for the whole world!! #Time4Truth

God bless!!  

David Martinez