Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Salvation through Jesus, not Catholicism

The following link is a podcast of 'Matt Slick Live' on the topic of Roman Catholicism.

http://ia601505.us.archive.org/9/items/audiopod4/2156Matt12012015Catholic.mp3

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Answers To A few Biased Bible Questions: Part 1

“Aggressive Atheism” (sometimes called "New Atheism") is rapidly growing in America today. To define what “Aggressive Atheism” is I would say that it means, opposing the belief in any deity (god) verbally, or otherwise. Basically it's another way of saying, “Anti-theism.” (By the way, “theism” means to believe in a god, “atheism” literally means “without god” (rejection of any belief in god), and “anti-theism” means to deliberately oppose theism with the intent to do away with it. So, when one is attacking your belief in God with atheistic thought then that is no longer atheism, but anti-theism.)

We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are commanded to be prepared to give an answer to any questions concerning our faith (1 Peter 3:15). However as true as this is, we shouldn't rely solely on our knowledge. Apologetics, theology, and even logic isn't always the answer, though these are good, but we should always remember the greatest of all the spiritual gifts is love (1 Corinthians 13). If we don't love who we're talking to, or about, then our words are nothing. That being said, I'd like to answer just a few “Biased Bible Questions” that are more emotionally driven than logically.

1. The Bible supports slavery. Do you agree with and support it yourself?

The Biblical view of slavery, Old and New Testament, is not too difficult to understand, and to be honest I think the word, “Slavery” has been hijacked by today's society. There were slaves that because they were indebted to someone and could not pay off their debt they had no choice but to serve them. This is the definition of slavery that is generally thought of when the word arises. Some may think of slaves being forced into slavery without a single debt as well. The latter definition of slavery was only in effect when a people was to come into captivity (to include the Hebrews themselves as well); but there is another definition of slavery (also known as servantry) that is still active in today's American culture to.

Let me be clear that we are all slaves/servants, even those collecting money and doing nothing. A slave, or servant, was also a person who did not have a trade, but because they needed currency had to work for someone else to make a living. We all either get up and do something we don't like for work, or we have a trade that, even though we're working for ourselves, we're still slaves to it.

Do I agree with slavery? Can't say that I do, but for some people it actually brings them meaning in life. Even though I joke about disagreeing with slavery, even the Apostle Paul referred to himself as a “...slave of Christ Jesus...” and some translations say, “...servant...” . We all have a particular job to fulfill in our lives as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do I support it? Not the negative view of forced labor, cracking whips, etc. As far as the other ones already stated, yes. It is work that produces discipline, money, financial stability, and so on.

2. The Bible states that if a girl is raped then the rapist is to buy the girl and marry her. Since its in your Bible, do you agree with this?
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

28 If a man encounters a young woman, a virgin who is not engaged, takes hold of her and rapes her, and they are discovered, 29 the man who raped her must give the young woman’s father 50 silver shekels, and she must become his wife because he violated her. He cannot divorce her as long as he lives.
When reading this passage of scripture you might think that this is either instructing men what to do if you want a certain wife for life and get away with it by paying a small amount of money, or that God just hates women that much that they are just so unvaluable in His eyes. Both are wrong. As I had stated in the past, “ThreeThings To Consider When Interpreting Scripture: Context, Context, and Context.”

One of the very first things that we should do when facing a difficult task as to answering such a sensitive subject would be to go to the passage and read the surrounding verses, or the entire chapter if time and circumstances permit. I say this because ANYONE can grab a scripture from the Bible that they don't like and easily demonize it by saying something like, “Look! It says it right here that the girl who has been preyed on can be legally raped, sold, then married to her predator. Why would you believe in a god who would allow such a thing?!"

Let's take a look at some surrounding verses, but before we do I'd like to add that honor in Old and New Testament times was a much bigger deal than it is today and if I could equate it to anything I think I would put it this way, “Million dollar deals were settled on a handshake.”
Lets look at Deuteronomy 22:22-27
Deuteronomy 22:22-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

22 If a man is discovered having sexual relations with another man’s wife, both the man who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. 23 If there is a young woman who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man encounters her in the city and has sex with her, 24 you must take the two of them out to the gate of that city and stone them to death—the young woman because she did not cry out in the city and the man because he has violated his neighbor’s fiancée. You must purge the evil from you. 25 But if the man encounters an engaged woman in the open country, and he seizes and rapes her, only the man who raped her must die. 26 Do nothing to the young woman, because she is not guilty of an offense deserving death. This case is just like one in which a man attacks his neighbor and murders him. 27 When he found her in the field, the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.
Now, you can see from the context that this is primarily focusing on engaged, married, and virgin women/young women. As anyone can see here this is talking about consensual, and nonconsensual sex with women who are in wedlock. We see that women who are in wedlock and consent to having sex with a man other than her husband leads to both the man and the woman's death. The nonconsensual sex leads only to the man who committed the crime's death.
Let's look at the original verse at hand:
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

28 If a man encounters a young woman, a virgin who is not engaged, takes hold of her and rapes her, and they are discovered, 29 the man who raped her must give the young woman’s father 50 silver shekels, and she must become his wife because he violated her. He cannot divorce her as long as he lives.
As you can see from this passage, as opposed to the previous ones, there is a bit of a difference. One difference being that it isn't dealing with a married, or engaged woman. Secondly, you will notice that when sex is being described in the previous verses the woman is either consenting, or not consenting. If she is consenting then they are both killed, and we know this because verse 24 states that she did not, “cry out” (resist); but if she does not consent shows it by verses 26 & 27 that states, “Do nothing to the young woman, because she is not guilty of an offense deserving death. This case is just like one in which a man attacks his neighbor and murders him. 27 When he found her in the field, the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.” then only the man is killed.

You might be wondering, where's the connection? The connection is that in verses 28 & 29 neither are killed. The virgin isn't resisting, the man isn't forcing himself on the her, and neither are being accused of breaking any law other than having sex outside of wedlock. From this we can gather than the man seduced the damsel into having sex with him promising good things for the future only to get caught in his schemes. He was taking advantage of her emotionally, and this can be equated to what is referred to today as statutory rape.

So, since she has lost her virginity, the sex was consensual, and they were caught they then are forced by Jewish law to be married and the man pays the marriage tax of 50 shekels which goes to the father of the bride.

3. The Bible states that a woman can be stoned to death on her wedding night if she is discovered not to be a virgin. Do you accept this? Remember, it's in YOUR Bible.

Deuteronomy 22:13-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Violations of Proper Sexual Conduct
13 If a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and comes to hate her, 14 and accuses her of shameful conduct, and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman and was intimate with her, but I didn’t find any evidence of her virginity,’ 15 the young woman’s father and mother will take the evidence of her virginity and bring it to the city elders at the gate. 16 The young woman’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17 He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying: “I didn’t find any evidence of your daughter’s virginity,” but here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ They will spread out the cloth before the city elders. 18 Then the elders of that city will take the man and punish him. 19 They will also fine him 100 silver shekels and give them to the young woman’s father, because that man gave an Israelite virgin a bad name. She will remain his wife; he cannot divorce her as long as he lives. 20 But if this accusation is true and no evidence of the young woman’s virginity is found, 21 they will bring the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city will stone her to death. For she has committed an outrage in Israel by being promiscuous in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from you.
A very important thing to think about when reading this would be that in Jewish culture, lying about anything in a covenant would be like someone tricking you into thinking that you giving them your bank account information would result in them depositing an unreal amount of money in your bank account.  If you're smart you just don't do it. In this particular situation when a man and a woman come into marriage covenant it is agreed that everything is honest, and there is no deceit at all in the agreement (everything is what it is, both parties are truthful about who they are, and nothing else). Like I had stated before, “Million dollar deals were settled on a handshake.”  Honor was taken so much more to heart than it is today.

So, when it is discovered in one way or another that she was not a virgin before he has sex with her then it was his decision to either accept her deceit, or put her on trial where if found guilty her ultimate penalty would be death by stoning. However, the bigger question is whether or not the espoused woman and man were actually married, or betrothed (engaged). Betrothal was considered to be espousal so technically they were married. Fornication was not a sin punishable by death (as we read in Deuteronomy 22:28-29) so it can be determined that her execution wouldn't merely be because she was not a virgin. The sin committed was that the woman committed adultery, which was considered an offense worthy of death.

Do I agree with this? Well, I'll put it this way: I do believe that this was the law of the land brought about to separate the sheep from the goats. I don't personally think it should be implemented today, but that is also based on my perspective. If someone says something like, "I don't like this, and that about the Bible therefore it is not the Word of God," then that is their perspective, and no one can argue otherwise because they are arguing their perspective over yours. Which is better? Well, better is an opinionated word, not necessarily factual so arguing one "better" perspective over another is actually kind of pointless. So, to answer the question: No, I don't like it, nor do I think it should be viable for today.

In summation I say to the reader of this article that just because you don't have answers doesn't mean that there isn't any. Do your best to give an answer, but if you don't have a good answer then it's okay to say, "I don't know." Seek God on the issue, and seek the counsel of someone who might know. May God bless you and don't give up.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

About Babies Under A Month Old

In response to an atheist named Chris Morton in a Facebook group called, "Atheists vs Theist Debates" I decided to make it a blog post because coverage on these questions aren't widely found on the internet.  As an amateur apologist I feel responsibility to do so.
The following comments will follow with my response.
》=My response
《=End of my response

"according to the bible, abortion is perfectly acceptable, and babies don't even count as babies until they are a month old, so the religious argument is a moot point.

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. -- Exodus 21:22-23"

》 Instead of taking the Skeptics Annotated Bible website's word for it, and yes I know you copy/pasted this entire thing from it, please take time to actually read and understand what is being said in this passage of scripture in Exodus.  I'm using the World English Bible (WEB).

*[[Exo 21:22-23/WEB]]*  22 “If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow. 23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life.

Let's take a look at what is going on here:
1. Men are fighting
2. They somehow accidentally hurt a pregnant lady
3. She gives birth PREMATURELY
4. And yet NO harm follows (to the premature baby)
5. The one who did it must pay a fine
6. But if ANY harm follows (to the premature baby)
7. Then you must take life for life (the man's life for the baby's)《

"The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old.

And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. -- Leviticus 27:6

Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.

Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. -- Numbers 3:15-16"

》 These two verses that you've presented are out of context in comparison to the case you're trying to build off of that babies aren't counted as people until they're a month old, or older.
*[[Lev 27:6]] WEB* If the person is from a month old to five years old, then your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver.
*[[Num 3:15]] WEB* “Count the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families. You shall count every male from a month old and upward.”

Until very recently it was very common for a high proportion of babies to die within a month of their birth.

Even the Victorians commonly would not name their children for the first few days of their lives because it was so likely they would die.

These passages don't say that you don't count as a person, they are just saying that if the child is under a month old it is too young to have a value, and if they did not live past a month they should not bother recording their name.《

I hope this has helped your understanding, Chris, as well as anyone else reading this.
Thank you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How Many 'Coincidences' Does It Take?

Although this post is about bias against the Bible it is not about questions, but an attempt to debunk it altogether so I've decided to respond to it under another title outside of my series called,  "Answers To A Few Biased Bible Questions."
I posted this on my wall on Facebook.  The comments that are numbered are from someone attempting to debunk the claims in the meme (which is a defense for the scientific reliability of the Bible.)  My replies are an attempt to give a reasonable answer to each one. 

**Disclaimer: I am not the creator of the following meme that is in the line of debunking.
Chrystal (facebook user) -- 》(My replies)
1. Isaiah 4:20 the circle of the earth. Circles are flat. 

》》*[[Isa 40:22]] WEB* It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in;
Yes, circles are flat. Let's look at the Hebrew word used here in this context though:
[ḥūḡ - ח֣וּג] According to BibleStudyTools.com the word should be translated: "super sphaeram", Pagninus; "globum", Montanus Vatablus; "super orbem telluris", Vitringa
As you can see here there are three key words in this definition:
Sphaeram (sphere)
Globum (globe)
Orbem (orb)
I think it's safe to say that the word, "sphere" isn't out of context.

2. Jeremiah 33:22 The host of heaven (God) can not be numbered, does not even say the word stars. 

》》*[[Jer 33:22]] WEB* As the army of the sky can’t be counted, and the sand of the sea can’t be measured; so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me.’”
I have a more literal translation, and I'm guessing you were reading from the NKJV (New King James Version) because I've searched through several others and that is the only one I found that said, "host" in it.  Nonetheless, even in our English vocabulary today a definition for host is, "a vast multitude" which would make sense since obviously God cannot be numbered and in comparison to, "sand of the sea" stars fits better (not to mention that every other translation/version says, "stars."

3. Job 28:25 to make the weight for the winds (not air). Wind is not air. Other planets have wind, but not air. God would know the difference.1 Corinthians differeth from another star IN Glory. 

》》*[[Job 28:25]]
*BBE* When he made a weight for the wind, measuring out the waters;
*EasyEnglish* He decided the power of the wind. And he decided the size of the seas.
*ISV* “He imparted weight to the wind; he regulated water by his measurement.
*KJV* To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
*NET* When he made the force of the wind and measured the waters with a gauge.
*NHEB* He establishes the force of the wind. Yes, he measures out the waters by measure.
*WEB* He establishes the force of the wind. Yes, he measures out the waters by measure.
Admittedly this doesn't say air.  However,  what is wind without air?  
You argued that on some other planets there is wind,  but no air.  I've done some research since you've stated this.  Some other planets like Mars do have air other than earth, and others like Neptune that have wind caused by gas.  There are others that have no atmosphere because they're too hot like Mercury.  There's no wind on Mercury, or any other planet workout atmosphere. 
Back to the original statement from Job 28:25 about wind --on earth-- having weight:
What is wind without air?

4. Job 38:19 Implies that he is looking for light or asking where the light is. That means he is moving not the light. Verse 20 doesn't even use the word light. 

》》*[[1Co 15:41]] WEB* There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
Admittedly again this verse doesn't say what is implied in the meme.   I think the right verse should've been:
*[[Psa 147:4]] WEB* He counts the number of the stars. He calls them all by their names.
But I wasn't the maker of this meme.

5. Job 26:7 Does not use the word float or space. And hangeth the earth upon nothing, It's not nothing it's the sun's gravity. 

》》*[[Job 26:7]] WEB* He stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing.
Lets be real,  Chrystal.  We both know what is implied here.  Does the earth hang on anything?  And because of the Sun's gravitational pull,  does earth not float?

6. Ecclesiastes 1:6 Says the wind blows north and south, does not use the word cyclone. 

》》*[[Ecc 1:6]] WEB* The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses.
Again,  implications; and it doesn't just say that the wind blows, "North and south" it says that it,  "...turns around continually as it goes,  and the wind returns again to its courses."
As opposed to the wind just blowing straight.  This verse implies that the wind is constantly moving and in different directions.

7. 2 Samuel 22:16  says nothing about valleys or mountains or the ocean floor. Says simply that it's the foundation. 

》》*[[2Sa 22:16]] WEB* Then the channels of the sea appeared. The foundations of the world were laid bare by Yahweh’s rebuke, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
Yeah,  I'm with you on this one Chrystal.  Doesn't mean necessarily that this is incorrect,  but,  like yourself,  I just don't see it either.

8. Jonah 2:6 Says nothing about water or oceans. He is simply standing at the foot of a mountain looking up at it. 

》》*[[Jon 2:6]] WEB* I went down to the bottoms of the mountains. The earth barred me in forever: yet have you brought up my life from the pit, Yahweh my God.
Again I would have to agree with you.

9. Leviticus 17:11 Says the blood is for atonement of the soul, says nothing about health. 

》》*[[Lev 17:11]] WEB* For the life of the flesh is in the blood. I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life.
Yes, the passage of scripture does say life is in the blood; however I also do not see where it says anything about health also.

10. Hebrews 11:3 doesn't say anything of the kind. In fact I think it says the opposite. Things which are seen are NOT made of things which do appear. NOT made of things which do appear. If it appears that means it WAS invisible. 

》》*[[Heb 11:3]] WEB* By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
Here's what you said again:
"Hebrews 11:3 doesn't say anything of the kind. In fact I think it says the opposite. Things which are seen are NOT made of things which do appear. NOT made of things which do appear. If it appears that means it WAS invisible."
You might have confused your self there, not to be rude.
This is what it says:
So that
What is seen
Has not
Been made
Out of
Things which are
Visible
In other words:
The things that you can see,  they're made out of invisible things.

11. Job 38:16 Ok I'll give you that one. But you need only walk on the earth to see that. It doesn't take god. And may I point out that scientists were very ignorant back then because religion controled everthing? Do not bear false witness.

》》*[[Job 38:16]] WEB* “Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep?
You'll only give me one?  =P
No one person knew of these things because deep sea diving didn't exist so when God said this it was pure revelation. 
How do you know that science was controled by religion?  Maybe science relied on religion a lot, but controled?  No.  Atheists, and free thinking philosophers existed then too.  Maybe not so much in the Hebrew culture,  but elsewhere in various other world cultures as well.
I respect your determination for truth,  and even I learned something from this.  I hope that others can also take from this to be honest,  and do research because honestly I didn't even look up these scriptures before I posted the meme on Facebook.
Thank you Chrystal.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Answers To A Few Biased Bible Questions Part 2

Let me just start by saying that I am more than thrilled that I am able to begin a blog series in attempting to answer biased questions about the Holy Bible.  The format for this part is a bit different than Part 1 in the sense that Part 1 was me noticing some some questions from a certain atheist that I thought needed some answers.  I couldn't think of a better way to do that than in a more thoughtful one such as a blog post where I could put all of the information in one spot so to more efficiently answer it as opposed attempting to explain it without any interruption of thought. 
The format I chose for this is similar.  I asked in Facebook post in a group called, "Atheist vs Theist Debate" if anyone had any questions/comments on the topic of female rights in the Bible, and I said it was for a blog post.  I also had some unrelated questions that I will be adding to Part 3 of this blog series.  These are the polite and on-topic questions/comments that were presented:

Ethan Winters
If god truly hated abortions, why do 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage?
  > Source for that statistic- https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm

》In my attempt to answer your question let's think about something.  You either believe that abortion is good, bad, or amoral. If you believe that abortion is good then why is miscarriage bad? You've already made your position on the issues so I'm going to scratch out abortion being bad to you.
So it's a tie between good and amoral. Why is abortion being compared to miscarriage? Abortion is controlled, whereas miscarriage is not (in most cases.) since you obviously don't think that it's bad I ask why do you think it's good or amoral?
Miscarriage is a natural occurrence, and abortion is intentional killing. 

Vidar Lystad Johansen
He prefer[s] to drown or starve them [female babies] after birth.

》I honestly don't know where this is going.
I'm guessing that you're talking about the Great Flood,  and females who are born in impoverished cultures?

Out of all of the comments out of the rhetoric I think this one makes the least sense.
Nonetheless, I will attempt to entertain it. 

1. He prefer[s] to drown [female babies]...
Yes,  many females/female babies died during the Flood. 
I think you may also possibly be talking about people killing female babies via drowning? 

2. ...or starve them [female babies] after birth.
Yes,  babies in parts of the world are dying due to starvation as well as male babies, men,  and women...
And yes, starvation does exist.

Rhetoric
noun
The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade.
Meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended toimpress.

James Bradshaw
Biblical slavery included prisoners of war, their wives, and children.

》Thank you for your concern on biblical slavery.  This does pertain to biblical female rights, even if it is in the least bit.
Yes, Biblical slavery did include, but not limited to, prisoners of war.
However, this is more of the topic of of slavery than female rights.  I will add this to my next part (Part 3) of this blog series.

Craig McHenry
Why would you want to give women less right to bodily autonomy than corpses?
A corpse cannot have its organs donated unless they gave consent prior to dying.
Why should a woman be forced to be an incubator against her will?

》Thank you for your concern for female rights in regards to abortion.  I think the real question is, "If the baby is considered to be a woman's organ then why would her DNA be different from the baby's?"
If their DNA were the same then I could see that, but the plain and simple fact is that it's not and the baby is a person separate from the mother (not an organ.)

Alec Isaacs
God drowned a lot of babies and pregnant women in the Bible.

》Fair enough.

Thomas Lee
Your god is supposed to know what 'fate' awaits every fertilized egg. Whether the person it eventually develops into will be sent to hell or some other eternal consequence. With this knowledge, this god still makes people. So isn't this exactly like making people just populate that place or predicament other than eternal paradise? Where exactly is the morality in that?

》Thank you, Thomas for your concern as it relates to God's providence, and morality.  God isn't making people, but people are making people.  Sure God knows our future, but Him knowing our future doesn't mean our future is a direct effect of that.
Example:
You're watching a movie for the second time.  You already know what's going to happen because you've already seen it.  Is your knowledge of what's going to happen next the actual cause of what happens next?  No.  You know what's going to happen, but your knowing this does not cause it to happen.

I don't know if there is a final judgement for all people to accept the salvation of Christ or not.  This is what I understand, and so I'll just leave it at that; for now at least.

Thank you all for your participation in this blog series, and I hope I have adequately answered all of your questions.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Context, Context, and Context

Three Things To Consider When Interpreting Scripture:

Context, Context, and Context

Matthew 16:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

28 I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

     When reading this passage of scripture carefully in attempt to interpret its meaning, or any other difficult to understand passage, one must read around it (before and after). This is a passage that is difficult to understand because Jesus states to His disciples that only, “some standing here...will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”; but only one problem may be found, and that is the problem that Jesus' second coming has not yet occurred. As you're pondering this Bible difficulty I want to share about how I started looking for that answer to the question of Jesus' second coming.
     At my job there are many more skeptics and atheists than anyone who are Christians, agnostics, deists, or any other theistic belief system. One atheist in particular would challenge me on my beliefs about God, Jesus, the Holy Bible, etc. I like a good challenge so I never turned him down. Every break time on the graveyard shift I was working we'd debate over the existence of God and the reliability of the Holy Bible. One break, when he was unusually emboldened, I was stumped as to how to answer his challenging question as to how I interpret Matthew 16:28. Right in front of everyone I read it, and I know that I had read this verse many times before and had thought about it myself as to what this actually meant. Could Jesus' second coming really had been at His resurrection? If so, then my understanding that Jesus was coming back was just a myth, a hoax, bunk, etc... It bugged me to think that someone asked me a question that I had questions about myself because it is one of my goals in life to find difficulties, such as this, and expose the the truth behind it. I had to find answers.
     I'm not proud to say that a little seed of doubt actually entered my mind. All the evidence that I could find led to his understanding of the verse. As I admit that I was a bit overwhelmed with this, I asked if I could speak with him after work and he agreed. I told him about my conversion story and ultimately came to the point to where I said I wanted to do private debates as opposed to public ones. He agreed, and from that point on there was no public discourse on the matter.
As I was a bit relieved that I knew that I was not going to be publicly humiliated for not being able to answer, what I considered at the time to be, such a troublesome Bible Difficulty I still couldn't shake that I still didn't know the answer! What I should've told him was that I would get back with him, but because of my, “head knowledge pride” as I sometimes call it I was too stubborn to be humble in the situation.
    A couple of weeks later I had a look in a Dakes Annotated Bible, which is KJV (and I'm not so much a big fan of the KJV), that has VERY extensive notes (and I am a big fan of VERY extensive notes!). I looked at the notes and it directed me to the first eight verses of the very next chapter. I however want to focus attention on the first two verses which read:

Matthew 17:1-8Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Transfiguration

17 1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said:
This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him.
Listen to Him!

6 When the disciples heard it, they fell facedown and were terrified.7 Then Jesus came up, touched them, and said, “Get up; don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up they saw no one except Him—Jesus alone.
And also 2 Peter 1:16-18:

2 Peter 1:16-18Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Trustworthy Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:
This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him!

18 And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain.

    What does this tell me? This tells me that I took the scenic route instead of the short cut (so to speak). I could've asked someone who actually had their doctoral degree in theology/more extensive knowledge of theology, more wisdom, and experience. This is how the body of Christ works. Each part of the body has a different function, and help each other work more effectively.
So, the answer to the question at hand, which is, “Did the second coming of Christ happen at His resurrection?”. No. The prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 16 was fulfilled in the first eight verses of Matthew 17. This is the same transfiguration referred to in 2 Peter 1:16-18, and like the words of Jesus only some of them were there, but all of the disciples saw Jesus when He resurrected. The transfiguration is the better explanation, and the only explanation that actually makes sense.
     If you read carefully before and after each verse at hand, you will more than likely be able to find your answer, and if not then pray. If the Holy Spirit doesn't lead you to the answer that you're trying to find then pray that He will lead you to someone in the body that can give you an answer. Lets function as a body does as each part brings balance to another, and each part compliments another.
1 Peter 3:15-16 – John 16:13 – Romans 12:3-21

Excerpt from the Words of Encouragement newsletter August 2015 issue by Joseph Fincher

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Take On Gay Marriage, and the Recent Supreme Court Ruling

Disclaimer:  I myself do NOT support gay marriage, but I'm not going to insult, or turn red in the face on the issue.



I felt compelled to write about this topic, but a friend of mine's take on the situation inspired me to post this today.  I might as well just quote his Facebook post word for word:

"
Do I support gay marriage? Yes...Do I support religious freedom? Yes...Do I support States rights? Yes...Keeping all of those in mind, this isn't as simple as just making gay marriage legal and that be the end of it. It's a little more complex than that.First, does the federal government have the authority to force states to make gay marriage legal? No... It is up to each state to choose. That choice is protected under the 10th amendment.Second, should the churches be forced to marry gay couples despite their religious beliefs. No... Churches have the right to refuse marrying a gay couple based on their religious beliefs. That is protected under the 1st amendment.Now, how do we solve this?All governments, federal, state, county and local, need to relinquish control of marriage and give it back to the church. Marriage is a religious institution. Before religion, there was no marriage. The states then need to create a process for Civil marriages, aka "Civil Union".If a gay or straight couple want to join legally, they would have two options. First, if you want a "Marriage" you go to the church. Keeping in mind that the church can refuse based on their religious beliefs. I am sure there would be quite a few churches that would marry a gay couple but that decision should be the church's. If you get married through the church, gay or straight, you get two copies of the marriage certificate signed by the priest, pastor, etc, and take one of them to the county clerk so it can be filed.Now if you can't get married through the church or don't want to, gay or straight, you go to the county clerk and get two copies of a civil union certificate filled out, take them to a JP who would then join you in a civil union and sign both certificates. Then take one of the signed certificates back to the county clerk to be filed.Both marriage and civil union would be equal in the eyes of the law.In my opinion this is what would be best and make everyone happy.It's not so much a gay rights thing as much as it is a separation of church and state thing.

"


I agree with my friend on this, of course with the exception of the first sentence.  Why is it that the LGBT community want to, "redefine marriage" when it always has been, and still is a religious institution?


Monday, June 15, 2015

Did Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?

*[[Mat 19:4-6/WEB]]* 4 He answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’  6 So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.”

     As some of you may have argued that Jesus never condemned homosexuality, others may have been contemplating whether or not God accepts homosexuality,  and some however may be homosexual and wants to know what God thinks about it.   To let you know,  no Jesus never talks about homosexuality in a direct manner,  but rather describes heterosexuality as the reason God made man ama woman. Ultimately He had no reason to bring it up because He was already a Jew,  and Judaism condemns homosexuality in the Torah (first five books of Moses, aka the "Penteteuch" aka the books of the law of Moses, or Mosaic law) which are Genesis,  Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,  and Deuteronomy.  The Apostle Paul also condemns it.
     I think it is safe to say that God does not approve of such activity,  and to say that it is okay for clergymen to marry or ordain such is plain scriptural ignorance.   Such people are greatly deceived. 
     Back to the original question: Did Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?   Jesus is God,  and God condemned it in the Old Testament.   He didn't directly speak of it in the New Testament, but it is safe to say that He doesn't approve of it.  
     Another question: Does God love homosexuals?  Yes!  God loves all of His creation.  If you trust His Word (the Holy Bible) the you must know that God doesn't approve of that which is against His original order.
     Please know,  God is forgiving to anyone who chooses to turn from their sins.

 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.  - Romans 10:9-10

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Reflection on Psalm 119

    Reading all 176 verses of Psalm 119 reminds me that God's expectations are perfection, but as we all know that is impossible (Romans 3:23).  This entire psalm makes me more thankful for my faith in Jesus Christ because in the Tanakh (Old Testament) God gives 613 commands that define his expectations of perfection, and maturity.
    Before Jesus shed his atoning blood, 613 commandments were required to fulfill the law and salvation.  This was a constant problem because EVERYONE of God's people (the Jews) fell short, but most tried to uphold these to the best of their ability which made the sacrifice of God's one and only Son, Jesus all the more meaningful.
    Isaiah 53 points out that He would suffer much and die for our transgressions.  Thank You Holy Father for sending us Your Son, Jesus!  What an amazing thing it is that God would do whatever it takes to give His only Son to live a perfect life and die in our stead for reasons undeserved so that we could be found as white as snow, though our sins be red as crimson (Isaiah 1:18; Job 9:33; John 1:29).
     About works and salvation I would suggest reading Romans 6.  Living a willingly sinful life and being saved by the blood of Christ is like a top of the line trained professional in any line of business willingly, and consistently doing things in an unprofessional manner.  Why would anyone do that unless they're ignorant, or not really a professional at all but a poser instead.  The same is with Biblical salvation, and the thought itself calls for serious self evaluation and reflection of the believer in Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Envelope

   The other night my wife, children and I were playing "Clue" (the crime scene mystery game) when Kim,  my wife,  came up with a great idea for before we started playing.   She said something along the lines of, "how about a word before we start.  Something to teach the boys".  I thought it was a great idea.  
   I looked down at the game and it just came to me,  inspiration from the Holy Spirit no doubt.   I began to speak something like this:
"Well boys,  do you see this game?   The pieces,  the moving spaces....?  Well this is kind of like us when we're gong through life.   We're doing our best,  but it doesn't always happen the way that we'd like it to happen."
I continued,  "Do you see this envelope?  Inside this envelope is information that we don't know yet, but God knows.   This envelope is like God.   It carries information that we won't know until later on.   We do our best in life and not worry because God has all the answers that we don't. "
   I thought this was a great illustration and I felt like God was speaking to Kim and I through it.   We're going through times in life that seem bleak and make us feel helpless,  etc... but God has all the answers, and if we could learn to just put our trust in Him, stand on His Word and know that God is ultimately in control and wants the best for you then you could learn a peace that surpasses all understanding (by of which I will write on this topic soon).
   May Father God bless you in the name of His Son,  Jesus.   Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's all about Jesus

What this blog is about

As you can tell I hold great emphasis on Jesus.  Salvation through Jesus Christ is the key to having access to God.  Prayer, answered prayer, hope of eternity, identity, peace, spiritual gifts; all these are available to anyone who seeks them.

Matthew 7:7-8 WEB

“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.   For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

How to receive salvation through Jesus

In order to know this you must know what God's Word, the Holy Bible, says about it:

Romans 10:8-11 WEB

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart”; that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.”

In other words, you don't earn salvation you just simply accept it.  It's there, and it's free to receive.  

1 Corinthians 12:3b WEB

...No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit.

If you confess with you mouth that Jesus is your, "Lord" (meaning superior, master, boss, etc) and truly believe the He died for the forgiveness of your sins, and rose again three days later then you have received salvation and should be baptized in the name of the Father (Jesus' Father), The Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19 WEB

Go,  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

I hope that you've received Jesus in your life as a result of Holy Spirit speaking to your heart through this blog.

I will be posting about what Christianity is, and what it isn't too include false Christian religions, doctrines, and cults to avoid.

Until then, may God bless you.  

Please subscribe as well as ask questions about ANYTHING, to include world religion.

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