Archive for March, 2017


HOW TO BE OFFENSIVE

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m not quite like other people. And I know from experience that when people don’t fit easily into a stereotype, others attempt to either squash them into one or just write them off as being “weird”.

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Some claim to approve of weird and unusual types, until they come across one whose weirdness doesn’t fit their understanding of what weird should be.

From an early age, having realized and been told that I was “not normal”, I made a point of not fitting any molds, even though I didn’t really need to try. And having perplexed many before being a Christian, I increased my powers of perplexation once I became one (I’m developing a habit of creating my own words-how do you like that one?)

Being human, Christians also put other Christians into boxes or stereotypes, upset or offended when they don’t fit the available boxes. Consequently I detect a considerable amount of recoiling going on when I meet people. Not that I’m trying to offend or repulse-it just happens, even when I’m trying to be friendly…

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The herd mentality is prevalent in human nature because nobody wants to be rejected or spurned, and this is why political correctness almost succeeded in getting a stranglehold on all of us. Even though it’s fashionable today to be individual and unique, people tend to be individual and unique in all the same ways, though I don’t want to name some of those ways for fear of treading on toes. I think I’m long past any compulsion to follow the herd, and I’m really determined not to shape my personality, my tastes and my habits just to fit into acceptable boxes.

I have no desire to be offensive, and we believers are supposed to do all we can to be at peace with all men. However, if I’m offensive to someone simply because of who I am, then so be it. Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” 

The one good way to be offensive is in what we profess, and in adherence to the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul referred to the “offense of the cross” (Galatians 5:11), and explained that the message of the cross is “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:22). It was that very message which Paul was intentionally preaching, and which we are also called to preach.

So let’s be offensive for God. I don’t mean get in someone’s face and be an intentionally irritating and self-righteous embarrassment: I mean let’s believe and profess the good news without shame or reservation. Let’s winsomely stand up for the one thing which is most worth standing up for. If that’s offensive to someone…so be it.

 

 

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Some believers will tell you that we only get faith when we’re given it. If faith came from within us, they say, then faith would be works and not faith…

406px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-13018,_Maschinenmensch__Robot_I agree that the Spirit of God draws us, and helps us see the truth, but if we really are only converted and “saved” because God zaps some of us with faith, sometimes against our will, then pre-destination is a reality and there’s no choice or free will involved: Christ didn’t die for the whole world after all. I can’t go along with that.

Jesus urged his disciples frequently to “believe” and “have faith in God”. He was wasting his breath if he didn’t mean to encourage his followers to work at it. With that in mind, I would like to outline my second line of reasoning which I often fall back on in defense of my own faith in God. Last time, in “WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD” I discussed some reasons why I believe that there is a supreme, personal, almighty creator of all things: this time I’ll focus a little more on why I believe that the God of the Bible is that creator.

If (since) the Biblical God is God, there is no room for any other god, because there can only be one supreme being, and the Biblical God will not share his throne. Don’t agree? Try making Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton president at the same time and see what happens…

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Don’t forget that the Bible is strewn with statements to the effect that there is only one true God:

“I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6 NIV).

This claim found throughout scripture requires either accepting the Bible or rejecting it for being false and flawed. Consider also that the supreme being described in the Bible cannot be the same as that worshipped by Muslims or any other faith, any more than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump can be one and the same person. Different characteristics and teachings, and opposing instructions, objectives and commandments mean different personalities.

Any being capable of creating this incredibly complex and beautiful universe and life must transcend it, and must be greater than it and anything in it. There can be only one supreme God, and that supreme being cannot have conflicting characteristics as if he/she/it were some cosmic schizophrenic.

800px-Carrion_crow_in_flightAs I noted before, I recall the main points of the defense of my faith with the help of “initialisms”, or acronyms. Here’s the second one, updated and edited from the original publication. I’m sorry it’s rather long-but do you want evidence or don’t you?

Acronym 2: MASH DID PROCH!

M…MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE

It’s my conviction that a (the) supreme being is perfectly capable and willing to create and preserve a message to his ultimate creation, mankind. Besides the message written for everyone to see in all of creation as I outlined in part one, that message is more specifically recorded in the Bible.

Why does the manuscript evidence matter? There are many reasons, among which is the fact that numerous different authors over a very long period of human history recorded their experiences which, when put together, provide one narrative, one story, and one message-an amazing message of hope and love. If that narrative has been preserved it’s because the message-giver has something very important to say to us, and he’s able to preserve it through all the many attempts over the centuries to destroy it.

Many people are convinced that the gospel, the Old Testament accounts, and essential Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus Christ were all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. The truth is very different. If you find skeptical or hostile commentary on early Christian or Biblical writings and discoveries, you’re reading the untruthful bias and propaganda of someone who intends to rob you of joy and eternal life.

Ancient writings which we accept without question have an average gap between the original composition and the earliest surviving copy of hundreds or even over one thousand years, but the oldest surviving New Testament fragment dates to within one generation from its original composition: the “Rylands Fragment”:

http://www.bible-researcher.com/papyrus.52.html

Some accusations of misrepresentations of early Christian belief refer to the Gnostic gospels: these were written after the original gospels.

New Testament scholars have an enormous amount of ancient manuscript evidence. The documentary evidence for the New Testament far surpasses any other work of its time. We have over 5000 manuscripts, and many are dated within a few years of their authors’ lives.

An important manuscript is the Chester Beatty Papyri. It contains most of the N.T. writings, and is dated around A.D. 250. The Bodmer Papyri contains most of John, and dates to A.D. 200. Another is the Rylands Papyri, found in Egypt, which contains a fragment of John, and dates to A.D. 130. From this fragment we can conclude that John’s gospel was completed well before A.D. 130 because, not only did the gospel have to be written, it had to be hand copied and make its way down from Greece to Egypt. Since the vast majority of scholars agree that John is the last gospel written, we can affirm its first century date along with the other three with greater assurance.

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More evidence comes from the Dead Sea Scrolls Cave 7. Jose Callahan discovered a fragment of the Gospel of Mark and dated it to have been written in A.D. 50. He also discovered fragments of Acts and other epistles and dated them to have been written slightly after A.D. 50.

For more information see:

https://bible.org/article/historical-reliability-gospels

There are numerous writings of the Church Fathers quoting sections of Scripture, and the entire New Testament could be constructed from those alone. Millions of man-hours have been spent cross-checking them. Here are a few examples:

Clement of Rome sent a letter to the Corinthian church in A.D. 95. in which he quoted from the Gospels and other portions of the N.T. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, wrote a letter before his martyrdom in Rome in A.D. 115, quoting all the Gospels and other N.T. letters. Polycarp wrote to the Philippians in A.D. 120 and quoted from the Gospels and N.T. letters. Justin Martyr (A.D. 150) quotes John’s gospel chapter 3. Church fathers of the early second century were familiar with the apostle’s writings and quoted them as inspired Scripture.

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the transmission of the Bible. In these scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947, we have Old Testament manuscripts which date to 150 BC, about a thousand years earlier than Old Testament manuscripts previously known. They include a complete scroll of Isaiah. The significance is that when the two sets of manuscripts are compared, it’s clear that they are essentially the same, with very few changes. The 5 percent of variation consists chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. This indicates the incredible accuracy of the Old Testament manuscripts’ transmission to us. God is able to preserve His message (1).

Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which contains a definition of the Christian gospel as it was already being preached in his time, can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (2).

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Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (3).

This is the gospel that Paul preached in the first century:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

A…ARCHAEOLOGY

Below are just a few of the many finds made in recent decades, followed by a link to information on some of the latest finds.

THE POOL OF SILOAM, where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11) and which critics had said never existed, was found in 2004 (4).

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THE TEL DAN INSCRIPTION. The existence of King David, from Samuel in the OT, was mocked by secular scholars until The Tel Dan inscription, or “House of David” inscription, was discovered in 1993 at the site of Tel Dan in northern Israel. Few modern Biblical archaeology discoveries have caused as much excitement as the Tel Dan inscription—writing on a ninth-century B.C. stone slab (or stela) that furnished the first historical evidence of King David from the Bible. The inscription makes reference to a military victory and corresponds to the biblical account in 2 Chronicles 22 (5).

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

See notes on the Dead Sea Scrolls under “Manuscript Evidence”

THE CAIAPHAS OSSUARY. An ossuary is a stone or pottery box in which the remains of a deceased person are buried (an ancient casket). The Caiaphas Ossuary bears the inscription “Yeosef bar Qafa” and is dated to the second temple period. Yeosef (Joseph) was the son of Caiaphas. This verifies that there was a high priest at the time of Jesus and his name was Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the priest that presided over the false trial of Jesus (Matthew 26:57-67).

THE CRUCIFIED MAN. This is the remains of a full skeleton of a man crucified in the first century. The foot bone contains a bent crucifixion nail. There have been those that argued that the crucifixion of Christ was a hoax because that was not a form of capital punishment in Christ’s time. These remains verify that crucifixion was being done and that the crucifixion of Jesus was done exactly as outlined in the biblical narrative.

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THE KETEF HINNOM AMULETS

In 1979, two silver scrolls that were worn as amulets were found in a tomb overlooking the Hinnom Valley, where they had been placed around the 7th century B.C. It took three years to develop the delicate process of unrolling the scrolls while preventing them from disintegrating.

Brief as they are, the amulets rank as the oldest surviving texts from the Hebrew Bible. Upon unrolling the amulets, biblical archeologists found two inscriptions of significance. One is a temple priest blessing from the book of Numbers:

The Lord bless you and protect you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance to you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

The other inscription is the tetragrammaton “YHWH”, the name of the Lord, from which we get the English “Jehovah”. The amulets predate the Dead Sea Scrolls by 500 years and are the oldest known example of the Lord’s name in writing.

THE HOUSE OF GOD OSTRACON

Ostraca—writings on pottery—are common finds in archeological digs. The House of God Ostracon was found in Arad, a Canaanite city in the Negev. Over 100 pieces of ostraca were found and have been dated to the early part of the 6th Century BC. Of significance are the references to the temple in Jerusalem and to names of people that are recorded in Scripture. This not only helps to date the temple, but it verifies the existence of people listed in the biblical text.

THE WESTERN WALL

THE PILATE INSCRIPTION

A stone tablet was found in the theater of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast and bears an inscription mentioning the name of Pontius Pilate the procurator of Judea, and also the Tiberium, which was an edifice built in honor of the Emperor Tiberius by Pilate. There has been much written to discredit the biblical narrative in regard to the existence of Pilate; this tablet clearly says that it was from “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea” and verifies that he was a person that lived during the time of Jesus, exactly as written in the biblical narrative.

THE RUINS OF SODOM — actually located in a huge mound north of the Dead Sea — show the evidence of a powerful blast that incinerated the city at well over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Nobody built on top of the ruins for some 700 years.

KING BELSHAZZER

The book of the prophet Daniel mentions King Belshazzer seeing the writing on the wall foretelling of both his and the Babylonian Kingdom’s demise [Daniel 5]. Critics would point out that the Bible was in error, because no known extra-biblical list of Babylonian Kings included Belshazzar. But an archaeological find,  the “Cylinder of Nabonidus”, revealed that Belshazzar was co-regent of the kingdom, i.e. he would be placed in charge whenever his father, King Nabonidus, was away for extended periods of time. This also explains why Belshazzar could offer only the THIRD-highest position [Daniel 5:7] in the kingdom to the interpreter of the wall writings (6).

New and recent archeological finds confirming the Bible are so numerous it’s hard to keep up with them all. To read about some, see:

http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/news/

S…SCIENCE

Militant atheists and anti-Christian groups are on a mission to convince you and your children that science and faith do not mix. They omit to tell you that many of the great scientists of the past, such as Isaac Newton, were believers and attributed the wonders of creation and the orderliness of the universe to a Designer. Some scientists and scientifically trained people today are believers. Faith and true science do mix: faith and unbelief obviously do not.

The Bible isn’t intended to be a science manual, but it does have many things to say which reflect findings in true science (7).

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One example is in the first verse of the Bible, which tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The view of secular scientists and thinkers until the 20th century was that the universe was infinite: Relativity and the Hubble telescope helped them to conclude that it did indeed have a “beginning”, as the Bible had said all along. The universe, they said, began with a rapid expansion of space and time from a tiny singularity, or even from nothing. Some secular scientists are now changing their minds once again and constructing theories involving eternity (how do facts change?).

The Bible, written many centuries before the findings of 20th Century  scientists, describes an expansion or a stretching of space. For example, Isaiah 40:22 teaches that God “stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” Job, an Old Testament prophet, said that God “hangs the earth on nothing” or “suspends the earth on nothing” (NIV-Job 26:7), an idea long before its time, and an idea which requires earth to be floating in space…

 

The history of the earth and life on it can be explained not only by what the Bible says about it, but by the evidence in the rocks, in genetics and others sciences which reflect or confirm passages of the Bible (8).

H…HISTORY

Secular history sources tell us that the first notable civilization was in Mesopotamia, and then came Egypt, Greece and Rome. Biblical accounts agree. Mesopotamians, say historians, were among the first to learn how to write. But these first writers, dreamers and philosophers weren’t exactly first-grade minds struggling to scrape a few symbols on a piece of rock-as some cultures have done even in the last century or two. You can read reports of the earliest libraries being found there with many thousands of finely made clay tablets on all kinds of topics:  Moses also, and his contemporaries, had no problem writing down what he experienced, as some have claimed.

Of course, they’ll also tell you that humans were around long before recorded civilization, but the first real history-not speculation-was in Mesopotamia around five thousand years ago, as even secular historians will tell you:

“Our knowledge of prehistory derives from surviving objects…” (which don’t have dates on). “History, by contrast, is based on documents” (a telling admission). “These various interconnections mean that history, civilization and writing all begin at the same time. That time is about 3100 BC.”

“In about 3200 BC the two earliest civilizations develop….” (9).

Stela_of_Iddi-Sin,_King_of_Simurrum__It_dates_back_to_the_Old-Babylonian_Perdiod__From_Qarachatan_Village,_Sulaymaniyah_Governorate,_Iraqi_Kurdistan__The

That’s interesting, because the Bible agrees, and in fact said it first. The timing perfectly fits Biblical accounts and genealogies.

The Bible has become a significant source book for secular archaeology, helping to identify such ancient figures as Sargon (Isaiah 20:1); Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:37); Horam of Gazer (Joshua 10:33); Hazar (Joshua 15:27); and the nation of the Hittites (Genesis 15:20). The biblical record, unlike other “scriptures,” is historically set, opening itself up for testing and verification.

Two of the greatest 20th-century archaeologists, William F. Albright and Nelson Glueck, both lauded the Bible (even though they were non-Christian and secular in their training and personal beliefs) as being the single most accurate source document from history. Over and over again, the Bible has been found to be accurate in its places, dates, and records of events. No other “religious” document comes even close.

The 19th-century critics used to deny the historicity of the Hittites, the Horites, the Edomites, and various other peoples, nations, and cities mentioned in the Bible. Those critics have long been silenced by the archaeologist’s spade, and few critics dare to question the geographical and ethnological reliability of the Bible.

The names of over 40 different kings of various countries mentioned in the Bible have all been found in contemporary documents and inscriptions outside of the Old Testament, and are always consistent with the times and places associated with them in the Bible. Nothing exists in ancient literature that has been even remotely as well-confirmed in accuracy as has the Bible (10).

The Biblical Flood story is corroborated by dozens of ancient flood legends from around the world, as is the record of unbiased geology (11).

I came upon one such account while reading a secular book called “The Chinese Heritage”, which notes that the Chinese recorded a huge flood which covered the land and the mountains. It also states that originally people in that land believed in one supreme God.

The New Testament is supportable with many ancient secular documents. For info see:

“The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel;

“The Historical Jesus” by Gary R. Habermas

Examples:

Tacitus, the most important Roman historian of the first century, mentioned Christ as the reingleader of a sect, and “who suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberias”;

Pliny the Younger tortured and killed Christians. He wrote in AD 111 that he killed them for “belonging to that degenerate sect”. He wrote that they chanted to Christ “as if to a god”.

DiD…DIVINE DESIGN

The scriptures contain an inexhaustible supply of encoded evidence to authenticate and confirm its divine design, in other words, evidence that Biblical Scripture is indeed “inspired by God” as it claims, and not by the rantings of ancient man attempting to control someone. The deeper you look, the more encoded evidence you can find. For a fascinating glimpse into the many amazing codes found within the Bible, see Chuck Missler’s articles on the subject, based on his books (12).

Here is one example of those many codes:

BIBLICAL NUMEROLOGY

The heptadic structure found throughout the Bible goes far beyond the well-known examples which include the Sabbath on the seventh day; the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine in Egypt; the seven priests and seven trumpets marching around Jericho; the Sabbath Year of the land. For a look into one amazing example of the complexity of the use of numbers in Scripture, read: http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/102/

Also read “Number in Scripture” by E W Bullinger.

TYPOLOGY

Typology is a method of biblical interpretation whereby an element found in the Old Testament is seen to prefigure one found in the New Testament. The initial one is called the type and the fulfillment is designated the antitype.

The “Typology” of the Old Testament is the “PICTURE LANGUAGE” in which the Doctrines of the New Testament, such as the Atonement, are prefigured, for example, the “Brazen Serpent” and the “Cross.” John 3:14-15.

The New Testament is in the Old concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New revealed.

Scripture itself identifies several Old Testament events as types of Christ’s redemption, including the tabernacle, the sacrificial system, and the Passover. The Old Testament tabernacle is identified as a type in Hebrews 9:8-9: “the first tabernacle . . . which was a figure for the time then present.” The high priest’s entrance into the holiest place once a year prefigured the mediation of Christ, our High Priest. Later, the veil of the tabernacle is said to be a type of Christ (Hebrews 10:19-20) in that His flesh was torn, (as the veil was when He was crucified) in order to provide entrance into God’s presence for those who are covered by His sacrifice.

There are numerous other amazing examples, demonstrating the Bible is a unit. For more, read this article:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/larkin/dt/28.cfm

PRO…PROPHECY

The Bible foretells future events, many of which have been fulfilled, and others which have yet to be fulfilled. For example, the Old Testament contains hundreds of predictions of the Messiah, some concerning his first coming as recorded in the New Testament, and some concerning his return. Luke’s gospel records an incident in which Jesus read part of the scroll of Isaiah, known to have been written long before the life of Jesus, for all to hear in the synagogue at Nazareth, then he said:

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21).

Christ’s birth was foretold, in Isaiah 9:6-7, and his death in Isaiah chapter 53.

In our time a fulfillment of New Testament and Old Testament prophesies about Israel and particularly Jerusalem appear to be in the process of fulfillment. Prophesies relating to contention over Jerusalem in days preceding the return of Christ are particularly amazing. The world is intent on dividing Jerusalem-something it would never want for any other nation’s capital: consider Berlin, for example. The division of Jerusalem is the spark of Armaggeddon. For me, this alone is enough to convince me that my faith is in the living God. For details please see my post:

https://nickyfisher.com/2014/09/17/why-would-a-christian-want-to-support-israel/

CH…CHANGED LIVES

Millions of lives have been radically changed for the better by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Notable examples from history include the apostle Paul, a persecutor of Christians until his own conversion, at which point he devoted the rest of his life to spreading the gospel, and John Newton, a slave trader until his conversion. He subsequently wrote the famous hymn “Amazing Grace” (13).

Closer to home, my own life was radically changed for the better when I became “born again”. No-one can take away from me the knowledge of my own changed life. I’m not saying that I suddenly became a wonderful person: I’m saying that the things which had me in bondage no longer have a hold on me.

NOTES

1: For more info read Josh McDowell’s books “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” (one of the top 40 biggest-sellers of the 20th Century) and his new “God Breathed”.

http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Manuscript.html

http://www.icr.org/bible-manuscripts/

2: Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

3: Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

4: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-siloam-pool-where-jesus-healed-the-blind-man/http://www.bibleplaces.com/poolofsiloam.htm

5: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/the-tel-dan-inscription-the-first-historical-evidence-of-the-king-david-bible-story/

6: For more info read  “The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible” by Geisler & Holden, and Logos Bible Software.

“The Stones Cry Out” by Dr. Randall Price

http://www.gotquestions.org/biblical-archaeology.html#ixzz3cPqQK5QD

7: https://answersingenesis.org/answers/books/taking-back-astronomy/the-universe-confirms-the-bible/

8: http://www.icr.org

http://www.answersingenesis.org

9: http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab25

10: http://www.icr.org/bible-history

11: https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/flood-legends/flood-legends/

12: http://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2015/technical/biblecodes/

13: http://www.anointedlinks.com/amazing_grace.html

Those of you who hate politics, who hate a certain current president of the United States, who hate the idea of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and who recoil at the rantings of some obscure, half-mad Christian, be warned that you’ll probably hate this post too!

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Fifty years ago or so the “grandfather of Bible prophecy”, Hal Lindsey, wrote his book “The Late Great Planet Earth”, and became one of the men who led many millions of people to conclude that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ was just around the corner. I was one of them (though not fifty years past). The “stage was being set” for the grand finale of history, they said, and continue to say.

However, half a century later here we all are on the same old planet earth, and we may well ask ourselves if what some of us were led to believe either wasn’t true, or at best that it was rather premature. After all, it was many hundreds of years ago in northern Europe that people were saying, with the dark dawn of the Black Death, the threat of the Turks from the East, and the onslaught of the Pope’s church against non-conformist believers, that the end of the ages was surely upon them and the return of Christ could not be far off. They were longing for his appearing, but they were wrong about a few things. Are we similarly wrong?

Past prognosticators considered the people of ancient Israel to be guilty of murdering the Messiah, and believed that as judgment Israel had been judged and destroyed forever, in the first century destruction of Jerusalem and Israel by the Roman armies. Consequently they totally missed the fact that a literal nation of Israel must have a central role in last days events. Prophetic references to “Israel” and “Zion”, they were convinced, were addressing the Church. They didn’t understand that the nation had to be reborn and once again in possession-a very tentative and hotly contested possession-of the physical city of Jerusalem: present-day realities.

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT

This leads me, indirectly, to our modern day political scene. I say “political scene”, but it really isn’t accurate to refer to it solely as a political scene: there’s an additional dimension to it all. What we see appears to be political, but what’s behind it, driving it all along, is spiritual.

There are some of us out here who were wondering during the last US administration’s two terms whether we would all be led within a year or so into that final showdown of the ages as spoken of in the Bible. Truth was being thrown to the ground; sacred institutions were being trashed, so that schools were being ordered to open restrooms to anyone deciding to belong to a different gender for the day; Israel was being shunned, shamed and threatened, and pressured into handing over Jerusalem. Power was being centralized, nationally and internationally, and we were being surreptitiously ushered into a global society.

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A certain religion wishing, one way or another, to convert the world, was being favored and facilitated, and the faith of our founding fathers was being muzzled and demoted. But with the coming of a new administration in recent months, has the West seen a reprieve, a turnaround and a backing away from the precipice and from the end of the world as we knew it?

I would love to say that yes, we in the West are returning to our right minds: we’ll be keeping our own identity, our own traditional understanding of faith, and our own God’s view of right and wrong. Perhaps we will hang onto it all, for a time-I hope so. I pray so. It may even be that the US will dissent from the foretold international assault on Israel, but scripture says that “all nations” will descend on Jerusalem.

“None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand” (Daniel 12:10).

However, we see daily in our “news” reports the desparate efforts going on to destroy or emasculate, in any way possible, the new administration, and most particularly, the new President. Even before he was elected; even when he’d barely started campaigning for nomination, his opponents the world over were accusing him of just about everything negative and hateful that they could cook up. What he didn’t say they attributed to his words and actions anyway, and what he did say was ignored, distorted or edited for the most damaging effect possible. Among the accusations was the idea that he would start a nuclear war as soon as he possibly could.

Don’t look now, but it hasn’t begun yet. They said the same about Reagan thirty years ago, because they hated him equally. I was one of those partially convinced at the time that Reagan was an evil, rich warmonger who was going to start a nuclear war against those poor peace-loving communists.

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Trump was being viciously attacked by media people, sports commentators, college professors, so-called “comedians” and pro-abortion advocates right out of the gate. He’s hated. And it’s not just he who’s hated, it’s all those who voted for him. There’s an inexplicably rabid, unreasonable and frantic movement against all that he stands for-even before his opponents know what it is he stands for. Why? What’s the goal? What will be the outcome?

And what, you may be wondering, does hatred for Trump have to do with last days things? To begin my answer, no I don’t think he’s going to start Armageddon, and no, I don’t think he’s the antichrist. What’s most telling is the vehement opposition to him and his supporters. Trump will not be around for long: hatred for what he stands for will. What will happen when they eventually-one way or another-get rid of Trump? I’ll tell you what I think.

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Considering the world’s obsession with reborn Israel’s possession of Jerusalem, and its determination to divide it as the Bible predicts, Bible prophecy must really be on the verge of fulfillment, be it a few years or decades. I don’t see how it can be coincidence. The world hasn’t changed its direction permanently with the election of Mr. Trump: some trends have just been slowed or postponed. As surely as the pendulum of politics swings, and as surely as Bible prophecy of the first coming of the Christ was fulfilled, so the march towards the world’s destiny will continue, and the second coming is certain. I’m no prophet, and I would never say “The Lord told me”, but I can still tell you what to expect…

The push for globalism and the end of the values of the West will return with a vengeance, with growing support among those who believe we should have no borders. The one-world crowd will almost get their way:

“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast…” (Revelation 13:8).

The slide into moral lawlessness will surge:

“Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts” Revelation 9:21)

Anti-Christian sentiment, only being held in check now by the Holy Spirit and a few law-respecting leaders of the world, will vent itself freely:

He opened his mouth to blaspheme God ,and to slander his name…He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them (Revelation 9:6-7).

Pressure upon Israel to hand over Jerusalem to enemies of all that the West once stood for-at work today even in the West-will turn into action:

I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured…Half of the city will go into exile…Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations…(Zechariah 14:2-3).

And in that last phrase is the good news: the good news that those who are intent on trashing all godly institutions, and all true faith, and all right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will, just as they think they have won, be stopped in their tracks…dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re someone who has faith do you get those days when you almost feel like giving up on it, or that it’s almost gone anyway? I do. For such days I’ve prepared myself, over many years, a written reminder of the reasons why I had faith in the first place, and specifically, why I believe in the God of the Bible…

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This little collection of thoughts, observations and information has restored me to my rightful mind many times over, and I offer it here in the hope that it will inspire someone else. This is an edited version of an article I’ve published before, with a more seeker-friendly title. I realize that there are some times of doubt and testing when reason isn’t enough: please see my disclaimer at the end of the article*

I’ve organized my notes under a set of acronyms, or they may be called “initialisms”, depending on your point of view. The acronyms are pretty meaningless on their own, but they serve a purpose. I have four, so far.

ACRONYM 1: DIO APO HAELJASE-E

My first acronym concerns my belief in the existence of a creator. It also indirectly supports my faith in the God of the Bible, since it reflects the nature, character and power of the Biblical God. Consider first that there are three possibilities as to how we all got here. 1: We were created, 2: We evolved, 3: We aren’t really here, we just think we are (!) Other evolution-related concepts such as “Pan-Spermia” (life evolved somewhere else in the universe and was then seeded on earth) are not really alternatives, since all life, wherever it came from, either evolved or was created .

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D is for DESIGN.  I see incredible design in all of nature. Out of the thousands of examples I could give, one of my favorites is a moth I saw late one night near where I live, under a bright light. It was on the ground with its wings fully open and laying flat. It had a five-inch wingspan (12.5 cm), and on the back of each wing it had a large fake fearsome eye, so that you seem to be looking at a formidable, intimidating five-inch wide face, presumably to avoid being eaten. I asked myself how a moth would “evolve” those “eyes” for itself, even given millions of years. And why would it, if it could survive long enough to evolve them?

I is for INFORMATION. A strand of DNA, contained in each of the trillions of cells in our body, is packed with more information than a huge library. Where did that information come from? Information has never been observed to come from chaos. Researchers scan the skies for a radio message from space which, they are convinced, would confirm intelligent life out there, yet ignore the incredible message in plain view within life on earth, as seen in our DNA, in our brains, and in all of life.

O is for ORDER. The universe operates in a very orderly, lawful way, as does our own solar system and our own planet. The laws of nature hold all things together and allow us to exist and function. Sir Isaac Newton, whose laws of motion and gravity are still employable enough to land a man on the moon, attributed that orderliness to a Creator.

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A-P is for “ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE”. This principle, dismissed as mere coincidence by the evolutionist, demonstrates clearly that Earth is uniquely placed and equipped for life in our galaxy and in our solar system. It benefits from many hundreds of extremely fortuitous conditions. As an example, if earth were tilted any more or less in relation to the sun, its temperature ranges would be too extreme to support life. If we didn’t have the moon at just the right distance from us and at just the right relative size with just the right orbital pattern, we would have no tides to keep the oceans alive and fresh, and there would be no life on earth. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful power of the sun’s radiation. Water is unique in many of its properties, enabling life to exist and continue.

O is for ORIGINS.  Even famous evolutionists admit that they don’t know for sure how life evolved from non-life, and they’ve never seen it happen. Millions of people are convinced that life has been made, or almost made, in the laboratory: this is not the case. The Miller experiments made a few amino acids only. When the proverbial first living cell miraculously produced itself according to evolution theory, defying multitudes of natural obstacles, who did it mate with and what did it eat? I can much more easily believe in an intelligent creator than in a rock producing all the complexity we see.

There’s plenty of scientifically supportable reason to believe in the Biblical view of origins. Try http://www.icr.org for a start, or http://www.answersingenesis.org

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H is for man’s HUNGER for God. Man has an inbuilt hunger for the spiritual, which explains the existence of many religions throughout history and in every culture. Religion is not always a product of superstition: perhaps superstition is born of a longing for God, and the realization that there is something much greater than us.

A is for ATHEISM. The condition of atheistic societies to date has not been impressive or endearing.  Atheistic philosophy has been the cause of far more evil in our world than any religion has. Hitler, in his book “Mein Kampf” expressed the need to “cleanse” the human race for the sake of “Mother Nature” and healthy human evolution. Also refer to the regimes of such men as Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot). Please note I am not saying that every atheist is a “bad” person: they are usually no more evil than anyone else. Instead it demonstrates that having a God-less society is not the answer to our problems.

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Also consider the implications of atheistic philosophy. Think about it: if there is no God or creator who has rules and standards, there is no fixed universal, objective standard of right or wrong. No-one has the moral right to dictate to others what they should or should not do, particularly in a world where the survival of the fittest dictates what goes on. Hitler, then, was not “wrong” in his murder of millions of people, except in our eyes: we just happened to disagree with him. What one person or culture decides is good another may decide is evil, and who has the right to deem it otherwise?

Since life, according to evolution, evolves by means of mutation and natural selection-the survival of the fittest-death, war, murder and even the consumption of our competitors cannot be “wrong”. Our governments are oppressing us by deciding everything for us and by locking us into their system of thought, laws and regulations. Without God’s standards, government has become our Master. Who’s satisfied with the results of that?

In the strictest and most logical view of the evolutionary worldview, I am no more valuable than a worm: in God’s economy, each human life has great value.

E is for EMOTION. Most of our emotions would be superfluous and even detrimental if we were only here to contend with other life forms so as to emerge the winner (as we have, if we evolved). The God of the Bible made us in his image, and is himself a feeling, emotional being.

L is for LOVE. Real love, not sex-and-procreation-only love, produces commitment, caring, empathy, loyalty, faithfulness and truthfulness. Where does love come from if not from a loving, faithful designer? How could chemical reaction and interaction alone-born of rock-produce love? When your significant other asks if you love her or him, do you reply that yes, you are currently experiencing some chemical and hormonal interactions, and as long as they occur you will stick around and refrain from killing and eating him or her? Love in today’s popular definition is a reductionist ploy with the aim of reducing our relationships to temporary mutual use while the going is good. Godly love, as found in the Bible, is that which produces stable relationships, happy kids, and successful societies.

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J is for JUSTICE. Our sense of justice is evidence that we were made by a just, moral God. If we “evolved” a sense of justice, why do we still have crime, war and murder, at every level of every society, no matter how many new laws and regulations are created? And why would or should we care anyway? The fact is that we recognize naturally in our hearts that there is such a thing as evil at large in our world, and that it needs to be controlled. This recognition was given to us by a God of justice.

A is for “AESTHETIC SENSE”. We have an inbuilt appreciation for beauty and for all of creation, and not merely for our mate when we’re having sex, or for the food on our plate. We desire to be creative, to entertain, and to express ourselves, and we appreciate those who do so skillfully. We create and imagine-often without any practical reason. We philosophize and think very deeply (well some of us do anyway).

S and E are for SIN and EVIL. The Bible is right about human nature- just look around. You probably need look no further than the mirror, or your own family and friends.  Those who claim that people only abuse each other when they’re impoverished are often the same people who berate the ultra-rich for abusing the rest of us. If poverty were the cause of crime and terrorism, half of India and Africa would be in absolute turmoil. And if we evolved, why shouldn’t the rich abuse the rest of us, since life is all about the “survival of the fittest”?

E is for EXPERIENCE. In the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve experienced God in many ways. This includes an acute awareness of His presence, a feeling of indescribable completeness at times, an inner peace and joy, and answered prayers. It’s important for me to remember those experiences and continuous states of mind, and not to let them be dismissed as mere superstition, hormonal balance or positive thinking. I’ve seen the difference made by the Spirit of God in people’s lives, in homes, and in areas of society where God has been allowed or invited in.

Thanks for reading my first acronym! Further installments will follow…

*DISCLAIMER

My disclaimer is the acknowledgement that in those awful situations some people face-perhaps all of us at some time in our lives- reason and information are inadequate or even counter-productive.  Sometimes all we can tolerate is some loving, prayerful company, and our own personal brokenness. Many times our brokenness is what our God is looking for.

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