Category Archives: History

Isaiah Chapter Two — Post by Mary C. Findley

gold sky people

What are “the last days?” According to many Bible teachers, they are the time when the Lord has returned to govern the earth. Some people think they want to go to Heaven and be with God forever. Some think we never actually go there, but will live forever on earth. The beginning of this chapter seems to indicate that God will establish a place of worship on earth, in the New Jerusalem.

Whatever and wherever this place is, I want to be there.

And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

What would it be like to just have everyone want to go to God’s house and learn God’s ways? Right now we do everything we can to wriggle out of it. Commentator Matt Walsh said we are insane in America, trying to find reasons why going to church isn’t really a thing anymore when people in other parts of the world are dying to be able to go to church.

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25)

When the Lord is the judge of all the world, there will be peace. Weapons become farm implements. Whoever says they are working for world peace and isn’t willing for God to be in charge is deceived or a deceiver. So many people know that verse about the plows and the swords but so few want that dominion to come. Submission to God means we lose our freedom, right? (I speak as a fool.)

Verse 6 says God abandoned His people? What? No! God never does that, does He? Well, if He did, why would He do it? Verses 6-9 explain that there seems to have been so much stuff in the land that there wasn’t any room for God. There are those influences of the east again, like we brought up in the last chapter. Mystical things and just plain things have crowded God out. Every class of people found itself devolving, losing touch with spiritual reality, forcing God out. And so, He went, because He wasn’t wanted.
He’s coming back, though, whenever “in that day” is, to humble mankind out of those feeling that they are on top of the world. Hide under the dust and rocks, people. Only the Lord should be on top of the world. This day of reckoning is when God says, “No more. No more idols, no more stuff, everybody down on the ground. Hide if you can …” but you can’t.

Terror and splendor don’t usually go together. But they look good on God. At least, they would, if we could look at Him. People will be too busy trying to survive, to hide, to toss away those objects of worship. Did Adam and Eve eat that whole fruit they took and shared? Or did they toss it, dig a hole and bury it, try in some way to hide it?
Some people hunt for buried treasure. Looking at the passage where it describes the mountains of riches these people accumulated, and their idols of silver and gold, I wonder how much buried treasure there will be when the Lord rises to make the earth tremble. (v. 19) No one will go hunt for it though.

The key to what people are really putting ahead of God is in verse 22. “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?” People don’t really worship those false gods or those things. They worship themselves. Until they accept God’s humbling, they will never understand how terror and splendor can bring salvation.

Questions for Further Study, Discussion, or Thought
Briefly comment on what you think “the last days” means. Use two or three Scriptures as support.
What are reasons people give to justify not going to church? Are there any legitimate ones?
Why would God abandon His people?
What is man really worshiping instead of God? What is necessary for that to stop?
Your Turn in the Microcosm
Does Isaiah 2 in any way echo the message of the Book of Exodus? Does it show people insisting that they want to follow God? Any incidences of people seeing God’s clear provision and commands but shoving off in the other direction? Please share your thoughts on these parallels you find on your trip into the Isaiah Microcosm.

This is part 2 in an occasional series for a future book I am calling “The Isaiah Microcosm” Please let me know your thoughts on these posts, and how you would answer the questions at the end.

Image Credit: Composite of sunrise image by Paulbr75 and crowd scene by puzzleboxrecords on Pixabay Public Domain

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How God Preserved His Word History 1

Christ_and_His_Mother_Studying_the_Scriptures_by_Henry_Ossawa_Tanner

A dozen times the New Testament refers to the Old Testament as the Law and the Prophets. In Luke 24:44 Jesus said “the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms.” Yet most of the Hebrew Old Testament, Joshua through Esther in the English arrangement, are primarily historical. They are quoted in the New Testament as Scripture. For example Paul in Romans 11:4 quotes 1 Kings 19:18.

It is easier for us to think of Judges through Esther as history. There is some poetry, a few prophecies, a few proverbs and a few random commandments. But over 90% is narrative prose, written as history. It even includes genealogical records which are pure history.

Ezra is credited by tradition with preserving the entire Old Testament. He collected, arranged, and wrote it in the form we have it today. But there were many authors, from the time of Joshua around 1450 BC to Ezra around 400 BC. Some of the known authors of this history are Joshua, or people writing for Joshua, Samuel, the sons of the prophets, set up by Samuel, royal scribes, paid for by the northern kings as well as the southern kings, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Baruch, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. It is not possible to know how much any of these men contributed, though Baruch under Jeremiah might have gathered together all of the Scriptures available at that time.

It is also known that under King Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, every known copy of the Scriptures was destroyed and a single copy was preserved in the temple. So all existing copies from that point come from the single text found in the temple by Hilkiah the priest around 735 BC, 2 Kings 23:24.

Image Credit: Henry Ossawa Tanner Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures circa 1909 Dallas Museum of Art Wikimedia Commons

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Actual Dates and 14C Dates — Michael J. Findley

creationscience graph
Please forgive the oversimplification. But radiocarbon dating, like all radiometric dating, begins with assumptions (beliefs, paradigm) and uses those beliefs as proofs of dates. Science is the accurate examination of the evidence. The evidence of radiocarbon in the remains of organism which were once alive does not produce a date. It produces a 14C:12C ratio. Then assumptions (beliefs, a paradigm) are applied to that ratio. The result is a date. But the science is only the ratio.

Regular 14N in the upper atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic rays and produces 14C, which is unstable and breaks down over time. All living organisms absorb 14C throughout their lifetime through eating and breathing. At death, the organism no longer absorbs 14C. Since 14C is unstable, it begins to break down at a steady rate. This allows us to measure the 14C:12C ratio. By applying assumptions, the end result is a date.

The group of assumptions used by Secular Humanism have a paradigm that assumes the present to be the key to the past. It assumes that formation of 14C:12C was roughly the same as 14C:12C today. Allowing for anomalies, it assumes a constant rate for 60,000 BP (Before Present) years, the maximum accurate date for 14C dating.
The flood model assumptions have a paradigm where the past is vastly different from the present. The flood changed the paradigm dramatically.

Since there are no samples to test before the flood, it is a waste of time to discuss the antediluvian condition. But we accept the standard geologic position that earlier time periods, such as what they called the Cambrian through the Jurassic, had much higher carbon levels than we have today. All of these strata were formed during the flood and represent antediluvian carbon levels.

With higher levels of 12C and 14C formed at a constant rate, the 14C:12C therefor had highly diluted levels of 14C. Therefore, any sample from this time would cause a 14C date to be much older than its actual date because of the increase in 12C, not a reduction in 14C formation.

The flood altered the 14C:12C ratio by saturating the atmosphere with volcanic aerosols laden with vast quantities of 12C. At the same time, the sluice-gates of heaven were opened. 40 days of worldwide torrential rains flushed the atmosphere of any element besides water. This included 14C. Finally, all air-breathing organisms died. The last stage of the carbon cycle, converting 14C back to 14N, did not exist.

It is important to understand that the flood paradigm assumes, just like Secular Humanism does, that 14C formation from 14N was constant throughout earth’s history. What changed, and changed greatly, was the addition of many times the regular 12C in the atmosphere compared to what we measure today. That changed the 14C:12C ratio. As the chart says, the 14C was diluted by many times the amount of 12C we measure today.
So immediately after the flood, 14C was so diluted that a sample from that time measured today would, without correcting for the additional 12C, would date to be 40,000 BP or older.

Following the blue line on the chart, the amount of 12C in the atmosphere decreased to the amount we have measured for centuries since around 600 BC.
Assuming the eruption of Thera coincided with the Exodus, then we can use it to correct 14C dates. Ussher dates the Exodus 1491 BC. 14C dates the eruption of Thera to be 1640 BC for an error of 150 years.

So 14C dates for Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian empire are approximately the same as Ussher’s dates. 14C dates for the Exodus, 1491 BC, are approximately 150 too old. And 14C dates for the flood are tens of thousands of years older than actual dates.

Image Credit included at the bottom of the chart

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How God Preserved His Word For Us: Torah — post by Michael J. Findley

770px-ReadingOfTheTorah

The Torah for modern readers is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Some arrangements in the past have included Joshua, but that has not been the case for centuries for English readers.

We believe that the Law itself was given by the LORD God on Sinai. God could have added to and edited information Moses already had. Moses was trained in all the learning of the Egyptians and he left Egypt with records of creation, the flood, and the tower of Babel. He also had the records of his own people. He kept records of their wilderness wanderings. And after his death, Joshua added several verses to include his death.

It is possible that Joshua and his assistants made extensive changes to the book of Deuteronomy. It is also possible that the sons of the prophets, the school for formal education in the Law during the monarchy period, edited the Torah. The final edit for the entire Old Testament was made by Ezra after returning from the exile, though these were likely only minor changes.

Reading of the Torah, Aish Synagogue, Tel Aviv, Israel. Photographer Roy Lindman Wikimedia Commons

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How God Preserved His Word For Us: Job — post by Michael J. Findley

william blake job
Some very godly men might disagree in a few points of this traditional view. Martin Luther certainly did on the book of James. But if someone has more than a few disagreements and they might not be firmly grounded in the faith. Perhaps they might not be believers at all.
As a complete book, Job is the oldest written book in the Bible. It could be the oldest book in the world. It was written around the time of the Patriarchs, Abraham to Joseph. That makes it an Ice Age book. The speeches were likely written before they were delivered. Then these speeches were compiled into a book later. Perhaps others wrote the speeches down as they spoke, but cuneiform writing using wedges into clay tablets would require several people transcribing at the same time. However it was done, someone recorded their speeches and the speeches of God. God also directly revealed the scenes in heaven.
While it certainly is possible that the events in the book of Job took place before the flood, and the book was preserved by Noah and his family, there is no evidence to support this theory. Almost no Jewish sources support this. Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters before the events recorded began. He had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters and lived another 140 years after the events recorded in the book of Job. It is reasonable, based on how long he lived, to believe that Job was older than Abraham.
The book includes hundreds of descriptions of everyday life, and the details could fit with any preindustrial society anywhere on earth. Civilization has not developed or progressed the way Secular Humanists teach. The major technological changes in the past 200 years have not improved the quality of family life. The creatures God describes to Job, generally translated as leviathan and behemoth, fit what we know about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs could be what we know as dragons.
How did the Jews include Job in their sacred writings? The book of Job was written before the Jews were a nation. None of possible answers can be verified. But everyone agrees that Moses had the book of Job and included it with the writings he left the Children of Israel.

Image Credit: Behemoth and Leviathan by William Blake

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Peace, Unity, and Refugees: the Executive Order

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If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Romans 12:8

Eric Costanzo, pastor of the South Tulsa Baptist Church (SBC) in Tulsa, OK co-signed a protest letter published in the Washington Post, wrote a facebook article, and posted a blog supporting the Evangelical protest of the temporary immigration halt from seven countries. In the Tulsa World he wrote that we have a “blindness to the degree of polarity between their [refugees’] needs and our extravagance that allows us to somehow justify our selfishness and inaction to their suffering.” The plight of many is desperate. It is also possible that there are more refugees in the world than the entire population of the USA.

His comments are typical of what many believe. “Whether or not we will admit it out loud, our conservative culture is quick to dismiss injustice if those who are oppressed are Muslim. The Bible contains several mandates from God that his people show compassion, provide refuge, and care deliberately for the foreigner who is in need.”
If this statement is true, why didn’t Jesus do this? Jesus fed people who listened to His teaching. This is not what most people mean by providing refuge and care. Jesus had no homes, clothing, money or food to give people.

Pastor Costanzo wrote: “These verses and stories are not hard to find, and their applications to the current refugee situation are hard to miss.” There are many great needs; refugees, our brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea, the Sudan, China, and families next door. Meeting specific needs is certainly a responsibility commanded in Scriptures. So is providing for your own families and neighbors. Our abilities, resources, time and income are extremely limited. With billions of needy people on earth, what are God’s priorities?

“I believe it is the responsibility of every evangelical leader,” Pastor Eric wrote, “and every believer, to speak out against injustice; to take action on behalf of the refugee; and to be willing to step into the messiness of their lives in order to be good news.”
How does speaking out against injustice help us to teach and preach the Word, glorify God, worship, and make disciples? Great injustices have been committed in the name of speaking out against injustice.

He wrote “Of all the countries who have accepted and are accepting refugees from the Middle East, the U.S. has accepted a very low percentage. This has been true regarding refugees for decades.”

According to the UN, however, “The United States is the world’s top resettlement country for refugees.” “In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the United States resettled 69,933 refugees and in FY 2013 (the most recent data available) granted asylum status to 25,199 people.” migrationpolicy.org/article/refugees-and- asylees-united-states. According to the UN, though there are over 21 million refugees in the world, only 107,100 have been resettled. unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a- glance.html So about 70% of all resettled refugees in the world are in the USA.

From the Ice Age, the time of Job and Abraham, through the New Testament, refugees in the modern sense did not exist. Until recently, everyone on earth either owned enough property to properly take care of themselves or they were property, in other words, a slave. You either found some way to take care of yourself and your family, you died, or your were enslaved.

The letter Pastor Eric signed in protest of President Trump’s executive order says, “we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugees.”

Why? This letter dwells at length on the plight of many people. It also makes many false implications about those who do not agree with their position.

In an attempt to correct some of the worst errors in the Washington Post letter, here are some quotes from the actual Executive Order by President Trump, “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by- case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” Sec. 3. (g) “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.“

Defining terrorism-related attacks is difficult. Some make a definition which claims that there have been very few assaults since 9-11. Others use a very broad definition which leads to hundreds of thousands of assaults. It is pointless to attempt to convince anyone whose mind is already made up. There is no question that the Boston marathon bombing was terrorism-related. The thousands of unsolved homicides by illegal aliens in LA are not as clearly connected to terrorism.

Section 1 “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

It is so sad that Pastor Eric’s blog perpetuates the myth that “We are afraid that refugees from the Middle East will be our enemies.” A proper understanding of Islam reveals the radical form of the religion of Islam is our enemy. That is understanding, not fear. Radical Islam has declared war on the USA and Christians. Do we understand that?

For an example of how one country handled the very human and laudable desire to open its arms to refugees, look at Sweden. The best intentions to help the helpless turned Sweden into a nightmare where few are helped and many, including both refugees and native residents, regret this misguided attempt at giving refuge.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/how-sweden-became-an-example-of-how-not-to-handle-immigration/

To briefly summarize, the writer explains the generosity of the Swedish people in accepting disproportionately large numbers of refugees. It details the types of people who came, and what was done to try to help them. And it frankly covers the consequences to the native population and to the refugees, including the youngest people. Gang cultures, attacks on woman, a murder and rape epidemic, and forced child prostitution are just a few of the consequences.

Sweden is known for being one of the most generous, compassionate, and liberated countries in the world. If their hospitality can backfire on them so profoundly, are we so arrogant as to think that our compassion cannot blind us to the potential for a failure just as great?

We have to rightly divide the Word of Truth. We cannot react with well-intentioned compassion that is not guided by a true interpretation of Scripture. Of all the times when we need God’s guidance, one of the most critical is to discern what we can do to show Christ’s love to this world. Humanitarian aid and hospitality to foreigners in distress is wonderful.

But we have a mandate to communicate truth, and the truth is that we can only fight against man’s greatest needs with the greatest weapon, God’s truth in His Word. The weapons of our warfare are not material, but effective to the destruction of spiritual powers.

Thank you President Trump for standing for the Word of God, the rule of law and constitutional rights.

Here is a link to Pastor Costanzo’s blog post: https://ericcostanzo.me/2017/02/09/why-i-signed-the-letter-to-president-trump-on-behalf-of-refugees/

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What Is The Gospel? Part Two: The Gospel According to Jesus

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Then Jesus returned to Galilee by the power of the Spirit. Meanwhile, the news about him spread throughout the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was continuously receiving praise from everyone. (Luke 4:14,15 ISV)

Soon after Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus returned to Galilee. Luke, written to Theophilus, a Greek, does not use the word gospel here. It only says that Jesus began to teach. Matthew and Mark record the same event with the word gospel.

Then he went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every illness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 ISV)

Now after John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and proclaimed the gospel about the kingdom of God. He said, ‘The time is now! The kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing the gospel!’” (Mark 1:14,15 ISV)

The first time Luke uses the word gospel is when Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1 in a synagogue.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has anointed me to tell
the good news [gospel] to the poor.
He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set oppressed people free,
and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18,19 ISV)

The gospel Jesus proclaimed was not a new teaching. As Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, so the gospel Jesus proclaimed was the same message proclaimed from the foundation of the world. It is the good news of salvation. But to understand salvation, we must understand sin, our need for a savior, and God’s righteous requirements for atonement.

When Jesus walked about teaching in Israel, He taught the same message over and over again. But he taught people who knew what we call the Old Testament. Jesus taught the gospel continuously throughout his life. To large crowds he taught in parables because many people in his audience were unwilling to accept everything included in the gospel.
The gospel according to Jesus included the entire Old Testament. It was not a simple list which could be accepted or rejected after a ten minute presentation.

When Jesus returned after his resurrection, he continued to preach the gospel. But he spoke only to his disciples. Jesus found two disciples, and walked with them over 7 miles, teaching as they walked.

Then Jesus told them, “O, how foolish you are! How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! The Messiah had to suffer these things and then enter his glory, didn’t he?” Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them all the passages of Scripture about himself. (Luke 24:25-27 ISV)

When Jesus left them, these two disciples ran back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.

While they were all talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and told them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, thinking they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus told them, “What’s frightening you? And why are you doubting? Look at my hands and my feet, because it’s really me. Touch me and look at me, because a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

After he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. Even though they were still skeptical due to their joy and astonishment, Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. Then he told them, “These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the Low of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds so that they might understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:36-45)

The gospel of Jesus: everything written about me in the Low of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.

Image Credit “The Road to Emmaus” by Robert Zund St Gallen Museum of Art  Photographer joyfulheart upload by Adrian Michael Wikimedia Commons

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