Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Print Page Jehovah's Witnesses


Founder: Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) in 1872 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Sources of Doctrine: The Watchtower magazine, New World Translation, Awake magazine

Leaders (Past/Present): Joseph Franklin Rutherford, Nathan H. Knorr, Frederick Franz, Milton Henschel

Trinity: Deny - Jesus was the created archangel Michael and became a man an then went back to being an archangel and the Holy Spirit is just an active force of God.

Eternal Punishment: Deny - Immediate annihilation

Eternal Security: Deny

Salvation: Faith and works

Odd doctrine: It is sinful to have a blood transfusion. You should not vote.

Detailed information to be added later...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Print Page Who Wrote Hebrews?

There are many ideas out there on who wrote Hebrews. Some say it was Paul. Others, such as Martin Luther, say it was Apollos. Others say it was Jude, Luke or Barnabas. Others even claim is was written by the woman Priscilla.

Because Hebrews doesn't directly mention the author that leaves room for much confusion. Is it really such a mystery? It really isn't. We know the author could not have been a woman. For the Bible tells us that women are not to teach or ursurp authority over man (2 Timothy 2:12). Also, the new testament was written by apostles so that narrows down the possibilities. There is overwhelming evidence both historically and Biblically that the author of Hebrews was Paul.

Historical Evidence

There is plenty of historical evidence that Paul was the author of Hebrews. One of these evidences are early Christians who claimed that Paul was the author of Hebrews.

Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) - Eusebius, History 6.14.2

2. He says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts.

Clement of Alexandria lived only a generation or so after Hebrews would have been written. He states that Hebrews is the work of Paul. He says that Luke was the translator. This could explain why some incorrectly claim Luke was the author of Hebrews. For Paul sometimes did his own writing (Galatians 6:11 , 1 Corinthians 16:21, Colossians 4:18 and 2 Thessalonians 3:17)

Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD) - Eusebius, Church History 6.25.11-14

11. In addition he makes the following statements in regard to the Epistle to the Hebrews in his Homilies upon it: That the verbal style of the epistle entitled 'To the Hebrews,' is not rude like the language of the apostle, who acknowledged himself 'rude in speech' that is, in expression; but that its diction is purer Greek, any one who has the power to discern differences of phraseology will acknowledge.

12. Moreover, that the thoughts of the epistle are admirable, and not inferior to the acknowledged apostolic writings, any one who carefully examines the apostolic text will admit.'

13. Farther on he adds: If I gave my opinion, I should say that the thoughts are those of the apostle, but the diction and phraseology are those of some one who remembered the apostolic teachings, and wrote down at his leisure what had been said by his teacher. Therefore if any church holds that this epistle is by Paul, let it be commended for this. For not without reason have the ancients handed it down as Paul's.


14. But who wrote the epistle, in truth, God knows. The statement of some who have gone before us is that Clement, bishop of the Romans, wrote the epistle, and of others that Luke, the author of the Gospel and the Acts, wrote it. But let this suffice on these matters.


Some who reject Paul's authorship will try to say Origen supports their position because he was unsure who was the author. Instead he gives support in that he states that he believes it was Paul that wrote Hebrews.

Athanasius of Alexandria (293-373 AD) The 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius

Continuing, I must without hesitation mention the scriptures of the New Testament; they are the following: the four Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, after them the Acts of the Apostles and the seven so-called catholic epistles of the apostles -- namely, one of James, two of Peter, then three of John and after these one of Jude. In addition there are fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul written in the following order: the first to the Romans, then two to the Corinthians and then after these the one to the Galatians, following it the one to the Ephesians, thereafter the one to the Philippians and the one to the Colossians and two to the Thessalonians and the epistle to the Hebrews and then immediately two to Timothy , one to Titus and lastly the one to Philemon. Yet further the Revelation of John.

Athanasius listed the cannon of scripture in his 367 AD 39th Festal letter. In it he states that Paul is the author of Hebrews.

Jerome (342–420 AD) Epistulae, 129.7, in Koester, Hebrews, 27

"We must admit that the epistle written to the Hebrews is regarded as Paul’s, not only by the churches of the east, but by all church writers who have from the beginning written in Greek."

Jerome was the translator of the Latin Vulgate Bible. Not only did he believe Paul write Hebrews, he also points out that this was the normal view.

There were also councils that declared that Paul wrote Hebrews.

Synod of Carthage (397 AD)

Canon 24. Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read in church under the name of divine Scriptures. Moreover, the canonical Scriptures are these: [then follows a list of Old Testament books]. The [books of the] New Testament: the Gospels, four books; the Acts of the Apostles, one book; the Epistles of Paul, thirteen; of the same to the Hebrews; one Epistle; of Peter, two; of John, apostle, three; of James, one; of Jude, one; the Revelation of John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted. On the anniversaries of martyrs, their acts shall also be read.

Not only did these men and councils near the time of the Christ believe that Paul wrote Hebrews, many people around the time of the Reformation attributed Hebrews to Paul. Even the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible agrees. Look at these original titles for Hebrews:

Tyndale Bible 1526 - The Epistle of Paul Unto the Hebrews.

Bishop's Bible 1568 The Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle, unto the Hebrews.

Douay-Rheims 1582 The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.

King James Bible 1611 The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.

Even the first Spanish Bible by Cassiodoro de Reina attributed Hebrews to Paul:

First Spanish Bible in 1569 The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews.

Also, English commentaries from old attributed Hebrews to Paul:

Adam Clarke:

Hebrews 13:24 And all the saints - All the Christians; for this is the general meaning of the term in most parts of St. Paul's writings. But a Christian was then a saint, i.e. by profession a holy person; and most of the primitive Christians were actually such. But in process of time the term was applied to all that bore the Christian name; as elect, holy people, sanctified, etc., were to the nation of the Jews, when both their piety and morality were at a very low ebb.

John Wesley Notes on the Bible:

It is agreed by the general tenor of antiquity that this epistle was written by St. Paul, whose other epistles were sent to the gentile converts; this only to the Hebrews. But this improper inscription was added by some later hand. It was sent to the Jewish Hellenist Christians, dispersed through various countries. St. Paul's method and style are easily observed therein. He places, as usual, the proposition and division before the treatise, chap. ii, 17; he subjoins the exhortatory to the doctrinal part, quotes the same scriptures, chap. i, 6; ii, 8; x, 30, 38, 6; and uses the same expressions as elsewhere. But why does he not prefix his name, which, it is plain from chap. xiii, 19 was dear to them to whom he wrote? Because he prefixes no inscription, in which, if at all, the name would have been mentioned. The ardour of his spirit carries aim directly upon his subject, (just like St. John in his First Epistle,) and throws back his usual salutation and thanksgiving to the conclusion. This epistle of St. Paul, and both those of St. Peter, (one may add, that of St. James and of St. Jude also,) were written both to the same persons, dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, and other countries, and nearly at the same time. St. Paul suffered at Rome, three years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore this epistle likewise, was written while the temple was standing. St. Peter wrote a little before his martyrdom, and refers to the epistles of St. Paul; this in particular. The scope of it is, to confirm their faith in Christ; and this he does by demonstrating his glory. All the parts of it are full of the most earnest and pointed admonitions and exhortations; and they go on in one tenor, the particle therefore everywhere connecting the doctrine and the use.

Biblical Evidence

The Bible tells us a lot about the author of Hebrews.  We know that he was a partner with Timothy (Hebrews 13:23). Paul is the only person known to partner with Timothy (Romans 16:21, Acts 16:1-3, Acts 17:15, Acts 20:4, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:2 and Philemon 1:1).

The writer was also writing from Italy (Hebrews 13:24). Paul was in prison in Rome and could have written this letter at this time (Acts 28:16, Hebrews 10:34). We know that Hebrews was written when Paul was still alive. It would have been written before 70 AD because the Jewish Temple still existed because sacrifices were still taking place as seen in Hebrews 5:1-4, Hebrews 7:21-28, Hebrews 8:3-5, Hebrews 8:13, Hebrews 9:6-13, Hebrews 9:25 and Hebrews 10:1-11.

Hebrews 13:25 closes the letter by saying "Grace be with you all. Amen." This is the similar phrase Paul uses in Romans 16:24, 1 Corinthians 16:23, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23, Colossians 4:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:18, 1 Timothy 6:21, 2 Timothy 4:22, Titus 3:15 and Philemon 1:25.

Finally, who better to write Hebrews other than Paul who is a Hebrew of the Hebrews (Philippians 3:5)? It was shown he had a history of reaching out to the Jews in Romans 1:16, Romans 9:3 and Acts 17: 1-2. Why would Paul leave his name off the epistle? Possibly because he was hated by the Jewish nation because he turned from his Pharisaical roots or because he was not the apostle to the Jews but instead the Gentiles. It is also worth pointing out 2 Peter 3:15-16. Peter wrote to the Jews. In 2 Peter 3:15 Peter mentions Paul writing to them. If this is indeed Jews Peter is writing to the letter referred to that Paul wrote is probably Hebrews.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Print Page Elders, Overseer, Bishops and Pastors are the Same - Thing Are Deacon or Elder Boards Biblical?


It is always important to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. Many churches have a deacon or elder board that rules over the senior pastor of the church. Having a board that rules over the senior pastor is unbiblical and no further argument needs to be given.

Deacon Boards

Many Baptist churches give deacons unbiblical roles. As scripture states:
Acts 6:1-7 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
As you can see the disciples where overwhelmed and because of this widows were being neglected. So deacons were appointed to serve as a help to the members of the church. They were not  appointed to give pastors theological advice or try to sway a pastor in one direction or another.

Elder Boards

Some churches have elder boards. An elder is treated as someone other than a pastor. This view is unbiblical. An elder and a pastor are the same thing. The Bible makes this clear.

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

As you can see by the previous verses the overseer (bishop) and elder are the same thing

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

These verses in Titus show us that the elder and the bishop are the same thing.

1 Peter 5:1-2 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Here in 1 Peter 5 the same leaders are called elders, feeders of the flock (pastors).

Conclusion

The pastors are to be the leaders of the church.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1 Timothy 3:1,5  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

There are only 2 Biblical offices in a church. There is no such thing as Pastors and then elders.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Even though it appears to be ideal that a church has at least 2 pastors leading it the Bible never commands it and 1 Timothy 3:1-13 appears to leave open the option of just 1 pastor leading a church

We need to get back to the Bible and form our church governments to conform to God's Word. To read more on pastor authority I recommend reading David Cloud's article:

http://www.wayoflife.org/database/pastorsauthority.html





Monday, May 27, 2013

Print Page ESV: Ever-changing Standard Version

The ESV is quickly becoming the most common Bible in churches. It is embraced by Baptist and Catholics alike. It has replaced the King James Bible in many churches. It is a favorite among Calvinists. Most people don't realize that there have already been 4 versions (2001, 2007, 2011, 2016) of the ESV released. There are bound to be several more in the future. In the 2007 version about 360 verses were changed. In the 2011 edition about 275 verses were changed. In 2016 there were 29 more verses changed. The publishers of the ESV purposely don't make it well known and unless you read fine print of multiple versions of the ESV you may never know about the changes.


Becoming like the KJV

First let's take a look at just a few places where the ESV corrected their translation, making it closer to the KJV.

In Jeremiah 38:10 the ESV at first had 3 men being taken. In 2007 they corrected it to match the KJV by changing it to 30.

KJV
Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. 

ESV 2001
Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

ESV 2007, 2011
Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

1 Samuel 2:1, 10 took a little longer for the ESV translators to correct. The KJV had it correct in 1611 by having horn as the translation. The ESV in both 2001 and 2007 decided to use power. In 2011 they finally got it correct and went with the KJV translation of horn.

KJV
1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

ESV 2001, 2007
1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed and said, "My heart exults in the Lord; my power is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.

1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.”

ESV 2011
1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed and said, "My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.

1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”


Desexing the Bible

Don't get your hopes up in thinking that the ESV is getting better over time. One thing they are doing in these version changes is to make the ESV more gender neutral. Here are just a few examples.


KJV
John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

ESV 2001
John 8:17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two men is true.

ESV 2007, 2011
John 8:17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.


KJV
1 Timothy 5:24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. 

ESV 2001, 2007
1 Timothy 5:24 The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

ESV 2011
1 Timothy 5:24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.


KJV
Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 

ESV 2001, 2007
Mark 8:24 And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.”

ESV 2011
Mark 8:24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.”


Change that Causes Confusion

Some of the changes change the entire meaning of a verse. Some of them make no sense at all. Here are just some of the examples.

A lovesick heart? Thankfully they changed that in 2007.

KJV
Ezekiel 16:30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;

ESV 2001
Ezekiel 16:30 How lovesick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute,

ESV 2007, 2010
Ezekiel 16:30 How sick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute,


Aaron or Moses? I guess it depends on what year you bought your ESV. It is anyone's guess what it will be in the next version of the ESV.

KJV
Leviticus 16:34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses

ESV 2001, 2007
Leviticus 16:34 And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Moses did as the LORD commanded him.

ESV 2011
Leviticus 16:34 And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Aaron did as the LORD commanded Moses.

The ESV here had it right for the first 2 versions but then really twisted things in 2011.

KJV
1 Samuel 25:31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

ESV 2001, 2007
1 Samuel 25:31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengance himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”

ESV 2011
1 Samuel 25:31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord working salvation himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”

This is the most bizarre change of them all As you can see the KJV, Geneva and even the NKJV have it right. None of the ESV versions are correct but the 2011 is the worse of all. According to the 2011 Saul became king when he was 1 and at age 3 he was choosing men! What an amazing 3 year old!

KJV
1 Samuel 13:1-2 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israelwhereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.

Geneva 1587
1 Samuel 13:1-2  Saul nowe had beene King one yeere, and he reigned two yeeres ouer Israel. Then Saul chose him three thousand of Israel: and two thousande were with Saul in Michmash, & in mount Beth-el, and a thousande were with Ionathan in Gibeah of Beniamin: and the rest of the people he sent euery one to his tent.

NKJV
1 Samuel 13:1-2 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent. 

ESV 2001 & 2007
1 Samuel 13:1-2 Saul was ... years old when he began to reign, and he reigned ... and two years over Israel. Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent.

ESV 2011
1 Samuel 13:1-2 Saul lived for one year and then became king, and when he had reigned for two years over Israel, Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent.

Conclusion
As you can see a lot of these changes to the ESV are not minor. If you are doing Bible memorization you are going to gave to re-memorize hundreds of verses each time a new version comes out. If you are quoting passages listed above from the pulpit and others in the church have a different version of the ESV imagine the confusion it must cause! This is just one of the many reasons I'll stick with the unchanging KJV.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Print Page The Millenium

Intro

At the end of the 7 year tribulation Jesus returns to Earth (Revelation 19:11-13). The evil forces of this world attempt to stop the coming of his kingdom at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:19-21) but fail. He sets up his 1,000 year kingdom (Daniel 2:44-45, Daniel 7:13-14, Micah 5:2-5, Jeremiah 23:5-8, Jeremiah 31:31-40, Matthew 25:31-46) often referred to as the millennium kingdom. Daniel 12:11-12 tells us that 1335 days pass from the time the daily sacrifice is taken away, which we know from Daniel 11:36 happens during the middle of the Tribulation, until the time the Millenium Kingdom is started. This leaves 75 days where destruction can be cleaned up, people gathered (Ezekiel 20:33-38), the temple readied and judgement of the survivors (Matthew 25:31-46) . During the Millenium Kingdom Satan is locked away in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:2-3). This prevents Satan's deception of the nations. Unlike today when Satan continues to deceive nations and leaders of nations (1 Peter 5:8 and Ephesians 2:2). Those martyred for Christ in the great tribulation along with OT and NT believers will reign with Jesus in their glorified bodies (Revelation 20:4, 1 Corinthians 6:2, 2 Timothy 2:12, Romans 8:17, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 25: 21, Matthew 27:52-53, Daniel 12:1-3). Believers that survived the tribulation will be in the mortal bodies.

What Will It Be Like

Starting out the millennium will only contain believers (Matthew 25:31-46). As Revelation 20:5 states the rest of the dead (unbelievers) will not live until the 1,000 years are finished. Once a year people will travel to Jerusalem to worship Jesus (Zechariah 14:16). There will be a temple during the millennium and sacrifices will take place (Ezekiel 40–48, Isaiah 56:7, Isaiah 60:7,  Jeremiah 33:17-18, Zechariah 14:19-21). Some object to the idea of sacrifices but Ezekiel is very detailed and if they were just symbols no description is ever given. It is a common mistake that people think that in the Old Testament sacrifices took away sins. Hebrews 10:1-4 makes it clear that this wasn't the case. Salvation has always been through faith (Hebrews 11). Instead the purpose of the sacrifices are probably done as a memorial (Exodus 30:16; Leviticus 2:2, 9; 5:12; 6:15;24:7; Numbers 5:15, 18, 26) just as the Lord's Supper is a memorial that churches currently observe. Some also believe the sacrifices will act as a way of cleansing the temple.

The world will be very different to what what we know today. There will be extended life during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 65:18-25). A person that lives to only 100 will be considered young. Also, there will be no more war under the righteous leadership (Isaiah 2:1-4,  Micah 4:1-8). Things will be so peaceful that wolves will dwell with lambs, little children will lead lions and nursing children will play in asp holes (Isaiah 11). Animals and man will once again be vegetarians (Isaiah 65:25). The land will be fruitful (Isaiah 35:1-7). The Millenium will be a glimpse of how the original garden of Eden was like before sin tainted the world. Even more importantly it will be the fulfillment of promises given to Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and Jesus (Luke 1:32-33).

How It Will End

At the end of 1,000 years Satan will be released (Revelation 20:7). Even though only believers started out in the millennium kingdom those believers from the tribulation who still have mortal bodies will have children. The believers with glorified bodies will not marry (Luke 30:34-38). Not all the children will become believers even though they are complacent to Jesus' leadership. These are the ones that Satan recruits for his final war with Jesus. Although Gog and Magog are mentioned (Revelation 20:8) this is the not the same war mentioned in Ezekiel 37-38 which takes place during the Tribulation. After Satan is defeated he is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are already (Revelation 20:10). Here they are tormented for eternity. He is far from being a ruler in hell as sometimes portrayed in books and TV.

After Satan is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone there is the white throne judgement (Revelation 20:11-15). This judgement is only for unbelievers unlike the judgement seat of Christ. The judgement seat of Christ takes place right after the rapture and is only for believers where they will be judged for the works they have done and awarded crowns (Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10). The unbelievers during the white throne judgement will be judged by their works. Since nobody's works can save them they will be condemned (Romans 3:12, Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9). They and hell will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone with Satan, the beast and the false prophet. After all of this is finished there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1, 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:10, Isaiah 51:6, Hebrews 1:10-12, Isaiah 34:4 Psalms 102:25-26, Isaiah 13:13) which will be discussed in a future article.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Print Page Daniel 11:2-35

Daniel 11:2-35 takes place over a few hundred years. All of it takes place after Daniel wrote the book of Daniel before 530 B.C. Because the prophecy is so detailed and would prove the supernatural origin of the Bible liberals have tried to say Daniel didn't write Daniel. They state this even though their arguments are weak and have no Biblical basis.

The scene starts out with Israel in the middle of 4 kingdoms. Daniel 11:2 mentions 4 Persian kings. The kings are Cambyses (530–522 B.C.), Psuedo-Smerdis (522-521 B.C.), Darius I Hystaspes (522–486 B.C.) and Xerxes I, called Ahasuerus in Esther (486–465 B.C.). Xerxes was the richest and it was reported he had an army of 2,641,000 men.

The mighty king mentioned in Daniel 11:3 is Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.). He conquered the Persian Empire in 331 B.C. He rose up in Greece to avenge the Greeks against Persia for Xerxes’ past invasion. After he died in 323 B.C. his land was divided among 4 generals (Daniel 11:4) because Cassander killed two of Alexander’s sons, preventing them from succeeding their father.

Daniel 11:5 refers to Seleucus I Nicator (312-281 B.C.) Syria king of the North and Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 BC) Egypt king of the South. The daughter of the South mentioned in Daniel 11:6 is Berenice daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) The king of North was Antiochus II Theos (261-246 B.C.).  This didn't last because of former wife of Antiochus who's name was Laodice. Theos divorced her to marry Berenice. She was involved in a conspiracy to kill with poison Berenice, her baby son, Antiochus, and her father Ptolemy. This brought Laodice's son Seleucus II Callinicus, to the throne. Later king Egypt Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 B.C.) succeeded Philadelphus. He was the brother of Berenice. He conquered Syria (Northern kingdom) in 240 B.C. to avenge the death of his sister (Daniel 11:7). Ptolemy III reportedly returned to Egypt with 40,000 talents of silver, precious vessels and 24,000 images which included Egyptian idols that Cambyses took from Egypt to Persia. Ptolemy III ended up living 4 years longer than Seleucus II Callinicus (Daniel 11:8-9).

In Daniel 11:10-12 the sons of Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus III the Great (223-187 B.C.)  assemble a great army. Ceraunus died so Antiochus instituted the war with Euergetes's son Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-203 B.C.). After taking all of Syria Antiochus attacked the border of Egypt and won. Philopater then waged war against Antiochus at Raphia which is a city between Rhinocorura and Gaza with an army of 70,000 on each side. The result was Egypt destroying the entire army of Antiochus. According to John Gill “Antiochus lost ten thousand footmen, and three hundred horsemen; four thousand footmen were taken, three elephants slain, and two wounded, which afterwards died.”

Daniel 11:13-16 is the account of Egypt being defeated 14 years later at Paneas by Antiochus III who assembled an even more powerful army and siege works again the fenced cities. Antiochus took Sidon in 199-198 B.C. Egypt attempted to conquer Syria ad Eopas, Menacles and Damyoyenus but failed. Some Jews allied with Antiochus and went against Ptolemy's garrison in Jerusalem  They also hoped to make Judea an independent state, but failed.

The “upright ones” in Daniel 11:17 likely were Jews who allied themselves with Antiochus. Rome started to grow in power so Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra for marriage to Ptolemy V Epiphanes  John Gill wrote “finding he could not obtain the kingdom of Egypt by force of arms, for fear of the Romans, who were the guardians of the king of Egypt, he proposed to give his daughter Cleopatra to him (Ptolemy) in marriage, a beautiful virgin; and therefore called the daughter of women.” The plan backfired because Cleopatra ended up siding with her husband instead of her dad.

Daniel 11:18-19 talks about Antiochus and his war with the Romans where he took many of the isles. Antiochus though ended up being killed by his own soldiers in an insurrection as he tried to take money for Rome from the temple of Jupiter in Elymais .

After Antiochus was killed his oldest son Seleuceus IV Philopator (187-175 B.C) ruled. He raised taxes a thousand talents a year to pay the Romans tribute money. His tax collector/treasurer was Heliodorus. Heliodorus ended up poisoning Antiochus (Daniel 11:20).

Seleuceus IV Philopator's son Demetrius was suppose to be the next ruler but was a hostage in Rome. Instead Philopator's brother Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) took the throne after after Andronicus killed Philopator's baby Antiochus to secure the throne for Epiphanes. Antiochus IV struggled against Egypt and Rome. His nickname was Epimanes which means madman (Daniel 11:21).

Antiochus IV was attacked by Egypt but was able to defeat them. He then attacked Egypt 5 years after becoming king. Antiochus won at Pelusium near the Nile delta with a force like a "flood". After that a treaty was attempted but was not successful because both had only their own interests in mind (Daniel 11:22).

Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria pretended to befriend Ptolemy Philometer of Egypt only to betray him. Ptolemy ended up being defeated. (Daniel 11:23-25) Philometer's own men turned on him and many were slain. (Daniel 11:26) Daniel 1:27 is a summary of Antiochus' and Ptolemy's dealings with each other. Antiochus Epiphanes returned to Syria with riches from Egypt (Daniel 11:28). Antiochus would return to Egypt later but not as successful. Chittim refers to the islands of Agean, Cyprus, and Phoenicia (Daniel 11:30).

Antiochus sent forces to Jerusalem and massacred 80,000 men, took 40,000 prisoners and sold 40,000 slaves. Along with some of the Jews the forces polluted the temple by drunkeness, sacrificing a pig on the alter, committed fornication with harlots and created an idol to Zeus. Jews that didn't obey the forces were slain. (Daniel 11:31-34) The prophecy ends stating that the time for all of these things to occur has been appointed (Daniel 11:35). In a future article we'll discuss Daniel 11:36 and beyond which is prophecy that has not yet occurred.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Print Page Daniel: When was it written?

Introduction

Daniel is probably the most debated book of the Bible. If Daniel is really written by Daniel before 530 B.C. it gives exceedingly great evidence that the Bible is a supernatural book that can be trusted. For example Daniel 11 gives really detailed information on 200 years worth of wars between Egypt and Syria which start 200 years after the book was written! The late Bruce Metzger who is a big name behind the modern Bible versions is one of many liberals that deny that Daniel really wrote the book or that it was even written around 530 B.C. They instead claim a date of around 167 B.C. which of course takes place after the fulfilled prophecies.

General Overview of Daniel

Hundreds of years after after the 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judah, split (1 Kings 12:20) Babylon started to become a super power. The northern kingdom of Israel already had fallen to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17). Then the Assyrians where conquered by Babylon. As a part of royalty in Judah Daniel was taken into captivity as a teenager in 605 B.C. by the Babylonians (Daniel 1:3-4). He lived until about the age of 85 in Jerusalem. Daniel's writing takes place during the reign of 2 Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar 605-562 B.C. and Belshazzar 553-539 B.C. It also covers the first years of  Persian rulers Darius and Cyrus.

Biblical Evidence

Daniel claims he wrote Daniel.

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Daniel 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

Daniel 10:7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Daniel 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

Ezekiel mentions Daniel.

Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

Ezekiel 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

 Jesus attributes the book to Daniel.

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:


The Dead Seas Scrolls

The Dead Seas scrolls are from the community of Qumran. They split from the rest of Judiasm between 171 and 167 B.C. which is right before the time the critics claim the book was written. Because of this it is telling that there are 8 manuscripts containing Daniel. This is a high number for a single book of the Bible. A large acceptance of a book would be really odd if Daniel was written at the time of the split. One manuscript 4QDanc is dated 165 B.C. or later. The manuscripts have parts of all chapter of Daniel except 12. There is a reference to Daniel 12 though in 4QFlorilegium. 4QFlorilegium supports the early canonicity of Daniel by stating "which written in the book of Daniel the prophet".


Additional Evidence

The first century Jewish historian Josephus in Againt Apion 1.8 mentions the number of prophets which Daniel would have been a part of.

The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament called the Septuagint contains Daniel. Some believe it was being written around the 3rd century B.C.

Melito, Bishop of Sardis, listed Daniel as a prophet in 70 A.D.

Other Arguments by Liberals

Liberals throw out other arguments that have been refuted later on by archaeology.  For example they questioned the leadership of Belshazzar. Archaeological discoveries proved the liberals wrong. I won't go into the other arguments further. I don't espouse everything on the site but you can read more in-depth arguments to common arguments here.

Conclusion

As shown there are mountains of evidence that Daniel was written early and by Daniel. Jesus himself claimed such. We can either believe the words of Jesus or the words of men like Bruce Metzger. If you put your trust in Jesus you'll never be let down. If you put your trust in man you will certainly be disappointed.



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Print Page 1 Kings 12-15 Jeroboam

There are important lessons that can be learned from the life of Jeroboam, son of Nebat (1 Kings 11:26). Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam after he found out he was going to become king of 10 out of the 12 tribes (1 Kings 11:27-33, 1 Kings 11:40). Solomon angered God by having multiple wives and setting up places of worship to false gods (1 Kings 11:1-11).

Before the death of Solomon, Jeroboam hid in Egypt (1 Kings 11:40). When Solomon died of natural causes in 931 B.C. Solomon's son Rehoboam took over the throne in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:43).  In 933 B.C Jeroboam started his kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 12:20). He reigned over the northern 10 tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephriam and Manasseh. Rehoboam ruled over Judah containing the 2 southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The tribe of Levi were scattered between both kingdoms but mainly in Judah.

Jeoboam was very pragmatic and willing to compromise. He setup places of worship in both Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:29). He appeased the people by settings up golden calves just as Aaron had many years before (Exodus 32:4). He feared if he didn't do these things the people would go to Jerusalem to worship and turn on him (1 Kings 12:26-27). Instead of using the priests of Levi as God had commanded (Numbers 3:10) he used people not qualified to be priests (1 Kings 12:31). Jeroboam even went as far creating his own feast in response to the feast of Tabernacles (1 Kings 12:32-33).

We conclude with how this applies to us today. Like Jeoboam many self professing Christians are willing to compromise. As Sorenson put it in his Understanding the Bible commentary:

Here is a classic illustration of false religion. It was politically motivated and counterfeited the true. Many religions to this day have the same characteristics.
Some churches now take pagan practices such as yoga and contemplative prayer and mix that with their Christianity. Others turn worship into a rock concert where fleshly emotions trump sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3). Some churches have homosexuals or women as pastors. Instead churches need to adhere to sound doctrine (2 Timothy 2:4, Titus 1:9. Titus 2:1). We need to be prepared to give an answer to those that ask (1 Peter 3:15). We need to make sure we are not a lukewarm church that God wants to spew out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16).


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Print Page Strange Women or Strange Things?

I was listening to a sermon that involved Proverbs 23:33. The verse mentions that a man who is drunk shall behold strange women (Proverbs 23:31,33). I was surprised that my King James Study Bible by Thomas Nelson not only once but twice tried to "correct" the King James Bible. Thomas Nelson isn't really known for being conservative but this slightly older study bible doesn't usually go around "correcting" the King James Bible. In my Study Bible both the center column and the commentary at the bottom of the page states that strange women should really say strange things.

Strange women was the translation used by all older translations until Wescott and Hort came along.:

King James  - Proverbs 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Darby  - Proverbs 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thy heart shall speak froward things;
 
Geneva - Proverbs 23:33  Thine eyes shall looke vpon strange women, and thine heart shall speake lewde things.

Bishops - Proverbs 23:33  Thyne eyes shall beholde straunge women, and thyne heart shall vtter lewde thinges:

The 1901 ASV and every modern translation after that has decided to translate the Hebrew word zoor as strange things. The Hebrew word can mean both strange things or strange women. Given the context and the long history of translating the verse the proper translation is strange women. Sadly even the NKJV gets the translation wrong. This is just more evidence that the NKJV is not just an update to the KJV.

As person who lived a number of years as an unbeliever I did my share of drinking. Never did I see strange things while drunk. You see strange things if you are taking hallucinogenic drugs. When a man is drunk though he is inclined to be attracted to women who he should be avoiding. As Sorenson put so well in his Understanding the Bible commentary:

When intoxicated, moral inhibitions evaporate. Men and women who would normally shun adultery or fornication often succumb to such behavior when intoxicated. More adultery and fornication have taken place under the influence of alcohol than any other condition. The devil knows that and endlessly promotes alcoholic beverages. Moreover, verbal filth, profanities, obscenities, and stupidity flow from the lips of a drunk. Truly, out of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Alcohol removes the discretion and reservation which keeps the filth and ugliness of the human heart in check. When one is drunk, it all comes out.
The Geneva Bible commentary put it this way:

That is, drunkenness will bring you to whoredom.
This is another example of men elevating themselves above the word of God. There are so many translations out there because there are men and women that think they can do a better job of giving us the Word of God. We need to humble ourselves and submit to the Bible, not make the Bible submit to us (James 4:6-7).



Monday, February 11, 2013

Print Page The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper is one of two Biblical ordinances that churches are to observe. The other ordinance is Baptism which is covered in this article. The account of the original Lord's Super takes place in all 4 of the gospels (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-23 and John 13). It is important to understand the Lord's Supper from a Biblical perspective since there are so many different ideas out there. We'll being with the purpose.

The Purpose

Different groups have different ideas of what the Lord's Supper is.

1. Roman Catholics Churches

 Roman Catholics use the term Eucharist instead of Lord's Supper. According to Catholics the Lord's Supper is a sacrament and is required for salvation. The Catholic Catechism is the official doctrine of the Roman Catholics. Here is a quote from paragraph 1129:
1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.
Not only do they claim the Lord's supper is required for salvation but they believe the bread and wine actually become the flesh and blood of Jesus (transubstantiation):
1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation." 
According to Catholics not only is the bread the flesh and the wine the blood of Jesus but Jesus is also being sacrificed each time:
1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."
2. Eastern Orthodox Churches

Just as Roman Catholics the Easter Orthodox believe that the bread and wine actually become the flesh and blood of Jesus. As quoted from the Orthodox Church in America web site:
Thus, the bread of the eucharist is Christ’s flesh, and Christ’s flesh is the eucharistic bread.
Also, they believe the Lord's Salvation is a means of salvation as stated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
This ceremony of the Holy Eucharist is both His sacrifice for the salvation of man and a sacred mysterion. The Holy Eucharist is the seal of the proclamation of the communion with God. It is the only Sacrament offered by the Church in which the elements of bread and wine not only carry the Grace of God, as amysterion, but are "changed" into and "are" the very Body and the very Blood of Christ, being a propitiatory sacrifice.
3.  Lutheran Churches- Sacramental union

Lutherans have a similar view to that of the Catholics and Orthodox. They believe in sacramental union. This is very similar to transubstantiation but instead of completely turning into the flesh and blood of Jesus the flesh and blood coexist with the bread and the wine. Here is a quote from the Lutheran Church Synod Missouri Synod web site:
The answer to your question is that we receive in, with, and under the bread and wine the true body and blood of Christ shed on the cross, Jesus Christ Who is now risen and ascended and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
4. Emergent Churches

A fourth group worth mentioning are the emergent churches. There a growing number of churches who's goal  is to become friends with the world. They do Bible studies in bars while drinking a pitcher of beer. Instead of a typical church service they have a rock concert followed by everyone sitting on couches and telling each other what a verse means to them. They embrace homosexuality and anything that is part of the liberal agenda. In some of these churches instead of using wine and bread they may drink Coke and eat Doritos  Others use beer and pizza. Others yet use milk and cookies.

5. Biblical Churches

This brings us to our final group, Biblical churches. These are the churches that follow the Bible for all their doctrine. They don't follow the writings or creeds of fallen men in times past. As Jesus said in Luke 22:19 that the Lord's Supper was to be done as a remembrance of him. Passages such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10 tell us that salvation is my faith alone. Baptism and the Lord's Supper in no way contribute to a person's salvation.

Now that we have talked about the purpose of the Lord's Supper let us talk about the manner in which it should take place.

The Recipients

Only born again Christians are to partake in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Christians partaking of the Lord's Supper need to examine themselves. If they are partaking of he Lord's Supper for the wrong reason (ex. they are hungry) then they could bring weakness, sickness and even death unto themselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-34). We are also told to not eat with a self professed Christian who is involved in fornication, covetousness, idolatry, verbal abuse, drunkenness or exhortation (1 Corinthians 5:11). 2 Thessalonians 3:6 also tells us we are not to have fellowship with those Christians that are living disorderly and not following sound doctrine.

There are 3 ways a church can decide to handle who is allowed to partake in the Lord's Support. First there is the open position. This means that anyone is allowed to partake, even if their doctrine is much different than that of the church. Second there is close communion. In this case only people that hold the similar doctrines to that of the church are allowed to partake. The final position is closed communion. In this case only members of that church are allowed to participate. The open position is unwise. As mention earlier there can be dire consequences if a recipient of the Lord's Supper isn't in right standing with God. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where a person is said to have to belong to the church to partake in the Lord's Supper. The only position I see that is fully Biblical is close communion. I do understand the concerns though that closed communion churches have. For how can they know the positions of others if they are not members of their church?

The Materials

The liquid is grape juice. Nowhere is it called wine and even if it was it wouldn't necessarily mean it was alcoholic. It would make not sense to use alcoholic wine. Alcoholic wine would cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21). There are countless verses warning about alcoholic wine (Proverbs 20:1, Proverbs 23:29-31, Isaiah 28:7 and etc).

The bread is is unleavened bread. The Lord's Supper took place on the first day of the Passover (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12 and Luke 22:7).  It was commanded in Exodus 12:18-20 that only unleavened bread be used from the 14th through the 21st day of the first month (Abib Deuteronomy 16:1-10 or later Nisan Esther 3:7).

The Order

1. A church gathers together in the evening. - Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:17, Luke 22:14, 1 Corinthians 11:18
2. Supper is eaten first. - Luke 22:20
3. The Pastor takes unleavened bread, blesses it and breaks it and it is distributed- Matthew 26:26,  Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24
4. The Pastor states that the bread represents the body of Jesus. - Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24
5. The Pastor takes a cup of juice and gives thanks - Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23 and 1 Corinthians 11:25
6. After the juice is consumed the Pastor states the juice represents the blood of Jesus which was shed for the remission of sins.- Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25
7. There is a singing of a Hymn by the church. - Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26

How Often


The Bible doesn't specifically say how often the Lord's Supper should take place. Some use Acts 20:7 to state that early churches did practice the Lord's Supper weekly. This isn't a clear case though. If we look at Acts 2:46 you would be led to believe it actually should be daily. If a church does decide to have the Lord's Supper weekly they need to be careful that doesn't become a matter of going through the motions. If done yearly it can increase the importance of the remembrance but at the same time there may be people that wouldn't be able to participate for a number of reasons. The most common practice in Baptist circles is monthly. It is a balance for not making it routine but at the same time not risking leaving people out of a once a year practice.


Conclusion

In conclusion it is important we stick with what the Bible says in all matters. We shouldn't look outside of the Bible to see how the Lord's Supper should be practiced. We need to remember that the Lord's Supper is a memorial to what Jesus did for us and nothing more. We also need to remember that the right attitude is extremely important when partaking in the Lord's Supper.