Saturday, May 28, 2016

The prohibition of intermarrying in the Old Testament relavent today 513 - 3 - 5

I would equate the prohibition in the Old Testament again intermarrying to being unequally yoked today. As a born again Christian I cannot imagine being married to any other than a man who has an equal hunger for God and His Word.
The man that I have been more or less dating for some time had a Christian upbringing but has neither the hunger for knowing Jesus nor the hunger for studying the Bible that I have. A really great guy but I know that if I should marry him we would be unequally yoked.
Last week I was in my summer shop and business was very slow. A man probably close in age to me came in and we got into a very interesting discussion. He is post-tribulation Rapture and I'm somewhere between pre and mid-tribulation. It was great having an animated conversation with a fellow believer who has a thirst for Biblical knowledge. It goes without saying that he's happily married and doesn't have a Christian brother for me. Comparing my reaction to these two men I can understand how painful it would be to be unequally yoked.
In the time of Numbers, the saga of the prophet Balaam demonstrated how successful Bakak was in corrupting Israel with foreign wives who brought with them their pagan deities thereby weakening Israel spiritually.
King Solomon is an interesting study in being unequally yoked. As a youth the name given to him by the prophet Nathan was Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord.” It would seem that he was loved by the Lord as he was given so much. As a very young man Solomon ascended to his father’s throne and asked God for wisdom. A very auspicious start to his reign.
Solomon authored parts of the Word including many of the Proverbs, nevertheless, there were several that he failed to keep. For example, Proverbs 2:16, “To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines many of whom lead him willingly down the path of idolatry. 1 Kings 11:3, "And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart."
Hosea was certainly unequally yoked with the woman/ harlot chosen by God to be his wife. Also of interest is the original names of his children. God’s promised was after national repentance there would be a restoration as evidence by the final names given by God to Hosea's children.
Today in United States are believers being unequally yoked with the apostate "Christians?" What of family? When I referred to the priest at the Catholic church my mom attended as Dr. rather than father I was criticized by family members. Unfortunately I could not remember the exact quote by Jesus found in Matthew 23:9.
The once true church is becoming more unequally yoked with the worldly church. The prosperity preachers draw memberships in the thousands with their message that tickle the ear of their congregation. National repentance is sorely needed.

Israel and idolatry, repentance, idolatry….. 513 - 3 - 8

To put it simply and to quote CM, Idolatry equals spiritual fornication. Idolatry is anything that takes the place of the true worship of God.
Satan reminds me of someone who just doesn’t have a life and has nothing better to do than to go around disrupting any and everything good as he is very jealous of God’s authority. I like what Chuck Missler said, “The Jews are God chosen people because he chose them!” God is sovereign!
God’s chosen people have long been God’s canary in the mine so what better target for Satan to attempt to lead into idolatry and/or destroy? CM provided several examples including: Corruption of Adam’s line by the fallen angels (Genesis 6), had it not been for Joseph the Israeli might have died during the famine (Genesis 50), Jewish male babies were to be cast into the river (Exodus 1), Moses resisted the enticement of Pharaoh’s court, Pharaoh’s pursuit of the Israeli, God parted the sea for His people and then closed it upon the Egyptians (Exodus 14) and finally attaching King David’s line.
King David’s line was to produce the Messiah, nevertheless, a blood curse was later pronounced by God against all male descendants. However, back in the garden we are told of the seed of the woman. Rather than coming through the line of King David’s son Solomon, Mary was of the line of King David’s son Nathan. (2 Sam 7). So Satan was defeated in this attempt to extinguish the Messianic line.
Throughout her history, Israel (Judah) has fallen into idolatry and then repented and then fallen… “Repentance is the activity of reviewing one's actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life. The practice of repentance plays an important role in the soteriological doctrines of the world's major religions where it is considered necessary for the attainment of salvation.” [Wikipedia]
The true prophets of God provided many warnings to Israel that were not heeded. Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."
At times Israel passed the tipping point as noted in Jeremiah 7:16, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee."
Israel was very fortunate in that God never rejected his unconditional covenants. God's Word is of the utmost importance to Him as spelled out in Ezekiel 36:22-23. “…It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone….. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”
With all her many failing, Israel became a country in one day, May 14, 1948. Isaiah 66:8, "Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children."

Isaiah 40 reveals the Majesty of God 519-2 - 13 - 3

The six days of creation was a time of negative entropy. With the exception of these six days, by the laws of entropy the universe truly had a beginning and should have an ending. Was there a Big Bang that marked the beginning of the Universe? Who caused the Big Bang? Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Big Bang, the Word.
Often those who study the mystery of the universe are at worst atheists, and at best perhaps agnostic open to intelligent design. The late astrophysicist and atheist Fred Hoyle admitted. "A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as chemistry and biology and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about In nature."
Sadly the very famous “Stephen Hawking says he’s an atheist, arguing that science offers a “more convincing explanation” for the origins of the universe and that the miracles of religion “aren’t compatible” with scientific fact.
As I understand it, Mr. Hawking attributes the creation to gravitational forces. My question to Mr. Hawking would be who created those forces?
How someone with the mind of a Stephen Hawking could be an atheist is beyond my comprehension. More than anyone he should know how critically balanced the universe is. Actually, I feel sorry for anyone who fails to see the presence of God in creation. How drab and commonplace must life be for those who lack an appreciation of the awesomeness of our Creator God.
Isaiah 40 and many other Bible passages certainly reveal the Majesty of God. These passages not only take my breath away, they make life so much more fulfilling with the knowledge that someday I will be in the presence of the creator of the universe.
 Isaiah 40:22, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:” No flat earth theory here.
Job was tutored by God. Job 38:4-6, “4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof”;
Just a few of the properties of the universe listed in the Bible:
Isaiah 64:1, space can be torn
Psalm 102, space can be worn out like a garment
Job 9:8 speaks of God as He “alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.”
Psalm 19:1 says it best, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

“Anthropic ” observations are very persuasive for God the Creator 519-2 - 13 - 4

Another plug for the book and video “The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery.” The book by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards is a rather challenging read. The video “The Privileged Planet” was more easily comprehended while being very informative. God located our home planet Earth in a habitable zone in our solar system. A little closer to sun or a little further away from the sun and no complex life would be possible. Our solar system also has a habitable zone within our galaxy, as does our galaxy.
The above are just a few of the observations that speak to the very uniqueness of our privileged planet. I consider our very location in the Universe to be most persuasive for God the Creator as we are located in the perfect position to observe the universe, like we have a window to the world. God created the Universe for our edification and created us to be in awe of our creator God. From the smallest quarks to the immensity of the universe, we are indeed living on a “Privileged Planet.” 
As for the often asked question of life on other planets, I do not have the arrogance to limit our awesome God in His creation. However, we are unique in that we are created in the image and likeness of God.
Anthropic principles demonstrates that life such as ours on earth is very unique in this vast universe. Just a few examples of the anthropic principles follow:
Axial Tilt The moon stabilizes our planet and it its tilt and rotation; without it, no complex life would be possible on Earth.
Surface gravity If the surface gravitational pull were stronger only small forms of life would be possible. A weaker pull would allow our atmosphere to escape.
Thickness of the crust Plate tectonics play a major role in shaping the earth. The book “Rare Earth” has great detail about plate tectonics and continental drift.
Electromagnetic Force EMF holds the atom together; slightly weaker and the nuclei would not hold together, slightly stronger and heavier elements would not be possible. These forces do so much more and are in a perfect balance, chance? I think not.
Without our magnetic field, the Earth would be bombarded cosmic radiation, and solar wind slowly scraping away the atmosphere.
As an aside, I am in awe of the indisputable proof of design in this planet we call home. Statically we are unique and blessed to have our God designed home. Given what an awesome planet Earth is, one can only imagine the home Jesus has been working on for us these nearly two thousand years. 2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The advantages/ disadvantages of the Medes and Persians' legal system 513 - 2 - 5

Those in positions of power surely are knowledgeable of the Three Branches of government here in the United States. The Legislative, Congress and Senate, makes laws. The Executive, POTUS, carries out the laws.  The Judicial, Supreme Court, evaluates laws. Unfortunately today it seems like we have a supreme court that tries to make law, legislators who don't bother reading much of what passes as law and a president who says he has a phone and a pen allowing him to issue executive orders.
The following paragraph concerning the Constitution is aimed at children. I suspect that many adults are unaware of it.
“The Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, the framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers, or three separate branches of government. Each has its own responsibilities and at the same time they work together to make the country run smoothly and to assure that the rights of citizens are not ignored or disallowed. This is done through checks and balances. A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government.”
So what does our (United States) system of three branches of government have to do with the advantages/ disadvantages of the Medes and Persians' legal system? Under the law of the Medes and Persians the king could not change his decrees once issued. Under our system of government here in the United States it seems that executive orders can be made and changed at will. The issue of transgender bathrooms and showers is just one more in a list of insanity coming out of Washington DC.
"These presidents and princes" appealed to the pride of King Darius "to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions."
Daniel 6:15, “Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.”
Daniel continued to pray three times a day and was “turned in” to King Darius by "These presidents and princes." The king could not retract his decree under the Medes and Persians' legal system so Daniel was cast into the Lion’s den. Perhaps Daniel used a lion's paw as a pillow during the night as he was supernaturally protected from the lions. Daniel survived but his accusers (and their families) met the fate they intended for Daniel.
 A disadvantage of the Medes and Persians legal system is that a poorly thought out decree could not be changed even by the king. I expect that an advantage is that it would result in a more stable government.
Of utmost importance is the fact that had King Darius been able to change his decree and spare Daniel his night with the lions, this great testament to our awesome God would not have happened.

“Ten Lost Tribes,” of Israel, untrue! 513 - 2 - 7

Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulun were The “Ten Lost Tribes” of legend.
As an aside, If any of the twelve tribes of Israel were to be lost it would likely have been the tribe of Benjamin. In the Book of Judges the tribe of Benjamin is nearly wiped out in what to me is a very strange series of events. The tribe of Benjamin survived and great men such as the Apostle Paul and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are from the tribe of Benjamin.
In researching a similar question last year I came across some very interesting information concerning Anglo-Israelism & British Israelism.
Anglo-Israelism & British Israelism: “The principal belief of Anglo/British Israelism is that the British (and by extension Americans, Canadians, Australians, and others) are the spiritual and literal descendants of the ancient Israelites.”
British Israel writers developed the belief that these "ten tribes" of the Northern Kingdom “were able to retain their identity and cohesiveness, became lost to history, and wandered far even to the British Isles.” In my opinion, things get rather convoluted with the stone (Stone of Scone) used in the coronation of King David being transported to the British Isles and being used for the coronation of British queens and kings. The Anglo-Israelism belief was mostly discounted in the early 20th century, however, John Allen’s book “Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright" spread the concept through the Adventist and other churches. I suspect that Mr. Allen’s book was used as more fuel to the fire of the heresy of Replacement Theology.
Last summer I had a discussion with a Mormon concerning the DNA studies that disproved any linkage of a lost tribe of Israel and the Native American Indian. I recall that he mentioned something about Joseph and the migration to England. Perhaps he was referring to Mr. Allen’s book.
All very interesting but not biblical. 2 Chronicle 11:16, “And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.” So representatives from the Northern Kingdom tribes relocated to the Southern Kingdom to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This is reinforced by 2 Chronicles 15:9, “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” Again, the more spiritual of the Ten Tribes joined forces with Judah.
God sent the Southern Kingdom into exile, however, Ezekiel 39:28, “Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there.” Note the word, none!
God made unconditional covenants with His people Israel. If God could lose 10 of His 12 Tribes would His unconditional covenants still hold? Of course God did not lose any of His people but such a claim marginalizes Israel and can morph into Replacement theology.
Many church leaders either willfully or through ignorance practice a weak Hermeneutics leading them to claim that the Everlasting Covenants God made with Israel has passed to the church though Replacement Theology:
1. Israel forfeited her promises when she rejected her Messiah
2. The promises to Abraham passed to the Church
3. All the Old Testament covenants were conditional
So why is this view of the “Ten Lost Tribes” hazardous to a Biblical perspective? Because it suggests that God does not always keep His word. So if God doesn’t keep His word to Israel, Replacement Theology.
For the Jew, Replacement Theology and the Holocaust, little daylight between them. For the Christian, if God cannot be trusted to keep His word to Israel can Christians expect Him to keep his word to us and honor our salvation?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

70 years Babylon Captivity of the Southern Kingdom 513 - 1 - 1

Two questions, why was there a captivity and why was it 70 years?
Through his prophets God warned the people of the southern kingdom of Judah to turn from their evil ways. Jeremiah 25:4, "And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear."
Jeremiah 25:5-7 deals with God again telling the people of Judah to turn from their evil ways and not to serve other gods. God brought out the fact of the land that he given to them and their fathers was for ever and ever. If the people remain faithful to God he would not be provoked to anger.
The people did not obey God and provoked Him to anger and paid a price for it. Jeremiah 25:11, "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
This is part of the why, idolatry, however, God had another issue with the people of Judah.
Through Moses God spoke to His people. Leviticus 25:2, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the Lord."
The people failed to give the land a Sabbath So after 490 years, God called the debt, the people owed God 70 years to offset the years they had dishonored His laws with respect to His land. They failed to honor the land and God took the land away from them for 70 years.
2 Chronicles 36:21, “To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.”
God means what he says and says what he means. The Israelis were told not to worship other gods and to let the land rest for one year in seven. The people failed both so into Babylonian Captivity, 606 B.C. for 70 years.
As an aside, in Exodus 23:12 God also commands that we are to have a Sabbath rest. Further, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
I was bought with a very high price, the torture and crucifixion of our Lord. I certainly don’t treat my body with respect that I should. I get myself so involved in what I’m doing that I let myself get run down. Not only do I not obey God, I ignore the first rule of polio survivor 101, not to get overly tired. So into several days of personal captivity. After five days of a combination of bronchitis and asthma I am on the mend. I’ve always consider getting sick to be a nuisance and a waste time. Perhaps this discussion question hits a little too close to home.

the timeline from the fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians to the Babylonian captivity, the Book of Esther, and the rise of the Greek empire.513 - 1 - 7

This seemed to be a reasonably simple DQ to answer drawing on PDFs such as 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Daniel and Romans. The more I dug into the various time lines, the more convoluted it became so this represents my sadly lacking but best effort.
All dates B.C.
721 Israel defeated by Assyria; northern tribes exiled.
607 Pharaoh Neco of Egypt defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at the Battle of Carchemish.
606 1st siege of Jerusalem by Babylon. The Temple items were plundered by Nebuchadnezzar and kept in a museum in Babylon. Daniel and his three friends are taken captive to Babylon; Jehoikim rules as vassal king rules. This begins 70-year “Servitude of the Nation” to the day.  (2 Kgs 24:2; Dan 1:1).
602 Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the image which Daniel interprets granting him a position of authority
597 2nd siege of Jerusalem by Babylon; 10,000 deported including Ezekiel
Leading up to the second siege Vassal King Jehoikim ignores Jeremiah’s counsel to submit to God’s judgment and rebels. Jehoikim dies and his son, Jehiachin/ Jeconiah” (Blood curse) reigns until the siege is over. Jeconiah is captured along with 10,000 captives, including Ezekiel. Jeconiah’s uncle Zedekiah was installed as vassal at Jerusalem.
587 Zedekiah ignores Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s warnings and rebels resulting in the 3rd siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple and the city by King Nebuchadnezzar. This begins 70-year “Desolations of Jerusalem”
556 Daniel’s vision of the 4 beasts.
554 Daniel’s Ram and He-goat vision
539 King Belshazzar was disrespectful of the golden vessels taken from the temple and thus the famous Hand writing on the wall appeared. The Persian Empire conquered Babylon without a battle.  Daniel showed Cyrus (538–530) God’s letter to Cyrus detailed in Isaiah 44.
538 Daniel’s Vision of seventy weeks
538 The first return was led by Zerubbabel (Ezra 1-6) to rebuild the Temple as ordered and financed by Cyrus. However, only about 50 thousand Israeli returned to Israel in this regathering of the remnant.
536 The foundations of the second Temple were laid by the spring of 536
Daniel survived The Lions’ Den during the reign of Darius I (521–486).
Esther saved the Israel race from the plotting of Haman in this time, between Ezra chapters 6 and 7.
458 second return was under Ezra (Ezra 7-10) in 458 B.C.
444 The third return was led by Nehemiah in 444 who through Artaxerxes I (464–423) had gained authority to rebuild the city (and walls) of Jerusalem. This triggers the 69 weeks of Daniel 9:25
332 Alexander the Great conquers the Persians, beginning the Hellenistic rule of Judea.