Sunday, September 14, 2014

the three major viewpoints of the rapture of the Church: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation 544 - 8 - 6

Church (capital C) refers believers in the simple message of the Gospel.

Call it the Rapture, The Harpazo or the Blessed Hope, it will be the greatest event in a believers life. Jesus will call us home, what a wonderful day that will be. CM calls it “The most preposterous doctrine in Evangelical Christianity.” A preposterous doctrine with a scriptural bases.

1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught (G726) up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

G726 - harpazō - From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

Pre-Tribulation Rapture is Jesus coming for His Church before the start of the seven year tribulation and this view is in accordance with “The Doctrine of Imminency.” We can expect Jesus at any moment; there is nothing more required for the Rapture of the Church to occur. 

The Jewish Wedding is analogous to what will happen in the lead up to the rapture. Jesus, the bridegroom, ascended into his father's house to prepare a place for his bride, the Church, just as was done in biblical time. Just as the bride was to be ready as the bridegroom could come at any time, the Church should eagerly anticipate the coming of Jesus for his Church.

A Mid-Tribulation Rapture embraces the belief that the Church will be caught at the midpoint of the seven year tribulation before the start of the final three and half years known as the time of Jacob’s troubles.

A post-Tribulation rapture point of view claims that the church will go through the seven year Tribulation. We would meet ourselves in the clouds as Jesus calls us to him as He descended to earth.  We would be going up and coming down at the same time.  No, the Church will not go through the Tribulation!
Both the mid- trib rapture and a post-trip rapture point of view deny “The Doctrine of Imminency,” however….

While there are several Scriptures that imply that the Church will be removed prior to the Tribulation, I have a question concerning Revelation 12:5-6, “She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.”

The woman is Israel fleeing after the desecration of the Temple as the Son of Prediction breaks his covenant with Israel after 3 ½ years. The Son of the woman/Israel is Jesus and if His ascension to the Father represents the Church, could this be mid-trib rapture?

Regardless of my question concerning Revelation 12:5-6, I am still of the belief that the rapture of the church will take place before the start of the seven year tribulation. That said, does it mean that there’ll be no persecution of Christians prior to the start of the tribulation.

Christians are being imprisoned, tortured and murdered in many parts of the world. Evil as the jihadists have been over the years, there is a new group quickly developing that appears to be demonically possessed. Members of ISIS are murdering Christians and non-Christians alike. They also are murdering their fellow Muslims due to differing beliefs. While we in America have been relatively safe since 9/11, we live under the growing threat of jihadists within our country.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Gap Theory Revisited 544 - 8 - 4

Nearly two and a half years ago I answered this discussion question, “Discuss the possibilities (and problems) with the conjectures of a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.” I originally selected this discussion question as a reaction to a post in the eBay Soapbox chat room, “Is Satan more powerful than God?” Timing is everything so back then as today the debate is on. The only argument I would have against the gap theory is that, I really don’t have one. Even to a novice such as myself, digging deeper into the Word seems to indicate that there was/ is merit to the gap theory.
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form (H8414), and void (H922); and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
With thanks to Strong’s:
H8414 – “A masculine noun meaning formlessness, confusion. The exact meaning of this term is difficult at best since its study is limited to its relatively few Old Testament occurrences. It is used to describe primeval earth before the seven creative days”
H922 – “A masculine noun indicating void or emptiness. It depicts the state of matter after God had created it but before He had fashioned it for habitation”
H922 also describes the state of the land or earth after God judges it (Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23). It is used in combination with tōhû, without form, each time. So could these two verses be analogous to a judgment on the earth that occurred after Genesis 1:2?
What makes this interesting is that the original Hebrew reads “And the earth became without form” implying that when Satan fell and took a third of the angels with him, he caused disorder on God’s creation. So “the earth became without form” so the Spirit of God once more had to move upon the face of the waters. Another use of the word “became” that Dr. Missler pointed out is Genesis 19:26, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became (H1961) a pillar of salt.”
H1961 – “A verb meaning to exist, to be, to become, to happen, to come to pass, to be done. It is used over 3,500 times in the Old Testament. In the simple stem, the verb often means to become, to take place, to happen….”
The English translation of Greek Septuagint that I have reads “1:1 in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. 2 But the earth was unsightly and unfurnished, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God moved over the water.” God would not create a mess so this also suggests that Satan rendered it “unsightly and unfurnished.”
As an aside, Satan and his minions were not satisfied with nearly destroying God’s original handiwork, they sired Nephilim which brought on the flood. Even after the flood the fallen ones were still bringing God’s judgment onto the earth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Global Warming/ Climate Change You Think? 544 - 8 - 7

Can the left get any more out of step with reality? Last “Wednesday at a ceremony to appoint Texas lawyer Shaarik Zafar to be special representative to Muslim communities, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was the United States' Biblical ‘responsibility’ to ‘confront climate change,’ including to protect ‘vulnerable Muslim majority counties."’ Here is the video link in which Kerry twists the Word to fit the left’s agenda.
The show “The Five” on FOXNEWS is one of the few shows I watch on a regular basis. Bob Beckel usually is the lone lib on the panel of five. He made a statement that is, IMO, even beyond far left thinking. “Climate change is so much more consequential than ISIS ever was it’s like putting the United States military up against the boy scouts,” He went on to say “I have people that I think scientifically have a good argument other people say they have a good argument, we disagree with it,” And added, “But the idea suggesting that ISIS is more important than climate change is just absurd, as far as I’m concerned.”
And then there’s Al Gore. From a 2010 article, “How inconvenient is this news? Former vice president Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, bought a gated $8,875,000 ocean-view villa in Montecito, Calif., where Oprah Winfrey also owns a mansion, the Los Angeles Times reports.” The ice cap that was supposed to have melted away by now is still there much to the chagrin of Al Gore; I thought the oceans were going to rise, enough said.
Recently Bill Nye “the Science Guy” debated Ken Ham “Creation Museum” on "whether creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era." Bill Nye seems to equate being a creationism and/ or the denial of Climate Change (formally known as Global Warming) with being technologically inept.   
Talk about one side only. “Climate Change Denial, Creationism, and Other Bad Science Don’t Deserve Equal Consideration in Science Journalism.”
In my opinion, these in the left worship at the altar of global warming/ climate change as they do at the altar of abortion on demand and the altar of evolution. I get the definite impression that the Libs consider Christians to be against science. Perhaps if they would peruse CM’s “Beyond” commentaries…
So much for the political hacks/ celebs who use climate change/ global warming as a soapbox and/ or as a moneymaker.
An interesting and balanced article dating more than 10 years ago is “Facts disprove warnings about global warming” by William Robert Johnston
"Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions" by Mike Adams is just one of many articles exposing the falsification of data to make a case for global warming.
So what do I believe about global warming? I definitely believe that someday there will be major global warming, however, it will be at God’s timing and direction. The weather has been rather out of control in the last several years; that is out of man’s influence via carbon footprints rather under the control of God.
Against the Assyrians God declared, Isaiah 30:30, "And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones."
Luke 21:11, “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
Acts 2:19, "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:"
A picture is worth a thousand words: 
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The Book of Ruth Revisited E501 - 3 - 6

The Book of Ruth is a very short Book of the Bible and sometimes dismissed as a pretty story of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi and as a love story between Ruth and Boaz. It is so much more!

The Book of Ruth is prophetic of Jesus as the Kinsman-Redeemer and the Church as the Gentile Bride. As Boaz redeemed Ruth as his bride and Naomi her land, Jesus has redeemed the Church and He will redeem Israel.

Names of all have special meaning:

Naomi means pleasantness, delight, however, after the deaths of her husband and sons she calls herself Mara which is bitter.

Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth was a Moabitess. Ruth means friend and what a loyal friend/ daughter Ruth was to Naomi. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
The lyrics to “Whither Thou Goest” sung by Les Paul and Mary Ford were based on this Old Testament story of Naomi and Ruth.

Boaz is strength.

Plus there was an unnamed servant as an intercessor who introduced Boaz to Ruth, a type of Holy Spirit?

So back to this little book so very important to Jew and Gentile alike.
Due to a famine, Naomi and her family left their home in Bethlehem for Moab. Naomi’s husband and sons died. Later Naomi heard that the famine was over in Bethlehem and decided to return. Her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth, the Moab, went with Naomi to Bethlehem.

Once back in Bethlehem, Naomi and Ruth were destitute and Ruth gleaned in the fields of what turns out to be Naomi’s kinsman Boaz. Naomi realized the possibility of Boaz being a kinsman redeemer, the Go'el. So Naomi set events in motion that resulted in the marriage of Boaz and Ruth. Boaz and Ruth had a son they named Obed who had a son named Jesse and in turn Jesse had a son named David, later known as King David.

Boaz and Ruth were in the line of Jesus. Boaz was the son of Salmon and Rahab who was said to be a prostitute. Boaz and Ruth had a son they named Obed who had a son named Jesse and in turn Jesse had a son named David, later known as King David. So a prostitute and a Gentile were in the line of Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David; what redemption! What a historical story!

So how does the Book of Ruth relate to the Book of Revelation? Again, the Book of Ruth is a very short book and sometimes dismissed as a rather simple story of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi and the love story between Ruth and Boaz and their Levirate Marriage. It is so much more! The book is prophetic of the coming of Christ, the grafting of the Gentile Church to the olive tree and the re-birth of modern day Israel.

Small Study Groups or Church? E501 - 4 - 2

This is a favorite topic with me and I have written on it a number of times.

I much prefer being in a small group to attending a regular church service:
•           Members of a small group seems to me to bond with each other
•           The group can get into a very in depth Bible study
•           Members of small groups can be very supportive of each other
•           There doesn't seem to be the clicks in a small group that I too often find in church
•           No church politics
•           Everyone is involved in the discussion unlike in a church setting
Winters I spend in Quartzsite, Arizona and for several years I attended a Bible study held in a private home.  It was a fairly small group of about 14 to 18 people.  We sat around the room and look directly at each other.  Perhaps it was too successful as it was moved to the church with the result that we were then sitting in pews facing the front.  We had more people attending, however, it seem more like another sermon rather than the give and take of a small group.
My favorite Bible study is a small group meeting at a camping site in the desert in a 10’ x 20’ tent.  Arizona gets a lot of “winter visitors” so the group starts out small in the fall and grows through the winter.  Our leader prepares thoroughly and has references and more references. We are encouraged to join in.
Summers I’m in NE Arizona and not currently active in a church or a Bible study, however, last Sunday I attended a local Bible study and was invited back. The study seems on the surface to be aimed at getting members to participate in church activities. It’s not a great fit but I’ll attend until I return to my winter home.
To me characteristics of a successful Bible study include:
•           Staying small or splitting into more than one group
•           An informal setting
•           Staying on topic
•           Leaders who are well prepared and gently controls the flow of the meeting
The disadvantages of a small group include:
•           One person monopolizing the discussion
•           The discussion can “fall into a rabbit hole”
•           Differences of opinions can get out of control and cause hard feelings
•           Some participants seem to be there mostly to find fault with Christianity
•           Some participants seem to be there mostly to bloviate
•           City ordinance such as parking can be used against the group
IMO, we are headed into/ already in the persecution of the Church, capitol C. We who hold to the Word of God will become more disliked as the unbelievers sink further either into sin or into false doctrine. Eventually I expect we will be forced to meet in private homes. The small groups established now will be our life-line in the days before the return of Jesus for His Church.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recognizing and protecting oneself from false teachers

As an aside, a quote from The Matt Walsh Blog “In more primitive times they burned heretics at the stake. Now we greet the blasphemers with applause and multi-million dollar book deals. I’m not sure if the latter response is any more enlightened than the former, but both are wrong.”

Today people want their ears tickled by TV preachers like the Osteens rather than following the clear command of Jesus; Luke 9:23, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Jesus warned us again and again about false teachers:

Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Mark 13:21-23, " And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christ’s and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things."

Paul warns us in Acts 20:29-30, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”

And again in Hebrews 13:9, "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meat), which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."

Peter warns us in II Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

The best way identify and recognize false teachers is to study the Word and “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11. CM reminds us to be like the Bereans, Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Like the Olseens, there are many TV evangelists who promote the prosperity gospel; send money and it will be returned to you multiplied or some other such nonsense. That said, not all who preach on TV are false teachers. A couple of my favorites are David Jeremiah and Ravi Zacharias.

Law vs. grace, as in Paul’s time as today. Whether it’s today’s Catholic who combines works with the gift of salvation given us by the completed work of Jesus on the cross or it’s the person who falsely believes that salvation comes through works; both are practicing a false belief. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Friday, September 5, 2014

defending the Biblical doctrine of the “Second Coming” in today’s “pagan” environment 544 - 6 - 7

I would refer the unbeliever to scripture. 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”

With thanks to CM and his Prophecy 101 Commentary:

The Return of Christ to Rule
• 1,845 references in the Old Testament.
• 17 books give prominence to the event.
• 318 references in the New Testament.
• 216 chapters.
• 23 of 27 books give prominence to the event.

• For every prophecy of Christ’s 1st Coming there are 8 of His 2nd Coming!
Firsthand reporting provides great validity of Scripture as does historical reporting such as Historian Flavius Josephus. That said, nearly 2000 years later there seems to be a growing disbelief in the validity of Scripture. Critics cite such things as mass hallucination, wishful thinking by the witnesses and more. Anything to serve their atheist agenda.

Try as the atheist might to discredit God, they cannot deny the text of the Septuagint finished nearly 300 years before the birth of Jesus as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls. We certainly have the more sure word of prophecy.
Enoch prophesied the Second Coming of the Lord/ Jesus: Jude 1:14-15, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Hosea 5:15, “I will go and return to my place, (H4725) till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction (H6862) they will seek me early.” 

After His crucifixion Jesus returned to the Father and will return after the tribulation.

Verses relating to The Second Coming of Jesus:

Daniel 2:44-45, 7:9-14, 12:1-3
Zechariah 14:1-15
Matthew 13:41, 24:15-31, 26:64
Mark 13:14-27, 14:62
Luke 21:25-28
Acts 1:9-11, Acts 3:19-21
1 Thessalonians 3:13
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, 2:8
2 Peter 3:1-14
Jude 14-15
Revelation 1:7, 19:11-20:6, 22:7, 22:12, 22:20

H4725 - From H6965; properly a standing, that is, a spot; but used widely of a locality (generally or specifically); also (figuratively) of a condition (of body or mind): - country, X home, X open, place, room, space, X whither [-soever]

H6862 - From H6887; narrow; (as a noun) a tight place (usually figuratively, that is, trouble); also a pebble (as in H6864); (transitively) an opponent (as crowding): - adversary, afflicted (-tion), anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, strait, tribulation, trouble.

Sodom and Gomorrah, Lessons Learned 544 - 7 - 4

Romans 1:26-27, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Billy Graham was quoted as saying, "Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, “If God doesn't punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Rev. Graham thought that his wife was possibly thinking of Ezekiel 16:49-50, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”

Genesis 18:20-21, “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.”

Whether Ezekiel 16:49-54 or Genesis 18:20, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah due not just to the many homosexuals there but also because of the acceptance by the town’s people of this deviant behavior and for the reason enumerated by Ezekiel.

Scripture does hold out hope for believers. Abraham appealed to God not to destroy the innocent along with the sinners. Genesis 18:23, “And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Sadly not even ten righteous could be found. Interestingly enough, God would not ran down fire until Lot and his family fled to safety.

The implications of Sodom and Gomorrah are, IMO, rather frightening for America as our country is guilty of the same sins as Sodom and Gomorrah. Add to that the use of abortion for convenience and the fact that our administration is undermining Israel, we are as the expression goes in deep Doo Doo.

Thankfully there still are many righteous people in America who will likely be evacuated before America experiences the full wrath of God. It seems that God with-holds final judgment until the righteous are removed. The removal of Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah gives me the assurance that even a far from perfect person such as myself will be spared God’s Wrath. Lot is prophetic of the Church being rescued before the time of God’s Wrath on the Earth as well. God’s promise of the Blessed Hope, the Rapture of the Church.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My favorite Bible study tools E-501 - 3 - 7

My favorite Bible study tools include:



The Internet in general and specifically
The Franklin electronic Bible
Kindle fire
E-sword is a free download well worth a donation as it is truly an asset in the study of the Bible. E-sword has many free tools such as downloadable commentaries and dictionaries. There is a build-in editor that I have yet to use, however, I’ve made and am making extensive use of Strong’s discretionary, only one of many available. I did purchase the AMG Complete Word Study Dictionary as it is not public domain but very helpful. This word study dictionary goes into greater detail than the public domain dictionaries.
The King James Version of the Bible is my usual go to source for Scripture. This version of the Bible was completed by a group of scholars hundreds of years ago. The video “A Lamp in the Dark, the Untold History of the Bible” is well worth the time required to watch it. Not only does it talk about the King James Version the Bible, it details the persecution of those who held to the word of God rather than man.
I like to refer people to the Septuagint and explain to them that it was completed nearly 300 years before the birth of Jesus. The fulfillment by Jesus of the many prophecies found in the Septuagint prove beyond question that Jesus was and is who he said he was.
The Internet is a wealth of materials that can be used in the study of the Bible. The however is that one must of course be very discerning. I’ve used, the KJV, for many years for a quick look up for those verses that are relevant to what I’m doing. Often I can remember part of the Scripture but can’t remember the book, chapter and verse. A few keywords will usually bring up the Scripture I’m looking for.
For years I used the Franklin Electronic Bible and literally wore out two of them. Now I seldom use my third Franklin Electronic Bible, rather I use my Kindle fire and my iPhone when attending a Bible study. I will keep that part of the Bible we are studying on my Kindle Fire and use e-sword for IPhone as a quick look up to related Scripture.

The Bible is he inspired Word of God E-501 - 2 - 1

That the Bible is the inspired Word of God is true beyond doubt in my opinion. 
Hal Lindsey answered this question by saying, “The Jewish people and that they still exist as a people.” Many enemies have come and gone and still Israel thrives. In Ezekiel 37, “Valley of Dry Bones,” God said He’d return the people to the land and he did/ is still doing so. 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.”
The Bible has thousands of prophetic verses that have been fulfilled or will be fulfilled in the future. The prophecies found in the Old testament that were fulfilled by Jesus are mind boggling:, “Prophecies that Jesus Christ Fulfilled.”.
The very structure of the Bible proves its divine authorship and is loaded with authentication codes having the fingerprint signature of the author, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As an example there are the heptadic structures. A few are that the number of the consonants must be divisible by 7, evenly as must be the number of vowels, the number of letters and the number of words.
CM’s commentary technology in the Bible gives an overview of technological advances that are implied in the Bible. In his commentary beyond time and space CM again points out that God is outside of time and space as we know it. Truly He knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Peter and the other disciples walked with Jesus for more than three years. The disciples were martyred with the exception of John who survived torture and imprisonment. Peter who had denied Jesus just prior to the crucifixion became a force to be reckoned with after the resurrection. Not only was Peter an eloquent speaker after Pentecost, he put complete reliance upon the sure word of prophecy. 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”
Hundreds of thousands of people died for the crime of adhering to the early and true Christian theology rather than the medieval perverted versions. Jesus said “It is finished” and that we are saved by grace. Salvation isn't a sometimes thing that has to continually be reinforced often by pledges of money. The common people were not to own a Bible much less read it. That so many gave their lives to preserve the Truth and the survival of the Jewish people speaks volumes. Yes, the Bible is the Word of God.