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Belief in God Biblical doctrines Christianity Israel the Bible

The Chosen

If you have not yet seen this new video series on the life of Jesus Christ I recommend it to you. So far season 1 has been released (8 episodes) and free. It is available on various platforms including YouTube.

It is very engaging though it fills in details of the biblical events depicted. Of course a lot of the filled in details are not found in the Bible but they are totally reasonable within our understanding of the life people lived then.

See also https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen/

The next seasons are crowd funded and as a result they will make as many as they are able. It is worth listening to the some of the discussions with the director and actors as it also is inspiring. All are strong believers and want this series to be used to bring in the unsaved.

Categories
Belief in God salvation testimony

My interview for I AM series

In January 2018 I was interviewed in relation to my own personal salvation experience. The interview was used in a documentary series called “I AM”, produced by Adventist Media. See IAM.org.au Here is the segment.

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Belief in God Creation/evolution Meaning of life

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself? Part 11

Part 11 and the final part of my review of the book: “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself,” by Sean M. Carroll. Part 10 is found here.

Caring

In the last section of the book titled “Caring” he opens the first chapter with a quote from Carl Sagan’s wife. In response to people who knew Sagan was not a believer, seven years after his death his wife, Ann Druyan, wrote:

“We knew we were the beneficiaries of chance … That pure chance could be so generous and so kind … That we could find each other … in the vastness of space and the immensity of time….  The way he treated me and the way I treated him… that is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.” (pp.387-8)

This then leads to the question of the afterlife. Being a naturalist Carroll does not believe in such. He states though that he would like to continue living in some fashion after death, but only if it was pleasant and if he was not “tortured by ornery demons” (p.388)

And he writes that it takes courage to face up to the finitude of and the limits on our existence. Thus he agrees with Druyan that it was only chance that she met Sagan. The message here is that man is just another animal and not any more important that a sea slug. By chance we meet our spouses—there is no more meaning in our existence than chance.

“Ideas like ‘meaning’ and ‘morality’ and ‘purpose’ are nowhere to be found in the Core Theory of quantum fields, the physics underlying our everyday lives.” (p.389)

But he tries to add meaning by saying that these are emergent ways of talking about our human-scale environment. Nothing more.

“The source of these values isn’t the outside world; it’s inside us.” (p.389)

We could discuss where such ideas have ultimately led to. In the 20th century alone at least one hundred million people were killed, directly or indirectly, by atheistic despotic regimes, which were the invention of man’s values. Nazi Germany eliminated the handicapped because of ideas from inside the mind of man—ideas that were based on humanist Darwinian thinking.

Carroll tries to save the atheist position with

“If you are moved to help those less fortunate than you, it doesn’t matter whether you are motivated by a belief that it’s God’s will, or by a personal conviction that it’s the right thing to do. Your values are no less real either way.” (p.391)

That is true. But in a culture that developed from the Judeo-Christian mind-set it is not surprising that altruism in part remains in the society, even among atheists. But what is their motivation. It would seem they would be acting contrary to their selfish Darwinian belief system.

Figure 1: Christ Pantocrator mosaic in Byzantine style, from the Cefalù Cathedral, Sicily, c. 1130. Credit: Andreas Wahra – Wikimedia commons

Most societies that developed aid to the poor or the handicapped did not arrive at those ideas using man’s values. Most hospitals, aged care homes, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other outreaches (the anti-slavery movement, for example) began with Christians desiring to follow Christ’s admonition. (Matthew 25:37-40)

The unsaved sinner did not just think it would be a good idea to help the poor themselves. History tells us—Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, to name a few—that man’s ideas are decidedly selfish and destructive. The scriptures tell us (James 4:1-2) that it is from lust (or desire) that many undesirable actions and even wars result.

But according to Carroll,

“[d]esire has a bad reputation in certain circles. But that’s a bum rap.” (p.392)

And he tries to give it a positive spin, but not by mentioning any of the negative traits that desire or lust lead to. He says once we have provision of food and shelter we challenge ourselves to show some accomplishments.

“That makes sense, in light of evolution. An organism that didn’t give a crap about anything that happened to it would be at a severe disadvantage in the struggle for survival when compared to one that looked out for itself, its family and its compatriots.” (p.392)

Categories
Biblical doctrines Christianity Roman Catholic Church The Papacy

Pope warns against direct personal relationship with Jesus Christ

Watch the following embedded video of part of the pope’s speech and read the transcript on a Vatican website. The content of the pope’s speech is irrefutable. There it is written what he said to a general audience in Peter’s Square on Wednesday, 25 June 2014. Here is one excerpt:.

“There are those who believe they can maintain a personal, direct and immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside the communion and the mediation of the Church. These are dangerous and harmful temptations.”.

Of course by ‘church’ Francis means the Roman Catholic Church, but the true church are all those who are born-again regenerate Christians.

Pope Francis told a crowd of 33,000 in Rome that ‘a personal relationship with Jesus Christ’ must be avoided at all costs.

Pope Francis on camera warning against “having a personal relationship with Jesus” as “dangerous and harmful”. .

In the transcript Francis also says that we should

“… ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, for the grace never to fall into the temptation of thinking we can make it without the others, that we can get along without the Church, that we can save ourselves on our own, of being Christians from the laboratory.”

This is Catholic works doctrine and not salvation by grace through the atonement that our Lord Jesus Christ made for all those who trust in Him. There is no grace through Christ’s earthly mother. Only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

There is nothing you can do to save yourself. No amount of praying to Mary as Queen of Heaven will do. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you.

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

And he continues with:

“On the contrary, you cannot love God without loving your brothers, you cannot love God outside of the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being so in the Church, and we cannot be good Christians if we are not together with those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one single people, one single body, and this is the Church.”

But thank God you don’t need to belong to any organisation, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Christ can and does save all those who turn to Him, those who repent of their sins and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone, not the papacy, the RCC or any church for that matter.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics Israel

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

–a short study on Daniel 9:24-27 by Jim Gibson

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)

These four verses found in Daniel constitute one of the most controversial passages found in the Bible. From the early church fathers to the modern commentaries, this prophecy has been interpreted with a plethora of views. There are those who maintain that this prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes in approximately 168 B.C. However, many place its fulfillment during the time of the life of Christ. Still, others say that its ultimate fulfillment extends to the time of the antichrist toward the end of the church age. Let’s see if we can wade through the maze of difficulties that this passage presents and, hopefully, discover its true intent and meaning.

Before I begin to explain this passage of Daniel’s prophecy, I will share with the reader the more popular dispensational view.

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Will Jesus return literally in the clouds?

There are several passages in the New Testament that on the surface would seem to indicate that when Christ returns He will do so appearing in the clouds above. You may have heard the expression or read the Bible verse about the believers being “caught up together … in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  Or you may have read “Behold, He comes with clouds” (Revelation 1:7).

jesus-in-the-clouds

No doubt the Second Coming concomitant with the resurrection of the dead—both of the saved and the unsaved—is yet to happen. But do the Scriptures mean, literally, that Jesus will appear in the clouds all around the earth, simultaneously, so that all people can see Him? My personal eschatological belief is that that is not the case. I explain below.

In the Old Testament we read that the God of Israel said

2 Samuel 23:4 He that rules over men must be just ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; (KJVER used throughout)

The only just ruler is God Himself. His countenance is as bright as the sun in a cloudless sky. Also He controls the environment including the weather and the clouds.

Job 36:26-33 Behold, God is great, and we know Him not, neither can the number of His years be searched out. 27 For He makes small the drops of water [i.e. clouds]: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28 Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly. 29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of His tabernacle? 30 Behold, He spreads His light upon it, and covers the bottom of the sea.  31 For by them judges He the people; He gives meat in abundance. 32 With clouds He covers the light; and commands it not to shine by the cloud that comes between. 33 The noise thereof shows concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Hebraisms in the Scriptures

In the Bible there are found many Hebraisms, which are Hebrew idioms or expressions. Even in the New Testament, which was originally written in the Greek language, we find many such expressions. For example,

Categories
Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Israel of God

In a prophecy given by the prophet Hosea the Lord said:

Hosea 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt.

flight-into-egypt-01The Lord refers, in the first part, to the nation of Israel, while in its infancy, God called out of the land of Egypt. But the second part is a prophecy of Christ Jesus, the Son of God who, in a parallel way, God also called out of Egypt. This happened after Mary and Joseph had taken the infant Jesus down to Egypt to protect Him from King Herod, who sought to kill Him. Only after Herod died did Jesus return to Israel from Egypt.

Matthew 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My son.

The nation called Israel really started with the conversion of Jacob to becoming a man of God. After his conversion God called him Israel. From him, i.e. his children, came the 12 tribes of Israel.

Categories
Belief in God Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Only in Jesus is found the way, the truth and the life

In John chapter 14 Jesus tells His disciples not to be worried because He has a plan and that plan includes a place (actually a ‘residence’) in heaven prepared for them.

John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Firstly, Jesus identifies Himself as God  (verse 1). He speaks with full knowledge as only the omniscient God can. Here He speaks in absolute terms. He does not say “If you stay away from sin, or if you are good, then I will give you a mansion in heaven”. No, His language is definite. The disciples were chosen and from the moment they were saved they had this promise of eternal life in heaven. But they were not saved until later, which we read in John chapter 20. That was after Jesus’ resurrection.

John 20:21,22 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you. 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost:

It was then they were born again as real Christians. Jesus breathed His Spirit into them that they might be saved and have the Holy Spirit indwell them. This was a pivotal point in the lives of the disciples as it is in the lives of those saved by God now. All saved Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the believer an understanding of spiritual things (John 14:26). But at this time, in John 14, they did not have that understanding. Jesus said,

John 14:4,5 And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can we know the way?

Even though Jesus spoke of preparing a place for them in heaven, they did not understand.  Jesus even said that they knew where and the way they knew also. But they didn’t have the understanding of the Holy Spirit to recognise it at that time.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him [Thomas], I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.

Categories
Bible prophecy worldview

So shall also the coming of the Son of Man be

Christ said that before He returns there would only be one sign to herald His coming.

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Theologians have interpreted this to mean that the conditions of the world would be the same as those that were before the Flood. This is indicated by the following verse.

Matthew 24:38,39 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew [understood] not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

And the world does seem to have gotten into the same state now, maybe it is even worse. When discussing this a few days ago with a friend he suggested something that really struck a chord with me.

On July 7, 2016 the Ark Encounter1 opened for visitors in Williamstown, Kentucky (see Fig.1), an actual-size replica of Noah’s Ark (157 m, 510 ft long). It is located inland, far from water, and used by Answers in Genesis to educate people about the size of the Ark and other issues related to the Earth destroying global flood in Noah’s day,2 that resulted the death of all air-breathing land dwelling as well as all flying creatures. But most importantly it meant the death of all humans except for those 8 that were on the Ark, Noah, his wife, Noah’s 3 sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives.

ark-encounter-ark
Figure 1: Ark Encounter Noah’s 155-meter-long Ark replica built by Answers in Genesis’ for $100 million. Credit: Ark Encounter

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Islam prophecy The Papacy

Warning! prophecy

warning-prophecy

Turn your eyes towards Memphis (Egypt), for out of it shall come the Great Confusion! The author of confusion is even now marshalling his forces for this Great Confusion! He is gathering his forces from a great nation and eastern nations, friends that will join with him. So sudden will be the Great Confusion, that it will cause a mighty widening of the eyes of those who have not discerned the signs of the times. But be ye not deceived! Be prepared! And be not deceived by the great society, for it will come to travail and then bring forth the Great Confusion! Be prepared!  Even now the skies are red, red with warning, and black, black with clouds gathering for the great confusion, which is almost upon you!

In 1965 Virginia Berg received this prophecy, which she called the Warning prophecy. The first paragraph was given to her in the middle of the night. She said that God woke her out of a deep sleep and told her to start writing. She obeyed; the prophecy was the result. Please note the bracketed word Egypt was not part of the prophecy; it is an interpretation that God meant Memphis Egypt.

In 1974 as a young Christian on hearing this prophecy I was spurred on to reach people with the gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ. Now 42 years later I have looked at this again. Whether or not this is a true prophecy from God, the message in it I believe is amazingly resonant with our times now.

Back in the 1970’s I was taught and I accepted the notions that are described as part of the futurist interpretation of Bible prophecy. I believed at that time in a rise of a future AntiChrist and that he would sign a 7-year peace pact centred on the Middle East, especially Israel. Eventually he would rule the world. After a period of Great Tribulation, I believed, he would be defeated by Jesus Christ Who returns at His Second Coming.

This tract shown here I used to hand out on the streets in Australia, warning people of the impending peril that was coming. In the 1970’s and 80’s the world went through a great fear of nuclear war, which passed when the Soviet Bloc broke up and the Cold War ceased. Since then also I have come to no longer believe in the Jesuit inspired false interpretation of Bible prophecy (futurism). I never believed in the John Darby Nelson concept of dispensationalism and pre-Tribulation Rapture though that is a branch of futurism.  Now I believe that we are coming towards the end of the “Church Age”, which is symbolised by the 1000-year period in Revelation chapter 20, called the Millennium, except it is much longer than 1000 years. I also believe that we are in the period towards the end of that called by some the “little season”, where Satan is loosed or unbound from the pit he was bound in during the Church Age (see Revelation 20 study for details).

I believe now though that there is an interpretation of this Warning prophecy, which uncannily makes a lot of sense: