Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is the Good News?

Someone in the field ministry asked me what the Gospel was to Jehovah's Witnesses. I answered that it was what Jehovah God was going to do for all faithful mankind through Jesus Christ as King. I told him that the first thing we'd talk about was who God was and the blessings that He is going to pour out on mankind in the very near future.

He told me I was wrong. He told me that the Gospel was the Jesus Christ came to the earth, died for our sins, and was resurrected. Well, I was confused and realized that maybe I didn't know what the Gospel really was. I went home and studied for the next few hours and came up with many Scriptures.

1. The Good News of the Kingdom
The Good News of the Kingdom is very important. So important that God wants everyone to hear it. If it was not being preached, God would hold off bringing the end. (Matthew 24:14) This is one of the three terms presented as the Good News more then once in the Holy Scriptures. To Jehovah's Witnesses, this aspect of the Good News is the one that is preached most often because of the imminence of its arrival. (Mark 1:15) Also, preaching this Kingdom is a direct command from the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Jesus said, "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:7, New International Version) Also, Christ made it his object to preach this Gospel. The Bible says of him, "He went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God."-Luke 8:1

Jesus made sure that everyone had the opportunity to hear his message. In fact, in all four gospel accounts, the Kingdom of God is mentioned 109 times, not counting all of the other books of the Old and New Testaments. Surely, the Kingdom Message is an important one.

2. The Good News of Jesus Christ
The Good News of Jesus Christ is another aspect of the Good News mentioned more then once. This is important because it fulfills prophecy. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) It is also important because of what Jesus Christ did. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Yes, "He is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s."-1 John 2:2

Jesus' death opened the way to salvation for our sins. We were all sinners, all subject to death. (James 1:15) In fact, we were deserving of that very thing, death. However, when we wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb, we have forgiveness of sins.-Revelation 7:14

In fulfilling OT prophecy, only Christ could have done that. There are many, many numerous prophecies that speak of the coming of the Savior and, although many claimed to be him, none could do what he did. He had God's backing and His spirit to help him because he truly was the promised Messiah.-Matthew 3:16-17

3. Good News of God
This is the last thing in the Bible called the Good News more then once. This one is important because it helps us to realize that we have to make known who the Almighty Father really is. The Bible names God in the book of Psalms. The King James Version has it as this: "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18) Jehovah is a God "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth."-Exodus 34:6

The most dominate quality of God's is love. In fact, God is love personified. (1 John 4:8, 16) Everything about Him is loving. All of His dealings acknowledge this fact. (Genesis 6:7-14, 17-22; 19:12-17) Also, God is perfect in justice, power, and wisdom. (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 40:26; Romans 11:3) He has myriads upon myriads of angels at His command. (Genesis 3:22-24; Psalm 148:2; Jude 14) He is a good God, truly looking out for all of His people on the earth.-Matthew 5:45

Most of all, though, is the fact that Jehovah is deserving of all our praise. (Revelation 4:11) The Name of Jehovah is a Name that deserves our attention. Unfortunately, that will not be the case for long. Jehovah's name has been forgotten by the very people who claim to worship Him. Jehovah's Witnesses have tried to warn them and they will not pay attention. When Jehovah reveals it to them all, it will be to late.-Ezekiel 38:23; Philippians 2:9-11

4. Good News of the undeserved kindness of God; Good News about your salvation
These two things go hand-in-hand. Why? "By this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been saved through faith; and this not owing to you, it is God’s gift. No, it is not owing to works, in order that no man should have ground for boasting." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Many Bible translations have "grace" instead of undeserved kindness here. This is a mistranslation of the actual Greek word--a mistranslation that has started its own doctrine.

The original Greek word, Kha'ris implies "a favor freely done, without claim or expectation of return." [5] and "the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he does not deserve." [6] Obviously, what undeserved kindness is is the gift that God gave us by sending His Son to die for us. That was the "grace" or undeserved kindness, not an after-affect of Christ's death which we can now receive or a mystic force that comes into your heart when you ask for it as the churches teach. That is why we were saved by undeserved kindness. We were sinners. Christ didn't have to die for us. Actually, we didn't deserve Christ to die for us. We deserved death, pure and simple.

Paul said to Titus, "For the undeserved kindness of God which brings salvation to all sorts of men has been manifested." (Titus 2:11) Many say that Jehovah's Witnesses try to earn their salvation by works but that is not true. We earn our salvation by putting our faith in Jesus Christ sacrifice, which was an undeserved kindness on his part. We have to believe that Christ died for us and have faith that his death will actually save us. We continue to do works because we know that our faith is shown by our works and our faith is actually dead without works. (James 2:18-26) When something is dead, it is non-existent. Only a shell of its former life remains. So only a shell of our former faith remains. And if we do not have faith, it is impossible to please God.-Hebrews 11:6

5. The Good News of Peace; Good News of Great Joy
What else could bring us more joy and even peace then what we have discussed above? Yes, the Good News is a peace-inspiring teaching and a joy-inciting hope. The Apostle Paul said to us, "Always rejoice in the Lord. Once more I will say, Rejoice!" -Philippians 4:4

The peace that the Good News inspires in us is from the same God who inspired Paul to write: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) Knowing that we were once sinners alienated from God but now we are reconciled brings Jehovah's Witnesses great peace. We have a hope to live forever on a paradise earth.

Joy and Peace are very important in the life of a Christians striving to walk with God and Christ with holy spirit. If we manifest those in our lives we are actually manifesting two of the aspects of that spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Many times throughout the NT, the writers emphasize our joy and peace. (2 Corinthians 8:2; Philippians 1:26; Philemon 1:3; 3 John 14) May we always have joy and peace in our Christian walk!

The Good News in Your Life
With all of this in mind, how would you like to gain salvation by undeserved kindness through Jesus Christ, sent from God, so that we might live under the Kingdom and have joy and peace? If you feel like that is something you would like to learn about this, contact Jehovah's Witnesses, the ones who practice true Christianity, locally in your area or click here!


[1] Matthew 4:23

[2] Mark 1:1

[3] Romans 1:1

[4] Acts 20:24; Ephesians 1:13

[5] "Synonyms of the New Testament" by Scholar R.C. Trench

[6] "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament" by Joseph H. Thayer, a translator who worked on the American Standard Version

[7] Ephesians 6:15; Luke 2:10

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can God Break His Promises?

According to Exodus 32, when the people were waiting for Moses the 40 days he was on Mount Sinai, they became impatient saying, "Get up, make for us a god who will go ahead of us, because as regards this Moses, the man who led us up out of the land of Egypt, we certainly do not know what has happened to him." (Exodus 32:1) Evidently, Moses was the glue that held the Israelite camp to Jehovah God. Without him, they didn't want his God.

So Aaron, the brother of Moses, gave them what they wanted. He took their gold jewelry, threw into a fire, and "formed it with a graving tool and proceeded to make it into a molten statue of a calf." (Exodus 32:3) He told them that this was the god who had led them out of Egypt. What did Jehovah do?

Before we take a look at that, let us see why this is so important. Go back in time over 500 years. We find a man named Abram. Abram is a righteous man. So much so that God decides that this is the man that He is going to use to fulfill His promise made at Genesis 3:15. So Jehovah tells Abram to get up, leave his home country in Ur (a very rich, prosperous land), and dwell in tents as a nomad. Abram, "not knowing where he was going" showed his faith by traveling there anyway. Where did he end up? In the land of Canaan.-Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 12:1-5

Once in Canaan, God told Abram this: "To your seed I am going to give this land." (Genesis 12:7) God promised Abraham that his descendent's would inherit the land of Canaan--the Promised Land. After some time, God narrowed it down some and said that this seed that would inherit the land would come through Isaac and then Jacob. Finally, Jehovah said to Jacob. "The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong."-Genesis 49:10

There would be a king coming from the son of Jacob, Judah. This was a promise of God and God cannot lie. (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) Now that had been established. There would be a people coming from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who would inherit this land and then a king would come out of Judah.

Going forward to this incident on Mount Sinai, after Jehovah commanded Moses to go down Mount Sinai He said, "I have looked at this people and here it is a stiff-necked people. 10 So now let me be, that my anger may blaze against them and I may exterminate them, and let me make you into a great nation."-Exodus 32:9-10, see also Numbers 14:12

Was there a problem with this? God said that a king would come through Judah and that Abraham would be the father of the nation of Israel. Yet Moses was through the line of Levi. If Jehovah destroyed everyone how could He fulfill His promise to Jacob and make a king through Judah? No one from Judah would have been alive.

Now we have to think: Who broke the promise at this point? God or the Israelites? The Israelites had already accepted a relationship with God by word and action. They agreed to do the things that Jehovah asked when they allowed themselves to be saved by Him but even more so when He brought them through the Red Sea alive. (Exodus 12:24-27, 43-50; 13:1-5; 15:2, 13, 16-18) So, when the God of their forefathers was left off from being worshiped in exchange for the golden calf, that was breaking their promise to "have no other gods against [Jehovah's] face."-Exodus 20:2-5

To look at another example of this, think of King Solomon. God said to Solomon after he prayed at the dedication of the temple: "I have heard your prayer...And you, if you will walk before me, just as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness by doing according to all that I have commanded you, and you will keep my regulations and my judicial decisions, I also shall indeed establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel to time indefinite, just as I promised David your father, saying, 'Not a man of yours will be cut off from sitting upon the throne of Israel.'"-1 Kings 9:3-5, see also 2 Samuel 7:16

What happened with King Solomon? Solomon went bad and Jehovah took Israel away from his son, Rehoboam for this. He gave ten of the twelve tribes to Jeroboam, leaving Judah with Solomon's son.

Did God break His promise in this instance? Absolutely Not! God has set standards as to what is allowed and what isn't allowed. If we humans break that rule, then God is free as to His part of the bargain.

Today, God has made a new promise, one that will never be changed even if one who has been the recipient of the promise breaks their end of the bargain. To seal this promise, God sent His Only-Begotten Son into the world to save humanity from sin and death. (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Timothy 2:5-6) He as promised that this One, Jesus Christ, will rule in heaven as King and High Priest forever. (1 Timothy 6:15, Hebrews 6:20) What is more, God has promised to take 144,000 humans from the earth to be co-rulers with Christ in the heavens. These too are kings and priests.-Revelation 14:1-3, 20;6

By doing this, is God breaking His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? No. He said that someone from the tribe of Judah would reign on the throne forever. Jesus Christ is of the tribe of Judah. (Luke 3:23, 33-34; Revelation 5:5) Isn't it interesting, though, how Christ is also a priest, for Paul mentioned, "For it is quite plain that our Lord has sprung up out of Judah, a tribe about which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests." (Hebrews 7:14) And those other 144,000 co-rulers? They are out of every "tribe and tongue and people and nation", not just from the tribe of Levi.-Revelation 5:9-10

It is true that the Jews were at one time the chosen people of God. However, God rejected them because they rejected His Son, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 21:43; 23:37-38) After this, a new covenant was put into effect, "a covenant...for a kingdom." (Luke 22:28-30) In this new covenant, people would now have the opportunity to go to heaven. When did this new covenant start?

Evidently, the New Covenant started at Pentecost 33 C.E. with 120 disciples when holy spirit was poured out upon them. How do we know? Well, this new covenant was for a kingdom, as Christ said. A kingdom in heaven. In other words, this new covenant will take people from earth to heaven to rule with Christ. After that day on Pentecost, the disciples began speaking of a heavenly hope, something that is absent in the gospels and the first chapter of Acts. Throughout the gospels, God's people always spoke of an earthly hope. (Luke 19:11; 24:21; Acts 1:6) After that day, they always discussed a heavenly hope.-Ephesians 2:6-7; 1 Peter 1:3-4

This hope had been open only to Jews at first. (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:24; Luke 14:16-21a) When they rejected Christ, it was opened to everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike. (Luke 14:21b-24; Romans 1:16; 2:10) Now, this people became something new. The Bible says of them, "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people for special possession."-1 Peter 2:9a

From then on out, the new race of people would be the Anointed Ones, the spiritual brothers of Christ. These were not literal Jews for those were no longer God's people. So if the Jew's were no longer God's chosen people, how could Jehovah keep His promise to Abraham? Paul answers that question.

"You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one person in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise." (Galatians 3:26-29; Luke 3:7-8) There you have it. By doing what is right and following Christ, these Anointed become descendent's of Abraham. They are "heirs with reference to a promise." What promise? The promise that they will one day become God's children and joint heirs with Christ in the heavens.-Romans 8:14-17

Yes, not all who are from Israel are really Israel. This is not in the sense that they are not natural descendent's of Abraham but that they are not God's children. (Romans 2:26-29; 9:6) To be Abraham's children, you need to be righteous--and Anointed! Those are the ones who inherit the promise to rule forever.

Now how do we of the "Great Crowd" benefit from this promise? (Revelation 7:9-10) Our most important blessing is that we can wash ourselves clean in the blood of Jesus Christ. We are able to worship God forever in His spiritual temple and be shepherded by the Lamb of God to waters of life. Finally, we will have all tears wiped from our eyes! (Revelation 7:13-17) What benefits! Through the reign of the Christ and his spiritual brothers, we have the hope of all those blessing mentioned in Revelation 7:9-17. As the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem, the Anointed will be able to, like their heavenly husband, shower rich blessing on all of us on the earth forever. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2, 9-10) May we all strive to remain faithful so as to live under the blessings of Jesus Christ and the 144,000 of God.-Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:4

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Bible Does Not Teach the Trinity!

Here are 115 Scriptures that can effectively be used to disprove the Trinity if the person we are talking to has a right heart and is being drawn to Jehovah God.

Basic Bible Teachings about God and Jesus (48)

God is one, not three-Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Galatians 3:20

No one can see God-Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 1 John 4:12

Jesus was a created being-Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14

Jesus was subordinate while on Earth-John 5:19; John 6:38; John 8:28

Jesus is subordinate even in Heaven-Acts 4:27, 30; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3

God sent Jesus to the world-John 17:18

Jesus did not know everything and had to learn things-Matthew 24:36; Hebrews 5:8

Jesus had a God when he was on Earth-John 20:17

Jesus has a God now that he is in Heaven-2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:17; Revelation 3:12

Jesus said the Father was Greater-John 14:28

God and Jesus separate-Matthew 3:16, 17; John 1:2; John 17:3; Acts 7:55; Colossians 3:1

Jesus prayed to God-Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12; Luke 22:41, 42; John 11:41, 42; John 17:1; Hebrews 5:7

Jesus makes supplication to God for people-Luke 22:31, 32

Jesus always does God's will, not his own-Matthew 27:39; John 6:38

Jesus worships God-Matthew 4:9, 10; John 4:22

Jesus gave titles to God that he would not apply to himself-Matthew 23:9; Mark 10:17, 18

Prophecies Show Jesus lower then the Father-Psalm 89:26; Psalm 110:1; Proverbs 8:22; Daniel 7:13, 14; Isaiah 61:1

Other Scriptures disproving the Trinity-John 3:16; Ephesians 4:4, 5; Ephesians 5:2

Things God Gave Jesus (25)
Everything-Matthew 11:27; John 3:35; 1 Corinthians 15:27
Authority-John 5:27; John 17:2; Revelation 2:26-28
Exultation-Acts 5:31; Philippians 2:9
Disciples-John 17:6, 9
Glory-John 17:22; 1 Peter 1:21
High Priesthood-Hebrews 5:10
Judgeship-John 5:22; Acts 10:42
Kingship-Luke 1:31, 32
Life-John 5:26
Lordship-Acts 2:36
Love-John 10:17; John 17:23
Resurrection-Acts 3:15; Acts 5:30; Romans 4:24; Romans 10:9
Revelation-Revelation 1:1
Words-John 17:8

Titles of Jesus Showing He is Lower then God (8)
The Holy One of God-Mark 1:24
Son of the Most High God-Mark 5:7
Gift of God-John 4:10
Son of God-John 20:31
Lamb of God-John 1:36
Son of the Father-2 John 1:3
Word of God-Revelation 19:13
Mediator Between God and Man-1 Timothy 2:5, 6

1st Century Christians Did Not Believe Jesus was God; Almost All Books of NT Show Otherwise (25)
Romans 1:7; Romans 16:27
1 Corinthians 1:1, 3;
2 Corinthians 2:15
Galatians 1:3
Ephesians 1:2; Ephesians 6:23
Philippians 1:2
Colossians 1:3
1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:11
2 Thessalonians 1:2
1 Timothy 1:1, 2; 1 Timothy 5:21
2 Timothy 1:2
Titus 1:4
Philemon 1:3
Hebrews 1:1, 2
James 1:1
1 Peter 1:3
2 Peter 1:2
1 John 1:3; 1 John 2:22
2 John 1:3
Jude 1:1

Holy Spirit is Not God (9)
The "Spirit of God", not the "Spirit is God"-Genesis 1:2; Numbers 24:2; Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 12:3
The holy spirit is God's power, not God himself-Luke 11:20 compare Matthew 12:28
The holy spirit is God's breath-Job 33:4
Holy spirit separate from God and Jesus-1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Was 607 B.C.E. Actually the Year Jerusalem Fell?

According to secular sources, the fall of ancient Jerusalem to the Babylonians took place in 586 B.C.E. and most everyone believes that. Very few will even give it a second thought. However, there is one group that claims this date is wrong. Who are they?

You guessed it--Jehovah's Witnesses. But why do they disagree? Well, for one thing, they look to the Bible. And the Bible teaches a different date. Which one? Almost 20 years earlier: 607 B.C.E. Before going into this let us look at why non-Witnesses look to a date 20 years later for the fall of Jerusalem.

Most base this off of an ancient document called "The Canon of Kings" or, more informally, "Ptolemy's Canon." This document was a dated list of kings used by ancient astronomers as a means to date astronomical phenomena, such as eclipses. This canon is based off of mostly Babylonian sources and so it list Babylonian kings all the way back to King Nabonassar.

From King Nabonassar, the list continues through the Medo-Persian world empire, through the Grecian (Macedonian) empire all the way to the Roman empire, ending in 160 CE with Aelius Antoninus. The point that we are interested in, though, is King Nebuchadnezzar who is believed to have reigned from 604-562 BCE. If believed, this would pose a problem to Jehovah's Witnesses. Why? Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jerusalem did fall under Nebuchadnezzar, just like the Bible says-2 Kings 25:1, 8-9; Jeremiah 39:1-2

So, if Nebuchadnezzar became king in 604 BCE but, as Jehovah's Witnesses claim, Jerusalem in 607 BCE, then they are contradicting the Bible. But they are not contradicting the Bible. There must be a problem with Ptolemy's Canon!

Well, there is. You see, Ptolemy was not one bit interested in Babylonian history. What he was interested in was astronomy. So what he did was compile a list of all the kings where some major astronomical event happened during their rule. Also, any kings who ruled for less then one year he excluded from the list. So that presents a problem. A twenty year problem!

Now, why all of this? Why do Jehovah's Witnesses hold so strongly to this 607 BCE date? Well, many are going to claim that it is because we hold so strongly to the 1914 doctrine and if we disbelief the date of the fall of Jerusalem being in 607 BCE, it will mess with our 1914 doctrine. Yes, that is true but that is not why we hold so strongly to 607 BCE. We do it because to argue against that date is to argue against the Bible. How?

Jehovah's Witnesses have no problem with the accepted year that the Jews returned to Jerusalem after the fall of Babylon, which occurred in 539 BCE to the Persians, allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem in 537 BCE. By doing basic math, we reason that from 537 BCE, counting back to 586 BCE, that is about 50 years. Yet, look at what the Bible says about how long the Jews were exiled.

"In the first year of [Darius'] reigning I myself, Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years." (Daniel 9:2) The Scripture Daniel was referring to was either Jeremiah 25:11-12 "And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years” or Jeremiah 29:10 "For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward YOU my good word in bringing you back to this place.’" Both of these Scriptures say "seventy years."

Now, another indication of seventy years instead of fifty is what the Prophet Zechariah said to the returned exiles from Jerusalem. "And the word of Jehovah of armies continued to occur to me, saying: 'Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, "When you fasted and there was a wailing in the fifth month and in the seventh month, and this for seventy years, did you really fast to me, even me?" (Zechariah 7:5, compare Zechariah 1:12) On the anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem the Jews would fast in rememberance. God was telling them that this was not how it should be. They shouldn't be moping and feeling sad over their punishment but looked forward in joy that now they had a fresh start. The Bible says they did this for seventy years.

One last piece of evidence that should be considered is this Scripture: "Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign; to fulfill Jehovah’s word by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years."-2 Chronicles 36:20-21

Every seven years, Jehovah commanded that no work was to be done on the land. It was to be a Sabbath year. When the Jews stopped obeying Jehovah, they stopped following the Sabbath year command. This went on for some time, how long we do not know, but Jehovah chose to make the years for the Sabbath years to be kept 70 years. Also notice how this Scripture says it was "lying desolated" for seventy years. Many argue that Jerusalem was attacked in 607 BCE and again a few years later and that is what Daniel and Jeremiah were talking about. They point to the word "devestations", claiming that there was more then one devestation. However, 2 Chronicles makes it clear that the land lay desolate for seventy years.

All of the Biblical evidence points to 607 BCE as the fall of Jerusalem. It is proven without a doubt that the Jews returned home in 537 BCE, making their stay in Babylon seventy years just like the Bible, and Jehovah's Witnesses, claim.

Further Reading:
Did Jerusalem Fall in 607 B.C.E.?

Creation Testifies to God

That is one thing that the Holy Bible makes completely clear. Creation is a living testimony to an all-powerful Creator. "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."-Romans 1:20

How do we know that God actually did create the world, though? Aren't many scientists convinced that there is no Creator, that we got here by chance? Well, let us reason. This is a very common reasoning point but effective: "Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4) Paul wrote those words in the First-Century to prove that there was an Almighty God. Today, we can use those same words in argument for creation.

The Heavens

What has God created? Let us see. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...And God went on to say: 'Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years. And they must serve as luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.' And it came to be so. And God proceeded to make the two great luminaries, the greater luminary for dominating the day and the lesser luminary for dominating the night, and also the stars. Thus God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth."-Genesis 1:1, 14-17

Yes, the Bible says that God created the heavens and everything in them. Is this true?

In astronomy, we find something called "Redshifts" and "Hubble's Law" which shows galaxies moving away from the earth at speeds proportional to their distance. This suggests that our universe is expanding outwards. Based on this expansion, scientists can reverse it and see when our universe started and the results are a little surprising. Evidently, based on the evidence, our universe just popped into existence suddenly from nowhere at all. We can see that our universe had a sudden beginning, not a gradual beginning, as supporters of the Big Band tell us.

In the book of Job, Jehovah is talking to Job and asks a few questions that are of interest to us. He asks, "Can you tie fast the bonds of the Kimah constellation, Or can you loosen the very cords of the Kesil constellation? Can you bring forth the Mazzaroth constellation in its appointed time? And as for the Ash constellation alongside its sons, can you conduct them? Have you come to know the statutes of the heavens, Or could you put its authority in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33) In these few statements, God is showing His understanding of the ways of the heavens. And, in turn, the writer (probably Moses) is showing that he knew about these things. And how? The fact of the matter is, he would have had no awareness of these things in that time period without being told them.

Although it can't be definitely proven, it is believed that the constellations mentioned in this verse is as followed. The "Kimah constellation" is today known as the Pleiades in Sirius. Some have guessed that Kesil is Orion. The identity of the Mazzaroth constellation is a really unknown. Some have thought it to be Saturn or the seven planets, the Hyades,
the Northern and Southern Crowns, and the constellation of the Southern Ship. Ash is thought to be the Great Bear.

When we look at constellations and galaxies and so forth, we see that they move together. Think of the galaxy that we live in. Our Milky Way is part of a much larger galaxy cluster. All of these galaxies, numbering over half a dozen, stay together in their relative positions as if they are "tied fast" with bonds or cords. As King David wrote in song: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1, New International Version) Look at this beautiful statement made by God. "Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars. The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing."-Isaiah 40:26, New American Standard Bible

The Earth

Now, we are only briefly touching on each of these subjects but another thing that is of interest is our earth. Look at what the Bible says about the creation of our earth. "Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth; While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth."-Proverbs 8:22-29, American Standard Version

One thing that stands out in these Scriptures is this statement: "When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above." (Verses 27-28) Science has proved that at one time the crust of the earth was formed and then the atmosphere came later, just like these verses claim. At one time the earth was covered in water completely and then land began to appear, just like verse 29 says. Most interestingly, verses 26-29 show the exact order which scientists say that the earth was formed. Crust, atmosphere, water, land. The Bible knew that many centuries before our modern-day and attributed it to God.

Everything Else

"God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about...and every winged flying creature according to its kind...and God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind...And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:21, 25, 27) The Bible also tells us that before this he created all the plant life. (Genesis 1:11-12) All of these things owe their existence to God.

Think about the animals. They follow instincts. They all do the same things according to their kind. None of them have to be taught. Birds of the same species all fly to the same place, even if it is their first time. How do they know exactly what to do? God put that in their minds to follow it. All the other animals have these types of instincts, too.

Humans have something very special about them, too. What is it? Almost everything about them! Their brain, heart, lungs, liver, and eyes to name a few. The one thing that we want to talk about are our cells. In our body, our cells are constantly regenerating themselves. In fact, every seven years, we have a brand new, healthy set of cells. This goes with what Jehovah said to Adam and Ever, "From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die."-Genesis 2:16-17

We were originally intended to live forever. And to do that, Jehovah had to make it possible for our bodies to renew themselves, so He did. Researchers K.L. Spalding, R.D. Bhardwaj, B.A. Buchholz, H. Druid, and J. Frisen wrote a paper where it was proven that the age of specific human tissues and cell types when compared to the age of the person in question that most cell and tissue types in the human body are much younger than the person in which they are found.

In the human brain, the left hemisphere usually contains the specialized language areas. This is true for 97% of right-handed people, but about 19% of left-handed people have their language areas in the right hemisphere and as many as 68% of them have some language abilities in both the left and the right hemisphere. If a child has damage to the left hemisphere, the child may develop language in the right hemisphere instead. So, although the natural tendency is for language to develop on the left, human brains are capable of adapting to difficult circumstances, if the damage occurs early enough. How intricate the brain is.

Another thing that scientists have learned is that in a human lifetime, only about 1/1000 of 1% of the brain is used. They know that it would take over 100,000,000,000 years for the entire brain to be used to full capacity. Surely, this is proof that God wanted us to live forever. So wonderful is the human brain, that compared to a computer, the computer resembles a mentally-challenged ant! Jehovah sure did do a good job.

Surely, God is worthy of our praise. Yes, even the tiniest butterfly and the largest elephant praise God in some way. We all owe our creation to the Father. Creation proves that. That is why the heavenly chorus of angels said to Jehovah, "You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created."-Revelation 4:11

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Does the Bible Really Teach?

This publication, What Does the Bible Really Teach? is the main study publication of Jehovah's Witnesses with interested ones. Look at what Wikipedia says about this book:

"What Does the Bible Really Teach? is a 224-page book published in 2005, distributed by Jehovah's Witnesses. It is used to help interested people to learn about the Bible...More than 79 million copies have been produced in 220 languages...Each chapter begins with questions to focus the reader on what will be studied in that chapter. Other questions are found within each chapter, intended to help the student think about the subject. The book is purposely written in simple language, with an appendix containing further information on various doctrinal matters...The Bible is frequently cited throughout the book."

This book helps us to learn "the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God." (Hebrews 5:12) All points are taken straight from the Bible and the book encourages looking into the inspired Word to see if "these things [are] so." (Acts 17:11) Why such an emphasize on the Bible?

Well, the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16) In fact, Paul said of the Bible: "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart."-Hebrews 4:12

The subjects discussed in this 224-page book are as follows:

1. What is the Truth About God?
2. The Bible—A Book From God
3. What Is God’s Purpose for the Earth?
4. Who Is Jesus Christ?
5. The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift
6. Where Are the Dead?
7. Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died
8. What Is God’s Kingdom?
9. Are We Living in “the Last Days”?
10. Spirit Creatures—How They Affect Us
11. Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Much more is discussed in the additional eight chapters and fourteen appendixes. The organization that God is using on earth today is always improving itself as God directs it and this book is a prime example of that. It reads easier and is more understandable then the book used before it, Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life.Why not get a copy for yourself by contacting Jehovah's Witnesses locally in your area or click here and see the refreshing Truth as presented in God's holy Word, the Bible? What do you have to lose?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Variety of Spiritual Food

God really does feed us at the proper time, doesn't He? Take for example something that people overlook as spiritual food. Most, when they hear the words "spiritual food" they immediately think of publications or large assemblies. Yet there is something else that constitutes spiritual food. What is that?

Talks! Meetings!

I've been downloading District Overseer talks, Circuit Overseer talks, Public Talks, etc. I listen to these on my IPOD while I'm working or walking or taking the dogs out! I don't even listen to the 1,000+ songs that I have on there. Just the talks. And why do I listen to the talks? Because I listened to all the dramas! I've got the entire Bible, books, brochures, dramas, magazines, and more! It is all very encouraging. I feel so renewed spiritually!

"That is why I shall thank you, O Jehovah, among the nations. And to your name I shall make melody!" (2 Samuel 22:50) Jehovah has heard my prayers and helped me to grow again in "the love [I] had at first." (Revelation 2:4) He has his Organization on earth and takes care of me--and all of us--through His "faithful and discreet slave."-Matthew 24:45

Not just that, but Jehovah also throws Scriptures out at you to help you. One Scripture that really stuck out recently to me is Zephaniah 3:14-17:
"Joyfully cry out, O daughter of Zion! Break out in cheers, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Jehovah has removed the judgments upon you. He has turned away your enemy. The king of Israel, Jehovah, is in the midst of you. You will fear calamity no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: 'Do not be afraid, O Zion. May your hands not drop down. Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with rejoicing. He will become silent in his love. He will be joyful over you with happy cries.'"

For us, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Sure, it had a previous fulfillment when the Jews were returned home after their exile to Babylon. But, as with many prophecies, they have a double fulfillment. This will find it's ultimate fulfillment after the attack on God's people by Gog of Magog. Remember, brothers and sisters, things will get bad at that time for Jehovah's Christian Witnesses but "Jehovah [will prove to be with us] like a terrible mighty one!"-Jeremiah 20:11

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One True Christian Religion

Which sect of Christianity is right? That is a question that may be hard to pinpoint the answer. The world over there are so many versions of Christianity each with teachings somewhat in conflict with others. Inside of these sects, there are many smaller sects that claim that they are the correct version of their major belief and hold the correct interpretation. Is there a way to determine this correctness?

Yes! Most of these "Christian" religions all claim to follow one guidebook, The Holy Bible. First, however, how do we know that all of these sects cannot be correct?

In the first century of Christianity, a title applied to this baby religion was "The Way." This title for the religion was used before the time "the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." (Acts 11:26, New International Version) In this title, The Way, a great deal is gleaned.

The disciples knew that their way of believing was the only way of believing, the right way of believing. Anyone who believed otherwise was ultimately removed from the Church so that their bad influence would not contaminate it.-2 John 9-11

The Apostle Paul twice reiterated that there was only one true faith. At Ephesians 4:5 he said that there was only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Those two words, "one faith" is an indication that Christians are to believe one way and one way only. Furthermore, Paul told all Christians in his letter to Corinth, "Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement. and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought."-1 Corinthians 1:10

These sects of Christianity is a bad thing. They shouldn't be there. Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, Christadelphian's, Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Presbyterians, Mormon's, Episcopalians, Christian Scientist, Pentecostals, and all these other religions cannot be right. Only one of them can be correct. When people say that two or more of these sects can be right, they are mistaken. That is an indication of what their heart really is for Paul calls divisions and sects "works of the flesh" and says that people "who practice such things will not inherit God's Kingdom."-Galatians 5:19-21

As we learn this we realize that we have to learn which one of these is right? How can we do this? Well, upon realizing that each one claims to follow the Bible, we need to go into the Bible to find out what it teaches. Then we can match each teaching with one of the religions and come to a conclusion. So: What Does the Bible really teach?

What the Bible Teaches

The Bible calls the Almighty God, Jehovah or Yahweh. Jehovah/Yahweh is the name that God gave to himself. (Exodus 3:15; 6:3) He lives in heaven above. He created the entire universe. (Genesis 1:1) He is no part of a Trinity with His Son, Jesus Christ or the holy spirit. (Job 33:4; Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20; John 14:28; 20:17; 2 Corinthians 1:3) Yet, Jesus Christ plays a very important role. He came to earth as the Only-Begotten Son of God to die for our sins. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2) He was created as the first of God's creation. (Proverbs 8:23-25; Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) He is coming back. (Matthew 24:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9) Only 144,000 are going to Heaven. (Luke 12:32; Revelation 14:1-3) A Great Crowd will live on earth forever. (Psalm 37:10-11, 29; Proverbs 2:21; Matthew 5:5) Satan the Devil is a real person. (Matthew 4:1-10; Revelation 12:9) The dead are unconscious, awaiting a resurrection. (Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15) True Christians are to remain neutral in all political and military affairs. (John 17:14-16; James 4:4) The Bible is God's inspired Word.-2 Timothy 3:16-17

If your religion does not teach even one of these things, then you must ask yourself, "Can my religion truly be the true religion?" Any of the millions of Jehovah's Witnesses earth-wide can answer in the affirmative. If you would like to learn the Truth in the Bible go to the "Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses" linked to the right of this blog. Click on the link for a Bible Study and you can receive everlasting life.-John 17:3

Friday, November 7, 2008

Faith, Works, and The Stone of Stumbling

"Israel, although pursuing a law of righteousness, did not attain to the law. For what reason? Because he pursued it, not by faith, but as works. They stumbled on the 'stone of stumbling*.'"-Romans 9:31-32

All throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites would do what was right as long as someone was there leading them in the right direction. During the reigns of the Kings of Judah from Jerusalem, the same thing happened. Israel just could not follow the law, no matter what happened. At some point, they would fail. The is why God brought the destruction of Judah to the Babylonians. It was punishment for their constant rebellion.

After the return from the exile, the Jews never committed idolatry again. However, they had other problems. They were lax in completing the temple, "the house of Jehovah", and then they were lacking in giving the best of their possessions to God. They would only give him the poorest of their things for their sacrifice, their "polluted bread", "blind animal", "lame animal or a sick one". (Haggai 1:2, 4; Malachi 1:7-8, 13) Their actions showed that their hearts were not complete towards their God.-1 Kings 8:61

Going along with that thought, if the Israelites hearts had been complete towards God, God would have helped them. But it wasn't just their heart that needed to be changed, but their thought pattern. The Israelites would tell themselves, "This and this and this is allowed, but that and that and that is forbidden." Can you see the problem in that? They looked at the Law of Moses as a list of prohibitions and when it became to difficult for them, they stopped following it. They were relying on their own strength. What they should have done is walk by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7) If they had walked by faith they would have realized that they could not do it on their own, they would have seen that they needed God's guidance, and prayed for help accordingly. Their Almighty God, Jehovah, wanted to help them.-Isaiah 41:13

Christians today are in the same boat. We cannot stay on The Way without the help of God's spirit. (Galatians 5:16) What we need to do so that we will not stumble on the "stone of stumbling" is pray for this spirit and also pray for wisdom. God will give us both. (Luke 11:13; James 1:5) So, may we never fall into the same trap as the Israelites, thinking that we can accomplish our walk with God without His help.

*The "stone of stumbling" is a reference to Isaiah 28:16, which is prophetic of Christ Jesus.-Isaiah 8:14; Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-7

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Atonement Day and Jesus Christ

Perhaps the most important day in ancient Israel was Atonement Day. On Atonement Day, the High Priest was to sacrifice animals for himself and all Israel. Then he was supposed to take two goats and stand before the Tent of Meeting. By lots, he was to choose one goat to be slaughtered and then the other goat would be sent off into the wilderness to carry the sins of the Israelites away. He was then to sacrifice a bull to cleanse himself. After this, he was supposed to take a fire holder full of burning coals along with handfuls of fine, perfumed incense and bring them inside the curtain. Thus, the High Priest entered into the Holy Place.-Leviticus 16:2-12

From there, the High Priest was to put the fire holder before Jehovah and put the incense upon the Ark of the Covenant. He would then take some of the blood of the bull and spatter it with his finger on the cover a specific number of times. Then he would do the same with the goat which he slaughtered. In this way, he must make atonement for the sins of the entire Israelite nation.-Leviticus 16:13-16

The High Priest was to then come out and spatter some of the blood of the bull and goat on the altar seven times, then put his hands on the other live goat and confess the sins of Israel over it. That is when the goat was to be sent away into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:18-22) Although the ritual continues, this is about the gist of it. One question that may arise is why the need for so much blood? Because the power of atonement was in the blood for the reason that the life was in the blood. If there was no blood, there would be no life.-Levitucs 17:11

What did all this mean? All of this pointed to Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. In Hebrews 5:10 Jesus is said to be a High Priest. In Hebrews 9:11-28, Paul gives us an in depth description of the meaning of the Atonement Day. Atonement Day happened once a year, ever year, again and again because the effect of the blood of the bulls and goats could only cleanse temporarily. That is why Christ had to appear. His sacrifice was everlasting.

"However, when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come to pass, through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, he entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood, once for all time into the holy place and obtained an everlasting deliverance for us. For if the blood of goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have been defiled sanctifies to the extent of cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to the living God?"-Hebrews 9:11-14

Christ, being a High Priest, did not have to enter into the literal tabernacle or temple to atone for us. He did that when he was resurrected. Even more, his own blood was sufficient to obtain an everlasting deliverance for us. Since the blood of bulls and goats had atoning properties, the blood of a perfect man do much more for us. Yes, only because Christ was "without blemish" could we obtain deliverance through him.

Now, all of this was a fulfillment of a very important prophecy in Isaiah 53. "Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5) The healing by his wounds is a spiritual healing. You see, we are all captives of sin. It rules over us as a king, making us unwilling slaves.-Romans 5:12, 21; 6:6; 7:21-25

Sin is a very powerful enemy. There is nothing that we can do about it. Sin can be likened to a disease that all men that have ever lived (besides Jesus Christ) have caught. The death rate is 100%. If anyone tries to convince us that they are sinless, then they are liars. (1 John 1:8-10) As said above, the only man to ever be sinless was the Lord Jesus. (1 Peter 2:22) Again, because of this and his sacrifice, Jesus is the only name on which we can be forgiven of our sins. (Acts 4:12) Why is this of such importance?

In the beginning, God created Adam a perfect man. There was only one thing that Adam could not do and that was eat from a certain tree in the center of the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, Adam chose to disobey and became a sinner. After this, mankind needed a redeemer. Since Adam was a perfect man then there had to be a perfect man who could gain back what Adam lost. That man was Jesus. The Bible tells us, "For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive."-1 Corinthians 15:22

As we know, one Atonement Day was not enough for humans. Without Christ, the same ritual would have had to be repeated for all eternity. However, that changed upon his death and resurrection. Before discussing that, though, it is important to mention that in Israel, the slaughtering of the Atonement Day bull and goat was not enough. The blood had to be offered by the High Priest. Likewise, the same was true of Christ. "For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us."-Hebrews 9:24

If the blood of Christ had not had to be offered to God, he would have not had to be resurrected. His death would have been sufficient. However, someone--the High Priest--had to offer the blood to God. Since the High Priest was Jesus, he would have to be resurrected to approach God and offer his own blood. That is why Christ's resurrection was so important. His death alone was not enough. And, since he was the High Priest, only he could offer the shed blood.

When the Messiah offered the blood, another physical prophecy was fulfilled. When the human High Priest in Israel went to offer the blood, he would have to enter the Holy Place. This place was so holy that the priest could only enter once a year and then only when he had performed special rituals and when he was wearing special clothing. The place that Christ entered into was much better. The holy place made with hands on earth was only a copy of the real thing. Christ had to literally enter in front of God to offer his blood. The human priest only stood before the Ark of the Covenant, which was a symbol of God with Israel.

"Neither is it in order that he should offer himself often, as indeed the high priest enters into the holy place from year to year with blood not his own. Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the founding of the world."-Hebrews 9:25-26

This Atonement Day occurred once a year, every year. As noted above, once was not enough because the blood offered was not perfect, human blood. But Christ, a perfect man, was able to enter only once. If not, as Paul says, Jesus would have had to suffer often from the founding of the world.

That was the first time Christ came. Next time he comes, none of this will be necessary. What will happen then? For some, his return will be a joyous time, for others, a grievous time. To be in the former group, we have to follow the command of the Apostle Peter who said, "Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit." (Acts 2:38) It is paramount that we put our trust in this sacrifice. Only by accepting this sacrifice can we be forgiven. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Even more, and this is the part that people seem to forget, more is required then just accepting this sacrifice. We have to have good works and follow Jesus. (John 3:36; James 2:26) After that, we have to stop sinning. We cannot continue to sin after learning the truth.-Romans 6:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8; Hebrews 10:26-31

Christ is coming back one more time. "The second time that [Christ] appears it will be apart from sin and to those earnestly looking for him for their salvation." (Hebrews 9:28) Christ is returning to save those of us who have put our faith in him. May all who the Father is drawing be part of that group.-John 6:44

Christ in the Law and the Prophets

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."-1 Corinthians 15:3-5

Everyone is aware of the prophecies that are directly associated with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, there is more then just such as "He is guarding all the bones of that one; not one of them has been broken" (Psalm 34:20) and "Look! Your king is coming to you. He is righteous, and he is victorious. Yet he is humble--riding on a donkey, yes, on a lowly donkey's colt."-Zechariah 9:9

Prophecies like these are easily identified by their New Testament fulfillments. However, there are other prophecies in the Bible that are more obscure in that people don't realize they are prophecies. What are they?

The Sign of Jonah

When some Scribes and Pharisees wanted to test Jesus once again, they approached him and said, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you." Jesus, knowing that they had seen many signs already, was not about to give another one to them, so he said, "A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights."-Matthew 12:38-40

Going back to the Old Testament book of Jonah, we read Jonah's small, autobiographical account. "Then they lifted up Jonah and hurled him into the sea; and the sea began to halt from its raging. At that the men bgan to fear Jehovah greatly, and so they offered a sacrifice to Jehovah and made vows. Now Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah so that Jonah came to be in the inward parts of the fish three days and three nights...In time, Jehovah commanded the fish, so that it vomited out Jonah onto the dry land."-Jonah 1:16-17; 2:10

Jonah's being in the fish has an exact parallel to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Without it being an explicit prophecy, Jonah's being in the fish for three days and nights was prophetically pointing to the Lord Jesus.

The Mosaic Law

At another time, Jesus Christ was speaking to the crowds in his great Sermon on the Mount. At one point near the beginning of his Sermon he said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17) Unknown to most is that many aspects of the Mosaic Law were prophectic of the Christ. Let us look at a few of them but first let us see what is said of these in the New Testament.

In his letter to the congregation in Colossae, Paul said, "Let no man judge you in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; for these things are a shadow of the things to come but the reality belongs to the Christ." (Colossians 2:16-17) Further he said in Hebrews, "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things..." (Hebrews 10:1) While the commands and regulations in the Law were not all prophectic to Christ, we will look at a few things that were.

The Passover Festival

Jesus Christ died on Nisan 14, 33 C.E. (or A.D.) in Israel. Was this any regular day? No. This was the anniversary of the Passover festival, one of the most important festivals in Israel. Was his death on this day coincidence? Again, we have a no.

Nisan 14, or Passover, was a celebration of the day that the angel flew over Egypt, killing the firstborn. So important was this event that God told the nation of Israel: "This is the statute of the passover...In one house it is to be eaten. You must not take any of the flesh out of the house to some place outside. And you must not break a bone in it [prophetic of none of Christ's bones being broken]. All the assembly of Israel are to celebrate it." (Exodus 12:43, 46-47) How does all of this point to Jesus Christ?

Well, it is known that Christ is constantly referred to as a lamb. (John 1:29; Revelation 7:9) Moreover, his death, being on Nisan 14, the exact day of the Passover, was fitting in that he is the passover lamb. Paul wrote, "For Christ our passover has been sacrificed."-1 Corinthians 5:7

The Festival of Unfermented Cakes

Another festival celebrated by the Israelites was the Festival of Unfermented Cakes. This festival had a special significance in that it was prophetic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What was this festival?

On Nisan 16 (the day Jesus was resurrected) Israelites brought a sheaf of firstfruits of the barley harvest for the priest to wave before Yahweh. (Leviticus 23:6-14) What was special about the barley harvest?

The barley harvest was the first type of crop to grow each year in Israel. This is prophetic in that Jesus Christ was the "firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death." (1 Corinthians 15:20) The question arises: How can Jesus be the firstfruits of those who have died if billions of people lived and died before him? In that he is the first person to be resurrected, never to die again. The fact that this festival and the resurrection of Christ happened on the same day was not coincidence.

There is one other aspect of the Mosaic Law that is perhaps the most important prophetic parallel with the death of Christ. The Atonement Day, which will be discussed further in this two part discussion.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Top 10 Most Popular Bible Verses

10. John 11:35-"Jesus Wept" (KJV)

9. Proverbs 3:5, 6-"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)

8. Genesis 1:1-"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (NIV)

7. Isaiah 53:5-"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (NIV)

6. James 2:26-"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (KJV)

5. Ephesians 2:8, 9-"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (NIV)

4. Jeremiah 29:11-"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

3. Psalm 23:1-"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." (KJV)

2. Joshua 24:15-"But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (KJV)

1. John 3:16-"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (KJV)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nebo-Sarsekim--Existence Verified

"Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon."-Jeremiah 39:3

Again, Archaeology proves the authenticity of the Bible. A relatively unknown, unimportant man, mentioned once in the Bible as visiting Jerusalem during its siege, has been proved to have actually existed. How? A receipt was found. A receipt! This receipt bore his name as having donated 0.75kg of gold to a temple in Babylon.

Ancient Document Confirms Existence of Biblical Figure
Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christians Can Learn from King Josiah (2 Chronicles 34-35)

"Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and walked in the ways of David his father, and didn't turn aside to the right hand or to the left."-2 Chronicles 34:1-2, World English Bible

King Josiah was one of the few kings who did what was right in the eyes of God. He remained faithful all of his days, unlike his father King Amon and grandfather, King Manasseh. The Bible tells us that it wasn't until King Josiah was sixteen that he started to search for his God. He instantly started destroying all the high places, sacred poles, images and statues that his father Amon must have put up, for Manasseh had taken them down after his conversion. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, 15; 34:3-5) Josiah even went even further, going into the northern kingdom of Israel, eradicating Baal worship from a country that wasn't even his.-2 Chronicles 34:6-7

Did all of this prove to be enough for Josiah, the sixteen year old king? No. Ten years later, after false worship was no longer in the land, Josiah set out to do repair work on the temple. Being led by three men, Shaphan, Maaseiah, and Joah, repairs were started. While all of this was going on, something truly magnificent was found! The original book of the Law written by the hand of Moses! (2 Chronicles 34:8-14) The book of the Law was read to King Josiah. How did he react?-2 Chronicles 34:18

The Bible says that Josiah "tore his clothes". (2 Chronicles 34:19) In those times, tearing ones clothes was a sign of extreme distress. A faithful man named Jephthah tore his clothes when he realized that he had to give his daughter to Jehovah's service after making a vow. He did this because this was his only child--a sad time indeed for this man. (Judges 11:30-31, 34-35) What was in the book of the Law that tore at Josiah's heart?

We do not know what King Josiah heard that touched him so deeply. He did, though, immediately send people to pray to God on his behalf about the sins of the people. His words were "Go you, inquire of Yahweh for me...for great is the wrath of Yahweh that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Yahweh, to do according to all that is written in this book." (2 Chronicles 34:21, WEB) What was Jehovah's answer to this? He told them of the coming "calamity" that was to befall Judah--the fall of the country to Babylon--that was to come later. God was going to spare the country now because of the faith of Josiah and his repentance for not keeping the entire Law.-2 Chronicles 34:24, 27-28

After this, Josiah made a Covenant to follow Jehovah all the days of his life. He would keep all of his commandments, testimonies, and regulations. He then turned his attention towards the peoples of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. He charged them to repent, which they did, and then removed all of the detestable things out of the rest of Israel.-2 Chronicles 34:32-33

Josiah then proceeded to hold a Passover on Nisan 14, the anniversary of the day the angel of death flew over Egypt, killing the firstborn, and of the Exodus. They sacrificed thousands of animals to God being contributed from all sorts of people. This turned out to be the biggest Passover in hundreds of years! (2 Chronicles 35:1, 7-9, 17-18) What faith King Josiah had! What lesson is there for us today?-Romans 15:4

If you were one of few people who followed the true God today, the rest were scattered and few, and you followed the commandments in the Bible--go to church, preach, etc. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 28:19-20) and then found out there was more then just that, would you do it? Remember, you are one of the only people in your area that worships God. Would you perhaps feel that maybe you were already doing enough? If you found out that God required more, could you get the attitude that perhaps since you were the only one serving God, that was enough?

Sadly, that is the view of many today. They think that going to church and talking about God, while good, is enough. God requires more.

Our conduct has to be that befitting Christians. (1 Peter 2:12) Many people feel that after we turn around, we can continue doing what we want to do. That is not the way that it is. Paul wrote: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2) Can we continue to sin just because we are saved? Absolutely not! We have to learn to walk by spirit. If we do, we will carry out no fleshly desire at all. (Galatians 5:16) Continuing to sin willfully after repentance will mean that we are "trampl[ing] upon the Son of God", viewing as "ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which [we were] sanctified", and "insult[ing] the spirit."-Hebrews 10:26, 29

There are certain things that a Christian cannot do. Practice homosexuality, murder, be deceitful, malicious, slanderers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, arrogant, disobedient to parents, without understanding, be closed to any agreement, merciless, fornicators, greedy, extortioners, idolaters. We cannot practice spiritism, the occult, witchcraft, be superstitious, be jealous, have fits of anger, divide, get drunk, have wild parties, and things like these. (Romans 1:26-31; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; Galatians 5:20-21) When we find out that there is more things that God requires of us then just going to church and preaching, we need to be like King Josiah and do it. He had already done a lot in service to God but when he found more was needed, he did it.

Another important thing to do is watch our appearance. Both Paul and Peter speak of how a Christian's appearance should be. Paul says, "Likewise, I desire the women (and all Christians, men and women) to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb." Peter says, "Do not let your adornment be that of the external braiding of the hair and of the putting on of gold ornaments or the wearing of outer garments." (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3) Why would they say all of this?

Paul and Peter are telling us that looking good is not what is important for a Christian. We shouldn't use our outward appearances to impress people. Appearances sure do not impress God. (1 Samuel 16:7) What is important is what type of people Christians are on the inside. Paul and Peter conclude by telling us to adorn ourselves "in the way that befits women [and all Christians] professing to reverence God, namely, through good works." Peter concludes his thought with: "Let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit." (1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 3:4) Who we are on the inside and the way we conduct ourselves is what should impress people who are not Christian. That is what is truly important. That is what we need to groom.

Last, when doing more, we should follow the advice in the Bible to do all we can for other people. (Galatians 6:2) We are supposed to help other people, Christians and non-Christians alike.-Galatians 6:10

The most important point, though, is how we care for a certain temple today. We cannot do repair work on the actual temple like Josiah did. However, we do have a temple that we can constantly "repair", as it were. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 talks of the temple of your body. This is one temple that needs to be taken constant care of. Jesus said, "Not what enters into his mouth defiles a man; but it is what proceeds out of his mouth that defiles him." (Matthew 15:11) We are to be careful of how we talk because we do not want to "defile" God's temple. Being called a temple shows the importance of our Christian Way.

There is much embodied in the Christian way of life. When we learn what God truly expects of a Christian, we should strive to do it. Remember, God put the account of King Josiah in the Bible for a reason. We need to learn from it, use it in our lives. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Then we can truly be a holy temple.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Song of Solomon

Many people look at the Song of Solomon in disgust. They claim that it is too erotic. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, took this book out of his Bible, claiming that it was not inspired because of how erotic it was. Is this the case? Is a book that many claim is erotic capable of being inspired of God? Is a book that many claim is erotic capable of being inspired of God? In the words of one Mormon, "The Song of Solomon talks about breasts! How can a book that talks about breasts be inspired?"

First, let us look at all of the books of the Bible that talk about breasts.

In the book of Proverbs, there is a section that speaks of how we should view our wives. We should find our delight only in her. There should be no thoughts of other women at all. That is what the following Scripture is speaking of. In Proverbs 5, we find, "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love."-Proverbs 5:18-19

While Proverbs is not full of references to breasts, as some may argue, neither is Song of Solomon. In fact, the word breasts only appears 8 times throughout the entire book, although this is more then any other book. (Song of Solomon 1:13; 4:5; 7:3, 7-8; 8:1, 8, 10) The usage of the word is also not in a derogatory manner. Other books that mention breasts in a non-derogatory way are Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Nahum.-Job 3:12; Isaiah 60:16; 66:11; Hosea 2:2; 9:14; Nahum 2:7

One Scripture that many point to when arguing against the Song of Solomon is this one. "I found the one whom my soul has loved. I grabbed hold of him, and I would not let go of him, until I had brought him into my mother’s house and into the interior room of her that had been pregnant with me." (Song of Solomon 3:4) At this point, the Shulammite is dreaming of searching for her beloved. (Song of Solomon 3:1) She makes this statement after finding him. However, dreams tell us many things about the desires of a person. The Shulammite wants to bring the Shepherd boy into her mother's tent. Does this here mean that she wants to commit immorality?

No. In the ancient Middle East, marriage ceremonies went on for days. On the third day of the ceremony, the two newlyweds would enter into the tent of the mother of one of them. They would have intercourse, which would seal the marriage. Biblical evidence of this is found at Genesis 24:67 where we read: "After that Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother. Thus he took Rebekah and she became his wife."

A Bible commentary confirms this by saying, "The women in the East have all separate apartments, into which no person ever attempts to enter except the husband. We find Isaac bringing Rebecca into his mother's tent, when he made her his wife, Genesis 24:67. What is here related appears to refer to the third night of the nuptials." [1] People's ignorance of ancient customs has caused many misunderstandings throughout the world's history, some of them being deadly. How sad it would be if some ignorant person concluded that the Song of Solomon was mistakenly inserted into the Biblical canon and so chose to ignore this inspired book! Yes, research is important.

In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 23 is probably the most sexually explicit chapters in the entire Bible. This chapter says things like, "They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed." "She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her." "Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her." "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled."-Ezekiel 23:3, 8, 17, 20-21, see also Ezekiel 16:1-9

Should the book of Ezekiel be excluded from the Bible due to this? Not at all. There are many gems in this book that are well worth our attention. Song of Solomon is no different. When people read this book, they can only see the sexual statements in it. These need to open their minds and look at it in the light of its inspiration. What is God trying to tell us here?

The second thing that people need to understand when reading the Song of Solomon is the context of this book. Not the internal context but the external. When was it written? Where was it written? Why was it written?

Song of Solomon was written in the Middle East over three thousand years ago. The culture then was different then it is today. The people and their beliefs were different. The way they looked at a womans breasts was most different, too. Today breasts are looked at in more of a sexual manner. In Solomon's day, breasts were seen as no different then any other part of the body; they were not seen as overly sexual. There are other things in this short book that we cannot imagine saying--things that are not of a sexual nature.

Many of the times that the word "breasts" is used in this book, it is in describing the physical features of the Shulammite. Someone says of her in at least one instance: "Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle." (Song of Solomon 7:3) If you continue reading that chapter, you find that the entire thing is about how beautiful she looks to the speaker. Yes, today few of us would be caught dead saying to a woman the above, but he says other things that are downright silly to use. Things like: "Your hair is like a flock of goats" "Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn" "You waist is a mound of wheat" "Your neck is like an ivory tower".-Song of Solomon 4:1-2; 7:2, 4

Third, when we are mature enough to ignore the sexual statements in the book, what can we find that is beneficial on a spiritual level? Trust me, there are some.

The Song of Solomon answers questions such as these:

1. How should you appear when before someone of the opposite sex, whether you have a relationship with them or not?
2. How should you view the person you are with in relation to others of the opposite sex?
3. How should you act when it comes to sexual activity outside of marriage?

While these are questions that we should already know the answer to, we need to examine all aspects of God's inspired Word to get an all around picture and also because it is good to have a Godly reminder of such things as these. So:

How should you appear when before someone of the opposite sex, whether you have a relationship with them or not?

In what is possibly a dream, the Shulammite was awakened by a knocking at the door to her bedroom. It is the young man that she loves! He asks her to open the door. (Song of Solomon 5:2) Now, the young woman is naked, or partially so, because she is in bed. What does she do? She really wants to see him. Will she put herself in a position that will possibly cause them to commit immorality because she lets him in while her appearance is inappropriate? No.

"I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? I have washed my feet—must I soil them again?" she asks him. (Song of Solomon 5:3) From there the man leaves her and she realizes how much she wants him. She gets up to find him but he is gone. She then goes around the city to find him, with no success. (Song of Solomon 5:4-6) We even find out that she had first put her clothes on because later she is attacked and the "watchmen" take her clothes off her.-Song of Solomon 5:7

So, the Shulammite is a noble example of how a man and a woman should act when they are indecent in appearance. Do not even allow opportunity for you to be alone in a situation like that. Like the Shulammite, no matter if you want to see this person, all efforts must be taken to keep any type of sexual sin from occurring.

Second: How should you view the person you are with in relation to others of the opposite sex?

Again, we can take a lesson from the Shulammite and her boyfriend. The Shulammite and her boyfriend a mutually exclusive towards one another. The thought of either of them being with another person, or even looking at another person, is the last thing in their minds. Throughout the entire Song, they both use words that show that they are exclusive, like "girl companion of mine" and "my dear one." (Song of Solomon 1:15; 4:16) Throughout the entire song, they constantly reaffirm their exclusivity towards one another, saying, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." (Song of Solomon 6:3, Young's Literal Translation) Of her, to prove his exclusive devotion, we read: "I am my beloved's, and on me is his desire."-Song of Solomon 7:10, YLT

The two characters of the Song are wonderful examples on how exclusive two Christians, even if they are only dating, should view one another. If you cannot be exclusive while dating, as these two were, how can you be that way in marriage?

Last: How should you act when it comes to sexual activity outside of marriage?

In the last chapter of the Song, we see a dialouge between the Shulammite and her brothers. They speak of a little sister who has not become fully developed, or mature. They say that if she is a door, they will build a wall in front of her. If she is a wall, they will decorate her with silver. The Shulammite then tells them that she is a wall. (Song of Solomon 8:8-10) They are speaking of sexual activity. If the little sister is a door, "opening up" for just any man, her brothers will be a wall towards her. They will not let her disgrace herself. If she is a wall, barring herself from any sexual immorality, then they will praise her. The Shulammite then tells them that she is a wall. She, happily, has kept herself pure and undefiled, even though there was constant pressure.-Song of Solomon 3:5; 8:4

Surely, there are many precious gems that we can get from this most beautiful of songs. (Song of Solomon 1:1) There is ample internal evidence that this book is indeed an integral part of the divine canon of Scripture. Further, people are aware of the prophetic parallels between the Shulammite and her beloved and Christ and Anointed Christians. (Song of Solomon 2:1) May you not neglect to look to this small yet important book in all of your dealings when it comes to members of the opposite sex. And remember, one of the most important passages at the end of the Song tells us how important love is in marriage--and in general:

"For love is as strong as death is, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave. It burns with a blazing fire, the mighty flame of Yah. Many waters cannot extinguish love nor can rivers wash it away."-Song of Solomon 8:6-7, The Free Bible


[1] The Adam Clarke Commentary

The Trustworthy Bible

I collect different Bible translations. I have 32 different versions (with more on the way), ranging from the New International Version to the Ferrar Fenton Bible, from the Holman Christian Standard Bible to the 1560 Geneva Bible. Some of them are pathetic attempts to sound contemporary and should not have the word Bible applied to them (The Message; The Living Bible) to versions that are faithful renderings of the Scriptures as a whole. One Bible, The New World Translation, has been criticized because of its unorthodox renderings of certain verses (John 1:1; Titus 2:13) but I have found is extremely accurate, despite the supposed background of the anonymous translators. People criticize the entire NWT when it is absolutely not a very bad Bible. It just goes against the majority and what people want to see. The main problem that I can see with the NWT is its overt literalness. Sometimes it can be difficult to read because of how literal it is. When you want to know what the Greek and Hebrew are saying, though, without having to read the Greek and Hebrew, I would recommend the NWT if you can overlook the verses that people constantly point to.

Two other Bible's that I feel are very good are the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version. The criticism that I have with those Bibles is the fact that they do not have the Divine Name, whether it is written, Jehovah or Yahweh. To take out the Name that appeared more then any other name in the Bible (including Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus) is a disgrace to God who told Moses that this was His Name for all time. Now, one Bible that I would recommend that uses the Divine Name (albeit only a few times) is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The name Yahweh is used a handful of times whenever the verses emphasizes the Name of God.

Now, when looking at Bibles, the first verse I turn to is Exodus 3:15 because if a Bible does have the Divine Name, that is where you are most likely to find it. When I find a Bible that does have this, even once, it is doing a good deed. Joel 2:32 says that anyone who calls on the Name of Jehovah (or Yahweh) will be saved. However, how can we call on a God whose Name we do not know?

One Bible that did not have the Divine Name at all in its first printing was the paraphrased Bible, the New Living Translation. Then, in the 2004 revision, the Name Yahweh was added into three to four verses. That is not nearly enough because the Name appears nearly 7,000 times in the original manuscripts of the Bible.

This blog is not an evaluation of Bible's that contain the Divine Name. It is an evaluation of versions in general. Most Bible's fall into one of three categories in their translation theories. The first is Formal Equivalence Translation (or word-for-word), Dynamic Equivalence Translation (or thought-for-thought), and paraphrase (or whatever the translator feels the Bible says). Now, two DET's that are popular today are the above mentioned New Living Translation and the Today's English Version. I like to categorize those two Bible's in the paraphrase area of the translation type spectrum because of how much of a DET they actually are.

When giving an example of a big mistake in the New Living Translation, I like to quote Philippians 2:5-6 which says in the NASB (which translates the verse accurately):

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."

This is how the NLT paraphrases this verse (with mistranslations underlined):

"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to."

Do you see the difference? The NASB has the correct translation of the verse, which can be interpreted in many different ways. The NLT has interpreted the verse for you. While many will not criticize how the NLT has the verse because they feel like it carries over the correct meaning, not all can agree. A Bible should not interpret the Word, but give it to you just as Paul wrote it because what if the NLT translators are wrong? While many will not think that, there is always the possibility, which means that they need to be careful.

One version that I commended which does have its bad points is the HCSB. They have this verse as (with mistranslation underlined):

"Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage."

That is just as bad as what the NLT did, although they don't try to pull off something that big very often. However, you can see the bias that has leaked through in that verse in both of those translations. Bible translators need to realize that, if left alone, readers will read a verse exactly the way they (the translators) hope they will read it if they already hold the same viewpoint.

One other point that I want to discuss is the use of the apocrypha in modern Bibles. The Catholic Bible versions all have these books. The books in question (1 and 2 Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom, additions to Esther, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Song of the three Hebrews--I may not have listed all of them, forgive me if I missed a couple.) Should these be in there? Most protestants would agree that they do not. Catholics would say that they are inspired to a lesser degree. Whatever the case, what is writen in them should argue the point for itself. Would I recommend reading them? I would read them myself. I enjoy reading extra-biblical texts. The apocrypha, gnostic, etc. They sure are fun. I will say personally, that I do not agree that these text are inspired even to a lesser degree. I am not Catholic. I am happy that they are not in my Bible that I personally use but I do have Bibles that include them (New Jerusalem Bible; New American Bible). Before I close, I want to commend the NJB for their usage of the Name, Yahweh, all 6,500+ times that it appears.

There are many Bible's on the shelves, if you want one that is easier to read but less trustworthy, go for a Dynamic Equivalence. If you want a Bible that is a little harder to read but more trustworthy, go for a Formal Equivalence. I must warn, friend, stay away from the paraphrases.*

*Below is a list of Bible translations and what category they fall under. (These are all Bible's I own)

Formal Equivalence
1. Revised Standard Version
2. King James Version
3. New American Standard Bible
4. English Standard Version
5. New King James Version
6. Amplified Bible
7. New English Bible
8. New World Translation

Dynamic Equivalence
1. Modern Language Bible
2. God's Word Translation
3. New International Version
4. Today's New International Version
5. New Life Version
6. Holman Christian Standard Bible
7. New Century Version
8. New English Translation
9. Easy-to-Read Version
10. New Jerusalem Bible
11. New Revised Standard Bible
12. New American Bible
13. International Children's Bible

1. Today's English Version
2. New Living Translation
3. The Living Bible
4. The Message Bible
5. New International Reader's Version
6. Contemporary English Version

Not Sure
1. Complete Jewish Bible
2. George Lamsa Bible
3. The Bible in Living English
4. Ferrar Fenton Bible
5. Geneva Bible