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Christian saints according to the Bible

The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” It is almost always used in the plural, “saints.” “…Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). “Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda” (Acts 9:32). “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons …” (Acts 26:10). There is only one instance of the singular use, and that is “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:21). In Scripture there are 67 uses of the plural “saints” compared to only one use of the singular word “saint.” Even in that one instance, a plurality of saints is in view: “…every saint…” (Philippians 4:21).

The idea of the word “saints” is a group of people set apart for the Lord and His kingdom. There are three references referring to godly character of saints: “that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints …” (Romans 16:2). “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

Therefore, scripturally speaking, the “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christian are saints and at the same time are called to be saints. First Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the biblical description and calling of the saints.

How does the Roman Catholic understanding of “saints” compare with the biblical teaching? Not very well. In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshipped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone.

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Meaning of Pishon in the Bible

The Pishon (Hebrew: פִּישׁוֹן‎‎ Pîšōn) is one of four rivers (along with Hiddekel (Tigris), Phrath (Euphrates) and Gihon)

The only mention of the word Pishon in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis: “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there” (Genesis 2:10-12). It’s only when we compare the richness and beauty of the river to that of the Garden of Eden itself, that we are really able to discern the meaning of Pishon.

Besides the lone biblical reference, Pishon is mentioned in Sirach 24:25 of the Apocrypha. It is probably connected with the Hebrew root puwsh, which means “scatter, press on, break loose, or spring forward.” The River Pishon most likely originated from a spring and formed a delta. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names defines Pishon as “Great Diffusion.”

It is virtually impossible to determine where the Pishon River flowed during the pre-Flood era. The same is true for practically any location during that time, including Eden. Some scientists believe that the Pishon could be the Nile, the Indus, or the Ganges. There is simply no modern river that matches the description given in Genesis. Without question, the world’s topography prior to the worldwide Flood (Genesis 6:17) was totally different from what it is today.

Although Pishon’s location is obscure, its description and purpose are not. The Garden of Eden that God prepared was not only bountiful, it was lush and beautiful. It was a place rich with life-giving water, a land lavished with precious metals and jewels. The gold and onyx associated with the River Pishon are reminiscent of the tabernacle’s furnishings and priestly garments (Exodus 25:1-9; 1 Chronicles 29:2). Gold overlay finished the sacred furniture of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:11). Particularly important was the onyx stone of the priestly ephod, upon which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes (Exodus 28:9-14), and the onyx of the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:20).

The land of Havilah, ringed by the Pishon, is indicative of the presence and blessing of God. Furthermore, the Pishon and the other three rivers from Eden eventually marked the boundaries of the land pledged to Abraham (Genesis 15:18). As God had prepared and assigned Eden to Adam’s care, the “paradise” of Canaan’s land was given to Abraham and his descendants.

There is no question that the surface of the earth is grossly different today than it was prior to the flood (as mentioned here by and well-established by Whitcomb and Morris, in their 1961 book, The Genesis Flood.) However, Genesis 10:25 and first Chronicles 1:19 make no “clear” statement regarding the surface of the earth. Although many scholars have taken Peleg to mean earthquake, because the “earth was divided,” it is important to note there is another equally viable interpretation, which can be found in the ancient manuscript known as the Book of Jubilees.

Life-Giving Water

Life-Giving Water

Here, in chapters 8 and 9 (RH Charles 1917 translation), the story is told of Noah dividing the lands in the days of Peleg, by lot, amongst his three sons, Shem, Japheth, and Ham, who further divided their allotments amongst their 16 sons. Amidst these lots, islands and distant lands are described from north to south, which, if true, would probably suggest the dividing of the earth into continents as a primary result of the Genesis flood. It is notable that some historians have further claimed these allotments, as described in Jubilees, clearly fit with the general distribution of the various tribes or clans on the earth today.

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Sinners Prayer, Is Ask Jesus into your Heart Enough?

“Do you want to be saved? Then just ask Jesus to come into your heart.” While this statement is not anti-biblical, neither is it expressly biblical. The wording generates a mental image that can easily lead to wrong impressions, especially among children, who tend to take things literally. Plus, the exhortation to “ask Jesus into your heart” if that’s the whole message leaves out some important things such as repentance and faith. The Bible does mention the fact that, in some sense, Jesus resides in our hearts: Paul prayed “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). But Paul is writing to believers who had already received Christ. The parallel prayer in verse 16 is that God “may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” There is no evangelistic appeal in the context of Ephesians 3. Paul is not telling the Ephesians to “ask Jesus into their hearts”; he is simply elevating their awareness that Jesus is present within them through the Holy Spirit.

The verse from which the “ask Jesus into your heart” concept is usually taken is Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Notice, however, that the verse does not mention the heart at all. Neither does the individual ask Jesus to do anything; rather, Jesus asks us to do something. In context, Jesus is speaking to the church of Laodicea, who was in desperate need of repentance (verse 19). The Laodiceans had effectively excluded Jesus from their fellowship, and the Lord was seeking to restore that fellowship. The passage does not deal with a person calling on the Lord for salvation.

The idea of Jesus “coming into your heart” is nowhere used in any preaching in the Bible. The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sin (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Gospel presentations in the Bible exhort a proper response to that message: believe (John 3:16; Acts 16:31), receive (John 1:12), or repent (Acts 3:19). We are to change our minds about our sin and about who Christ is, believe Jesus died and rose again, and receive the gift of eternal life by faith. None of the apostles ever told someone to “ask Jesus into your heart.”

HeartOften, the exhortation to “ask Jesus to come into your heart” is used as a simple way to say, “Ask Jesus to enter your life” or “Allow the Lord to take control.” If this is done in the context of presenting the whole gospel, then there’s no harm done. But before a person is invited to “ask Jesus into your heart,” he or she should understand sin and its penalty, the payment Christ made on the cross, and the reality of Christ’s resurrection. In fact, referring to salvation as Jesus’ “coming into your heart” might even help a person understand that the Spirit of Christ comes to indwell the soul (see John 14:17). Still, it is always best to use the terminology the Bible uses. “Ask Jesus into your heart” does not fully communicate what is actually occurring at salvation.

When sharing the gospel, we should be careful what we say and how we say it. Even the word believe can be misleading if it is presented as mere intellectual assent (agreeing that certain facts are true) instead of as trust (relying on those true facts). Judas Iscariot believed certain facts about Jesus, but he never trusted Jesus for salvation. Salvation is not about believing a list of facts. Salvation is not about asking Jesus to come into your heart. Salvation is not even about asking God to forgive you. Salvation is about trusting in Jesus as your Savior, receiving the forgiveness He offers by grace through faith. Salvation is about being made new through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Faith and salvation is given freely and the Holy Ghost, “Christ within” us is not something we can earn. IT DOES HAPPEN, and should happen, according to scripture.

Another way to present this opportunity for JESUS to come inside and abide would be to follow the example of the ORIGINAL 11 disciples of Christ, Paul/Saul the “one born out of due time”, and the early church as recorded in the book of Acts (Acts, Is the only place in scripture will you will find the verbatim preaching of an anointed man of God, preaching to a “lost soul”/sinner/unregenerate human, and telling them how they should respond to (obey) the gospel AFTER THE RESURRECTION of Jesus.) Acts 2/Acts 8/ Acts 10/ Acts 19; etc)

James said, “As the body without the spirit is DEAD, so is FAITH WITHOUT WORKS”, action. (Faith, which can only be given by God, is the conduit through which the saving “grace” of God MUST flow.) WORKS/ACTION IS WHAT GIVES FAITH LIFE, else it is dead. Faith must be defined by scripture, and CAN NOT BE EARNED.

THERE IS NOT ONE ACTION OF SALVATION which is contrived or earned by MAN, it is all freely given by God through Jesus Christ, AND IT MUST BE RECEIVED AND OBEYED by Jesus, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST WORKING IN US.

I personally believe it’s much better to just preach the same “Gospel” the apostles preached which is;

THE BIRTH of JESUS
THE LIFE of JESUS
THE DEATH of JESUS
THE BURIAL of JESUS
THE RESURRECTION of JESUS
(an example of the “faith of Jesus Christ, “thy will be done” and it was “DONE”/ACTIVATED/”WORK”ED OUT through the actions of JESUS CHRIST)

THE RESPONSE of the faith of JESUS Christ moving the heart/mind/spirit of a convicted “sinner” which brings about confession of sin and repentance. (Death)
Acts 2:37 “Men & brethren, what shall we do?”

The work of JESUS CHRIST moving in the heart on that human to follow Him in burial through water baptism in “the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” Act 2:38

The continuing WORK OF JESUS CHRIST to fill that human soul with His Spirit/Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit (Resurrection Spirit the “1st fruits” of the coming resurrection) For the promise is to “ALL that are afar off, even as many as THE LORD our GOD shall call.” Acts 2:39

ALL OF THIS IS THE WORK OF CHRIST AND MUST BE FULFILLED IN FAITH, else it would ALL be in vain.

This is the scriptural was the “ask JESUS into your HEART.”

It’s AWESOME AND REAL!! “Taste and see.”

So now that I have covered this completely, Yes, asking Christ to come into your heart is definitely Biblical. Heart and soul are synonymous in Scripture, and they refer to a person’s mind, will and feelings, meaning their intellect, volition, and emotion.

Having Christ established firmly in those three areas is probably the most accurate and Biblical way of describing the process of Salvation from the penalty of sin. It is also important to see the other two aspects of salvation: from sin’s power (which we work out daily with fear and trembling) and its presence which we will experience when Christ comes to take us home.

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Israeli Archaeologists Discover ‘Third Wall’ From Jerusalem Temple When Romans Attacked In 70 AD

Evidence unearthed of Jerusalem’s protective ‘Third Wall’ from Second Temple period, “This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple,” says IAA.

The breaching of Jerusalem’s so-called ‘third wall’ – which was said to surround the capital during the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 AD – may finally help to conclusively prove its existence.

“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”Matthew 24:2,3 (KJV)

The Israeli Antiquities Authority on Thursday said the remnants were first discovered last winter in the capital’s downtown Russian Compound, where the new sprawling campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is being constructed.

During the legally mandated excavation that preceded the beginning of construction, archaeologists discovered the remains of a tower jutting from the ancient wall, which could shed light on Jerusalem’s boundaries on the eve of the Roman onslaught led by Titus. Moreover, opposite the tower’s western façade, scores of ancient ballista and sling stones that the Romans fired from catapults at the Jewish guards stationed on top of the tower to defend the wall were discovered, further buttressing proof of its existence.

According to Dr. Rina Avner and Kfir Arbib, excavation directors on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, the finds provide telling testament of the brutal Roman offensive against the city.

“This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple,” the archaeologists said in a joint statement.

“The bombardment was intended to attack the sentries guarding the wall, and provide cover for the Roman forces, so they could approach the wall with battering rams and thereby breach the city’s defenses.”

The historian Josephus, a witness to the war, recorded numerous details about the third wall. In his telling, the wall was designed to protect the new quarter of the capital, then known as Beit Zeita, which extended beyond its boundaries, north of the two existing city walls.

Construction of the wall was begun by Agrippa I, Josephus wrote. However, he suspended its creation to avoid incurring the wrath of the emperor, Claudius, and to dispel any doubts regarding his loyalty.

IAA Excavation Co-Director Kfir Arbib cleans one of the unearthed sling stones found at the site. (photo credit:YOLI SHWARTZ AND ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

IAA Excavation Co-Director Kfir Arbib cleans one of the unearthed sling stones found at the site. (photo credit:YOLI SHWARTZ AND ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

Still, construction of the wall resumed 20 years later by the defenders of Jerusalem as part of fortifying the city in preparation for the Great Revolt against Rome, according to Josephus.

The famed historian described in detail the route of the wall, which began at the Hippicus Tower, now identified as David’s Citadel. From there, the wall continued north to the enormous Psephinus Tower, which defended the northwestern corner of the city wall.

At that point, the wall turned east, descending toward the Tomb of Queen Helena, which is now identified with the Tombs of the Kings.

The excavation’s findings will be presented during a conference titled “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region,” to be held on October 27 at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. source

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The Plan of God

What is God’s plan for me?

As a Christian, of course you want to make decisions according to God’s will. But what happens when you just don’t know which way God wants you to go?

Sooner or later in life everybody has to make some decisions. Which college should I go to? Whom should I marry? Should I move here or there?” The list goes on and on and as the questions grow bigger and more life-changing, shouldn’t God’s answers and plan for our lives be clearer and clearer as well?

It can be difficult to hear God’s voice and know which road to take. You pray to God and ask for help but there are often no prophetic dreams, visions or strong feelings leading you one way or another. It can seem like God isn’t answering you at all.

Do everything before His face.

Many Christians struggle with this because we almost expect a loud voice from heaven when we talk to God, complete with trumpets and a burst of sunlight. But God doesn’t necessarily work that way. Often He works in whispers instead of shouts. And the way we practice listening is to go in faith and do everything before His face.

Often God works in whispers instead of shouts.

It says in Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” This is the key point. It isn’t always so important what we do but why and how we do it. Are you doing it wholeheartedly because you want to please the Lord? Or are there a few selfish reasons behind your decision?

It also says in Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God is more than willing to show us His will and plan for our lives, but he also wants us to show that we want to know it and follow it. He wants us to make an effort – to seek His will. Then He has promised that we will find it. So if you are asking and seeking and knocking and doing everything as to the Lord then you can rest assured that He will show you His will for your life. His will may not always be what we expect, and it can be revealed to us in unexpected ways, but if we are truly interested, we will find it.
God’s will – good, acceptable, and perfect

Put simply this is the entirety of God’s will right here.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2. Put simply this is the entirety of God’s will right here, as well as His plan with our lives. That we be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we prove what is God’s will. That is something we can do regardless of whether we decide to become a doctor or a teacher, move to another country or stay at home. There are always opportunities to be transformed and renewed wherever you are.

So how do you make your decision? Ask yourself, “Is it good? Is it acceptable? Is it perfect?” If the answer seems to be yes, then do it! Prove what is God’s will. Test it. He who seeks will find.

The renewing of your mind.

Whatever the outcome, when looking back, you may find that what you did was actually tainted with a bit of self-seeking, some demands on the others and so on. This was not according to God’s will, and yet you made your decision in faith and with a burning desire to serve God. That’s why God can now show you how you could have done it better, where you should have given up your own will. Go back and fix things, ask for forgiveness, set things right. It is this that is God’s will for us and His plan for our lives: that we to learn humility, that we learn how to live as a disciple. The revelation comes in an unexpected way – by showing you your mistakes, but because you are seeking to do God’s will, you use it to be transformed. This is the renewing of your mind.

A disciple is not one that knows everything and can do everything perfectly the first time.

A disciple is not one that knows everything and can do everything perfectly the first time. The life of a disciple means following Jesus, the Master, and learning from Him. It means listening for God’s voice every day and striving to be well-pleasing to Him. In this way, we will daily find more and more of this “I should have done things better. God, give me strength and wisdom to humble myself and do it better next time.” So next time I put to practice what God’s voice told me, and do it better – I’m becoming more like my Master day by day. That’s what it means to be a disciple!

Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind

Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind

No matter where we go we will find opportunities to hear God’s voice and do His will.

No matter where we go we will find opportunities to hear God’s voice and do His will. We will find our own life, our anger, our pride, our stubbornness and self-seeking, and by putting these things to death we are transformed more and more into Jesus’ image and in this way we are doing God’s will!

Ultimately, this is God’s perfect plan for both you and me: that we become free from the way that we are and be transformed into Jesus’ own image.

Isn’t that a hopeful gospel? You really can’t go wrong at all!

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The Most Common Sayings People Think are in the Bible, that are Not Actually in the Bible

In Psalm 119:16, David promises God, “I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.” In Deuteronomy 11:18-19, God exhorts the Israelites, “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” As believers, we know we are to study the Bible, memorize it, and obey it. But does the Bible say what we think it says? The truth is, there are several phrases that sound like they come from the Bible, but do not.

God helps those who help themselves.
The earliest recording of this saying is actually from Aesop’s fable “Hercules and the Waggoner.” A man’s wagon got stuck in a muddy road, and he prayed for Hercules to help. Hercules appeared and said, “Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel.” The moral given was “The gods help them that help themselves.” Aesop was a Greek writer who lived from 620 to 564 BC, but obviously did not contribute to the Bible. As a biblical truism, the proverb has mixed results. We can do nothing to help when it comes to salvation; salvation is through Christ alone. In the work of sanctification-becoming more spiritually mature-we are to join in the work. 1 Peter 1:14-15 says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”

Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Despite the strict rules given to the Israelites about uncleanness as a metaphor for sinfulness and ceremonial washing required by the priests (see: Exodus, Leviticus), this phrase is not in the Bible. It originated as an ancient Babylonian and Hebrew proverb, but became very popular during the Victorian era after being revived by Sir Francis Bacon and John Wesley. Is the proverb true beyond the metaphor? A new study shows that people are generally fairer and more generous when in a clean-smelling environment. But Jesus also exhorts us to worry more about the sin in our hearts than the dirt on our hands (Matthew 7:18-23).

In the last days, you will not be able to know the seasons except by the changing of the leaves.
Even a thorough Google search will not reveal the origin of this saying, but it is not found in the Bible. Matthew 24:32-33 uses the budding of leaves heralding the coming of summer as a metaphor for the signs that Christ will return. But nowhere does the Bible mention that seasons will be so altered that only the changing leaves will identify them.

Wisdom of MenIt is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore than to spill it out on the ground.
This verse is usually used to justify fornication or adultery over masturbation. It is one more misinterpretation of the story of Onan in Genesis 38:6-10. Onan’s brother died, and Onan had the responsibility of marrying his brother’s wife to provide an heir. Instead, Onan “wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.” This passage isn’t even about masturbation; God struck Onan down because he selfishly refused to provide an heir for his brother’s inheritance. In addition, the proverb is inaccurate. In no way would the Bible encourage the use of anyone other than a spouse for sexual gratification. Instead, we are called to not allow physical appetites to control us (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

Hate the sin, love the sinner.
Although this is a biblical-sounding admonition, it is not directly from the Bible. It’s actually a loose quote of something Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1929, “Hate the sin and not the sinner.” Augustine expressed a similar thought back in AD 424: “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” The biblical principle backing this up is found in Jude 1:22-23. We are to hate sin-even our own. And we are to show love to other people. The “hating sin” part is coming under fire today as more and more people define themselves by their sin and resent the guidelines God has given us in His Word.

Money is the root of all evil.
This is a common misconception with an easy fix. 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil…” Money is not good or bad, and being wealthy is not a sin; Job was wealthy and described as a man who was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). Loving money, which in the Greek is “avarice” and implies an emotional affection, is the root of all sorts of evil as the desire to accumulate wealth is placed above God and others.

This too shall pass.
This is actually a misinterpretation of a line from “The Lament of Doer,” an Old English poem. Doer has been replaced as his lord’s poet, and calls to mind several other Germanic mythological figures who went through troubled times. Each refrain ends with, “that passed away, so may this.” Several verses in the Bible remind us that our lives and, indeed, heaven and earth will pass away (Matthew 24:35). But while we can find comfort knowing that our earthly sorrows are temporary, we’re still called to rejoice in our trials, knowing that they will lead to endurance and sanctification (James 1:2-4).

The lion shall lay down with the lamb.
Although Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God (Revelation 5), this phrase does not appear in the Bible. Isaiah 11:6 says, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.” Similarly, Isaiah 65:25 reads, “The wolf and the lamb will graze together and the lion will eat straw like an ox…” The sentiment reads true, however-hunter and prey will be reconciled and live in peace in the eternal kingdom.

God left us the Bible as a written testimony of His Word. His truth is found in the Bible. Some sayings are simple rewordings of biblical truth, but others are dangerous heresy. Despite how clever or even edifying a quote may be, if it isn’t in the Bible, we have no guarantee that it is the Word of God. And the only way we’ll know is if we read the Bible.

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Do We Know that the Bible is the Word of God

Man has made three basic guidelines to determine which books should belong in the Bible.

Apostolic – Apostolic, that it came from one of the apostles or scribe of an apostle.

Orthodoxy – Orthodoxy, that it is of right doctrine.

Catholicity –  Catholicity, that it is used universally among the Catholic churches.

The question of which (if any) religious text is the true word of God is of utmost importance. To avoid circular reasoning, the first question we must ask is: how would we know if God communicated in the first place? Well, God would have to communicate in a manner that people could understand, but that also means that people could make up their own messages and simply claim that they came from God. So, it seems reasonable to think that if God wanted to authenticate His communication He would have to verify it in a manner that could not be duplicated by mere humans – in other words, by miracles. This narrows the field considerably.

Beyond the evidence for the Bible’s correctness (manuscript evidence) and its historicity (archaeological evidence), the most important evidence is that of its inspiration. The real determination of the Bible’s claim to absolute inspired truth is in its supernatural evidence, including prophecy. God used prophets to speak and write down His Word and God uses miracles like fulfilled prophecy to authenticate His messengers. For example, in Genesis 12:7, God promises that the land of Israel was to be for Abraham and his descendants. In 1948 Israel was returned back to the Jewish people for the second time in history. This may not seem so astonishing until you realize that no nation in the history of the world has been scattered from its homeland and returned! Israel has done it twice. The book of Daniel predicts with accuracy the coming of the four great kingdoms from Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, to Rome centuries before some of those kingdoms came on the scene (a time span of over 1,000 years!) with details concerning how they would rule and be broken. This includes the reigns of Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanies.

In Ezekiel 26 we can see in astonishing detail how the city of Tyre was to be destroyed, how it would be torn down, and how its debris would be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great marched on that area, he encountered a group of people holed up in a tower on an island off the coast near there. He could not cross the sea, so he could not fight those in the tower. Rather than wait them out, the proud conqueror had his army throw stones into the sea to build a land bridge to the tower. It worked. His army crossed the sea and overthrew the occupants of the stronghold. But where did he get so much stone? The rocks that were used for the land bridge were the leftover rubble from the city of Tyre… its stones cast into the sea!

There are so many prophecies concerning Christ (over 270!) that it would take more than a few screens worth of space to list them all. Further, Jesus would have had no control over many of them such as His birthplace or time of birth. Second, the odds of one man accidentally fulfilling even 16 of these are 1 in 10^45. How many is that? For comparison, there are less than 10^82 atoms in the entire universe! And Jesus, who affirmed the Bible as the Word of God, proved His reliability and deity by His resurrection (an historical fact not easily ignored).

Now consider the Quran – its author, Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers – Sura 17:91-95; 29:47-51). Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up. Further, the Quran makes clear historical errors. Muslims believe the Bible is inspired but with some errors from editing (Sura 2:136 as well as Suras 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23, 25). The question they cannot adequately answer is: “When was the Bible corrupted?” If they say before 600 A.D. then how can the Quran admonish believers to read it? If they claim it was after 600 A.D., then they have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, for we have absolutely no doubt as to the accuracy of biblical manuscripts from at least the 3rd century forward. Even if Christianity were false, the Quran still has an insurmountable problem because it makes judgments against Christians for believing things that they do not (nor have they ever) believed. For example, the Quran teaches that Christians believe the Trinity is the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Sura 5:73-75, 116), and the Quran also teaches that Christians believe that God had sex with Mary to have a son (Suras 2:116; 6:100-101; 10:68; 16:57; 19:35; 23:91; 37:149-151; 43:16-19). If the Quran is really from God, then it should at least be able to accurately report what Christians believe.

Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, tried to do some miracles such as prophecy (a test for a true prophet in Deuteronomy 18:21-22) but failed several times. He foretold of Christ’s second coming in History of the Church (HC) 2:382. Joseph Smith preached that the coming of the Lord would be in 56 years (about 1891). The second coming did not occur in 1891, and the Mormon Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since. He also prophesied that several cities would be destroyed in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston were to be destroyed if they rejected the gospel according to Smith. Joseph Smith himself went to New York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did not accept his gospel, yet they have not been destroyed. Another famous false prophecy of Joseph Smith was his “END OF ALL NATIONS” in D&C 87 concerning the rebellion of South Carolina in the war between the states. The South was supposed to call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war would be poured out upon all nations; slaves would revolt; the inhabitants of the earth would mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result. The South finally did revolt in 1861, but the slaves did not rise up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no worldwide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting “end of all nations.”

We PrayThe collection of writings that Protestants call the Apocrypha (hidden writings), Roman Catholics call the deuterocanonical (later or second canon) books. These books were written between 300 B.C. and 100 A.D., the Intertestamental Period between the inspired writings of God’s Prophets in the Old Testament and those of the Apostles and their contemporaries in the New Testament. These were “infallibly” accepted into the Bible by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 at the Council of Trent.

The Bible so far outshines every competing source for being God’s revelation that if it is not God’s Word, it would seem impossible to choose among the leftovers. If the Bible is not God’s Word, then we have been left with no clear criteria by which to know what might be.

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There is a Spiritual Battle that is Taking Place Around US!

Some of you will have read Doreen Irvine’s story “From Witchcraft to Christ”. Following her wonderful conversion and mighty deliverance, she was asked to help when others needed deliverance. Her experience was that there were 3 forms of demonic activity to be concerned about:
1. Demon possession – still thankfully uncommon.
2. Demon oppression – where the deception and oppression is brought to bear on many.
3. Demon obsession – This was by far the biggest problem in her experience!

It is crucial that every Christian understands that he/she is in a spiritual battle. There is no way to get out of it. Awareness of the spiritual battle around us is very important. Not only awareness, but vigilance, preparedness, courage, and the right weaponry are crucial elements of engaging in spiritual warfare.

In the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” It is clear that “our warfare” as Christians is spiritual. We are not fighting a physical battle, nor a human battle. It is on a spiritual level, its enemies, its prerogatives, its fortresses, and its weapons are all spiritual. If we attempt to fight the spiritual with human weapons, we will fail and the enemy will be victorious.

It is important to note that Paul is not speaking about physically battling demons here, or chopping their heads off, as in the movies! When Jesus and the apostles cast demons out, it was, along with the other signs and wonders they exhibited, primarily to prove the authority of what they said. It was important at that time for God to give the apostles a powerful “proof” that they were indeed from God and were His spokesmen. The fidelity of Scripture depends on the authority of the apostles, so God gave the apostles His power to authenticate their teachings. The point all along was to show that the ultimate authority, and our ultimate spiritual weapon, is Scripture. So, although there are times when demons possess and attack human beings today, and there are biblical instances of Jesus and the apostles casting demons out, the kind of spiritual battle that every Christian engages in is primarily a battle in the arena of the mind.

There are fortresses all around us in this world, made of the “speculations” and “lofty things” that Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians. The word speculations is, in the Greek, logismos. It means “ideas, concepts, reasonings, philosophies.” People of the world build up these logismos to protect themselves against the truth of God. Sadly, these fortresses often become prisons and eventually tombs. Our calling as Christians is to break down these fortresses and rescue the inhabitants. It is dangerous and difficult work, but we have a divine arsenal always at our disposal. Unfortunately, one of the enemy’s best tricks is getting us to fight with human weapons rather than divine.

With the Heart We BelieveMarketing techniques, counter-philosophies, persuasive words of human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:4), rationalism, organization, skill, entertainment, mystique, better lighting, better music, these are all human weapons. None of these things will win the spiritual war. They are ineffective for bringing about true conversion, and they may even produce false conversions. The only thing that is effective, the only offensive weapon we possess, is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This sword gives us many freedoms as soldiers in this spiritual battle.

We have freedom from fear.

Knowing that God is fighting for us (Joshua 1:7-9) and that He will not forsake us.

We have freedom from guilt.

Knowing that we are not responsible for the souls of those who reject God’s message after we have proclaimed it to them (Mark 6:11).

We have freedom from despair.

Knowing that if we are persecuted and hated, He was persecuted and hated first (John 15:18) and that our battle wounds will be richly and lovingly tended to in heaven (Matthew 5:10).

All of these freedoms come from using the powerful weapon of God, His Word. If we use human weaponry to fight against the enemy’s fortresses, we will sustain failures and disappointment, and even our victories will be unsure. Conversely, the victories of God are full of hope.

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 6:22-24).

The hearts of those who hear and accept the true, full message of the gospel as given by the apostles are “sprinkled clean” and “washed with pure water.” What is this water? It is the Word of God that strengthens us as we fight (Ephesians 5:26; John 7:38).

Yes every Christian should be aware of the invisible spiritual battle that is taking place even now. It is spiritual warfare that cannot be won by the Christian who is not adorned in the full armor of battle. If you are not suited up that you will be an eminent casualty is certain.

What I know, As a Born from on high Christian, I am free! I am delivered! There is a contact between myself and the living God that is personal and direct. (He lives in me). Now, what can Satan or any of his hordes do? There is only one thing. He can lie! Do not be deceived! Read and follow the Word of God (the truth) and you will find.

satan trembles, when he sees, The weakest Saint upon his knees.

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Get to Know God Better

Everyone knows that God exists. “God has made it plain” that He is real, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). Some try to suppress the knowledge of God, most try to add to it. The Christian has a deep desire to know God better (Psalm 25:4).

In John 3 we read about a man who clearly wanted to know God better and who became more studied than most in the things of God. His name was Nicodemus, and he was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. This Nicodemus knew that Jesus had come from God, and he was truly curious to learn more about Jesus. Jesus patiently explained to Nicodemus how he must be born again (verses 3-15). In order to know God better, Nicodemus had come to the right person “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is indeed the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus revealed God through His words and works. He even said that no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus.

Sons and DaughtersSo, we must start with faith. The first step in knowing God better is to know Jesus Christ, who was sent from God (John 6:38). Once we are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can truly begin to learn about God, His character, and His will. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). By contrast, “the person without the Spirit . . . cannot understand [the things of God] because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (verse 14). There is a difference between the “natural” man and the “spiritual” man.

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” It cannot be emphasized enough how the study of God’s Word, the Bible, is paramount to knowing God better. We must, “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it [we] may grow up in [our] salvation, now that [we] have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3). God’s Word should be our “delight” (Psalm 119:16, 24).

Those who are learning more about God are also those who obey the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Born-again believers always have the Holy Spirit, but Ephesians 5:15-21 teaches us to walk in the Spirit and surrender to His will.

Prayer is also an important part of knowing God better. As we pray, we praise God for His character and for what He has done. We spend time with Him, relying on His power and allowing the Spirit to intercede for us “through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

Also consider that one can get to know God better by fellowshipping with other believers. The Christian life was not meant to be lived alone. We learn more about God through the preaching of God’s Word and the godly counsel of those who walk with Him. Make the most of your church experience, get involved, do small-group Bible study, go witnessing with fellow believers. Just like a log ablaze on the hearth soon goes out when it is removed and placed aside, so we will lose our fervor for God if we do not fellowship with other believers. But put the log back into the fire with the other logs, and it will burn brightly again.

To summarize how to get to know God better: 1) Accept Christ as your Savior. 2) Read His Word…it is alive (Hebrews 4:12). 3) On an on-going basis, be filled with the Holy Spirit. 4) Seek the Lord through Prayer. 5) Fellowship and live out your life with the saints (Hebrews 10:25).

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