Monday, December 13, 2010

'Owr' and 'Maowr'

   After having a conversation yesterday at church about the previous post I thought that I should note a few things.  Before I do though, I'll  admit that I have a very limited understanding of science and even though the scriptures are plain enough for a child to understand they also contain depths which we will never fathom in our lives.
   In our language we use one word 'light' to refer to both the light waves (or particles) and also the point from whence the waves come. Ex. when he turned on the light there was light. This is no problem for we can normally understand the meaning from the context, but in the Hebrew there is two words for light. 'Owr' refers to light waves and 'maowr' refers to the light source.
   The light which God created on day one was 'owr'.  There was light but the source of it 'maowr' was not yet created until day four. All the light we see today has a definite source but obviously God could have used physics we do not know of yet. He could also have worked outside the laws of science which he made.
    God created this light and divided it so that it was light on one side of the earth and dark on the other and thus there could be evening and morning. God could have just caused the light to be divided like that without any point from whence it was coming. Or, He could have had or been a point from whence the light was coming.
    If God was a point from whence this created light was coming, as I postulated in the previous post, He was not shining forth in all His glory in our physical universe or all would have been consumed! God would rather have been sending forth light, without the sun, as He sent forth light with the pillar of fire or the light which caused Moses' countenance to glow on Mt. Sinai.
    Whatever the details are, I don't know enough (perhaps the passage doesn't say enough) to be dogmatic about what I have postulated. I do firmly believe that God created the earth stationary as a center around which the rest of the universe was created. I also believe that the sun is moving and the light did move around earth on a daily basis. The reason for this is that it fits all the scriptures perfectly and is a model which one could derive solely by studying the scriptures while the currently popular heliocentric or acentric models one would never find in the Bible unless he had first found it from some other source. When people decide to operate on human reason over what they think the Bible indicates in any area of life it can lead to serious problems especially over generations.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cosmology in Genesis

    As we look into the first book of the Bible at the very beginning we read of God creating the heaven and the earth. I was recently reading a booklet by a good man who (I was surprised to find) believes in the gap theory. Part of his argument was that the first two verses cannot be a summery of the creation week but that they fall before the rest of the creation chronologically. I have never seen a gap in these first verses and there is not one there. But, I do agree that this describes God creating the heaven and earth and then the chapter goes on to describe what God did in the rest of that first week.
    At this point in the creation the earth is the central object in the heaven for we read of no other object. The Spirit of God is there though, and He is moving on the face of the dark, unformed, and void earth. God said, "let there be light." and there was light. I think that the source of this light is God Himself for several reasons. First, God divided the light from the darkness just as later the sun divided the light from the darkness. Second, God will be the source of light in the new Jerusalem when they no longer need the sun. Third, the sun is a type of Christ in passages like Malachi 4. Forth, this source of light was all the earth's light throughout all the creation until just before things were created that could see, when it was replaced with the sun. John says, "No man hath seen God at any time." I think God replaced Himself with the sun right then so as not to be seen by any creature on earth. Also, fitting with this, something must have been moving for the morning and evening and God was moving so as He divided the light from the darkness there would be morning and evening. In accordance with this, the Bible speaks of the sun (our current light) rising, going down, and running a circuit.
    On day two we read of God creating the firmament to divide the waters from the waters. Anyone I've talked to just assumes that the earth is near the center of this firmament. I think that one should show that it is otherwise if he is to make a good case against this assumption. But, what's the point if the firmament is our atmosphere? The next place we read of the firmament is on day four when God made the sun, moon, and stars and put them in firmament! If the firmament is where the stars are, then the birds are still inside the firmament just as it says on day five. Am I saying that there is water outside outer space and earth is at the center? Yes! If this is true, then the universe is finite rather than infinite as some have suggested; and there is a center, it is not acentric as many now postulate.
     At this point we shall move over day three since it seems insignificant to the topic of cosmology. On day four God made the sun, moon, and stars around the earth which already existed. It does not tell us they were even around earth in the center; nor does it tell us otherwise. It would appear (if we knew nothing of cosmology and had just started looking for it in the Bible) that the earth was in the center of the universe and the lights were created for earth and moved around it. I'd like to look at some other topics in Genesis 1, but for now, I'll conclude these thoughts. 
      Genesis starts off telling us of the creation of the universe and it would seem the earth was stable in the center. The rest of scripture fits with this perfectly and reinforces it. I could take time and make history and science fit with this too but is the Bible really that clear? You could certainly take the current teachings about the universe and find the Bible to fit with them too, so can you make a solid case from scripture? Everyone must start somewhere and I'd contend that the Bible should be our starting point on all matters. So often we conform to just what our culture is saying about science, the family, the government, and so much else and then we read the Bible without taking thought that our minds need to be renewed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Be Ye Transformed

     When David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he first used an oxcart; similar to what the Philistines had done.  David probably was not intentionally trying to be like the heathen, but simply moved the cart that way because it had been returned to Israel in a cart.  Still, they suffered terrible consequences by moving the Ark that way.  Then David realized how God wanted the Ark to be moved;  and when he did it God's way he had God's blessing. 
     Often, as Christians, we do the same thing in many areas.  We tend to copy the world around us in our music, clothing, finances, view of the family, understanding of the state, and numerous other things. Therefore, God tells us " not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..."  We should actively be searching the scriptures so we may do all things to the glory of God. 
     One way we do this, is by searching to see what Scripture says about a certain thing.  The Bereans did this when they checked out the teachings of Paul with the Bible.  When we hear the teachings of some man or when we are thinking about some issue, we should think, "What does the Bible say about this?"  And then search and see.  The primary way we study the Bible though, is to simply read the Scriptures, memorize portions, and copy it down.  As we put the Bible in our minds and think about it, the Holy Spirit will teach us things that we should be doing to be conformed to the image of Christ. 
     When one opens the Bible and begins to read, he will first find that, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  Nevertheless, numerous great Christians of the past and present have unwittingly accepted the world's theories about the age and origins of the earth.  Being conformed to the world in this area has led to terrible consequences.  There were other compromises, though, that led to the acceptance, by Christians, of an old earth.  
     Francis Bacon, who is often credited with formulating the scientific method, believed that one could understand the world, without the Bible.  Galileo Galilei claimed that one can use science to interpret the Bible.  Galileo said the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, but not how the heavens go.  Johannes Kepler said, science is "thinking God's thoughts after Him."  This sounds great, but, it places science as a standard alongside the Bible.  When one has two standards, he must sort out their reconciliation if they appear to disagree.  And thus, his mind is ultimately the standard.  When people accepted the teachings of Copernicus, even though they believed the Bible taught of a geocentric universe, they were then ready to accept science when it supposedly taught that the earth was very old. 
     If we want to not be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind, we aught to hold the Bible as our ultimate authority in every area of life, from science, to various issues of our culture.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!
     On this date in 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the church, officially starting the Reformation.  There have always been people who were justified by faith and strived to live righteously, but, at the time of Luther much of Europe was engulfed in Catholicism.  Luther realized that many of the church's teachings and practices were unbiblical.  The Church sold indulgences and believed in consubstantiation, but Luther saw that men are justified by faith alone not by sprinkling or some rite.  He had 95 points that he believed the Church needed to examine so they could reform to be more in line with the Scriptures.
     Martin Luther was a good guy, but he was imperfect. The problem is that some of his followers became Lutherans and followed his teaching and practices rather than standing on Sola Scriptura and continuing to reform their society.  As a result, many of the Lutherans today have sadly regressed to almost a modified Catholicism.  Some people, however, did continue to apply God's Word and reform thier Churches, families, and states. 
     Many of those in America tried to build a nation and culture based on the Scriptures, which was radically different from thier mother countries.  They preached sermons on just about any current issue of their day, including polotics.  About 3 days ago I got a 2 volume set of Political Sermons of the American Founding Era.  In it there was a sermon preached by Charles Chauncy on May 27, 1747, here is a short quote from that sermon -
     "The advice which Jethro gave Moses is here proper, 'Thou shalt provid out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.'  These are the men, men of understanding, courage and resolution; men of integrity, fidelity and honesty; men of piety and substantial religion; men of a noble generosity, setting them above the temptations, which those of narrow mindes and selfish views, are easily drawn away by and enticed: These, I say, are the proper men to fill the various posts in the state.  And it would be injustice to the public, for the persons concerned in the disposal of them, to neglect these, and bestow them on those of contrary character."
     We are not Catholics, but, nor are we perfect in all of our beliefs and practices.  Let us study the Scriptures so that we can apply God's Word to every asspect of our lives.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reviled and Persecuted
     Since I opened the topic of persecution in my last post, I decided that I would share some other ideas on this topic.  I would like to note first, that I am not qualified to write on this issue by experience or by much reading or studying.  Nevertheless, I have a few basic observations which a person could make just by reading the Bible.  
     2 Timothy 3:12 reads, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."  Often when we here the word persecution we immediately think of imprisonment, torture, and death either by the government or an anti-Christian group.  Stephen, Paul, and many other Christians from the New Testament to the present time have suffered in these ways.  Persecution can be much broader than this, because, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  The devil will persecute anyone who wants to live a godly, Christ-like life.  We here in America do not suffer in the same way as Christians in China, but, the devil is out to persecute us in other ways.
     In Matthew Jesus taught his disciples that they were blessed when they were reviled, persecuted, and spoken evil of.  In Luke when Jesus was speaking of the same subject, He did not refer to any bodily damage, but said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."  As far as I know D. L. Moody never was tortured for his Christianity, and yet I am sure that there were many men who hated and avoided him.  Even so, we may or may not suffer physical persecution, but if we will live godly we shall have men speak evil of us and dislike us. 
     We should not let the danger of persecution turn us from living boldly for God, anymore than a soldier would avoid conflict because of danger.  Though all who live righteously do suffer let us particularly remember them which suffer adversity and are in bonds. 
     "O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me."  Psalm 7:1

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Nation, Prayer, and Persecution
     "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." - 1 Timothy 2:1-2
     As we consider our nation, our churches, and even our own lives and our families, it is evident that we need to pray.  If we do not have God's help we are in trouble!  Most of us are familiar with a number of statements the Bible has about praying, such as, 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."  I think that we can apply this very specifically to Jerusalem, but can also derive a principle that we should pray for the peace of our own country.  We also have numerous examples of people in the Bible who were praying for their country.  Some of the prophets, such as Daniel, and the Psalmist made prayers for their nation.
      Now, I've heard some people talking about praying that persecution will come to our country so that the church would be strengthened.  I've heard from multiple sources that some of the Christians in China are praying that we will be persecuted for our Christianity in America.  They also don't want us to pray that their persecution will stop.  I think that these Christians are some of the most sincere and dedicated believers.  However, it is a sin for anyone to persecute Christians! Shall we pray for evil that good may come?  God FORBID!!!
     Jesus taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."  If we find ourselves in divers temptations we should count it all joy, and yet, when we are persecuted in one city we ought to flee to another.  David in Psalm 7:9 prayed, "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just..."  I believe that we should not pray for persecution, but rather, that God would spare us and deliver others.  Nevertheless, if we have prayed wrongfully God can still answer rightfully. 
     When we pray for our country, let us recognize that God hears prayer and that His hand is not shortened, but that His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Let us be humble and confess our own sinfulness and beseech God for His mercy.  We need God to send out laborers into his harvest and revive us again and I think that we need far more than a revival of just renewed dedication and sincerity but we also need a vast reformation of our culture even within many of our churches. 
                                                   But aren't we nearing the end of time? 
     "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How Should We Then Vote? - Part III

     In the previous blog post, I mentioned the passages in Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1 where God had the children of Israel vote for rulers, giving them qualifications which these men must meet to be voted for.  I'd like to talk about these more in depth, but first I want to briefly restate some of the thoughts that I have already expounded on:
     1. We should vote exclusively pro-life since it is our job as mankind to protect life and punish murderers through the government.
     2. We should vote only for men because God only allowed his people to choose men for their rulers.
     3. The rulers of the children of Israel had to be from their own tribe.  And, God told them when they chose a king that he had to be from their own country.  We should only vote for people in federal positions who are Americans.  (They have their birth certificates;)
     Exodus 18:21 says that these Israelite men who were to be chosen as rulers must be able.  Deuteronomy 1:13 states that they must be known among your tribes.  In other words, we must vote for men who are capable of being rulers and have demonstrated this in other ways.  Perhaps if a man has shown that he capable in his family and business, or other government positions he has held, we could say that he is able.
     Then in Exodus it says they must fear God.  Now, the Bible mentions people who had no fear of God, and people who greatly feared God, so, there could be different levels of fearing God.  They must have a fear of God, whatever the degree may happen to be.  Therefore, we certainly should not vote for an agnostic, atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim!  Furthermore, Deuteronomy says they must be wise and understanding. We know that the fear of God is wisdom and the fool says in his heart there is no God.  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and to depart from evil is understanding.  We cannot vote for someone that God says is a fool!
     These men were to be men of truth.  It may be hard to find an honest politician (we need statesmen), but I believe we ought only to vote for someone who means what he says and keeps his word.
     Lastly, Exodus says they must hate covetousness.  We should not vote for someone who is out to get money for himself or who wants to get money from tax payers to satisfy others' covetousness.
     To summarize this, God has certain principles for who we should vote for.  First, we must vote for people who meet God's qualifications.  Once they have met that, we can discuss which one is the best or which one we like the most.  
     We should strive to vote for people who are qualified and find people to run if no one in a race is qualified.  Sometimes, we might get people who seemed good at first, but then turned out to be untruthful or covetous.  But, we should never vote for someone when we know it would be against God's principles.
     The Bible has many commands to government rulers.  The king was to write a copy of the law, not multiply wives, and Proverbs says he shouldn't drink.  These commands were given to the rulers, and every ruler aught to obey them.  We could debate whether or not we can vote for someone who disobeys these commands, but certainly they should meet the minimum qualifications if we are to vote for them. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Should We Then Vote? - Part II - Women

     There are qualification for church rulers.  A woman should want to marry a man who meets certain qualifications.  What qualifications are there for government rulers?  
     In Exodus 18 we read about when Jethro came to see Moses.  All the children of Israel were coming to Moses to inquire of God.  Jethro told him that God wanted him to set up rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens to judge all of the small matters, so that they would just bring the large matters to Moses.  In Deuteronomy 1 the Bible tells how Moses chose all of these rulers.  He held a political election and made rulers of those whom the children of Israel chose.
     There were certain qualifications that these men had to meet in order to be chosen as rulers.  Exodus says, "...thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness..."  Deuteronomy says, "...wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes..."  Later in 2 Samuel 23:3 God said, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."
     Before we look at these qualifications in more depth, I would like to note a couple of things.  First, God never said a government official must be a christian, nor did He give us an extensive list of current issues that he must be right on.  But, rather, a few basic qualifications he must meet.  Second, whatever our current relationship to the law is supposed to be, God never changes and He has eternal principles which always apply.
     The first things mentioned in Exodus 18:21, are that they were supposed to be chosen out of all the people, (they were not supposed to be foreigners), and they were to be able men.  God chose to specify that these were to supposed to be men, not women.  This fits with the order of creation and the purposes for which men and women were created.  I think it's worth noting, that in the two other institutions God created, namely the church and the home, he chose men to be the leaders.  In today's political world we need men in government, who are not just males, but manly and bold. 
     When God set up the priesthood in Israel only men were allowed to be priests.  And when God set up a monarchy in Israel, He chose first Saul, then David, and when he was old God chose Solomon, not Bathsheba!  However, there is a big question, "What about Deborah?!"  To answer that, first, does one example in the book of Judges trump every other precept and principle in the Bible?  Second, the other judges in the book of Judges not only gave judgements but also were the chief executive and led the military.  Deborah, on the other hand, was a prophetess, a wife, and a mother and people would come to her under a tree to be judged.  When God wanted someone to lead the country and wage war, He chose Barak.  Barak appears to have been a coward though, and not a good leader, so the honor went to a woman, Jael. (Barak is the only one mentioned in the New Testament.)  Contrast that with the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, who was occupied keeping the home and her husband was sitting in the gates with the elders of the land.
     In Isaiah 3 when God was pronouncing woe upon the wicked, he said that women would rule over them.  The only female monarch Judah ever had was Athaliah.  And, the most prominent woman in Israeli politics was Jezebel!  Our country is under judgement of God, and we see ladies increasingly in government positions. 
     To sum this all up, God's plan is for men to lead in the government, and women are only government rulers in times of judgement.  I believe that God wants us to vote for able men as it says in Exodus, and even the example of Deborah fits with this idea.  This means I could not vote for McCain, no matter how good he or Sarah Palin were.  But, Obama got in!  What's worse than Obama getting in?  The church, as ambassadors for Christ, voting for people who do not fit God's qualifications is worse.  God's blessing makes a nation great, not another politician.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Should We Then Vote? - Part I

     It is just over a month until we will be voting.  So we need to think through what God's principles are for voting, before we are in the voting booth.  Who has voted and who has not voted and how they have voted has had a significant part, has a significant part in how we have come to where we are in this nation. 
     We find God first instituting human government in Genesis 9:6, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man."  Notice that God did not start a monarchy, nor anarchy where any man could just go and kill a murderer.  By saying, "man," the Bible is referring to mankind as a whole.  In any particular nation man has the responsibility to have a government to bear the sword and execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Therefore, in any nation where a man can vote, he has the responsibility before God to vote. 
     Though our government does many things, like build roads, fund schools, etc., the purpose that God created government for was to defend life and execute murderers.  If we were voting for a pastor and he said that he was going to have all sorts of programs for the church, but that he wasn't going to shepherd the flock, we would not think of voting for him.  And, likewise, I do not believe that we should consider voting for a man to fill any government office if he is pro-abortion or anti capital punishment, because he is saying that he will NOT do his job!
     Now what do you do, if there are two candidates running for an office and neither of them will do his job?  Do you choose the lesser of two evils?  We need to do our job and vote for men who will do their job, so if there is none, we must find one or not vote for that office.  We do not need to be pragmatic for God is the one that removes kings and sets up kings.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Saith Scripture?

       Proverbs 4:26 tells us, "Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." In other words we need to think about how we do things and what we are doing so we will not be shaken and moved.
       When a missionary from an organized 'religion' goes into an area where the people just worship spirits or have some sort of collection of superstitions, the people are much more easily converted to that 'religion' than when a missionary goes into an area under an established 'religion' (at least that is what I've heard.) Similarly, when one who has not thought through his theology is confronted by Calvinism, Armenianism, or another organized theological system he is most likely to agree with the first one that comes by.
       Once I heard some people talking about what to name some baby. Should they turn on the television and use the first word they heard? or drop some silverware and see what it sounded like? Some like certain names and some others but we need to ask ourselves, "What does scripture say about naming babies?" Before you ask, "What college should I go to?" ask yourself "What does scripture say I should be doing now?"
      I want to make posts on many issues not because I know more than others but rather to help us think through things and discus them. Therefore, I would appreciate any comments that people want to leave.
If you think I'm very mistaken on something you can tell me! Or if you like something or have a question.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thinking Biblically

     In Genesis chapter 2, God told Adam that he could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  In Genesis chapter 3, the serpent first questioned God's Word, second denied God's Word, and finally got Eve to disobey God's Word.  Rather than obeying God's clear command, Eve made a decision based upon her perception of reality.  Satan has been decieving people throughout history in the very same way. 
     In our society, even those in good churches, tend to believe in an unscriptural cosmological model based on human reason.  Many people believe in an evolutionary history of the universe and not God's Word.  Most Christians interperet what God says about clothing, music, marriage, family, children, occupation, the roles of males and females, education, and government through the culture which they happen to be living in.  But instead we should carefully evaluate what our culture says about these things in light of the Bible.
     Our culture here in America has evidences of a Christian influence, but it is becoming increasingly based on humanism.  As Christians we should be working through every area of life to see what God's commands and principles are for that area. If we don't, without realizing it, we will tend to do just what the world is doing.  David did this when he tried moving the Ark with an ox cart, but then God brought judgment and David reformed to follow God's way.
     In future posts I want to open up some of these topics and look at them through the Bible.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's Wrong?

     What is wrong in America?  Why do the churches seem ineffective?  Is the problem evolution?  Or is God just making things worse in spite of anything that we do, or don't do?  Why haven't we seen a major revival for many years?  Why are our children leaving the church?
     In Leviticus 26, God told the children of Israel that if they would keep his commandments he would bless them.  He then told them that if they would not keep his commandments, but instead walk in their own ways or the ways of the heathen around them, he would punish them for their iniquities. In verse 23 God proceeded to tell them that if they would not be reformed by these things He would punish them even more.  But in verse 40 it says that if they would confess their iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers and be humbled, God would remember his covenant.
     Leviticus 26 was speaking specifically about Israel.  But the principles apply to any family, nation, or church.  If they will keep God's commandments they will be blessed, but if they will not they will reap the consequences.  God is judging our nation, our families, and our churches, because we are not keeping his commandments.  God wants us to teach all his commands to all nations and always be reforming to be aligned with His Word.
     With this blog I would like to make some specific observations and point out areas where we as a people have left God's commands, principles, and patterns.  We have by default been following the world, but we need to lay the ax at the root of the tree, and prepare the way of the Lord!