That faith

April 14, 2012

Testimony of Christ by a Jewish man

Filed under: On Jesus — Tags: , , — JMJ @ 7:42 am

Are faith healers for real?

Filed under: Bible concepts — Tags: , , , , , — JMJ @ 6:00 am

There is no doubt that God has the power to heal anyone at any time. The question is whether He chooses to do so through those who are called “faith healers.” These individuals typically convince their audiences that God wants them to be well and that through their faith—and usually a financial offering—God will reward their faith by healing them through the power of Jesus.

By comparing the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus to that of the modern faith healers, we can determine whether their claims have any basis in Scripture. If, as they say, they heal through the same power and in the same way that Jesus healed, we should be able to see marked similarities between them. However, just the opposite is true. Mark 1:29-34 gives us a description of just one day of Jesus’ healing ministry. His power to heal—and to do all kinds of miracles—was evidence that He had power over both the physical and spiritual effects of the curse of sin. He healed those afflicted with physical diseases, illnesses, and injuries, even raising the dead, and He cast demons out of those who were possessed by them. Only God can rescue us from the results of the Fall of man into sin—disease and death, and by His miracles, Jesus proved His deity.

There are several distinctives in the way Jesus healed that are not characteristic of the modern faith healers. First, He healed instantly. Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31), the centurion’s son (Matthew 8:13), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:41-42), and the paralytic (Luke 5:24-25) were all healed immediately. They did not have to go home and start to get better, as is the advice from many faith healers. Second, Jesus healed totally. Peter’s mother-in-law was fully functional after being healed from an illness so severe she was bedridden, but when Jesus healed her, she rose immediately and prepared a meal for all who were in the house. The blind beggars in Matthew 20:34 were given instant sight. Third, Jesus healed everyone (Matthew 4:24; Luke 4:40). They were not required to be pre-screened by the disciples before coming to Jesus for healing, as is the standard procedure with the healers today. There was no healing line they had to qualify for. Jesus healed all the time in many places, not in a studio with carefully-controlled circumstances.

Fourth, Jesus healed actual organic diseases, not symptoms as the faith healers do. Jesus never healed anyone of a headache or back pain. He healed of leprosy, blindness, and paralysis, miracles that were truly verifiable. Finally, Jesus healed the ultimate disease—death. He brought forth Lazarus after four days in the grave. No faith healer can duplicate that. In addition, His healings did not require faith as a precondition. In fact, most of those He healed were unbelievers.

There have always been false healers who prey on the suffering and the desperate in order to pad their bank accounts. Such behavior is the worst kind of blasphemy because many whose money is wasted on false promises reject Christ outright because He does not do what the healer has promised. Why, if faith healers have the power to heal, do they not walk the halls of the hospitals healing everyone and releasing them all? Why do they not go to Africa and cure all the AIDS cases? They do not because they cannot. They do not have the power of healing that Jesus possessed.

[From http://www.gotquestions.org/%5D

April 7, 2012

Old testament verses foretelling Christ

Filed under: Old Testament predictions — Tags: , , , , — JMJ @ 1:34 pm

Luke 24:25-27
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
(KJV)

What Scriptures did Christ teach of when it was said by Him: “he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”? Well we know it was all Old Testament Scripture because the New Testament had not been written yet. Below we supply some of the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold of Jesus Christ.

Gen 3:15 (The first prophecy in the Bible, Jesus was to be that seed of the woman)
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (KJV)

Gen 22:18 (Jesus was the promised seed of Abraham)
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (KJV)

Gen 26:4 (In Jesus, the seed of Abraham through Isaac, the whole world is blessed)
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.(KJV)

Gen 49:10 (The sceptre [scepter] denotes King, Shiloh means Peace; Jesus is the King of Peace)
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (KJV)

Num 21:6-9 (This was a ‘type’ of Jesus Christ, see [John 3:12-16])
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
(KJV)

Num 24:17 (Jesus was a descendant of Jacob from Isaac, from Abraham; Jesus was the King from Israel)
17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. (KJV)

Deut 18:15 (Jesus was sent from God in the form of a man)
15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. (KJV)

Ps 16:9-11 (Jesus was The Holy One whose resurected body did not decay; He is now at the right hand of God forever)
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
(KJV)

Ps 22:all (The entire Psalm 22 is Christ on the cross, written 1000 years ahead of time)
Ps 22:1 (Christ’s first words from the cross, God did not forsake Jesus, nor was Jesus implying so, but rather, Jesus was drawing our attention the this Psalm as He hung on the cross. Below we supply the New Testament Scripture were Jesus fulfills this Psalm)
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (KJV)

Matt 27:46 (Prophecy fulfilled 1000 years later. Jesus uses pure Hebrew with one Aramaic verb)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (KJV)

Ps 22:14 (Blood and water from Jesus’ side. Bones out of joint from hanging on the cross)
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. (KJV)

Ps 22:16 (Christ’s hands and feet pierced as He was nailed to the cross)
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. (KJV)

Ps 22:18 (This was fulfilled with Jesus in [Luke 23:34] below. The psalms are dated to 1000B.C.)
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (KJV)

Luke 23:34 (The prophecy fulfilled in Christ Jesus)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (KJV)

Ps 132:11 (Jesus, the descendant of David would sit on the Heavenly Throne)
11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. (KJV)

Isa 7:14 (Immanuel in Hebrew means: ‘God with us’. Jesus Christ Jehoshua Christos) means: ‘God Savior’, The Anointed One. These titles are in two different languages but are the same thing. Jesus is Immanuel – God with us. Below this Scripture we supply the fulfillment of it with Jesus Christ.)
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)

Matt 1:21 (self explanatory)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (KJV)

Luke 1:30-35 (self explanatory)
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
(KJV)

Isa 9:6-7 (self explanatory)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(KJV)

Isa 40:10-11 (self explanatory)
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
(KJV)

Isa 50:6 (Jesus flogged [Matt 27:26]. Jesus mocked [Mat 27:29] Jesus spit upon [Mat 27:30])
6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (KJV)

Isa 52:13-15 (Jesus was beaten much worse than was normal Roman punishment, but His blood covers us all as a cleansing before the Lord God)
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
(KJV)

Isa 53:1-12 (Jesus would come appearing as a simple flesh man, not as the Mighty and Noble Son of God that He truly was)
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(KJV)

Isa 60:21 (Jesus is the Branch [Jer 23:5-6]. See next Scripture)
21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (KJV)

Jer 23:5-6 (self explanatory)
5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
(KJV)

Jer 33:14-15 (Jesus, the Branch, was a descendant of David)
14 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
(KJV)

Ezek 34:23 (Jesus is that Shepherd for all time, even over his ancestor David. See below Scripture)
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. (KJV)

Matt 22:42-46 (Jesus is Lord over all, even David, His ancestor)
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
(KJV)

Ezek 37:25 (Jesus, the ancestor of David would reign forever)
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (KJV)

Ezek 37:24-25 (Jesus’ ancestors being used to refer to Him. Only Jesus reigns eternally, this did not Jacob and David do. They died. Jesus died, resurrected and sits at the right (the power hand) hand of God on the throne. This Is not so of Jacob or David)
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
(KJV)

Dan 9:24-26
This is probably one of the more powerful witnesses that Jesus Christ was in fact The Messiah. This prophesies the exact year of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion (who would not even be born for another four hundred and some odd years from the time of this writing).

Below, each week is seven years. In verse 25 you have seven weeks [seven sevens = 49 years] and three score and two weeks [62 weeks is 62 sevens = 434 years].

So you have: “that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” till : “shall Messiah be cut off” , is 69 weeks [69 sevens] = 483 years. The command to restore the Temple was given in 454 B.C. [Neh 2:1 &2:18].

Therefore, from the command to restore the Temple in 454 B.C. to the crucifixion of the Messiah in A.D. 29 you have exactly 483 years as prophesied. Below is that prophecy:

Dan 9:24-26
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
(KJV)

Micah 5:2 (Jesus was the one who “came out of thee”)
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (KJV)

Micah 7:18-20 (speaking of the Messiah Jesus Christ)
18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
(KJV)

Zech 6:12-13 (self explanatory, Jesus is the BRANCH)
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
(KJV)

Zech 9:9 (The first Advent of Christ, fulfilled in [John 12:15-16] below)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (KJV)

John 12:15-16 (Jesus fulfills the prophecy)
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.
16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. (KJV)

Zech 9:10 (The second Advent of Christ yet to be fulfilled, see [Rev19:11-16])
10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. (KJV)

Zech 12:8-10 (Second Advent, see [Rev 1:7-8])
8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(KJV)

Zech 13:7 (Jesus is the Shepherd, the 12 Disciples were the sheep, fulfilled in [Matt 26:31 & 56] below)
7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (KJV)

Matt 26:31
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (KJV)

Matt 26:56
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. (KJV)

Mal 3:1-4 (John the Baptist, in the spirit of Elijah, came before Jesus, see [Luke 1:13-17 & Luke 3:15-17])
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
(KJV)

Mal 4:2-6 (Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, the Bright and Morning Star*, the Star of David)
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
(KJV)

Rev 22:16
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (KJV)

[From http://biblestudysite.com/%5D

History of the Bible

Filed under: Bible history — Tags: , , — JMJ @ 12:58 pm

The history of the Bible starts with a phenomenal account of history! It’s not one book like I always thought — It’s an ancient collection of writings, comprised of 66 separate books, written over approximately 1,600 years, by at least 40 distinct authors. The Old Testament contains 39 books written from approximately 1500 to 400 BC, and the New Testament contains 27 books written from approximately 40 to 90 AD. The Jewish Bible (Tanakh) is the same as the Christian Old Testament, except for its book arrangement. The original Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic, while the original New Testament was written in common Greek.

The history of the “Bible” begins with the Jewish Scriptures. The historical record of the Jews was written down on leather scrolls and tablets over centuries, and the authors included kings, shepherds, prophets and other leaders. The first five books are called the Law, which were written and/or edited primarily by Moses in the early 1400’s BC. Thereafter, other scriptural texts were written and collected by the Jewish people during the next 1,000 years. About 450 BC, the Law and the other Jewish Scriptures were arranged by councils of rabbis (Jewish teachers), who then recognized the complete set as the inspired and sacred authority of God (Elohim). At some time during this period, the books of the Hebrew Bible were arranged by topic, including The Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nebiim), and the Writings (Ketubim). The first letters of these Hebrew words – T, N and K — form the name of the Hebrew Bible – the Tanakh.

Beginning as early as 250 BC, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt. This translation became known as the “Septuagint”, meaning 70, and referring to the tradition that 70 (probably 72) men comprised the translation team. It was during this process that the order of the books was changed to the order we have in today’s Bible: Historical (Genesis – Esther), poetic (Job – Song of Songs), and prophetic (Isaiah – Malachi).

Although the Jewish Scriptures were copied by hand, they were extremely accurate copy to copy. The Jews had a phenomenal system of scribes, who developed intricate and ritualistic methods for counting letters, words and paragraphs to ensure that no copying errors were made. These scribes dedicated their entire lives to preserving the accuracy of the holy books. A single copy error would require the immediate destruction of the entire scroll. In fact, Jewish scribal tradition was maintained until the invention of the printing press in the mid-1400’s AD. As far as manuscript accuracy, the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed the remarkable reliability of this scribal system over thousands of years.

After approximately 400 years of scriptural silence, Jesus arrived on the scene in about 4 BC. Throughout his teaching, Jesus often quotes the Old Testament, declaring that he did not come to destroy the Jewish Scriptures, but to fulfill them. In the Book of Luke, Jesus proclaims to his disciples, “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Starting in about 40 AD, and continuing to about 90 AD, the eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus, including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, wrote the Gospels, letters and books that became the Bible’s New Testament. These authors quote from 31 books of the Old Testament, and widely circulate their material so that by about 150 AD, early Christians were referring to the entire set of writings as the “New Covenant.” During the 200s AD, the original writings were translated from Greek into Latin, Coptic (Egypt) and Syriac (Syria), and widely disseminated as “inspired scripture” throughout the Roman Empire (and beyond). 5 In 397 AD, in an effort to protect the scriptures from various heresies and offshoot religious movements, the current 27 books of the New Testament were formally and finally confirmed and “canonized” in the Synod of Carthage.

[http://www.allaboutthejourney.org/]

April 5, 2012

Authenticity of the New Testament books

Filed under: New Testament documents — Tags: , , — JMJ @ 4:49 pm

As with any ancient book transmitted through a number of handwritten manuscripts, the question naturally arises as to how confident can we be that we have anything resembling the autograph. Let us now look at what evidences we have for the integrity of the New Testament manuscripts. Let us look at the number of manuscripts and how close they date to the autographs of the Bible as compared with other ancient writings of similar age.

1. Tacitus, the Roman historian, wrote his Annals of Imperial Rome in about A.D. 116. Only one manuscript of his work remains. It was copied about 850 A.D.

2. Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote The Jewish War shortly after 70 A.D. There are nine manuscripts in Greek which date from 1000-1200 A.D. and one Latin translation from around 400 A.D.

3. Homer’s Iliad was written around 800 B.C. It was as important to ancient Greeks as the Bible was to the Hebrews. There are over 650 manuscripts remaining but they date from 200 to 300 A.D. which is over a thousand years after the Iliad was written.

4. The Old Testament autographs were written 1450 – 400 B. C.

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls date between 200 B.C. to 70 A. D and date within 300 years from when the last book of the Old Testament was written.
  • Two almost complete Greek LXX translations of the Old Testament date about 350 A. D.
  • The oldest complete Hebrew Old Testament dates about 950 A. D.
  • Genesis-Deuteronomy were written over 1200 years before the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Codex Vaticanus is an almost complete Greek translation of the Old Testament dating around 350 A.D. The Aleppo Codex is the oldest complete Old Testament manuscript in Hebrew and was copied around 950 A.D. The Dead Sea Scrolls date from within 200-300 years from the last book of the Old Testament. However since the five books of Moses were
written about 1450- 1400 B.C. the Dead Sea Scrolls still come almost 1200 years after the first books of the Old Testament were written.

5. The New Testament autographs were written between 45-95 A. D.

  • There are 5,664 Greek manuscripts some dating as early as 125 A. D. and an complete New Testament that dates from 350 A. D.
  • 8,000 to 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts.
  • 8,000 manuscripts in Ethiopic, Coptic, Slavic, Syriac, and Armenian.
  • In addition, the complete New Testament could be reproduced from the quotes that were made from it by the early church fathers in their letters and sermons.

Skeptics and liberal Christian scholars both seek to date the New Testament books as late first century or early second century writings. They contend that these books were not written by eyewitnesses but rather by second or third hand sources. This allowed for the development of what they view as myths concerning Jesus. For example, they would deny that Jesus actually foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. Rather they would contend that later Christian writers “put these words into his mouth.”

1. Many of the New Testament books claim to be written by eyewitnesses.

  • The Gospel of John claims to be written by the disciple of the Lord. Recent archeological research has confirmed both the existence of the Pool of Bethesda and that it had five porticoes as described in John 5:2. This correct reference to an incidental detail lends credibility to the claim that the Gospel of John was written by John who as an eyewitness knew Jerusalem before it was destroyed in 70 A. D.
  • Paul signed his epistles with his own hand. He was writing to churches who knew him. These churches were able to authenticate that these epistles had come from his hands (Galatians 6:11). Clement an associate of Paul’s wrote to the Corinthian Church in 97 A. D. urging them to heed the epistle that Paul had sent them.

2. The following facts strongly suggest that both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were written prior to 65 A.D. This lends credibility to the author’s (Luke) claim to be an eyewitness to Paul’s missionary journeys. This would date Mark prior to 65 A.D. and the Pauline epistles between 49-63 A.D.

  • Acts records the beginning history of the church with persecutions and martyrdoms being mentioned repeatedly. Three men; Peter, Paul, and James the brother of Jesus all play leading roles throughout the book. They were all martyred by 67 A.D., but their martyrdoms are not recorded in Acts.
  • The church in Jerusalem played a central role in the Book of Acts, but the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. was not mentioned. The Jewish historian Josephus cited the siege and destruction of Jerusalem as befalling the Jews because of their unjust killing of James the brother of Jesus.
  • The Book of Acts ends with Paul in Rome under house arrest in 62 A.D. In 64 A.D., Nero blamed and persecuted the Christians for the fire that burned down the city of Rome. Paul himself was martyred by 65 A.D. in Rome. Again, neither the terrible persecution of the Christians in Rome nor Paul’s martyrdom are mentioned.

Conclusion: These books, Luke-Acts, were written while Luke was an eyewitness to many of the events, and had opportunity to research portions that he was not an eyewitness to.

[From http://www.godandscience.org/%5D

The skeptic and the sparrows

Filed under: Bible concepts — Tags: , , — JMJ @ 8:04 am

Paul Harvey some time ago recited the following story about a religious skeptic:
“One raw winter night the man heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.
“Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in the corner. But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness, afraid.
“The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them to the barn. Nothing worked. He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn’t comprehend that he actually desired to help. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window. As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: If only I could become a bird – one of them – just for a moment. Then I wouldn’t frighten them so. I could show them the way to warmth and safety.
“At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He grasped the reason Jesus was born.”

[From http://www.bibleevidences.com/%5D

April 3, 2012

The Trinity explained in simple terms

Filed under: Bible concepts — Tags: , , , , — JMJ @ 3:03 pm

You and I live in a three-dimensional world. All physical objects have a certain height, width, and depth. One person can look like someone else, or behave like someone else, or even sound like someone else. But a person cannot actually be the same as another person. They are distinct individuals.

God, however, lives without the limitations of a three-dimensional universe. He is spirit. And he is infinitely more complex than we are.

That is why Jesus the Son can be different from the Father. And, yet the same.

The Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.

If we were to use math, it would not be, 1+1+1=3. It would be 1x1x1=1. God is a triune God.

Thus the term: “Tri” meaning three, and “Unity” meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three “Persons” who have the same essence of deity. Some have tried to give human illustrations for the Trinity, such as H2O being water, ice and steam (all different forms, but all are H2O). Another illustration is an egg having a shell, egg yolk and egg white, but this egg illustration shows that there would be “parts” to God, which isn’t the case.

God the Son (Jesus) is fully, completely God. God the Father is fully, completely God. And God the Holy Spirit is fully, completely God. Yet there is only one God. In our world, with our limited human experience, it’s tough to understand the Trinity. But from the beginning we see God this way in Scripture. Notice the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in Genesis 1:26 — Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Though not a complete list, here is some other Scripture that shows God is one, in Trinity:

  • “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4)
  • “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” (Isa. 45:5)
  • There is no God but one. (1Cor. 8:4)
  • And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17)
  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)
  • Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
  • “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
  • “He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.” (John 12:45)
  • If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Rom. 8:9)
  • “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 1:20)
  • And the angel answered and said to her [Mary], “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
  • [Jesus speaking to His disciples] “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” … “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:16-17, 23)

[From http://www.everystudent.com/forum/trinity.html%5D

The faith of the Apostles

Filed under: The Apostles — Tags: , , , , , — JMJ @ 1:38 pm

The testimony of death is what this author found as a nonbeliever to be a very difficult problem to get around. This is in reference to the last point on the above list: people who were tortured and executed willingly rather than deny their beliefs of Christ.

It is a challenging conjecture for any of us to think of what beliefs, if any, we would hold to the point of enduring torture or death. How long would you burn, or how much skin could you take being peeled away before screaming out whatever your tormentors wanted to hear? Until such moment comes, no one can say. But that moment did arrive for many who came before us, and history answers that they believed Jesus to be God-incarnate to their last breath.

The torturous end of Jesus’ closest followers and the torture and exile of another indicates something radical. Their lives and their writings may show us what they believed; but nothing as much as their deaths shows us just how much they believed Jesus to be risen.

Although many martyrs (people who died for not relinquishing their beliefs) and confessors (people who were threatened with death for the same) can be named throughout church history, it is the deaths of the apostles and other close followers which carry the bulk of evidence for Christ’s deity.

The apostles knew, lived, and worked with Christ daily for years. If Christ were a fake, no matter what the apostles might have previously preached or written, it is improbable that even one of them would have died for the sake of a joke or a lie. How rational is it that all of them would endure torture, eleven to the death, without even one wavering from their singular belief that Christ was God, and that he appeared to them after his crucifixion?

The fact that they maintained perfect unanimity on Jesus’ resurrection under torture, separately and over many years, is inconceivable unless they were each absolutely convinced of Christ’s claim to be the almighty God of the universe. The possibility that the apostles honestly mistook him to be God and only thought he appeared to them will be discussed later. But it is without a doubt that, rightly or wrongly, they were all totally convinced of Jesus’ deity to the end.

Here is how many of those closest to Jesus met their end:

  • Matthew – killed by stabbing as ordered by King Hircanus
  • James, son of Alphaeous – crucified
  • James, brother of Jesus – thrown down from a height, stoned and then beaten to death at the hands of Ananias (circa AD 66)
  • John – tortured by boiling oil, exiled to Patmos in AD 95
  • Mark – burned during Roman emperor Trajan’s reign
  • Peter – crucified upside-down by the gardens of Nero on the Vatican hill circa AD 64
  • Andrew – crucified on an “X” shaped cross by Aegeas, governor of the Edessenes, around AD 80
  • Philip – stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia
  • Simon – crucified in Egypt under Trajan’s reign
  • Thomas – death by spear thrust in Calamina, India
  • Thaddaeous – killed by arrows
  • James, son of Zebedee – killed by sword in AD 44 by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea
  • Bartholomew – beaten, flayed alive, crucified upside down, then beheaded

No group of individuals had closer contact with Jesus than those listed above. Their conclusion, even unto death, was that Jesus was God. Multitudes of unnamed Christians of the same and following eras likewise perished faithful to the conviction that Jesus is Lord. Pliny records an arrest procedure of many such Christians that today reads like a McCarthy-era transcript:

“Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, and who repeated after me an invocation to the gods,… and who finally cursed Christ – none of which acts, it is said, those who are really Christians can be forced into performing – these I thought it proper to discharge.”

Tacitus, in his work Annals, tells us of the fate common to Christ’s faithful, under Nero, who refused to recant their beliefs:

“Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

We often hear or say some variation of, “Your actions are speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.” The apostles and early Christians’ actions speak very clearly. Their actions matched their words. They walked their talk. Of course at this point, one might wonder what good their faithfulness did them – secure for them a horrible death? Where was their so-called loving God?

Christ did love these men, and these men loved Christ. These men could have denied their belief in Jesus and he probably would have forgiven them. But they loved the truth of God literally more than earthly life. Even one denial just to spare themselves from the moment might have become popularized as the “awful truth about Christ”, and the worship of Christ then greatly curtailed.

By the apostles’ obedience and sacrifice, Christ has allowed their deaths to become an extremely powerful witness to us of his person. They died because they loved Christ, and Christ let them die for him because he loves us. Belief in Christ is that important, and those who died knew it. So it is not God who devalues the apostle’s deaths, but us whenever we ignore the truth of Christ for which they surrendered their lives.

The deaths of Jesus’ closest followers are speaking to us. Their deaths have become evidence of Christ’s deity and ministry on earth. This is evidence of the Bible’s believability that no historian, scientist, or skeptic can ignore in clear conscience.

[From http://www.provethebible.net/%5D

Proof of Jesus outside the Bible

Filed under: On Jesus — Tags: , , , , — JMJ @ 1:01 pm

In the case for Christ, the value of evidence, particularly from hostile sources, is tremendous. Hostile sources are considered to be those who were definitely not followers of Christ; i.e., people who clearly were not out to propagate favorable belief in him. The fact that hostile sources cite Christ, as well as cite other New Testament
personages and events, is evidence for both the existence of Christ and the general veracity of the Bible.

The important point of hearing the corroborating testimony by non-Christians writing in Christ’s own era, and shortly thereafter, is simply the acknowledgment of Christ’s existence. Naturally, because all of the proceeding testimony comes from people who did not conclude him to be God, it does not deal with Christ as favorably or thoroughly as writings by those who did.

It is also categorically true that proof of Jesus’ divinity will not be found in writings that qualify as hostile. This is because if some ancient writer had seen and confirmed his miracles or realized his fulfillment of prophecy and then recorded “Yes, Christ actually did this or that which his followers speak of”, that writer would no longer be considered hostile by today’s skeptic. Right?

Therefore, only writers who reference Christ offhandedly or in a negative way are sources whom skeptics are likely to accept as neutral observers. Hence we are left with a collection of writings that, though by nature lack clear confirmation of Christ’s deity, do at least confirm he walked the earth for even his enemies to see.

Flavius Josephus
Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born around AD 38. He served Roman commander Vespasian in Jerusalem until the city’s destruction in AD 70. Josephus personally believed Vespasian to be Israel’s promised Messiah. When Vespasian later became emperor of Rome, Josephus served under him as court historian. 2 In AD 93, Josephus finished his work Antiquities of the Jews in which at least three passages specifically confirm portions of Scripture:

“But to some of the Jews the destruction of Herod’s army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance, for his treatment of John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had put him to death, though he was a good man and had exhorted the Jews to lead righteous lives, to practice justice towards their fellows and piety
towards God, and so doing to join in baptism.
“…convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive;…”

Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Younger)
Pliny was the governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Much of his correspondence has survived including a particular letter written circa AD 112 to the Roman emperor Trajan. This letter does not reference Christ directly, but it does establish several beliefs and practices of early Christians. This includes their loyalty to Christ even when it
cost them their lives. Pliny’s letter states:

“In the meantime, the method I have observed towards those who have been denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were in fact Christians; if they confessed it, I repeated the question twice, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed.
“…They affirmed, however, that the whole of their guilt, or their error, was that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to perform any wicked deed, never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to make it good; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”

Cornelius Tacitus
Tacitus was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and later became governor of Asia. Around AD 116 in his work entitled Annals, he wrote of Emperor Nero and a fire which had swept Rome in AD 64:

“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…”

Gaius Seutonius Tranquillas
Suetonius was a chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian writing around AD 120 in his work Life of Claudius:

“Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city.”

Lucian
Lucian, the Greek satirist, wrote this rather scathing attack in The Death of Peregrine circa AD 170:

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account… You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed upon them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”

The Talmud
The Talmud is essentially the collection of Jewish oral traditions that were put into writing with additional commentary between the years of AD 70 and 200. From the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a includes:

“On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out, in front of him, for forty days (saying): ‘He is going to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.’ But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of the Passover.”

Summary
In summary, what can we conclude about the figure of Jesus Christ by only listening to non-Christians of the first centuries? That he was an invented myth? Absolutely not. Just by listening to Jesus’ enemies and outsiders, we can put together the following profile on Christ and his influence; the sum of which positively affirms the believability of the Bible and deity of his person:

  • Jesus was a wise man and was called the Christ or Messiah, (Josephus)
  • Jesus gained many disciples from many nations, (Josephus)
  • He healed blind and lame people in Bethsaida and Bethany, (Julian the Apostate)
  • He was accused of practicing sorcery and leading Israel astray, (the Talmud)
  • Under Herod, and during the reign of Tiberius, Pontius Pilate condemned Christ to die, (Tacitus)
  • Christ was crucified on the eve of Passover, (the Talmud)
  • His crucifixion was accompanied by three hours of unexplained darkness, (Thallus)
  • Christ’s disciples, “reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive;”, (Josephus)
  • His disciples took to the habit of meeting on a fixed day of the week and took their name “Christians” from him, (Pliny)
  • They gave worship to Christ “as to a god”, (Pliny)
  • They bound themselves over to abstaining from wicked deeds, fraud, theft, adultery, and lying, (Pliny)
  • Christians held a contempt for death and were known for a voluntary self-devotion, (Lucian)
  • Christians believed themselves all brothers from the moment of their conversion, (Lucian)
  • Christians lived after Christ’s laws, (Lucian)
  • Christians were willingly tortured and even executed for their refusal to deny their belief in the resurrection and deity of Jesus Christ. (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Lucian)

[From http://www.provethebible.net/%5D

Old Testament predictions on Christ

Filed under: Old Testament predictions — Tags: , , , , — JMJ @ 6:16 am

There are many Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ. Some interpreters place the number of Messianic prophecies in the hundreds. The following are those that are considered the clearest and most important.

Regarding Jesus’ birth—Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Concerning Jesus’ ministry and death—Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Psalm 22:16-18: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

Likely the clearest prophecy about Jesus is the entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah 53:3-7 is especially unmistakable: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 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. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

The “seventy sevens” prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be “cut off.” Isaiah 50:6 accurately describes the beating that Jesus endured. Zechariah 12:10 predicts the “piercing” of the Messiah, which occurred after Jesus died on the cross. Many more examples could be provided, but these will suffice. The Old Testament most definitely prophesies the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.

[From http://www.gotquestions.org%5D

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