Weekend at Bernie’s theology

I saw this great metaphor over at Lone Star Times about how those who don’t believe the essentials of the Christian faith have taken over many churches and propped them up to suit their motives.

In the not-so-classic movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” two friends prop up a dead guy to make him appear alive so they can throw parties at his house. In the same way, liberal theologians don’t believe in the essentials of the faith (Jesus is God, He is the only way to eternal life, the Bible is authoritative and accurate, etc.), so they think they have a dead church on their hands.  They don’t have faith that God can still work through his Word to transform lives and cultures.

They prop it up, though, because they like the money, the influence, the buildings and the status that comes with their leadership roles. But they are really frauds. They either lied at their ordination vows or changed their minds later. Either way, if they were honest they would stop accepting payment from their members for teaching the opposite of the beliefs the church was founded upon.

Their teachings are like salt water, leaving you thinking that you are having your spiritual thirst quenched but all the while killing you.

For a better analysis, read this by Charles Spurgeon. He wrote it in 1870 but the message is still fresh and applicable.

Psalm 48

ps48.jpgGreetings!  This is another great Psalm of praise.   I like how it closes with a promise with an eternal perspective – that God will always be our God and our guide. 

This appears to be referring to the “New Jerusalem,” since the current one was destroyed a couple times since this was written. 

Psalm 48

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.

1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,

in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

2 It is beautiful in its loftiness,

the joy of the whole earth.

Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,

the city of the Great King.

3 God is in her citadels;

he has shown himself to be her fortress.

4 When the kings joined forces,

when they advanced together,

5 they saw her and were astounded;

they fled in terror.

6 Trembling seized them there,

pain like that of a woman in labor.

7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish

shattered by an east wind.

8 As we have heard,

so have we seen

in the city of the Lord Almighty,

in the city of our God:

God makes her secure forever. Selah

9 Within your temple, O God,

we meditate on your unfailing love.

10 Like your name, O God,

your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;

your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices,

the villages of Judah are glad

because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,

count her towers,

13 consider well her ramparts,

view her citadels,

that you may tell of them to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;

he will be our guide even to the end.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Psalm 47

ps47.jpgGreetings!  This is a beautiful Psalm full of passionate praise for God.  I think I’ll read this before church sometimes to help get my mind focused on properly worshiping him.  I am very self conscious and don’t like to sing, but I am going to try and focus more on him instead.

Psalm 47

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 Clap your hands, all you nations;

shout to God with cries of joy.

2 How awesome is the Lord Most High,

the great King over all the earth!

3 He subdued nations under us,

peoples under our feet.

4 He chose our inheritance for us,

the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,

the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;

sing praises to our King, sing praises.

7 For God is the King of all the earth;

sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations;

God is seated on his holy throne.

9 The nobles of the nations assemble

as the people of the God of Abraham,

for the kings of the earth belong to God;

he is greatly exalted.

[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Christians are also people of the God of Abraham.  Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.  We have faith in Jesus and because of that our sins are transferred to his account and his perfect righteousness is transferred to our account.  That is another reason to give him our thanks and praise!

Weekly roundup

money.jpgGovernment run lotteries are an awful joke.  Instead of sending a message that success is possible with hard work and thrift, our leaders tell the poor that the way out is to spend what little you have on a gambling program with the biggest sucker odds of all.

A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, about 9 percent of all income.  David Brooks

Concise, thorough and clear summary of the false teachings and false Bible translations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Hat tip: Ms. Green

When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash – even NPR can see the impacts.  It ain’t pretty.  Hat tip: Gay Christian Movement Watch

Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group’s view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, “parachurch” organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued — and so far, the religious groups are losing.

I know the pro-GLBTX groups will cheer, but I hope the wimpy middle-ground Christians wake up before their religious liberties are gone. 

Contrary to what all the DaVinci Code School of Theology graduates believe, The Canon was not decided at Nicea

It goes without saying that [Bart] Ehrman is not in the pocket of orthodox Christianity. His non-acceptance of these fables of Nicaean construction of the canon of Scripture are based on the fact that there is no valid historical reason to accept these ideas.

More nukes! - good public policy and a great strategy against Obama.

Ann Coulter made some good points about the Democrats’ non-policy on energy.  They have done nothing and plan to do nothing.  They are getting just what they wanted: Higher gas prices.

Liberals complain that — as B. Hussein Obama put it — there’s “no way that allowing offshore drilling would lower gas prices right now. At best you are looking at five years or more down the road.”

This is as opposed to airplanes that run on woodchips, which should be up and running any moment now.

Moreover, what was going on five years ago? Why didn’t anyone propose drilling back then?

Say, you know what we need? We need a class of people paid to anticipate national crises and plan solutions in advance. It would be such an important job, the taxpayers would pay them salaries so they wouldn’t have to worry about making a living and could just sit around anticipating crises.

If only we had had such a group — let’s call them “elected representatives” — they could have proposed drilling five years ago!

A great choice for McCain to make for VP

Help!  Help!  I’m being repressed!  One of the best scenes from a movie full of classic moments.  You could use this to teach history or political science.  It has subtitles, which help a lot.  Hat tip: Pastor Timothy

 

Death bed conversions Q&A

question-mark.gifQ. Can someone convert to Christianity on their deathbed and still be forgiven and go to Heaven?
A. Yes. See the story of the criminal on the cross as well as many other stories of people who converted late in life or on their death bed, such as the father-in-law of Lee Strobel (author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith). Just before a life-ending stroke, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

I heard a true story about an American Indian who converted 2 weeks before his death. The man was a life long bigot who hated African Americans. Yet an African American minister heard that this man was dying and went to visit him in the hospital, even though they didn’t know each other. When the man’s daughter went to visit him, she found the minister there with her father, who was on his knees praying to accept Jesus! Only an awesome God could wipe away a lifetime of sin and hatred by having the minister – who had presumably suffered from the prejudices of others – be the one to lead the man to Christ.

Q. Is the death bed conversion strategy a good idea?
A. No. That type of faith probably isn’t the true faith that will save you. And you might die suddenly. Consider Hebrews 3:15: As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts . . .” Eternity is a mighty long time, so you don’t want to take chances with your final destination.

Finally, by waiting you are missing out on the joy in life that starts now when you trust in Jesus. He can transform you starting today.

Q. Is it fair that someone can convert on their deathbed after leading a sinful life and still go to heaven?
A. No, it isn’t fair. But probably not for the reasons you are thinking. Grace is never fair. That is why it is called grace. It is a gift you don’t deserve. God can give the gift whenever and to whomever He wants to. None of us deserve Heaven.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The “teen pregnancy pact”

Jill Stanek has an important piece about the “teen pregnancy pact” from the school in Massachusetts, where 18 students aged 16 or younger are pregnant and there may have been some type of pact to try and get pregnant.  Surprisingly (!) the media is missing some rather obvious questions and story lines. 

[Principal] Sullivan was mandated to report the pregnancies of any of his 18 students under age 16, since pregnancy is evidence a crime may have been committed.

The law would also have required the same of mandated reporter Kim Daly, the GHS school nurse who by last month had distributed 150 pregnancy tests since the beginning of the school year, according to Time. A request for a pregnancy test by a girl under 16 is demonstration she may be the victim of sexual abuse.

These incidents also beg lawsuits galore, if the absentee parents get smart.

In her press conference, Kirk tried to shift blame for the pregnancies to state and federal government funding reductions “resulting in cuts to programs and services … including support for health education.”

Not so fast. Last spring, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rejected $700,000 in free money for abstinence teaching from the federal government. Meanwhile, Patrick approved a budget increase of $800,000 for comprehensive sex ed funding, bringing the total to $3.8 million annually.

Of course it’s not a story about sex education, because only comprehensive sex ed is taught in Massachusetts public schools.

Had this been a school system that taught abstinence, you’d best believe sex ed would be central to the story.

Had Patrick rejected comprehensive sex ed funding and increased abstinence funding, the New York Times would be pointing it out, not me.

Why isn’t the mainstream media researching Gloucester’s comprehensive sex ed curriculum? (I’m trying, but – surprise – none of the Gloucester public or school officials will call me back.)

Obviously, this drama spotlights just some of its deficiencies. As the Massachusetts Family Institute wrote:

The Gloucester girls were never taught to have a positive vision of their future, never encouraged to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, never motivated to consider the importance of raising their child with the loving support of a husband – all taught in abstinence-also education programs that are being pushed out of Massachusetts schools. …The hot topic in Gloucester now is whether to give minor girls at GHS hormonal contraceptives without their parents knowing, as if that is the solution to purposefully getting pregnant. Does the school plan to force-feed the Pill every morning? And while it bypasses parents, will it report cases of suspected child abuse for every girl under 16 requesting contraception?

The knee-jerk reaction in some circles was to blame abstinence programs.  That only fails in a couple huge ways:

  1. That school doesn’t teach abstinence and spends big bucks on comprehensive sex ed.
  2. How could teaching abstinence make kids want to deliberately get pregnant?

As pro-life blogger extraordinaire Roxanne De Luca noted:

This blogger’s take: giving contraception to people who want to get pregnant is like giving a fire extinguisher to an arsonist. 

When was the New Testament written?

bible.jpgThere are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about how and when the Bible was formed. Some liberal historians try to date the Gospels and other New Testament writings as far from the death of Jesus as possible because it supports their hypothesis that they were largely made up. Of course, if the Gospels really were dated 70 AD or after, there is no reason they couldn’t still be the inspired Word of God. Yet a late dating obviously plays into the hands of heretics who strive to discredit the authority of Scripture.

But the facts point to all or nearly all of the New Testament books being written within 40 years of Jesus’ resurrection. Consider the following:

  1. Jesus died and rose again around 33 A.D.
  2. The Apostle Paul was killed in 64 AD. This is a well attested historical fact. All his writings obviously occurred before then, and 1 Corinthians and Romans were written well before then. Paul testified that Jesus rose from the dead, among other things, and he did so within 20-30 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  3. The book of Acts, written by Luke, ends with Paul was in prison in 62 AD. Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke before he wrote Acts, so it was presumably written in the late 50’s.
  4. Most scholars agree that Luke was not the first Gospel. Therefore, the earliest Gospel must have been written no later than the mid to late 50’s. If Matthew and Luke used the ‘Q’ document (a lost early church writing) as a source, then of course ‘Q’ would have been written even closer to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  5. If the Gospels were all written after 70 A.D., why wasn’t the destruction of Jerusalem mentioned anywhere (especially in Matthew)? This was one of the most dramatic events in history, and was predicted by Jesus.
  6. Since these accounts were written within 20-30 years of Jesus death and resurrection, it is highly unlikely that they would have been myths. There would have been too many people alive to dispute the findings. And keep in mind that many thousands of people died believing these words to be true. Martyrs will die for a lie if they think it is true, but I don’t know of anyone who knowingly dies for a lie. If Jesus didn’t really have a bodily resurrection, why would the disciples live unnecessarily hard lives and die horrible deaths for something they knew to be a lie?

Also see Debunking the DaVinci Code

Hat tip to Stand to Reason for much of the above. Click here to learn lots more about the origins of the Bible.

Psalm 46

ps46.jpgGreetings!  This Psalm has some famous verses in it that you may want to commit to memory if you haven’t already. 

Psalm 46

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

1 God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah

I love those verses.  When I focus on all God is and all He has done, I realize there is nothing to fear.  But the worries of the world consistently chip away at that, so I need to remind myself of this often.  God will give us strength and He has given us refuge – a place to stay and even hide if we need to. 

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come and see the works of the Lord,

the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,

he burns the shields with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Yes, be still and know that He is God!  I need to do more of that – just being still and reflecting on him and his goodness.  When you are done reading this, please be still for a time and think about God and his message.  He is with believers and can mold and strengthen us to his image.

Death taxes are ghoulish

money2.jpgWhile the estate tax debate is typically framed as a soak-the-rich proposition, I find the whole concept to be immoral. If the government desperately needs those tax revenues it should find them somewhere else. It is simply wrong for the government to profit from the death of anyone, rich or poor.  If actions such as earned income or sales transactions generate taxes, so be it.  But dying should not be such a catalyst.

I like it better when governmental and business entities root for me to stay alive, such as in the case of life insurance. Note that I don’t expect to benefit if the estate tax is eliminated permanently; I just think it is wrong. 

Keep in mind that the rich folks who come out in favor of estate taxes may not be quite as noble as they appear. Some of them buy businesses on the cheap because families must sell them to pay estate taxes.

The “really rich,” whom the government wants to soak, typically find loopholes to avoid paying taxes. The “sort of rich” are the ones paying most of the taxes.

As George Harrison of the Beatles sang in Taxman, “And my advice for those who die . . . Declare the pennies on your eyes.” As a life-long fan of Beatles music, this is one of the few times I agreed with their politics.

Moral schizophrenia

carenet-walk-05-55.jpgIf you haven’t seen the video and story of the boy with autism who got to play in a high school basketball game and proceeded to score 20 points in 3 minutes, you need to watch it. It is truly inspiring.

When I watched this, I couldn’t help but think about the bizarre extremes our society goes to when it comes to the disabled. Consider all the positive and noble things done for the disabled:

  • Handicapped parking spaces, accessibility to buildings, etc.
  • Celebration of their accomplishments in events like the Special Olympics and the story above
  • Countless technological aids to help them use computers and work
  • Fund raisers and ministries to find cures and to provide care and encouragement

Yet what is society’s general attitude towards unborn humans who may be disabled when born? The current climate is that it is OK, and often preferable, to kill them before they are born. For example, abortion occurs roughly 90% of the time in pregnancies where Down Syndrome is diagnosed. Some babies are even aborted for correctable problems like club feet or cleft palates.

Jocylen Elder, former Surgeon General of the U.S. said abortion “has had an important and positive public-health effect” because it reduced “the number of children afflicted with severe defects.” She pointed out that “the number of Down Syndrome infants in Washington state in 1976 was 64 percent lower than it would have been without legal abortion.” She meant this as a victory of sorts, but what message does this send to the disabled and their families?

Of course we don’t wish medical problems on anyone. There is always an element of tragedy when they occur. Yet what about all the joy and life lessons they bring? And disabled people are less likely to commit suicide, so they aren’t necessarily less happy. We may rationalize that we are “helping” them, but who are we really trying to help?

Parting thoughts:

  • How long will it be until insurance companies pressure people to abort potentially disabled humans?
  • If autism could be detected in utero as Down Syndrome is, how many fewer autistic people would be with us?
  • I know several people who were encouraged by their doctors to have abortions because problems were suspected. Yet the children in question are alive and healthy!

I wrote about prenatal testing for Down Syndrome and one of our World Vision sponsor children who has it here.

Further reading on how our culture is continuing to warp: A Perfect Child

Numbers 35-36

n35.jpgGreetings!

Towns for the Levites

35     On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns. 3 Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for their cattle, flocks and all their other livestock.

4 “The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend out fifteen hundred feet from the town wall. 5 Outside the town, measure three thousand feet on the east side, three thousand on the south side, three thousand on the west and three thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.

Cities of Refuge

6 “Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee. In addition, give them forty-two other towns. 7 In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasturelands. 8 The towns you give the Levites from the land the Israelites possess are to be given in proportion to the inheritance of each tribe: Take many towns from a tribe that has many, but few from one that has few.”

9 Then the Lord said to Moses: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that a person accused of murder may not die before he stands trial before the assembly. 13 These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. 14 Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. 15 These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites, aliens and any other people living among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.

Justice and fairness are very important to God.  Our judicial system is based on the Bible, though we are drifting from it.  We would do well to return to its principles, including taking perjury more seriously.

16 “‘If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 17 Or if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 18 Or if anyone has a wooden object in his hand that could kill, and he hits someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at him intentionally so that he dies 21 or if in hostility he hits him with his fist so that he dies, that person shall be put to death; he is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

22 “‘But if without hostility someone suddenly shoves another or throws something at him unintentionally 23 or, without seeing him, drops a stone on him that could kill him, and he dies, then since he was not his enemy and he did not intend to harm him, 24 the assembly must judge between him and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send him back to the city of refuge to which he fled. He must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

26 “‘But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which he has fled 27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder. 28 The accused must stay in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may he return to his own property.

29 “‘These are to be legal requirements for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live.

30 “‘Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

This is an important part of God’s provision of the detah penalty.  Also, perjury was taken very seriously in the Bible, with those guilty of it being given the same punishment as the accused.

31 “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must surely be put to death.

32 “‘Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow him to go back and live on his own land before the death of the high priest.

33 “‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.’”

Inheritance of Zelphehad’s Daughters

36     The family heads of the clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, who were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph, came and spoke before Moses and the leaders, the heads of the Israelite families. 2 They said, “When the Lord commanded my lord to give the land as an inheritance to the Israelites by lot, he ordered you to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away. 4 When the Year of Jubilee for the Israelites comes, their inheritance will be added to that of the tribe into which they marry, and their property will be taken from the tribal inheritance of our forefathers.”

5 Then at the Lord’s command Moses gave this order to the Israelites: “What the tribe of the descendants of Joseph is saying is right. 6 This is what the Lord commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father. 7 No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal land inherited from his forefathers. 8 Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of his fathers. 9 No inheritance may pass from tribe to tribe, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.”

10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses. 11 Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. 12 They married within the clans of the descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in their father’s clan and tribe.

13 These are the commands and regulations the Lord gave through Moses to the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Numbers contains many lessons and warnings for us.  Paul refers to them in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12: For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

Interestingly, I already had 1 Corinthians in the queue to study next after a few Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs.  Please join us for that!

Reruns

as_seen_on_tv.jpgSo I’m going to re-post some of my favorite pieces the next few weeks and take a partial sabbatical.  Some of you old-timers may recognize them, but the newer folks may not.  Many are from my pre-Wordpress days. 

I edited and updated many as I went along.  I didn’t necessarily pick the most popular (or the most un-popular), just ones that I liked the best.

I have a few series in mind but need some time to work on them and will work in some new stuff as well along with Weekly Roundups.

Thanks for being regulars (and visitors), and I hope you keep coming back!

By the way, if you ever do something similar I encourage you to leave your old posts as they are and just copy them to new posts.  Otherwise you’ll mess up any links to the old posts and have to fix them.  Not that I did that or anything.

Numbers 33-34

n33.jpgGreetings!

Stages in Israel’s Journey

33     Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:

3 The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out boldly in full view of all the Egyptians, 4 who were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment on their gods.

5 The Israelites left Rameses and camped at Succoth.

6 They left Succoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert.

7 They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon, and camped near Migdol.

8 They left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah.

9 They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there.

10 They left Elim and camped by the Red Sea.

11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Desert of Sin.

12 They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah.

13 They left Dophkah and camped at Alush.

14 They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

15 They left Rephidim and camped in the Desert of Sinai.

16 They left the Desert of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah.

17 They left Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.

18 They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.

19 They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez.

20 They left Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah.

21 They left Libnah and camped at Rissah.

22 They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.

23 They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.

24 They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.

25 They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth.

26 They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath.

27 They left Tahath and camped at Terah.

28 They left Terah and camped at Mithcah.

29 They left Mithcah and camped at Hashmonah.

30 They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.

31 They left Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan.

32 They left Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Haggidgad.

33 They left Hor Haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.

34 They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.

35 They left Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber.

36 They left Ezion Geber and camped at Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.

37 They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the border of Edom. 38 At the Lord’s command Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor, where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. 39 Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev of Canaan, heard that the Israelites were coming.

41 They left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.

42 They left Zalmonah and camped at Punon.

43 They left Punon and camped at Oboth.

44 They left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim, on the border of Moab.

45 They left Iyim and camped at Dibon Gad.

46 They left Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim.

47 They left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, near Nebo.

48 They left the mountains of Abarim and camped on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. 49 There on the plains of Moab they camped along the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim.

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.

55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

 The Bible is spectacularly detailed in its recording of historical events.  Some people want to dismiss it as fairy tales, but archeology is the Bible’s best friend and historical documents outside the Bible back it up as well.  It would be odd to be so detailed if this were a mythical tale.

Verse 55 isn’t a veiled threat.  The Israelites will fail in completely driving out the people, just as we fail to completely drive out sins from our lives.  And they will experience consequences, just as we do.

Boundaries of Canaan

34     The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance will have these boundaries:

3 “‘Your southern side will include some of the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. On the east, your southern boundary will start from the end of the Salt Sea, 4 cross south of Scorpion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, 5 where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Sea.

6 “‘Your western boundary will be the coast of the Great Sea. This will be your boundary on the west.

7 “‘For your northern boundary, run a line from the Great Sea to Mount Hor 8 and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, 9 continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north.

10 “‘For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. 11 The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Kinnereth. 12 Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Salt Sea.

“‘This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.’”

13 Moses commanded the Israelites: “Assign this land by lot as an inheritance. The Lord has ordered that it be given to the nine and a half tribes, 14 because the families of the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance. 15 These two and a half tribes have received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan of Jericho, toward the sunrise.”

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. 18 And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. 19 These are their names:

Caleb son of Jephunneh,

from the tribe of Judah;

20 Shemuel son of Ammihud,

from the tribe of Simeon;

21 Elidad son of Kislon,

from the tribe of Benjamin;

22 Bukki son of Jogli,

the leader from the tribe of Dan;

23 Hanniel son of Ephod,

the leader from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph;

24 Kemuel son of Shiphtan,

the leader from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph;

25 Elizaphan son of Parnach,

the leader from the tribe of Zebulun;

26 Paltiel son of Azzan,

the leader from the tribe of Issachar;

27 Ahihud son of Shelomi,

the leader from the tribe of Asher;

28 Pedahel son of Ammihud,

the leader from the tribe of Naphtali.”

29 These are the men the Lord commanded to assign the inheritance to the Israelites in the land of Canaan.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

 

The audacity of being an abortion survivor

Please read this whole article about Gianna Jessen, a woman who wasn’t supposed to exist and who Barack Obama thinks could have been legally and morally killed after surviving an abortion. 

By the way, I don’t mean she was the mother who survived an abortion, she was the baby.

After being burned alive for approximately 18 hours in the womb from the saline solution, Gianna was delivered alive in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic. Her medical records state, “born during saline abortion”…this is what caused her Cerebral Palsy.

From a recent Wall Street Journal article:

Miss Jessen is an exquisite example of what antiabortion advocates call a “survivor.”

Had the abortionist been present at her birth, Gianna would have been killed, perhaps by suffocation. As it was, a startled nurse called an ambulance, and Gianna was rushed to a nearby hospital, where, weighing just two pounds, she was placed in an incubator, then, months later, in foster care.

As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother’s wombs are “persons,” and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

When I asked Gianna to reflect on Mr. Obama’s candidacy, she paused, then said, “I really hope the American people will have their eyes wide open and choose to be discerning. . . . He is extreme, extreme, extreme.”

Mr. Obama has compiled a 100% lifetime “pro-choice” voting record, including votes against any and all restrictions on late-term abortions and parental involvement in teenagers’ abortions.

To Mr. Obama, abortion, or “reproductive justice,” is “one of the most fundamental rights we possess.” And he promises, “the first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would overturn hundreds of federal and state laws limiting abortion, including the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and bans on public funding of abortion.

He is such a uniter.

This guy really, really likes abortion.  I’m amazed that he is considered a Christian.

Also see Barack Obama – pro-partial birth abortion, among other things

 

Numbers 31-32

n31.jpgGreetings!

Vengeance on the Midianites

31     The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

3 So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the Lord’s vengeance on them. 4 Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.” 5 So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel. 6 Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling.

7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. 8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

That passage may sound harsh, but the Midianites were to be wiped out for their sins.  The last we heard of Balaam it appeared that he was doing as the Lord commanded, but he actually enticed the Israelites to sin sexually.  Also see Rev. 2:14.

Sexual sin leads people away from God.  I see that happening everywhere, every day.  A relative of a friend is involved in an affair and it is destroying his family.  He won’t listen to his pastor or anyone from the church. 

19 “All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives. 20 Purify every garment as well as everything made of leather, goat hair or wood.”

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle, “This is the requirement of the law that the Lord gave Moses: 22 Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead 23 and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water. 24 On the seventh day wash your clothes and you will be clean. Then you may come into the camp.”

Dividing the Spoils

25 The Lord said to Moses, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. 27 Divide the spoils between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community. 28 From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats. 29 Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part. 30 From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle.” 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys 35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was: 337,500 sheep,

37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675;

38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72;

39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61; 40 16,000 people, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32.

41 Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part, as the Lord commanded Moses.

42 The half belonging to the Israelites, which Moses set apart from that of the fighting men— 43 the community’s half—was 337,500 sheep, 44 36,000 cattle, 45 30,500 donkeys 46 and 16,000 people. 47 From the Israelites’ half, Moses selected one out of every fifty persons and animals, as the Lord commanded him, and gave them to the Levites, who were responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle.

48 Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—went to Moses 49 and said to him, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to the Lord the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”

51 Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted from them the gold—all the crafted articles. 52 All the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds that Moses and Eleazar presented as a gift to the Lord weighed 16,750 shekels. 53 Each soldier had taken plunder for himself. 54 Moses and Eleazar the priest accepted the gold from the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds and brought it into the Tent of Meeting as a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord.

The Transjordan Tribes

32     The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. 2 So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, 3 “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon— 4 the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. 5 If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”

6 Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here? 7 Why do you discourage the Israelites from going over into the land the Lord has given them? 8 This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. 9 After they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the Lord had given them. 10 The Lord’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: 11 ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old or more who came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— 12 not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ 13 The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the desert, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”

Moses jumped to conclusions here, though things worked out.  I have found a key success factor in life and in business is to give people the benefit of the doubt.  You can always react later, but you can’t undo over-reactions.

16 Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. 17 But we are ready to arm ourselves and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18 We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance. 19 We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.”

20 Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for battle, 21 and if all of you will go armed over the Jordan before the Lord until he has driven his enemies out before him— 22 then when the land is subdued before the Lord, you may return and be free from your obligation to the Lord and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the Lord.

23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised.”

V. 23 is very universal and convicting: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out.”  We think we can avoid the consequences of sin, but they always come around somehow.  We reap what we sow, as Galatians 6 says (Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.)

25 The Gadites and Reubenites said to Moses, “We your servants will do as our lord commands. 26 Our children and wives, our flocks and herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead. 27 But your servants, every man armed for battle, will cross over to fight before the Lord, just as our lord says.”

28 Then Moses gave orders about them to Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and to the family heads of the Israelite tribes. 29 He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, give them the land of Gilead as their possession. 30 But if they do not cross over with you armed, they must accept their possession with you in Canaan.”

31 The Gadites and Reubenites answered, “Your servants will do what the Lord has said. 32 We will cross over before the Lord into Canaan armed, but the property we inherit will be on this side of the Jordan.”

33 Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the half-tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and the territory around them.

34 The Gadites built up Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35 Atroth Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth Nimrah and Beth Haran as fortified cities, and built pens for their flocks. 37 And the Reubenites rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh and Kiriathaim, 38 as well as Nebo and Baal Meon (these names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave names to the cities they rebuilt.

39 The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out the Amorites who were there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair. 42 And Nobah captured Kenath and its surrounding settlements and called it Nobah after himself.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Weekly roundup

Good summary of the counterproductive futility of the Democrats on fuel prices – Pelosi & Reid: The Drill Nothing Congress

In November of 2006, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi issued a press release touting the Democrats’ “common-sense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices.”

She accused the oil companies of “price gouging.”

The average price of regular gas crept over the $4-per-gallon barrier over the weekend . . . That represents a more than 75% increase in the retail price of a gallon of gasoline on Pelosi’s watch. Call it the “Pelosi premium” we’re all now paying.

The myth of Galileo – this is one of those things that never seems to go away.  Sadly, it helps perpetuate the religion vs. science false dichotomy. 

Nice summary of how the Global Warming hoax got started and perpetuated.  If only this could be taught to all the kids forced to watch Gore’s propoganda film.

Sadly, even the pro-legalized abortion leaders don’t listen carefully to pro-life arguments . . . or is it deliberate?  The head of the ACLU kept using the straw-man argument that pro-lifers are trying to force their religious views on others, even though she was the only person in the debate who brought up religion. 

Yes, our pro-life views happen to be in concert with our religious views (“don’t murder”), but we don’t need the Bible to argue the pro-life ethic (or pro-traditional marriage for that matter).  And the pro-legalized-abortionists never seem to object to the apostate religious organizations who aren’t pro-life, even though they are presumably “forcing” their religious views on others as well. 

Nice summary of the differences between Catholics and Protestants on salvation.  Also see Does the Catholic church teach a true Gospel?

There are more ways than one to rob people – great little video of real life issues hospitals face with illegal aliens.  Your insurance $$ at work.

Woo-hoo!  I Can Plainly See is back. 

Thorough explanation of the problems with the book of Mormon changing to accomodate the Civil Rights movement

More hypocrisy from Al Gore – his already significant energy consumption goes up 10%