Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Why Easter Doesn't Always Coincide with the Ancient Passover

Someone wrote this regarding the dates for Easter and the Passover coinciding:

"For historical reasons it does not, though it did originally. The jewish passover date used to be set by people actually observing the new moon - the very first sliver of light around it's edge. This observation would be confirmed by the temple authorities and hence the time of passover (14th Nissan) was known. However, during Christ's time, many jews lived abroad and many of these "diaspora" communities formed the core of the new Christian groups. They could not communicate quickly with Jerusalem so would make their own observations. Christians would then celebrated Easter when their Jewish neighbours celebrated Passover. 

As the church became more organised, it wanted to ensure everyone was celebrating Easter at the same time, so they devised the standard formula which we still use today. The Jews eventually came up with their own formula, but it was different so now Jewish and Christian celebrations are not always synchronised. 

Neither formula necessarily replicates what the Jewish temple would have decided had they continued beyond c 70AD."

Easter or Passover?

The word "Easter" derives from the same root as our word "east", referring to the shining of the dawn. The pagans had a festival at Springtime. They invented a deity and named it after the same root word, because Spring was a time of shooting forth or shining forth. Eventually the month itself began to be named something similar to the name of their invented deity.

When the pagans became Christians, they began celebrating Christ's death instead - and seeing Christ's death - and the ancient Jewish Passover - happened at approximately the same time of the year (in Spring, approximately April), the name "Easter" came to refer to the time of Christ's death - or to the time of the ancient Passover.

I guess that's why the translators of King James' Version rendered the Greek word in Acts 12:4 as "Easter" rather than "the Passover" - because by 1611 the terms had come to represent a synonymous time of the year in English.

Easter and the Passover don't always coincide. Some say we should reject the word "Easter" and should remember Christ's death during the Passover.

But if we insist on rejecting the word "Easter", shouldn't we reject the word "east" as well? Both words derive from the same root. 

The Apostles did not require the Gentiles to celebrate during the time of the Passover. Instead they celebrated the Lord's Table weekly.

They quoted Jesus' words at the Last Passover, in order to give instruction regarding the Lord's Table. Therefore we know the Apostles understood Jesus' words at the last Passover to mean that He was morphing the Passover into something new - a New Covenant - the Lord's Table - to be celebrated "as oft as ye drink it".

Jesus wasn't merely giving new significance to the Passover. He was morphing it into something called the Lord's Table, it was never called the Passover, and it was celebrated weekly, or as often as they drank it.

So we are not obligated to celebrate Christ's death at the time of the ancient Passover, nor at Easter.

We can if we wish to. But we're not obligated to. 

That's our Gospel freedom!

As Often As You Drink It

When Jesus said to remember Him as often as we drink "it", He did not mean that Christians must start keeping the Old Testament Feast of Passover and remember Him annually while doing so.

Rather, Jesus morphed the Passover into a New Covenant cup, in which we can now remember Him "as oft" as we drink it - without any special annual observance being required. I feel this is clear for three reasons:
1. Because when He took the cup He said, "This is the New Testament in my blood". 

He'd never said that before at any previous Passover. In His last Passover Jesus officially morphed the Old Testament feast into something new, something else. Something we can do "as often as we drink it".
2. Paul quoted these very words in his letter to the Corinthians when instructing them concerning the Lord's table. The Lord's Table was something the Corinthians partook of weekly, not annually - and they never called it the Passover. And Paul directly linked this function of the Church with Jesus' statement. 

In other words Paul understood Jesus to be referring to the Lord's Table. Paul never required Gentiles to keep the Feast of Passover.
3. It's not possible or legal to keep the Passover any more, even for Jews. According to Moses' Law, the Passover had to be: 
a) observed exclusively in Jerusalem; 

b) a blood sacrifice was mandatory, not optional; 

c) it had to be offered on the altar in the tabernacle or Temple, nowhere else; 

d) a Levite priest had to be officiating; 

e) if the priest couldn't prove his descent from Levi by written genealogy, he wasn't qualified to officiate; 

f) it had to be observed in the Spring, in the month of Nisan (it isn't Spring during the month of Nisan in the southern hemisphere). 
All of that is impossible now, especially in Australia. Observing it in any other way, any other place, any other time, any other manner - adding or deleting even a single detail - was forbidden by Moses' Law, and a curse was attached if someone even tried.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Waters of Noah's Flood

I'm sure there's enough water on earth to have flooded the whole surface of the earth in Noah's day. 

On Day 1 of creation, the whole planet was covered with water.

On Day 2 an atmosphere was created with some water being in or above the atmosphere while the rest of the water still covered the entire surface of the earth.

On Day 3 much of the surface water must have gone underground, and perhaps it was a single land mass - the Pangea if you like - that appeared. Just maybe. And if so, mountains might not have been as high as they are today.

At Noah's flood, some of the water in or above the atmosphere, plus that subterranean water (which had once covered the surface, before it went underground), was released to cover the surface again. 

It rapidly laid sediment and fossils and affected land forms.

After the flood, the water began returning underground.

As water slowly went underground again, humans and animals repopulated the Pangea.

After some time (perhaps a hundred years later) the Mantle may have become saturated with the water. It may have been a period of volcanic activity. The Pangea may have split and continents may have drifted rapidly and collided, lubricated by the excessive water in the Mantle. 

This would have rapidly formed the current shape of the continents, and quickly formed higher mountains like the Himalayas. 

As the water subducted even deeper,  the Mantle might have become less lubricant, continental drift would have slowed, almost stopped. That's the situation today.

Seismic cracks observable today under the oceans mean that there is likely more water that has been transported to under the earth  than has remained in the oceans.

As the water removed to under the earth some of it became physically trapped.

Some of the water also became not just physically trapped but also chemically bound in rock.

Some of the water would have come under so much pressure, it would have heated, and some hydrogen may have separated from oxygen as a result.

Some of the water trapped in rock sometimes gets forced to the surface again. 

Some of the hydrogen gets heated under pressure, rises and binds with oxygen to form water again.

This may be an ongoing cycle which releases or binds to electrons in the process, which helps give the earth its magnetic field.

But most of the underground water may now be too deep to be involved in that cycle. This deeper water also helps explain the earth's magnetic field.

Diamonds, formed deep below, require a watery environment to form. Pressure then forces them closer to the surface.

Sometimes minerals are found trapped in the diamonds - minerals whose composition reveals the watery environment they came from. 

As time goes on, scientists will find increasing evidence of volumes of water in the earth. Leaving those who said there isn't enough water for a worldwide flood with egg on their faces.

Respecting God's Word is the fountain of scientific accuracy.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Evidence for Evolution?

According to evolutionary anthropologists, modern humans have been in many parts of the world, such as the Americas, for only tens of thousands of years.

In other parts of the world, such as Australia, the oldest human civilisations, they say, are only fifty thousand years old.

Going back further in time than that, modern humans occupied only a relatively localised region of the globe, such as parts of Africa, they say.

They also believe that the evolution of the modern human was already complete by 100,000 years ago, or maybe even by over 2million years ago.

So if they are right, it means that no direct evidence for the evolution of the modern human from our alleged ancestor will be found in the whole of America, or the whole of Australia, or in the Pacific, or in most of Asia, nor in much of Europe and the Middle East - but only in some local regions, such as somewhere in Africa.

If a skull fragment is found in America, or a fossil in Australia, or a tooth in parts of Asia, or tools in the Pacific, or any other form of hard evidence in parts of Europe or the Middle East, none of it is hard evidence of the alleged phase of evolution which linked modern humans with our ancestors - because  the evolution of the modern human was already complete before humans arrived in those parts of the world. Any true, hard evidence that may exist, can be found only in a local region where modern humans allegedly existed far, far longer than merely tens of thousands of years - such as in an area in Africa, according to their model.

That really narrows down the geographical corridor from which any hard evidence for human evolution can be admissible. 

I think the average non-scientific public imagine the theory of evolution to be founded on an innumerable multitude of hard evidence such as skeletons and fossils and tools littering the globe. But in reality, only what's found in, say Africa, could be evidence.

And what is actually found in Africa? What hard evidence proves the link beyond a shadow of a doubt? The answer: nothing, so far. I find that astounding.

Another thing that amazes me is the extent of revision that takes place in these fields of science. For example, estimates of the timeline for human migration to some places of the world can change by a factor of up to ten. That's an enormous discrepancy if I'm meant to have confidence in their methods.

Despite such uncertainty and changeableness, many non-scientists have not only accepted what was originally asserted but some of them even taught it to others. But now later those original assertions in which they trusted are rethought by scientists. And they're not small changes. They are pivotal changes. 

Seeing it's so difficult for scientists to be sure about the timeline of human migrations around the world (which happened relatively recently, in comparison to the proposed timeline of human evolution) how much confidence should I have in scientists' timeline for the alleged evolution of the human which was completed so much longer ago and which began (from a single cell) allegedly over 2billion years ago.

To my mind, the very fact that a previous assertion can be rethought, shows that the evidence for the original assertion was never quite there. 

You can't rethink whether or not electricity can be useful for making light.

You can't rethink whether or not wings might be useful at providing lift to an aircraft.

You can't rethink the distance between Burleigh Heads and Surfers Paradise. 

These things are now observed everyday by a multitude.

But the fact that scientists can rethink how long humans have been in certain parts of the world - and by such large factors - and so pivotally - shows that they only had theories before but not practical evidence.

A lot of the assumed evidence is not independent and is circular. One science is said to prove evolution, but that science proves it only if another science is true - yet that other science itself begs proof. And so on.

No Evidence for Human Evolution in America?

If you want indisputable evidence for human evolution, it seems you will have to look outside the continent of the Americas, for now.

The following is an article, a version of which appeared printed in the New York Times on March 28, 2014, on page A5 of the New York edition, with my comments inserted and 
highlighted in yellow.

My comments are based on the logic that if humans had already fully evolved by 200,000 to 2.5million years ago (as the theory of evolution asserts), then if we aren't even sure whether humans have actually lived in the Americas for longer than merely
thousands of years (and the article below highlights the uncertainty that exists in that regard) - then we really don't have any certain evidence - any certain links, at all - in the whole of the Americas, for human evolution.

My comments point-out that a culture of
making assertions despite uncertainties can exist in the scientific community.

Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas

SERRA DA CAPIVARA NATIONAL PARK, Brazil — Niede Guidon still remembers her astonishment when she glimpsed the paintings.
Preserved amid the bromeliad-encrusted plateaus that tower over the thorn forests of northeast Brazil, the ancient rock art depicts fierce battles among tribesmen, orgiastic scenes of prehistoric revelry and hunters pursuing their game, spears in hand.
“These were stunning compositions, people and animals together, not just figures alone,” said Dr. Guidon, 81, remembering what first lured her and other archaeologists in the 1970s to this remote site where jaguars still prowl.
Hidden in the rock shelters where prehistoric humans once lived, the paintings number in the thousands. Some are thought to be more than 9,000 years old and perhaps even far more ancient. Painted in red ocher, they rank among the most revealing testaments anywhere in the Americas to what life was like millenniums before the European conquest began a mere five centuries ago.
But it is what excavators found when they started digging in the shadows of the rock art that is contributing to a pivotal re-evaluation of human history in the hemisphere.

Continue reading the main storySlide Show

Reassessing Human History in the Americas

Researchers here say they have unearthed stone tools proving that humans reached what is now northeast Brazil as early as 22,000 years ago.

So the tools are 22,000 years old, but the paintings right nearby are only 9,000 years old? Hmm. Okay. Moving right along...

Their discovery adds to the growing body of research upending a prevailing belief of 20th-century archaeology in the United States known as the Clovis model, which holds that people first arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 years ago.

According to the theory of common descent, humans had already evolved between 200,000 and 2.5million years ago. Therefore not much evidence can be put forward for human evolution if all we have to go by is only thousands of years old. 
Therefore the statement above basically also implies that any supposed evidence that we thought existed for human evolution - in all of the Americas - is also now being upended!

It means if you want proof of human evolution, you will have to look outside of the Americas.

“If they’re right, and there’s a great possibility that they are, that will change everything we know about the settlement of the Americas,” said Walter Neves, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of São Paulo whose own analysis of an 11,000-year-old skull in Brazil implies that some ancient Americans resembled aboriginal Australians more than they did Asians.

Change everything that we know? You mean everything that evolutionary anthropoligists knew about the human settlement of the Americas had been hinging on something that is refutable?

This would mean that nothing that anthropoligist know about humans in the Americas is able to tell us with any certainty at all anything about human evolution. If evidence for it can be found outside the Americas, certainly none can be found in the Americas.
Up and down the Americas, scholars say that the peopling of lands empty of humankind may have been far more complex than long believed. The radiocarbon dating of spear points found in the 1920s near Clovis, N.M., placed the arrival of big-game hunters across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago, long forming the basis of when humans were believed to have arrived in the Americas.
More recently, numerous findings have challenged that narrative. In Texas,archaeologists said in 2011 that they had found projectile points showing that hunter-gatherers had reached another site, known as Buttermilk Creek, as early as 15,500 years ago. Similarly, analysis of human DNA found at an Oregon cave determined that humans were there 14,000 years ago.
But it is in South America, thousands of miles from the New Mexico site where the Clovis spear points were discovered, where archaeologists are putting forward some of the most profound challenges to the Clovis-first theory.
Paleontologists in Uruguay published findings in November suggesting that humans hunted giant sloths there about 30,000 years ago. All the way in southern Chile, Tom D. Dillehay, an anthropologist at Vanderbilt University, has shown that humans lived at a coastal site called Monte Verde as early as 14,800 years ago.

14,800 years ago. Are they so sure it wasn't say 14,600 years ago? How do they give such a pinpoint figure so confidently, when this whole article shows that all such findings can be disputed by a huge range.
And here in Brazil’s caatinga, a semi-arid region of mesas and canyons, European and Brazilian archaeologists building on decades of earlier excavations said last year that they had found artifacts at a rock shelter showing that humans had arrived in South America almost 10,000 years before Clovis hunters began appearing in North America.
“The Clovis paradigm is finally buried,” said Eric Boëda, the French archaeologist leading the excavations here.

Buried? Strong statement. 
Exposing the tension over competing claims about where and when humans first arrived in the Americas, some scholars in the dwindling Clovis-first camp in the United States quickly rejected the findings.

Tension? Competing claims? Quickly rejected? That sounds a bit emotive, irrational, unscientific. Please give me more confidence in the scientific community and how it draws conclusions!
Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, argued that the stones found here were not tools made by humans, but instead could have become chipped and broken naturally, by rockfall. Stuart Fiedel, an archaeologist with the Louis Berger Group, an environmental consulting company, said that monkeys might have made the tools instead of humans.

Lol. So there are scientists who are in effect willing to upend all the evidence that exists for the theory of human evolution in the entire continent of the Americas, based on the discovery of some tools which other scientists doubt were even tools at all.

Continue reading the main story

Serra da Capivara
National Park
Rio de

“Monkeys, including large extinct forms, have been in South America for 35 million years,” Dr. Fiedel said. He added that the Clovis model was recently bolstered by new DNA analysis ancestrally connecting indigenous peoples in Central and South America to a boy from the Clovis culture whose 12,700-year-old remains were found in 1968 at a site in Montana.
Such dismissive positions have invited equally sharp responses from scholars like Dr. Dillehay, the American archaeologist who discovered Monte Verde. “Fiedel does not know what he is talking about,” he said, explaining that similarities existed between the stone tools found here and at the site across South America in Chile. “To say monkeys produced the tools is stupid.”

"Does not know what he is talking about". "Stupid". Doesn't sound like the scientific community has ever been very sure of each other in this field.
Having their findings disputed is nothing new for the archaeologists working at Serra da Capivara. Dr. Guidon, the Brazilian archaeologist who pioneered the excavations, asserted more than two decades ago that her team had found evidence in the form of charcoal from hearth fires that humans had lived here about 48,000 years ago.

A fireman who recently looked at charcoal in my backyard couldn't tell that it was from a fire eight months ago rather than half an hour ago. Yet Dr Guidon can date charcoal so accurately at 48,000 years old (sure it wasn't 46,000 years?), that she is willing to upend everything that evolutionary anthropoligists know about the migration of humans to the Americas on that basis. Is that how easy it is to in effect upend all existing evidence of human evolution in all of the Americas?
While scholars in the United States generally viewed Dr. Guidon’s work with skepticism, she pressed on, obtaining the permission of Brazilian authorities to preserve the archaeological sites near the town of São Raimundo Nonato in a national park that now gets thousands of visitors a year despite its remote location in Piauí, one of Brazil’s poorest states.
Dr. Guidon remains defiant about her findings. At her home on the grounds of a museum she founded to focus on the discoveries in Serra da Capivara, she said she believed that humans had reached these plateaus even earlier, around 100,000 years ago, and might have come not overland from Asia but by boat from Africa.

That's a huge difference to what was previously believed! How remarkable that scientists know so little with any certainty about humans in the Americas over a few thousand years, yet are so certain about humans in Africa, Asia or Europe to the point that they feel they have proved human descent all the way back to a single cell over a period of 2.1 billion years.
Professor Boëda, who succeeded Dr. Guidon in leading the excavations, said that such early dates may have been possible but that more research was needed. His team is using thermoluminescence, a technique that measures the exposure of sediments to sunlight, to determine their age.

Why did they not just use carbon-dating, seeing it's considered so reliable? Is this a suggestion that carbon-dating might not be reliable in this instance for some reason?
At the same time, discoveries elsewhere in Brazil are adding to the mystery of how the Americas were settled.
In what may be another blow to the Clovis model of humans’ coming from northeast Asia, molecular geneticists showed last year that the Botocudo indigenous people living in southeastern Brazil in the late 1800s shared gene sequences commonly found among Pacific Islanders from Polynesia.
How could Polynesians have made it to Brazil? Or aboriginal Australians? Or, if the archaeologists here are correct, how could a population arrive in this hinterland long before Clovis hunters began appearing in the Americas? The array of new discoveries has scholars on a quest for answers.

So now here is a third theory! And it has scholars on a quest for answers? The very fact that the issue is able to be disputed, shows that it had never been a concrete finding.

Like, if someone claims to have new research proving that the distance from Surfers Paradise to Burleigh Heads, Queensland is not 10km as has been believed, but is actually more like 16km or even 140km - it wouldn't have scholars on a quest for answers. We'd all know it was mad.

Similarly, if the original evidence about humans in the Americas had ever had any certainty about it in the first place at all, then no new 'evidence' could now have scholars on a such quest for answers.

So there's isn't certainty about how long humans have existed in the Americas. And therefore we can't source the continent of the Americas for evidence that human evolution has occurred.  
Reflecting how researchers are increasingly accepting older dates of human migration to the Americas, Michael R. Waters, a geoarchaeologist at Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the First Americans, said that a “single migration” into the Americas about 15,000 years ago may have given rise to the Clovis people. But he added that if the results obtained here in Serra da Capivara are accurate, they will raise even more questions about how the Americas were settled.
“If so, then whoever lived there never passed on their genetic material to living populations,” said Dr. Waters, explaining how the genetic history of indigenous peoples links them to the Clovis child found in Montana. “We must think long and hard about these early sites and how they fit into the picture of the peopling of the Americas.”

Long and hard. Yes, please. What a good idea!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Torah and The Passover

The Torah forbids keeping the Feast of the Passover. 

It had to be kept exactly where and as prescribed. That's impossible here and now.

Of course anyone can still meet for a commemorative meal if they wish. But they shouldn't call it The Passover. 

Jesus told us what to do. Remember Him as often as we eat and drink, until He comes. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Passover Doesn't Exist

The Passover doesn't exist anymore.

Sure the 15th day of the month Nissan still comes around every year.

Sure the full moon still happens.

But it's impossible to keep the Passover anymore.

The Passover had to be kept in the tabernacle or Temple in Jerusalem, during the Spring, and a blood sacrifice had to be offered on the altar, with a Levite priest officiating.

The altar, Levitical genealogies, the priesthood, and the Temple don't exist anymore. And it isn't Spring during the month of Nissan in the southern hemisphere.

Omitting even one detail, keeping the Passover any other way or in any other place, was strictly forbidden by the Torah.

Therefore any attempt at keeping the Passover today is not really keeping the Passover. And it shouldn't be called such.

Of course we can celebrate ancient Israel's deliverance from Egypt if we wish. But doing so today cannot comply with the Torah's requirements for keeping the Passover. Therefore we shouldn't kid ourselves that we're keeping the Passover.

Besides, Jesus kept and fulfilled the Passover, and He inaugurated a New Covenant in His blood. Jesus ordained that we remember Him as oft as we eat and drink it, not on a set annual day like the Old Covenant Passover.

But if someone's conscience is weaker and he feels obliged to honour a certain date, we ought to allow him seeing he's honouring the Lord in his conscience.

But when we remember Him, we are not keeping the Passover. My ancestors were never in slavery in Egypt as far as I know. What we are remembering is the Lord's death until He comes, not the Passover, no matter what date of the year it is.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Uncertainty of Certain Sciences

What would you think if someone told you a new discovery challenges the longheld belief that the distance from Surfers Paradise to Burleigh Heads is 10km, and suggests instead that the actual distance is now more likely to be 16km - or possibly even 75km?

You'd know straightaway that it's crazy. Rethinking the distance is simply impossible.

This linked article published in the New York Times shows scientists rethinking and squabbling over the alleged timing of the arrival of humans to the Americas.

To my mind, the fact that it's even possible to rethink previous beliefs about such a thing, and the fact that there is so much squabbling over what constitutes evidence, the fact that there is so much variation in the results, and the fact that the dispute is over something so pivotal to longheld assertions, shows that both the old and the new assertions lacked certainty. And not just by a few miles!

Read the article here

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lunar Eclipse 15 April 2014

On this night which was once the Old Covenant Jewish Passover, I'm at Burleigh Beach, spontaneously singing, prompted by the Spirit, songs of praise and love for Jesus, as I watch the lunar eclipse, where the earth has come in between and blocked the light of the sun and moon, casting its dark bloody shadow on the moon which was meant to reflect the sun's light to the earth; the southern cross with its two pointers are watching on, and mars is standing as a witness.

To me it's a memorial in the sky, placed by Him who gives signs in the heavens, of that night when Jesus sweated drops of blood in the garden, was betrayed, and later crucified on the cross, and the sin of the world cast its dark shadow of blood over He Who came to be the Light of the world.

Now the shadow is passing. The light appears again.

Jesus has risen!

"He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification".

As people gather to watch this spectacle, I long to tell of His love, His story.

I ring my nephews David then PJ and tell them.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Paul's Gospel and the Apostles' Doctrine

God gave a promise to the forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The promise was that a seed would come, and that in Him all nations of the world would be blessed.

Later God made a temporary Covenant with Jacob and his descendants, and gave them a Law which was associated with that Covenant.

They were unable to keep that Covenant, despite God sending them Prophets to warn them. The Prophets also spoke about the coming of the promised Seed Who would save the world and spoke about a New Covenant.

One such Prophet was David. And God promised David that the promised Seed would descend from him.

The Jewish people were great fans of the Promise, the Covenant, the Law and the Prophets - and they were looking forward to this Seed Who was to come and save them.

In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, in the line of David and Abraham, whom they named Jesus, which means Saviour.

During His ministry which was exclusively to the Jews while they were still under the Old Covenant and its Law, Jesus Himself kept the Law and the Old Covenant. He didn't despise the Law. He told the Jews of that time that none of them should despise it. He said He came to fulfil it.

Jesus also spoke of a day when the Gospel would be for Gentiles too, and that there would be a change of the Law.

Jesus also fulfilled everything that was spoken by the Prophets.

He was the fulfilment of the Promise made to the forefathers.

On the cross He perfectly fulfilled it all. On the cross He also inaugurated the New Covenant. God vindicated Him by raising Him from the dead. And God stated that all who believe in Him would be justified from all things from which they could not be justified by Moses' Law.

This good news began to be preached and believed on among the Jews. Soon Gentiles began believing too.

Many of the believers in Jerusalem were zealous for the Old Covenant Law. But the Apostles did not expect the Gentile believers to begin observing the Old Covenant Law.

A group of men from Jerusalem visited the Gentile churches and started demanding that the Gentile believers keep the Law. But these men were not authorised by the Church at Jerusalem to demand such a thing.

Paul's dispute with them was so strong that it was decided that he should visit Jerusalem to discuss the issue with the Apostles and elders in the Church in Jerusalem.

So Paul went. While Paul was there, some believers who had previously been Pharisees brought up the dispute with Paul again. The dispute did not come from the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem, nor from the congregation generally - but specifically from some former Pharisees.

So the matter was discussed. And the verdict was that the Gentile believers should not be required to begin observing Moses' Law. Furthermore it was decided that a letter be written to the Gentile churches, confirming this verdict.

When the Gentiles heard the letter, they rejoiced for the consolation.

Paul taught that the observance of the Old Covenant Law was passing away even for Jews.

And that came to pass with the destruction of the Temple and City of Jerusalem around AD70. From that point on it forever became impossible to observe Moses' Law in the way which Moses' Law demanded. Moses' Law forbade any other way of keeping it.

Believers understood that the promised New Covenant - which incorporated both Gentile and Jewish believers - was now in effect.

The Law and the Prophets had already foreseen this outcome.

But for unbelieving Jews, the forced removal of any possibility of obeying Moses' Law represented a real crisis. New models of keeping the Law, which Moses knew nothing of, and which His Law forbade, were invented. These have come to be known as modern Judaism.

But the Promise - the New Covenant - had already come, in Jesus, in the Gospel.

It's the good news that anyone - whether Jew or Gentile - can be saved by God's love, simply by believing in Jesus, without needing to observe the works of the Law.  

Does a Blood Moon Indicate the Timing of Christ's Coming?

There have already been many hundreds of blood moons since the time of Christ. Tetrads of blood moons (a series of four red moons in a row) have already occurred 62 times since the first century AD, eight of which coincided with Old Covenant Jewish feast dates. So the current blood moons are not unique in that sense.

In the current tetrad, which begins today, three of the four blood moons will not be visible in Israel. You would think it should be visible in Israel if it was the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy, seeing Joel's prophecy was spoken to Israel. [Post note:- the second and third blood moons were not visible at the Gold Coast, QLD either, due to cloudy weather. Is it still a sign when you can't see it?]

Both Joel and Revelation described the sun going dark at the same time as the moon turning to blood. It isn't possible to have an eclipse of the sun and an eclipse of the moon at the same time. Therefore the Biblical prophecies were probably not describing an eclipse event.

So the current tetrad of blood moons does not necessarily indicate the generation that must see Christ's return. It isn't intended to indicate the timing of Christ's return.

But like previous blood moons, it is a sign - of something. It's a sign of the Creator's existence. It can also serve as an illustration of the Gospel. During the first eclipse, it was amazing seeing the moon (the perfect reflection of the sun) turned to blood due to the world's darkness blocking the light of the sun, the southern cross (constellation Crux) also appearing in full view, with its two pointer-stars standing by like two witnesses - then after a period of darkness the light of the moon began appearing brilliantly again, unable to be held in darkness, like a victorious resurrection.

God has placed signs in nature - but they're not designed to tell us exactly when Christ must return. The "last days" began when the Gospel began. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Great Tribulation

Pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib?

The term "The Great Tribulation" is not found in the Bible (KJV) - only "great tribulation", three times. 

In the first instance it is in the context of the destruction of the city and Temple of Jerusalem and the situation following.

In the second instance it is in the specific context of a first-century church in a town called Thyatira. 

And in the third instance it is said that the righteous from among all nations had been at great tribulation.

So we can say that "great tribulation":

1) occurred in Jerusalem and surrounds in the first century; 

and we can say that:

2) it was threatened to occur temporarily amongst unrepentant members of a first-century church; 

and we can say that:

3) many righteous believers in all nations have already, or now are, or shall yet experience it.

How might those Bible-uses of the term "great tribulation" impact upon your pre-, mid-, or post- theory?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Witnessing at Raceview Tavern

Last night I was thinking of going to a pub in Ipswich to witness. But I felt directed instead to drive south along Raceview Street.

I had a sense about sharing with a man; and I had a sense about the colour purple.

I even had a sense about people sitting on high chairs. 

I soon arrived at the Raceview tavern, so I pulled into the carpark. Straightaway I saw a man, and I wondered whether he was the one I should speak to. But I wondered about the colour purple, and about the high chairs. So I kept walking. 

I looked up and saw a sign at the door to the tavern, and the sign was purple. I went inside, and the walls were purple. It seems everything was purple. The restaurant was already closed, but the gaming area was open - and everyone was sitting at the game machines on high chairs. So I knew I was at the right place.

I went back outside. The man was still there - and he was actually the first to say hello to me. So this time I stopped and talked to him. 

I told him that I felt God had led me there just to tell him of God's love for him.

I said, "The stars are faraway..." 

And he glanced up at the stars.

"...but God can be near..." I said. 

He thought about it.

"...and we can feel His presence. Have you ever felt Him?" I asked.

"Yes. A couple of times," he said humbly.

It felt like a poignant moment. 

Then he went inside. 

I knew I was at the right place. But did I speak to the right person? 

Anyway I went on my way praying for that man and for others in the tavern, rejoicing that the Holy Spirit had truly led me. 

Witnessing at Raceview Shops

Today I had the opportunity to attend a unique children's worship event at Slacks Creek, or a Holy Ghost meeting at Chinchilla. But I didn't feel quite right about either. So I knelt down and asked the Lord what I should do.

I sensed that I should go to the Raceview shops for lunch. But I didn't feel quite right about going straightaway.

I eventually felt right about going. And I felt to do something I wouldn't normally do - I took my Bible with me.

After ordering my lunch, I got talking to an old lady while waiting.  When she saw my Bible, it prompted her to say she had converted from Presbyterianism to the Jehovah's Witnesses a long time ago.

She said mainstream Christianity is wrong because she basically believes there is only one God.

She asked for my Bible. She turned to John 1:1.

She said, "It says, 'The Word was WITH God...' not, '...the Word WAS God' ". 

So I asked her to keep reading. So she kept reading: 

"...and the Word WAS God".

She said it's a mistranslation and should say, "...a god".

But I said, "But there's only one God".

She saw her contradiction.  

I said, "Imagine I'm sick and have only 5min left to live. Tell me what I must do to enter the kingdom of God".

After two minutes of her fumbling for an answer, I interrupted , "I've only got 3min left to live now".

She said, "You would need to study about God".

I said, "But I've only got 2min left to study".

She said, "Well it would depend what sort of life you've lived".

I said, "We've all sinned".

She said, "You can start to serve Jehovah".

I said, "I've only got a minute left".

She said, "No-one can say whether or not Jehovah will admit someone into His kingdom".

I said, "So is there nothing I can or must do?"

She said, "I don't know. I'm not an expert. After we die, Jehovah will give us a second chance to let go of our sins."

Then five minutes was up. So I said, "Now let me say something. Why does the Bible call Jesus the Saviour?"

She said, "Because Jesus was our teacher".

I said, "Let me show you something. Read verse 29."

"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world".

I said, "God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins, so we don't have to die. Isn't that beautiful!"

I said, "What's your name?"

She said, "Dorothy".

I said, "So you can read it like this, '...the Lamb of God, who took away Dorothy's sin".

She said, "Do you think I'm a sinner?"

I said, "All have sinned".

She said, "Well He hasn't taken my sins away yet".

I said, "He did, on the cross".

Just to trust Him, is the way to be saved. Even if you've only got five minutes left to live.

Then her son arrived to pick her up. But she left smiling warmly, with appreciation. She'd heard good news to trust in.

May the Lord give her, and others like her, understanding.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Original Light and the Sun in Creation

Some critics of the creation account in Genesis 1 have said that the account about light, and about the night and day cycle being made a few days before the sun, moon and stars were made, is an account written in an age when people had no concept that the sun is the source of daylight and that the position of the sun is the reason for the night and day cycle.

But the account actually says that the greater light (the sun), made on the fourth day, was made to give light on the earth. So they knew the sun was the source of daylight.

And it says the lights (including the sun) were to have the function of dividing between night and day. That is, they knew the position of the sun was the reason for the night and day cycle.

They knew the sun, made on the fourth day, became the source of light and the cause of the night and day cycle. Yet light and the night and day cycle was said to be already in existence since the first day. 

Therefore the mention of light and of the night and day cycle on the first day of creation, a few days before the creation of the lights (the sun and moon) for daylight and for the night and day cycle was not an expression of any misconception about such things. 

The meaning is that whatever the source, form or position of light was, and whatever the cause of the night and day cycle was on days one to three, the sun instead became the source and form of daylight from the fourth day onwards, and its position became the cause of the ongoing night and day cycle. 

Perhaps light existed in a not-so-organised form on days one to three and was later organised into the sun, moon and stars. 

Or perhaps the source of the light on days one to three ceased altogether after the sun assumed that role on day four.  

It's like an electrician coming into a dark room to install lights. The first thing he does is turn on his light. Then once he's installed the lights in their positions, it is those lights which carry on giving light to the room. But he needed light to begin with in the first place. 

In any case, the author of Genesis 1 wouldn't have written a contradiction. The text couldn't have gained such acceptance, if it is a contradiction. He knew what he was writing. And readers didn't have a problem with it.