G20 is Taking a Hint. Good.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

That right there is a promise, and you can take it to the bank.  Nevermind all the actual science out there supporting the idea that mankind isn’t destroying the world be setting its thermostat a couple of degrees higher.  A Christian can take comfort in knowing that God built this planet for us with loads of automatic temperature regulation.  So it’s nice to see the new POTUS saying he doesn’t want to continue to transfer taxpayer dollars into croney deals with “green” companies.  But it’s extra nice to see that the new tone in Washington, D.C. is echoing loud enough around the world that (for now?) the G20 is toning down its rhetoric on the subject.

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Fat Preachers: Not Helping.

It’s 2015.  Dietary science has progressed somewhat in the last couple hundred years, and we know now for certain what causes morbid obesity.  It’s listed in the Bible as a sin: GLUTTONY.  People who are fat display a lack of self-control that extends to self-harming.  The thing they should value the most, they allow to fall into disrepair.

Preacher, you want to tell me how I should live, but you’re a big fatass fat guy?  Yeah, sorry I can’t hear all your good advice over the sound of how fat you are, up on stage.  Lose a hundred pound and then ask me again to repeat what you just said.

Everyone has a pet sin.  Alcoholics can hide it.  Homersexuals can hide it.  Gluttons, it’s right there in the open.  Righteousness, you’re doing it wrong and it shows!

VFD, tell me you did not just say being a fat preacher is a sin!  Seriously?

Yessir.  I can see, maybe a little paunch.  Even a spare tire isn’t going to wreck your ankles, knees, hips, back, heart, kidneys, and food budget.  Being a bigass fatty McFatpants is neglectful of your body to a dangerous extent, and this is not even open for debate.  Fatties who are supposed to be instructors in righteousness, you are preaching that self-control is not mandatory.  Even basic self-CARE is not mandatory.  Do whatever, eat whatever, but listen to the words coming out of my mouth.  No.

You’re a bad example and you should feel bad.  P.S. you’re not helping one little bit to dispel the non-Christians’ stereotype of churches being full of hypocrites, and you bring shame on the gospel of Christ.

Stop it.

Okay, But What About My Gay %Familymember%?

The last post was a logical explication of the wickedness of “gay marriage” as relates to the Christian church.  This one will perhaps step on your toes, if that one didn’t.

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VFD, I have a homosexual (brother/son/father/sister/daughter/mother/aunt/34th cousin twice removed) and I love them!  Shouldn’t I be accepting of them, even if I don’t accept their chosen lifestyle?

No.  No, you should not.

 

If a person preaches a different doctrine than the one found in the Bible, they can still call themselves Christian.  Call themselves.  They can’t actually be one, but they can speak the words and call themselves by the name*.   What they have is in fact “another gospel.”  Living under another doctrine is the same as not living under any doctrine.  There is only one way to get forgiveness of sins.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.2 John 9-11

which, being in the New Testament applies directly.  Also:

12 The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this,” . . . “When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them-Malachi 2

No, this is no longer the day of the Old Testament.  God doesn’t cut people off with no second chances any more.  But God does not change.  You say someone doing evil (homosexuality) is doing good because they love their homosexual partner.  You want to give them your approbation when you should not.  You are listening to your heart again.  But that’s not new.  You suck at being good, and you know it.

The standard is perfection.  You will fail.  Your speeding on the way to work is the same as accepting your homosexual %relative% into your house with open arms.  These are sin. God hates it.  So: you have a choice. Accept and show respect to the decision of your homosexual relatives, and be an intentional sinner. Go against the will of God – or don’t.

The question is, whom would you rather please? 

… your confused relatives, or a God who knows very well those things of which he disapproves.  You are given the choice.  Just remember what God thinks about intentional continuation of sin.

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*I’m looking at you, LDS and JW churches.  The fun factoid is, there is only one true Gospel.  It does not belong to any church in particular, and membership in a particular church is not required.  Hint: There is just one step.

Let’s All Have Some Delicious Haterade!

A person who realizes their sin is sinful, and they want to stop it, and then they actually make a genuine effort to stop, is repentant.  If that person comes to believe the only way to have forgiveness is to ask God for it through Jesus’ payment around A.D. 30, they will have their sins forgiven and all will be well with their soul when they die.  This person is a candidate for admission to membership in a New Testament-era, Bible-believing Christian church.

A person who does something God says is wrong, is a sinner.  A person who does something God says is wrong and has no plans or desire to stop, is not repentant.  An unrepentant sinner is (by definition) not a Christian.  This person is not a candidate for admission to church membership.

To be married at a (good*) Christian church, you have to be a member in good standing – i.e., a Christian.  NOT an unrepentant sinner.

One of the (very few) things God said was abominable enough to warrant a death sentence under the Old Testament laws, was homosexuality.  God doesn’t change.  What used to be abominable to God remains abominable.  The government and the dispensation have changed and we don’t stone people to death under the New Testament for being homosexual.  The activity is still a sin but now they are given time and opportunity to repent.

Someone who is sexually and otherwise attracted to members of the same sex is not necessarily a sinner.  Someone who acts out on their attraction may end up a sinner.  One who engages in homosexuality and delights in it, revels in it, and announces to the world they intend to continue in it for the rest of their life, is an unrepentant sinner.  The “gay marriage” is a celebration of the fact they intend to live as an unrepentant sinner, openly and unashamed.

Marriage is the very first human institution ever invented. It was invented by God, and was “a man plus a woman is a family.”  A “gay marriage” is not only a celebration of open sinfulness, it is a perversion of the institution of Marriage.  For a Christian minister to marry a pair of homosexuals should violate his conscience in three ways at least.

If a person is a murderer in the middle of a killing spree, they will not be admitted to my church’s membership rolls.  Likewise, someone who has a hobby of getting high on heroin and driving at 100MPH through neighborhoods.  A whore.  A career burglar.  If an UNrepentant sinner seeks admission, they will be denied.  This is based on our religious belief.

*Courts have no business telling churches what to believe.  But they will, because the churches are not treating people equally.  Some “bad” churches let out their spaces for weddings to just-anyone without regard to anything BUT the homosexual/straight status of the participants.  That is asking for lawsuits.  This is the type of church that is going be sued with the lawsuit that gets my church’s tax-exempt status revoked in a broad-brush decision by an activist judge.  Wait for it.

Yes, God Talks To Me

Every once in a while, I get an urge.  A hunch.  A feeling.  An inclination to act or to not act, with no apparent basis in circumstances at the time.  Then it works out beautifully.

I can be driving along in perfectly-normal traffic and I get the urge to change lanes.  If I don’t, I end up behind a mile of cars at a red light, and if I do I drive by a mile of cars in the “wrong” lane at the green light.  An instinct to take one step, and then something comes crashing down where my foot used to be.  Tonight, I was going to do some intricate wiring on an electronics project, and I had a feeling I shouldn’t solder the wires down until I was done routing them all.  And I made a mistake.  If it had been soldered, it would have been a minor disaster.  It wasn’t soldered, so it worked out fine.

God made the universe.  God made the Earth, Sun, Moon and Stars.  By His wisdom, at His will, all things consist.  He can turn the heart of a King at His will . . . but you don’t give Him enough credit to give the occasional hint to his children?

Why Would You Say That?

This is the long-time-coming fourth in a series of responses to a horribly-wrong set of things said in what was described by others I know as a “good” message at church*.

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The claim was made that 5,000,000 people came from Jerusalem to the house of Lazarus/Mary/Martha to greet Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.  Why would you say that?

The regular population of Jerusalem at the time was around 20,000.  Estimates of the number of people in town for passover in those years vary from 150,000 to 3,000,000.  Josephus’ estimate was 2.7 million, and that is probably a highly-inflated number -possibly by an order of magnitude- but for the moment we’ll grant it for the sake of argument.  If there were fewer than 3M people in town, 5M at the triumphal entry parade is rather a bit of a stretch. I’m willing to call this claim “busted” right there.

For the moment, we will say there were three millions of people.

Here is an estimated 1.8 million people on the National Mall in D.C.

Barack Obama Is Sworn In As 44th President Of The United States
source: http://blog.svconline.com/

Now here is the scale of the place – the green area is full of people in the above photo.

googlmapsmalldimscale
Source: Google Maps

Josephus lived from about 37-100AD.  Jesus died several years before Josephus was born.  For him to have an accurate count of the people of Jerusalem a few years before his birth would be quite a feat. Josephus wrote that one Roman who was trying to impress another Roman (that the city of Jerusalem was Kind-of a Big Deal) had the priests count the people.  There are a couple of good reasons that might never have happened but we’ll allow that it did.  According to Josephus, the priests counted the sacrificial lambs (256 000) and multiplied by 10, assuming 10 people on average would share a lamb.  I’m thinking, there was definitely some multiplication by ten happening, but perhaps the decimal moved the wrong way on the wrong number!

Joachim Jeremias estimated that 19,200 lambs *at most* could have been slaughtered in the two hours Josephus stated were the time of slaughter, estimated based on the number of people allowed in the temple courts at one time and the procedures observed with each sacrifice.  Let’s allow some slack in the times, speed and dimensions and go all the way to 25,600 total lambs killed.  That gets you to 270,000 people according to the 10 people/lamb calculation.

The argument has been made that MOST (by far) of the lambs could have been slain by the people in the city (vs. ONLY in the temple), which would allow a quarter million lambs, or a zillion billion since we are making up numbers.  The passover requirement was that they kill the lamb in the temple.  If you allow making up numbers and locations to supplement historical events, have at it in private if you please, but don’t try to foist it off on the rest of us.

This page also says only a few thousand could have been slain in the limited time they were to be slain in the temple.

Jesus came from the mount of olives to the city.  Say he came a kilometer.  5 million people wouldn’t have fit.  5 million is a kilometer-square sea of people shoulder to shoulder, with no room for strawing clothes or cutting palm fronds.  We don’t know exactly how many people greeted Jesus as he came to Jerusalem.  One thing I’m pretty sure of: There were nowhere near 5 Million people there that day.

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The claim was made, that the palm fronds strewn in front of the Lord as he rode into town were left over from the recent feast of Tabernacles.  Why would you say that?  It says in the Bible (here) and (here) that they CUT branches to straw in the way.

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The claim was made, that it was an old marriage custom for the bride and groom to cut their hands and hold hands, mingling their blood, and this was making them “one flesh”.  This was claimed to be a “cut covenant”.

Why would you say that?  This is silliness!  The Act of Marriage is what makes a copulating couple one flesh.  If there is any shedding of blood going on (and the Biblical ideal is, that the virgin wife does bleed from one spot) it happens . . . somewhat farther down the body than the arms, if you take my meaning.  Joining right hands in modern wedding ceremonies is not reminiscent of some ancient “blood brothers” style covenant.  It’s just nice.

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The claim was made, that Jesus died on Friday.  This is both a great error and a very common misconception.

From my notes taken hastily (longhand) the night this message was delivered:
“By the way, Jesus died on Friday.  Not Thursday, Wednesday, or Saturday.  You have to know a couple of things about the culture of the time and place.”
* when you say how many days a thing takes, you *can* count part of a day.
* there were two ways to reckon a day.  From morning to morning or from afternoon to afternoon.
* the week began on Sunday
Jesus returned from the dead on the first day of the week (sunday) BEFORE dawn.  That means we are talking about a Sunday that started on what we would call Saturday afternoon.  Counting backwards:
Day 3: Sunday night to saturday night
Day 2: Saturday night to Friday night
Day 1: Friday night to Thursday night
So: we count three days, to wit: Sunday morning, saturday and Friday afternoon.  Three.  The Romans took him off the cross to placate the Jews who still had a sabbath (Saturday) coming up.  So he was for-sure DEAD by our Friday night.  By Sunday dawn he was up again.  By modern reckoning, a day and a half – but by ancient Jewish reckoning, three days.”

Why would you say that?

This isn’t even hard.  To say that parts of days can be counted when the Man himself said it would be three days and nights, I have to start questioning motives here.  It takes the most cursory of readings of the Holy Bible to find a Friday crucificiton, but even a little study leads to belief that Friday wasn’t it.  If you want the long version, go here: ad2004.com/

Jesus said that he would be “…three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Saturday night, between nightfall and the next dawn, he rose from the dead. “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week”  This “before dawn” is the end of the weekly sabbath.  Sunday was the next daytime.  This gets complicated because you can have up to four different ways to count the days, but you have to remember: Jesus said the sign was Three days and Three nights.  After these periods had elapsed, meaning 72 hours, he would be resurrected.  That is, he would be in the earth for just this long.

The above linked ad2004 page goes through it and draws some very important conclusions about the timing of this event, but here is the short version:

14 Nisan – Wednesday daytime, around 3PM, he died.  He was buried by nightfall Wednesday.  This was the same time (not merely coincidence!) that the Passover lambs were slain.
15 Nisan – Wednesday 6PM to Thursday 6PM is the first day in the tomb and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread (a special sabbath)
16 Nisan – Thursday 6PM to Friday 6PM is the second day in the tomb
17 Nisan – friday 6pm to saturday 6PM is the third day in the tomb.  This is the weekly sabbath, and it ends on Saturday at nightfall.  In (during) this sabbath, he rose.

On. The. Third. Day.

If you don’t believe in a Wednesday crucifiction/Saturday resurrection, you are wrong because the Bible says so.  Click here and read the whole thing.

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Wow VFD that’s a pretty good fisking.  Maybe you should ask the guy if you can get your knife out of his back when he’s done!

“Speaking the truth in love” I want people to know what the actual history is.  I believe that there is no need to exaggerate the facts to impress people.  If the amazing truth of the Gospel is not enough, nothing will be.  I also believe that when the long-held tradition of men is in error, it is our duty to mention the error to our fellow men.

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The other three posts in this series:
https://votefordavid.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/when-jesus-heart-was-broken/
https://votefordavid.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/john-184-whats-the-therefore-there-for/
https://votefordavid.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/why-did-jesus-say-i-thirst/
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Other sources not linked inline above:
http://www.josephus.org/Passover.htmhttp://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Audio.details/ID/151/Passover-Part-10.htm (sadly disappeared from the ‘net!)

Why Can’t We Understand God?

Humor a deist, intelligent design advocate, Christian, creationist as he fumbles through an explanation of why physicists and other scientists should not be closed-minded.  Criticism is (as always) welcome.

  • We can’t quite get our heads around the nature of creation of the universe and time
  • We can’t quite get our heads around the bending of physics
  • Because we are limited.

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Flat.  They are two-dimensional stick-figure line drawings on a plane sheet of paper.  They were drawn by a human.  They live their lives in two dimensions, X and Y.  They are wicked-smart physicist line drawing people, and have done quite a lot of thinking about the nature of the universe.  They have concluded:

  • There are two dimensions where we exist.
  • There is a third dimension that extends at an angle from the other two, and we call this “Z”.  We think that things could have shapes in three dimensions.  This is not very controversial.
  • Some radicals think there might be a fourth dimension, in which we travel while still part of the first three.  This is possibly crazy talk.

One day, you decide to poke your finger through their piece of paper.  They perceive a disturbance, and a place where there are XY coordinates in a rough circle that are the shape of something not-paper.  They see the different shapes your finger makes as it goes through the plane, and realize that here is a three-dimensional object.  They can’t see you because they are 2D and you are 3D.  But they can perceive you, and contemplate you.

If you were to put yourself in your line drawing and explain to them all about our for-sure known four dimensions, plus all the things that go on in 3D just all the time like nothing, they would have a hard time with it, but maybe believe you.  If you told them YOU had drawn them with your own hand, they would maybe believe you, but raise all sorts of objections about being able to affect their 2D world through use of an obviously-different set of physical rules.  Their minds boggle, but they are physicists and super good at theoretical maths.  They crunch the numbers and conclude that it looks like you must be a nutter, just another 2D line drawing with cockamamie ideas about the origins of their existence.

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  • You exist in three dimensions, XY and Z
  • You travel through time as a fourth dimension, T
  • There are probably some other dimensions, according to some wicked-hard maths that I can’t figure out but some scientists seem pretty convinced so . . .
  • Some people say there is a God who created the whole universe. This is possibly crazy talk.

It should be obvious that, to make something, you have to be outside of and/or apart from it in some way.  You can’t 3D-print your 3D printer while using it to 3D print itself, right?  That’s silliness!  But you can use your tools to make a 3D printer which will then be able to 3D print other cool stuff.  So can God.

“In the Beginning, God…”

We have an indeterminate period of possibly-infinite time where the world existed, but was basically a blank slate.  We have an external entity of capabilities beyond what can be found inside our universe.  This entity MUST be outside of our known universe, because

…created the heavens and the earth.

What? you say, this is impossible!  The universe is infinite according to the 4 dimensions we are really, really sure exist.  There is no way you could just CREATE the whole Universe.  This is possibly crazy talk!

All things were made by him…

No.  We have done the maths and we are really quite sure it looks like there was nothing, then Big Bang and there was everything, which settled down a bit over the last 13.8 billion years and ta-da! here we are.  Nobody did any MAKING of this universe.  That makes no sense at all, according to the physics we can theorize.

Right.  That’s the point.  The rules of the system were created by a being not of the system.  You can’t expect a 2D stick figure to MAKE a sheet of paper and then draw stick people on it.  And you can’t expect that something which conforms to the physics of the known universe could possibly MAKE the known universe.  It’s unpossible!  That leaves two choices:

  1. The universe was created
  2. The universe sprang forth from nothing

This leaves a conundrum for all sentients in the known universe to ponder:  Do I find it to be more likely that nothing suddenly turned into everything?  Or do I find it more likely that we don’t know 100% of all there is to know, and there can exist something outside the known physical system of our universe, which created it?

That something is God.  You may choose to believe that nothing can turn into something, and you will have my sincere pity.  I chose long ago to believe that we haven’t quite got the numbers in on 100% of everything, and the universe was created by a (?) outside of it.

This “creator” must necessarily NOT be limited to our four dimensions.  This “creator” could be capable of manipulating our dimensions and physical laws at whim.  You could say that this would be a very “powerful” being.  That it could, in fact, possibly create “by wisdom” and one could theorize that everything in our known universe was created by it.

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To admit you do not know everything is the essence of scientific curiosity.  Do not be ashamed to stand with the giants of history, and think that there can be “a God.”

Even, do not shy away from being afraid of It.  This has been described as “…the beginning of knowledge!

Smile, Nod, and Wait, They’ll Get There Eventually

Honestly, it’s like waiting for children who are just learning the fundaments of addition, when they figure out there is more to life than mere consciousness.  Some for-real scientists decided to whip out some alternate geometry and look at old theories about the universe, and have arrived at the possibility that the universe has neither a beginning nor end, and there are no Big Bangs or Crunches involved*.

The maths are, I am sure, very far over my head.  The point is, when actual Scientists** look at what most people consider to be settled science, sometimes they come up with ideas that are radically different.  Paradigms can and do shift from time to time.  This may be a shifty event – it may not – but it reminds me:

They are still a mile off the mark.  Maybe they are Christians and believe their Bibles 100% but you can hardly prove “In the Beginning, God…” with theory and maths.  However, I have noted that a lot of for-real scientists tend more along the lines of “willingly ignorant” and discard the notion of God entirely.  For them, the notion of a big bang-type singularity 13.8 billion years ago is a comfort.  Expect the not-quite-scientists out there to get their hackles up over this new “no singularities” theory.  Expect terrible “science reporting” to say this “PROVES THERE WAS NO BIG BANG!!!1!” and “WERE CREATIONISTS RIGHT ALL ALONG?!”

Eventually, a child figures out how to do 1+1=2 without even thinking about it.  Eventually, everyone will realize this whole business of big bangs and dark ages is a bunch of humbug, and that “In the beginning, God…” is the actual reality bygod true history of what happened.

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*whew!  I hate crunches.  I don’t have an exercise mat, so they always make my back hurt!

**as distinct from Climate Scientists, who only want to murder you for saying their sweet, sweet grant money may have been badly spent by criticizing their religion of anthropogenic global warming

CDC Agrees With God?

Know right off the bat that the American Academy of Pediatrics (yes, the same one that advocated *minor* female genital mutilation) says they feel passionately that circumcision is bad, mmmkay?  The AAP also said not to give water to babies.  The AAP is currently deprecated in my opinion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (note the difference in agency names?) says circumcision can

  • Reduce risk of “HIV infection” from an “infected” FEMALE partner 50-60% (the evidence is not there for but seks male partners)
  • Reduce risk of herpes and genital warts (which leads to cervical cancer in women) by 30% or more
  • Reduce UTI in infancy
  • Reduce penile cancer in adult men

 But it’s all terribly judeo-christian, so there is political opposition.  Screw it.  God gave a blanket rule for his chosen people to do it.  I’m a different sort of chosen person, but anytime God gives blanket advice you can be sure it is a good idea, even if it was not directed at you.