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The Bible - Can You Trust It?

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  • Independent
    Albany, OR
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    2 Timothy 3:16,17 says: "All Scripture is inspired of God, and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work." So what do you think? How do you view the Bible?
    Is it: A work of fine literature
    One of several equally acceptable sacred texts
    A book of legends with underlying moral lessons
    The Word of God
    Does it matter what you believe? The Bible says about itself in Romans 15:4 "All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope." From these 2 scriptures we can see the Bible is designed to instruct and comfort us, give us hope.
    If the Bible were merely a work of literature or just one of many holy books, would you trust it to instruct you and guide your family, especially if its message differed from what you thought to be right? If the Bible were a collection of myths, would you derive comfort and hope from its promises?
    And yet millions who have studied the Bible are convinced that it is the unique Word of God. Why? What distinguishes the Bible from other books?
    A lawyer, Irwin H. Linton examined the Bible he said: "Bible prophecies are...so numerous as to make accidental fulfillment almost infinitely improbable." Ancient oracles were notoriously ambiguous and unreliable, modern horoscopes are no better. Futurology is based on current trends and rarely even attempt to predict specific events centuries in advance. By contrast, Bible prophecies are detailed and always come true, even if they tell "from long ago the things that have not been done."-Isaiah 46:10.
    The prophet Daniel, in the 6th century B.C.E., foretold the rapid defeat of Medo-Persia by Greece. And that as soon as the victorious king of Greece 'became mighty', his kingship would be 'broken', and replaced and 4 kingdoms from his nation would stand up, though they would not be as powerful. Daniel 8:5-8,20-22.
    Over 200 years after Daniel's time, Alexander the Great became king of Greece. Within 10 years, Alexander defeated the Medo-Persian Empire & extended his rule as far as the Indus River (Pakistan.) He died suddenly at the age of 32. His empire was dissolved in a battle near Ipsus in Asia Minor. The 4 victors divided his empire among themselves.
    What do you think? Can any other book claim such a record of fulfilled prophecy? Or is the Bible unique?
    Luke, physician, historian, wrote in Luke 1:3 "I have traced all things from the start with accuracy." Legends and myths relate fanciful tales that omit specific locations, dates, and names of historical figures. The Bible includes countless historical details that have been verified by archaeologists thus assuring readers that its "sayings are supremely true."--Psalm 119:160
    Among the ruins of ancient Babylon, archaeologists uncovered adminsitrative documents dated to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, listing rations given to prisoners & others dependent on the royal household verifying the Bible account at 2 Kings 24:11,15;25:27-30. It also verified the existence of Nebuchadnezzar's successor, Evil-merodach.
    What do you think? Is any other ancient religious text as specific and accurate when it touches on history? Or is the Bible unique?
    The Manual of Tropical Medicine, by Drs. Aldo Castellani & Albert J. Chalmers said, "No one can fail to be impressed by the careful hygienic precautions of the Mosaic period." Ancient books often feature unsound & dangerous ideas that have been thoroughly debunked by modern science. Even today, authors must update textbooks to harmonize with new discoveries. But the Bible claims that it was authored by the Creator and that his Word. "endures forever."-1 Peter 1:25. The Mosaic Law commanded the Israelites to dispose of sewage in a covered hole "outside the camp." (Deuteronomy 23:12,13) If they touched a dead animal or human, the Israelites had to wash with water. (Leviticus 11:27,28;Numbers 19:14-16) Lepers back then were quarantined until a physical examination confirmed that they were no longer contagious.--Leviticus 13:1-8. Today it is acknowledged that proper sewage disposal, hand washing, and quarantine remain effective ways to fight disease. If there are no latrines or other sanitation systems nearby, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends: "Defecate at least 30 meters (100 feet) away from any body of water and then bury your feces." When communities dispose of excrement safely, they reduce diarrheal disease by 36%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Less than 300 years ago, physicians discovered that they infected many patients when they did not wash their hands after handling corpses. The CDC still calls hand washing "the single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease." What about the quarantine of lepers or those with other diseases? The Saudi Medical Journal in a recent article said: "In the early stages of an epidemic, isolation and quarantine may be the only and last resort to effectively control infectious diseases." What do you think? Would you expect any other ancient holy book to harmonize with modern science? Or is the Bible unique?
    James Orr wrote in The Problem of the Old Testament "When these writings are put together, they constitute, structurally, one book...There is nothing exactly resembling it, or even approaching it, in all literature." Peter told us in 2 Peter 1:21: "Prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit." Even contemporaneous records from ancient times often contradict one another. Books written by different men, in different places, at different times rarely harmonize completely. Yet, the Bible claims that all of its 66 books have but one Author--presenting a unified and harmonious message.--2 Timothy 3:16. Moses, a shepherd of the 16th century B.C.E., wrote in the Bible's first book that a "seed" would come to save mankind. This book later foretold that the seed would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 3:15;22:17,18; 26:24; 28:14) About 500 years later, the prophet Nathan revealed that the seed would be in the royal lone of David. (2 Samuel 7:12) A thousand years later the apostle Paul explained that the seed would be made up of Jesus and a group of his chosen followers. (Romans 1:1-4; Galatians 3:16,29) By the end of the first century C.E., the last book of the Bible prophesied that members of the seed would bear witness to Jesus on earth, be raised to heaven, and rule with him for 1,000 years. This composite seed will destroy the Devil and save mankind. Revelation 12:17; 20:6-10. A Bible commentator, Louis Gaussen in Theopneusty--The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, after a thorough investigation of the Bible's 66 books wrote that he was astonished by "the imposing unity of this book, composed during sixteen hundred years by so many authors,...who yet pursued one and the same plan, and advanced constantly, as if they themselves understood it, towards that one great end, the history of the world's redemption by the Son of God." What do you think? Would you expect a book written over a span of more than 1,600 years by some 40 different men to be totally harmonious? Or is the Bible unique?
    Howard Kelly, M.D., Founding Faculty Member of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote: "The Bible appeals to me strongly...because it is such excellent medicine." Psalm 119:105 says: "Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway." How is the Bible different? Literary works may be considered classics, but they are hardly guidebooks. And modern instruction manuals need to be revised constantly. The Bible, on the other had, claims that "the things that were written aforetime were written for our instructions."--Romans 15:4. Though not a medical guide, the Bible contains practical suggestions on good emotional and physical health. It states that "a calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism." (Proverbs 14:30) The Bible also warns: "One isolating himself will seek how own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth." (Proverbs 18:1) On the other hand, it states that "there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving."--Acts 20:35. Research reveals that calmness, strong friendships, and generosity can improve your health. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports:
    Men who experience outbursts of anger have twice the risk of stroke as men who control their tempers." A 10-year study in Australia found that elderly people who had "better social networks with friends and confidants" were more likely to live longer. And in 2008, researchers from Canada and the United States learned that "spending money on others promotes happiness more than spending money on oneself." So what do you think? Would you trust advice on health issues from any other book completed almost 2,000 years ago? Or is the Bible unique?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Some people tend to overthink the Bible, I believe in the Bible, I believe in the Holy Scriptures as written and I also I believe in the Holy Trinity. The Bible has two sections ,the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Testament tells the story of the Hebrews from creation to the time of Christ, and the New Testament concerns itself with the Life and Death and his Apostles subsequent ministries to the present day Christendom.
  • Independent
    Albany, OR
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    johnnycee Wrote: Some people tend to overthink the Bible, I believe in the Bible, I believe in the Holy Scriptures as written and I also I believe in the Holy Trinity. The Bible has two sections ,the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Testament tells the story of the Hebrews from creation to the time of Christ, and the New Testament concerns itself with the Life and Death and his Apostles subsequent ministries to the present day Christendom.
    What's to over think? The Bible; for the true Christian is the only source of belief and rules of conduct. So of course we want to read it every day, study it, understand it. Three chapters a day and you will have read the whole thing in a year. Have done just that for over 50 years. Have done a lot of research on many passages and the Bible's history. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 & Roman's 15:4 show it is meant to be understood and used to teach right doctrine and right conduct. It is for setting things straight in our minds and in our lives. It is for reproving us and disciplining us so that we may walk humbly in truth and righteousness. Which is why it drives me nuts when some full tells me it is a 'mystery' beyond our comprehension. When they tell you that they are lying and deceiving the unwary. Many times I have gone up after services and said: "I have a problem. You said this, but the Bible says that." Have had many fine discussions as a result. Have received a few insults to.
    The Bible is One work, no part is outdated, there was no old covenant or new covenant. It's message is consistent from it's Hebrew part to the last book in it's Greek part. It reveals the past, explains the present, and foretells the future.
    I'm interested in your take on the Trinity doctrine. Cause nowhere in the Bible is the word trinity nor it's concept expressed. The doctrine was not developed until over 300 years after Christ died.
    I have other post's one under Bill Nye and Evolution, and why people waste effort to criticize...both under religion. I suggest you look them up as they go into the Trinity. You do understand who Christendom is, don't you? In the Bible it is the world wide empire of false religion. Although I have heard many imaginative renditions. I have copies of the original languages and their translations and I have researched it carefully. There are in fact only two religions, the one that actually follows the Bible and it's author and the one's that do not. There are over 25,000 branches, each claiming to be 'it'. Some claim that they are just one road to the same place. Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount said that "Broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it." Matthew 7:13,14. In verses 21-23 he showed that not all religions are truly christian when he said: "Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?' And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you get away from me, you workers of lawlessness." Though there are 10's of thousands of groups denominations claiming to be Christian, bear in mind that Jesus told followers in Matt 7:21 that not every one will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father will. So we need to identify those who do do the will of the Father.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    Bess,

    Aren't you asking us what we think, and then telling us what to think?

    Isn't that proselytizing, trying to sell us an interpretation of Christianity?

    For example:

    Bess Wrote:Moses wrote in the Bible's first book that a "seed" would come to save mankind. This book later foretold that the seed would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis 3:15;22:17,18; 26:24; 28:14) About 500 years later, the prophet Nathan revealed that the seed would be in the royal lone of David. (2 Samuel 7:12) A thousand years later the apostle Paul explained that the seed would be made up of Jesus and a group of his chosen followers. (Romans 1:1-4; Galatians 3:16,29) By the end of the first century C.E., the last book of the Bible prophesied that members of the seed would bear witness to Jesus on earth, be raised to heaven, and rule with him for 1,000 years. This composite seed will destroy the Devil and save mankind. Revelation 12:17; 20:6-10.
    .
    -
    Your summary of the Bible’s prophecies is an interpretation that reveals a lack of understanding of what they mean.

    First of all, the Messiah who fulfills the prophecies actually establishes the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah, which states: "I the Lord will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." -- Jeremiah 31:31-33

    Paul claimed Jesus established the new covenant, but he obviously did not, and knew it, which is why he said there would be a son of man to come -- whose work that he sends before him issues the judgment that exposes Israel's iniquity and rebukes all the false prophets and false shepherds, culminates in making peace and “turning swords into plowshares,” and enables the meek to inherit the earth.

    That modern son of man is the product of the "seed," but he is not Jesus. As Jesus prophesied, the modern son of man bears the true testimony of Jesus. Jesus knew and said what the next son of man and messenger for the Spirit of truth would do -- issue judgment, guide humanity to the truth, show you things to come, and glorify God and the Ancient One (aka the Christ) who is in heaven with God.

    He is from the root of Jesse, he is a branch of David, and he “brings Jacob again” (which obviously doesn't speak of Jesus). He was "called from the womb," which means that a "branch of David" is symbolic and doesn't speak of genealogy but of a spiritual calling from God because only God calls and chooses him, not Man. And even Jesus knew and said what the next son of man and messenger for the Spirit of truth would do -- issue judgment, guide humanity to the truth, show you things to come, and glorify God and the Ancient One (aka the Christ) who is in heaven with God.

    Furthermore, your interpretation of John's book of Revelation simply ignores the fact that God and "His" Christ shall reign (in Spirit) in the "new kingdom" of God on earth -- the kingdom that shall "last forever, never to be destroyed." That is what the real, true prophecies of all the world's religions say. And Judeo-Christian scriptures agree in Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14; Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3; Psalm 104:5; Matthew 5:3-9; John 16:7-15; Revelation 11:15, etc. And a thousand years after God's new kingdom is established, "Satan shall be loosed from the pit, but for a short while" because the 21st Century Messiah's judgment and message will be remembered and restored, and it will shut "Satan" and the "Beast" up for good.

    You are apparently a Fundamentalist and/or Dominionist who believes Christians will rule. But you are like the proud Jewish Zionists who think they will rule, and like the proud fake Muslim Jihadists who think they will rule. You are part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

    Your post reveals that you do not understand God’s will or divine intent, which is for ALL the children of God to realize their error, make amends, make peace, learn why they should love one another, and use the common wealth for the common good.

    Look, Judeo-Christian scriptures can be interpreted differently by different people, depending on their predisposition, beliefs, culture, the religious traditions of their country or community, etc.

    For example, right-wing Orthodox Jews interpret the Torah and Tanakh far differently than progressive Jews, reform Jews, Talmudic Jews, and Kabbalistic Jews. And right-wing conservative Fundamentalist Protestant Christians interpret their Bible very differently than Progressive Christians and even differently from Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Lutheran, Anglicans, Methodists, the Amish, the Menonites, etc., and far differently than Qabalistic Christians.

    However, what I find the most interesting is what you wrote about Daniel's prophecies in chapter eight about the four "kingdoms."

    I think that's a good example of one interpretation, because I interpret it differently, and I don't think it's coincidence that Daniel speaks of "four kingdoms" in chapter eight and in chapter two.

    The following is an excerpted quote from an article on Daniel:

    Being a Seer and the chief adviser to the court of ancient Babylonian King Nebuchednezzar, Daniel was asked to interpret a dream that the king had. And, it turned out, that the dream represented a symbolic pattern and sequence of imperial rulership from that time right up to our time.

    Before he interpreted the king’s dream, Daniel described it in this way: "There was an image with a head of fine gold; his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. A stone struck the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. ... And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:32-35)

    That "stone" is not a material stone or rock, but is the very same "stone" mentioned by the prophet Isaiah as the spiritual "cornerstone and foundation" of the "kingdom" to come. (Isaiah 28:16)

    That "stone" is the esoteric symbol known by Kabbalistic Jews and Qabalistic Christians who, having knowledge of Astrological symbolism, understand it is also the symbol for divine truth which can be expressed in righteous judgment, which will indeed shatter the image of the "King of Babylon" so that we may no longer be ruled by sovereign heads of state, but at long last have government of, by and for the people.

    That makes more sense when you consider Daniel's interpretation of the dream.

    Daniel said that the image of the king at that time was the head of gold. After his kingdom there would arise another, inferior kingdom, and another third kingdom of brass (or bronze), which shall bear rule over the earth, and a fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron. But, as iron breaks in pieces, it shall break in pieces. And, because the feet of the image of the king are part iron and part clay, the fourth kingdom shall be divided ... but the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And finally when the stone (of true judgment) shatters the image of the King of Babylon, God shall set up a new kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. God’s new kingdom will not be left to other people, and it will include and embrace all other kingdoms and nations in the world, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:38-45)

    (End Quote)

    -----------------------------

    The author of that article, titled The Prophet Daniel, Master Astrologer, also wrote other articles discussing Daniel, such as The Fall of Babylon, which includes the following interpretation, and I quote:

    The Interpretation of the Dream in the Book of Daniel

    If you read Daniel’s interpretation of the dream in this new light, you may see that the four parts of the image (the four kingdoms) represent four great world empires. But, the rest of the clues can be understood only in an astrological context, because Daniel was the Chief Astrologer and Kabbalist who advised the king of ancient Babylon, and therefore his writing contained esoteric astrological symbolism.

    The first kingdom or empire was, of course, that of the Babylonians which began during Daniel’s time and is also known as the Chaldean empire. The deity of the Babylonians was the sun god, and gold is the metal associated with the sun in astrological symbolism. That’s why the king had a "head of gold." But of course, that "went to the head" of Babylonian King Nebuchednezzar because he misunderstood Daniel, and constructed an actual royal image of gold.

    The second empire was that of the Persians. Their religion revered the moon goddess, associated astrologically and alchemically with silver. The third empire was that of the Greeks, who predominantly revered Aphrodite or Venus, hermetically and esoterically associated with copper (or brass). And the fourth empire is usually considered to be that of the Romans, whose god of war, Mars, is associated with iron.

    However, the feet of the image are of both iron and clay, and while some scholars have for various reasons surmised that this refers solely to the Romans, it probably refers also to the empires that have their roots in Rome and have subsequently ruled in the world living by the sword, then by the gun, and then by the bomb. That’s why Daniel said the fourth kingdom would "break in pieces" and become many. That is why many European empires that claimed to be Christian would become some of those "pieces," even after the Protestant Reformation, while another piece was the Ottoman Empire, which was an Islamic successor to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

    Today, however, the U.S.A. is now one of the nations that most epitomizes the pieces of the fourth kingdom-empire foreseen by Daniel, and as such its capitol Washington D.C. --- like the capitols of the other nations that are ruled by a wealthy few while the majority of the people grow worse off --- most represents the Babylon in the last book in the Christian Bible, which ultimately falls because its government is corrupt.

    It becomes more obvious that the U.S. is one of the "pieces" when you consider that the U.S. definitely has its roots in Rome. The American system of laws are founded in part on Roman law, and Roman Latin terms are part of its legal foundation and terminology. Also, since the feet are astrologically associated with Pisces and the passing Piscean Age, and since the king (president) of this partisan-ruled divided America could be said to have "feet of iron and clay" because while in some ways he is strong while in other ways he is weak, it makes it more obvious that we still live in that "divided fourth kingdom." America is the last great military empire in the world, and its "king" represents the feet of the image (which was particularly true when George W. Bush epitomized the King of Babylon while claiming to "do God's will," which is why the Reaganite Republican house of cards crumbled in 2008 and we still suffer from it).

    (End Quote)

    ----

    Just sayin' -- There are different ways to interpret prophecies. I think what I've shared and quoted is the most accurate.
  • Democrat
    Florida
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    Did Jesus Rise From the DEAD?
    Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence.
    What is the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? An empty tomb story and questionable post mortem occurrences?
    If a body is missing from a tomb, do we assume that the corpse has resurrected? Or do we try and discover who moved the corpse?
    There are many possible explanations of why the corpse was moved. Ask me if you can't think of any. But Matthew's gospel appears to close the "loophole" with the guards on the tomb. But the guards on the tomb story is most certainly fiction. We have four gospel writers telling the same tale and yet only Matthew mentions guards. The guards are so important to the tale, that if it were true the other gospel writers would most certainly have mentioned the guards.
    But Matthew didn't close the loophole tight enough with his guards on the tomb fiction.
    Matthew 27:62-66 (New American Standard Bible)
    62Now on the next day, [day in the Greek means daylight hours] the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
    63and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'
    64"Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
    65Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how."
    66And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
    So you see that Jesus' corpse was placed in the tomb, and the NEXT DAY, during daylight hours, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and requested a guard be placed on the tomb. THE FIRST NIGHT THE CORPSE WAS IN THE TOMB THE TOMB WAS UNGUARDED. Anyone could have opened the tomb, removed the corpse, and closed the tomb to conceal the fact that the tomb was now empty.
    So the empty tomb story proves nothing.
    But what about those that saw Jesus post mortem?
    We have Mary Magdalene.
    Mark 16:9 (New American Standard Bible)
    9Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. [See also Luke 8:2]
    I would expect that any woman with seven demons would be considered a crazy woman mentally ill in today's world. Jesus may have calmed her down so she appeared normal.[cured] But most likely the shock of Jesus' sudden death and the loss of his soothing words may have pushed her back into a state of delusion. In any event she was not a competent witness.
    But what about those 500 brethren who all saw Jesus at the same time post mortem according to Paul? This fiction is ridiculous. Did someone rent out a "Hall," and invite 500 brethren to all come at the same time to see Jesus? I am certain that this is Paul's fiction since Jesus only had 120 followers in the upper room on Pentecost when they all received the Holy Spirit.
    What about Jesus' Apostles?
    Matthew 28:16-17 (New American Standard Bible)
    16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
    17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
    This is an amazing Scripture passage. Here we have 11 men who lived with Jesus several years, they see Jesus post mortem and some of them have doubt?
    I have my own theory of how the Jesus resurrection story started with the Apostles. Many were fishermen, probably others were laborers of some kind. Fishing in those days was hard work. But when they traveled with Jesus they got used to the soft life. They preached, and passed around the baskets, and didn't have to row boats and pull nets out of the sea.
    After Jesus died they went back to their old hard life.
    John 21:3 (New American Standard Bible)
    3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
    They fish, they catch nothing, but then one disciple thinks he sees Jesus on the shore.
    John 21:7 (New American Standard Bible)
    7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.
    Notice that Peter does not recognize Jesus. He "heard that it was the Lord." It is just some stranger on the shore, but at that moment Peter realizes that if Jesus were alive they could all go back to the soft evangelists life and to Hell with the hard fisherman's life.
    It is interesting that post mortem, Jesus only shows himself to his own followers. He promised the high Priest and his entourage that they would see him. [Mark 14:62] But they never did.
    Jesus promised his evil and adulterous generation that they would see him post mortem, [Matthew 12:39-40] but they never did.
    If the Scientologists claimed that L Ron Hubbard resurrected, came to their conference, and then went to Heaven, would you believe them? So how can we believe a story when only Jesus' followers are the witnesses?
    We have an extraordinary claim that Jesus rose from the dead, but the evidence for the claim is very poor.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    The Father ,Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned throughout Holy Scriptures, both in the New and the Old Testaments, Jesus Christ himself ,said that he was the Son ,and his Father sent the Holy Spirit on what is now know as Pentecostal Sunday to the Apostles ,so they could begin their Christian ministry , a term unknown before 2:AD. You can read something every day and the only accomplishment you might achieve is that you read something everyday, what you may glean from those readings is an wholly different matter, the Old Testament is made up of thirty nine individual books written by twenty eight different authors and it spans a period of over two thousand years, these thirty nine books are condensed further into three major categories ,Historical( first 17), Poetical(next 5) and prophetical (Last 17), so depending on what you are looking for, you must first learn where to research the quote and its context, you do yourself a disservice if you cherry pick quotes to serve your message ,when in fact it's the message itself, not the way you might want to interpet it, that is what has meaning and understanding. there is however one school of thought , which I ascribe to, is that the Bible was completed ,including the New Testament , about 70 years after the death of Jesus Christ. The Blessing of the Clergy has always had the sign of the cross melded into the blessing itself with the intonation of "In the Name of the Father ,Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost)". The word Christendom was used to include all denominations of the Christian faith when someone was trying to reach all people of the Christian faith. Now onto the New Testament, this section has twenty seven Books written by nine different authors and it is further subdivided into three sub-categories{ Historical },the Gospels and Acts, {Pauline} thirteen different letters to other Church's and also to some individuals and {General} the other 9 writings and it covers a time frame of less than 100 years. So your question is about doctrine and not Biblibical? I don't speak on doctrine, there are way too many different doctrines within the Christian faith.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    Bess Wrote:
    [1] The Bible; for the true Christian is the only source of belief and rules of conduct. ... It is for setting things straight in our minds and in our lives. It is for reproving us and disciplining us so that we may walk humbly in truth and righteousness.
    [2] Which is why it drives me nuts when some full tells me it is a 'mystery' beyond our comprehension. ...
    [3]The Bible is One work, no part is outdated, there was no old covenant or new covenant. ...
    [4] Matthew 7:13,14. In verses 21-23 he showed that not all religions are truly christian when he said: "Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?' And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you get away from me, you workers of lawlessness."
    .
    [1] Mostly true. The Bible contains much truth, much good advice, and it is definitely for reproving us and disciplining us so that we might become humble.

    However, you use the word "righteousness" and that bothers me, because it reminds me of the arrogance of the "religious right" (and I will speak of them under point #4).

    [2] I don't think the Bible itself is a "mystery," though it includes a lot of allegory and symbolism that can be interpreted in many different ways. What is a mystery is God, which is beyond Man's comprehension. After all, how can one comprehend that which was, is and shall always be -- that which is eternal, infinite, and omnipresent, always at hand?

    But, even though we cannot fathom God, we can "witness" God and realize God from within, as Jesus said we could when he said: "God will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you will know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. ... On that day you will realize that I am in God, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:16-20)

    However, you and I interpret that differently.

    I believe that when Jesus said “you will see me,” he did not mean in person in this world. He meant it in the same sense he meant it when he said "Before Abraham was, I am," as the Ancient One who is in heaven with God. And remember, Jesus said "The kingdom of heaven comes not with observation in the world, but from within."

    [3] There are a lot of outdated ideas in the the Bible. For example, who today would agree with Moses’ dictate that anyone who violates or does not observe the Sabbath should be put to death? Jesus in fact said that was outdated. Another example is shunning people for breaking "the rules" about behavior when a woman is menstruating. And the list of outdated things goes on and on. They are too numerous to mention here.

    And, regarding the covenants, it is simply not accurate to claim "there was no old covenant or new covenant," as you have claimed.

    There were and are many covenants within Judaism, and one of the most important ones is the Mosaic or Sinai Covenant, which is conditional depending on the behavior of the Jewish people, and people in general. But, even more important is the New Covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-33, which says:

    "The day will come, the Lord said, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah – not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." -- Jeremiah 31:31-33

    Paul claimed that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy and established the new covenant, but that's not true. Jesus established a covenant that established the custom of Communion, but it was not the new covenant Jeremiah speaks of. That should be obvious, since many people, especially Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians, are still saying "Know the Lord" when they obviously do not. And there is more sin in the world than ever before. Therefore, The New Covenant has not yet been established and Israel's iniquity has not yet been pardoned.

    [4] You submit that in Matthew 7 Jesus meant that "not all religions are truly Christian." But in my view that's not what Jesus meant.

    When Jesus said that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will enter heaven, he was not talking about people of other religions. He was talking about the Jews who were listening to him. And, when Jesus said that many hypocrites who claim they "do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord" he was talking about Christians in "that day" meaning now at the end of the aeon or age. He was talking about the proud and militant zealots on the "religious right" who masquerade as Christians but "work iniquity."

    Furthermore, I believe Jesus was not against other religions. His mission was to reform Judaism, and to make it more inclusive, which is why he said he had "other folds."
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  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    The new Pope, Pope Francis, has just re-affirmed that salvation does not lie in good deeds but thru faith and only faith is one to find salvation. There have been many non-Christians who do good deeds but will not find salvation but Christians should do good deeds because they are Christians not because they want salvation.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    johnnycee Wrote: The new Pope, Pope Francis, has just re-affirmed that salvation does not lie in good deeds but thru faith and only faith is one to find salvation. There have been many non-Christians who do good deeds but will not find salvation but Christians should do good deeds because they are Christians not because they want salvation.
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    We should all have faith. But there are many Faiths, and the faith traditions of many religions speak of the importance of faith.

    The Christian doctrine that asserts that only Christians have faith, and that only Christians can find salvation, is an exclusive, divisive doctrine. It goes against the core universal teachings of Jesus, who, among many other things, said "Let your light so shine that people may see your good works, and glorify God which is in heaven."

    So, apparently good works were very important to Jesus.
  • Independent
    Albany, OR
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    Thank you for responding in a reasonable manner. I went on line with this in the hopes of having intelligent discussion. I don't expect agreement, but an open discussion.
    Righteousness. The Hebrew, as well as the Greek words have the thought of 'rectitude,' 'uprightness.' Indicating a standard or norm determining what is upright. 'Righteousness' is frequently used in connection with a judge, or with judgment, giving the term a somewhat legal flavor. The original language term are at times translated 'justice' Psalm 35:24;72:2;96:13;Revelations 19:11. Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest says "God is the objective standard which determines the content of meaning...& at the same time keeps that content of meaning constant & unchanging, since He is the unchanging One." He then quotes Cremer's Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, page 37, "Righteousness in the Biblical sense is a condition of rightness the standard of which is God, which is estimated according to the divine standard, which shows itself in behavior comfortable to God, and has to do above all things with it's relation to God, and with the walk before him." Jesus admonished us in Matthew 6:33 to "seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." So a person needs to keep seeking the Kingdom; he must desire that government and be loyal to it. But he cannot forget that it is the Kingdom of God; he must conform to God's will, to God's standard of right and wrong in conduct.
    The Bible explains itself very well, there is no need to 'interpret' anything. God is not a mystery. He gave us the Bible so that we could understand, it is a collection of letters from a loving Father. God is not omnipresent for he is spoken of as having location in 1 Kings 8:49; John 16:28; Hebrews 9:24. His throne is in heaven, Isaiah 66:1. Granted the true God is infinite and beyond the mind of man to fully fathom. But he is approachable and invites us to seek him, Acts 15:17;17:27; James 4:8; Psalms 145:16; He provides everything for our enjoyment. The creature could never hope to become equal to his Creator or understand all the workings of his mind, Romans 11:33-36. He is all-powerful, being the Almighty God, Genesis 17:1;Revelations 16:14. "All things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him," and he is "the One telling from the beginning the finale" Hebrews 4:13, Isaiah 46:10; His knowledge and power extend everywhere, reaching every part of the universe, 2 Chronicles 16:9;Psalm 139:7-12. The true God is a spirit, not flesh, John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 3:17; though he sometimes likens his attributes of sight, power & so forth, to human faculties. He speaks figuratively of his 'arm', Exodus 6:6; his 'eyes', his 'ears' Psalms 34:15; in Psalms 94:9 that since he is the Creator of human 'eyes' & 'ears' that he can certainly see and hear. Some of his primary attributes are love, 1 John 4:8;wisdom, Proverbs 2:6; Romans 11:33; Justice Dueteronomy 32:4; Luke 18:7,8; & power, Job 37:23;Luke 1:35. He is a God of order, peace, 1 Corinthlians14:33. He is the happy God, 1 Timothy 1:11; and merciful, Exodus 34:6.
    Oops! The repairman is here to pick up the computer. I've been having some issues with start-up and get the blue page from time to time. I will continue this next week if you don't mind. Thank you for an interesting day, and for the food for thought. See you next week.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    Bess Wrote:
    Righteousness. The Hebrew, as well as the Greek words have the thought of 'rectitude,' 'uprightness.' Indicating a standard or norm determining what is upright. ... Jesus admonished us in Matthew 6:33 to "seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." So a person needs to keep seeking the Kingdom; he must desire that government and be loyal to it. But he cannot forget that it is the Kingdom of God; he must conform to God's will, to God's standard of right and wrong in conduct. The Bible explains itself very well, there is no need to 'interpret' anything. God is not a mystery.
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    Bess,

    I know what true righteousness is. My comment addressed the fact that the hypocritical “goats” claim to be righteous Christians when they are not, which is why the word is problematic these days. Many hypocrites masquerade as Christians, there are many wolves in sheep's clothing, and there are many false prophets and false shepherds -- all of whom claim to be righteous.

    Regarding the sentence in Matthew 6:33 where Jesus advised to "seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you," keep in mind that one must seek and find the kingdom of heaven – which comes not with observation in the world, but from within – before one can know the righteousness of the Lord God, the Holy One. A seeker who has not yet found it or realized it is not necessarily righteous, though many claim to be.

    Regarding interpretations of the Christian Bible, to be frank I find it rather amazing that you cling to the literalist idea that “there is no need to 'interpret' anything. God is not a mystery.” Such a statement ignores the fact that religious people have been interpreting scripture in different ways for thousands of years, do see God as mysterious. That's what the Talmudic tradition is all about, for instance, to try to bring more understanding, clarification and reasoned explanation of what is written in the Torah and Tanakh (O.T).

    I am glad, however, that you pick scriptural references to God as loving, beneficent and merciful, like a good parent. But I'm sure you are awar of many other references that are the opposite, and contradictory.

    I am also glad that you acknowledge that there are false shepherds, and I'm glad that you admit that: “... the true God is infinite and beyond the mind of man to fully fathom.” But then you submit that “he is approachable and invites us to seek him.”

    That prompts me to say that since we must seek God, it follows logically that God is not easy to find, and that God is therefore a mystery. After all, even Jesus said many who claim to have found the Lord have not. So God is indeed a mystery, because again, how could it be otherwise when God is unseen but eternal, infinite, and omnipresent?

    Additionally, I do not regard God as "approachable" in the sense that you do. In my experience, God can be realized or discovered within through divine revelation, and, ultimately, through the opening of the "seven seals of revelation," called the "seven chakras" in certain other religions.

    Also, please remember that Jesus said: "God is greater than I," and "You have not heard God's voice or seen God's shape at any time."

    Jesus said that because it is consistent with Moses writing that "God is not a man, nor a son of man." And it is consistent with what is written in the book of Isaiah, that we should not liken God to any man; nor compare the likeness of God to any man or son of man; nor regard any man or son of man equal to God; nor worship any idol or image of any man; nor consider any man or son of man alike with God.

    In fact, that’s what Isaiah says in 40:18, 40:25, 42:8, 44:24, 44:6-8, 45:5-6, 45:21-22, 46:5, 46:9, and 48:11. And, if we consider that along with Isaiah 43:10-11, Isaiah 45:15 and 21, Isaiah 49:26, Hosea 13:4, Deuteronomy 4:39, I Kings 8:60, I Samuel 2:2, Joel 2:27, Luke 1:47, and 1 Timothy 2:3-5, it can become more clear if you understand all of it in context.
  • Independent
    Massachusetts
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    It's interesting that (at least) early Genesis is supposed to be read absolutely literally. Six days = six-24-hour periods, etc.
    But elsewhere even in the Old Testament, there's a level of extremely imaginative extrapolation of meaning and even predictions.
    In Genesis, the ark was an ark on which, two-by-two each "kind" was loaded (though with careful reading one sees that
    this is, but isn't the actual situation -- nor could have been).
    But come to Revelations and Daniel and all else, and feet and stones and all kinds of specifics represent kingdoms or
    rulers revealing prophesies fulfilled even unto now!!! The scope of retrospect can too easily interpret, interpolate, concoct
    prescience, prediction, God's pre-ordainment . . . from almost kaleidoscopic pictoral matrix.
    Now if the Prophets had, in O.T. provided person and place-names, etc. there'd be at least evidence of actual prediction --
    and even some justification for some in assuming they were inspired by some greater power -- even God.

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  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    alongcameaschneider Wrote: It's interesting that (at least) early Genesis is supposed to be read absolutely literally. Six days = six-24-hour periods, etc.
    But elsewhere even in the Old Testament, there's a level of extremely imaginative extrapolation of meaning and even predictions.
    In Genesis, the ark was an ark on which, two-by-two each "kind" was loaded (though with careful reading one sees that
    this is, but isn't the actual situation -- nor could have been).
    But come to Revelations and Daniel and all else, and feet and stones and all kinds of specifics represent kingdoms or
    rulers revealing prophesies fulfilled even unto now!!! The scope of retrospect can too easily interpret, interpolate, concoct
    prescience, prediction, God's pre-ordainment . . . from almost kaleidoscopic pictoral matrix.
    Now if the Prophets had, in O.T. provided person and place-names, etc. there'd be at least evidence of actual prediction --
    and even some justification for some in assuming they were inspired by some greater power -- even God.

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    I know what you mean. However, as for your first point, the "six days" of creation story is not considered as six 24 hour days. For example, King David wrote that a thousand years is like yesterday, and Peter wrote that to God a thousand years is as a day.

    I agree with you about many stories and terms we read in scriptures. I think it's obvious that many are symbolic or allegorical and were not meant to be taken literally. In fact, John's book of Revelation is purposely symbolic, and can be understood only by those who actually understand the symbolism. And it is very clear that there are in fact errors and contradictions in both the O.T. and N.T.

    Nevertheless, the Judeo-Christian scriptures contain much universal truth, and some of the prophets were amazingly correct in their prophecies, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah and Jesus. After all they predicted the predicament and the rejection and suffering of the modern son of man. They did provide evidence that he fulfills their prophecies exactly, because he has been "stricken and afflicted" and is "contrite of spirit," and fearing that all his work has been "in vain and for naught," as Isaiah prophesied.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    One of the reasons often mentioned as to why the Bible is written in parables and is rift with symbolism, is that the Hebrew law Givers, Pharisee"s and the Sanducci's were always on the lookout for blasphemers and heratic's, so the prophets spoke in this type of communication so as to avoid further persecution, also the Romans were always looking for any reason to quell any new potential upraising against their authority, so not only should one read the Bible but you should also invest in a Bible Study type book for reference purposes, and possible explanations of verses.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    Bess Wrote: God is not omnipresent for he is spoken of as having location in 1 Kings 8:49; John 16:28; Hebrews 9:24. His throne is in heaven, Isaiah 66:1. ...
    God is a spirit, not flesh, John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 3:17; though he sometimes likens his attributes of sight, power & so forth, to human faculties. He speaks figuratively of his 'arm', ...
    Bess,

    I neglected to address those parts of your post earlier, but I should -- especially your claim that "God is not omnipresent."

    You submit that God "has location" and that is "in heaven." And you cite I King 8:49: “Then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven your dwelling place ...” And Isaiah 66:1: “Thus says the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool ..”

    You apparently have a very different understanding of what is meant by the term "heaven." And you apparently do no understand how the earth is God's "footstool," because that means God "stands" everywhere on earth.

    You also apparently forget or ignore that Jesus said "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," and "The kingdom of God comes not with observation: for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

    In other words, heaven is not some "location" or "place." It is the spiritual realm which is everywhere but unseen to human beings whose eye is not single and who are not full of the Light of God.

    Now here's some more things you should consider regarding heaven.

    Matt 13:11: "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."

    Matt 13:31: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."

    Now the other thing I wanted to respond to is your mention of "God's arm," because you apparently think that literally means God literally has an arm. However, the "arm" of God mentioned by most prophets is a servant of God, or a Mashiach/Messiah, because they can act as instruments or messengers of God. The prophets referred to "God's arm" metaphorically.

    An example showing that is in Isaiah 40:10: "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." Clearly the arm is not God's, but God's servant's who delivers his work before him. See Isaiah.
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