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1  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: Today at 11:29:58 AM
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In talking with a new friend yesterday, i realized that someone new to Biblical evidences, and especially prophecy/fulfillment, might not know about one of the most Messianic passages of the Older Testament.  So, to correct that oversight, let me offer a challenge.

Try to read Isaiah, chapter 53, slowly and carefully, and NOT see Jesus Christ as being described there.

Simple test.  Short post.
2  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 25, 2015, 12:51:45 PM
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Here are 100 facts and their corresponding Scriptural references about Jesus Christ
( from http://www.raptureforums.com/BibleProphecy/100jesusfacts.cfm  [edited]).

[The Scriptures are still being verified....)

+++++++

 100 Facts about Jesus Christ

1) Jesus said, "I AM the Bread of Life" - John 6:35,41,48,51

2) Jesus said, "I AM the Door" - John 10:7,9

3) Jesus said, "I AM the Good Shepherd" - John 10:11,14

4) Jesus said, "I AM the Way the Truth and The Life" - John 14:6

5) Jesus said, "I AM the Light of the world" - John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; Luke 2:32

6) Jesus said, "I AM the True Vine" - John 15:1,5

7) Jesus said, "I AM the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:25

8 ) Jesus said, "I AM the First and the Last" - Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13

9) Jesus claimed to be God - John 8:24; 8:56-59 (see Exodus 3:14); John 10:30-33

10) Jesus created all things - John 1:3; Col. 1:15-17

11) Jesus is before all things - Col. 1:17

12) Jesus is eternal - John 1:1,14 ; 8:58

13) Jesus is honored the same as the Father - John 5:23

14) Jesus is prayed to - Acts 7:55-60

15) Jesus is worshiped - Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6

16) Jesus is called God - John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13

17) Jesus is omnipresent - Matt. 28:20

18 ) Jesus is with us always - Matt. 28:20

19) Jesus is our only Mediator between God and ourselves - 1 Tim. 2:5

20) Jesus is the Guarantee of a better Covenant - Heb. 7:22; 8:6

21) Jesus always lives to make intercession for us - Heb. 7:25

22) Jesus cleanses from sin - 1 John 1:9

23) Jesus discloses Himself to us - John 14:21

24) Jesus draws all men to Himself - John 12:32

25) Jesus forgives sins - Matt. 9:1-7; Luke 5:20; 7:48

26) Jesus gives eternal Life - John 10:28; 5:40

27) Jesus gives joy - John 15:11

28 ) Jesus gives peace - John 14:27

29) Jesus has all Authority - Matt. 28:18; John 5:26-27; 17:2; 3:35

30) Jesus judges - John 5:22,27

31) Jesus knows all men - John 16:30

32) Jesus opens the mind to understand Scripture - Luke 24:45

33) Jesus received honor and glory from the Father - 1 Pet. 1:17

34) Jesus resurrects - John 5:39; 6:40,44,54; 11:25-26

35) Jesus reveals grace and truth - John 1:17 see John 6:45

36) Jesus reveals the Father - Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22

37) Jesus saves forever - Matt. 18:11; John 10:28; Heb. 7:25

38 ) Jesus bears witness of Himself - John 8:18; 14:6

39) Jesus' works bear witness of Himself - John 5:36; 10:25

40) The Father bears witness of Jesus - John 5:37; 8:18; 1 John 5:9

41) The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus - John 15:26

42) The multitudes bear witness of Jesus - John 12:17

43) The Prophets bear witness of Jesus - Acts 10:43

44) The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus - John 5:39

45) The disciples bear witness of Jesus - John 15:27

46) The Father will honor us if we serve Jesus - John 12:26 see Col. 3:24

47) The Father wants us to fellowship with Jesus - 1 Cor. 1:9

48 ) The Father tells us to listen to Jesus - Luke 9:35; Matt. 17:5

49) The Father tells us to come to Jesus - John 6:45

50) The Father draws us to Jesus - John 6:44

51) Everyone who's heard & learned from the Father comes to Jesus - John 6:45

52) The Law leads us to Jesus - Gal. 3:24

53) Jesus is the Rock - 1 Cor. 10:4

54) Jesus is the Savior - John 4:42; 1 John 4:14

55) Jesus is King - Matt. 2:1-6; Luke 23:3

56) In Jesus are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge - Col. 2:2-3

57) In Jesus we have been made complete - Col. 2:10

58 ) Jesus sanctifies us (makes holy) - Heb. 2:11

59) Jesus loves us - Eph. 5:25

60) Jesus indwells us - Col. 1:27

61) We come to Jesus - John 5:50; 6:35,37,45,65; 7:37;

62) We sin against Jesus - 1 Cor. 8:12

63) We receive Jesus - John 1:12; Col. 2:6

64) Jesus makes many righteous - Rom. 5:19

65) Jesus is the Image of the invisible God - Heb. 1:3

66) Jesus sends the Holy Spirit - John 15:26

67) Jesus abides forever - Heb. 7:24

68 ) Jesus offered up Himself - Heb. 7:27; 9:14

69) Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins for all time - Heb. 10:12

70) Jesus has given us understanding - 1 John 5:20

71) Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith - Heb. 12:2

72) Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession - Heb. 1:3

73) Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven - John 14:1-4

74) Jesus cleanses us from our sins by His Blood - Rev. 1:5; Rom. 5:9

75) Jesus is the Light of the world - Rom. 9:5

76) Jesus has explained the Father - John 1:18

77) Jesus was crucified because of weakness - 2 Cor. 13:4

78 ) Jesus has overcome the world - John 16:33

79) Truth is in Jesus - Eph. 4:21

80) The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ - Phil. 1:11

81) Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come - 1 Thess. 1:10

82) Jesus died and rose again - 1 Thess. 4:14

83) The Christian dead have fallen asleep in Jesus - 1 Thess. 4:15

84) Jesus died for us - 1 Thess. 5:10

85) Jesus tasted death for everyone - Heb. 2:9

86) Jesus rendered the devil powerless - Heb. 2:14

87) Jesus is able to save completely - Heb. 7:25

88 ) Jesus was a ransom for many and to serve - Matt. 20:28

89) Jesus came to be a High Priest - Heb. 2:17

90) Jesus came to save - John 3:17; Luke 19:10

91) Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of God - Luke 4:43

92) Jesus came to bring division - Luke 12:51

93) Jesus came to do the will of the Father - John 6:38

94) Jesus came to give the Father's Words - John 17:8

95) Jesus came to testify to the Truth - John 18:37

96) Jesus came to die and destroy Satan's power - Heb. 2:14

97) Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets - Matt. 5:17

98 ) Jesus came to give Life - John 10:10,28

99) Jesus came to taste death for everyone - Heb. 2:9

100) Jesus came to proclaim freedom for Believers - Luke 4:18

+++++++

Is there anyone else in all of history who can fulfill any of these completely, as He did all of them?
3  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 25, 2015, 12:30:23 PM
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When considering the uniqueness of Jews and Israel, as a "people group", it might be good to first define what Judaism and being a Jew mean, and that isn't easy.  Here is one of the better extended definitions i have seen
(from http://factsaboutjews.20m.com/ )

=======

What Is Judaism?

What is Judaism? What does it mean to be a Jew? Most people, both Jewish and gentile, would instinctively say that Judaism is a religion. And yet, there are militant atheists who insist that they are Jews! Is Judaism a race? If you were to say so, most Jews would think you were an antisemite! So what is Judaism?

Is Judaism a Religion?

Clearly, there is a religion called Judaism, a set of ideas about the world and the way we should live our lives that is called "Judaism." It is studied in Religious Studies courses and taught to Jewish children in Hebrew schools. See What do Jews Believe? for details. There is a lot of flexibility about certain aspects of those beliefs, and a lot of disagreement about specifics, but that flexibility is built into the organized system of belief that is Judaism.

However, many people who call themselves Jews do not believe in that religion at all! More than half of all Jews in Israel today call themselves "secular," and don't believe in G-d or any of the religious beliefs of Judaism. Half of all Jews in the United States don't belong to any synagogue. They may practice some of the rituals of Judaism and celebrate some of the holidays, but they don't think of these actions as religious activities.

The most traditional Jews and the most liberal Jews and everyone in between would agree that these secular people are still Jews, regardless of their disbelief. See Who is a Jew? Clearly, then, there is more to being Jewish than just a religion.

Are Jews a Race?

In the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Jews are a race, at least for purposes of certain anti-discrimination laws. Their reasoning: at the time these laws were passed, people routinely spoke of the "Jewish race" or the "Italian race" as well as the "Negro race," so that is what the legislators intended to protect.

But many Jews were deeply offended by that decision, offended by any hint that Jews could be considered a race. The idea of Jews as a race brings to mind nightmarish visions of Nazi Germany, where Jews were declared to be not just a race, but an inferior race that had to be rounded up into ghettos and exterminated like vermin.

But setting aside the emotional issues, Jews are clearly not a race.

Race is a genetic distinction, and refers to people with shared ancestry and shared genetic traits. You can't change your race; it's in your DNA. I could never become black or Asian no matter how much I might want to.

Common ancestry is not required to be a Jew. Many Jews worldwide share common ancestry, as shown by genetic research; however, you can be a Jew without sharing this common ancestry, for example, by converting. Thus, although I could never become black or Asian, blacks and Asians have become Jews (Sammy Davis Jr. and Connie Chung).

Is It a Culture or Ethnic Group?

Most secular American Jews think of their Jewishness as a matter of culture or ethnicity. When they think of Jewish culture, they think of the food, of the Yiddish language, of some limited holiday observances, and of cultural values like the emphasis on education.

Those secular American Jews would probably be surprised to learn that much of what they think of as Jewish culture is really just Ashkenazic Jewish culture, the culture of Jews whose ancestors come from one part of the world. Jews have lived in many parts of the world and have developed many different traditions. As a Sephardic friend likes to remind me, Yiddish is not part of his culture, nor are bagels and lox, chopped liver, latkes, gefilte fish or matzah ball soup. His idea of Jewish cooking includes bourekas, phyllo dough pastries filled with cheese or spinach. His ancestors probably wouldn't know what to do with a dreidel.

There are certainly cultural traits and behaviors that are shared by many Jews, that make us feel more comfortable with other Jews. Jews in many parts of the world share many of those cultural aspects. However, that culture is not shared by all Jews all over the world, and people who do not share that culture are no less Jews because of it. Thus, Judaism must be something more than a culture or an ethnic group.

The Jews Are a Nation or a People

It is clear from the discussion above that there is a certain amount of truth in the claims that it is a religion, a race, or an ethnic group, none of these descriptions is entirely adequate to describe what connects Jews to other Jews. And yet, almost all Jews feel a sense of connectedness to each other that many find hard to explain, define, or even understand.

The best explanation is the traditional one given in the Torah: that the Jews are a nation. The Hebrew word, believe it or not, is "goy." We use the word "nation" not in the modern sense meaning a territorial and political entity, but in the ancient sense meaning a group of people with a common history, a common destiny, and a sense that we are all connected to each other. We are, in short, an enormous extended family.

Some Jews don't like to use the word "nation." Jews have often been falsely accused of being disloyal to their own country because of their loyalty to the Jewish "nation." Antisemites routinely accuse Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to their home country. But whatever you want to call it, that sense of nationhood or peoplehood is probably the only thing about Judaism that we can all agree on and that we can all relate to. Anyone who feels any sense of Jewish identity shares that sense of Jewish peoplehood.

When we speak of that nation, however, we do not refer to it as "Judaism." We refer to that nation as "the Jewish people" or "the Children of Israel" (a reference to our patriarch, Jacob, also known as Israel).

This notion of Jews as a nation or people encompasses many of the ideas above. As a nation or people, we share common ideas, ancestry, and culture, but there is also room for diversity in each of these areas. The most important part of being a nation is that sense of interconnectedness.

Judaism as a religion is very communally-oriented. For example, our prayers are normally stated in the plural, and we are supposed to pray in communal groups. Many of our holiday observances are family or community-oriented. And yet, even people who are not religious at all feel that sense of Jewish community.

When Jews suffer or are persecuted, we all feel their pain. For example, in the 1980s, when Africa was suffering from droughts and famines, many Jews around the world learned for the first time about the Beta Israel, the Jews of Ethiopia. Their religion, race and culture are quite different from ours, and we had not even known that they existed before the famine. And yet, our hearts went out to them as our fellow Jews during this period of famine, and Jews from around the world helped them to emigrate to Israel.

When a Jew does something illegal, immoral or shameful, we all feel the shame, and we all feel that it reflects on us. As Jews, many of us were embarrassed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because Lewinsky is a Jew. We were shocked when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was killed by a Jew, unable to believe that one Jew would ever kill another.

And when a Jew accomplishes something significant, we all feel proud. A perfect example of Jews (even completely secular ones) delighting in the accomplishments of our fellow Jews is the perennial popularity of Adam Sandler's Chanukkah songs, listing famous people who are Jewish. We all take pride in scientists like Albert Einstein or political leaders like Joe Lieberman (we don't all agree with his politics or his religious views, but we were all proud to see him on a national ticket). And is there a Jew who doesn't know (or at least feel pride upon learning) that Sandy Koufax declined to pitch in a World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur?

=======
4  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Kinism and Calvin on: May 25, 2015, 11:59:42 AM

Good point.  We have a whole bunch to be grateful but not much at all to be proud of, right?  Here are some verses that come to mind.


Isaiah 2:12
"For the Day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low..."

Malachi 4:1
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says (YHWH) the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch."

James 4:6
"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Corinthians 4:7
"For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"

Galatians 6:14
"But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

5  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Predestination vs. Foreknowledge--unbelievers "created for Hell"? on: May 22, 2015, 12:22:13 PM
Going back to the Supralapsarian vs Infralapsarian question:  When, before the foundation of the World, God chose some for salvation and some for damnation, did God FORESEE the Fall of Man or CAUSE the Fall of Man?  The Westminster Confession, in response to the Dutch Remonstrants complaint regarding making God the Author of Sin is blasphemous, chose the infralapsarian position that God before creation had Foreknowledge of the Fall.  Once you've postulated God's Foreknowledge of Man's sin, then you logically have to postulate God's foreknowledge of Man's faith also.  Then the question becomes whether God has given Man the ability to have faith (and how does Man have the ability to have faith in the things he does have faith in if he didn't get it from his Creator?) and whether God holds Man responsible for exercising faith.  

That's what the Foreknowledge question boils down to:  Whether Man is responsible for his condition.

Just because God has perfect foreknowledge doesn't mean He can be blamed for the choices mankind makes, if He creates them with the ability to suppress/repress His experiential presence and influence.  For Him to create people who will (without Him forcing them to) decide to persist in their rebellion against Him, does not make Him the "author of sin" -- He does not cause anyone to sin, but enables sinful choices while influencing us subtly (usually) toward turning to Him for right choices.

So, yes, He foreknew the fall of mankind, and pre-planned the Remedy for it, as is reflected in the verse about "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth" ( Rev. 13:8 )  But He is not the cause of that fall, rather He has set up this universe/world as the perfect learning environment for faith to be developed.  And faith, although sourced from Him, involves our responses, in particular our letting go of our rebelliousness (at least to some degree), and choosing to trust in/depend in Him instead of in our ego perceptions.

And all glory goes to Him, both for our "freedom of choice" and our salvation, if we can become willing to "surrender".  We could never do so apart from Him, of course -- we love Him because He first loved us, and proved it.  And the lost can never blame Him for making them rebel -- He never forces anyone to rebel against the Good.  

Thus, even His treatment of the lost will glorify His fairness/justice, as He destroys those who will most deeply desire to be destroyed rather than live forever in intimate union with the Holy One.  Though He did not cause their rejection of Him apart from their choices, He did provide all that was necessary for them to be able to volitionally prefer rejection over full acceptance.

He could have created a world without "free will", and thus forced every person to do only right/good, but that is inconsistent with His nature as perfect Love.  He could have created a world in which no one could freely choose (with His empowerment and perfect influence) to do good, but that would be inconsistent with His pure Righteousness.  What He has done is to create a supreme opportunity for His creatures to learn to have faith, by His grace, or continue to refuse to do so.

If no one was ever "lost", there would be nothing to be "saved" from.  If no one was ever "saved", there would be nothing to "lost" from.  He gives the ideal mechanism for both to exist in the freedom perfect Love grants.
6  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 21, 2015, 11:51:27 AM
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Who comes to your mind when you ask yourself the question, "Who is the most unique person who ever lived"?

Here are some answers to that question, starting with the Billy Graham foundation

+++++++

"Worthy is the Lamb . . . to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
—Revelation 5:12

"H.G. Wells wrote, “Christ is the most unique person of history. No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth.” Rabbi Stephen Wise said concerning Jesus, “You will find that He is divinely human. It is no mean joy to us of the house of Israel to recognize, to honor and to cherish among our brethren, Jesus the Jew, who has influenced the world more than any other man.”

"This person called Jesus lived on earth for only 33 years. He never traveled more than 100 miles from His home. Yet Charles Lamb was right in saying, “If all the illustrious men of history were gathered together and Shakespeare should enter their presence, they would rise to do him honor; but if Jesus Christ should come in, they would fall down and worship Him.”

+++++++

Napoleon, in his later years, became a believer in Christ, as this writing shows:

+++++++

"You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful and entirely devoted to his memory? My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power.”

“I know men and I tell you, Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour, millions would die for him.”

“I search in vain history to find similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel.  Neither history nor humanity, nor ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”

+++++++

From Dr. James Allen Francis:

+++++++

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

"He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...

"While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

"Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.  I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

+++++++



To be continued.....
7  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Predestination vs. Foreknowledge--unbelievers "created for Hell"? on: May 21, 2015, 11:25:29 AM
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If all are created with "free will", meaning the ability to suppress the Truth and to rebel against God's authority and inspiration, then He has done/will do no "forcing" or coercion of either the saved or the lost.  And thus we could never blame Him for how He created us.  True, He knew in advance which part of humanity would hold on tightly to their rebellion/suppression against Him (in spite of His influence toward reconciliation), and which part would eventually surrender to His love (given the  Spirit's influence and empowerment), but He did not/does not just "take over" anyone without their being drawn to ask/seek/knock for His presence and eternal control.

Thus, the "lost" are fore-known to be "vessels of destruction" (Romans 9:22), while the "found" are fore-known to be "children of glory", without either being giving exclusive "opportunity" for salvation.  So, then, how could anyone who is lost complain that God made them the way they are, since they are the product of all their own choices against the grace of their Maker?  And how could anyone brag that they "chose salvation" on their own, since they also resisted/suppressed the love of God as long as they were able to hold out against His drawing/inspiration?

If this is true, then predestination is from God's perspective of complete advance knowledge of the future and of our every choice as long as we live, while free will/human responsibility is from our own experiential perspective of never being forced to love God against our deepest desires.  Two different points of view, both valid.

Possible?
8  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Kinism and Calvin on: May 21, 2015, 11:01:05 AM
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Yes, proud racism sure takes on the characteristics of a religion.  I have a friend who happens to be "black" who is quite sure that Adam was black, and that all men came from the black race, including of course, Jesus.  I am aware that one meaning of Adam is "red" (like red earth), and that Jesus would most likely have had typical "olive-brown" skin color, but we don't have sufficient info to be highly confident of either as pure fact.

It seems to me that Calvin wouldn't have had much concern over race/ethnicity, since inter-mixture wouldn't present a great problem to an almost entirely white population.  The occasional black / red / yellow skinned passerby would have been a curiosity but not a social threat.  On the other hand, here's an excerpt from
www.patheos.com/blogs/christianpiatt/2012/10/driscoll-piper-calvin-and-gods-gift-of-racism/ which gives some of the reasoning of those who would accuse Calvin of segregationist thinking.


-------  (Speaking of the depravity of mankind / irresistible grace and the sovereignty of God):

"There’s more to Calvinism than this, but these two ideas are at the heart of my point. If you believe humanity ultimately is depraved, and that only a preordained few are to receive God’s sovereign grace, this is fertile ground for seeing much of the world as “less than.”

"And what’s more, Calvinists can divest themselves of the culpability for such supremacist thinking, because, after all, it’s God’s will! This isn’t how we want it, they say, but it just is how it is.

"Sorry, but you’re depraved. You’re doomed. You have no hope, as evidenced by the fact that you’re not part of our tribe. Were you one of God’s chosen, you would find your way to our side of the line, because God would lead you there.

"This is not to say that people of the Reformed Church inherently believe that white males are favored by God, but the very idea that some would be loved more than others by their creator sets up a kind of zionist thinking that would make Ayn Rand blush. It can be used to justify violence, even war, and the subjugation of the rights of many for the furtherance of God’s sovereign will."
-------

Personally, i have come to believe that "free will/human responsibility" and "predestination/God's sovereignty" are true, simultaneously, though it is difficult for us to "wrap our minds around" that.  It would eliminate any Divine "racial preference", since it would be the degree of our resistance / surrender that would determine those whom God fore-knows will lay down their rebellion against His final Rule, (by His grace and enablement, of course), and those who won't.


9  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 17, 2015, 11:59:09 AM
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Regarding the fact that the Bible is the most unique Book in history, let's start with some basic observations:

The Bible is actually a library, or Book of books, containing 66 Books, divided among the Old and New Testaments/Covenants, (39 in the OT, and 27 in the NT), written over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D. (following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).  

It was written using 3 different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings. Despite these differences in occupation and the span of years it took to write it, the Bible is an extremely cohesive and unified book.

As a work of literature, it has the finest stories ever told:

the greatest drama of all time,
the greatest evils, the greatest good
the greatest romance, the greatest mysteries
the greatest moral code, the greatest future for mankind
the greatest (auto-) Biography of a real, and eternal, SuperMan

It was the first book ever printed on a printing press, and it has been the "best-seller of all time" ever since then.  It has been translated into over 2,000 languages, and portions of it have been translated into many more.  It is a book whose phrases and concepts have been incorporated into more literature, of all forms, than any other.

In addition to giving us vast historical information, and great literature, much of which can be verified via archeology (with more being verified over time), the Bible presents a consistent Message of the love of God for His creation, revealed in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to be for mankind a Savior from both sin and the ultimate consequences of sin.  Here are some of the topics covered, citing only one or two of the chapters where each topic can be found:


+++++++
Ascension..Acts 1
Backsliders...Hosea 14
Beatitudes..Matthew 5,6,7
Bread of Life..John 6
Brotherhood..Romans 14
Builders..Nehemiah 4
Burden-Bearers..Galatians 6
Call, Universal..Isaiah 55
Chastening..2 Corinthians 4
Comfort..Psalm 23
Confession..Psalm 51
Consecration..Philippians 3
Constancy..Ruth 1
Contrast..Deuteronomy 28
Converts..Psalm 32
Deliverance..Acts 12
Divinity..John 1
Duty..Romans 12
Faith..Hebrews 11
Flood..Genesis 7
Friendship..1 Samuel 20
Fruit..John 15
Gifts..1 Corinthians 12
Giving..2 Corinthians 9
Gideon's Band..Judges 7
Good Shepherd..John 10
Heaven..John 14, Revelation 7, 22
Holy Spirit..John 14, 15
Humility..John 13
Instruction..Proverbs 1
Intercession..John 17
Joy..Isaiah 12
Jubilee..Leviticus 25
Judgement..Matthew 25
Law..Exodus 20
Life, Frailty..Psalm 90
Love..1 Corinthians 13
Messiah..Isaiah 53
Ministers..1 Corinthians 4
Missions..Psalm 72, Romans 10
New Covenant..Hebrews 8
Old Age..Ecclesiastes 12
Omniscience..Psalm 139
Over-comers..Revelation 2, 3
Passover..Exodus 12
Praise..Psalms 103 & 145
Prayer..Daniel 6, Luke 11, 18
Prosper, Wicked..Psalm 73
Prosper, Righteous..Deuteronomy 8, 28
Providence..Psalm 121
Refuge..Numbers 35
Regeneration.. John 3
Rest.. Hebrews 4
Resurrection..1 Corinthians 15
Revival..2 Chronicles 30, Luke 3
Safety.. Psalm 91
Service..Luke 10
Shepherd..John 10
Soldier's..Ephesians 6
Teacher's..1 Corinthians 2
Temperance..Proverbs 23
Tithing..Malachi 3
Tongue..James 3
Transfiguration..Matthew 17
Unity..Ephesians 4
Vanity...Ecclesiastes 4
Watchman's..Ezekiel 33
Water of Life..John 4
Wisdom..Proverbs 3
Woman's..Proverbs 31
Word of God..Deuteronomy 6
Worship..Psalm 84
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The Index in the first post above for this subtopic can also serve as a list of unique features of the Bible.  For example, can you find another book, of any kind, which has the same, or similar, record of prophecies and their fulfillment?  

Does any other book have multiple levels of meaning and values, which all present a connected, consistent basic message (such as the meanings of names and places, numerical symbolism, picture language in the original, foreshadowing, historical accuracy, special non-obvious encodings, etc, all pointing to Jesus Christ)?  

Can any other writings in history claim a 20 centuries-long record of physical / emotional / spiritual healings and positive behavior transformations, among people of a great variety of cultures and languages?  Does any other book have a better moral code, or show God's love for us so clearly?  
Does any other book offer everyone complete forgiveness for their wrongs, and the removal of their sin, (by free undeserved grace through God-given faith), and promise a perfect unending future (in Christ)?  If not, why not study it closely....and open-mindedly....and obediently....


Finally, let us remember what some well-known people have said about the subject --

George Washington: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible".

Abe Lincoln: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man.  All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book."

Patrick Henry: "The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed."

Napoleon Bonaparte:  "The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all who oppose it."

Daniel Webster: "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
10  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 16, 2015, 11:20:34 AM
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I found this helpful article in the "Setting Captives Free" ministry newsletter, and it is a good addition to the final summaries of this Index [i revised the capitalization]:

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Word of Encouragement from Mike Cleveland

What does the Bible really teach?  What is its main Message?  Is there any key to helping us understand it?

There is one central Message in the Bible, and that Message is the key that unlocks every passage to our understanding.  Without this key the Bible is a locked book, confusing at best, entirely unable to be understood, and open to all kinds of misinterpretations.

This one Message should be the subject of all your study of the Bible, it should be the main subject of every sermon preached, and should be the central subject of small group discussion.

What is this one Message, this key that unlocks the entire Bible?  It is the Gospel.  Here is what one writer said about it: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4  This message is “of first importance”, as it is the key to every passage.

But doesn’t the Gospel begin in the Book of Matthew in the New Testament?  No, the Gospel is all through the Bible.

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"The Gospel begins, not in Matthew 1:1, but in Genesis 3:15.  Let us never forget that, and so let us go to our Old Testament and look for the Gospel.  You will find it there almost everywhere in a most astounding manner, and it is our business, as well as our privilege, to seek it and to rejoice in it as we find it there.

"...the Bible teaches very clearly that there is only one Gospel; the Gospel is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New.  Again, I am surprised when a preacher does not see it in the Old Testament, for if a man does not see it there, I doubt if he understands the Gospel in the New Testament.  

"Take the Gospel that was preached by God in the Garden of Eden and also the promise made to Abraham; that is the essence of the Gospel.  Look at all the types and shadows; look at the various offerings described in Leviticus and elsewhere.  Look even at the very furniture of the Tabernacle. All these things preach the Gospel; they are the types of the Gospel and its Message."

   quote from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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I want to close by showing how we find the Gospel in the Old Testament, in hopes that you might take this method to every Scripture you read.  Just take a passage at random and see how the Gospel illuminates it.  Let’s take Psalm 103:9-12 for example:

“He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:9-12

First: God “will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever.”  He no longer accuses you of your sin, for He accused Jesus of your sin and then put Him to death in your place.  Now He harbors no anger for you because He poured out all His anger on Jesus instead of you.

Second: “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities”.  The reason is because He treated Jesus as our sins deserve and repaid Him according to our sins.

Third: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  God sent His Son from Heaven to earth because of His great love. Jesus then spread His hands from east to west, had nails pierced through them, and died to remove our transgressions from us.

Notice the verbal imagery of the Cross in that passage?  Heaven to earth, and east to west?

This is the Message of the Bible.  Learn it well.  Look for it always.  Rejoice in it everywhere.  If you do, your Bible will come alive, you will have the key to understanding every passage, and you will be captivated by Jesus Christ, Who “loved you and gave Himself for you” (Galatians 2:20).
11  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 15, 2015, 02:29:19 PM
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Getting thirsty for purity?  He creates the thirst, we are empowered to participate in the process of "sanctification", a "setting apart for God's purposes", a purification from worldly influences and desires.

Let's see how the Word puts it:


Acts 15:8-9
"So God, Who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."

Titus 2:11-14
"For the grace of God that brings Salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

James 4:8
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

Matthew 5:8  Jesus speaking
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."


The Holy Spirit continually reveals more of Christ's perfect purity to us, and helps us see our great impurity compared to Him.  So we begin to "hunger and thirst for righteousness" -- His.  Then, when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, inside out, He continues to "purify for Himself His own special people".

We have His Word for it that He shall continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and create pure, clean hearts in His greatly-loved children.


John 3:2-3
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."

Matthew 5:6  Jesus speaking
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."


We have our part to play, in confession, in prayer, and meditation, and in obeying His leading.


1 John 1:7-9
"But if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."


Jesus Christ is Truth, perfectly noble, just/fair, pure, lovely, of eternally good report, supremely virtuous and praiseworthy.  So we need to keep our heart-minds centered on Him, as much as possible, by His grace, and He will finish our purification, as a refiner of fine metals removes the impurities to get the purest form possible.


Hebrews 12:1-2
"...Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith..."

Malachi 3:2-3
“But who can endure the Day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?  For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.

He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness."



Cleanse us, purify us, Lord Jesus, until You can see Yourself clearly in our hearts, minds and lives.  Amen!
12  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Index: Scripture-supporting evidences on: May 13, 2015, 11:43:40 AM
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Jesus Christ is the Compassionate One, and the Source of all true compassion.  Here's a little proof from the Psalms and from descriptions of Jesus (there are more of course):

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Psalm 78:38
"But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath..."
Matthew 9:36
"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."
Psalm 86:15
"But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth."
Matthew 14:14
"And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick."
Psalm 111:4
"He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The LORD (YHWH) is gracious and full of compassion."
Matthew 15:32
"Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”"
Psalm 112:4
"Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous."
Matthew 20:34
"So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him."
Psalm 145:8
"The LORD (YHWH) is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy."
Mark 1:41
"Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”"
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When He is living His Life in/through Believers, He will give us experiences of a compassion far greater than anything we can "muster up in the flesh".  It can't really be faked, it has to be experienced.

What kind of compassion, that only comes from Him?  It may take the form of understanding that those who have treated us wrongly are "spiritually sick", and it may then move us to pray for our "enemies".  Recall how Jesus showed even Judas acceptance and respect (He washed the disciples feet, including Judas', and gave him permission to betray Him.)  It may be an inspiration to pray for the healing of someone physically sick.

It may take the form of sympathy for the poor, and/or the homeless.  It is not usually the mere giving of a buck to a "beggar", but more a desire to get to know the less fortunate one, and see how their deeper needs can be met with God's help.  It calls to mind that Jesus was Himself "homeless" as He went about preaching the Good (Greatest) News.

It may take the form of giving to relief and development agencies during a severe crisis in some other part of the world -- like ADRA or World Vision.  It may lead to "sponsoring" a child overseas.  It may take the form of volunteer (or paid) working for "social justice" organizations, and child welfare groups.

Whatever form it takes, when it is sincere and pure, we will recognize that the compassion comes from Jesus, living in us.  Of course, none of us will be perfectly compassionate at all appropriate times.  And unbelievers can also show compassion, which may well be inspired by Christ, though the person may not be aware of that.

Sometimes the compassion will be more than just accepting the weak sinner, and standing up for them.  It may also take the form of telling them, under His guidance, to "go and sin no more", as He told the woman caught in the act of adultery.  

Jesus never let His compassion stop Him from encouraging people to repent toward God, and trust more in Him.  The ultimate form of His compassion is the intense desire to rescue all of us from ourselves, not just from poverty or from disease or from oppression.
13  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Eternal torture appears dead at last on: May 12, 2015, 11:58:26 AM
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People have in the past asked me "what if you are wrong about the lost being only mortal, and therefore terminated in the Second Death? what will you tell God about that when you face Him?"

Answer:  Something like "All i can do is cast myself on Your mercy, my God and Father.  Your Word seemed so clear that You love Your enemies, as we are commanded to love ours.  And You never said the lost were immortal, only the traditions of men say that.  Please show me the Truth".

And, on the other hand, if i happen to be right, by His grace and inspiration, then i will thank Him for the courage He gives me to go against traditions and promote what the Word actually says about His treatment of those who persistently reject His love for them.

In either case, i will deserve whatever He judges, since He is supremely fair and compassionate, toward everyone, save and lost alike.  I have great doubt that He would punish me forever for portraying Him as being too fair and compassionate with the lost -- that would be "out of Character" for our perfect Heavenly Dad.
14  Forums / Main Forum / Re: Kinism and Calvin on: May 12, 2015, 11:42:25 AM
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Thanks for the subject, BFDD.  I don't represent F&G in any way, other than being a frequent contributor here, but i would offer an answer.  I had to look up kinism, and found this in wikipedia:

"Kinism is the belief, or promotion of the belief, that the social order for humanity is tribal and ethnic, and focuses on a duty to love one's own people. Kinists advocate the idea that extended families should live together in large groups segregated by race or ethnicity. They believe the ideal and normative social order for families – and by extension communities, states and nations – is an exclusionary one defined by race and blood, not propositions or borders, and that this natural order forms the proper and lasting bonds of affection and loyalty for society."

I can't speak for Calvin or all the other reformers, since i don't know all of their writings, but i'm sure the Bible doesn't support that concept.  There was a strong "segregationism" in the formation of Israel, which was necessary at that time, but the New Testament doesn't support its continuation for Believers.  We are not to love just our own type of people, but all people including our enemies.  (Matt 5:43-44, Luke 6:27, 35)  And in Christ we are all children of God, beloved and adopted into His eternal Family.  (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11, Rom 8:15, 23, Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5).

Do you have any specific writings in mind?  

[I am aware that Luther became anti-semitic in his later years, and some of his later literature about the Jews was used by Hitler.]





15  Forums / Theology Forum / Re: Christ in us Scriptures on: May 11, 2015, 11:34:56 AM
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Sometimes we may need to do a "re-exam" to see if we might have either never truly received Christ, or have gotten away from Him and need to come back "Home".



I got inspired to notice that the word "examine" is used many times in the OT, in the Book of Leviticus, referring to the priest/High priest investigating sacrificial animals for blemishes and people with sores / plagues / leprosy, (or healed from them) etc.

But in the Newer Testament, it is used more of self-examination, for example:

In 2nd Corinthians Chapter 13, we are instructed to examine ourselves, to test ourselves, to see if Christ is alive and dwelling in us.  Check it out -- see if that isn't true...


(Of course, if you're not sure about it, you can always ask Him, right now, to come into you to take over your life/will -- to move you into greater conformity with His Will -- and to give you certainty that He has done exactly that.  He rejoices to give us His very best, which is Himself.....if you didn't know that already.    Grin )

It is interesting that 1 Corinthians chapter 13 is the "love chapter", while 2 Corinthians chapter 13 contains the "examine yourself" section.  And another verse came to mind, from the OT:


Lamentations 3:40-41
"Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in Heaven."
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