What is Truth?

What is Truth?
Vol: 167 Issue: 31 Monday, August 31, 2015

Pilate saith unto Him, “What is truth?. . . ” (John 18:38) This is the question that has bedeviled philosophers since the dawn of time. It is a subjective question; one person’s truth is another person’s untruth, yet truth itself is neither subjective nor objective; that is to say, truth is true whether anyone believes it or not.

If there is such a thing as truth then, we ought to be able to find it.  If truth cannot be known, then truth cannot exist.   Truth can sometimes be known by the power of logic and deductive reasoning, yet it can still be known absolutely.

Allow me to prove it to you.  I know, absolutely, and without being told by anybody else — that you are presently reading this particular line of text. That is a truth born out of logic. 

Then there are those truths that are not necessarily logical, but rather are reflections of reality.  

There is no way to logically ‘prove’ it, no benchmark against which to measure the truth of the statement, “I love my wife,” but it is true nonetheless.  And so truth is also a logical affirmation of reality.

But not all truth is absolute — as noted previously, one person’s truth is often another person’s untruth, relatively speaking. Certain truths are relative to one’s culture, preferences and history — but relative truths are no less true.

If I were to ask which side of the road you drive your car on,  most of you would say you drive on the right– and you’d be telling the truth.   But Anton in South Africa and Alf in Australia would say they drive their cars on the left– and they’d ALSO be telling the truth.

What is true in this case is what is true relative to individual reality.  So truth is not always objective — sometimes it is subjective, but still true, nevertheless.

So truth can be objective, subjective, logical and/or relative, and yet remain the truth. 

That means that there is no way to determine such a thing as absolute truth apart from our cultural and personal reality without acknowledging the existence of a truth greater than ourselves, one that transcends culture and experience and individual preference.

That is why the quest for truth ultimately leads to God.  Even the CERN Large Hadron Conductor experiment aimed at discovering the “Higgs boson” ultimately proves itself to be a search for God. 

Indeed, the “Higgs boson” is nicknamed “the God Particle” since it is believed to be the explanation for how “quarks” — the invisible, extra-dimensional  particles of which all matter is comprised,  acquire mass. 

We learn from the Higgs bosun experiments that quarks exist outside of time and space and have no mass, but that all mass that exists inside of time and space is made up of quarks.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void. . . ” (Genesis 1:1)

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:20)

“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:” (Colossians 1:6)

Since quarks aren’t merely invisible but actually exist outside of the dimension of space and time, then the Bible’s account of creation is not just subjectively true, but also objectively true.

Assessment:

Generally speaking, when debating with a skeptic or an atheist, Christians tacitly agree to allow science to be the standard against which we judge truth.

So we prepare for our debates by searching out the best scientific evidence possible to support our positions, without realizing that what we are doing is making science the judge.  But if science is the judge of truth, we cannot win. 

Scientific ‘truth’ is ever-changing.  Appealing to science in order to validate Scripture is getting the equation exactly backwards.

The Scriptures say that “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). 

God says of Himself, “For I am the Lord, I change not. . .  (Malachi 3:6)

We’ve already discussed the unbeliever’s attempts to disprove the Bible using logic and reason, both of which are dependent upon the existence of God for their validity.  The next fallback position is that of science.  For the skeptic, however, this position suffers from the same fatal flaw.

Science depends on the laws of nature — if they were not uniform and unchanging, then there would be no way to experiement and study and arrive at truthful conclusions. If the force of gravity changed randomly from one day to the next, scientific measurement would be impossible.

The laws of nature were set in motion by God,  Who then promised that they will not pass away.

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

The skeptic has to operate within the same understanding of natural uniformity as believers do — although he has no explanation for it. The unbeliever’s worldview dictates that nature and natural law evolved into what they are today through an ever-changing random series of processes.

So arguing against God from the perspective of science is like arguing against the existence of air while taking a deep breath.   It is a self-defeating argument.

The unbeliever has no way to account for the uniformity of nature, or the laws of science and logic apart from the God of the Bible. The Bible never contradicts itself, is unchanging and provides an explanation for all that is and all that is in doubt. 

The problem with evolution is that there is no way to measure or test the theory.  Any observable experiment demonstrates the 2nd law of Thermodynamics which postulates that all things, natural or created, eventually break down with time.  

Evolution argues that, by adding an unknowable and unverifiable periods of millions of years, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics reverses itself and uncreated things create themselves, and having thus accomplished this miracle of creation without intelligence, began to improve itself.

But the evolutionist cannot explain how it works, let alone why.   And to accept its claims requires a temporary suspension of the laws of both science and mathematics.

In 1932 when my mother-in-law was 10 years old, the earth’s population stood at 2 billion people.  In 2012, when she turns 90, the earth’s population is expected to top 7 billion.  From 2 billion to 7 billion in a single lifetime!

Now, to the Big Question. What if the earth’s population had reached 2 billion a thousand years ago?  What would the population be today?  Eight hundred billion?  A trillion? 

Now, add a million years, like the evolutionists do, and what you’d end up with isn’t science, but foolishness. We wouldn’t have room for anything except cemetaries, and we’d be re-using them by now.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . .Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Romans 1:22,25,28)

The skeptic or the atheist who wants to debate the Bible isn’t interested in learning the truth, but seeking justification for perpetuating his own delusion.

Reason and logic cannot exist without God.  The laws of science and nature cannot exist without God.  And if either could exist apart from God, we would have no way to explain them, let alone understand them.

Don’t let the enemy use clever debating tricks to steal away your assurance.  The foundational question that logic, reason and science all fail to address in their various alternative scenarios is the question of “why”? 

Why are we here?  What IS the meaning of life?   Science doesn’t know — it has no answers, just more questions.  Logic and reason cannot provide an explanation. 

No humanistic religion or philosophy can adequately explain the purpose for your existence — but the Bible can.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Because that IS why we are here. To trust the Lord.  To learn to lean on Him.  To learn to allow Him to direct our lives.  And to spread the good news that the Bible is true,  our salvation has been assured and that our Savior is coming back for us.

All the skeptics and the atheists and the scientists know is what.  We know why.  We know how.  Most importantly of all, we know Who.  

And as we witness the increasing signs of His soon Return, we also have a pretty good idea of when.

Soon.  Very soon.  Maranatha!

Originally Published: March 5, 2010

Featured Commentary: The End of the Age: Part 1 ~ Pete Garcia

The Watchers

The Watchers
Vol: 167 Issue: 29 Saturday, August 29, 2015

There are certain, undeniable realities in this world that exist, no matter how hard we try to explain them away, and as soon as we think we’ve got it figured out, something comes along that causes you to start all over again.

The Great Pyramid is one of those undeniable realities. It displays a level of scientific sophistication that defies conventional explanation.

In 1978, a “Great Pyramid Feasibility Study” related to the quarrying and transportation of stone was conducted by Merel Booker of the Indiana Limestone Institute of America.

Made up of 33 quarries state-wide, the Institute is considered by many architects to be one of the world’s leading authorities on limestone. Using modern equipment, the study concludes:

“Utilizing the entire Indiana Limestone industry’s facilities as they now stand [for 33 quarries], and figuring on tripling present average production, it would take approximately 27 years to quarry, fabricate and ship the total requirements.”

Booker also points out “the time study assumes sufficient quantities of railroad cars would be available without delay or downtime during this 27 year period and does not factor in the increasing costs of completing the work.”

Five thousand years ago, while the Great Pyramid, with all its advanced astronomical, geographic and mathematical complexities was being constructed, secular history says the Sumerians were just beginning to invent the first written language.

The bow and arrow was a relatively recent invention.

Hebrew slaves wouldn’t learn the art of manufacturing mud bricks by stomping mud together with straw for another nine hundred years.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was yet millennia in the future.

Who told the Pharaoh’s builders that Giza was in the exact center of the earth, that the north and south poles were slightly flattened, and the earth tilts 23.5 degrees on its axis?

Assessment:

First, we need to differentiate between the Book of Enoch (or Enoch i) and the “Secrets of Enoch” (Enoch ii).

What makes up the Book of Enoch (i) are divided as “The Apocalypse of Weeks,” fragments of the “Book of Noah”; “The Dream Visions”; the Book of Heavenly Luminaries”; and the “Simultudes”.

The first two books are believed to be the oldest, dating to the pre-Maccabean Period (prior to 300 BC); the latest, “the Simultudes” to somewhere in the first century before Christ.

The author of the first two ‘books’ of Enoch, based on references within the text, was likely a Jew who lived in the land of Dan in northern Israel.

Whether he actually authored the book, or simply transcribed what had been oral tradition passed down from father to son from the time of Noah, has not been established.

Nothing is known of the authors of the three later texts.

What is known IS that at least part of the Book of Enoch was in wide circulation throughout the Jewish community of pre-Christian Palestine for at least three centuries before the birth of Christ.

Anything about its pedigree beyond that is at best, an educated guess. So let’s look to some of Enoch’s contents as they relate to the topic at hand.

Enoch Chapter Six begins with the Genesis narrative:

“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.'”

Enoch then names the leading angels in the conspiracy.

“And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaq1el, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These are their chiefs of tens.”

Enoch’s narrative continues;

“And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed all the acquisitions of men.”

“And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.”

Enoch goes on to say that these fallen angels taught pre-diluvian man forbidden secrets; Azazel taught metallurgy and weaponry; invented cosmetics, “and there arose much godlessness and they committed fornication and they were led astray and became corrupt in all their ways.”

Semjaza taught enchantments and root-cuttings (magic arts, drugs); Baraqijal taught astrology; Kokabel, the constellations; Ezeqeel, the knowledge of the clouds; Araqiel, the signs of the earth; Shamsiel the signs of the sun; and Sariel, the course of the moon.

Enoch calls these angels, (the ones Jude described as having “Left their first estate”) the “Watchers.”

Later in the book, Enoch says these angels were bound by God and cast then into the bowels of the earth for ‘seventy generations’ until the Judgment. (Revelation 9:2-11)

(Interestingly, if one pegs a generation at seventy years, as does Psalms 90:10, seventy generations (4900 years) from the Flood 2000-2350 BC) works out to between 6900 and 7200 years — or approximately this generation.)

Enoch’s narrative reads as does the Genesis story. And while it adds considerable detail not contained in Genesis, it offers no contradictions. Wherever the two stories touch, the details are the same.

Angels intermarried with the daughters of men, they practiced only evil continually, and their offspring were ‘men of renown,’ according to Scripture and according to Enoch. The Bible says they were giants; so does Enoch.

Enoch says these angels taught the forbidden knowledge to their ‘wives’ and offspring. History is replete with the record of giants.

(The surviving drawings of the Egyptian kings of the era of the Great Pyramids universally depict the pharaohs as being at least twice the height of their subjects.)

Joshua, who was already bedeviled by the memories ‘of the gods before the Flood’ got into hot water with God for disobeying His command to wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan, (whom the spies informed him were all giants).

It appears that history and theology and logic and common sense all come together on the 30th Parallel, where the 12 foot-tall Pharoh Narmer proclaimed himself the ‘son of Ra’ and ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid as his monument.

Narmer knew the distance from the earth to the sun in miles and constructed one of the most mathematically precise structures ever built by man in all his history.

Two thousand years later, his people were living in mud huts that they built all by themselves.

Originally Published: January 17, 2008.

Enoch, Enoch. . . Who’s There?

Enoch, Enoch. . . Who’s There?
Vol: 167 Issue: 28 Friday, August 28, 2015

What is startling about the Book of Enoch is the amount of Messianic prophecy it contains.

We know from the Dead Sea Scrolls, from contemporary documentary evidence, and from the Epistle of Jude that the Book of Enoch was widely known and accepted by Jewish authorities long before the birth of Christ.

The Book of Enoch is classified as “Jewish pseudo-biographical literature” meaning, ancient biographical literature that is attributed to someone else, but whose actual author is unknown.

By itself, that doesn’t make it a forgery. Jeremiah didn’t write the book that bears his name. It was written by a scribe named Baruch.

Nobody is certain who the actual author of the Book of Hebrews is, whether it was Paul, someone writing at his direction, or another, unnamed Apostle.

It is highly unlikely that the Book of Enoch was actually penned by the literal Enoch, seventh from Adam, great-grandfather of Noah. But not impossible.

The Church fathers, including Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Irenaeus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Lactantius, and others borrowed an opinion out of the book of Enoch in discussions regarding Genesis 6:2.

Tertullian, in several places, speaks of the Book of Enoch with great reverence, arguing his belief that it actually WAS written by Enoch, 7th from Adam, and preserved by Noah during the Flood.

The problem with the Book of Enoch, more than anything else, is its guilt by association. Enoch has been adopted into Islamic tradition as an Islamic prophet.

Interestingly, Enoch’s Islamic name means ‘instructor’ or, ‘initiate’ and Islamic tradition credits Enoch with the invention of astrology, astronomy, the written word and arithmetic.

(We’ll discuss this association between Enoch and ‘knowledge’ as we progress in our study, but it is worth keeping that fact in mind as we go along.)

Enoch was also recently adopted by the Mormons as a prophet, the ‘founder of Zion’ worker of miracles, etc., etc., until the mere mention of ‘Enoch’ makes some Christians running screaming from the room shouting ‘heresy’.

Enoch also plays a major role in Freemasonry and other occultic secret societies, especially those heavily involved in astrology or the zodiac.

But behind all the cults and occults and secret societies and New Age groups that have claimed Enoch as their inspiration, there is also the historical fact that the Book of Enoch was quoted directly in Jude 14-15:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Compare Jude 14-15 to the Book of Enoch 1:9:

Behold, He comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against Him.”

Assessment:

I don’t want to be misunderstood as attempting to rehabilitate the Book of Enoch or legitimizing the Book of Enoch beyond what it deserves.

It is worthy of discussion as a book of history, at the very least. It is at least twenty-three hundred years old, and it could possibly be much older.

Let’s look at it a different way. . .

I have a book in my library called “The Bible as History.” What its author attempted to do was take the Bible as it is and present it into an historical narrative. The end result was a sweeping historical overview of the history of mankind, but devoid of any theological or spiritual truths.

The book is accurate, as history, and would be useful to historians seeking historical information about the period and location, but it wouldn’t be much use in leading someone down Roman’s Road.

It isn’t something a theologian would study as part of an effort to learn what God wants us to know — but that doesn’t mean that it is worthless or unreliable.

But if somebody were to take “The Bible As History” as Divinely inspired and then use it as their religious text, it WOULD be worthless, unreliable, and downright dangerous. So it is important to view the Book of Enoch in a similar fashion.

The Book of Enoch is not part of the Bible, is not without error, and is not the final authority on matters of theology — but that doesn’t automatically make it worthless.

Flavius Josephus’ “War of the Jews” is not without error, neither is it Divinely-inspired, but there is still much it can teach us.

The Book of Enoch claims to have been written by Enoch, the son of Jared, of the seventh generation from Adam. Here’s what we know — and what we don’t know.

We know that the Book of Enoch was highly regarded among the Jews at the time of Christ. We know that Jude quoted from it; and we know the Essenes thought enough of it to hide it along with the rest of the treasures of the Temple in the caves at Qumron.

We know that in Joshua’s time, there was still a collective memory of life before the Flood. And we know that Tertullian, who lived a lot closer in terms of time to the events it describes that we do, believed the Enoch was preserved by Noah and was passed down through the generations since.

We know that it has been used as a launch point for innumerable cults who claim to have found in it a ‘hidden knowledge’.

We don’t know who wrote it, or how much of it was added along the way, or if it were an oral tradition at some point committed to paper.

We don’t know anything about the copy process, if it were held to the same standard of copying as were the Books of the Torah, and because we don’t know, we can’t trust it as Scripture.

And because we don’t trust it as Scripture, it is no more or less reliable than some of the historical accounts of Josephus or Pliny or Tacitus or Herodotus.

With that in mind, let me finish my disclaimer thusly:

By definition, some of the Book of Enoch must be true, or it wouldn’t have occupied the place of honor that it did among the religious Jews of the time.

But we don’t know what is absolute truth and what contains elements of truth. So we shall approach the study from that perspective, and rely on the Bible to illuminate the difference.

It is important to keep all this in mind. In our study, we are not seeking hidden knowledge, or the secrets of Enoch, or any such balderdash as that.

Where Enoch conflicts with Scripture, Scripture is the final authority, not the other way around. Where Enoch adds information not revealed by Scripture, we’ll apply logic and common sense against what the Scriptures DO reveal.

Our purpose is more historical than spiritual, but our approach is that the spiritual is as real as the secular, and is part of our overall history.

There are many questions left unanswered about the time before the Flood, and over the course of our study, we’ll examine some of them, including, but not limited to, the following:

1) Why do all ancient civilizations have similar memories?

2) What does ‘perfect in his generations’ mean?

3) Who were the giants before the Flood — and ‘also after that’?

4) Where did the ancients get their knowledge?

5) Who built the pyramids?

One question we will NOT tackle is whether or not the Book of Enoch should be part of the canon of Scripture. That question was settled centuries ago, and I claim neither the knowledge nor the desire to reopen it.

So, having said all that, we’ll begin our study tomorrow with a discussion about “The Watchers.”

Originally Published: August 18, 2011

Featured Commentary: Everything is Under Control ~ Alf Cengia

You’re Not a Monkey’s Uncle

You’re Not a Monkey’s Uncle
Vol: 167 Issue: 27 Thursday, August 27, 2015

”Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

New discoveries by leading genetic researchers continue to change our understanding of who we are, where we came from, and, perhaps, when we will leave, according to the results of several new studies.

In the lead study, reported in the journal Nature (2006), scientists created the first map of the human genome that shows that large segments of DNA are missing or duplicated between normal, healthy people.

Known as copy number variants (CNVs), some of these altered DNA sequences can be responsible for increased susceptibility to cancers and many other diseases, the study team says.

The new map provides a much clearer picture of human genetic variation, says geneticist and co-researcher Charles Lee of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This evidence is showing that we are more genetically unique from one another—we all have individualized genomes,” he said.

The findings “will change forever the field of human genetics,” commented James Lupski, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

“One can no longer consider human traits as resulting primarily from single base pair changes,” he said. “This is perhaps the most important breakthrough in human and medical genetics in several decades.”

Until now it was assumed that the human genome, or “book of life”, is largely the same for everyone, save for a few spelling differences in some of the words. Instead, the findings suggest that the book contains entire sentences, paragraphs or even whole pages that are repeated any number of times.

The findings mean that instead of humanity being 99.9 per cent identical, as previously believed, we are at least 10 times more different between one another than once thought – which could explain why some people are prone to serious diseases.

Among the other conclusions reached by this study is the fact that chimpanzee DNA is not virtually identical to human DNA, as previously believed.

So much for being a monkey’s uncle.

Assessment:

DNA is nicknamed ‘the Book of Life’ by geneticists because encoded in our DNA is all the necessary information that makes life possible.

DNA encodes our red blood cells, and the heart that pumps them. DNA encodes our hair follicles, and the color of the hair in them. DNA encodes our bones, and the muscles attached to them.

And DNA thoroughly destroys any argument of random creation, since it proves all the details of your life were encoded in advance, right down to one’s individual disposition.

It is the DNA structure that ‘creates’ life in the same sense that inputting certain information into a computer ‘creates’ the results intended by its programmer.

Comparing the Scriptures to DNA research, one can make a powerful argument for predestination, without impugning our free will.

Although they haven’t completely unlocked that part of the human genome, geneticists believe that when you will die and what you will die of is already encoded in your DNA.

Barring some accident, your are already predestined, by your genetic code, to live a finite period of time before your DNA activates the disease already encoded in your DNA that will ultimately kill you. That doesn’t mean you don’t have free will.

You could still kill yourself. Or battle the disease medically. But depending on your DNA code, the treatment will either work or it will not.

You have nothing to say about how you were programmed, yet your free will remains unfettered.

It is no accident that scientists have dubbed DNA ‘the Book of Life.” They took their imagery directly from Scripture, because Scripture has already outlined how it works.

Psalms 139 begins:

“O Lord, Thou has searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassed my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” (v.1-4)

Scripture teaches that we are individuals by sovereign Design, rather than by a combination of random chance and our own choices.

Scripture says,

“For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalms 139:13)

Science also now says that our genetic code is imprinted on each of us from the womb.

The Scriptures say,

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Science agrees that we are unique individuals whose differences are predetermined. While the Scriptures assign that marvel to our creation by a sovereign God, science assigns the same marvel to the uniqueness of our DNA encoding, while denying the existence of an Encoder.

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in THY BOOK ALL MY MEMBERS WERE WRITTEN, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:16)

According to the Bible, God knew who and what I would be while I was ‘under construction’ in the womb, according to the genetic Book of Life that contained all my relevant information.

Geneticists say they can determine these same details, one’s sex, hair color, physical strengths and weaknesses, susceptibility to disease, and even one’s susceptibility for sin, based on the information encoded in the DNA before one is born.

Geneticists have discovered genetic markers that predispose some people to criminal behavior, violence, drug abuse or alcoholism, for example. These discoveries have resulted in the development of a scientific sub-discipline called ‘behavioral genetics’.

DNA can determine the probability of mental illnesses, physical deformities, things like Down’s Syndrome, and a host of other genetic factors that will determine everything from how I process information to predicting the way I will react to that information.

In light of advances in DNA research, arguing against a Creator to initially program our DNA is like arguing that once a computer builds itself, it writes its own programming, turns itself on and decides for itself what it wants to work on and for how long before automatically self-destructing.

It makes as much sense as believing one is a monkey’s uncle. Which makes no sense at all.

What makes sense is a Creator God Who built me a certain way, left me with free will choices to make the most of it, and, since I am predisposed to make the wrong choices in certain areas of my life, also made a way for me to live in His sight for eternity, despite my built-in shortcomings.

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:22-23,28)

Originally Published: November 24, 2006

Featured Commentary: Terror in the News ~ J.L. Robb

The Mighty Men of Renown

The Mighty Men of Renown
Vol: 167 Issue: 26 Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The base of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt was, according to most estimates, built sometime between 2589 and 2566 BC.

According to the great Bible chronologists of history, like H. H. Halley (Halley’s Bible Handbook) Archbishop Ussher (Ussher’s Chronology) and Clarence Larkin, that means that the Great Pyramid was built about two hundred years BEFORE the Flood.

(The Flood occurred somewhere between 2348 and 2004 BC. BC time counts backwards towards zero).

According to Clarence Larkin, the Great Pyramid covers roughly thirteen acres, but that is the only ‘rough’ measurement one can apply to it.

Other than that, it was constructed with a level of precision that is beyond the capabilities of even modern construction technology.

Using the standard Hebrew cubit of measurement, (25.025 inches) the length of each side is 365.2422 cubits. That is the exact number of days in a year, (including the fraction that results in one leap year in four)

The slope of the sides is angled in such a way as to meet at the apex at exactly 232.52 cubits. Clarence Larkin calculated that twice the length of any side at the base, divided by the height, equals pii (3.14159) which multiplied by the diameter of a circle gives its circumference.

The angle of the slope is 10 to 9 (it rises 9 feet in altitude for every 10 feet of linear distance). The altitude of the Great Pyramid, multiplied by ten to the power of nine, equals 91,840,000 miles — the exact distance to the sun.

(Note these are all measured in modern inches, feet, yards and miles, yet they work out perfectly).

In addition, the builders recognized the fact that there are some fifty seconds difference between the sidereal and equinotictial sides of a ‘star year’ — and those calculations are included in the Pyramid’s design.

The base is horizontal and flat to within 15 mm. The sides of the square are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points to within 3 minutes of arc and is based — not on magnetic north — but true north.

It contains enough stone to build a stone wall, six feet high, that would stretch from New York to Los Angeles.

Finally, the Great Pyramid stands at the exact center of the world’s land mass. It stands exactly where longitude 30 degrees and latitude 30 degrees intersect.

It is halfway between the west coast of Mexico and the east coast of China, and halfway between the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and the north cape of Norway.

So, who built the Great Pyramid?

Assessment:

Secular history says the ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid. (Ask any Egyptian standing in front of his ancestral mud hut and he’ll tell you his ancestors did.)

But who told the builders the world was round? The Great Pyramid reveals that its builders not only knew the world was round, but that it is slightly flattened at the poles, causing a degree of latitude to lengthen at the top and bottom of the planet.

It reveals that its builders knew the earth rotated on an axis, that it tilts 23.5 degrees to the eclyptic, and that this tilt causes the seasons.

Moreover, on two faces of pyramid are ‘star shafts’ each facing specific stars; to ‘the sides of the north’, Beta Ursa Minor and Alpha Draconis. To the south, Sirius and Zita Orionis.

It is not speculation to say that Post-Diluvian society remembered its pre-Flood past.

Joshua alluded to the gods from ‘the other side of the flood’ on several occasions.

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood,and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. “

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14,15)

The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about the time before the flood, but it does make allusions to demi-god-like figures who lived at that time.

Genesis 6:2 tells us of the ‘sons of God’ who intermarried with ‘the daughters of men’. That these ‘sons of God’ were angels is obvious to anyone who examines the phrase honestly.

Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7 all make reference to the ‘sons of God’ and in context in each instance, Job was referring to angels. Job 1:6 and 2:1 include Satan among the angelic ‘sons of God’; Job 38:7 refers to the angelic hosts.

Genesis 6:2 is referring to an actual event; Genesis 6:4 is referring to literal offspring:

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

These offspring were called ‘giants’ and ‘mighty men’ — and note also that this angelic interbreeding was not limited to the time before the Flood. Moses said there were giants in the earth then, “and also after that.”

The Book of Enoch was not included among the canon of Scripture, and because of that, it is often derided as a counterfeit, or conversely, incorrectly elevated to the status of a ‘Lost Gospel’.

It is neither. The Books of the Scripture were included because they were adjudged to be both Divinely inspired and the infallible Word of God.

That does not not necessarily mean that Enoch was a false prophet, or that the Book of Enoch was a counterfeit. The Apostle Jude was the half-brother of Jesus. In his epistle, Jude quotes the Book of Enoch directly and calls it ‘prophecy’.

That does not prove the entire Book of Enoch was inspired. But a book that contains the Word of God doesn’t necessarily have to BE the word of God.

(This briefing contains the Word of God — Joshua and Genesis are both quoted here — but the Omega Letter makes no claim to being the Divinely-Inspired Word of God.)

According to both the Book of Enoch and the Epistle of Jude, the angels who ‘left their first estate’ (Jude 1:6) and are now confined to Tartarus until being released (Revelation 9:1) are the same angels of Genesis 6:2.

Their offspring were the Nephilim, half-human, half-angelic hybrid creatures that both Enoch and Genesis identify as being special — mighty men, Moses says, who, according to Enoch, possessed a hidden knowledge of the stars.

Over the course of the next few days, we’re going to take a side trip through the Book of Enoch and see more we can learn about the Nephilim.

Don’t panic — we’re not going to join a cult, become astrologers, or rewrite the canon of Scripture to include the Book of Enoch.

But we are going to look at what Enoch has to say, weigh it against both Bible doctrine and secular history, and see what conclusions we end up with at the end.

Proverbs 25:2 teaches:

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”

Somebody built the Pyramid at Cheops. And also, what did Moses mean by ‘after that’?

It should be an interesting study.

Originally Published: January 15, 2008

The Books

The Books
Vol: 167 Issue: 25 Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Book of Life is but one of the books maintained in Heaven that is opened at the Great White Throne, bearing the record of our sojourn upon this earth.

Understand that the Great White Throne Judgment is not a New Testament doctrine — it is a universal doctrine.  The Prophet Daniel described it in his vision exactly as the Apostle John described the same scene 700 years later.

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9-10)

Compare Daniel’s vision to John’s.

“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-13)

Notice that both Daniel and John refer to “the books” — plural.   The best-known of the books is the Book of Life — but there are others.  But if your name isn’t in the Book of Life, then the rest of them don’t matter.

“And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

The Book of Life is the ticket into heaven.  Anyone whose name is not in there will join the antichrist and false prophet in the Lake of Fire.

What are the other books?  There is the Book of Tears.

“Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?” (Psalms 56:8)

The Book of Tears records our pain and disappointments and sadness — Who we trusted and how we dealt with the trials and tribulations of this life.

“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. . . . For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalms 56:11,13)

God also keeps a Book of Remembrance:

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His Name. And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Malachi 3:16-17)

The Book of Remembrances is where God records that which sometimes man forgets.  The Scriptures promise that:

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

My Dad fought in every theater of battle during WWII.  Dad wasn’t a religious man, but I cling to the hope that at some point during one of those battles he cried out to Jesus for salvation and that his plea was recorded in the Book of Remembrance.

Perhaps I may yet see him at the Bema Seat.

Assessment:

To recap, there is the Book of Life, the Book of Tears, the Book of Remembrance, and finally, the Book of Births.

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy Book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalms 139:16)

The Scriptures say that our names were recorded in all these books ‘before the foundation of the world’.

“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4)

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Revelation 17:8)

God foreordained my birth and my name was therefore recorded in the Book of Births before the foundation of the world.  The Book of Tears contains the record of my trials and tribulations and disappointments.

My name was recorded in the Book of Life as well, even before I came to Christ.  And my plea for salvation was recorded in the Book of Remembrance.

Revelation 3:5 says that he that overcomes will be clothed in white rainment and that Jesus will not blot his name out of the Book of Life.  Does that mean that a saved person’s name can be blotted out if they fail to ‘overcome’?  

How does a saved person “overcome” the world?

Answer:  He can’t.  He couldn’t if he wanted to.  And he doesn’t have to.  If a person could overcome the world, then why would we need a Savior?

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Babies who die as babies go to heaven, so their names must also be recorded in the Book of Life. Paul writes to the Romans:

“I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9)

Your name remains in the Book of Life as long as you are alive.  If your sin isn’t covered by the Blood of Christ by the time you leave this earth, then your name is blotted out of the Book of Life.

But it is still recorded in the Book of Births, the Book of Tears and especially in the Book of Remembrances.

So the records of your birth, your trials and tribulations and those things God remembers but you forgot will all be opened —  and you will give an account for what is recorded against you. 

But if your name is blotted out of the Book of Life, it means you were convicted in absentia — the Great White Throne Judgment is, in reality a sentencing hearing. 

Nobody that appears before the Great White Throne will have their names recorded in the Book of Life.

The Bible calls the Great White Throne judgment the ‘second death’.  So in summary, the Bible outlines four different books in which our names are recorded and against which we are judged, either at the Bema Seat or the Great White Throne.

The books record our births and our trials in this life.  We are judged according to what is written in those books, and we are saved according to what is written in the other two.

God records the day we called out to Him in His Book of Remembrance or He blots our name from the Book of Life if we fail to do so in this life.  If our names are still recorded in the Book of Life then we will appear before Christ at the Bema Seat for the believer’s judgment.

We will still be judged based on what is written in those books, but our judgment is to determine our rewards rather than our punishment.

Stop with me here for one second.  Note again the criteria for appearing before the Bema Seat.  Those who stand before it trusted Jesus rather than themselves.  The small and great in Christ will all be there.

Some will receive great rewards, others will receive no reward whatever apart from being permitted entry into the Kingdom.  But they will be permitted into heaven.

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:15)

Then there is the Great White Throne.  Those who appear before it will be judged for all their works, but they will be sentenced based on just one criteria.  Where their name should appear in the Book of Life — there is an ink blot.

Salvation isn’t difficult.  It is what God created us for.  Every person who ever lived is (or was once) recorded in all four books.

If it were left up to the individual Christian to overcome the world, the Book of Life would only have One Name in it.  So be of good cheer.  He has overcome the world.  And if you trust in Him, you have, too.

The question here is a simple one.  How does one overcome the world and keep one’s name in the Book of Life? 

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)

Trust Jesus and do your best.  He knows the difference.  He keeps the Books.  And He promises that when you trust in Him, your name is recorded using indelible ink. 

You can’t fool the Bookkeeper.  And neither can the Enemy.  The best that he can do is to try and fool you.

That’s why there is a fifth heavenly Book.  But this one is written to us, rather than about us.  That’s where all the answers are.

That one is called “the Bible.”

Originally Published: October 15, 2012

Featured Commentary: Shemitah the Lord in the Air? ~ Wendy Wippel

From the Ends of the Earth

From the Ends of the Earth
Vol: 167 Issue: 24 Monday, August 24, 2015

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

Most scholars place Isaiah Chapters 40-55 during the time the Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem had been destroyed and the people were either in captivity or scattered.

But Isaiah is one of the richest sources of what is known as ‘dual fulfillment’ prophecy in Scripture. ‘Dual-fulfillment’ refers to prophecies that were fulfilled in part during that period of history in which they were written, with the remainder of the prophecy to be fulfilled on a grander scale at some later point in history.

In Isaiah 43 is an excellent example of dual fulfillment. Verses 1-7 address the ingathering of the exiles, which took place, in part, following Ahasuerus’ decree to rebuild the city and sanctuary.

But it also prefigures the complete ingathering of the exiles from the ‘from the ‘ends the earth’ in the last day.

Isaiah 43:8-9 is another example of dual-fulfillment:

“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My Servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.”

While God is addressing the Jews in Babylonian captivity, He also includes the promise of a Redeemer, One Who gives sight to the blind and ears to the deaf, and includes a challenge to all those who would claim another god.

“Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:10-11)

This is a clear reference to the coming Messiah Jesus, Whom John 1:1-3 reveals as the Creator of the Universe:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”

The ‘Word’ — Jesus — was God, and as such, was with God in the beginning, and it was He, Jesus, Who was the Creator of the physical universe.

So, in this passage, we find history, (Creation) and three separate prophecies; the promise of their return from captivity in Babylon,( fulfilled in 445 BC), the coming of the Messiah (fulfilled some 500 years future), and their ultimate re-gathering to their own land in the last days, (in the process of being fulfilled in this generation).

The re-gathering in Isaiah’s day was only a partial fulfillment, since only the Jews of Judah were restored by Ahasuerus. The ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel were taken into exile by Sargon the Assyrian in BC 702, from which they disappeared from history.

After the Israelites were conquered and scattered, there remained only the Jews of Judah, who were taken by the Babylonians and then restored to the land by the Persians.

Isaiah’s re-gathering here is not the re-gathering of the Jews of Judah, but of the whole nation of Israel.

“For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of ISRAEL, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” (Isaiah 43:3)

Assessment:

A group of fifty-one Indians who claimed to be descendants of one of those ten lost tribes arrived in Israel in 2006 in what Jewish religious authorities are calling a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Israel’s chief Rabbinate certified a group of some seven thousand Indians from the remote north-eastern Indian states of Mizoram and Minapur as members of the Bnei Menashe, one of the ten tribes that were lost after being exiled by the Assyrians.

Michael Jankelowitz, spokesman for the Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency, which is co-ordinating the Indians’ arrival, said “they have lived a Jewish way of life for decades” including by keeping Saturday as the Sabbath and observing Jewish dietary laws.

The tale of how the community’s ancestors came to India’s north-east – sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar is fascinating. Exiled by the Assyrians, the tribe was apparently forced east and travelled through Afghanistan and China before settling in what is now India’s north-east.

Rabbi Avihayil, who discovered the Menashe, says he learned of them back in 1979, and, after two years of studying their history and traditions, identified them as members of the lost tribe.

Among the clues that he took to be telltale signs, he said, were traditions resembling those of the ancient Israelites, including having places of refuge for those who had killed someone by mistake.

Rabbi Avihayil said his research revealed that the descendants of Menasseh also practised circumcision, albeit with sharpened flint rather than a knife.

In 1982, Rabbi Avihayil travelled to India, where he met Bnei Menashi . Then in 1989 he sent a religious official there to convert 24 people.

The ingathering of Jews from exile is a central theme of the last days:

“I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west,” Isaiah predicted. “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5-6)

By Rabbi Avihayil’s estimate, there are tens of millions of descendants of the lost tribes of Israel living in Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Thailand and Burma.

“It is not our task to bring all of the ten tribes back, that is the task of the Messiah,” he said.

“But it is our task, before the Messiah comes, to create an opening in this matter.”

The opening is created, and the ingathering is in process.

The ten lost tribes of Israel are rediscovering their Jewish history in places throughout the world, from east to west, north to south, exactly as prophesied, and are being ‘lifted up’ and put back down again in their own land.

Just in time for the Messiah.

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. . . .”

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:32-34)

Originally Published: November 21, 2006

Featured Commentary: The Birth Pangs ~ Pete Garcia