The End from the Beginning

The End from the Beginning
Vol: 24 Issue: 30 Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Book of Daniel is among the most controversial books in the Bible, dividing scholars over whether it was actually written by the Prophet Daniel or if it was a late forgery.

In the third-century a heretic named Porphyry declared Daniel was written by Judas Macabeus around the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, around 170-163 BC — about four hundred years after Daniel.

The main reason for rejecting Daniel is his incredibly accurate prophecy regarding the four world empires that were to come.

It takes a dedicated critic to deny Daniel’s authorship.  Daniel predicted the rise of Alexander the Great and his Greek empire, which defeated and replaced the Persian Empire in 334 BC.  

Under Alexander, all subjects of his empire had to use Greek as their working language. 

In obedience to that law, a group of rabbis and Jewish sages undertook to translate the Jewish Scriptures into Greek.  Their final work, the Septuagint, translated in the 3rd century BC, and well before Macabeus, included the Book of Daniel.

There are lots of other examples that shatter the contention that Daniel is a forgery, but the most compelling evidence favoring Daniel’s authenticity is Christianity.  Sir Isaac Newton argued that Christianity itself rests on Daniel’s authenticity. 

Why? Because of the testimony of Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.  The Lord Jesus Christ referred to the Book of Daniel and He called Daniel a Prophet.  If Daniel was a forgery or a mythical character, then Jesus didn’t know that. 

If Jesus didn’t know that, then He could not have been the Son of God. If Jesus was not the Son of God, then He was not qualified to pay your sin debt, your faith is in vain and you remain yet dead in your sins.

It is therefore not possible to reject the historicity and authenticity of Daniel without necessarily rejecting the entire Bible, including the New Testament.  Which is, of course, the position taken by Daniel’s critics.

But apart from the obvious problems already articulated, there is one more logic problem associated with dating Daniel to the Maccabean Period.  Even if that could explain Daniel’s incredible accuracy in predicting the fall of Babylon and the rise and fall of the Persian and Greek Empires, the Roman Empire was yet future.

Daniel had more to say about the rise and fall and rise again of the Roman Empire than he did of any other world empire — and even late-dating Daniel doesn’t explain the prophetic accuracy of the book that bears his name.  In 170-163 BC, Judea was under Greek, not Roman rule.

The Roman Republic had not yet become the Roman Empire when Daniel’s critics claim the Book of Daniel was written.  So even if it was written by Judas Maccabeus, (it wasn’t) the critics are still left scratching their heads, since even with the later date, most of Daniel’s prophecy was yet future.  

It is a ridiculous, desperate effort by those who just can’t accept the supernatural explanation to find one that they can — even if their preferred explanation is even less defensible. 

To accept Daniel at face value is to admit that God exists, since if Daniel is the actual author of the Book, then no other possible explanation makes sense.

Assessment:

“. . . For I am God and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

In Daniel’s day, Rome was not yet even a republic, let alone an empire.  The city of Rome was founded by Romulus at just about the same time that Daniel was interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. 

The king had dreamed a dream that he couldn’t remember, but it greatly troubled him.  Eventually, Daniel was summoned to both reveal what the dream was and interpret it. 

The king dreamed of a statue, or image of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, two legs of iron and ten toes of iron mixed with clay.

THIS is the dream that confounds Daniel’s critics.  By the time of the Maccabean Period, the empire of Babylon had already been defeated by Persia, which had been already defeated by Greece, which was already beginning to show signs of crumbling.  

The two legs of iron, signifying Rome, were still future.  By the fourth century, the Roman Empire grew too large to be administered from Rome and so the Empire was divided into the Western, Roman Empire and the Eastern Byzantine Empire, with its capital at Constantinople. 

Rome was conquered by the barbarians in 476 AD. Rome’s political destruction was complete – a deadly wound directly to one of the heads of the empire, fulfilling the Apostle John’s prediction of a deadly head wound:

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)

The Prophet Daniel predicts that the final form of the revived Roman Empire will be a confederation of ten kingdoms that were part of the two legs of iron. With the revival of the Roman Empire, that deadly wound is healed.

“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” (Revelation 13:12)

It is at this point that interpreters and Bible critics and Bible teachers and students of Bible prophecy branch out into all kinds of areas. Some are convinced the deadly wound signifies a failed assassination attempt against the antichrist. 

Others focus their attention on the identity of the first beast, or the system overseen by the second beast, or are mesmerized by the concept of the Mark of the Beast and how it will be administered.

All these things are unknown and, I believe, unknowable, until the time appointed.

And all the speculation, (since it is all different and things that are different cannot be the same), throws out the baby with the bath water, can’t see the forest for the trees, is missing a piece of the puzzle, is out wandering in the desert, not to mention all the other metaphors I can’t think of.  

If you back up to the point before the speculation begins, THAT is where the real meat is to be found.

At the time the Prophet Daniel was telling Nebuchadnezzar that the as-yet future Roman Empire would remain a force until it is abolished by Jesus Christ in the final hours of human government, an unwashed peasant named Romulus was founding a settlement along the Tiber River, declaring himself king. 

Twenty-six hundred years after Daniel and sixteen hundred years after the barbarians entered the gates of Rome,  the European Union declared itself the revival of the Roman Empire.  

Whether it currently consists of ten nations or twenty-seven at this particular point in history is largely irrelevant. History is still unfolding. In the end, it will be fulfilled precisely as prophesied.

Isaiah 46:10 teaches us that prophecy starts at the end and works back to the beginning.

In 1948, for the first time since Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem (and Daniel) the nation of Israel was revived and restored to the same piece of real estate from which they had been ejected by the Romans in AD 70.

For a nation of antiquity to be conquered, scattered and then restored in such a manner had no equal in history.   But this event was more than an historical first — it was the direct and unambiguous fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the last days.

At the exact same point in history, the six nations of the Benelux formed a cooperative economic union that marked the beginning of the revival of the Roman Empire.  The revival of an historical empire such as we’ve witnessed in our generation is also an event without equal in the annals of history.

To assume both events happened at exactly the same point in history — by coincidence — takes a faith greater than I can muster up.

The world is in a state of chaos and confusion unlike anything in living memory — for the first time in the history of mankind, mankind faces an existential threat of extinction at his own hand. 

Uncertainty and fear color every waking moment as we wonder if our world will look the same in the morning as it did when we went to bed the night before.

Our systems and infrastructure are in shambles, people are rioting in the streets, the economy is in the tank and everywhere one turns, they are talking about a New World Order.  

There is no need to speculate.  Just look at what is out there in the open.

If you know Jesus Christ (and He knows you) than what is unfolding in our world is proof positive that the world is wrong, God is not dead, Jesus Christ remains on the throne and remains intimately involved in the affairs of men. 

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Everything is unfolding according to Plan and what remains unfulfilled will be fulfilled in this generation just as literally as those that have already been fulfilled.  So we have nothing to fear.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. . . And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:27,29)

It IS coming to pass.  And I believe. 

Marantha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 7, 2011

The Gospel According to Shrek

The Gospel According to Shrek
Vol: 24 Issue: 29 Friday, July 29, 2016

The whole counsel of Scripture reveals there is a lot more going on at the spiritual level than just the fall of mankind and the plan of redemption.

There is a scene in one of the ‘Shrek’ movies I watched with my grandkids in which Shrek the ogre is trying to explain to Donkey a little bit about ogres.

“Ogres,” Shrek explains, “are like onions. They have many layers.”

The same analogy can be applied to the revealed Counsel of God. It has many layers, of which the fall and redemption of mankind is but one.

On another level, man exists for the instruction of angels:

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; WHICH THINGS THE ANGELS DESIRE TO LOOK INTO.” (1st Peter 1:12)

We are a mystery to the angels. The Bible says they are charged with ministering to us, but that one day, they will be judged BY us. (1st Corinthians 6:3)

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)

Isaiah 14 introduces us to the first outbreak of sin in the universe.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

For his sin of arrogance, God pronounced judgement on Lucifer, the most honored of His angels, and those rebellious angels who followed him;

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15)

The existence of humanity is often described by theologians as the ‘trial of Satan’. So here, we find yet another layer to the onion: the ongoing trial of Satan and his army of fallen angels.

Why a trial? Because God is just. I often wonder about the angels who joined Satan in his rebellion. Why? It isn’t like they didn’t know Who it was they were standing up to.

What made them so crazy?

Perhaps they felt God was being unjust in casting Lucifer out of heaven for just one little sin. In so doing, they also sinned, and were similarly cast out.

In any case, one of the layers of the whole Counsel of God concerns the instruction of angels, including instruction on the subject of sin and the havoc wrought by it upon everything it touches. First, comes the trial.

And then the judgment.

Assessment:

The courtroom is Planet Earth, with Jesus as the Righteous Judge, the angels as witnesses, and with sinful mankind serving as evidence for the prosecution.

It is more than just the trial of Satan. Sin itself is on trial.

Lucifer, called in Scripture, “the anointed cherub that covereth” was highly favored of God; “and I have set thee so” (Ezekiel 28:14)

Isaiah 14:14 defines that first sin as, “I will” — the sin of pride. The trial is to prove what ‘one little sin’ can do — the classic ‘slippery slope’ scenario.

Exhibit 1: Adam and Eve. They are placed in a perfect environment and given only one command — to avoid the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. They fail — and man inherits a sin nature.

Exhibit 2: Man is allowed free reign until the Flood — the so-called “Age of Conscience”. Without Divine interaction or instruction, society becomes so sinful and corrupt that God saves Noah and his family alive and destroys the rest in the Flood.

Exhibit 3: During the Age of the Patriarchs, God spoke directly to chosen individuals; Abraham, Noah, Lot, etc. Each, even having spoken directly with God, commit some heinous sin.

Having gone from one commandment (the Age of Innocence) to no commandments at all (the Age of Conscience) to direct confrontation,(the Age of the Patriarchs) God progresses to giving mankind the Ten Commandments (the Age of the Law).

Not one person ever kept all ten of them throughout his lifetime, no matter what the circumstances. (David, for example, broke all ten of them.)

Exhibit 4: The Age of the Law, during which time the Commandments of God became so corrupted and perverted that it became necessary to scrap the whole system and replace it with the Age of Grace.

Exhibit 5: To introduce the Age of Grace, God Himself stepped out of space and time, took on the form of sinful man, kept the Law on our behalf, and then paid the price for our sin. (Death)

In so doing, He made a way for all mankind to be saved by faith through grace.

But most of mankind rejects even the free offer of grace, preferring a life of unregenerate sin. That act of rejection, given the Price paid, must make the angelic witnesses gasp in disbelief.

From the perspective of the angelic witness, then, ‘one little sin’ has thus far brought mankind to the point it is today. So far, God has given sin every opportunity to prove itself worthy of its wages.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Exhibit 6: The Tribulation Period. The Age of Grace concludes at the Rapture. The Rapture removes the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, giving Satan (and sin) free reign for seven years. And the end result is the near-destruction of all human life.

Jesus then returns at the 2nd Coming, binds Satan for a thousand years, and reigns Personally from Jerusalem.

Mortal humanity has no excuse, He is right there, in Person, for all to see.

Satan’s influence is restrained, lifespans are extended, there are no more wars, famine or poverty, and humankind is returned to the Eden-like state from which it began.

Exhibit 7: With God Himself on the Throne of human government, ruling with a rod of iron for a thousand years, Satan is loosed for ‘a little season’.

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

The mortal humans who have lived in a state of God-given idyllic bliss for a thousand years, under the influence of Satan, raise an army to bring against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Himself.

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Romans 2:12)

The trial is over. Sin is judged according to its works. All appeals have been exhausted. Sentence is pronounced and carried out immediately.

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 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.”

This is the SECOND resurrection. Unlike the first resurrection, it has only one phase.

“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.”

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10-12,14)

In the overall Plan of God, as outlined in Scripture, everything has a purpose. There are no omissions, no errors, and no inconsistencies.

From Genesis to Revelation, a central theme of Scripture is that sin is the cause of death. Sin will ultimately be eradicated from existence. And so will all those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:10)

The lake of fire was created and prepared for Satan and his angels. But since man’s spirit is created in God’s image, it is also eternal and immortal, in that it cannot be destroyed.

So those that reject Christ and choose to follow Satan have to go somewhere.

They will not cease to be, but they will cease to matter. They will spend eternity nameless and alone, tortured by the flames — and the memory of the day they rejected the opportunity to avoid their fate.

Praise the Lord for that OTHER central theme of Scripture.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 1, 2009.

Featured Commentary: A Good Person ~ Alf Cengia

The Books

The Books
Vol: 24 Issue: 28 Thursday, July 28, 2016

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 couldovercome 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.”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 15, 2012

The Chaotic Earth Theory

The Chaotic Earth Theory
Vol: 24 Issue: 27 Wednesday, July 27, 2016

One of the areas of Scripture I’ve always been least comfortable with in terms of my understanding is the first two chapters of Genesis. I am a Bible literalist – I believe the Bible is intended to be taken literally unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

The problem, so to speak, with being a Bible literalist is self-evident – some of it is difficult to visualize literally. And there are some things in our existence that difficult to reconcile with the traditional understanding of Genesis.

I know that the earth bears scars that aren’t explained by the young earth theory. At the same time, there is no room within Scripture to allow for evolution without tearing the first five chapters of Genesis out of the Bible.

Here’s the deal. The Garden of Eden story, as related in Scripture, is either literally true or our redemption is founded in a myth. You can’t have a literal Redeemer that shed literal Blood as the price of redemption for a mythical Fall.

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit,” (1st Corinthians 15:45)

The “last Adam” is Jesus.

That pretty much demands there be a first Adam. And the first Adam could not have evolved, and the Bible still be both literal and true. Neither could Eve. Paul slams that door shut in his first letter to Timothy.

“For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” (1st Timothy 2:13)

Here we have two literal statements. They are not only literally stated, but taken together they form the bedrock doctrine of Christianity, as we’ve already discussed.

The first Messianic prophecy, that the Redeemer would be the seed of a woman, is made in conjunction with the Fall.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

So the first five chapters of Genesis must be a literal account – if there wasn’t a first Adam, there would be no need for a Second.

On the other hand, it is literally true that there are things on this earth that are unquestionably older than six thousand years – or even twelve thousand years, assuming the ‘thousand years is as to one day’ theory of creation.

In that theory, each of the six days of Creation is really 1,000 years long, plus the six thousand years since Creation would allow for a 12,000 year old earth.

There are the remains of humanoids that are undeniably different than modern humans, but are also different than apes. But they are also not the so-called missing links of evolution, since they can’t be old enough for evolution’s timeline.

The earth bears the scars of an Ice Age – scars much older than six thousand or even twelve thousand years. But there still isn’t room to allow for evolutionary theory — without having to throw out the doctrinal foundation of Christianity.

If man evolved, there was no first Adam, no original sin, no fall of man, and no promise of redemption. The Bible cannot be true, Jesus cannot be the Son of God, and I remain yet dead in my sins.

Evolution, like Creation, must stand alone – one worldview cannot accommodate the other. Fortunately, there is FAR less evidence for evolution than there is for Creation.

The fact is that birds build nests as they have done throughout the history of mankind’s experience. Beavers build dams as they always have. Bears hibernate, bees nest together in hives to honey, ants build anthills, and so on.

There is zero evidence of a fossil in transition from one life-form to another and there is no evidence of the evolutionary process at work evolving higher forms of animals within the collective 6,000-year memory of human existence.

Over the course of 6,000 years, man has progressed from plowing the earth with a piece of wood to the development of modern farm implements like the modern combine.

Along the way, we can retrace the various steps that took us from a plow to the combine. We didn’t jump from a stick in the earth to a combine/harvester in a single leap.

And whatever is in use today will likely be replaced by an improved version later on. There is a trail that leads all the way back to the plow and points forward to the next great improvement in farming technology.

There are no examples of creatures in the process of evolving, and no evidence of mankind evolving into the next higher order over the course of our six thousand years of human history.

Still, there is plenty of evidence that says the earth is older than six thousand years. It is a conundrum.

Assessment:

If one goes back to reexamine the actual text of Genesis, one discovers a lot that isn’t there. The Bible does not say, for example, that the earth was created in its present form.

It says that, “in the beginning, the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, let there be light.” (1:2-3)

But the Bible does NOT say that the light was sunlight. Sunlight doesn’t make an appearance until the Fourth Day (Genesis 1:14) But Genesis 1:5 says that God divided the light from the darkness and the evening and the morning were the first day.

The Chaotic Earth Theory finds a prehistory here in the first few verses of Genesis, primarily based in what Scripture does not say in Genesis.

A young earth creation is not necessary to the creation of Adam and Eve the way the Fall of Man is necessary to the Redemption Story.

Isaiah 45:18 says,

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, he created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

The RSV renders it this way;

“Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; He is God; that formed the earth and made it; He established it. He created it NOT A WASTE, He formed it to be inhabited.”

The Bible doesn’t specifically say what caused it to be a waste after the original creation, but it seems clear that sin pre-existed the Garden of Eden. Satan was already there when Adam and Eve arrived on the scene.

The Bible’s timeline demands that Satan and his angels were cast into the earth at some point before the Garden – which would be at some point before God said, “Let there be light.”

A re-examination of 2nd Peter 3:5-6 suggests an alternative understanding to ‘the world that then was’ and to the flood Peter spoke of:

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; whereby the world that then was, BEING OVERFLOWED WITH WATER, perished.”

This is generally understood as referring to Noah’s Flood, but that understanding doesn’t necessarily touch on any essential point of doctrine the way that dismissing a literal Garden of Eden does. Maybe Peter was referring to Noah’s Flood, but if so, he took some liberties with the text. Peter refers to a world that then was, but that perished when overflowed with water.

Oddly, Peter says nothing of Noah. And historically, the world didn’t perish.

God preserved Noah, his family and the seed of all living aboard the Ark. But the Genesis account described the pre-Adamic earth as without form and void.

Peter does refer to the “heavens and the earth which are now” and says that this creation will also eventually be replaced with a new creation.

“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2nd Peter 3:12)

Peter speaks of this creation being destroyed by fervent heat. God promises Noah that never again will He destroy the earth by a flood. While it is by no means definitive, there is no reason to believe this was the only time the earth was destroyed by a flood.

Just that next time, it would be by fire.

Although I’ve found nothing in the text that would preclude the Chaotic Earth Theory, the prophet Jeremiah describes the following scene that seems to describe something very much like it:

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was WITHOUT FORM AND VOID; and the heavens, and they had NO LIGHT.

I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they TREMBLED, and all the hills MOVED LIGHTLY. I beheld, and, lo, there was NO MAN, and all the BIRDS OF THE HEAVENS WERE FLED.

I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a WILDERNESS, and all the CITIES thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger.” (Jeremiah 4:23-26)

It is entirely possible that the evidence that suggests an old earth refers to this period before Adam and Eve. The geological history reveals the earth has spent much of prehistory in cold storage.

Genesis records God saying “let there be light” on the first day, but the light from the sun, moon and stars doesn’t appear until on day four.

Is it possible that the earth pre-existed and that it, and its inhabitants, were destroyed in some pre-Adamic judgment period in a manner similar to the Flood?

There’s nothing in Scripture that says it is impossible.

Isaiah describes the fall of Lucifer this way:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)

The timing seems odd. Isaiah seems to imply that Satan is cast from heaven for weakening the nations – yet Satan was already here when Adam was created.

If one reads through Isaiah 14, it is a judgment against Satan for some very specific actions. I’ll synopsize for the sake of space – you can follow along, starting with Isaiah 14:12.

Satan is judged for his five “I wills” in which he speaks out against God. For his sins, he is cast out of heaven, and brought down to hell, not into it, but “to the sides of the pit.”

There, Isaiah says, he was visible to the nations, whom he deceived, where they mock him, saying, “Is this the one that caused all this trouble?”

Satan is then cast ‘out of the grave’ (v 19) and judgment pronounced, “thou shall not be joined with them (presumably those who now mock him) because thou hast destroyed thy land and slain thy people” (v.20)

So, it is at least POSSIBLE that there was something before the Garden that involved Satan, destruction and death.

And there is no doctrinal damage done to either Judaism or Christianity by the acceptance of a chaotic earth theory into prehistory.

Indeed, it sorts out the interpretive problem with there being light four days before there is sunlight. The earth coming out of deep freeze also explains both the Ice Age and the placement of a firmament to “divide the waters”.

It explains the findings from Arctic core samples that suggest the Arctic once supported tropical vegetation. It explains a lot of things.

So, what about the Chaotic Earth Theory – is it true? I don’t know. It could be. So why bring it up? Unlike evolution, the Chaotic Earth Theory could be true and still allow for both a literal interpretation of Scripture and the inclusion of a long geological history.

But I don’t know. It is but a theory. I am presenting it as such, and not as doctrinal truth, so please don’t ask me to defend it.

There is nothing that necessarily argues against it from Scripture and there is plenty of Bible that seems to lean that way, if not necessarily rising to the level of proof text.

I know that we don’t know everything – Paul says that we see through a glass darkly – but I know that the Bible is true.

It says that God created the heavens and the earth. But nowhere does it tell us exactly when.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 22, 2009.

The Mighty Men of Renown

The Mighty Men of Renown
Vol: 24 Issue: 26 Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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 1:62:1, 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.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 15, 2008.

Featured Commentary: The Most Serendipitous Species ~ Wendy Wippel

Speaking Christianese

Speaking Christianese
Vol: 24 Issue: 25 Monday, July 25, 2016

When a Jew or a Gentile becomes a Christian – or what the Bible calls a new creature – the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in their soul.  That is the point at which the transformation takes place and the new creature is born.  It is at that point we know that we are born again.

To those of us who are saved, all that goes without saying.  It is how we know that we are saved – the Bible tells us so:

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

I get letters all the time from people complaining about how we’ve already covered something in a previous OL. 

But not everybody is on the same page, so to speak, either in their doctrinal maturity or their time in the OL.  So sometimes it is important to go back and make sure everybody else is up to speed. 

And it never hurts to have heard a doctrine explained so many times that you can repeat it in your sleep.  My challenge is to find enough different ways to explain the same thing that you stay interested until that happens. 

But the primary objective is to translate Christianese back into an understandable form for the uninitiated.   

The first paragraph of today’s briefing serves as an example of the kind of unintelligible Christianese that we blithely rattle off and are then surprised to have it met by an uncomprehending stare.  It is intended as a summary of what it means to become a born-again Christian. 

Is there anything about it you don’t understand?  I’m guessing not.  Is there anything in it that sounds complicated?  Again, probably not. 

Do you explain it much differently when you are explaining to a lost person what it means to be born again?  Have you ever given much thought to how much information that summarypresupposes is already common knowledge?

These questions are so basic that we don’t give them a second thought. Sometimes we skip right over them without explaining them.  Sometimes, I’ll get an email that reminds me that I’ve presupposed too much. 

What is a Gentile?  What do you mean by ‘soul’?  I have a soul – is that the same as my spirit? What new creature?  What do you mean, ‘born again’?

Yesterday I got an email from a lady who wanted to know, “Who or what is the Holy Spirit? “ 

Without knowing that, how complicated are concepts like “indwelling” and “born again?”

Assessment:

The simple answer is; “The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Trinity.”  But that raises the next obvious question . . . “Trinity??”  Oh, boy – we’ve still not even covered the differences between soul and spirit.

Your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions – that intangible part that makes you ‘you’.   It is your self-awareness.  Your spirit is a fourth element which is dormant, or stillborn.  

At the point where a person cries out to the Lord for forgiveness, his spirit is ‘quickened’ or made alive, by the Holy Spirit of God.  That is the first time that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.  It is at that point that one is said to have been born again. 

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Ok, what about the “water” part?  Just before a baby is born, the mother’s ‘water breaks’ signalling the start of the birth process.  The birth process continues into natural birth, but the spirit is stillborn.  The process is only fully completed when the spirit is ‘quickened’ and one is reborn spiritually.

By default, every human being is born either a Jew or a Gentile.  The Bible identifies a Christian as a “new creature” reborn from that basic stock. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

Think of a caterpillar being ‘reborn’ as a butterfly.  All butterflies were once caterpillars.   No butterfly has ever reversed the process. 

When a Jew or a Gentile becomes a Christian, it is a transformation that begins with changing one’s mind (repenting) about one’s sin, and is completed when one is forgiven by grace through faith and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Now we’re back to ‘indwelling’ by the Holy Spirit.  Who or what is the Holy Spirit?  Oh, and what about the Trinity?  

The Bible presents each Member of the Trinity as having a distinct ministry insofar as man is concerned.  God the Father sits on the Throne of Heaven as the One Who holds the universe together.

In this light, it is interesting that, although science can split the atom, it cannot explain what holds it together in the first place.  Whatever holds it together also contains its energy.  It is the splitting of a single atom that releases the explosive power of the atom bomb.

In His capacity as God the Father, He is the Force that binds the atom.  If God forgot me for one second, I would be a radioactive crater the size of Manhattan.

The Bible tells us that the Second Person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ, is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. John 1:1-3 reveals of Jesus that,

“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1)

Jesus is also the Savior of the world.  He created it, He justified it by His blood, and He will judge the world according to His Word.

The Third Person in the Godhead is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.  He is our source of spiritual power and authority and it is through His indwelling presence that He guides and leads us into all truth as we journey through this life.

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Let’s look at the context.  Jesus has just revealed that He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him. (John 14:10)

Then He promises another Comforter He says will “abide with you forever.” 

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

Who is this Comforter, this Spirit of truth, He that ‘dwelleth with you, and shall be in you’?

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

All this information is lost to the lost when we lapse into Christianese. 

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

So it helps when one doesn’t need a translator. 

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 26, 2012.

Featured Commentary: This Present Darkness ~ Pete Garcia

”Lest Thou Be Like Him”

”Lest Thou Be Like Him”
Vol: 24 Issue: 23 Saturday, July 23, 2016

I was once talking to a guy about the state of affairs this world finds itself in and of course, we eventually got around to the Bible.

“What?” my friend exclaimed. “You’re kidding!”   He looked at me as if I had just admitted I’d been abducted by aliens.

(Or, more accurately, the way I would have looked at a guy who said he was abducted by aliens.  In this case, had I claimed an alien abduction, he probably would have wanted to know all the details.)

But when I admitted to believing the Bible,  he really did think I was kidding.   (Billy isn’t actually a friend exactly, but rather, the twenty-something son of a friend.  I was having a coffee with him while waiting for his dad to come home when the discussion began.)

Our discussion started over politics and economics.  Billy had been reading about the Federal Reserve, the Money Trust, and how government works and decided that capitalism is evil and that he is a Marxist/socialist.

He had lots and lots of information, but no context in which to understand it.  I was trying to put it into context when the Bible came up.

Suddenly, Billy was not only an economist and politician, now he was also an authority on the Bible.

“How can you believe the Bible when it is filled with errors?” he asked me.  “Everybody knows it’s just a book written by men.   It’s been changed and edited more times than you can count.”

Billy had obviously never heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The Dead Sea Scrolls refers to the collective discovery at Qumron in 1947 of documents and artifacts hidden in caves by the Essenes who had a settlement nearby.

The Essenes were a sect of Jewish zealots that appeared in Jewish history about the 2nd century before Christ through to the 7th decade of the 1st century AD.

The Essenes were the third largest sect at the time after the Pharisees and Sadducees. It is widely believed that John the Baptist was a member of the Essenes.

Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, and abstinence from worldly pleasures.

Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Judæa. When the Jewish Uprising began in AD 66, many of the Essenes fled to Qumron near the Dead Sea in the Judean wilderness.

The settlement at Qumron was sacked by the Romans in AD 68.  Knowing the Romans were coming, they hid their scriptures and their artifacts in the surrounding caves before being massacred.

Among the Dead Sea Scrolls was found a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah dating to about 100 years before Christ, or about 500 years after Isaiah penned it.

Isaiah is one of the Major Prophets of the Old Testament.  He prophesied the coming of the Messiah, His virgin birth, even His suffering and death.

The Book of Isaiah reaches beyond the First Advent all the way through to the Millennial Reign.

The Qumron copy is, according to the scholars that have examined it, essentially identical to the modern Book of Isaiah, a fact made that much more remarkable, given that many of Isaiah’s prophecies are in the process of fulfillment in this generation.

Only people who know nothing of either history or Scripture could argue that it is riddled with errors.  It has proved itself accurate in every case where there is comparative evidence.

Even more astonishing is the fact that not one single word of Scripture has ever been conclusively disproved.   Why is that ‘even more astonishing’?

Think about it.  In every generation in Church Age history,  believers and skeptics have debated and argued and parsed pretty much every jot and tittle recorded.

Proving Scripture false has been the Holy Grail of critical philosophy since the very first philosopher that learned of the Bible’s self-proclaimed inerrancy.

The name of philosopher, historian, doubter or skeptic that conclusively disproved a single claim of Scripture would be as famous as Moses the Lawgiver. Can you name this famous thinker?

Neither can anyone else.

Assessment:

My friend’s son was ready for me with a list of perceived errors and contradictions to support his position that the Bible is an ancient book of myths.

He began his argument where most skeptics do, assuming the Bible is myth until proved true is as flawed as assuming someone is guilty until proved innocent.

If one applied that same reasoning across-the-board, then one would have to assume traffic signs were not telling the truth until proved true.  If the sign says ‘sharp curve ahead’ it is a good idea to believe it.

What about the labels on cans and packages?  We don’t assume that the label that says ‘peas’ is false until we open the can to prove it true.   

There are signs on the doors to washrooms designating men’s and women’s facilities.  Who assumes the signs are lying until after they check for themselves?  

Who assumes that the historical account of the Lincoln administration is false until proven otherwise?   Or the historical account of the life and times of George Washington?

I asked Billy if he believed in the theory of evolution.  “Of course,” he said, as if I had asked him an inordinately stupid question.

So he automatically trusts the premise that the story of a frog turning into a beautiful princess is true, given the addition of uncountable billions of years.   But the fact the Bible has withstood thousands of years of constant attack by the best minds of every previous generation he found unconvincing.

If one wants to find contradictions and errors in Scripture, one can find them, even when they aren’t there. Billy was ready with his list, probably gleaned from some atheist website.

“Where did Cain get his wife?” is the kind of stuff atheists think is just dazzling.  Given the extended life-spans of the time, the solution to this so-called ‘problem’ is childishly simple.   

First off, the Bible doesn’t say how old Cain was.  He could have been fifty years old or five hundred. The Bible isn’t the only ancient record of extended lifespans – ancient Greek and Egyptian sources also reference humans who lived hundreds of years.

Obviously, since the human race began with a single pair, he could only have married a close relative.   This isn’t complicated.  

Cain could have married a sister, a niece, a cousin, a second-cousin, third-cousin, grand-niece – such was not forbidden until the giving of the Law of Moses some 3400 years later.

That is pretty much the template for all so-called Bible ‘contradictions’ or ‘errors’.  The error isn’t in the Scripture, it is the result of an assumption by the reader.

In this case, the assumption that Cain and Abel were Adam’s only children.  Genesis 5:4 says that Adam “begat sons and daughters.”

There are thousands of similar ‘errors’ in Scripture that aren’t errors at all.  But if one begins from the premise that the Bible is ‘riddled with errors’, then error is what one will find.

But it isn’t because the errors are in the Scripture. The errors are in the heart.

In my discussion with Billy, I forgot that basic truth and instead, fell into the trap of debating the truth of Scripture with a determined skeptic.

Grant Jeffrey once told me privately (using an analogy I now claim as my own) that “debating the Scriptures with a skeptic is like debating the circumference of the earth with a member of the Flat Earth Society.”

It’s a brilliant analogy (which is why I stole it).  If you believe the earth is flat, then your argument rests on the fact the earth doesn’t have a circumference.  So before one can even begin to discuss the earth’s circumference, one must first establish that it exists.   

That is the same difficulty with debating Scripture with a skeptic.   The skeptic is not constrained to facts in making his argument.  The believer is.   The skeptic can quote any authority with equal gravity – the believer must stick with the Bible.

The believer must first prove the earth is round – the skeptic is under no such limitations.   One can produce a globe, but the skeptic is free to counterclaim that just because the globe is round doesn’t necessarily mean the earth is.

The next thing you know, you’ve fallen into a carefully laid enemy trap.   But don’t count on God to get you out of something that you got yourself into by ignoring His Word.

For most believers, how to deal with a determined skeptic is something of a mystery. The gift of grace unto salvation is a gift beyond measure; it is a pearl of incalculable value.

In addition, it is our Great Commission.    It is our responsibility to share it — not to compel somebody to accept it.

I should try reading Scripture more and debating it less.  If I had, I would have taken the time to study the Great Commission in context.   When Jesus sent out His disciples, two by two, it was with the following instructions.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6)

I ignored that advice.   Soon, I was as frustrated with Billy as I would have been debating with a flat-earther.  Before I knew it, I was sputtering like a tea-kettle – and making just as much sense.

I finally stormed out before I said something I couldn’t take back.  Nice witness.

The truth of Scripture is proved by the truth of Scripture.

The Scriptures also say,

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like him.”  (Proverbs 26:4)

I sure proved the truth of that one.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 28, 2009.