Isaiah 66 – Humanity and the Divine: Comparing the Bible to the Myth of Atra-Hasis

Talk about a far-fetched story.  I thought Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was ridiculous, but at least Darwin had something to base his incorrect facts on.  Who ever came up with the Myth of Atra-Hasis must have been smoking something.

I’m just amazed at how foolish people can be, spreading such false information because I know…

1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

“Where is thy house…?” – Solomon realized that God couldn’t be localized in a man-made temple, magnificent though it may be.

Crete
Crete has more than 2000 caves, many of which are very large. Of  these, 35 are known to have been used for religious activities. Most of them are situated near to mountain peaks, which were also sanctuaries.

These caves have dramatic rock formations and pools of water that were used for sacred purposes. The caves were, according to Susan Evasdaughter, the original labyrinths. A labyrinth is a meandering walkway associated with the sacred paths and corridors of the Temples at Knossos and other major sites.

Yet these caves are also meandering walkways, and just like the temples they were full of labyris, double-axes, from which the word ”labyrinth” earned its name: ”The Home of the Labyris”. Hundreds of labyris, many made out of gold, were found within the sacred caves.

The cave represented an access to the underworld, perhaps the womb of the Goddess. People left offerings there – vessels, figurines, labyris, bowls. The lower levels of the Temple Labyrinth, many dark, windowless rooms set aside for ritual use, as well as many dark passages from which one would have emerged into to brilliant daylight of a lightwell or courtyard, may have been intended to recreate the atmosphere of the sacred caves.

Many of the Temple passages are not straight or direct but of a meandering style. Sacred pillars symbolized great cave stalactites.

One cave in Kato Pervolakia featured a cave painting dating from 1400 BC. The painting is of a crouching woman with her arms upraised, holding a bow and arrow. Her dog stands close by. Beneath this woman three people are seen in boats, casting nets into the sea, in which we see octopus, dolphin and starfish.

2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

“Killeth an ox…slew a man” – extreme hyperbole stating that sacrifice by a sinful person is no better than an act of murder in the eyes of God.

4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

“I also will choose…delusions” – the punishment fits the crime because the Lord will punish them with the natural consequences of their own foolish choices.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

“To your joy” – the righteous will not be disappointed for putting their rust in the Lord.

6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies.

7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?  Saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb?  Saith thy God.

10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.

12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.

“Herb” – or “grass,” usually a symbol of weakness.

15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

“Plead” – or “carry out/enter into judgment.”  The Day of the Lord is in view.

17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.

18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

“Pul” – people who lived west of Egypt (in Libya).

“Lud” – people from either west-central Asia Minor or Africa.

Ritual Cleansing
Rituals baths seem to have been central to religious practice. Many ritual cleansing areas have been found that were clearly not used for conventional bathing. There are no plugs, they are made of pouros material, they are inaccessible to the causal visiots, and some are decorated with altars and Horns of Consecration.

The baths at Knossos and Zakro suggest that they formed part of the preparation for those wishing to enter the sacred confined of the Labyrinths. Other such baths are surrounded by a series of sanctuaries, and may have been reserved for initiates.

“Tubal” – usually mentioned with Meshech.  It was probably a region southeast of the Black Sea.

“Javan” – “Ionia” or “Greece.”

20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.

21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.

“Take of them” – Gentiles will be allowed to serve as priests, indicating their full inclusion in the blessings of the new covenant.  Gentile inclusion in the priesthood is a present reality in the church (see 1 Pet 2:5, 9) and will carry over into the Messianic kingdom.

22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Quoted in part in Mk 9:48.

“Go forth and look” – the Valley of Hinnom (Hebrew ge’hinnom, from which the word “Gehenna” comes) was located southwest of Jerusalem and became a picture of hell.

“Worm shall not die” – there will be everlasting torment.

“Abhorring” – the Hebrew for this word is translated “contempt” in Dan 12:2.  These verses clearly distinguish the eternal destinies of the saved and the unsaved.

Humanity and the Divine:
Comparing the Bible to the Myth of Atra-Hasis

Atra-Hasis (To read about it go here)
Atra-Hasis (“exceedingly wise”) is the protagonist of an 18th-century BC Akkadian epic recorded in various versions on clay tablets. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both a creation myth and a flood account, which is one of three surviving Babylonian deluge stories. The name “Atra-Hasis” also appears on one of the Sumerian king lists as king of Shuruppak in the times before a flood.

The oldest known copy of the epic tradition concerning Atrahasis can be dated by colophon (scribal identification) to the reign of Hammurabi’s great-grandson, Ammi-Saduqa (1646–1626 BC), but various Old Babylonian fragments exist; it continued to be copied into the first millennium BC.

The Atrahasis story also exists in a later fragmentary Assyrian version, having been first rediscovered in the library of Ashurbanipal, but, because of the fragmentary condition of the tablets and ambiguous words, translations had been uncertain. Its fragments were assembled and translated first by George Smith as The Chaldean Account of Genesis; the name of its hero was corrected to Atra-Hasis by Heinrich Zimmern in 1899.

In 1965 Wilfred G. Lambert and A. R. Millard[3] published many additional texts belonging to the epic, including an Old Babylonian copy (written around 1650 BC) which is our most complete surviving recension of the tale. These new texts greatly increased knowledge of the epic and were the basis for Lambert and Millard’s first English translation of the Atrahasis epic in something approaching entirety.

A further fragment has been recovered in Ugarit. Walter Burkert traces the model drawn from Atrahasis to a corresponding passage, the division by lots of the air, underworld and sea among Zeus, Hades and Poseidon in the Iliad, in which “a resetting through which the foreign framework still shows”.

In its most complete surviving version, the Atrahasis epic is written on three tablets in Akkadian, the language of ancient Babylon.

Tablet I contains a creation myth about the Sumerian gods Anu, Enlil, and Enki, gods of sky, wind, and water, “when gods were in the ways of men” according to its incipit.

Tablet II begins with more overpopulation of humans and the god Enlil sending first famine and drought at formulaic intervals of 1200 years to reduce the population.

Tablet III of the Atrahasis Epic contains the flood story. This is the part that was adapted in tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Bible, along with numerous other ancient Near Eastern texts, recounts the stories of creation of a great flood.  The commonality of a flood story can be misleading, causing the reader to suppose that the Bible has essentially the same outlook as that found in other ancient cultures.

In fact, the Bible understanding of God and of His relationship to the world sets the Old Testament record apart from pagan notions of the divine.

One Old Babylonian text that recounts the events of creation and the flood is called Atra-hasis (named after the hero of the story, a Noah-like figure). 

The tale begins with a lower class of gods, the Igigi, who are discontented because they have been forced to do all of the drudge work for the higher gods (e.g., dig irrigation canals and clear marshlands).

One night their frustration boils over and they march against the houses of the high gods.  Cooler heads prevail, and the high gods offer a solution: They will create human beings to do the drudge work for the Igigi. 

A god is sacrificed, his blood is mixed with clay and humans are formed under the direction of the mother goddess, Mami.

The humans multiply and this creates a new problem: The people make so much noise that the gods can’t sleep.  They try to reduce the human population through disease and famine, but it swells again.  Finally, they determine to strike humanity with a flood. 

One man, Atra-hasis, is warned of the coming deluge so that not all humans are wiped out.  A solution is finally found: Through infant mortality and the sterility of some women, the human race will be kept to a manageable number.

By contrast, Isaiah 66:1-2 reads:

Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth my footstool: where I the house that ye build unto me?  And where is the place of my rest?

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

God needs no one to do His drudge work, nor does the most raucous or boisterous behavior of people disturb his daily routine.  What He seeks is humble hearts, righteous people. 

This is in keeping with what we see in Genesis, where God created only by his word, needing no assistance, and where He judged people for their sin – not because their decibel level annoyed Him.

Superficial similarities between the Bible and the ancient Near Eastern myths should not blind us to their profound differences in outlook.

Back in the day You told Your prophets, like Isaiah, that Jesus was coming up.

Isaiah 65 – Judgment and Salvation & Darwin vs. God

That’s crazy, believing in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  Sorry, but I knew about him before You and I didn’t buy then.  How can I believe I came from a monkey when there are still monkeys?  Now there are some people that kind of look like apes, but it has nothing to do with evolution, it involves the gene pool.

I know there are a lot of…

Possibly the Earliest Christian Writing
They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born.

A group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

A flash flood had exposed two niches inside the cave, one of them marked with a menorah or candlestick, the ancient Jewish religious symbol.

A Jordanian Bedouin opened these plugs, and what he found inside might constitute extremely rare relics of early Christianity.

1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

65:1-66:24 – the grand conclusion to chs. 58-66, as well as to chs. 40-66 and to the whole book.

Asked not…sought me not” – the Lord now proceeds to answer Isaiah’s prayer.  Israel failed to stay close to the Lord, though they sought Him in a superficial way.

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

“Provoketh me” – by worshiping idols.

4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

“I am holier than thou” – those who engage in pagan rituals believe they are superior to others (the attitude of the Pharisees in Matt 9:11; Lk 739; 18:9-12.

6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,

7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

8  Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

“Inheritor of my mountains” – “Mountains” refer to the whole land since so much of it was hilly.

10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

“Valley of Achor” -a valley near Jericho (see Josh 7:24, 26; Hos 2:15).  Since Sharon and Achor are on the western and eastern edges of the land respectively, they probably represent the whole country.

11 But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.

A staircase leads down to the 2,000-year-old ritual bath beneath floorboards in a family’s living room.
A family recently discovered a large 2,000-year-old ritual bath underneath the floorboards of their Jerusalem home during a routine living room renovation, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced today (July 1). 

The ancient ritual bath, called a “miqwe” or “mikveh,” was discovered in the town of Ein Karem, a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem that claims to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. The complete miqwe was found hidden under a pair of wooden doors concealed by a rug in the family’s living room, and measured about 11.5 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet deep (3.5 by 2.4 by 1.8 meters).

The miqwe also contained pottery vessels and pieces of stone vessels from the Second Temple Period, despite evidence of a fire that may have ravaged the bath between A.D. 66 and 70.

12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.

15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:

16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

“New heavens and a new earth” – the climax of the “new things” Isaiah has been promising.

18 But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

“Create Jerusalem” – John links the notion of a new heaven and a new earth with the “new Jerusalem” (Rev 21:1-2).  A restored Jerusalem after the exile and in the Messianic kingdom points toward this greater Jerusalem.

19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

“Bring forth for trouble” – the children they bear will never experience calamities such as death or captivity.

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Darwin vs. God

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)., was an English naturalist. He established the Theory of Evolution meaning that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors.

Charles Darwin grew up embracing the “intelligent design” thinking of his day—William Paley’s renowned argument that the design of a watch implies there must have been an intelligent watchmaker, and so design in the universe implies there must have been an intelligent Creator.

Concerning this, Darwin wrote:

I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley’s “Natural Theology.”  I could almost formerly have said it by heart.

Nevertheless, Darwin spent most of the rest of his life attempting to explain design in nature without the need for any purpose or a guiding intelligence.  He labeled himself an agnostic, and gave us his religious belief in his autobiography, written in 1876 when he was 67.

1. Darwin rejected Genesis as true history.

Darwin asserted that different species originated by the extremely slow process of evolution.  However, he knew that Genesis taught that God had created plants, animals and man by separate sudden commands.  

Both premises could not be true. So either his theory or Genesis was in error.  Which?  

He wrote:

I had gradually come, by this time [i.e. January 1839, when he was 29—Ed.], to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos [sic], or the beliefs of any barbarian.

Comment: Darwin embraced the wrong worldview.  The manifestly false history of the world is not that recorded in Genesis, but that of his theory and the long ages it requires.

2. Darwin rejected the miraculous Christianity.

Concerning the miracles with which Christianity is supported, he wrote:

[T]he more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;—by such reflections as these…I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.

Comment: Christianity is indeed a religion of miracles.  From the creative acts of God recorded in Genesis 1, through the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt in Exodus, to Christ’s many miracles in the Gospels, and the disciples’ miracles in Acts, we see a God at work who is greater than our imagination can devise.

Darwin’s arguments are philosophically bankrupt.  He supposedly knows that all miracle reports are false because he knows that the laws of nature are fixed.  However, he can know that the laws of nature are fixed only if he knows in advance that all miracle reports are false.

So he is arguing in a circle: he dismisses the miracles by dismissing the sources; but he dismisses the sources because they contain miracles.

He also invokes intellectual snobbery by assuming that Jesus’ contemporaries believed in miracles out of ignorance.  However, Joseph (Matt 1:19) and Mary (Lk 1:34), for example, knew very well how babies are made—needing both a man and a woman, although they did not know certain details about spermatozoa and ova.

They questioned the announcements of the Virginal Conception because they did know the facts of life, not because they didn’t.

Also, miracles are properly considered not as breaks in the laws of nature, but additions to them.  So to disprove miracles, Darwin would need to prove that nature is all there is, with no God capable of acting outside the normal laws by which he upholds it (Col 1:15).

3. Darwin resented the biblical doctrine of future judgment.

He wrote:

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished.  And this is a damnable doctrine.

A sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious.

Comment: If Darwin had read his Bible as well as he had read Paley, he would have known that it says:

The Lord is not slack in concerning his promise, as some men count slackness,  but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

In fact, by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins God provided the way of escape from everlasting punishment.

For God so loved the world that he gave his oily begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16).

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree (Gal 3:13).

Darwin also fails to show why the punishment is unjust, relying instead on the fallacy of argument from outrage.  However, a sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious.  

God’s perfect justice requires that either the finite sinner must endure punishment for an infinite duration, or an infinite substitute must bear the punishment we deserve.  This is fulfilled by Jesus taking upon Himself the sins of the world:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6).

4. Darwin thought that natural selection rendered design redundant.

He wrote:

The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered.  We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. … Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.

Comment: Wrong, Charles.  Natural selection is the culling of the unfit individuals of a population.  This can uncover previously unseen combinations of genes that have always been there since Creation and remain unchanged.

However, it can act only on existing genetic information, and cannot produce anything new.  It has nothing to do with design.  And by the way, you didn’t discover natural selection.  Edward Blyth, a creationist, observed it and wrote about it in 1835-1837.

5. Darwin thought that natural selection, rather than belief in God, could account for both the happiness and the misery in the world.

He wrote:

If the truth of this conclusion be granted [i.e. that there is more happiness than misery in the world], it harmonises well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection.

If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree they would neglect to propagate their kind….  

He then added that many sentient beings occasionally suffer much.  Such suffering, is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action.

He continued:

A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?

Comment: Darwin’s views on suffering were highly personalized through the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Annie, in 1851, which destroyed Charles’s tatters of belief in a moral, just universe and chimed the final death-knell for his Christianity.

But Charles, suffering and death are integral parts of your theory of evolution.

God originally created a perfect world, where there was no violence or pain or death

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be meat.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so (Gen 1:29–31).

When this sinless world was marred by the rebellion of the first man, Adam’s disobedience brought an intruder into the world—death (Gens 2:17, cf. 3:19).

However, now, because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we all can be restored to a right relationship with God and enjoy peace with Him.

This sad outcome for Darwin shows the baneful danger of compromise with the concept of millions of years.  Darwin’s main opponents in the Church had views very much like today’s progressive creationists, who believe that God created species over millions of years.

But this view entails that God had created the germ that killed Annie as a deadly pathogen.  This contradicts the biblical teaching that death is the last enemy (1 Cor 15:26) and “the wages of sin” (Rom 6:23).

This teaching implies that God had created the germ as a beneficial agent, and that it became deadly only after the Fall.

6. Darwin discounted the inner conviction of others as evidence for God.

He wrote:

But it cannot be doubted that Hindoos, Mahomadans [sic] and others might argue in the same manner and with equal force in favor of the existence of one God, or of many Gods, or as with the Buddhists of no God.

There are also many barbarian tribes who cannot be said with any truth to believe in what we call God: they believe indeed in spirits or ghosts, and it can be explained, as Tyler and Herbert Spencer have shown,

Comment: Believers do have an inner conviction about their relationship with God.  They have a positive peace with God about their sins (as distinct from a negative mental obliteration of the concept).

This is because at the heart of Christianity the penalty for sin has been paid by Christ’s death and resurrection, and so God can justly forgive sin (1 Jn 1:9) and thus give peace of mind to all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.

Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and animism provide no such assurance, because no other religion has an adequate answer to the sin problem.

The inner conviction of the early Christians would never have been produced were it not backed up by irrefutable historical proof that Jesus rose from the dead.  There are at least 17 cultural factors that would have doomed Christianity in the first century if there had not been this proof.

7. Darwin discounted grand scenes (like that of a Brazilian forest) as evidence for God.

Comment: In the Bible, David saw evidence in nature that pointed him to God (Ps 19:1). Darwin had done so too in the Brazilian forest in his mid-20s, but not in later life when he had quenched all such feelings with his evolutionary dogma.

As Christians, we should be aware that our feelings go up and down with our moods, our appetite, our health, etc., but our Christian faith depends on what God has said in His Word, the Bible, not on what we feel.

8. Darwin discounted man’s ability to reason.

Darwin acknowledged that a First Cause was a more impressive idea than blind chance, but then wrote:

[C]an the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

Comment: We now know that there is zero chance of the universe being the way it is by accident, and there is zero chance of proteins randomly combining to form life. The best Darwin could do to void the evidence for a First Cause was to invoke his own theory.

In fact, the reason why the mind of man can contemplate such things is because man is not an evolved animal, but is made in the image of God:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Gen 1:26).

“Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God (Jas 3:9).

This is something to remember when debating skeptics—given their own evolutionary assumptions, why should we trust their skeptical thoughts to be true?  Natural selection works only on survival value, not on logic or truth. C.S. Lewis pointed this out long ago.

9. Darwin thought that belief in God was the result of constant inculcation of children.

He wrote:

[I]t would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.

Comment: God made mankind in His image.  It is not surprising therefore that children easily believe in God.  This even includes children who are NOT inculcated, such as in Japan where most adults don’t think of God as the Creator.

It is also not surprising that in later life many become atheists when they are taught by the government schools and media that they are nothing more than evolved pond scum.

Darwin disregarded the evidence that God has supplied, both in His Word and in nature.

Darwin’s argument commits the genetic fallacy—the error of trying to disprove a belief by tracing it to its source.  For example, Kekulé thought up the (correct) ring structure of the benzene (C6H6) molecule after a dream of a snake grasping its tail, but chemists don’t need to worry about correct ophiology to analyze benzene.

People can believe the right things for the wrong reasons.

Conclusion

Our faith is based on God’s Word, and no human being will ever be able to prove whether or not God exists, we live by faith:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things no seen.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently see, him (Heb 11:1, 6).

Christian faith is not irrational and is supported by logic and reason:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

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 (Rom 1:18-20).

Darwin committed logical fallacies, and his arguments against God fail because he disregarded the evidence that God has supplied, both in His Word and in nature.

…stories about You.  How did that one myth of Atra-Hasis go again?

Isaiah 64 – A Confession of Sin, and Afflictions Bewailed & What is Being Taught in American Schools?

This is all good, I’m ready to get out of this world and be with You for eternity (Matt 24),  but his is sad for most because Jesus said most people are going to hell, but that’s their choice,

“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out,” said Jesus (Luke 19:40).
He was referring to what would happen if His disciples did not bear testimony of Him.

The original disciples aren’t around to provide their eyewitness accounts of Jesus Christ, but we do have the inspired Word of God, which they, along with many others, wrote.

Significantly enough, we also have the testimony of stones that really can bear witness to the veracity and inspiration of God’s Word. The physical evidence unearthed by present-day scientists can and does speak to us through biblical archaeology.

Archae, which comes from the Greek, means “ancient,” and ology, which comes from the Greek logia , means “science.” Archaeology, then, is the scientific study of ancient things.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto left, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

I know our country has really messed up, it’s become really bad.  So a lot of the schools are teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

“Rend the heavens” – the sky is compared to a rent curtain.  For this and the further description of the cosmic effects of God’s coming in judgment and redemption.

2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.

4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

This verse is quoted in 1 Cor 2:9 with reference to the truths that God has revealed through the Holy Spirit.

5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

“Worketh righteousness” – God’s blessing is conditioned upon obedience, not work.  The difference between the old and new covenants is not a lessening of the demand for obedience, but rather the enablement of grace in the new covenant that makes obedience possible.

6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

9  Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity forever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

 

10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

Unearthing the Origins of Archaeology
Englishman Flinders Petrie is generally considered the individual who put archaeological methodology on a scientific footing. He is credited with transforming archaeology from a treasure hunt into a disciplined search for information about the past. It was not until the 19th century that scientific methods were rigorously applied to excavations of historical sites.

A curious fact of history is that the person who indirectly contributed to this process was not a scientist but the French emperor and conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte. During his conquests of Europe and the Middle East, Napoleon arrived in Egypt in the late 1700s hoping to build the Suez Canal and drastically reduce the navigation time for the trade route from France to India. In Egypt, before a battle in the vicinity of the famous pyramids of Gizeh, he told his soldiers, “Forty centuries are looking down upon you from these pyramids.”

His inquisitive mind led him to study the Egyptian culture and try to decipher strange drawings he saw in the ancient monuments. For that purpose, he brought along 175 French scholars and researchers, and together they set up an institute in Egypt to study the writings and ancient relics of the area.

The deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphics (a word meaning priestly or sacred writings) can be attributed mostly to a young scientist of that time, Jean François Champollion. Accurate translations were made possible largely by the discovery in 1799 of a large black basalt rock by French soldiers at the town of Rosetta. Later to be known as the Rosetta Stone, it bore a trilingual inscription in Old Egyptian hieroglyphic, demotic (a later, simplified form of Egyptian hieroglyphics) and Greek. With this stone as a key, Champollion in 1822 could finally decipher the ancient hieroglyphics.

The deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphics brought the culture of the Pharaohs to light, and the educated classes of Europe gained insight into this fascinating subject. Soon, many amateur archaeologists were on their way to fame and fortune, finding fabulous monuments and other treasures. Museums throughout Europe and America vied with each other to house these marvelous finds. The treasure-laden tomb of Tutankhamen, discovered in 1922, was one of the most spectacular. Many early archaeologists would be honored for their efforts and would become a part of history in their own right.

11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.

12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

What is Being Taught in American Schools?

The Bible is real clear about adultery and fornication:

Marriage is honorable on all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (Heb 13:4).

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband (1 Cor 7:2).

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Col 3:5-6).

Some people think a five-year old is too young for sex education.  Administrators with Chicago Public schools do not.  New to the curriculum this year, mandatory sexual and health education for kindergarten classes.

In 2007 Obama was asked what he thought about the idea and he said,

It is the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in the schools.”  Obama tried to support the idea in 2003 too.

Each and every state is no longer educating the students correctly.  Here is one thing that Texas is actually doing right, Texas students a still being taught the Bible, that the God created the earth.  Yet many states teach Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Okay, so Texas did a good thing, but look at these 8 things that students are also learning in Texas, but I’m sure it’s not just in Texas.

1.  Islam is awesome

2.  Christianity is a cult

3.  Communism is awesome

4.  Hey kids! Let’s make communist flags

5.  The Boston Tea Party was a terrorist attack

6.  Christopher Columbus was an eco-warrior

7.  CSCOPE writers pointlessly disparage Paul Revere

8. Murder and extortion were just “protest strategies” used by the Black Panthers

Here’s one from Kentucky:

The teacher draped an American flag on the ground and encouraged students to step on it as part of an art project.

To me a flag is just a flag, but in a case like this the teacher is trying to teach the students that America is nothing.

Obama says that he plans to provide new resources that communities can use to make schools safer.  Yeah, get a load of this:

1.  Hire school resource officers — specially trained police officers who not only enforce the law but act as teachers and mentors.

2.  Hire school psychologists, social workers, and counselors to support students struggling with mental health issues and help avert crises before they occur.

3.  Purchase school safety equipment, like security cameras and secure locking systems.

4.  Does that sound like he’s trying to make things safer?  You’re going to love this:

On July 26th Obama signed an executive order titled the “African American Education Initiative.”

The order essentially gives a green light for black students to misbehave in public schools.

In two places, Obama’s executive order calls on schools to reduce the number disciplinary actions taken against blacks students.

The order specifically calls on schools too “not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.

As I had said, our country started going downhill in 1962 when prayer was removed from the school.  Things started getting when Old Bush was elected and it has gotten worse and worse ever since.

So what happens when you ignore or defy or ridicule God?

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

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:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Pet 3:3-10).

I’m going to look a bit deeper into what foolishness Darwin came up with.

Isaiah 63 – Vengeance and Redemption & The Winepress

That’s a good analogy of how things are going to be in the end.  I’m sure glad I’m on Your side.  As we were talking yesterday about how bad the education is in America, I was wondering…

 1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

“Edom” – Edom here symbolizes a world that hates God’s people.

“Dyed garments” – cf. Christ’s robe “dipped in blood” (Rev 19:13) as He wages war at His second coming.

Temple and rare cache of sacred vessels from Biblical times discovered at Tel Motza
Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a rare temple and religious figurines which date back nearly 3,000 years to the time of the Kingdom of Judah.

They say the finds provide rare testimony of a ritual cult in the Jerusalem region at the beginning of the period of the royal House of David.

Such idol worship was a major theme in the chapters of the Old Testament relating to the era, and is given in the holy book as a cause for the downfall of the Jewish kingdom.

‘The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea,’ the dig directors said in a statement.

‘The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site’s proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom’s main sacred center at the time.’

2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat?

3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

“Trodden the winepress” – a figure of judgment also in Lam 1:15; Joel 3:13; Rev 14:17-20; 19:15.

4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

“Day of vengeance…year of my redeemed” – the day of judging the enemy meant at the same time redemption for those born-again.

5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

“Made them drunk” – they drank the “cup of His fury.”

“I will bring down…to the earth” – Lit. “I will pour out their juice (blood) on the ground.”

7  I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.

63:7-64:12 – a prayer of Isaiah, asking the Lord to bring about the redemption He has promised – as one of the “watchmen” the Lord has posted on the walls of Jerusalem.  It is similar to a national lament.

“Loving kindnesses” –  a demonstration of God’s unfailing love as He stood true to His covenant with Israel.

8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Savior.

9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

10  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

Replica of the actual complete Isaiah scroll found at Qumran in the Dead Sea caves.
The actual scroll is in a sealed vault beneath the museum.
The past can be confusing, but if one understands the relevance of the Scrolls to the Christian faith, it is quite illuminating. One example of this illumination is the Great Isaiah Scroll. In many ways, the scroll affects the Christian faith and our understanding of the Bible.
The Great Isaiah Scroll contains more than 25% of all the biblical text among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is almost completely preserved. Virtually every part of all 66 chapters of Isaiah are found in the Great Isaiah Scroll.

12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?

13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness that they should not stumble?

14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

15  Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

“Father” – even if their human fathers abandon them, God won’t.

17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

“Made us err” – when Israel went astray God let them wander and then caused them to experience the consequences of their choice.  God has been doing this all over the world for centuries, but He is soon about to do it to the United States.

“Hardened our heart” – the people’s hearts were hard and the Lord confirmed that condition.

“Servants” – true believers.

18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

The Winepress

Wine Press
Wine production was a popular industry in the Holy Land. Many winepresses are found in most of the Biblical places and ancient sites.

Wine was first produced in 6,000 BC in the area of Mesopotamia. During the Biblical times (Iron/Persian Age) the wine making industry was wide spread in the Holy Land and was one of the largest exports.
 
Biblical 
The Bible has dozens of references to wine, wine making and winepresses. The first reference is of Noah, the World’s first winemaker  (Gen 9 21-22: “And Noah …  planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken…”).

Initially the winepresses were small and installed in the fields near the vineyards, normally cut into the local stone. Later, some of the villages evolved around the winepresses, and even became cities bearing the name of the winepress. Clusters of winepresses, with3 or more systems, were later installed at central industrial areas, or were installed close to the ports along the sea.

Roman/Byzantine
The number of winepresses increased considerably during the Roman/Byzantine period, and its production and export was one of the leading incomes.  Hundreds of winepresses are found in the fields, villages  and the cities of the Holy Land.
 
One of the reasons for the large demand was due to the Roman Legionnaires stationed in Israel. As per our wine expert, Uncle Ofer, each Roman soldier consumed a liter per day, or 6,000 liters per day for one Legion stationed in the Galilee.

The wine has medical advantages – killing bacteria and making the drinking water safer.  The wine was often diluted with equal portion of water, and used as their drinking water, keeping the soldiers healthy (and happy).  This may have been one of the Roman soldiers advantages in the battlefield. 

To supply this demand the wine was produced in a short period of a month or so, producing a low alcohol (4%) sour wine.
 
Most of the vineyards and winepresses were located in the hills of the lower and upper Galilee, the Golan, the Sharon and the hills of Judea.

Arab periods 
The wine production ceased completely during the Arab conquest starting in the 8th C. Islamic faith prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Only during the Crusades the wine production was resumed for a brief time (12th – 13th C).

Modern times
In the recent 10 years, wine making is booming again in Israel. The number of wine makers increased from a handful to over 175 (25 commercial wineries and 150 boutique wineries) and rising. Once again the Holy Land is returning to a world class wine status.

The winepress was a key component of ancient wine production.  In its most basic form it consisted of three sections: an upper and a lower vat and a channel connecting the two.

After the grapes had lain in the sun for a few days to increase their sugar content, they were placed in the upper vat and trodden with bare feel.  The juice moved down the channel to the smaller, but deeper, lower vat. 

The husks that remember remained after having been trodden were pressed by a wooden plank, one end of which was secured to a side of the vat while the other was weighed with stones to facilitate the pressing process.

Some of the more elaborate winepresses that have been discovered have had three or four vats.  The extra vats improved the settling process and reduced the amount of sediment in the wine.

The juice would ferment in the lowest vat, a process requiring four to seven day.  After this period wine would be poured into jars of wineskins.  Often there would be a spout in the lowest vat that would channel the wine into these containers.

The jars or wineskins would hold the wine as the fermentation process was completed, a period of two to four months.

Isaiah used the imagery of trading the winepress to express divine judgment against the nations (Isa 63:1-6).  The act of treading represents God’s vengeance against His enemies, whether through war or other disasters.

Archaeologists have discovered a 1,400-year-old wine press in southern Israel which was very advanced for its time.

The juice produced from the grapes represents the blood of the defeated, while the intoxication produced by overindulgence of the wine represents the effect of God’s wrath on those he judges (v. 6).

At the same time, however, God’s vengeance against his enemies is coupled with his redemption of his own people (v. 4).

What are they teaching now?  They certainly aren’t teaching about You.  I wonder what kind of wicked things they are teaching?

 

Isaiah 60 – The Dawn of Zion’s Glory & The Offering of King Ashyahu

Yesterday we talked about why Jesus prayed and fasted when He had never sinned and of course He didn’t have to confess about anything.  Yet, even though He never sinned, He was human and even He needed help from God:

Sheba: The Ancient Empire
Sheba is a kingdom mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Quran. Sheba features in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, particularly Ethiopian Christian, traditions. It was the home of the biblical “Queen of Sheba”, who is left unnamed in the Bible, but receives the names Makeda in Ethiopian and Bilqīs in Arabic tradition.

The predominant scholarly view is that the biblical narrative about the kingdom of Sheba was based on the ancient civilization of Saba in South Arabia, in contradiction to several local traditions from different countries. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman write that “the Sabaean kingdom began to flourish only from the eighth century BCE onward” and that the story of Solomon and Sheba is “an anachronistic seventh-century set piece meant to legitimize the participation of Judah in the lucrative Arabian trade.”

The British Museum states that there is no archaeological evidence for such a queen but that the kingdom described as hers was Saba, “the oldest and most important of the South Arabian kingdoms”. Kenneth Kitchen dates the kingdom to between 1200 BCE until 275 CE with its capital, Ma’rib.

The kingdom fell after a long but sporadic civil war between several Yemenite dynasties claiming kingship, resulting in the rise of the late Himyarite Kingdom.

“And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt 17:16-21).

1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

“Hear shall fear and be enlarged” – or “heart shall be in new and enlarged with joy”; positive, not negative – the joy and thrill of experiencing God’s blessing.

6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.

7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.

11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

The Bukit Batu Pahat Temple is from the ancient Hindu-Buddhist Malay Kingdom on the grounds of Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum in Merbok, Kedah. The site is home to Malaysia’s oldest civilisations dating back to more than 1,500 years.

14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15 Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

“Suck the breast of kings” – Jerusalem will receive the very best nourishment, the “forces (wealth) of the Gentiles” (v. 5).

17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.

Kedah Sultanate
The Kedah Sultanate is a Muslim dynasty located in the Malay Peninsula. Originally an independent state, it became a British Protectorate in 1909. Its monarchy was abolished after it was added to the Malayan Union but was restored and added to the Malayan Union’s successor, the Federation of Malaya.

The information regarding the formation of this sultanate and the history before and after its creation comes from the “Kedah Annals”. The Kedah Annals were written in the eighteenth century, over a millennium after the formation of the Kedah Kingdom.

It describes the first king of Kedah as arriving on the shores of Kedah as a result of an attack by a mythical gigantic beast. It states that the nation was founded by the offspring of Alexander the Great; who maintained ties with Rome throughout his reign (oddly two centuries after the decline of the Roman Empire due to sacks by the Visigoths and Vandals in 410 and 455).

“Sun…moon” – according to Rev 21:13; 22:5 their light will no longer be needed in the new Jerusalem since the Lamb will be the everlasting “light.”

20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

“Sun shall no more go down” – there will be no night there (Rev 22:5) but only the light of joy and salvation.

21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

“People…shall be all righteous” – only the redeemed will be there (Rev 21:27).

22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.

The Offering of King Ashyahu

Isaiah 60:9 describes the expectation that one day the ships of Tarshish would come bringing silver and gold to honor the God or Israel.  “Tarshish” may have been either in Spain or in Sardinia, and the “hammered silver…brought from Tarshish” (Jer 10:9) was imported silver of high value.

An ostracon dated through paleography to around the time of King Josiah (640-609 B.C.) reads, “So King Ashyahu has commanded you to give by the agency of Zakaryahu silver of Tarshish for the house of the LORD: three shekels.  “But who was Ashyahu?

The names of Hebrew kings sometimes had elements inverted.  For example, the name Ahaziah (2 Kgs 8:25) was inverted to Jehoahaz in 2 Chr 21:7

Both names mean “Yahweh holds,’ but in Ahaziah the word for “holds” is first and “Yahweh” is second (in the ending “-iah”), while in Jehoahz “Yahweh” is first (as “Jeho-“) and “holds” (“-ahaz”) comes second.

Ashyahu could be an inverted form of Joash, king of Judah (640-609 B.C.).  Zakaryahu was probably the Zechariah of 2 Chr 35:8, a temple administrator in Josiah’s reign, and the ostracon seems to be a receipt for the offering.

When Isaiah prophesied that one day Gentiles would bring the silver of Tarshish to Yahweh’s temple he was alluding to a means of honoring God that was already being practiced in his own day by his own people.

From what I’ve read in the Bible and talking to You it’s quite clear that only You can forgive sin. But the Catholics are telling everyone that they can forgive sin too, they even say that it is better if people confess their sins to them instead of to You.  I want to talk about that tomorrow?

Isaiah 59 – Sin, Confession, and Redemption & Why Did Jesus Pray and Fast?

I think a lot of people don’t really realize what Jesus went through, you know, Him being You.   I used to think that Jesus being crucified was no big thing to Him since He was Your son, but he was just a peon human like us, but He had top-notch faith.  And we need to follow His ways, to look to You first:

A quarry from the time of the Second Temple, along with various tools and a 2,000-year-old key, were uncovered in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem’s Ancient ‘City of Quarries’ Reveals City-Building Rocks
A huge quarry, along with tools and a key, used by workers some 2,000 years ago have been discovered during an excavation in Jerusalem prior to the paving of a highway, the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) announced.

The first-century quarry, which fits into the Second Temple Period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70), would’ve held the huge stones used in the construction of the city’s ancient buildings, the researchers noted.

Archaeologists also uncovered pick axes and wedges among other artifacts at the site in the modern-day Ramat Shlomo Quarter, a neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem.

“The quarrying phenomenon created a spectacular sight of bedrock columns and steps and craters of sorts that were the result of the rock-cuttings,” Irina Zilberbod, IAA excavation director, said in a statement. “What remained are rock masses in various stages of quarrying, and there were those that were found in a preliminary stage of rock-cutting prior to detachment.”

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17).

1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear:

2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

“Webs…garments” – their acts of injustice and violence for security are as worthless as garments made of spider webs.

7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

59:7-8 – quoted in part in Rom 3:15-17 by Paul to show the universality of sin.

8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

9  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

“We grope…like the blind…at noonday” – the fulfillment of the curse for disobedience in Deut 28:29.

11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;

“Our iniquities, we know them” – Like Ezra (9:6-7), Isaiah confesses the sins of the nation.  In this verse he uses the three most common Hebrew words for evil thoughts and deeds.

13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

Various tools, including a 2,000-year-old key (center of image), were also discovered at the Second Temple quarry in Jerusalem.

Tools
Some of the huge stones would’ve reached about 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length and weighed tens if not hundreds of tons, the researchers said.

In total, the team uncovered an area of around 11,000 square feet (1,000 square meters) where the ancient quarry would’ve existed. The quarry connects with other previously identified quarries, all of which seem to be situated in Jerusalem’s so-called “city of quarries” dating to the Second Temple period.


In a dig reported in 2007 and completed before the construction of an elementary school in the Ramat Shlomo Quarter, IAA scientists had uncovered another Second Temple quarry. The stones from this quarry, some of which reached 26 feet (8 m) in length, would have been used by King Herod for his Temple at the Temple Mount and other monumental buildings, according to the IAA and news reports. (Temple Mount, also called Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, is a religious site in the Holy Land of Jerusalem.)

As for what made this area in Jerusalem such a draw for rocks, the researchers suggest the Meleke rock formation there may be part of the reason. Meleke rock, they say, is easily quarried and hardens immediately after being cut and shaped (or hewn). Also, this area would’ve been elevated above the city of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, possibly making transport of the enormous stones easier since the trek would’ve been downhill.

In fact, researchers discovered a first-century road adjacent to the quarry that may have been used for stone transport.

The scientists aren’t certain how exactly the giant stones would’ve been moved along this road. They suspect oxen and wooden rollers would’ve done the trick, but some historical records note giant wood-lifting devices were around at the time and may have been used.

14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

“Righteousness as a breastplate” – the Lord’s armor is compared to the believer’s armor in the battle against Satan in Eph 6:14.

17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.

“Adversaries…enemies” – God will judge the nations, but He must also punish wicked Israel’s.  only the remnant will be blessed.

19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

“From the west…rising of the sun” – all nations will see God’s saving work in behalf of His people.

“Flood” – the coming of the Lord will be irresistible, like an “overflowing stream” that overwhelms the enemy.

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.

Why Did Jesus Pray and Fast?

Jesus never sinned, so why did He fast and pray?  Remember that even though Jesus is God, He lowered Himself to became a part of the human race:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Words was God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (Jn 1:1, 14, also see 1 Tim 3:16).

Jesus became human for two reasons:

1 To save us from hell.

2 To show us how stand against the devil.

Jesus had the same temptations that we have:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor 10:13).

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

(For weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down the strong holds) (2 Cor 10:3-4).

Even though Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human, and being a human He couldn‘t beat the devil on His own any more than we can, He needed the strength of the Father.  And He got that strength through prayer, fasting, and walking with God.

Why can’t we stand against the devil like Jesus?  Simply because we are not God nor do we have the faith that Jesus had.  Some will say that we can’t because we were born into sin, that is not exactly correct, but being born into sin does make things difficult.  But Adam and Eve were not born into sin and they couldn’t handle the devil either.

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.  And he said unto the woman, Yeah, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden.

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matt 6:16-18).

Fasting is strictly a personal thing between you and God and is no one else’s business. If you tell people that you are fasting, they might think you’re boasting about it or they might think you’re acting self-righteously. 

That’s because we are to fast not to be seen by men but only by the father and this should be done in secret where only He can see it.  If you do it to be seen by others, you’ve already gotten your reward and there will be no further.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat” (Gen 3:1-6).

When God made the angels He game them freewill and that is why Lucifer is no longer Lucifer, but Satan, the devil.  God also gave Adam and Eve freewill and they failed just like Satan did.  They failed because of Satan:

“Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth her any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death” (Jas 1:13-15).

God gives everyone freewill, including Jesus and the devil tempted Jesus (Matt 41-11), but unlike Adam and Eve Jesus kept his freewill in the Spirit, not in the flesh:

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; Adultery, fornication uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envying’s, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:17-23) (Gal 5:17-23 v. 22-23 is what God is, what Jesus is).

Prior to Jesus ministering he prayed and fasted for 40 days (Matt 4:2), but He prayed throughout His life on earth.  He even prayed to the Father in our behalf (Jn 17).

We do not pray or fast for our benefit, but for God’s, as Jesus did and the following scriptures shows that Jesus was no stronger than any man on earth, but He was true to God:

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jon 3:5).

One of the best examples of repentance is from the ancient city-state of Nineveh.  This was not just a city but a nation and a powerful nation that was a natural enemy of Israel and had been a thorn in her side for years.  That explains why Jonah ran from God for so long but no one can go to where God is not already there.  This fast in Nineveh was ordered by the king and so from the “greatest of them (the king) down to the least of them” the entire city-state fasted and by their show of repentance, they stayed the hand of God’s wrath upon Nineveh.

Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matt 26:36-45).

Jesus didn’t have enough strength of His own to be crucified for us, so He went to the source – prayer.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the offering of King Ashyahu.

Isaiah 58 – Right and Wrong Fasting & Fasting

A person would think it would be easy to go without food or water for just 24 hours, but it’s not unless we do it with You.  Fasting without You is not only hard, but what’s the point because we don’t fast for us or others, but for You.

Weld-Blundell Prism
The Weld-Blundell Prism is the most extensive surviving list of the rulers of ancient Iraq for the period from 3200 – 1800 BC.

The prism contains an outlined history of the world written by a scribe named Nur-Ninsubur. He provides a list of the kings that reigned from the beginning of his race to the present time.

Among the kings listed are 10 kings with extraordinary long life spans, and they existed before the flood. Other kings listed on the tablet have decreased ages after the flood.

The Weld Prism discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it confirms the Biblical account of longevity before the flood, and contains other similarities in its list of kings as well.

“And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died” Gen 5:27.

Just like when Peter walked on the water with Jesus, as long as we keep our mind on You we can do anything.

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

And he said, Come.  And when Peter was come down out of the ship he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

But when he saw the wind boisterous he was afraid and beginning he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Matt 14:28-30).

1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

“Voice like a Trumpet” – God’s powerful voice is compared to a trumpet blast at mount Sinai (Ex 19:19, 20:18-19).

2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

3  Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

“Fasted…fast” – a time of self-denial and repentance for sin.  After the fall of Jerusalem, the number of fast days increased.

“Takest no knowledge” – wondering why God doesn’t recognize their acts of penance (same attitude in Mal 3:14; cf. Lk 18:12).

“Exact all of your labors” – they are pretending to worship God and exploiting their workers all on the same day.

4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

“Voice to be heard on high” – hypocritical religious activity is a hindrance to prayer (Isa 59:1-2).

5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

“Bands of wickedness” – during the siege of Jerusalem, Hebrew slaves were rightly released only to be reclaimed by their masters.

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

“Deal thy bread…bring…house…cover” – the outward evidence of genuine righteousness.  See Job 31:17-20; Eze 18:7, 16 and Jesus’ identification with the hungry and naked in Matt 25:35-36.

8  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

“Here I am” – the Lord is quick to respond to a genuine cry of repentance and confession (you bet is He is).

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

Moabite Stone
The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kgs 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered.

The Moabite Stone was discovered in 1868 about 20 miles east of the Dead Sea. What is most amazing is that it mentions “Israel,” “Yahweh” and the “House of David.” It is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris.


In the Bible it says that Mesha the king of Moab was paying tribute to Israel and that they suddenly stopped: “Mesha, king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel…” (2 Kgs 3:5).

Well, Mesha made his own record of this rebellion, and the record has been found. It is known today as “The Mesha Stele” or the more popular designation “The Moabite Stone.”

It was found in 1868 at Dibon, in Moab. Dibon is located 20 miles east of the Dead Sea. Amazingly enough it was discovered by chance by F.A. Klein, a German missionary who had heard rumors of this stone while visiting the area. It was a bluish basalt stone, about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide, and 14 inches thick, with an inscription from king Mesha. When it was found the Berlin Museum negotiated for it while the French Consulate at Jerusalem offered more money.

The next year some local Arabs, realizing all that was at stake, laboriously hoisted it out of the earth and lit a fire around it, and after pouring cold water on it they chipped away several large pieces which they distributed among a few of them. Later the French re-assembled 669 of the estimated 1100 consonants from the pieces and preserved the inscription. It now remains in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

13  If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Fasting

The meaning of fasting is somewhat misconstrued and somewhat misunderstood.  Before I get into it let me explain something.

I believe there are very few people that truly understand God and I don’t think anyone understands Him fully, I know I don’t.  But I think I know Him pretty well, I know His heart, I don’t understand it fully, but I know it.  I know how much He loves us.  I know how important we are to Him.

To get to know God you have to spend time with Him, the same way you get to know your friends.  God is no different and He doesn’t want to control us.  What He wants to do is give us a wonderful life, as He did with Moses (Ex 33:11), Abraham (Isa 41:8), among others.

For three years I did nothing but read the Bible, do Bible Studies, and talk to God.  But that is not how I know God the way I know Him.  You could memorize the Bible and you still wouldn’t know God, unless you spent time with Him.  Yet, you won’t know how to spend time with Him if you don’t read the Bible, meaning, don’t just read it, read it with Him.

You may say that God was friends with Moses and them because they did what He said.  That is incorrect, He had them do things for Him because they were friends, He trusted them.

God wants to be friends with everyone, that’s why He created us and James, Jesus’ brother, tells us exactly how to be friends with Him:

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you… (Jas 3:8).

About Fasting

You can find all kinds of reasons on the internet for fasting, but there is only one reason to fast and that is to be in the Spirit with God.  I have fasted one time in my entire life, of course I have only walked with God for six years.

I was in jail when I fasted, spending time with God and as I studied the Holy Ghost came upon me and I was told to fast, so I did.  But I never could have done it if I had not been in the presence of God.

People talk about full fasting, partial fasting, fasting for this or that.  There is only one fasting and that is without food and water for at least one day.  No one mentioned in the Bible fasted for less than three days; I only did it for one day.

Fasting is not torturing us to please God because that doesn’t please Him.  If God wants you to fast He will let you know or if you want to fast for Him then you tell Him that and He’ll make it happen for you.

But I tell you, going without food for a day but drinking water is not fasting for God.

I found the following statement online and it’s ridiculous.  I’m not degrading the person that said this, and I’ll explain this in a minute:

Bible Verses About Fasting

Both the Old Testament and New Testament teach the value of fasting, which is abstaining from food or drink in order to focus on prayer and seeking God’s will. Through many examples of people in the Bible who fasted, we can know that God grants supernatural revelation and wisdom through this practice. Scripture tells us that fasting will help us grow a more intimate relationship with Christ and will open our eyes to what He wants to teach us.

1 Corinthians 7:5
“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

1 Samuel 7:7
“When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines.”

2 Samuel 1:12
“They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”

Acts 13:2
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Wall Relief
In this wall relief the Assyrian king places his foot upon the neck of his enemy to symbolize complete submission and defeat of the captured king.

This discovery is important in the study of  Biblical Archaeology because it confirms the Biblical account to put the neck of an enemy under foot.

“So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.” – Josh 10:24 


”The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” – Ps 110:1.

Acts 14:23
“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”

Daniel 10:3
“I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.”

Esther 4:16 
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Exodus 34:28
“Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.”

Joel 2:12
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Luke 2:37
“And then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”

Luke 18:12 
“I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

Nehemiah 1:4 
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Psalm 69:10
“When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;

Psalm 35:13-14
“Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered,

I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.”

Joel 2:12-13
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

Acts 13:3-4
“So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.”

Striding Lion of Babylon
The striding lion of Babylon was made of molded brick with polychrome glaze and appeared along the side of the ‘Processional Way’ in ancient Babylon in 604-562 B.C.

The ‘Processional Way’ led out of the city through the massive Ishtar Gate, the lion was the symbol of the goddess Ishtar. There were some 120 lions such as this one decorated along the walls. This painting is from a wall relief at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. It is 90.3 cm high and  230.5 cm wide. It was purchased in Berlin in 1931.

Neo Babylonian Empire. Under Nabopolassar, Babylon threw off Assyrian rule in 612 BC and became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian (sometimes and possibly erroneously called Chaldean) Empire.

With the recovery of Babylonian independence, a new era of architectural activity ensued, and his son Nebuchadnezzar II (604–561 BC) made Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Nebuchadnezzar ordered the complete reconstruction of the imperial grounds, including rebuilding the Etemenanki ziggurat and the construction of the Ishtar Gate – the most spectacular of eight gates that ringed the perimeter of Babylon.

A reconstruction of The Ishtar Gate is located in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. All that was ever found of the Original Ishtar gate was the foundation and scattered bricks. Nebuchadnezzar is also credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), said to have been built for his homesick wife Amyitis. Whether the gardens did exist is a matter of dispute.

Although excavations by German archaeologist Robert Koldewey are thought to reveal its foundations, many historians disagree about the location, and some believe it may have been confused with gardens in the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. Chaldean rule did not last long and it is not clear if Neriglissar and Labashi-Marduk were Chaldeans or native Babylonians, and the last ruler Nabonidus and his son and regent Belshazzar were Assyrians from Harran.

“For I will rise up against them,” says the LORD of hosts, “And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity,” says the LORD. “I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” says the LORD of hosts. Is 14:22-23.

Daniel 9:3-5
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,

We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”

2 Samuel 12:15-17
“After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.

The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.”

1 Kings 21:25-27
“(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife.

He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.”

Luke 4:2-4
“Where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”

Ezra 8:21-23
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”

Matthew 6:16-18
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

So that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Isaiah 58:3-7
“Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

Jonah 3:5-9
“The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.

This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.

But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

Luke 18:1-12

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.

And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,

Yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?

I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.

I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

We all have our own personal relationship with Jesus, if you don’t have one then any fasting you do you would be doing it for show, for mankind.  I would say this guy has a personal relationship with Jesus, but he lacks understanding of God.

God doesn’t want us to have to do anything to please Him. 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9).

Actually there is nothing we can do to please God but believe in Jesus.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:1, 6).

Fasting for any reason other than to spend time with God is not fasting. Would your mother be happy if you did something just to try and make points with her ?  No she wouldn’t and God loves you more than she does.

He never sinned so why did He fast?

Isaiah 56 – Strangers included in the Blessing & The Eunuch

You would think that being a eunuch would be horrible, but then it might be good, possibly keep you out of trouble with women.  Paul wasn’t a eunuch and he managed, but he was truly walking with You.  

“For I would that all men were even as I myself.  But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

Ancient Egyptian Beads Found in a 5,000-Year-Old Tomb
After a century of uncertainty, researchers have confirmed that the iron used to weld 5,000-year-old Egyptian beads fell from the sky—in the form of a meteorite, that is.

The nine small beads were excavated in 1911 from a tomb in Gerzeh, an ancient cemetery in northern Egypt. Early chemical testing showed traces of nickel, leading scientists to believe they were made from meteoric iron.

The beads were prized as exotic artifacts, strung together on a necklace with precious minerals like gold and carnelian. (Related: “Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old.”)

Fast forward a few decades to the 1980s, when a fragment from the beads was retested to determine its composition using newer technology called an electron microprobe. The results revealed concentrations of nickel that were too low to confirm whether the iron came from a meteorite.

Still, some scientists remained unconvinced that the beads were entirely man-made, which was an alternative explanation.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor 7:-9).

Not being in a relationship can get really lonely and boring, but life is much simpler and actually better when we just walk with You.  Even the hard times aren’t that bad when we walk with You.

1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

“Eunuch” – eunuchs were excluded from the assembly of the Lord but they could still be part of God’s people (see Acts 8:27, 38-40).

4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

Archaeologists Baffled
Archeologists have been left scratching their heads after the unearthing of part of an ancient Egyptian sphinx in northern Israel.

The find has prompted Egyptologists to speculate as to how the stone-carved mythical creature travelled so many miles from its original resting place.

Some speculate that it may have been looted from the Egyptians thousands of years ago, while others suggest it was likely to have been given by Egypt as a gift to its neighbours.

It has taken almost a year for the paws and forearms of the granite statue to be painstakingly restored, exposing hieroglyphic writing.

The writing reveals that the sphinx was dedicated to Egyptian ruler Mycerinus, who ruled circa 2500 BC and was builder of the smaller of Giza’s three great pyramids.

It is the first statue ever to have been found that was created for the leader, and the first time an Egyptian statue has ever been found in the ancient Levant region – today’s Israel, Lebanon and Syria

The writing also says: “Beloved by the divine souls of Heliopolis.”

“House of prayer for all people” – Solomon may have anticipated this in his prayer of dedication for the temple (1 Kgs 8:41-43).

Jesus had a problem when people turned the temple into a Wal-Mart and overthrew the tables (Matt 12:12-13).

8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

9 All ye beasts of the field come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.

10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter.

12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

“Tomorrow shall be…more abundant” – cf. the words of the rich fool in Lk 12:19.

The Eunuch

The compassion of God is poignantly illustrated in the reference to the eunuch in Isaiah 56:3-5, an allusion that must be understood in light of Deuteronomy 23:1, a text forbidding eunuchs from entering the assembly of the Lord.

The word translated “eunuch” in Isaiah is saris, which is most likely a loanword from an Akkadian phrase meaning “one at the head of [the king].”  As is probably true in Hebrew, the Akkadian meaning evolved from the more general sense of “officer, official” to “castrated official.”

Potiphar, in Genesis 39:1 was a saris, but this early use of the word meant only “official,” not “eunuch.”  However, the time frame and context of Isaiah 56:3-4 need that the reader understand saris as “a castrated person.”

Although some have attempted to relate this reference to a historical reality, specifically to a return of exiles who had served as castrated officials in foreign courts (perhaps including Nehemiah), the primary focus should stay on the message:

What defiles a person before God is not physically deformity but an unrepentant heart (cf. Matt 5:10-20).

The divine promise to give a “memorial” and a name to the faithful eunuch is quite profound.  A eunuch could never have attained a memorial or passed along his name by means of having children.

Also, the deliberate choice of the Hebrew noun “hand” (translated “memorial”) and the verb “cut off” in v. 5 is remarkable.  In the ancient Near East the word hand was often used euphemistically for the male genitals.

Clay cuneiform tablet naming the Babylonian officer, chief eunuch, Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, as mentioned in the Bible, Book of Jeremiah. Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, c.587 BC.

God will give a symbolic overturning in eternity of what has been taken away from the eunuch in the present.  The prophetic foreshadowing, possibly of Nehemiah and certainly of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, is striking.

Drugs, even marijuana, can take us away from You because our minds check out different avenues, like alcohol does if you drink to much.  There are a couple states where marijuana is now legal so I figure things are going to get worse.

But I figure that’s a good thing because the world has to get worse before Jesus comes back.  I figure marijuana and homosexuality being legalized is the beginning of a bad world getting much, much worse, and with Obama as president – what more can you ask for?

So when did people first start using drugs?

Isaiah 55 – The Great Invitation & Drugs

I’m not going to lie and say that using drugs isn’t fun, because it is, but it’s foolish fun and the end results are always the same, horrible.  It’s a waste of money, you could give it to the poor.

Queen Tiye
Queen Tiye was born in c. 1398 BC as the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Yuya and noblewoman, Thuya. She is known, for sure, to at least have one brother Anen. It is believed by many that she had another brother by the name of Ay.

She would go on to be the mother of King Akhenaten, which means she was the beloved grandmother of the famous Tutankhamun, more commonly known as King Tut. Exact specifics of her life, like many during this time, are not known.

Egyptologists have hypothesised that her father was a foreigner due to their discoveries of his mummy and the fact that his name was spelt in many different forms. Historians have also attributed her unconventional religious views, as well as strong political views, to her father’s foreign origin.

Tiye, whose name was also spelt Taia, Tiy and Tiyi, would go on to become the wife of Amenhotep III – the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. They married by the second year of his reign when she was around the age of 11 or 12. They were known to have at least seven to nine children: Sitamun, Isis, Henuttaneb, Nebetah,  Crown Prince Thutmose, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, “The Younger Lady” (the mummy has been discovered but so far no name) and Baketaten. How many of these survived their childhoods is not clear.

Queen Tiye was so well liked in foreign courts that she was able to be very persuasive and was well respected. Many were willing to deal with issues directly through her. As a result of this, she was the first Egyptian queen to have her name recorded in ancient records. She was known to also be a prominent figure in the reign of her son.

Amenhotep III adored Tiye and devoted numerous shrines across Egypt to her. Additionally, he had a temple dedicated to her, as well as artificial lake built for her. The temple was constructed in Nubia (current day northern Sudan) in the Sedeinga pyramids where she was worshipped as the goddess Hathor-Tefnut.

This was all done prior to Tiye’s death, as she is believed to have outlived her husband by close to 12 years. She died, around the age of 50, during her son’s reign in 1338 BC in what many believe was during an epidemic. Her death marked the beginning of the end of her son’s reign as he began to lose power.

Initially, she was buried in Akhenaten’s royal tomb at Amarna. Her remains were discovered in 1898. Her remains, unwrapped and severely damaged, were found alongside that of a young woman and a young boy. Egyptologists named her “The Elder Lady” while giving the younger woman the name of “The Younger Lady.” They later agreed that “The Elder Lady” (with supposedly long beautiful hair) was, in fact, Queen Tiye. DNA analysis formally confirmed it in 2010.

Queen Tiye’s mummy now is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.

Of course, when you are on drugs, whether it’s pot, meth, cocaine, pain killers, or whatever, the mind does funny things and when the devil comes knocking we open it and he freely shares his evil ideas.

Not only is it a waste of money, but when we are in a different state of mind only trouble follows.  The worst part is not only does it violate Your law of obeying man’s law, but it takes us away from You.

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa 59:1-2).

*    *    *    *    *

1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?  And your labor for that which satisfieth not?  Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

“Everlasting covenant” – David had been promised an unending dynasty, one that would culminate in the Messiah.  The Messiah will bring the blessings of the covenant to the whole nation.  Christ’s resurrection was further proof of God’s faithfulness to David (see Acts 13:34, which quotes from this verse.

4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Drugs

The Bible does not directly say that we are not to use drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroine, LSD, meth, etcetera.  But we must remember that the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, and the words used do speak against drug usage and pornography…

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (πορνεία porneia ‘harlotry/pornography’),

Idolatry, witchcraft (sorcery from the Greek φαρμακία pharmakia ‘enchantment with drugs’), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strfe, seditions, heresies.

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the wich I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21).

“…for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (φαρμακεία pharmakeia – enchangment or magic with drugs) were all nations deceived” (Rev 18:23).

Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III ruled the Egyptian Empire during the peak of its international power and prosperity. It was a time of peace when art and Egyptian culture flourished.

Growing Up
Amenhotep III was the son of Pharaoh Thutmose IV and the great-grandson of the legendary Pharaoh Thutmose III. He grew up in the royal palace as the crown prince of Egypt. He would have been educated on the workings of the Egyptian government as well as the religious responsibilities of the pharaoh.

Becoming Pharaoh
When Amenhotep was around twelve years old his father died and Amenhotep was crowned pharaoh. He likely had an adult regent who ruled for him for the first few years as he grew older and learned how to lead.

Ruling Egypt
Amenhotep took over Egypt at a time when the country was very rich and powerful. He was a very capable politician. He maintained his power over Egypt by reducing the power of the priests of Amun and elevating the sun god Ra. He also made strong alliances with foreign powers by marrying the daughters of foreign kings from Babylon and Syria.

Family
Just a few years after becoming pharaoh, Amenhotep married his wife Tiye. Tiye became his queen and “Great Royal Wife.” They had several children together including two sons. Amenhotep’s first son, Crown Prince Thutmose, died at a fairly young age. This made his second son Amenhotep IV first in line for the crown. Amenhotep IV would later change his name to Akhenaten when he became pharaoh.

In order to strengthen alliances with foreign nations, Amenhotep married several princesses from bordering kingdoms. Despite having so many wives, it seems that Amenhotep had strong feelings for his first wife Queen Tiye. He built a lake in her honor in her home town and also had a mortuary temple built for her.
Monument Building

During his time as pharaoh, Amenhotop III built many monuments to himself and the gods. Perhaps his most famous construction was the Temple of Luxor in Thebes. This temple became one of the grandest and most famous temples in Egypt. Amenhotep also built hundreds of statues of himself including the Colossi of Memnon. These two giant statues tower around 60 feet tall and show a giant Amenhotep in a sitting position.

Death
Amenhotep III died around the year 1353 BC. He was buried in the Valley of Kings in a tomb along with his wife Tiye. His son, Amenhotep IV, became pharaoh upon his death. His son would change his name to Akhenaten and make huge changes to the Egyptian religion.

To begin with, Christians are under a universal mandate to respect and obey the laws of the land:

“I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatever pleaseth him” (Ecc 8:2-3).

“Submit yourselves to ever ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (1 Pet 13-14).

The only time we can obey man’s laws is if they go against God’s laws:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

There are no other exceptions to this rule.  Contrary to popular belief, simply disagreeing with a law does not constitute a license for breaking that law or getting a wild idea that God told you to do it.

I don’t know about other countries, but I know that the United States has some really stupid laws, but God says to obey them anyway, even if you can get away from breaking them.  The cops may not know what you did, but God does:

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:13).

“The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men” (Ps 33:13).

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit?  Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lad me, and they right hand shall hold me.

I if I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yeah, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are bot alike to thee” (Ps 139:7-12).

I’m not saying that smoking pot is bad, I had never liked it, cocaine was my preference, but it’s illegal in most states.  Therefore, if you smoke pot where it is not legal then you have sinned against God because He said to obey the laws.

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:13-14).

I think all drugs should be legal, just like alcohol.  Drinking is not a sin, but getting drunk is:

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18).

In my opinion, even though I no longer use drugs, I think all drugs should be legal, just like alcohol.  If you need to smoke pot then go to a state where it’s legal that way you are not defying God.

In summary:

“And whatever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col 3:23).

Most, if not all of the pharaohs were evil people, like the one Moses has to deal with (Ex 5-12).  Didn’t they have eunuchs too?

Isaiah 54 – Blessings Through the Servant & Precious Stones of the Biblical World

That’s interesting that they had used rocks/gems not for jewelry but for currency too.  The way our world is going we may end up going back to where they are.  I think we’ll be using gold and silver and things.

A female attendant found in the Great Death Pit at the Royal Tombs at Ur. Often mistaken for Queen Pu-abi, this attendant is one of 26 others found wearing such adornments.

There is something about ancient Mesopotamian jewelry that sets it apart from any other in antiquity. That something is more than just a distinct style or taste. Mesopotamian jewelry was a large artery in the anatomy of each civilization that rose in the land between the two rivers, and its story is one worth reading.

Yesterday we were talking about doctors and prescriptions, and it got me thinking…

1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

54:1-55:13 – celebrates the restoration that is made possible through the sacrifice of the servant in the preceding section and calls upon the nation to enjoy the blessings of this restoration.

54:1 – this verse is applied by Paul to Sarah and the covenant of promise, representing the “Jerusalem which is above” (Gal 4:26-27).

2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

Jerusalem is viewed as a woman living in her own tent.  She will need a larger tent because of her many children.

3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

Mysterious Sumerian Queen Puabi And Her Magnificent Underground Burial Complex – Many Followed Her To Afterlife
An untouched by looters through several millennia, remarkable, intact tomb was discovered by Leonard Woolley during his excavations at the “Royal Cemetery of Ur” between 1922 and 1934.

It was tomb of a mysterious lady named “Puabi” by researchers, who found her name and title on one of three cylinder seals.

She could have been a high priestess or wife of the king, but it is rather doubtful because in early Mesopotamia, women, even elite women, were usually described in relation to their husbands.

The mysterious “Puabi” was identified without the mention of her husband and became only known as “Queen Puabi”.

The two cuneiform signs that compose her name were initially read as “Shub-ad” in Sumerian,; today, researchers rather prefer to read this word in Akkadian as “Pu-abi” (or, more correctly, “Pu-abum,” meaning “word of the Father”). Her title is “eresh” (sometimes mistakenly read as “nin”), and means “queen.”

Zecharia Sitchin wanted Queen Puabi to be tested for alien DNA. Through this test he wanted his theory to be confirmed or rejected.

“Maybe by comparing her genome with ours, we would find out what are those missing genes that they deliberately did not give us….Maybe… I cannot guarantee that, but maybe…” he wrote.

This mysterious queen died while in her 40s, around 4,500 years ago during the First Dynasty of Ur. Her body was dug up at some point in the 1920s or 1930s and it was determined that she was a goddess (as “nin” is a Sumerian term which means “goddess.”)

7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.

9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

11  O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.

12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.

13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.

15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.

16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

“Created the waster to destroy” – God raised up nations such as Assyria and Babylon to punish Israel.  God did not punish them out of anger, but out of hurt and to save them from hell (see Jn 3:17; Heb 12:6-11).

17  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Precious Stones of the Biblical World

Precious stones have been known and sought after since earliest antiquity – gathered as loose rocks, chiseled out of sandstone or mined in shafts (Job 28:1-11).  One of the first and finest, examples of jewelry known in the ancient world comes from the royal tombs of Ur (c. 2,500 B.C.). 

Among the funerary hoard is a queen’s diadem (crown or royal headband), exquisitely fashioned of hammered gold beech leaves and floral motifs in lapis lazuli, as well as bead necklaces of gold, lapis, cornelian and agate.

Valued for their rarity and beauty, gemstones served a wide variety of purposes in the ancient world:

Adornment: Precious stones were used for ornamentation in both life and death (Isa 3:20-21).

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“There Were Giants Upon the Earth: Gods, Demigods, and Human Ancestry: The Evidence of Alien DNA” as follows:
“How and when she died we do not know. Assuming she also outlived her two other sons (A.anne.pada and Mes.kiag.nunna) who reigned after her spouse had died, Nin.banda/Nin.e.gula/Nin.Puabi found herself alone, with all who were dear to her—her father Lugalbanda, her brother Gilgamesh, her spouse Mes.anne.pada, her three sons—dead and buried in the cemetery plot that she could daily see. Was it her wish to be buried on Earth alongside them—or could the Anunnaki not take her body back to Nibiru because, though a Nin, she did have some Earthly genes through her demigod father?

“We don’t know the answer. But whatever the reason, Nin.Puabi was buried in Ur, in a grave adjoining that of her spouse, with all the treasures and attendants to which this dynasty had uniquely become accustomed—adorned with jewelry from Grandma Inanna and an oversize headdress from Grandma Bau/Gula…”

The woman’s final resting place was unique due to the large amount of rich and well-preserved artifacts that were found with her ashes protected by a wooden (rather badly preserved) coffin.

Puabi’s hands were holding a golden cup and her head was decorated with exquisite jewelry. The skeleton in the grave chamber of Puabi lay on a stretcher with his head to the west.

The examination of the skeleton Puabi showed that she was about 40 years old and five feet tall. She wore a golden headdress.

Her wig was wrapped a length of 8 m long girdle, adorned with golden leaves, flowers, rings, and plates. At the top of the decoration was a high crest of gold, with three rosettes. The woman had crescent-shaped earrings.

Her upper body was covered in strings of beads made of precious metals and semi-precious stones stretching from her shoulders to her belt, while rings decorated all her fingers.

The Puabi’s tomb contained the golden and lapis-lazuli encrusted bearded bulls head; a wealth of gold tableware; lapis lazuli cylindrical beads for extravagant necklaces and belts; a chariot adorned with lioness’ heads in silver, and many silver, lapis lazuli, and golden rings and bracelets.

Puabi was buried with 52 attendants, of which two persons were buried in the chamber with her; one crouched at her head, the other at her feet.

Currency: Gens were coveted as a mark of wealth (2 Chr 32:27) and exchanged as a form of currency preceding coinage.  Their light weight, ease of transport and durability made precious stones in the form of jewelry the most common bridal gift and dowry (Gen 24:22; Isa 61:10; Eze 16:11-13).  As a woman’s personal possessions, they also became her inheritance.

Seals: Hard stones such as jasper, agate, and onyx were among the favorites for engraved seals.  Inscribed with pictorial scenes or letters identifying their owner (Gen 38:18; 1 Kgs 21:8).  Signet rings were pressed and cylinder seals rolled on wax or clay to leave their impression.  Jewels naturally served as insignia of royalty (Zech 9:16) and by extension, of royal authority (Gen 41:42).

Signs of National Power: Gemstones were exchanged as gifts between rulers (2 Chr 9:9) and seized as spoils of war (Jdg 8:26).

Ceremonial: Ceremonial use of precious stones included their dedication to the Lord as an offering (Ex 35:22; Num 31:50).  The most abundant use of gems in ancient Israel was in the adornment of the temple (2 Chr 29:2) and its chief ministrant, who wore a jewel-encrusted breastplate (Ex 28:17-21).

Theological Symbols: The value, luminosity and enduring nature of gems rendered them a most apropos literary image for the glory of the Lord (Eze 1:26) and for the recreated, eschatological (end time) people of God (Isa 54:12; Rev 21:18-21).What about street drugs, can You comment on that?