Top 5 Reasons to Give Thanks to the Lord

#5: He made this wonderful universe.

#4: He fine-tuned our solar system for life on Earth.

#3: He has given everyone the free will to love Him.

#2: He rose Jesus from the dead and can raise your body to eternal life.

#1 Reason: He has done all these great things for you.

Thank you, Lord, for being so good to me!

Twelve Things God Hates

What does the statement “God hated Esau” really mean? (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:11-13) Is it the same kind of hate that a person has for cheesecake or lemon meringue pie? The purpose of this article is to list twelve things that God really does hate. In doing so, we will discover that God loves all people, but it is not the same kind of love that a person has for dessert.

Does God Love and Hate At the Same Time?

It is so very important for us to understand the difference between loving a person and hating the sin. Generally speaking, “God hated Esau” means that God hated sinful behavior, not the actual person of Esau. Since God is love (1 John 4:16) and He hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19), it follows that God must love all people in the world (John 3:16) unconditionally while also hating the person’s sin at the same time.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only unique Son, and whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Five More Things God Hates

In addition to dealing perfectly with each person, God also deals perfectly with nations and groups of people. In Malachi 1:1-3, we find out that Edom refers to Esau’s descendants who are called the Edomites (Genesis 25:30, 36:1, 9). The Lord calls Edom a Wicked Land (Mal. 1:4), meaning a wicked people always under the wrath of the Lord. Why were they under wrath? They were under wrath for the following reasons:

1.) Siding with Israelite enemies (Psalm 83:1-8)

2.) Inflicting revenge on Judah (Ezek. 25:12-14)

In the context of Malachi chapter 1, Edom suffers as a group of people not because God inflicts punishment in a cruel random way, but rather, God is perfectly just when He gives both warnings and consequences. Malachi uses the illustration of “Edom under divine wrath” in order to warn the Israelites that the Israelite priests need to repent from showing contempt for the name of the Lord Almighty. Otherwise, Israel will also suffer divine wrath. Israel was warned about their following sins:

1.) Priests who despise the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:6)

2.) A people who do not offer the best to the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:11)

3.) A people who do not fear the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:14)

Another Thing God Hates

In the book of Revelation, we find out that God commended a certain group of people for hating sin. What sin was that? The people in the church of Ephesus were approved by God for hating the sinful work of the Nicolatians. (Early church Fathers explained that the sin of the Nicolatians refers to allowing heretical doctrine.)

Revelation 2:6 – (The Lord Almighty said,) Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolatians, which I also hate.

The key word in Revelation 2:6 is the word works. It was not the person, per se, that was hated. It was the work of those people. Everyone is called to honor the Lord, no matter who you are or where you live, by following sound doctrine. In addition to being saved by grace through faith in order to do good works, we are also commanded to live by sound doctrine. In order to reject heresies and unorthodox doctrine, one must know the truth of sound doctrine. This is why it is so important to be a student of the Word of God, learn from educated theologians, let the Holy Spirit reveal truth to you, and daily put on the new life in Christ, walking in step with divine guidance.

Does God Only Love Some People?

Maybe you’ve heard a Christian such as a Calvinist say that God only loves some people. Oddly enough, atheists often say the same thing. It is not a good interpretation of Scripture to conclude that God only loves some people. It is false to say that God only loves some people. John 3:16 does not say, “For God so loved only part of the world…” Telling people “God only loves some people” can actually end up triggering hopelessness, anger, and depression.

God’s character is so loving that it is impossible for Him to not love. God is love (1 John 4:16), and that means God naturally loves you. He is always loving in all that He does and in all that He says. The word that we use for God’s all-loving moral attribute is called omnibenevolent. It means He is always good, always loving, and perfectly limitless in being good and loving toward everyone. Nothing is forcing Him to love you. He just does love you with an infinite amount and a divine eternal love. He is so good, that He extends grace and carries out perfect justice to individuals as well as nations.

Just as a parent disciplines his child in order to keep him from repeating dangerous actions, our Heavenly Father pours out divine wrath in wicked places – out of His desire for people to repent from sin. Even though He actively hates sin, His loving character does not change. His loving character is constantly loving and constantly unchanging. The way God loves is not the exact same way a person loves dessert. The way God hates is not the exact same way a person hates cheesecake. Psalm 5:5 says, “You hate all workers of iniquity.” Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord’s soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Divine hate and divine wrath are a means of divine discipline in order to get a human being to repent from sinful behavior.

How Do I Know If God Really Loves Me?

I met a lady one day who told me she thought God did not love her. When I asked why she thought that, she said it was because someone told her that God only chooses to love some people, and He decided to love other people but not love her. What?! That is a terrible misunderstanding of God’s unchanging nature. I assured her that God does love her with an everlasting love that endures forever, and He is just waiting for her to love Him back. Rest assured, you can be confident that God first loved you. Most certainly! “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The love that God has for all people is impartial, universal, and unconditional. He loves you so much that Jesus willingly died for you in order to pay the penalty for all your sin. The natural response is for you to thank God for the good work He did for you. We love, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I might never know if God hates cheesecake, but I do know He hates pride, lying, murdering innocent blood, devising wicked plans, rushing into evil, false witnesses, and stirring up conflict. Never give up what you know for what you don’t know.

It is very clear in the Bible that God does not love sin. In the Scriptures, we find out that He loves all people. Likewise, we are commanded to love one another just as Jesus loved one another. We are never commanded to love the sin in a person’s life. Rather, we can dislike the sin in a person’s life while continuing to love the person. A parent is always expected to love his or her child unconditionally, impartially, and at all times.

If you have not done so already, get in a good Bible study with a teacher who follows sound doctrine and prays for you. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15). Never give up being a student of the Bible. The best way to genuinely love God is getting to know His divine attributes, the good work He has done, and all the good promises He has for you. And praise Him for it all!

Ultimate happiness is found in a right relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

Story of the Woman Caught In Adultery

Was John 8:2-11 in the original book of John or not? (The story of the woman caught in adultery.)

Bartolomeo di Giovanni “A Bishop Saint”

One of the very earliest complete Greek copies of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus from circa AD 350, does not have John 7:53-8:1-11. The purpose of this article is to give a few possible reasons why those verses might have been intentionally removed by a bishop in circa AD 350.

Story of the Woman Caught In Adultery

from John 8:2-11

2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

I was recently told that most people are not interested in finding out if the story of the woman caught in adultery was in the original book of John. That might very well be true, but I am hoping to find some clues. In Bible study, when we get to that passage, we usually ignore the note attached to that passage. Someone brave enough might say something like, “Well, the early manuscripts didn’t have that story.” No one really wants to ask why in a small group study. An awkward silence clouds over when someone says it: an early manuscript did not have it. Someone with a keen mind might respond, “Yes, but earlier manuscripts probably had it.” Your Bible might give you the following note related to that passage:

“The early manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-John 8:11.”

I’ve been in enough Bible studies to know that the group usually leaves it at that. Are you one of the few people like me who walks away and wonders, “Well, did the original book of John have it or not?”

Out of curiosity, I gave a poll on Twitter, asking people if John 8:1-11 was in the original. After seventy-three people voted, the results came in as follows: 41% said yes, 36% said no, 12% said probably yes, and 11% said other. If those verses WERE in the original, then why were they removed? I would like to explore a few possible reasons, one in particular. Was it an accident? Did the scribe simply not place that story in the manuscript by mistake? Scribes were trained to not make that kind of a mistake. Was the scribe directed by a bishop to remove that passage? Was the scribe actually a bishop who left that passage out on purpose? If so, why did he leave it out?

Once I began studying early church history, three main things stood out. First, the Roman laws were extremely hostile against Christians during the first three centuries, forcing many to deny the Christian faith or face a death sentence. In a letter from governor Pliny the Younger to the emperor Trajan in AD 112, Trajan gave a reply, commanding Pliny to punish Christians. Pliny requested a consultation, and the emperor’s reply can be found in the letter, Pliny the Younger and Trajan on the Christians. Roman leaders were instructed to punish anyone who said he was a Christian. However, Christianity continued to spread. In AD 185, sophisticated philosophers such as Pantaenus were converting to Christianity. By AD 249, Roman Emperor Decius thought Christians were a threat to the empire and Christianity had to be eliminated by law. He issued legislation for every Christian to recant, earning a certificate for recanting, while bishops were punished to death.

Second, a new form of church structure began to take place in church congregations where the bishop became the sole leader in a local church. Third, a major split was happening among the church bishops over whether a Christian should be kicked out of church for apostasy, murder, and adultery. Some bishops wanted to kick a Christian out of church while other bishops wanted to welcome them back. Kicking Christians out of church for adultery is a legitimate reason why John 8:2-11 might have been removed on purpose by a bishop.

Today, some people refer to the story of the woman caught in adultery as Pericope Adultrae or Pericope de Adulterae. For the sake of conversation, I will abbreviate it PA from here on out.

Here is a simplified account of what might have happened if the PA story WAS in the original.

  1. PA was a story in the original book of John. It was not a parable. The adulterer was forgiven by Jesus.
  2. During the first few centuries, three big sins were major issues for the local church: apostasy, murder, and adultery. By the second century, some church leaders were kicking Christians out of church if any of the three big sins were committed. However, many many of the followers of Christ thought that a Christian who committed any one of those big sins should somehow be allowed to return to the local church. In AD 251, Cornelius was elected Bishop of Rome, claiming the bishop has the power to forgive sins in a public act of humiliating penance where the offender displayed genuine sorrow.
  3. During the second or third century, a bishop may very well have been motivated to leave out the story of PA on purpose. Augustine of Hippo stated that some of the “men of little faith” were fearful of wives committing adultery. It could be that in an effort to keep adulterers permanently out of church, he removed the passage. Finally, it might be that the bishop wanted to kick Christians out of church since bishops wanted no part of the sin of sexual immorality in church.
  4. By the third century, Christians were still considered outlaws. Copies of the New Testament books were secretly being made, some with the PA story and some without, depending if the bishop was for kicking Christian adulterers out of church or not for kicking them out. Church theologian Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398) stated that some people removed the story of the woman who committed adultery, saying people knew the story before Jerome’s time (c. 350), and the story was well known in the entire area of Alexandria. Didymus was from Alexandria.
  5. By circa AD 350, a copy of the Codex Sinaiticus was finished. That copy does not include the story of PA. In 1844, the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered somewhere at Mount Sinai.

    Codex Sinaiticus John 8
    Codex Sinaiticus John 8
  6. Early church Fathers had been writing many books. Some of them made reference to the story of PA.  Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine of Hippo refer to the story of PA. Augustine clearly stated that some men of little faith left out the story of the woman who committed adultery. The reason he gave was because some husbands feared their wives would commit adultery if the passage was left in.
  7. During the third century, the first century originals might have still existed. Copies that were made during the first and second centuries could have included the story of PA. Copies were made from those copies, and that is why we have the story today.

The reason why the Codex Sinaiticus left out the PA story might have been because 1.) A scribe made an error and left it out by mistake. However, scribes were trained not to make such mistakes. 2.) It could be that the PA story was never in the original, but then why did the early church Fathers refer to it as an issue that some bishops wanted to remove?  3.) Like Augustine said, it could be because husbands feared their wives would commit adultery if the passage was left in. 4.) It might be that since some of the bishops wanted to kick Christians out of church for committing adultery, they removed the story on purpose.

It is unbiblical for any bishop to refuse to welcome a Christian who repents. Paul was a murderer. Peter denied the Lord three times, and Mary Magdalene used to have seven demons. They all repented, turned to the Lord, asked God to forgive them, and thanked Jesus for paying the penalty for all their sins – past, present, and future.

Whatever the reason was for leaving the PA story out of the Codex Sinaiticus, we can’t ignore the fact that many early church Fathers wrote about the PA story and even stated that at least one scribe removed it.

As for the scribe of the Codex Sinaiticus, handwriting experts say that at least three scribes wrote it, possibly four. Whoever wrote the copy of the book of John in the Codex Sinaiticus might have left out the PA story on purpose or the scribe might have been advised by a bishop who managed the writing process.

 

 

Does God Exist?

God Loves the World (John 3:16)

Does God exist? It just might be that some people are looking for God in the wrong way. Evidence for the existence of God is available for anyone who wants to learn how to affirm the existence of an eternal Creator who interacts in this world. Who is our Creator? Where is he?  How does he interact with human beings? Romans 1:20 says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” When we look at this universe, we can learn many significant attributes about the Creator who made this universe.

Significant pieces of evidence for the existence of God are found in creation, good philosophy, and historical documents. Creation offers millions of pieces of evidence from design to intelligence, from matter to non-matter, from living things to non-living things, and from microbiology to the entire realm of the cosmos. Some of the best evidence supporting philosophical propositions are found in cosmology, teleology, the invisible human mind, the highest good, the problem of evil, absolute truth, and the moral law.

Ancient books throughout the ages offer significant insight into historical truth. Many, many pieces of documentary evidence affirm the existence of God. Take your pick, and study God’s existence using a higher level of reason. I continue to enjoy learning what the greats from history have said about cosmology, teleology, and the moral law. I like finding out what people are saying today. I also find it very helpful to examine objections of the day.

Take the time to discover the attributes of our Creator, and you will gain a fresh new look at this world. It is overflowing with millions of pieces of evidence that God does indeed exist.

Here is an article, “16 Ways To Show God Exists”:

https://ladyapologist.com/2018/05/18/16waystoshowgodexists/

 

Archaeological Evidence For Melchizedek’s House of God

King Melchizedek Blessed Abraham With Bread and Wine

Sometime around 1900 BC, Abraham was blessed with bread and wine by a holy priest and king named Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-18). Later in about 1800 BC, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, found an “awesome place” where he heard an incredible message from God. Jacob called that place the gate of heaven and the “House of God” (Gen. 28:17). In response to God’s wonderful message, Jacob set up a certain stone for a pillar where he poured oil on it (Gen. 28:18). The location of the stone that Jacob set up as a pillar was called God’s House (Gen. 28:22). Jacob also named that place Bethel (Gen. 28:19).

In the following 11-minute video, an archaeologist from Galilee named Eli Shukron presents a specific standing stone that he believes to be dated to the time of Abraham and Melchizedek the priest. Also in the video is Christian apologist, Frank Turek. Shukron escavated the City of David from 1995-2013. The standing stone that was discovered by Eli could very well be the actual stone that was used by Melchizedek in Melchizedek’s House of God. Shukron says the standing stone that he discovered is in an ancient worshipping area where animals were once skinned. Shukron escavated the area near Jerusalem and determined that the holy site was buried during the eighth century BC, or possibly when King Hezekiah was the king of Judah, when the king commanded the Israelites to worship at Solomon’s new temple (aka the First Temple from about 1000 BC). Shukron goes on to call his discovery of Melchizedek’s temple the “Zero Temple,” because after all, if Solomon’s temple is already called the “first” temple, then what should Melchizedek’s temple be called other than the Zero Temple?

Note: All dates are approximates for the sake of order and discussion.

In the artwork above, King/Priest Melchizedek is blessing Abraham with bread and wine.

Archaeological Evidence For the Priestly Benediction

 

Archaeologists found two ancient objects with the priestly benediction (priestly blessing) inscribed on them. Two silver amulets, ancient objects dated to about the 600s BC, were found with engravings of the blessing. The priestly benediction is known to have come from Moses who blessed his people (Numbers 6:22-26) as he was commanded by the LORD (YHWH).

When the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, the LORD (YHWH) spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them… ‘The LORD (YHWH) bless you and keep you; the LORD (YHWH) make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD (YHWH) lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace'” (Numbers 6:22-26).

Artwork Home In the Wilderness by John Denison Crocker, 1853

Today, you can find a number of jewelers who sell silver necklaces with Numbers 6:24-26 engraved on one side. Some of these necklaces have the original Hebrew inscription on the back side. The silver amulet was traditionally worn around the neck by priests.

Other items of gold and silver were presented at the new Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) as offerings to be used during the services such as twelve silver plates, twelve silver basins, twelve golden dishes, and a golden lamp stand whose pattern was shown by the LORD to Moses (Numbers 7).

The discovery of the silver amulet is one of the earliest objects found with the divine name, YHWH, inscribed on it. The divine name has a mysterious pronunciation that some claim to know how it is properly pronounced. In the Old Testament, we commonly see the word LORD (all caps) used instead of YHWH, mainly for the sake of not mispronouncing it.

In the 4-minute Ketef Hinnom video below, the discovery of two silver amulets are presented, giving credit to the people who found them in 1979 in a location south of Jerusalem. The speaker pointed to a verse in Jeremiah 17 in order to know that the engraver probably used an iron stylist with a diamond point to engrave the words on silver. Like other archaeologists, he dated the silver amulet to before the Babylonian captivity, during the time of Jeremiah, and four hundred years before the Dead Sea Scrolls. He goes on to say that the words on the silver amulet are exactly what we have today – without any error. Finally, the video ends with him confronting those (liberal scholars) who follow the failed Wellhausen Hypothesis (aka Documentary Hypothesis), affirming that those today, usually liberal scholars, who follow Wellhausen’s hypothesis are doing so by blind faith (not evidence). He described Wellhausen followers as those who “have made fools out of themselves as they try to deny the word of God.” For more information on why the Wellhausen Hypothesis fails, please read my article, 4 Ways To Respond to Wellhausen Problems and Astruc Cuttings.

https://ladyapologist.com/2018/10/28/wellhausenproblems/

Archaeological Evidence For the Book of Numbers

8C6B6EF3-252E-4906-872A-326F7298BA78

Deir Alla Inscription

Here is a piece of archaeological evidence in support of the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. It was written in Aramaic, referring to the false prophet, Balaam, mentioned in the book of Numbers, chapters 22-24. This inscription is dated to about 800 BC.

Inscription Translation:

Balaam is visited at night by gods sent to communicate to him a message from El, the high god. It is a message of doom, and Balaam is so distressed that he weeps and fasts for two days. Convening his intimates, Balaam discloses to them what has been revealed to him in the vision. A council of inimical gods, opposing El, has commanded the goddess Shagar-and-Ishtar, a Venus figure of light and fertility, to sew up the heavens producing darkness, and never to speak again. Celestial darkness will cause frenzy on earth, with birds of prey shrieking. Balaam interprets the vision to refer to an impending disaster in the land. Grazing land will be lost to wild beasts, and the flocks will be scattered. At this point, it becomes less clear what is happening. As interpreted here, the text relates that Balaam undertook the rescue of the goddess from the edict of the council of inimical gods, in accordance with the will of El who had forewarned him. Shagar-and-Ishtar is brought to various magical practitioners and oracles, as Balaam issues admonitions to her adversaries and dispatches powerful agents against them. The adversaries of Shagar-and-Ishtar suffer distress for all to see.

Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World, Context of Scripture,  William W. Hallo, volume II, 2.27, 2000 AD