Daily Archives: June 8, 2013

Miscellaneous Bible Questions: Christian archeology—why is it important?

Archaeology comes from two compounded Greek words—archae meaning “ancient,” and logos meaning “knowledge”; thus, “knowledge or study of the ancients.” An archaeologist is much more than an Indiana Jones-type individual running around the world looking for old artifacts to place in a museum. Archeology is a science that studies ancient cultures by recovering and documenting materials from the past. Christian archeology is the science of studying ancient cultures that have impacted Christianity and Judaism and the Jewish and Christian cultures themselves. Not only are Christian archaeologists trying to discover new things about the past, they are trying to validate what we already know about the past and advance our understanding of the manners and customs of the peoples of the Bible.

The biblical text and other written records are the most important pieces of information we have about the history of ancient biblical peoples. But these records alone have left many unanswered questions. That is where Christian archeologists come in. They can fill in the partial picture that the biblical narrative provides. Excavations of ancient garbage dumps and abandoned cities have provided bits and pieces that give us clues to the past. The goal of Christian archeology is to verify the essential truths of the Old and New Testaments through the physical artifacts of ancient peoples.

Christian archeology did not become a scientific discipline until the 19th century. The building blocks of Christian archeology were laid by men such as Johann Jahn, Edward Robinson, and Sir Flinders Petrie. William F. Albright became the dominant figure in the 20th century. It was Albright who drew Christian archeology into the contemporary debates over the origins and reliability of the biblical narratives. It was Albright and his students who provided much of the physical evidence for the historical events described in the Bible. However, today it seems as though there are as many archeologists trying to disprove the Bible as there are those proving it to be accurate.

We do not have to go very far to find new attacks on Christianity from the secular world. An example is much of the programming on the Discovery Channel, such as “The Da Vinci Code” docudrama. Other offerings have dealt with historicity of Christ. One program, by James Cameron, argued that the tomb and burial box of Jesus had been found. From this “discovery” the conclusion was drawn that Jesus had not risen from the dead. What the program failed to say is that the box had been discovered years earlier and that it had already been proven not to be Christ’s burial box. This knowledge was achieved through the hard work of Christian archeologists.

It is archaeological evidence that provides the best possible physical information on the life and times of the ancients. When proper scientific methods are applied to the excavation of ancient sites, information emerges that gives us a greater understanding of the ancient peoples and their culture and proofs that validate the biblical text. Systematic recordings of these findings, shared with experts worldwide, can give us the most complete information on the lives of those who lived in Bible times. Christian archeology is just one of the tools scholars can use to present a more complete defense of the biblical narrative and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Often, when sharing our faith, we are asked by non-believers how we know the Bible is true. One of the answers we can give is that, through the work of Christian archeologists, many of the facts of the Bible have been validated.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Creation: Do faith in God and science contradict?

Science is defined as “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.” Science is a method that mankind can use to gain a greater understanding of the natural universe. It is a search for knowledge through observation. Advances in science demonstrate the reach of human logic and imagination. However, a Christian’s belief in science should never be like our belief in God. A Christian can have faith in God and respect for science, as long as we remember which is perfect and which is not.

Our belief in God is a belief of faith. We have faith in His Son for salvation, faith in His Word for instruction, and faith in His Holy Spirit for guidance. Our faith in God should be absolute, since when we put our faith in God, we depend on a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient Creator. Our belief in science should be intellectual and nothing more. We can count on science to do many great things, but we can also count on science to make mistakes. If we put faith in science, we depend on imperfect, sinful, limited, mortal men. Science throughout history has been wrong about many things, such as the shape of the earth, powered flight, vaccines, blood transfusions, and even reproduction. God is never wrong.

Truth is nothing to fear, so there is no reason for a Christian to fear good science. Learning more about the way God constructed our universe helps all of mankind appreciate the wonder of creation. Expanding our knowledge helps us to combat disease, ignorance, and misunderstanding. However, there is danger when scientists hold their faith in human logic above faith in our Creator. These persons are no different from anyone devoted to a religion; they have chosen faith in man and will find facts to defend that faith.

Still, the most rational scientists, even those who refuse to believe in God, admit to a lack of completeness in our understanding of the universe. They will admit that neither God nor the Bible can be proved or disproved by science, just as many of their favorite theories ultimately cannot be proved or disproved. Science is meant to be a truly neutral discipline, seeking only the truth, not furtherance of an agenda.

Much of science supports the existence and work of God. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” As modern science discovers more about the universe, we find more evidence of creation. The amazing complexity and replication of DNA, the intricate and interlocking laws of physics, and the absolute harmony of conditions and chemistry here on earth all serve to support the message of the Bible. A Christian should embrace science that seeks the truth, but reject the “priests of science” who put human knowledge above God.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Holy Spirit: What is the meaning of “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10?

First Corinthians 13:10 says: “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” “That which is in part” refers to the gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues (vs. 8–9). What Paul is saying is that there will be a time when these sign gifts will cease because something better (the “perfect”) will replace them. There is some debate as to what the word “perfect” refers to. The two most common views are the completion of the Bible and the glorification of believers in heaven.

There is a difference between how prophecy and knowledge come to an end, and how the gift of languages (tongues) does, as indicated by the Greek verb forms used. (Prophecy does not mean forecasting or telling the future. The gift of prophecy in its true biblical definition means simply “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly” to which the connotation of prediction was added sometime in the Middle Ages. Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation, but is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word.)

Prophecy and knowledge are both said to “be abolished,” the verb indicating that something will put an end to those two functions. What will abolish knowledge and prophecy, according to verses 9 and 10, is “that which is perfect.” When that occurs, those gifts will be rendered inoperative. The “perfect” is not the completion of Scripture, since there is still the operation of those two gifts and will be in the future kingdom (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17; Revelation 11:3). The Scriptures do not allow us to see “face to face” or have perfect knowledge as God does (v. 12). The “perfect” is not the rapture of the church or the second coming of Christ, since the kingdom to follow these events will have an abundance of preachers and teachers (Isaiah 29:18; 32:3, 4; Joel 2:28; Revelation 11:3). The perfect, therefore, must be the eternal state, when we in glory see God face to face (Revelation 22:4) and have full knowledge in the eternal new heavens and new earth. Just as a child grows to full understanding, believers will come to perfect knowledge and no such gifts will be necessary.

On the other hand, Paul uses a different word for the end of the gift of languages, thus indicating it will “cease” by itself, rather than being abolished by something, as it did at the end of the apostolic age. It will not end by the coming of the “perfect,” for it will already have ceased. The uniqueness of the gift of languages and its interpretations was, as all sign gifts, to authenticate the message and messages of the gospel before the NT was completed (Hebrews 2:3, 4). “Tongues” was also limited by being a judicial sign from God of Israel’s judgment (Isaiah 28:11, 12). Tongues was also not a sign to believers, but unbelievers, specifically the unbelieving Jews. Tongues also ceased because there was no need to verify the true messages from God once the Scripture was given. The Bible, not the sign gifts, became the standard by which messages all are to be verified. Tongues was a means of edification in a way far inferior to preaching and teaching. In fact, chap. 14 was designed to show the Corinthians, so preoccupied with tongues, that it was an inferior means of communication (vv. 1–12), an inferior means of praise (vv. 13–19), and an inferior means of evangelism (vv. 20–25). Prophecy was and is, far superior (vv. 1, 3–6, 24, 29, 31, 39).

First Corinthians 13:10–12 declares, “but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

When shall we see face to face? When shall we know fully, even as we are fully known? This will occur when we pass from this life and enter God’s glorious presence in Heaven. First John 3:2 tells us, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” It is when we are glorified in Heaven that we will truly have put childish ways behind us.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Characters in the Bible: What should we learn from the life of Aaron?

Aaron was born into a family of Levites, during the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt. What had begun as a life of privilege in a foreign land, due to the position of his ancestor, Joseph, had deteriorated into a life of forced labor, poverty and governmental control. The Israelites were considered the dregs of society among the Egyptians who used them as slaves throughout the kingdom (Exodus 1:14). To add to their burden, Pharaoh feared Joseph’s people were becoming too numerous and forced upon them population control by ordering the murder of any male babies that might be born to them (Exodus 1:15–16).

Aaron, his sister, Miriam, and their parents were probably very apprehensive when baby Moses was born. They knew that he was under a death sentence, so in order to protect him, his mother had set him adrift in a basket, with Miriam watching, until the Pharaoh’s daughter snatched him out of the water and took him to raise as her own. Aaron grew up knowing he had a brother, although he could not share his life with him, so he must have felt such relief when he was finally able to have a relationship with Moses. The Bible indicates that God directed Aaron to walk back into Moses’ life, as written in Exodus 4:27.

God had taken Moses down several life paths, giving him the finest education the Egyptians had to offer (Acts 7:22), which enabled him to be used to write the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible). God prepared him to be the deliverer of His people, Israel, by giving him a sympathetic heart towards their plight (Exodus 2:11–15). Moses had grown up in the palace of Pharaoh in a life of privilege; Aaron, on the other hand, had grown up in a hut in a life of poverty and persecution. Though their experiences were different, Scripture records that they were together in their faith and trust in the true God (Exodus 4:28–30), so they were obedient to His will.

Moses argued with God, because he lacked confidence in his ability to speak, so God appointed Aaron to be the spokesman for Moses (Exodus 4:14–16). God charged these two brothers: “Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him” (Exodus 4:16). In this directive, God was speaking not only literally to both of these men, but He was speaking prophetically of Aaron’s descendant, John, the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias (Luke 1:13), about whom He said: “It is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

From Aaron, we learn the lessons of brotherly love, humility, loyalty, faithfulness, and willingness to serve. Aaron loved his brother, and he was willing to step up to the plate and serve the Lord, even when his brother was reluctant (Exodus 4:10). He realized that it was Moses who was called to deliver God’s people, and not him, so he humbled himself and submitted to Moses’ leading. Like Aaron, we are called by God to follow the leaders He has ordained, submitting to them in humility and a spirit of service. Aaron was faithful to God, even though he stumbled, as in the incident of the golden calf, falling back into the ways of the Egyptians (Exodus 32:4). But God will use us even when we have lapses of faith if we repent and turn back to Him. He is faithful to forgive us our sin (1 John 1:9) and “remember it no more” (Hebrews 8:12).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Putin announces permanent Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean, as it arms Assad regime in Damascus and bolsters alliance with Iran and Lebanon

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

>> Putin offers to put Russian troops on the Golan Heights to serve as UN peacekeepers. Prophetic significance?

UPDATED:“Russia has deployed a naval unit in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the Soviet era, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin says is aimed at defending Russian security, but which comes as Moscow faces off with the West over Syria,” reports Israel Hayom. “Russia’s military chief of staff said on Thursday that Russia had stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the region.” 

“Putin said the deployment was not ‘saber-rattling’ and not meant as a threat to any nation,” the Israeli news outlet reported. “‘This is a strategically important region and we have tasks to carry out there to provide for the national security of the Russian Federation,’ Putin said. On Wednesday, Russian warships believed to be carrying arms to resupply the Syrian regime were spotted in the…

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What was Jesus’ prayer in John 17 about?

Although Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4 have become known popularly as the Lord’s Prayer, that prayer was actually a prayer taught to the disciples by Jesus as a pattern for their prayers. The prayer recorded in John 17:1–26 is truly the Lord’s Prayer, exhibiting the face-to-face communion the Son had with the Father. Very little is recorded of the content of Jesus’ frequent prayers to the Father (Matt. 14:23; Luke 5:16), so this prayer reveals some of the precious content of the Son’s communion and intercession with Him.

This chapter is a transitional chapter, marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believers (Heb. 7:25).In many respects, the prayer is a summary of John’s entire Gospel. Its principle themes include: 1) Jesus’ obedience to His Father; 2) the glorification of His Father through His death and exaltation; 3) the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; 4) the choosing of the disciples out of the world; 5) their mission to the world; 6) their unity modeled on the unity of the Father and Son; and 7) the believer’s final destiny in the presence of the Father and Son. The chapter divides into three parts: 1) Jesus’ prayer for Himself (vv. 1–5); 2) Jesus’ prayer for the apostles (vv. 6–19); and 3) Jesus’ prayer for all New Testament believers who will form the church (vv. 20–26).

Jesus speaks to His Father that the hour of His death has come (v. 1).“Glorify Your Son.” The very event that would glorify the Son was His death. By it, He has received the adoration, worship, and love of millions whose sins He bore. He accepted this path to glory, knowing that by it He would be exalted to the Father. The goal is that the Father may be glorified for His redemptive plan in the Son.

Note Jesus’ concern that the Father keep His disciples “from the evil one” (v. 15). The reference here refers to protection from Satan and all the wicked forces following him (Matt.6:13; 1 John 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18, 19). Though Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the defeat of Satan, he is still loose and orchestrating his evil system against believers. He seeks to destroy believers (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12), but God is their strong protector (12:31; 16:11; Ps. 27:1–3; 2 Cor. 4:4; Jude 24, 25).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.