Daily Archives: February 12, 2014

Muslim Questions: Why do Jews and Arabs / Muslims hate each other?

 

First, it is important to understand that not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. While a majority of Arabs are Muslims, there are many non-Muslim Arabs. Further, there are significantly more non-Arab Muslims in areas such as Indonesia and Malaysia than there are Arab Muslims. Second, it is important to remember that not all Arabs hate Jews, not all Muslims hate Jews, and not all Jews hate Arabs and Muslims. We must be careful to avoid stereotyping people. However, generally speaking, Arabs and Muslims have a dislike of and distrust for Jews, and vice-versa.

If there is an explicit biblical explanation for this animosity, it goes all the way back to Abraham. The Jews are descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac. The Arabs are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. With Ishmael being the son of a slave woman (Genesis 16:1–16) and Isaac being the promised son who would inherit the blessings of Abraham (Genesis 21:1–3), obviously there would be some animosity between the two sons. As a result of Ishmael’s mocking Isaac (Genesis 21:9), Sarah talked Abraham into sending Hagar and Ishmael away (Genesis 21:11–21). Likely, this caused even more contempt in Ishmael’s heart towards Isaac. An angel prophesied to Hagar that Ishmael would “live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:11–12).

The religion of Islam, to which a majority of Arabs are adherents, has made this hostility more profound. The Qur’an contains somewhat contradictory instructions for Muslims regarding Jews. At one point it instructs Muslims to treat Jews as brothers and at another point commands Muslims to attack Jews who refuse to convert to Islam. The Qur’an also introduces a conflict as to which son of Abraham was truly the son of promise. The Hebrew Scriptures say it was Isaac. The Qur’an says it was Ishmael. The Qur’an teaches that it was Ishmael who Abraham almost sacrificed to the Lord, not Isaac (in contradiction to Genesis chapter 22). This debate over who was the son of promise contributes to the hostility today.

However, the ancient root of bitterness between Isaac and Ishmael does not explain all of the hostility between Jews and Arabs today. In fact, for thousands of years of Middle Eastern history, Jews and Arabs lived in relative peace and indifference towards each other. The primary cause of the hostility has a modern origin. After World War II, when the United Nations gave a portion of the land of Israel to the Jewish people, the land was at that time primarily inhabited by Arabs (the Palestinians). Most Arabs protested vehemently against the nation of Israel occupying that land. Arab nations united and attacked Israel in an attempt to drive them out of the land, but they were defeated. Ever since, there has been great hostility between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Israel exists on one tiny piece of land surrounded by much larger Arab nations such as Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt. It is our viewpoint that, biblically speaking, Israel has a right to exist as a nation in its own land that God gave to the descendants of Jacob, grandson of Abraham. At the same time, we strongly believe that Israel should seek peace and display respect for its Arab neighbors. Psalm 122:6 declares, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.”[1]


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

Questions about Jesus Christ: What Does It Mean that Jesus Christ Is the Cornerstone?

 

In ancient building practices, the cornerstone was the principal stone placed at the corner of the edifice. The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully constructed of any in the edifice. Jesus describes Himself as the Cornerstone that His church would be built upon, a unified body of believers, both Jew and Gentile.

The Book of Isaiah has many references to the Messiah to come. In several places He is referred to as “The Cornerstone,” such as in Isaiah 28:16–17: “So this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.’ ” God is speaking to scoffers and boasters when He refers to the Cornerstone—His precious Son—who provides the firm foundation for their lives, if they would but trust in Him. Isaiah uses construction terminology (measuring line and plumb line) to make his point; these are things the people would understand.

In the New Testament the cornerstone metaphor is continued. This time, however, the Apostle Paul is preaching to the Ephesian Christians for the purpose of helping them know Christ better. In Chapter 2, verses 19–21, the comparison between Jesus and Cornerstone becomes very clear: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” Furthermore, in the 1 Peter 2:6, what Isaiah said centuries before is affirmed in exactly the same words.

What a marvelous book is the God-inspired Bible! Peter uses construction terms for his hearers, just as Isaiah did, both knowing their audiences would be familiar with them. Also, they both use “Cornerstone” to represent the Messiah, One whom Peter knew personally, and whom Isaiah only knew through the heavenly Father’s promise. Their words bore out what Jesus was to say as recorded in the Gospel of John, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).[1]

 


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

Bible Translations: What Is the American Standard Version (ASV)?

 

American Standard Version—History
The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons in 1901. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known at last by its present name, the American Standard Version. It is derived from the English Revised Version (1881–1885). In 1928, the International Council of Religious Education (the body that later merged with the Federal Council of Churches to form the National Council of Churches) acquired the copyright from Nelson and renewed it the following year. The ASV was the basis of four revisions. They were the Revised Standard Version (1946–1952/1971), the Amplified Bible (1965), the New American Standard Bible (1963–1971/1995), and the Recovery Version (1999). The ASV was also the basis for Kenneth N. Taylor’s Bible paraphrase, The Living Bible, which was published in 1971. The American Standard Version has passed into antiquity, and with the expired copyright, into the public domain.

American Standard Version—Translation method
The ASV relies on the translation method known as “formal equivalence” or word-for-word translation. Using primarily the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament, the name of God (the Tetragrammaton YHWH) is consistently rendered “Jehovah” in the ASV, rather than LORD as it appears in the King James Bible. This made the ASV the favorite of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and is the basis of their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, translated by members of their group and published by the Watchtower Society, their governing body. Other changes from the RV to the ASV included (but were not limited to) substituting “who” and “that” for “which” when referring to people, and “Holy Spirit” in place of “Holy Ghost.” Page headings were added, and footnotes were improved.

American Standard Version—Pro’s and Con’s
The ASV is not in wide use today, primarily due to its having been replaced, and improved upon, with the New American Standard Bible. In its time, the American Standard Version was a very good translation of the Bible into English. Its occasional use of archaic language was a drawback, along with its sometimes sacrificing readability in favor of strict literalness.

American Standard Version—Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16–“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 8:58–“Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am.’ ”

Ephesians 2:8–9–“for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.”

Titus 2:13–“looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”[1]

 


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

Wall Street Journal: “Scary 1929 market chart gains traction. If market follows the same script, trouble lies directly ahead.”

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

stockmarket-chart (Washington, D.C.) — I hope there is nothing to this. But I thought I ought to share it with you anyway.

“There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash,” says a columnist writing for the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch. “That at least is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street. The chart superimposes the market’s recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929. The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart.”

“I should know, because I quoted a number of this chart’s skepticsin a column I wrote in early December,” notes Wall Street analyst Mark Hulburt. “Yet the market over the last two months has continued to more or…

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Fruit Inspection – John MacArthur

 

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? So, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16–20)

After warning about false prophets in Matthew 7:15, Jesus tells us what to watch for in identifying them. Because they are so extremely deceptive and dangerous—ravenous spiritual and moral wolves in sheep’s clothing—the Lord would hardly have left us without means of determining who they are.

Jesus assures us that we “will know them by their fruits.” A fruit tree may be beautiful, decorative, and offer pleasant shade in the summer. But its primary purpose is to bear fruit, and it is therefore judged by what it produces and not by how it looks.

There is no need to be deceived if we look closely. It is the cleverly deceptive false prophet that Jesus is speaking about here. No one needs help in deciding that a tree is bad if it bears shriveled, discolored, and obviously rotten fruit—or no fruit at all. It is the tree that appears to bear good fruit, but does not, that is deceptive.

On the other hand, it is possible for grapes to be stuck on thorn bushes and for figs to be stuck on thistles. From a distance they might appear to be growing on real fruit trees. Because the fruit is genuine, naive persons might conclude that the tree itself also has to be genuine. But in the end, a person’s basic character—his inner motives, standards, loyalties, attitudes, and ambitions—will eventually show through in what he does and how he acts.

As with everything that is godly and righteous, true fruit bearing begins on the inside, in the heart. Paul speaks of our “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11) and informs us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).

A person who belongs to Jesus Christ and who is called by God and given God’s message will give evidence of good fruit both in his attitudes and his actions. A person who does not belong to God, especially a false prophet who claims to be God’s messenger, will sooner or later manifest the bad fruit that the bad tree of his sensual life inevitably produces.

False prophets can disguise and hide their bad fruit for a while with ecclesiastical trappings, biblical knowledge, and evangelical vocabulary. They can cover it by belonging to Christian organizations, associating with Christian leaders, and by talking about divine things. But how they talk, act, and react when not in the view of Christians will eventually expose their true loyalty and convictions. What is in the heart will emerge, and corrupt theology will result in a corrupt life. False teaching and perverted living are inseparable, and eventually will become manifest.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones wisely comments:

A Christian can generally be known by his very appearance. The man who really believes in the holiness of God, and who knows his own sinfulness and the blackness of his own heart, the man who believes in the judgment of God and the possibility of hell and torment, the man who really believes that he himself is so vile and helpless that nothing but the coming of the Son of God from heaven to earth and His going to the bitter shame and agony and cruelty of the cross could ever save him, and reconcile him to God—this man is going to show all that in his personality. He is a man who is bound to give the impression of meekness, he is bound to be humble. Our Lord reminds us here that if a man is not humble, we are to be very wary of him. He can put on a kind of sheep’s clothing, but that is not true humility, that is not true meekness. And if a man’s doctrine is wrong, it will generally show itself at this point. He will be affable and pleasant, he will appeal to the natural man, and to the things that are physical and carnal; but he will not give the impression of being a man who has seen himself as a hell-bound sinner, and who has been saved by the grace of God alone.[1] Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, vol. 2 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977], pp. 258–59.

Next time we’ll consider what bad fruit actually looks like and discuss the pathology of a false teacher.

 

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 1-7.)


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Your Spouse Is Not Jesus

Marriage Mini-Series - Your Spouse Is Not Jesus

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the third of a special BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series on marriage—timed to coincide with the week of Valentine’s Day. You can read Part One, by John Henderson at 7 Truths for a Christ-Centered Marriage and Part Two by Andrew Rogers at How Do I Enjoy My Spouse?

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Dropping Stones

Chris Martin Writes

One of my favorite stories from the entire Bible is about the woman who was caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11) The Pharisees were chomping at the bit to have her stoned. I can only imagine their frenzy as they dragged the woman to the temple courts where a certain celebrity was teaching. The Bible doesn’t say, but I wonder if they made a huge spectacle on their way to see Jesus. What were they saying to the woman as they neared the temple? Were they calling for other people to join them as they rushed to carry out what would surely be the Godly thing to do? End her life. Seal her fate. Write her off.

I can only imagine the condemnation being poured out from their self-righteous mouths, pushing her further down into the mire of her guilt and shame. Without even knowing who she was, or anything about…

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Seven Problems with an Activity-Driven Church

Many churches are busy, probably too busy. Church calendars fill quickly with a myriad of programs and activities. While no individual activity may be problematic, the presence of so many options can be.

An activity-driven church is a congregation whose corporate view is that busier equals better. More activities, from this perspective, mean a healthier church. The reality is that churches who base their health on their busyness already have several problems. Allow me to elaborate on seven of those challenges. Read more

Obamapocrisy of the Day: The “Income Inequality” Prez Shows Us What He Means

Is it just me . . . or do you also notice the hypocrisy–no, the Obamapocrisy–when a multimillionaire President whines over and over again about “income inequality” as the greatest problem facing America, and yet his wife wears a Carolina Herrera haute couture designer gown with a price tag of $10,000 to […] Read more

Dear Pastor, If You Need Rick Warren to Tell You What to Preach, Quit Today

Zwinglius Redivivus

And if you don’t receive any or sufficient guidance from the Holy Spirit to utilize Biblical texts in expository sermons, leave the ministry- you are unfit.

Pastor Rick Warren encouraged hundreds of local Southern California pastors and ministry leaders attending a pre-release screening of “Son of God” at Saddleback Church Tuesday to use a six-week study the best-selling author created using scenes from the movie.

Who does he imagine himself to be?  Does he think he’s actually qualified to use scenes from a movie as subject matter for sermons?  This is heresy.  It has nothing to do with Christianity nor does it have anything to do with the preaching office.

What an abomination.  So, pastor, if you need Rick Warren to tell you what to preach- or you follow his unscriptural advice and wretch a text from a film- then you really should quit today.  Warren is simply a…

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Letter to the Editor: The Message at Celebrate Recovery Has Been Twisted – The False Teachings of 12 Steps

 

This subject has been written on my heart for several   months now because I have been volunteering as a leader in [Rick Warren’s]   Celebrate Recovery and involved in this program for almost three years. I have   been waiting for God to lead me away from this group on His time, and this   booklet track [The “Spiritual” Truth Behind Alcoholics Anonymous] has shed   new light into this arena.  I believe God is telling me to separate and [is]   trying to arm me with info to pass along to others. As a former Catholic and   attender of AA and then experiencing many more years of addiction and abusive   relationships with people, places, and things, I was broken. I thank God   everyday for breaking me!

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Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, and Other “New Spirituality” Leaders Reject and Ridicule the Second Coming of the Lord VERSUS Bible Prophecies Standing in Stark Contrast

What do New Spirituality ” leaders have to say about the end-times   and the return of Jesus Christ versus what does the Bible have to say?   There is a vast difference in the two.  The Bible tells us that in the   last days men will be scoff and scorn the idea of Jesus Christ   returning.

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Dr. Harry Ironside and The Berean Call ON Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous

The following is an excerpt from our latest Booklet Tract: The   “Spiritual” Truth About Alcoholics Anonymous by John Lanagan. This will   help to show how serious it is when Christians become involved with groups whose   foundation is not Christ-centered or biblical but rather is rooted in   eastern-style meditation or New Age beliefs.

WHAT DID DR. HARRY IRONSIDE and THE BEREAN CALL HAVE TO   SAY?

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BBC Propaganda: “Why I Want A Microchip Implant”

Would you like to have an RFID microchip implanted under your skin? If you are anything like me, you would never allow such a thing to be done. But many others, especially among the younger generations, see things very differently. RFID microchip implants and other forms of “wearable technology” are increasingly being viewed as “cool”, “trendy” and “cutting edge” by young people that wish to “enhance” themselves. And of course the mainstream media is all in favor of these “technological advancements”. For example, the BBC just published a piece entitled “Why I Want A Microchip Implant“. We are told that such implants could solve a whole host of societal problems. Identity theft and credit card fraud would be nearly eliminated, many other forms of crime would be significantly reduced, children would never go missing and we wouldn’t have to remember a vast array of passwords and PIN numbers like we do now. We are told that if we just adopted (Read More…)

No Janet Yellen, The Economy Is NOT “Getting Better”

On Tuesday, new Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen went before Congress and confidently declared that “the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year” and that “substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health”. This resulted in glowing headlines throughout the mainstream media such as this one from USA Today: “Yellen: Economy is improving at moderate pace”. Sadly, tens of millions of Americans are going to believe what the mainstream media is telling them. But it isn’t the truth. As you will see below, there are all sorts of signs that the economy is taking a turn for the worse. And when the next great economic crisis does strike, most Americans will be completely and totally unprepared because they trusted our “leaders” when they told us that everything would be just fine.
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Where In The Constitution Does It Say Obama Can Rule By Decree And “Do Whatever He Wants”?

By making “at least a dozen major adjustments” to Obamacare without congressional approval, Barack Obama is making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution. Throughout human history, political power has always tended to become concentrated in the hands of one man. The Founding Fathers knew this, and they tried very hard to keep that from happening in the United States. A system in which the people rule themselves is a very precious and fragile thing. As humans, we all have the tendency to want more power. That is why a “separation of powers” was such a radical concept. As Bill Federer is constantly pointing out, the Founding Fathers made our federal government inefficient on purpose. They wanted a system of checks and balances that would make it difficult to push through major changes very rapidly. Unfortunately, Barack Obama has become extremely frustrated by this and has expressed his intention to rule by decree as much as he can during the remainder of his second term.
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