Friday, July 24, 2009

Today in our quest to demonstrate the scientific accuracy of the Bible, we're going to explore Bible verses.

Critics of the Bible falsely suggested that the Bible stated the earth was flat because of the biblical expression, "the four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12; Rev. 7:1), like writers actually believed in a flat earth. However, this phrase was simply a colloquial expression. It is still used by educated individuals to indicate either the whole earth or the four extremities of the globe from a central position.

God inspired the prophet Isaiah to reveal that our planet was a globe, knowledge that was far in advance of what the men in that day knew. "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" (Isaiah 40:22) This expression "the circle of the earth" clearly describes the earth as a sphere or globe!

The ancient pagans, who were contemporary with Job, believed that the earth was balanced on the back of an elephant that rested on the back of a turtle. Other Pagans believed that the mythological hero Atlas carried the earth on his shoulder.

While as recently as a century ago scientist believed that the earth and stars were supported by some kind of ether. However, four thousand years ago, Job was inspired by God to correctly declare that God "He hangs the earth on nothing"(Job 26:7).

Another astonishing discovery by astronomers recently revealed that the area to the north of the axis of our earth toward the polar star is almost empty of stars in contrast to the other directions. There are far more distant stars in every other direction from our earth than in the area to the far north of our planet. As Job reported, "He stretches out the north over empty space" (Job 26:7).

Mitchell Waldrop wrote: "The recently announced 'hole in space', a 300 million-light-year gap in the distribution of galaxies, has taken cosmologists by surprise...But three very deep core samples in the Northern Hemisphere, lying in the general direction of the constellation Bootes, showed striking gaps in the red shift distribution. [Mitchell Waldrop, "Delving the Hole in Space," Science magazine, Nov. 27, 1981].

The gospel writer Luke described the coming of Christ in the daytime as follows: "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." However, several verses later, Luke described the same event by declaring that Christ will come in the night: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left" (Luke 17:34).

In that era it must have seemed contradictory. However, now we understand that, on whatever day Christ returns, it will be a daytime event for those on one side of the globe while the event will occur during the night for those living on the other side of the planet!

In the Book of Amos we read about the seven stars in the constellation known as Pleiades. The King James Version says: "Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion" (Amos 5:8 [KJV]). The King James Version translators confirmed that Amos' original Hebrew statement about "the seven stars" referred to the constellation Pleiades. However, modern translators render this verse as, "He made the Pleiades and Orion" (Amos 5:8 [NKJV]) Early translators were puzzled by this verse because there were only six stars that could be seen by the naked eye in the constellation Pleiades. Now, modern telescopes have revealed the existence of a seventh star in Pleiades; it is so dim only a telescope can detect it! Amos knew it 2500 years ago!

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). This statement revealed that God created our earth and the universe in a single moment of time. However, Genesis also reveals God's purpose: "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:28)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today we are going to continue our quest to explore the scientific evidence that the Bible is accurate, by looking at the creation of the universe,

The Book of Genesis begins with the words, "God created the heaven and the earth." Until 1950, most scientists believed in some variation of the "steady state theory," which suggested that the universe had always existed as we observe it today.

Today, virtually all scientists accept some variation of the "Big Bang Theory" which suggests the whole universe came into existence at a particular point of time, when an incredibly dense mass of matter exploded, forming all of the stars, galaxies and planets we witness today.

Dr. P. Dirac, a Nobel Prize winner from Cambridge University, wrote: "It seems certain that there was a definite time of creation." Until quite recently, the word creation was never written or spoken by scientists with approval. Then, a scientific article in the 1982 issue of Physics Letters, an international journal of physics, contained an article by Dr. A. Vilenkin which was titled "Creation of the Universe from Nothing."

The Lord challenged Abraham to count the stars to demonstrate the awesome number that He had created by his supernatural power. "Look toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them" (Genesis 15:5). The unaided eye can see and count about 1029 stars. With a pair of binoculars or inexpensive telescope you can see over 3,300 stars. Modern telescopes allow us to view over 200 million stars in our own galaxy called the Milky Way. (As late as 1915 astronomers believed that our galaxy composed the entire universe).

The in 1925, the great astronomer Edwin Hubble created a new telescope that proved the universe contained as many galaxies outside our galaxy as there were stars inside our home galaxy!

During the last century very powerful telescopes revealed the known universe contains over ten billion...with a B...galaxies like our Milky Way. However, in the last ten years scientists using the Hubble Telescope, have focused on a tiny point in space so small that it is equal to focusing your eye on an area the size of a grain of sand held at arms length.

After intense study astronomers determined that this spot contained an additional 1,500 galaxies, each the size of our Milky Way. They were astonished to find that the universe is more than five times larger than they thought.

They now know that the known universe contains more than fifty billion...again with a B...galaxies containing more 200 million stars each...millions of trillions of miles in every direction!

In 1980, the astronomer Professor Herman Bondi declared the total failure of modern science to account for the universe. (Herman Bondi, New Scientist, Nov. 21, 1980).

Another great astronomer, Sir Harold Jeffreys, wrote, "To sum up, I think that all suggested accounts of the origin of the solar system are subject to serious objection. The conclusion in the present state of the subject would be that the system cannot exist" (Harold Jeffreys, The Earth: Its Origin, History, and Physical Constitution [Cambridge: England: University Press, 1970], p.359.

In other words, Professor Jeffreys admitted that none of the atheistic theories can account for the universe as it exists.

The Bible declares that God separated the waters below from the waters that were above (in the heavens): "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so" (Genesis 1:6-7)

This statement declares that God created a large amount of water which He placed in the heavens or outer space. The existence of water in space seemed improbable to scientists until quite recently. Further studies have proven that massive amounts of water do exist in space. Because of extreme temperatures, the waters in space are frozen into permanent ice. We now know that the huge comets traveling through our solar system, are composed of massive amounts of ice.

The latest scientific research has revealed that massive amounts of ice also exist at the outer edge of our solar system. The Ort Cloud at the edge of our solar system is a vast region of space that is estimated to hold as many as a trillion large comets composed of ice and rock. The oceans on earth pale in comparison to the amount of water in space!

A passage in Job also refers to the ice and frost in the heavens: "Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gathered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Canst thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" (Job 38:28-31)

by Bonnie Calhoun

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today we shall continue studying the complexity of weather patterns stated in the bible.

King Solomon described the complex climatic circular wind patterns that determine the weather throughout the globe. "The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit" (Ecclesiastes 1:6) How could Solomon have known three thousand years ago that the planetary winds followed a circular pattern from south to north and south again?

Job speaks of God controlling the weather: "For He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To establish a weight for the wind, and apportion the waters by measure." (Job 28:24-25)

In this intriguing statement the Bible reveals that the winds are governed by their weight, a fact that scientists have only determined in the last century. How could Job have known that the air and the wind patterns are governed by their actual weight? Meteorologists have found that the relative weights of the wind and water greatly determine the weather patterns.

This passage also reveals a profound appreciation of the fact that there is a scientific connection between lightening, thunder, and the triggering of rainfall. Apparently, a slight change in the electrical charge within a cloud is one of the key factors that causes microscopic water droplets in the clouds to join with other droplets until they are heavy enough to fall to earth.

In addition (the technical explanation will curl your hair...LOL) but we know that an electrical charge in a cloud sends a leader stroke to the ground. A millisecond later a more powerful stroke returns to the cloud on the same path. The air in this channel is superheated, and expanding outward, it creates thunder!

Job's description, "He made a law for the rain and a path for the thunderbolt" (Job 28:26) is startling in its accuracy. No human could have known this in ancient times without divine revelation by God.

King David, the writer of Psalms, refers mysteriously to "the paths of the seas." He wrote, "The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:8). It wasn't until 1786 that Benjamin Franklin published the information he gleaned from conversations with ocean-going captains that huge currents such as the Gulf Stream ran like deep rivers far beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

The massive Gulf Stream carries more that five thousand times as much water as the great Mississippi River. Scientists have discovered that the Gulf Stream is only a small part of an enormous "gyre," a huge thirteen-thousand-mile current of water circling the Atlantic Ocean. They have recently discovered that the Pacific Ocean has its own "Black Current" gyre as well!

In another passage Job referred to deep springs of water at the bottom of the ocean. "Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?" (Job 38:16) In this verse the Bible refers to the existence of springs of water flowing beneath the depths of the sea.

It is only in the last thirty years that underwater exploration of the ocean depths has revealed a phenomenon of numerous huge springs of fresh water pouring out of the ocean floor. The Book of Job also contains questions that suggest a level of knowledge that would be impossible for a human writer living in the Middle Eat during ancient times.

For example, Job refers to deep oceans whose surface waters are frozen hard like a stone: "From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like a stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen" (Job 38: 29-30).

A question to ponder until we meet again next week....How could someone like Job, living in the area of Saudi Arabia in ancient times, have known about the Artic ice caps?

It's time to delve into more mysteries of the Bible that display its scientific accuracy.

Today we're going to look at weather.

People living in past centuries didn't have a clear understanding about the weather and climatic patterns that controlled our planet's environment. However, the book of Job, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah and Jeremiah all describe details about the complexity of the weather system far beyond the knowledge of the inhabitants living at that time.

The complete hydrological cycle governing evaporation, cloud formation, thunder, lightening and rain is explained in surprising detail in the words of the Old Testament. For example, Ecclesiastes 11:3 states, "If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth".

Throughout history most people assumed evaporation of water from lakes and rivers was responsible for the clouds. However, Ecclesiastes 1:7 confirms that most clouds are formed by evaporation from the oceans: "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again".

Incredibly, a recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture proved that most of the water that forms into the clouds worldwide comes from the evaporation of the waters found in the oceans that cover over seventy percent of the planet's surface!

In Job 37:16, it asked the question, "Do you know how the clouds are balanced, Thou wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?".

When you consider the weight of water compared to air it is astonishing that enormous quantities of water are raised from the oceans and lakes every hour by evaporation and lifted thousands of feet in the air where they remain suspended for long periods.

Air rises upwards as it cools supporting the water vapor in the clouds until the drops become large and heavy enough to fall to earth as rain. The answer is also found in Job 36:27-29..."For, He draws up drops of water, which distil as rain from the mist, Which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunders from His canopy?".

This incredible biblical passage reveals the complete hydrological cycle of evaporation, cloud formation, and precipitation!

Monday, July 13, 2009

by Bonnie Calhoun

Today, we're going to study names. This placque is the name of Yeshua (Jesus) in ancient Hebrew script.

In our modern culture, very little attention is given to the names we choose for our children. But in ancient Israel names were chosen as an expression of the character traits hoped for the child.

There is power in the authority of a name, especially God's. To give an example of that power, God actually swore by His own name in Jeremiah 44:26, to make a point.

However, it is possible to use His name incorrectly. Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11 warn us not to use God's name in vain. Leviticus 19:12 tells us not to swear falsely by His name.

We who are called by the name of the Lord need to be very careful how we are representing Him. Don't wear a T-shirt saying "In God We Trust" if you are not walking in a way that honors Him.

Besides conferring authority, the Hebraic use of a name often depicts the character of a person or place. Jacob (surplanter, replacer), Israel (wrestled with God), and Jabez (to grieve) to name a few. Look up you favorite Bible characters in a book like Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to discover their character meaning.

There are 16 names for God in the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament):

--Elohim, meaning "God," refering to God's power and might (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 19:1)

--Adonai, meaning "Lord," refering to the Lordship of God (Mal. 1:6)

--Yahweh,(sometimes called Jehovah), refering to God's divine salvation (Isa. 12:2)

--Yahweh-Meccaddeshchem, meaning "The Lord thy sanctifier" (Exod. 31:13)

--Yahweh-Rohi, meaning "The Lord my shepherd" (Ps. 23:1)

--Yahweh-Shammah, meaning "The Lord who is present" (Ezek. 48:35)

--Yahweh-Rapha, meaning "The Lord our healer" )Exod. 15:26

--Yahweh-Tsidkenu, meaning "The Lord our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6)

--Yahweh-Jireh, meaning "The Lord will provide" (Gen. 22:13-14)

--Yahweh-Nissi, meaning "The Lord our banner" (Exod. 17:15)

--Yahweh-Shalom, meaning "The Lord is peace" (Judg. 6:24)

--Yahweh-Tsevaot, meaning "The Lord of Hosts" (Isa. 6:1-3)

--El-Elyon, meaning "The most high God" (Gen. 14:17-20; Isa. 14:13-14)

--El-Roi, meaning "The strong one who sees" (Gen. 16:13)

--El-Shaddai, meaning "The God of the mountains" or "God almighty" (Gen. 17:1; Ps 91:1)

--El-Olam, meaning "The everlasting God" (Isa. 40:28-31)

Jehovah, which we hear in many scripture songs, is not the correct pronunciation of the name of God gave to Himself. In fact this tetragrammation is unpronounceable, even in Hebrew, because it is sacred, and therefore unmentionable.

For centuries, it was pronounced among the Israelites by inserting certain vowel sounds between the four consonants. The pronouciation was lost 2,000 years ago. The closest scholars have come is: YaHWeH. In the Bible it is generally written as LORD.

Jehovah as a name came down to us from non-Jewish European bible scholars who tried to sound it out. Most erroneous is the sounding out of the first letter as "J". that sound does not exist in Hebrew. The yad (letter) is sounded as "ya" not "ja". Consequently, in our English Bibles, we pronounce Joel, Jonah, Jesse etc, incorrectly.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

by Bonnie Calhoun

In Matthew 9:20-22, we see a sick woman becoming well by touching Jesus' clothes:

"Just then a woman, who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the hem of His garment; for she said to herself, 'If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.' Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' He said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment."

What is it about the hem of Jesus' garment? At first it seems like an odd practice. But when we understand the significance of the hem of one's garment, these passages have more meaning.

The word translated, hem, is actually referring to the fringes, or tassels (called tzitziyot, in Hebrew) required to be on the four corners of all clothing of Jewish men, in accordance with God's instruction:

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of one's garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all My commands, and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God.'" (Num. 15:37-41a)

The tassels are to remind man each Jewish of his responsibility to fulfill God's commandments. Wearing these tassels would be comparable to us wearing a large Bible on a rope around our necks. How would we behave in public, how would we speak to others, where would we go? God intended them to be a constant reminder of His Word when He told the Israelites to wear these fringes.

In ancient Israel, this outer garment became known as a tallit, and eventually evolved into the more formal prayer shawl. These shawls are white, representing the heavens, or the dwelling place of the Lord. The blue stripes represents the Ruach HaKodesh, or the Holy Spirit of God.

Therefore praying under the tallit, or prayer shawl, is covering yourself with the presence of God. The word tallit is derived from tallith... tal meaning tent, and ith meaning little. Therefore you get 'little tent'. From biblical times, this custom was a prayer closet, and it is likely this is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 6:6 when He told us to get into our closet, apart from the people around, and pray in secret to the Lord.

The tallit was worn by Samuel (1Sam. 15:27) and it was Elijah's mantle that was conferred upon Elisha (1Kgs. 19:19). It was also worn by Jesus, and the 'hem of the garment' that the woman touched was actually the tzitziyot or tassels of His tallit.

Each tassel was to have a blue thread. With the color blue everywhere today, it is hard to imagine that during the entire biblical period, blue (or purple)was the most expensive color to produce. That's why it was reserved for royalty. The only source was a small gland in the Murex Snail. It took 12,000 snails to fill up a thimble of blue dye.

In 200 BC, one pound of cloth, dyed blue, cost the equivalent of $36,000. By AD 300, this same pound of blue cloth cost $96,000. This indicates that Lydia, the seller of purple and an early convert of Christianity, was one of the wealthiest women in the Empire (Acts 16:14).

It doesn't mean much to us, but to early readers, it said, "Hey one of the wealthiest and most influential people in the Roman Empire has gotten saved!" Imagine the impact this had on the message of the Gospel.