“On December 9, Chinese security forces carried out a series of coordinated raids on the Early Rain Covenant Church, one of the most prominent house churches in China, arresting as many as a hundred members, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife. According to Gina Goh, Southeast Asia regional manager for International Christian Concern, officials beat, tortured, and denied food and restroom accommodations to the Christian detainees. Some of the Christians were dragged along the ground, stepped on, bound to chairs, and had handfuls of hair pulled from their scalp, Goh said. Six days later, authorities repeated the exercise on the Rongguili Church in Guangzhou, the largest unregistered church in south China. Local officials shut down the church, interrupting a children’s Bible class, and confiscated some 4,000 religious books. The pre-Christmas raids are part of an escalating crackdown on house churches and unsanctioned Christians, as part of an effort by the Xi regime to secure absolute control over all religious activities in the country. So far this year, there have been more than 10,000 cases of Christians being detained in China, compared with just over 3,000 cases for the whole of last year, according to Bob Fu of China Aid, a U.S.-based Christian non-profit organization.”
“Hong Kong Christians Protest Brutal China Crackdown,” Breitbart, Dec. 23, 2018
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
When the Bible talks about oil, it means olive oil, but when we talk about oil today, we think of engine oil. Products like engine oil, machine oil, gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil are all petroleum products. They are all obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum – or crude oil, as it is often known. The word petroleum reveals its origin. Petros means rock, and oleum is oil. Hence, petroleum is rock oil.
We cannot help but be amazed at the versatility of petroleum – the large number of products which can be obtained from it. Petroleum is largely made up of hydrocarbons, which are a compound of hydrogen and carbon only, and can be found in bewildering complexities, with different numbers of carbon atoms in the molecules’ chains or rings.
We rely on petroleum products, not only for the fuels and lubricants mentioned, but also as precursors for plastics, fabrics, and artificial materials of many sorts. From the times of early discoveries of oil in the rocks, people have learned to separate it into simpler materials. Then, as it became apparent that petroleum yielded too much of the heavy materials and not enough of the lighter fractions, methods were developed to convert the less useful molecules to more useful ones.
We cannot help but marvel at the way God has provided for our needs through resources like petroleum.
“What a long, dreary night with what frightful disturbing nightmares, if I may so speak, has this world known since sin, with all of its attendant evils, came in to wreck man’s hopes of joy and gladness! But how precious to know that evil shall not always have the upper hand; that a time is coming, aye, and is very near, when the curse will be lifted, the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose; even the lower creation will be changed and revert to former habits before sin entered, ‘the lion shall eat straw like the ox’ (Isaiah 11:7); the little child need not fear the most savage of beasts because they shall not hurt nor destroy in that day. Then government will be righteously regulated; abuses of every kind will be stopped, and for a thousand glorious years our Lord Himself shall reign in righteousness” (Harry A. Ironside).
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
There are some arguments common in certain creationist circles which creationists should not use. Some people seem to worry when I make such statements, as if I am conceding that some part of evolution is true. I am not. I am also aware that many popular-level evolutionist spokespeople use specious arguments of their own. That, however, does not excuse creationists. We have the truth on our side and can have confidence in that. Remember that if you present a truth to someone else, there is no guarantee that they will accept it. They may have too much invested in their personal worldview to be able to back down.
Sometimes, after a meeting, someone will approach me and say something like, “Evolutionists can’t answer this question: If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?”
This is not a good argument for creation. The statement starts by hypothesizing “if evolution were true…” That conditional statement should introduce an accurate corollary of evolutionary theory. But evolution does not suggest that humans evolved from monkeys. Apes are not monkeys. In fact, evolution does not suggest that humans evolved from apes either. It suggests that apes and humans – and monkeys – have a common ancestor. But even if it did suggest we evolved from apes, even that does not imply that ALL apes should have become humans.
It is not difficult to refute human evolution. We should concentrate on the impossibility of the necessary information in humans arising by chance. The existence of that information makes perfect sense, given that we are directly and divinely created.
“The claim that upholding the scientific definition of sex will increase suicide among transgender identifying people is false. Sweden is a transgender affirming country that has adopted laws and policies conflating sex and gender-identity. Nevertheless, a study conducted by researchers there in 2011 found the rate of completed suicides among surgically ‘gender-affirmed’ adults to be 19 times greater than that of the general population (“Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden,” PloS One 6, 2011). Clearly, transgender affirmation does not prevent suicide, and may paradoxically worsen the emotional health of these individuals in the long term.”
“Petition to Uphold the Scientific Definition of Sex in Federal Law and Policy,” www.ipetitions.com, Dec. 4, 2018
“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always”.
While compiling a chemistry textbook on the subject of oil, I thought it would be instructive for students to look at what the Bible says about oil. The sort of materials that we usually think of as oil usually come from petroleum, the crude mineral oil obtained from the ground. Hence, the name petroleum comes from the Greek words for Rock Oil.
However, oil in the Bible is always olive oil. In fact, the words oil and olive have the same etymology, so the word oil is originally derived from the word for olive. Truly, the olive tree could really be called the oil tree. Our comparison of oily properties, therefore, begins with olive oil.
The first use of oil in the Bible is as an anointing to an altar. After Jacob wakes from his vision of a stairway leading up to heaven, he took the stone that he had used to rest his head and poured oil over it as he named the place the House of God (Bethel).
Oil appears quite frequently in the laws given by Moses. One of its most important uses is to anoint people. In Exodus 29:7, God told Moses, “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head.” Such anointing with oil was more particularly used to anoint a king. Samuel anointed David as king in this way. The reason for such anointing is that oil is symbolic of the anointing by the Holy Spirit. Its use in anointing and its use for giving light when burnt is a picture of how the Holy Spirit works through us.
Prominent Doctors Sign "Petition to Uphold the Scientific Definition of Sex in Federal Law and Policy"
Prominent medical doctors and other educators have signed a “Petition to Uphold the Scientific Definition of Sex in Federal Law and Policy.” It is addressed to the Trump administration. Following is an excerpt: “We, the undersigned medical, legal, and policy organizations and individuals applaud the Trump Administration’s intention to uphold the scientific definition of sex in federal law and policy, such that girls and women will regain their sex-based legal protections, and the human rights of all will be preserved. Not only is an expanded definition of sex unscientific, but it has also proven harmful, as we detail below. According to the Institute of Medicine, sex is a narrowly defined biological term. Sex is a biological trait that defines living things as male and female based on the complement of sex chromosomes and the presence of reproductive organs. Human sex is a binary, biologically determined, and immutable trait from conception forward. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design for the obvious purpose of the reproduction of our species. This principle is self-evident. ‘XY’ and ‘XX’ are genetic markers of male and female, respectively, and are found in every cell of the human body, including the brain. Sex is established at conception, declares itself in utero, and is acknowledged at birth. Sex differences are real and consequential. The Institute of Medicine recognized the singular importance of sex to health and the field of medicine nearly two decades ago. Sex chromosomes impart innate differences between men and women in literally every cell of our bodies. There are over 6500 shared genes that are expressed differently in human males and females. These differences impact our brains, organ systems, propensity for developing certain diseases, differential responses to drugs, toxins and pain, differential cognitive and emotional processes, behavior and more. In reality, an individual who identifies as transgender remains either a biological male or female. Sex is not a spectrum; congenital disorders are not additional sexes. The final result of sex development in humans is unambiguously male or female over 99.98 percent of the time. The use of congenital disorders to advance the myth that there are a multitude of human sexes which exist on a spectrum is ideological and political activism, not science.” The petition has been signed by the chief officers of the American College of Pediatricians (Michelle Cretella, M.D. and Quentin Van Meter, M.D.), as well as many other medical doctors, psychiatrists, and law professors.
(Friday Church News Notes, December 21, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
I Chronicles 1:1-4
“Adam, Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth."
First Chronicles starts in a most unusual way by simply listing the generations of people from the time of Adam onwards. What can such a list of names possibly mean?
When we read genealogies like this in the Bible, we often forget that in Bible times the name that someone was given meant something. So it would be interesting to see what the names of these patriarchs in 1 Chronicles 1:1-3 means.
Adam means Man. Seth means appointed. There are a couple of places in the Bible where puns are used on a person’s name, which we miss in English. For example, Genesis 4:25 reads:
"And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth (which means appointed): For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”
Enosh means mortal, reminding us that as sinners we will not live forever. Kenan means sorrow – reminding us that death has brought us sorrow. Mahalalel means the God who is to be praised. Jared means he shall come down. Enoch means teacher. Methuselah means His death will bring it about. It is interesting that Methuselah died the same year that the Flood came. Lamech means weary, and Noah means peace. When we put all these together, we read “Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the God who is to be praised shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the weary rest”. Those names read like a statement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
“One of America’s leading college faculty unions is decrying attempts to define gender as ‘binary,’ and claims that the Trump administration and the ‘religious fundamentalists’ who support such a definition are moved by ideology, not fact. The American Association of University Professors, which has 500 chapters and 39 state associations, released a statement last month titled ‘The Assault on Gender and Gender Studies.’ The statement, which was created by AAUP’s subcommittee of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession, railed against the Trump administration for considering a plan to define gender as a ‘biological, immutable condition’ defined by a person’s sex at birth. The plan stoked fears that the word ‘transgender’ could be ‘defined out of existence.’ The AAUP statement also condemned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for issuing a decree prohibiting gender studies courses from being taught in universities throughout the country. The statement also went after administrations in Poland, Brazil and Bulgaria for ‘attempts to refute the scholarly consensus that gender identity is variable and mutable.’ AAUP claims that those ‘authoritarian efforts’ lead to a justification of ‘racial, class, and sexual policing that disciplines forms of kinship and homemaking.’ ‘Politicians and religious fundamentalists are neither scientists nor scholars,’ the AAUP statement asserts. ‘Their motives are ideological. It is they who are offering “gender ideology”, by attempting to override the insights of serious scholars. By substituting their ideology for years of assiduous research, they impose their will in the name of a science that is without factual support. This is a cynical invocation of science for purely political ends.’ Despite accusing politicians and religious fundamentalists of having ideological motives with no ‘factual support,’ AAUP failed in its statement to provide any sort of citation to the ‘biologists, anthropologists, historians, and psychologists’ it relies on to form its own argument. Although the AAUP statement wants to present politicians and religious fundamentalists as the main purveyor of the argument against beliefs in mutable gender, doctors and academics are also calling on the Trump administration to define gender as a ‘biological, immutable condition.’”
“Leading College Faculty,”Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2018
“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
Numerous passages in the New Testament state that Genesis was written by Moses. But how could Moses have written Genesis? James Ussher, the famous chronologist and historian, dated the Exodus at 1491 BC. Since Moses was about 80 years old at the time, it is likely that he was born about 1571 BC, which equates to 2433 AM (Anno Mundi, years since the creation of the world). Yet Genesis closes with the death of Joseph, about 1635 BC, or 2369 AM. So the last event in Genesis finished 64 years before Moses was born, with over 2,000 years of history to record. Modern historians would turn to earlier writers, but we believe that Moses was inspired by God.
While posing this problem, we must start our answer by acknowledging that we believe what the inspired New Testament writers wrote about the authorship of Genesis. Whatever answer we give must be consistent with that starting point. Scholars fall into error when they allow such questions to cause them to doubt the veracity of Scripture.
It is, of course, possible that Moses received direct revelation from God on what to write down. Another theory, however, which I favor, is that God inspired a number of writers over time to write the various “generations” of Genesis, which Moses then edited under divine inspiration. For example, Genesis 5:1 suggests that the section following was compiled by Adam, while Noah wrote the section starting in Genesis 6:9.
Whatever we believe about HOW Moses wrote Genesis, we accept that he did and that God inspired him to do so.
“Proving that it is constantly transforming with the times, the Church of England has announced it will now offer baptism-style ceremonies for transgender persons, people who deny their biological sex--e.g., a man who claims he is a woman--and want to be ‘re-baptized’ in their new sexual identity and new name. The Scripture teaches that God made us in His image, male and female, but the Church of England believes it can do better. The decision to offer the new ‘Affirmation of Baptismal Faith’ was decided by the House of Bishops in England on Monday, Dec. 3. In the ceremony, ‘the minister lays their hands on the candidate or candidates, addresses them by name, and prays for them,’ reported The Telegraph. The Affirmation of Baptismal Faith enables people to ‘renew the commitments made in baptism and in a public setting and provides space for those who have undergone a major transition to re-dedicate their life to Jesus Christ,’ according to the bishops. Guidance for the Affirmation states, ‘For a trans person to be addressed liturgically by the minister for the first time by their chosen name may be a powerful moment in the service.’ The guidance also clarifies that ‘clergy are being told to call men by their new female names, and women by their new male names,’ reported LifeSiteNews. Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a ‘mental disorder’ that merits treatment, that sex change is ‘biologically impossible,’ and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder. ‘Sex change is biologically impossible,’ said McHugh. ‘People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is a civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.’”
“Church of England,” CNSNews.com, Dec. 13, 2018
“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
There is a theory that Genesis and the other books of the Penteteuch were actually compiled long ago by four authors. Although this theory is now accepted far less in academic circles than it used to be, the message has not got through to writers of popular-style books, so the idea is perpetuated. The alleged four authors are identified by the letters JEPD, so this theory of the authorship of the first five books of the Bible is called the JEPD Theory.
J is alleged to be the so-called Yahwist author. He is identified by referring to God as Yahweh – or Jehovah. JEPD theorists suggest that J wrote Genesis 2, about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They maintain that this is a completely different account from Genesis 1, which they suggest was written by E – the Elohist author, who refers to God as Elohim. They suggest that Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers were compiled from mixtures of these two accounts, while P, the Priestly author, contributed to Leviticus, and D wrote Deuteronomy.
There seems to be a desire both to suggest that Moses had nothing to do with writing Genesis and to relegate it to the realm of mythology. Yet, no evidence of J, E, P, or D has been found. Moreover, New Testament authors affirm their belief that Moses wrote the Penteteuch. For example, Jesus, in answering the Sadducees’ erroneous question about death, quoted from Genesis and Exodus in His reply. The New Testament testifies that Genesis is what it claims to be – a biblical book, inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“A commenter who goes by ‘swordfish’ got human minds and thinking badly mixed up recently, claiming minds and computers are a lot alike. In a comment on last week’s atheist meme article, he wrote, 1) Computers can process anything which can be represented in a computer’s memory, which includes ideas. 2) The human brain could be said to be just processing electro-chemical reactions. Is he right? Now, as a Christian I’m committed to the belief that the physical world isn’t all there is. God is spirit, and He has made us in His image, so that there’s more to us than just the bodies we walk around in. But there are plenty of people who disagree. Like swordfish, they think all reality can be explained by matter, energy and the laws of nature by which they interact--just that, and nothing else. The problem is, if they’re right, they’re wrong. Or at least they have no reason to think they’re right. There are many ways to show that’s the case. One way is to run the comparison between human minds and computers, and see how it comes out. That’s how I answered swordfish. Consider the statement, ‘It’s raining outside, therefore the roads will be wet.’ Humans process that in terms of ideas. We start with what we know about ‘rain,’ ‘wet,’ and ‘road,’ and we run through the logic in our minds. We reach our conclusion based on what the words mean, and based on reasons that connect them to each other. But what does a computer do? In raw terms, computers process voltages, which are purely electrical things, their status controlled by natural law. Some of those voltages are associated with terms like ‘rain,’ ‘road,’ and ‘wet.’ That’s because hardware designers and programmers have designed computers so they can represent terms like that. But the computer doesn’t have any idea what those words mean. It has no clue what ‘wet’ is, or any of the rest. So there’s the first reason computers can’t process ideas like humans do: Computers don’t have ideas. They don’t know meanings of words. They can only have voltage states, designed by humans to represent words. The computer doesn’t think, ‘the road must be wet because that’s what happens when it rains.’ It arrives at its output due to physical laws, not because of logical reasons. If swordfish is right, and if minds operate like computers, then minds don’t operate according to reasons. And if minds don’t operate according to reasons, then even swordfish has no reason to think he’s got good reason to think what he thinks. Which is absurd. It’s impossible. When a conclusion is that absurd, you know there’s something wrong with the thinking that led to it.”
“A Skeptic Gets It Wrong,” Tom Gilson, The Stream, Dec. 8, 2018
“ And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.”
Most of us were amazed when we first learned that physicians in ancient Egypt did brain surgery. Even more amazing is that the skulls of their patients showed healing: they accomplished such complicated surgery without killing their patients. That physicians had the knowledge to do such delicate operations thousands of years ago challenges the modern, evolutionary view that humans began as primitives.
Where did such knowledge come from? How did man learn that relieving fluid pressure on an injured brain prevented further damage and promoted healing? Obviously, according to the modern view, the first would‑be physician to try brain surgery had no idea what he was doing. However, history paints a very different picture. Recently, archaeologists in west central China discovered a skull of someone who had brain surgery over 4,000 years ago. A large hole in the center of a series of cracks had been made by scraping through the bone. The skull shows that healing took place after the surgery, indicating some degree of success. Even older examples of successful brain surgery have also been found in eastern Europe. Creationist dating would place these examples to within several centuries after the Flood.
That the knowledge and skill to do successful brain surgery was so widespread so long ago suggests that man had such knowledge and skill even before the Flood. Noah may even have passed on knowledge that had been passed down to him from Adam himself!
“A top British lawyer and his partner immigrated to Israel this week, citing rising anti-Semitism in Europe. ‘Europe in my view is finished. Every day you see people being attacked in one way or another across Europe,’ Mark Lewis told Israel’s Channel 10 news, which accompanied his arrival, together with partner Mandy Blumenthal, at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. ‘You see people murdered in museums in Belgium, people murdered in schools in France, people attacked in England. There is only one place for Jewish people to go,’ Lewis added. Lewis, 54, one of the UK’s leading libel lawyers, said he has been increasingly subjected to hate speech and threats for being Jewish, including being subjected to regular abuse and death threats online. The decision to leave Britain did not come easily, the couple has said, but they feel it was inevitable. ‘We’re a wandering people, and it’s time to wander again. People just don’t want to see it,’ Lewis said of his fellow British Jews. Lewis said while anti-Semitism was a fringe phenomenon in the past, it is has become more prominent due to social media. ‘Social media has caused so much harm,’ he said. ‘Fifteen years ago there was still anti-Semitism but it was an obscure thing. Fifteen years ago somebody painted a swastika on my garage door in Manchester, that was a message. But it was a one-off, it was something you could almost laugh off. Now with the effect of social media, it’s almost every day.’”
“Europe Is Finished,” Times of Israel, Dec. 6, 2018