Writing from Vienna in 1897, the American author Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) observed in his inimitable way, ”The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished. The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (“Concerning the Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899; The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday, 1963, p. 249). The answer to this puzzle is in the Bible that Twain read but did not believe. The secret to the Jew’s “immortality” is the immortal God and His eternal covenants. “Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them” (Jeremiah 33:25-26).
(Friday Church News Notes, November 30, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
“And there shall be no more curse:”
Without attempting to answer all the details of the book of Revelation, it is surely true that it looks forward to the end of this present world and a time when God makes a new heaven and a new earth which will be a place of perfection. In so doing, He will be undoing the effects of sin in the present world.
God told Adam that the day he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that day he would “surely die.” This death is undone in Revelation 21:4, where we read “there shall be no more death”. Now, in the world to come, we assume that this means that no one will physically die at all. Nor will there be any sickness leading to death. Yet, if death in Genesis is only a sort of spiritual death and does not refer to real death, then we have a problem. There are inconsistent Christians who think we have to allow for millions of years of death and disease prior to human beings evolving, and yet, they want to believe in a world to come that has no death.
God cursed the whole of creation because of Adam’s sin. In Revelation 22:3, He will undo this: “There shall be no more curse”. Yet, if the curse in Genesis 3 was only figurative, why would the undoing of that curse in Revelation 22 be real?
Those of us who accept that Genesis teaches us the absolute truth about origins are better able to look forward to the world to come with confidence.
“In Iceland, people with Down Syndrome have been virtually wiped out by abortion. In Denmark, people with Down syndrome also face extinction. In the United Kingdom, 90% of parents who discover that their pre-born child has Down syndrome opt to have the baby aborted. In the US, 75% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. In Canada, it is also close to 90%. All of this is despite the fact that the vast majority of people with Down syndrome report having an extremely high quality of life, exposing the empty and evil excuses of some abortive parents that abortion is ‘best for the baby’ as the transparent lie that it is. Life expectancy has also gone up steadily: Now, people with Down syndrome generally live to about sixty years old, with some living into their seventies. Their life expectancy post-birth has skyrocketed just as their life expectancy pre-birth plummets. That is precisely why the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is attempting to draw attention to the plight of people with Down syndrome via a daring new campaign, ‘Endangered syndrome’: They have launched a petition calling for those with Down syndrome to be placed on the ‘endangered’ list, noting that by the standards of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Down syndrome community qualifies. The dwindling Down syndrome community has resulted in dwindling funds for essential community services, the CDSS noted through a video highlighting people dressed as endangered animals while explaining their plight. Animal welfare groups, the CDSS observed, get 90% more funding than Down syndrome charities across North America, a fact that helped drive their controversial comparison—the video has already been viewed more than a million times.
LifeSiteNews, Nov. 13, 2018
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
The word philosophy has a huge variety of definitions in Webster’s dictionary online. In its broadest sense, the word can refer to “all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts”. However, the definition which is probably most exclusive to the term is “a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means”. As such, it is often thought of as an unbiblical concept because its ideas exist within the the speculations of the human mind. In taking such a view, critics of philosophy would quote Colossians 2:8, which says:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The Reformer John Calvin was not a man to entertain what he saw as anti-biblical ideas. Yet, in his commentary on this verse, he points out that Paul is not criticizing every form of philosophy, but only certain kinds. Indeed, he shows that the verse itself qualifies what type of philosophy Paul is referring to. He suggests that one could read the first phrase of the verse as: “Beware of [that kind of] philosophy which is nothing else than vain deceit”.
God expects us to use our brains and our intelligence. The important thing is to exercise discernment as to what is empty deceit and what is wholesome and useful.
Help us, Father, to test what we learn through the filter of Your word, taking captive every thought, so that we may bring glory to You. Amen.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
When studying popular-style articles about evolution, it is as important, if not more important, to study their use of language as it is to check the science. It is frequently the case that such an article needs to admit that previous thoughts on the subject were all wrong, but they cannot admit this; otherwise, their support for evolution would be in doubt. It is so often assumed that the theory of evolution is a large edifice that has exact things to say on a variety of life forms, but, in practice, there is considerable confusion even over their own ideas, leading to much dissemblance in their use of language. We have mentioned before that one of the most common linguistic constructions used in such articles is what some have called “fuzzy words”. These are words and phrases, whereby the author manages to make an insinuation about evolution without committing themselves openly to where they stand.
For example, a recent article about the possible evolution of bacterial viruses looked at how some viruses can alter the way that they attack their hosts, so that they can attack a different type of host. This would be how certain viruses can cross species. The article tried to describe how such viral innovation could have evolved, thus:
Researchers have discovered evidence for a new path of evolution, and with it a deeper understanding of how quickly organisms such as viruses can adapt to their environment.
This “deeper understanding” really means to rewrite all that they knew on the subject. Happily, God’s word never changes in this way.
The “Internet of Everything” will soon include chickens. The following is excerpted from “Smart mini-backpacks for chickens,” The New Scientist, Nov. 23, 2018: “Tiny electronic backpacks for chickens can automatically analyse their behaviour, which could reveal when something is wrong. The backpacks are attached to the birds’ backs using straps and are filled with accelerometers that record their movements. An algorithm uses data from the sensors to identify when and for how long the chickens perform different behaviours. The team behind the idea call the devices ‘Fitbits for chickens.’ Currently, farmers have to check chickens manually and individually for signs of the mites. The technology could make monitoring the birds far less labour-intensive. Monitoring different behaviours using the backpacks could help reveal whether farm birds are being disturbed by parasites such as the northern fowl mite, says Amy Murillo at the University of California, Riverside, one of the team. The mite feeds on chickens’ blood and mainly affects egg-laying hens, which are kept alive much longer than those bred for meat.”
(Friday Church News Notes, November 30, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)
“Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.”
In one Laurel and Hardy movie, Stan Laurel answers a telephone, says, “It sure is”, and replaces the receiver. When Ollie asks what it was, Stan says it was a joke call. “The man just said, ‘It’s a long distance from Atlanta, Georgia’, and I said ‘It sure is’”.
I have mentioned the Troutdale Formation before, relating how huge masses of stones were transported by large amounts of water under pressure. This forced the enormous quantity of stones to be rounded, but also left flattened, as they were gradually pressured into approximate horizontal rows.
What we didn’t discuss at that time was that 20% of these stones are quartzites. Yet, there is no source of quartzite close to these deposits. The nearest quartzite sources are in the Rocky Mountains, so these stones must have been transported from the Rockies, about 300-600 miles away. Clearly, any supposed early version of the Sandy River could not have had the length or energy to transport stones so far. Besides which, the local topography shows Sandy River cutting through features laid down after the Troutdale Formation, indicating that this river did not exist to transport the quartzite. Moreover, quartzite is incredibly hard – nearly as hard as diamond. It can easily be transported over such distances without being ground into rounded flattened shapes, so the energy of the transporting must have been very great indeed.
The only explanation for the transporting of the quartzite that makes any sense is to assume a vast, worldwide Flood, as recorded in Genesis. Without such high energy water, the Troutdale Formation would not have happened.
“Beijing plans to reward and punish its residents based on data that will be collected from various departments monitoring citizens’ social behavior, according to a detailed ‘action plan’ posted on Monday to the city’s municipal website. By the beginning of 2020, the announcement declares, China’s capital city will have all residents officially locked into the permanent surveillance program, part of a broader effort to have every Chinese citizen rated on a ‘social credit system’ decreeing what public services a person can use based on their obedience to laws and loyalty to the communist regime. The government will use the data collected to assess citizens’ behavior to decide if an individual is law-abiding and ‘trustworthy’ to the Communist Party. Residents who behave properly in the eyes of the Chinese government will receive high credit scores, while residents who misbehave will receive low scores, causing them to lead more difficult lives. ‘Efforts will be made to build a market supervision mechanism with corporate credit as the core,’ states Beijing’s municipal website, adding that it will explore the implementation of what it calls ‘the personal integrity project,’ which will utilize residents’ credit scores for ‘market access, public services, tourism,’ and ‘fields such as entrepreneurship and job hunting.’ Higher scores can also open the ‘green channel,’ which will expedite residents’ applications for higher quality ‘education and medical resources.’ ‘Those who violate the law and lose trust will pay a heavy price,’ adds the government website, stating that it will ‘improve the blacklist system’ and that residents will find themselves ‘limited everywhere, and difficult to move’ if they are deemed untrustworthy by the Communists in control.”
“Beijing Debuts,” Breitbart.com, Nov. 23, 2018
“President Xi Jinping considers Christians one of the greatest threats to his power. Underground churches are listed as one of the ‘new black five’ national security threats in China. It’s new under this president for churches to be classified as a national security threat. The government-sanctioned churches that are allowed to exist right now have unique restrictions. Each church has to install a facial-recognition camera in front of the pulpit. The purpose is to identify certain people in the congregation. Many classes of people are banned from entering into any church. These include young people under 18 years old, college students, doctors or medical professionals, civil servants, military members and educators. If they’re found, immediately their boss or a government official will be speaking with them. These are huge ramifications right now. It really began after President Xi Jinping took office in 2012. He is now nicknamed ‘Emperor Xi’ since he successfully removed his term limits in March of this year. When he took power, the mass forced demolition of crosses started in Zhejiang province. That area is called the Jerusalem of China. These are government-sanctioned churches. The house churches do not have buildings or a cross. On February 1 of this year, a new law called ‘Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs’ took effect. Things have become dramatically even worse. Bible-burning campaigns are happening across China. China is perhaps the world’s most sophisticated surveillance police state. It’s beyond anything the U.S. does. Some of these efforts are aided by greedy American companies. Apple decided to remove all virtual private networks from Apple Stores across China. They have a segregated Chinese version of the Apple iCloud. Supposedly this China iCloud is still part of Apple, offering iTunes content. But it’s totally controlled by the Chinese government. Cisco and Google are similar. China has the most cameras in the whole world, on every street corner. These facial recognition cameras are part of their dynamic monitoring system. They can follow you anywhere. If you drive a car, they can quickly track your license plate. If you buy a train or bus ticket, as soon as you swipe your card, you are classified. I noted how China has five categories of dangerous people. Now China is also building the world’s largest so-called ‘social credit’ system. If you get a traffic ticket, then one point of morality is deducted. If you are found in the underground church, your social score is essentially zero. You lose your right to buy airplane tickets. Last week, I was in South Korea attending a house church leadership conference. But 240 out of 300 church leaders were blocked in Chinese airports, even including Hong Kong, and declared as national security threats. They were not allowed to board the flight when they checked in to Customs.”
“China Mandates Surveillance as Religious Persecution Rises,” an interview with Bob Fu, The Stream, Nov. 14, 2018
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
By the side of the Old Columbia Highway, and next to the Sandy River, is a large rocky outcrop, where can be seen an interesting geological formation called the Troutdale Formation. We see 15 feet thickness of a conglomerate, consisting of rounded stones, set about a small, four feet thick rock layer. Above the conglomerate is another thin rock layer and another thick layer of rounded, cemented stones.
The stones in the conglomerate are rounded. This indicates that they have been polished by being ground together. This process is indicative of flowing water. The water movement batters the stones together and polishes them, rounding them down. But there is another interesting issue about the shape of these stones. Not only are they rounded, but they are flattened. If these were found by a river, lake, or beach today, you would want to skim the stones, bouncing them on the water. This flattening, while rounding, suggests that the large mass of stones, 15 feet thick, was moved together by high energy water. Now, this fact is problematic for old earth geologists because it means that the water movement could not simply be a river ancestral to the Sandy River, but must have been an altogether bigger current. The formation is said to be 13 million years old, but the 15 feet thickness must have been formed at one time. So the 13 million years must be contained in the four feet of rock. Or the millions of years are lost. Or the whole formation was made quickly during the worldwide Flood.