Saturday, April 24, 2010

Putting Earth Worship in Perspective

In an attempt to remind us that only God is eternal and worthy of our worship I will present an overview of biblical references that share a divine view of God's purpose and ultimate plan for the earth. At the same time, these references bare testimony against the delusional Pagan world view that honors the earth as divine and depreciates mankind as a product of Mother earth. (In an age of enlightenment and great scientific advancement, why are we so naive and foolish? Could our stupidity be the byproduct of our presupposition to the false doctrines of atheism, secularism, humanism and evolution?)

Here are a few thoughts from the Word of God revealed in Scripture:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)

By the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:7)

Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 1:11)

I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh . . . everything that is on the earth shall die (Genesis 6:17)

The earth is the Lord's (Exodus 9:29)

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:1)

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens (Proverbs 3:19)

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him (Habakkuk 2:20)

The Lord God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn (Amos 9:5)

"I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. "I will sweep away man and beast . . . I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth." (Zephaniah 1:2, 3)

In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth (Zephaniah 1:18)

For thus says the Lord of hosts: "Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land" (Haggai 2:6)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." This phrase, "yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken - that is, things that have been made - in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain." (Hebrews 12:26)

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10)

According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13)

Then I was a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)

Galyn Wiemers
www.generationword.com







Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jesus at Caesarea Philippi

video

The above video is the 56th class from the Bible School using the "Framework for Christian Faith" textbook. The previous audio, video and notes of classes #1-55 are on line at:
http://www.generationword.com/audio_series/bible_school_connxions_2009.html

Class Notes and Map: http://www.generationword.com/bible_school_notes/17.html
Photos of Caesarea Philippi: http://www.generationword.com/Israel/caesarea_philippi.htm
Video On Location at ancient Caesarea Philippi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAZjq-GALhE

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Information a Christian "Must Know"

This is a list of the basic Bible information and Christian doctrine that I think a believer must know. There is other important information that is not included on this list, but this contains the core. If a believer has a general knowledge of these things they will be in a very good position to gain understanding of Christian doctrine and Christian character as they mature as a believer in Jesus Christ.

I call this the BIBLE CORE. I wrote this down today so this is still the very first draft. This, of course, needs to undergo a second, third, fourth, . . . and final draft. I plan on developing a basic 15-25 minute lesson on each of the 79 points and typing up the information. This will then be made available at GenerationWord.com. The lessons will be recorded on 79 ten minute videos and uploaded onto YouTube.

I have seen Christian adults and Christian youth (including entire youth groups) who do not know what I consider to be simple Sunday school flannel graph material. If anyone has been a Christian for more than 36-60 months (the length of time needed to pay off the loan for a new car) THEY SHOULD KNOW this information. If you do not know this information, fear not, because, here it is! In just a few weeks I will provide this teaching for you and anyone else who is tired of being an illiterate Christian. Communication of information as found in the BIBLE CORE is the foundation for the revival of the church and the means by which we will bring stability to our time. Apparently, that bit of insight is the first thing today's church leaders need to learn.

Bible Core Curriculum (BCC)

Old Testament

  1. Creation – universe, man
  2. Adam – creation, fall
  3. Noah
  4. Abraham
  5. Isaac
  6. Jacob and Twelve Sons
  7. Joseph
  8. Moses and Exodus
  9. Joshua
  10. Judges – Gideon
  11. Judges – Samson
  12. Samuel and Saul
  13. David and Goliath
  14. David as King
  15. Solomon
  16. Rehoboam and Jerobaom
  17. Kings of Israel – Abah, Jezebel, Elijah, Assyria
  18. Kings of Judah – Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Isaiah
  19. Last days of Judah – Manasseh, Josiah
  20. Babylonian Captivity – Jeremiah, 605, 597, 586
  21. Daniel
  22. Return from Babylon – Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Gospels

  1. Old Testament Prophecy of Messiah – Gen. 3:15; Psalms 22; Isaiah 53; Malachi 3:1-2; 4:4-6
  2. Jesus’ Birth – Bethlehem, shepherds, wise men, Herod, virgin birth
  3. Baptism and Temptations
  4. First Passover – clears temple, Nicodemus, Samaritan woman
  5. Tour of Galilee #1 – Nazareth, Capernaum, Sermon on the Mount
  6. Second Passover – Pool of Bethesda
  7. Tour of Galilee #2 and #3
  8. Rejection – Matthew 12, Parables, feeding 5,000
  9. Withdrawal – Tyre, Decapolis, Caesarea Philippi
  10. Last 6 months
  11. Last Month
  12. Last Week
  13. Crucifixion
  14. Resurrection – physical resurrection
  15. Commission

Acts

  1. Ascension
  2. Pentecost
  3. Jerusalem Church
  4. Paul
  5. Antioch Church
  6. First Journey
  7. Second Journey
  8. Third Journey
  9. Visit to Jerusalem – Caesarea imprisonment
  10. Journey to Rome – shipwreck, Roman imprisonment

New Testament Letters

  1. Romans
  2. First Corinthians
  3. Galatians
  4. Philippians
  5. Ephesians
  6. First Thessalonians
  7. First Timothy
  8. Hebrews
  9. James
  10. First Peter
  11. First John
  12. Revelation

Doctrine

  1. Apologetics – ten points
  2. Hermeneutics – ten points
  3. Theology – Attributes of God
  4. Trinity
  5. Deity of Christ – eternal second member of Trinity
  6. Bibliology – inspiration, inerrancy
  7. Sin Nature – depravity
  8. Divine Judgment – in time, in hell
  9. Grace
  10. Imputation and Substitution
  11. Salvation by Faith
  12. Regeneration
  13. Justification
  14. Repentance and Confession
  15. Holy Spirit
  16. Church
  17. Israel
  18. Second Coming
  19. End Times and Eternal State
  20. Eternal Rewards

Friday, April 2, 2010

Persevere and Teach Truth

In light of current civic events and the state of the church in America I have tried to capture my thoughts in these following points. All of them could use some explanation and commentary but for now here is a list:
  1. Elijah and 7,000 – there are many people and groups today ready to side with the truth if we do not give up and run away. You need to persevere.
  2. Teach Truth, not answers – truth will lead to correct thinking and decision making. Opinions will be abandoned because people do not have a foundation to understand why they are important. You need to teach toward understanding.
  3. Do Not Respond to Winds – preach the word in season and out. Issues change like seasons. When the issue changes the word/truth will prepare people for the next issue.
  4. Do Not Seek Government Assistance – The church can stand alone. If you lean on the government it can control you. The early church grew even as an illegal religion. You don’t need help.
  5. Schools are not Divine Institutions – Fix the family. Good families make good public schools and good private schools. Corrupt families ruin both public and Christian schools.
  6. Rapid Change and Polarization Will Help – The shock value of rapid change and the clear contrast of extremes is on the side of truth. The frog in the boiling water will jump out. You are the frog and the water has been getting gradually hotter for years. Do you feel it now?
  7. Heathenism Can’t Survive – Heathenism can not survive without governmental support (evolution, atheism at public schools, state universities). When faced with survival the Truth of the church will always win (see point 4). This is the point of Gates of Hades in Mt. 16.
  8. Teach Truth in Hardship – The early church continued to proclaim the truth in the face of death and eventually converted the Roman Empire. We are still free and Christianity is not yet illegal. Believers in the United States do not fully understand what hardship for the sake of truth really is.

Galyn Wiemers
http://www.generationword.com

David's Palace

When we were in Israel during the summer of 2007 I took the following slide show of photos of the excavated eastern wall of the ancient City of David, or the original Jerusalem. Excavation and these photos reveal:
  • the Jebusite wall (1100 BC) of the city that David and Joab took from the Jebusites around 1003 BC
  • dwelling places, or residences, on the outside of the city wall (1000-600 BC)
  • the southern and northern towers on the wall built during the time of the kings of Judah (1000-600 BC)
  • portions of the wall that Nehemiah rebuilt (445 BC)



I was excited to see that in this month's issue of Biblical Archaeology Review there was an article by Eilat Mazar who discovered David's palace in 2005. She is a third-generation Israeli archaeologist and granddaughter of the legendary Benjamin Mazar. In this article she describes some of the finds from her work in and around the ancient royal palace of Judah's kings:
  • A section of Nehemiah's wall
  • Seal impressions featuring scenes and names of some people mentioned in the Bible
  • A building now called the Large Stone Structure with walls between 7-11 feet thick at the high point of the City of David believed to be David's palace.
  • Two towers, the Southern and Northern Towers, which sit just a few feet away from David's palace.
  • A bulla (an impression made in clay with a seal) that bears the name Yehuchal ben Shelemyahu, or Jehucal son of Shelemiah, found in David's royal palace mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1 and 37:3. In Jeremiah 38 Jehucal accused Jeremiah and helped lower and confine Jeremiah in a cistern. In Jeremiah 37:3 Jehucal was sent by the King along with a priest to ask Jeremiah to pray for the crumbling nation.
  • A bulla found underneath the northern tower that bears the name Gedalyahu ben Pashhur or Gedaliah son of Pashhur, who is also mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1 as assisting in Jeremiah being confined to a cistern in the courtyard of the guard. In Ezra 2:38 the family of Pashhur returns to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity and is listed with the names of the priests. (Note: these two men, Jehucal and Gedaliah, are mentioned in the same verse in Jeremiah 38: 1 and are described as working together in the royal palace against Jeremiah. Now,sometime during the last few months, since I was in Jerusalem and had a chance to look at Mazar's excavation, bullae with the names of these same two men impressed along with their family names have been found within a few feet of each other in the same royal palace the Bible says they worked!)
  • Bronze and iron arrow heads from the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC where mixed in with stone weights, clay figurines and bullae (clay seal impressions).
  • Pottery from a stratum from the Babylonian period between 586-538 BC
  • A seal carved in a shiny black stone engraved with a Babylonian religious scene with the name Shelomit engraved in Hebrew . Shelomit was the daughter of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the heir to the royal throne of Judah who returned to Jerusalem to serve as governor under the Persian Empire. He would have taken up residence in a rebuilt royal palace.
These are interesting finds that help confirm the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. I refer to the value of finds like this in my latest book Framework for Christian Faith on page 21:
When there is not much evidence to support an event recorded in Scripture, then negative evidence is of small account. For example, if there is little physical evidence to prove or disprove that Noah built an ark, the fact that we do not physically have Noah's ark does not prove that it did not happen. When evidence and information on a subject is lacking, the smallest amount of support will carry great weight. If we were to find an ancient inscription that included Noah's name or made some geological or archaeological discovery that supported the Flood story of Genesis, these would support the validity of the Flood narrative, and the whole book of Genesis.
Skeptics will claim, "Archaeologists have shown the Bible to be a legend at best." With discoveries like the finding of David's palace, Nehemiah's wall, bullae with the names of biblical personalities, remains of the Babylonian destruction and much more the critics have to admit that archaeology continues to be on the side of proving the validity of the Bible.
The "Shelomit" Bulla, daughter of Zerubbabel
Gedaliah' Bulla; he confined Jeremiah to a cistern
Galyn
Wiemers
http://www.generationword.com/

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Theology of the Shattered Windshield

Paul writes to the Ephesisans “I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” (4:17)

The life of a believer is to be lived focusing on the truth and the reality of God. A believer needs to hold to the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of our lives. God is supreme and his wisdom surpasses our understanding. His standard of righteousness is absolute and unchanging through all generations.

A believer must live in this world but not allow the things or the ways of the world to distract them from the big picture.

When a person drives a car they are focused on the road and the activity outside the car. The driver looks through the windshield, not at the windshield. The safe driver can not look inside the car for very long without having some major problems outside the car.

So it is in comparison with the life of the believer. A believer is inside the world but must be viewing life through the windshield of God’s revelation to man as found in the scriptures.

Paul says we must “no longer live as the Gentiles do” who have no view outside the windshield. They spend their entire lives trying to find direction and avoid accidents but they never look outside the car. Their whole focus is on the interior of the car as they speed through life. They have no perspective of God, eternity, truth, or reality. They are living in “the futility of their thinking.” It is easy to understand why, though. They have never seen or believed anything else. It is as if they are driving at night with the dome light on and the headlights off.

This is important to the believer for two reasons. Although we have accepted the reality of God and have, at least for a moment, looked up through the windshield long enough to realize we are speeding through life on very busy spiritual highway, we too often continue to “live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” We, too, spend the majority of our lives focused on the inside of the car and not on the highway. We are not looking through the windshield at the more serious issues.

Paul says, that he “insist on it in the Lord” that we live by looking through the windshield as we make decisions and evaluations.

One of the biggest challenges for the sincere believer who has lived their life looking at God through their windshield is when something strikes our windshield causing it to shatter. A disaster, a situation, something unexpected and undeserved comes from outside the car. It hits our windshield, disappears and leaves a fragmented, shattered windshield filled with distracting lines and breaks. This presents a new challenge for the believer who has been looking through this clear windshield at God.

Up until now the challenge was to either look through the windshield or look inside the car. This new challenge forces the believer to either focus on the shattered windshield or to continue to look through the fragmented pieces of the windshield at God.

We must realize, and know by faith, that your shattered windshield has not changed anything outside the car. The only thing that has changed is your ability to see it clearly and focus on it through the advantage of a crystal clear windshield. A crack in your windshield does not represent a crack in the kingdom of God. A shattered windshield is not a true representation of everything outside the car. A broken windshield is simply a distraction from the reality that is still outside your car and bigger than your life. Do not allow a shattered windshield to pull your attention back inside the car where you are forced once again to live in the futility of your thinking.

Galyn Wiemers
http://www.generationword.com

Hadrian's and Antoninus Pius' Statues from 135 and 138 AD


I mentioned tonight in class a stone fragment in the southern wall of the temple mount in Jerusalem. This photo is the southern gate that contains the stone fragment from the base of a Roman statue. I did not realize this stone was there when I was photographing the gate. The stone and the inscription is in the blue box in the photo below.

The very top stone in the very upper right corner of this photo is a piece of stone from the base of a statue of Antoninus Pius that stood on the temple mound. The stone contains an inscription. Hadrian would have had the statue set on the temple mount along with the Temple of Jupiter that he built after his defeat of the Jews in 135 AD.

Hadrian’s inscription reads:
TITO AEL HADRIANO
ANTONINO AUG PIO

P P PONTIF AUGUR
D D


Translation of Latin:
To Titus Ael[ius] Hadrianus
Antoninus Aug[ustus] Pius

the f[ather] of the f[atherland], pontif[ex], augur.

D[ecreed] by the D[ecurions]



The Roman Temple of Jupiter was torn down by Constantine. The stones were used later by the Muslims to build the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This inscription was found and placed upside down to replace a broken stone above this gate.

Hershel Shanks (archaeologist and editor of Biblical Archaeology Review) says:
"Hadrian erected an equestrian statue of himself on the Temple Mount. The anonymous fourth-century pilgrim known only as the Bordeaux Pilgrim reports that he saw two statues of Hadrian on the Temple Mount when he visited the site. The Bordeaux Pilgrim probably mistakenly identified the second statue; Hadrian's successor, Antonius Pius (138-161 AD), probably added an equestrian statue of himself, which the Bordeaux Pilgrim saw. . . It is quite possible the the Bordeaux Pilgrim saw this inscription when it was part of a statue on the Temple Mount. But he misread it. Antonius had been adopted by Hadrian and named as his successor in 138 A.D. Thus, Antoninus's name included the name of Hadrian. The Bordeaux Pilgrim apparently looked only at the first two lines and concluded that it was a second statue of Hadrian. Both had a thick beard and looked much alike when they were older. (Notice the images of their statues below). Some modern scholars have made the same mistake and read the same inscription now in secondary use as referring to Hadrian instead of Antoninus. They apparently focused on the name Hadrianus, ignoring the following name, Antoninus.


Hadrian

Antoninus Pius

For more information or to see the photos I took of the southern side of the temple mount go to http://www.generationword.com/Israel/jerusalem_sites/southern_wall.html

Galyn Wiemers
http://www.generationword.com