AI Confirms That The New Testament has Remained Faithful to the Original Manuscripts

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How many ancient manuscripts of the New Testament books exist today?

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There are thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament in existence today. The exact number is difficult to determine, as many of these manuscripts are fragmentary or incomplete, and some have not yet been catalogued or discovered.

The manuscripts of the New Testament vary in age, with some dating back to the early centuries of Christianity, and others dating to later periods. Some of the most significant and well-known manuscripts include the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates to the 4th century and contains the entire New Testament, and the Codex Vaticanus, which also dates to the 4th century and contains most of the New Testament.

In addition to these major codices, there are numerous other ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, including papyri, uncials, and minuscules. These manuscripts have been studied and analyzed by scholars in order to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament and to better understand its history and development.

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Does the modern New Testament differ greatly from the ancient versions?

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In terms of the basic content and teachings of the New Testament, the modern versions do not differ greatly from the ancient versions. The core message of the New Testament, which includes the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has remained consistent over time.

However, there are some differences between modern versions of the New Testament and the ancient versions, primarily in terms of language and textual variants. The original New Testament was written in Greek, and as the texts were copied and translated over time, variations and errors were introduced into the manuscripts.

Scholars have worked to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament by comparing the available manuscripts and identifying the most likely readings. While there are some textual variants between different versions of the New Testament, the vast majority of these variants are minor and do not affect the overall meaning or message of the text.

Overall, while there may be some differences between modern and ancient versions of the New Testament, the core teachings and message of the text have remained consistent over time.

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What is a textual variant?

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A textual variant is a difference in wording, spelling, or other features between different copies of the same text. In the context of the New Testament, textual variants refer to differences between different ancient manuscripts of the New Testament books.

Textual variants can be caused by a variety of factors, including errors made during the process of copying or translating the text, deliberate changes made to the text for theological or other reasons, or accidental damage to the manuscripts over time.

Because the New Testament was originally written in Greek and copied and translated over many centuries, there are many textual variants in the surviving manuscripts. However, the vast majority of these variants are minor and do not affect the core teachings or message of the text.

Scholars use various methods, including textual criticism, to identify and analyze textual variants in order to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament as accurately as possible. This involves comparing different manuscripts and evaluating the likelihood of different readings based on factors such as the age and reliability of the manuscript, the context of the passage, and other textual and historical evidence.

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How many ancient manuscripts of the New Testament books exist today?

ChatGPT

There are thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament in existence today. The exact number is difficult to determine, as many of these manuscripts are fragmentary or incomplete, and some have not yet been catalogued or discovered.
The manuscripts of the New Testament vary in age, with some dating back to the early centuries of Christianity, and others dating to later periods. Some of the most significant and well-known manuscripts include the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates to the 4th century and contains the entire New Testament, and the Codex Vaticanus, which also dates to the 4th century and contains most of the New Testament.
In addition to these major codices, there are numerous other ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, including papyri, uncials, and minuscules. These manuscripts have been studied and analyzed by scholars in order to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament and to better understand its history and development.

Rhema vs. Logos

I was disappointed.

I was disappointed to read a post on the social media page of a popular Christian author. He wrote on January 9.

For logos to be effective in your life, you must intentionally mix it with faith (Heb 4:2). Rhema, in contrast, comes with such vibrancy that it often releases faith with its delivery.

He refers to Hebrews 4:2. This verse contains a word that is translated from the Greek text. The Greek word is logos (λόγος). It can be translated as either “message” or “word.” However, Hebrews 4:2 does not say that a logos lacks vibrancy, nor does it say that a rhema (ῥῆμα) has vibrancy. Hebrews 4:2 doesn’t mention any vibrancy.

Just what does Hebrews 4:2 say?

(ESV) For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

(NASB) For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith.

If such a thing as vibrancy exists, it would seem that the listeners of Hebrews 4:2 lacked that mysterious element. The word wasn’t inferior in any way, which is what the author is saying that the Scripture says.

The Scripture doesn’t agree with the author’s assessment of logos. The author is not in alignment with the Word of God.

There are two words for “word.”

The writer is pointing at two Bible words that are translated into English as “word.”

  • In Hebrews 4:2, the word used is λόγος (logos).
  • In some other passages, ῥῆμα (rhema) is translated as “word.”

The writer contrasts LOGOS with RHEMA, indicating that a LOGOS word is ineffective at first, but a RHEMA word is immediately effective to “release” faith. He cites Hebrews 4:2 as a source of this explanation.

There are multiple examples from Scripture.

Ephesians 6:17

…and receive the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (RHEMA) of God

  • This RHEMA refers to the “Gospel of peace” in 6:15 which Paul introduced in Ephesians 1:13 as the “gospel of your salvation.” Paul writes, “…when you heard the word (LOGOS) of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” A written word cannot be heard unless it is a spoken word. Paul treats LOGOS and RHEMA as practical synonyms in this letter.

John 6:63

The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words (RHEMATA) that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. [a]RHEMATA is plural of RHEMA.

  • Jesus helps us understand that he is talking about the spoken RHEMATA by adding “that I have spoken.” If RHEMA is restricted to a spoken word, then Jesus was being redundant. His statement shows that we need clarification in this instance.

1 Peter 1:22-25

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another fervently from the heart, because you have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word (LOGOS) of God. For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word (RHEMA) of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word (RHEMA) that has been proclaimed to you.

  • Peter uses LOGOS and RHEMA interchangeably. When the LOGOS was proclaimed to Peter’s audience, he called it RHEMA, not because Peter was using the power of confession to release the creative power of God, but because LOGOS was the message that was spoken.
  • Peter cites from Isaiah 40:6-8. “Grass withers; the flower withers, but the word of our God will stand forever.” In the time of Christ and Peter, the Scriptures, including Isaiah, had been translated from Hebrew into Greek. This “word” (Hebrew: DABAR) from Isaiah is translated into the Greek LOGOS, but Peter substitutes RHEMA for LOGOS. This translation is not a contradiction for Peter if he sees the two words as near-synonyms. If RHEMA and LOGOS are so distinct as suggested, then Peter was making a huge mistake. If RHEMA and LOGOS are as similar as they appear in the other Scriptures, then Peter is justified when he uses RHEMA in place of LOGOS for Isaiah 40:8.
  • RHEMA means a message or a proclamation. When the LOGOS is preached, it can be called RHEMA or LOGOS.

John 18:31,32

So Pilate said to them, “You take him and judge him according to your law!” The Jews said to him, “It is not permitted for us to kill anyone,” in order that the word (LOGOS) of Jesus would be fulfilled that he had spoken, indicating by what sort of death he was going to die.

  • These words of Jesus had not been written down at the time that he spoke them. LOGOS is not always a written word.
  • In the same way as John 6:63, a phrase is employed to clarify that RHEMA is speech in this incidence, “that he had spoken.”

Maybe the mix-up started with someone else.

Kenneth E. Hagin said,

“Faith is always expressed in words. Faith must be released in words through your mouth. We can see that in all of these Scriptures we have read. When you speak something, that is action.”

The truth is that faith is expressed in obedient works and not by confession. The Book of James contradicts the idea that speaking words is action.

Word of Faith authors appear to agree with the author, saying that LOGOS is the written word and that RHEMA words are faith-filled spoken words that release the creative power of God when spoken.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, He quickens a Scripture verse or specific direction to you—a specific word for a specific time and purpose. [b]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema

There is no great distinction between the two words.

The truth is that the New Testament does not demonstrate this distinction. Jesus is called the LOGOS, and he is not the written word. The creative power of RHEMA is a concept that comes from outside the Scriptures and has been substituted for the direct teaching of Scripture.

Consider this official position stated by the Assemblies of God:

There are two major problems with this distinction. First, the distinction is not justified by usage either in the Greek New Testament or in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). The words are used synonymously in both. [c]The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Assemblies of God: Position Papers (Springfield, MO: The General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1972–2017).

Consider the full definition found in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.

Proponents of the LOGOS/RHEMA distinction depend upon a partial quotation from W. E. Vine.

rhḗma (ῥῆμα in Greek); that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing;1 an utterance (individually, collectively, or specifically);2 the word by which something is commanded, directed, or enjoined;3 something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in an undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.[d]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema

Vine includes more information that may be intentionally left out since it does not reinforce the strong distinction needed by RHEMA teachers. Vine tells us that RHEMA is not a completely different concept from LOGOS.

The significance of rhema (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Eph. 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture. [e]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.

On the same page, Vine also gives a definition of LOGOS that includes spoken words.

logos (λόγος) denotes (I) “the expression of thought”… (a) as embodying a conception or idea… (b) a saying or statement…  (c) discourse, speech, of instruction. [f]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.

Stay Alert

If you care about the authentic Word of God, don’t fall for tricksters that use the RHEMA/LOGOS false distinction that is contrary to the teachings of Scripture. They will want you to believe that this doctrine is original from the Bible, and it is not.

Stop living out of alignment with the Word of God.

Notes[+]

How to Find Bible Contradictions in Jesus’ Birth Story

Why does the account of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke contradict the account in the Gospel of Matthew?

Compare the two passages to see this irreconcilable contradiction.

BOTH: Nazareth → Bethlehem

Both passages agree that Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. They don’t agree on where the Holy Family went after Bethlehem.

LUKE: Bethlehem → Nazareth

Click image for larger map.

 

Luke chapter 2 says that they made a brief trip from their home in Bethlehem to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the law of Moses, then returned immediately back to Nazareth from Bethlehem.

22 And when the days of their purification were completed according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb will be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

39 And when they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

 

MATTHEW: Bethlehem → Egypt → Nazareth

Click image for larger map.

 

Matthew chapter 2 says the Mary, Joseph, and Jesus left Bethlehem and went to Egypt until Herod was dead, then the Holy Family returned to Nazareth.

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,

13 Now after they had gone away, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to seek the child to destroy him.” 14 So he got up and took the child and his mother during the night and went away to Egypt. 15 And he was there until the death of Herod…

19 Now after Herod had died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the life of the child are dead.” 21 So he got up and took the child and his mother and entered the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream, he took refuge in the regions of Galilee. 23 And he came and lived in a town called Nazareth, in order that what was said by the prophets would be fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

The previous summary is inaccurate.

The differences between Matthew and Luke are not irreconcilable differences. They are actually complementary passages.

The Truth About Matthew’s Account

Actually, the Gospel of Matthew does not contain any mention of Joseph and Mary coming from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Matthew is silent on Nazareth until 2:23. However this is not a problem since Luke’s account includes the section.

Matthew does not say that Mary and Joseph did not come from Nazareth. If Matthew had said that Mary and Joseph came from their home in Jericho or some other city, there would be a real contradiction. Or if Matthew had said that Mary and Joseph had never been to Nazareth before, there would be a real contradiction. However, there is not a contradiction about something that was not said. Matthew simply doesn’t mention the location of Nazareth until after Egypt in 2:23.

Matthew’s silence on the Nazareth section does not prevent us from accepting the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem found in Luke.

Furthermore, Matthew does not contain the section about the shepherds and angels. There are no problems with this since the shepherds come from the Luke passage. Both accounts are needed to get the complete story.

Not documenting an event is not a denial of that event when it is documented by another historian.

The Truth About Luke’s Account

Actually, the Gospel of Luke does not contain any mention of Joseph and Mary returning from Jerusalem to Bethlehem before moving back home to Nazareth. However, we know that Bethlehem was their home away from home for the time while Mary was pregnant and when Jesus was delivered (Luke 2:4-6), and possibly up to two years after his birth (Matthew 2:16). So, we can be sure that they left the Temple in Jerusalem and returned to their house in Bethlehem before the journey back to Nazareth in Galilee. There is not a contradiction about something that was not said.

Furthermore, Luke does not mention the visit of the wise men and the slaughter of the children by angry king Herod. But, there are no problems since Matthew covers this section very well.

Another inaccuracy from the opening account is very subtle. I claim that Luke says the Holy Family returned immediately to Nazareth after fulfilling the legal rituals in Jerusalem. The Scripture says “they returned” not “they returned immediately without any trips to Egypt.” When we insert an extra word, we create a contradiction that isn’t really there.

But doesn’t Luke use chronological language here? Yes. He indicates that the move back to Galilee did not take place before the rituals in Jerusalem. We accept that the family did not go straight from Jerusalem to Nazareth even though Luke doesn’t include a section about Bethlehem between Jerusalem and Nazareth. We can’t know why. And therefore, we can’t know why Luke doesn’t tell us how long, days or years, between Jerusalem and Nazareth. If we accept Matthew’s account of Egypt, there was a pretty good gap of time not mentioned by Luke.

Luke’s silence on the Egypt passage isn’t proof that Egypt never happened. We accept Matthew’s account of the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem even though Luke is silent. We accept Matthew’s account of the wise men even though Luke is silent. We accept Matthew’s account of angry king Herod ordering the massacre of children even though Luke is silent. We accept Luke’s account of shepherds even though Matthew is silent. We accept Luke’s account of the Jerusalem visit even though Matthew is silent.

We need both Matthew’s account and Luke’s account to see a more complete history.

Each of these two historians had a perspective on the birth of Christ. We need to read both accounts. There is no contradiction if we don’t create one by adding phrases or presumptions that are not in the historical text.

COMBINED ACCOUNTS: Nazareth → Bethlehem → Jerusalem → Bethlehem → Egypt → Nazareth

 

How to Interpret Fill-in-the-blank Jesus

Argument:

Jesus never mentioned abortion, therefore Christians are wrong to be pro-life.

“Jesus never once talked about abortion… for people perverting the gospel of Jesus Christ down to one issue, it’s heresy… Open the Bible… you won’t see it there…” (Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe, September 9, 2022, 28:37. It is worth hearing the whole rant on YouTube.)

Reply:

Arguing about something that was never said is meaningless.

First, make a list of behaviors not mentioned by Jesus.

  • Jesus never mentioned the sex trafficking of children.
  • Jesus never mentioned selling a child into slavery.
  • Jesus never mentioned cannibalism of your children.
  • Jesus never mentioned child sacrifice.

Then, realize that Jesus wasn’t silent about moral issues and did not fail to speak to important ethical questions such as these, because Jesus did quote Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5: 17. He also summarized Exodus 21:12, Leviticus 24:17, Numbers 35:12, and Deuteronomy 17:8-13. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed the motives of a murderous heart that will be judged by God. Furthermore, it would be absurd to ignore the value Jesus placed upon infants and children.

An argument from silence means nothing, but Jesus was not silent about moral issues. You must use what Jesus did say to extrapolate what he believed. You cannot take what he did not say and create a narrative of what he may have believed.

It is absurd to indicate that Jesus approved of killing reborn children for the convenience of the parents. Jesus appealed to Scripture as authoritative, specifically indicating passages that condemn murder. Therefore, Jesus sees the black letters as authoritative, not just his own red ones.

Jesus believed what it says in the book of Psalms.

Indeed you created my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was created secretly, and intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my embryo, and in your book they all were written— days fashioned for me when there was not one of them. And to me, how precious are your thoughts, O God; how vast is their sum. If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. I awaken, and I am still with you. If only you would kill the wicked, O God— so get away from me, you bloodthirsty men— who speak against you deceitfully. Your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Yahweh? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with a complete hatred; they have become my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there is in me the worship of false gods, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)

It is manipulative to imply that Psalm 139 has no application to the murder of the unborn unless Jesus quoted it directly.

Luke 24:44″… the psalms must be fulfilled” indicates Jesus high view of Psalms. Jesus explicitly endorsed the Old Testament, and the Old Testament explicitly condemn murder, killing a human, even a pre-born human.

The earliest Christians understood Christ and wrote what they thought would please Him.

First century Christians documented their understanding of the Twelve Apostles’ doctrine on Christ and wrote (Didache 12:2) “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten (pre-born).”

Furthermore, there is no competition between pre-born humans and the born ones, as if the defense of right to life prevents the care and protection of all children. We need to do both. Honor the sanctity of pre-born humans. Protect all humans from neglect and abuse.

Modern man may think himself wise in his own eyes, especially when suggesting that he is more qualified to speak on behalf of Jesus, that the historical Jesus was in favor of abortion, that Jesus had nothing to say about the morality or ethics that are the murderous heart of abortion.

A secular consideration may have some light in it.

Consider the wording that was in the pre-Christian Hippocratic oath, written between the fifth and third century BC. “… I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman with a view to destroy the child.” Even the ancient pagan Greeks knew something about the dignity of human life.

 

 

 

Is the Antichrist gay?

Someone recently heard a preacher on the radio. The preacher used the passage in Daniel 11 to prove that the Antichrist will be a homosexual.

What does Daniel 11 say?

Click this link for entire chapter on Bible Gateway. Let’s read Daniel 11: 37 in a few English translations for comparison of interpretation.

(KJV) Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

(NASB 2020) And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will boast against them all.

(ESV) He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.

(LEB) He will not pay respect to the gods of his ancestors, or to the darling of women, and not to any god will he pay respect, for he will consider himself great over all gods.

What’s wrong with the preacher’s interpretation?

  1. No version of this verse says that the Antichrist will not desire women. Rather, we find that Daniel 11:37 says that the man will not regard the object of women’s desire.
  2. The preacher is applying his own agenda upon this one verse. This is the kind of stuff that gives Christians a bad reputation. People have told me, “You can make the Bible say anything that you want it to say.” However, making the Bible say what we want it to say is bad practice. The Bible should be read without smothering it in our own opinions. Read it as if you want to learn the original meaning. Do not read the Bible to find proof texts as backup for your favorite rants or as justification for your personal behavior.
  3. The preacher changes the original structure of the sentence. It’s easy to see through the transformation from a man who does not regard the object of women’s desire into a man who does not desire women. However, it just isn’t appropriate to do this to this passage of Holy Scripture.
  4. The preacher provides information not found in the original passage. Even if the passage said he won’t desire women, it wouldn’t make him a homosexual by default… that would require an addition of “his (sexual) desire is for men” into the passage. Other Scriptures indicate that a holy man can live a celibate lifestyle of sexual abstinence.

What is the short answer?

Daniel 11:37 is about a man that is not influenced by the feelings expressed by women.

The Star of Bethlehem

Matthew 2:1,2

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”

Matthew tells us that after Jesus’ birth, magoi (magicians or astologers?) from the anatolon (east) had seen an astera at its anatole (rising in the east) and came to Jerusalem in order to proskynesai (worship) the one who was born basileus ton Ioudaion (king of the Jews). Gentile magicians desired to offer divine worship to the king of the Jews.

How long after the birth of Jesus? The text indicates it was 2 years.

Matthew 2:7,16

Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and determined precisely from them the time when the star appeared.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been deceived by the wise men, became very angry, and he sent soldiers and executed all the children in Bethlehem and in all the region around it from the age of two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined precisely from the wise men. Then what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled, saying,

Josephus the historian records the death of Herod the Great which is placed on our modern calendar at 4 BCE. So the sighting of the star which is linked to the birth of the king would be 6 BCE or 7 BCE.

The implication here is that the magoi attached the star sighting to the prophecy of Balaam.

Numbers 24:17

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star will go out from Jacob, and a scepter will rise from Israel; it will crush the foreheads of Moab and destroy all the children of Seth.

There is no way for us to know what method the magoi used to bridge their astronomy and astrology. Something about this heavenly manifestation gave instructions to the magoi. These instructions pointed the magoi to the Scriptures. This “star” was not merely a physical astronomical object. If that were so, the wise men could never have known specific information about the newly-born king.

The text does not say that the Bethlehem Star guided the magoi to Jerusalem. The magoi went to Jerusalem because they expected to find a king there. Their arrival in Jerusalem indicates that the magoi were not familiar with Micah but were familiar with Psalm 2.

Psalm 2:6-8

“But as for me, I have set my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will tell the decree; Yahweh said to me: “You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask from me and I will make the nations your heritage, and your possession the ends of the earth.

Jerusalem sat on the mountain where the begotten son of YHWH would be established as king. The magoi expected to worship (proskynesai) this child. We see the divinity and kingship of Jesus in both Psalm 2 and Matthew 2. Furthermore, the magoi brought treasures that reiterated their expectation to see a king who was God.

Matthew 2:9-11

After they listened to the king, they went out, and behold, the star which they had seen at its rising led them until it came and stood above the place where the child was. Now when they saw the star, they rejoiced with very great joy. And when they came into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. And opening their treasure boxes, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.

I am only aware of one other place in Scripture that the three gifts come together. The altar of incense was covered with gold, anointed with sacred oil containing myrrh (smyrna), and upon which sacred incense that included frankincense (libanos) was burned. This holy altar was reserved exclusively for the worship of the one true God. See Exodus 30:22-38 and Exodus 37:24-29.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and took up residence among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the magoi left Jerusalem, they encountered a source of joy as the astera appeared again. This time the star led them (proegen – preceded) and stood above (estathe epano) where the child was. Again, this type of specific information cannot be derived from observing an astronomical object, a star or a comet or a constellation, from 4.2465 light-years away. This astera was providing location information within a very short distance and traveling with a specific motion that is not possible for simple stars or comets. This supernatural star belongs in the same category as the mysterious seven stars in the hand of Christ in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1). The Star of Bethlehem was a living being that could light the way and provide a specific message of guidance.

Revelation 1:20

“As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Should I live however the #*@% I want to live?

Recently, a medical colleague asked me if I thought that vaccination cards were the Mark of the Beast.

I knew that this was a reference to Revelation 13:11-18.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. [a]All Scripture on this post is from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

I responded that I believed that there must be some connection between the Mark of the Beast and allegiance to the Beast. I said this because of the worship of the Beast and judgment from God described in Revelation 14:9-11.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

My colleague countered that vaccination cards will be required to buy and sell, therefore creating a control by an ungodly government regime which, in essence, is a forced allegiance.

So, I switched my tactic.

If this is the Mark of the Beast and these are the last days and Jesus is returning soon, “How should we live then?” because my mind pulled up 2 Peter 3:11-13.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

My colleague launched into an attack on the church. “Churches are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” Churches act hypocritically superior and self-righteous against any ordinary person who enjoys getting drunk and sleeping around. Jesus died to forgive all sins, so since I am a Christian, “I can live however the f*** I want to live.” This statement appeared to be the conclusion of the discussion as my colleague started for the door.

I knew that the expletive was intended to shock me. I knew that I could say 1,000 things in rebuttal. I also hoped that I would be able to provide a future testimony, so I ended with, “This was an interesting conversation.”

True faith is inseparable from faithfulness. True followers of Jesus Christ will be faithful to Jesus Christ. You cannot declare allegiance to Jesus while rejecting loyalty to Jesus.

A vaccine card is not worship of a false god. However, whether or not you believe vaccine cards are signs that we are closer to the return of Jesus Christ, what should we do? We should live more faithfully to Jesus Christ. We should live in holiness and godliness.

See the next verse, 2 Peter 3:14.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.


Additional Scripture for Consideration

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Titus 1:16

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1 John 3:2-6

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Revelation 19:7,8

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Revelation 22:12-17

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


Further Helpful Information

Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine contains luciferase (Lucifer Race) DNA and receiving an injection will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not contain luciferase, but it can be used in research related to viruses. Luciferace is an enzyme that causes luciferin to give off visible light. Luciferin is an organic substance, present in luminescent organisms such as fireflies, that produces light when oxidized by the action of the enzyme luciferase. So if you let your children play with fireflies, they have already been exposed. There is no spiritual component to either luciferin or luciferase. [b]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferin

Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine has the patent number 666 or 06 06 06 which is the Mark of the Beast. Taking the vaccine will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not have this patent number. There was a patent number WO2020060606 which was filed in June 2019 with the World Intellectual Property Organization by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC. This patent deals with a system of cryptocurrency mining through tasks assigned to human activity and does not mention injections or vaccines or Covid-19 in any way. [c]https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2020060606

Notes[+]

How to Beat Your Slaves

I have been told that the Bible endorses slavery and that it allows a master to beat a slave nearly to death. This statement did not come from someone who actually reads the Bible beyond a verse out of context from time to time. So I wanted to take a look.

I started with the Christian Scriptures (the teachings of Jesus and letters of the Apostles). There are at least five passages that came to light.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:20-24
  • Ephesians 6:5-9
  • Colossians 3:22-4:1
  • Philemon 8-21
  • 1 Peter 2:18-21

These passages are directed toward anyone that is already a slave (doulos)[a]δου̂λος when they began to follow Christ. There is no passage that suggests a Christian should own a slave.

These Bible passages do indicate that a slave should be sincerely submissive to their master (kurios)[b]κύριος working as unto the Lord, whether a master is gentle or unreasonable [c]σκολιός – skolios.

It is important to note that slaves are encouraged to obtain their freedom if possible. Furthermore, the Scriptures instruct followers of Christ to live as slaves to Christ only and not to become a slave to men. This reveals that Paul and Peter were writing about those that enter servitude voluntarily.

Sometimes a noun can have a broad spectrum of meaning or interpretation. If you send me to the garage to bring you a “tool,” I will look to see if you are driving a nail or removing a bolt, since “tool” can mean hammer or screwdriver or wrench and so on.

Most Christians are familiar with the Greek word doulos[d]δου̂λος that can indicate many things on the spectrum including slavery, servanthood, debtor and so on.

It is unfair to read the New Testament only through the lens of the American Civil War and our struggle to abolish slavery and emancipate slaves. Paul was writing about First Century citizens who owed a debt and were voluntarily committed to repay that debt as a doulos/servant/slave.

Since I accept the Christian Scriptures as the most important commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures, I reject the proposition that the Bible teaches the acceptance of slavery as it was practiced by Americans. When someone makes the blanket statement that the Bible endorses slavery and allows slaves to be beaten nearly to death by their masters, I must conclude that the statement is made from an uninformed position.

I plan to address statements on slavery from the Hebrew Scriptures in another article.

Notes[+]

How to Face a Jealous God

“If jealousy is a deadly sin, isn’t God sinful, since He is a jealous God?”

 

Premise One: God is a Jealous God.

Nahum 1: 2 tells us, “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful.
The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.[a]Scripture quotations are from The New American Standard Bible: 1995 (The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA)

This is verified in Exodus 20:5. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me…”

Premise One is verified. God is a jealous God.

Premise: Jealousy is a deadly sin.

What are the seven “deadly sins?” They are also listed as the capital or cardinal sins. They are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

 

There are seven cardinal sins listed by Thomas Aquinas.

Some confusion enters our argument as envy is considered as a synonym for jealousy. A valid argument must have clearly defined terms.

In the New Testament, jealousy and envy come from very different words.[b]jealousy is ζη̂λος and envy is φθόνος Jealousy is similar to zealous. Envy is “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others”[c]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 204. In this argument, jealousy is not interchangeable with envy. Even mere humans can be jealous without sin, as in the practice of loyalty between one husband and one wife in marriage.

A holy God can display a holy zeal without sin, so the argument fails.[d]“…unfaithfulness would result in judgment since the LORD … is a jealous God (cf. 4:24; 5:9; 32:16, 21). This means He is zealous to protect what belongs to Him alone. Jealousy in this … Continue reading

Divine jealousy should also be defined as a zealous intolerance of God’s enemies. There is only one true God. To demand that He must tolerate other gods is nonsense. When sin desires to rule our lives, God tells us that He alone serves as Lord and King and Master. Those who say that God’s jealousy is sinful are simply saying that His intolerance of sin is sinful. That is plainly an absurd and self-contradictory statement. The argument fails again.

Premise Two fails. Envy, not jealousy, is one of the cardinal sins.

There is also some further vagueness in the argument, in that Premise One is based upon Old Testament scripture and Premise Two is based upon New Testament scripture. In order to clarify the conclusion, we will concede that the eternal unchanging God is just as zealous in the New as He is in the Old. We do not have a contradiction of two different gods: a vengeful God of the Hebrews bible versus the loving God of the Christian bible.

Secret Hidden Premises Fail

However, we need to notice something about those Old Testament passages. In order to create a contradiction, it was necessary to limit the context of both passages in Nahum 1 and Exodus 20.

Look at the fuller reading of Nahum 1.

2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD;
The LORD is avenging and wrathful.
The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

Then look at the fuller reading of Exodus 20.

5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Now we need to understand the reason for leaving out “slow to anger” and “showing lovingkindness to thousands” in these scriptures. They were left out because the argument presumes that God is not good. The argument against God’s goodness is based upon Scripture that indicates that God is good and patient and loving and kind!

If God is independently good, as so many people say that He is, then there is another false statement secretly hidden in the assumed presumption. The person making the argument may feel that God is evil, but this argument does nothing to prove this unspoken belief. It is a matter of faith. The argument fails again because of a presumption that is not proven by the argument.

Faith in a bad god is very different than proving the nonexistence of all gods.

Facing God

If God is omnipotent, He has the power to destroy His enemies.

If God is good, He will demonstrate absolute justice in distribution of His wrath. No innocent party will ever be harmed as a result of God’s wrath.

The conclusion is simple. Do not be the enemy of God.

Because of His great love, God offers forgiveness and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good that He offers reconciliation even to His enemies. You cannot deny the goodness of God. Don’t refuse the love of God.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.[e]New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 5:17–21.

 

Notes[+]

How to answer, “Religions are myths.”

One of my neighbors recently posted her advice for everyone to live without religion.

Here is what she posted:

“Religions are myths. Love yourself and be kind. My inspiring thought for today is that we only can judge ourselves. There were no brutal blood sacrifices needed to make you whole. You’re a whole person just as you are. Live in that freeing truth. You are not the chief of sinners, but youve (sic) made mistakes, easily corrected. Live lawfully, kindly, and lovingly. You don’t need a book to tell you right from wrong. You are good. You are worthy. Live in the light of secular peace.”

Let’s find some common ground.

Her statement must be understood in Christian terms.

Kindness is encouraged by the Christian Scriptures and the Christian God (the One that was brutalized and sacrificed his blood).

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another [a]Colossians 3:12

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. [b]Galatians 5:22-23

Judging yourself is a Christian principle.

Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup… But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  [c]1 Corinthians 11:28,31

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. [d]Romans 2:1

Ineffectual blood sacrifices are rejected by God.

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats. [e]Isaiah 1:11

Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me. [f]Jeremiah 6:20

Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; [g]Amos 5:22

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. [h]Psalm 51:16,17

Truth as a source of freedom is a beloved citation from the words of Jesus.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [i]John 8:31-32

Living lawfully is a Christian principle.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  [j]1 Peter 4:15,16

The Bible clearly states that we all have made mistakes.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  [k]Romans 3:23

God does tell us to live in the light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [l]John 8:12

…I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. [m]Acts 26:17-18

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. [n]Philippians 2:14-16

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. [o]1st John 2:8-11

Finally, Scripture teaches that religion is myth.

“THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ ” [p]Matthew 15:8-9

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. [q]1 Timothy 6:20-21

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.  [r]2 Corinthians 11:13-15

All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. [s]John 10:8-10

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [t]John 14:6

Only Jesus saves.

No religion can save us. Church membership cannot save us. Only the person Jesus can save us. So let’s not focus on making up more human rules and philosophies and imposing them on others.

Words must have meanings.

Without the words of Jesus and the Scriptures, I would have no reference point from which to understand the all-religion-is-myth (ARM) statement.  She uses Christian language such as “chief of sinners” and other phrases.

In an atheism-based universe, everything is amoral matter. Loving and hating would be morally equal values to a bunch of molecules.

The ARM statement absolutely endorses everyone doing what they feel is right. The definitions of good, kind, and lawful are all subject to human judgment or conscience and societal norms.

Imagine a society where everyone has always done whatever each independent person feels is right. History has recorded some of the atrocities performed when self-guided atheistic leaders were in authority. Even Christianity has a tarnished record because of what happens when the Church follows human will.

Imagine the history of the world if Judeo-Christian cultures never existed and pagan or atheistic cultures had prevailed and if societal norms had not been shaped by any of the followers of Jesus. Thank God for Christian stuff like rule of law, education, medicine, liberty and human rights.

Can I be a Christian without Christ?

The ARM statement wants all the fundamental behaviors of Christianity (love, peace, kindness, lawfulness, justice, selflessness, et cetera) without Christ. This is a backwards compliment to Christians, a nod that we are following the right way when we follow the principles of Scripture. It’s like saying, “We want to be like you, but we don’t want your bloody Jesus.”

The ARM statement unfortunately overlooks the facts, stuff like history and geography. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth are all real places that still exist for examination. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are well-documented by eye-witnesses in an abundance of manuscripts in existence today. Anyone can say that Jesus was a mythological character, but they do so against the facts and evidence. They call him a myth as an act of faith and emotion, not as a result of unbiased investigation.

It’s a trap!

It’s a trap!

The author of the original ARM statement was shocked by the reaction of Christians. They didn’t like what she wrote. They let her know that they didn’t like it.

One of the Christians went too far and threatened to pray for her, so our atheist writer responded, I don’t understand why I’m being persecuted for my lack of faith this way. 1st Amendment!(Because, as we all know, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America [u]FIRST AMENDMENT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the … Continue reading is the one that protects your right to express disapproval toward religion and prevents rebuttal from the target of your criticism. )

The writer intentionally posted on the hot topic of religion in order for religious readers to respond. She knew before she posted that people would disagree with her with strong emotions.

The writer intentionally used words that oppose the Christian God, “Brutal blood sacrifices” is a verbal assault against the Gospel and the Atonement.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [v]Romans 5:8

The writer placed the bait for Christians. She hoped they would be unkind so that she could justify her attack on their God. What religion tolerates this type of hateful defamation of their God? Well, Christianity does, because our God said, “Love your enemies.” So she was safe from house-burning or tar-and-feathering because she singled out the precious blood of Jesus.

My conclusion is that Christians should respond as Jesus said to respond.

Don’t take the bait and get caught in the trap. Any rebuttal, even an offer to love and pray for someone, will be interpreted as unkind, actually as un-Christlike.

You can’t win this argument with an argument. I don’t know anyone that was angrily squabbled into the Kingdom of God. The best witness is always kind, patient, peaceful, gentle, faithful, selfless, and loving.

I remember that God loves me. And if God can be gracious toward me, He also loves this angry atheist. We need to behave toward this person as she is a person loved by God.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” [w]Matthew 5:43-45

Notes[+]