Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hezekiah in History

Many years ago, I attended a Christian high school that was run by Fundamentalists, but the school was interdenominational. Quite a change for this child who was being raised in liberal theology. Anyway, they had a daily "chapel" for the small high school. One guest pastor told us to turn to the book of Hezekiah. I started flipping through my Bible, and the girl next to me was doing nothing. For good reason.

Some people doubt the biblical account of Hezekiah his encounter with the Assyrians. There is historical and archaeological evidence supporting the narrative.
King Hezekiah crying out to God.
Image credit: Sweet Publishing via Free Bible Images (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Many of the kings of Israel and Judah were mighty wicked folks, but when it was Hezekiah's turn, his heart was right toward God. Trouble is, they had neighbors that would get the occasional notion to make war. The Assyrians attacked, and things looked bad until Hezekiah implored the Lord for help. He got it in a big way.

Bible deniers have said that archaeology has found no evidence of some things recorded in the Bible, therefore, the Bible is full of myths and legends. That's ridiculous reasoning. For one thing, it's an argument from silence. Another problem is the huge time gap between when people started searching for places to excavate and the times of the people and events. Also, many places cannot be excavated because people are living there. "Excuse me, mind if we set up an encampment and dig in your front yard for a few months?" That'll be the day!

However, nothing in archaeology has contravened a biblical narrative. In fact, there is historical and archaeological evidence supporting the existence of Hezekiah and his encounter with the Assyrians.
One of the most remarkable examples of God’s deliverance in the Bible is the encounter between Hezekiah, king of Judah, and Sennacherib, king of Assyria, at the end of the 8th century BC. A detailed account, from the Israelite perspective, can be found in 2 Kings 18–19. In recent times, this story has been made all the more fascinating since archaeologists have uncovered abundant evidence to corroborate many of the details in the biblical record. Given that the discipline of archaeology must rely upon whatever physical evidence just happened to survive the ravages of time, archaeologists are not able to confirm every historical detail in Scripture. Yet there are numerous cases in which the excavated evidence supports the Bible in spades, as it does in this instance. What follows in this three-part series of articles are many of the significant discoveries that help to confirm the Bible’s record of the confrontation between Sennacherib and Hezekiah.
These will take some time, but they are quite fascinating.

When God rescued King Hezekiah, part 1
Archaeology confirms the biblical account of Judah’s deliverance from Assyrian invaders 


When God rescued King Hezekiah, part 2
Archaeology confirms the biblical account—Hezekiah’s preparations in Jerusalem


When God rescued King Hezekiah, part 3
Archaeology confirms the biblical account—Jerusalem’s deliverance and Sennacherib’s end


Also of interest, The prophet Isaiah’s signature?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Environment, Science, and the Dominion Mandate

There is a term use about a biblical principle that may seem scary to some people. It is called the dominion mandate. It may sound like one of those political doctrines for the abuse of power like the divine right of kings or eminent domain, but the dominion mandate is a term for our Creator's command to understand and care about the world he has given us.


God gave us control over the earth, not to trash it. We are also to learn about things to improve our stewardship.
Credit: Unsplash / Dylan Sauerwein
Shortly after God created Adam and Eve, he told them, essentially, "See this nice planet I gave you? Reproduce (critters are to do this also), fill the earth, and get it under control". He did not tell them to run rampant and trash the place so he could be like a modern parent and clean up after his spoiled offspring. No, we are responsible to our Creator for how we care for the world. To do that, we must also learn about and understand many things. It is interesting that Jesus indicated this aspect as well!
It’s noteworthy that this was God’s first commandment to the man and woman He’d just made. They were to exercise dominion over the newly created Earth in a responsible stewardship. This would necessarily involve scientific study. If they were to subdue the earth as good stewards, they must first understand its properties and processes.
. . .

While these truths are rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures and have been elaborated on by creationists elsewhere,1 the Lord Jesus Christ also made reference to the need for us to undertake a detailed study of His creation. In Luke 12:27-28 and Matthew 6:28-30, He used the example of lilies to illustrate the providential care of God for His children and how we should trust in Him for our needs.
To read the article in its entirety, click on "The Gospels Affirm the Dominion Mandate for Research". To see an example of the dominion mandate being implemented, click on "Ethiopia’s ‘little Edens’".



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Denying Genesis Compromises the Gospel

Perhaps, as some tinhorns claim, those who deny Genesis and recent creation try to appear moderate or reasonable. After all, science has proven that evolution happened and that Earth is billions of years old, right? Not hardly! Such antics are expected from those who ride for the atheism brand, but it is not fitting for professing Christians to do so.


Compromising on the clear meaning of creation in Genesis not only negatively affects the gospel, but also the rest of the Bible.
Image credits: Original from Morguefile / JCKL8888,
then processed through PhotoFunia
People who have little or no understanding of theology, even though they may have attended a church, often reject the plain reading of Genesis because evolution. Because uniformitarianism. Because science. Because they want to look intelligent in the eyes of enemies of God. Because rejection of biblical authority. People also compromise because their church leaders are liberal in their theology or have not bothered to think through how Genesis affects the gospel message. While Christians need to understand God's Word, their leaders have a great deal of responsibility. Indeed, compromise has a domino effect that goes all the way to Revelation!
Most of us are familiar with politicians who obfuscate simple questions with complex political answers. Who can forget Bill Clinton’s “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”? Unfortunately, obfuscation exists in the realm of theology as well. God may not be “a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33), but there are scores of biblical scholars, theologians, and pastors who insert plenty of it into the first few chapters of Genesis.
Evangelicalism abounds with theologians who don’t know what the meaning of the word “day” is. The Hebrew word for day, yom, appears more than two thousand times in the Old Testament and would attract virtually no debate were it not for six specific appearances in Genesis 1. But those six days of creation are now at loggerheads with modern scientific dating methods. Rather than stand firm on the biblical account, church leaders acquiesce to unprovable theories and confuse the clear and consistent biblical teaching on origins.
You can finish learning by clicking on "The Genesis Crisis".



Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Adam, Jesus, and Thorns

When Adam and Eve sinned in Eden, the the curse came on all of creation (Rom. 8:22, 5:12). One part of the curse was that thorns (which are modified leaves, stems, roots, and so forth) are some of what Adam would contend with when he worked the ground (Gen. 3:17-19).


Part of the curse after Adam sinned was that the ground would produce thorns. At the Crucifixion, Jesus wore a crown of thorns. Learn about the connection.
Credit: Pixabay / kalhh
Jesus wore a crown of thorns (Matt. 27:29) as a part of the Crucifixion. The Creator of the universe humbled himself, taking the form of a man, died on a cross (Phil. 2:8). The crown of thorns is one of many symbols used in Scripture, and thorns are used many times. What does this mean in our redemption?
The thorns and thistles introduced in Genesis 3 pose significant problems for Christians who do not take Genesis as real history, as it is intended. If, as long-age secular geologists claim, the earth took billions of years of slow and gradual processes to reach its current form, then we have to conclude that thorns found in the fossil record are also millions of years old. This would mean that thorns, and death, must have come before Adam’s sin and long before any human being arrived on planet earth. This is obviously problematic and leads to a re-interpretation of the plain reading of the biblical text through imposing the fallible ideas of man on to the text instead. In contrast, thorns in the fossil record are not a problem for biblical creationists, who believe the majority of the fossil record resulted from Noah’s Flood, which destroyed the earth as it then was.
You can read the full article by clicking on "Why did Jesus wear a crown of thorns?"
 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Christian Atheism and Fools

Many Christians use Psalm 14:1 to indicate what God says about atheists. The word for fool is נָבָל, nabal, which essentially means a vile person. Although many professing atheists display a profound lack of reasoning ability, nabal does not indicate lack of intelligence, but moral failing. But you knew that.


While the Bible tells us that atheists are fools, we can also see that Christians can essentially be fools when we pretend there is no God. Phil Johnson explains.

There is a big problem with Christians who act like God does not exist. We can effectively be atheists by saying in our hearts that there is no God; Christians can be fools. Phil Johnson has an excellent sermon about this called "Atheism in our Hearts". I hope you will download it (there's an arrow down at the far right of the thing below) or listen online.


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