Monday, August 31, 2009

Debunking End Time Myths: A Source of Unnecessary Worry For Christians, Myth #3

Okay, I have more. Since I started this thing, I might as well finish the job. My next myth to debunk is the one to do with the battle of Armageddon.

Myth #3 Russia and Iran will Attack Israel and cause the Battle of Armageddon

This is a very popular myth, especially in Christian political circles. The fact of the matter is that the above statement is misleading, and the popular view held is not supported by scripture. People who support this view like to quote Ezekiel 38 to 'prove' their point. I have placed in bold type the verse most often used to 'prove' this point.

Ezekiel 38, NIV (emphasis supplied):

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.
7 " 'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
10 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages
will say to you, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" '
14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
17 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'

Modern prophetic commentators would have us believe that the current global animosities between Israel and Iran is going to eventually lead the world into Armageddon. While it is true that there will be a battle of Armageddon in the future, what these modern commentators have failed to show is WHEN this battle will take place. Is this battle going to take place before the second coming of Jesus, or after the second coming of Jesus? Is this battle going to take place before the millenial kingdom of Jesus is established on earth, or after the millenial kingdom? The answer to these questions lies in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 20:6-10,NIV (emphasis supplied):

6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So we can see, from verse 7, that the famous battle of Gog and Magog (which people mistakenly call the battle of Armageddon) takes place AFTER the 1,000-year reign of Christ is completed, not before. So the book of Revelation totally debunks the view that modern animosities between Israel and Iran will cause Armageddon - it is simply NOT TRUE.

While we should continue to pray for peace in the Mideast, we can rest assured that the great and terrible battle of Gog and Magog will not occur before Christ comes back to set up His kingdom on earth.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Debunking End Time Myths: A Source of Unnecessary Worry For Christians, Myth #2

I am on a roll now. Information is just pouring out of me! Some of these things may be new to some of you, and little hard to swallow, as it goes against popular theology, but I am not here for popular theology. I am here to speak the truth as is in the Bible, so people can have correct information to make correct and informed choices. Please read myth #1 in the previous post before proceeding.

Myth #2 One World Government

The doctrine of a one-world Government has been around for a long time, and has been a source of anxiety among Christians. With the rise and fall of various world empires and governments, and every present threat of another world war, people are just waiting with bated breath to see when this one-world government is going to be, and how to oppose it.

This is a tricky one. While the concept of a one-world government appears to be alluded to in the book of Revelation, esp. Revelation 13, that theory is totally debunked in the book of Daniel. Understandingly, verses such as Revelation 13:7,16-17, can cause people to believe that the AntiChrist will be a political power.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations (Revelation 13:7).

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Revelation 13:16,17).

It is however VERY CLEAR from Daniel 2 that THERE WILL BE NO WORLDWIDE POLITICAL POWER AFTER ROME. While it is beyond the scope of this blog to prove the identity of the four earthly kingdoms of the Daniel 2, let it suffice it to say that the image in Daniel 2 represents the worldwide earthly kingdoms which will be established on earth, before Christ establishes His millenial kingdom on earth. The kingdoms are:

Head of gold: Babylonian empire (vs. 38)
Breast and arms of silver: Medo-Persian empire (vs. 39, Daniel 5:28)
Belly and thighs of brass: Greek empire (Daniel 2:39; Daniel 10:20)
Legs of iron: Rome (Daniel 2:40; Luke 2:1)
Feet of iron and clay: Roman empire broken up and divided among the nations (Daniel 2:41-43)
Rock: The kingdom of Christ (Daniel 2:44-45)

We are now living in the time of the feet of iron and clay, where the world is divided into nation-states. Yes, we have had many empires since the fall of Rome, but none of those empires had worldwide control, and none ever will. As a matter of fact, none of the empires of Daniel 2 had worldwide control either. They were world powers in that they ruled the then known civilized world, but their reach was geographically limited. So what is going to happen on the world stage so that Revelation 13 is fulfilled?

Like the kingdoms of Daniel 2, the beast of Revelation 13 represents a world power, but unlike Daniel 2, the beast of Revelation 13 does not represent a political power. As was said before in the previous post, the beast of Revelation 13 represents a fallen angel that rules through the office of a world leader. This world leader however is not a political leader, but a religious power who wants to be worshipped as God. A false Messiah if you will. I know this is true because the dragon, which is Satan, turned over his power and seat over to the beast, and people not only worshipped the dragon, but also the beast! (Revelation 13:2-4,12). To 'prove' that he is God, this false Messiah will do great wonders, miracles, and signs, cause fire to come down from heaven, and fake a resurrection from the dead (Revelation 13:3, 13-14).

So there we have it, a religious power that is backed by world governments, that gets all peoples to obey a religious law, that is in opposition to God's law. Worship the beast or be killed. Worship the beast or face economic sanctions. What will your choice be?

So are we going to have a one-world government? No, but we are going to have a one-world religion that will be enforced by government.

Debunking End Time Myths: A Source of Unnecessary Worry For Christians, Myth #1

Many Christians are literally in a state of panic and fear about what they think is being fulfilled in terms of prophecy in the world. This post will seek to address some of these fears and debunk those that are untrue. My purpose of doing this is not to promote some political agenda, but to present a true teaching of what the Bible really says.

Myth #1 President Obama is the AntiChrist

This is a very popular myth being circulated around the internet and on youtube, based upon someone's interpretation of Biblical prophecy. The book of Revelation speaks of a 'beast' with the number 666 which will prevent people from engaging in commericial activity unless they have the 'mark of the beast.' Some see the government take-over of major industries such as banking, the auto industry, and possibly health care as signs of this beastly power. So the question is this: Is President Obama the AntiChrist, or is it someone else? What does the Bible really say?

Revelation 13:1-4, NIV:

And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. 4Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"

I must say, as a child when I first read the above passage, it scared the hell out of me. I imagined end-time beasts and monsters attacking the earth, before Jesus returns. Now I am an adult, with over 19 years of Christian experience under my belt, I now have a more accurate interpretation of the passage, and boy, what I have found is probably even more scary, because it is so real!

Highly symbolic language is often used throughout the book of Revelation to convey a message to God's people, without 'tipping off' the adversaries of God's people. If one can decipher the covert message, then one can understand what message God is trying to convey to His saints. Deciphering this message is not as hard as many people think, but it requires discipline and patience, rejecting one's preconceived ideas, and approaching it with an open mind that is ready to listen to the wisdom of God's Spirit.

Let me first begin by deciphering what is meant by the word 'beast.' In Revelation 13, the AntiChrist is described as a 'beast.' In Revelation 4,5 & 6 the four angels that stand around the throne of God are also described as 'beasts.'

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come
(Revelation 4:6-8).

If the angels that surround God's throne are 'beasts' and the AntiChrist is a 'beast' then it follows that the AntiChrist is a spiritual being, or fallen angel. But wait! There is so much more to this. In Daniel 7 is recorded a vision by the prophet Daniel of four 'beasts' which arose out of the sea (vs. 2). According to the interpretation given to Daniel, the beasts represent kings/kingdoms upon the earth. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth," and " thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth" (Daniel 7:17, 23). It should be noted that 'king' represents the office of the king, and not a particular king. Daniel was alive during the time of the Babylonian empire and at the beginning of the take over of Bablyon by the Medo-Persian empire. Both of these empires had several kings throughout their existence, so therefore the word 'king' does not refer to any specific king, but to the office of the king. So what we have now are prophecies in which 'beasts' represent fallen angels, the office of the kings, and kingdoms. It would seem then from Daniel 7, that the kingdoms represented in the prophecy, were under the control of demonic powers, through the office of the king.

To say that Obama is AntiChrist, is therefore to say that the office of the Presidency of the United States of America, is under the control of demonic forces. That would not only implicate Obama, but would also implicate any President that holds that office, for the control is not specific to a particular person, but only to whoever holds that office. I don't think the prophecy of either Daniel 7 or Revelation 13 is referring to America at all, and if it is not referring to America, then it does not apply! It is time to stop worrying about Obama being the AntiChrist.

Daniel 7 is referring to the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and Revelation 13 is referring to a worldwide religio-political system, which will be something new upon the earth (never existed before). Stay tuned for more as I next talk about the much talked about One World Government.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Devotional of the Week August 30-September 5

1 Timothy 2

1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time

Sometimes we think that people in high places such as politicians and government officials are beyond salvation because of their worldly office. Sometimes we think of people in political office as 'them' and ourselves as 'us.' We develop an adversarial attitude towards government leaders, and so it is an 'us' versus 'them' mentality at times. One the greatest tools we have on hand, which is so underutilized, is prayer. Prayer is not a passive activity or a copt out as people like to think, but is a powerful adjunct in effecting positive change.

Not only must we work for change, but we must also pray for change. Work and pray, work and pray -the two go together. We work for the salvation of others and we pray for the salvation of others. We pray, and God provides the opportunities and resources so that we can do the work we need to do. Praying and working however requires faith, for we must work with the belief that our prayers will be answered. Now that takes faith! Let us then continue to pray for each other, and do the work necessary for the saving of souls.

Music That's Good for the Soul

I've been listening to a lot of music lately, and scripture on CD. These days I am filling my mind with the things of God more than ever. In the morning, I put on Christian radio and listen to uplifting music while I get ready for work. In the car, more Christian music. During lunch I chill out with hot aromatic teas, and take a short walk outside to get some of those beneficial rays of the sun. In the evening, I put on my scripture CDs, and on weekends I relax with nature CDs. It's all about uplifting the soul beyond the mundane. It's about staying above and beyond the fray. It's about being thankful to God for all His benefits and the good things He has given to us to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

God's Care and Provision

Today something happened to me which showed me God's continued care and provision for me. I hope this will inspire and give faith to those who read, that God will take care of you.

Today I was stranded. I had just completed my last errand, when my car stalled and died. I thought, Oh no, this is going to be an expensive repair job. I am going to miss work tomorrow, and lose time. Why did this have to happen now that I am completely debt free except for my mortgage? Those were some of the negative thoughts that went through my mind, but then I thought, God will provide a way out for me.

So I took a chance. I called my neighbor, hoping against hope that he would be at home, and that he would be able to come to my rescue. I called, and yes, he was home! Not only was he at home, but it was his day off!

In about 1/2 hour my neighbor came to help me. Oh yes, I thought, now my troubles are over. What happened next however was more than I bargained for. My neighbor could not get the car to start! At that point I could not help but feel a little doomed, but we tried and tried and could not get it to start. Suddenly, out of the blue, a man walking his dog saw us, and started to shout out instructions on how to get my car started. To be honest, I was a little annoyed, because the advice he was giving was not producing results! I however thanked the man, and he offered to return back with a more powerful jumper cable to start my car. Well, I was not sure if he was going to return, but I kept praying, Lord Jesus, please let this car start. Well to my surprise, the man did come back with his jumper cable, and hooked up my car with not one, but with two cables! He then told me to go and start my car. I thought to myself, Wow! He really came back! This person must have been sent by God to help us! I went in my car, turned the key in the ignition, and voila! The car sputtered to life!

I am thankful to my neighbor who came, and the strange man who helped us. God sent to me the kindness of friends and strangers to help in a time of need. We can always put our trust in God to be there for us, in every situation.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Devotional of the Week August 23-29

Joshua 24:14-24

14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
16And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
17For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.
19And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
22And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
24And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day in which we choose life over death, love over hate, war over peace. Today is the day of choices, and represents a new opportunity to start over - fresh. Yesterday is gone, and tommorrow is not promised to any of us, but today we do have. Let us use today and value today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be Angry and Sin Not - The Key to Conflict Resolution

Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

As Christians, how we deal with conflict show the type of faith we have, and the type of persons we are. Conflict resolution and anger management is key to how we live here on earth with others, especially with those we are in disagreement with, or who are antagonistic against us.

Let me first begin by saying that anger as an emotion, is not a sin. Anger is a valid response when wrongful acts are committed. We all remember the account of when Jesus drove out the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem in anger (Matthew 21:12-13). He expressed what is called righteous indignation against the acts of thievery that were being committed in the house of God. Righteous indignation is anger that stirs you up to do something about something. It motivates us into action. The problem that most us have with anger however, is that many times our expression of anger leads us into sin.

Anger that causes you to commit a sinful act is wrong. Anger that causes you to commit an illegal act contrary to the law of God is wrong. Anger that causes you to hate is wrong. Anger that causes you to pay back evil with evil is wrong. Anger that causes you to lose control of yourself, and say and do things that you will regret later, is wrong. How then can we use anger in a postive way that does not cause us to sin? How can we channel that anger into something good and productive?

The answer to the above questions all lie with motive. What motives you to do what you do? That is the question to ask. Is your anger being motivated by love or by hate? Is your anger being motivated by the desire for what is right, or by fear of being wrong? Are you quick to fly off the handle, or do you weigh the facts before becoming upset? Is your anger all about controlling others or is it because you have a fear of being controlled? Do you take matters into your own hands because you do not trust 'the system' to do what is right, or do you defer to 'the system'? I tell you, anger that is motivated by hate, fear, lack of trust, impatience, spite, insubordination, and so on will result in negative consequences. A quiet anger that is slow and not hasty, that weighs the facts, that is motivated by love, and that acts within the scope of its authority will produce good results. When Jesus drove out the money changers, it was not just something that He suddenly decided to do on the spur of the moment. The thievery had been going on for a long time - for years. He had been preaching about righteous living for three-and-one-half years now, but apparently, His message had no impact on the temple merchants. He therefore acted within His authority as the One who created the Temple system of worship, to clean up the Temple system of worship. Because of this one act, many churches, even today, are reluctant to have any type of buying/selling or commerce within their sanctuary walls.

To conclude then, let us learn to control our anger and not let our anger control us. Be angry and sin not!

Follow Up to Antidote to Stress and Message of Hope

True to my intuitive feelings, this week has turned out to be a dangerous one on the world scene. What with the heightened violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, the threat of Hurricane Bill to the Florida coast, the continued heightened state of threats from both sides of the health care debate, plus other going ons worldwide too numerous to mention.

I think now is our time as Christians to show leadership in how to deal with problems in a positive way. Many times we give in to despair and fear when facing problems or potiential problems, instead of facing them with faith. We Christians have a long history of facing fear with faith, and yet somehow we seemed to have lost that skill. It is time for us to find again and exercise our God-given gifts for conflict resolution. We need to learn how to face life challenges with love, faith, hope, and perserverance, and not give in to despair.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Message of Hope

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7).

This is the message God wanted me to share these past few weeks, to all you readers here to my blog. May we learn to rest in His love, because "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18, NKJV). We have so much to fear in this world. Fear of the known, and fear of the unknown. Some of our fears are real, and some are imaginary. In any case, fear causes great distress. On the other hand, love is motivating and calls to action. Love strengthens us even if we feel weak. Therefore, as we go about this week, let our actions, words, and thoughts be dictated by love, and not fear.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Antidote to Stress

Mostly recently I have been feeling quite stressed out. In the last couple of weeks, I have lost some of my calm and balanced demeanor, and am filled with a sense of impending changes that tend to negativity. Honestly, I do not think it has anything to do with me personally. Nothing in my life has changed for the worse, and everything is still good - but I just can't shake that feeling...

I guess I'm not the only one feeling this way. It is quite difficult to keep positive these days. Everytime one turns on the TV or radio, one is beseiged with an excessive amount of negative reporting. One solution would be to just turn it all off and ignore it, but that would not a good course of action, as what goes on the world DOES affects us, whether we know it or not. Maybe this is God's way of making me face certain situations and getting more involved. Maybe there is a need right now for me to take my message further.

Sometimes I feel as if humanity right now is just falling into an abyss of hopelessness, and that we are all just stabbing in the dark. I believe however that the time has come for a clearer direction, as people are searching for the light and cannot find it. I believe the time has come for us to focus on what is really true and meaningful, and put our hopes in the things that will last for all eternity. Let us then not get bogged down with the cares of this world, which produces STRESS, but instead fill our minds with good and positive things, and open our hearts to receive the love of God. We need to learn how to deal with our problems in a positive way, instead of indulging in negativity.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phillipians 4:4-8)

Devotional of the Week August 16-22

Proverbs 2:1-11

1My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
6For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
10When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adam's Rib

Genesis 2:18-23

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Many of us are familiar with the Biblical account of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam. In this account, God uses genetic material from Adam to create a genetically matched female partner for Adam. Mention of this rib in scripture has lead men to investigate whether or not men have one less rib than women. Much to their disappointment however, it was found that men and women have exactly the same number of ribs - twenty four. So what happened? Did Adam have 25 ribs and God used one to make 24 ribs for Eve? The answer to that question may be very surprising, and is a known occurrence within the medical community.

About 1 in 500 people, approximately 0.2% of people are born with an extra short rib found in the neck, called a cervical rib (1). This cervical rib is considered an abnormality, because ribs are not normally found in neck region of the spine, and it is one cause of the medical condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (2)(3). Thoracic outlet syndrome causes pain in the shoulder region and numbness/tingling in the hand due to the compression of the blood vessels and nerves leaving the neck(4)(5).

So is this cervical rib the evidence of Adam's rib? Did Adam genetically pass on this feature to some members of the human race? It seems like the more we study science and the more we study the Bible, that we can see the truth of God, even in nature.



(3) Richardson JK, Iglarsh ZA. Clinical Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: W.B Saunders Company, 1994.

(4) Richardson JK, Iglarsh ZA. Clinical Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: W.B Saunders Company, 1994.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Devotional of the Week August 9-15

Psalm 95

1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Devotional of the Week August 2-8

Psalm 78:5-17 (King James Version)

5For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
6That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
8And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
9The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
10They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
12Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
14In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.

Miracles had become common-place in Israel. People were so used to seeing miracles that they were taking them for granted. The miracles did nothing to increase their faith in God, but only served to make them believe that God would do anything for them, even while living in disobedience. They kept pushing the proverbial envelop more and more to see how much God would allow before He became angry with them.

We too sometimes act the same way as these ancient Israelites. God keeps providing for us in miraculous ways everyday, and yet we still doubt His ability to take care of us. We keep complaining about how times are hard and difficult, and yet, very rarely do we stop and give thanks for all that we do have. Do you know that here in America we are among the top 10% richest people in the world? Then why is it that we are so dissatisfied with life? In other countries, where people have much less than what we have, they have learnt to be content with what they have, and to find satisfaction in life, even in the midst of harsh economical and political climates. What is their secret? Trusting God and being thankful for all His blessings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Sin of Onan: A Case Against Contraception?

Most recently I was on another blog discussing reproductive issues as it relates to Christianity with fellow Catholic and Protestant believer friends. The question of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) came up, and a Catholic blogger was against IVF because it dissociates the unitive aspect of reproduction (copulation) from procreation, which is a sin for Catholics. For Catholics, sex and procreation go together, and must not be separate. One blogger who was not Catholic, cited the passage in Genesis 38 as proof that copulation without procreation was forbidden in scripture - the sin of Onan. Below is the scriptural account:

Genesis 38:6-10, NIV:

6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.

My question is this: Did God strike down Onan because he practiced contraception (withdrawal method) or did God strike him down because he disobeyed the law regarding raising up seed for the dead? What are your thoughts?