Saturday, September 4, 2021

What was Joseph's reaction to the news of Mary's pregnancy?

The answer will depend on whether you follow later “Church Fathers” and medieval myth or read the Bible as a historic document in its original Hebrew and Greek for the Jewish audience it was originally intended for. The Gentile Church after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE interpreted the NT in a way to conform to Hellenistic and semi-pagan culture. This took for granted that demi-gods were the product of gods like Zeus descending on 15 year old virgins and producing demi-gods. 

Dionysus, alleged son of Zeus and Persephone
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_demigods

Jerome was obsessed with virginity and the Virgins of Rome. (Rome would disappear if there were no more Vestal Virgins.) He said both Joseph and Mary were perpetual virgins. He made matters worse with mistranslations from Greek to Latin in his Vulgate NT.



How would a Jew, a believer in Jesus Christ, read the Greek NT?
1. He would understand Hebrew marriage was different from Roman marriage or modern marriage. Genealogy dominated all society among the 12 tribes. That is why the NT starts with Christ’s pedigree and the Hebrew scriptures in their order ends with Chronicles. The Messiah had to be a lineal descendent of David, John 7:42 and as Paul says Romans 1:3.

2. Parents therefore arranged marriages of their young children. When they reached their teens and first maturity the girl and boy could agree and they were ‘betrothed’ by a ceremony of qiddushin or erusin. This meant they were married in the sense that only a divorce ( a ‘get’) could break the bond. (Far different from present day ‘engagement’). The girl still lived at her father’s house until the bridegroom had built a home for her and was ready to assume all duties of its head of household. Then he called for her and the community to celebrate the wedding in a ceremony called nisu’in, the ‘home-coming’ or ‘coming together’ mentioned several times in the NT in Matt 25, Revelation etc.

3. When the NT says Joseph and Mary (Mariam in the Greek) were betrothed it means they were married according to the Hebrew custom. Once the girl/ woman left her father’s home the couple could enjoy their marriage and man became fully her husband. The nisu’in was an extra ceremony. For Joseph it was not normally possible to bring Mariam to Bethlehem, because as the hereditary home of King David it had been destroyed by Herod, who saw all Davidic descendants as enemies to his claim as king under the Romans. The NT says there was ‘no place’ there. Only shepherds were allowed there. Then Herod used the Roman registration decree to get Davidic claimants to register in Bethlehem. It was highly dangerous for Joseph. More so for Mariam who was both old and pregnant, Luke 1:36. God, through an angel, told Joseph ‘not to be afraid to take your wife with you,’ Mt 1:20, because the child was conceived according to God’s plan.

4. Matt ch 1:18 says: (a) they were betrothed, that is married in our sense. (b) Before their ‘coming together’ Mariam was found to be pregnant by God’s grace of his spiritual action. The term ‘coming together’ refers to nisu’in the celebration of the community at the bridegroom’s home. It is used both in Hebrew and Greek secular literature to mean the ceremony of a bridegroom taking his new wife to his home and the community coming together to celebrate it. The next verse has nothing to do with divorce. The Greek word means putting aside, that is putting her in a safe place and avoiding a long journey during pregnancy and possible death by Herod’s men.

5. To create the virgin conception myth, v 25 was distorted or misunderstood by the early Gentile church. It was ripped out of the chronological sequence. They ignored the Jewish and Christian culture.

And he did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son.

Read the context. Mariam was already pregnant. Jewish purity law forbade intercourse with a pregnant woman. If this occurred the legalists could say the child was not pure. This was especially important for Joseph and Mariam and any claim to priesthood and royalty of their offspring. Early Christian/Nazarene writings take the same view about forbidding intercourse once the wife is pregnant.

6. Joseph and Mariam would clearly be both shocked and delighted that they were to have a child as they were both in their old age, Luke 1:36, and it was a miracle as was the child Isaac of Abraham and Sarah and many other faithful couple in the Bible. Children in old age is a sign of God’s hand. In Jewish law a woman is considered a virgin before she menstruates. An old woman who is past her menopause is also considered to be a virgin for the purposes of her fulfilling the laws of purity called Niddah described in Leviticus 12 (=Luke 2:22) and Lev 15:19ff.

7. The semi-pagan Roman-instituted church of Constantine wanted nothing to do with the Jews. Medieval followers of Jerome etc confused the NT history with that of Hellenistic deities and hang-ups about virgins because the Greek and especially Hebrew scriptures were forbidden. The Latin Vulgate was gibberish to many priests and their parishioners. Hebrew scrolls were burnt. Translations into local languages were forbidden on pain of death. Ignorance reigned.

8. The Bible is quite clear about the two spheres of begettal. One is that of humans in marriage. Christ explained that a spiritual, second begettal was possible through the Spirit of God, John 3, to Nicodemus. The confusion caused by the pagans who claimed to be Christians has hidden this greatest truth from present-day, would-be followers of the Eternal God. The authentic documents are recorded more fully at "Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple" N54final version and in the paper version.


Monday, August 2, 2021

Why I am discontented with Robert Kuhn's 'Closer to Truth'

The Mission of getting Closer to Truth

I can't say that I have listened to all Robert Kuhn's series in his format called Closer To Truth. There is a vast library now of 3500 videos of the world's greatest thinkers. Over the years I dipped into quite a few. Overall Robert Kuhn has done a magnificent job in covering such a range of views and expertise that is rarely found with such sympathetic yet probing integrity. His interviews cover physicists, biologists, scientists, philosophers, theologians, historians and many scientific disciplines of all hues.

I found them all interesting in that they were interviews with specialists and experts but I came away dissatisfied with almost all of them.

Why? 

True and whole Science

I found that they lacked a coherent scientific structure. Academic disciplines are becoming more and more separated into silos and few experts can have the vision of an overview from the heavens to the deep analysis of the infinitesimal detail. Silo-hopping results in lack of overall cohesion. Then there were failings of internal logic, which is natural. As humans we are all reluctant to yield our own prejudice for pure fact and logic. This is especially the case when it comes to theological foundations of knowledge. Materialistic liberalism infuses much modern thought, even (or especially!) among theologians. Iron needs to sharpen iron, but the right sort of iron is needed to make a sharp blade to bring overall satisfaction. Some borrow extradisciplinary iron that is already rusty.

Theology creates the big divide in academia, where the predominant philosophy disdains it. Knowledge of God requires logically obedience to God as our Creator. Or at least reverence and awe. Skeptics disparage moral laws. Or to put it another way, those who refuse the Ten Commandments call themselves atheists or excuse themselves with a religious label. What is their conscientious objection? 

True science requires a pure conscience. A persistent, pure conscience can also break empires. The conscience of Judeo-Christian believers in DDR, Hungary, Poland and Russia brought the downfall of the atheistic USSR. It showed Marxism was unscientific. The Politburo was biased. It banned free discussion of the spiritual, or non-materialism. Education in Museums of Atheism did not work.

Today, however, the West is still suffering from USSR's ideological attacks and materialism that emptied churches and more. Soviet propaganda undermining society structures was long-lasting. Now the more subtle Chinese atheism and autocracy produces thousands of choking weeds. But even media and internet censorship in USA will not stop the quest for truth. There may be more professing Christians in China than in Europe.             

Origin of modern Science

The scientific method derives from classical reform theology. In our modern era, the Hon Robert Boyle in the 17th century and later the Royal Society laid down personal rules that a searcher for truth must make sure that his conscience is absolutely clear of prejudice, and preconceptions. Experiments must be totally impartial. Facts and logic should provide the answers. The early scientists learned logic from the Bible -- for example debunking apparent contradictions by testing multiple hypotheses. They also compared the standard Roman Catholic belief and myths with historic documents now published and translated into the common languages for the first time. The vast collection of papal claims made over a millennium were exposed as frauds. 

Today our knowledge is increased in many areas. (In some other areas it has declined, such as the motor motive of science that there is one truth and fraud should be exposed and rejected.) The ideology of the popes is replaced by a Darwinistic / neo-Marxist premise (both failed theories). That results in false conclusions that everything evolved or economics dictates all human history and knowledge.

It is not progress to turn all phenomena into mindless, purposeless materialism. Such nonsense permeates the whole framework of present day thought. It represents the greatest danger to civilization -- materialism, only matter is important, not the spiritual world. Did electrons evolve to create Dark Energy, did amoebas grow to become elephants? Was it a triumph of workers over capitalists? Class warfare failed, so atheistic Marxists turn to race wars as the new Dialectical materialism.

Use your brain!

All civilizations knew that human mind is different from rocks and chemicals and far superior in its potential to the animal brain. The whale does not do better at mathematics or astronomy because its brain is seven or eight times bigger than man's 1300 gms. Or an elephant brain with 256 billion neurons, three times more than a human.

On the other hand some birds can circumnavigate the whole planet and find their way home. The aptly named godwit, shaped like a high tech fighter aircraft, travels from Alaska to New Zealand in one go, and later flies back across oceans. No stops for food.

Some humans get lost in their own city. Could you manage two non-stop trips totalling 29,000 kms?

The godwit reduces the size of its internal organs to make space for fuel. Its brain size? The whole bird weighs about 300 gms -- and its brain must be just a couple of grams. Butterflies also travel across oceans and back.   

 

Big Picture

The search for truth must take all new facts and conclusions into account.

What new knowledge needs to be integrated?

The great scientists of its modern foundation period knew man was a spiritual being. They applied this knowledge. Newton and William Whiston, his successor as Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, John Wilkins, cryptologist, philosopher, Anglican bishop and first Secretary of the Royal Society, John Ray the pioneering biologist, and many others were fervent Christians. Science boomed because they were scientists in mind and spirit. Ray like Paley described how each creature was finely constructed for its own good purpose. The Bible animated all their researches. The same can be said for the next generations, such as Faraday and Maxwell who electrified our present society. Their electromagnetic wave theory is based on 'spiritual fields'. The designs of God indicate his purpose and plan but also act as a spearhead to new discoveries.

Your God is too small

No-God atheists and small-minded ministers need to stretch their minds to the reality of Creation and obviously the Creator. 

We know now that the Universe is far more magnificent and vast than any could have imagined. It stretches 14 or 15 billion light years to the visible rim. Who knows what lies beyond it?  The maximum speed of 74 km/second for a rocket was achieved by the Juno probe to Jupiter using the slingshot of gravitational assist. It would take such a probe 15 billion x 300,000 x 31.56 million seconds divided by 74 -- 6 trillion years -- to reach the rim of the universe and peak into what is beyond our visible sighting of stars. I can't wait that long.

The voyage is likely to be lonely. Even though the universe is dotted with stars and many may have planets, the Earth is the only known planet in our solar system and beyond where we know there is life such as bacteria. But we see good and negative spiritual forces in battle all day long. 

As we look deeper we find that the Earth has not only an extraordinary abundance of life but it is in forms that earlier man had could not imagine. Life exists in the deepest oceans and in the upper atmosphere. The simplest of cells, seen through microscopes, is as well organized as a massive city. But a cell has powers that go far beyond it. It can search for chemical foodstock. It can reproduce. It can make other cities. 

Each of the creatures on earth can tell us a lesson about how to live, care for young or not, or avoid our predatory enemies. They are education. We have a book of wisdom written in Nature. Modern technologies look to Nature's original design to find new designs and inspirations. 

Diseases caused by man's foolishness find their therapeutic solutions in Nature. The Nobel-prize-winning therapeutic Ivermectin, a powerful world-changing corrective and preventative to viruses (including in practice corona viruses), was found in the soil of a golf course in Japan by Satoshi Omura. It is one of the most tested, effective and cheapest of drugs. Then 'science' changed. Today the 'science' of its use may be distorted by profits of Big Pharma or a globalist agenda of those like WHO. 

A detailed View

Let's go smaller. Small, small fingers are required.

Last century's scientists started off by believing that the fundamental building blocks of our world, whether atoms or then atomic particles, would be simple systems. (atom= Greek indivisible) We could then work out the Lego construction of the universe.

The truth turned out to be far more complex, as is all nature. A whole zoo of particles and anti-particles, quarks, neutrinos, photons and strange and beautiful beasts act both as waves and particles. But they all work well and the average citizen does not have to look 'under the hood' to see how the material world works. Complexity and functionality is everywhere in harmony.

The universe is founded in wisdom down to the smallest detail we can figure out.

A pair of the smallest particles retain an intimate interconnection. When a human observes and measures one, the other, perhaps now at the far reaches of a galaxy, 'knows' and reacts faster than light travels. Man's decision-making affects the physical characteristics of the universe in ways we are only beginning to understand. Man operates on a spiritual plane. The human mind acts beyond the material physics.

From the least particle to the entire spread of the universe each brings a lesson to Mankind. The Great Creator God will not fit into man's box of experiences. From the stuff a billionth of a centimeter to that billions of light years, all give a lesson: if we wish we can grow in knowledge, wisdom and maturity. But silo academics must abandon 'Greek' thinking about atoms, universal measures of time and space to come to truth.

Truth, then what?

The crux of my remarks here would be to pose the question: where does one start?

Information, it has now been shown to the satisfaction of astrophysicists, can survive a Black Hole collision. Information existed before the beginning of the Universe 14 or so billion years ago. An impartial look at the existence of humankind and human observation of nature shows that it involves not only information but knowledge (from whence we deduce our sciences) and wisdom -- which is necessary for human maturity, the building of virtuous character.

Therefore all scientific analysis must start with the Wisdom Giver. Even the skeptics think they are wise. Usually groups of humans become unwise.

The early scientists were Jews or Christians but they shunned organised religion. Newton's researches led him to reject the pagan trinity. Whiston was expelled from Cambridge because of 'heresy'! Others adhered to obscure congregations of believers or were known as non-conformists and unitarians like many of America's founding fathers. They did not conform to crowd psychology. They rejected the church that absorbed paganism. They searched for truth and paid the price for non-conformity to errors. That showed that their pure conscience was fundamental to science and faith in God. Which scientist today is persecuted? Which scientist is not influenced by peer pressure or by grants from industry or government? Which real scientists are able to teach or debate in group-think universities?

After analyzing the proofs of God and how the atheistic skeptic refused them, Whiston concluded that biblical prophecy was paramount. He foretold in the 1700s, based on the Bible, that Jews would rebuild their homeland in Israel. A Temple would be built. The first happened in 1948, despite centuries of skeptics saying it was impossible. The second is yet to come. 

Diamond quality

Why did I feel unsatisfied with Closer to Truth? Getting close to truth is a start. Truth merely excludes the false. Wisdom is better than knowledge; knowledge is better than information, information is better than data. A diamond is more valuable than raw carbon. 

I was taught that Wisdom is the principle thing. Above all seek wisdom. Awe of the Eternal is the beginning of wisdom. 

 

 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

David Hume and the problem of Evil


Question: 

If God exists and loves us, why can't He just appear and say, "Here I am, is there anything you need?"  

Answer:
Babies like adult humans need to grow up. 

GIMME, GIMME, GIMMEEEEE!
is no way to run a single life. Nor is it a way to run a family. Even less a community or the planet. That is not the planned destiny the Creator, as parent, has set for us.

Humans learn how to grow up from:

(a) their senses and experiences,

(b) Education and discernment of others -- the accumulation of good experience and wisdom,

(c) divine revelation. 

The three aspects teach us ethics and morality. That is the road to maturity to live with the Creator and the Creation. We should use our coggin to work this proof out. We can see the effects on individuals and in societies that abandon natural law and divine teachings for Gimmee, Gimmee, Gimmee. 

Why then do we experience pain and evil? To learn and mature. Some pain is caused by others wrongly abusing their freedoms. Sometimes natural events cause us upsets and hurt. And we all die in the end. Death brings pain but after death is the judgement.

Why does Evil exist?

The Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) advancing his scepticism about the existence of God.  His “problem of evil” notion has sometimes become a positive argument for atheism. It goes something like this: 

1) If God is willing to prevent evil, but not able, then he is impotent.

2) If he is able, but not willing, then he is malevolent.

3) If he is both able and willing, then why is there any evil?

4) If God exists, there would be no evil in the world.

5) There is evil in the world; therefore, an all-powerful, beneficent God does not exist.

Let’s consider (1) God turning his eyes away from human suffering; (2) not willing to help humans (3) continuance of evil although God is powerful (4) God if he exists must eradicate evil from the world (5) evil exists therefore God does not.

There is an old Jewish story about a wanderer who lived by hunting.  He wished God would provide a way where he could stay at home.

If God existed, I would be able to stay here and be fed, he said. (1)

A wise man arrived. He said to the man: ‘Open your hands’ and he poured into his hands a pile of what looked like grains of sand. ‘Here’s your answer,’ he said.

‘What should I do with them?’ the man asked.  ‘You see that ground over there? Go and scatter the grains there.’ (2) Was he being malevolent?

‘What do I do then?’ asked the man. ‘You get a stick and make sure every single grain is covered with soil,’ said the wise man. The man thought that is both stupid and an evil waste of time and loss of the grains. ‘I will never be able to find them again.’ (3)

‘Then what do I do?’ asked the man. ‘You leave them,’ said the wise man. ‘How long?’ asked the man. ‘Several months’ said the wise man. The man therefore began to think that the wise man was crazy or evil. (3)

Several months later he noticed green shoots breaking the soil surface everywhere he had scattered the grain. ‘What do I do now?’ he asked. ‘Wait some more,’ said the wise man.

After several months, the shoots grew into a tall plant with a stalk that looked like it might be of use. ‘What should I do now?’ ‘Cut them all down with a sharp knife,’ said the wise man.  ‘They will all be useless then,’ said the man. (4) Nevertheless he did it. ‘What now?’ ‘Shake the stalks vigorously and smash the heads of the stalks with stones!’ (5) ‘Throw them all in the air. Let the light stuff blow away!”

‘And now?’ ‘Separate the powder from the stalks.’ ‘May I eat it?’ ‘No. You should mix it with water and flatten the paste.’ ‘May I eat it now?’ ‘No. Prepare a fire and plunge the flattened paste into the heat.’ ‘That will completely destroy it!’

The man did as he was told.

 Then, as instructed, he withdrew the paste and it had become solid and smelt wonderfully.

‘Now you may eat the Bread of Life,’ said the wise man.

What distinguishes a wise man from Hume is Information and knowledge about the purpose of life.

  • We seem to be small and insignificant,
  • we are buried and seemingly lost by the powerful of the world,
  • we are abandoned and forgotten,
  • when we rise, we are cut down,
  • when we are stand erect, we are cut, shaken and seemingly crushed with stones,
  • then we seem drowned in further tests, and
  • burned in the fires of adversity.

But in the end we have affirmed our purpose to uphold truth, honesty and reverence for our Creator.

Hume did not seem to apply reason to why God gave him a brain, where logic came from and how information requires that an Information-giver started an organised, purposeful universe. His life and purpose was foreseen in the very design and foundation of the Universe before it even began. It is why you are reading this.   

Remember the message. Wheat grain was designed from the foundation of the world for a purpose. So were you. The message requires our free will response to God's in action: love to God and our neighbor. That is maturity. That requires real character.



 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Bamboozled after 1000 years of Mariolatry? Check the Bible!

Astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote:

If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken in. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Paul wrote: 'To whom you yield yourself servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey,' Rom 6:16. 

What to do? We are told by Simon Peter to 'Obey God, not man' Acts 5:29. We should seek the truth and obey it, not man.

It is a dangerous path even for an astrophysicist to submit himself to an atheistic dogma instead of keeping an open mind. It is like propelling yourself into a cul-de-sac and then complaining there is no way forward.

When it comes to a relationship with the Creator, we cannot give up in our search for the truth. How can we be sure of the truth of biblical Christianity, free from propaganda and disinformation? 

Check the Bible. Prove all things. Avoid shuttered thinking.

 The Roman Catholic Mary

Original 'Christianity' is vastly different from that a few centuries later. The Roman Empire subjected its population to a sustained disinformation campaign. Thus a church arose that tried to absorb the beliefs of Christ and the apostles of the first century into its deeply pagan framework. 

The early believers did not even call themselves 'Christian'. This was a term invented by their opponents at Antioch as Acts 11:26 records. 

Since the time that a form of 'Christianity' became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the imperial authorities centralised doctrine in a way that drew in the masses. Thus the Roman Catholic Church became a mixture of paganism including myths of Greek, Roman and Egyptian demigods with a veneer of Christianity. At the same time the church remained antisemitic so the Hebrew Scriptures were despised, banned and burned. Jewish Christians were declared heretics.



Thus the Catholic dogma of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) arose. It had more in common with Greek pagan legends than Hebrew history and custom. Mary, or Mariam as the NT calls her, should be given due respect. But this version had little in common with the Bible. She was transformed into a plaster model of the Greek goddess, Artemis, the Queen of Heaven. The theme of the virgin goddess with child is common throughout all paganism from China to the West. It is denounced in the Bible. 

Once the BVM falsehood was entrenched as a doctrine, how was it sustained against questions by the few who had access to the New Testament? By bad logic and subterfuge. Up to quite recently Roman Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible and only listen to their priests. Why? The Bible makes nonsense of the doctrine of the forever virginal Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

One example is John 8:38 41, the incident when Jesus was in the Temple and confronted by people who wanted to kill him. They say that 'We are not the children of fornication.' 

Ah ha, say the Roman Catholics, obviously they thought Jesus was a child of fornication because he was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joseph was not his father.

Bad logic! It is amazing how such illogicalities persist. If someone says to you: ‘I am not a thief’, does that mean that you are a thief? If he says 'I am not an idol-worshipper,' does that mean you are?

Some Pharisees were of dubious birth. That created jealousy compared with the stricter Sadducees on Temple matters. They were shamed by the undeniability of Christ’s legitimate pedigree as both King and Priest. Jesus was perfect in all his generations. The Hebrew Scriptures, Tanak, finish with the genealogies of Chronicles and the NT begins with the genealogy from there to Christ. Above all Christ was true to his ancestors' faith in God, unpolluted by the devil. The Pharisees not only perverted the truth but wanted to kill the son of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David, a personage prophesied throughout the Scriptures as the Anointed, Dt 18:18 and 17:14.

The spirit of murder showed they were not legitimate, even though they might be sons of Abraham. It was the spirit of the devil.

Three proofs

How do I know the Roman Catholic interpretation is incorrect? I will give you three proofs. Jesus spoke inside the Temple and taught priests inside the Court of Priests. The Torah in Deut 23:2 says that

No bastard (mamzer – someone of unproven pedigree) shall enter the Court of Israel surrounding the Temple – on pain of death.

And no Israelite other than Levitical priests could enter the Court of Priests. Furthermore, no offspring of such a person may enter the Temple for TEN generations. If as Catholics say Jesus maintained he had no earthly father then he would be dead if he tried to enter the Temple, dispatched by the armed Temple guards. To claim that he was like the pagan demigods and was the offspring of a virgin and Zeus/ Jupiter was an even surer way to oblivion if he crossed into the precincts of the Temple.

The word of a future emperor

Secondly, the Romans under Julius Caesar when they made a treaty with the Jews respected the right for them to forbid all foreigners and mamzers from the Temple.

This continued until the very date of the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. We have the witness of Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, recorded in Josephus.

Josephus Wars Bk 6,2,4 (124):

Titus was deeply affected and reproached {those in the Temple}:

Have not you, vile wretches that you are, by our permission, put up this partition wall before your sanctuary? Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging, at due distances, and to engrave in Greek and in your own letters, this prohibition, that no foreigner should go beyond the wall.

Have we not given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman?

Proof in stone

Thirdly, those massive stone warnings, written in Greek and Latin (and Hebrew for the Court of Priests) were repeated every few meters. They said in bold red letters that anyone entering (a) the Court of Israel who was not an authentic Israelite (verified for ten generations) and (b) anyone who was not an authentic Levite (verified over ten generations) would be killed and their death was their own fault.

This is my facsimile of it.

 It says:

Nobody at all of alien racial stock may proceed within the balustrade surrounding the sanctuary and the encompassing court. Whoever ventures inside will be responsible for his death that will ensue.

The original stone 90cm by 60 cm by 30 cm was discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. It is now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. Another piece of such a Warning Stone has also been uncovered.

The reluctance of the churches to draw the right conclusions about the Catholic BVM dogma shows how deeply disinformation over a millennium by the RCC is hard to shift.

If modern 'Christianity' is all based on a false premise, then what is it really? BAMBOOZLED. 

If 'scientists' and modern theologians believe that the miracles of Christ and his resurrection could not happen, then they are denying the evidence and are equally bamboozled.


 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Science before our Science proves an all-knowing God

 The God of the Universe is the Information Giver


Carl Sagan, the cosmologist, was a well-known and vocal advocate of science over religion. Science, for him, was 'a candle in the dark in the demon-haunted world.' 

By that Carl Sagan wanted to replace all religions by 'science'. 

It is true the world is full of superstition and lies. Clear thinking and logic is needed to disentangle the knots and see the truth. That logical, analytical process is today called science. 

Sagan did not believe in loving, all-powerful, wise God. At best he considered himself as a pantheist.  Why?

Is his true science? Can we call Sagan a real scientist? Sagan was keen to show how small mankind was as a dot on a planet that is a dot in a solar system that is insignificant as one of innumerable galaxies across the untold vastness of space.

Where Sagan failed was to assume that any brain could not be greater than man's brain; no constructor could be greater than man's arm; no force greater than the explosive inventions his mind could conceive.

That is a pretty pathetic analysis. It is scarcely comparable to ant any regarding the Great Pyramid of Giza or a moon rocket on its return trajectory. 

What is impossible for an ant brain and its physical limitations, should tell us to search for bigger minds and vaster physical capabilities far beyond our own imagination.

The existence of that power is beyond doubt.

At the start: Information

Science is based on first establishing a sound premise that all can agree on. Then add perceived facts, make some theories and do some testing.

I start with the fact that information exists. That is fundamental to all science. How did it arise? What is its cause? Scientists should deduce by the laws of causality that information came from the Information Giver, some super-intelligent being. 

What do those on earth learn? No earthy power, including death, is greater than love. That is a main message from the Information Giver to all earthlings. Animals, even, show that love to their offspring. That concept reaches far beyond the physics of the universe. It poses questions that no physicist can answer from physics.

Logically then Sagan did not believe in real science. He was a bamboozler. He is building his exposition on something less substantial than air.

All information whether about galaxies, humans, plants, cars or how to make atomic bombs came from the original information made before the universe began. Wikipedia and Britannica too. If the information did not exist before the universe began, then we would not exist nor be able to brush our teeth because the specific materials would not exist or be available at hand.

A single strand of DNA has as much information as an encyclopedia -- 1.5 Gbytes. DNA has been artificially manipulated to produce coded messages and successfully sent to a recipient in Europe. Sherlock Holmes now needs a laboratory! The human body alone with its 100 trillion cells contains 150 Zettabytes (ten followed by 21 noughts). https://bitesizebio.com/8378/how-much-information-is-stored-in-the-human-genome/  

Three spheres of Information

There are three spheres of information to explain: mathematics, the laws of physics, and the moral law that allows us to judge other’s actions and thoughts (and if we are honest our own.)  The human default mode is not to judge ourselves, especially when we recognize human deceit in others.

These three dimensions of knowledge were described by John Wilkins the first Secretary of the Royal Society (of Newton, Boyle, Wren etc.) in London in the late 1600s. Atheists have had more than three centuries to explain how this happens.

Scientists already accept these as the founding premises of science.  All scientists believe that the universe is governed by laws in these three spheres of information. True scientists not only adhere to the laws of information but go further. Science confirms that an effect B derives from an earlier one A. Information that is omnipresent in our world, they deduce, comes from an Information Giver. When we say that that Information Giver = God, then we can say that all true scientists can be called theists. 

Atheists are not scientists. They adhere to the laws of logic and deduction but on physical matters. But there they stop. They refuse to accept an Information Giver in the moral sphere. That defies logic. It shows they are not impartial. They are prejudiced at a step that can affect their lives with a major scientific conclusion. If they do not accept the universality of these laws, mathematical, physical and moral, they do not understand science. 

Science proves its conclusions by mathematics, physical observation of objects and in the human sciences showing the success and failures of individuals and societies by moral law. But atheists say 'When it comes to me, there is an exception. I do not have to submit to a conclusion that will affect my life style.' They throw up spurious, unscientific arguments, logically inconsistent with their avowed process. 

Wilkins was, among many other things, a cryptographer and well knew that what seems gibberish to some people contains a message from a real information giver.

The moral message of the Information Giver passes through all the noise and human gibberish. 
God has a Plan for us all. God is Love. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Conjunctions, the Bethlehem Star Prophecy and Precision Astrophysics

Humankind needs to learn humility when gazing at the stars and planets. It is clear that mankind was not their maker. What man can make is insignificant, even in relation to our own home.

But I disagree with those that say the Stars and Planets do not have significance. They speak for the Great Creator and Information Giver who first designed and then made them all.

Pleiades

Let us go to one of the signs of the Hebrew zodiac: the Pleiades, Hebrew Kimah

The Eternal God asked Job out of a whirlwind, Job 38:31:

Can you fasten the harness of Pleiades? (New Jerusalem)

Can you bind fast the cluster Pleiades? (Bullinger) 

Can you bind the sweet influences of Pleiades? (KJV)

The Pleiades are known as the Seven Sisters. What does it mean fastening or binding them? Only recently the most powerful telescopes make it clear. Imperceptibly to the naked eye they are moving closer together. This data was collected from massive earth telescopes in Australia and elsewhere and combined with recent data from the Gaia space satellite launched in 2013.

Careful measurements with the Gaia space telescope and others show the stars of the Pleiades are slowly moving in the sky. One star, Pleione, is now so close to the star Atlas they look like a single star to the naked eye.

But if we take what we know about the movement of the stars and rewind 100,000 years, Pleione was further from Atlas and would have been easily visible to the naked eye.

The writer of the book of Job had magnificent eyes or maybe, as the book says, someone listened to the Great Information Giver who made the stars.

Orion

What about the other part of the verse about Orion, Hebrew Kesil:

Can you loosen great Orion's bands?

The three stars of Orion's belt are a line-of-sight constellation. Two stars may now be shown to look like they are approaching each other while the third is drifting out of the arrangement and may eventually break up the three-star line-up completely.

Arcturus

Next verse:

Can you guide Arcturus and his sons?

Highly unusually Arcturus, Hebrew Aysh, has a stream of 52 stars connected to it. That was discovered in 1971. Equally unusually Arcturus, one of the greatest stars in the universe, is a runaway. It has a speed of 257 miles a second. That compares with the normal under 25 miles per second and our own sun's 12 1/2 miles a second.

Arcturus and his sons are all on their own course at rip-neck speed.

Can the movement of Planets, Stars and Constellations predict the future? Can they show events of the past?

Humans have no ability to move stars. Their course can be worked out by the eternal laws of mathematics and physics. We have a sure means to see how their position predicted events before, when and after such notable events happened. Humans have no excuse for not paying attention.


 Eternal God, creator of the Universe

Humans are subject to error and tempted by deliberate deceit. Humans cannot muck with movement of the planets, comets and stars. That was the reason that Kepler, Newton, Whiston and other believing scientists tried to determine what, when and where was the Star of Bethlehem.
The heavens have an extraordinary, clear and unambiguous message. But what is it? We should not seek it in pagan, Chaldean astrology.
What does the Bible say? What is the configuration of the heavens in the autumn of 3/2 BCE?
Astronomers in the past could work this out. Many people in the early centuries were far more skilled and literate in astronomy and its real significance than people today -- in spite of so-called popular astrologers.
They looked at the sky at night and knew the stars and the movements.
But how do you see what was happening way back in the past?
You can also this ancient stellar display in the heavens at a planetarium when they set the mechanism back 2000 years.
Now with the help of the computer and software it is possible for anyone at home to see exactly the movement of the planets back into the distant past.
What did the night sky look like in 3/2 BCE?
It is an extraordinary fact, as Dr Ernest L Martin points out, that
  • on only one day in 3 BCE was the moon under the feet of the constellation of Virgo, the virgin and the sun 'clothed' her. 
  • It was when it was the first crescent of the New Moon. 
  • It occurred on 11 September. 
  • It remained there for only a few hours. 
Click the link here to have a description of the Ancient Astronomy of this time by Dr Michael Heiser.

One reason people observed the stars was that it was religiously significant because observation of the New Moon was essential to define months and proclaim the New Year. What is even more extraordinary is that 11 September was the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets in the Hebrew calendar. Revelation 12:
'And there appeared a great wonder in the heaven; a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.'
This year is also confirmed by Luke's statement that Jesus was 'about thirty years old' when he began his work as chief priest and teacher in the Temple. This has to be understood in relation to the Hebrew inclusive arithmetic system and the Jewish secular new year (common through the eastern Roman Empire). It is also defined by the known dates for the reconstruction of the Temple by Simon Boethus under Herod the Great.

The date of the birth of Jesus is 1st Tishrei in year 3 BCE in the autumn.
This fits all the criteria of
  • historical events in the NT and Josephus
  • Hebrew chronology
  • Hebrew festivals
  • Hebrew interpretation of the movement of the planets in 3 BCE,
  • The near unanimous report of nearly all early writers of the first centuries.
The heavens don't lie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

How old were Joseph and Mary when they had Jesus?

Was Mary a young girl, barely a teenager, when she had Jesus? That is what many people believe. But that tradition is the result of a thousand years of medieval myths and mixture with pagan Greek ideas about how a god or demi-god should be born. For the Greeks and Romans, demi-gods were born of the intercourse of Zeus/ Jupiter who disguised himself and seduced some young girl. For the truth of the birth of Jesus we must stick to the Bible and understand what Hebrew and Jewish customs were.
Firstly there is a misunderstanding about the the term 'betrothed' in the gospels.
Is it equivalent to modern 'engagement'? Or does it mean marriage?   

Hebrew Marriage
Jews in the first century usually had arranged marriages that were decided between the parents of the young couple when they were still children. The children were often quite young infants when these discussions began to take place. Sometimes the families were helped by an experienced wise person who knew how to make the backgrounds and personalities match for a long term marriage. Personality shows in young infants. Agreement on religious matters is important for family harmony. The children might therefore come from geographically separated communities who held the same beliefs. 

However this was not the primary consideration. That was the longevity of the family line and its adherence to the laws of God. So religious belief and solid character were seen as contributing to this major duty. 

This choice was even more pronounced when it came to two sorts of families: those belonging to the priestly line and those of the royal line. The first had to show real understanding of the instructions that had to be fulfilled in the worship in the Temple. The royal family had to have sound judgement to rule a nation. 

When it comes to Joseph and his wife it was especially delicate because both aspects, the priestly and the royal, were involved. Joseph was of the royal line of David, as Matthew chapter one shows. His wife was of the priestly line of Aaron as Luke chapter 1 verse 36 and verse 5 show. She was a cousin of Elizabeth who was defined as a daughter of Aaron.

So how old were they when the parents decided they were a fitting couple for the future? That could be any age before adolescence. Their ages may have been similar but usually the male is older. According to Hebrew custom and law, parents would then make a formal agreement that a young girl was promised to a young boy. They were then excluded from making any further arrangement for their children. 

Once grown up the children have the right to decide whether to go through with this arrangement. The age of manhood for a boy, that the the age he was able to make this decision, was a minimum of thirteen years old. That does not mean they married immediately but that the deal had been set. The girl, still usually premenstrual, had also to give her consent.  

The ceremony is called betrothal in many Bibles. In Hebrew custom it is called sanctification, kiddushin. The boy and girl are sanctified, set apart, for marriage. This betrothal was solemnised by a gift like a ring signifying the ‘purchase’ of the bride. She agrees by accepting and the young man becomes her husband at that moment. This ceremony celebrated between the families is called erushin

This is equivalent to marriage in the modern, western world. Both the couple and the families have given their solemn agreement. It is a public ceremony and the communities are there to witness.
But this is not all. The bridegroom is still young, as is the bride. They do not have independent means. So the bride can stay with her parents while the bridegroom prepares a home for his wife. They have started on a life of total commitment to each other.

So now we come to the Home-coming. When the husband feels that all his ready for his wife, he sends a party out to the parents' house to say they may all come and he is ready to receive them. That is described in the NT. 

Once he brings the wife over the threshold of his new home they have arrived at another stage in life. That is the nisu'in. This is a celebration and should not be considered a legal requirement or condition. The bridegroom welcomes the bride to the new home and usually the whole community is in festive mood. The parable of the ten virgins, Mt 25, who wait for the bridegroom shows that the nisu'in was still part of first century custom. And it is important in the whole theology of the Bible, about God's relationship to his people as a wedding and marriage. 

What if the building of a house by the husband is not necessary? Then the couple are still considered married. They are free to have children but the bride must leave the shelter of her parents. To show that this erushin or 'betrothal' of the KJV is fully marriage, Jews in the first century and Jews today need a divorce, called a get, if they break up. Betrothal is not the equivalent of modern engagement.
  
Let us return to the original question: how old were Joseph and his wife when they had Jesus?
The birth of Jesus to Mary or Mariam (her name in Greek NT) was miraculous. Not because she was young. But because she was old! The NT scriptures say the couple were betrothed. That is they were fully married. If she were young and she became pregnant it would hardly be a miracle.

Birth miracle
So what was behind the miracle? The first thing to notice is that the NT does not say that they were young. It says the opposite. They were very old!

Luke starts by describing the miraculous birth of John the Baptist to his aged parents, Zacharias and Elizabeth. He also describes Anna the prophetess in her old age and her marriage. 

Luke 1:38 says that both Mariam and her cousin Elizabeth (Elisheva in Hebrew), mother of John the Baptist, became pregnant when in ‘old age’ (Greek 'in their gera' — the term used in geriatrics). Both had been married for many decades — they were old and the ‘betrothed’ of the KJV means ‘married’ in Jewish/ Hebrew law and custom. Cousins are usually around the same age.

Miracles of conception to women in their advanced years show God’s power and the direction of his plan for mankind: Sarah, Abraham’s wife, Rebecca Isaac’s, Rachel mother of Joseph, Hannah, mother of Samuel the Prophet, who anointed David. Mariam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, also had children in her old age. Sarah was in her menopause and convinced she could not have children and said so to God’s messenger!

Given that Mariam, Joseph’s wife was advanced in years, Joseph too would be old, or most probably older, at the time of the birth. Then they not only had Jesus but probably 7 children as well, many named in the NT and secular sources, like Josephus and Eusebius, Hegesippus.

That is the miracle. It was one everyone could see.

If this contradicts with modern beliefs that Mary (BVM) was 14 years old or so, and that she was impregnated by a person called the Holy Ghost, that is because in many pagan traditions had gods descending and impregnating young virgin girls. But that is not what the Bible and secular sources of the first centuries say. Becoming pregnant at such an early age was not part of Hebrew tradition. It is part of pagan Greek and Roman culture.

In Hebrew custom, the couple may have become betrothed at that age but they did not live together immediately. The Bible, Jewish tradition and secular sources such as Josephus say that another process had to take place.

Rule out Hollywood
In Hebrew culture, marriage is not like some Hollywood concept of romantic love of incompatible persons. Young children were promised to each other and got to know each other for years before they were married. The purpose of marriage was quite different from the self-centered Hollywood idea. 
It was a covenant-based custom based on centuries-old relationship between God and Israel.
It is a means to have children and show the fulfilment of God's promises to Israel. So a bride had to show she was healthy and fit to have children before copulation took place.

This involved showing that she had regular periods. This was recorded because after each period she had to wash ceremonially in a bath called a mikvah.  These periods had to be regular. The Esseans (or Essenes) of the first century said that the wife had to have at least three regular periods before she was considered fit for even joining her husband in his home. 

In practice that meant that the wife had to show she was mature and healthy. Thus it was likely that childbirth did not take place before the wife was around 17 or in her late teens. 

Old Age
It is speculative to say that because Joseph was not mentioned later he died. His life was also threatened by the high priestly and Roman authorities. He was not only the son of David and the heir to the throne of Israel but also had priestly (Aaronic) blood and could serve in the Temple.

Early sources like Eusebius record that some of his family were long-lived. For example Jesus’s cousin Simon who followed James the brother of Jesus, as Bishop or Superintendent of the ekklesia or Legislative Assembly in Jerusalem, lived more than 100 years old and was then martyred for his firm, unbending belief in Christ. Essenes were also known for their longevity.

Simon was martyred at 120 years old. He was just one of a long series of leaders of the ekklesia so it was probable he died early in the 70s. His birth would have been around 50 BCE. But remember he was the nephew of Joseph. Joseph was the elder son. Simon was the cousin of Jesus, but Simon was much older because Joseph was very late having Jesus as a child.  Joseph, Simon's uncle would have been born a generation earlier. 

So both Joseph and Mariam might have been 70 years or older when Jesus was born.

The family of Joseph and Mariam
For Simon to be the Sagan or Superintendent would mean that he had been trained for that highly complex post. At the time the Sagan was in charge of the Temple and had to be familiar with all the rites and know all the duties of all the thousands of priests there. But Joseph was first in line and after him his son. But apparently as we have discovered, Joseph did not have a son until his old age. 

Simon was not the youngest son of his father, Alpheus or Cleopas. Joseph would have been born several years before Cleopas. Simon would have been born some years after the marriage of Cleopas to his wife Mary. 

So Joseph might have been born around 70 BCE. That would make sense. His wife Mariam would also be about the same age. They would both be around 70 years, maybe older. Abraham was approaching 100 when he and Sarah had Isaac. Both Mariam and Sarah would be considered to be in her 'old age' that is completely unable to have children because she had passed her menopause.  

Meaning of 'Virgin'
The other significant factor would be that in Jewish custom an old woman would also be considered to be a virgin! In Hebrew the main significance of the term 'virgin' is either pre-menstrual or post-menstrual. It does not signify, as the Greek term in the NT, intactness.  

The term 'virgin' revolves around the laws of the Torah which specifies what happens when a woman has a period. That way of thinking is far from the Greek one. It is also far from the modern ideas that some commentators wrongly apply when expounding on the Gospels. First rule is to put the text in its historical and traditional context. 
The laws of Niddah are set out in Lev 19:15 and throughout the Bible.

So when a woman is described as a 'virgin' it can mean one of three things. 
  • She is young and has not had a period. 
  • She is old and no longer has periods. 
  • She has a physical deficiency and has never had a period.
So both Joseph and Mariam would have been in their seventies at the time of the birth of Jesus.

How long would it have been after the marriage of Joseph and Mariam that it was obvious they were not going to have children right away? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? 

If Joseph had married at just before or around 20 years of age, it would not have been obvious that Mariam was not able to have children for some time. Then it became many decades. That infertility and miraculous birth parallels the births of Isaac, of Jacob, of Samuel and others whose fervent prayers were not only fruitful but a sign to all the world. 

These issues are dealt with in detail in the book, “Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple” (available also as a free eBook zt academia.edu/43233588).