The Righter Report

Sun Darkened during the Crucifixion

March 9, 2017

In the video are ancient references to the strange darkness that occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew 27:45.

God bless,

The Righter Report

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March 9, 2017 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Warning to America

“On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, spoke at the fourth annual Washington—A Man of Prayer event held at the U.S. Capitol, delivered on the 226th anniversary of the inauguration of President George Washington. Cahn’s sermon in Washington was the most anointed prophetic utterance he has ever given, and many members of the Congress were in attendance.” – Freedom Outpost

A Powerful message by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi. There’s no question in my mind that this was a God-given, Spirit-filled message, and a warning to our nation.

Excerpt: “Supreme Court Justices, can you judge the ways of God? Can you, with manmade verdicts, overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court, and there is another Judge. And before Him, all men and all judges will give account. If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on that court and that nation?”

A transcript of the speech can be found at: http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/rabbi-jonathan-cahn-gives-america-a-final-warning/

– The Righter Report

May 7, 2015 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Government, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Immanuel Prophecy

by Pete Righter

Overview: The date: 735 BC.

Israel, aka “Ephraim” (consisting of the northern ten tribes of Israel, i.e. the “Northern Kingdom”) and Judah – aka “The House of David,” or the “Southern Kingdom” – consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin – were at war with each other. Pekah, king of Israel, was allied with Syria in an effort to resist the more powerful forces of the Assyrian empire. Pekah and Syria also sought to overwhelm Judah, sack Jerusalem, take its spoils, and install a pro-Syrian regime, at which time the “now unified” forces of Israel, Syria, and Judah would be in a better position to stand against Assyrian aggression.

In the midst of this menacing scenario we find King Ahaz of Judah, a weak and wicked king who had taken over the throne the year before. In 2 Kings chapter 16 we read,

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.”

Ahaz and the people of Judah were beleaguered and frightened at the prospect of Jerusalem being sacked by the Northern forces.

It was at this time that the Lord God took notice of these events and called on the prophet Isaiah to visit with Ahaz and promise him undeserved deliverance. Isaiah and his son Shear-Jashub, subsequently met with Ahaz at the “end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field” and relayed God’s promise of deliverance. The Lord even told Ahaz to ask for a sign to confirm the promise. Amazingly, Ahaz rebuffed the Lord, saying, “I will not ask (for a sign), neither will I tempt the LORD” (7:12).

The Immanuel Prophecy:

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you House of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

In other words, in less than a handful of years, the threats of Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria would be removed.

And thus, deliverance from the Lord for the House of David was provided. What’s more, the Bible records that seven centuries later, Isaiah’s prophecy and the Lord’s divine deliverance would came to full fulfillment not only in Israel and Judah, but to the entire world as well.

The Fulfillment (from Matthew chapter 1):

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Key objections concerning the Immanuel prophecy:

Objection 1 – The prophecy was not fulfilled because Jesus was never called Immanuel.

It is often common in the Bible for Biblical personalities to have more than one name, and/or one descriptor. For instance, King Solomon was also called Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12:24-25). And the Lord God himself was called El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty); El Elyon (The Most High God); Adonai (Lord, Master); Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah); Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner); Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), and Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), just to name a few.

And even though Immanuel was not the everyday name of Jesus in the 1st century, the prophecy is open-ended and has no specific timeframe attached to it. In matter of fact, Jesus is called Immanuel today in any number of churches around the world, and many churches are aptly named, “The Church of Immanuel”.

It should also be noted that history records no other fulfillment to the name / person of Immanuel. And certainly not in the Old Testament. The name Immanuel is found only three times in the Jewish Tanakh: His birth prophesied (7:14); Immanuel’s “land” would eventually be invaded by the Assyrians (8:8); and Immanuel would thereafter shatter the future attacks on Israel / Judah, for “God is with us” (8:10).

Objection 2 – “Virgin” is not the correct translation for the Hebrew word almah in 7:14.

According to various critics, the Hebrew word for “virgin” in 7:14 that should have been used instead of almah is “betulah.” However, betulah comes with a lot of baggage. For instance, a betulah can be an older woman, rather than a young maiden, since the betulah in Joel 1:8 is a married woman “grieving for the husband of her youth”.

Additionally, the King’s concubines were referred to as betulahs even after they had spent the night with the king in Esther chapter 2.

What’s more, when betulah is used in reference to Rebekah as a virgin (Genesis chapter 24) it came with the qualifier, “nor had any man known her.” The qualifier wasn’t necessary when almah was used.

It should also be noted that an almah in ancient Judaism was always considered a virgin unless there was compelling evidence against her virginity.

The only word in Hebrew that can really signify a young maiden virgin is almah. Also, nowhere in Scripture is an almah seen as one who has lost her virginity.

Finally, when the Jewish rabbis translated the Jewish Tanakh into the Greek (Greek Septuagint) they used the Greek word for virgin “parthenos” – in Isaiah 7:14. That’s the same Greek word from which we get Parthenon- i.e. the Temple of the Virgin Athena!

Objection 3 – Jesus was born 700 years too late to fulfill the sign God have to Ahaz.

Even though the prophecy uses the definite article for the virgin, it nevertheless says nothing about the timing for the fulfillment of the prophecy. It is a future fulfillment, to be sure. In addition, the prophecy centered on, and was given to, the House of David as a whole (7:14) – to the Jewish people.

Some contend the “virgin” (almah, young maiden) was the wife of Isaiah. However, Isaiah’s wife was not a virgin, and the birth of their second son could hardly be considered a “sign” (an unusual occurrence given by the Lord), as the son was born in the usual way. Moreover, the second son – Maher-shalal-hash-baz – was never called or known as Immanuel.

Conclusion –

“In conclusion,” as Dr. Michael L. Brown (distinguished Messianic scholar and author of the 5-volume work, “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus”) notes, “there is no substance to the argument that Matthew misinterpreted Isaiah 7:14 when he claimed that the prophecy was fulfilled in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) virgin birth. To the contrary, his interpretation reflects genuine insight into a difficult passage of scripture that bears the mark of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

Editor’s note: Re. the Star of Bethlehem, which was recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, and accompanied the birth of Christ.

The following quote is from the book “Killing Jesus,” by Bill O’Reilly, page 15 note:

“In 1991, The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (volume 32, pages 389-407) noted that Chinese astronomers had observed a long-tailed, slow-moving comet in their skies during March of 5 B.C. This sui-hsing, or “star,” hung in the Capricorn region for more than seventy days. This same comet would have been visible in the skies over Persia, home of the Magi, in the hours just before dawn. Due to the earth’s orbital motion, the comet’s light would have been directly in front of the Magi during their journey – hence, they would have followed the star.”

God bless,

– The Righter Report

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Founding Fathers and Slavery

by David Barton – 07/2011

Even though the issue of slavery is often raised as a discrediting charge against the Founding Fathers, the historical fact is that slavery was not the product of, nor was it an evil introduced by, the Founding Fathers; slavery had been introduced to America nearly two centuries before the Founders. As President of Congress Henry Laurens explained:

I abhor slavery. I was born in a country where slavery had been established by British Kings and Parliaments as well as by the laws of the country ages before my existence. . . . In former days there was no combating the prejudices of men supported by interest; the day, I hope, is approaching when, from principles of gratitude as well as justice, every man will strive to be foremost in showing his readiness to comply with the Golden Rule [“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12]. 1

Prior to the time of the Founding Fathers, there had been few serious efforts to dismantle the institution of slavery. John Jay identified the point at which the change in attitude toward slavery began:

Prior to the great Revolution, the great majority . . . of our people had been so long accustomed to the practice and convenience of having slaves that very few among them even doubted the propriety and rectitude of it. 2

The Revolution was the turning point in the national attitude–and it was the Founding Fathers who contributed greatly to that change. In fact, many of the Founders vigorously complained against the fact that Great Britain had forcefully imposed upon the Colonies the evil of slavery. For example, Thomas Jefferson heavily criticized that British policy:

He [King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. . . . Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [that is, he has opposed efforts to prohibit the slave trade]. 3

Benjamin Franklin, in a 1773 letter to Dean Woodward, confirmed that whenever the Americans had attempted to end slavery, the British government had indeed thwarted those attempts. Franklin explained that . . .

. . . a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the King for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed. 4

Further confirmation that even the Virginia Founders were not responsible for slavery, but actually tried to dismantle the institution, was provided by John Quincy Adams (known as the “hell-hound of abolition” for his extensive efforts against that evil). Adams explained:

The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than by the author of the Declaration himself [Jefferson]. No charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country [Great Britain] and they saw that before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the Memoir of His Life, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves. 5

While Jefferson himself had introduced a bill designed to end slavery, 6 not all of the southern Founders were opposed to slavery. According to the testimony of Virginians James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Rutledge, it was the Founders from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia who most strongly favored slavery. 7

Yet, despite the support for slavery in those States, the clear majority of the Founders opposed this evil. For instance, when some of the southern pro-slavery advocates invoked the Bible in support of slavery, Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress, responded:

[E]ven the sacred Scriptures had been quoted to justify this iniquitous traffic. It is true that the Egyptians held the Israelites in bondage for four hundred years, . . . but . . . gentlemen cannot forget the consequences that followed: they were delivered by a strong hand and stretched-out arm and it ought to be remembered that the Almighty Power that accomplished their deliverance is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. 8

Many of the Founding Fathers who had owned slaves as British citizens released them in the years following America’s separation from Great Britain (e.g., George Washington, John Dickinson, Caesar Rodney, William Livingston, George Wythe, John Randolph of Roanoke, and others). Furthermore, many of the Founders had never owned any slaves. For example, John Adams proclaimed, “[M]y opinion against it [slavery] has always been known . . . [N]ever in my life did I own a slave.” 9

Notice a few additional examples of the strong anti-slavery sentiments held by great numbers of the Founders:

[N]ever in my life did I own a slave. 10 John Adams, Signer of the Declaration, one of only two signers of the Bill of Rights, U. S. President

But to the eye of reason, what can be more clear than that all men have an equal right to happiness? Nature made no other distinction than that of higher or lower degrees of power of mind and body. . . . Were the talents and virtues which Heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges? . . . No! In the judgment of heaven there is no other superiority among men than a superiority of wisdom and virtue. 11 Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration, “Father of the American Revolution”

[W]hy keep alive the question of slavery? It is admitted by all to be a great evil. 12 Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration

As Congress is now to legislate for our extensive territory lately acquired, I pray to Heaven that they may build up the system of the government on the broad, strong, and sound principles of freedom. Curse not the inhabitants of those regions, and of the United States in general, with a permission to introduce bondage [slavery].13 John Dickinson, Signer of the Constitution; Governor of Pennsylvania

I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature. 14 Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration, Signer of the Constitution, President of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society

That mankind are all formed by the same Almighty Being, alike objects of his care, and equally designed for the enjoyment of happiness, the Christian religion teaches us to believe, and the political creed of Americans fully coincides with the position. . . . [We] earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of slavery – that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men who alone in this land of freedom are degraded into perpetual bondage and who . . . are groaning in servile subjection. 15 Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration, Signer of the Constitution, President of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society

That men should pray and fight for their own freedom and yet keep others in slavery is certainly acting a very inconsistent, as well as unjust and perhaps impious, part. 16 John Jay, President of Continental Congress, Original Chief Justice U. S. Supreme Court

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. . . . And with what execration [curse] should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other. . . . And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. 17 Thomas Jefferson

Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us who profess the same religion practice its precepts . . . by agreeing to this duty. 18 Richard Henry Lee, President of Continental Congress; Signer of the Declaration

I have seen it observed by a great writer that Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us, who profess the same religion practice its precepts, and by agreeing to this duty convince the world that we know and practice our truest interests, and that we pay a proper regard to the dictates of justice and humanity! 19 Richard Henry Lee, Signer of the Declaration, Framer of the Bill of Rights

I hope we shall at last, and if it so please God I hope it may be during my life time, see this cursed thing [slavery] taken out. . . . For my part, whether in a public station or a private capacity, I shall always be prompt to contribute my assistance towards effecting so desirable an event. 20 William Livingston, Signer of the Constitution; Governor of New Jersey

[I]t ought to be considered that national crimes can only be and frequently are punished in this world by national punishments; and that the continuance of the slave-trade, and thus giving it a national sanction and encouragement, ought to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and vengeance of Him who is equally Lord of all and who views with equal eye the poor African slave and his American master. 21 Luther Martin, Delegate at Constitution Convention

As much as I value a union of all the States, I would not admit the Southern States into the Union unless they agree to the discontinuance of this disgraceful trade [slavery]. 22 George Mason, Delegate at Constitutional Convention

Honored will that State be in the annals of history which shall first abolish this violation of the rights of mankind. 23 Joseph Reed, Revolutionary Officer; Governor of Pennsylvania

Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity. . . . It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men. 24 Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration

The commerce in African slaves has breathed its last in Pennsylvania. I shall send you a copy of our late law respecting that trade as soon as it is published. I am encouraged by the success that has finally attended the exertions of the friends of universal freedom and justice. 25 Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration, Founder of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, President of the National Abolition Movement

Justice and humanity require it [the end of slavery]–Christianity commands it. Let every benevolent . . . pray for the glorious period when the last slave who fights for freedom shall be restored to the possession of that inestimable right. 26 Noah Webster, Responsible for Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution

Slavery, or an absolute and unlimited power in the master over the life and fortune of the slave, is unauthorized by the common law. . . . The reasons which we sometimes see assigned for the origin and the continuance of slavery appear, when examined to the bottom, to be built upon a false foundation. In the enjoyment of their persons and of their property, the common law protects all. 27 James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice

[I]t is certainly unlawful to make inroads upon others . . . and take away their liberty by no better means than superior power. 28 John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration

For many of the Founders, their feelings against slavery went beyond words. For example, in 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded America’s first anti-slavery society; John Jay was president of a similar society in New York. In fact, when signer of the Constitution William Livingston heard of the New York society, he, as Governor of New Jersey, wrote them, offering:

I would most ardently wish to become a member of it [the society in New York] and . . . I can safely promise them that neither my tongue, nor my pen, nor purse shall be wanting to promote the abolition of what to me appears so inconsistent with humanity and Christianity. . . . May the great and the equal Father of the human race, who has expressly declared His abhorrence of oppression, and that He is no respecter of persons, succeed a design so laudably calculated to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke. 29

Other prominent Founding Fathers who were members of societies for ending slavery included Richard Bassett, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, William Few, John Marshall, Richard Stockton, Zephaniah Swift, and many more. In fact, based in part on the efforts of these Founders, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts began abolishing slavery in 1780; 30 Connecticut and Rhode Island did so in 1784; 31 Vermont in 1786; 32 New Hampshire in 1792; 33 New York in 1799; 34 and New Jersey did so in 1804. 35

Additionally, the reason that Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa all prohibited slavery was a Congressional act, authored by Constitution signer Rufus King 36 and signed into law by President George Washington, 37 which prohibited slavery in those territories. 38 It is not surprising that Washington would sign such a law, for it was he who had declared:

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery]. 39

The truth is that it was the Founding Fathers who were responsible for planting and nurturing the first seeds for the recognition of black equality and for the eventual end of slavery. This was a fact made clear by Richard Allen.

Allen had been a slave in Pennsylvania but was freed after he converted his master to Christianity. Allen, a close friend of Benjamin Rush and several other Founding Fathers, went on to become the founder of the A.M.E. Church in America. In an early address “To the People of Color,” he explained:

Many of the white people have been instruments in the hands of God for our good, even such as have held us in captivity, [and] are now pleading our cause with earnestness and zeal. 40

While much progress was made by the Founders to end the institution of slavery, unfortunately what they began was not fully achieved until generations later. Yet, despite the strenuous effort of many Founders to recognize in practice that “all men are created equal,” charges persist to the opposite. In fact, revisionists even claim that the Constitution demonstrates that the Founders considered one who was black to be only three-fifths of a person. This charge is yet another falsehood. The three-fifths clause was not a measurement of human worth; rather, it was an anti-slavery provision to limit the political power of slavery’s proponents. By including only three-fifths of the total number of slaves in the congressional calculations, Southern States were actually being denied additional pro-slavery representatives in Congress.

Based on the clear records of the Constitutional Convention, two prominent professors explain the meaning of the three-fifths clause:

[T]he Constitution allowed Southern States to count three-fifths of their slaves toward the population that would determine numbers of representatives in the federal legislature. This clause is often singled out today as a sign of black dehumanization: they are only three-fifths human. But the provision applied to slaves, not blacks. That meant that free blacks–and there were many, North as well as South–counted the same as whites. More important, the fact that slaves were counted at all was a concession to slave owners. Southerners would have been glad to count their slaves as whole persons. It was the Northerners who did not want them counted, for why should the South be rewarded with more representatives, the more slaves they held? 41 Thomas West

It was slavery’s opponents who succeeded in restricting the political power of the South by allowing them to count only three-fifths of their slave population in determining the number of congressional representatives. The three-fifths of a vote provision applied only to slaves, not to free blacks in either the North or South. 42 Walter Williams

Why do revisionists so often abuse and misportray the three-fifths clause? Professor Walter Williams (himself an African-American) suggested:

Politicians, news media, college professors and leftists of other stripes are selling us lies and propaganda. To lay the groundwork for their increasingly successful attack on our Constitution, they must demean and criticize its authors. As Senator Joe Biden demonstrated during the Clarence Thomas hearings, the framers’ ideas about natural law must be trivialized or they must be seen as racists. 43

While this has been only a cursory examination of the Founders and slavery, it is nonetheless sufficient to demonstrate the absurdity of the insinuation that the Founders were a collective group of racists.

Endnotes

1. Frank Moore, Materials for History Printed From Original Manuscripts, the Correspondence of Henry Laurens of South Carolina (New York: Zenger Club, 1861), p. 20, to John Laurens on August 14, 1776.

2. John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), Vol. III, p. 342, to the English Anti-Slavery Society in June 1788.

3. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. I, p. 34.

4. Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1839), Vol. VIII, p. 42, to the Rev. Dean Woodward on April 10, 1773.

5. John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), p. 50.

6. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. I, p. 4.

7. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903),Vol. I, p. 28, from his autobiography. See also James Madison, The Papers of James Madison (Washington: Langtree and O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. III, p. 1395, August 22, 1787; James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, Gaillard Hunt, editor, (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1910), Vol. IX, p. 2, to Robert Walsh on November 27, 1819.

>8. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 1st Congress, 2nd Session, p. 1518, March 22, 1790. See also George Adams Boyd, Elias Boudinot, Patriot and Statesman (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1952), p. 182.

9. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, pp. 92-93, to George Churchman and Jacob Lindley on January 24, 1801.

10. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1854) Vol. IX, p. 92, letter to George Churchman and Jacob Lindley on January 24, 1801.

11. Samuel Adams, An Oration Delivered at the State House, in Philadelphia, to a Very Numerous audience; on Thursday the 1st of August, 1776 (London: E. Johnson, 1776), pp. 4-6.

12. Kate Mason Rowland, Life and Correspondence of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898), Vol. II, p. 321, to Robert Goodloe Harper on April 23, 1820.

13. Charles J. Stille, The Life and Times of John Dickinson(Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott Company, 1891), p. 324, to George Logan on January 30, 1804.

14. Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, John Bigelow, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), Vol. 5. p. 356, letter to Mr. Anthony Benezet on August 22, 1772.

15. Annals of Congress, Joseph Gales, Sr., editor (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1834), Vol. 1, pp. 1239-1240, Memorial from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society from February 3, 1790 presented to Congress on February 12, 1790.

16. John Jay, The Life and Times of John Jay, William Jay, editor (New York: J. & S. Harper, 1833), Vol. II, p. 174, to the Rev. Dr. Richard Price on September 27, 1785.

17. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia(Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, pp. 236-237.

18. Richard Henry Lee, Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee, Richard Henry Lee, editor (Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1825), Vol. I, p. 19, the first speech of Richard Henry Lee in the House of Burgesses of Virginia.

19. Richard H. Lee (Grandson), Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee (Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1825), Vol. 1, pp. 17-19, the first speech of Richard Henry Lee in the House of Burgesses of Virginia.

20. William Livingston, The Papers of William Livingston, Carl E. Prince, editor (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1988), Vol. V, p. 358, to James Pemberton on October 20, 1788.

21. Luther Martin, The Genuine Information Delivered to the Legislature of the State of Maryland Relative to the Proceedings of the General Convention Lately Held at Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Eleazor Oswald, 1788), p. 57. See also Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Jonathan Elliot, editor (Washington, D. C.: 1836), Vol. I, p. 374.

22. Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Jonathan Elliot, editor (Washington, D. C.: 1836), Vol. III, pp. 452-454, George Mason, June 15, 1788.

23. William Armor, Lives of the Governors of Pennsylvania(Norwich, CT: T. H. Davis & Co., 1874), p. 223.

24. Benjamin Rush, Minutes of the Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates from the Abolition Societies Established in Different Parts of the United States Assembled at Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, 1794), p. 24.

25. Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. 1, p. 371, to Richard Price on October 15, 1785.

26. Noah Webster, Effect of Slavery on Morals and Industry (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1793), p. 48.

27. James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson, editor (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), Vol. II, p. 488, lecture on “The Natural Rights of Individuals.”

28. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. VII, p. 81, from “Lectures on Moral Philosophy,” Lecture X on Politics.

29. William Livingston, The Papers of William Livingston, Carl E. Prince, editor (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1988), Vol. V, p. 255, to the New York Manumission Society on June 26, 1786.

30. A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes and Sons, 1780), p. 7, Article I, “Declaration of Rights” and An Abridgement of the Laws of Pennsylvania, Collinson Read, editor, (Philadelphia: 1801), pp. 264-266, Act of March 1, 1780.

31. The Public Statue Laws of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1808), Book I, pp. 623-625, Act passed in October 1777 and Rhode Island Session Laws (Providence: Wheeler, 1784), pp. 7-8, Act of February 27, 1784.

32. The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), p. 249, Vermont, 1786, Article I, “Declaration of Rights.”

33. Constitutions of the Sixteen State (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), p. 50, New Hampshire, 1792, Article I, “Bill of Rights.”

34. Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Session, Second Meeting of the Legislature (Albany: Loring Andrew, 1798), pp. 721-723, Act passed on March 29, 1799.

35. Laws of the State of New Jersey, Compiled and Published Under the Authority of the Legislature, Joseph Bloomfield, editor (Trenton: James J. Wilson, 1811), pp. 103-105, Act passed February 15, 1804.

36. Rufus King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, Charles King, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1894), Vol. I, pp. 288-289.

37. Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States of America (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1791), p. 104, August 7, 1789.

38. The Constitutions of the United States (Trenton: Moore and Lake, 1813), p. 366, “An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio,” Article VI.

39. George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XXVIII, pp. 407-408, to Robert Morris on April 12, 1786.

40. Richard Allen, The Life Experience and Gospel Labors of the Right Rev. Richard Allen (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983), p. 73, from his “Address to the People of Color in the United States.”

41. Principles: A Quarterly Review for Teachers of History and Social Science (Claremont, CA: The Claremont Institute Spring/Summer, 1992), Thomas G. West, “Was the American Founding Unjust? The Case of Slavery,” p. 5.

42. Walter E. Williams, Creators Syndicate, Inc., May 26, 1993, “Some Fathers Fought Slavery.”

43. Walter E. Williams, Creators Syndicate, Inc., May 26, 1993, “Some Fathers Fought Slavery.”

Reprinted with permission from http://www.wallbuilders.com

– The Righter Report

January 20, 2015 Posted by | America, God, Government, History, Human Interest, Politics, Theology Articles | , | Leave a comment

Was George Washington a Christian?

by David Barton, Wallbuilders.com

This is a question often asked today, and it arises from the efforts of those who seek to impeach Washington’s character by portraying him as irreligious. Interestingly, Washington’s own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith–a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s.

That compilation of Washington’s writings was prepared and published by Jared Sparks (1789-1866), a noted writer and historian. Sparks’ herculean historical productions included not only the writings of George Washington (12 volumes) but also Benjamin Franklin (10 volumes) and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris (3 volumes). Additionally, Sparks compiled the Library of American Biography (25 volumes), The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (12 volumes), and the Correspondence of the American Revolution (4 volumes). In all, Sparks was responsible for some 100 historical volumes. Additionally, Sparks was America’s first professor of history–other than ecclesiastical history–to teach at the college level in the United States, and he was later chosen president of Harvard.

Jared Sparks’ decision to compile George Washington’s works is described by The Dictionary of American Biography. It details that Sparks began . . .

. . . what was destined to be his greatest life work, the publication of the writings of George Washington. [Supreme Court] Justice Bushrod Washington, [the nephew of George Washington, the executor of the Washington estate, and] the owner of the Washington manuscripts, was won over by an offer to share the profits, through the friendly mediation of Chief Justice [of the Supreme Court, John] Marshall [who from 1804-1807 had written a popular five volume biography of George Washington], who also consented to take an equal share, twenty-five per cent, with the owner. In January 1827, Sparks found himself alone at Mount Vernon with the manuscripts. An examination of them extending over three months showed that years would be required for the undertaking; and with the owner’s consent, Sparks carried off the entire collection, eight large boxes, picking up on the way to Boston a box of diplomatic correspondence from the Department of State, and the [General Horatio] Gates manuscripts from the New York Historical Society. Not content with these, he searched or caused to be searched public and private archives for material, questioned survivors of the Revolution, visited and mapped historic sites. In 1830, for instance, he followed [Benedict] Arnold’s [1775] route to Quebec. The first of the twelve volumes of The Writings of George Washington to be published (vol. II) appeared in 1834 and the last (vol. I, containing the biography) in 1837.

In Volume XII of these writings, Jared Sparks delved into the religious character of George Washington, and included numerous letters written by the friends, associates, and family of Washington which testified of his religious character. Based on that extensive evidence, Sparks concluded:

To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.

One of the letters Sparks used to arrive at his conclusion was from Nelly Custis-Lewis. While Nelly technically was the granddaughter of the Washingtons, in reality she was much more.

When Martha [Custis] married George, she was a widow and brought two young children (John and Martha–also called Patsy) from her first marriage into her marriage with George. The two were carefully raised by George and Martha, later married, and each had children of their own. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, and both John and Patsy died early (by 1781). John left behind his widow and four young children ranging in age from infancy to six years old.

At the time, Washington was still deeply involved in guiding the American Revolution and tried unsuccessfully to convince Martha’s brother to raise the children. The young widow of John was unable to raise all four, so George and Martha adopted the two younger children: Nelly Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, both of whom already were living at Mount Vernon.

Nelly lived with the Washingtons for twenty years, from the time of her birth in 1779 until 1799, the year of her marriage and of George Washington’s untimely death. She called George and Martha her “beloved parents whom I loved with so much devotion, to whose unceasing tenderness I was indebted for every good I possessed.”

Nelly was ten years old when Washington was called to the Presidency, and she grew to maturity during his two terms. During that time, she traveled with Washington and walked amidst the great foreign and domestic names of the day. On Washington’s retirement, she returned with the family to Mount Vernon. Nelly was energetic, spry, and lively, and was the joy of George Washington’s life. She served as a gracious hostess and entertained the frequent guests to Mount Vernon who visited the former President.

On Washington’s birthday in 1799, Nelly married Washington’s private secretary, Lawrence Lewis. They spent several months on an extended honeymoon, visiting friends and family across the country. On their return to Mount Vernon, she was pregnant and late that year gave birth to a daughter. A short few weeks later, on December 14, General Washington was taken seriously ill and died.

Clearly, Nelly was someone who knew the private and public life of her “father” very well. Therefore, Jared Sparks, in searching for information on Washington’s religious habits, dispatched a letter to Nelly, asking if she knew for sure whether George Washington indeed was a Christian. Within a week, she had replied to Sparks, and Sparks included her letter in Volume XII of Washington’s writings in the lengthy section on Washington’s religious habits. Of that specific letter, Jared Sparks explained:

I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington’s family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.”

Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833.

Sir,

I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.

Truro [Episcopal] Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother. It was a beautiful church, and had a large, respectable, and wealthy congregation, who were regular attendants.

He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.

It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men” [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].

My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha’s daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington’s mother and other witnesses.

He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits. I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others. She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven]. Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, “Deeds, not Words”; and, “For God and my Country.”

With sentiments of esteem,
I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis

George Washington’s adopted daughter, having spent twenty years of her life in his presence, declared that one might as well question Washington’s patriotism as question his Christianity. Certainly, no one questions his patriotism; so is it not rather ridiculous to question his Christianity? George Washington was a devout Episcopalian; and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian. Yet for the current revisionists who have made it their goal to assert that America was founded as a secular nation by secular individuals and that the only hope for America’s longevity rests in her continued secularism, George Washington’s faith must be sacrificed on the altar of their secularist agenda.

For much more on George Washington and the evidences of his strong faith, examine the following sources:

⦁ George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), Vol. XII, pp. 399-411.
⦁ George Washington, The Religious Opinions of Washington, E. C. M’Guire, editor (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
⦁ William Johnson, George Washington The Christian (1917).
⦁ William Jackson Johnstone, How Washington Prayed (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1932).
⦁ The Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 51-57 (1789), 64 (1789), 213-224 (1796), etc.
⦁ George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States, Late Commander in Chief of the American Army, to the People of the United States, Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George & Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23.
⦁ George Washington, The Maxims of Washington (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1855).

Acknowledgements and thanks for permission to reprint this article go to Wallbuilders: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=127

October 29, 2014 Posted by | America, God, History, Human Interest, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

The Bible, Pseudoscience, and the Paranormal

by Pete Righter         

                 “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who

                 gains understanding; for wisdom is more profitable

                 than silver, and yields better returns than gold.”

                             (Proverbs 3:13)

In the colleges and universities of this world, truth, knowledge, and wisdom remain the keys to man’s continued search for enlightenment and advancement. Yet there is a wisdom often overlooked by today’s universities – the wisdom of God and the Bible, including prophetic revelation.  Indeed, the words of the prophet Daniel seem to have come to pass in this generation – “…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4 – KJV).  Men of God such as the late Grant Jeffrey now estimate that our base of knowledge is now doubling every two to five years.  Yet without the word of God, man’s quest for knowledge and the Utopian dream are limited to defining life and knowledge in the natural realm. Pseudoscience and the Occult, along with Biblical supernaturalism, are normally relegated to the paranormal.  One such book which deals with supernatural and paranormal subjects is Terence Hines’ Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, which does a nice job in discrediting such pseudo-scientific beliefs as reincarnation, psychic healings, ESP, the Bermuda Triangle, ancient astronauts, and astrology.

WHAT IS PSEUDOSCIENCE?

According to Merriam-Webster, pseudoscience is “a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific.”  Basically, it’s counterfeit science.  It cannot be ‘falsified’.  Falsifiability, as defined by the philosopher Karl Popper, defines the inherent testability of any scientific hypothesis.  Pseudo-scientific studies (i.e. previous ‘cold fusion’ studies) cannot be replicated.

A good example of a pseudoscience is astrology, which will be reviewed later on in this article.  But first, a critical look at reincarnation.

REINCARNATION

Reincarnation is the belief that people have lived past lives, and that after this present life there will still be other lives to live.  Hinduism promotes the concept of reincarnation as it relates to spiritual progression.  In Hinduism, people experience both good and evil occurrences –  known as “good and bad karma.”  These are the results of one’s behavior.  If one does good deeds, good karma will follow, but if one’s behavior is evil, bad karma will follow.  Through a progression of incarnations, a person will hopefully achieve an enlightened spiritual plateau whereby good overcomes evil, and one will finally be released from the cycles of reincarnation to achieve union with the highest known spiritual reality they call “Brahman.”

In the 1950’s there was the very famous case of ‘Bridey Murphy’ that perpetuated the notion that reincarnation is real.  Author Terence Hines relates the details:

“The most famous alleged case of reincarnation is that of Bridey Murphy.  In 1952 one Virginia Tighe was hypnotized.  She reported details of a previous life in Cork, Ireland, as ‘Bridey Murphy.’  While hypnotized, she spoke in a distinct Irish accent that she did not have normally and described her life in Cork in great detail.  Her case was reported as proof of reincarnation in Bernstein’s (1956) best-selling book, The Search for Bridey Murphy.  The case was thoroughly investigated several years later.  It was discovered that, as a child, Mrs. Tighe had had a neighbor across the street who had grown up in Ireland and used to tell her stories about life there.  The woman’s maiden name?  You guessed it – Bridey Murphy.  Further, it was revealed that Mrs. Tighe had been involved in a theater in high school and had ‘learned several Irish monologues, which she had delivered in what her former teacher referred to as a heavy Irish brogue.'” (Hines 72-73)

The above was a classic example of human and satanic deception.  The Bible makes clear that there are three basic types of spirits – the human spirit (Proverbs 18:14), the Spirit of God (Isaiah 61:1), and evil spirits (Judges 9:23).  While the Bridey Murphy case was an example of a deception created by the human spirit, it is also clear according to the Bible that Satan is the father of all lies, and as such we can also see his influence and deception behind the scenes – not only in the Bridey Murphy example but also in such false religions as Hinduism.  Because of this, we can look at demonic influences in the lives of deceived individuals to recognize the source behind other reincarnation stories and beliefs.

The Bible makes it clear that Satan has been around since before the Garden of Eden.  He knows what occurred in the lives of such people as Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Hitler, and every other person who has lived since the creation of mankind.  It is certainly not a “reach” then to believe that he and / or his demonic spirits can place false memories of “prior lives” into the unregenerated minds of modern man, especially when those individuals are making an effort – such as a seance – to establish “contact” with higher spiritual powers.

From a Biblical standpoint, reincarnation is a false doctrine.

 “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that to face the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

In the Biblical story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Lazarus died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.  It was to the rich man that Abraham said, “Between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”  In this parable – which the Dake’s Bible calls “The Story of Two Beggars” – Lazarus begging on earth, and the rich man begging in the hereafter –  and which many Christian teachers consider to be a revelation of divine truth, both the rich man and Lazarus have a clear, existing consciousness in relation to those who are still left on the earth.  If reincarnation were real, both individuals would likely have been “born again” into a new earthly body.

With reincarnation, man is automatically granted one life after another until he supposedly reaches paradise. Accordingly, there is no need for a savior to cleanse one from one’s sins, so Christ would have died in vain.  That is the danger inherent in the teaching of reincarnation – it makes Jesus Christ and his sacrifice at Calvary superfluous.

ASTROLOGY – A PSEUDOSCIENCE

Astrology is the study of the positions and movements of astronomical bodies – in particular, the sun, moon, and planets – and their supposed effect on life and events on earth.  Astrology was studied among the ancient Egyptians, Hindus, Chinese, Etruscans, and the Chaldeans of Babylonia.  The Chaldeans are credited with the origin of astrology in a primitive form, probably as early as 3000 B.C.  Terence Hines states that the first evidences of astrology date back more than 4000 years, and originate in the area of Mesopotamia (Hines 141).  As to the realm of scientific research, astrology is considered a pseudoscience.  It is totally devoid of having any meaningful, verifiable scientific evidence to substantiate its claims.

To begin with, current astrological signs (Libra, Aquarius, etc.) are out of conjunction.  Hines writes:

“Astrology fails to take into account the astronomical phenomenon known as precession.  The assignment of certain dates to certain signs of the zodiac (e.g., Aries ruling the period from March 21 to April 19) was made 2000 years ago, and has been followed by astrologers ever since.  When it is said that the sun is “in” Aries between March 21 and April 19, this means that the sun, as seen from earth, is in the same part of the sky as is the constellation Aries.  The correspondences between the twelve constellations of the zodiac and their assigned dates were correct 2000 years ago – but not today.  The earth ‘wobbles’ slowly as it rotates and because of this the position of the sun relative to the constellations of the zodiac (as seen from earth) changes over the centuries.  By now, the difference is almost one complete sign, so the sun in not in Aries from March 21 to April 19, but in Pisces for most of that period.  Thus, if you are an Aries (born between March 21 and April 19), the sun was almost certainly not in Aries when you were born, but in Pisces!” (Hines 144).

Secondly, early astrologers never predicted the existence of the outer three planets, and never had the slightest hint that the planets existed until astronomers discovered them.  Today, astrologers claim to understand the astrological influences of the three new planets.  Astrologer Linda Goodman (1968) explains astrology’s failure to note the influences of the three ‘new’ planets before their discovery by saying that a planet doesn’t have any astrological influence until it is discovered (Hines 145-146).  How humorous!

Third, scientific research dispels the notion that sun signs influence an individual’s personality.  Hines again relates:

“The characteristic personality of the extrovert seems to be nicely defined in the typical description of Aries: bold, assertive, aggressive, self-confident, determined.  An obvious  astrological prediction, then, is that more extroverts than introverts should be born under Aries.” (Hines 148)

The astrologer’s claim is that a romantic couple’s compatibility is determined, at least in part, by their astrological signs.  Hines cites the studies of Dean (1977) and Culver and Ianna (1984) that revealed, no influence of sun signs on marriage or divorce rates” (Hines 154).  People were getting divorced at a uniform rate no matter what their sun signs were.  Hence, the absence of sun sign compatibility.

From a Biblical perspective, Romans 1:25 comes to mind:

                “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and

                 worshiped and served created things rather than

                 the Creator….”

The sun, moon, and planets are the created things – God is the Creator. Astrology is a pseudoscience and should not be relied upon as a meaningful indicator of astrological influence.

FAITH, PSYCHIC AND HEALINGS OF THE OCCULT

In the world of genuine healing miracles, we need to understand that some practitioners who claim to heal “in the name of Jesus” are out and out frauds.  Hines tells the story of the 1986 investigation of “Faith Healer” W.V. Grant, who years ago operated out of Dallas, Texas.

We arrived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music well before the service was scheduled to start.  During the healing portion of his services, Grant typically walks up to people in the audience, asks them to stand, if they’re able, and announces their name….and what they are suffering from.  How does Grant get this information?  Our investigation confirmed what (psychic investigator) Randi  had reported earlier.  Before the service starts, members of Grant’s staff would walk through the hall and chat with those who had arrived early.  These people are actually being pumped for information, which is then reported to Grant.  Randi, after attending one of Grant’s services in Florida, found crib sheets listing information about people who were “cured” in the trash.  It was also noticed that one of Grant’s staff was using hand signals to let the reverend know what part of the victim’s body was “afflicted.”  (Hines 240)

In a similar manner, “healer” Peter Popoff also conducted fraudulent miracle services.  His staff also pumped information from various people prior to the service, and this information was radioed to Popoff from an outside transmitter to a tiny receiver he had in his ear.  These broadcasts were subsequently picked up and recorded by a communication specialist working for psychic investigator James Randi (Hines 240-241).

From an occult viewpoint, author Kurt E. Koch, a missionary and sincere servant of God, notes numerous instances of occultic healings that he has observed during his life.  In his book, Occult Bondage and Deliverance, he gives the following example as evidence of Satan’s work:

“During my various visits to England I have frequently come across the tracks of one of the most dangerous healers of the Western world.  His name is Harry Edwards. Edwards, who today calls himself a spiritual healer, first visited a spiritualistic meeting when he was in his early forties.  He was soon told at the seances that there were spirit guides who wished to cooperate with him.  It was about this time that he had his first experience of “absent healing” (note Edgar Cayce, later in this work).  He was told by a friend about a person who was suffering from consumption, pleurisy and hemorrhage….he was able to see the patient clearly.  Later he was informed that on the very night he had commenced healing, the victim of consumption had begun to improve:  his fever had abated, his hemorrhage stopped and the pleurisy ceased.  It is quite enlightening to note that Edward’s healing power stems from his spirit guides on the other side….(and) has nothing to do with ‘the Christian theory of vicarious atonement'” (Koch 44-45).

Koch provides numerous examples of occultic healings and spiritual possession, along with their detrimental consequences, in his book, Occult Bondage and Deliverance. He also provides scriptural confirmation that occultic healings can take place, to wit:

“But quite obviously healings do take place.  The question is, what is the force behind the healing?  We have many passages in the Bible recording the ability of sorcerers to work miracles.  We need only think of the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses in Exodus 7, or of the demonic signs and wonders mentioned in Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13 and 16:14” (Koch 47).

Biblically, it is clear that true, Godly gifts of healing do exist:

           “To one there is given through the Spirit the message

             of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge….

             to another faith….to another gifts of healing….”

                                                  (1 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Outside of the practice of medicine, man has no power by his own nature to perform miracle healings.  Miracle healings can only occur through two known spiritual forces – Satan, and God, through His Holy Spirit.  And Koch makes clear, time and time again, that the spiritual healings of Satan come at the expense of one’s spiritual estrangement from God.

PSYCHICS AND PSYCHIC PHENOMENA

 Psychics such as Jeane Dixon, Dorothy Allison, Lou Wright, and numerous others, claim to have a supernatural connection through which they are able to predict future occurrences.  One of the most famous of these from medieval times was a man by the name of Michel Nostradamus (1503-1566).  He was popularized in a documentary hosted by Orson Welles entitled, “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow.”  Hines takes note of many of Nostradamus’ prophetic revelations, including the predictions of Hitler, fighter aircraft, the atomic bomb, and even the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Hines notes, “….These prophecies (of Nostradamus) are only seen to be accurate after the fact. No one has ever used them to make correct predictions about what is going to occur before it occurs” (Hines 40).  For instance, it is claimed that one verse (Century 1, verse 64) specifically predicts the advent of fighter aircraft and the atomic bomb:

They will think they have seen the sun at night

When they will see the pig half-man;

Noise, song, battle, fighting in the sky perceived,

And one will hear brute beasts talking.

Hines notes that this is a far cry from any specific prediction of fighter aircraft and atomic weapons (Hines 41).

In my collegiate course on pseudoscience and the paranormal  at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA, we were shown that psychics make many generalized, open-ended predictions.  For instance a psychic may tell someone, “I see an automobile accident in your future.  You will not be harmed though, so don’t worry.”  Here it is noted that the person being given the psychic prediction does not necessarily have to be involved in an accident – they may also witness one and think the psychic hit pay dirt.

Psychics make numerous, assorted prophecies.  People notoriously are guilty of forgetting about the numerous prophecies they were given that were incorrect, and remember instead the one that accidentally came true.  Psychic readers do what is known as “cold readings” – they seem to have no discernible basis other than supernatural insight for the information they give.  For example, a psychic may be seeing a young lady for the first time.  The psychic notes that the woman is not wearing a wedding ring, but notices she is adorned with a lot of very expensive jewelry (indicating a perceived inclination for wealth).  She then prophesies that the young lady will be married in the future and that she will achieve much financial success.  She may also state that the woman is now not romantically fulfilled (if the lady says she was just engaged to the most wonderful person she has ever met, but left her engagement ring at home), the psychic will tell her that not until her marriage will she ever know the true measure of romantic fulfillment).  It was also revealed  that some of the more expensive psychics will use their own staff members to search through a prospect’s garbage looking for insightful information between the time the appointment is booked and the time of the “reading.”  Imagine what information might be gained about a person’s financial status and dietary indulgences, etc., should their garbage be investigated!

Edgar Cayce, the “Sleeping Prophet” (known as such because he used to go into a sleep-like trance during his “readings”), lived in the first half of the 20th  century.  He is famous for not only his predictions concerning the coming second world war, but also for having performed over 7000 “life readings” for individuals, many of which experienced subsequent healings and exhibited a high degree of knowledge not known to mortal man.  Though for religious reasons I have dissolved my literature on Cayce, I recall reading that he believed some of the remains of the lost civilization of Atlantis would be discovered off Bimini in “68 or 69.”  Indeed, in 1968, off the coast of Bimini, near Andros, in about forty feet of water, the remains of an elaborate, man-made walkway was found and photographed.  One historian from Miami duly noted that “Atlantis has been found.”  Today, there is a lot of conjecture concerning the origin of the underwater ruins.

From what I had read, I had no doubt that Cayce had a spiritual gift.  Later, though, upon examining the holy scriptures, I determined that his gift was occultic.  My reasons for this conclusion are as follows:

1.  He never spoke of Jesus in the same light as is revealed in the Bible.

2. He believed in reincarnation, which the Bible teaches against (Hebrews 9:27), and had a vision of himself returning to earth            in the mid twenty-first century.

3.  Many of his prophecies were inaccurate (note Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

4.  There were reports that on his deathbed he confessed to his son that he felt sure he had been under the influence of a demonic spirit during his lifetime.

5.  Cayce didn’t call sinners to repentance, nor did he stress salvation in Christ.

6.  Cayce’s books are generally found in the “Occult” section of bookstores.

Biblically, there do appear to be evil spirits that have the ability to predict certain future events, though I suspect this ability is somewhat limited.  A good example of this is found in Acts 16:16:

            “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we

             were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which

             she predicted the future.”

Later, in Acts 16:19 the Apostle Paul cast the demonic spirit out of her.

The psychics who are involved with demonic spirits can sometimes be very accurate. However, they invariably leave out some small detail that makes a definite difference, or they predict several things that may later come true and one thing that doesn’t come true, and you won’t know which is which.  One of these psychic predictions cost my late father $10,000 once in a lawsuit concerning medical malpractice.  The psychic (Lou Wright, from Denver) said he should go ahead with his case and that he would win it.  He lost, and had to pay both parties legal expenses in addition to court costs.

Biblically, according to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, if a prophetic word is from the Lord, it will come to pass. Approximately 25% of the Bible contains prophetic revelation, and as far as can be determined God has a 100% accuracy rate.

All too often I speak with friends and/or acquaintances who talk about what this psychic said, or what that medium or spiritist, etc., said.  I suspect in most cases they have no idea which spiritual power (if any) the psychic is deriving their information from – whether it’s from God or the devil.

For the record, the Bible warns against consulting with psychics and mediums.

 “There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is detestable  to the Lord.” – Deuteronomy 18:10-12

I have one rule of thumb if someone is presenting themselves as a psychic, a faith healer, a “diviner of truth,” etc.  I would ask them one or more of the following questions:

  1. “Who is Jesus Christ to you?”  If the answer comes back that Jesus is anyone other than the divine and resurrected savior / Son of God, then I would not continue any further.  Just hearing back, “Jesus was a good man and a wonderful teacher of the truth” is not enough.
  2. Or you could ask, “Who or what is the ultimate source of the information you are going to provide me?”   If they say it just comes to them then ask them the question in # 1.  And don’t let them off the hook until they provide clarification.

THE BIBLE AND SCIENCE

Although the Bible is primarily a theological and historical text, there are scientific principles found in scripture.  Examples of these can be seen in the following article – Science and the Bible:

http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/science.shtml

CALCULATING THE ODDS

In the late 1950’s, a mathematics and astronomy professor at Pasadena City College by the name of Peter W. Stoner, calculated the odds of just eight (8) Messianic prophecies about Jesus Christ coming true (some theologians point to there being as many as 300-450 prophetic references to Jesus in the Old Testament).  Stoner referenced just eight in his calculations.  The odds that one man (Jesus) could possibly fulfill just these 8 prophecies came out to 1 in 10 to the twenty-eight power.  That’s 1 chance in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. See link below.  But fulfill those prophecies Jesus did.  That’s incredible, and that folks is the signature of God – fulfilled prophecy at a rate much greater than chance.

The Odds of Eight Messianic Prophecies Coming True

http://www.bereanpublishers.com/the-odds-of-eight-messianic-prophecies-coming-true/

In closing, for more information concerning psychic and pseudo-scientific phenomena (such as UFO’s, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, astral projection, etc.), I invite the reader to review Hine’s text (see below) on these and other related subjects.

As for me and my house, we will praise the Lord!

Works  Cited:

Hines, Terence.  Pseudoscience and the Paranormal.  Buffalo.  Prometheus, 1988.  (Available at Amazon.com)

Koch, Kurt.  Occult Bondage and Deliverance.  Grand Rapids.  Kregel, 1971.

– The Righter Report

May 7, 2014 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Opinion, Science, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Why Israel Missed its Messiah

By Pete Righter

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ appeared on the world scene in Israel. Individual Gospel / New Testament authors record him healing the sick, raising the dead, ushering in a ‘New Covenant,’ being crucified and dying on a Roman cross, and resurrecting again on the third day, as he prophesied. And thus was born what is now known as Christianity, which Merriam Webster defines as, “the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies.” And I might add, “professed also by Messianic Jews” (those who believe in Jesus as their Lord, Savior, and Messiah).

But for the most part, Israel, the Jewish people, and skeptics through the ages, have rejected Jesus and Christianity. But is their rejection based on valid arguments and sound Biblical exegesis? The reasons most Jews reject Jesus involve numerous objections. The purpose of this article is to address the top three most common objections, which are:

1. Jesus didn’t qualify as the Jewish Messiah; he didn’t fulfill the Messianic prophecies.
2. Judaism doesn’t teach a crucified Messiah who will die for the sins of its people.
3. Christians incorrectly argue ‘Jesus the Messiah’ appeared right on time, according to scripture and Jewish tradition.

Let’s look at these top three objections one by one:

1. Jesus didn’t qualify as the Jewish Messiah; he didn’t fulfill the Messianic prophecies.

In my almost forty years of Biblical studies, speaking with and debating Jews and skeptics, and researching the concept of the Jewish Messiah, one thing became crystal clear: the Jewish people were expecting “Messiah ben David” and not the “Suffering Messiah,” aka Messiah ben Joseph. First, who is Messiah ben David?

In Judaism, and also in Christianity, “Messiah ben David” is the conquering king, much like King David in the Jewish Tanakh / Old Testament. It is believed in Judaism that Messiah ben David will conquer the enemies of the Jewish people, build the “Third (Jewish) Temple,” and usher in a thousand-year Messianic kingdom.

For the record, “Messiah” (Hebrew ‘Mashiach’ in Judaism), means an “anointed one,” and is generally a term used to describe chief priests and kings who were traditionally anointed with sacred anointing oil, as we read about in Exodus chapter 30, and who were more specifically spiritually anointed by God and his Holy Spirit to fulfill priestly and kingly offices and purposes.

At this point one clarification needs to be made. Whereas there are many ‘anointed ones’ in scripture, there is also one dominate, ‘anointed one,’ who is different and more important and powerful than all the others. We read about him in Daniel chapter 7, verses 13 and 14 (Daniel speaking):

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

The Jewish Tanakh says only God is to be worshiped, but here is another individual who also has sovereign power, glory, and authority, and who will be worshiped by people of every nation and language. Clearly, this individual is different than a mere anointed priest or king. In Christian theology, we see this same individual again in Daniel chapter 3:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three godly Jews in captivity in Babylon who refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, and thus were summarily thrown into a blazing furnace of fire. Daniel 3:24-25 records what happened next:

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty. He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.

The distinction is clear: There are many ‘sons of man’ but only one who is given sovereign power and authority. There are many ‘Mashiachs’ (anointed ones) but only ONE dominate Messiah.

Objection: Jesus didn’t fulfill the Messianic prophecies.

Various Christian and Messianic Jewish websites list up to 300 Old Testament Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled during his first advent. A partial list of these can be seen at the end of this article. But the objections from Jewish rabbis and others deal with the remainder of the Messianic prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. These include the rebuilding of the third Jewish Temple, the destruction of the enemies of Israel, and a thousand year millennial reign by the Messiah – Messiah ben David, the conquering king.

The answer to those objections is simple: Christian theology teaches that Jesus will fulfill the remaining prophecies during his Second Coming. So the objection is premature.

Which brings us to an interesting point: At the time when Jesus appeared in the first century, there were numerous expectations by Jews that the Messiah would appear at that time. The following link documents those expectations:

Messianic Expectations in First Century Judaism

Which also begs the question: If the Jews were expecting their Messiah at the time of Christ, when their Second Jewish Temple (Herod’s Temple) was already standing, why should we expect the Messiah to build a Third Temple 2,000 or so years later, when they weren’t expecting him to build the second temple in Herod’s time? So that objection – that the Messiah is to build the Temple – is highly questionable. All the scriptures say is that the Messiah will come to the Temple (Malachi 3:1) – not necessarily build it. By the way, Malachi 3:1 is considered by some Jewish rabbis as being a messianic prophecy.

Objection # 2: Judaism doesn’t teach a crucified Messiah who will die for the sins of its people.

Now we get to the person of “Messiah ben Joseph – the ‘Suffering Servant.”

Generally speaking, Messiah ben Joseph is described as the “Suffering Servant” who atones for the sins of his people. He appears on the stage in Israel, will be rejected by his people, and dies in the war against evil. Following that the world is filled with calamities and war until Messiah ben David – the Conquering King – appears and sets everything right.

Curiously, in Judaism, numerous ancient Jewish rabbis identified Isaiah chapter 53 as speaking about such an individual. Among the verses of Isaiah 53 are these:

2 …he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

Uncanny. If there was ever a profile of Jesus Christ, then this is it. And numerous Jewish rabbis agreed this chapter of Isaiah is a Messianic prophecy. Among the quotes from the ancient rabbis concerning Isaiah 53 are these:

Rabbi Moses Alschech(1508-1600) said:

“Our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the Messiah, and we shall ourselves also adhere to the same view.”

Abrabanel (1437-1508) said earlier:
“This is also the opinion of our own learned men in the majority of their Midrashim.”

Rabbi Yafeth Ben Ali ( second half of the 10th Century):
“As for myself, I am inclined to regard it as alluding to the Messiah.”

Many more quotations from Jewish rabbis are in the same link as the ones above:

Isaiah 53: How do the Rabbis Interpret This?

Of course once the scriptures started looking too much like the Christian Messiah Jesus Christ, more recent rabbis changed their opinions to claim that now Isaiah 53 is speaking about the Nation of Israel as the “individual” in question. Of course this is not a very compelling argument for the reasons expressed in the following article:

Why Isaiah 53 cannot refer to the nation of Israel, or anyone else, but must be the Messiah

The New Testament contains several passages which confirm Isaiah 53 is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 53 and New Testament Fulfillments

Regarding a “crucified Messiah,” many Christian theologians point to the twenty-second Psalm as being the “Crucifixion Chapter / prophecy about Christ. A real nice article on this can be seen in the following link:

5 Allusions to Psalm 22 at Christ’s Crucifixion

By the way, I was once told by a believer in Judaism that nowhere in the Old Testament does it say the Messiah (i.e. Jesus) will come twice. My response was to ask where in the Old Testament does it say he will only appear once? Another objection was when another believer in Judaism claimed the name of Jesus (as Messiah) in not seen in the Old Testament, so he can’t possibly be the Jewish Messiah. My response to that was similar: where is the name of the Jewish Messiah that you believe in mentioned?

Thus, objection # 2 is also seen as being without merit.

Objection # 3: Christians incorrectly argue ‘Jesus the Messiah’ appeared right on time in the first century, according to scripture and Jewish tradition.

Earlier, I provided the link on “Messianic Expectations in First Century Judaism” to show that in the first century, there were definitely expectations of the Jewish Messiah appearing.

To add to that the following is offered to counter the third objection.

From my studies over the decades, there are only two places I know of in the Old Testament that predict / prophesy when the Messiah will appear in history. The first of these is documented in a separate article on my website written by Chuck Missler (From his Book “The Creator Beyond Time and Space”)

Until Shiloh Comes

The prophecy, generally stated, is this, from Genesis chapter 49:

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:10 (NKJ)

This strange prophecy has a few words that need to be defined in order to be fully understood. The word “scepter” has been understood by the Rabbis to mean the “tribal staff” or “tribal identity” of the twelve tribes of Israel. This “tribal identity” was linked, in the minds of the Jews, to their right to apply and enforce Mosaic law upon the people, including the right to adjudicate capital cases and administer capital punishment, or jus gladii (The jus gladii is a legal term which refers to the legal authority to adjudicate capital cases and impose capital punishment.)

Secondly, it is well documented that the word “Shiloh” has been understood for millennia to be an idiom for the Messiah. Therefore, according to this prophecy, the tribal identity or scepter of the tribe of Judah would not cease until the Messiah came. The article goes on to conclude that the time called for the Messiah to appear is the first century – when Jesus did appear.

The second place in scripture that indicates when the Messiah would appear is Daniel chapter 9, verses 24-27. And again, the time it indicates for the appearance of the Messiah is the first century – in 32 AD. Exactly when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Jewish Messiah. Here is the background on that prophecy:

Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy

Both examples above are considered Messianic by various Jewish rabbis. Concerning Daniel chapter 9, we see the following quotes by ancient Jewish rabbis:

In the Babylonian Talmud, complied between 200 – 500 A.D., Rabbi Judah (the main compiler of the Talmud), said concerning Daniel’s prophecy:

“These times were over long ago.” – Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 98b and 97a

In the 12th Century A.D., Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimonides), one of the most respected rabbis in history, said:

“Daniel has elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are secret, the wise (rabbis) have barred the calculations of the days of Messiah’s coming so that the untutored populace will not be led astray when they see that end times have already come but there is no sign of the Messiah.”

In addition, Rabbi Moses Abraham Levi noted regarding the time of the Messiah’s coming:

“I have examined and searched all the Holy Scriptures and have not found the time for the coming of Messiah clearly fixed, except in the words of Gabriel to the prophet Daniel, which are written in the 9th chapter of the prophecy of Daniel.”

And, in the Targum of the Prophets, in the Tractate Megillah 3a, the Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel noted, concerning Daniel’s prophecy:

“The date of the Messiah was foretold in it.”

Summary / Conclusion:

So there we have it: First century Messianic expectations, along with the time-sensitive prophecies from Genesis chapter 49 and Daniel chapter 9 – all indicating that the Messiah would appear in the first century. And the only logical candidate that fulfills those prophecies and expectations, the one who fulfilled numerous Messianic prophecies during his first advent (and who is expected to fulfill the remainder at his second advent); the one who is the image of Isaiah chapter 53 as Messiah ben Joseph (the “Suffering Servant”), and the one which is written about by predominately Jewish believers in the New Testament – is Jesus Christ.

By the way, the scriptures also indicate the Jewish Messiah would be divine, which is exactly what the New Testament notes about Jesus.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 shows the Messiah will be God

And now we have compelling arguments as to why Israel did not and has not recognized their beloved Messiah:

1. They were expecting Messiah ben David (the ‘Conquering King’) to appear, and Messiah ben Joseph (the ‘Suffering Servant’ – Jesus Christ) appeared first instead.
2. Most of them missed the times foretold about when the Messiah was to appear – in the first century A.D. And,
3. Almost no one prior to the first century expected two faces and two advents of the Messiah. But the first advent is documented in Jesus Christ, and the second is expected as surely as the first.

Finally, two other notes that address issues regarding the Messiah: The first is a scholarly work written by the world’s foremost Jewish Messianic expert on the Messiah, Dr. Michael L. Brown. I highly recommend anyone interested in the Jewish Messiah to invest in and read the following:

Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus (five volumes)

Or you can purchase one volume at a time at Amazon.com

The second is a site showing the fulfilled Messianic prophecies of Jesus Christ:

Fulfilled Messianic Prophecies

Jesus is Lord!

God bless,

– The Righter Report

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ahitophel – Piecing the puzzle together

Why did Ahitophel betray King David?

Ahitophel was King David’s trusted advisor / counselor (1 Chronicles 27:33) and served him for many years. After some time passed, and because of David’s adultery and involvement with Bathsheba, and David’s complicity in the killing of Urriah – Bathsheba’s husband, note 2 Samuel chapter 11 – King David suffered a number of tragedies and judgments:

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” – 2 Samuel 12:11-12

Then David said to the prophet Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD. Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die” (2 Samuel 12:13-14). Which soon thereafter occurred.

Yet King David’s ‘trusted’ counselor, Ahitophel, suddenly turned against him. When David’s son Absalom seized power and drove his father out of Jerusalem, Ahithophel stayed behind and became chief advisor to the rebellion (2 Samuel 15:31). It was he who advised Absalom to sleep with David’s concubines (2 Sam 16:20-23).

But the Bible does not tell us the real reason WHY Ahitophel betrayed King David. At least not directly. Like many things in the Bible, you have to search for the answer and piece the puzzle together.

The answer lies in different passages in scripture.

As it turns out, Ahitophel is mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:34, which tells us he is the father of Eliam. Since 2 Samuel 11:3 notes that Eliam is the father of Bathsheba, then the Ahitophel of 2 Samuel 15 is Bathsheba’s grandfather.

Now it becomes clear. Ahitophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather, was furious with King David for his behavior with his granddaughter and David’s complicit murder of her husband. So he turned against David.

And now you know the ‘rest of the story.’

These are the things that skeptics, and those who engage in a superficial reading of the Bible, miss, but which helps instead to solidify the interconnectedness, continuity, and credibility of the Bible.

– The Righter Report

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Ossuaries of First Christians

The first century catacomb, uncovered by archaeologist P. Bagatti on the Mount of Olives, contains inscriptions clearly indicating its use, “by the very first Christians in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem Burial Cave Reveals: Names, Testimonies of First Christians

by Jean Gilman

Like many other important early Christian discoveries in the Holy Land, these major finds were unearthed and the results published many decades ago. Then the discoveries were practically forgotten. Because of recent knowledge and understanding, these ancient tombs once again assume center stage, and their amazing “testimonies in stone” give some pleasant surprises about some of the earliest followers of Jesus.

The catacombs were found and excavated primarily by two well-known archaeologists, but their findings were later read and verified by other scholars such as Yigael Yadin, J. T. Milik and J. Finegan.

The first catacomb found near Bethany was investigated by renowned French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. The other, a large burial cemetery unearthed near the modern Dominus Flevit Chapel, was excavated by Italian scholar, P. Bagatti.

Both archaeologists found evidence clearly dating the two catacombs to the first century AD, with the later finding coins minted by Governor Varius Gratus at the turn of the millenium (up to 15/16 AD). Evidence in both catacombs indicated their use for burial until the middle part of the first century AD, several years before the New Testament was written.

The first catacomb was a family tomb investigated by archaeologist Clermont-Ganneau on the Mount of Olives near the ancient town of Bethany. Clermont-Ganneau was surprised to find names which corresponded with names in the New Testament. Even more interesting were the signs of the cross etched on several of the ossuaries (stone coffins).

As Claremont-Ganneau further investigated the tomb, he found inscriptions, including the names of “Eleazar”(=”Lazarus”), “Martha” and “Mary” on three different coffins.

The Gospel of John records the existence of one family of followers of Jesus to which this tomb seems to belong: “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick)…” (11:1,2)

John continues by recounting Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Found only a short distance from Bethany, Clermont-Ganneau believed it was not a “singular coincidence” that these names were found.

He wrote: “[This catacomb] on the Mount of Olives belonged apparently to one of the earliest [families] which joined the new religion [of Christianity]. In this group of sarcophagi [coffins], some of which have the Christian symbol [cross marks] and some have not, we are, so to speak, [witnessing the] actual unfolding of Christianity.”

Bagatti also found evidence which clearly indicated that the tomb was in use in the early part of the first century AD. Inside, the sign of the cross was found on numerous first-century coffins.

He found dozens of inscribed ossuaries, which included the names Jairus, Jonathan, Joseph, Judah, Matthias, Menahem, Salome, Simon, and Zechariah. In addition, he found one ossuary with crosses and the unusual name “Shappira” – which is a unique name not found in any other first-century writtings except for the Book of Acts (5:1).

Additional photos and information in the story Here at LeaderU

– The Righter Report

November 11, 2013 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, News, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment

Until Shiloh Comes

A time-sensitive prophecy of when the Messiah will appear.

Until Shiloh Comes
By Chuck Missler (From his Book “The Creator Beyond Time and Space”)

In the 49th chapter of the book of Genesis there is another specific prophecy regarding the time of the Messiah’s coming. In verse one we read of the last blessing that Jacob bestowed to his sons.

“And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days'” Genesis 49:1 (NKJ)

When he had gathered them together he began to prophesy over each of them. When he got to his son Judah, he gave a prophecy concerning the Messiah:

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:10 (NKJ)

This strange prophecy has a few words that need to be defined in order to be fully understood. The word “scepter” has been understood by the Rabbis to mean the “tribal staff” or “tribal identity” of the twelve tribes of Israel. This “tribal identity” was linked, in the minds of the Jews, to their right to apply and enforce Mosaic law upon the people, including the right to adjudicate capital cases and administer capital punishment, or jus gladii (The jus gladii is a legal term which refers to the legal authority to adjudicate capital cases and impose capital punishment.)

Secondly, it is well documented that the word “Shiloh” has been understood for millennia to be an idiom for the Messiah.

Therefore, according to this prophecy, the tribal identity or scepter of the tribe of Judah would not cease until the Messiah came. Judah was not only the name of the son of Jacob, but it was also the name of the southern kingdom of the divided nation of Israel.

With these definitions in place we can restate the prophecy as follows:

“The [National identity of Judah, which includes the right to enforce Mosaic law, including the right to administer capital punishment upon the people, as called for in the Torah] shall not depart from [the southern kingdom (Judah) ], nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah] comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.”

This prophecy gives specific indicators regarding the time of the coming of the Messiah! The prophecy declares that he would come before the right to impose Jewish law (which includes capital punishment) is restricted and before the national identity of Judah is removed!

During the 70-year Babylonian captivity, from 606-537 B.C., the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah, had lost it’s national sovereignty, but retained it’s tribal staff or national identity.2 It is very significant that in the book of Ezra we read that during the 70-year Babylonian captivity the Jews still retained their own lawgivers or judges.3 The Jews maintained their identity and judicial authority over their own people even during 70 years of slavery. The scepter had not been lost during the Babylonian captivity.

During the next five centuries the Jews suffered under the yoke of the Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. Yet, Judah retained its tribal identity up until the first quarter of the first century A.D.

In the first quarter of the first century A.D., the Jews were under Roman domination when an unprecedented event occurred. According to Josephus (Antiquities 17:13) around the year A.D. 6-7, the son and successor to King Herod, a man named Herod Archelaus, was dethroned and banished to Vienna, a city of Gaul.4 He was replaced, not by a Jewish king, but by a Roman Procurator named Caponius. The legal power of the Sanhedrin was then immediately restricted.

With the ascension of Caponius, the Sanhedrin lost their ability to adjudicate capital cases. This was the normal policy toward all the nations under the yoke of the Romans. The province of Judea had, however, been spared from this policy up to this point. However, Caesar Agustus had had enough of the Jews and finally removed the judicial authority from them at the ascension of Caponius. This transfer of power was recorded by Josephus.5

“And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Caponius, one of the equestrian order of the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar!”(Emphasis added)

The power of the Sanhedrin to adjudicate capital cases was immediately removed. In the minds of the Jewish leadership, this event signified the removal of the scepter or national identity of the tribe of Judah!

If you think that this is a Christian contrivance, think again. Here are several ancient rabbinical references that indicate that the rabbis believed that Genesis 49:10 was referring to the Messiah.

In the Targum Onkelos it states:

“The transmission of domain shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children, forever, until Messiah comes.”6

In the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan it states:

“King and rulers shall not cease from the house of Judah…until King Messiah comes”7

The Targum Yerushalmi states:

“Kings shall not cease from the house of Judah…until the time of the coming of the King Messiah…to whom all the dominions of the earth shall become subservient”7

In the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b, Rabbi Johanan said:

“The world was created for the sake of the Messiah, what is this Messiah’s name? The school of Rabbi Shila said ‘his name is Shiloh, for it is written; until Shiloh come.'”

These amazing commentaries should eliminate any doubt that the Jews that lived prior to the Christian era believed that one of the names of the Messiah was Shiloh. Furthermore, these quotes should eliminate all doubt that the ancient rabbis believed that the Messiah would come before the removal of the scepter from Judah!

Woe Unto Us, For Messiah Has Not Appeared!

So far we have established that Shiloh is an idiom for the Messiah and that the scepter (that is, the tribal identity, associated with the right to impose capital punishment) had departed from the kingdom of Judah early in the first quarter of the first century. What was the reaction of the Jews when the right to adjudicate capital cases (the jus gladii) was removed from Judah? Did they view the removal of their authority on capital cases as the removal of the scepter from Judah? The answer can be categorically stated as YES!

When Archelaus was banished, the power of the Sanhedrin was severely curtailed. Capital cases could no longer be tried by the Sanhedrin. Such cases were now transferred to the Roman Procurator, Caponius. This transfer of power is even mentioned in the Talmud:

“A little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentences was taken away from the Jews.”8

This certainly corresponds to the same event recorded by Josephus we saw earlier. In Antiquities 20:9 Josephus again points out that the Sanhedrin had no authority over capital cases:

“After the death of the procurator Festus, when Albinus was about to succeed him , the high priest Ananias considered it a favorable opportunity to assembly the Sanhedrin. He therefore caused James the Brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, and several others, to appear before this hastily assembled council, and pronounced upon them the sentence of death by stoning. All the wise men and strict observers of the law who were at Jerusalem expressed their disapprobation of this act…Some even went to Albinus himself , who had departed to Alexandria, to bring this breach of the law under his observation, and to inform him that Ananius had acted illegally in assembling the Sanhedrin without the Roman authority.”

This remarkable passage not only mentions Jesus of Nazareth and his brother James as historical figures, but it also declares that the Sanhedrin had no authority to pass the death sentence upon any man!`

The jus gladii, the right to impose the death sentence, had been removed. The remaining authority of Judah had been taken away by the Romans in the early years of the first century. The scepter had departed from Judah. Its royal and legal powers were removed; but where was Shiloh?

The reaction of the Jews to these monumental events is recorded in the Talmud. Augustin Lemann, in his book Jesus before the Sanhedrin, records a statement by Rabbi Rachmon:

“When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come'”9,10,11 (emphasis added)

The scepter was smitten from the hands of the tribe of Judah. The kingdom of Judea, the last remnant of the greatness of Israel, was debased into being merely a part of the province of Syria.

While the Jews wept in the streets of Jerusalem, there was growing up in the city of Nazareth the young son of a Jewish carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. The inescapable conclusion was that Shiloh had come! Only then was the Scepter removed!

References:

Missler, Chuck, Eastman, Mark, M.D.”The Creator Beyond Time and Space”, The Word for Today 1996, p.144-149

Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman M.D. references:

-1. For a detailed discussion see “The search for Messiah”, Mark Eastman, Chuck Smith, p.74. The Word for Today. (714)-979-0706
-2. Paraphrased from “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”, Josh McDowell. Here’s Life Publishers, p 168.
-3. Archelaus was the second son of Herod the Great. Herod’s oldest son, Herod Antipater, was murdered by Herod the Great, along with a number of other family members. Archelaus’ mother was a Samaritan, giving him only one quarter or less, Jewish blood. At the Death of Herod the Great in 4 B.C. Archelaus was placed over Judea as “Entharch” by Caesar Augustus. However, he was never accepted by the Jews and was removed from office in 6 or 7 A.D.
-4. “Wars of the Jews”, Book 2, chapter 8
-5. “The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation: The Messianic Exegesis of the Targum”, Samson H Levy (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Jewish institute of Religion, 1974), p. 2.
-6. ibid.,p.7
-7. ibid.,p.8
-8. Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin, filoi 24.
-9. Babylonian Talmund, Chapter 4, folio 37.
-10. “Jesus Before the Sanhedrin”, by Augustin Lemann, 1886, Translated by Julius Magath, NL# 0239683, Library of Congress# 15-24973
-11. See also the monumental work Pugio Fidei, Martini, Raymundus, published by De Vosin in 1651. For a detailed discussion of this reference see The Fifty Third Chapter of Isaih According to Jewish Interpreters, preface p.iv S.R. Driver, A.D. Neubauer, KTAV Publishing House, Inc. New York 1969

Reprinted by permission of Koinonia House http://www.khouse.org/

– The Righter Report

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | Leave a comment