The Righter Report

We Need God in America Again

November 13, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Politics, Theology, 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

God’s Little Troublemakers

By Pete Righter

Some years back if you’d been watching any sports events on TV, you probably saw this one commercial for Lite beer. And there was this one guy – I think his name was Bob Eucker – who always liked to go up into the stands at baseball and football games and stir up trouble. He’d sit down between two guys who were drinking Lite beer and nudge one of them in the ribs and say something like, “That guy sitting on the other side of me says that Lite Beer tastes great.” Well that would get the first guys attention and he’d say, “Oh yeah?” Then he’d turn to the other guy and tell him the first guy said that Lite beer is less filling. And that guy would then get up and look at the first guy and yell, “Tastes great!” And the other guy would yell back, “Less filling!” And the war would be on. The whole stadium would be in an uproar. Then the camera would pan back at Bob Eucker and he would just be sitting back there yucking it up at all the trouble he’d caused.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that God has his own little troublemakers. Wherever the full gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, God’s little troublemakers are at work. But their mission is to save lives, not stir up unnecessary trouble. Keep that story about Bob Euker in mind as we read from the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Acts:

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin (the members of the Jewish ruling council who were trying to sentence Paul to death) and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to Ananias, “God will strike you – you white-washed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourselves violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection and afterlife), and the others Pharisees (who did believe in it), called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and I stand on trial today because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he had said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. And there was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who spoke out who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously…..The dispute became so violent that the Roman commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and rescue him by force, and take him back to the barracks. The council was in an uproar.”

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck! Less filling! Tastes great! That’s the kind of thing you sometimes run into when you’re preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some years ago, an old English preacher by the name of Smith Wigglesworth remarked, “If you leave people as you found them, God is not speaking through you. If you are not making people either mad or glad, there is something wrong with your ministry. If there’s not a (spiritual) war going on, you’re not doing your job.”

Another commentator, a gentleman by the name of Arthur Wallis, speaking on the apostolic style of preaching that we see in the Book of Acts, said, “Such preaching makes indifference to the word of God impossible – it sets the hearers into one of two camps. It’s calculated to either produce a revival or a riot.”

Whether we like it or not, God’s people are sometimes called on to “rock the boat,” and to preach a confrontational gospel. And just what is a confrontational gospel? It’s any message that preaches the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that not only tells the world that Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life, but it’s also a message that confronts unrighteousness, exposes ambivalence, and challenges people to reexamine their lives to see if they have made Christ not only their Savior, but also the Lord of their lives. The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus is our Lord or Savior. It says he is our Lord and Savior! And when you acknowledge that and advance his gospel with all the dedication, vigor and passion that you can possibly muster, then you too will have become one of God’s “little troublemakers.”

America today is at a crossroads. We have traded in the “tastes great” gospel of Jesus Christ for one that is “less filling.” We have sought to make ungodly people godly without converting them from their sin. We have taught grace without godliness, salvation without repentance, and tolerance in lieu of moral outrage. And as a nation, we have strayed far from the commandments of God.

As Carl Henry so eloquently noted, “America has turned its back on God. It mocks God. Instead it worships a twentieth century Baal, incarnated in sensuality, materialism, and immorality of every kind.”

We see this even in some of our mainline churches today. Over one hundred years ago, Catherine Booth remarked, “It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day when it provokes so little opposition from the world. When the Church and the world can jog along together side by side comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong.”

America has gone from a righteous, Christian nation to a predominately pagan, “anything goes” moral sewer of a society, where in the name of tolerance and appeasement we ordain practicing homosexual ministers, engage in the genocide of millions of unborn children, and then we go home and quietly lay down on our couches because we don’t want to give anyone the appearance of being judgmental or intolerant. Do we hate God so much that we will let these outrageous deeds pass without so much as even raising our voices for what’s right in his eyes? Are we so fearful of mortal man and public opinion that we no longer fear the wrath of the Almighty and Invincible King of Kings and Lord of the universe? Are we so gutless and timid about speaking out that we can ignore the righteous blood of Christ and his apostles, who cry out to us from heaven to take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God? Is this what our faith has come to?

God’s “Little Troublemakers” are a peculiar breed of individuals. They exemplify the notion that once a person is “born from above” and regenerated with the burning fire of God’s Holy Spirit, they then become the instruments of God’s divine plan. God’s word is indelibly inscribed on their hearts and souls. They are incensed when people twist and distort the scriptures in an effort to justify their worldly passions. They start loving the things that God loves and hating the things God hates. Issues of legality and morality are seldom shaded in gray. Matters of conscience become crystal-clear, black and white, good or evil. They have a burning and unquenchable desire to win souls for Christ. The Spirit of Christ compels them. Christianity ceases to become some warm and fuzzy once-a-week Sunday side-show. Instead, it is now a 24 hour-a-day, God-wrought crusade against evil and deception for the salvation of souls. They know that heaven and hell are real, and that we are daily involved in eternal life-and-death struggles for the redemption of mankind. They see worldliness, materialism, and self-gratification as Satan’s time-consuming distractions that only result in more and more people arriving in hell each day. They marvel that the rest of the world is so caught up in it that it hasn’t figured this out yet.

Once anointed with the Holy Spirit, “God’s Little Troublemakers” no longer have a fear of mortal man. They would just as soon walk up to the antichrist and read him the riot act as look at him. They are God’s little spiritually-impassioned wrecking-balls of evangelism and conviction. Though imperfect in the flesh, they are emboldened by the Spirit. Though looked upon as so much self-righteous, despicable rubbish by unregenerate men, they are seen as precious in the eyes of the Lord.

And the paradox of the Old and New Testament prophets and disciples is this: Ultimately, they gave their lives so that others might have the words of eternal life. Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for another.

Now there’s absolutely no doubt that when a confrontational message is preached, there will come those from the pews of our churches and from society at large who will say, “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). In reality, their sole intent is to stifle the messenger so they won’t be convicted of their iniquity.

People today are so afraid to speak out on an issue and be labeled as judgmental and intolerant that they’re not speaking out at all. They’re allowing our nation to be utterly destroyed by all manner of iniquity. People who are starting to feel the heat of the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their sins, and who are uncomfortably squirming in their seats, love to quote that verse about not judging just to try to shut you up. They can’t stand the heat. Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about sin – he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, FIRST take the plank out of your own eye, AND THEN you can see clearly TO REMOVE the speck that is in your brothers eye.” Note that it’s okay to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Just make sure that first there’s not a plank in your own eye.

Now I want to remind you that the world generally despised and rejected Jesus Christ. He was looked upon as a radical extremist and a troublemaker of the first order. Today, the unregenerate world looks upon him simply as either a myth or a minister of love, peace and tolerance. But love is often confrontational. It speaks the truth even when the truth is unpopular. Regarding peace, Jesus said (Matthew 10:34-36), “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – note Hebrews 4:12). For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s own enemies will be members of his own household.” Preaching the entire word of God will do just that. And as for tolerance, Jesus was anything but tolerant. Not once did he compromise God’s word for man’s. He rebuked hypocrisy, exposed sin, and regularly confronted the scurrilous and demonic doctrines of the corrupt religious leaders of his day.

You may remember another one of God’s little troublemakers, Stephen. You see him in Acts chapters six and seven. Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power, and he did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” But the Bible says that opposition arose against him. Why? Because his message was a threat to the religious establishment of his day – an establishment that rejected Jesus Christ and those who proclaimed his message. Here again was a man who would not compromise God’s word for the doctrines of the world. He was wholly and totally committed to God. He was on fire for the Lord. And he was brought into the council of the Sanhedrin to account for his testimony. And here’s what happened next: After a long litany of historic review about the nation of Israel, Stephen looked at the members of the Sanhedrin and cried out,

“You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!
You always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet
your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who
predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you
have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the
law that was put into effect through angels, but have not
obeyed it!’ When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this
they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen,
full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’
he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at
the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears, and
yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed him….and
they dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death.”
(Acts 7:51-58)

They were furious! They gnashed their teeth and screamed at the top of their lungs! The council was in an uproar.

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck again! So much for “tolerance.” And look at what happened when Stephen rebuked those obstinate people for their sins – the Glory of God appeared! Imagine, if Stephen were standing here today and spoke out against the backslidden and the unregenerate, and he said:

“You stiff-necked and rebellious people – you, who continue to resist the Holy Spirit, reject Jesus Christ, and live for yourselves. What hope can there possibly be for you? When, if ever, are you going to get yourselves right with the Lord?”

How popular would that be?

Why was John the Baptist beheaded? Was he a reed swayed by the breeze of political correctness? Was John one of those guys who wanted everyone to be his buddy? Was he someone who sought after his own well-being and personal indulgences? John the Baptist spoke out strongly against the corrupt religious leaders of his day. He went after King Herod and reminded him of his adultery. He called the Sadducees and Pharisees a “Brood of Vipers!” He wasn’t playing the world’s game and looking out for his own welfare and popularity. He wasn’t practicing “tolerance” and preaching a watered-down gospel that sends people to hell. He was preaching the word of God, trying to turn someone to repentance and salvation, and for that he was labeled a troublemaker and eventually put to death.

Why was Paul beaten and persecuted? Why was James put to death with the sword? Why were the prophets and the apostles martyred? They didn’t go after these guys for preaching love and tolerance. They went after them because they exposed sin, corruption, and idolatry, and took a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. They were God’s little troublemakers, and the world couldn’t handle it. The world stood convicted of its sin, and in order to justify its own worldliness and unrighteousness it chose instead to kill the messengers. Sound familiar?

And herein lies the crux of this message: Exposing sin and confronting apathy and unrighteousness are critically essential to salvation. Without conviction there is no need for a savior. And if the world has no need for a savior, then Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has absolutely no relevance or significance.

Now for those in the church who say we shouldn’t “rock the boat,” I ask: “What kind of baptism and faith do we have that calls for almost no separation from the world, produces no personal sacrifice, and breeds practically no animosity towards sin? What kind of born-again experience is it that makes Christ our Savior, but fails to make Him Lord of our lives? And what kind of faith is it that permits us to follow the dictates of this world, and pursue our own pleasures, wants, and feelings, rather than the commandments of God?” What kind of faith is that? James calls it “dead faith.” Where is the evidence of our salvation and new birth if we’re not trying to follow God’s word? We say, “Just confess Jesus and you’re saved.” Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.” We say, “Just say this simple prayer and you’re in.” He says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

A man by the name of Thomas Kempis once wrote, “Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.”

Now would you like some sound, scriptural proof that the compromised Church of Jesus Christ has been inundated by the worldly doctrines of tolerance and appeasement? Simply put, there is little or no persecution of Christians in America. Persecution arises when the Gospel of Christ becomes a threat to a perverse and degenerate society. Persecution is evidence that Satan’s demonic empire is being threatened – that sin and corruption are being exposed, and that Satan and his people are starting to feel the heat. Persecution is evidence that one of God’s little troublemakers has smashed the foundations of a self-righteous society, and by God’s righteous Spirit, has brought conviction to the masses. Yet today, the confrontational gospel has yet to shake the foundations of the church, much less the world.

Contrast that with the confrontational message of the early prophets and apostles. King Herod and his “wife” were so incensed by the impassioned discourse of John the Baptist that they had him imprisoned and beheaded. Paul’s teachings so enraged the idol makers of Ephesus that the silversmiths and craftsmen stirred up an enormous riot that almost resulted in Paul’s death. And Stephen’s message before the Sanhedrin so infuriated the Pharisees that they gnashed their teeth and turned into a raging mob. Time after time, from the Old Testament to the New, God’s little troublemakers spoke out against the scourges of political correctness and condemned evil and iniquity. Time after time, they were alienated, branded as troublemakers, and were beaten and put to death for exposing lies, greed, and deception. The world was not worthy of them. They were the ancient gladiators of truth and justice, and they served God with humility and honor. Great are their rewards in heaven. I, for one, am grateful and envious of their passion, courage, and perseverance.

So let this lesson serve you well. Come out of the world and into the faith. Dare to recognize that your eternal rewards are far more encompassing than your earthly desires. Realize that you cannot be a friend of this world and serve Christ too. You will only love the one and hate the other. And understand that in serving your earthly passions you will not only fail to bring the word of salvation to those who tomorrow may pass from this earth into hell, but you will also ultimately antagonize your Creator, to whom you must someday give a full and honest accounting for all you’ve done, or failed to do in this life.

Acknowledgments to Dr. Michael L. Brown and his book, “It’s Time to Rock the Boat,” which formed the backbone of this message.

– The Righter Report

September 27, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Were the Founding Fathers Deists?

Were the Founding Fathers Deists, and why does it matter?

by Pete Righter

One might be surprised at how many people today believe the mantra that the founding fathers were deists, in spite of the historical evidence to the contrary.   What’s not surprising in our culture today is that very few people have done their due-diligence on the subject to the point where (1) they understand what deism is, and (2) why it’s important that we understand its influence – or lack thereof – in the founding of our nation.

First, what is Deism?

Deism, the religious attitude typical of the Enlightenment, especially in France and England, holds that the existence of God can be only proved based on the application of reason and the world can be discovered through observation experience and reasoning. A Deist is defined as “One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” Deism was often synonymous with so-called natural religion because its principles are drawn from nature and human reasoning. In contrast to Deism there are many cultural or revealed religions, such as Judaism, Trinitarian Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and others, which believe in supernatural intervention of God in the world; while Deism denies any supernatural intervention and emphasizes that the world is operated by natural laws of the Supreme Being. – Wikipedia, “Deism in England and France in the 18th century.”

“Deism has come to denote the theological belief that God created the universe according to scientific laws, but does not interfere in its daily operation.”  – The New World Encyclopedia

 Deism: “[From Latin Deus, God Deity] The doctrine or creed of a Deist.” “One who believes in the existence of a God or supreme being, but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” – Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1941.

Deism is not a religion, but a religious philosophy. It advances the theory that God exists, that He created the universe, but does not intervene in the affairs of humankind. – ushistory.com.

Deism, as it came to be known in Colonial America, was largely advanced by the French philosopher and historian Voltaire, who believed during the “Enlightenment” that God was little more than a watchmaker who wound up the universe and then sat back and did not further involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  This movement, if you will, was part and parcel of an effort to de-Christianize French society and replace Christianity with rationalism and pagan philosophies.  The movement was critical of traditional institutions and essentially sought to discard long-revered moral principles and beliefs.

 Based on the definitions above and elsewhere, the two principle beliefs of Deism were:

 1. Although God created the universe, he did not intervene in the affairs of men and nations.  He did not guide men into the founding of nations, or do miracles, or answer prayer, or provide providential protection to his followers.

2. God did not give divine / revealed revelation to man (i.e. the Bible, prophecy, etc.)

 I think one would be hard pressed to find many our founding fathers who fit those descriptions.

Why is all this important?

Today we have a “progressive” movement in America which seeks to expunge or minimize any mention of God, along with his moral values and teachings, from the public square and from American’s traditional Godly heritage.  Their thinking is if they can eliminate the Judeo-Christian God and his influence from America’s historical writings and from the public square, it will be easier to promote their godless agenda into American life.  And if there has to be a god, then it will be one who has no moral agenda and one who will not interfere in the affairs of men and nations – i.e. the god of deism.

The dangers in that kind of thinking are obvious:  First, it’s historical revisionism.  And second, it negates the providence and moral foundations of God in our American culture and historical foundations.

How widespread was deism among America’s Founding Fathers?

Dr. M. E. Bradford of the University of Dallas conducted a study of the Founding Founders to look at this question (whether the Founding Fathers were deists or Christians). He discovered the Founders were members of denominations as follows: twenty-eight Episcopalians, eight Presbyterians, seven Congregationalists, two Lutherans, two Dutch Reformed, two Methodists, two Roman Catholics, and three deists. – Reference: M. E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), iv–v.

 That’s correct – only three deists.

I think if one is skeptical of what was just presented then all one needs to do is perform a comprehensive study of quotations from the founders, keeping in mind the two main principles of deism:  no divine revelation to man and no influence or interaction in the affairs of men and nations.  A good reference source for study is the book in the photograph at the top of this article – “America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer. All quotations are referenced.

With this in mind let’s take a look at four of the Founding Fathers most often claimed to be deists by the progressive movement.

 Benjamin Franklin

In his younger years, Franklin was influenced by the writings of Robert Boyle, a 17th Century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor.  As a defender of the Christian faith, Boyle made a series of arguments against deism, but it was the arguments of deists in Boyle’s writings which appeared to have made a more lasting impression with Franklin, and for a time Franklin embraced deism.  These influences did not have a lasting effect on Franklin, though, and by the time of the American Revolution, Franklin had done a “180” and was a firm believer in the divine revelation and providence of the Biblical God.

On June 28, 1787, after much gridlock in the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin spoke the following:

“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.”

It’s pretty obvious that Franklin believed in a God who did involve himself in the affairs of men and nations, and Franklin also alludes to the New Testament as “Sacred Writings,” which also reveal God’s revelation to man.   Franklin was no deist.

George Washington

He (Washington) was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”; on May 2, 1778, he charged his soldiers at Valley Forge that “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian”; and when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the military on June 8, 1783, he reminded the nation that “without a humble imitation” of “the Divine Author of our blessed religion” we “can never hope to be a happy nation.” Washington’s own adopted daughter declared of Washington that you might as well question his patriotism as to question his Christianity. (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

In addition, the inscription on Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon is this:

WITHIN THIS ENCLOSURE REST THE REMAINS OF GENL. GEORGE WASHINGTON.” Over the door of the inner tomb is inscribed: “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.”

Thomas Jefferson

 Thomas Jefferson was hardly speaking from a strict deist standpoint when he said:

“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 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; and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”  (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781)

Now, why should Jefferson tremble for his country if God does not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations?

And then there’s this:

“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all  the necessities and comforts of life.” (Monday, March 4, 1805, in his 2nd Inaugural Address)

Another oblique reference to the Bible.  Remember, a strict deist was one who believed God was like a watchmaker, who wound up the universe and thereafter did not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations.  Jefferson obviously believed otherwise.

James Madison

James Madison trained for ministry with the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, and Madison’s writings are replete with declarations of his faith in God and in Christ. In fact, for proof of this, one only need read his letter to Attorney General Bradford wherein Madison laments that public officials are not bold enough about their Christian faith in public and that public officials should be “fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.” And while Madison did allude to a “wall of separation,” contemporary writers frequently refuse to allow Madison to provide his own definition of that “wall.” According to Madison, the purpose of that “wall” was only to prevent Congress from passing a national law to establish a national religion.  (David Barton, Wallbuilders.com)

Miscellaneous Quotations

Concerning the outcome of the American Revolution, John Quincy Adams noted, “The highest glory won from the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, John Adams wrote: “The general principles on which the (founding) fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.”

Founding father Noah Webster proclaimed much the same message when he said, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”

Time after time, the founding fathers declared similar beliefs. From the archives of Patrick Henry’s personal notes (handwritten on the back of his copy of the “Stamp Act Resolutions,” made public after his death) we read:

“Whether this (new government) will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation.”

https://righterreport.com/2011/07/16/the-moral-foundations-of-america-2/

Concluding Remarks:  And so it goes, from one Founding Father to the next.  The most frequent and most  dominate influence among the founders was the Bible (divine revelation to man) which was referenced in some 34% of the founding father’s quotations.  The vast majority of the founders believed in an active God who not only gave divine revelation to man, but who was also providential in the affairs of men and nations.

References: 

America’s God and Country” – Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William J. Federer.  All quotations are referenced.

“The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible. David Barton. May 2008. http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=8755

– The Righter Report

 

June 15, 2014 Posted by | America, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Three Bells, by the Browns

June 1, 2014 Posted by | America | Leave a comment

Paul Harvey’s Warning to America

“If I were the Devil I would…”

May 26, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Theology, 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

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Exodus chapters seven through twelve document the ten plagues the Lord put Egypt through in order to secure the release of the Israelites from their bondage.  It had been some four-hundred years since Joseph and his family had first sought refuge in Egypt from the famine.  But now, with Moses as “The Deliverer,” the Jews were to be set free.

Reasons for the plagues:

The sins of the Egyptians are well documented.  Not only had they placed the Israelites in slavery, but they had also engaged in idolatry (the worship of false gods), and had even ordered the murder of the Israelite’s male babies.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”  –  Exodus chapter 1, NIV

It is unknown how many sons of the Israelites were ultimately killed, but undoubtedly it was many.

Interestingly, when another deliverer (Jesus) was promised to Israel, the enemies of the Israelites also killed their babies.

One other thing – we can logically conclude from scripture that, like the Amorites, there would come a time of judgment from God when the sins of the Egyptians would reach their full measure.

Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” – Genesis 15:13-16

The Ten Plagues

The ten plagues on Egypt weren’t just happenstance.  Not only were they punishment against the Egyptians for their sins but each of the ten plagues were directed against one or more of the Egyptian “gods,” to show the people of Egypt (and Israel) that those ‘gods’ were impotent.  For instance, the first plague turned the Nile River into blood.  The Egyptian ‘god’ of the Nile was Hapi, and it soon became clear that Hapi could not stop the plague of blood.  The God of Israel was showing beyond a doubt that He was the one who ruled over the universe.

So, here are the ten plagues, and the Egyptian ‘gods” that were judged impotent:

Plague #1: Water into Blood                                            

Egyptian god attacked: Hapi  – The god of the Nile

Plague #2:  Frogs

Egyptian god attacked: Heka (Heqt or Heket) –  The god of fertility

Plague #3: Lice

Egyptian god(s) attacked: Geb /Horus – The god of the earth

Plague #4: Flies

Egyptian god attacked: Kheper (or Khepri)

Plague #5: Death of Livestock

Egyptian gods attacked:  Apis: (Sacred Bull);  Hathor: goddess of protection

Plague #6: Boils

Egyptian gods attacked:   Imhotep (physician god); Thoth (Magic and healing); Isis, goddess of medicine

Plague #7: Hail  

Egyptian god attacked: Nut – The sky goddess

Plague #8: Locusts

Egyptian god attacked: Seth – The god of crops

Plague #9: Darkness

Egyptian god attacked: Ra – The sun god, their primary god

Plague #10: First Born Killed  

Egyptian gods attacked: Pharaoh (He was considered a  god and his first born son would become a god after him); Bes – Protector of Children; Aten – Symbol of life.

Concluding remarks:

Like many things in the Bible, it pays to do one’s due-diligence and research a particular story to gain a fuller understanding of what was going on.  In Egypt, God not only delivered the Israelites from bondage, but also punished the Egyptians for their centuries of sin, and showed them that each of their so-called ‘gods’ were impotent against the Almighty God of Israel.

One other note of interest:

Evidence of the Exodus from Egypt:  http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm

Blessings,

– The Righter Report

 

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, 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

Isaiah’s Prophecy of the Messiah

Isaiah Chapter 53 – 750 B.C.

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
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
.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities
.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors
.

Isaiah 53 and the New Testament Fulfillments

Isaiah 53 According to Ancient Jewish Rabbis

From the link above: Conclusion: This history of rabbinical thought concerning Isaiah 53 demonstrates that the traditional Jewish view of Isaiah 53 is that it speaks of the Messiah. Because of this, it is clear that the dominant Jewish view of the Messiah throughout the centuries has included the understanding that the Messiah would suffer and die as a sacrifice, bearing the sins of all people who would “believe the report” (verse 1). He would be the ultimate atonement for Jewish people and for others who would embrace him.

Why Isaiah 53 cannot be referring to Israel, but the Messiah instead

The Jewish Messiah is Jesus Christ.

Shrine of the Book Museum in Israel

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment