All posts filed under: Apologetics

Northern Arctic Credit: Chase Dekker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ice problems north and south

English explorer Pen Hadow was planning to sail from Alaska to the North Pole this year to reveal the impact that man-made global warming has had on reducing ice in Canada’s arctic. In an article in the UK Times, a representative for the group said: “The secondary objective is to sail as far north as the sea ice safely allows us, possibly even to the North Pole.” However, this expedition made up of two sail boats was forced to cancel its trip because of excessive ice surrounding the North Pole. According to the director of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (ANSIDC), Professor Mark Serreze, a person could only reach the North Pole with an ice breaker, because it “was still surrounded by nearly 800 miles of solid packed ice as of last week.” ANSIDC reported that this year’s ice bank was the fifth lowest level of ice concentration in the arctic recorded by satellite images. If you read between the lines it shows the ice cap was much lower several times in the …

Karachi, Pakistan Credit: Benny Lin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Marilyn Hickey, a Pakistani anomaly

As we read about Christians being persecuted in Muslim countries, a weird anomaly keeps popping up — American televangelist Marilyn Hickey. Aged 86, last November during a eight-day tour she preached the gospel in Karachi, Pakistan before crowds totaling nearly one million people. She did it freely with no resistance from the government or threats from Muslim extremists. According to reports she is known as the ‘mom of Pakistan” and for some reason has even been accepted by imams in the Muslim Pakistani community. The terrorists basically ignore her because she is an old woman. Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, with 201 million people it is the sixth most populated country in the world. It was formed in 1947 as a home for Muslims living in India and nearly 95% of the country is Muslim. In its revised 1973 constitution, the country declared Islam its state religion and all laws must be in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. At this point, the country has not implemented Sharia law, however polls indicate …

King David made Mykytiuk’s list. Fresco of King David bring the ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem by Johann Baptist Wenzel-bergl Credit: Wolfgang Sauber/Wikipedia

53 Bible personalities make the list, more to come

Purdue University Libraries associate professor Lawrence Mykytiuk recently released a report in Biblical Archaeological Review outlining 53 people mentioned by name in the Bible verified by archaeology. His work is part of a growing trend among academics giving more credence to the historical accuracy of Scripture. Mykytiuk’s interest in the Bible’s historical accuracy started in 1992 as he was doing graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was then he stumbled upon a clay insignia of a servant of King Hezekiah, verifying that Hezekiah was a real King in Israeli history. The proof of Hezekiah’s existence has continued to roll in. In 2015, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar discovered another seal bearing Hezekiah’s name while excavating in Jerusalem. Though Jewish, Mazar is not religious, but admitted on several occasions that she excavated with a shovel in one hand and a Bible in the other. Mykytiuk also points out that it is not just Jewish archaeological sites that  are providing evidence. Israel’s ancient enemies also confirm many of these people existed. He pointed to an ancient …

Credit: Des D. Mona/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Creation of Evolution

Have you heard about the new Darwin? Jeremy England is a professor at MIT with a theory “dissipation-driven adaptation” about the origins of life. The theory focusses on physics instead of biology, the usual scientific approach to evolution. My best summary is that life is inevitable because of the physical structure of the universe. “random groups of molecules can self-organize to more efficiently absorb and dissipate heat from the environment.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_England Life had to happen because of the design and structure of the universe. That’s a complicated way to say that life was created. The god of creation, in this case, is the physical universe, the thing that made life. By extension, something intelligent made the structure of the universe so that it inevitably produced life, but that is just me talking. The ‘new Darwin’ Jeremy England identifies as Orthodox Jewish and apparently studies the Torah, what Christians call the Old Testament. Did you know that the original Darwin was a religious man? He is described as a naturalist, but that profession didn’t exist in …

Recent archaeological work being done at the West Bank Shiloh site: Credit: Vimeo Video screen capture/Tim Velasco

Hints of Shiloh’s location?

Archaeologists have uncovered some interesting artifacts at what is believed to be the ancient Israeli site of Shiloh located in the West Bank. After entering the Promised Land under Joshua, the Israelis eventually set up the Tabernacle of Moses at Shiloh around 1400 BC (Joshua 18:1). It stood here for 369 years. The site in the West Bank is considered one of four possible locations of Shiloh. Inside the tabernacle, a large colourful tent, was the gold-plated Ark of the Covenant on which the Presence of God sat leading to the Tabernacle being called the “dwelling place of God” (Exodus 25:8-9). A large Jewish community eventually built up around the most important religious site in Israel during this period. The Tabernacle sat within a larger fenced-off compound where the altar stood on which the Jewish priests made sacrifices on behalf of Israel. There are some indications from ancient non-Biblical Jewish writings that the tent and the walls of the compound originally made of cloth and skins for easy transportation around the wilderness were eventually replaced …

Various images of the Shroud of Turin

Scans of the blood found on Shroud of Turin reveal torture

Early protestant reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the first to question the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity, that some believe is the burial cloth used to wrap Christ’s body. Burned into the Shroud is an image of a man with long hair and a beard that is the basis of most modern paintings used to portray Christ today. It is believed the image was created when God miraculously raised Christ from the dead. Calvin who was not enamoured with the Roman Catholic church used scripture to refute the claim. He pointed to John 20:6-7 where it says there were two pieces of cloth, one for the body and a smaller piece of linen that the disciples wrapped around Christ’s head. Defending the shroud’s authenticity, some argue that the larger piece could still have covered the full body. And despite the fact Pope Francis prayed before the cloth in June 2015, the Roman Catholic Church has not made an official declaration on the shroud (14 feet 5 inches by 3 feet 7 inches)  kept at the Cathedral of …

Jezreel Valley in Israel. Credit: vad_levin/Flickr/Creative Commons.jpg

Does this find confirm 1 Kings 21:1?

Dr Norma Franklin made a remarkable discovery in the Jezreel Valley. The valley is located in a large, fertile plain in Northern Israel, just south of Nazareth. It has been an important agricultural area in Israel for centuries. In 2012, using a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner that is able to see beneath the surface of the earth, Franklin discovered several ancient wine presses including one that is now considered the largest wine-press ever found in Israel. This one was actually found on a side of a hill carved into the bedrock and was about 12 metres square (36 feet). As well, Franklin’s team discovered several (100) bottle-shaped pits that were probably used to store wine. In addition to discoveries related to the wine industry, the scanner also picked out several olive presses. Though it was difficult to determine the date of these finds, Franklin said the construction style is similar to those built in 300 BC. This would fall into the era of King Ahab and his wicked wife Queen Jezebel. So what Biblical …

Newcastle, Northern Ireland, home to another verified miracle. Photo: Newcastle harbour. Credit: Phil Rogers Flickr/Creative Commons

Cancer healing challenges doctors in Northern Ireland

In 2004, doctors diagnosed Sharyn Mackay of Newcastle, Co Down in Northern Ireland with a cancerous tumour on her kidney. Sharyn and her husband William, who at the time was a Methodist pastor, have four children. After taking a biopsy of the cancer, Sharyn’s surgeon from Craigavon Area Hospital sent a sample to specialists at Harvard University because her form of cancer was very rare. She told the Belfast Telegraph: “They said it was spindle cell sarcoma which is normally bone cancer. I was one of only 10 known cases where it had become a kidney tumour.” In an interview with Stuart Chalmers posted on YouTube, Sharyn said after hearing about her cancer many people in the four churches her husband pastored started praying for her. But at that point, Sharyn said her confidence was in the doctors who were treating her. However, that quickly changed when further tests showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. Her doctor said the cancer was terminal. Since chemotherapy and surgery could not cure it, they were not going …

Surgery cancelled after tumours miraculously healed

Ken Gorman of Sheffield, England was scheduled for surgery in early July. According to an article on Assist News, Ken noticed a lump on his face in May 2013 that was starting to cause him pain. At first, doctors prescribed pain medication, but as the lump continued to grow and the pain with it, doctors eventually sent Ken for an MRI at Rotherham General Hospital in South Yorkshire, England. That test revealed that part of a main nerve in Ken’s face was now encircled by three tumours. The doctors immediately scheduled surgery in July this year. However, things took a dramatic turn after Ken and his wife Annie heard about a healing rally being held by evangelist Nathan Morris at Hull City Hall in Hull, England. With Ken’s surgery still weeks away and his pain getting worse, they decided to attend the service. But there was a problem. Because of limited capacity, the meeting required pre-booking to attend and no tickets were available. Annie decided to drive her husband to the meeting even though they didn’t …

Mallard ducks Credit: Laura Gooch/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ducks weren’t created to act this way

My wife and I were driving down a road in Northern Saskatchewan a few days ago when I noticed a kerfuffle on the highway in front of us involving several birds, one of which was a crow. They were obviously fighting. As our vehicle approached, the crow suddenly took off with the other birds in pursuit. In the crow’s beak I could see another bird struggling to get free. I suspect it was a chick of the birds now chasing the crow. The crow had probably dropped the chick on the road and had swooped down to grab it again. I have no idea how this all ended as the birds disappeared over the ditch and into the forest that crowded the highway. But I suspect it did not go well for the chick. It reminded me of another story reported by the BBC. It was based on a report by Zoologist Silviu Petrovan of the University of Cambridge who was researching behaviour of mallard ducks on a lake in Romania. It was a typical …

Credit: kairoinfo4u/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where did the Egyptians come from: Does the Bible get it right again?

It has always been a bit of a mystery as to the origin of the Egyptians. But based on history and DNA sampling of modern Egyptians most concluded that they came from Northern Africa. However, this contradicts the Bible that declared that Egyptians descended from Mizraim, one of the son’s of Ham. The term Mizraim is actually translated Egypt by some translations (Genesis 10:6): 6 The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 NASV) 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (Genesis 10:6 ESV) It was Ham’s eldest Cush and his descendants who went on to settle what today is modern Africa.  We see a possible reference to their darker skin in the Prophet Jeremiah’s rhetorical question: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23).  The Hebrew word translated Ethiopian is “kusi,” a Cushite. But with the modern Egyptian DNA suggesting an African origin, it left the impression that the Bible was wrong. However, that recently changed when geneticists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of …

Credit: Vincent Van den Storme/Flickr/Creative Commons

Turning up the heat

The recent heat waves being experienced in the America Southwest and England may have an odd connection to a passage in the book of Revelation: 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9 NASV) This past week Arizona experienced some very hot weather, but it did not break the 122 degree heat record set in that US state on June 26, 1990. Nevertheless for three consecutive days (June 19-21), Phoenix, Arizona broke or equaled heat records for their city with temperatures of 118F, 119F and 116F respectively. The high temperatures that reached into areas of California resulted in the National Weather Service issuing a warning about “heat-related illnesses.” In the United Kingdom, they are experiencing some of the hottest weather in 40 years. Heathrow reached 34.5C (94F) this past …

What else could cause global warming? Credit: CipherN/Flickr/Creative Commons

The 20-year global warming pause?

A recent paper written by climate scientist Benjamin Santer has caused a stir among those entrenched in the man-made global warming camp and those who are not. In his paper published on Nature Geoscience, Santer, who believed in man-made global warming , stated that there has been no global warming for the past 18 years. This is nothing short of heresy among global warming activists. For several years skeptics have pointed out that satellite records reveal there has been no warming on earth for nearly two decades. If CO2 is the cause of global warming, this warming should not have stopped because the world continues to pour record amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. This pause suggests other natural forces must be affecting climate temperature. Global warming activists were predictably outraged and those in skeptic camp shocked when Santer’s paper came out. One climate scientist Roger A Pielke Sr tweeted “Wow!” when he read the news. Santer, along with Carl Mears, manage the Remote Sensing satellite temperature data set. But in his paper …

The plume from the 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Credit: Gunnlaugur por Briem/Flickr/Creative Commons

Beware columns of smoke

Last week was a bit worrying for those living in and around Yellowstone Park. Last Thursday, the area experienced a 4.4 earthquake. Earthquakes of that size can be felt, but rarely cause damage. But it wasn’t the earthquake that caused concern, rather it was the 295 other earthquakes that took place in that region during that seven-day period — 60 on Friday alone (June 16, 2017). We know Biblically that a rise in earth quakes will mark the end times, something that even Jesus referred to (Luke 21:11). Though many are downplaying the danger associated with these earthquakes, others are not so sure. They are not so concerned about the earthquakes, as smaller earthquakes can be beneficial releasing pressure and helping prevent a larger quake. But what is concerning is that a flurry of earthquakes could be sign of a bigger problem if they are occurring around a known volcano. It could be a warning of a looming volcanic eruption. As magma builds beneath the surface, the resulting pressure can often cause smaller earthquakes. This puts …

It took science 4,500 years to finally realize….

In 2014, while speaking at a legal conference in England, Professor Colin Blakemore told the attendees that he believed 120 was the maximum age people could live too. He described it as the “absolute limit to human lifespans.” A neurobiologist, Blackmore, who has also been knighted for his work in medical research, is the former head of England’s Medical Research Council. Blakemore was reacting to comments by some predicting that people’s life spans could triple. He said though medical research is extending how long people are living, there is a limit. And certainly, recent medical advancements are allowing people to live longer: In 2014, the Global Age Index stated if the trend continues in 2050 21% of earth’s population will be over 60, compared to 12% today and 4% will be over 80, compared the current 2%. Over the past decade, the number of people over the age of 100 in England has increased by 71%. There are 14,000 people over the age 0f 100 in England compared to only 2,500 in the early 1980s. …

The Siege of Jerusalem by David Roberts (1764-1864) Source: Wikipedia

Evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD discovered

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have come across evidence of the Roman destruction of the city and the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) made the announcement on Jerusalem Day held annually in Israel on May 23.  Also called Yom Yerushalayim, it is a national holiday celebrating the day that the Jews regained control of Jerusalem. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the event and IAA chose this auspicious occasion to make their announcement. The road itself is located 20 feet below the surface. So far they have uncovered a piece 100 meters (328 feet) long and 7.5 meters wide. It was part of the main street of Jerusalem that extended from the main gates to the Pool of Siloam, that some believe served as a ritual bath (John 9:6-11), to the Temple itself. The Romans constructed the road with large stone slabs. But evidence shows that it was not built during Herod’s day, the man who built the second Jewish Temple, but probably by Pontius Pilate who played a major role in …

Coptic Christians were traveling to Saint Samuel the Confessors monsatery (above), when they were attacked by Muslim extremists. Credit: Roland Unger/Wikipedia

As in the Days of Noah — ISIS slaughters 28 Egyptian Coptic Christians?

On Friday, May 26, 2017, a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians were traveling by bus to pray at a monastery when they were attacked by Muslim extremists. Their destination was the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor located a hundred miles south of Cairo, Egypt. At least 28 were killed when the bus and an accompanying half ton truck were stopped by three SUVs containing upwards of ten ISIS militants. After storming the bus, the masked extremists demanded the people on board recite the Muslim profession of faith called the shahada: La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah. English: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. When they were unable to do this, the heavily armed militants opened fire killing. In addition to the deaths, they wounded at least 22. TV images of the attack showed the bus riddled with bullet holes and its seats covered in blood. Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 94 million and over the last several years have been under …

The Sea of Galilee where Peter "briefly" walked on water. Credit: Asf Antman/Flickr/Creative Commons

The incredible, delayed healing, of Delia Knox

It was Christmas Day, 1987, when a drunk driver slammed into the back of a car that Delia was a passenger in. She along with her sister and brother-in-law were driving home from a church service in Toronto, Canada. Their car ended upside down and though her sister and husband only had minor injuries, Delia, then 23, was paralyzed from the waist down. Delia was also a gospel singer and though she continued to sing from a wheel chair, she dreaded ministering in other churches, because invariably they wanted to pray for her healing. At first, she appreciated their efforts but after a while she began despising these services that invariably focused on her healing. She recounts people dragging her out of a wheel chair and then watching her collapse to the floor. In an interview with CBN, Delia said “I’ve been plopped, dropped and flopped, and flipped to the point where I was like, ‘I just can’t go through this anymore.’” Then she met Bishop Knox, a speaker at a conference, she attended. They …

The Euphrates River in the Mesopotamia valley home to Melchizedek and Balaam. Credit: United States Navy

The Spirit of Balaam, social media and the end of the age?

If the Book of Revelation is a vision of the end times, then the Apostle John’s message to the seven churches of Asia in the first three chapters is a prophetic snapshot of what the end-times church will face. In his letter to the church at Pergamum, John warns about the spirit of Balaam, suggesting it will be a rising force just before Christ’s return: 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14 NASV) Balaam was a prophet mentioned in the Book of Numbers and, using the vernacular from the 1960s, he was one “strange” cat. Balaam was from Petheor, in Amah near the Euphrates River, a country actually mentioned in Egyptian records. This puts Balaam in Mesopotamia where Abraham originated (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). But his unfamiliarity with Israel tells us he was a gentile. He may have been associated with …

Credit: gaberojas/Flickr/Creative Commons

Grand Canyon censored, for Christians?

Dr. Andrew Snelling has a Ph.D in geology from the University of Sydney, a world-renowned institution. He has written a number of articles and reports published in peer-reviewed science journals and has years of experience in geological research. Yet, in 2013 when he wanted to take a few fist-sized geological samples from the Grand Canyon for research and scientific study, he was refused. For decades officials with the Grand Canyon National Park have allowed scientists to take material from the Park for study. The Park had even given Snelling permission to gather samples in the past. So, why did Park officials refuse Snelling this time? The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a non-profit, legal organization dedicated to defending religious liberties, alleges Park officials denied permission because Snelling is a Christian. Snelling also works for Answers in Genesis, a Christian organization providing scientific evidence of creation. He does not accept the narrative that the Grand Canyon was created over 450 million years ago. According to ADF, Dr Snelling was seeking “to gather samples at folds inside the …

Curiously temples in Mexico are patterned off the same design as the Tower of Babel. Credit: Brian Hoffsis/Flcikr/Creative Commons

Does an ancient tablet mention the Tower of Babel?

Shortly after the flood, the Bible says the people gathered in the Mesopotamia valley and started building a large tower to heaven. 4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4 NASV) Called the Tower of Babel, the Bible relates how God stopped its construction by creating different languages among this group forcing them apart and eventually causing them to scatter around the world:  7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.  (Genesis 11: 7-8 NASV). Though many have called this account a myth, Dr. Andrew George, a professor at the University of London who specializes in Babylonian history, recently translated an ancient stone tablet held by a private Norwegian …

Stunning video of baby revived in Jesus’ name

Dramatic video has surfaced of men pulling a man and his two children out of a black truck that had flipped upside down in raging waters near Myrtle Texas on Saturday, April 30, 2017. People came across the vehicle caught up in a storm that hit that part of Texas over the weekend. Several men waded into the rushing water and struggled to open the vehicle doors against the raging current. Finally, they were able to drag a baby and toddler out of the truck. In the video, a man carries a lifeless baby to the shore. In an interview with WFAA-TV in Dallas, Tom Mitchell, who videoed the rescue said, “The infant is white, blueish grey, no color at all and the eyes were not focused when I looked down on her.” Mitchel knew immediately that if they didn’t do something, this baby was going to die. On video you hear him say, “This baby is going to die if we don’t start CPR fast” and then the video goes dark as he sticks …

Scottish Highlander cattle Credit: Lloyd/Flickr/Creative Commons

Darwin and the Scottish Cows

Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution for the origin of the species when he sailed around the world on a ship named the Beagle. On that voyage, in 1834, he explored the eroded valley of the Santa Cruz River in Argentina and he commented on the lapse of ages and the gradual erosion that produced the valley. We now know that a GLOF (Glacier Lake Outburst Flood) occurred when an icy glacier blocked the river near the mountains and dammed up a huge reservoir. When the water burst through the ice, the GLOF eroded the valley quickly, probably in days. When I was a boy, I travelled with my family in Washington State, and I noticed that the dry interior had hundreds of eroded water channels, all dry, and I saw probably the biggest water fall in the world, Dry Falls, four times the size of Niagara, in a deep eroded valley. I knew then that something very big had happened. In the 1920s, a Geologist named J. Harlen Bretz named that region in …

credit: david/Flickr/Creative Commons

The last generation?

Jesus made a statement about the end times that for decades has puzzled those studying eschatology. In his discussion of the signs leading to His second coming,  Jesus said: 32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34 NASV) Most understood this to mean, that when the various end-time signs cited in this passage started to take place, Jesus’ return will occur within that generation. Because they consider the fig tree as symbolic of Israel, the 1948 restoration of Israel as a nation is a key end-times marker. So what was a generation? Many believed that a generation was 40 years and adding that to 1948 meant Jesus would return sometime before 1988. And during the lead up to that date, …

Herdodium complex Credit: Eitan Yaaran/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Tomb of Herod the Great discovered

In 2007, Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced the discovery of the tomb of Herod the Great, including his sarcophagus and mausoleum, on the Northeast slope of Mount Herodium. This confirmed the existence of a major player in early New Testament history. Herod was part of a larger clan who ruled Palestine during its Roman occupation — his grandfather and father had ruled before him. Herod, who was declared “King of the Jews” in 40 BC by the Roman Senate, died in 4 AD. Most Christians are familiar with Herod the Great and his role embedded in the Christmas story. Herod was the king that the Magi consulted when they came to Judea looking for the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1). This news troubled Herod (v 2) and he asked the Magi to report back when they had found the new King. When the Magi – warned in a dream – took a different route home, Herod was enraged (v 16). After consulting his advisors, Herod determined where the Jewish Messiah had been born and brutally ordered …

Ruins of temples used in Imperial cult worship in Laodicea, Turkey Credit: Richard Munden/Flickr/Creative Commons

Two types of Christians, only one hears a knock

I regularly receive a daily devotional from Open Doors, a Christian organization that stands with believers being persecuted around the world. In a recent newsletter, they quoted Iranian Christian leader, Luke Yagnazar, who now lives in the US.  Having come from a country where a person can be thrown in jail or even executed for believing in Jesus, Yagnazar talked about his faith struggle in the US. He said: “It is more difficult to be a Christian in the USA than in Iran. There you are either a Christian or not.” In Iran, your decision to become a Christian is not taken lightly. It is very black and white. But in Canada, the US and many other Western countries we have developed a second tier of Christianity. Colored gray, it easily infects us all, myself included. The Book of Revelation talks about this second tier using a slightly different analogy. Speaking to the church at Laodicea, the Apostle John writes: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you …

Sergels Square, Stockholm, Sweden Credit: Joakim Johansson/Flickr/Creative commons

A strange reason to celebrate?

Those with an eye on the end-times took note of the technological changes taking place at a small business center in Stockholm Sweden called Epicenter. Housing over 100 companies with an estimated 2,000 employees, Epicenter describes itself this way on its website: “Epicenter is Stockholm’s first digital House of Innovation at the heart of the city and Sweden’s digital landscape.” Though it is not mandatory, Epicenter offers to implant a rice-sized chip into the hands of employees of the various companies free of charge. Inserted into the flesh between the thumb and index finger, the chip serves multiple purposes. It can be used to open sealed doors and operate the printers that need to track usage. But the chip does more than that. Utilizing the same technology as credit cards it can also be used for purchases at the center’s food services. According to an article in the National Post, Epicenter first offered the chip in January 2015, and so far 150 of the 2,000 people working at the center have taken up the offer. …

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio (1571 - 1610): Wikipedia

Proof of the resurrection

Like today, the early church had its doubters and haters. After Christ rose from the dead the Jewish Sanhedrin purposefully spread rumors that it was all one big scam and the disciples had stolen Christ’s body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). Year’s later this rumor still had legs and was widely circulated among the Jews. And at times, the Apostle Paul felt  a need to point at the evidence of the resurrection, listing the people (such as Peter, the 12 disciples) the crowds (many who were still alive) and others who saw the Lord after His death (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). But these eye-witness testimonies were not the primary evidence for the early church of Christ’s resurrection. They had something else. During the early days of the church they were under siege from the Jewish authorities and the believers asked for courage and power: 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take …

View of the Dome of the Rock and Western Wall. Many believe the Muslim Dome of the Rock is built on the original site of the Jewish Temple destroyed in 70 AD. Credit: Boris G/Flickr/Creative Commons

Will God allow a third Jewish temple to be built?

Many orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians are looking forward to the day when Jews build a third temple in Jerusalem, replacing the one destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD during the Bar Kokhba Jewish revolt. Both groups believe its construction would fulfill Biblical prophecy. And recent events in Jerusalem added to the excitement. According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), the Jewish Sanhedrin reenacted the Jewish Passover on Thursday, April 5, 2017 near the site of the original Jewish Temple. This was the fifteenth year that they held the Passover in Jerusalem that included building an altar and the actual sacrifice of a lamb using Jewish Priests. According to BIN, this year’s Passover was held closer to the Temple’s location than it had been in earlier years.  In order to accommodate a sacrifice this close to the Temple Mount, the Sanhedrin used the courts to get police protection. Jewish priests performed the sacrifice with instruments, utensils and clothing provided by the Temple Institute an organization dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple. Attendance at the Passover …

Balaam's donkey could count. Credit: JohnBWilson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Can horses count and does it matter?

I have always wondered what is going on in my dog’s mind other than the obvious – did I leave the cupboard door open to the garbage can? In 2008, Dr Claudia Uller from the University of Essex in Essex, England was speaking at the British Psychological Society conference in Dublin, Ireland when she announced that horses can count. She came to this conclusion based on a study she conducted along with Jennifer Lewis on 13 horses from Colchester, England. In the study, they had several buckets in which they placed either three apples or two apples. They only used plastic apples to eliminate the possibility that smell affected the results. They found in their testing that 11 of the 13 horses consistently chose the buckets with the most apples. In a second test they had buckets containing either two equally sized small apples or one large apple that was double the size of the two smaller apples, making them equal in amount. Ten of the 12 horses consistently chose the two apple containers over …

Credit: Rob Fransdad/Flickr/Creative Commons

A donkey speaks again, this time about King Solomon’s copper mines

Liberals have tried to picture King David and King Solomon as little more than tribal chieftains instead of how the Bible portrays them as leaders of a nation numbering millions of people. Unfortunately, a donkey seems to have upset the Liberal apple cart. Archaeologists working at the site of an ancient copper mine in Israel’s Timma Valley made an unusual discovery — they found donkey dung. It wasn’t just any kind of donkey dung, when they carbon dated it, they discovered it was 3,000 years old. This made the site older than archaeologists initially thought and the donkey’s appearance dated the mines to King David’s and King Solomon’s day. The area being excavated not only contained numerous mines, but also several areas where it was smelted including furnaces and piles of slag. This was a major production center. The mines explain several verses in the Old Testament that spoke of Solomon’s incredible wealth. When King David charged his son with building the temple, he listed bronze as part of the kingdom’s resources: 16 Of the gold, …

A view of the Transantarctic Mountain Range in summer. Credit: Hannes Grobe/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

What do ancient tropical forests in the Arctic and Antarctic tell us?

When we look at the Antarctic we think of it as one giant bed of ice with the odd penguin strutting its stuff. But in the 1980s beneath all that ice and snow, scientists discovered the remains of a large giant forest located at the base of the Transantarctic mountain range. It’s estimated the forest covered an area of 1,300 kilometers. Of course, where there is a forest there was also animal life, besides penguins. They have found vast quantities of dinosaur bones, including a lizard that grew to 23 feet in length. Of course predictably they say that they are million of years old, but meanwhile the wood from these ancient forests hasn’t fully petrified, it can still burn and float. The Transantarctic Mountain range differs from other mountains in that its made up largely of sedimentary rock formed by layers of dirt and sand laid down by water. It is not much different in the northern Arctic. A similar forest was found on Axel Heiberg Island located just 600 kilometers from the North …

Credit: Brandon Watts/Flickr/Creative Commons

Post Modernism: The Case for Rachel Dolezal

You might have heard of Rachel Dolezal, also known by her new legal name Nkechi Amare Diallo. She was once the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington. Her parents, who apparently had been Pentecostal Missionaries in Africa, exposed her as a white woman with Czech, German, and Scandinavian ancestors, and she was forced to resign in disgrace. Today Rachel, or Nkechi, is labeled as a liar and a fraud and life is difficult for her. She is famous enough to have her own article in Wikipedia, and you can read more about her interesting life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Dolezal Rachel is someone I have never met, and probably never will, but I know there are some lessons for us in her story, and Christians should be careful with their judgment. Rachel Dolezal is an expression of a philosophy called Post Modernism. Most of us live in Modernism, with the idea that people belong to groups, them and us, and the differences between groups never change. With that thinking, …

The Wadi-Qumran Credit: Otto_Friedrich45/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does an ancient copper scroll hold clues to the secret location of the Ark of the Covenant?

According to Breaking Israel News (BIN), a copper scroll discovered in 1952 in caves along with the infamous Dead Sea Scrolls may actually be an ancient treasure map. The two thousand-year old scroll, made of thin sheets of copper, sticks out from its fellow Dead Sea Scrolls made of papyrus discovered in caves found in cliffs below a large plateau a mile away from the northwestern edge of the Dead Sea. The scroll also differs in one other significant way — while the Dead Sea Scrolls contain Biblical texts and other religious writings — the copper scroll is a map with 64 different locations marked out on it. It also lists quantities of gold and silver associated with each site along with clues and descriptions of the secret locations. Archaeologists believe the map probably outlines where Jews hid money during the Jewish revolt that led to the Romans destroying the Jewish temple in 70 AD. But one of the sites also mentions something else — Jewish vestments — suggesting the Jews may have hidden some …

Credit: Ezio Melotti/Flickr/Creative Commons (Modified)

What do the remains of two dead dogs tell us?

There is a verse in the book of Nehemiah that I have always found a bit odd. After Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire in 539 BC, it basically assimilated the Israelis who were in exile under the Babylonians. The Book of Nehemiah records how the Persians allowd Nehemiah — a cupbearer for the Persian king Artaxerxes I (also known as Longimanus 465-424 BC) — to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. Three days after he arrived in Jerusalem, Nehemiah decided to inspect the walls. Because of the various political factions in the city, he did it under the cover of darkness to hide what he was doing. Then we read this puzzling verse: “And I arose in the night, I and a few good men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting in my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal which I was riding. (Nehemiah 2:12-15) Nehemiah rode a horse, but then specifically adds he took no other animals with …