All posts filed under: Apologetics

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Seth, stem cells, teeth and the Bible

As I reported in my previous article, I am going for stem cell therapy on my knees. I have found the numerous news reports on stem cells very interesting but an article in early January from the British newspaper, The Telegraph, provided an insight into stem cells from a Biblical perspective. Now let’s be clear, no where does the Bible directly discuss stem cells other than references to how God formed us in the womb (Psalm 139:13) in which stem cells play a critical role. But the story about work being done by researchers at London’s King College provided another clue for me. They were testing the Alzheimer drug — Tideglusib — and discovered that the drug can cause teeth with cavities to repair themselves. It does this by stimulating the ‘stem cells’ in the pulp of the tooth. Teeth already have a limited ability to repair the dentine and enamel but the layer is so thin that it is not heavy enough to repair larger cavities. Researchers found that by inserting a small sponge …

Brussels, Belgium Credit: Francisco Antunes/Flickr/Creative Commons

I am heading out for ‘stem cell’ therapy

I am heading out-of-town for ‘stem cell’ therapy on my knees, so posts will probably be a bit sporadic over the next few days. There has been a lot of news recently on stem cells therapy for multiple areas from knees to hips to heart and even the brain. After conception, a baby forms through the use of stem cells and because of this some have described them as mother cells. After you are born, you have stem cells inside you used to repair damaged tissue. They are described as undifferentiated cells, meaning a stem cell can repair a damaged knee or that same stem cell could repair a damaged heart. It is basically blank and takes on the characteristic of the tissue it is repairing. Because of this unique ability, doctors are using stem cells to repair damage in multiple areas of the body. They basically harvest stem cells and then insert a concentrated amount into the damaged area such as a knee or shoulder to encourage repair. Though success is not guaranteed, it …

Oriental Hornet from Israel Credit: Gideon Pisanty/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The first solar cell was invented in 1839 or was it?

According to Wikipedia, French physicist Edmond Becquerel invented the world’s first solar cell in 1839. He was 19-years-old and used his father’s laboratory to construct it. It was the world’s first photovoltaic cell to convert the sun’s light into electricity. But was Becquerel’s invention the world’s first photo cell as some claim? According to Dr. Marian Plotkin, an entomologist at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, the answer is an emphatic ‘NO’. That honor must go to the Oriental Hornet. It is a large insect — 25mm to 35mm long (1 to 1.38 inches) — common to the Middle East, Northern Africa and India. In his study of this unique insect, Plotkin discovered this species of hornet actually produces electricity from the sun. Yes it is a living, breathing, solar panel. To prove his point, Plotkin wired six hornets together and was able to produce enough electricity to fire up a digital watch. At this point, they are still not sure how the energy is utilized, but some suspect the hornet uses the energy to dig — …

Mosul, Iraq Credit: Kawa Somar/US Government/Voice of America/Wikipeidia

What ISIS intended as evil ends up as a confirmation of the Biblical record

One ancient tradition states the tomb of the prophet Jonah is located near the remains of the city of Nineveh. This particular site has been considered Jonah’s tomb since the 4th century and resulted in the construction of a Christian church and monastery at the site. God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and call the city to repent of its sins. Fearing the city would escape God’s judgement if it responded, Jonah refused and sailed off to Tarshish located on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. However, God stirred up a storm that eventually resulted in Jonah being tossed overboard and swallowed by a large fish. Stuck in it’s stomach for three days, Jonah repented and was coughed up on land. He went back to Nineveh who then responded to Jonah’s message. If this tradition is right, Jonah must have stayed on in Nineveh.  However, this is not universally accepted. Other traditions state that Jonah returned to his home town of Gath-Hepher where he died. The Assyrian church initially built at the shrine located just …

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Baby’s stem cells heal mom

In a process officially called ‘fetomaternal microchimerism’ — I love how the name just runs off your tongue — medical researchers concluded that a baby actually helps a mother heal from pregnancy and birth. When a woman gives birth it is a traumatic experience for both infant and mother. During the birthing the mother can actually be hurt and medical researchers found that the baby actually sends its stem cells into the mother to help heal the damage. There has been a lot of news recently about stem cells and their ability to heal damaged body parts and organs. Stem cells are “blank cells” that can repair any type of tissue. If a stem cell is hanging around arm tissue, it will repair that. If it is hanging around heart tissue, that same stem cell will replicate those cells. Along with their ability to heal and repair, stem cells also play a major role in the baby’s creation in the mother’s womb. But this is where it gets interesting. Once, the stem cells have played …

Credit: Michal Strzelecki/Wojteck Strzelecki/Jerzy strzelecki/Wikipedia

Jonah and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?

You have probably seen a documentary or even a movie highlighting the massive mountain ranges that exist at the bottom of the earth’s oceans. Since they are located thousands of feet below the surface, no one knew of their existence until the 1800s. One of the first hints appeared in 1875, when scientists on board the HMS Challenger were plotting a route for a telegraph cable across the Atlantic. But at that point, they had no idea of the size or extent of these under-ocean mountain ranges. It wasn’t until the 1950s, when American-based Columbia University using a research vessel discovered a massive mountain range that extended up the middle of the Atlantic ocean. At first they thought this mountain range – called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – was unique to the Atlantic. But as they surveyed the bottoms of the earth’s other oceans they discovered other ranges as well. Though these underwater mountains are only a recent discovery, the Bible actually spoke of them several times, thousands of year before scientists actually discovered them. Perhaps …

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666 and all that

I was stopped by the police the other day. This was the second time in my life, so I was surprised. The officer explained that my driver’s license had expired on my birthday. I thought I had until the end of the month, but I didn’t. He let me off with a warning and I fixed the problem at a registry, right away. A few years ago I saw a car in a handicapped parking stall outside a Halal meat store. I told the female driver about the problem and she basically went ballistic. I thought this new immigrant needed some direction, but she thought I needed something from her. I just walked away. We all know about refugees and migrants who are crossing borders to find a better life in a wealthy country. There are stories now about people walking across the border from Minnesota to Manitoba, the U.S.A. to Canada, in the winter. I appreciate Winnipeg, one of my sons is there and he is doing well, but walking to Winnipeg, in the …

Remains of the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq as seen from Saddam Hussein's former summer palace: Credit US Navy Arlo K Abrahamson/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Cuneiform tablet confirms the gruesome story of Jeremiah 39

Jeremiah chapter 39 paints the gruesome fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586BC/587BC. King Zedekiah had previously been installed by the Babylonians as Judah’s puppet king after Babylon defeated Jerusalem in 597 BC. Jerusalem remained largely intact, and Judah was forced to pay an annual tribute to Babylon. However, Zedekiah, who was 21 years only when he was set up as a vassal king, eventually tired of the arrangement and rebelled against Babylon by forming an alliance with Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah who initially served as one of Zedekiah’s counselors warned against the move, but Zedekiah was by this stage doing evil in the sight of the Lord (Jeremiah 52:1-3) setting the stage for God’s devastating judgement. When King Nebuchadnezzar returned a second time to bring Jerusalem back into submission, he was in a foul mood. The battle predictably turned against Judah and with Jerusalem on the brink of falling, King Zedekiah, along with his family and personal guards, fled with the Babylonian army in pursuit. After the invaders caught up with …

Painting of Israel carrying the Ark of the Covenant into the Promised Land under Joshua by Benjamin West (1738 -1820) Credit: Wikipedia

Archaeologists to excavate site that once held the Ark of the Covenant

It is one of the great mysteries of the Bible – what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 586 BC, they ransacked the city, hauled its citizens off into captivity and looted the Temple taking its treasures as spoils of war. A number of Bible passages list the items the Babylonians stole. One found in Jeremiah is particularly detailed and includes even pots and spoons (Jeremiah 52:17-23). But strangely missing from all the lists including Jeremiah’s and the listings provided in 2 Kings 24:13, and 2 Kings 25: 13-18 is any mention of the Ark of the Covenant. It was a gold-plated wooden box on which God’s Presence manifested. As the most important piece of furniture in the temple, the Babylonians would have coveted it. Many believe the Jews hid the Ark to stop it from falling into Babylonian hands. But when Babylon hauled Israel’s citizens into captivity for 70 years, the people who hid the Ark died and its location forgotten. Rumors even circulated that the prophet …

South American Squirrel monkey Credit: cuatrok77/Flickr/Creative Commons

Evolving Evolutionists?

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a respected anthropologist from the University of Pittsburgh, still believes in evolution, but his views on Darwinism have evolved over the years, due to a lack of evidence in the fossil record. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Schwartz no longer believes in “gradualism.” According to the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin, species evolved gradually over millions of years through minute incremental changes. Schwartz argues that if these minute changes actually took place, evolutionists would find thousands examples of these species at different stages in their evolutionary development. Instead the fossil record is starkly quiet with huge gaps in the fossil record. Darwin claimed that the absence of these missing links was simply a matter of bad luck. Schwartz disagrees – based on the evidence – the lack of transitional fossils says the transitions never existed in the first place. Schwartz adds that some organs, such as the eye, are so complicated that the sheer number of changes required for its evolution “defies logic.” He also takes a …

October 8, 2014 Blood Moon Credit: slworking2/Flickr/Creative Commons

Will ‘Moon Temple’ mark the beginning of a new world order?

According to Bible prophecy the moon will play a role in the end-times. The prophet Joel (Joel 2:30-31) and Apostle John (Revelation 6:12-13) both refer to a blood moon that will serve as warning sign-posts. Since Blood moons in themselves are not unusual, it is their appearance along with several other events such as a solar eclipse, stars falling from the sky and earthquakes that will make them unique. According to the Apostle John one particular Blood moon will mark the angelic opening of the sixth sea, that can be best described as a time of terror on the earth. But apparently the moon hasn’t escaped the attention of the European Space Agency (ESA) and envisions it as a part of a new utopia. An artist working with ESA’s Advanced Concept Team recently came up with a conceptual drawing of a building on earth’s celestial neighbor that he describes as a “Moon Temple.” Jorge Manes Rubio envisions it as part of a lunar base that is in the planning stages at the space agency. According …

The Strait of Gilbralter near the location of the fabled City of Atlantis Credit: joko facile/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the Biblical city of Tarshish the fabled city of Atlantis?

Some believe the mythical city of Atlantis is just that — a fable. The city was only mentioned once in ancient writings by fourth century Greek philosopher Plato (428 BC to 348 BC) who wrote of a traveler Solon who had visited the sea-faring city and described it as an advanced and wealthy civilization. But others are not convinced it is a myth. In a documentary, Atlantis Rising, produced for National Geographic, famed film-maker James Cameron (the movie Titanic) and journalist/archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici claim they have unraveled the mystery surrounding the ancient city. Plato said Atlantis was covered with mud and water and sank, leading the duo to conclude it was probably hit by a tsunami. But the philosopher also provided a clue to the city’s site describing it as being past the “Pillars of Hercules.” Cameron and Jacobovici believed these pillars referred to the Straits of Gibraltar. In an interview with Breaking Israel News (BIN), Jacobovici said this would put it along the coast of Spain, Portugal or the Iberian Peninsula. Though Atlantis is …

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Fearfully and wonderfully made: Appendix redeemed, we do need it

A favorite tactic of some to prove evolution is to point to what they call vestigial organs in the human body. According to this theory, vestigial organs evolved in our ancient history, but have no real purpose today. They are left over relics from our evolutionary past. One of the prime examples of a vestigial organ is the appendix that is routinely cut out when it becomes infected because doctors see no real use for it. However, a group of researchers at Midwestern University Arizona Hospital in Glendale, Arizona have concluded the appendix actually serves a very important function in the human body. Because of the large amount of lymphatic tissue in the appendix, they said it is a production center for beneficial “gut bacteria” necessary for good health. Good gut bacteria serves several important functions including helping the body absorb fiber and nutrients. It  also plays a vital role in the body’s immune system and some bacteria even supply a form of beneficial hormones. Contrary to what scientists have believed for decades, our body …

A new star appearing in the sky in 2020. Credit: wienotfilms/Flickr/Creative Commons

Orthodox Jews look to the formation of a new star as a sign of the coming Messiah

Though Orthodox Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, they are still looking for a Messiah and an upcoming celestial event has excited some orthodox Jews because they believe it is a sign of the Messiah’s imminent arrival. A celestial event called a Nova involving the collision of two stars will soon be taking place. According to Larry Molnar, a professor of Astronomy at Calvin College in Michigan, this collision will be so bright that for six months it will be visible to the human eye on earth. In 2013, Molnar and one of his students noticed that two stars in the Cygnus Constellation were getting brighter. They realized their orbits were shrinking and they were now on a collision course. Based on earlier observations, Molnar expects the two will collide sometime in 2022. Breaking Israel News (BIN) cited an explanation of the event that Molnar provided in a video: “[The collision] will release as much energy as the sun releases in its entire lifetime … When the two finally collide, it will create a new …

Artist's rendering of an asteroid. Credit: Nasa/JPL-caltech/Wikipedia

Another near asteroid miss, missed again

It is becoming almost a regular occurrence — announcements by those looking into space for dangerous asteroids — that they had missed another near miss. Now to be fair, the asteroid called 2017 AG13 was only half the size of the asteroids the Catalina Sky Survey is looking for. It is an organization partially funded by NASA to scour the skies with NEOCam, an infra-red telescope, looking for potentially dangerous asteroids. They only had 24 hours notice on this one that passed by earth on Saturday, January 7, 2017. But half the size meant this asteroid was 25 meters to 35 meters tall — ten stories — and according to reports it was traveling at 16 kms a second (9.9 miles per second). A near miss in astronomical terms meant that it was 126,461 miles out, passing halfway between earth and the moon. Of course, any asteroids intersecting our planet’s trajectory are always a concern because of the potential for the earth’s gravity to pull them in. The asteroid that exploded high in the atmosphere …

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But the Lord directs our steps

Twenty years ago, my husband Dean and I were pastoring a satellite church plant in Hong Kong on an island called Discovery Bay. We had gathered a diverse group of people in one of our house churches — a good mix of new and established believers. People were coming to the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit. But within this group, there were also some very established missionaries. They had ministered in Hong Kong for several years, and were without a house church so they joined our small group. They were faithful servants of the Lord, but did not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. They saw the Holy Spirit as only “the Comforter,” and they often disagreed with the way Dean and I ministered. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that warns evil times can suddenly fall upon us: 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil …

Sun appearing over the India Ocean Credit: Nasa/Flickr

Mathematics professor predicts chaos in the next decade — a sign of the times?

Peter Turchin is a mathematics professor at the University of Connecticut. One of his projects is using mathematics to determine what lies ahead for the world’s future. And if he is right, it does not look good. Based on his mathematical model, Turchin is predicting a time of economic and political chaos in the the next decade – 2020s. For his predictions, Turchin used a branch of mathematics he developed called cliodynamics. According to Wikipedia, this looks upon history as just another branch of science and describes it as “the mathematical modeling of historical processes.” Basically, Turchin developed a mathematical algorithm to analyze past historical events and then used it to predict future events. Apparently, the model successfully predicted the political instability that the world is going through at the moment, but his calculations show that it won’t peak until the next decade, around 2025, and could result in the collapse of society. It will be caused by a number of events including the declining wealth of people and families that will put them under …

Dog sledding on Greenland, where the ice and snow is returning. Credit: Baron Reznik/Flickr/Creative Commons

Arctic ice cap roaring back

According to an article in the Daily Caller, the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) is reporting Greenland’s ice sheet is returning with a vengeance. The agency added that since January 1, 2017, Greenland’s ice sheet gained 8 gigatons of snow and ice. It noted the ice has been increasing since October. This increase is far above the normal rates seen this time of year, and DMI stated it is one of the highest growth rates in recent years. DMI has been monitoring the size of Greenland’s ice sheets for 24 years. Over the summer, those promoting man-made Global warming  trumpeted the arctic’s shrinking ice cap as evidence of man-made global warming. Of course, it always melts during the summer, but the melt this past year was aided by a strong El Nino effect that warmed the 2015-2016 winter. Once every three to five years, an El Nino occurs that results in warm waters — that should be pooling around Indonesia and the Philippines — moving eastward and settling along the coast of South America. Depending on …

Artists portrayal of Nero's persecution of Christians by Heinrich von Siemiradzki (1843-1902): Wikipedia

How Tacitus’ contradiction of the Biblical record actually confirms the Bible

Roman senator and orator Tacitus (55AD-118AD) is considered one of the great ancient historians. He wrote a number of books, and in his last work entitled Annals he had a couple of paragraphs about Jesus and the Christians. Though small, these two citations pack a wallop because they provide various confirmations about the Biblical account and even one contradiction that actually proves the Bible’s accuracy of events. Tacitus was providing a brief history about the Roman Emperor Nero (37AD – 67AD) and because of this felt compelled to give an explanation about Christians and Christ as they played a role in the Great Fire of Rome (July 18-23 64 AD). Many Romans believed Nero purposefully set the fire as part of his grandiose plan to rebuild Rome. To deflect the blame, Tacitus said Nero accused Christians of arson: [neither] human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits and punished …

Credit: ambimb/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have we entered the ‘post-truth’ era?

Each year, Oxford Dictionary presents its word of the year. They are not always words, sometimes they are phrases or even an emoji — “face with tears of joy” — that won in 2015. But this year’s winner takes on an almost prophetic overtone. Not that Oxford purposefully intended it too, but rather it chose the word because it identified the climate of the day. The word has been around for a while, but spiked in usage in recent months particularly in the US presidential election and Brexit — the vote where England chose to leave the EU. The word is “post-truth,” that Oxford defines as: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” In other words people are setting the facts aside to be ruled by their emotions. Other forces besides the truth are now driving the world’s agenda. It beat out other contending words such as ‘chatbox’ that speaks of a computer program simulating conversations with humans and …

Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine, not a mosque. Credit: Monidas De Mon/Flickr/Creative Commons

More trouble on the Temple Mount

WND.com is reporting a confrontation with Muslim authorities that happened November 17, 2016 on the Temple Mount. WND.com editor Joseph Farrah along with Jonathan Cahn — a Messianic rabbi most famous for his New York Times‘ best seller, The Harbinger — were co-leading a group of 406 people on a visit to Israel. Part of this trip included a visit to the 40-acre Temple Mount located in the heart of Jerusalem. It was the original site of the First and Second Jewish Temples. The Romans destroyed the second temple used in Jesus’ day in 70AD. Today, the site is home to two Muslim buildings — the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Though Israeli government controls  the site, it has given the Jordanian Waqf, essentially an Islamic police force, considerable leeway on controlling the Temple Mount. Among other things, the Waqf monitors dress and ensures that Jews and Christians don’t pray on the site. That latter provision has forced the Jews to pray at the Western Wall down below. As part of the trip to …

The first man-made global warming deniers — Scott and Shackleton?

Those in the man-made global warming camp have repeatedly tried to slag those who don’t agree with them as deniers, equating them with people who deny the Jewish holocaust. It is not about the issue of warming, because the earth has been regularly warming and cooling for centuries as part of its natural cycles, it is whether or not man is causing it. Just recently researchers from England’s University of Reading went through the log books of turn of the 19th-century Antarctic explores Earnest Shackleton and Robert Scott. They made a horrifying discovery for those embedded in the man-made global warming camp. Scott and Shackleton’s 100 year-old log books revealed that the Antarctic ice bed was basically the same size then, as it is today. This means despite the cries of ‘wolf,’ the Antarctic ice bed has not shrunk because of human activity. For those in the man-made global warming camp, melting of the polar ice caps because of CO2 is at the very core of their beliefs. This will cause sea levels to rise, …

Temple of Bel (Baa)l at Palymira, Syria prior to its destruction by ISIS in 2015 Credit: Egisto Sani/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Spirit of Baal in the end times

A strange thing happened in 2016, a company manufactured full-scale 3-d replicas of the gates of a Temple of Baal that once stood in Palmyra, Syria. ISIS destroyed the 2,000 year old temple in 2015. They installed arches this past spring in Trafalgar Square in London, England and later on September 19, 2016 at Times Square in New York City. The 48′ foot arch from the Baal temple has certainly proved controversial. Some wonder if it provided an opening or portal for the spirit of Baal in these two countries, much in the same way the building of temples for Baal and Asherah would have done in ancient Israel when Queen Jezebel set them up. In his article proposing this on Charisma News, author Michael Snyder suggests the setting up of the arch may have contributed to the rise in violence in America that we are recently seeing. Or maybe it is all just one big coincidence. Or, perhaps it is just a sign of the times — an indication of what is already happening …