[by Dean Smith] According to a report in the Daily Mail, Annabel Wilson Beam, 12, of Texas was playing with her two sisters on a hollowed out Cottonwood tree in December 2011, when she fell 30′ down inside the tree. Trapped at the bottom, emergency crews were called in to pull her out. Falling in and out of consciousness, Annabel then 9 was rushed by helicopter to nearby Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth Texas. After her arrival, MRI scans showed wounds consistent with head trauma (she had apparently hit her head three times on the way down), but other than a few bumps and bruises they could find nothing wrong with her. Annabel was eventually released. One doctor quipped: “I guess someone up there was looking out for her.” That in itself was a miracle. However, after Annabel was sent home, things started getting a bit bizarre. Annabel told her parents, Kevin and Christy Beam, that while unconscious she went to heaven and sat on Jesus’ lap. Annabel described Jesus as having dark skin, …
[by Dean Smith] The Catholic tradition of Easter has diluted the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and Jewish Passover and its annual sacrifice of a lamb. Even renaming it “Easter” disconnects it with the most important sacrifice on the Jewish calendar. During Passover, each family bought an unblemished lamb (called the Paschal lamb) to the temple as part of their sacrifice. It was sacrificed in the outer court, the blood collected by the priests, and parts of the animal sacrificed. Later that evening the family would eat what was left of the lamb in the Passover feast called Seder. The connection and Catholic diluting starts at Christ’s birth. We read in Luke 2:8-20, about shepherds out in the fields watching their sheep, when an angel appears announcing the birth of Israel’s savior. Why did an angel announce the birth of Christ to a group of shepherds and no one else?
UPDATED MARCH 23, 2015: [by Dean Smith] Israel’s Temple Institute, based in Jerusalem, just announced it had finished constructing the Altar of the Lord (also called the altar of burnt offering) this past December. The altar would be used for animal sacrifices if a new Jewish Temple is built in Jerusalem. The Romans destroyed the last temple in 70 AD. There were two altars in the original temple — the altar of burnt offering — which was just built and the smaller altar of incense. The Institute built the new altar according to the strict measurements and conditions laid out in the Old Testament. The media originally reported it stood 5 meters high (16 feet), however according to information just released by the Temple Institute, the altar is actually five amot high (a Biblical measurement) which works out to 7.7 feet and 24.5 feet wide. It comes complete with a ramp that allows for easy access to the top of the altar where the sacrifices took place.
Three Gospel writers — Matthew (Matthew 27:33), Mark (Mark 15:22) and John (John 19:17) — refer to the place of Jesus’ execution as Golgotha. The Aramaic word “Golgotha” means simply “skull” and the three writers add the phrase the “Place of a Skull” to specifically describe the spot. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, (Matthew 27:44 NASV) For years, many were uncertain what Golgotha referred to. Jerome, an early Latin priest (347 AD – 420 AD), said the place received its name from the skulls that littered the execution area after crucifixion. Others today believe it refers to an unusual weathering of limestone rocks that created a skull-like appearance in the rock, still visible today.
[by Dean Smith] In a Biblical Archaeological Review article, archaeologist Ken Dark reports he may have found Jesus’ childhood home in Nazareth. According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1), raised in Nazareth (Luke 4:16) and eventually moved to Capernaum (Matthew 4:13) where He started ministering. In 670 AD, an Irish Monk named Adomnan from Iona wrote a document called De Loctis Sanctis that discussed the pilgrimage of Bishop Arculf to Nazareth. During his journey, Arculf visited a church at the site of the home where Jesus grew up.
[by Dean Smith] I won’t pretend to understand anything these guys are talking about, but I am always fascinated when scientists talk of Quantum mechanics. In a recent study, a scientist has suggested that contrary to our personal experience time runs both forward and backwards. Our experience with time is that it goes from the past to present to future and only the past and present can affect the future. However, professor Kater Murch from Washington University has been looking at quantum mechanics and discovered that time in the quantum world seems to run both ways. And by doing so, the future has the ability to change the past. As odd as this sounds, I sometimes wonder if these strange theories may help us understand some puzzling statements made by Jesus in the Gospels. But before we get to those verses, let me explain a bit more about Murch’s theory.
Español: ¿Tenía Jesús un hogar en Capernaum? Many have the impression Jesus was an itinerant preacher, traveling from place to place around Galilee preaching the Gospel. However, there is a hint that early on Jesus owned His own house. In Mark 2, we have the account of Jesus being at a house in Capernaum. So many people had gathered that a group of men were forced to cut a hole in the roof to lower their paralytic friend down to Jesus for healing. But notice what Mark says in verse 1: When He [Jesus] had come back to Capernaum several days afterward; it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking to them. (NASV) It talks about this house being Jesus’ home. By the size of the crowd it was obvious Jesus was a bit of a celebrity in the city. This verse also suggests it was not the first time people had gathered at …
[by Dean Smith] According to an article in the Washington Post, archaeologists may have discovered the very place where Pilate sentenced Jesus to die on the cross. Fifteen years ago, while working in a building beside the Tower of David Museum, archaeologists discovered a massive structure below the floor boards of the building which had originally served as a prison for the Ottomans and as well the British during the 1940s. As they continued their work, they uncovered what is now believed to be the remains of Herod’s massive palace — including its walls and sewage system. It is generally agreed that Herod’s palace was located on the western side of Old Jerusalem, putting it near the Tower of David museum.
[by Dean Smith] Just before Christmas, the Palestinian Authority rewrote history. It has become a bit of an annual event in Palestine. Over the past few years, a few days before December 25th, the Palestinians roll out a number of officials who make statements claiming Jesus was a Palestinian. This year was no different. According to the Wafa News Agency on December 22, 2014, Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas said: “We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace.”
ESPAÑOL: Por qué el 25 de Diciembre fue elegido como el cumpleaños de Cristo There is much debate on why December 25th was chosen as the day Jesus was born. There is little Biblical evidence that reveals the date of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:8 refers to shepherds in the fields suggesting Jesus’ birth took place in the spring when shepherds were with their flocks during lambing. Maybe not coincidentally, John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Clement of Alexandria (150 AD – 215 AD), an Egyptian Christian teacher, had cited May 20th and April 20th or 21st as possible dates of Christ’s birth fitting the spring theory. By 400 AD, December 25th along with January 6th were considered the dates for Christ’s birth with December 25th the leading contender and eventual winner. The December date was listed as Jesus’ birth on an ancient Roman almanac from the 4th century that listed the death dates of early Christian martyrs. The most popular reason why December 25th was chosen is because the church was Christianizing …
[by Dean Smith] In Matthew 21:18-22, we have the strange story of the fig tree. Jesus who was hungry saw a lone fig tree by the road and went to it looking for figs. When He found no figs, Jesus cursed the tree and it withered and died. The disciples were shocked by what happened and Jesus gave them a brief teaching on faith and they continued their journey into Jerusalem. However, what makes the story a bit odd is that it was not the season for the fig tree to produce fruit — which Mark notes (Mark 11:13). Jesus and the disciples knew this and in this odd statement we realize one thing — the story is not about the fig tree.
[by Dean Smith] A poll commissioned by Kalms Herbal discovered that 20% of women feel stressed on a daily basis as they try to manage work and home life. The survey asked 2000 people from Britain aged 25 to 50 how stressed they were, what caused it and how they dealt with stress. The study had one major conclusion: on almost every front women feel stress more than men. The survey found:
Español: ¿Tenía Jesús barba? Our immediate response to the question posed by the title is YES!!!! However, a piece of a glass plate from the 4th century does a very unique thing — it portrays Jesus without a beard. The discovery is considered one of the earliest representations of Jesus. It was found by archaeologists in Andalusia, Spain. They were part of the FORVM MMX project digging at the site of a religious building in the ancient village of Castulo dated to around 350 AD. The glass plate probably held bread for the Eucharist. The image engraved on the glass was also different in other respects. The artist portray Jesus as having short curly hair and wearing a toga. Pictured beside Jesus are the apostles Peter and Paul, who are also beardless. All three have halos over their head. We have no idea if this rendering was based on even older images of Jesus, but obviously the people of this era accepted a beardless Jesus as realistic. Shroud of Turin What we do know is …
In recent weeks, I’ve been stirred to do a word study on the making of new wine and the wine of the wrath of God as portrayed throughout the Holy Bible. Since the word ‘wine’ is used more than 200 times in scripture, no doubt it was a subject important to the Biblical Patriarchs. In some religious circles there is much discussion if wine in Biblical days was fermented or just ordinary grape juice. Surely we are instructed not to become intoxicated with strong drink but with the many other teaching resources available on this subject, it is not the author’s intent to discuss whether or not it is appropriate for a Christian to drink wine. This article will focus on the spiritual aspect of ‘new wine’ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
I want to share the healing of Adrie-Anne Gamble Saskatchewan, Canada. It is well-documented with ultrasounds. Adrie-Anne had been experiencing lower pelvic pain for several months and finally realized she needed to go to the doctor. Three months later she was in the hospital for surgery, but when the surgeon opened her up, he discovered a miracle had taken place…
There is a story in the Gospel of John that proved problematic for liberals who don’t believe the Bible. I am talking about Jesus healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15). In the account, Jesus came across a lame man lying by the pool. According to tradition, when an angel stirred the waters, the first sick person to enter the pool was healed. When Jesus asked the man, who had been lame for 38 years, how he was doing, the man said because he did not have anyone to help him, when the waters stirred someone always stepped in before him. Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk” (v 8) and the man was instantly healed. In the account, the apostle John provides some detail about the pool. First he said it was near the “sheep’s gate” and secondly it had “five porticoes” (verse 2). A portico, similar to a porch, is a covered entrance way. It was a five-sided pool. However, because the healing …
Two papers published by Canadian researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine say we have it wrong when it comes to salt. The general view is the less salt we consume the better. While Canadians consume on average 3.5 to 4 grams of salt per day, Health Canada has been pushing to reduce daily consumption to 2.3 grams daily and even suggested 1.5 grams was a good goal. Other groups such as Hyptertension Canada have suggested a daily consumption rate of 2.o grams, this was an upgrade of its earlier recommendation of consuming 1.3 grams to 1.5 grams of salt daily. The push for lower salt consumption is based on the notion that it will reduce cardiovascular problems.
Archaeologists from the University of Barcelona (Spain) and the Catalan Egyptology Society believe they located an early painting depicting Jesus. They date the image to somewhere between the 6th and 7th century. The large drawing was found in the remains of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt which was originally located on a ceremonial road that traveled from the Nile river to a Temple of Osiris — the Egyptian god of the underworld. The painting was on a wall in an underground room. Because of the bones and other artifacts found there, the archaeologists believe this was the burial tomb for a number of Christian priests and a writer — based on an ink well and pens also found in the area.
Two Spanish historians — Margarita Torres and Jose Ortegel del Rio — believe they have found the ‘Holy Grail.’ The ‘Holy Grail’ refers to the cup Jesus and the disciples drank from at the Last supper 2,000 years ago (Matthew 26:26-30). It has been the subject of legends for centuries. Some like Nazi leader Adolf Hitler believed anyone who possessed the grail would receive supernatural powers. It is reported that Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi S.S. leader, actually visited the Montserrat Abbey in Spain in search of the grail. The two Spanish researchers believe the ‘Holy Grail’ is in an obscure church museum located in the San Isidore Basilica in Leon, Spain. The chalice first showed up at the church in the 11th century.
Our age of instant data, micro-dinners and quick fixes too often carries over into our efforts to understand God’s Word, the Bible. Now, I’ve been guilty of this as well; you don’t understand a verse, so, a quick Hebrew or Greek definition that suits your purpose and presto! – the heavens open, angels sing, and you are now armed with all knowledge and wisdom? No? Sometimes the Hebrew word for “pot” means “pot”, and the Greek word for “hungry” may just mean “hungry”. What then? Well, you may have to dig a little deeper, spend a little more time (in the Greek “cronos”) and get into the background of a passage. Bridging the cultural, historical, and geographical gap from our world to that of the Bible passage can produce a rich, vast landscape of texture and color to a seemingly puzzling passage.
The case of demonic possession reported in Gary, Indiana seems like it was a long, lost script from the Exorcist, except in this case the demonic actions were witnessed by secular members of society — police officers, medical staff (including a doctor) and welfare officials. Some of the strange happenings included a child walking up the wall backwards which was seen by a Registered Nurse and a manager for Indiana’s Department of Child Services (DCS). The case involves Latoya Ammons and her three children, a girl 12, and two boys aged 9 and 7 all of whom were reportedly possessed by evil spirits.
After John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness for what became a defining moment in His ministry. It involved a direct confrontation with satan. From this strategic battle recorded in Mathew chapter 4, we gain key insights into spiritual warfare and what defines a Christian. Both are intricately woven together.
It was frightening how easily it happened and Canada’s medical and scientific community was powerless to stop it. Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, reported North America’s first fatal case of H5N1 (a lethal bird flu) in Alberta, Canada on January 3, 2014. H5N1 is a deadly disease transmitted via contact with birds — alive or dead — and can include under-cooked bird meat and even bird feces. The death rate for H5N1 is nearly 60%.
When was the last time God spoke to you? It may have been a revelation, an impression, a prophetic word or even a miracle. Every now and then we need to revisit those moments of revelation. Jesus did. He not only remembered, but returned to the very spot where it happened.
When Jesus was born, the Bible records that magi through their study of astronomy realized something significant was happening. Using an ancient Biblical prophecy, God led them to Jesus (Mathew 2:1-8). We are not told how many magi there were or exactly when they showed up, but we do know they came bearing gifts. Though it’s highly doubtful Jesus was born on December 25, it is a good day as any to celebrate the occasion. The Bible focuses on Jesus’ birth much as it does His death and resurrection suggesting God wants Jesus’ birth remembered as well. One of the gifts the magi brought to honour Jesus’ birth was frankincense:
Two computer scientists, Professor Steven Skiena of Stony Brook University in New York and Charles Ward used quantitative analysis to decide who the most significant people were in world history. They studied thousands of historical figures to determine which person’s opinions had the most impact on world affairs. Using an algorithm similar to Google’s ranking system and “other data sources,” they ranked the various historical figures by importance as referenced in the English version of Wikipedia — an online encyclopedia. Their analysis concluded that Jesus Christ was the world’s most influential person.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Mathew 6:12 NASV) Forgiving was a key tenet of Jesus’ teaching. For years, people treated it as purely a religious exercise, but now therapists and psychologists are understanding its importance and have embraced forgiveness as a vital counseling tool. This led researchers in England to take a closer look at forgiveness from a scientific perspective. They found evidence forgiving others may be a key to restoring good mental health.
At points throughout the Gospels, Jesus referred to people with “great faith.” One of them was a Phoenician woman. The incident recorded in Matthew 15:21-28 drips with controversy. At the outset, you certainly get the sense when Jesus spoke of her great (megas in the Greek) faith, He was speaking of a woman with huge quantities of faith. But it is no coincidence, this account is strategically situated only 18 verses after Peter’s walk on water where Jesus admonished His Apostle for his ‘little’ faith (Matthew 14:22-32). Matthew purposely contrasted the ‘little’ faith of Peter with the ‘great’ faith of a gentile woman — a humiliating exercise for any self-respecting Jewish man. And this is where it gets interesting, because you can only understand the Phoenician woman’s “great” faith in light of Peter’s “little” (in the Greek ‘oligos’) faith. In a previous article, I discussed the various meanings of “oligos.” It can refer to a small quantity (James 3:5) or brief as in time (Revelation 12:12). Since Peter actually walked on water, Jesus was not referring …
Dr. Ronald Stewart, using special imaging equipment, believes coins dated to 33-47 AD depict the life of Jesus. Stewart says the hand-struck coins were part of a popular art form called “Portable Coinage Art” first introduced by Grecian emperors in 336-300 BC and later popularized by Roman emperors. People of financial means would have sets of coins created to memorialize significant people. These coins would depict notable events of a person’s life in pictorial form starting on one side of the coin and continuing on the other side.
“I am Second” — a ministry based in Dallas, Texas — started five years ago. Their vision is producing videos of people’s lives transformed by the Gospel of Christ. In their most recent production (watch it at the end of this post), Duck Dynasty’s Phil and Kay Robertson, their son Jep and grandson Reed share testimonies of how the Holy Spirit turned their lives around. In an interview with Fox411, the film’s producer Scott Mayo says “They have this incredible story about their life and faith, and wanted to tell this story to inspire others… just because they are on TV doesn’t make them perfect.”
Archaeologists with the Israeli Antiquity Authority say they may have discovered remnants of one of the first Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel. Messianic Jews believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Messianic Jews made up the congregations of the early church who wrestled with incorporating Jesus’ teachings into their Jewish faith (Acts 15:1-12). Archaeologists discovered the remarkably well-preserved synagogue on the outskirts of the ancient city of Magdala also called Migdal. This is the community where Mary Magdalene was from.
When Codie Thacker received her bib with the number she would represent in the race, it sickened her. Her coach, Gina Croley, aware of Codie’s Christian faith, knew immediately there was trouble. Codie attends Whitley County High School in Williamsburg, KY. She was racing in a regional cross-country race — the winner would move on to the state championship. The number Codie received — 666 — represented the Mark of the Beast or Antichrist mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
Español: Una extraña respuesta a la petición de los discípulos por más fe One day, the disciples asked Jesus to “increase their faith” (Luke 17:5). They wanted to know the tantalizing secret behind Christ’s success. The disciples had followed Jesus for a several months and saw Him do an endless array of miracles and deliverances. In comparison, they looked at their own meager exploits and concluded that Jesus was a man with great quantities of faith to perform such tremendous miracles. To the disciples it was a very simple formula: “More Faith = More Miracles.” So how did Jesus respond to this question? The Lord told the disciples if they had faith the size of a mulberry tree, they could say to this mustard seed be cast into the sea and it would obey. No, this is not a typo. True, this is not exactly what Jesus said, but this is what the disciples expected Him to say. They were anticipating some teaching on what great things they could carry out with great quantities of …
The dramatic healing of a dwarf in a church in England teaches an important truth about healing. Jesus said His disciples would perform more miracles than He did during His brief ministry. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 NASV) Though these miracles would come through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), believers are the instruments through which this healing power flows. An article in the Daily Mail reporting on a miraculous healing in England demonstrates this principle at work.
Paul Hickman believed Christianity was for “weak-minded” people. He considered it little more than a “crutch.” But Paul, 61, had a problem. Major back surgery decades years earlier left him in excruciating pain. To deal with the pain, he took 20 pain killers daily, but it had little effect. He even attempted suicide in a failed attempt to escape the incessant torment. In an interview with Inspire Magazine, Paul tells tells of a miraculous healing that changed his life. Paul was invited to a Christian sports dinner by former professional soccer player Mick Mellow who along with Linvoy Primus, another former soccer pro, operate a program called Faith and Football. At the dinner, event speaker Bob Maine invited people who needed healing to come forward for prayer.