Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the Old Testament Part 4

of the 
Old Testament

part 4

Historicity, basically meaning “historical accuracy”, supports the proposition that Moses had written the books of the Pentateuch, and Daniel had also written his book, or any of the Old Testament authors have written the books associated with their names. Any contention on linguistic basis for doubting the accuracy of these books pales in comparison when checked with actual historical facts.

Critics love to cast doubt on the Bible as an historical document more than any other ancient writing. They are only satisfied with a huge amount of supporting evidence. They operate like a court that finds you guilty until proven innocent; instead of taking it as true until proven false, it is the opposite tract that they adhere to.

Nineteenth century so called “intellectuals” used to deny the existence of the Hittites, the Horites, the Edomites and various other peoples. They claimed that the absence of other historical mentions outside of the Bible are ample proof of the “story telling” nature of scripture. This argument of silence has long been eradicated by the science of archaeology. Few critics today dare argue against the geographical and ethnological reliability of scripture. Though, little has been done in the realm of education to correct the harm done to our school systems by throwing out the history referenced in the Bible. No doubt, one would be labeled as trying to “turn back the clock” if you did try to make those corrections, no matter what truth and evidence may come of scientific investigation.

Archeology has now also supported the truth of kings and empires including, the Davidic-Solomonic empire, the other kings of Israel and Juda, the Babylonian captivity and the return from exile, the conquest of Canaan by Joshua and also the destruction of Jericho, a city that has been dated back to 9,000 BCE.

The names of over 40 different kings from other nations, mentioned in the Bible, have also been confirmed. These contemporary documents and inscriptions from outside the Old Testament, are always consistent with times and places associated in the Bible. In comparison to gross errors in other  ancient histories, it becomes obvious that the Old Testament writers were the contemporaries of the people and events named in other text, and they wrote with a commitment to care and scrutinize their own text for the glory of God. Even names long ago though fictional, such as Belshazzar and Darius, have been confirmed as real by the investigation of science.

Dr. Nelson Glue
A major example of all this is the story from Genesis 14 of the group of kings who invaded Canaan and were defeated by Abraham. The Dean of Palestinian archaeologists, Dr. Nelson Gluek, also President of the Hebrew Union College and Jewish Institute of Religion, found abundant evidence of this invasion.

“Centuries earlier, another civilization of high achievement had flourished between the 19th and 21st centuries B. C., until it was savagely liquidated by the Kings of the East. According to the Biblical statements, which have been borne out by the archaeological evidence, they gutted every city and village at the end of that period from Ashtaroth-Karnaim, in the southern Syria through all of Trans-Jordan and the Negev to Kadesh-Barnea in Sinai (Genesis 14:1-7).“

Nelson Gluek, Rivers in the Desert, (New York: Ferrar, Strauss and Cudahey, 1959) p. 11

Dr. Gluek has made extensive research into the Biblical records of the Israeli nation and has found amazing reliability on all points for all those things considered. He has often made new discoveries, some resulting in a financial treat for the nation of Israel. He has therefore made the following sweeping generalization:

“As a matter of fact, let it be stated categorically, that no archeological discovery has EVER controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of  Biblical descriptions, has often lead to amazing discoveries. They form tesserae (one of the small pieces used in mosaic work) in the vast mosaic of the Bible’s almost incredible correct historical memory.”

Neslon Gluek, op cit., p. 31

Christ himself, having made the claims to divinity and having all power and knowledge as such, must be vilified by scripture else wise, the writings are inexplicable. His own evaluation and reference to the Old Testament cannot be ignored as a result. Not only did Christ himself accept the Old Testament as authentic, but so did all the New Testament writers of their own day.

There are at least 320 direct references to the Old Testament in the New Testament, all considered cannon, and there are also thousands of other allusions as well. 

“The scripture cannot be broken.”
John 10:35

“It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
Luke 16:17

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Luke 24:27

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:46,47

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
Matthew 13:14

Refers to:

(Hebrew; Septuagint) “You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.”
Isaiah 6:10

This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
John 12:38

Refers to:

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
Isaiah 53:1

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—”
Matthew 24:15

Refers to:

“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Daniel 9:27


“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”
Daniel 11:31


“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."
Daniel 12:11

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"
Matthew 19:4,5

Refers to:

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

"And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."
Matthew 23:35

Refers to:

“Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”
Genesis 4:8


King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the LORD see this and call you to account.”
2 Chronicles 24:22

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.”
Luke 17:26

“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

John 8:56-58

“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.”
Luke 17:28

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:6-9

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:37-39

“But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.”
Luke 17:29

“Remember Lot’s wife!”
Luke 17:32

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.”
John 6:32

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up..”
John 3:14

“I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Luke 4:25-27

Refers to:

And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
2 Kings 5:10-14

He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 12:39,40

To Christ and the Apostles, the Old Testament was authentic and verbally inspired by God. and that should settle the matter for Christians!

Next we’ll talk about the continuing witness of the Passover.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the Old Testament Part 3

of the 
Old Testament

part 3

Lower criticism provides an important service as it inspects the actual texts in order to establish the true Biblical writings. This is done through some rather thorough scientific methods, by those who care for the truth and are not afraid of finding something other than the actual truth. However, there is another field of study called “higher criticism” which attempts a similar trope but with less than honorable motivations.

This type of speculation assumes the ability to form an accretion process by which ancient writings, especially the Bible, came about as the result of miscellaneous fragments and forgeries and then was foistered on the people as a divinely inspired “scam”, as it were. Higher critics profess to be scientific in this process, however, they are hamstrung by the inevitability of their process being mainly subjective in its presuppositions. They seek by all means, to find a naturalistic, evolutionary method for explaining the Bible and the Christian Church and also the history of the nation of Israel. They do, of course, have to explain away all miracles and fulfilled prophecies (no easy task), and they also have to attribute the authorship of books to more recent writers than those presented in the origins themselves.

For these folks, the Bible is a waste of time as it is full of “bull cookies” as they might put it, containing errors and out right lies. Biblical scripture cannot contain any moral value or even any religious authority if indeed it is just a big charade meant to control the people, “opium for the masses” if you will, as a famous Russian leader once was quoted as having said. I have covered in this blog the secrets of our educational system and its dogged determination to teach our kids that God doesn’t exist, and how for the last century or more this accusation of inferiority of God’s word  to naturalistic humanism has been taught as fact, in all levels of our schools system, despite its origin of speculation and downright atheist propaganda. But that’s not the end of it, this deterium has now crept into our theological teaching venues as well, and if there was ever an example of the “great falling away” during the end times, this would indeed be one of those instances. And this has happened right under the noses of the general public who go about their daily lives in ignorance of it, most growing old and perishing confident in the assumed knowledge of the big lie.

One would think, that with an abundance of manuscript evidence confirming the textural accuracy of the Old Testament going all the way back to the very time of its completion, combined with its universal acceptance as being divinely inspired and authentic, by both Jews and Christians, in the centuries closest to its writing and compilation, it would be taken at face value by those who use it; at least until some evidence of forgery or fraud is brought to light. (Something the Antichrist will no doubt achieve, with his ability to fool all of mankind, when his time comes.)

But this is not the case. Higher critics state that NONE of the books of the Old Testament were written by the original authors. According to them, the writers had no direct knowledge of anything they were writing. Claims of authorship were deliberately misrepresented, to give the writings an fake authority, and also to make the records of things like miracles and fulfilled prophecies only seem to have come true. The ultimate historical re-write. 

As always, the attack must first come against the book of Genesis. Despite the erasing of any purpose Christ may have had for the sacrifice of the cross and even his own mentioning of events from Genesis in the New Testament record. These so called scientist have moved forward to discredit the beginning in order to eliminate the end, buy virtually calling Christ, and anyone who believes on him, an unmitigated fool. 

In 1753 (and this date has much cache for the time when so called European intellectualism was being born to high fashion in the social realm), Jean Astruc, an atheist physician, wrote that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were from two different and conflicting sources, due to the name for God being Elohim in the first case and Jehova in the second case.  In 1779, Eichron, the German rationalist, made note of differences in style. In 1806, DeWette professed to distinguish four main writers for the “Hexateuch”, writers known as J, E, P, and D. Various other writers also made mention of documentary division, authors and “redactors”. The Graf-Wellhausen (and I have written here in this blog about Wellhausen)  hypothesis of 1866-78, worked out a very complex division of the first six books of the  Bible. All were supposedly written about 900-600 B. C., despite Moses having died about  1450 B.C..

De Wette
Other prominent higher critics in the 19th century, whose actions have brought about the down turn of American society in our day, though one would never know it from what we are told, are Kuenen, Driver, Cheyne, Ewald, Coonhill and others. These were, of course, all evolutionists and naturalists, with an atheist agenda to promote humanism. Their higher criticism does not stop with the books of Moses and Joshua. The prophetic books of both Isaiah and Daniel have also been attacked, and if truth be told, there is no book of the Old Testament that has not been cleverly attacked in order to discredit the Word of God. What is truly sad is that people have been lead to believe that “smart” does not include the Bible, or even God himself. Once you get “smart”, you are above something like believing that God has a Word for his creation and watches over it to fulfill his design for the future of HIS universe. No, to these men, we are too smart for all that now. May heaven help them, and those who digest the atheist lie. 

The writings of these men all have an underlying supposition, despite their intellectual and convoluted reasonings and “superior” testimonies. Their ideas have more to do with being an enemy of Christ, than anything even remotely resembling intellectual honesty. This is about atheism, it is not about being intellectually superior.

According to them: 

A) Moses could not have written the Pentateuch, because writing was unknown in his day. 

B) Evolutionary theory. (still a theory folks, not the truth, though it is taught as truth) does not allow for the attainment of high civilizations and literary abilities as early in Israel’s history as the Bible intimates happened. 

C) Miracle stories are nothing more than ancient mythology, since scientifically miracles are impossible. This only applies of course, in a universe where science is the ultimate authority. 

4) Fulfilled prophecy is also a miracle, and therefore scientifically impossible. Never mind the fact that science is about the observable  and not about the hypothetical or theorizing. But theorizing away from God is more intellectually and scientifically honest for them than taking God at his Word and his existence. And they would like you to join them.

Were they all run into problems is with science itself. There are those whom also perform the investigations of science, and have steadily proven the writings of these men, who knew nothing of higher sciences like Astrophysics, as being unequivocally false.

Ras Shamra

Archeological findings have discovered that  writing was indeed very common, even among tradesmen and housewives. And this pre-dates even Abraham. Sites in Ur of Chaldees, Abraham’s home town, have given up thousands of stone tablets on which there were volumes of writing in evidence. Business documents from Nuzi, a Horite town, from the time of Abraham have also been found. The Ras Shamra tablets are examples of cuneiform writing in the days of Moses, as have the Tel-el-Amarna letters

That which is true of writing is also that which is true of civilizations. Even if evolution had been proven to be true, and not still a theory,  civilizations had developed a high form of existence long before Moses. The advanced state of math and technology from ancient times gives up its truths almost daily to scientists who are looking for validation and also those who just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Never mind the “aliens built the pyramids” idea, mankind had the math and ingenuity to build those edifices all on his own.  

Similarities of the Great Flood and such from ancient mythological tales and passed down folk tales are a dim, flimsy built rhetorics compared to the recording of the flood from the Bible. To state etherial tales of long lost civilizations or generically old societies have enough weight on their own to discredit Biblical text, is more a revelation of prejudice against God, and it is also the practice of atheism, than it is intellectual honesty.

Their dealings with details of grammar, vocabulary and style, go to great length in their intellectualizing in the hopes of discrediting Holy Scripture, but don’t even come close to the revelation of the history of the nation of Israel and the Christian church. In considering style as a barometer of authorship, to make a case for in-authenticity is pure speculation. Style and vocabulary can indeed differ among many different writings of one author depending on the subject and purpose of the writer.   I am quite sure that authors of romance novels, or horror novels do not even remotely resemble their every day correspondence. 

In Genesis, however, this may indeed be the case. But their authorship may have to do more with Shem, Noah, and other patriarchs, not the mysterious J, E, P and D. Divisions in Genesis are marked off by the term, “these are the generations of...”. There is little to refute the possibility of these writings being carved in stone and then handed down to Moses who then scripted them. The problems with scripture that atheists hold fast to from almost 300 years ago, by men who knew less than we know today, have been refuted by Bible scholars, but have been ignored due to arrogance and belligerent propagandist proposals, more than to intellectual honesty. 

Dr. Wilson
Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, a Princeton Semitic Philologist, studied the Old Testament for 50 years until his death in 1930. His devastating critiques of higher criticism’s so called findings have never been answered. Numerous others such as : W. H. Green, James Orr, Oswald  Allis, Edward J. Young, all smart, well schooled writers, have demolished the findings of so called higher criticism, only to be ignored by an educational system that professes allegiance to the public good.

The claims of untrustworthiness of Old Testament scripture have utterly failed. Critics have NOT succeeded in a single line of attack. Ex-cathedra theories, though taught as verified truth, in concordances, dictionaries and literature, not to mention the secular university system, would find themselves hard pressed to prove their propositions concerning scripture if only they had the heft for the fight.   Facts and evidence are not their stock and trade, however, since the educational “dumbing down” of the average common man has relegated him or her to over reliance on those who would place themselves in the unofficial office of “wise man”

I’ll deal with historical and geographical accuracy in my next section.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the Old Testament Part 2

of the 
Old Testament

part 2

Present Old Testament scriptures consist of 39 books, and there is little doubt that these books are one and the same as books that were accepted by the Jewish peoples of Christ’s day as the inspired word of Holy Scripture. These books were not only accepted by the early Christian’s as the authentic article, but the concept was also supported by many other venues, namely; Josephus, the Jewish Historian, various statements in the Talmud, and numerous references in the New Testament. I do realize that there are doctored and decorated college professors all over America who will tell you that Josephus was wholly unreliable, but those people are usually secular and not inclined to support evidence that would interfere with their world view, and the world view that they would have their hundreds of young, impressionable students believe. People are rarely committed to the truth.

Whether or not all these sources were mistaken in their support for the veracity of scripture, is fodder for another blog at another time. At the time however, this was indeed the belief , by both Christians of the early church and also their Jewish adversaries. Most importantly to the early Christians, this was the Jewish Bible, accepted by Jesus Christ.

Division of the books went as follows: The Law of Moses, or the Torah; The books of the Prophets, including historical books; “Writings” of the other books, poetical writings of which the Psalms is a great part. Christ even mentioned this division when he spoke of prophecies devoted to himself in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

Canonization of books usually comes from self authentication. They were acknowledged by the people of God as the Word of God by the witness of the Holy Spirit right from the beginning, this witness also included the authoritative character of the writings. Despite what many will tell you, it is the authoritative character and witness of the Spirit that leads to the selection of canonized books, not some council of church fathers who wanted to control society.

How could the scriptural writings have become so universally accepted over hundreds of years if indeed they were not authentic? If Moses didn’t write the books of Moses, and Isaiah was only one of several who wrote the book of Isaiah, if Daniel was not the author of the book of Daniel, then how did such opinions become the regular belief of the people who used them? 

There is little doubt that the books we have today are the same books that were used by Christ and his followers in his day, and also the Jewish scribes of the first century. However, can we say that the original text was transmitted to them in the original form as was the intent and meaning? One must keep in mind that if we possessed no support for the Old Testament from the New Testament, then we could have NONE of the Old Testament. 

Textural criticism, or the “lower criticism” is the science by which we attempt to judge the veracity of original scripture. I have already posted a blog here about the veracity of the New Testament, in all its glorified correctness, and work from the position that indeed we as mankind do have the authentic New Testament. 

For the Old Testament text, we are limited to the Masoretic text, the Septuagint version, the Latin Vulgate, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac version, and also the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is the Masoretic text that is considered authoritative by both Christian and Jew  in our day. The Masoretes were a group of Jewish scribes who around 500 A. D. developed an official text from the various texts that had come down to them over time. In the margin of this text they recorded all the variant readings of the texts that had “come across their desks” in the exercise of this cumulative work. There are only about 1200 in number, less than one per page of the Hebrew Bible. 

Transmission of the Masoretic text, prior to 1526 A.D., the date of the first printing of the Hebrew Bible, consisted of about 1,000 manuscripts. The oldest is dated 916 A. D., and of those available to us, there are scant differences between them. Due to such a large amount of scriptural copies being around 96% consistent with each other, we can have good confidence in the final product that comes from their compilation. 

Originally the text of the Old Testament consisted only of consonants. Vowels were considered understood by the reader. The present Hebrew Bible has something called “vowel points”, which guide the reader in the use of which vowels go with which consonants.  These were added by Jewish scholars around 700 A. D. , and if indeed they proved to have incorrect judgement as to their usage, due to textural criticism, then they would indeed have to be adjusted. 

As a back up check on the Masoretic text, the Septuagint is the next link in the chain. The name Septuagint comes from the seventy scribes who compiled the text in about 280 B. C.. These scribes translated the Hebrew text into Greek for use by the diaspora, the Jews cast into dispersion who would become the lost tribes of Israel. It is highly likely that the Greek version was used by the Christians of the early church. 

Latin Vulgate
The Latin Vulgate was translated by Jerome    from Hebrew and Greek into Latin about 400 A. D. . The Syriac version was translated  from Hebrew about 200 A. D. . The Samaritan Pentateuch, written by those who do not accept the rest of the Old Testament, had been handed down independently of the Jewish family line since the time of Nehemiah, about 400 B. C. 

(I realize that the A. D. and B. C. designations are to be written differently as A. D. 200 and 400 B. C., but this is MY blog.)

Although there are variations in all of these writings, the variations themselves are not so important as to make any major changes in the final product. The differences often lose out to a vote of the texts themselves as only one or two may have a variation and therefore would not be included in the final text. 

There are also numerous other books that refer to and also include the writings of the Old Testament. These books include, Jubilees, Ecclesiasticus, Josephus and Philo, the Talmud, the Zadokite fragments (Zadok being the priest of Solomon), the Targums, and also many quotes included in the New Testament.

All these sources show us that what we have today as the Old Testament is also what has been around as far back as any direct evidence can take us. I am willing to bet you have never heard an atheist tell you that.

Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls also threw its hat in the ring so to speak in supporting the veracity of scripture. Discovered in 1945, these documents are dated from the time of Christ and beyond, and are actually the oldest pen to paper manuscripts of ANY scripture to date. 

Many scrolls have been found, and in one scroll or another, the entire text of the Old Testament has been found. All of these agree to such a convincing degree with the Masoretic text, that any variations have been deemed trivialities. 

There is, therefore, no reasonable doubt that the text we have of the Old Testament is practically identical with the text in use several centuries before Christ, extending back to the time when the last books were originally written. Scribes who copied the manuscripts were known to have taken great pains to ensure the correctness of their copies. Many numerical devices were used counting letters and gematria (numerical equivalents) in the various books as cross checking devices. These scribes were men who not only believed God, but loved God, and were not those who were seeking public conquest and social power for themselves or their “King”. They were doing Holy work for the Kingdom of God, and it was their calling.

It is historically significant, that the veracity of the Old Testament scripture, being based upon such unheard of fanatical consistency, is alone in its superior existence in comparison to any other ancient writing from the same era or beyond. If the ancient writings of ANYTHING can be relied upon, it is the scripture of the Old Testament.

I’ll discuss the arguments of so called “higher criticism” in the next segment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the Old Testament

Historicity of the Old Testament

part 1

Lives of the great persons of the Old Testament span almost 2000 years. The Hebrew people emerged from a wandering nomadism and into a proud national identity. They went from slaves and nuisances to the Egyptian empire while under Moses’ leadership to close allies with Egypt under the leadership of Solomon and then beyond. Though technology took centuries to develop in comparison with our own time, ideas and customs developed with mounting alacrity over the course of time. During those two millennia of Old Testament life, many important changes happened in the way that these people lived their everyday existence. Each era of the Old Testament had its own individual influence on the people involved and also on the development of the nation as a whole. There are huge differences in the mental framework of the Jewish nation of Jacob’s nomadic times and those of the latter day who lived during the Maccabeus’ day.

Due to the Bible’s development over a period of many centuries, it makes certain assumptions that were shared by the people of the time when a certain passage was written. As an example, marriage customs of the Patriarchs were not familiar to later Jewish people. The Patriarchs themselves may have been confused by such customs as “heaven” and “hell”. Seeing the people of the Bible in real historical settings brings their words and actions to life in a more meaningful way. Historical study by the individual is the death of the atheist agenda. Archeologists, historians, linguists, theologians and scientists have done great works in order to enable us to see these things more clearly. The Bible itself tells the story of these people incomparably better than any book about the Bible, but to the modern day reader, raised on an educational system hijacked by the atheist agenda, many of the details may seem mysterious and unclear, not to mention down right irrelevant. One must place the people of the Bible in their historical settings as revealed by modern scholarly revelation and study in order to fully understand the Bible’s meaning and relevance to the people of its day, and also like wise to our own day. Abraham is the first of the historical figures of the Bible who can be placed in an historical setting. Some scholars place his birth at almost 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus, and as a result almost 4,000 years before our time today. Those who appear before Abraham: Adam, Eve, Cain, Able, Noah and others, are more difficult to place with an historical landmark because the Bible itself gives us no real clue as to when they lived. Abraham brings us the details of place, custom and events that enable historians to approximate a date of inception. 

Then, moving on from Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses, more and more historical facts appear that insert these men into particular times and places. By the time the reader of scripture gets to the books of Judges and Kings, the pace of reading slows considerably due to the overwhelming influence of details provided that give datable events and people, and this continues right up to the end of the Old Testament. The long and short of it is this, that the men who recorded the events of the life of Israel believed they were recording the acts of God. Thus for the people of those days and also for our day, Holy Scripture is literally the book of the acts of God, a holy record of his dealings with mankind. In the Bible historical events are seen as expressing the Lord’s will and purpose, therefore to believe the history in the Bible is also to confess one’s faith. History was important to Biblical man because it not only recorded the past, but indicated the direction of the future, namely, the Kingdom of God. 

This belief in the relationship between religion and history had its roots in the captivity Israel experienced in Egypt around the middle of the second millennium B. C. To the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians, it appeared that the gods only had an interest in the masters and not the slaves. They recalled the promise of God to Abraham of land running over with milk and honey, and then under Moses’ leadership their liberation from Egyptian oppression. With the subsequent covenant at Mount Sinai and then the conquest of Canaan, the achievement of David’s Kingdom seemed to be the fulfillment of the Lord’s power and purpose.

Their faith also made Israel look closely at the world through a different lens than any other nation on Earth. They were forced to look at the world in light of their beliefs and relationship to an outside authority, and when they did not do this, the prophets reminded them of their place and position. Personal and national desires all too often conflicted with that  religious authority and therefore the prophets were often unpopular. But despite it all, Israel endured even their own self destructive proclivities. One need only study the phenomenon of Israeli holidays that stretch out over the centuries and contain major events in the nations history, to the day, to see that something historically unnatural in comparison to the rest of the world has always been in existence concerning the nation of Israel.  Historical events that mark great victories and great defeats are land marked throughout the story of the Israeli nation, and many of those victories or defeats are repeated on the exact same day of the Jewish calendar even though hundreds of years may pass in the interim. There is no other nation on Earth which has this unique historical footprint.

Originally the history of the early days, was handed down in memory from generation to generation and expressed in songs and verse. When writing was first attained, no doubt the recording of these early days was one of the premier events initialized. By the time King Solomon came along, the sacred texts were being copied and stored for posterity on a regular basis. These texts were the first five books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”. Throughout the next 800 years of Biblical history additional books were added until the Old testament was ruled closed by religious leaders in the second century B. C.

We’ll look more at the cannon and reliability of Old Testament scripture in the next segment.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Rio


Synopsis: From the makers of the hit ICE AGE series comes RIO, a comedy adventure about taking a walk on the wild side. Blu is a domesticated Macaw who never learned to fly, living a comfortable life with his owner and best friend Linda.

Rated: G 
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Distributor:20th Century Fox
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha


  • Jesse Eisenberg     Blu
  • Anne Hathaway     Jewel
  •              Pedro
  • Jamie Foxx           Nico
  • Tracy Morgan        Luiz
  • George Lopez       Raphael
  • Jemaine Clement  Nigel
  • Leslie Mann           Linda
  • Jake T. Austin       Fernando
  • Jane Lynch           Alice
  • Wanda Sykes        Chloe
  • Davi Vieira           Armando
  • Carlos Ponce         Marcel
  • Karen Disher         Mother Bird

Blue Sky studio just won’t let us forget Ice Age from almost ten years ago, as this movie, also by the same studio, has a small cartoon ahead of it with the prehistoric squirrel still chasing the acorn. Rio, directed by Carlos Saldanha, who hails from Brazil, has given us a lively and color blasted film that returns the director to his own homeland.  

Much as I loved Rango for its edginess, and downright subversive tone that it shared with the audience, I expected, based upon the trailers for Rio, a better picture from between these two. Not so, unfortunately, fun and imaginative as it is, Rio is forever beholding to dozens and dozens of other movies that have come before it. Though I suppose the idea here is that small fry who have not lived that long or seen that many movies will never know the difference.   

Rio is a blue macaw named Blu, who in a bizarre turn of events, is whisked away from his homeland as a newborn and raised in frigid Minnesota by a loving human named Linda (Leslie Mann), who is a nerdy type that runs a bookstore. Then a Brazilian naturalist turns up and explains that Blu is holding the future of his kind within his person and if they don’t return him to his native turf for some slap and tickle with the lone surviving female Blue Macaw of his species, he’ll be the death of the macaw nation. Things only get more and more “Lion King” from there.

There’s a fat bulldog, who could be a hedge hog, a jiving bird who could be a meercat, evil monkeys that could be hyenas and an evil older bird who could be Scar the lion. But let’s not forget the young male character lost in the wilderness by himself who happens upon the “empowered” female character. Dozens of “fat boy/dumb guy and hot chick” sitcoms couldn’t have done it better. But what do kids care, right?

There is of course lots of great high profile voice work from a multicultural standpoint and that’s a fine thing, as the world is really full of all sorts of people, not just movie executives and those who remind them of themselves. (Jamie Foxx,, George Lopez) but they all do a great job, as does Anne Hathaway (who gets to do her 99 from Get Smart routine) as Blu’s female counterpart, Jewel.

Rio is great for the kiddies, as they will have a great time following the multicolored pallet and the mix of Brazilian and rap style music, which sometimes works and then other times misses the mark completely. But, parents won’t have anything to worry about if grandma takes the little ones to this movie, it doesn’t even go as far as it could have for the tear jerker scenes.

3/5 stars because it’s just beautiful to look at

Friday, April 8, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Heaven Is For Real

Heaven Is For Real

by Todd Burpo
“The angels sang to me to make me feel better. They sang, Jesus Loves Me and Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. I asked them to sing We Will Rock You, but they wouldn’t do that.”-Colton Burpo (paraphrase) from Heaven is for Real

Heaven and the subject of heaven, are certainly interesting and fascinating items of consideration. I’m one of those folks who believes we have all the information we need, and what we don’t know, at the moment, in this lifetime; we don’t need to know. I trust Jesus Christ like that. Still, stories like this one are hard to ignore. I am told they are making big waves on the “life after death” book circuit these days. But do we really need them?

The latest book, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, is an interesting and, of course, involving trip into one of these experiences that has been put into paperback form.

Colton, the three year old son of Todd and Sonja Burpo, claims he has spent time in heaven and has lived to tell about it. Colton’s experience is a bit different than most near death experiences as he actually never died, though in the text he does concede that perhaps he did die, if only a little.

His father, Todd, a Weslian minister, renders the story of how his son was first believed to have had the flu but in reality his appendix burst and he was being slowly internally poisoned for five days before anyone got wise to the situation.

Colton survives his brush with certain death, as the nurses reveal later in the book; they were waiting to give the time of death. Colton however, bounces back, miraculously, and then for the next handful of years goes on to tell his parents in snips and snaps of his experience with heaven and Jesus.
Little things come out here and there as life goes on for the family, triggering memories in Colton that pop up, like old lines in a song would for an adult, when stimulated to appear. He sits in Jesus‘ lap. He meets his sister who was still born before he was born. He meets John the Baptist (who is really nice). There are thousands of colors we have never seen ( a private hypothesis of my own which I have conjectured is due to the limited range of the rods and cones in our eyes which cannot perceive certain bands of light beyond a certain range, in much the same way as our ears can’t pick up sounds that a dog’s ears can. But this is all fun conjecture, not necessarily revelation on my part.) He meets his great granddad who tells him things about his father that Pastor Burpo has never revealed to the 3 year old child. Everyone in heaven has wings and they fly everywhere, except Jesus who levitates, an interesting distinction. (I know I have always liked the idea of flying free in the open sky, ever since I was a kid, too. But I have included the imagining as one where a person can soar through space as well, I’m going to Alpha Centauri after May 21, 2011, when we are all raptured. Who’s with me?)

He also describes the face of Christ, which I found to be the most riveting part of the story. Jesus has blue-green eyes, a casual beard, wears a white gown and has a purple sash across his chest. Purple being the color of kings. (Angels have yellow.) Jesus also has a crown with a pink diamond in the middle. Hmmm.... (other people have said it, but I looked myself and chuckled at this too, Jesus looks like Kenny Loggins!)
Colton also saw the Holy Spirit, whom some of my most trusted scriptural teachers have indeed stated is a “person”. The third person in the tribunal of God. The Holy Spirit is kind of blue, according to Colton. This is very believable as I have always found that God has a thing for the color blue. When Moses and the elders see God the Father in the desert, he is standing on a pavement sort of thing that is described as being sapphire blue. Personally, I think God likes “thalo blue”, if you know what that is. ;-)

There is no sun in heaven because God and Jesus light up heaven (Keep in mind that the new Jerusalem in the sky described in Revelation states the same thing). There are animals everywhere, and no one is old. Colton was also able to witness events that happen over time all in the span of three minutes.

Fanciful as Colton’s experience seems to be, one needs to be careful as to how much weight, and of the books “revelations”, can be given. If we believe in a current and living God, one who is quite capable of watching over his Word so that mankind doesn’t condemn himself or others in his blind stupidity, then we can have full confidence that what we have in the Word is really all we need. Colton’s revelations are interesting and of course capture our imaginations, but if it had been you or me in the same situation, would there have been things about the experience that directly related to you, or even related back to Colton’s experience? Acceptance or rejection of these kinds of experiences has to be given a kind of “under consideration” position, in that one never really knows where God ends, and our own  sense of what we perceive to be true or what we perceive to have happened, begins.

There are those who have studied out of body experiences with many, many patients and tell of how the near death experience has an overwhelming consistency across the board of human experience, personal preferences and societal influences not withstanding. If Colton had been a Muslim boy, would he have seen Muhammad? (some say this is exactly what does happen) Such a revelation would probably be squelched in that society for fear of things like Sharia law. But according to those who say they have studied it, the experience is overwhelmingly consistent. Does everyone see Jesus? That’s debatable, even one book on the subject gives us an account of heaven without a Christ figure present.

I will say one thing that jumped out at me that no one else seems to want to mention. The rampant naturalism in Colton’s account. According to his father, Colton loves superheroes and action figures. He plays hero all the time and fights the bad guys dressed up in his superhero cape and play sword. Colton insists there are indeed swords in heaven, mostly to keep Satan out. But think about this: With all the super powers and the mechanical devices, like jet boots, rocket packs and light sabers and such that are available to a three year old via his mass marketing toys and videos and cartoons, wouldn’t some of that find its way into the experience of a child who was making it all up? I would want it to be fantastic in a way that would appeal to me if I were three years old. Jesus would have gravity cancelling boots for levitation, rocket packs for angels would be a natural part of things, and maybe even a few web shooters. Yet none of that man made fabrication and speculation makes its way into Colton’s descriptions. I find that interesting.    

Colton’s father, Todd Burpo, does his best to make scriptural evaluations of Colton’s revelations. Being a Weslyan minister, it would be important for him to do so if he were indeed putting out a book for the general public and was at all interested in maintaining a certain amount of scriptural integrity. He is, of course, dealing with a three year old, and by putting a book of this information out there for all to see, he is treading on thin ice as it were, in the public forum. Would he edit the revelations to provide a complete “correct” picture of things for the narrative? To say so would be conjecture on anyone’s part. You do have to trust that Todd Burpo realizes the position he puts himself in if he doesn’t stay true to form on scriptural truth, and if he really believes in a God who is all present, then he must not pretend that he can “get away” with any subterfuge. Burpo has a hard time himself knowing just how to filter the ideas that come from his son’s experience, and that could be a tribute to authenticity or, as some suggest, slick marketing that knows its audience.  

Kids from three to six share a kind of natural, knee jerk response, that can give parents a headache. One constantly has to watch what one says around them as they will blurt out things they have heard often at the most embarrassing times. That is a linchpin of their age group.

The point being here that if you speak in front of them, they are like sponges and will blurt out gossip or non-politically correct language with little or no reservation. 

His father and mother, according to the narrative, seem puzzled over his bizarre knowledge of things they have never discussed. Why would you discuss death or afterlife or anything pertaining to that with a child whose attention span and predilections are quick and fast and probably have more in common with a kitten that is fascinated with a shiny ball, than anything having to do with something so far removed from his narrow little word as a “war in heaven”.

Colton’s eyewitness account of Christ is rather interesting also, as it doesn’t seem to contain his own predilections. His parents showed him renderings of Christ for sometime after his experience, and instead of becoming exasperated at the exercise and giving in to one of those questions as to “Does Jesus look like this one?”, he holds out until he sees the revelatory painting of Akiane Kramarik. Akiane is a little girl who is a painting prodigy who claims to have had revelations herself and has painted the true face of Christ. Her paintings are amazing for her age, and wildly imaginative. Her painting of Christ, however, is very matter of fact and shows no desire to create design, but merely a representation. Colton’s response is that this is finally it! This is the face of Christ.

Although to his credit, Colton never tells us that Annikan Skywalker was in heaven, I have to wonder just where oh where he might have really been? He has no doubts that he was in heaven, but why would there be some many animals? And why no nudity? Creating Adam and Eve nude was quite the natural thing. Myself, I would expect it, since there is no shame in heaven. But according to Colton, everyone wears a white robe with a specially colored sash. I find that point to be an interesting consideration. Nudity shame comes from the fall, from Satan’s perspective and separation from God. Why would anyone need clothing?

Some have speculated that Colton is describing “New Earth", a place that has yet to exist. But the book is quite clear that time means very little and is recognized as a linear human concept, therefore,  New Earth it could very well be, especially if you throw in the idea of God and Jesus lighting up the world, this is why there was no sun.

If Colton and his family are lying, why would they lie? If they can’t stand before God and support this book, then they are on some mighty dangerous ground, and I find it hard to believe that a pastor could continue his life, without some sort of stress, if falsehood was indeed the case. God doesn’t stand in the gap and hide those who are hypocrites. The nation of Israel suffered for its hypocrisy and so have modern day pastors and such who were living “double lives”. If something is not correct here, you’ll know about it soon enough. In some fashion. But what if that never happens? What will you say then?

As I have said, Look upon this with interest, but not with an eye to conversion. Leave that to the scriptures. They are the only narrative that claims to be “alive” and “life changing”. Keep that as the foundation of your faith, as this is what God looks over, promising that not one dot will be changed in his word.

This is quite the book to read and makes one definitely consider those things we all wonder about as far as the future of ourselves, our loved ones and also of all mankind. But it can only be a consideration.

Escape The Hezbollah