No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Jerusalem

God is no longer an influence on the Democrat Party


What an interesting 48 hours from the Democrat Convention.  First we have the platform being approved with/without the following items:

–          God being completely removed from their platform

–          Jerusalem not recognized as the capital of Israel.

–          Total support of Gay Marriage

–          Total support of Abortion

Then comes the incredible events of yesterday.    Words can’t even describe this.  Just watch by clicking here.

You have probably one of the most revealing and awkward moments in recent political history.  A party denying God, and then…after push back from the people…leadership attempts to put Him back in, but the delegates apparently thought differently than the leaders.  Politico reports that President Obama knew that God and Jerusalem had been removed from the platform and did nothing until republicans started to question why speakers were mentioning God…something the party did not recognize, and the heat they received for turning their back on Israel.  Thus the vote on Wednesday.

The voting results now appears to be predetermined based on this photo:

 

It would appear that the outcome was…pre-ordained

 

This would explain the chairman’s reaction when the “No’s” were as numerous as the “Yay’s”.  Needless to say this whole thing is a mess.

So what of all of this?  I would argue the following.  The original platform that was adopted that removed God and officially did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the true heart of the Democrat Party.  Not only does the first vote demonstrate that, but also the fact that they were willing to have a second vote due only to political pressure.  This should not be a surprise to anyone that God has been removed.  The removal presents a more consistent view from the Democratic Party which maintains that God must be removed from politics at all costs.  Additionally, the platform supports two very big issues that the Bible does not, in any way condone (gay marriage and abortion).

Regardless of what the platform says (or doesn’t say) this is what the Democrat Party has become.  As Christian’s we must weigh this heavily as we begin to vote.  Sides have been chosen and we now have a party in America which officially does not recognize God, but rather a generic faith in anything.  In 48 hours this election has had yet another layer added to it…the election of the party which recognizes God, and the party that does not.

You KNOW it’s a Myth!


You KNOW it's a Myth

Atheist's may have this one right...for a change.

The above image is a snap-shot of a billboard put up near the Lincoln Tunnel by the American Atheist Society.  I may not agree with Atheist’s on 99.999999999% of things, but they may have inadvertently stumbled onto something with the “You KNOW it’s a Myth” billboard.  If you know us at all… you know our stance on Biblical reliability and authority, but hear me out here…

There is a lot about the Christmas story that is either presumed or assumed.  Much of this has to do with the story of the wise men.  From a biblical perspective, very little is known about the wise men.  However, much can be determined based on their actions.  This to me is the story behind the story of Christmas.  The story of the wise men provides a interesting backdrop to the birth of the Messiah, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Where did the Wise men come from? 

There is very little in the Bible that indicates where the wise men came from.  Tradition (as well as a popular Christmas carol) have them coming from the Orient.  From a biblical perspective this assumption is tenuous at best.  What we know from the Bible is that they simply were from the East…  nothing more.  That being said, in order to determine where they came from we have to look at historical circumstances.  For that let’s look at the Parthian Empire.  The Parthian Empire was a rival to the Roman Empire.  The “MU” to the “KU”, the “OU” to the “UT”. The Parthian Empire was the ruling empire of East Asia.  It’s boarders extended from the Euphrates river all the way to Modern day Pakistan.  The Parthian Empire is relevant because it was the ruling Empire for Babylon at the time of Christ’s birth and the Parthian Empire fought with the Romans in 40 BC for control over Palestine.  The Parthian Government was ruled by two assemblies; the Arsacids (royal family) and the Megistanes which consisted of Magi (priests) and wise men (influential Parthian of non-royal blood).  While there is still debate as to where the wise men, or Magi, came from, the Parthian Empire may provide the best possible place for a number of reasons that will be explored a little later on. 

Many speculate that the wise men came from Babylon.  This is entirely possible.  The interesting thing is, Babylon was located within the Parthian Empire.  One more interesting item of note:  The Parthian Empire was on the door steps of Palestine.

Who were the Wise men?

So who exactly are these wise men?  Most Christians probably pay no attention as to who they really are, and focus more on the fact that they were at the birth of Christ. 

Here is what we can gather from the Bible.  Depending on the translation you use you will see the word Magi, or wise men in Matthew 2:1.  While I do agree that some Magi (wise men) were pagan in nature there were some who were not.  Something to consider: while the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, Daniel was appointed to be the Chief Administrator over all of the wise men (Daniel 2:48).  Additionally, a large number of Israelites (Levites, and Bejaminites) stayed in Babylon after the exile.  The conclusion here is that there was a fairly large contingent of Israelites in Babylon for a long period of time that would extend from post exile (approx 537 BC), to Parthian Empire Babylon (247 BC) to the Birth of Christ (approx 4 BC). 

In a broader context one could look at it this way:  There is a high probability that there were Magi in Babylon (circa the Parthian Empire) that were very well aware of the prophecies of Daniel), as well as the prophecies.

Again, Some Magi were members of Parthian government.  It would be the equivalent of the Senate in the US.  These are men who were able to elect the King as well as depose the King.  Needless to say, the Magi carried a certain amount of gravitas wherever they went.  Remember, the Parthian  and Roman empires bordered one another and  had been at war for a number of years just prior to the birth of Christ.  As a result, Herod probably feared the Parthian Empire, because he was once replaced as King by  King Antigonus who was a vassal to Parthia.  When the Romans regained control of the area… Herod was restored to power. 

Why would the Magi come to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem?  

This question gets to the heart of the matter.  Why would these men travel to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem upon seeing a star?  There would have to be something incredibly compelling to travel nearly 1,000 miles to see the King of the Jews.  Ezra’s travel from Babylon to Jerusalem was 120 days (Ezra 7:8-9).  This is a pretty significant trip.  Overall, for the Magi, this would be a trip that lasted nearly 8 to 9 months.  Why would they do this?  What was so compelling to them that they would leave their homes, travel by caravan, to follow this star?  I would suggest that it is because of Numbers 24:17.  

Numbers 24:17 reads as follows: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel”.  The interesting thing about this passage is that Balaam was a sorcerer hired by Balak to curse the Israelites as they camped on his boarders, ready to conquer him.  Instead of cursing Israel, God took control over Balaam and he blessed the Israelites (Numbers 24:10-14).  Then Balaam dropped the bombshell in numbers 24:17.  Many speculate what the meaning of 24:17 is.  Some say that it relates to David’s kingdom.  If this is the case, then the prophecy was not fully fulfilled by David.  The Damascus Document is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It is a commentary on scripture that dates back to 2nd century BC.  Part of the Damascus commentary focuses on Numbers 24:17.  And the star is the seeker of the Law who came to Damascus, because it was written a star has came forth out of Jacob and a scepter has risen out of Israel. The scepter stands for the prince of the congregation. At his coming he shall break down all the sons of Sheth.”  Numbers 24:17 had been interpreted to mean the coming Messiah.  If I’m correct, this is how the Magi would have read Numbers 24:17. 

Back to the motivation for the trip…  If these men were holdovers from the exile or shared the same office that Daniel had, there is a very good chance that the Magi would have to have been familiar with the prophesy of Numbers 24:17 in order to understand the meaning of the star over Jerusalem.  This is why they left seeking the King (Scepter) of the Jews.  Additionally, they may have known they were in the Messianic era because  Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was coming to an end. If this is the case, they would have expected the Messiah to be born soon in order for the prophecy to hold true.

How many Magi came?

Most, if not all, nativity scenes show three Magi present.  Most Christmas stories tell of three wise men being present.  The reality is that Bible makes no mention of the number of Magi that came to Jerusalem (it only lists their three gifts).  In fact, men of the stature as described above would have required many attendants to come with them.  Given the value of their gifts to Jesus and the dangerousness of the road they likely traveled, the Magi more than likely would have needed an armed escort – especially if they were officials from the Parthian Empire.  This presents an interesting image of not just three but literally hundreds of attendants with any number of Magi travelling across the country side following a star.  This point is most notable as the caravan reaches Jerusalem and is seemingly able to get virtually an immediate audience with King Herod.

When did the Magi come?

Again, if you look at most nativity scenes, you would be under the impression that the Magi were present at the birth of Christ.  Again, this is not biblically supported.  As a matter of fact, the Bible (Matthew 2) clearly contradicts this notion.  Matthew 2:1 is the first indicator that the wise men were not at the birth of Jesus.  Additionally, take this into consideration; if the star appeared over Jesus at the time of birth we know at a minimum that it would be at least 120 days before the Magi could reach Jerusalem.  If you add on the time that it would take to identify the star, organize the caravan, plan the trip and get on the road, one could easily be looking at anywhere from 5-6 months total time before they reached Jerusalem.  Maybe another month before they reached where Jesus was.  This would make sense with King Herod’s order to kill all of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).

Based on the above information we can logically determine that (in regards to the “Three Kings” of carol fame) the Atheists have it right – Well, sort of… and purely by accident.  However, we should celebrate reason, rather than legend.  And reason dictates that the Bible is historically accurate and the final authority on all things theological and historical. This really is the little known story of Christmas.  If my historical theory holds true, then many of the idea’s surrounding the greatest story ever told would be a legend built off of this historical story.

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The Obituary of Jesus


Thank God it’s Friday? Not for these guys… Not today.  This day held more anguish, pain, panic and despair than all the days from the beginning of time combined…  Today was so indescribably bad because it was such a stark contrast with the highs they had experienced over the last 3 ½ years – especially this last week – even earlier last evening had been intimate, festive, warm and safe!

Not now… Now He was gone and they were scattered – scurrying like roaches when the lights come on, because… HE… was… DEAD… And Hope was no more.

Let me explain by backing up a bit. For centuries their people had been waiting – waiting for a man sent from God who would make everything right… A man who would restore all things to the way they should be – one who would rebuild the bridge to God that we had broken so long ago… one who would bring Freedom to the captive… Hope to the desperate… and Love to all.

This waiting wasn’t just wishful thinking. Scriptures spoke about Him over and over and over… on every line of every page.

Now He was here! They were absolutely 100% sure of it! He was born into the right family, in the right town at the right time… He was there when they most needed Him and He was doing all the things Scripture said He would! They said He would be a prophet, and He boldly taught about God’s Kingdom and fearlessly spoke of the future. The prophets said He would be a healer, and they had seen Him give sight to the blind, restore strength to the cripple, open the ears of the deaf… even raise 3 people from the dead!

But He wasn’t just any prophet… and He wasn’t a typical physician, nor was He a magician. This one had a power and air of authority they could not explain.  For goodness sakes, evil spirits and even the elements obeyed His voice!

Earlier that week, as they entered the city for the festival, people flooded the winding road that lead down the hill through a garden full of olive trees. They screamed out His name! They just knew NOW was the time He would set the wheels in motion to take His rightful place – to become King! But they didn’t understand that on this day when families across the nation would choose their sacrificial lamb, HE, the Promised One, was presenting Himself as the only sacrifice that would be needed… EVER!

That night, they retired to an adjacent town to spend time with friends – It was an exciting day and a restful and refreshing evening. The next day as they made their way into the city He cursed a tree for having no fruit… this was just a precursor to the events later that day… Oh, how encouraged they were as they watched Him enter the religious center of the nation and clean house… He drove out the corrupt merchants who were using the people’s religious hopes as an excuse to turn an unfair profit… and then He healed the sick there… The people were amazed, grateful and sang out His praises, but the leaders were enraged… His followers could scarcely contain their joy – the revolution MUST be beginning!

After another wonderful evening with their gracious hosts, they returned to the city to find the cursed tree was dead – What power! What a King! That day, they spent quite a while with Him on a special mountain overlooking the metropolis. He spoke about the coming destruction of the city – Could it mean that He was planning on mounting a rebellion against their oppressors? Could it be now?! They could only assume they would play central roles in the coming new order… They knew it was coming because they were confident in His right to rule and His power and authority to make it happen! They also knew that they, His chosen few, would get the privilege to eat with Him at a very special occasion tomorrow!

They did share that meal with Him… but before that He washed their feet – to them, it was like being knighted – What an honor and pleasure to be so favored by this soon to be crowned King. During dinner He prayed for them and made them new promises of how God would see and relate to them. They were confident in Him and His promise, but there was an air of sorrow in His voice and a look of grief in His eyes.

After the meal, they went back to the olive grove where He had spoken of the city’s destruction the day before – this time they went to pray. Then, one of their own, one they had hardly noticed had left during supper, showed up with a troupe of men armed with weapons and torches. As their friend greeted Him with a kiss, the guards seized their Lord!

What could be happening?!?! Chaos and panic set in… One of His followers drew a sword and cut off a guard’s ear. But the Master demanded they stop, and He even healed the man – Why was He letting this happen? The group of soldiers moved to arrest them all, but everyone but Him ran… one only escaped by slipping out of his clothing!

They could not understand; their heads were spinning! Through the fog of adrenaline and fear each of them did their best to lay low while keeping tabs on what was happening to Him – He had to be okay… How could they go on without Him?

He was put through trials by several religious and political figures. A few of the trials were illegal… all of them were rigged – they were shams. None of the inquisitions showed a shred of evidence proving Him guilty of ANY wrong doing – Yet, through it all He was punished and tortured and beaten to the point one could no longer tell He was even human. Then, the people who earlier had cried out His name in triumph shouted for His execution!

They marched Him naked through the streets forcing Him to carry His own instrument of death. But, as they were slowly killing Him, He begged God to pardon them. As He breathed His last, the sky darkened, the earth shook, the temple was damaged and the hearts of His followers melted and their hopes evaporated into mist… Sorrow reigned.

The next day’s headlines would not sing to the world the news they had hoped: A NEW REIGN AND RENEWED FREEDOM. Instead, they would be replaced by an obituary:

At the age of 33. Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, King of the Jews, has passed. He died outside Jerusalem on Golgotha by crucifixion – Executed by the Romans at the request of the Sanhedrin for treason against Caesar and spreading subversion throughout the land. Death was confirmed by spear thrust through the heart. He was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. He spent His early life as a carpenter, but gained fame in recent years as an itinerant rabbi. The body is being held in the tomb of a friend, under Roman guard. Funeral services and body preparation are scheduled for after the Sabbath. He leaves behind a grieving mother, Mary; a Father, God… and many followers whose dreams were shattered, whose expectations were crushed and whose optimism was gone…

All because He… was… DEAD…

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