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One “Pure Language in the Kingdom?
Some Bible students have speculated that in the Kingdom of God there will be a single, new “pure language” spoken by all. Many further speculate that the “pure language” may be Hebrew in some purified, updated form. Well, my friend Noel suggests that such speculation misses the point and by quite a bit. I believe he is right. What do you think? –Editor. Read Article.
Originally published 2/12/2011
Hi, I’m Gary and I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I am currently Apocalypse free for nearly 18 years. I left the church of the Religious Apocalypse in 1976, over 30 years ago, and I resigned from the secular church of the Financial Apocalypse in 1989. Yes, I still feel the urge to proclaim the end of all things, from time to time, but I white-knuckle my way to a history book for a little perspective, and then I breathe easier. If you wish to join AA, the only requirement is that you give up the adrenaline rush of media-fed fantasies. Read Article.
Originally published 4/12/2007
Allah, Islam’s God, didn’t rest after the six days of creation and Moslems see no need to rest on their “Sabbath” which is Friday, the sixth day of the week.
Jews and Christians find authority for their concept of “Sabbath” primarily from the example of the Creator who “rested” or ceased from his labors on the seventh day, blessed it and made it holy. Observant Jews and most Christian Sabbatarians continue the practice of “ceasing” or “stopping”normal business activities on the seventh day to celebrate God’s good gifts and to worship the Creator of heaven and earth. Read Article.
Originally published 2/8/2007
The Humor of Jesus
A gambler died. The funeral was well attended by his professional friends. In the eulogy, the minister said: “Spike is not dead; he only sleeps.” From the rear of the chapel a man shouted: “I got a hundred that says he’s dead.”
Religion is a rich target for humor and provides grist for the best of jokes. Yet we don’t often associate humor with the Bible, the source of our religion. Read Article.
Originally published 10/27/2006
Scholars… Who Needs Them?
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” –Mark Twain
I’m with Twain. My struggle is to live boldly and honestly in the light of what I understand the Bible plainly instructs me to do. Can there be confusion with “love your neighbor as yourself,” “do not steal,” “do not sin,” “practice hospitality,” “bear the burdens of the weak,” “let your light shine,” “humble yourself before God,” “draw near to God,” “live holy and godly lives,” etc? The complete list is quite long, easy to understand, but more difficult to actualize. Read Article.
Originally published 10/27/2006
All Shook Up: What is Modern Music Doing to Us?
Does music have any influence on character development? Rock music culture is corrosive to ideals most people wish to instill in their children, but perhaps the music can be extracted from the sexual evocation and desultory work ethic apparent in most of it. Would the music itself be harmless if the lyrics celebrated responsible love relationships and achievement instead of casual sex and freakish lifestyles? What are we to make of the praise choruses being sung in many denominations of the church? Carson Holloway’s book attempts to gain some perspective on present controversies by surveying philosophical thought since Plato dealing with music. One of his most significant conclusions is that both liberals and conservatives in the present dispute have focused on what, for lack of a better term, might be called middle-class morality instead of virtue. Behavior conducive to social tranquility and affluence was not the main issue for ancient philosophers who dealt with music and its influence on character formation. Modern critics argue about pornographic lyrics, but they miss the dimension of music that is inherent in its form. On this view, rock music says the same thing whether the text is about a nightclub encounter, or a trendy rap that would otherwise read like a gospel tract. Read Article.
Originally published 5/20/2005
The life changing influence of faith in God has a compounding effect. The longer one lives in God’s presence, the more confidence one has that the moral and spiritual precepts of the Judeo-Christian tradition are true.
Sometimes this is evident to other people. Dramatic conversion stories are always interesting. Unfortunately they can only be verified by people who have seen, first hand, a transformation in a family member or friend. What might be the equivalent of the regenerated life that is verifiable by anybody who wants to know what God is doing in the world? Those of us who have studied apocalyptic literature and prophecy understand its impact and why millions of people continue to be intrigued by it, but it leaves unanswered questions. Many people are suspicious of the whole interpretive process or just don’t get it. There is another way to discuss God’s continuing activity in history even for non-historians. Read Article.
Originally published 4/7/2005
The Land Sabbath in Modern Israel
Rest can be hard to come by in twenty-first century Western societies. With so much to do, it is all too easy for us to become enslaved to our busy schedules.
The Bible gives indications that our Creator did not intend for us to live such restless and hurried lives. In Genesis 2:1-3 we read that God rested on the seventh day of the creation week, setting an example for mankind. Later, in proclaiming the Decalogue from Mt. Sinai, God reminded the children of Israel of that example (Exod. 20:8-11). Read Article.
Originally Published 4/6/2005
Slaughter at Sabbath Services
This past Sabbath (3/12/05) an unusual terrorist attack took place at a church service in the Milwaukee area. Eight people were shot to death including the suicide/homicide shooter. This ghastly act of evil was especially distressing as I know many people in that church organization, although I didn’t know any from the local Milwaukee congregation. Read Article.
Originally published 3/15/2005
Abortion and the Sabbath
Looking for a fight, just bring up the subject of abortion in mixed company. Strongly state your opinion and soon there will be “blood.” Abortion is one of those incendiary topics that sit at the intersection of religion and politics like a lit match between two open cans of gasoline. But why has the subject of abortion become so charged with emotion, vitriol, and even, at times, violence? Read Article.
Originally published 11/24/2004
Two Scenes from Israel
Travel brochures romance every foreign destination with words like enchanting, quaint, beautiful, and of course, unique. Occasionally the hype fits, frequently it doesn’t. How would I write a brochure on Israel? What would I tell the innocents traveling abroad to expect of Israel? Among nations, Israel is in a category all its own. Read Article.
Originally published 2/16/2004
Forgetting the Lesson of Balaam
Freedom depends on morality. This truth is repeated countless times in every way imaginable in the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States. And morality, of course, must be based on universal spiritual principles that transcend nations and time before it can truly be called “morality.” Any concept of morality that cannot pass the test of transcendence and timelessness is really nothing more than a set of social mores—convenient customs that ebb and flow with the tide of society’s mood. Right now, that mood is antimoral, often displaying an open hostility to any idea of universal, timeless values. Read Article.
Originally published 1/27/2004
A Terrible Court Decision: Deliver Those Who Are Drawn Toward Death
In the beginning, God carried out two great acts designed to preserve the spiritual and social health of the nations. He created the Sabbath to bring man into fellowship with Himself and into a bond with his fellow man. All mankind was to come together and appear before their Creator on that blessed day each week. God also created marriage between a man and a woman to guarantee that His laws and His values would pass to each succeeding generation. Since the beginning of time, whenever any nation has cast aside the Creator’s grand design for the nations, it has fallen into moral debauchery and chaos. As I write, God’s first great institution, marriage between a man and a woman, is being pulled down in, of all places, the world’s largest Christian nations. Read Article.
Originally published 7/4/2003
Making Yourself Sick
Ever since Norman Cousins wrote his book, Anatomy of an Illness, some 35 years ago there has been a general awareness that laughter and a happy spirit are good for your health. Readers Digest’s popular feature, Laughter is Your Best Medicine, has been around as long as I can remember. The features’ title is a take off of the biblical proverb, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” But how common is a cheerful heart? It’s probably safe to say most of us don’t laugh enough. I guess there’s just too much heavy stuff out there. Occasions for genuine laughter are rare. When we’re of a glum, negative, overly serious spirit, humor doesn’t easily arise in our heart. It may pop up here or there but evaporates quickly. And watching inane sitcoms won’t fill our need for mirth—minus real humor the canned laugh-track does the laughing for us. Read Article.
Originally published 2/20/2003
What Will 2003 Bring?
Greetings to you and to your family. I pray that 2003 will be your best year yet as you serve His Majesty.
In this letter I want to report to you on what the ACD is doing and plans to do, and to look ahead to 2003—sure to be a critically important and pivotal year in modern history. But before I reflect on current events and prophecy, I have some suggestions for maintaining a sane and balanced attitude in the face of the real and present danger. It is a principle of true reality to which I often retreat in times of stress. Read Article.
Originally published 1/30/2003
A Case of Rigor mortis
Sure evidence of death is the progressive stiffening of the corpse as muscle proteins coagulate. The condition is called rigormortis, and forensic specialists can determine the time of death by measuring how far along the stiffening has progressed. When rigormortis is complete the body is stiff. The low brow vernacular for a dead body, frequently heard in gangster movies, is simply: “a stiff.”
The sight of a pale, prone, and stiff corpse lying on a morgue’s cold stainless steel table is a depressingly hopeless scene. If the corpse is a loved one, the scene is oppressive, heavy with sadness. Apart from the power of our life-giving Creator to vivify that loved one, life itself would ring with hopelessness. Read Article.
Originally published 3/12/2002
Israelites, Gentiles, and New Covenant
It occurred to me the other day that I have been taking this matter of the Old and New Testaments all wrong. For years I heard terms like “Torah Story” and “Whole-Bible Approach” from people like Dr. Charles Dorothy, but being a little slow on the uptake, the implications of such concepts found somewhat shallow soil in my brain. I had for too long been locked into the belief that we have Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New — a sort of divine schizophrenia. Read Article.
Originally published 8/14/2000
Underestimating God, Overestimating Evil
The big event has happened, its now 2000 AD! Your friends at ACD join in wishing you your best year yet. I know that God can make it so.
As we make the big turn into the year 2000 fears of evil and the unknown abound. But I don’t think such fears are justified—certainly not in the hearts of those who know God. Yet Christians have been among the most caught-up with paranoia over Y2K doomsday forecasts. Why?
We underestimate God and we overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude that he is doing nothing. We see everything that evil is doing and think it is in control of everyone. The problem is that our eyes see only what our mind is prepared to comprehend. If comprehending God and his activities are off our radar scope, we won’t have a grip on reality—”true reality.” We think we see things as they are, but we’re dead wrong. Read Article.
Originally published 1/5/2000
The Great Thanksgiving Day Disappearing Act
As we passed that last week in November, I was lamenting the loss of Thanksgiving from our national calendar. To be sure, the day is still listed in the month of November every year, but its importance as a national day of recognition of the blessings and protection of Almighty God over our nation and over our personal lives is all but gone. We still get together as families; the family is the last bastion of “thanksgiving” to God in our great country. However, in the malls and public squares, there is not even a shadow of remembrance of our need of gratitude for the Lord’s giving us such favor among nations. Read Article.
Originally Published 12/13/1999
Is New York City Babylon the Great?
There are lots of theories about what that phrase of Revelation 17:5 means. One traditional view contends that this Babylon, at the time of Christ’s return will be the Catholic Church. The principal reason for this view is that over the centuries the Catholic Church has been blamed for the deaths of several million non-Catholic Christians, and many protestants believe that given the opportunity, the Pope would again demand conversion to the Catholic faith on pain of death. Scripturally, Babylon, the mother of harlots, is portrayed as being “drunk with the blood of the saints.” (Rev. 17:6) Also, this Babylon is pictured as a city sitting on seven hills, which is the traditional picture of Rome. Read Article.
Originally Published 10/20/1999
When Does The Tribulation Begin
One of the most commonly asked questions among Christians these days is “When will the tribulation begin?” I, like many others, believe that the return of Christ is imminent, which means that the tribulation (or “the great tribulation” as some refer to it) is even nearer. This is a legitimate question for Christians to ask, but in this land of plenty what is often meant is “When will my way of life begin to be upset?” Read Article.
Originally published 10/20/1999
Why Study Prophecy
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a prophecy roundtable via the miracle of modern telecommunications. We were in rapt conversation about the “fourth beast” and where all the events of Daniel 11 fit in the prophetic timetable of human history. Some of the information was truly inspiring because it made plain the exactness with which God detailed the future to his prophet Daniel.
While preparing for this discussion, the thought occurred to me that we were not just participating in an academic exercise. Even though with studied gaze we viewed how prophecy was transformed into history, to the people who witnessed the unfolding of these divinely foretold events, the prophecies were anything but academic. And, to those who knew the Bible and its God, the march of these predicted events was truly an astoundingly beautiful, and often terrifying, testimony to the very real, personal activity of their Almighty Creator in shaping their lives and the politics of the nations that surrounded them. Read Article.
Originally published 10/19/1999
We have heard many times the Scripture that refers to “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” Have you ever thought about what that means?
Excellency has to do with surpassing the current standard, exceeding the norm. That is certainly true of Jesus’ work on this earth. The norm was for a man or woman to present an animal to the priest for sacrifice to atone for sins. But, Jesus presented himself. He not only exceeded the norm; He surpassed it to the ultimate. After his sacrifice, no other was necessary. In doing so, He took upon Himself the very worst of every man and every woman, so that they might be freed from the penalty of their own sins and cleansed to the core of their being. The exchange was that the Son of God would die for man — the highest and best for the lowest and worst. There is no more excellent thing in all of God’s creation than this. Read Article.
Originally published 10/19/1999
Does God Still Shape the Affairs of Nations?
Throughout the Bible we see God acting in and shaping the affairs of nation states as well as individual lives. In spite of the skepticism of modern man, it is easy to see how God has intervened in specific historical events to shape the order of history. For example, an account of a universal flood is rooted in the cultures of most of the nations of the world, whether we are talking of the Aborigines of Australia, the Mayas of Central America, or the civilizations of the Middle East — just to name a few. Read Article.
Originally published 10/13/1999
Great Joy In Tribulation
Last night I sat down to read our monthly magazine from Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com/. It is very inspiring because there are personal stories and photographs of people from all over the world who are living under tyrannical dictatorships and are still joyously following Christ. I am reminded of the Bible verse that says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). That is something that we in America find hard to comprehend or even believe. How can people “count it all joy?” Read Article.
Originally published 8/10/1999
Was Adam’s Great Commission to Become a Gardener?
Genesis 2:15 reads: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it (RSV).
. . . to work it and take care of it (NIV). . . . to dress it and keep it (Jewish Publication Society). . . . to till it and guard it (Moffatt). . . . to cultivate it and guard it (TEV).
The King James version reads like the JPS, “dress it and keep it” and is the understanding I had of the event for most of my life. I even preached a sermon once on the nobility of work using Adam’s God-given job description as my central illustration. But in time I began to feel there was something missing in this picture. We see Great Yahweh with grand theater creating a new and beautiful earth in six days of incomprehensible activity, energy and intensity.
All for what? For mankind, of course. But why for mankind? Because man and woman are “made in his image”! Made in his image for what great and noble purpose and activity? To mow grass, pick bugs, prune trees, dig dirt, and protect the fruit trees from the deer, of course. To me, this common job description didn’t seem to fit the context of Genesis 2 and in some ways contradicted it. Why such creative spectacle just to put Adam and Eve into a garden with a command to keep it up — “and Oh, by the way, don’t eat fruit from that tree over there.” Something seemed to be missing, but I didn’t know what. Read Article.
Originally published 3/20/1998
Daniel and The Net
The Internet . . . Beast or Benefactor? For sure the latter, notwithstanding that some religious types see a “666” in its footprint. It’s neither a superhighway to heaven nor hell. In fact, it isn’t even a superhighway. It’s a network of unprecedented communication and information available to the average person with a phone modem connected to a computer linked to the Internet. And like many marvelous tools of man, it will be used for good and evil. I suspect this tool will function like a sharp knife—a hundred thousand good and helpful uses for every destructive one. Read Article.
Originally published 2/16/1998
Is Human Cloning Possible?
Before they can clone Charlie, scientists must first read and map the Human Genetic Code — and that is a long way off.
Consider that every complete molecule of human DNA contains a 3-billion-step code that describes the owner’s unique life print. It is a chainlike structure that contains the blueprint of life, a genetic code from which all 350 human cell types — hair, skin, eye, bone, brain, etc. — emerge. What mysteries awaiting discovery are now hidden within this elegantly wound double helix (two intertwined strands of base pairs) — discoveries which could cure diseases, extend life by finding and cutting out the “death gene,” or, God forbid, allow genetic engineers to breed a master race? Read Article.
Originally published 2/1/1998