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Washington DC and The Holy Land>The Book of Revelation - Talk 1
Chiefshrink 11:43 PM 02-17-2021
The Book of Revelation when mentioned conjures up many thoughts and feelings among many Christians and non-believers alike and often is misunderstood to be extremely confusing and how can anyone make sense of it ? And yet it is a fascinating study and when studied accurately it is quite clear and concise on almost all events with just minor debate on a few minor issues. Nothing major.

My pastor, Jeff Schwarzentraub has started this series called "The Alpha and Omega" in which he now is starting the Omega(The Book of Revelation) and I thought it would be an informative listen for all those interested in the "End Times" of which we definitely live in for sure and to make sure your soul is prepared and what will occur in the near future. Pastor Jeff is a very gifted speaker and I assure you, you will not get bored.

Enjoy!!
https://bravechurch.online/sermon/why-teach-revelation
[Reply]
Randallflagg 03:58 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by scorpio:
Promoting yourself as a Christian while ignoring his teachings. There's a special place in hell for you, gramps.

Skippy, you know nothing about me. Relax, go back down to Mom's basement and pretend you are important.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 09:57 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Prison Bitch:
Jesus SPECIFICALLY told you nobody - not even he - knows when the end times are coming.



”But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” - Matthew 24:36
Originally Posted by AdolfOliverBush:
That quote should also end the "Jesus and God are the same being" talk I hear so often.
Question: "If Jesus is God, why did He not know when He would return?"

Answer: Speaking of His second coming, Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36; cf. Mark 13:32). The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God (John 1:1, 14), and we know that God is omniscient. So it seems strange that Jesus would say that He did not know when He would return.

The key to understanding Jesus’ seeming lack of knowledge in this matter lies in the nature of the Incarnation. When the Son of God became a man, He remained fully God, but He also took on a true human nature. Jesus retained all the attributes of divinity, yet, as a man, He voluntarily restricted their use. This was part of the “self-emptying” or self-renunciation spoken of in Philippians 2:6–8. When Christ entered our world, He laid aside the privileges that had been His in heaven. Rather than stay on His throne in heaven, Jesus “made himself nothing” (as the NIV translates Philippians 2:7). When He came to earth, “he gave up his divine privileges” (NLT). He veiled His glory, and He chose to occupy the position of a servant.

There were times when Jesus publicly manifested His divine knowledge and power on earth (John 2:25; 11:43 –44). On those occasions, Jesus’ demonstrations of His divinity were directed by the Father. On other occasions, He had no such directive from the Father, and He kept His glory veiled. On all occasions, Jesus obeyed the Father’s will: “I always do what pleases him,” He said (John 8:29).

So, when Jesus said He did not know when He would return, He was actively humbling Himself and taking the form of a servant (see Philippians 2:7–8). Since no other mortal knows the time of Jesus’ return—that information is the Father’s alone (Matthew 24:36)—Jesus voluntarily restricted His knowledge on that point. It was part of Jesus’ submission to the Father (see John 5:30; 6:38; 8:28–29) and His mission to live a human life.

Some things Jesus apparently chose to “give up the rights” to be privy to during His earthly ministry. The knowledge of when He would return was one of those things. Jesus, now exalted in heaven, surely knows all, including the timing of His second coming.

Question: "What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?"

Answer: The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible.



The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who are God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:

1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word "Elohim" and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for "God," "Elohim," definitely allows for the Trinity.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke 4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event of Jesus’ baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son. Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24; Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7, 12; Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.

4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son see Luke 22:42, John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and especially John 16:13-14.

6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus’ human works (John 5:17; 14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.

The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1, 16:12-15; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.

The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus’ works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been many attempts to develop illustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God’s greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).


Question: "How is the doctrine of the Trinity not tritheism?"

Answer: The doctrine of the Trinity is at the very center of the Christian faith. That God is triune in nature is affirmed not only in Scripture but also in the early ecumenical creeds of the church—specifically, Nicaea (A.D. 325) and Constantinople (A.D. 381). The doctrine is essentially that God is one in being while existing as three co-equal, co-eternal Persons, namely, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

One often-heard objection to the Trinity is that the doctrine logically entails tritheism (a belief in three gods). But is this criticism valid? Is Trinitarian theology at odds with the clearly taught monotheism of the Hebrew Scriptures? Or did the early Christians get it right when they upheld the monotheism of the Old Testament while at the same time affirming the full deity of three distinct Persons? To answer this question, we need to look over the biblical data. The Bible clearly affirms that there is but one God (Isaiah 43:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4). In addition, the Bible teaches the deity of the Father (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2), the Son (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:2; Titus 2:13; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). Moreover, the biblical writers go out of their way to affirm that all three Persons are distinct from each other (Matthew 28:19; Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 13:14). So, while it is true that the word trinity is not found in the Bible, the concept most certainly is.

Does the fact that there exist three divine Persons entail that there exist three separate gods? The answer is no. The same Scriptures that affirm that all three Persons of the Trinity are divine also unequivocally affirm monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Timothy 2:5). So, what are we to do with this tension between the idea of three divine Persons and monotheism? A helpful clarification involves what we mean by the word person.

Person can be defined as “a center of self-consciousness.” A person has a mind, emotions, and a will, can communicate with others, and is capable of performing actions. When we speak of the concept of personhood as it relates to the Trinity, we are describing self-distinctions in God. All three Persons of the one triune God possess the complete attributes of deity. All three Persons are truly divine, yet eternally distinct from one another. The divine Persons can and do communicate with each other (John 17:1-26; Hebrews 1:8-9). Essentially, God has three centers of self-consciousness. Yet this one Being (the triune God of Scripture) possesses one indivisible essence. There is only one Being that is God, and this one Being is tri-personal, with each of the three Persons having full possession of the divine nature.

Question: "How can there be subordination / hierarchy in the Trinity?"

Answer: It may sound strange to speak of subordination within the Trinity. After all, Jesus and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). Subordination makes us think of a lower rank or a subservient position. To understand how there can be subordination in the Trinity, it is important to understand that there are different types of subordination. The biblical or orthodox view of the triune nature of God acknowledges an economic subordination in the Trinity but denies the heretical view of an ontological subordination.

What does this mean? Simply that all three Persons of the Godhead are equal in nature. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit all have the same divine nature and divine attributes. Contrary to the teaching of many cults, there is no ontological subordination (no difference in the nature of the three Persons of the Godhead). This means that the Trinity is not comprised of greater and lesser gods; rather, there is one God existing eternally in three co-equal Persons.

What the Bible does teach is an economic (or relational) subordination within the Trinity. The three Persons of the triune Godhead voluntarily submit to each other respecting the roles They perform in creation and salvation. So, the Father sent the Son into the world (1 John 4:10). These roles are never reversed in Scripture: the Son never sends the Father. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus and “proceeds from the Father” to testify of Christ (John 14:26; 15:26). And Jesus perfectly submitted His will to the Father’s (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:7).

Economic or relational subordination is simply a term to describe the relationship that exists among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Essentially, economic subordination within the Trinity refers to what God does while ontological subordination refers to who God is.

Biblically, all three Persons of the Trinity have the same essence, nature, and glory, but each One has different roles or activities when it comes to how God relates to the world. For example, our salvation is based on the Father’s power and love (John 3:16; 10:29), the Son’s death and resurrection (1 John 2:2; Ephesians 2:6), and the Spirit’s regeneration and seal (Ephesians 4:30; Titus 3:5). The different tasks that we see the Father, Son, and Spirit perform are the result of the eternal relationship that exists among the Persons of the Trinity.

The issue of subordination within the Trinity is nuanced, and the distinction between ontological and economic subordination is fine indeed. Theologians within Christian orthodoxy continue to debate the limits of subordination and its relation to the Incarnation of Christ. Such discussions are profitable as we study the Scriptures and think through the truth about the nature of God.
[Reply]
Prison Bitch 10:53 PM 02-18-2021
Jesus voluntarily restricted His knowledge on that point



That is not what he said.
[Reply]
Ninerfan11 10:59 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by NinerDoug:
Magic mushrooms were were common and considered a delicacy.
Greeks did all kinds of psychadelics, specifically the philosophers.

Interestingly, I know two hardcore atheists who turned to Christianity after doing mushrooms, wild stuff. I find Christianity to be the most logical religion, but the Trinity concept seems a bit off to me. I also think Revelations was probably some dude tripping out.
[Reply]
Prison Bitch 11:12 PM 02-18-2021
Martin Luther tried to cut Revelation out of the Bible. Said it was worthless.

He’d be appalled by today’s “Protestants”
[Reply]
Ninerfan11 11:15 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Prison Bitch:
Martin Luther tried to cut Revelation out of the Bible. Said it was worthless.

He’d be appalled by today’s “Protestants”
It sticks out like a sore thumb for sure, I don't like what I've read of it at all. Martin Luther was kind of a weirdo too. From what I hear, Eastern Orthodox is likely the "truest" version of Christianity. I think we also have to keep in mind that the versions we are getting have a lot of parts taken out and removed, likely for political purposes.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 11:20 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Ninerfan11:
From what I hear, Eastern Orthodox is likely the "truest" version of Christianity.
Nothing personal, but not even close. It is very mystic.
[Reply]
Snopes Hammer 11:23 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Chiefshrink:
My pastor, Jeff Schwarzentraub has started this series called "The Alpha and Omega" in which he now is starting the Omega(The Book of Revelation) and I thought it would be an informative listen for all those interested in the "End Times" of which we definitely live in for sure, Pastor Jeff is a very gifted speaker and I assure you, you will not get bored.

[Reply]
Ninerfan11 11:26 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Chiefshrink:
Nothing personal, but not even close. It is very mystic.
I wouldn't take that personal, but I'm interested to know what you would think has been the least corrupted.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 11:28 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Ninerfan11:
I think we also have to keep in mind that the versions we are getting have a lot of parts taken out and removed, likely for political purposes.
Question: "Is the Bible reliable?"

Answer: Using the same criteria by which we judge other historical works, not only is the Bible reliable, it is more reliable than any other comparable writings. Reliability is a question of truthfulness and accurate copying. Writings that are historically and factually correct and that have been faithfully preserved over time would be considered reliable. Higher levels of historical verification and better confidence in transmission make it easier to determine whether an ancient work is worthy of trust. By those measures, we can consider the Bible reliable.

As is true with any historical work, not every single detail in the Bible can be directly confirmed. The Bible cannot be called unreliable simply because it contains parts which cannot be confirmed or have not yet been confirmed. What’s reasonable is to expect it to be accurate where it can be checked. This is the primary test of reliability, and here the Bible has a stellar track record. Not only have many of its historical details been confirmed, but certain portions that were once in doubt have been verified by later archaeology.

For example, archaeological finds in the 1920s confirmed the presence of cities much like Ur, described in Genesis 11, which some skeptics doubted had existed so early. Engravings discovered in an Egyptian tomb depict the installation of a viceroy in a manner that exactly matches the biblical description of the ceremony involving Joseph (Genesis 41:39–42). Clay tablets dating to 2300 BC have been found in Syria strongly supporting Old Testament stories, vocabulary, and geography. Skeptics doubted the existence of the Hittites (Genesis 15:20; 23:10; 49:29), until a Hittite city, complete with records, was found in Turkey. There are dozens of other Old Testament facts supported by archaeological discovery.

More importantly, no facts presented in the Old or New Testaments have been shown false. This historical reliability is crucial to our trust in other statements made in Scripture.

Even the “miraculous” occurrences of Genesis have evidential basis we can appeal to today. Ancient Babylonian records describe a confusion of language, in accordance with the biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). These same records describe a worldwide flood, an event present in literally hundreds of forms in cultures all over the world. The sites where Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) once sat have been found, displaying evidence of fiery and violent destruction. Even the plagues of Egypt and the resulting Exodus (Exodus 12:40–41) have archaeological support.

This trend continues in the New Testament, where the names of various cities, political officials, and events have been repeatedly confirmed by historians and archaeologists. Luke, the writer of that gospel and the book of Acts, has been described as a first-rate historian for his attention to detail and accurate reporting. In both the Old and New Testament writings, the Bible proves reliable wherever it can be checked.

Accurate copying is also an important factor in the Bible’s reliability. New Testament writings were composed within a few decades of the events they describe, far too early for legend or myth to overtake actual history. In fact, the basic framework of the gospel can be dated to a formal creed just a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus, according to Paul’s description in 1 Corinthians 15:3–8. Historians have access to a tremendous number of manuscripts, proving the New Testament was reliably and quickly copied and distributed. This gives ample confidence that what we read today correctly represents the original writing.

The Old Testament, as well, shows all evidence of being reliably transmitted. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1940s, they were 800 years older than any other available manuscripts. Comparing earlier and later manuscripts showed a meticulous approach to transmission, once again adding to our confidence that what we have today represents the original texts.

Those factors all give objective reasons to consider the Bible reliable. At the same time, it’s critically important to examine those same factors in other texts we use to write our history books. The Bible has more empirical support, a shorter time between original writing and surviving copies, and a greater number of source manuscripts than any other ancient work, by far.

For example, there are 251 copies of the works of Julius Caesar, the earliest from 950 years after he wrote, with no way to know how well those copies represent the originals. There are 109 copies of the works of the historian Herodotus, the earliest from 1,400 years after he wrote. Archaeologists have found 1800+ manuscript copies of the works of Homer, allowing us a 95 percent confidence in the original text.

For the New Testament, there are currently more than 5,000 manuscripts, with most early copies anywhere from 200 to 300 years later, and some less than 100 years later. This gives a better than 99 percent confidence in the contents of the original text.

In short, we not only have objective reasons to claim the Bible is reliable, but we cannot call it unreliable without throwing out almost everything else we know of ancient history. If the Scriptures don’t pass a test for trustworthiness, no records from that era can. The Bible’s reliability is proven in both its historical accuracy and its accurate transmission.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 11:29 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Ninerfan11:
I wouldn't take that personal, but I'm interested to know what you would think has been the least corrupted.
Are you talking denominational wise ??
[Reply]
Ninerfan11 11:30 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Chiefshrink:
Question: "Is the Bible reliable?"

Answer: Using the same criteria by which we judge other historical works, not only is the Bible reliable, it is more reliable than any other comparable writings. Reliability is a question of truthfulness and accurate copying. Writings that are historically and factually correct and that have been faithfully preserved over time would be considered reliable. Higher levels of historical verification and better confidence in transmission make it easier to determine whether an ancient work is worthy of trust. By those measures, we can consider the Bible reliable.

As is true with any historical work, not every single detail in the Bible can be directly confirmed. The Bible cannot be called unreliable simply because it contains parts which cannot be confirmed or have not yet been confirmed. What’s reasonable is to expect it to be accurate where it can be checked. This is the primary test of reliability, and here the Bible has a stellar track record. Not only have many of its historical details been confirmed, but certain portions that were once in doubt have been verified by later archaeology.

For example, archaeological finds in the 1920s confirmed the presence of cities much like Ur, described in Genesis 11, which some skeptics doubted had existed so early. Engravings discovered in an Egyptian tomb depict the installation of a viceroy in a manner that exactly matches the biblical description of the ceremony involving Joseph (Genesis 41:39–42). Clay tablets dating to 2300 BC have been found in Syria strongly supporting Old Testament stories, vocabulary, and geography. Skeptics doubted the existence of the Hittites (Genesis 15:20; 23:10; 49:29), until a Hittite city, complete with records, was found in Turkey. There are dozens of other Old Testament facts supported by archaeological discovery.

More importantly, no facts presented in the Old or New Testaments have been shown false. This historical reliability is crucial to our trust in other statements made in Scripture.

Even the “miraculous” occurrences of Genesis have evidential basis we can appeal to today. Ancient Babylonian records describe a confusion of language, in accordance with the biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). These same records describe a worldwide flood, an event present in literally hundreds of forms in cultures all over the world. The sites where Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) once sat have been found, displaying evidence of fiery and violent destruction. Even the plagues of Egypt and the resulting Exodus (Exodus 12:40–41) have archaeological support.

This trend continues in the New Testament, where the names of various cities, political officials, and events have been repeatedly confirmed by historians and archaeologists. Luke, the writer of that gospel and the book of Acts, has been described as a first-rate historian for his attention to detail and accurate reporting. In both the Old and New Testament writings, the Bible proves reliable wherever it can be checked.

Accurate copying is also an important factor in the Bible’s reliability. New Testament writings were composed within a few decades of the events they describe, far too early for legend or myth to overtake actual history. In fact, the basic framework of the gospel can be dated to a formal creed just a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus, according to Paul’s description in 1 Corinthians 15:3–8. Historians have access to a tremendous number of manuscripts, proving the New Testament was reliably and quickly copied and distributed. This gives ample confidence that what we read today correctly represents the original writing.

The Old Testament, as well, shows all evidence of being reliably transmitted. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1940s, they were 800 years older than any other available manuscripts. Comparing earlier and later manuscripts showed a meticulous approach to transmission, once again adding to our confidence that what we have today represents the original texts.

Those factors all give objective reasons to consider the Bible reliable. At the same time, it’s critically important to examine those same factors in other texts we use to write our history books. The Bible has more empirical support, a shorter time between original writing and surviving copies, and a greater number of source manuscripts than any other ancient work, by far.

For example, there are 251 copies of the works of Julius Caesar, the earliest from 950 years after he wrote, with no way to know how well those copies represent the originals. There are 109 copies of the works of the historian Herodotus, the earliest from 1,400 years after he wrote. Archaeologists have found 1800+ manuscript copies of the works of Homer, allowing us a 95 percent confidence in the original text.

For the New Testament, there are currently more than 5,000 manuscripts, with most early copies anywhere from 200 to 300 years later, and some less than 100 years later. This gives a better than 99 percent confidence in the contents of the original text.

In short, we not only have objective reasons to claim the Bible is reliable, but we cannot call it unreliable without throwing out almost everything else we know of ancient history. If the Scriptures don’t pass a test for trustworthiness, no records from that era can. The Bible’s reliability is proven in both its historical accuracy and its accurate transmission.
I never said it was unreliable, I said some parts were purposely left out. Like the Gospel of Thomas, for instance.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 11:35 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Snopes Hammer:
1 Corinthians 1:18-29

18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
[Reply]
Chiefshrink 11:44 PM 02-18-2021
Originally Posted by Ninerfan11:
I never said it was unreliable, I said some parts were purposely left out. Like the Gospel of Thomas, for instance.
Question: "What is the Gospel of Thomas?"

Answer: The Gospel of Thomas is a Coptic manuscript discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. This manuscript contains 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of these sayings resemble sayings found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Other sayings were unknown until their discovery or even run counter to what is written in the four Gospels.

One December day in 1945, far up the Nile Valley, two Egyptian peasants were looking for a local variety of crumbly nitrate rock used as fertilizer. They came across a large jar, about a meter tall, hidden by a boulder. Inside they found a collection of ancient leather-bound books or codices. The spot where the books were found is within a few miles of the site of an early monastery, established by the founder of Christian "cenobitic" monasticism in Egypt, Pachomius. Nag Hammadi, a nearby village, has given this remarkable collection its name.

The Nag Hammadi Library consists of fifty-two texts or "tractates" written in Coptic on papyrus and gathered in thirteen volumes, twelve of which have separate leather bindings. Forty of the texts had previously been unknown to modern scholars. Most of the writings are of a Gnostic character. Scraps of paper found in the binding of eight codices bear dates indicating that the books were made in the mid-fourth century, and at least one of these clearly appears to have come from a monastery. Efforts to date the books more precisely continue. In general, it can be said the collection dates from about the middle of the fourth century. The Coptic texts could be many years earlier, and the originals (probably written in Greek or Aramaic) from which the Coptic translations were made could have been still earlier.

To understand how we got the Bible as we know it, please see the following two articles: What is the canon of Scripture? and How was the Canon determined?

Should the Gospel of Thomas be in the Canon?

The early church councils followed something similar to the following principles to determine whether a New Testament book was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle? 2) Was the book being accepted by the Body of Christ at large? 3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching? 4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit?

The Gospel of Thomas fails all of these tests. The Gospel of Thomas was not written by Jesus’ disciple Thomas. The early Christian leaders universally recognized the Gospel of Thomas as a forgery. The Gospel of Thomas was rejected by the vast majority of early Christians. The Gospel of Thomas contains many teachings that are in contradiction to the biblical Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. The Gospel of Thomas does not bear the marks of a work of inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Are there any other arguments that preclude the Gospel of Thomas from being included in the Bible? If we examine the 114 sayings in this writing, then we find some that are similar to existing sayings, some that are slightly different, but the majority cannot be found anywhere in the entirety of Scripture itself. Scripture must always confirm itself, and the majority of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas cannot be confirmed anywhere else in Scripture.

One argument for precluding the Gospel of Thomas from the Bible is found in the overt "secretness" attributed to these 114 sayings by the work itself. Nowhere in Scripture is God’s Word given “in secret" but is given for all to read and understand. The Gospel of Thomas very clearly tries to maintain an air of secrecy in its words.

The Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic gospel, espousing a Gnostic viewpoint of Christianity. The Gospel of Thomas is simply a heretical forgery, much the same as the Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip. Perhaps the disciple Thomas' nickname of "doubting Thomas" is appropriate here. We should all be doubting the Gospel of Thomas!


Question: "How do we decide which books belong in the Bible since the Bible does not say which books belong in the Bible?"

Answer: If Scripture is to be our sole authority, on what authority do we know which books belong in the Bible - since the Bible does not state which books should be in the Bible? This is a very important question, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the chain of communication from God to humanity, is there a weak link? If so, then the whole chain fails, and the communication ultimately cannot be trusted.

Consider the various "links" comprising God’s communication to us: first came God’s desire to communicate. This was rooted in His love, for the most loving thing a good God can do is reveal Himself to His creation. Next came the actual transmission of God’s Word through human writers. This involved a process the Bible calls "inspiration," in which God breathed the words that the human agents recorded (2 Timothy 3:16). After that came dissemination, as the Word was delivered to its audience through preaching or other means. Then came recognition, as God’s people distinguished Holy Scripture from other religious writings. And then, preservation, through which God’s Word has survived to the present day, despite many attempts to destroy it. And finally, illumination, as the Holy Spirit opens the believer’s understanding to receive the Word.

And that’s the "chain"--the demonstration of God’s love in the inspiration, dissemination, recognition, preservation, and illumination of His Word. We believe that God was involved in each step of the process, for why would God go to such lengths to inspire His Word and then not preserve it? Why would He speak to us and then fail to guide us in recognizing His speech?

This recognition of God’s Word is usually called "canonization." We are careful to say that God determined the canon, and the church discovered the canon. The canon of Scripture was not created by the church; rather, the church discovered or recognized it. In other words, God’s Word was inspired and authoritative from its inception--it "stands firm in the heavens" (Psalm 119:89)--and the church simply recognized that fact and accepted it.

The criteria the church used for recognizing and collecting the Word of God are as follows:

1) Was the book written by a prophet of God?
2) Was the writer authenticated by miracles to confirm his message?
3) Does the book tell the truth about God, with no falsehood or contradiction?
4) Does the book evince a divine capacity to transform lives?
5) Was the book accepted as God’s Word by the people to whom it was first delivered?

Of these criteria, the one of most importance was the first one--was the book written by a prophet? Its corollary, "Did the book receive apostolic approval?", was the chief test of canonicity in the early church. This criterion is a logical result of knowing what an "apostle" was. The apostles were gifted by God to be the founders and leaders of the church, so it is reasonable to accept that through them came the Word governing the church.

The apostles were promised the Spirit of truth who would bring to their remembrance what Christ had said (John 14:26) and guide them into "all truth" (John 16:13). After the ascension of Christ, the apostles received supernatural gifts to enable their work and confirm their message (Acts 2:4). God’s household is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20). Given the apostles' special commission, it only makes sense that the church made apostolicity the number-one test of canonicity. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew was considered canonical (it was written by an apostle); and the Gospel of Mark, with its close association with the Apostle Peter, was also accepted.

When the New Testament was being written, the individual books and letters were immediately accepted as God’s Word and circulated for the benefits of others. The church of Thessalonica received Paul’s word as the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Paul’s epistles were circulating among the churches even during apostolic times (Colossians 4:16). Peter recognized Paul’s writings as inspired by God and equated them with "the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul quoted the Gospel of Luke and called it "Scripture" (1 Timothy 5:18). This widespread acceptance stands in stark contrast to the few debated books, eventually rejected as non-canonical, that enjoyed a limited favor for a time.

Later, as heresy increased and some within the church began clamoring for the acceptance of spurious religious writings, the church wisely held a council to officially confirm their acceptance of the 27 New Testament books. The criteria they used allowed them to objectively distinguish what God had given them from that of human origin. They concluded that they would stay with the books that were universally accepted. In so doing, they determined to continue in "the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42).
[Reply]
neech 11:55 PM 02-18-2021
I have a theory CS, Satan does not know when when Christ will return so throughout history he preps a man to be the possible anti-Christ for when he comes back. Because Satan knows his days are numbered, he reads the Bible also. Matthew 4:6

Some as listed are:

Nero
Constantius
Hitler
Napoleon
Mikhail Gorbachev
Henry Kissinger
Various Popes
Emmanuel Macron
The Internet

Thoughts?
[Reply]
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