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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Judging Others

Matthew 7
7 r “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 s For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and t with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but u do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
6 v “Do not give w dogs what is holy, and do not throw your x pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mushrooms: The Underestimated Super Food
(NaturalNews) Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by traditional eastern healers but only recently by western healers in advanced medicine. Mushrooms are often classified as a vegetable or an herb, but they are actually fungi.Mushrooms provide our bodies with the nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins it needs to generate energy and repair cells. They are one of the most remarkable elements for a healthy immune system. They have been used to cure or improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, impotency, stop migraine headaches, tumors, influenza, and even cancer.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Come On People This Is Serious

Use of mobile phones once again shown to cause cancer.

A Great Place To See The Stars At Night

Stunning View from Joshua Tree National Park [HUGE PIC]


The Greatest Thing In The World
by Henry Drummond

-First Published c1880

I found this old hardbound book yesterday in my travels and wanted to share it with you. I don't think that I have read anything outside of the bible that makes such a great impact upon the reader. This is one of those small books that should be read again and again until it sinks in. Took me about 30 minutes to read it...

The Greatest Thing In The World

EVERY one has asked himself the great question of antiquity as of the modern world: What is the summum bonum--the supreme good? You have life before you. Once only you can live it. What is the noblest object of desire, the supreme gift to covet?

We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the religious world is Faith. That great word has been the key-note for centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look upon it as the greatest thing in the world. Well, we are wrong. If we have been told that, we may miss the mark. I have taken you, in the chapter which I have just read, to Christianity at its source; and there we have seen, "The greatest of these is love." It is not an oversight. Paul was speaking of faith just a moment before. He says, "If I have all faith, so that I can remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. "So far from forgetting, he deliberately contrasts them, "Now abideth Faith, Hope, Love," and without a moment's hesitation, the decision falls, "The greatest of these is Love."

And it is not prejudice. A man is apt to recommend to others his own strong point. Love was not Paul's strong point. The observing student can detect a beautiful tenderness growing and ripening all through his character as Paul gets old; but the hand that wrote, "The greatest of these is love," when we meet it first, is stained with blood.

Entire book continued for free here:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Greg Laurie

pressing on.

Introducing ESV Study Bible

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Watch 20 videos that introduce you to ESV Study Bible.
(Note: we get O income from this. Only posting this for your information and edification)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Levi The Sinner Gets The Call

Levi had skimmed from the Roman take for quite some years now.

 Even though his own people shunned him he didn't much care. He had fine clothing and a fine home with many friends who bribed him to not assess the full amount they would have had to pay on their own tax accounts.

 He had a lot of friends who were also tax collectors. All of them and their wealthy friends liked to hang out together drinking and sinning. They were an elite economically privileged group.

The people disliked all of them, they knew these men were morally corrupt thieves and liars. But what could they do about it because "He who has the gold makes the rules." Some had tried but failed, the Romans were all too powerful and cruel in their punishments.

One day Jesus went forth and saw the tax collector Levi (Matthew) sitting in the tax collector's office and said to him: "Follow me."

Levi was called to full attention by those two simple words. There was something in them that had an overwhelming power. There was something very compelling drawing him to the man who had just spoken the words. What was it? The man was just an ordinary Jew with no evidence of the power of wealth or nobility?

There was something about the man's eyes. He didn't look at him with seething hatred or disdain like most others. There was compassion and respect almost as if the man was his best friend.

Levi fidgeted in his seat as the two simple words borrowed deep behind the case hardened protective shield he had perfected over the years as a tax collector, a shield that had kept the pain and suffering of others from clouding his judgment in his tax assessment of those who came into his office.

He felt an incredible drawing power like he had never known before. How could they be getting through to his black heart?

What was happening to him? Many was the time that heart breaking circumstances of others could not even disturb him or cause him to budge an inch from doing his job. And now two simple words have such an incredible power over him. Levi started to break a sweat as he realized that the words were unlike any other words that his ears have ever heard. There was something about them that was more real then any other words. They were alive, they were totally active, they cut to the core of his being. He could not resist them any longer.

Levi abandoned all things and got up from his chair, he followed Jesus...

And Levi (Matthew) made a great feast for him (Jesus) in his home; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and of others who were reclining with them.

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying: "why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?"

And Jesus having answered, said to them: "The (ones) being healthy do not have need of a physician but the ones having illness (those who are ill).

I have not come to call righteous (persons) but sinners to repentance."

(Luke 5:27-32)

Men love to play God. 

They will step out in self will and build large organizations to do the work of God on their own. 

Or they will have elaborate schemes and methods to do God's work for Him. Hiring experts in the advertising and manipulation marketing fields. And experts in the funds collecting fields. Getting endorsements from important political people and very wealthy donors etc.

 None of them can do what God can do.

A man can be changed in just mere seconds by a touch from God.

 A man can be changed by two simple words from God directed to him.

 It has always been like that.

 No one can do it like that.

Only God can do it. 

A life time of Bible study at one of man's great organizations can't do what God can do in seconds with one touch of His Word!

And yet God has given to us the privilege of being the bearer of His Words to the hearts of others.

 To the hearts of sinners.

 Sinners rejected by the religious spirited Pharisees.

Refuse to be a man pleaser, refuse to be respectable when it comes to delivering the Word of God.

Respectability is not the power of God and can not accomplish what God's Word can accomplish.

Whole Church systems have groomed themselves into respectability from the messy Jesus People days and in the process lost that incredible anointing that they once had. And they didn't even know what they had done to themselves! They had become religious.

Being a man pleaser does not do anything.

Being a God pleaser does everything.

Jesus went to a vile sinner who was rejected by others and went to a feast at his home where there were other vile rejected sinners.

 He got called on it by those with a religious spirit.

They were not very pleased with Him. He was losing respectability with them.

Be instant in season and out of season to give an answer to anyone that ask of thee...

Be sensitive to the leading of God by His Holy Spirit and go where He sends you without regard to man's acceptance or rejection.

 Be willing to give up respectability to do the work of the Kingdom of God.

The man Christ Jesus went to Levi a rejected sinner.

Matthew 22:9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Matthew 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark 16:15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 David Sloane


Pastor Jim Ewing

How God Changes the Hearts of People- Matthew the Publican.....

End Game

It Will Happen


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Resurrection of Jesus (The) Christ

The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means "good news," the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to "prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb's entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many "infallible proofs." Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ's tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:

FACT #1: BROKEN ROMAN SEAL As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus' disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

FACT #2: EMPTY TOMB As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was "too notorious to be denied." Paul Althaus states that the resurrection "could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu." Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine."

Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God's doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ's body.

Paul Maier observes that " . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement."

FACT #3: LARGE STONE MOVED On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus' body, how could they have done that without the guards' awareness?

FACT #4: ROMAN GUARD GOES AWOL The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors' wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one wand be punished with death for the guard unit's failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment "produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches."

FACT #5: GRAVECLOTHES TELL A TALE In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty--because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty--like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar's cocoon. That's enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes--undisturbed in form and position.

FACT #6: JESUS' APPEARANCES CONFIRMED Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.

OVER 500 WITNESSES Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ's post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ's appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience's knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes:
"What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, 'If you do not believe me, you can ask them.' Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago." Let's take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.

HOSTILE WITNESSES Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ's appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ's followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.

The argument that Christ's appearances were only to followers is an argument for the most part from silence, and arguments from silence can be dangerous. It is equally possible that all to whom Jesus appeared became followers. No one acquainted with the facts can accurately say that Jesus appeared to just "an insignificant few."

Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.

The theories advanced to explain the resurrection by "natural causes" are weak; they actually help to build confidence in the truth of the resurrection.

THE WRONG TOMB? A theory propounded by Kirsopp Lake assumes that the women who reported that the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. If so, then the disciples who went to check up on the women's statement must have also gone to the wrong tomb. We may be certain, however, that Jewish authorities, who asked for a Roman guard to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus' body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards, for they were there!

If the resurrection-claim was merely because of a geographical mistake, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb, thus effectively quenching for all time any rumor resurrection.

HALLUCINATIONS? Another attempted explanation claims that the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were either illusions or hallucinations. Unsupported by the psychological principles governing the appearances of hallucinations, this theory also does not coincide with the historical situation. Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn't it produced?

DID JESUS SWOON? Another theory, popularized by Venturini several centuries ago, is often quoted today. This is the swoon theory, which says that Jesus didn't die; he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Everyone thought Him dead, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection. Skeptic David Friedrich Strauss--certainly no believer in the resurrection--gave the deathblow to any thought that Jesus revived from a swoon: "It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life, an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which He had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship."
Then consider the theory that the body was stolen by the disciples while the guards slept. The depression and cowardice of the disciples provide a hard-hitting argument against their suddenly becoming so brave and daring as to face a detachment of soldiers at the tomb and steal the body. They were in no mood to attempt anything like that.

The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ's body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn't they explain: "Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn't rise from the grave"?

And if such a rebuttal failed, why didn't they explain exactly where Jesus' body lay? If this failed, why didn't they recover the corpse, put it on a cart, and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity--not in the cradle, but in the womb!

THE RESURRECTION IS A FACT Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: "I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God bath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead." Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: "raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it."

REAL PROOF: THE DISCIPLES' LIVES But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?

Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts--prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits--we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ ."
As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.

Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.

WHERE DO YOU STAND? How do you evaluate this overwhelming historical evidence? What is your decision about the fact of Christ's empty tomb? What do you think of Christ?

When I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection, I had to ask the logical question: "What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!' The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted--Thomas. Jesus told him: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

On the basis of all the evidence for Christ's resurrection, and considering the fact that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with God, who would be so foolhardy as to reject Him? Christ is alive! He is living today.

You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now.

The prayer I prayed is: "Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You."

Jesus (The) Christ


Thallus was a historian who lived in the middle of the first century C.E. His writings focus partly on the historical events of the Roman empire of the first century C.E. We do not have his original works, written around 52 C.E., but we do have the writings of men who referred to his work.

Julius Africanus, an early church father, writing in the year 221 C.E. wrote about the writings of Thallus. In a document written by Julius Africanus, there is a discussion about the darkness that was recorded by the writers of the New Testament at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus.

"Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land." [That is, from noon to 3:00pm.] (Matthew 27:45)

Now the skeptic might easily dismiss this event, recorded in the gospel of Matthew, as mere dramatics, an attempt to dress up the crucifixion event with some supernatural imagery. However, the darkness which occurred at the time of a full moon was recorded by Thallus.

Africanus notes that Thallus had attempted to explain away the event:

"Thallus, in the third book of his history explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun, unreasonably as it seems to me."

Africanus, writing in the year 221 C.E., had access to the writings of Thallus. Thallus in his third book wrote that this darkness, which occurred during the reign of Caesar Tiberius, was a result of an eclipse of the sun. Africanus makes the point that this could not have been a solar eclipse, because the crucifixion took place at Passover, which always occurs during a full moon. During a full moon, there can be no solar eclipse, and Africanus recognized this.

An interesting aspect of this reference is that Thallus does not try to deny the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, the occurrence of his crucifixion nor the historical fact that the darkness occurred. He presents Jesus of Nazareth as an historical person, and the darkness as an historical event. His motive in writing about the darkness is to explain it as a natural event.


Philopon, a sixth-century secular historian, wrote regarding Phlegon as well. He wrote:

"And about this darkness...Phlegon recalls it in his book The Olympiads."

Like Thallus, Phlegon verifies the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth and the historicity of the darkness which occurred during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. These common threads occurring in the writings of two men who were not Christians, is powerful evidence that Jesus is an historical figure and an unnatural darkness(not an eclipse) occurred during his life.


Cornelius Tacitus, born circa 52-55 C.E., became a senator in the Roman government under Emperor Vespasian. He was eventually promoted to governor of Asia. Writing in the year 116 C.E., in his Annals, he writes of the burning of Rome in 64 C.E. And how Caesar Nero had tried to stop the rumor that he (Nero) was behind the destruction.

"Therefore, to scotch the rumor (that Nero had burned Rome) Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue...They [the Christians] were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man."

This amazing document verifies that Jesus, or Christus, was a true historical figure, that he lived and was killed during the reign of Caesar Tiberius, that he was sentenced under Pontius Pilate and that by about 64 C.E., Christianity had spread rapidly throughout the Roman empire. Tacitus verifies that Christians were viciously tortured by Nero only 32 years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. The historical validity of this letter by Tacitus is doubted by very few scholars. According to some scholars, Tacitus is:

"Universally considered the most reliable of historians, a man in whom sensibility and imagination, though lively, could never spoil a critical sense rare in his time and a great honesty in the examination of the documents." [Amoit, Francois; Brunot, Amedee; Danielou, Jeah; Daniel-Rops, Henri. The Sources for the Life of Christ. Translated by P.J. Herpburne-Scott. New York; Hawthorn Books, 1962, pg. 16.]

Emperor Hadrian

During the period when Hadrian was emperor of Rome, 117-138 C.E., there continued to be tremendous persecution of Christians. Serenius Granianus, the governor of Asia at that time, wrote a letter to Emperor Hadrian asking for his advice regarding how he should handle the Christians. Hadrian wrote back to Serenius' successor, Minucius Fundanus, his response. This letter was preserved by Eusebius. This is an excerpt;

"I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed be without examination, so that these men may neither be harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it."

This fascinating letter from the Roman emperor himself verifies the historical existence of the church, the belief that Christians were trouble-makers, that Christianity was illegal at that time, and that Christians would be taken before a counselor simply for admitting that they were Christians. Though not a specific reference to Jesus of Nazareth, this very early historical reference to the church, its illegality in the Roman Empire and the persecutions (malicious proceedings) are powerful evidences for the rapid spread of the church within one generation of the life of Jesus. Therefore, this increases the reliability that Jesus was an historical figure and that the events surrounding his life were extraordinary, so much so that people were willing to die for the belief that he was the Messiah.

Lucian of Samosata

Lucan of Samosata, a Greek satirist, wrote a remarkable statement regarding the church in 170 C.E.

"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day-the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account... You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the Gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property."

That is quite a testimony. This letter confirms that Christians worshipped a crucified Jewish sage, that they faced death bravely, and that they despised worldly attributes. He explains this on the basis that Christians believed they were immortal and would spend eternity with God.

Mara Bar-Serapion

Mara Bar-Serapion, a Syrian and a stoic philosopher, wrote this letter to his son from prison sometime after 70 C.E.

"What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from their executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given."

This letter refers to Jesus of Nazareth as being the "wise King." The writer is obviously not a Christian because he places Jesus on a par with Pythagoras and Socrates. Consequently, the writer can hardly be described as biased in his reference to Jesus and the church. Therefore, it is a valuable historical reference regarding the historicity of Jesus. There are many other non-Christian historical sources for Jesus of Nazareth but since space is limited we will move on to rabbinical sources.

Ancient Rabbinical References to Y'shua (Jesus)

Of all the ancient historical sources for Jesus of Nazareth, the least favorably biased would have to be rabbinic in origin. There are actually quite a large number of such references to Jesus of Nazareth. The problem with the rabbinical writings is that they use names like "such and such" and "so and so" or "that man" when they refer to Jesus of Nazareth. Consequently, some of the references are considered to be unreliable. During the middle ages and the early renaissance, the Talmud and Midrash were cleaned up with the removal of most of the references to Jesus of Nazareth.

As expected, the remaining references to Jesus are very unflattering. However, they do verify a number of important historical facts that the gospels proclaim regarding Jesus of Nazareth. As mentioned earlier by Shlomo Pines, no one doubted that Jesus was an historical figure up until about two to three hundred years ago. The myth theory was created and perpetuated by atheists, agnostics and embraced by mainstream Judaism during the Renaissance.

In the Babylonian Talmud, which was compiled between the years 200-500 C.E., in Sanhedrin, 43a, there is a fascinating reference to Jesus of Nazareth:

"It has been taught: On the Eve of the Passover, they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out in front of him, for forty days saying: 'he is going to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray.' Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.' But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the Eve of the Passover."

This is considered to be one of the very reliable rabbinical references to Jesus ("Yeshu"). The writer here verifies that Jesus of Nazareth was an historical figure, that he was crucified on the Eve of the Passover, and that he did miracles, referred to as sorcery. The supernatural events surrounding the life of Jesus were not denied, but verified. The miracles of Jesus were simply explained away as being from a demonic source, i.e., sorcery.

According to Jewish law it is illegal to perform capital punishment on the Eve of the Passover. However, this record verifies something that we wouldn't expect to find in a rabbinical source, the fact that the Sanhedrin acted illegally in condemning and crucifying Jesus on Passover. Consequently, this reference is even more valuable in terms of validating the historicity of Jesus. Certainly, if any passage should have been edited from the Talmud, it should have been this one. The fact that a passage which points out an illegal action was retained in the Talmud makes it a credible and valuable source for the historicity of Jesus.

In the Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a, it says,

"Our rabbis taught that Yeshu had five disciples: Matti, Necki, Netsur, Burni, and Toda."

Now one of those names we can recognize, Matti, the disciple named Matthew. Again it is considered by historians to be another reliable reference in the Talmud for the historicity Jesus of Nazareth.
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger, the provincial governor of Pontus and Bithynia, wrote to Emperor Trajan c. 112 concerning how to deal with Christians, who refused to worship the emperor, and instead worshiped "Christus".
Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.


Maimonides was a very highly revered thirteenth century rabbi. There was a saying back during the thirteenth century that, "there was never a greater man than Maimonides except Moses." He was given the nickname, Rambam.

Maimonides wrote a fourteen volume work called the Mishne Torah. In this he made multiple references to the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. However, in the year 1631, Catholic and Jewish authorities censored the fourteenth volume, removing all references to Jesus. It was censored because there were multiple derogatory references to Jesus of Nazareth. During the Spanish inquisition certain members of the Catholic church used Maimonides' work, and his negative references about Jesus, to justify the killing of Jews. Consequently, these references were removed from most of the extant volumes of Maimonides' writings.

An excerpt from the uncensored versions of the Mishne Torah is a remarkable historical reference to Jesus.

"Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Messiah and was executed by the court was also [alluded to] in Daniel's prophecies (Daniel 11:14), as 'the vulgar [common] among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.' Can there be a greater stumbling block than Christianity? All the prophets spoke of the Messiah as the Redeemer of Israel and its Savior, who would gather their dispersed and strengthen their [observation of] the Mitzvot [the commandments]. By contrast, [Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnant to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the Lord. Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for his ways are not our ways, nor are his thoughts, our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite [Mohammed] who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for the Messiah's coming and the improvement of the entire world [motivating the nations] to serve God together, as [Zephaniah 3:9] states: 'I will make the peoples pure of speech that they will all call upon the Name of God and serve him with one purpose.'"

Here Maimonides, writing in the thirteenth century, verifies that Jesus of Nazareth was executed by the Sanhedrin, that he aspired to be the Messiah, that he was referred to in the prophecies of Daniel as one of the sons of the lawless, and that Jesus of Nazareth led many astray.

It is fascinating that Maimonides calls Jesus and his church "a stumbling block." I don't think Maimonides remembered that the Tanakh states that the Messiah would be a stumbling block to both houses of Israel.

He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."(Isaiah 8:14 )

Surely Jesus of Nazareth was an historical figure and his life, message, ministry was a stumbling block to the Jews of his day.

Jesus (The) Christ

Why would the Roman government brutally persecute peaceful followers of a non-historical figure? Why were tens of thousands of first century Christians (almost exclusively Jewish believers in Jesus) who lived within forty years of the "mythical events," willingly suffer the loss of all possessions and status, and be murdered for a myth? Why would Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish Pharisee, a leader of the Jews, be willing to give up everything and join the crowd that he had admittedly been persecuting? These are some of the questions that the myth theory doesn't satisfactorily explain.

Obviously, if Jesus of Nazareth was a true historical figure, and if he truly was who his disciples claimed he was, then there should be historical references to his existence other than the New Testament documents.

As we search for "extra biblical" (i.e. non-Christian) sources for the existence of Jesus, we will discover that the skeptic hasn't a leg to stand on, when he argues that Jesus was a non historical figure. There are numerous historical references to Jesus, from both neutral and antagonistic sources, as early as the mid first century.

When a historian sets out to prove the historical existence of an individual there are a number of sources that are sought. Perhaps the most reliable sources of historical evidence are from those who were not sympathetic to the person or his cause. A source that is either indifferent or antagonistic to Jesus or the church, could not be accused of bias and therefore part of the "evil plot" to create a mythical figure. As we look at historical references we will try to focus mainly on such historic sources.

Joseph ben Matthias, was born in the year 37 C.E., and died around 100 C.E. As the son of a Jewish priest, he eventually became a priest himself and a member of the Pharisee sect of Judaism. In 64 C.E. He went to Rome to secure the release of certain priests and became convinced that Rome could not be defeated by the Jewish revolt which began in 66 C.E. (The Jewish revolt ended in 70 C.E. When Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans).

In July, 67 C.E. He was captured by Rome and was eventually hired as a scribe and an interpreter by the Roman government. He was given the name Flavius Josephus by his Roman associates and wrote under that name.

In 70 C.E., he rode into Jerusalem with the Roman general Titus and observed the annihilation of Jerusalem. Josephus recorded incredibly graphic details about the destruction of Jerusalem, as well as the crucifixion, and death of millions of Jews.

There are three passages in his writings that are pertinent to Christianity. In his book, Antiquities of the Jews, book eighteen, chapter three, in the third paragraph, he makes a comment about Jesus of Nazareth.

"Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works-a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Josephus verifies that Jesus was an historical figure who was crucified by Pontius Pilate that he had a great following, did miracles and rose from the dead on the third day. Josephus does not attempt to explain away the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth nor does he try to explain away the miracles or his resurrection from the dead. Consequently, this is an incredibly valuable historical reference to Jesus of Nazareth.

Needless to say, because of its testimony of Jesus, this passage, commonly called the Testimonium Flavianum, a very controversial passage. Critics have claimed that this passage was a Christian insertion. However, there is strong evidence from the ancient manuscripts that this passage was in the original. It is present in all of the extant ancient manuscripts and was quoted by early church fathers, such as Eusebius, as early as 325 C.E.

The main points of contention are the statements, "He was the Messiah," "if it be lawful to call him a man," and "He appeared to them alive again the third day." Josephus, described as an Orthodox Jew by some scholars, was apparently never converted to Christianity. Origen, a third century Christian, states twice that Josephus "did not believe in Jesus as the Christ." Therefore, opponents argue that it is very unlikely that he would ever say these things of Jesus. Most historians do, however, believe that the reference to Jesus of Nazareth being "a wise man," "a doer of wonderful works", and being crucified under Pontius Pilate, are valid portions of Josephus' original work.

A complete fourth century Arabic version of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, which contains the Testimonium, includes basically the same content as above text, with a couple of very slight variations. Instead of saying "He was the Christ," it says "He was so-called the Christ."

"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders." [Pines, Shlomo. An Arabic Version of the Testamonium Flavianum and its Implications, Jerusalem Academic Press, 1971.]

This very ancient copy of Antiquities increases significantly the reliability that Josephus did, in fact, make historical reference to Jesus of Nazareth. Although there are significant stylistic differences in this Arabic version, the basic elements of the Greek version are preserved in this text. Jesus is described as an historical figure who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Regarding the Messiahship of Jesus, he is described in more neutral terms, stating, "He was perhaps the Messiah." Finally, this version confirms that Jesus was of excellent character, that he gathered many disciples to himself and that Christians were still in existence at that time.

This version can hardly be criticized as a Christian fabrication. It is very unlikely that a Christian in the second or third century would describe Jesus as "perhaps the Messiah." Christians at that time were routinely tortured and murdered for believing in Jesus, therefore, it is very unlikely that a person under such a threat would describe Jesus in such equivocal terms."

The next passage is also in Antiquities of the Jews, book eighteen, chapter five, paragraph two. Josephus states:

"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away,[or the remission] of some sins [only,] but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now, when many others came to crowd about him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence of John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not to bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late."

Although Jesus is not specifically mentioned in this passage, the portrayal of his forerunner, John the Baptist, is in complete agreement with the record of John in the New Testament. Therefore, the historical reliability of the New Testament overall is further established. To Josephus, John the Baptist was an historical figure. Josephus validates what the Christian New Testament says about John. He was a righteous man who had great popularity among the people and he baptized people for the remission of sins. Almost all historians believe that this is a passage from the original text. It is also in the Arabic version.

The third reference is in Antiquities of the Jews, book twenty, chapter nine, paragraph one. This is in reference to the Jewish high priest, Ananius, and the brother of Jesus.

"After the death of the procurator Festus, when Albinus was about to succeed him , the high-priest Ananius considered it a favorable opportunity to assemble the Sanhedrin. He therefore caused James the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, and several others, to appear before this hastily assembled council, and pronounced upon them the sentence of death by stoning. All the wise men and strict observers of the law who were at Jerusalem expressed their disapprobation of this act...Some even went to Albinus himself, who had departed to Alexandria, to bring this breach of the law under his observation, and to inform him that Ananius had acted illegally in assembling the Sanhedrin without the Roman authority."(Antiquities 20:9)

Most historians believe that this passage was penned by Josephus and was not a Christian insertion. Louis Feldman, professor of Classics at Yeshiva University states of this passage:

"Few have doubted the genuineness of this passage."

These three references, though not without controversy, are considered by the majority of historians to be substantially from the pen of Josephus. Professor Shlomo Pines, a well known Israeli scholar, discusses the fact of Jesus' historicity and the references to Jesus by Josephus:

"In fact, as far a probabilities go, no believing Christian could have produced such a neutral text: for him the only significant point about it could have been its attesting the historical evidence of Jesus. But the fact is that until modern times this particular hare (i.e. claiming Jesus is a hoax) was never started. Even the most bitter opponents of Christianity never expressed any doubt as to Jesus having really lived."

Part One concluded.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Avraham Biran, Archaeologist Who Studied Biblical Sites, Is Dead at 98

Avraham Biran, an archaeologist of biblical sites who excavated Tel Dan, an ancient city along Israel’s northern border, and uncovered an unexpected stone fragment bearing what might be the earliest reference to the House of David, died on Sept. 16 in Jerusalem. He was 98.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Blog

What is a Blog? The Lines Continue To Blur

Wikipedia defines blogs as:

A Blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.
The Blogosphere is the collective community of all blogs. Since all blogs are on the Internet by definition, they may be seen as interconnected and socially networked. Discussions "in the Blogosphere" have been used by the media as a gauge of public opinion on various issues. But as the Blogosphere grows in size and influence, the lines between what is a blog and what is a mainstream media site become less clear. Larger blogs are taking on more characteristics of mainstream sites and mainstream sites are incorporating styles and formats from the Blogosphere. In fact, 95% of the top 100 US newspapers have reporter blogs (see The Bivings Group).

Today, blogs are everywhere —even presidential candidates have blogs. The blog has forever changed the way publishing works —now anyone can be a publisher. The issue is no longer distribution; rather, it's relevance.

Bloggers create 900,000 blog posts a day worldwide, and some of them are actually making money through search ads from Google. and Amazon referrals through Amazon Associates program etc. Blogs with decent traffic and a voice are also getting snapped up by blog-ad networks, which in turn package them as niche audiences to advertisers.

You are on a blog right this instant. Notice that I do this freely, no monetizing of any sort.

To see examples of monetizing check out these excellent examples and see if you can pick out how many sources of income there are:


The nice thing about doing this freely is you can spend a lot of time on it or you can take a break now and then. When you do it for your income you have to be at it daily.

When I spend a few days working here, like I have this weekend, it is rewarding to see the numbers of visitors increase. You can see that yesterday (Sat) the visitors increased because I posted throughout the day. And today you can see the same thing happened:

Notice that the days that I only post a few items the visitor hits are less. You can see that if someone were to try and make an income from blogging it is a lot of work and chair time at the keyboard.

You have to enjoy it to spend a lot of time on it. I enjoy it. And apparently others do also because they keep coming back. We vote by click, after all. Successful blogs, such as Zen Habits, tend to balance the more fast-food type posts with longer, more complex ideas that will presumably keep readers coming back—although there are plenty of people who make a living posting just about anything.

The Internet has always been very good at counting page views but not so great at assigning value to what's actually in those pages.

Friends Don't Let Friends Read Bad Content. If you didn't like what I do here you wouldn't be here.

As a Christian I do some Gospel and some current events as well as try to post stuff that I find interesting along with anything else in between. I have fun.

I used to nudge a few others to try to get them to post stuff here. I don't do nudging any more. You wouldn't believe how many people I have extended an opportunity to, only two showed up and participated for awhile although there has been one or two who did contribute once or twice.

You know, you can blog. Look up Blogger in Google to open a free account. Try it.

Not that it matters, currently my blog is worth $1,129.08 according to Technorati. Been as high as $1600. Goes up and down like the stock market.
Speaking of the stock market, fasten your seat belt. At Knotts Berry Farm there is this ride that justs drops you, your stomach pushes on your head as gravity does its job. I think that the market will open with a gravity drop Monday morning.
But to who...LOL...oops...was just wondering to myself whom this web blog would be worth $1,129.08 to.

Ancient Peru Pyramid Spotted by Satellite

A new remote sensing technology has peeled away layers of mud and rock near Peru's Cahuachi desert to reveal an ancient adobe pyramid, Italian researchers announced on Friday at a satellite imagery conference in Rome.




Job 28:12But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
Job 12:12With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
Job 32:7I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

Proverbs 1:20Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
Proverbs 1:3To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
Proverbs 1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Photoshop all 1189 chapters of the Bible (DIT)

2 Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Shekinah Fellowship Choir

There is Too Much Evil and Suffering For God to Exist?

The atheists' logical argument

What I have found is that atheists like to say that their arguments against God's existence specifically exclude the God of the Bible as a God who could exist. However, in reality, atheists produce generic arguments against a generic God whose characteristics and creation do not match those that are described in the Bible. Atheists may not accept what the Bible says, but they cannot say the God of the Bible cannot logically exist and then ignore what the Bible has to say about the characteristics of God. If the atheist states that the God of the Bible is logically impossible, he cannot pick and choose which arguments from the Bible to accept in order to "prove" his point. Let's formalize the atheist's arguments:

God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect.

A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering).

The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering.Therefore, God does not exist.