Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 22, 2019

Jesus Does Apologetics

(5 Minute Read)

Did you know that Jesus did apologetics while He walked the earth over 2,000 years ago?

He made astonishing claims that at first seem unbelievable. But He gave powerful arguments in defense of those claims. Many passages in the gospels could be referenced, but John 5 and John 10 are the ones I’ll discuss to illustrate Jesus’ approach to apologetics (defending His claims).

The Claim

Jesus of Nazareth claimed equality with God. Claiming equality with God is claiming to be God, as His contemporaries fully understood.
For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:30-33)

Even in the face of attempts to kill him, Jesus did not backpedal. Jesus did not answer the Jews by saying,
“Oh, no. You misunderstood Me. I don’t claim to be God.”
On the contrary, He doubled down on their accusation by explicitly claiming attributes of deity.

Jesus Claims Attributes of Deity

1. Jesus does the same things that God the Father does in the same way.
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)

2. Jesus knows (sees) everything that God the Father does.
For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (John 5:20)

3. Jesus raises the dead.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (John 5:21)
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25-29)

4. God the Father has delegated all judgment to Jesus.
For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son. (John 5:22)

5. Honoring Jesus is equivalent to honoring God the Father.
All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:23)

6. Believing Jesus results in eternal life.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

Jesus Defends His Claims

These are mind -blowing claims! How did Jesus defend such radical claims? Jesus based His case on the testimony of four witnesses: John the Baptist, Miracles, God the Father, and Scripture.

1. The testimony of John the Baptist
You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. (John 5:33-35)

John the Baptist was sent by God as an advance man to prepare the way for the Messiah. He clearly testified to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” (John 10:41)

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
by Rembrandt, 1633
Jesus stopped the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
“Who then is this that even winds and sea
obey him?” asked His disciples.

2. The evidence of miracles
Jesus pointed to His miracles (works) as evidence He had been sent by God.
But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish — the very works that I do — testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. (John 5:36)
The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. (John 10:24-25)
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

There are over 30 miracles by Jesus recorded in gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But this is only a small selection from those that Jesus actually did. For the Apostle John says
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

These amazing works of Jesus, like healing the man born blind and raising the dead, are mind-blowing miracles. These miracles are crucial evidences, because who could do these things except God? Ordinary humans cannot do them. They must be from God. They are evidence that the claims of Jesus are true.

3. The testimony of God the Father
And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. (John 5:37-38)

God the Father testified to Jesus at His baptism and at His transfiguration.
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)

4. The testimony of Scripture
Jesus said that the Old Testament Scriptures speak of Him and that believing Moses’ writings is equivalent to believing Jesus’ words.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me. . . . Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39,45-47)

The Old Testament Scriptures from Genesis through Malachi speak of the Messiah. On the Emmaus road after the Resurrection Jesus explained to two disciples how the Scriptures testify to Him.
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27)

Conclusion

Jesus explicitly claimed to be God. Plus, He claimed attributes that belong to God alone. In support of these claims He cited John the Baptist, His miracles, God the Father, and Old Testament Scriptures.

Whoever believes in Jesus has passed from death to life (John 3:16; 5:24).

Questions to Ponder

1. Which of the four witnesses that Jesus cites in John 5 is the most compelling for you?
2. Which of the attributes of deity listed above is most impressive to you?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the fifth post in the series on Apologists in the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
6. ??? Does Apologetics (coming soon . . .)

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 22, 2019 A.D.

Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

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Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 15, 2019

John Does Apologetics

(6 Minute Read)

Because the book of John is quite familiar, have you overlooked the drama of its driving purpose?
Do you know the gripping and compelling reason for the fourth Gospel?
Do you know why many people were not convinced by the miracles John reports?

The Apostle John wrote as an apologist (defender) of Christianity with the explicit intent to persuade readers that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of all who believe in Him. He clearly stated his purpose for writing about Jesus’ deeds:
These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

What was John’s primary evidence for his claims about Jesus?

He based his case on the miracles of Jesus which he personally witnessed. John referred to the miracles as signs because he viewed them as messages from God the Father authenticating the claims of Jesus. (John 2:11)

Nine Signs of John — Miracles of Jesus

1. Turned water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11)
2. Healed a royal official’s son at Capernaum from Cana (John 4:46-54)
3. Healed a cripple at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9)
4. Fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish (John 6:1-14)
5. Walked on water (John 6:16-21)
6. Healed the man born blind (John 9:1-41)
7. Raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-53)
8. Rose from the dead (John 20:1-29)
9. Appeared at Sea of Galilee; filled net with fish (John 21:1-14)

Because these nine are such an impressive array of divine-nature deeds, and because they are so prominent in Scripture for validating the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ, I had a large handwritten poster of this list hanging from the rafters of our family room for over 20 years. My wife never complained about that rustic banner, because to her the content was so elegant. She said she was always glad to read those beautiful items over and over. She wanted never to forget those lovely deeds and the majestic Savior who showed Himself through them.

These signs are all amazing, miraculous works that the Apostle John personally witnessed. He presents these works as evidence that the claims of Jesus are true.

John urges — even commands — belief in Jesus because he gives his readers solid evidence in support of Jesus’ claims. The Apostle John offers empirical evidence, not fantasy. Along with many others, John saw these miraculous works, and he reports them as historical facts that really happened in space-time history.
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)
This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23. See also John 3:18; 6:29; 8:24; 12:36; 14:1)

These miracles are crucial evidences, because who could do these things except God? This fact was clearly recognized at the time by both friends and enemies of Jesus.

For example, in the healing of the man born blind in John 9, the Jewish leaders did not believe it at first because such a thing was obviously impossible.
The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” (John 9:18-21)

The man born blind gave the Jews a definitive answer and explanation — which actually applies quite well to all the miracles of Jesus. In questioning the man born blind, the Jews refused to admit that Jesus came from God. So the man replied,
“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” (John 9:30-33)

The man born blind was right. He clearly saw that his healing was proof that Jesus was God, and the man born blind worshiped Jesus.
Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. (John 9:35-38)

The Apostle John selected for his gospel only a few signs out of the many that Jesus did. John says many more could have been included. A few of the signs not mentioned by John are reported in the other three gospels by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. (John 20:30)
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

Why Did People Refuse to Believe the Signs?

Despite the multitude of signs and miracles that Jesus performed, many people still did not believe that He was the Son of God and Savior of the world. How could this be? Why wouldn’t everybody who saw His signs believe?

Hard as it may be to grasp, Yahweh Himself takes responsibility for blinding eyes and hardening hearts so that people will not believe. John reports:
But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. (John 12:37-41)

In fact, all four gospel writers and the Apostle Paul give the same explanation. See Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:10; John 12:37-41; Romans 11:8-10; Acts 28:24-28; 2 Corinthians 3:14-15; Isaiah 6:8-10.

The Apostle Paul goes into great detail in the book of Romans in order to explain the sovereignty of God over the human heart:
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Romans 9:14-24)

The Jews of Jesus’ day were not the first to have their hearts hardened by God. Six times Scripture says that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt so that he would not release the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. (Exodus 9:12; 10:1; 10:20; 10:27; 11:10; 14:8)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them. (Exodus 10:1)
Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land. (Exodus 11:10)

These passages teach that God, not man, is sovereign over the human heart. God opens or blinds men’s eyes as He pleases for His own purposes.

Truthful Eyewitness

John emphasized that he was a truthful eyewitness of these stupendous events:
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:24)
But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
(1 John 1:1-5)

John also included apologetic arguments and discourses by Jesus. These will be discussed later in a separate blog article entitled Jesus Does Apologetics.

Conclusion

In summary, the Apostle John implemented a three-pronged strategy for persuading readers to believe in Jesus:
1. Personal experience and reliable testimony — John personally testified about what he himself actually both saw Jesus do and heard Jesus say. He claimed to be a reliable eyewitness of historic events.
2. Miracles — John reported miracles he saw Jesus perform that God alone could do.
3. Discourses — John reported Jesus’ own words in which He stated and defended His claims (Jesus Does Apologetics).

The Apostle John underscored the essence of the Gospel and laid out an unassailable defense of Jesus’ identity in his gospel. His apologetic was based on historical miracles, culminating in the Resurrection of Jesus, that actually happened on earth at specific times. John experienced these events first-hand and testified to their reality. John emphasized his eyewitness testimony — the very best type of evidence historically and legally.

The Christian faith is firmly grounded in history, and history makes a difference. Actions and events have consequences which reverberate throughout time. The central events of the Christian faith, Christ’s crucifixion and His bodily resurrection, are well-attested facts of history that happened on this earth in the city of Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago. This authenticity is crucial, for if either event did not happen, then Christianity is false and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).

According to John, Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” (John 14:19) True hope for the future is grounded on the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Gospel by which we are saved is bedrocked on actual historical events. Christ solved the sin problem by His death. The Resurrection proved He conquered death.

Questions to Ponder

1. Which miracle (sign) in John is compelling enough for you to discuss it with a friend or colleague today?
2. Are there works of God today that people refuse to believe?
3. What arguments in defense of Christianity do you prefer for influencing a present-day skeptic?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the fourth post in the series on Apologists in the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
5. Jesus Does Apologetics

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 15, 2019 A.D.

Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 8, 2019

Kepler Chews On Grammar

(5 Minute Read)

Grammar Coffee Mugs

Woof! Woof!
This is Kepler, Master’s Jack Russell terrier, writing another article for Master’s Bible-Science Guy Blog.

I have been getting lots of compliments on the articles I write for Master, but I need to confess something. I know it will shock some of my readers, but I do not write these blog articles entirely by myself. English is not my first language, so I ask Master to review my drafts and correct my grammar.

Master is happy to do this because he actually likes grammar! Can you believe it? Who ever heard of someone who likes grammar?

I wondered why Master, who is a mathematician, likes grammar. When I asked him about it, he explained that mathematics involves numerical structures and rules. Grammar comprises the structure and rules of language. It makes sense that grammar would appeal to a mathematician who likes analyzing structures.

Grammar Coffee Mugs

I started asking about grammar when I saw Master’s coffee mugs. I asked Master to teach me about grammar, especially the tricky parts like the ones illustrated on the grammar coffee mugs pictured above.

So Master has been teaching me grammar! And I love it!

Master taught me these example sentences from the coffee mugs to help me remember how to use these similar word forms:
They’re having their coffee over there.
Two cups of coffee are not too many to have each day.
The effect of caffeine can greatly affect my mood.
You’re not fully functional until you have had your coffee.

Grammar Pencils

Grammar Pencils

I’m not yet a grammar expert, but I’m eagerly soaking it up. Master’s grammar pencils highlight several other grammar issues that I’m learning.

Sometimes when Master gets too manic over grammar, Missus calms him with, “There, their, they’re.” If it doesn’t work the first time she says it, then she spells it out. That always works. Precision never fails to soothe him.

As I said, English is not my first language. It’s difficult for me. But I know I can master it though, through tough thorough thought.

My native language is Canine. Canine grammar is much simpler than English grammar.

For example, Canine grammar does not have multiple verb tenses as English does. In Canine, everything is present tense — actually everything is in what we dogs call the NOW! tense. And we dogs mostly use only what Master calls first person singular pronouns — I, me, my, etc.

Commas Save Lives

Master explained to me how important good grammar and proper English is. Even punctuation can be a life-and-death situation. Consider these sample sentences:
Let’s eat Grandma.
I like cooking my family and my pets.

Omitting commas has turned regular statements into gruesome life-and-death sentences. Commas can save lives! These statements should be punctuated by adding commas this way:
Let’s eat, Grandma.
I like cooking, my family, and my pets.

Now they are completely innocuous, normal sentences.

Here’s even a lumber company’s sign illustrating this issue with another life-and-death sentence. Writing the sentence this way sounds horrible:
My three favorite things are eating my family and not using commas.

Instead the sentence should be punctuated this way with commas:
My three favorite things are eating, my family, and not using commas.

To help me remember the purpose of commas, Master once asked me if I knew the difference between a cat and a comma. I said, “Of course.”
But he had something different in mind:
One has claws at the end of its paws. The other is a pause at the end of a clause.”
Do you know which is which?

Grammar Police

I don’t judge people on race, creed, or gender. Instead I judge them on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.

Grammar Shirt
“I am silently correcting your grammar.”

I’m eager to join the Grammar Police — whose mission is to serve, correct, and offend!

Master is good at this. Once someone nearby said, “Where’s my phone at?”
I heard Master reply, “It’s right in front of the preposition.”

I’m going to ask Master for a dog shirt like the pictured grammar shirt that we saw a lady wearing at one of our favorite campgrounds. Except I want the words to be put on the back of my shirt so everybody can read them as I patrol campgrounds with Master and Missus.

Speaking English

I have high hopes of learning good English grammar. Why? Because I know of other animals that learned to speak properly!

Parrots can talk — quite annoyingly at times.

The serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Eve spoke persuasively enough to lead her into sin. (Genesis 3:1-5)

Balaam’s donkey argued logically with Balaam over his treatment of her.
(Numbers 22:22-35).

If even parrots, snakes, and donkeys can at times talk, then I should be able to learn to speak with proper grammar!

And when I have mastered English grammar, I want to get a
Grammar Police badge
like the one in the picture for my grammar shirt. It will lend some authority to my grammatical pronouncements at campgrounds.

I would like to learn how to talk with proper grammar. Currently I have many different types of bark to communicate with Master.

Even though I can always understand him, sometimes he can’t understand me because I can only bark my questions and demands. Sometimes he understands my barking, but not always. If I could learn to speak, it would make communication much more efficient. So I pay close attention to Master’s English lessons.

One time when Master was teaching me about pronouns, he asked, “Can you name two pronouns?”
Missus interjected, “Who? Me?”
I split my sides over that one.

Henry and I look and look and look at Master

Master told me this Knock-Knock joke to help me remember how to use the pronouns “Who” and “Whom.”
Master: Knock, knock.
Kepler: Who’s there?
Master: To.
Kepler: To who?
Master: To whom.

My buddy Henry and I always get very hungry by our supper time. Usually we find Master and sit in front of him and look and look and look at him. Henry sits very patiently, but I don’t wait very well.

One night last week when it was my supper time, Master was fiddling around with other less important things. I ran to my “Spot” and barked and barked and jumped and jumped. Master understood what I wanted, but he said I had to be still and quiet before he would give me my food. That was extremely difficult, but I finally managed it.

I can think and talk in Canine. I can think and type in English. But I can’t speak English. I need to learn. I think it will help me get more food faster.

So I asked Master (by typing the question) to teach me how to talk. He said he would as soon as I improved my OQ (Obedience Quotient) — don’t know if I can do that.

Here’s a helpful grammar site I got from Master that covers lots of common mistakes:
The Pocket Guide to Grammar: Important Tips & Rules Everyone Should Follow

So that’s how things look from the Dog House!

Till next time, this is Kepler signing off. Woof! Woof!

Questions to Ponder

1. Do you think most animals could talk in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned?
2. Do you find satisfaction in speaking and writing correctly?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 35th article in a series of blog posts on a precocious Jack Russell terrier named Kepler. Numbers 1-8 are by Kepler’s master, the BibleScienceGuy. Numbers 9-35 are by Kepler himself.
Read the prequels:
1. Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
2. Kepler’s Kind
3. Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
4. Kepler’s Amazing Nose
5. Kepler’s Business Card
6. Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel
(with video)
7. Taunting Kepler
8. Adam and Puppies

The following posts are by Kepler:
9. Who Taught Kepler?
10. Kepler Gets a Buddy
(with video)
11. Kepler Chases a Squirrel (with video)
12. Kepler’s Complaint
13. Kepler’s To-Do List
14. Kepler and the Football Weekend
15. Kepler’s Favorite Store
16. Kepler at a Truck Stop
17. Kepler & Henry Catch a Squirrel
18. Kepler Finds Killdeer Eggs
19. Kepler Finds Robin Eggs
20. Kepler Lives to Tell the Tale
21. Kepler, Bears, & Raccoons
22. Kepler Mentors Henry
23. Kepler Gets a Bear
24. Kepler Finds Strange Eggs
25. Kepler Finds Duck Eggs
26. Kepler Gives Thanks
27. Kepler’s Newest Enemy
28. Kepler Loves Bulldogs
29. Kepler Ponders Snow
30. Kepler Wants to Move to Australia
31. Kepler’s Dating Profile
32. Kepler Meets Skunk
33. Kepler Wants to Be Good
34. Kepler on Guard

Read the sequel:
36. Kepler ??? coming soon . . .

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 8, 2019 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 1, 2019

Paul’s Grief Counseling

(4 Minute Read)

Popping into our laundry room many years ago, my youngest daughter asked her mother, “Did Jesus have a beard?”

Her mother began to address this query with the appropriate caveats. But our little four-year-old quickly interrupted with complete assurance, “Never mind. I’ll just look at Him when He comes back.”

My little girl was totally confident of the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth. To incorporate Scriptural truth so naturally into the minutiae of everyday life should be the practice of every Christian.

Death and the Afterlife

Paul’s letter to the Greek church at Thessalonika includes vital truth about death and the afterlife, truth essential to a Biblical worldview.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Paul uses “sleep” for death to remind the believer that death is a temporary state of rest from life’s labors, a rest from which he will eventually arise. This is a common use of “sleep” in the Bible. For example, the Old Testament prophet Daniel also uses the “sleep-awake” imagery to refer to death and resurrection (Daniel 12:2).

By “sleep,” however, Paul does not mean that the believer’s soul is unconscious following death. To the thief on the cross Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

To the believers at Corinth Paul said he would “prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23)

These passages indicate that at death a person immediately enters the presence of the Lord, fully conscious.

Assuaging Grief with Truth

Paul’s goal in the Thessalonians passage is to comfort those whose loved ones have died believing in Jesus. The way he brings comfort and consolation is to provide definite, reliable information. Paul emphasizes that the basis of the believer’s hope and the reason for “not grieving like those without hope” is one monumental certainty. It is the certainty of both the atoning death and the victorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The believer’s resurrection is guaranteed by Christ’s own historical death and resurrection.

In tragic contrast, what hope have those whose loved ones have died outside of Christ? They have legitimate reason for despondent grief.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us four things about the return of Christ:
1. The Lord’s return will be a loud, visible, public event. Christ will return to earth with a triumphant shout, with the exultant bellow of an archangel, and with the blasting trumpet of God. It will be impossible to overlook this stupendous event.
2. Believers who have already died (and hence whose spirits have been present with Christ in heaven) will return with Christ and their bodies will be raised first.
3. Then believers who are still alive will be caught up to join the raised believers and to meet the Lord in the air as He descends from heaven.
4. Thereafter, we shall be with the Lord forever.

This is not just a dry list of events. It is an exhilarating reality and a solid basis for substantive assurance. Because deceased believers will be raised at Christ’s return for a joyous reunion of all believers, Paul instructs us to comfort each other when loved ones die in the Lord by reminding one another of these truths.

Today’s professional grief counselors might be surprised at Paul’s unconventional approach to comforting the bereaved. He did not massage feelings or repeat empty assurances or try to distract from reality. Instead, Paul provided relevant truth for sober contemplation. Knowing the realities of death and life after death must be part of a Biblical worldview. Paul’s message from Jesus is given to accurately inform us of the truth about these matters.

Many fear death due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of the Apostle Paul’s message to the Thessalonians. This Rebus puzzle represents something else people fear due to lack of knowledge. Can you figure out what this puzzle represents? Try to solve the puzzle before you look at the answer below.

As an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul was sent by Christ to speak and teach for Him with His authority. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he additionally emphasizes that this teaching on Christ’s return comes directly from Jesus Himself. Paul is not simply repeating and expanding Old Testament truths as he sometimes does (by Divine inspiration). Here he is delivering an actual word from the Lord. This does not make it “more true,” but it certainly adds to its impact.

My wife and I lost both sets of parents to death in the span of just five years. Less than a week ago, we lost my wife’s younger sister. All five died in Christ, and I can earnestly testify that this passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) provides genuine comfort when bereaved. For believers, death is only a temporary departure. The separation is not forever as it is for unbelievers. We feel great sadness at death and we sorely miss the departed, but we are not despairing in grief. We are confident of seeing deceased believers again.
Comfort and encourage one another with this truth!

Questions to Ponder

1. What should you say to an unbeliever who is grieving over the loss of a loved one?
2. What practical acts of mercy and thoughtfulness can you offer a bereaved friend?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Rebus Answer: Things that go bump in the night.
[Th+ink+s th+hat go bum+pin the knight]
(Click Rebus Puzzles for links to blog articles with a Rebus puzzle.)

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 1, 2019 A.D.

We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 24, 2019

Paul Does Apologetics

(4 Minute Read)

One of the all-time best apologists (defenders) of Christianity is the Apostle Paul. His New Testament epistles are stuffed with cogent arguments in support of the Christian faith.

For example, 1 Corinthians 15 is one of his apologetic treatises.

We have just celebrated Resurrection Day, commonly known as Easter. The Apostle Paul explains the true significance of the Easter season in his defense of Christianity.

The Apostle Paul based his argument for the Christian faith on two key historical events (1 Corinthians 15:3-8):
1. The Crucifixion – Christ died for our sins.
2. The Resurrection – Christ rose from the dead the third day.

The Crucifixion knocked the disciples and friends of Jesus for a loop. Then the Resurrection knocked everybody else off their feet.

The Gospel

Why is the death of Christ essential to the Gospel? It is by Christ’s death that God’s wrath is turned away from sinners who trust Christ (Romans 3:21-26).

Why is the Resurrection essential to the Gospel? Because it vindicated Christ’s claim to be the Son of God. Because it validated the efficacy of His sacrifice for sin. Because it displayed Christ’s victory over death. (Romans 1:4; 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:17,21,22)

Intriguingly, Paul used Genesis to explain why Jesus died and the significance of His resurrection. Paul knew Genesis was a firm foundation for his theological explanation of the Gospel of Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 15:21,22,45-49)

Paul’s “died…buried…raised” sequence clearly teaches the Resurrection was literal and physical. The body that died by public execution was the same body that was buried by Joseph and Nicodemus. This same body is what Paul says was raised. This refutes the popular notion that the Resurrection was merely “spiritual” (whatever that means).
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Empty Tomb

Defense

Paul’s apologetic argument trumpeted two irrefutable facts which established the truth of the two key events.
1. Jesus was buried.
2. Jesus appeared to many eyewitnesses after the Resurrection.

The significance of the burial is that it proved His actual death. Covered with 100 pounds of aromatic spices and bound head-to-toe in linen wrappings, Jesus was buried by two prominent members of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Their names were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, called “the teacher of Israel” by Jesus (John 3:10). Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and other Galilean women witnessed the burial in Joseph’s own tomb. The tomb was closed with a massive stone, officially sealed, and guarded by soldiers.

Jesus’ death was attested by both friends and enemies, including battle-hardened Roman soldiers who knew death when they saw it. In all history, these contemporaries are the people best qualified to evaluate whether Jesus actually died or not. At the time nobody had even the slightest doubt that He was dead. It was an accepted fact confirmed by the burial.

The significance of Jesus’ appearances to eyewitnesses is that they verified the Resurrection. Paul’s defense listed six separate appearances. In all, Scripture records at least 11 different appearances after the Resurrection, in at least nine geographical locations spread over 150 miles. They began three days after the Crucifixion in Jerusalem, where He was crucified and buried. Jesus appeared to individuals, to groups, and even to a crowd of over 500. These were extended daylight interactions, not brief glimpses. Meals were shared, conversations developed, activities enjoyed. From personal encounters with the risen Christ, hundreds of people in all walks of life knew Jesus rose from the dead.

Paul’s widely-circulated letter to the church at Corinth was written only 20 years after the Crucifixion. Thousands were still alive who remembered the events from first-hand experience. They could confirm or dispute Paul’s account of resurrection appearances. Paul could not have effectively made these public statements if they were not true. Remember how rapidly the Swift Boat veterans negated John Kerry’s 30-year-old claims in the 2004 American presidential campaign.

Jesus’ tomb was empty. The disciples began preaching the Resurrection right in Jerusalem with the empty tomb. Their message could not have been sustained for even an hour unless all parties accepted the empty tomb as fact.

All it would take to extinguish Christianity at its inception would be for the Sanhedrin to look in the tomb and produce the dead body of Jesus. How hard could it be to find the body from a public execution, buried by Jewish leaders before witnesses in a government-guarded tomb? This they could not do — because it was not there. What a shock!

The disciples changed. Before the Resurrection they were craven cowards evading authorities. After the Resurrection they were bold witnesses defying government suppression. Discouraged, dejected, despairing men were suddenly energized to ignite a revolution which encircled the globe. It still impacts millions 2,000 years later.

What so profoundly transformed the disciples? These men, Jesus’ closest confidants, could not have been fooled about the Resurrection. They knew whether Jesus had been raised. Most died for their certainty that Jesus rose from the dead. Men do not die for what they think may be false. Remember how fast the Watergate conspiracy fell apart with everyone scrambling to save his own skin.

Why didn’t the Sanhedrin just look in the tomb
and produce Jesus’ body? That’s all it would
take to extinguish Christianity at its inception.
How hard could it be to find the body from a
public execution, buried by Jewish leaders before
witnesses in a government-guarded tomb?

Conclusion

Paul underscored the essence of the Gospel and laid out an unassailable defense (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). His apologetic was based on historical events that actually happened on earth at specific times. People experienced these events first-hand and testified to their reality. Paul emphasized this eyewitness testimony — the very best type of evidence historically and legally.

The Christian faith is firmly grounded in history, and history makes a difference. Actions and events have consequences which reverberate throughout time. The central events of the Christian faith, Christ’s crucifixion and His bodily resurrection, are well-attested facts of history that happened on this earth in the city of Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago. This authenticity is crucial, for if either event did not happen, then Christianity is false and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).

Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” (John 14:19) True hope for the future is grounded on the Resurrection.

The Gospel by which we are saved is bedrocked on actual historical events. Christ solved the sin problem by His death. The Resurrection proved He conquered death.

Here is a Rebus puzzle with an apropos saying for this season of the year. Like the Resurrection following the Crucifixion, this puzzle represents a saying about something good following something unpleasant. Can you figure out what common adage this puzzle represents? Try to solve the puzzle before you look at the answer below.

Questions to Ponder

1. Which specific piece of evidence for the Resurrection is compelling enough for you to mention it to a friend or colleague today?
2. What arguments in defense of truth do you prefer for influencing a present-day skeptic?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Rebus Puzzle Answer: April showers bring May flowers.
[ape+R+hill Sh+how+ears b+ring m+hay flowers]
(Click Rebus Puzzles for links to blog articles with a Rebus puzzle.)

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the third post in the series on Apologists in the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
4. John Does Apologetics

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 24, 2019 A.D.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 17, 2019

Jonah, Jesus, & the Resurrection

(3 Minute Read)

Outside of Genesis, the book of Jonah is the most scorned and ridiculed account of the entire Old Testament. Skeptics consider the entire book of Jonah legendary, heaping it with ridicule and scorn.

Did it really happen? Did Jonah’s adventure of being thrown into a raging sea, swallowed by a great fish, and regurgitated onto land three days and nights later actually occur? Did Ninevites repent of their great wickedness in response to Jonah’s preaching?

The book of Jonah is an amazing, almost unbelievable account of these remarkable events. Is it true?

How Do We Know Jonah Is True?

First of all, there are historical references to Jonah and Nineveh throughout the Old Testament.

The historical book of Second Kings refers to Jonah as a prophet whose prophecy about extending the borders of Israel was fulfilled during the reign of Jereboam II. Jonah is also identified as a native of the Galilean town of Gath-hepher. These facts firmly plant Jonah in real middle-eastern history. (2 Kings 14:23-25)

In addition to Jonah, the historical books of Genesis and 2 Kings and the prophets Isaiah, Nahum, and Zepheniah all mention Nineveh eight different times in historical contexts. (Genesis 10:11-12; 2 Kings 19:36; Isaiah 37:37; Nahum 1:1; 2:8; 3:7; Zephaniah 2:13)

Second, there is an extra-Biblical reference to Jonah and Nineveh. The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus mentions both Jonah and Nineveh.
(Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews — Book IX, Chapter 10, Paragraph 2.)

These historical references to Jonah and Nineveh are strong evidence that Jonah and Nineveh were real.

Physical evidence of Nineveh still exists today. Archaeologists excavated it in the mid-1800s and found the palaces of Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal who are named in the Bible. A mound of ruins in ancient Nineveh claimed to be Jonah’s tomb is still called Nebi Yunis, “Prophet Jonah.”

But the strongest evidence for the historicity of Jonah and Nineveh comes from the words of Jesus.

What Did Jesus Think?

To Jesus the book of Jonah was literally true. He grounded vital instruction about His resurrection on Jonah.

Jesus used the verbal equals signjust as…so shall” to equate Jonah’s “three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster” with His own “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” He said,
For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
(Matthew 12:40).

If Jonah were fictional, then according to Christ’s own words, so would be His burial and resurrection. If the burial and resurrection are factual — and they are — then so is Jonah. Jesus obviously believed Jonah was historical.

Jesus said that the Ninevites (undoubtedly historical) would condemn His generation (obviously historical) at the future judgment (a real event). Ninevites condemn because they actually repented in history due to Jonah’s preaching. Therefore Jonah and his preaching really happened. Likewise the events that produced the preaching (God’s command, violent storm, gulping fish) really happened.

Many argue that Jonah was only figurative. But Jesus said of Himself, “One greater than Jonah is here.” It would mean nothing for Jesus to claim to be greater than a Jonah who never existed. (Matthew 12:38-41)

Jesus affirmed the literal truth of Jonah,
using it to explain a proof of His identity.

Jesus used Jonah to teach the crux of His mission, namely His own death and resurrection. How significant and intriguing that Jesus used some of the “hardest to believe” accounts in Scripture — Creation, Global Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Bronze Serpent, Jonah — to undergird explanations of salvation, marriage, and future events. The “most difficult” Scriptures carry Jesus’ full endorsement.

Conclusion

Scripture documents the miracles of Jonah. They present no difficulty for the omnificent Ruler of the universe. Challenging Jonah impugns the power of God and assaults the veracity of Scripture. Jesus confirmed Jonah and the Resurrection as equally factual. His followers must embrace His view as their own.

When men demanded miraculous proof of His claims, Jesus gave only one sign, “the sign of the prophet Jonah,” that is, the Resurrection (Matthew 12:38-41). Jesus showcased Jonah as a historical portrait of His own death, burial, and resurrection. The best-documented event of history, the Resurrection, still proves Jesus’ identity as God.

Jesus’ followers should adopt His opinion about Jonah as their own.

Questions to Ponder

1. Why is it important to defend the historical reality of Jonah and his record?
2. Why would Jesus base teaching on “hard-to-believe” events from the Old Testament?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the last of three blog posts on Jonah.
Read the prequels:
Ravenous Fish Gulps Jonah
Jonah & Nineveh

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 17, 2019 A.D.

Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 10, 2019

Jonah & Nineveh

(3 Minute Read)

Jonah was a rebellious prophet whom Yahweh used to bring repentance to a sin-soaked city — Nineveh in Assyria.

Yahweh ordered Jonah to go to Nineveh, the capital of the great Assyrian empire. Jonah’s assignment was to preach the judgment of Yahweh to the wicked city.

Assyria, however, was Israel’s oppressive enemy. So Jonah took a ship in the opposite direction — west to Tarshish in Spain. He did not want Assyria to repent and receive mercy.

But Yahweh’s purposes cannot be thwarted. In response to Jonah’s rebellion, Yahweh hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up (Jonah 1:4). To save their lives, the veteran sailors finally threw Jonah into the raging sea at his instruction.

Immediately the sea calmed, the sailors worshiped the Lord, and the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).

Who Was Jonah?

Jonah was a creationist, a God-fearer, and a Hebrew. In the midst of one of the most dangerous and stressful situations ever faced by man, Jonah clearly identified himself:
“I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9)

Jonah, son of Amittai (“truthful”), was from Gath-hepher (2 Kings 14:25), just north of Nazareth in Galilee in the territory allotted to the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-13).

The first-century Pharisees overlooked Jonah when they disputed Jesus’ credentials. These Pharisees were thus mistaken to say, “No prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:45-52). Jonah and Jesus both came from Galilee.

Unsubstantiated Jewish tradition says Jonah was the widow’s son whom Elijah raised from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24). Jonah likely knew Elijah’s successor Elisha. Possibly he was even one of the “sons of the prophets” trained by Elisha (2 Kings 6:1).

Jonah ministered around 790 BC, roughly 70 years before Assyria conquered Israel. He prophesied Israel’s restoration to Solomon’s borders. Scripture documents Jonah’s prophecy and its fulfillment by Jeroboam II. Scripture also documents Jonah’s father and hometown. This firmly plants Jonah in middle-eastern history. (2 Kings 14:23-25)

Jonah, Hosea, and Amos, all prophets to Israel, were contemporaries. Hosea warned Israel to reform or be conquered by Assyria. Jonah, the only prophet to a foreign nation, was sent to Assyria, the dominant world power threatening the northern kingdom of Israel. Jonah immediately preceded Isaiah and Micah and may have known both.

Jonah means “dove.” How appropriate for the only prophet to whom Jesus compared Himself — one who served as a sacrificial type of Christ.

Simon Bar-Jonah (Simon, son of Jonah) was the Apostle Peter’s full name (Matthew 16:17). Peter’s father was probably named for the prophet Jonah, indicating that Jonah was especially honored among the Jews of Galilee in Jesus’ day.

Jonah is a significant prophet, primarily due to the comparison Jesus made of Himself with Jonah. But outside of Genesis, Jonah’s narrative is the most scorned and ridiculed account of the entire Old Testament. How do we know it’s true? These issues will be covered next week in Jonah, Jesus, & the Resurrection.

Was Nineveh Real?

Nineveh was founded in the time of the Tower of Babel by Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-11) in the land of Assyria. Shortly after the time of Jonah, the prophet Micah called Assyria “the land of Nimrod” (Micah 5:5-6).

Almost 2,000 years after Babel, Nineveh was conquered by Babylon in 612 BC. Skeptics long denied Nineveh’s existence. Then archaeologists excavated Nineveh in the mid-1800s and discovered the palaces of the Assyrian kings Sennacherib and his grandson Ashurbanipal (Asnapper), both of whom are mentioned in the Bible (2 Chronicles 32; Ezra 4:10).

Today across the Tigris River from Mosul in northern Iraq is a mound of ruins from ancient Nineveh that is claimed to be Jonah’s Tomb. It is called Nebi Yunis, “Prophet Jonah.” How intriguing that Jonah’s name is still associated with Nineveh 2800 years later. This supports the Biblical record.

Jewish historian Josephus says the great fish vomited Jonah onto a Black Sea shore. This was 400 miles from Nineveh across rugged terrain.
(Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews — Book IX, Chapter 10, Paragraph 2.
Wikipedia, Euxine Sea.)

According to Jonah’s account, Nineveh was an “exceedingly great city” requiring a “three-day walk” to cross it (Jonah 3:3). Thus it must have been 75-100 miles across. Nineveh must have had a population of several million people since it had 120,000 babies (Jonah 4:11).

Extra-Biblical confirmation of Nineveh’s revival has not yet surfaced. Many skeptics consider the entire book legendary, heaping it with ridicule and scorn.

But what did Jesus think about Jonah and Nineveh? That’s the subject of the next blog post, Jonah, Jesus, & the Resurrection.

Questions to Ponder

1. Why do skeptics want so badly to discredit the book of Jonah?
2. How would you defend the historical reality of Jonah and his record?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the second of three blog posts on Jonah.
Read the prequel:
Ravenous Fish Gulps Jonah

Read the sequel:
Jonah, Jesus, & the Resurrection

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click
SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Click Best of Bible-Science Guy for lists of the best Bible-Science Guy posts of each year.
Click Bible-Science Guy Table of Contents for a list of all blog posts starting in October 2007.

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 10, 2019 A.D.

Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 3, 2019

Ravenous Fish Gulps Jonah

(3 Minute Read)

How would you like to be thrown from a ship into a savage, seething sea and almost drown?

Imagine then being swallowed whole by a huge fish!

Think about spending three days and three nights in the stomach of that fish!

How could you breathe? How could you eat, drink, or sleep? How could you avoid being digested?

Imagine being vomited up out of the fish onto dry land.

Could you possibly survive such an experience? Could you ever recover?

The Old Testament prophet Jonah tells this riveting, almost unbelievable story in only 48 verses (Jonah 1:1-4:11).

Jonah was pitched overboard into a raging sea and then swallowed by a great sea monster. Yet three days and three nights later, the creature vomited Jonah onto the shore alive. Can people today believe such a fantastic story? Is it really true or just a myth?

By God’s sovereign appointment, a rebellious prophet (Jonah), a raging storm, and a ravenous fish collided to illustrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to bring revival to a sin-soaked city. Jonah’s preaching spurred Assyrian Nineveh to believe in “the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9; 3:3-10)

Did a Whale Swallow Jonah?

Some say whale throats are too small to swallow people. This is not true. Actually sperm whales and some extinct whales have large enough gullets to swallow adult humans. Great white sharks do as well.

Scripture does not specify that a “whale” swallowed Jonah. The Hebrew word Jonah uses means “great fish” (Jonah 1:17). In the New Testament, when the gospel writer Matthew refers to these events, he uses a Greek word meaning “sea monster” (Matthew 12:40). The creature that swallowed Jonah was probably a whale, a shark, a giant fish, or one of the sea monsters originally created on Day 5.
God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)

In the books of Jonah and Matthew, the Hebrew and Greek words for “stomach” (Jonah 1:17) and “belly” (Matthew 12:40) are general terms that can be used for various organs (stomach, heart, womb) or for the entire abdomen. “In the stomach or belly” means “inside” without specifying the exact location.

Jonah could have lodged in a whale’s spacious laryngeal pouch. With thick elastic walls, it could isolate a man from digestive processes and also supply air.

If a shark swallowed Jonah, he could have been safe from digestion. Stomachs of dissected sharks often contain completely undigested food. Unlike humans, sharks can regulate their stomach processes and retain food undigested for a week.

On the other hand, if the fish’s gastric juices bleached Jonah white, this could explain why the people of Nineveh responded so readily to his preaching. Was Jonah’s disfigurement the reason why Jesus called him a sign to the Ninevites? (Luke 11:30)

Credibility

An intriguing detail in Jonah’s prayer from inside the great fish adds to the credibility of Jonah’s account. In his prayer he recounted his experience of being cast into the sea:
“For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me. …
Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
I descended to the roots of the mountains.
(Jonah 2:3,5,6)

Jonah almost drowned in the depths of the sea before the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). In his prayer Jonah mentions descending to the roots of the mountains in the sea.

How did Jonah know about mountains in the sea? Normally no one would know in Jonah’s day that coastal mountain ranges extended below water to the sea floor. There were no submarines in Jonah’s day to discover that the Mediterranean Sea is full of underwater mountains.

According to Jonah’s prayer, he learned about the mountains on the sea floor through personal experience. The God-breathed Scriptures report mountains in the depths of the sea long before today’s scientists discovered them.

Exactly who was Jonah? Who were the Ninevites to whom Jonah preached? Is the book of Jonah history or is it myth? These questions will be covered in the next two blog articles.

Questions to Ponder

1. Why do skeptics want so badly to discredit the book of Jonah?
2. How would you defend the historical reality of Jonah and his record?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the first of three blog posts on Jonah.
Read the sequels:
Jonah & Nineveh
Jonah, Jesus, & the Resurrection

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 3, 2019 A.D.

Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9)

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Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 27, 2019

Scientist Rejects Atheism

(3 Minute Read)

Do scientists have to be atheists?

Can a scientist be open to the possibility that God exists?

At least one leading scientist in the news thinks that atheism is not consistent with the scientific method.

What world-renowned physicist said this?

“Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. Atheism is a belief in non-belief. So you categorically deny something you have no evidence against. I’ll keep an open mind because I understand that human knowledge is limited.”

This millionaire cosmologist is a native of Brazil and an ultramarathon runner.

Who is he?

This man grew up in Rio de Janeiro’s Jewish community which provided him a sense of identity and community. He said,

Science does not kill God. . . . You hear very famous scientists making pronouncements like, “Cosmology has explained the origin of the universe and the whole, and we don’t need God anymore.” That’s complete nonsense. Because we have not explained the origin of the universe at all. . . . It’s extremely arrogant from scientists to come down from the ivory towers and make these declarations without understanding the social importance of belief systems.

This man’s research interests include the physics of the early universe and how life originated. He said,

There is all this stuff that science has discovered, but there are so many questions we still have no clue about. Because nature is so much smarter than we are, we’re always playing this game of catch-up. So I look at science as this kind of flirt with the unknown, and what motivates this spirit of discovery is awe and the joy of being part of this process. . . . Einstein had a quote, you know — he used to say what drives science and the arts is our relation with the mysterious. In a sense, in a very humble way, I’m trying to magnify this message to reach many more people — to say that we are not just building machines and fast cars and GPS. We are actually confronting the mystery of who we are.

Who is he?

2019 Templeton Prize Winner

On March 19, 2019, this man was awarded the Templeton Prize. This prize is an annual award of $1.5 million to somebody who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”

This scientist is an agnostic who rejects atheism.

Who is he?

He is Marcelo Gleiser (1959-), Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Here is Templeton Foundation president Heather Templeton Dill’s announcement of Marcelo Gleiser as the 2019 Templeton Prize winner:


 

Agnosticism

Professor Gleiser is an agnostic.

There are two kinds of agnostics, hard and soft. The hard agnostic says it is impossible to know whether God exists or not. The soft agnostic says he does not know whether God exists or not.

Hard agnosticism is equivalent to atheism. For if God exists, He would surely have the ability to reveal Himself to men. Thus saying that it is impossible to know whether God exists or not really means saying God does not exist.

The atheistic position is an assertion that God does not exist. This is an illogical statement. To assert that God does not exist, one would have to be all knowing and to have searched everywhere in the entire universe. This is clearly impossible for man. Moreover, it contradicts the atheist’s basic assertion. For these are attributes of deity. So by asserting that there is no God, you are essentially contradictorily claiming to be God, thereby disproving the assertion that there is no God.

Gleiser is a soft agnostic who recognizes the importance of life’s spiritual dimension. It is good that he has an open mind about God. Hopefully as he continues to study Creation he will recognize the hand of the Creator.

Belief in a Creator is common sense based on looking at what has been created. This is one of the Apostle Paul’s clear points:
That which is known about God is evident within men; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)

The agnostic’s position will not be rationally defensible on Judgment Day.

Today’s thinkers would do well to pay heed to the clear message of Creation!

Reference: Gleiser’s quotes were taken from his recent Agence France Presse interview and his NPR interview.

Questions to Ponder

1. What prevents scientists who study aspects of nature from recognizing the existence of the Great Creator?
2. Why is atheism inconsistent with the scientific method?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 27, 2019 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

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Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 20, 2019

Peter Does Apologetics

(3 Minute Read)

Peter was a rough-and-tumble fisherman, a bold leader, and one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples. Did you know he was also a deep thinker skilled in apologetics?

Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith using evidence, reason, and logic. In Scripture the Apostle Peter instructs disciples of Jesus to give reasons for their faith in Christ. Peter also vividly demonstrates how to do apologetics.

In Peter’s first epistle he told believers to always be ready to defend the faith whenever asked:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

The Apostle Peter was realistic about the inevitability of opposition and ridicule:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)

How did Peter refute naysayers? How did he answer false prophets and mockers who denied the Christian faith?

Peter took a four-fold approach to defending the Christian faith against opponents. He pointed to Creation, to personal experience, to the Resurrection, and to the miracles of Jesus.

In Peter’s Pentecost sermon he appealed to the miracles, signs, and wonders that his hearers knew to be true of Jesus based on their own personal experience with Jesus. The fact that he did this demonstrates credibility, for if his appeals were false, many people listening to him could have instantly disputed his claims.
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22)

Peter appealed to the Resurrection of Jesus as proof that Jesus of Nazareth was both God (Lord) and Savior (Christ):
This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. . . . This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:23-24,32,36)

Biblical apologists should be skilled and
conversant in multiple arenas of argument
— just like the Apostle Peter.

In Peter’s second epistle, he testified of his own personal experience with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 16:28-17:8). He personally saw Jesus glorified and endorsed by God from heaven. This testimony of a personal historical event provides a reason for faith.
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” — and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Peter also disputed mockers with an appeal to Creation and the Flood:
For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (2 Peter 3:5-6)

A Biblical apologist needs to be skilled and conversant in multiple arenas of argument — just like the Apostle Peter. Can you figure out the pertinent advice for apologists that this Rebus puzzle represents? Try to solve the puzzle before you look at the answer below.

Peter’s example is instructive for Christian apologists today. These are all valuable tools to use in defending the Christian faith:
Personal testimony
Wonders of Creation / Evidence of Design – Who made this? From where did it come?
Miracles of Jesus
Resurrection

Make sure you are ready to use them as appropriate when opportunities arise.

Questions to Ponder

1. What one sentence can you have ready “in your pocket” to testify of Jesus, “This happened to me!” ?
2. What arguments in defense of truth do you prefer for influencing a present-day skeptic?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Rebus Puzzle Answer: Jack of all trades.
[Jack+cuff awl tray+ds]
(Click Rebus Puzzles for links to blog articles with a Rebus puzzle.)

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the second post in the series on Apologists in the Bible.
Read the prequel:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics

Read the sequel:
3. Paul Does Apologetics

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 20, 2019 A.D.

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)

Disclaimer: BibleScienceGuy has no control over any advertising that may appear and receives no payment or consideration for it. Ads & “Related” links come from WordPress, not from BibleScienceGuy.

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