Quote for 08/17/2018

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.   Luke 12:6-7 NKJV

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Have you ever watched a couple lounging on the grass in a park or having an intimate dinner? They don’t only look into each other’s’ eyes, but look at every part of each other; hair lips, shoulders. They stroke the hair, the touch a birthmark or mole or maybe a scar. The treat every part of their lover as precious, reviewing every perfect inch and even caressing every imperfection.

They know every bit of each other.

Such is God’s love for us. He knows every inch of our bodies down to how many hairs are on our heads. He knows every layer of our souls even deeper than we know ourselves. He cherishes every part of us, seen and unseen.

Christ is often portrayed as the groom and the church His bride. The Song of Solomon in the Old Testament has been described as a book of erotica, but its point is to tell us how deeply God loves us.

And what a thing of beauty that is!

Quote for 08/16/2018

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.   Psalm 16:11

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My double bypass surgery happened in the same city where a friend of mine was in seminary. He came to visit me a few days after the operation. Considering I was not in my home city – or even state – his was a more than welcome face.

Point being that his presence lifted my spirits considerably. His presence gave me joy while I was in such a poor condition!

We are all in a poor condition. We have spent our entire existence so far in sin and abject moral poverty. Accepting Jesus into our lives brings understanding and hope. We can have His joy on earth.

Even better, when we finally leave this world of sin and pain we will come into His unfiltered presence. The joy will be indescribable! There the sun will not be needed for God Himself will be our light as when He first began the work of Creation. There will be no want, no pain, only joy at the pleasures He has prepared for us!

Mt. Sinai – Summary

Split RockI’ve related a number of characteristics of Jebel Musa/Moses’ Mountain in Saudi Arabia. Let’s review everything we have:

  • There is the 6 meter rock with a massive spilt down the middle, matching the biblical description of the rock Moses struck for water to gush forth. Furthermore, there is heavy water erosion starting at that split, leading down to a huge dried riverbed. It is the highest point by far, sitting atop a hill and surrounded by plains.
  • Amalekite Altar

    Ancient altar ruins on a rise

    Those plains also provide a battle ground for the fight with the Amalekites as described in Exodus, including an overlooking hill upon which is an ancient altar. Recall that Moses kept his hands raised to God in supplication for victory. Moses built an altar to God in thanks for that victory.

  • There is Jebel Musa itself. That is the name the locals have used for it since before recorded history. Everyone there simply knows that it is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It is part of a range known as Jabal al Lawz. The top part of Jebel Musa is black, burnt to a crisp; Exodus tells us that God came down onto the mountain in fire and smoke.Mt Sinai Burnt Summit
  • 1 Kings 19 describes how Elijah was directed to Mt. Sinai and spent time there in a cave where God visited Him. There is such a cave in Jebel Musa.
  • Stone CirclesThere are many large stone circles that likely served as anchors for a tent. Similar stone circles have been found in Israel.
  • A broken Egyptian-style millstone was found at one the those circles. It would make sense no others were found. People on the move would not leave such a valuable piece of equipment behind!
  • Keep OutEgyptian-styled “Keep Out” signs are found at regular intervals at the base of the mountain; an outline of a sandal with the laces laid out to the sides, meaning “Shoes off! Sacred ground!” This same design is found in ancient Egyptian sites.
  • There is an earthen altar just as described in Exodus arranged for a massive procession of sacrifices. Next to it are the fallen pieces of twelve marble pillars, also included in the Exodus account.
  • There is a large pile of broken stone slabs which appear to be the base of an altar. Images of the Egyptian cow god are carved in these stones…along with a Jewish Menorah. This would fit perfectly as an altar for the Golden Calf.
  • God commanded Moses, Aaron, and elders to come up and meet with God on the mountain; 74 in all. A plateau exists up on the mountain with just sufficient space to hold that many people comfortably. Also nearby is a cleft in the rock as described in Exodus. God placed Moses there as He passed by, because no man can see God’s glory and live.

One might dismiss any of these as coincidentally similar to places in Exodus and nothing more. Taken together, one might wonder how many coincidences it takes to make a connection?

Exodus CaseAs Dr. Moller concludes in his book The Exodus Case, if this was a case being tried in a court of law to determine whether these things are, in fact, what Exodus describes, what would you, the jury, rule?

I strongly recommend you find The Exodus Case at Amazon, which I where I ran into it. It is well written, goes into impressive depth in terms of historical and scientific analysis, and has an abundance if photographs. The paper and print are high quality, and the book is very well produced.

One final point; I don’t see this information as proving the truth of the Bible. I see it as agreeing with Biblical truth. However, as a Christian speaking to those how doubt, because they think science has disproven the Bible, this gives enough evidence to give one pause. This is information to start an open conversation with someone.

If you are not a Christian, I invite you to look into this further yourself to your own satisfaction. I tell you openly that there are detractors of these archeological finds in general and Dr. Moller in particular. Before anything else, make sure you thoroughly understand what Dr. Moller presents. Only then can you reasonable expect to judge whether the criticisms are valid.

And the real question remains; what are the odds that these are all just coincidences?

Quote for 08/15/2018

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.   Psalm 149:4 NKJV

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I can remember a poster showing a very beautiful woman in a bikini. The caption?

“Somewhere, someone is tired of her $%!t.”

No one likes a prima donna. No one likes a braggart. That goes double for anyone who has no substance in the first place! That’s how God looks at things. He’s got no patience with sinners who think they’re all that; especially those that think THEY can tell HIM what’s what.

Faint on tthe RoadBut take that woman in the poster and replace that bikini with torn rags. Replace the sultry gaze with humility and even hurt. We are suddenly drawn to her out of concern and genuine love for another person. We want to heal her, clean her up, and give her something clean, even flattering to wear.

God sees us in the same way; dirty, wearing torn rags, and damaged. He loves us and wants to rescue us! But if we return His love with a commanding, sultry gaze as if we are really something, well, imagine how ridiculous we’d look. Imagine how anyone could possibly want to help us, if we are ridiculously full of ourselves while in such a state.

We – you and I – are in exactly that state. What does God see when He locks eyes with us?

God will beautify the humble with salvation.

BBB – This one’s for you.

Quote for 08/14/2018

For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us;   Isaiah 33:22 NKJV

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As a sinner living in a sinful world, this at first sounds to me a bit like “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

Um…

He is the Lawgiver. That means He wrote and keeps His laws. It also means He knows it well enough to be able to keep it and even use it to get us out of the predicament we’re in – sin.

He is our Judge. He will make sure the law is upheld, but He will also rule in our favor when Jesus presents Himself as the Payment for our sins. The law will have been fulfilled and we will be passed on through!

He is our King! If there ever was a benevolent dictatorship, this is it! He loves us, His people. He wants to have us with Him eternally, and so will rule accordingly, lawfully.

All that being said, I should modify my opening comment:

“I’m from heaven, and I’m here to help you!”

Quote for 08/13/2018

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!   Philippians 4:4

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Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while he was in a Roman prison. His death was imminent, as he told them he was being “poured out as a drink offering.”

The Philippians were faithful, having sent Epaphroditus, one of their own, to tend to Paul while in prison. Epaphroditus had been sick and almost died, but recovered. Paul was writing a letter of last advice and commendation and thanks for their support.

This is the context in which Paul tells them to rejoice! He feels his end approaching, but he also writes to them how even adversity has served to spread the Gospel! He is able to rejoice in his situation, and he encourages them – and us – to do the same.

When you are well read in God’s Word, feeding your faith, you can rejoice as you see know that all things are used for God’s ultimate victory…and ours! Even when we face every danger we can know by faith that all will be well, even if our troubles come from Satan himself! God can and does turn everything to victory!

Again we say, “REJOICE!!”

Mt. Sinai – Other Identifying Features

Exodus CaseThen Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.   Exodus 24:9-11

Moses was not the only person to spend time with God on Mt. Sinai. All told, there was a “summit meeting” between 74 select people, including Moses and Aaron, and God. There would have to have been an area sufficient to accommodate a large group on this very rugged mountain. Dr. Moller makes the point in The Exodus Case that one would hardly expect mere people to remain standing in the presence of Almighty God! Recall that Peter, James, and John prostrated themselves at the transfiguration of Christ. There needed to be enough flat area for worship, as well as the eating and drinking described in the text.

There is a plateau of about 400 square meters. For the purpose of visualizing this, let’s say it’s actually a square, 20 meters on a side; about 22 yards. In football terms, that’s a bit over two first downs squared. Each man gets about 6.5 square yards; just under 20 x 20 feet. Not luxurious, but not cramped. It would suit the space needed to comfortably accommodate 74 adults for a meeting and meal. The arrow in the picture below points to the plateau, a white, fairly circular area. Beyond that and to the left you can see the plain where Israel would have camped. This picture was taken from the peak of Jebel Musa; note the blackened rock in the right foreground.Plateau

There’s one more feature of this area to briefly note…

18And he (Moses) said, “Please, show me Your glory.”  19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”    Exodus 33:18-23

If Jebel Musa (Moses’ Mountain) in Saudi Arabia is indeed Mt. Sinai, there should be a distinct cleft in the rocks where God placed Moses as described in the text. There is exactly such a formation at the side of the plateau described above.

Cleft in the Rock

The cleft rock where Moses might have stood as God past by

NEXT – A summary of the finds at Jebel Musa/Moses’ Mountain in Saudi Arabia.

Quote for 08/12/2018

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   Romans 10:17

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You can’t believe what you don’t know about, and knowing can be a difficult thing.

One might know of God as a topic of conversation or as a “belief system.” At that level there are all kinds of misconceptions and even prejudices. Many people think they know what God – or at least the theory of God and Jesus – is about.

Very few people have read the Bible, and that includes a great many Christians who attend church. Some read a daily devotion, but that is far from a comprehensive understanding of God’s Word.

Once a person has worked past the myths, rumors, and slanders about God and Jesus one can understand what the choice of faith is really about. God cannot be scientifically proven, but there is enough evidence between the Bible and the world to take that leap of faith.

It all starts with God’s Word.

Mt. Sinai – The Golden Calf

Exodus CaseNow when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us [a]gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”…And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it.   Exodus 32, Selected Verses

What short memories they had! The plagues that struck all of Egypt but not them, the pillar of fire by day and of smoke by night, the parted sea, destruction of the Egyptian army, manna every morning, and the smoke, thunder, and lightning atop Sinai right there!

Hathor Cow Goddess

Hathor – human & bovine editions

But Moses took longer than they expected so it was time to move on to another god. Why a calf? After generations in Egypt, they were very familiar with their practice of worshipping cattle, so they went back to what they had known all their lives; Hathor, the Egyptian cow goddess.

God told Moses what was going on back at camp and sent him down. Before Moses got all the way down he could see the golden calf in the distance and hear the sounds of celebration. His first considered act was to break the two stone tablet of the Ten Commandments. He then went completely nuts, burned the thing down to ashes, spread the ashes in the water, and made everyone drink it.

Golden CalfWe shouldn’t expect to make an archeological find of a golden calf at the base of Jebel Musa in Saudi Arabia, but Moses does record in Exodus that Aaron made an alter to put it on. There is a large pile of broke slabs of rock in view of the descending route from the top of the mountain. Intact, they would have formed the base of a

Golden Calf Altar Base

Broken altar base

very large alter that could be seen a ways off.  for scale, note the fence around it that the Saudis erected to people off it. The size means it would have been a big figure, taking lots of gold. But remember that you had roughly 2 million Jewish slaves taking all the gold from their former slaveholders, so there was plenty on hand.

Impressive evidence on this find are the carvings that can be seen on those stones. They are of Egyptian style cattle and of people holding them up in worship, mirroring ancient Egyptian carvings.

Golden Calf Base Calf Petroglyphs

Several carvings seen on the base pieces

Another interesting piece of the carving is several depictions of a person or people worshiping the cow by seemingly supporting it from below.Golden Calf held by person

Compare that to a clear rendition of a typical ancient Egyptian carving of similar activities.

Golden Calf Egyptian Model

Drawn reproduction of ancient Egyptian carving

But there’s one last image that can be seen on those stone which have many carvings like those shown above.  Yes, there are Egyptian-style depictions of the cow goddess, Hathor.  But who’s to say that it was necessarily the Israelites who did all of this?  Well, what are the odds that you’d find a menorah carved into those same stones?

Golden Calf Base Menorah

Yup…right there

So far we seem to have a lot of traits in and around the site of Jebel Musa in Saudi Arabia that match the Biblical Mt. Sinai.  There are more!

NEXT – A summit meeting with God.

 

 

Quote for 08/11/2018

The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.   Psalm 119:160 NKJV

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Jesus told us in Matthew 5 that “…till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

The earth is about 6000 years old. In all that time God has not changed. Nothing He has ever told us has failed. The law remains the law. Thankfully, so does His mercy. The sentence “His Mercy endures forever” occurs 34 times in the Psalms, most of those in Psalm 136.

Jesus died and rose again to defeat death and sin. God sacrificed His only begotten Son for us. That wasn’t an offer that only lasted a few years. That’s in effect until the end of time.

God judged that the law needed to be fulfilled. God judged in mercy that love is better than law. God judges against Satan and his realm. God judges for humanity, but that door swings both ways.

If we accept Jesus’ payment for our sins, God judges that the debt is paid for us and sets us free. If we reject Jesus payment for our sins, God judges us liable for that debt and extracts that debt from our very souls. In sorrow.

God’s law and mercy are laid out plainly in His Word. He judges accordingly. He always has. He always will.