Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Beginning and the Ending: Evolutionary Attack

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch PDFBy

The whole theory of Evolution is the greatest fairy tale ever concocted by the depraved mind of Man.

The complexity of both the universe and life attests to intelligent design and the necessity of a Creator. To deny this is equivalent to standing in front of Mount Rushmore and saying, "Wow! Isn't it amazing what can be accomplished accidentally by erosion?"

Mount Rushmore

A scientist would write off such a person as insane. Yet, that same scientist will then turn around and argue that both the universe and life evolved accidentally. It is no wonder that Ray Comfort wrote a book entitled, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think.9

Take, for example, the theory that the creation of the universe began billions of years ago with a Big Bang. This theory is based on supposed evidence that the universe is expanding.

But the Bible has an explanation for this. Eleven times we are told in the Scriptures that God "stretched out the heavens" from the point of creation. Here is one example taken from Isaiah 42:5 —

"Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it..." (ESV)

If the universe truly is expanding, then it is most likely left over momentum from God's stretching of the heavens.

The whole idea of the universe originating from a "big bang" explosion is preposterous. Let me ask you a simple question: How many explosions have you ever witnessed or have heard of that produced order instead of chaos?

And how many explosions have ever occurred from nothing? In that regard, I love a poster I discovered recently that pokes fun at the Big Bang Theory. It says, "In the beginning there was nothing — which exploded."

The whole idea of the universe and life originating from an explosion is as absurd as thinking — as some Evolutionists have postulated — that if you would only give 10,000 monkeys enough time, they would eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare by randomly tapping the keys on typewriters!

Just a Theory

And concerning the Theory of Evolution, it is just that — a theory. The scientific method requires observation. No scientists were present to observe the creation of the universe or life. The only one who was present has revealed to us in His Word how it happened.

The reality is that the advocates of the Theory of Evolution have been running for cover ever since the discovery of DNA and its incredible complexity. Thus, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's leading evolutionists, recently said that his current best guess is that life on earth either came here floating on crystals in space, or else it was planted here by aliens.10

The bottom line is that these so-called scientists are unwilling to admit the existence of a Creator God because then they would be responsible to someone.

The Bible sums it up best. In the Old Testament it says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). In the New Testament it says: "Even though they [speaking of ungodly people] knew God, they did not honor Him as God... but they became futile in their speculations... Professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

The Days of Genesis 1

Let's return to the biblical text. We are told in Genesis 1 that God created the universe and life in six days and then rested on the seventh. How do we know they were six twenty-four hour days? The answer is simple. We know the text is speaking of 24 hour days, because it says so! Each day is described literally as an "evening and a morning."

The fact that the Genesis account is speaking of 24 hour days is affirmed in Exodus 20:8-11 —

8) Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.

9) Six days shall you labor and do all your work,

10) But the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.

11) 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...

6,000 Years of History

And how do we know all this happened only about 6,000 years ago? Because the biblical genealogies going back to Adam and Eve cover a time span of only 6,000 years from today's time.

And Jesus Himself said in Mark 10:6 that the beginning of creation dates from Adam and Eve: "...from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female."

In this regard, I think it is interesting to note that the Bible is the only written account of human civilization that provides historical information before the flood of Noah that took place some 4,300 years ago. All other records of human history, such as the Chinese and Egyptian, date back only to the time of the flood.

Carbon Dating

But what about carbon dating? Hasn't it revealed human skeletons much older than 6,000 years, as well as animals like dinosaurs that are even millions of years old?

The problem with carbon dating is that it is based on evolutionary assumptions — the primary one being the principle of uniformitarianism, which is the scientific theory that life on earth has been uniform ever since the beginning and therefore the carbon content in the atmosphere has always been the same.

Even those who put their faith in carbon dating will admit that if there ever was a world-wide flood, then all carbon-dating is inaccurate. But they deny the occurrence of any such worldwide catastrophe, even though there is overwhelming evidence of it throughout the earth and there are references to it in the folk lore of all ancient civilizations.

In the next part of this series on the beginning and the ending of the Bible, I'll look at why the Bible knew science before scientists ever did.


9) Ray Comfort, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2009).

10) William Hooper, "Richard Dawkins on Intelligent Alien Design,", May 2008, updated January 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Beginning and the Ending: Genesis Scoffers

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch PDFBy

Let's consider for a moment some of the key questions that are always posed by those who scoff at the Genesis account of creation:

1) How do you account for the apparent age of the earth?

2) How do you explain the fossil records?

3) How do you explain the fact that light from distant stars is reaching us — light that would have taken millions of years to arrive?

4) How do you explain the complexity of life without millions of years for it to develop?

On and on the questions go.

From a secular viewpoint, the questions appear to present an invincible argument against the biblical story. But from a faith viewpoint, they do not present insurmountable problems.

A Fundamental Principle

That's because all of these questions can be answered by one simple observation: Special creation always carries with it the impression of age.

Thus, if I were to create a full grown tree instantly and then reveal it to you, you would argue that it was at least 10 to 15 years old. Or, if I were to create a full grown man instantly and then introduce him to you and ask you to guess his age, you would probably say he was at least 18 years old.

In both cases, there would be an appearance of age, but it would be an illusion.

A Second Consideration

Another factor to consider is that the earth looks old because it is in bondage to decay.

The original earth was perfect, and the Bible indicates that it was encased in a thick vapor canopy and that there was lush vegetation throughout the earth (Genesis 1:6-8, 20).

But that earth was spoiled by the sin of Man. When Adam and Eve rebelled, God responded by putting a curse on the earth, and all of creation was put in bondage to decay. (If you don't believe it, just go look in a mirror!)

That second earth was then further changed radically by the Noahic Flood that suddenly created great mountains and chasms. Consider the Grand Canyon, for example. It appears to have developed as the result of millions of years of erosion. But we know from the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 that such canyons can be created literally overnight.8 They do not require great eons of time.

A Basic Issue

The lack of a need for time brings us back to a basic issue. The Bible teaches that God is omnipotent (Matthew 19:26). He could therefore have created the whole universe in the twinkling of an eye. He did not need time.

He chose instead to create the universe and all life in 6 days because the Bible says He wanted to give us a model for life — namely, 6 days of labor followed by one day of rest.

Answering the Skeptics

Let's return now to the questions posed by the skeptics:

1) How do you account for the apparent age of the earth?

Answer: The apparent age is just that: it is apparent and not real. The original earth looked old when it was created, and that appearance of age has been accelerated by the curse of God which put the whole universe in bondage to decay.

Nor is it dishonest of God to create an earth that looks old. Again, the appearance of age is a corollary of special creation. Furthermore, God has clearly told us how He created in His Word. How can He be accused of deception when He has told us how He did it?

2) How do you explain the fossil record?

Answer: The fossil record is not a record of age. Rather, it is the record of an event — the Noahic Flood.

3) How do you explain the light of the distant stars reaching the earth?

Answer: God created the light already reaching the earth. Therefore, what we observe today through a telescope is what has been happening to those stars since 6,000 years ago when they were created.

4) How do you explain the complexity of life without millions of years for it to develop?

Answer: God doesn't need time for special creation. Thus, when Jesus converted water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana, He did so instantly, proving He was the God of time (John 2:1-11). With God, there is no need for time.

Evolution of Man

Improper "Solutions"

To try to solve the contradiction between scientific theory and the biblical story by using the Gap Theory or the Day-Age Theory or both is an admission that God needs time.

One problem with the Gap Theory is that it appears to contradict Scripture. Consider this verse from Isaiah 45:18 —

"For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), I am the Lord and there is none else."

God did not create the earth and then allow it to become a "waste place" for billions of years before restoring it to His original intention — as a home for Mankind.

Another problem with both the Gap Theory and the Day-Age Theory is that they contradict the teaching of the Bible that death did not exist until the sin of Adam and Eve. That's because both theories propose that life evolved slowly over a long period of time, and there was constant life and death long before Mankind, resulting in the survival of the fittest. That assumption of life and death before Man is directly contrary to Scripture.

In the next part of this series on the beginning and the ending of the Bible, I'll look at why the theory of Evolution is the greatest fairy tale ever concocted by the depraved mind of Man.


8) Dr. Steven A. Austin, "Mt. St. Helens and Catastrophism,", 1986.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Beginning and the Ending: Creation Maligned

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch PDFBy

Regarding the origins of our planet and life, the Bible plainly reveals that both were created by God in six days about 6,000 years ago.

Christendom seemed to have no problem with this revelation until the 19th Century. Scientists before that time — even the man acknowledged to be the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton — believed the biblical story and affirmed it in their writings.

The Attack of Science

But in the 19th Century, scientists began to challenge the biblical story, reaching its culmination with Darwin's Theory of Evolution which was proposed in 1859 in his book, On the Origin of Species.2

As the 20th Century began, the Bible was on the defensive, and the battle came to a climax with the Scopes Trial in 1925 when William Jennings Bryan tried to defend the biblical view while Clarence Darrow mocked and scoffed.3

Scopes Trial

The Christian Response

In response to the relentless attacks of scientists, Christian theologians scrambled to try to make the biblical story line up with the claim of the scientists that the universe was billions of years old and that all life had evolved haphazardly from a single source.

This was accomplished primarily in one of two ways, or a combination of both.

First, was the Day-Age Theory that converted each day of the Genesis creation week into a million or more years.

The second was the Gap Theory. According to this idea, there is a gap of millions or billions of years between the first two verses of Genesis.

There are different versions of the Gap Theory, but all versions postulate that God's original creation was most likely corrupted by the rebellion and fall of Satan. Then millions or billions of years later, God decided to bring order out of the chaos by re-creating the earth and its heavens. Some who subscribe to the Gap Theory believe that the re-creation process took only 6 literal days. But most would contend that each of the days were actually millions of years.

They thus combine the Gap Theory with the Day-Age Theory and end up with a creation process that took place over a time span of billions of years.

The Situation Today

Today, the Gap Theory, or some version of it, is held by most Christians — even Evangelicals. Many believe that God intervened at some point and created Man.

But many, if not most believe in Theistic Evolution. In other words, they believe God created all life, but that it emerged over a long period of time through a process of guided evolution.

When challenged to simply believe the creation story in the Bible, they often respond with scoffing.

Personal Experiences

I experienced this early in the history of this ministry when I was speaking to the combined adult Sunday School classes of a church in Oklahoma. I just happened to mention in passing that we should accept the Genesis story of creation to mean what it says — namely, that God created the universe and life supernaturally in six literal days some 6,000 years ago. That off-the-hand remark prompted an explosion! A man jumped to his feet and started yelling. "I can't believe that you believe such nonsense," he shouted. He then added, "It's ignorant people like you who make Christians look like fools!" At that point, he stomped out of the room.

Here's another example of what I'm talking about. In 2009 we aired a series of television programs with Dr. Jobe Martin who has a great ministry that focuses on the Creation-Evolution conflict.4 In one of those programs, he told why he believes the Genesis story of creation means exactly what it says.

In response, I received a letter from a Christian who watched the program via satellite in Latvia, one of the former Russian Baltic Republics. He wrote:

Is the cause of Christ really advanced by having on your show a wild-eyed fanatic who cannot comprehend the concept of proof? Possibly we are not talking about the same Creator? My Lord can not lie, thus, He cannot create an old-looking earth to deceive the modern man... Satan's best troops in the battle to stymie Christianity are the Young Earth advocates. There are hundreds of reasons that speak of earth's age, but the wellmeaning fools refuse to learn some science before they argue against it... Dear sir, preach what you will but not in the name of Christianity. Do not make my Lord a deceiver and Christians an uneducated lot.

And lest you think these are isolated examples, let me point out that a group of Evangelicals have formed an organization called BioLogos whose purpose is to convince Christians that "the process of evolution is a tenable biblical position, and... is the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics."5

This group has actually taken the position that if Christians do not accept the theory of evolution, the Church will soon die off, because it will be rejected as "an insignificant cult."6

The relevance of this issue was demonstrated recently on the cover of Christianity Today magazine, published in June 2011.7

This is a magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham to espouse and defend biblical truths. But in recent years, it has become increasingly liberal, while still claiming to be Evangelical.

The magazine's cover featured a drawing of Adam as a Neanderthal looking person, and the lead article presented him as being most likely a mythical person. The article is also a shameless apologetic for Theistic Evolution.

Historical Adam?

In the next part of this series on the beginning and the ending of the Bible, I'll look at how people scoff at the Creation account and then answer these skeptics.


2) Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray Publisher, 1859).

3) Dr. David Menton, "The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' — 80 Years Later," It should be noted that Bryan did not believe in a young earth. He took the Day-Age position, arguing that each day of creation represented millions of years.

4) Jobe Martin's outstanding book about his conversion from Evolution to Creationism is titled, The Evolution of a Creationist. It can be obtained from Lamb & Lion Ministries for $15 plus the cost of shipping. To order, call 972-736-3567.

5) The BioLogos Forum, About The BioLogos Foundation,

6) Lawrence Ford, "Confronting Evolutionary Ideas,", 2011.

7) Richard N. Ostling, "The Search for the Historical Adam,", June 3, 2011.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Beginning and the Ending: Spiritualization of the Bible

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch PDFBy

This article is one I have been ruminating about for some time. It was about three years ago when the Lord laid the title on my heart. I began praying about it and searching the Scriptures and turning it over and over in my mind.

Finally, the message began to burn in my heart for a release, and so I decided to pull it together for presentation at our annual Bible conference.

I consider it to be a personal testimony about my faith. As such, you may not agree with what I have to say, but I hope you will respect it, even as I respect those fellow believers who would disagree with me.


Let's get started by taking a look at the words that begin and end the Bible.

The Bible begins with these words: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

The Bible ends with these words: "He [Jesus] who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

The Bible begins with a revelation. The Bible ends with a promise.

Do you believe these words? Do you really believe them without reservation?

If you do, then you are an exception to the norm, for the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of professing Christians — both Catholic and Protestant, including even Evangelicals — do not accept the plain sense meaning of these verses.

The reason is that the beginning and ending of the Bible are the two most abused areas of God's Word. That's because they have been spiritualized into meaninglessness.

The Abuse of Spiritualization

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, spiritualization, let me explain that it means to argue that the plain sense meaning of Scripture is not its true meaning.

Let me give you a classic example of spiritualization taken from the writings of a theologian by the name of Loraine Boettner. It has to do with his interpretation of Zechariah 14:1-9.

That passage says that in the end times Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemy forces and will be ready to fall to them when the Lord will suddenly return to the Mount of Olives. When His feet touch the Mount, it will split down the middle. The Lord will then speak a supernatural word that will instantly destroy all the enemy forces. And on that day, the Lord will become King over all the earth.

In his commentary on this passage, Boettner completely spiritualized it.1

He argued that the Mount of Olives stands for the human heart. The enemy forces symbolize the evil in this world that surrounds and attacks the heart. The Lord's return represents what happens when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Thus, when Jesus comes into a person's heart, their heart (the Mount of Olives) splits in contrition, and all the evil influences in the person's life are defeated, and Jesus becomes king of that person's heart.

That's what I call an exercise in imagination!

Personal Experience

I personally know a lot about spiritualization because I grew up in a church that specialized in this perversion of Scripture. Let me give you an example, and once again, it relates to Zechariah 14, verses 1-9.

I discovered that passage when I was 12 years old, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I read it, because all the preachers I had ever heard had been hard core Amillennialists — people who do not believe that Jesus will ever return to this earth to reign for a thousand years. Over and over I had heard these preachers proclaim, "There is not one verse in the Bible that even implies that Jesus will ever put His feet on this earth again."

Well, here was a passage that did more than imply. It said point blank that the Messiah will return to the Mount of Olives and that when His feet touch ground, the mountain will split in half!

So, in fear and trembling, I went to my pastor, showed him the passage, and asked what it meant. He studied it a long time, and then he stuck his finger in my face and said, "Son, I don't know what this passage means, but I will guarantee you one thing, it doesn't mean what it says."

Why People Spiritualize

People love to spiritualize the Scriptures because when they do so, they can make the Bible say whatever they please, and in the process they get to play God.

Most professing Christians today are members of churches whose leaders use spiritualization to play fast and loose with the beginning and ending of the Bible. The preaching and teaching they hear is based upon spiritualization, and it converts the opening chapters of the Bible into a mythical story, and the ending of the Bible into mythical promises.

In the next part of this series on the beginning and the ending of the Bible, I'll look at how people spiritualize the Creation account.


1) Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Co., 1957).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Land of Israel: Imminent Scenario

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

What is likely to happen next in the land of Israel?

Here is the most likely scenario that I can foresee at the moment. Hamas, the fundamentalist Arab terrorist organization funded by Iran, will take complete control over the Palestinian autonomous areas. Hamas will then unleash a renewed reign of terror on Israel, continuing their lobbing of rockets from Gaza and Jericho to back up their demand for control of Jerusalem.

Abbas will orchestrate world pressure on Israel through the United Nations and the Vatican. In September of this year he will likely proclaim a Palestinian state and then demand that Jerusalem be "liberated" or internationalized.

Since even the most liberal Israelis take the position that Jerusalem is non-negotiable, the pressure will mount toward an inevitable conflict. If Hamas does not unleash the rockets first, then Abbas will ultimately return to the method he knows best — terror.

This will prompt an Israeli counter attack, which, in turn, will motivate the Arab states to come to the defense of the Palestinians. This could very well lead to Syria launching an all out missile attack on Tel Aviv in order to reclaim the Golan Heights and turn attention away from their civilian upheavals.

If that ominous event should occur, the Israelis will be forced to use their ultimate weapon to survive. They will strike Damascus with nuclear weapons. This will fulfill the prophecies that state that Damascus will cease to exist in the end times (Isaiah 17:1-3 and Jeremiah 49:23-27).

In panic, the Arab states will then turn to their natural ally for help — the Russians. And the likelihood is that the Russian government will be only too happy to send an army into the Middle East to destroy Israel (and grab the Arab oil fields in the process).

That is when the Lord will step in personally to destroy the Russian hordes on the mountains of Israel in a supernatural way so that even the Israelis will realize that their deliverance came from the Lord and not from their own military might (Ezekiel 38 and 39).

As the whole world panics on the brink of World War III, a dynamic, charismatic political leader from Europe will step into the vacuum and propose an ingenious solution that will result in peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors — a peace that will enable the Jews to rebuild their Temple.

We live in exciting times when we can watch prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. The events are ominous and overwhelming, but we can stand firm with great hope because we know that God is on His throne and that He is in control.

The events we are currently witnessing point to the imminent return of Yeshua, and when He returns, the world will be flooded with peace and righteousness, and Israel will enjoy the blessings of territorial integrity and peace forevermore (Zechariah 8:1-8).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Land of Israel: World Demand

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

How has the world reacted to the conflict between the Jews and Arabs over the land of Israel?

The world insists that the Jews must trade land for peace. But trading land for peace only whets the appetite of the aggressor. Israel has returned the Sinai to Egypt twice, and the Egyptians are still bristling with hostility toward Israel, even moreso since President Hosni Mubarak was taken out of power.

Furthermore, Israel doesn't have any territory to give away. It is one of the world's smallest nations. Turning the West Bank over to hostile Arabs would put the enemy of Israel within 11 miles of Tel Aviv. No government in its right mind would agree to such insanity.

Why then did the government of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (who is now Israel's President) agree to the initiation of the current peace process? The answer is deception. They were deceived by the PLO and the Western nations. Worst of all, they had deceived themselves.

Their self-deception was rooted in their Humanistic view of the world. Keep in mind that there was not a single believer in God among the top circle of Israeli leaders in the Rabin government. They were all either atheists or agnostics. Politically, they were either socialists or liberal humanists. This means that they believed in the basic goodness of Man. Translated into foreign policy, it means that they believed that if they treated their enemies with fairness and trust, their enemies would reciprocate. They simply could not bring themselves to believe that their enemies are determined to destroy them.

Imbecilic Policy

Ignoring all the harsh lessons of history, Rabin and Peres embarked on a policy of appeasement, hoping that they could satisfy the appetite of their enemies by giving them land for peace. History proves conclusively that appeasement always has the opposite effect — namely, it encourages the aggressor to want more.

Chamberlain found that out when he tried to satisfy Hitler by trading him the Sudetenland for peace. Chamberlain turned out to be a fool. But Rabin and Peres made Chamberlain look good. After all, he at least was not foolish enough to trade some of the territory of Britain for peace! No, he gave away another nation's land. Rabin and Peres sought to trade their own land, land that would put their sworn enemy in the very heart of their nation.

Implacable Enemies

What makes all this particularly ludicrous is the fact that Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas did not even attempt to hide their true intentions. Arafat promised that in return for receiving autonomy over Gaza and Jericho he would have the PLO rescind the clauses in its covenant that call for the destruction of Israel. They got control over both Gaza and Jericho, but to this day the Fatah/Hamas government still has not even attempted to get the PLO to amend its charter.

Even worse, Arafat continued to speak openly about his intention to take Jerusalem. The ink was hardly dry on the "peace" accord when he gave a speech in South Africa advocating a jihad to "liberate" Jerusalem. A jihad is a holy war! Again, Rabin and Peres made excuses for him, as did the U.S. State Department. They explained that Arafat was just saying what he had to say to placate his Arab enemies, and that he really didn't mean what he was saying. That's exactly what the Western European leaders kept saying about Hitler — "He doesn't really mean it." Well, he meant it, and so did Arafat and now Abbas today.

Insolent Allies

The Israeli leaders have also been deceived by the West. The United States and its Western allies have talked the government of Israel into doing something that every Israeli leader in the past said the nation would never do, and that is to place the survival of the country in the hands of foreigners. The Western nations keep whispering soothing assurances that they will "guarantee" the peace. But when the "peace" evaporates into all out war, Israel will discover that the Western world will back off and leave the nation to fend for itself. The bottom line is that Israel is no Kuwait. Israel has no oil, and Israel is full of Jews whom the world hates.

The current "peace" process is a prescription for war, and it will be the bloodiest war in the history of the Middle East. I believe it will be a war that will lead up to the climax of the current age, ushering in the Tribulation.

The Jews' Resolve

The Jews must stand firm in their determination to maintain the territorial integrity of the land God gave them. In doing so, they will bring the wrath of the nations upon themselves. The prophet Zechariah says that all the nations of the world will come together against Israel in the end times (Zechariah 12:3).

But God will sustain the Jewish people, for they are the "apple of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8). The Word of God says Philistia is finished — "melted away" (Isaiah 14:29-32). And the Word says that once the Jews are reestablished in the their land, "they will never be rooted up again" (Amos 9:14-15).

Let all the world come together against God's Chosen. The Lord sits in the heavens and laughs (Psalm 2:4), for He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man to the fulfillment of His purposes (Psalm 76:10).

In the last part on this series on the land of Israel, we'll speculate on what an imminent scenario against the land of Israel could look like.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Land of Israel: Promise to the Arabs

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Are there promises to the Arabs related to the land of Israel?

As descendants of Abraham's son, Ishmael, they too have a promise, but it is not a land promise. The covenant God made with Ishmael had to do with the number of his descendants. Ishmael was promised that his descendants would be "multiplied exceedingly" (Genesis 17:20).

God has faithfully kept His promise to the descendants of Ishmael. Today there are 21 Arab states with a combined population of 175 million Arabs. There is only one Jewish state with a population of nearly 6 million. The Arab states contain 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. Israel has only 8 thousand square miles of land with no major oil reserves that have been discovered, though plenty of natural gas off of the coast. That's a population ratio of 43 to 1 and a land ratio of 662 to 1!

The Palestinian Claim

But what about the Palestinian people? Don't they deserve a state? Keep in mind first of all that a Palestinian state never existed prior to this century. From 70 A.D. to 1948 the geographical area known as Palestine was never an independent state nor did the Arabs residing there have any consciousness of themselves as a separate nation of people. They regarded themselves as Syrians. Also, keep in mind that Jerusalem has never served as the capital of any Arab nation, whereas it has been considered the capital of the Jewish people since 1,000 B.C.

Also noteworthy is the fact that when the West Bank and Gaza were under Jordanian autonomy from 1948 to 1967, there was not any effort to create a separate Palestinian state. The PLO was formed during that time, not for the purpose of creating a Palestinian State, but rather for the purpose of exterminating the Jewish state.

Equally important is the fact that a Palestinian state already exists — and it is four times larger than Israel! The Palestinian state is Jordan. In the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British originally promised all the Palestinian Mandate to the Jews as a national homeland. But in 1922 they broke that promise by using 77% of the Mandate to create the Arab state of Jordan. Today that state's population is 75% Palestinian.

The True Arab Goal

Then why do the Arabs demand the creation of a Palestinian state within the boundaries of current day Israel? The answer is simple. The real Arab goal is not the establishment of another Palestinian state. The true goal is the destruction of Israel.

In fact, now deceased former PLO leader Yasser Arafat originally spelled out his strategy to the Arab world, and the strategy was adopted officially by the PLO in 1974. It is called "the phased plan." Realizing that he could not defeat Israel with war or terrorism, he decided that the road to victory was deceptive diplomacy. He would talk about peace in return for land, while rallying the anti-Israeli Western powers to put pressure on the Israeli government to capitulate. Once he got a toe-hold in the land, he would then use that as a base for renewed attacks on Israel. In short, he would take Israel in phases. It is a clever strategy that he spelled out in detail in many public speeches, just as Hitler outlined his strategy in detail in Mein Kampf.

In the next part on this series on the land of Israel, we'll look at where the world stands on who controls this property.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Land of Israel: Promise to the Jews

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

To whom does the land of Israel belong to?

The answer is really very simple. God gave the land of Israel to Abraham (Genesis 17:8) and to his descendants through Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:1-4,13-14).

That means the land belongs to the descendants of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. In other words, the land belongs to the children of Israel, referred to in the New Testament as the Jews (Romans 1:16).

Some immediately protest this claim by arguing that the Abrahamic Covenant has been abrogated either by the Cross or by the disobedience of the Jews. But the Bible clearly teaches that the Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting one that is still in effect (Genesis 17:7; 1 Chronicles 16:17-18; Psalm 105:8-11; and Romans 9:4).

As to the effect of the Jew's rejection of Jesus, Paul specifically addresses this question in Romans 3. He asks a rhetorical question: "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?" For almost two thousand years the Church has answered this question with a resounding, Yes! But Paul answers it differently. He says, "May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar..." (Romans 3:1-4).

Further, Paul states in Romans 11 that the disobedience of the Jews has not nullified the promises of God to them, "for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). God's promises are going to be fulfilled to a believing remnant (Romans 9: 27). In fact, in Romans 9:4, Paul specifically states that God's promises to the Jews are still valid.

Two Land Covenants

What most people do not know is that there are two Old Testament covenants pertaining to the land of Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant gives the title of the land to the Jews in perpetuity. A later covenant, the Mosaic Land Covenant — or Canaan Covenant — of Deuteronomy 28-30 defines the conditions for possession and enjoyment of the land.

This latter covenant is often referred to as the "Palestinian Covenant," but that is a misnomer, for the land was never called Palestine until after the second Jewish revolt in 132-135 A.D. At that time the Romans dubbed it "Palestine" to erase the memory of its Jewish heritage and to insult the Jews, for Palestine is the Latin word for Philistine, the ancient enemy of Israel.

Let me illustrate the role and relationship of these two covenants with a modern day example. Let's say you buy a car for a child of yours and put the title in the child's name. But you explain to the child that there are conditions for using the car — such as no speeding. And you warn your child that a speeding ticket will result in the loss of the privilege of driving the car for a period of two weeks. If the child gets a ticket and you lock the car up in the garage for two weeks, the car still belongs to the child because the child's name is on the title. But the child has temporarily lost possession of the vehicle.

In like manner, the Abrahamic Covenant (about 2,000 B.C.) gave the title of the land to the Jews for eternity. The Canaan Covenant (about 1,250 B.C.) defined the terms for possession and use of the land. Title and possession are not the same thing. The Jews have lost possession of the land from time to time, but they have never lost their God-given title.

The Canaan Covenant

The Land Covenant promised that Israel would become the prime nation of the world if the Jews were obedient to God (Deuteronomy 28:1,13). But the covenant warned that many curses would befall the people if they were disobedient (Deuteronomy 28:15-37), including exile from the land (Deuteronomy 28:38-57). The covenant warned further that if temporary exile did not restore the Jews to obedience, they would suffer worldwide dispersion and persecution (Deuteronomy 28:58-68). But nowhere are they told that their disobedience would lead to a loss of their title to the land.

In fact, the Land Covenant ends in chapter 30 with a prophecy and a promise that a day will come — after the Jews have experienced the curses of the covenant — when the Lord will restore them to their land once again: "The Lord will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it" (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).

For almost 1,900 years the Jews wandered among the nations and suffered severe persecution, just as prophesied in Deuteronomy 28. During that time, their land became desolate as prophesied in Deuteronomy 29. But in this century, God has regathered them from the four corners of the earth, re-established them in their land, and transformed their land from wilderness to milk and honey — as prophesied in Deuteronomy 30.

The only prophecy left to be fulfilled in the Land Covenant is the spiritual salvation of the gathered remnant (Deuteronomy 30:6-8). That will occur soon when they repent and accept Yeshua as their Messiah.

The Abrahamic and Land Covenants make it clear that the Jewish people have both the right to the land of Israel and the right to be back in it today.

In the next part on this series on the land of Israel, we'll look at just where does this leave the Arabs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Validity of the Bible: Keys to Understanding

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What are some fundamental keys to understanding the Bible?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the validity of the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith.

Eric Barger

Literal Interpretation

Eric Barger: Look for the harmonization of Scriptures. Look at the times in the text where God is validating His Word as the truth. We see this played out so many times throughout Bible prophecy. I read once there are 324 prophecies about the Messiah in the Bible and we see so many of those have already come to pass.

To me, the validation of God's Word when reading and understanding it comes from a literal interpretation. That's the most important key. Never be like those people who today spiritualize the text resulting in unintended meanings.

Dr. Reagan: I emphasize interpreting literally over and over again. People get all upset and their noses bent out of shape over the word "literally." They'll say to me, "Don't you realize there is poetry? Don't you realize there is allegory?" I reply, "Look for the plain sense meaning even when there is an allegory or there is a symbol. Look for the plains sense meaning, but don't play with it." Of course, spiritualizers are those who take it and say it never means what it says. Spirtualization is the greatest abuse of the Scriptures because then you make yourself God so that you can make the Bible say anything that you want it to say.

Eric Barger: Yes, exactly. I read a quote by a fellow who has been taken up on apostasy or heresy charges by his denomination. This is the fourth time they have done it. He was a Bishop in his denomination and he finally declared that he didn't believe the Bible meant anything literal that we think it means.

Dr. Reagan: God knows how to communicate. God wants to communicate. You don't have to have a degree in hermeneutics or a degree in imagination to understand God's Word. What you do have to have is a childlike faith, a belief that God really wants to communicate, and you have to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to really understand it in depth.

Eric Barger: God will use versions like the Living Bible, for example. He will use different things to communicate to us. All of us are still trying to make our way along in this life-long journey of Christianity. We are all still learning and all still trying to refine who we are and what we believe. That's the great thing about the Bible — we can be reading the same passages again and again, but the Bible speaks in different ways to us at different points in our lives.

Starting Point

Dr. Reagan: Okay, assume I'm a new convert who grew up in a non-Christian family and have just been handed my first Bible. Where do I start?

Eric Barger: The book of John.

Dr. Reagan: Why would you recommend starting there rather then starting with Genesis?

Eric Barger: I believe the way the book of John teaches us about the life of Jesus really is the thing we need today. We don't start back at Genesis, though it's great to read from Genesis 1:1 and find out about God creating the world, the Fall of mankind, and the beginnings of the trials of Israel.

We first will want to learn about the Messiah, the One who has saved us, though. Once we become a Christian, the very first thing we'll want to do is find out more about Jesus. The book of John I believe clearly teaches the life of Jesus in a way that virtually everybody can understand.

The second book I would take people to, and I know there is disagreement about this one, is the book of Romans. Its Paul's great theological book where people can begin to learn what they believe. And, yes, it's going to take them awhile.

Dr. Reagan: So, you want them to jump into the deep water there? You would need to tell them that even Peter said that there were some things Paul wrote that were difficult to understand.

How about you, Nathan, where would you tell people to go?

Nathan Jones: Well, definitely John. John is the place to first go. I wouldn't start them in Genesis, because for instance my son who is of elementary age has started to get into Numbers since he's been working his way from the beginning. He kind of stole my Archaeology Study Bible and he is now getting bogged down in Numbers. That's when people start giving up on reading their way through the Bible. But, with John, you've got the Gospel. Later, as they go back and start reading the Old Testament, they'll see it all tie together.

For children, and especially because I do a lot with children who are at a young age, there is a wonderful new Bible out now called the Action Bible. It's an entire comic book or also called a graphic novel Bible. It's only $25 and it takes the pictures and the stories and the theology and brings them all to life with characters they can see and heroes they can follow. My kids are eating it up! They absolutely love it, and so I would definitely especially for kids start with something that visually makes the Bible come alive for them. Children certainly can read the Bible just as well as adults can as long as it's from a version that's in modern English. When they are ready for old King James English, I will give them a King James Bible, but right now the NIV I believe is easier to read.

Eric Barger: We need to teach them to respect the longevity of the King James. It's a version we can still all enjoy and appreciate and I'm grateful for it. But again, like I said, I read them all and look through them if there's a verse that I really want to get more depth out of. I will read the passage in three or four different versions and even go to the Greek and look at it via tools like Strong's Concordance.

Dr. Reagan: Good point! Everytime a new version comes out, I go and take a look at it because I will usually discover something I haven't discovered before from my favorite version. Just by the little bit of different wording I will get a point that I hadn't gotten before. So, I recommend folks take a look at all of them. In fact, I'm hungry for them when they come out.

Eric Barger: Me, too, but above all, I think this discussion over which version to use should not bring division between Christians. The Bible no matter the version will inspire in us a hunger for the Word of God. If there's any single thing the Church needs today, it's to reignite our hunger for the Word of God.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Validity of the Bible: Versions

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What about the King James Version?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the validity of the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith.

Eric Barger

Eric Barger: I preach from the King James Version. I use it in my writings. But, I read other versions and say that no matter what version you are reading, if there is something there that you don't understand and there is something that doesn't make sense to you, everybody use a Strong's Concordance. You can get one on your iPhone or your computer, or the paper book, and everybody should have access to one. It's not rocket science since everybody should be able to access it. With Strong's Concordance we all ought to be able to look at the original words that the English Bible translations are taken from. You can't literally translate from every Greek word into English. Sometimes it takes a sentence to make one Greek word make sense and vice versa with the two languages. So, rather than argue about which version Paul preached from, and I've heard that one before, remember which version Jesus had to preach from.

Again, I use the King James and I love the King James. I love the poetry of it and so on. But, if I ever run into a problem or something I don't quite understand, I think it's healthy to always look at the original words. You are going to learn more that way when you dig into it. I go back to the Greek and Hebrew and look at them because they are the original language that the Bible was written in. If you really want to argue what the best Bible is, it's the Greek and Hebrew versions.

Nathan Jones: Did you then recommend any modern translation, because there a lot of camps who say that King James is the only version that we can use. Then there are others who will say it's okay to use the NIV or the NAS. And then, of course, we've got all the people who don't even speak English. What about them?

Eric Barger: Sure, and there is no Japanese King James Version, for example. There is no King James Version in a lot of these other languages in the world. I don't necessarily recommend or not recommend any of those. I'm not trying to be a fence sitter, mind you. I personally will use the King James Bible, but I will read the others and I have them and I am glad that they are there so that I can find out from more modern English just what some of these ideas mean or what some of the sentences are saying. But, I'll always take it back to the Greek and Hebrew as I think they are the key.

Dr. Reagan: I personally have a great admiration for the King James Version. It's had a great impact upon Western society. I enjoy the beauty of its language. Many, many of the terms that we use in English today come from its pages. It's as beautiful as anything that Shakespeare ever wrote, and so I really have a lot of respect for it.

What most people don't realize is that the King James is only 400 years old, and prior to that for over a 1,000 years the only Bible that the Western world really had was the Latin Vulgate that Jerome put together. It served the Western world a lot longer than the King James has.

When I run into people who call themselves "King James Version Only" claiming that version is the only one you can use or otherwise you are apostate, I wonder what did they think was going on for 1,200 years when people didn't have their favorite version? And yet, they came to know the Lord and they gave their lives to Him.

When I was growing up as a kid the only version we had was King James, and I found it very difficult to read. To me it was like reading Shakespeare and I really had difficulty with it, so therefore I didn't read the Bible very much. When I became a freshman in college my mother and dad sent me a Christmas present. I opened it up and it was the J.B. Phillips paraphrase of the New Testament. I had never heard of a paraphrase and didn't know what a paraphrase was, but I opened it and started reading it and I literally could not put it down. I read it day and night through again and again, and it got me interested in reading the Bible.

Later, I went to a more literal translation and began to use them. I now use the New American Standard in my preaching today. I think there are some really good modern translations, even including the New King James.

What people also don't realize about the King James often is that it has been revised many times over the years. The King James Version we have today is not the King James produced in 1611. It has been revised many times to correct errors and punctuation. Also, thousands of new Greek manuscripts were discovered that don't even have to do with the Bible, but by reading those Greek manuscripts we come to a better understanding of Greek words that have an impact on how we translate.

Eric Barger: There are people who will go to the wall over the King James Version. They break fellowship and they even don't want to talk to you.

I don't want to shake the confidence that anybody might have in me, but when I got saved I was reading the Living Bible. It's a paraphrase. It was the same for me, a kind of a night and day reading bing. I went from reading the Living Bible to the King James with no time in between.

Dr. Reagan: I counsel new believers all the time who tell me they are having great difficulty understanding the Old Testament to get a paraphrase and start reading it. It will help them better understand the Bible's message. But, always remember, you need to get back to a really good translation that is more literal in nature.

Eric Barger: Use study helps. You don't have to be a seminarian to use good study helps like a Bible dictionary or Strong's Concordance.

In the last part of this series on the validity of the Bible, we'll ask Eric what are some fundamental keys to understanding the Bible.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Validity of the Bible: Fulfilled Prophecy

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

How do we know that the Bible really is the Word of God?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the validity of the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith.

Eric Barger

Eric Barger: God has shown Himself to us in it. There's no doubt about that. The Bible gives us the account of the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself validates so many of the Old Testament passages. The New Testament quotes 34 Old Testament books, and Jesus himself quotes 24 of the Old Testament books.

Maybe the best proof the Bible is the Word of God is fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled prophecy shows us that the Word of God has stood the test of time. There is no other book in the world that contains fulfilled prophecy.

Dr. Reagan: How could anyone get around that fact? Some try. That is the reason why liberals for example hate Bible prophecy so much. They hate it with a passion. They hate the book of Daniel because it is so specifically fulfilled in history.

Eric Barger: Yes, and the book of Daniel is one of the most attacked books by the liberals.

Nathan Jones: They will move the date up so that all the prophecies would become past tense to the original author.

Eric Barger: Exactly, it makes it look like Daniel was writing from his pre-cognitive knowledge, or that someone wrote in Daniel's name.

Dr. Reagan: Daniel wrote history in advance better than most people have written it afterwards.

Eric Barger: True, but the liberals want to tell you that Daniel was written in the Maccabean period. That would be 350 years after Daniel died. They want to say that it was written later by somebody else who already knew the events, but we can quickly see in Daniel 9 if you harmonize it with Ezra 7, you will see that God's Word was fulfilled. God fulfilled this almost to the day when Jesus Christ arrived on the scene exactly 483 years later, just as Daniel predicted it ahead of time.

Dr. Reagan: I was speaking at a church one time and asked the congregation to turn over to the book of Daniel. The pastor stood up right in the front row and said, "We don't allow the book of Daniel to be read in this church!" He went on, "You obviously are not a seminary graduate or you would know that book is fallacious. It just pretends to be prophecy." Right in front of the whole congregation I asked, "What do you mean?" He replied, "All educated people know it was written in the time of Christ." I countered, "How then do you explain the fact that it was in the Septuagint, 228 years or more before Christ? It was included in the Septuagint translation." He just shrugged it off and said, "I don't want to discuss it."

Eric Barger: I think the most telling fact that supports the veracity of Daniel is that Jesus quoted Daniel. Jesus by doing that validated Daniel's authorship. If there was something wrong with anything in the Old Testament, instead of quoting it, Jesus would have corrected it, but He didn't.

In the next part of this series on the validity of the Bible, we'll ask Eric what he thinks about the King James Version.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Validity of the Bible: Original Manuscripts

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

How do we know that the Bible today is true to the original manuscripts which we no longer have?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the validity of the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith.

Eric Barger

Eric Barger: Well, the Dead Sea Scrolls helped us, because the Dead Sea Scrolls mention every book of the Old Testament except for the book of Esther.

Dr. Reagan: Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest manuscripts we had of the Old Testament were only a 1,000 years old, so the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls catapulted us back another 1,000 years. When comparing the manuscripts, it was discovered that there were not any major differences from the ancient versions to what we have today.

Eric Barger: Exactly! That is the stunning thing about being able to compare our manuscripts from those of nearly 2,000 years ago. When they were examined side-by-side, it was obvious that we have the inerrant Word of God today. God has supernaturally protected His own Word.

Nathan Jones: Some people seem to treat the Bible as if God can't write a book. Sure, He can make the universe, but He just can't keep a book about Himself together. That attitude shows a lack of trust in God.

Wouldn't you say that most of the major criticism of the Bible comes from people who are too scared to trust the Bible as God's Word?

Eric Barger: It also lifts up the idea that man knows better than God. I've said so often that no teaching on the earth either scientific or historical is ever placed at the mercy of the Scriptures. And yet, a lot of people out there want to test the Bible by all that man knows. Instead, I think we ought to test everything that man brings up by the Bible.

The Bible is the most important book that I will ever learn from. Contained within are the very things I need to know more than anything else. It is what my children and grandchildren and, well, just everyone needs to know more than anything else. When it comes to all of my secular education, the second I breathe my last breath it is finished being of use. But, the Bible — the very Word of God — will last for eternity!

So, indeed, what the Bible teaches is the most important thing I will ever know.

In the next part of this series on the validity of the Bible, we'll ask Eric how we can know that the Bible is really the Word of God.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Validity of the Bible: Origin

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Where do we get the Bible from?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the validity of the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith.

Eric Barger

Many Books in One

Dr. Reagan: Back in the "Dark Ages" when I was a kid during the late 1930's and 1940's, I grew up in a nation where the majority of people were professing Christians. We read the Bible in school, we used it in fact in English classes, and we prayed in school. Most people went to church. But, things have drastically changed since then. We now live in a secular nation that seems to have little familiarity with the Word of God.

Eric Barger: Let's begin by shattering a common misconception, one that the secularist would use in trying to argue with us that the Bible is just merely one book. The Bible is in actuality 66 different books neatly put together into one binding that we conveniently have as one book today. This compilation of these books into the Bible was written by forty different authors over about a 1,500 year period in its production.

We can see the supernatural handprint of God on it as it harmonizes so perfectly together. So, when I quote Isaiah to prove Jesus, or when I quote Jesus to talk about Moses, I am not quoting the same source as secularists would immediately claim in saying that we are using the fallacy of circular reasoning. It's not circular reasoning.

The Bible is unique and it is the only book in the world of its sort. In fact, as I said, it is 66 unique different books written in three different languages over 1,500 years: Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew. And yet, it all fits together to create one theme. This unity shows the handprint of God as He came upon men to write His thoughts down in His desire for us to understand.

The Bible deals with all different kinds of words. It's got the words of angels, the words of demons, the words of Jesus, and even the words of Lucifer. As God's Word it gives us the account of the Jews in the Old Testament as well as it gives us a basis for the Church in the New Testament. Without the Old the New falls apart, and without the New the Old falls apart.

Jesus validated the Old Testament by quoting 24 different books from the Old Testament. The egghead theologians out there try to tear apart the Bible by saying it has errors all throughout it, or that it's just not that reliable, or that it's a nice idea but it's not really the Word of God. Now, if Jesus was the perfect God-man and was God incarnate and He came here and He quoted something from the Old Testament, you would have thought He would have brought correction to it instead of corroboration if He thought it was recorded incorrectly.

Deciding Which Books Comprise the Bible

Dr. Reagan: Who put the Bible together? The 66 books that were put together into what we now have as the Bible came about in some way.

Eric Barger: The Early Church just didn't one day decide to go to Starbucks to get a coffee, choose whatever books, and declare in that one day, "Well, I think we've got it now." Actually, the Old Testament had already been put together by the Jews, so that part was already done.

Now, for the New Testament, during the First Century of Christianity there wasn't a standardized set of teachings that the Church taught from. Pastor A over here may of only had a couple of Paul's letters that he trusted. And, Pastor B, he maybe had the books of Acts and Matthew. Pastor C had something else. But, they didn't have a standardized set of teachings. It wasn't really until about 140 AD due to a cult leader named Marcion that the Church felt really compelled to collect all the New Testament teachings because there were so many thousands of people who had gotten confused and were following Marcion's cultic ideas. Marcion believed the God of the Old Testament was different than the God of the New, and so they needed a standardized set of teachings that would refute not only Marcion but many of the cultic, Gnostic ideas that were out in those days. That's what really catapulted them into putting together the first Canon.

Their criterion for selection was interesting. Now understand, there were 12 Gospels and over 50 different letters or epistles out there, but very few of them made it into the New Testament as we know it. Only four gospels and a handful of letters qualified.

The number one criteria that the Church used in those days was this question: Did the teaching in these letters match the oral teaching of the Apostles? Did it match what the Apostles taught their disciples and their disciples taught their disciples? In those early days they heard and they learned what the Church believed orally. They heard a teaching, and if a letter didn't match like for example the Gospel of Thomas, then it didn't make the cut.

Dr. Reagan: I am sure you are aware of the fact that one of the major attacks on the Bible today is the attack that all these deciding councils were political and the people who just happened to have the political power selected the books. Detractors say there were other books that should have been selected like the Gospel of Thomas. They'll claim they were certainly canonical and should have been added in. It's just who was on the winning political side to them.

Eric Barger: Sure, there was the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Jude, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and so many others, but they didn't match the teaching of the apostles like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did so well.

Dr. Reagan: In fact, when you read those you sense immediately they don't match up.

Nathan Jones: Mary's Gospel even tells you that you have to tithe to get into Heaven.

Eric Barger: Yes. These other gospels and other epistles also didn't make it into the Bible because they held things that were not true historically, but in particular they weren't true in harmonizing with the oral teaching of the apostles.

Nathan Jones: Wasn't the Gospel of Thomas actually written 200 and some years after Thomas? Even the book of Enoch showed up as late as the 1700's.

Eric Barger: Yes, the Apostle Thomas could not have written the Gospel of Thomas. It was a common practice by some unethical people to attach the name of somebody from Christian history to gain notoriety for their false teachings. The criteria of authorship is exactly why the book of Hebrews was one of the last books added to the New Testament, because no one was quite sure who wrote it. I personally believe that Paul wrote it, but I won't break fellowship with somebody who disagrees with me on that. We may not know who wrote it for sure, but it matches theologically with the teachings the apostles taught orally along with the first person accounts of the four Gospels.

In the next part of this series on the validity of the Bible, we'll ask Eric how we can know that the Bible we have today is true to the original manuscripts.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Christian Doctrine: What Is Core?

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What are the core doctrines of the Christian faith?

Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the importance of holding fast to Christian doctrine in these increasingly apostate end times.

Eric Barger

Core Doctrines

Eric Barger: We must begin with the idea that there is a God who communicates with men. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a substitute for me and for you and for anyone who would believe. Jesus was deity, being fully God and fully man. These are the essential doctrines as outlined in the Apostles' Creed, found in the back of most of the hymn books and posted to my website. Every Christian ought to know these doctrines and accept them as non-negotiable.

Dr. Reagan: There are two major things that characterize a cult. One, they always have a distorted view of Jesus. He is never to them the Son of God and deity in the flesh. To them He is Michael the Archangel, or He was a man who became a god, or whatever.

The second characteristic of a cult is that you have to work your way to Heaven. In fact, that is one of the things that sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. Every other religion can be spelled D-O. In Christianity, it's spelled D-O-N-E.

Now, what is the most dangerous cult? Is it the Mormons, is it the Jehovah's Witnesses, is it the Moonies?

Eric Barger: No, it is those who claim to be Christians, but don't believe the Gospel.

Nathan Jones: That works based salvation creeps right in there.

Eric Barger: That's right. The bottom line which makes this works based thinking the most dangerous cult is that it is always based on what we can do for God or the cult, but not what Jesus already did for us.

Dr. Reagan: I had a lady write me a few years ago and she said she was born into a mainline denomination and grew up in it. She was faithful to it and even was teaching Sunday School on a regular basis. Then, one day she really got into the Word and discovered she wasn't even saved.

Eric Barger: I have talked to pastors who have told my privately, "I was in the ministry. I have gone through seminary, but at some point while I was pastoring such and such church I realized I really don't know Jesus. I know all about Him, but I don't know Him as Lord and Savior."

We can really know a lot about God on the basic level by memorizing words in the Bible so that you can say you know He did this and this and that, but if you don't know Him as your Lord and Savior, if you haven't personally invited Him into your life and in doing so turn from the world and turn from your sin in repentance to follow Him, then you don't really know Him as it matters.

We then need to pray, "Jesus, I can't do it myself. I believe in you as Lord and Savior." If you have never done that, no matter how good you are, no matter where you were baptized or when or how many times, and no matter what you think about your own good works, none of those things can save you. Only what Jesus did by dying on the cross and our responding to that free gift of grace in faith can save us.

It's not about us, rather it's all about Him. We need to get in agreement with what Christ did for us and obey what His Word says. Get into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and really get to know Him.