Another Dead Sea Scrolls cave discovered 

640px-QumranArcheologists have discovered a 12th cave that once held Dead Sea scrolls, ancient Biblical and other texts dating from 400 B.C. to 100 A.D.

This cave, though, had been looted and contains no scrolls.  (One wonders, where are they?)  But it does preserve some artifacts from the ancient Jews–whether members of the Essene sect or, as some scholars now think, priests– who kept the library.

 

Photo of Cave 4, where 90% of the scrolls were found, by Effi Schweizer – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3089552

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Fake News 

fake-1903774_640Both sides of our political divide are accusing the other of spreading “fake news.”

Rev. Tim Pauls, writing for LCMS News & Information, says that of course making up facts and believing whatever we want to is going to be a problem in a culture that rejects objective truth.

He gives some striking examples and some insightful analysis from a Christian perspective.  He then gives some Biblical texts that address this issue and suggests how Christians can handle it. [Read more…]

Donald Trump in Bible prophecy?

B_Facundus_167Many End Times preachers are saying that the rise of Donald Trump was prophesied in the Bible as a herald that the last days are upon us.  He’s not the anti-christ.  We know that because the Bible says of the anti-Christ:

“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Dan 11:37)

Trump, with his history of womanizing, does regard the desire of women, so we can rest easy about that.  Rather, he is a much more positive sign.  The Scriptures clearly say that Christ will come back after the sounding of “the last trump.”

Never mind that the connection only works in the English language.  And that “trump” as short for “trumpet” only works in the archaic English of the King James Bible.  Or that turning the Bible into a symbolic code, rather than attending to what it literally says, undermines Biblical authority.

Other objections present themselves:  Isn’t the new president the “first Trump” to be in office?  Maybe he will start a dynasty.  Maybe his son Barron, or Barron’s son or grandson, will be the “last Trump.”  Where does “last” enter into the prophecy?  (Can you think of other problems with this interpretation?)

A sample of this End Times prediction after the jump. [Read more…]

The world’s favorite Bible verses

phone-1052021_640Do you have the Bible app YouVersion on your phone?  Over 255 million people from around the world do.  It gives the entire Bible in over 1500 versions and in over 1,000 languages.  (This was originally the project of a church here in Oklahoma.)

The technology gives the YouVersion people lots of data.  They can tell what Bible passages are the most highlighted, bookmarked, and shared with others.  With those criteria, guess what the world’s favorite Bible passage is.  See the answer after the jump.

The link also gives the favorite Bible passages of 88 different countries.  What can you tell about them or about the state of Christianity on the basis of that Bible verse?

UPDATE:  Notice how the world’s favorite Bible verse is about being “called”; that is, it is about vocation!

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The origin of the Bible’s chapters and verses

photo-1470859624578-4bb57890378a_optImagine trying to look something up in the Bible if it didn’t have chapters and verses.  But the Bible didn’t come with them.  They were added to make the Scriptures more accessible.  We have two men from two different centuries to thank for these innovations.

Mark Wood at Christianity Today tells the tale, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

The Eighth Day

All_Saints_fontThe Gospel reading for yesterday, commemorating the Circumcision and Name of Jesus, was Luke 2:21, the shortest text in the Lectionary.  (See our recent post on the subject.)  In the course of an excellent sermon that explored the depths of this one verse of the Bible, our pastor cited the significance of “the eighth day.”

God created the universe in six days and on the seventh, He rested.  Then on the eighth day, the creation began to unfold.  Jesus rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath; that is, the eighth day.  Christians worship on Sunday, the eighth day, which is also the first day of a new week.  With Christ’s resurrection on the eighth day, God has initiated a new creation.  Those with faith in Christ are part of this new creation.  Thus, very early, Baptismal fonts were made in the shape of an octagon, the eight sides symbolizing the eight days.   [Read more…]