Paul Washer – Shocking Youth Message – How do you know you are saved?

Many of us first knew Paul Washer through this 4 1/2 min. video:

Someone  sent me another message which I have not watched before (Thanks Gabi). It is one of the best message/sermons out there. Please find a quiet hour, away from the bustle and listen to this message. No matter what our age is, we need to hear this message on a recurring basis. With the New Year coming  we  tend to focus and reflect on our life while  at the same time, anticipating new beginnings. May God give us a hunger for his word and a thirst for fellowship with Him in the coming year- 2011.

In this video from a Paul Washer Youth Conference in 2002,  among some important topics preached on, Paul Washer also addresses the most important question – How do you know you are saved?

Here is the link to the video of the Background of Paul Washer’s ‘Shocking Video’.

It is only 11 minutes, Watch it!http://youtu.be/EwXacLu5aAk?hd=1

Matthew 7:13 „Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Luke 13:24 „Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Reclame

Paul Washer – English message (Romanian subtitles)

O predica in Engleza cu subtitrare Romana, intitulata:

Mori fata de tine, preda-te lui Hristos.

(cer scuze pentru reclama scurta (30 sec) la inceputul predicii,nu e din partea mea)

Ca sa mariti imaginea click pe butonul cu sageti din coltul drept de jos al player-ului (ca si la Youtube).

Miine va urma al doilea mesaj al lui Paul Washer pentru tineri. YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT!

de la http://www.cst179.evonet.ro

Richard Wurmbrand – O biografie prescurtată

S-a discutat mult pe bloguri despre colaborarea crestinilor cu regimul comunist din Romania, dar prea putin despre persecutia adusa crestinilor in timpul regimului comunist. Richard Wurmbrand a fost unul dintre credinciosii care a suferit inchisoare si tortura pentru credinta lui timp de 14 ani, dar care nicidecum nu a cedat si a ramas neclintit in credinta lui in Dumnezeu.

El a fost eliberat din inchisoare in anul 1964 si in 1966 a sosit in Statele Unite. In anul 1967 a infiintat organizatia Voice of the Martyrs, o misiune dedicata asistentei Bisericii Persecutate de pretutindeni. Misiunea este bazata pe versetul urmator:

Evrei 13:3

Aduceţi-vă aminte de cei ce sînt în lanţuri, ca şi cum a-ţi fi şi voi legaţi cu ei; de cei chinuiţi, ca unii cari şi voi sînteţi în trup.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

La site-ul   http://www.Richard-Wurmbrand.ro   puteti gasi

O biografie prescurtată.

Pe linga filmul (desen animat) despre Viata lui Richard Wurmbrand, s-a facut un film documentar de catre  Christian History Institute impreuna cu International Films si Voice of the Martyrs. In filmul documentar primim mai multe detalii despre viata lui Richard Wurmbrand, din partea dinsului, a sotiei sale Sabina si a fiului sau Mihai.

Puteti sa vedeti acest documentar pe site-ul CristiaNet, la pagina link-ului click pe: Pastorul – FILM DOCUMENTAR (real video). si filmul documentar se va descarca pe Realplayer.

George Galis Post – O privire in trecut… Romania

Motto-ul vietii mele: „Nici o cutezanta sa nu vi se para de necucerit, dar catre nici o cutezanta sa nu va indreptati nepregatiti”.

Asa mi-am inceput viata materiala si spirituala aici in aceasta lume. Traind in occident de peste 40 de ani am acumulat o serie de experiente personale, traite ca Pastor Penticostal in comunitatea din marea metropola Chicago.

M-am nascut intr-o casa de crestini Penticostali din comuna Curtici. La virsta de 10 ani, in toamna anului 1944 in casa matusii mele, impreuna cu o verisoara am experimentat pentru prima data lucrarea Duhului Sfint, la o seara de staruinta in rugaciune. Seara aceia a fost plina de bucurii…

Anii au trecut, ca tinar am inceput sa fiu interesat de filozofie si fiind crestin si de teologie. Aveam deja formata o biblioteca personala. Citisem in intregime toata  biblioteca fratelui Pastor Baptist Grecu Traian (120 de volume) si mi-am format oarecum imaginea crestinismului. Am inceput sa studiez pe Pascal (Scrieri Alese), John Locke (Eseu Asupra Intelectului Omenesc, 2 volume), Seneca (Scrisori catre Luciliu) si alte scrieri materialiste. Dar credinta in Dumnezeu care a fost sadita in inima mea a ramas tare si lucra neincetat; era vie. Tinar fiind aveam o pasiune: radio amator (ham radio). Si m-am pregatit prin examene ca sa pot sa-mi construiesc o statie de emisie-transmisie ca sa comunic cu alti radio amatori. Fiind intrebat daca sint crestin mi s-a spus ca va trebui sa renunt sub declaratie caci ma leapad de acest crez, credinta mea si numai atunci voi fi acceptat. Desigur am refuzat sa renunt la credinta in Dumnezeu, fapt pentru care am fost oprit de la examen.

In timpul acesta m-am casatorit si in anul 1961 impreuna cu sotia si cu socrul meu am pornit din Seleus spre Agrisul Mare sa vizitam o prietena de-a sotiei. Ne-am oprit pentru rugaciune in satul Chier la sora Iuli, o vaduva, o femeie dedicata lucrarii lui Dumnezeu si foarte credincioasa. Nu stiam ca aici prin aceasta sora Dumnezeu imi va vorbi si ma va chema in lucrarea de slujire, de pastoratie. In timpul rugaciunii Dumnezeu imi vorbeste mie personal prin sora Iuli, caci ma cheama in lucrare intr-un loc departe de aici si caci timpul este departe, in viitor. Eu insa sa astept implinirea proorociei  si Dumnezeu va pregati si ma va calauzi acolo la timpul implinirii. Mi s-a mai spus,”Acum tu sa nu te duci in Biserica si sa spui: Domnul mi-a vorbit ca o sa ma faca un lider.  Tu sa astepti si toate vor veni pentru tine din partea Domnului.”

Iata cum a inceput pregatirea plecarii mele din Romania. In anul 1967 lucram ca instalator sanitar pe Aeroportul din Arad. Intr-o noapte, tot personalul de pe aeroport am fost opriti ca sa ajutam transferul pasagerilor a patru avioane de turisti. Erau turisti Europeni si Canadieni. Dupa ce s-a terminat transferul s-a constatat ca valiza unui Canadian lipsea. S-a pornit la cautarea ei, iar eu am fost pus sa o caut intr-un  avion Lufthansa care era gata de plecare spre Frankfurt. Din greseala am fost inchis in cala de bagaje unde cautam valiza pe care insa nu am gasit-o. Disperat, aflind ca sint inchis in cala de bagaje, am inceput sa bat cu picioarele ca sa fiu scos de acolo caci motoarele deja functionau, fiind gata de plecare. Mecanicul auzind bataile a venit si a descuiat usa. Am inceput sa ma cert cu mecanicul intrebindu-l de ce a inchis usa peste mine si nu a respectat regula ca acela ce iasa ultimul din cala de bagaje sa inchida usa. Mecanicul a spus: „Dar au mai ramas 5 minute pina la decolare si nu credeam ca cineva ar mai fi acolo.” Ofiterul de graniceri asistind la discutia dintre mine si mecanic s-a indreptat spre mine si mi-a spus: „Tovarase Galis, sinteti cu adevarat un Roman care va iubiti patria. (Spunea aceasta fiindca in mintea lui se gindea ca eu as fi putut sa ramin ascuns si sa plec in afara tarii dar eu nu aveam de gind sa fac lucrul acesta pentru ca eu nu puteam sa-mi las familia cu copii, singuri).

In anul 1971, cind am cerut Viza pentru Yugoslavia am primit-o imediat, datorita acestei declaratii din dosarul meu, fara sa stiu cum toate le-a pregatit Dumnezeu. Gindul meu de a pleca din tara a venit in iarna anului 1970. Cind m-am sfatuit cu sotia, ea s-a impotrivit caci nu putea sa isi lase mama batrina, singura in Romania care era si bolnava si ne-am decis sa asteptam. Cu doua luni mai tirziu mama ei si soacra mea a avut un ‘stroke’ si a plecat la Domnul. Atunci sotia mi-a spus, „Acum nu te mai opresc, sint de acord cu tine sa pleci”.

In luna Martie, 1971 am cerut ‘Viza de zece zile’ pentru Yugoslavia. Dupa doua luni mi s-a acordat. In ziua cind am primit pasaportul, mi-am luat ramas bun de la familie si am plecat la Timisoara si de acolo la Beograd.

Cititi mai departe-

George Galis – O privire in trecut…Lagarul din Austria (Ian. 2011)

Un video preluat dela Televiziunea Romana Internationala in anul 2009.

 

Does this generation really want the truth? Ravi Zacharias Part 2

Ravi Zacharias on the historicity of the Bible and its prophetic accuracy; he gives as example the Book of Daniel prophecy concerning Alexander the Great. Daniel 8:1-27 and 11:3-4.

Ravi Zacharias at University of Illinois. (transcribed from video-7 minutes)
Student- Hi Ravi, how you doing?

Ravi- Hey good to see you.

Student: I just wanted to ask you, could you explain in a matter more pragmatic than we’re used to why a person should believe in the word of God as the Bible and why they should basically believe every word it says as opposed to any other ‘holy book’ and why they should give their entire life to Christ.

Ravi- I mean, I know it’s a really rough question, but that’s like saying – define God and give three examples.

Student- Isn’t that just the Trinity?

Ravi- Yeah, well it’s a legitimate question, I’m sorry for responding humorously there, of course it takes a whole lot of time. In my book ‘Can man live without God?’ which was a series of lectures delivered at Harvard, the second part of it, deals with that very thing, so let me start off the best as I can.

First, I believe that truth as a category does exist. Number two it is possible in a majority of claims of philosophical and historical statements to verify the truthfulness of those affirmations. Third, I believe there are existential realities from which I cannot run, which drive me to find the answers to the existential struggles that I live with, not just the philosophical ones.

The philosophical ones are real and I have to deal with them, but so are the existential ones and by the way-existentialism came as a response to the unpaid bills of philosophy. Philosophy has become so cerebral that the passions have been ignored and the existentialism came into being  and sort of tossed out the rationalistic way of interpreting things and went purely with the gut level feeling, a la Sartre, and Camus and so on.But I think what we are trying to do is we are trying to find the bridge between the head and the heart. There are numerous ways of doing this and the way you start off with by saying,”You take the Bible as the question. Then, why the Bible and why not any other system of thought?

You start off with the Scriptures and ask your self the question. Here, there are 66 books by nearly 40 different authors, over 1500 years. There are books on history, there are books on philosophical thinking, there are books on theological thinking and systematic thinking. Now, if the Bible made several assertions, one after another that you found out to be false, either historically or philosophically or in the existential realm, you go further and further and if you see that kind of systemic contradiction and failure, then you have reason to believe that I do not really believe this document. It is not in keeping with the way I am seeing history and reality. But when you look at the Scriptures, and by the way, the Bible is a very distinctive piece of literature to any other religion’s piece of scripture. Any Muslim will tell you that his book, the Koran, is word for word perfect. It is a perfect revelation of Allah in the eye of the Muslim They will affirm that again and again. That’s why no translation of the Koran will ever do justice in their estimation of the Koran, it is the perfect expression of Allah himself as dictated to Muhammad, who recited it. Now the Bible as we know it, does not affirm that ‘verbal perfection’. I actually have a great deal of difficulty with verbal perfection. Are we really saying that no one word would have been better than another word in this volume of material? But when you take the Scriptures disclosed over centuries and over 1500 years, 40 different writers, 66 books- and you see the prophetic scheme all the way to the person of Christ.

Let me give you an example of this: The book of Daniel is written in the late 500’s before Christ, and yet when you study the Book of Daniel, you begin to see the specifics of a fantastic prophecy. He talks about a massive empire that will come into being and how that empire will be divided into 4, and that empire will be led by a strident, strong he-goat from the West who’ll be marching several nations under foot, but shall be suddenly cut off and his empire will be divided into 4. Those 4 then emerge into 2, and those 2 blend into 1. When you take the Book of Daniel, written late 500’s BC and put it ‘pro forma’ unto Alexander the Great’ in the 300’s BC, you see the stridency of Alexander.

Suddenly cut off in his 20’s, 4 kingdoms emerge, given to his 4 generals. Those 4 (Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and Macedon) come into the 2 two empires and that emerged them into the Roman empire. Centuries before- to be so specific in prophecy. You go to the prophecy of  Zechariah , who describes the crucifixion of Christ, ”They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and weep as a mother weeps for her only sons. You go to the prophecy of Isaiah and see how the Christ is going to suffer. Immediately you see the supernatural.

So, when you take the miraculous element, you take the historical element; you look into the Scriptures and you see there is an authenticity and it all points to one perfect person, the person of Christ.

Bruce Metzger who is a scholar from Princeton, made the comment…he said, “After you take the 20,000 lines of the New Testament, it is safe for any scholar to say there’s at least a 99.6% accuracy. No ancient document, NONE! Has the kind of document support that the Bible has, over 5,000 documents. Even Time magazine in ’88, Richard Ostling made the comment: “One thing we cannot deny the Christians is the documentation that is available throughout the centuries, nothing in literature matches it. Not Homer, not the Gallic Wars of Caesar or whatever.

So when you got this kind of documentation, this kind of accuracy; that kind of person in Jesus Christ, I think you got pretty compelling evidence to see why it is that we need to take Christ very seriously.

Does this generation really want the truth? Part 1 – a message especially for (University) students

Narration for video below byRavi Zacharias, visiting scholar at Cambridge University,and  frequent speaker to University students at Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford.

His ministry’s vision is fourfold: Evangelism, Apologetics, Spiritual Disciplines, and Training that comes alongside the Church or concerned Christians worldwide so that the mandate of I Peter 3:15 might be fulfilled—to set apart Christ in our hearts as Lord and always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, with gentleness and respect, all for the glory of God.

NARRATION (from video) PART 1- The problem in Universities

What has happened to truth in our day? Where did we lose out, where did we go wrong? What has become the malady that best describes why we are on the wrong track? This arena of lies and falsehood where we are risking the whole next generation with a false sense of entitlement.

Skepticism is the hallmark of University education today. You can go to campus after campus and they deny even the very possibility of ‘knowing’. Fascinating, isn’t it? You come out of the University education at the end of it basically saying, “You cannot believe anything! You cannot know anything!

Intent is prior to content. Question is: Does this generation really want the truth? Revelation displaced by reason. Truth subverted by agnosticism. Rationalism fails, existentialism fails and lastly the propositionalism (is) replaced by the visual.

This is possibly the darkest reality of our time. So the young scholar sitting before the professional lectern is absolutely convinced that truth is nearly relative and what has happened is that he (the young scholar) has lost sight of the fact of what Jesus said about the eye. He said, “Let your eye be single, the eye is the lamp of the body”. William Blake put it in these words, “This life’s dim windows of the soul distorts the heavens from pole to pole and goads you to believe a lie, when you see ‘with’ and not ‘through’ the eye”.

We are meant to see through the eye with the conscience, we are told to see ‘with the eye’ devoid of a conscience.  And in reality, nothing is so beautiful as the good, nothing so monotonous and boring as evil, but in our imagination it’s the other way around; ‘fictional evil’ is very intriguing, attractive and full of charm. The poles have been reversed, good has become boring, evil has become intriguing.

Author of Video shows Names of Persons and Locations mentioned in Bible verses, and pictures of artifacts from archaeological digs which centuries  later proved the existence of aforementioned.

Part 2 is coming tomorrow.

Colinde frumoase cu banjo, mandolina

Grupul Behold the Lamb of God:

It came to pass

O come, o come Emanuel

How to grow in grace- E.M.Bounds book- The Necessity of Prayer

In The Necessity of Prayer, (click for free PDF book format)E. M. Bounds quotes this advice, giving credit only to „an eminent old divine”:

Click to read.

Would you be freed from the bondage to corruption? Would you grow in grace in general and grow in grace in particular? If you would, your way is plain.

Ask of God more faith. Beg of him morning, and noon and night, while you walk by the way, while you sit in the house, when you lie down and when you rise up; beg of him simply to impress divine things more deeply on your heart, to give you more and more of the substance of things hoped for and of the evidence of things not seen.

From Chapter 2, „Prayer and Faith (Continued)”

DesiringGod.org ministry.

Viata lui Richard Wurmbrand pentru copiii

de la Marius Silvesan: 4 videos (subtitrare Romana) despre viata Romanului, fratele nostru Richard Wurmbrand.

Partea 2 (din 4) aici.

Partea 3 (din 4) aici.

Partea 4 (din 4) aici.

 

Iosif Ton – Whose slave are you? Al cui sclav esti tu?

O predica in limba Engleza despre Persecutia si Trezirea Spirituala din Romania. Printre alte subiecte, Iosif Ton discuta problemele prezentarii  Evangheliei din Statele Unite si mesajul care a fost dat Romanilor pe vremea  persecutiilor comuniste. Discuta  si subiecte  ca de exemplu, ‘sclavul lui Isus Hristos’ (slave of Jesus Christ), ‘devotare’ (‘commitment -pentru care fratele Ton ne afirma ca nu are o traducere buna in limba Romana) si diferenta intre ‘valori’  (values) si  ‘principii’ (principles)

‘Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Brutal Persecution In Romania by Josef Tson, posted with vodpod

De ce sint (em) Penticostalii asa de galagiosi?

Trebuie sa admit ca imi place stilul cintarii postata mai jos. Sper ca sintem galagiosi pentru ca sintem multumitori si ii datoram mult, foarte mult Dumnezeului nostru care si-a dat Fiul Sau pentru noi. La urma urmei, Dumnezeu cunoaste intentia si  inima omului.

L-am auzit pe Bob Kauflin (autorul cartii „Worship Matters’ zicind  ca in Psalmul 47, Dumnezeu ne comanda ca sa il laudam prin cintare si ne spune sa ne invatam si sa ne sfatuim prin cintari, cintind cu multumire in inima noastra.

Psalmi 47

1(Către mai marele cîntăreţilor. Un psalm făcut de fiii lui Core.) Bateţi din palme, toate popoarele! Înălţaţi lui Dumnezeu strigăte de bucurie!

2Căci Domnul, Cel Prea Înalt, este înfricoşat: El este Împărat mare peste tot pămîntul.3El ne supune popoarele, El pune neamurile supt picioarele noastre.  4El ne alege moştenirea, slava lui Iacov, pe care -l iubeşte. –

5Dumnezeu Se suie în mijlocul strigătelor de biruinţă, Domnul înaintează în sunetul trîmbiţei.

6Cîntaţi lui Dumnezeu, cîntaţi! Cîntaţi Împăratului nostru, cîntaţi! 7Căci Dumnezeu este împărat peste tot pămîntul: cîntaţi o cîntare înţeleaptă!

8Dumnezeu împărăţeşte peste neamuri, Dumnezeu şade pe scaunul Lui de domnie cel sfînt. 9Domnitorii popoarelor se adună împreună cu poporul Dumnezeului lui Avraam; căci ale lui Dumnezeu sînt scuturile pămîntului: El este mai înalt şi mai pe sus de orice.

Si in Coloseni 3:16

16Cuvîntul lui Hristos să locuiască din belşug în voi în toată înţelepciunea. Învăţaţi-vă şi sfătuiţi-vă unii pe alţii cu psalmi, cu cîntări de laudă şi cu cîntări duhovniceşti, cîntînd lui Dumnezeu cu mulţămire în inima voastră.

cinta :It’s the greatest feeling- being washed in the blood!

and here’s Bob Kauflin speaking on ‘Encouragement to use our bodies in worship’



Predica, Iosif Ton – De ce s-a nascut Isus din fecioara?

Luca 1:26-38

În luna a şasea, îngerul Gavril a fost trimes de Dumnezeu într’o cetate din Galilea, numită Nazaret, la o fecioară logodită cu un bărbat, numit Iosif, din casa lui David. Numele fecioarei era Maria.

Îngerul a intrat la ea, şi a zis: ,,Plecăciune, ţie, căreia ţi s’a făcut mare har; Domnul este cu tine, binecuvîntată eşti tu între femei! Turburată foarte mult de cuvintele acestea, Maria se întreba singură ce putea să însemneze urarea aceasta. Îngerul i -a zis: ,,Nu te teme, Marie; căci ai căpătat îndurare înaintea lui Dumnezeu. Şi iată că vei rămînea însărcinată, şi vei naşte un fiu, căruia îi vei pune numele Isus. El va fi mare, şi va fi chemat Fiul Celui Prea Înalt; şi Domnul Dumnezeu îi va da scaunul de domnie al tatălui Său David. Va împărăţi peste casa lui Iacov în veci, şi Împărăţia Lui nu va avea sfîrşit.„

Maria a zis îngerului: ,,Cum se va face lucrul acesta, fiindcă eu nu ştiu de bărbat? Îngerul i -a răspuns: ,,Duhul Sfînt Se va pogorî peste tine, şi puterea Celui Prea Înalt te va umbri. De aceea Sfîntul care Se va naşte din tine, va fi chemat Fiul lui Dumnezeu. Iată că Elisaveta, rudenia ta, a zămislit, şi ea, un fiu la bătrîneţe; şi ea, căreia i se zicea stearpă, este acum în a şasea lună.

Căci niciun cuvînt dela Dumnezeu nu este lipsit de putere. Maria a zis: ,,Iată, roaba Domnului; facă-mi-se după cuvintele tale! Şi îngerul a plecat dela ea.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.
Iosif Ton – De ce s-a nascut Isus din fecioara?, posted with vodpod

Merry Christmas !!! Sarbatori Fericite !!!

Luca 2:10-11, 13-14

Dar ingerul le-a zis: „Nu va temeti: caci va aduc o veste buna,  care va fi o mare bucurie pentru tot norodul:   Astazi in cetatea lui David, vi s-a nascut un Mintuitor, care este Hristos, Domnul.”  Si deodata, impreuna cu ingerul s-a unit o multime de oaste cereasca , laudind pe Dumnezeu si zicind:

„Slava lui Dumnezeu in locurile prea inalte, si pace pe pamint intre oamenii placuti Lui!”

From our family  to yours, warm wishes and a Merry Christmas from Chicago!

here is some ‘joyful noise’-(you have to listen to the first one to the end)

Holy is the Lamb (awesome song) and Hosanna in the highest sung at Indiana Bible College (Pentecostal) .

parca atunci cind ascult aceasta cintare as dori sa nu se mai termine si ma face sa ma gindesc ce inaltator va fi in cer cind vom cinta Mielului Isus.

Urmatoarea cintare: Hosana, Hosana in the highest

and here’s a song to celebrate this day called ‘Son of God’

and to hear 10 more Christmas songs go to the right side of blog

and click on Christmas (under Categories)

ca sa mai ascultati 10 colinde, click pe Christmas Songs/Colinde

sub Categorii (in partea dreapta a blogului, sub Comentarii)

SAU  CLICK  AICI

Why does God want us to sing?

Bob Kauflin (author of ‘Worship Matters’) first talks about Motivating the Church to Worship God;

then he explains why God wants us to sing:

here’s additional  short clips that are worthwhile, they are a Biblical theology on music. First an intro by Piper, the rest are Bob Kauflin’s.

Piper- The Lord’s triple command to sing, sing, sing

Does God sing?

The human voice in congregational music

Why does God want us to sing?

Truth and worship and The importance of singing truth (about the music style wars)

Kauflin on the (in)effectiveness of some tunes (gives funny examples of what some songs would sound like)

Style of music

Why Christians sing

Is music without words a language?

Encouragement to use our bodies in worship

Christmas Songs by Behold the Lamb of God

using mandolin in ‘O come, o come Emanuel’

‘While shepherds’ by Behold the Lamb of God

Does archaeology support the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)? Part I

Excerpted from James M. Arlandson

Inerrantist Wayne Grudem writes:

… Our understanding of Scripture is never perfect, and this means that there may be cases where we will be unable to find a solution to a difficult passage at the present time. This may be because the linguistic, historical, or contextual evidence we need to understand the passage correctly is presently unknown to us.” (Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994, p. 99)

He wrote those words in the context of supposed contradictions in the Bible. But they can apply to archaeology and history and the Bible. His humility about our imperfect understanding of Scripture is refreshing.

The Synoptics and Scripture as a whole have often been shown to be right in matters of history. In fact, that’s what’s so remarkable about Scripture. Its authorship spans about 1,500 years. They lived in different regions and cultures and flowing, changing history, so the chances of their being wrong are high. However, there are so many things Scripture gets right includeing even simple things like where Jerusalem is located or the village of Capernaum being located on the Sea of Galilee, or the name of the god Baal or of a ruler like Pontius Pilate or Nebuchadnezzar.

The historical facts and data outside of the Gospels go a long way to support their historical reliability, and here is an excerpt of a massive body of work done by James M. Arlandson (it is also featured at Bible.org) :

Archaeology and the Bible have an uneasy relationship. Many textual scholars have little use for archaeology. Discoveries happen often, so the data change, whereas the written text is stable, by comparison. Plus, the stones, so to speak, are sometimes difficult to interpret in relation to the text.

Nonetheless, let’s bring onto the web what archaeologists are saying in their books.  Though I’m far from being an archaeologist, I decided to include some findings that are more or less stable (but see some of the examples, below). For me, the Biblical text and its historical reliability have been demonstrated again and again, so I don’t put myself on an emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows, depending on this or that discovery.

(Here the author suggests to open up two separate windows; one with this link of map of Israel and the second with map of Jerusalem).

1. So  how  does  archaeology  relate  to  the  Synoptic  Gospels?

Let’s begin with a sad example – sad, but true. Jesus grieved over his prediction (Matt. 23:37, Luke 13:34) destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:20 says, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near” (see Luke 19:42;Matt.24:15-20; Mark 13:14-19). Rome destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70. The suppression was led by Roman general Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian (ruled 69-79), and Titus later ruled 79-81.

Closeup image from Arch of Titus- Menorrah and Temple goods being plundered.

The Arch of Titus stands at the highest point on the Via Sacra in Rome. The procession carved in marble shows the Roman General Titus returning victorious, having crushed the Jewish state, carrying the spoils of war stolen from the very Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

This wall relief on the Arch of Titus reveals one of the most troubling scenes in all history, Roman soldiers carrying spoils from the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The Temple Menorah* and the Table** of the Shewbread shown at an angle, both of solid gold, and the silver trumpets which called the Jews to the festivals. The Romans are in triumphal procession wearing laurel crowns and the ones carrying the Menorah have pillows on their shoulders. The soldiers carry signs commemorating the victories which Titus had won. This group of soldiers is just a few of the hundreds in the actual triumphal procession down Rome’s Sacred Way. The whole procession is about to enter the carved arch on the right which reveals the quadriga at the top, Titus on his 4-horsed chariot with soldiers. The Arch of Titus with its Menorah Relief are high on the list of importance in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it stands today as a testimony that the words of Jesus miraculously came true.

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44)

41And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying,  42 „Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

(2) Inscription about Pontius Pilate

He is mentioned in all four Gospels, particularly at the trial of Jesus, but the inscription is dealt with here because the synoptic Gospels mention him. He authorized Jesus’ execution. In the inscription at Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast, he is referred to as the prefect of Judea, which is the southern region that encompassed Jerusalem.

Click picture to read about this inscription.

Until recently, there was no contemporary evidence outside the Bible for Pilate’s existence (although Tacitus, Josephus, and Philo all wrote about him). Then in 1961, Italian archaeologists excavating the theatre at Caesarea found this stone inscription of Pontius Pilate. Coins have also been found dating from Pilate’s rule as governor.

You can click for more on Pontius Pilate and if you click on the picture on the right you can read more on the inscription that was excavated.

(3) The boy Jesus in the temple

In Luke 2:41-50, he is in the temple dialoging with the rabbis. He impressed them with his wisdom. Where did this dialogue take place?

The discovery of a stairway south of the southern wall of the Temple Mount makes it clear that it was here that the young Jesus amazed the rabbis by his knowledge. A fragment of an inscription found on the stairway, along with another fragment … mentions the elders (zeqenim). Probably a place was allotted to them. The Talmud refers to three tribunals in Jerusalem. One of these „used to sit at the gate of the Temple Mount … engaged in deliberations and expounding” … . (Barhat, p. 307)

But the most interesting evidence says in the Talmud (t.Sanhedrin 2.6) that Rabban Gamaliel (probable teacher of Paul) and the elders were sitting on the stairway, along with a scribe. Then the tractate goes on to reference the people of upper Galilee and lower Galilee (Dan Barhat, p. 307).

(Here is a link to pictures of the simulated reconstruction of the temple, these pictures are very useful in shedding a light on the Gospel events that took place there, especially notice how big the Temple structure was. For more/bigger pictures on the Temple Mount you can visit the UCLA site and the Jerusalem Archaeological Park which has interactive maps and material on persons and events; this site is worth book marking and studying Biblical history at leisure)

(4) A winepress, stone-walled terraces, and three towers

In all four Gospels, Jesus is called “Jesus of Nazareth.” In the Parable of the

Tenants, he says that “a man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower” (Mark 12:1, Matt.21:33) but  Luke 20:9 omits most of the elements). Since the 1990s these textual data have been confirmed by archaeology “less than half a mile from the center of first-century Nazareth” to the west … . “A winepress has been exposed, and beautifully constructed stone-walled terraces are now visible. Most importantly, three circular stone towers only about fifty feet [about 16m] apart now rise majestically above the rocky terrain” (Charlesworth, “Jesus Research,” p. 38).

(5) The farmers in the Parable of the Tenants

In this parable (Matt. 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19), the landlord rents out his land to farmers. When he sends his servants to collect some of the produce or profits, the farmers beat them and eventually killed the landowner’s son.

So were the farmers peasants? From the larger contexts of rabbinic traditions, Greek papyri, a true-life story from Cicero himself (106-43 BC), and the Old Testament, it is clear that they were not necessarily poor peasants who were oppressed, so that they were in some sense justified in taking the land. Some of the evidence in the papyri parallels Jesus’ parable remarkably closely. A landowner leases his land to a farmer (the same Greek word both in the New Testament and the papyri). The landowner sends servants to collect the profits. The farmer assaults them and runs them out of the village (Evans, pp. 245-47). So instead of being dispossessed peasants, the farmers in the parable could be the powerful who were greedy for profit and the acquisition of more land. Thus, the farmers and their actions are consistent with the ruling priests in Jerusalem, according to Jesus’ assessment of them, as the end of the parable indicates.

Craig A. Evans, “Are the Wicked Tenant Farmers ‘Peasants’?” pp. 231-50.

read the rest of this article here .

Does archaeology support the Synoptic Gospels? Part II

You can read Part I of this post here.

(6) Peter’s house in Capernaum?

Aerial view of Capernaum

This fishing village  on the North shore of Galilee populated with about 1,000 to 1,700 people was Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1). He taught in the synagogue and set a man free of a demon after he interrupted Jesus’ sermon. Then Jesus went immediately afterwards to Peter’s house and healed Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick with a fever. She got up and cooked them dinner. Finally, “the whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons” … (Mark 1:21-34).

A house has been excavated there, and it is possible that it may have been Peter’s. James Charlesworth reviews six parts of the puzzle that fit together and indicate that the house was Peter’s (pp. 49-50). Jerome Murphy-O’Connor says that no evidence contradicts the identification of the house with Peter (p. 220). Von Wahlde writes: “Almost all scholars now espouse this view” that the house belonged to the apostle (p. 546).

(7) First-century synagogue in Capernaum?

All four Gospels mention a synagogue at Capernaum. Impressive remains of a fourth-century synagogue stand near the shoreline of the Lake of Galilee. Excavations around it have revealed an earlier layer underneath the fourth-century synagogue. “Given the custom of building one synagogue immediately upon the site of the previous ones, the earlier building is almost certainly the synagogue in which … Jesus taught on the day of the multiplication of loaves” (John 6:59) (von Wahlde, p. 546). As we saw in the sixth example, Jesus ministered there on other occasions.

(8) The Galilean boat

Misleadingly called the “Jesus boat,” it has no clear connection to Jesus or his disciples. It was found in the mud on the northwestern shore of the Lake of Galilee. “It is poorly crafted and represents the possession of ordinary people. Perhaps about thirteen men could be crowded into it.” It has a shallow draft and sat low to the water, so fishermen could easily pull up a net with fish trapped in it. The boat’s low profile means that it would fill up with water quickly in a storm (Charlesworth, pp. 41-42). Recall that James and John, sons of Zebedee, and Peter were partners (Luke 5:6, 10). They owned at least two boats. Though the Galilean boat has no firm connection to the disciples, it at least sheds some light on what life was like for fishermen.

(9) Herod Antipas: a reed shaken by the wind?

Matt. 11:7-9 and Luke 7:24-26 discuss John the Baptist’s prophethood, after he was in prison. Jesus asks the people whether John was a “reed shaken in the wind.” The answer is no; he was a prophet. But why would Jesus choose that image? A possible explanation appears on local coins.

Herod Antipas minted coins with reeds on them because reeds symbolized cities on a river or lake, specifically the city of Tiberias. A “‘shaken reed’ could have become a name for the king who swayed with and survived many a political wind, who wavered between wives, and even between Sepphoris and Tiberias as his place of residence … The vivid phrase goes back to Jesus himself and reflects local color of the day, as he contrasts the uncompromising prophet with the ‘shaking reed’ of a kinglet from the Hellenistic Roman power elite” (Reumann, p. 672).

The connection between the passages in Matthew and Luke and the coins is not absolutely fixed. But it receives support from the textual context. Jesus also asks whether John was “a man dressed in fine clothes?” “No,” Jesus replies, answering his own question, because “those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces” (Matt. 11:8 // Luke 7:25).

(10) Qumran writings and table fellowship

The Essenes, probable writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran, were extra-scrupulous about whom they invited to table fellowship and the assembly or the community of the last days. James D. G. Dunn quotes several passages from these texts. They show the kinds of persons who were excluded: the unclean, the paralyzed in their feet or hands, or the lame or the blind or deaf and mute or the blemished. In contrast, in Luke 14:12-13 and 21, Jesus says these people are acceptable for his table fellowship:

12 Then Jesus said to his host, „When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind … 21 „The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (Luke 14:12-13, 21)

The wording of the excluded persons is similar to the Qumran texts: lame, blind, and crippled. This last word is a different Greek and Hebrew word from the Greek and Hebrew of “lame.” “Crippled” should be translated more generally, maybe as “seriously disabled” or possibly “blemished” or a range of physical disabilities. Now what about the poor? In the Synoptics, they receive ministry from Jesus, but in the Dead Sea scrolls that Dunn cites the term applies to the Essenes themselves, even though many may not have been poor.

Dunn draws the obvious conclusion: “In the Palestinian Jesus movement the table of God was open to all the poor, and not least to the disabled, the lame, and the blind – those specifically excluded by the self-styled ‘poor’ of Qumran” (p. 267).

…some Church history – Spread of the Bible

From Biblica – The Bible Atlas.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19.

Early Christians suffered sporadic persecution, but in 313 A.D. Constantine the Great established religious tolerance with the edict of Milan, and Christianity soon became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Soon missionaries began carrying the Bible and its message throughout the Western world.

Although peoples in the far reaches of the empire had their own languages, they had no way of writing them. In order to reach these people, missionaries not only had to supply translations of the Bible, but they also had to devise alphabets in which to record them. In this way the early missionaries also spread literacy.

In the fourth century Ulfilas, a bishop from Cappadocia (now part of Turkey), carried Christianity to the Visigoths inventing an alphabet and translating Scripture into Gothic. In the fifth century Mesrop, an Armenian monk, created no less than 3 alphabets that were then used to translate the Bible into Armenian, Albanian and Georgian.

In the 9th century Cyril and Methodius of Greece traveled to Moravia (now Slovakia), created an alphabet, and translated the Bible  into old Slavonic. From there the Bible was carried into the regions that are now Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, and Russia. Without the alphabets forged by tireless missionaries, the peoples of Eastern Europe may not have learned to read or write  for a long while.

MONKS  MAKE  A  DIFFERENCE. By the fourth century, Latin had replaced Greek as the language of empire, and so a good Latin Bible was needed. An irascible Italian monk named Jerome accepted the challenge and produced a translation that came to be known as the Vulgate because it was in the vulgar (common) tongue of Latin. Jerome translated most of the New Testament from the original Greek and the entire Old Testament from the ancient Hebrew texts– instead of working from the Greek Septuagint version, which had been used by Christians from the beginning. The Vulgate Bible, completed in A.D. 405, remained the major Biblical text for more than a millenium.

As a result of barbarian incursions, the Roman Empire fell and intellectual life in Europe suffered greatly. However, from the late 6th century on, communities of monks worked diligently throughout the West to preserve and copy Biblical texts. These meticulously copied manuscripts are amazing in their accuracy and prized for the high quality of their ornamentation. And the monks endless hours of tireless copying led to a major innovation in handwriting.

In the late 7th century, Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon monk, perfected a new style of writing known as minuscule script, in which letters were connected rather than printed individually in block form. This free-flowing script, which made it possible to write much more quickly, soon became the standard throughout Europe.

For centuries the monks were also the chief educators, teaching in their monasteries or cathedral schools. Then, early in the 13th century, the first universities emerged in Paris, Bologna, and England. Theology was still the predominant subject, but for he first time, thanks to a new movement called scholasticism, students were urged to seek knowledge in texts beyond those of he Scripture, especially in the works of the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Scholasticism resulted in the emergence of some of the greatest thinkers of all time, including Thomas Aquinas, whose Summa Theologica (1267-1273) remains a masterpiece of Christian Theology.

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