Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Jesus' crucifixion as portrayed by Diego VelázquezThe name of Jesus, meaning "Savior" in Christian usage, derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew Yeshua and Joshua, meaning Yahweh is salvation. Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and the prophesied Hebrew Messiah (Anointed One, deliverer of Israel). Also known as "Jesus Christ", "Jesus of Nazareth", and "Jesus the Nazarene".

Christian views of Jesus (known as Christology) are both diverse and complex. Most Christians are Trinitarian and affirm the Nicene Creed, believing that Jesus is both the Son of God and God made incarnate, sent to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by atoning for the sins of humanity.

Other Christians, however, do not believe that the Nicene Creed correctly interprets Scripture.



Martin Luther's 95 ThesesThe Protestant Reformation was a movement that emerged in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. The main front of the reformation was started by Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. The reformation ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, the Reformed churches, and Anabaptists, a radical branch whose name means "those who baptize again".

It also led to the Counter-Reformation within the Roman Catholic Church, which theological draft and background were drawn up with the Council of Trent (1548–1563), when Rome struck back against the fundamental ideas defended by the Reformers, like Luther. The rift between Catholics and Protestants would lead to the break up of large European empires into the modern nation-state system.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Tribes of Israel

Israel had 12 sons, as follows: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (Jacob was renamed Israel Gen. 32:27-29)
The Tribe of Levi was set apart from the others in the sense that, the members of the Tribe of Levi were to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony. (see: Num. 1).
The Tribe of Joseph is not usually listed with the Hebrew tribes although Joseph is one of Jacobs twelve sons, the eldest of Rachel. It is sometimes referred to as the House of Joseph. Rather, the two tribes founded by his sons Ephraim and Manasseh are listed separately.

The Ten Lost Tribes are those from the northern Kingdom of Israel who were deported by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC to Khorason. In Jewish popular culture, the ten tribes disappeared from history, leaving only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah and Levi who evolved into the modern day Jews.


historicity of Jesus

The historicity of Jesus (i.e., his existence as an actual historical figure), is accepted as a theological axiom by three world religions, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, based on their respective scriptures.

The earliest known sources are Christian writings - the New Testament - which, according to modern historians, were written several decades after he is said to have died. However, while Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith also consider Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human. Most scholars, however, agree that Jesus was an historical figure regardless of their perspectives on His teaching, His message of salvation, or statements about Himself.


Friday, June 23, 2006

The Western Wall

Jerusalem Western Wall by nightThe Western Wall (Hebrew: הכותל המערבי, HaKotel HaMa'aravi), or simply The Kotel, is a retaining wall from the time of the Jewish Second Temple of Jerusalem (see also Temple of Herod). It is sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall, or as the al-Buraq Wall, in a mix of English and Arabic. The Temple was the most sacred building in Judaism. Herod the Great built vast retaining walls around Mount Moriah, expanding the small, quasi-natural plateau on which the First and Second Temples stood into the wide open spaces of the Temple Mount seen today.

In recent centuries, Jews were allowed little or no access to the site, such as when Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) ruled over it for 400 years (1515-1917), followed by the British Mandate of Palestine (1917-1948) and the Jordanian rule of Jerusalem (1948-1967). Only when the Israel Defense Forces won a victory in the 1967 Six Day War were Jews finally able to gain free access to the site.


lineage of Jesus

The infant Jesus in Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van HonthorstThe lineage of Jesus is recorded in two places in the bible:
1) Matthew 1:1-17, and 2) Luke 3:23-38 (in addition to several other new testament references: Mark 10:47, luke 1:32, Acts 2:29-30, Rev. 5:5, 22:16).

The Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 accounts differ because, Luke follows Mary's lineage (Jesus' blood mother), through David's son Nathan (Luke's genealogy focused on Jesus' descent from God through the virgin birth. It placed no emphasis on Jesus being the descendant of king David) and the Matthew genealogy follows Joseph's line (Joseph being the legal father of Jesus, see below) through David's son Solomon. God's promise to David was fulfilled because mary was the biological parent of Jesus.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

King David

David and Goliath by Caravaggio, c. 1599.King David (Standard Hebrew דָּוִד, Davíd, "Beloved") was the second king of the united kingdom of Israel (c. 1005 BC – 965 BC) and successor to King Saul. His life and rule are recorded in the Hebrew Bible's books of First Samuel (from chapter 16 onwards), Second Samuel, First Kings and Second Kings (to verse 4). First Chronicles gives further stories of David, mingled with lists and genealogies.

He is depicted as the most righteous of all the ancient kings of Israel - although not without fault - as well as an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet (he is traditionally credited with the authorship of many of the Psalms). 2 Samuel 7:12-16 states that God was so pleased with David that He promised that the Davidic line would endure forever; Jews therefore believe that the Jewish Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David, and Christians trace the lineage of Jesus back to him through both Mary and Joseph.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tower of David

The Tower of David is Jerusalem's "citadel", a historical and archaeological site of world importance.

This is a medieval fortress, with later additions. Its towers and ramparts offer splendid views of that part of Jerusalem where Old and New meet, and East meets West. The site of the citadel has always been the weak point in the city's defenses, compelling its rulers throughout history to fortify the site.

This important historical and archeological site was built in the First Temple Period (960-586 BCE). Parts of a tower and the city wall were built by the Hasmonean (first century BCE). The base of the tower was built by Herod the Great (37-34 BCE).


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Qumran (Khirbet Qumran) is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the disputed territory of the West Bank. The site was constructed sometime between 150 and 130 BC and saw various phases of occupation until, in the summer of 68, Titus and his X Fretensis destroyed it. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the hiding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves of the sheer desert cliffs. Location near 31°45'N 35°26'E.

The Dead Sea scrolls comprise roughly 825-870 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran (near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea).


Monday, June 19, 2006

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (November 10, 1483–February 18, 1546) was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. Luther's call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible led to the formation of new traditions within Christianity and to the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic reaction to these movements. His contributions to Western civilization went beyond the life of the Christian Church. His translations of the Bible helped to develop a standard version of the German language and added several principles to the art of translation. His hymns inspired the development of congregational singing in Christianity. His marriage on June 13, 1525, to Katharina von Bora began a movement of clerical marriage within many Christian traditions.


Saturday, June 17, 2006


Jacob or Ya'akov, (יַעֲקֹב "Holder of the heel"), later known as Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל "Prince of God") is the third Biblical patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis.

Jacob was born 20 years after Isaac and Rebekah were married, at which time his father was 60 (Gen. 25:26), and Abraham, 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.


Friday, June 16, 2006


Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, where the victim was tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang there until dead. It is mostly widely known as a not uncommon but extremely dishonorable as well as excruciating form of judicial execution in the Roman Empire, though similar methods were employed in other ancient cultures. Crucifixion has special significance in Christianity, which holds that Jesus was crucified but later resurrected. Because of this the Christian cross or crucifix has become a common symbol of Christianity.

Crucifixion was used by the Romans until about 313 AD, when Christianity became the dominant faith in Rome. However, it has been used in various places in modern times.

According to the Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus was crucified.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Joseph of Arimathea

Joseph of Arimathea, according to the Gospels, was the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus was crucified. A native of Arimathea, he was apparently a man of wealth, and a member of the Sanhedrin (which is the way bouleutes, literally "senator", is interpreted in Matthew 27:57 and Luke 23:50). Joseph was an "honourable counsellor, who waited (or "was searching" which is not the same thing) for the kingdom of God" (Mark, 15:43). As soon as he heard the news of Jesus' death, he "went in boldly" (literally "having summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus."

Pilate, who was reassured by a centurion that the death had really taken place, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39).


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flavius Josephus

Josephus (c. 37 AD/CE – c. 100), who became known, in his capacity as a Roman citizen, as Flavius Josephus, was a 1st century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and royal ancestry who survived and recorded the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70. His works give an important insight into first-century Judaism.

Josephus, who introduced himself in Greek as "Joseph, son of Matthias, a Hebrew by race, a priest from Jerusalem", fought the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 as a Jewish military leader in Galilee. However, in circumstances that are somewhat unclear (see also Josephus problem), Josephus surrendered to the Roman forces invading Galilee in July 67. He became a prisoner and provided the Romans with intelligence on the ongoing revolt. The Roman forces were led by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors). In 69 Josephus was released (cf. War IV.622-629) and according to Josephus' own account, he appears to have played some role as a negotiator with the defenders in the Siege of Jerusalem in 70.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The name Ehyeh (Hebrew: אֶהְיֶה) denotes God's potency in the immediate future, and is part of YHVH. The phrase "ehyeh-asher-ehyeh" (Exodus 3:14) is interpreted by some authorities as "I will be because I will be," using the second part as a gloss and referring to God's promise, "Certainly I will be [ehyeh] with thee" (Exodus 3:12). Other authorities claim that the whole phrase forms one name. The Targum Onkelos leaves the phrase untranslated and is so quoted in the Talmud (B. B. 73a). The "I am that I am" of the Authorized Version is based on this view.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Frederick Fyvie Bruce

Frederick Fyvie Bruce (a.k.a. F. F. Bruce) (1910-1990) was a Bible scholar, and one of the founders of the modern evangelical understanding of the Bible. His work New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? is considered a classic in the discipline of Christian apologetics.

He was born in Elgin, Morayshire and was educated at the University of Aberdeen, Cambridge University and the University of Vienna. After teaching Greek for several years first at the University of Edinburgh and then at the University of Leeds he became head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield in 1947. In 1959 he moved to the University of Manchester where he became professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis. In his career he wrote some thirty-three books and served as editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. He retired from teaching in 1978.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Ill-legalism addresses issues of theology, hermeneutics, attitudes, lifestyle, and relationship surrounding Christian legalism and fundamentalism. It provides support for recovering legalists. Ill-legalism is not anti-fundamentalist. It exists partly to address problems within fundamentalism, and problems with some of the reactions to fundamentalism.

Stern Man in hat © 1992-2005 Valerie C. Hamill Cohen

Rick Presley, a former bi-vocational pastor, is currently an instructional designer with a major not-for-profit international humanitarian organization. Some of the experiences that have shaped his life include five years of teaching biology in a Christian school, serving as a technical consultant and laboratory technician in the chemical industry and church planting in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Rachel Ramer is a freelance writer whose articles and stories have appeared in several publications. She is also currently a writing instructor for junior and senior high school students. Rachel educated her children at home for eight years and, prior to that, spent seven years working for an organization that provides direct care services for the mentally handicapped. She lives in the country in eastern Indiana with her husband, Curtis, and their three boys.


Christian countercult movement

The Christian countercult movement, also known as discernment ministries is the collective designation for many mostly unrelated ministries and individual Christians who oppose non-mainstream Christian and non-Christian religious groups, which they often call cults. Motivation for this movement is usually based in doctrinal and theological reasons, and it often with a missionary or apologetic purpose. Protagonists often come from an Evangelical or fundamentalist background, although some are former members of non-mainstream groups. While a considerable proportion of those who identify with the Christian countercult are Protestant Evangelicals, there are also Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Ancient Oriental Orthodox groups critical of cults.

The Christian countercult movement with its emphases on apologetics and evangelism does not constitute the totality of concerns which many Christians have about cult practices. Some Christians share similar concerns to those of the secular anti-cult movement.

Historically, one of the most important protagonists of the movement was Walter Martin (1928-89), whose numerous books include the 1955 The Rise of the Cults: An Introductory Guide to the Non-Christian Cults.


Thursday, June 08, 2006


The tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-10, 26:1-3) is known in Hebrew as the mishkan ("place of [divine] dwelling"). It was to be a portable central place of worship for the children of Israel from the time they left ancient Egypt following the exodus, through the time of the book of Judges when they were engaged in conquering the land of Canaan, until the time its elements were made part of the final temple in Jerusalem about the 10th century BC.

Hebrew mishkan
The Hebrew word, however, points to a different meaning. Mishkan is related to the Hebrew word to "dwell", "rest", or "to live in", referring to the "[In-dwelling] Presence of God", the Shekhina (or Shechina) (based on the same Hebrew root word as Mishkan), that dwelled or rested within this divinely ordained mysterious structure.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig (born August 23, 1949) is an American philosopher, theologian, and Christian apologist. He is a prolific author and lecturer on a wide range of issues related to the philosophy of religion, the historical Jesus, the coherence of the Christian worldview, and Intelligent Design. He is married and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, California. Craig is a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, which is the hub of the intelligent design movement.

Craig became a Christian believer in high school at the age of 16. His vocation and academic studies reflect his religious commitment to Christian beliefs within the Protestant Evangelical tradition.

In theological commitments he holds to an Arminian (specifically, Molinist) view concerning the grace of God and the role of the human will in conversion. He has had friendly connections with para-church ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ and Christian International Ministries (Europe).



(antichristos) anti= "in the place of" or "against". Being in opposition to or against all that is pertaining to Christ. (1 John 2:18; 4:1-3; 2:22; 2 John 1:7). This will be ultimately manifested in the world ruler during the tribulation period.

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist has come to mean a person, image of a person, or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth, while convincingly disguised as wholly good and a bringer of truth.

Contrary to a popular misconception and to the surprise of many Christians and non-Christians, the actual words "Antichrist" or "Antichrists" do not appear in the entire text of the Book of Revelation (e.g. in relation to the Tribulation, Beast, Dragon, Whore of Babylon, False Prophet, etc.), the Book of Daniel (e.g. in relation to the Abomination of Desolation or the Beasts/Empires) or Paul's passages on the "Man of Sin" in 2 Thessalonians 2. The words "Antichrist" or "Antichrists" are never used by Christ during his ministry, including his discussion about the signs of the "End of the Age" in Matthew 24. While the word "Antichrist" does not appear in these sources, the concept has been recognized in that "scripture warns against a false Christ image that becomes a living icon, and an object of worship (Revelation 13:14-15). Satan's plan is to be worshiped as God and Savior (Isaiah 14:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 11:14")


Monday, June 05, 2006


(antichristos) anti= "in the place of" or "against". Being in opposition to or against all that is pertaining to Christ. (1 John 2:18; 4:1-3; 2:22; 2 John 1:7). This will be ultimately manifested in the world ruler during the tribulation period.

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist has come to mean a person, image of a person, or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth, while convincingly disguised as wholly good and a bringer of truth.

Contrary to a popular misconception and to the surprise of many Christians and non-Christians, the actual words "Antichrist" or "Antichrists" do not appear in the entire text of the Book of Revelation.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Center for Science and Culture

The Center for Science and Culture (CSC), formerly known as the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC), is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States. The CSC conducts a campaign promoting a religious agenda calling for broad social, academic and political changes centering around intelligent design. It lobbies for the inclusion of intelligent design (ID) in public school science curricula as an explanation for the origins of life and the universe while casting doubt on the theory of evolution by portraying it as a "theory in crisis."

These positions have been rejected by the wider scientific community, which identifies intelligent design as pseudoscientific Neo-creationism and challenges the notion that evolution is anything but widely accepted within science.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Augustine of Hippo

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo ("The knowledgeable one") (November 13, 354–August 28, 430) was one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. In Roman Catholicism, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists (see Calvinism), consider him to be one of the theological fountainheads of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. Born in Africa as the eldest son of Saint Monica, he was educated and baptized (see baptism) in Italy. His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read by Christians around the world.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Noah's Ark

According to the Bible, Noah's Ark was a massive vessel built at God's command to save Noah, his family, and a core stock of the world's animals from the Great Flood. The story is contained in the Hebrew Bible's book of Genesis, chapters 6 to 9.

According to one school of modern textual criticism—the documentary hypothesis—the Ark story told in Genesis is based on two originally quasi-independent sources, and did not reach its present form until the 5th century BC. According to this hypothesis, the process of composition over many centuries helps to explain apparent confusion and repetition in the text.





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