Sunday, June 26, 2011

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 only 20-30 years after Jesus died.

However, while Christianity considers Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him only as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human. Messianic Judaism, however, also considers Jesus (Yeshua HaMashiach) to be the Jewish Messiah.

With few exceptions (such as Robert M. Price), scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion.

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.

Greeting to the Seven Churches
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4-8 ESV)


Case For The Resurrection of Jesus Dr. William Lane Craig

Sunday, June 19, 2011

David Littman

David Gerald Littman (born July 4, 1933) is a British historian and a human rights activist at the United Nations in Geneva, representing various NGOs.

David Littman was born on July 4, 1933, in London, England. He was educated at Canford School, Dorset, England (1951), and Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned his BA with honors and MA degrees in Modern History and Political Science, followed by post-graduate studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London. He married his Egyptian-born wife Gisèle (née Orebi) (later known by her nom de plume Bat Ye'or), in September 1959. They moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, the following year.

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization was founded by his brother, Louis Littman.

Operation Mural
Littman volunteered for a clandestine humanitarian mission to evacuate Jewish children from Morocco to Israel, via Switzerland. At the time, Moroccan Jews were prohibited from leaving the country. Littman thought he was working for the Jewish Agency – years later it was revealed it was arranged with the assistance of the Mossad. From March–July 1961, posing with his wife and baby daughter as Christians, the 27-year-old Littman ran the Casablanca office of the Geneva-based international NGO for children Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants de l'Afrique du Nord (OSSEAN). His code name was "Mural", and the code name for the mission was "Operation Mural". After months of negotiation by Littman, the children left Morocco in five convoys under the guise of a supposed holiday in Switzerland (with Littman accompanying the last convoy), and from Switzerland went to Israel. In all, he assisted in evacuating 530 Jewish children to Israel. The children's families joined them several years later.

The story of Operation Mural was first made public in 1984, in an article in Maariv. That in turn led to public recognition by President Chaim Herzog at an official presidential reception, followed in 1986, on the 25th anniversary of the operation, by a gathering of the children at which Littman was honored with the Mimouna award in recognition of his activities. A documentary film on the operation, filmed by Yehuda Kaveh, screened in 2007.

On June 1, 2008, at a special private commemorative event at the presidential Jerusalem residence – with Littman, his wife, two children, three grandchildren and former key agents from the Mossad, who had worked with Littman – Israeli President Shimon Peres, said:
"Well, it is a belated ceremony, but it doesn’t lose its value, because what you did stands on its own legs and is not affected by time. I think that the saving of 530 children is, I imagine, the most moving experience a man can have. You say in Hebrew: 'The one who saves one life, is like the one that saved the life of the whole world.' But when you save 530 children, it’s really unforgettable. I want to express, on behalf of our people, our nation, our recognition of your courage, your wisdom, of your determination under extremely difficult conditions".


David Littman: The UN In The Last Year interview with Pamela Geller.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon From The Home Preacher; or, Church in the House. Edinburgh ND 1870s
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, commonly C.H. Spurgeon, (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892) was a British Baptist preacher.

Born in Kelvedon, Essex, Spurgeon's conversion to Christianity came in January 1850 at the age of fifteen. On his way to a scheduled appointment, a snow storm forced him to cut short his intended journey and turn in to a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester where, in his own words: "God opened his heart to the salvation message."

"The only reason why anything virtuous or lively survives in us is this, 'the LORD is there'."
(Ez. 35:10)" —Charles H. Spurgeon

He preached his first sermon in 1851 and, from the beginning of his ministry, his style and ability were considered to be far above average.

In 1852, he became pastor of the small Baptist church at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, and in 1854, after preaching three months on probation and just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, was called to the pastorate of London's famed New Park Street Chapel, Southwark (formerly pastored by the Particular Baptist theologian John Gill).

Within a few months of his call his powers as a preacher made him famous.

In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, against liberalism and pragmatic theological tendencies even in his day, often up to 10 times each week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave that denomination. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon's which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon's College, which was named after him posthumously.
Sincerely and straightforwardly he denounced error both in the Church of England and among his own Baptists. An ardent evangelical, he deplored the trend of the day toward biblical criticism. He learned more of the things that matter in those years than most men learn in a lifetime. That one so young, so sheltered, trained from his babyhood in the ways of God, could have felt so much and have had such exercises of soul may seem impossible, his own account of his darkness and despair may appear exaggerated; but those who are versed in the ways of God will understand. "To make a man a saint," says Pascal, "grace is absolutely necessary, and whoever doubts it, does not know what a saint is or what a man is." Spurgeon early learned to know both. He arrived at some knowledge of his own heart and some knowledge of God's heart. By his very wanderings he was assured that grace was seeking him all the while. "I must confess," he says, "that I never would have been saved if I could have helped it. As long as ever I could, I rebelled, and revolted, and struggled against God. When He would have me pray, I would not pray, and when He would have me listen to the sound of the ministry, I would not. And when I heard, and the tear rolled down my cheek, I wiped it away and defied Him to melt my soul. But long before I began with Christ, He began with me." To all swift things for swiftness did I sue; Cling to the whistling mane of every wind. But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, The long savannahs of the blue; Or whether, thunder-driven, They clanged His chariot 'thwart a heaven Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet: Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, poetry, hymnist, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Six-Day War

The Six-Day War (Hebrew: מלחמת ששת הימים), also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days' War, or June War, was fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It began when Israel launched what it described as a pre-emptive attack against Egypt, following the latter's closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and the deployment of troops in the Sinai near the Israeli border, and after months of increasingly tense border incidents and diplomatic crises. At its end, Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.

For Egypt, the 1956 Suez War was a military defeat but a political victory.

Heavy diplomatic pressure forced Israel to withdraw its military from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. After the 1956 war, Egypt, although not Israel, agreed to the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, UNEF, to keep that border region demilitarized, and prevent guerrillas from crossing the border into Israel. As a result the border between Egypt and Israel quieted for a while.

Summary of events leading to war

The Origins of the Six-Day War, which was fought between June 5 and June 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt [known then as the United Arab Republic (UAR)], Jordan, and Syria, lay in both longer term and immediate issues. The foundation of Israel itself and its participation in the invasion of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956 continued to be a significant grievance for the Arab world. Arab nationalists, led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, continued to be hostile to Israel's existence. By the mid-1960s, relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors had deteriorated to the extent that a number of border clashes had taken place. In 1967, Egypt expelled UN peacekeepers, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since the Suez conflict, and announced a partial blockade of Israel's access to the Red Sea. Israel claimed this as a casus belli for a surprise strike which began the Six-Day War.

Suez Crisis aftermath

The Suez Crisis of 1956 represented a military defeat but a political victory for Egypt, and set the stage leading to the Six-Day War. In a speech delivered to the Knesset, David Ben-Gurion said that the 1949 armistice agreement with Egypt was dead and buried, and that the armistice lines were no longer valid and could not be restored. Under no circumstances would Israel agree to the stationing of UN forces on its territory or in any area it occupied.  Heavy diplomatic pressure from both the United States and the Soviet Union forced Israel into a conditional withdrawal of its military from the Sinai Peninsula,only after satisfactory arrangements had been made with the international force that was about to enter the canal zone.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

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, 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 baptised in Italy. His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read by Christians around the world.

Saint Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste, a provincial Roman city in North Africa. He was raised and educated in Carthage. His mother Monica was a devout Catholic and his father Patricius a pagan, but Augustine followed the controversial Manichaean religion, much to the horror of his mother.

Now we come to the man who is more than anyone else the representative of the West; he is the foundation of everything the West had to say. Augustine lived from A.D. 354 to 430. His influence overshadows not only the next thousand years but all periods ever since. In the Middle Ages his influence was such that even those who struggled against him in theological terminology and method—the Dominicans, with the help of Aristotle—quoted him often. Thomas Aquinas, who was the great opponent of Augustinianism in the Middle Ages, quoted him affirmatively most frequently [1]

As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, and in Carthage, he developed a relationship with a young woman who would be his concubine for over a decade, with whom he had a son.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Prophets

Moses names Joshua his successor 
Books of the Old Testament referred to as "The Prophets," and also from the Hebrew root word נָבָא naba' "to prophesy" [prof-uh-sahy]

Former Prophets
Latter Prophets
8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?" –Amos 3:8 ESV

See: Joel 3:1; Eze 11:13; Eze 37:7; 1 Kings 22:12; Jer. 19:14, Jer. 14:16; 20:6; 23:16; 27:16; 37:19 ESV, etc.
  1. (Niphal)
    to prophesy [prof-uh-sahy]
    • under influence of divine spirit of false prophets
  2. (Hithpael)
    to prophesy
    • under influence of divine spirit of false prophets

 Watch Out for Those Who Lead You Astray –by John Piper



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