Category Archives: academics

Ancient & Modern Worship

This article discusses 3 reasons why ancient Hebrew worship and pagan worship had certain similarities.The reason it caught our attention was the introduction

There is no doubt that some of the practices of ancient Hebrew worship bear remarkable resemblance to the worship practices of the pagan nations around them. Other nations practiced similar sacrificial systems, had temples and priests, and many scholars note the the idea of covenants established by God with his people is virtually identical to that of other peoples of the ancient near east.

How can we account for these similarities?

Not one of the reasons given by the author of that piece was satisfactory to us or even correct.We know of better reasons why there are similarities and none of our reasons line up with the ones given by that author. But first, we will highlight the reasons he gave and add a few comments. Then we will give our main reason why there are similarities between pagan and Hebrew worship. We will add that these reasons apply to the similarities found between true Christian worship today and cultic/pagan worship conducted by the various false religions of the modern age.

#1. First, some argue that Israel simply borrowed ideas from their neighbors and adapted them

We get upset every time we hear this idea tossed about by scholars and religious people. Why is it that the Israelites copied from the secular world and adopted secular ideas into the worship of God? That makes no sense since God had already given them the instructions on what they needed to do when it came time to worship him. Plus, the Israelites never had a reputation for copying

While it is understood that when the Israelites strayed from God, they followed secular worship practices, there is no record that they brought those practices back into their worship of God when they returned to him. Copying is a non-starter and never a good reason to explain why the Bible reads the way it does or why worship was conducted in a certain manner.

#2. The second possibility, one that accounts for the fact that the people’s worship came by way of divine revelation, says that when God instituted worship forms for Israel, he “contextualized” worship in cultural forms and practices they would understand

Really? God stole from the from those who do not believe in him as he found their worship style superior to his own? This is not even realistic.It also insults the intelligence of the ancient people, which is never a smart thing to do. If you look at the instructions God gave, they were not simplified or borrowed from any religion.

#3. A final possibility, and one that I believe to be the best, says that the similarities exist because the basic elements of worship existed since the beginning of human history.

Why God wrote the Bible the way he did is something we probably will never understand. But one thing we can conclude, is that God walked with Adam and he probably provided worship instructions to him even though they were not recorded. How else could Enoch walk with God if he did not know God’s ways and God let humans figure things out for themselves? How could God see Noah as a righteous man if Noah had not known God’s ways and used human rules to live by?

The verse that records the birth of Seth’s son has the words, this was the time man began to call on God or something similar. God would not leave his people without instructions. He didn’t do that for the Israelites and he didn’t do that for the NT church. Since God does not change, we can conclude that he provided instructions to the pre-flood people and gave them a chance to choose which path they will follow.

God’s style of worship existed in the beginning because he told the people how to worship him.

Now for our reason:

The pagan world copied the Hebrews

This is plausible and most probable because we know that the ancient religions did a lot of copying of the biblical details. Sargon was given Moses’ birth details; Mithras the details of Christ’s birth; then the Egyptian magicians copied Moses and Aaron when they threw down their rods. it wasn’t the other way around. The old Babylonians did  have a very great reputation for copying. They copied everybody which leads us to the concluion they copied the flood account and then gave it their pagan twist.

Why would they copy? because the false religions see the success of the true religions and wanted that success for themselves without giving up their lifestyles. In other words, how better to capture unwary people than by copying the worship and other practices of the truth? They can say to non-Hebrews or non-Christians that they are part of the truth and show them the similarities between the faith to back up their claims.

Unwary people not knowing the difference fall for the deception and are hooked. Just like today when so many false religions point to their use of the Bible and claim they are Christian even though their doctrines are not biblical or of God. The best way to trick people is to adopt similarities to the truth. That is why cons are so successful against even smart intelligent people. They contain a lot of truth mixed in with their lies.

That author has a low view of God if he thinks that God could not come up with his own way to be worshipped. Then failed in communicating that style to his own people. Similarities exist because evil is trying to destroy God’s creation. It is not because the Israelites copied anyone or that the same worship style existed from the fall of man.


The Clothing They Wore/Wear

Over the years we have noticed how so many mega church pastors and other church leaders have toned down their clothing style. Jeans, T-shirts, bad shoes and other casual clothing has become the norm with many who fill th epulpit on a weekly basis. While the Bible doesn’t provide  a dress code for church leaders in the NT, it certainly did in the Old

This section is mostly concerned with a description of the high priest’s ceremonial robes known as the garments of glory and beauty. In style and color, the robes of the priests were rich in typical significance for they depicted both the wondrous beauties of Christ the High Priest and also the privileges and duties of all who are the priests of God, whether the appointed ones of the Old Testament or all believers of the New. In his garments of glory and beauty, Aaron became typically that which Jesus Christ was intrinsically in all the purity and holiness of His being.

We are not going to be legalists here and declare that every preacher needs to dress up like the OT temple priests when they enter the pulpit or do church duties.  Nor will we be doing a guilt trip. That is to our mission here. Our mission is to point out a few things found in the clothing the OT priests wore.

#1. God put a lot of thought into what his representatives wore

For something many people consider to be a very minor issue, God spent a lot of time thinking about what his priests would wear, right down to the littlest detail. Look at the instructions he gave. Nothing was spared God’s attention.

#2. Casual was not the norm

People may say that it is what is on the inside that counts and that our hearts can be pure on the inside while wearing casual clothing. We are not arguing that point. We are pointing out that casual clothes was not on God’s list when he outfitted his priests.  The heart is very important as Jesus talked about it to the Pharisees when he rebuked them but he did not dismiss their dress nor overturn his father’s dress code.

#3. Dress for respect

This attitude goes three ways. One, the right clothes show respect for the people the priest or pastor is addressing and leading. Don’t expect to be respected if you think lowly of your congregation and dress in a manner that reflects that attitude. Respecting your audience helps them open up their ears and their hearts.

Two, God has shown us how to be respected. By dressing appropriately what we have to say will be taken more seriously and the messenger gets respect.

Third, it shows respect to God. We are not treating him, his son and his word in a casual, lighthearted, off the cuff manner. We show the world, not just the congregation that we respect God and dress the right way. We take God and his word seriously when we put on the right clothes.

We do not take many people seriously when they fill the pulpit dressed in very casual clothes. We also do not respect those pastors who dress down when giving God’s message. We do not think highly of them as they do not think highly of anyone or God.

#4. God did not try to identify with unbelievers or people

He had his uniform for his representatives and if it turned people off of his message, he wasn’t concerned about it. He never changed their dress from when he gave Moses the instructions to after the time of Christ. Christianity isn’t about identifying, that is not our mission, even in evangelism. It is about having the gospel message and ourselves taken seriously. It is also about showing respect to God and giving him the honor he is due, even in the clothes we wear.

We need to be different as we clothe our bodies, from the pastor on down to the common church member. We are not part of the secular world and do not follow its lead even in clothing styles.

Take this as some food for thought and rethink how you present yourself to the world as believers.


Fasting 2

We have looked at some key verses on fasting and before we post those, we will make a few comments.

First, fasting is a serious act. The believer needs to remember that fasting is communicating an attitude and it is not made to be part of a fad; a game or some taken for granted manner.

Second, fasting is done from a specific heart attitude. The person fasting has a burdened heart whether it is for prayer requests, redemption or seeking God’s will in certain matters.

Third, fasting is an expression of humility. People who fast have seen the error of their ways or specific actions and they humble themselves before God.

Fourth, when a person fasts, they should not always expect a positive answer to their purpose for fasting. God’s choice of answers is not always influenced because a person takes to fasting.

Fifth, fasting is not a public spectator sport. It is not done to gain points with others or to look spiritual. Nor is it to be done to show people you are obeying God. You need the right attitude when you fast or you are probably wasting your time.

sixth, fasting should be done without sin or sinful acts accompanying it.

seventh, fasting can be done when one truly repents from their sinful ways and want to receive mercy from God.

Fasting is not to be taken lightly and it should be a subject that is taught correctly in the church. When you read the following verses, look to the heart attitude behind the act of fasting. In simple terms, fasting should be genuine:

Jonah 3:5-9

5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.
8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.
9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

Isaiah 58: 3-7

‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not [a]notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.
“Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing [b]one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread [c]with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Matthew 6: 16- 18

16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they [j]neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Ezra 8: 21-23

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a [h]safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to [i]protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is [j]favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He [k]listened to our entreaty.

2 Samuel 12: 15-17

Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s [i]widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. 16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.

Daniel 9: 3-6

So I [a]gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

Acts 13: 2-3

While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Joel 2: 12-13

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.

Psalms 35: 13-14

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.
14 I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down [e]mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.

Nehemiah 1: 4

When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Luke 2: 36-37

36 And there was a prophetess, [n]Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in [o]years and had lived with her husband seven years after her [p]marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

Esther 4: 15-16

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Acts 14: 23

When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

2 Samuel 1: 11-12

11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

These verses should show the seriousness that is part of fasting. You will notice that there is no frivolity no novelty, no careless attitude involved. Fasting is done by serious believers who truly want to please God and live according to his ways. Just because other religions have their members fast and pray does not make either act wrong, sinful or those religions Christian. The attitude and the faith behind the acts is what sets the Christian fasting apart from other religions.

It is done in spirit and truth.



We found a topic that we have not addressed yet. We will take a few days to try to study the biblical approaches to fasting but for this post, we are going to rely on works from other sites to get the topic rolling. we are not going to quote long passages, just enough to give people the idea. The final quoted work is something we wrote for a secular website


Christian fasting – what does the Bible say?

Scripture does not command Christians to fast. God does not require or demand it of Christians. At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial


What Biblical Fasting is Not

(1) A Physical or Psychological Discipline

(2) A Manipulative Tool

(3) A Hypocritical Religious Exercise

#3. The Facts About Fasting

Hearing the word ‘fasting’

Sends many people running screaming in terror. To them fasting means not eating for a long time and they do not like that thought. But fasting is a lot more than just missing but on some food for a few days.

What is fasting

Basically, a fast is where you go without food and sometimes water for an extended period of time. Fasts are done for a variety of reasons and the most common ones are spiritual health, medical benefits, as well as trying to lose a few pounds.

Before you go on a fast, you should talk to your doctor. You may have some hidden medical issues that may interfere with your fasting plans.

Types of fasts

It really doesn’t matter which type of fast you chose to follow. They all give the same health benefits. Plus, you do not need to use a fast that has the word cleanse or detox in them. All fasts cleanse and detox your body.

  • Dry fasts- this is the one most people hate. You avoid both food and liquids during this type of fast
  • Liquid fast- here at east you get to drink some healthy liquids as you cleanse your body. You can go with water only or use juice and have a little nutrition as you fast
  • Partial fast- here you eat a little food, but the key is what foods you do eat and which ones you exclude
  • Intermittent fast- in this fast you alternate between eating and fasting periods. You can design your intermittent schedule.

When you do a fast, make sure you prepare for it first. That will protect you from some negative side effects that can take place when you deprive your body of food and liquids.

The health benefits of fasting

To protect yourself from certain brain diseases a regularly scheduled fast can help protect you from the effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Just 2 days a week can keep your brain healthy and disease protected.

Other health benefits include

  • Keeps blood pressure and other fluids balanced
  • Helps moderate blood sugar levels
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Burns fat
  • Protects brain from stress related damage

This is just food for thought and we will try to get back later in the week with more information


Stick to the Truth

In Walsh’s video published by The Daily Wire on YouTube last week, he argued that although he doesn’t “question the sincerity or the faithfulness of six-day Creationist folks,” he positioned that when the belief is preached, it can “inadvertently do some harm” and “put obstacles in the way, especially for non-believers.”

When talking about the Bible it is best to stick to the truth. Paul told us that the unbeliever cannot do anything against the truth.  The truth does not do any harm to evangelism. Misrepresenting what the Bible says does the harm. If you tell the truth, the only person putting obstacles in the way of unbelievers converting is evil.

Faith and love means that you believe God. If God said he created in 6 24 hour days then our faith and our love have us siding with God over sinful man and his words.

If you state something about the Bible that the Bible does not say, then you are not stating what God said but what you want to believe. You are not evangelizing someone to God’s faith but your own version of it. You are communicating that God cannot even get his own act of creation correct. Who would want to believe in a God like that and who would want to adopt a faith where the adherents do not even believe their own God?

The truth is, God created in 6 24 hour days just like he said. There was no failure by God to communicate his creative act to his biblical writers and their was no altering the creative act because the biblical writers did not understand any alternatives. They wrote what God told them he did and since God cannot lie, there are no alternatives to the creation accounts found in Genesis.

The people who are doing harm and creating obstacles are those who adopt and promote alternatives to the truth.


Marital Happiness

The following is an interesting article to read

Fewer Sexual Partners Before Marriage Yield Greater Happiness in Marriage: Study

We take scholarly studies with a grain of salt. Peer review, scientific papers, etc., say a whole lot about nothing and they rarely provide any real answers for anyone.

New research reveals that marriages are quantifiably happier if the couple had fewer sexual partners prior to their wedding day.

We really did not need a scientific or academic study to tell us that. But we will further say that when people are unhappy in a marriage, they can commit adultery no matter how many previous sexual partners they had before they got married. Our question is this- why is this article posted on a Christian newspaper website? It certainly doesn’t talk about God’s views about sin, marriage and sex.

It doesn’t talk about how sex before marriage is adultery and it isn’t really news, so why is it there? We think that it is because many believers have had sex before marriage and not just before they were Christians. The trend is that sex is more important than obeying God. We know it takes place and that a lot of Christians do not want to wait till marriage to enjoy one of life’s simplest and best pleasures.

It saddens us to think this but we know it is the reality. So we will just make a blunt statement- sex before marriage is sin and adultery. There is no altering that fact. The good news is for those Christians who have participated in sex before marriage that adultery is not the unforgivable sin. It would be wise of the believer to truly repent of those sins and the attitude that got them involved in adultery if they want to make an impact for God.

Love is patient and if the man or woman truly love their partner they will not rob them of the beauty that comes with sex after marriage. They will not rob them of that happiness marriage is supposed to bring. Having sex before marriage is not progressive, it is not cool and it is not wise. It is selfish though. Both towards your future partner in life and to God. You are saying to him that his instructions do not matter and your personal pleasure is more important than obedience to him.

We would advise you all to rethink your views on this issue if you agree that sex before marriage is okay. Obeying God is more important than anything else.


Archaeology, the Bible and Children

We will look at a couple of short articles on archaeology, the Bible and children. Too often when modern peope read biblical accounts they tend to read their own views or modern culture into the different accounts referring to children. That is not the correct way to read anything about the Bible or the ancient past.

the first article- Did the Ancient Israelites Think Children Were People?- brings this research question. The author starts off with the following point

When the class session on the 10 plagues in Exodus came around, an interesting discussion ensued among the students about the plague of the firstborn and whether or not the Israelite deity was morally justified in killing Egyptian babies.

The key words are in bold. The biblical account says the firstborn. It does not say babies. That is the first mistake made by that author and her students. The firstborn could have been at any age. They could have been elderly, middle ages, young adults, teenagers and so on. The second mistake they make is to stand in judgment of God. Who are they to say if God is justified or not? Most of those people probably are still in their sins and think they know more than God does.

Why, we then have to ask, would the Israelites have imagined their deity Yahweh slaughtering children for sins the children themselves had not committed? If they thought children could be killed for the transgressions of others, did they even think children were persons with any type of rights?

Their assumption that those punished were babies leads that class and its instructor to the faulty conclusions stated in that quote. Most likely, God was punishing those children for the sins the Egyptian firstborn had committed in their lives and failed to repent of them. Were the children punished for the transgression sof others? That is hard to say as that teacher and class produced no evidence that was taking place. Of course, when plaques hit, both the innocent and guilty are affected.  That is a fact of life.

We are sure that the many victims of the Black Plague did nothing to warrant their demise from that disease. The last line of that quote shows the infusion of modern thinking into past records. Rights have nothing to do with a person’s identity as a human. The fact that they were born human gives them that identity not any so-called rights.

Rights are also not biblical and have no part in defining how the ancient Israelites thought of children.

What do I mean by “persons” exactly? A person, in my usage and that of many anthropologists, is a human being accorded status and recognition in their society. A person is an individual who is seen as having value—not economic value like a sheep or a llama, but social value, value in relationships with others.

None of those elements need rights to support them.  Also, you can see how far off the secular word is in its thinking. A human is a human whether they are given value, status, or not.

Personhood is an abstract concept. One might say it is too abstract to be useful. But discussions of personhood arise generally only in the most pressing situations—when we are discussing what we can do to human beings and their bodies.

Actually it is not. A human being is a person no matter how someone defines that term. Both identifications start at conception and continue thorugh life until the person dies.

And this narrative is not alone among texts in the Hebrew Bible in leading readers to call into question whether or not the Israelites saw children as persons. We even read in the storied 10 Commandments: “I, Yahweh, your god, am a jealous god, punishing children for the iniquity of parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5 in English versification; Deuteronomy 5:9). Either the Israelites who wrote this did not see children as persons, or their conception of personhood was a collective one that allowed children to be punished for the sins of parents.

It is clear that the author does not understand what is being said in the Bible. Declaring that certain punishment will take place does not remove the identity of children. It is just telling people what will happen when they sin. Distorting scripture to make a thesis point or answer a research question is not an intelligent thing to do. It misrepresents the Bible and misleads people.

We could answer this question more easily if we could speak and interact with real Israelites. Since we can’t do this and since the Israelites revealed their views of personhood indirectly rather than through philosophical treatises on the subject, we are left having to read through the lines. At best, the Israelites held a view of personhood that allowed for collective punishment and saw children as low-level subordinates subject to the wishes and whims of parents—usually fathers. At worst, they were not seen as persons

This is the danger that comes when a person cherry picks verses to handle their discussion. it leaves out the myriad of biblical verses that show that the Israelites thought and treated children like real people. We skipped a section on child sacrifice as that is a topic for another day. They come to wrong conclusions about the people of the past. They only look for those verses that will support their thesis and not head for the truth.

We do not see philosophical treaties as direct sources. They also do not give us direct insights into the thinking of ancient people. But that comment does tell us a lot about the author and her bias. That bias undermines and ruins her point. There is more to that article to discuss but we want to move on to the second one. you can read the first one here:

What Does the Bible Say About Children—and What Does Archaeology Say?

Unfortunately, children are underrepresented in the archaeological record and ancient texts, including the Bible. It is difficult to discern which artifacts belonged to children. In fact, the best context for identifying children’s artifacts is burials. When children and infants are buried with particular materials, we can infer that these materials were associated with children and were usually intended to assist them in the afterlife.

Burials do not say much about how a person thought. They may say something about the individual families or the regional culture but very little about the deceased, including children. it is impossible to say if the chid requested those items to be buried with them or if their parent sinluded them because they did not want their child to be alone or defenseless in the after life.

It is also misleading to say that children are underrepresented in ancient texts or the bible. Those are adult activities and adult written. They deal with, for the most part, adult things. The lack of children’s drawings, writings and other remains indicate that only the children’s parents took an active interest in what their children did. There is no reason for anyone to preserve children’s works outside of the family for posterity.

Legal documents are the best textual source for learning about the lives of ancient children; these include “wet-nurse contracts, adoptions, inheritance, debt-slave sales, and slave sales.” We have a large amount of ancient adoption records from the site of Nuzi in northeastern Iraq. For adopted boys, the major concern was inheritance; for adopted girls, it was marriage prospects.

Again, these show nothing much about the lives of children. They do show how the adults in their lives were governed. What is sad is that the article cherry picks what it will focus on when it comes to children. Again, this second article veers off topic towards child sacrifice. The article is weak as it ignores all the ancient children games and other artifacts archaeologists have uncovered over the decades.

If the author wants to focus on the lives of children, then it should actually focus on the lives of children. It should not talk about child sarifice as that is an adult decision,not a child’s one. We will address one point on child sacrifice:

Second, the discovery of infant cemeteries (called tophets) at Carthage and other Punic sites suggests that child sacrifice did occur in the ancient Near East. Not all scholars agree with this interpretation, but many think these tophets are proof of the practice.

What are the parents supposed to do when their child dies? Leave them to rot? Of course there will be child cemeteries but that does not mean child sacrifice was practiced. Modern scholars keep reading into the evidence what they want to see or they take the words of the enemies of a given people over rational thought.

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