November 29, 2008 § 1 Comment
Two years or so ago, I first heard that the Ark of the Covenant had been found in Israel, near Jerusalem. I wasn’t sure quite what to make of it, and I figured that time would offer more evidence that would help sway the balance in either direction.
For me, that time has arrived. I now believe that it’s quite likely that the Ark of the Covenant was found, deep in a cave near Jerusalem, underneath the very spot where Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins. From what I understand, Jesus’ very blood came down from the cross and found its way, through a crack in the ground, to the very Mercy Seat of the Ark, where it acted as an atonement for our sins. The crack was formed when the ground shook at His death, and then closed again when He was resurrected and the earth shook once more. I’m not sure how to put this, other than it makes sense to me. It’s like the pieces of a Biblical puzzle are coming together.
I offer the following information for you to consider. You don’t even need to be sure of what you see or hear at this point. I believe that we will get more evidence in the near future to support or refute these findings, and at that time, the evidence will be conclusive.
The person who I believe quite possibly saw the Ark of the Covenant was Mr. Ron Wyatt, an American from Tennessee who conducted an extensive search for it in a cave system known as Zedekiah’s Cave, near Jerusalem. He financed all his trips to Israel himself, out of his own savings, and that’s what makes it more authentic for me. After his death in 1999, an organization that he formed, named Wyatt Archeological Research, continued his work. I can’t vouch for that organization, since some of the things they’ve been doing since then seem to refute Wyatt’s original findings.
There is, as is expected, plenty of controversy surrounding Wyatt’s work. After all, the Ark of the Covenant would be a very important find, of tremendous Biblical significance. His Wikipedia page doesn’t inspire confidence. Then again, there are plenty of people who support him, some of which refute the claims made on Wikipedia and say that any attempts to correct his Wikipedia page are always erased. What I can say is that to me, Ron Wyatt seems like an honest, God-fearing man (from the videos I’ve seen of him), and he looks like he truly believed what he found was the genuine article, so I think he deserves to be heard, and his evidence considered.
Certainly, what I’d like to see happen is that the Ark of the Covenant (if indeed it is the Ark of the Covenant) is revealed for the world to see. Perhaps there are good reasons to keep it hidden still, such as the possibility of a holy war erupting over it — I don’t know — but all I can say is that all this secrecy fuels speculation, and it’s not right.
This video from David Gates gives a good overview of the Ark of the Covenant find. Watch it from minute 10 to minute 15.
There are many videos of Ron Wyatt on YouTube. I chose two of them to show you here. First, there is a video of Wyatt made in 1999 (the year when he died), where he talks about the Ark of the Covenant. The second video is also of Wyatt, and here he talks about the dried blood sample that he recovered from the Ark, and of what he found when he sent it to a lab for analysis.
What I find amazing about the blood analysis, if true, is that Jesus’ blood only had 24 chromosomes, 23 from his mother, and a single chromosome from a divine source. It certainly make sense, from both a Biblical and scientific view, if you believe that Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit, and not through a sexual act.
Apparently there are people who are actively trying to discredit Ron Wyatt. Some have even gone as far as try try and destroy his archeological findings. His two sons gave a talk in Israel recently, and they show, first hand, how others have gone out of their way to destroy what Wyatt has found there. Some are even trying to extract the Ten Commandments out of the Ark, for reasons unclear to me.
Ron Wyatt’s sons, Danny and Ronnie, also talked about the six Levites that were sent in to retrieve the Ark after the Israeli authorities were informed of the find. Apparently, all of them died when they approached it, and Wyatt was called in to retrieve their bodies. Their deaths made front page news at the time, though the official story said they had died by driving their car into a field of landmines.
Look, I’m not saying Wyatt’s findings are conclusive. Wyatt could have been overzealous, and, desiring to find what he had been searching for, he could have glossed over certain things that might have led him somewhere else. Who knows… But what if what he found really is the Ark of the Covenant? I think that possibility deserves our consideration, especially when you consider that his findings have spurred so much discussion, and have convinced so many others to go and search for themselves in those areas.
There are many agendas at play here. Some, are trying to find the truth. Some are trying to hide it. And others are trying to destroy it. And that’s what I think makes this seem like the genuine article. You know the old saying — where there’s smoke, there’s bound to be fire. There wouldn’t be so much controversy over this if there weren’t some truth to it.
November 14, 2007 § 4 Comments
There is a passage in Romans chapter 7 that had a huge impact on me during a recent reading. I have to share it, because I think it represents perfectly every Christian’s struggle to stay close to God and obey His Law. The words resonated deeply with me, even though I read that passage plenty of times before. Perhaps I was only now ready to truly understand its message.
I’m going to quote from the New Jerusalem Bible, whose translation of this passage is superb. Here is what the apostle Paul writes in verses 14 through 25 of that chapter:
“We are well aware that the Law is spiritual: but I am a creature of flesh and blood sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand my own behaviour; I do not act as I mean to, but I do things that I hate.
While I am acting as I do not want to, I still acknowledge the Law as good, so it is not myself acting, but the sin which lives in me.
And really, I know of nothing good living in me — in my natural self, that is — for though the will to do what is good is in me, the power to do it is not: the good thing I want to do, I never do; the evil thing which I do not want — that is what I do. But every time I do what I do not want to, then it is not myself acting, but the sin that lives in me.
So I find this rule: that for me, where I want to do nothing but good, evil is close at my side. In my inmost self I dearly love God’s Law, but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the Law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? God — thanks be to Him — through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So it is that I myself with my mind obey the Law of God, but in my disordered nature I obey the law of sin.”
Wow! If I had tried to put my own struggle into words, it wouldn’t have been half as good or half as honest as this. Aren’t Paul’s words so true? It seems the more we want to do good, the worse we fare — our lives are then constantly assaulted by either internal weaknesses or external factors that exploit our weaknesses, and we end up doing worse, never coming close to the heavenly standard. Then again, we have some days when we feel really close to God, and things go just great.
One thing I’ve learned, is to not trust my feelings. They come and go, they’re up and down, and if you rely on them, you can end up happy one day and depressed the next, depending on how things go. The important thing is to keep your faith, and make a fresh effort every day to stay close to God. Whether you succeed or not is not for you to judge, but for God. I think that if we keep trying to do what’s right in our walk with God, and have faith that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice sufficed to forgive our sins, God will supply our poor record with the grace we will need to be counted as saved.
We must keep trying, persist, and struggle against that human nature of ours, and we will succeed with God at our side!
October 5, 2007 § 1 Comment
This psalm is a warning to the wicked rulers and judges of Israel, who, in the writer’s own words, “give unjust judgments and uphold the prestige of the wicked” (verse 2). It addresses its audience in the voice of God.
It starts by portraying God as sitting in the “divine assembly” and giving judgment, and verses 2 through 7 relay His message to those judges and rulers. Verse 7 in particular is quite clear in its verdict: “You will die as human beings do, as one man, princes, you will fall.” The writer ends the psalm by entreating God to arise and “judge the world”.
It is quite clear that the writer was frustrated with the rulers of that time. As we read through Israel’s history, we find that problems arose with the judges and rulers quite often. Being a theocracy, with its judges and rulers supposedly elected by God, it was quite hard to speak out against them. All one could do was to pray. This psalm is one such prayer. Only prophets dared speak out, and when they did, they risked imprisonment or death — the Bible attests to this.
This psalm underlines the problems inherent in theocracies. When rulers can hide behind religion, they can use it as a powerful excuse to commit crimes against humanity and to trample upon people’s rights. The concept of separation of church and state is a truly enlightened one, and should continue to be the standard for all the governments out there.
We don’t have to look very far back in our history to see just how disastrous it can be to allow the church to control the state. The Dark Ages weren’t called dark for just any reason. That’s when the papacy, through the church, controlled all of the governments in what was then the “civilized” world. Any view contrary to the church was squashed. Kings were deposed for opposing the popes, and corruption, vice and greed ruled freely. When salvation could be easily bought from priests, there was no incentive to lead righteous lives. That’s also when horrible instruments of torture were invented and perfected by the Inquisitors. It took a secular power — that of Napoleon — to shake things up and start the beginning of a new world order.
I tell you, in as much as I am a Christian, I’d rather have a secular government that cannot use God as an excuse for their corruption and criminal behavior.
September 16, 2007 § Leave a Comment
This is a prayer said at the Feast of Shelters. The author recalls God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, His request that the people worship no strange gods, and his promise of abundant blessings if only they remain His children. Of course, as one almost expects when people are involved, they do not heed God’s request, and thus do not partake in His blessing, only to incur more subjugation, after which they cry out to God for help and wonder why their prayers fall on deaf ears.
I’m not sure whether the author of the psalm refers to the present or the past when he talks about the nation of Israel. I’m leaning toward the present — well, present for the author, not for us. Either way, this psalm, in particular verses 6-16, can be seen as a response from God to prayers like those in psalms 78, 79 and 80. Is it any wonder that the peoples’ prayers go unanswered when their behavior — and that of the nation as a whole — does not change? How can one expect favor from God when they show that they hate him through their behavior, as verse 15 says: “Those who hate Yahweh would woo His favour.”
It’s easy for us, in the here and now, to sit in judgment of those people, but we would do well to remember that the phrase “strange gods” doesn’t refer just to some silly carved figurines that people might have in their homes. It also refers to other things that take our focus away from God, such as money, jobs, possessions, lusts, etc. We’ve got plenty of those these days, including the silly carved figurines… It’s incredibly hard to pull away from those “strange gods” and focus on the One True God. But without pulling away, we get nowhere. By continually engaging in behaviors or actions that condemn us in the eyes of God, we continue to seal our doom, as verse 15 also says.
If only we would pull away, God says: “I would feed you on pure wheat, would give you your fill of honey from the rock.” Abundance beyond our dreams would await us in the form of blessings from God. A well-known New Testament verse says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these shall be added onto you,” referring to the worldly things we so desperately desire at the expense of our eternal life. If only we would!
May 19, 2007 § 1 Comment
Psalm 78 is one of the longer psalms of the Bible. I waver when I consider its nature. It could be either pompous or poetic. Today, I tend to think it’s a bit on the pompous side. It recounts the history of Israel, and concentrates on the escape from Egypt and the trek to the promised land, emphasizing the fickleness of the Jewish nation when it came to faith in God.
The last part of the psalm, from verse 56 onward, recounts the history of the nation until David’s reign, and again lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of the unfaithful men of Israel — where it should be, in my opinion. It tells of how God allowed the Ark of the Covenant to be taken away to a heathen nation, and of captivity, persecution, and finally, the return of the Ark to Judah and the mountain of Zion, through the hands of David.
The ending is a bit confusing. I think the last verse (72) refers to David’s reign in Israel, not his days as a shepherd — and if that’s the case, then the description is inaccurate. It reads: “He pastured them with unblemished heart, with a sensitive hand he led them.” But we all know his heart wasn’t unblemished. There were some things he did which angered God greatly. I don’t need to go into details, we all know David’s story, and if we don’t remember it, this is a good time to review it.
This last verse is also why I tend to think the psalm is too pompous for its own good. It glosses over important matters like David’s straying, and makes me wonder what other things it generalizes or paints in a different light for the sake of making a point.
I believe this is one example of the human element at play. While God’s message is clear, it needs to be delivered through people, and we, unfortunately, always color it through our own perspective. What’s even more shameful is that some of us dare add or subtract from that message. When I discover instances like this one in the Bible, that can be discerned to be inaccurate through a more careful reading, it makes me wonder what else the writer got wrong. It’s disconcerting, and can weaken peoples’ faith. That’s why it’s important to know the entire Bible, from cover to cover. It’s that sort of knowledge that can give us the big picture we need. It allows us to place things in perspective, identify where writers deviate from the truth, and still keep our faith, because we can fill in those gaps through the light that we have come to possess.
January 7, 2007 § Leave a Comment
I got this gem by email from my mom. It’s a wonderful table listing God’s answers to our usual negative thoughts. It also quotes Bible verses right next to each entry, so you know the answers are real. It’s wonderfully inspiring! Download: God has a positive answer.
December 11, 2006 § Leave a Comment
This psalm praises God for the power He displays in battle with Israel’s enemies. Various military events are recounted, and God is given the credit for the wins. The futility of human anger is also set in contrast to the awesome power of God’s wrath: “You, you alone, strike terror! Who can hold his ground in your presence when your anger strikes?” The psalm is ended with an entreaty to all people to “make and fulfill [their] vows to Yahweh [their] God”.
The writer of the psalm is certainly correct in attributing Israel’s military victories to God. However, as we’ve seen with past psalms, Israel blamed God when their military pursuits failed, forgetting that in order to receive God’s much-needed help in battle, they needed to live their daily lives in accordance with His will. This was something they didn’t often do, and then they wondered why when God abandoned them. Perhaps this is what makes the entreaty in the last verses more poignant. There was a covenant between Israel and God, and that covenant had two parts: one which described what God was responsible for, and one which described what Israel was responsible for. As we examine the biblical record, we see how often Israel strayed away from the covenant, and every time they did so, they suffered for it. Did they learn their lesson? No. Single generations might have, but later generations managed to repeat their parents’ mistakes anew.
The futility, the powerlessness of human anger is another theme dealt with in this psalm. Nowadays, when we have all sorts of machines that amplify our anger and let us do damage, like guns, vehicles and bombs, it’s hard for us to see how impotent we really are. But during those times, when all people had were swords, lances and arrows, a single human being couldn’t do too much. I think it made them a little humbler, at least on the whole. What we need to learn these days is that none of our weapons, none of our anger can win us a war or affect God in any way. His power is what counts, and His anger is what destroys. With a single utterance or gesture, He can raze us from the face of the earth. Without Him on our side, we have nothing but “heroes”, “sleeping their last sleep”.
November 21, 2006 § Leave a Comment
The message of this psalm is very nicely summed up in verses 27-28: “Truly, those who abandon You will perish; You destroy those who adulterously desert you, whereas my happiness is to be near God. I have made the Lord Yahweh my refuge, to tell of all your works.” That’s not to say you shouldn’t read the other verses. They give the background behind the bold statement made in the two verses above.
Indeed, the verses that precede these last two are too juicy to pass up. I was reading an article that summed up some of the richest people currently living in London yesterday evening. It was on Forbes. Having recently passed the age of 30, I’ve started thinking about what I’ve really done thus far. How have I provided for my old age (given that the world will last that long)? What have I done to ensure that I can provide for my wife? Can I truly help others with the resources I currently have? Truth is, if I needed to help my family or relatives out with money, I probably wouldn’t be able to make too much of a difference. And when I read about these rich people, I can’t help feeling a little envious, especially since they’re pretty young. There was another article I read recently, about the richest people in Asia, also on Forbes. The majority of those were either in their 20s or 30s. I couldn’t help feeling inadequate. But then you read about how some of these rich people of the world made their money, and it turns out most made them through various shady deals that were either unethical or immoral or outright illegal in civilized countries. However, since they weren’t making that money in civilized countries, but in developing countries, they got away with it.
And then I read this psalm, and it’s talking about the very same things: “My feet were on the point of stumbling, a little more and I had slipped, envying the arrogant as I did, and seeing the prosperity of the wicked.” This goes on through verse 8, where the author of the psalm writes: “Cynically they advocate evil, loftily they advocate force. Their mouth claims heaven for themselves, and their tongue is never still on earth. That is why my people turn to them, and enjoy the waters of plenty, saying, ‘How can God know? What knowledge can the Most High have?’ That is what the wicked are like, piling up wealth without any worries.”
Then the author asks the very same question I ask myself, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this: “Was it useless, then, to have kept my own heart clean, to have washed my hands in innocence?” Well, was it? Don’t we wonder this as we ponder our current states? Is it really worth it to try and live a righteous life, a good life, to live according to God’s law?
Yes, it is, but all knew that in our hearts already, didn’t we? And just to enforce that belief, read on to see what happens to the wicked: “You place them on a slippery slope and drive them down into chaos. How sudden their hideous destruction! They are swept away, annihilated by terror! Like a dream upon waking, Lord, when you awake, you dismiss their image.” These rich people with guilty consciences may enjoy their money and wealth in the here and now, but they, along with their money, will soon be gone, and in the end, they’ll receive what’s coming to them. I’m not saying this to make any of them feel bad, because I doubt they care about what I have to say. I say this to remind those of us who are asking the questions I posed above what will happen if we don’t stay close to God and deal justly and ethically with everyone.
I’m not saying Christians aren’t meant to be rich. I’m sure there are rich Christians. But our goal shouldn’t be to be rich. Our paramount goal should be to stay close to God. If He thinks we can handle being rich, and will use our wealth for good, Godly purposes, then He’ll make us rich. But let’s let Him worry about that, and focus on our relationship with Him instead!
We know God will take care of us, no matter what our financial state is. “You grasped me by the right hand; You will guide me with advice, and will draw me in the wake of Your glory.” What’s more, do we really lack anything we need here on earth, even though we’re not rich? “And, with you, I lack nothing on earth.” Is it any wonder we feel this deep need to stay close to God? “My heart and my flesh are pining away: my heart’s rock, my portion, God for ever!”
I know God has always provided for me. There were times when I was extremely limited in my resources, and wasn’t sure whether I’d have enough for food/mortgage, but He’s always provided. Somehow the money always lasted, even though when I’d add it up, it shouldn’t have. God works miracles in our lives, every day. We just have to stop and realize what He does for us, then thank Him. He truly is an amazing God, the only God, the greatest God! We’d do well to stay close to Him! “I have made the Lord Yahweh my refuge, to tell of all Your works.” Amen!
November 6, 2006 § 2 Comments
The prayer of a down and out man is recorded in this psalm. It is a lament, where the author recounts the injustices done to him because of his steadfast belief in God, and asks God for divine rescue, as well as retribution against his enemies. The NJB calls this a Messianic psalm, but I disagree. There are Messianic references indeed, but this psalm falls short of qualifying as a prophetic, Messianic message.
A first reading of this psalm points out why it can’t be called Messianic. The following verses stand out:
- “God, you know how foolish I am, my offences are not hidden from you.” (verse 5)
- “I mortify myself with fasting, and find myself insulted for it, I dress myself in sackcloth and become their laughing-stock…” (verses 10-12)
- “Rescue me from the mire before I sink in; so I shall be saved from those who hate me, from the watery depths.” (verse 14)
- “May their own table prove a trap for them, and their abundance a snare; may their eyes grow so dim that they cannot see, all their muscles lose their strength. Vent your fury on them, let your burning anger overtake them… Charge them with crime after crime…” (verses 22-28)
Need I go on? The language here differs greatly from real Messianic psalms, where one can almost associate the voice of the author with the voice of God. A psalm prophesying about the Son of God would not talk in the words quoted above. No, that’s nothing more than human babble, incoherent to the ages, and disliked by God.
What verses can make people think this is a prophetic psalm? They’re listed below:
- “Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, Yahweh Sabaoth, because of me! Those who seek you must not be disgraced, God of Israel, because of me!” (verse 6)
- “To eat they gave me poison, to drink, vinegar when I was thirsty.” (verse 21)
Verse 6 could almost imply that the speaker is Messiah, because other people believe in him. It’s much more likely that he was in a public position, and other believers looked up to him as he was persecuted for trying to stay faithful to God, as the rest of the verses in this psalm show. Verse 21 could be called a clincher, except you can’t build your faith on one verse. The rest of the psalm is weighty evidence against this. Yes, the vinegar mentioned above is a pretty strong reference to Jesus’ experience on the cross, but given the rest of the psalm, it’s very likely, if not certain, that this was just a metaphor, a figure of speech that expressed the author’s lament. It has prophetic undertones, yes, but nothing more.
Now, as for the glimpses of divinity mentioned in the title of this post, they’re to be found in the following verses:
- “… Yahweh Sabaoth, because of me!” (verse 6)
- “I will praise God’s name in song, I will extol Him by thanksgiving, for this will please Yahweh more than an ox, than a bullock horned and hoofed.” (verses 30-31)
Given the overwhelming evidence present throughout the Bible that Saturday is the Sabbath, or God’s day or rest, I’m surprised that other Christians still insist on Sunday. By not obeying the Sabbath, they’re willfully disobeying God’s fourth commandment. Verse 6 in this psalm adds to the stack of evidence for the Sabbath, because it addresses God as Lord of the Sabbath, or Lord of Rest. If this was a common name for God during those times (and it was, because it’s mentioned in plenty of other places), what makes us think nowadays (given God’s unchanging, steadfast nature) that He has somehow changed His mind on this subject?
A verse like verse 31 isn’t often found in the Old Testament, so it’s worthwhile to mention. It’s not often that an Israelite would say that thanksgiving pleases God more than animal sacrifice, but it’s true. It was a lot easier during those times to bring an animal to the temple and be done with it. It was, and it still is a lot harder, to really thank God for what He is doing for us, and spend time with him in prayer, asking for forgiveness. Animal sacrifices were never meant to be a substitute for a real relationship with God. They were meant to be a constant lesson of the price of sin, but people tended to rely solely on them.
In much the same way, people rely on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross today as a substitute for a real relationship with God, and think that they can go on sinning because His divine sacrifice has saved them. When they sin, they say, “Jesus died for me, I’m forgiven.” Or, they say, “Jesus nailed the commandments to the cross, I don’t have to obey them anymore.” Is it really so? They’re sorely mistaken if they believe that. God’s Law is at the very core of our beliefs. The Bible was literally built upon them, they’re woven into the very fabric of its foundation. You find God’s Law everywhere, in every chapter of the Bible. What makes you think you have license to disobey it? Aren’t you presuming too much?