Thursday, August 31, 2006

It is appointed unto man . . .

Hebrews 9:
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

A long article in the New York Times recently dealt with the mystery of aging. They can't find a genetic OR enviromental link that can predict whether an individual will live a long time. This brought to mind the verse above. Death is an appointment -- with God!

Though we can do things to increase our chances, such as reach and maintain an ideal weight, we can't ignore the appointment with God. This life on earth is a very short part of our existence. Our carbon-based lifespan is still, on average, just where it was in David's day some 3000 years ago:

Psalm 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

My parents are in those years, and my father-in-law is 80. I have an aunt who just died in her upper eighties. Her sister died several years back. Each life is a separate combination of genetics and enviroment, of choices and attitudes, but mostly of a relationship with the Living God.

Will I live to be over a hundred? I have had a "feeling" that I would, though no one in my family tree has made it past ninety. My health has been exceptional even though I am overweight. My blood pressure is textbook 120/80 and my chloresterol always checks out in the safe range (though higher than optimum). I am seldom sick, but I am having unusual symptoms of late which I need to have checked out.

But even then, I know that I am "invincible" until the Lord is through with me. However, even in "old age" I may become feeble to learn humility! :-(

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another look at the birth of Christ

I am going to go ahead and present the argument for Jesus' birth at the feast of Tabernacles, though according to that holiday is not for another six weeks (October 7) on the Jewish calendar. The Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar rather than a solar reckoning. As I understand it, the first month as redefined in the Old Testament is Abib in the spring. However, the CIVIL year begins in the fall, six months earlier. In order to allign the two systems, a thirteenth month is inserted periocically. As I understand it, the purists use the first appearance of ripening barley in Israel to determine the beginning of Abib (the months begin with the appearance of a thin crescent the day AFTER what we call the "new moon"). The official calendar has been standardized, though, to place the extra month three times in a seventeen year cycle. Since the anniversary of a particular date in history, when calculated in Hebrew terms, will fall on a different day each solar year, it is important to keep in mind WHICH system you are referring to.

So, basing our calculations on the Hebrew calendar, Jesus' birthday will be on Oct. 7 this year. And here is the Biblical reason I chose that date.

Luke was a very careful historian, and so, when he gave a date indicator you can trust it to be there for a reason. In the first chapter we see that Zacharias was doing his duties in his alloted course:

Luke 1:
5 ¶ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

What is the course of Abia [Hebrew: Abijah]?

1 Chron. 24:
5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the LORD, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.

Twenty-four courses had been determined beforehand. Zachariah had been assigned the eighth two-week period in the religious caledar:

Mar2 Apr1 Apr2 May1 May2 Jun1 Jun2 Jul1

where "Mon1"=1-14. Thus Zacharias served in the first part of July, so John was conceived in late July.

Aug2 Sep2 Oct2 Nov2 Dec2 Jan2

Elizabeth's sixth month would then be early January. This was the "sixth month" in which Jesus was conceived. When you add nine months to this:

Feb2 Mar2 Apr2 May2 Jun2 Jul2 Aug2 Sep2 Oct2

We arrive at the fall of the year, the time of the holidays. The second part of October would be the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles. I have used Gregorian months for simplication, indicating the second half as the "15-30" part of a 30-day month. As noted above, 15 Tishri falls on 7 October this year. That is the day of the "full moon."

The only difference from the previous post's calculations is a matter of about a week. It is possible that Elizabeth's "sixth month" is inclusive of July and December. It is also possible that the annunciation came a week before the conception due to Mary's physiology. The miracle was enough of one without having to be doubled up in changing Mary's monthly cycle!

If then, the birth of Jesus came on 15 Tishri, 3760, that would translate to a solar date of Sept. 11, 2 BC. I don't remember if that was the Julian or Gregorian reckoning. It is possible, then, that the birthdate would correspond to the Gregorian Sept 21 (?). It is a real headache keeping these dates aligned. However, based on the Hebrew (Biblical) calendar, Jesus' birthday will "officially" be Oct. 7 this year.

Of course, He could have been born as earlier as Tabernacles 4 BC, if further evidence from Luke is interpreted to mean that Jesus started his ministry soon after John started his:

Luke 3:
1 ¶ Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

This is very definitely an exact reckoning. Unfortunately, there is some ambiguity in the determining of when Tiberius' reign began. It is assumed to be AD 14. That would put John's ministry beginning in AD 28 (inclusive) or AD 29 (exclusive). The alternate dates of many today for Jesus' ministry (AD 27 - 30) fall too early for Luke's record. It is better, then to assume that John had been preaching a while before Jesus was baptized in Hebrew year 3790, probably in the fall (Day of Atonement?)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The half-life of Hm 106?

I have often said I am as healthy as a horse and weigh about half as much as one. Though I have been overweight since childhood, there was a time when I was actually thinner than I should be. I have pictures to prove it. I stood six foot tall and weighed about 165 lbs. I looked like a scarecrow. I don't remember feeling less healthy, but we had two young boys at the time (around 1980) and I was probably only eating one full meal a day. We were poor, but really didn't know any better!

Once we both got jobs (before and after our daughter was born in 1982), I quickly surpassed the 200 - lb. mark and eventually approached 260 by 2004. I am down to around 230 now, and feeling "ok," whatever that means. Long story short, I am still "healthy." I tell folks that I am in "midlife" and will no doubt live to be 106! Well, I just read that the modern record was 122. The oldest person alive just died at age 116, leaving the another to hold the title who is also 116. If I don't change my eating habits, for one thing, my logevity is more than likely just an illusion.

My paternal grandmother died in her thirties (probably diabetes related). My maternal grandmother died at age 88. A mixed message on the female side (Smith and Justice). However, on the male side, the history is not as good. My maternal grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack (apparently in good health otherwise) at age 54. I am now 53. My paternal grandfather died at age 60. So as an overweight man (some charts STILL have me as "obese") I may not get the best rates from the insurance companies (though my personal history is good).

I am now a grandfather. And that naturally makes one by definition "old." And so, when I have an "episode" while attending duties as "head usher" a couple of weeks back you'd think I would have taken a day off and had myself checked out. But no, I just sat down and let in pass. Am I going to die of stupidity? I have time I can take. I just need to make an appointment and have the tests done! Younger folk than me are doing it in the same work enviroment (long hours, less than optimum conditions, moderate stress). Here's hoping that posting this will give me the motivation to "take care of it."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

An interesting prophecy concerning the date that became Hannakah is found in Haggai 2:

18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it.
19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
20 ¶ And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,
21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

This is a prophecy to encourage Zerubbabel, a decendent of Solomon and of Nathan, the two Davidic lines that would lead to Jesus. Two of his sons would continue these lines to Joseph and Mary! Here we have what may very well be a veiled prophecy of the CONCEPTION of Jesus. The annunciation would have fallen, then, on the eve of 25 Kislev, 3 BC. The fullness of time would have fallen exactly on 1 Tishri, the following year. This is a very possibly the birthday of Jesus. The seed (child) would be "in the barn" for 271 days! The rest of the prophecy certainly refers primarily to the establishing of the temple -- which was but a type of Christ and, by extention His Church. Jesus would be the "express image" of the Father, just as his ancestor was a "signet."

But why, 2 BC? A good question. I believe the answer is found in the "signs in the heavens." (Genesis 1:14)

From my old website:

Scholars have long pointed out that Herod the Great died in 4 BC. They have based this on a reference to a lunar eclipse shortly before his death during the Passover season. However, another eclipse was visible in Jerusalem in 1 BC -- and that one was TOTAL rather than partial. It would seem therefore that Dionysius was closer than many have thought. The graphic below is a composite screen shot (slightly altered) made with "Expert Astronomer," an inexpensive software I picked up a few years ago. I have inserted the word "Moon" because the software overlapped the words "Umbra" and "Moon." The time in Jerusalem was 12:52 am as the moon was practically overhead. (Note: Dates BC are advanced one year as the software uses a "year 0.")

That Jesus was crucified in AD 33, at Passover, is indicated by Passover falling on a Friday that year. Jesus and his disciples took Passover on Thursday evening (as Nissan 14, 3793, began) and died before sunset Friday. He was about thirty-three and a half years old. Projecting back to Tishri 1, 3760, we arrive at August 28, 2 BC. Interestingly enough, the planets were aligned at this particular time. In fact, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars were aligned nearly as one "star" on August 26, 2 BC. This is illustrated in this screen shot (from an evaluation copy of software apparently no longer available) :

This is at 4:50 AM. The conjunction would have been brighter than the usual "Morning Star" of Venus seen to the right. These planets are rising in Leo, the lion, as the sun rises in Virgo, the virgin. This could very well have been a "sign" to the Magi in search of the child at Bethlehem.

Though the sites and software I used back when I composed this site (in 1998, I believe), I am sure that these results can be reproduced. The point is, IF the information is anywhere near correct today is Jesus' birthday. It has been exactly 2007 solar years since the birth of our Lord.

Happy Birthday, Yeshua HaMeshiach!!

Stay tuned, for this is just one calculation. The significance of the Feast of Tabernacles (15 Tishri) has lead me to believe that Mary being "great with child" may have been "over due." The solar date in the Julian calendar would have then been September 11. Either way, "Christmas" is upon us! :-)

I will post my calculations based on birth of John the Baptist in a few days.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jesus Saves

Okay, this is obvious. But I wanted to post a few observations from the first two healings related in Matthew's gospel, and the title seems appropriate.

According to the apparent chronology (I have not checked a parallel gospel presentation), these are the first two miracles performed in Jesus' public ministry:

First, Jesus healed a leper. He actually reached out and touched the untouchable! Since he was still being followed by a great crowd, He must have went to the leper who would be avoiding crowds. The collective gasp of the crowd could have changed the weather pattern with the low pressure system created! Jesus showed that he was willing to risk his own health for that of a contagious outcast. He did this asked that the man healed not tell the religious authorities to whom he would go for ceremonial cleansing. Jesus knew that such a claim would be detrimental for the former leper.

Second, Jesus heals a servant, sight unseen. This was a servant of a powerful Gentile soldier. Can you imagine a less likely person to come looking for a Jewish rabbi? But the word was out, and the centurion knew something about authority! Jesus taught with authority -- the word had spread quickly from the mountain (Matt. 5-7) and this soldier just KNEW this man could work a miracle. As this stranger asked, Jesus declared the servant healed. And it happened!

Earth-bound humanity just doesn't understand God. We have such a hard time understanding ourselves. And so, when God comes down and walks among us we reject the notion that He cares enough. We expect Him to play by OUR rules. The religious leaders of Jesus' day expected the Messiah to be a military leader to deliver them form the Romans. Here is a rabbi that defiles himself touching the ceremoniously unclean and then has the nerve to commend the "faith" of a Roman soldier over that of the priests and Levites! What would the Macabees have done?

He loved us -- filthy, sick, and pagan -- so much that he came down and lived among us. And we killed Him! But give praise to God, for He didn't stay dead. He lives, sitting now at the throne of the Father as our priest and king.

Ideed, Jesus saves.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Church politics

I am not a political "animal." Although I try to know the issues in order to be an informed voter, I tend to stay out of active campaigns. I have a friend who is serving, for the second time, in the US House of Representatives. He served his "limit," ran for Senate against our "Junior" senator, and sat out for six years. He easily won re-election, swearing off "term limits" as a cause.

My upstate readers know who this is, and I am sure that anyone can google enough from the information above to figure it out anyway. But that is for another post. The point is, I didn't help him get elected, nor did I help in his bid for the Senate. I may have given a little money, but not much.

It comes down to the same thing in church politics. I don't really see any "political" moves in our church, but my wife assures me that there all kinds of motives. I suspect it is because women talk more with other women, but I may be wrong. I know we men tend to talk about sports or maybe national politics. But even in Deacon's meetings personal politics don't seem to get mentioned.

Last Sunday we had a meeting to elect a search committee. Three members of that committee were already nominated and were easily approved by voice vote (no nayes). However, two members had to be nominated from the floor. Surprizingly, out of about six women nominated ONE lady won the majority. Out of about as many men nominated, there was a second ballot. A deacon came out ahead of a very popular elder. There had been no "campaigning" for these nominations that I know of. but the congregation had done its part in the Presbyterian system (a representative republic!)

I assumed so many nominations were just because the nominators wanted to honor their friends (who had to accept to be "on the ballot"). My wife says there were definite motivations behind most of the nominations. She sees politics, I just see people.

I am not a political animal.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A "planet" spurned

What are they thinking?!! Don't they know that denying Death is unhealthy! "The wanderer," who was inside of Neptunes orbit is now on the outside of things. Nearer to his "realm," I suppose and not as well trained to fight the battles to come.

The "god of the dead" will not be pleased. Perhaps his realm is full. :-)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The battle for the womb

Two related stories deserve a comment tonight. First, the "morning after pill" gets the okay from the drug authorities for Over the counter for adults. Sexually active children still need permission!

Aside from the obvious accommendaton to our sinfulness, the "Plan B" solution (what's plan A? A condem?) appears to be an assault on a possible developing human within the womb of the woman. The extra-strength birth control pill changes the chemical nature of the lining of the uterus "just in case" an embryo has formed in the hours before. The embryo, if fertilization occurs -- indeed if ovulation has even occured -- is left in an enviroment in which it cannot survive. Every "Morning After Pill" poses the risk of terminating a pregnancy. The end result, no matter what, will be negative population growth!

The other story actually shows promise to actually SAVE embryos even while extracting cells with which to develope "stem cell" lines. If it weren't for the fact that fertility clinics routinely destroy most of the embryos in an attempt to preserve a viable seed, this would be good news. Perhaps, one day, "test tube" embryos will ALL become babies. If this were to be the case, then singe cells taken early enough would be an excellent source for building blocks for better and longer lives. Until then, I think we should stick to cord blood and bone marrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A visit from an antichrist

Perhaps a few of you saw it. There was a posted remark on my post "The first resurrection" which was from a "real live" antichrist. He has been blogging for a little over a year trying to sell his book. He even offers FREE downloads of his blasphemy in e-book form!

He considers all the "Abrahamic" faiths to be delusions, with Christianity the worst "by far." Worse than being a Rome-basher, he considers Jesus to be the false messiah. He, you see, is the real thing. He has come to save us from our religious error.

He has cleverly chosen to be born in the year of the sheep and have the astrological sign of Leo (the Lion). I say "chosen" because it CAN'T be a coincidence that one who lists his occupation as "Messiah" would be both of the Lion and the Lamb!

I deleted his remark, though I saved it disk just in case I need to refer to later. He goes by the the blogger name of Seven Star Hand. I wish to point to the TRUE Messiah, not a false one. And that Messiah is Jesus.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Tribute to my son


1978 - 2001

"He Lived God's Way"

James "Jim" Henry Martin Jr., 22, of 102
Alice St., died Thursday, Aug. 23, 2001, at St. Francis
Hospital following complications from surgery.

Thus began the public record of the passing of my firstborn son into the presense of our Lord. Though the official date wasThursday, we believe that Jim left us on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, to a home much greater than any we can provide for him. Born Sept. 17, 1978, James Henry Martin Jr. took my name --and the names of his great-grandfathers on my side -- into the annals of history. Now this name has become one that I, his father, must honor throughout the course of the rest of my life.Overcoming a period of petit mal seizures when he was a toddler, our son's development was slowed just enough for us to make the decision to "hold him back" so that he began first grade just before his seventh birthday (Sept 17, 1985). Far from "slow," Jim tested in the 90th percentile in all standardized tests in elementary school. He saw very few "B's" until Junior High School.

The oldest of four children, Jim learned early that he lovedchildren, especially the pre-schoolers. As he grew into his teenyears, his attention continued to be with the children. The nursery that had practically begun with him and his brother Tim in late 1980 grew as Second Presbyterian Church (PCA) became a popular place for young Christians in Greenville, SC. As an "early" resident of that nursery, Jim was drawn to the hundreds of new tenants as they occupied what went from a two-crib "hole in the wall" to a "wing" of the educational building.

Be it a "volunteer" in the nursery or a "summer missionary" to the Appalachian Mountains, Jim was a "kid magnet." Whatever the call, Jim was there for the little ones. He grew to over six-foot-three with size thirteen sneakers, but was always ready to give a piggy-back ride to the tiniest toddler who reached up to "Mr. Jim."

In his teen years, Jim went three times to Whitetop, Virginia, to help with Vacation Bible School . Laughter, songs, and thedoctrines of the church filled the small country church, spilling out into the community in the surrounding hills. Eleven months later many of these children would recognise their beloved "Mr. Jimmy," come to show the love of Christ in word and deed.

As a student at Bob Jones University, Jim made use of the opportunities to serve in many ways. His work at WBJU, the campus radio station, introduced hundreds of "captive" dorm students to his wit and humor. When he had time, Jim loaned his voice to a "Barbershop Choir" composed of men of all ages. In fact, Jim shared the stage with men in their eighties. Weekends were available for evangelism among apartment complexes and especially Camp Spearhead, a camp for Special-Needs children His sister Becca, at the time a freshmen at BJU, shared his last year in this ministry. Summer ministerial assignments were filled with gusto as Jim fulfilled the requirements for his Camp Ministries major at Bob Jones University. He had attended the BJ school system for sixteen years, fitting in well with a Christian community that varied somewhat from his Presbyterian heritage. In 1999, between his sophmore and junior years, Jim served as a camp counsellor in Pennsylvania. In 2000, he traveled half-way around the world to Guam to serve with Harvest Baptist Church and School. In his "down time" he was even able to record some radio devotional readings -- reaching out to thousands in Micronesia and beyond!

[The last summer], Jim's "summer job" was at BJU Linc, a "distantlearning" outreach of Bob Jones University. There he touchedthe lives of staff and crew doing whatever task that lay before him. Outside of "work" his spare time was filled with activity for Second Presbyterian Church. In addition to his regular nursery duties, he helped in numerous ministries, including Vacation Bible School and Summer's Best Two Weeks,a "sports" camp. Behind the scenes with pastors Rod Clay and Robert Spears -- and Ministerial interns Steve Murphy and Dave Osborn -- Jim learned the ins and outs of everything from deacons' meetings to hospital visitation.

The highlight of his summer, however, was the mission trip to Haiti. Staying in what is "luxury" to most Haitians, even their hotel turned off the electricity at seven in the morning. Soon after breakfast, however, they piled into a well-used school bus and rode to the construction site where they put in a concrete ceiling/floor as a second floor begins, providing much needed space for the young, growing church. There are no "super highways" in Haiti.

The Lord has called Jim home after twenty-three short butfruitful years. Only future generations will be able to tell the extent of his influence. . . .

With everlasting love,

James Henry Martin, Sr.

Deborah C. Martin (Mom)

Timothy "Tim" S. Martin

Rebecca "Becca" E. Martin

Samuel "Sam" A. Martin

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Devil in a wool suit

We have all seen them. They have the fine suits and the new cars. They preach a gospel that makes Jesus look like a failure in his low estate. They are profitting falsely as false prophets!

They know all the right religious words, the "Jesus language," but it is all ultimateley themselves that they promote. They have by who knows what means become rich and influencial in more and more circles. And all they have can be yours if you but "believe" that it can happen! Believe in the power of your own words. Name it and claim it as a child of God. So many lies.

It reminds me of what the garden of Eden must have been like. A tree (pomegranate?) in the midst of a field of life giving wheat! But the Man and his wife could not eat of its beautiful fruit! Life or "death"? What a choice, huh? But Satan clothed himself in the body of a beautiful dragon, a "serpent" of shiny skin, and probably ate freely of the tree! Well, you know the story.

And so, thorns and thistles grew up, choking out all fruitfulness in untended trees everywhere. Tares were growing where only wheat once grew tall. None of these can bring forth good fruit, even if they produce lucious greenery and even pretty flowers (we know it as kudzu in the south!) Such is the work of these wolves in "sheep's clothing." Be a Berean.

See Matthew 7:15-19; 13:3-30; Acts 17:10-11.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Asking the right Person

In Matthew 7, Jesus deals further with the matter of prayer. More specifically, with WHO it is we are praying to. First, he uses a couple of unclean animals as illustrations. Both the dog and the pig (here probably a wild boar) are scavengers. They represent the worst picture of the unbelieving world. Jesus has nothing "personally" against the animals themselves, but the picture is clear -- you don't throw your precious items out with the trash into the garbage dump (in Jerusalem that would be Gehenna).

Instead, you will share such things with Family. More specifically, you will share them with your Heavenly Father. As children of God, why should we expect our needs to be met by the world? We are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is from our homeland that we are to look for our support! When we come to God in prayer, we know that He will have our best interests at heart. He will provide even as we are in the process of asking! Just as any normal human father would not deliberately defraud his children, we know that our Heavenly father will provide for all our true needs.

Are we communicating with family or with strangers?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The First Resurrection

It is amazing what one can learn by actually reading the Bible for what it actually says! I grew up in the 70's and 80's when Dispensationalism, with it's pre-millenial and pre-tribulational interpretations, were their most popular. I was taken in by most of it because it was exciting, and seemed to be taking the events of the cold war so very seriously.

However, the interpretations became a little too forced as I studied in the most dispensationalist school outside of Dallas. I was in graduate school, so my "indoctrination" was not as severe. I was being taught critical thinking skills, so I started asking questions. But not too loudly.

Anyway, the first interpretation that "went" was the pre-tribulation "rapture." The words "immediately after the tribulation" kept glaring out at me like "this is my body" did for Martin Luther! I had to face it, I was "historic pre-mil," the only position I could take and still be in "good graces" with teachers at school. I gradually went over to a a-mil position under the tutelage of some good Presbyterian preaching. But that is another story.

I bring that up only to present the following interpretation of the resurrections with which we have to do:

From my website I have copied yet another bit of eschatological controversy! Behold:

When all seemed hopeless, God works a miracle. Actually, it is the fulfilling of a promise. The "great voice" which will call the prophets home is megale phone, the same the "great sound" of the trumpet prophecied by Christ in Matt. 24:31. Eternal life and Resurrection are part of His Grand Plan for believers. As the "second woe" passes, it will logically lead up to the "third woe" which is the LAST TRUMPET! To the Anti-Christ's astonishment, he sees the Resurrection of his enemies, taken out of this world. But his heart is harder than tempered steel -- no, harder than diamond! He thinks he is ready to meet God face to face, but we will see that he is not. ARE YOU READY? The FIRST RESURRECTION is not that great event at the end of time, but rather NEW LIFE FROM THE DEAD.

The words of Christ himself make it clear that this is an accurate picture of the "General Resurrection" to come. Were it not so, I would not argue this point here, or elsewhere. This was personally hard for me to realize, but this passage is so much clearer when from a "new perspective":

John 5:
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

As hard as it was for me as a Pre-millennialist, I eventually grasped the concept of "the first resurrection" being the same as the "new birth." No unbiased reader of Jesus' words can deny that two "resurrections" are in view here. It is hard to escape the words of Christ when faced with doctrinal controversy. . . . Historically the doctrine is treated as a "General Resurrection," somewhat like that referred to by Christ in John 5:29 above. Without twisting scripture, that is where I am left -- ONE FINAL JUDGMENT WITH ONE RESURRECTION AT THAT TIME.

And so, let's live like we have the power of the First Resurrection with us even today! With that kind of authority, we need not fear whatever the world has in store for us. We will prevail.

Baby Jett Martin

I am going to try to create a better page here:

This is an early picture, showing how long he is:

Sometimes a guy just has a bad hair day!

Was he laughing?

Jett "replaced" Flower, the cat, at the Martin apartment!

Sitting behind a pole

Jesus did not like hypocrites. In Matthew 7, He relates an illustration from the carpenter's shop. In his pre-ministry years, he was undoubtably an artisan of the finest order. Working along side Joseph, he most likely got sawdust in his eyes. There weren't OSHA standards back then!

He could probably remember days when Joseph would be planing a beam destined to hold up a corner of a shop somewhere, only to call over to him to be careful with the broom!

However, the picture that came to me as I studied this passage on Friday morning was the actual beam erected to hold up a balcony. You have tickets to a great show. They were "bargains." And they are behind a pole. Your view of the stage is awful. You have a "beam in your eye." Nonetheless, you sit in the bad seat and proceed to criticise the activity on the stage.

When need, rather, to avoid seats behind poles if we are to rightfully judge the performance on the stage. Only then can we get a perspective that allows us to understand the character of the guys in the spotlight.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seeking the Kingdom of God

The gospel of Matthew is obviously written with a Jewish audience in mind. The use of the phrase "Kingdom of God," therefor, stands out in the "sermon on the mount" where the phrase "kingdom of heaven" otherwise prevails.

It is logical to deduce, I think, that the phrase "Kingdom of God" had already come into general usage by the assemblies and was therefor untouhabe. The "kingdom" is the reign, or influence of God in our every day chores. We are to seek THAT influence in mind as we serve Him in a new country."kingdom" without walls, open to all to whom He has called.

But we, it seems, let "things" get in our way! Oh, that we would simply TRUST our Master.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Seven Churches of the Apocolypse

Tonight, I will reveal a bit of my theological bent. I am, as this chart shows, a historist when it comes to interpreting Revelation. I will leave it to later posts to reveal what I think is happening next! 8-o

A balanced history emerges as the church has grown these past two millennia. Though the intervals are not EXACTLY the same, neither were the "days" of the Old Testament that divide God's working with his people. One would be tempted to "make" the chart below come out "evenly" -- with an even 1000 years in the middle, for instance -- but the balance is nonetheless impressive to this writer.

The template is messing up the picture presentation. Click on the picture to open it in another window. Also, to view the whole presentation go to my website (90% of Revelation, interpreted).

Though the various churches typified in Asia Minor remain with us, it would seem that we have seen the end of the "longsuffering" of the Lord (2 Peter 3:9 ff). As I will attempt to show in the following pages, I believe that His plan for the "Endtimes" has come. It is this picture that Jesus now shows the beloved apostle. The things that follow are not pleasant, and we should not look to be removed from them (as with a "rapture'), but instead to prepare ourselves physically and spiritually to face them, even as the believers of the Smyrna church did.

"For me to live is Christ,
To die is gain."

-- The Apostle Paul
Philippians 1:21

Monday, August 14, 2006

Aussie Bait

Today was long, and yet uneventful. Just for fun, though, I thought I would see if I can get any Australian traffic merely with a title. "Aussie Bait" -- I wonder if I will get any nibbles.

If there is a nibble, I have a question. Are there any maps printed with Austrailia in the "upper" hemisphere? You know, oriented with the South Pole at the "top" of the map. I would think such a "Aussie-centric" map would be a natural for such an independent thinking folk. I'd love to get a copy if there is one (at a reasonable price -- or maybe a web-based site that would have such a map on display).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Any "upstate" watchers "down under"?

Well, I see by the watch on my wrist that this day is just about gone. It was my 29th wedding anniversary. Every year of it has been spent in Greenville, SC. All four of our children were educated at BJ, with only my daughter scheduled to finish her education there (unless she heads out of state for a doctorate!)

But what has that got to do with "down under"? Well, even though I stay here in SC, I noticed that I just picked up one visit from Brazil. That's in South America (the fifth continent, and only one I've visited!) So now, all I am looking for to be truly intercontinental is Australia. I am linked (see sidebar) to Hondo at Christian Conservatives blogspot, and he has a "fan" there! If Hondo attracts the Aussies, why can't I? :-)

There ARE upstate connections in Australia. My daughter Becca spent a summer with a mission team working with the Kwoks on Australia's east coast. The PCA has missionaries on the west coast of that continent.

And so, how about some folks from the fine continent "down under" checking out the "upstate"?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The politics of disease

I have compassion for those suffering from disease. Really I do. But when a disease has what amounts to militant activists, then one wonders.

Cancer activists are winning their war, it seems. Having replaced the "medical model" with the "enviromental" model, success has come at the cost of personal freedoms being eroded for those less careful with their personal choices. "Big Tobacco" has been put on notice as more and more places go "smoke free." I am convinced, as a non-smoker, that the reason tobacco causes cancer is because the plant is a sponge to radon (radioactive gas) in the soils in which it grows in the USA. One wonders if the effects of "safe tobacco" grown in clean soil would be quite as devastating.

And then, there is the case of "women's health" vs. "men's health." It seems that such things as breast cancer get a whole lot more attention than prostate cancer, for instance. However, it has become a blessing to have a working remote control since network TV has begun airing commercials for "E.D." How many different medications are they to help us "horny old men" in the bedroom anyway! :-(


And now, to get REEAAL controversial. Out of curiosity, after reading yet another article on AIDS, I googled "AIDS history." Curiously, I got a few hits on the history of hearing aids! Any way, buried several pages back -- even beyond the hearing aids -- were the links to the dissidents in the medical community that disagree with the "theory" that a virus dubbed "HIV" is what "causes" AIDS. As it turns out, there has not been clear evidence that such a virus even exists.

The difficulty in isolating the virus has lead to tests that measure "markers" that appear in antibodies. False positives abound, but these are disregarded in favor of the prevailing theory. As a result, previous wisdom as to the causes being lifestyle induced have largely been ignored. Sure, the facts are still admitted as to the "risky behavior" that will "spread" the virus. But that doesn't address such enviromental factors as nutrition and drug use (both injected AND injected), which were so "obvious" in the early days before the "discovery" of the virus. Study has not been able to demonstrate just how the virus can do so much harm to the system without multiplying to detectable amounts in the blood way sooner.

I speak as a laymen, of course, after browsing the articles at a couple of websites. However, I had read certain remarks in other places in recent months that seemed to relate to this same controversy. But then again, this AIDS "virus" has somehow gained "rights" of its own, largely from those that persist in "risky behavior" that may be more the cause than the conduit for a virus. But a virus is easier to fight than a lifestyle, so it becomes a political football. It seems to me that, in the "west" anyway, lifestyle changes are the best way to combat this disease. In the developing world, on the other hand, it may very well be nutrition and hygene that need more attention.

How can we be sure that it is a virus that opens the way for other "opportunist" organisms to kill millions? The "markers" have been found to be produced by antibodies that are caused by the more than thirty such diseases which Acquired Immune Difficiency Syndrome is know for. It is, is it not, a Syndrome? That, by definition, rules out any particular single factor. One can "have the virus" and never show the symtoms of the syndrome (note, for example, "Magic" Johnson), but those that develope the syndrome will surely die a lingering death whether or not they test positive for antibodies to a particular virus.

But, I rave on. I could be quite wrong about this HIV thing. But it irks me that those of "alternate lifestyles" seem to have legitimized their way of seeing things through claiming they are victoms of an unseen virus. "Abstenence works -- every time it is tried."

Okay, readers, prove me wrong.

Friday, August 11, 2006

In the light of the crescent

I suppose I will have to say something about the foiled terrorist activities in England.

They captured most of the cell, but not all. And this is troublesome.

Many ask if these terrorists are "patriots," having an intense desire of their national pride. Their montivation is one of distrust. They don't trust Western civilization OR "Western" religion. Our culture is despised, but moreso our religion.

This goes back to the beginning. Abram was a woshipper of the moon god. His son Ishmael reverted to this religion many years later. When the true God made Himself known to this descendant of Shem [=Melchilsedec?], He was declaring war on the moon god.

Jacob's brother Essau followed after his uncle in worshipping the supreme god of the "forefathers." And by Mohammed's time this god had come to be called "Allah" (akin to the Hebrew "eloh" [strong one].") and was demoted to cheif among other gods.

The "Dark Ages" began. The god of darkness "ruled" for about a thousand years. And his sign was the cresent. There is not a whole lot of light under a "new moon."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's left of the Left?

The far end of the political spectrum is called "the left," or perhaps "liberal," though the term "progressive" seems to preferred by the practitioners of the view. It seems that the "L" word has foiled some good candidates.

It seems, though that "the Left" is further left than the liberals. The Left has taken the phrase "civil liberties" to its logical extreme. Those things that used to be considered immoral (and even illegal) are the causes that the left seem bent on defending. While most of them are "normal" folk, they fight for the right of others to be different (or "diverse"). Nothing seems to be taboo anymore for adults (and that is defined differently for different behaviors). On the other hand, our traditional values are relegated to the privacy of our own homes.

The Left has become so "tolerant" of diverse lifestyles that "anything goes" as it comes to private behavior. Nothing is considered "abnormal" any more. In fact, we are criticised for daring to suggest such may be the case. The Left has become the new home of negativism as NOTHING the Right does is accepted as viable. Any "compromise" must be done from the Right.

The Left is out there, seeking stability in shifting sands! Next time, we will consider the "classic Liberal."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Is the Right right?

Since I am the first member of a new political blog, I guess I should at least have one political blog a week. And so, as a conservative, I will lay down what I think about the various political movements.

The names we give the different groups seem quite interesting. On a spectrum of "right to left," the right is that group that is stuck in the past, I guess. The main idea about being at the "starting point" of a time line is that things should stay the same.

What makes the right "right"? I would say that standing on time-honored "absolutes" is the key. Without a basic belief in the unchanging principles that society has been built upon, there is less security for each of us and our nation.

Those of other persuasion continue to call us "right" even while insisting that we are "mistaken," or even "wrong." What do words mean any more?

So, the "Right" is right because they stand on principles laid down in history. When they take stands, though, that have no basis in natural or revealed law, then they are wrong. No matter what "tradition" might say.

Remember the sermon on the mount. Jesus proclaimed "ego de lego" (actually he probably said it in Aramaic, but it sounds good in Greek) -- I, though, say ...

He went against "tradition" because the "conservatives" of his day had forsaken the principles of the Law (10 commandments) for their own "comfortable" traditions. Jesus made them uncomfortable.

And so, the Right was wrong on segregation and the prejudice that created it. They were wrong with slavery, and they were wrong with much of the "manifest destiny" in building a shore to shore nation on this continent. The Right is wrong when it makes wealth a measure of righteousness (that is, making "greed" a virtue). And, in my opinion the Right is wrong when it lets zenophobic nationalism criminalize immigration. The only reason the immigrants are "illegal" is because we, the majority, have declared it so.

I hope that this has not confused anybody out there. I am conservative. I believe that the constitution, as written, should be the guide to how we run this nation. As for the LAWS, they should be based on established laws with their roots in natural and revealed law that have withstood the tests of time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Insurance vs. medicine

Here in the upstate of South Carolina we have just seen another victory for the insurance industry over the "demogogues" of "big medicine." Yeah, right.

A local news anchor, Pamela Graham, was out on medical leave for a nasty case of whooping cough (adults can get that?) but the insurance company had decided to tell her employer that she was well enough to go back to work. The trouble is, her doctor would not release her just yet.

Well, I guess insuring the voice of a household fixture of over 20 years in the business is an expence WSPA of Spartanburg couldn't pay. They fired the veteran news lady even though she only asked for another month of leave. So much for "tenure."

I have had some experience in the insurance industry, and my wife is a nurse. It seems to me that most insurance is stacked against the consumer. The rates are based on statistical analysis, and it is not comforting to be a statistic. And then, after years of faithfully paying premiums, you need coverage. Fine, you're covered. But then your rates go up! What have you been paying for, anyway? You are betting good money against yourself -- you pay, hoping that you will not have to collect. They collect, betting on your staying healthy until you reach another bracket in which their statistics justify a hike in the premiums.

And so it goes. A vicious circle that devours billions of dollars a year!

Welcome, Visitors

I see by my new counter that I have had over ten visitors in the last 24 hours or so. Welcome.

If you could, a short note would be good. My counter (lower right courner) records where visitors are coming from. So far I have Canadian and Indian (the country) as well as three "clusters" from the US. this represents at least 6 wide spread visits. Welcome. Please leave a note so I can know how to improve the site.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ego de lego, part two

Here it is almost midnight and I have just completed my daily devotions. I usually do my translating (actually just word studies in an inter-liniar NT) and devotions in the morning, but I slept late this morning.

And then, after over ten hours of work there was a good deacon's meeting. So, home at 9:30, blogging a little, and back into the word. Jesus has just told his disciples how "NOT" to pray and then gives them this model prayer. Thus the title of this blog -- Part two.

Matthew 6:9-10 gives us the first two thoughts of the prayer.

  1. The supremacy of the Name of God, and
  2. The extent of the reign of God.
Because we don't shout our prayers to be seen of men, but rather get behind closed doors for an intimate conversations with our Father, we must know just WHO it is we are talking to. He is the Creator and Master of all that is. And His name is YHWH -- I AM WHO I AM -- the convenant making and covenant keeping Ruler of Everything. And he is "our Father"! How can we not worship him?

Jesus has said: Pray this way -- Father of ours, the One in the heavens, let your name be set apart. Let your reign be over us. Let your desire be on the earth as it is in heaven.

True freedom is to be in bondage to the right master. A paradox, but true.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Kindness - Gal.5:22; Titus 3:3-8

In a sermon serious on the fruit of the Spirit, Associate Pastor Robert Spears covered "kindness" this evening. The word crestotes is translated "gentleness" in the KJV. The idea is a "moral goodness that results in acts of kindness."

Verses about the kindness of God: Psalms 145:9; 31:19; 119:68; Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:4.

Verses about our kindness to Christians: Romans 3:11 ff; Colossians 3:12; Galatians 6:10.

Verses about kindness to the world: Psalms 25:21-22; Matthew 5:43-48.

Application: Our motives to show kindness -

  1. We honor Christ
  2. It shows our new nature
  3. We have the same God
  4. We are thankful
  5. Others are in need
  6. It is used to draw others to Christ
  7. We are compelled to act by the Holy Spirit
This sermon, and those of the last eight months, can be found at Nathaniel Johnson's site where he has provided mp3 recordings. Tonight's sermon may take a day to get up, thought Nathaniel is prompt in these postings.

My first webring invitation!

Well, today Saturday, I got linked up to a real live webring. Thought this is not strictly a political blog, I think I can at least bounce around some useful thoughts to the politicos who might just visit to see what we politically minded folk are thinking.

I claim to be a "typical conservative," but I must admit some "libertarian" leanings. The problem is, I don't think "civil libertarians" are very civil. :-(

And being "fiscally conservative" should not mean that NO government money should be spent on keeping our civilization "civilized," should it?

I spent most of the evening reading and answering some email from a libertarian Christian from the "left coast." We are very close theologically, but politically he is way too much into "conspiracy" theory for my tastes. However, the local "conservative" weekly here in Greenville is carrying much of the same material. So where does that leave me?

And so, I support my friend the conservative politician Bob Inglis (back in Congress after leaving when his "term limits" expired -- he said "never again" to such a silly notion!) though the local libertarians tout out a very low "conservative index" for him. Will I abandon him for his "own good"? I don't think so!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I, though, say unto you ...

I grew up in the turbulous 60's. These were the days in which conservatives were either fighting a war a half a world away, or working to put a man on the surface out of this world. The liberals were protesting the war and voting to fund welfare in a time of prosperity.

And then there were the "Jesus Freaks." These were related to the "peace-nics," but they were religious folks that "took Jesus seriously." The "Jesus movement" really took off in the seventies, though. I actually visited the Christian commune of Koinia (sp?) near Americus, Ga. The sermon on the mount was their blueprint.

As I study through the gospel of Matthew, I am impressed that Jesus DID have much of that sense of community in mind when he preached of the kingdom of heaven to his disciples. Ours is not a political system, but a worldview with its sights set in another kingdom altogether. This kingdom is here today - in a way - with the world-wide dispersion of the church. The most life is "seen" in parts of the world that receive very little secular notice. In these lands where persecution is common the words of Jesus from the mount ring very true!

In Matthew 5:38-47 Jesus presents a worldview that is diametrically opposed to the world's way of thinking. In fact it is almost as foreign to the modern "Western" church as well. He says there is absolutely NO ROOM for retaliation or hate in the mind of His followers. He states emphatically that HE says something that goes much deeper than the religionists of His day.

Ego de lego. That could be the theme of the Master's message to us. Literally, "I, though, say" or as translated in most versions "But, I say." He quotes the Jewish mindset of his day - and ours, I suppose - that we have to do God's work for him. Well, in doing the "work of God" in acts of kindness and humility we show Him to the world. But alas, the world hates Him, so it will hate us. Nevertheless, "Ego de lego" echoes downthrough the millenia. It is not "what would Jesus do?" for He is God. But rather, it is "what has Jesus SAID?"

Let us reread the message from the mountain. What has Jesus said?

I am designing the bracelet! Should it be initials WHJS? Or the transliterated Greek "Ego de lego"? Or maybe even the phrase in Greek letters!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


A new step into the wired world of computing! I am now successfully networked to my old computer - the 550 Mhz HP laptop. My new laptop does not have a printer port, so I have to turn both computers on to share the printer that is on the desk.

The neat thing, though, is that I can also access anything in the "My Documents" folder on the other computer as well. It doesn't seem to work in reverse, though.

In fact, it appears that my new Windows XP does not have a built in "Microsoft Works" compatible program. The worksheets from the other computer won't work on this new computer, apparently. I will continue to work on that, though. It seems that MS stuff ought to be backwards compatible.

Well, anyway, I have to bring this blog to an end. I will work out the bugs of this networking stuff later.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Normally, I don't like change. But today, my "life" online changed. For the first time in years I have truly upgraded my computing power. Today my Dell Inspiron B130 arrived.

Like my last full service computer, a 400 Mhz E-machine, this laptop is "free." The last computer was free after rebates with two years of internet service. This time the interest on a credit card is paying for the computer. The amount of money that HAS to remain in the account at the present APR will more than pay for this machine in the required 18 months. I picked up six months off the old deal!

The other change came when my son Sam saw that I was "still using" Microsoft Internet Explorer. He commandeered the computer and in moments I had Foxfire loaded as my default browser. It is similar to Netscape (which I had been using until the last time I restored my interim computer -- my daughter's old laptop, 550 Mhz HP). I can't tell much difference so far, but I have read good things about it. And the best thing is, it's free!

With it's built in wireless connection, I was into high speed (DSL routed) computing all around. This computer is about three times faster, and it is more compatible with some of the more recent drivers. There is very little waiting for downloading now. I am now in Windows XP rather than the archaic ME of the other computer.

When it comes to computing, change is good. Though I will always love DOS.