Posts

Prayer Is Pointless

Prayer has never made sense to me. I've been a Christian my whole life and never understood it. Here is why… If God foreordains all things, then your prayer is pointless.Why? Because God will not change his eternal, perfect plan for you.If God foreknows all things, then your prayer is pointless.Why? Because God cannot change the entire future for you.If God can change future events in response to your prayer, then he is evil.Why? Because prayer is as effective as flipping a coin, so God chooses not to change future events for half the prayers he receives.If you add the words, “Not my will, but yours be done,” after petitioning God in prayer, then you already know your prayer is pointless.Why? Because God's will is indistinguishable from things that happen. If God exists, then you admit that your prayer is pointless because he won't change course from what he already decided to do. If God doesn't exist, then you're simply talking to the air, which is just as likely t…

Problems with the Ark Kinds

Image
Although I have not spoken much about this (if at all), I no longer consider myself a Young Earth Creationist. The reasons for this are multiple, and one of these days I plan to publish a dump truck of all my thoughts and my current religious perspective. I am just not ready for that yet. But when I did fully accept the “biblical” model of Creation, I was most passionate about a subject called baraminology.1 I have always loved zoos and animals, so tracing the common ancestry and seeing the diversity that God programmed into his Creation were amazing to me. As I became invested in the Hebrew Roots Movement and convinced that we should only eat clean animals, I came to an amazing discovery: All clean land animals show a high degree of common ancestry, implying that they could derive from a single original pair or created population.

Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof an…

What Is Sin?

What is sin?

This question seems obvious. Sin is disobeying God. A more informed answer would say it is transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). But this is only marginally helpful, because defining it doesn't automatically explain why something is a sin. It might help to take it back to Genesis to know what standard we are measuring against.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
—Genesis 1:31
In English, the word “good” is a bit nebulous. It means something like “correct”, but even that seems arbitrary. Correct—according to whom? According to God, of course, but by what basis does he declare something good or evil? Is goodness arbitrary? Not really. The word here rendered “good” is the Hebrew word טוב (tov). This word isn't describing some esoteric quality of morality. Hebrew is a concrete language. Tov means “functional”. To be good is to operate as designed.

And from that, we can determine that “evil” means “dysfunctional”. In Hebrew, the word …

Dignity: The Heart of God

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
—Matthew 7:12
Like Hillel before him, Yeshua (Jesus) summarized all the Law of God, often said to contain 613 commandments, into a single sentence. But I want to take this one step further and condense it into three syllables: Dignity.

Our culture doesn't talk a lot about honor, but it's still a fundamental value in our interactions. We aren't as transparent in our honor code as, say, the Japanese, but we all want to be treated with respect. We all care what others think of us, and no one wants to put himself in a position where his dignity is on the line. This sort of timid pride causes us to treat each other with less dignity. We expect them to acknowledge our value, but we resist showing the same courtesy in return for risk of appearing foolish. And when we do outwardly humble ourselves in front of others, it is nearly always in order to gain favor with them, not b…

That Jewish Christmas?

This is part of a series of essays I wrote in 2018 to explain the Biblical Appointed Times (mo'adim) to my family members. If you'd like to read the other papers in this series, you can find them linked here:

Happy New Year! (four months early)Shabbat shalom!Passover & Unleavened BreadPentecostThe Day of Loud NoiseThe Day of AtonementThe Grand FinaleThat Jewish Christmas?

This time of year, it's become common to hear the greeting, “Happy holidays.” Christians tend to be put off by this, since it seems like a not-so-covert attempt to stamp out the celebration of the birth of Jesus from this time of year. I know many Christians are aware that Jesus wasn't born at Christmas, but that isn't the point. It is dearly-loved in family traditions and as a celebration to honor the birth of our Savior. The secularization of “the holidays” is seen as an attack on the foundation of our faith.

It may seem from my earlier letters that I am doing something of the same thing. Ove…

The Grand Finale

This is part of a series of essays I wrote in 2018 to explain the Biblical Appointed Times (mo'adim) to my family members. If you'd like to read the other papers in this series, you can find them linked here:

Happy New Year! (four months early)Shabbat shalom!Passover & Unleavened BreadPentecostThe Day of Loud NoiseThe Day of AtonementThe Grand FinaleThat Jewish Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

“In September?” you ask. Yes, in September. Some of you may remember that back in college, I merged the nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke to produce a chronological account of Jesus' birth. During that research, I came across an article presenting the idea that Jesus was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Tishrei 15).1 And that just so happens to be the next feast on our list of mo'adim. Actually, this paper will cover both the Feast of Tabernacles (called Sukkot in Hebrew) and the Last Great Day. They blend together the same way that Passover, the Feast of Unle…

The Day of Atonement

Image
This is part of a series of essays I wrote in 2018 to explain the Biblical Appointed Times (mo'adim) to my family members. If you'd like to read the other papers in this series, you can find them linked here:

Happy New Year! (four months early)Shabbat shalom!Passover & Unleavened BreadPentecostThe Day of Loud NoiseThe Day of AtonementThe Grand FinaleThat Jewish Christmas?

May you be sealed in the Book of Life!

We are about to enter the holiest, most solemn day of the year. Yom Kippur falls on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei (the seventh month). On this day, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctum of the temple in Zion. The temple represented Eden, the garden of God, where heaven met earth, and the Holy of Holies was the place where the presence of God dwelt among men.

The only object in the 15′ × 15′ × 15′ room was the ark of the covenant—the throne of God.1 The ark of the covenant is the most sacred object on earth. It contained the two s…