1. Illinois
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    06 Aug '07 18:06
    The only real key to unlocking the biblical text is faith.

    Faith, that the bible is genuinely from God and not an artificial construct, provides the only access to God's active and abiding presence (heretofore misapprehended and/or unanticipated). It is not that the written word contains the power to do this in itself, or that what is required is a deification of mere letters; if this were the case, everyone from Richard Dawkins to Billy Graham would be ushered into God's presence simply by reading. No, the bible is a collection of letters and words like any other book, printed on paper no more holy than the paper used to print Hitler's Mein Kampf. Both can be tossed aside into a pyre of burning books without the slightest upset to the natural order; both may be mishandled and sullied with the same contempt and with similar consequence.

    What makes the bible particularly enduring and effective is that it is genuinely from God. Other books are authored according to the human intellect's genius at framing truth, but the bible is authored by Truth itself. The same letters and words are used in both, but the source is different; and it is the source which gives words their power (i.e. their enduring effectiveness). Faith unlocks the power of God's word by putting a person in touch with the living presence of Truth (God Himself), who, though being ever-present, had formerly been an imperceptible, assumed impossible, reality.

    This power can be unlocked by anyone, because everyone has the ability to trust. Doubts are plenteous and ensnare many, but even so, as I can personally attest, trust in God's word can be achieved despite them all. Despite a person's doubts, no matter how vociferous and deep-seated those doubts may be, trust can be established, if Truth Himself is indeed the author of the bible. What it takes to wholeheartedly trust that the bible is genuinely from God, despite one's doubts, is the willingness to appear foolish; to possibly, in a very real way, end up being a fool. After all, what else can be said about a person who bases their entire life upon a lie? Faith is definitely a risk, but only from the outside looking in. Those willing to be a fool for Christ know the power of God and His living presence, fueling the perennial witness of the faithful followers of Christ: those who believe, receive.

    If Truth exists, who does not honestly try to grasp it? If it is not known whether Truth exists, who does not honestly attempt to seek it? If Truth has not yet been found, who can honestly say it isn't there?
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    06 Aug '07 18:17
    The problem, of course, is that any text can appear to contain truth if you decide beforehand that you're not going to question it. You're basically giving the text a free pass. You could do the same for the Koran or the Torah or the Tao and it would make just as much sense.
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    06 Aug '07 18:19
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    The only real key to unlocking the biblical text is faith.

    Faith, that the bible is genuinely from God and not an artificial construct, provides the only access to God's active and abiding presence (heretofore misapprehended and/or unanticipated). It is not that the written word contains the power to do this in itself, or that what is required ...[text shortened]... empt to seek it? If Truth has not yet been found, who can honestly say it isn't there?
    i dont search for the truth cuz its impossible
  4. Illinois
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    06 Aug '07 19:02
    Originally posted by darthmix
    The problem, of course, is that any text can appear to contain truth if you decide beforehand that you're not going to question it. You're basically giving the text a free pass. You could do the same for the Koran or the Torah or the Tao and it would make just as much sense.
    Admittedly so, but I would ask: what are the demonstrable effects of faith? Christ promises the Holy Spirit as a Guide to all who believe in him. Many of the effects of that impartation of the Holy Spirit are only subjectively verifiable, but what of the power to miraculously heal, for instance? Should not Truth, as Truth is purported to be in the bible, be able to demonstrate itself effectively through faith? Or what about prophecies? If the word of God is a genuine revelation of Truth, should not its predictions be verifiable and impending? The entire book from beginning to end is helplessly reliant on the accuracy of its predictions and the evidences of a purported supernatural power. Of course, a person can believe anything, but what are the demonstrable effects? That is what actually establishes what is Truth...

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24).

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).
  5. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    06 Aug '07 19:21
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Admittedly so, but I would ask: what are the demonstrable effects of faith? Christ promises the Holy Spirit as a Guide to all who believe in him. Many of the effects of that impartation of the Holy Spirit are only subjectively verifiable, but what of the power to miraculously heal, for instance? Should not Truth, as Truth is purported to be in the bib ...[text shortened]... do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).
    The prophecies of the Bible are so vague as to be unverifiable.
  6. Standard memberYuga
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    06 Aug '07 20:051 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Faith provides the only access to God's active and abiding presenceWhat makes the bible particularly enduring and effective is that it is genuinely from God. the bible is authored by Truth itself. Truth (God Himself),Faith is definitely a risk, but only from the outside looking in. If Truth exists, who does not honestly try to grasp it?
    I think what constitutes faith is the willingness to believe.

    The Bible was authored by people.

    I think people do contemplate truth in life at times. If I wondered how God would manifest myself in my life, I'd think God manifests himself by his absence. I've never felt that prayer has ever done anything for me, only willpower and action. Prayer can make people feel better but prayer's like a placebo - it doesn't truly work.

    I believe if somebody wants to find truth in life, you find it by living it. There are all these sources that tell how people should live their lives, but many theories are based on assumptions which I think many people would find presumptuous.

    I don't think it is a risk to live without faith in God; if one lives according to his or her truest nature, or lives according to what enables someone to live a life fulfilling to oneself, such a person will feel fulfilled regardless of faith.

    I'd think Truth in living life is all about living a good and fulfilling life. I think the source where from one derives Truth is irrelevant when considering an individual's fulfillment in life.
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    06 Aug '07 20:11
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Should not Truth, as Truth is purported to be in the bible, be able to demonstrate itself effectively through faith?
    Truth should be able to demonstrate itself INDEPENDANTLY of faith. That which is true should become apparent to the observer even if that observer did not believe it beforehand. To decide that a thing is true, and THEN experience it, is not a reliable path to truth; you should be able to experience it first.

    Anyway, are you implying that the Bible is more demonstrably accurate in its predictions than other religious texts? Or that its followers have performed more verifiable healing miracles? If so, can you back that up?
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    06 Aug '07 20:261 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    The only real key to unlocking the biblical text is faith.

    Faith, that the bible is genuinely from God and not an artificial construct, provides the only access to God's active and abiding presence (heretofore misapprehended and/or unanticipated). It is not that the written word contains the power to do this in itself, or that what is required empt to seek it? If Truth has not yet been found, who can honestly say it isn't there?
    If there is an absolute "Truth" that can be expressed in words, can there be a perfect translation of a text from one language to another that preserves all of the meaning and truth of the original?
  9. Illinois
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    06 Aug '07 21:231 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    The prophecies of the Bible are so vague as to be unverifiable.
    Not necessarily... Consider the following:

    -------------

    Daniel, originally deported as a teenager (now near the end of the Babylonian captivity), was reading in the Book of Jeremiah. He understood that the seventy years of servitude were almost over and he began to pray for his people.

    The Angel Gabriel interrupted Daniel's prayer and gave him a four-verse prophecy that is unquestionably the most remarkable passage in the entire Bible: Daniel 9:24-27.

    These four verses include the following segments:

    9:24 The Scope of the Entire Prophecy;
    9:25 The 69 Weeks;
    9:26 An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
    9:27 The 70th Week.

    "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy Place (Daniel 9:24).

    The idiom of a "week" of years was common in Israel as a "sabbath for the land," in which the land was to lie fallow every seventh year (Leviticus 25:1-22; 26:3-35; Deuteronomy 15). It was their failure to obey these laws that led to God sending them into captivity under the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36:20-21).

    Note that the focus of this passage is upon "thy people and upon thy holy city," that is, upon Israel and Jerusalem. (It is not directed to the Church.)

    The scope of this prophecy includes a broad list of things which clearly have yet to be completed

    A very specific prediction occurs in verse 25:

    "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times" (Daniel 9:25).

    This includes a mathematical prophecy. The Jewish (and Babylonian) calendars used a 360-day year (Genesis 7:24; 8:3,4; Revelation 11:2; 12:6; 13:3,4) ; 69 weeks of 360-day years totals 173,880 days. In effect, Gabriel told Daniel that the interval between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the presentation of the Messiah as King would be 173,880 days.

    The "Messiah the Prince" in the King James translation is actually the Meshiach Nagid, "The Messiah the King." (Nagid is first used of King Saul.)

    The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C. (First identified in Sir Robert Anderson's classic work, The Coming Prince, published originally in 1894). (The emphasis in the verse on "the street" and "the wall" was to avoid confusion with other earlier mandates confined to rebuilding the Temple.)

    During the ministry of Jesus Christ there were several occasions in which the people attempted to promote Him as king, but He carefully avoided it: "Mine hour is not yet come" (John 6:15. Always in control: John 7:30, 44; 8:59; 10:39).

    Then, one day, He meticulously arranges it (Luke 19:28-40). On this particular day he rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, deliberately fulfilling a prophecy by Zechariah that the Messiah would present Himself as king in just that way:

    "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zechariah 9:9).

    Whenever we might easily miss the significance of what was going on, the Pharisees come to our rescue. They felt that the overzealous crowd was blaspheming, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah the King (Luke 19:39). However, Jesus endorsed it!

    "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40).

    This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 A.D. (Luke 3:1: Tiberias appointed in A.D. 14; 15th year, A.D. 29; the 4th Passover occurred in A.D. 32).

    When we examine the period between March 14, 445 B.C. and April 6, 32 A.D., and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly, to the very day!

    How could Daniel have known this in advance? How could anyone have contrived to have this detailed prediction documented over three centuries in advance? But there's more.

    There appears to be a gap between the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27) -

    "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:26).

    The sixty-two "weeks" follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and sanctuary being destroyed.

    As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem:

    "For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (Luke 19:43-44).

    The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion..."but not for Himself."

    The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus' specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9! "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."

    There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation, Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period.

    (source = khouse.org)
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    06 Aug '07 22:20
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Not necessarily... Consider the following:

    -------------

    Daniel, originally deported as a teenager (now near the end of the Babylonian captivity), was reading in the Book of Jeremiah. He understood that the seventy years of servitude were almost over and he began to pray for his people.

    The Angel Gabriel interrupted Daniel's prayer and gave him ...[text shortened]... etailing of that climactic period.

    (source = khouse.org)
    What about the Lord of the Rings
  11. Standard memberRemoved
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    06 Aug '07 23:12
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    The prophecies of the Bible are so vague as to be unverifiable.
    How about Isreal being restored after their people were scattered for almost two thousand years without a homeland? This is unheard of....1948 rings a bell.....and as the bible says, they are surrounded by enemies on every side....
  12. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    07 Aug '07 00:05
    Originally posted by checkbaiter
    How about Isreal being restored after their people were scattered for almost two thousand years without a homeland? This is unheard of....1948 rings a bell.....and as the bible says, they are surrounded by enemies on every side....
    Please give quotes from the Bible if you are going to claim it made predictions. I want to read the original prophecy and comment on it, not your intepretation of what the Bible said.
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    07 Aug '07 00:25
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Please give quotes from the Bible if you are going to claim it made predictions. I want to read the original prophecy and comment on it, not your intepretation of what the Bible said.
    Deut 30:3-5
    3 "that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
    4 "If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.
    5 "Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
    (NKJ)


    Deut 4:26-31
    26 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed.
    27 "And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you.
    28 "And there you will serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.
    29 "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
    30 "When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice
    31 'for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
    (NKJ)


    Jer 16:14-15
    14 "Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that it shall no more be said, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,'
    15 "but, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.
    (NKJ)


    Isa 27:6
    6 Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
    (NKJ)
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    07 Aug '07 05:54
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    stuff
    No, the prophecy of seventy weeks from Daniel has already been shown to not be predictive of the event of Palm Sunday. The source of that theory was Sir Robert Anderson's "The Coming Prince," and we've since learned that Anderson fudged his math in a number of ways to get the result he wanted: one that would appear to make Daniel 9:24-27 appear to correspond to that key future event. In reality, it doesn't.

    First of all, it there isn't any real evidence that the Jews (or the Babylonians, for that matter) used a calendar with 360-day years at the time when Daniel is supposed to have been written; at that point the 360-day calendar year would've been hundreds of years out of date. The concept of a 360-day "prophetic year" comes entirely from modern biblical scholars like Anderson who're trying to make bible prophecy appear to fit.

    Second, even if we allow for a 360-day year, the math that gives us the figure of 173, 880 days between the two dates is simply wrong, because Anderson miscalculates the leap years:

    "The first problem that is readily apparent about Anderson's scenario was his confusion about the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

    'And secondly, the Julian year is 11m. 10 46s., or about the 129th part of a day, longer than the mean solar year. The Julian calendar, therefore, contains three leap years too many in four centuries, an error which had amounted to eleven days in A. D. 1752 when our English calendar was corrected by declaring the 3rd September to be the 14th September, and by introducing the Gregorian reform which reckons three secular years out of four as common years; ex. gr., 1700, 1800 and 1900 are common years, and 2000 is a leap year.'

    This is true. But then why did Anderson use Gregorian years when calculating the number of days between two Julian dates? If we use Julian dates, we must use Julian years, and if we use Gregorian dates, we must use Gregorian years. We cannot mix the two calendars in the way that he proposes.

    Anderson was thus 3 days off in his calculation, for there are really 173,883 days inclusive between Friday, March 14, 445 BC, and Sunday, April 6, 32 AD. Instead of adding 116 days for leap years, Anderson should have added 119, for that is precisely how many leap years there are in 476 years in the Julian calendar.

    If Anderson had wanted to use Gregorian years, he should have started off with the Gregorian dates of Saturday, March 9, 445 BC, and Sunday, April 4, 32 AD (Mar. 9, 445 BC Gregorian = Mar. 14, 445 BC Julian; Apr. 4, 32 AD Gregorian = Apr. 6, 32 AD Julian). But when we add 116 days for leap years to the number of days between these two dates, we still end up with 173,883 days. Only by mixing the two calendars does it falsely appear that there are 173,880 days."

    http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/sir-robert-anderson.htm#eday

    So, that puts the supposed prediction 3 days off the mark. Still pretty close, right? Except that Anderson also got the starting date wrong:

    "Anderson says:

    But as Nehemiah mentions the Chisleu (November) of one year, and the following Nisan (March) as being both in the same year of his master's reign, it is obvious that, as might be expected from an official of the court, he reckons from the time of the king's accession de jure, that is from July B.C. 465. The twentieth year of Artaxerxes therefore began in July B.C. 446, and the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the Nisan following. The epoch of the prophetic cycle is thus definitely fixed as in the Jewish month Nisan of the year B.C. 445. (p. 63)

    Yet since Persian practice was to number the years of their kings from Nisan, not from their anniversary dates, Anderson's explanation must be wrong.

    What these verses in Nehemiah really show is that the Jews, in contrast with the Persians, numbered the reigns of foreign kings from their 7th month called Tishri instead of from their 1st month called Nisan. Every 7th month, the king's regnal year increased by one. This is why Nehemiah describes the 9th month Chisleu as coming before the 1st month Nisan.

    If Tishri 464 BC began the 1st year of Artaxerxes, then Tishri 445 BC began his 20th year. And that means that Nisan in his 20th year fell in 444 BC, not 445 BC. So Anderson was a year off on his starting date."

    ibid.

    ...And that's assuming you accept that the prophecy refers to the decree of Artaxerxes. There are in fact many similar decrees to which the prophecy could potentially refer, the most logical being that of Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28) from 538 BCE, a year after he conquered Babylon. But that would put the end of the 69 week (483-year) period in 55 BC, way to early. So instead Anderson uses the decree of Artaxerxes (which, by the way, was not even an actual decree like the one from Cyrus; it was a series of letters of safe passage given to Nehemiah, and a letter permitting him to cut wood toward the temple) and then he fudges the rest of his math to make it fit.

    http://www.progressiveu.org/103755-skeptical-bible-study-daniel-chap-9-the-70-weeks-prophecy

    And lastly, the end date of the theory - March 6, 32 - is also wrong:

    "The previous section hints at the problems we face with Anderson's ending date of April 6, 32 AD. His theory called for it to be Nisan 10. He explains it this way:

    For example, in A.D. 32, the date of the true new moon, by which the Passover was regulated, was the night (10h 57m) of the 29th March. The ostensible date of the 1st Nisan, therefore, according to the phases, was the 31st March. It may have been delayed, however, till the 1st April; and in that case the 15th Nisan should apparently have fallen on Tuesday the 15th April. (p. 79)

    Thus far his explanation proves that he has chosen the wrong date for the 10th of Nisan. If Nisan 15 fell on April 15, then Nisan 10 fell on April 10, not April 6.

    Continuing:

    But the calendar may have been further disturbed by intercalation. According to the scheme of the eight years' cycle, the embolismal month was inserted in the third, sixth, and eighth years, and an examination of the calendars from A.D. 22 to A D. 45 will show that A.D. 32 was the third year of such a cycle. As, therefore, the difference between the solar year and the lunar is 11 days, it would amount in three years to 33 3/4 days, and the intercalation of a thirteenth month (Ve-adar) of thirty days would leave an epact still remaining of 3 3/4 days; and the "ecclesiastical moon" being that much before the real moon, the feast day would have fallen on the Friday (11th April), exactly as the narrative of the Gospels requires. (pp. 79, 80)

    If that didn't make sense, it's because it doesn't make sense. On average, the Jews would add in a 13th month 7 times every 19 years. Since this 13th month was the length of a lunar month, as Anderson admits above, there was no "epact remaining." Thus Nisan 1 would still have begun with observing the new crescent on the evening of March 31st, weather permitting.

    Nisan 10 occurred at the earliest on April 10, not April 6 as Anderson supposed."

    http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/sir-robert-anderson.htm#eday

    So, no, the Book of Daniel does not demonstrate any clear mathematical predictive power. It's only the fuzzy math of later Bible scholars that make it look as though it does.
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    07 Aug '07 06:33
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Of course, a person can believe anything, but what are the demonstrable effects?
    Are you able to provide any "demonstrable effects"? Nobody else ever has or we wouldn't need faith would we?
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