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From the Desk's Religion -and- Mystery Series...

Pray for Revival in the Land

©23 The Media Desk

The Desk's

Questions you ARE NOT supposed to ask your Sunday School Teacher -
Answered! Part One

Quick Reference Guide: "God helps those that...", "two by two - ark", "cleanliness is next to...", "John's baptism?", "the wings of angels", "King David's dance", "Good is beautiful, ugly....", "about Melchizedek", "literal foot-washing, etc", "tithing", "Christ's brothers?", "Jonah and his 'friend'", "the Nephilim", "the Devil", "Denominations?", "'Lost Books' of the Bible?", "'Water into Wine?", "Who was Cain afraid of?", "Four BIG Questions", "Resource Links Used", Part Two of this article.
Since this was posted: Some OBJECTIONS to this article, and a couple of new questions!

      For this outing we're going to do a couple of things that many Sunday School Teachers (and a surprising number of ministers) don't do, we'll compare several translations to see what they say, and THEN go back into the Hebrew and Greek and see what was in the original text, and we will cite chapter and verse for them. If it isn't a strictly Biblical question, we'll try to chase the idea backwards to where it originated. We'll do that A Lot in the second half.
      But. And this point is key. We're going to do this at speed. We'll hit each one head on, and barely slow down to point to the historic marker at the side of the road, and keep going. This is NOT an In Depth Investigation of any of these. Some we've done to exhaustion in other essays, many have been touched on as part of another topic, which will be linked below, and at least one has sparked its own in depth article which will be forthcoming, eventually. And as we are drawing on an outside sources, those will be referenced as well.
      With each of our entries, we'll try to come to some sort of brief (or maybe not quite so brief) conclusion. And that conclusion very well may be "we don't know", and perhaps even "we can't know, and it really doesn't matter".
      Do we have to say this? Yeah, we have to say this: If any of this is simply this writer's opinion and has no more base in reality than that, we'll say that too.
      Of course, to some of these, such as we'll see with our second question, there is a bit more to the subject than the original query brings up. Which will require a bit more ... more. Which is part of the fun, and something The Desk enjoys.
      And then later, a second special section some would label "Heresy" for fun and profit....

      In these questions and statements and larger ideas, whatever, we will look at everything from ideas that are so familiar that many readers won't believe what the text in the Book actually says. And the list of topics is in no particular order, so we will jump back and forth from the OT to the NT to the wider culture, and back several times. You'll be OK.
      On our way through we're also going to check into some commonly held assumptions and sayings that simply are not in the Bible, but are teachings of men, such as:

"God helps those that help themselves."
      It sounds like it should be in Proverbs, but it actually is not, although lines in Proverbs 12, see verse 11 and 24, are in that ballpark. And then you see a promise to those that fully obey God in Deuteronomy 28, resulting in the blessing to "all that you put your hand to" in verse 8, which is almost a direct contradiction of the idiom. Especially when you go on and read verse 9.
      In the New Testament, we find James speaking a great deal about works. And yet, those works are always to be done in faith in the Lord, not yourself.
      It seems the phrase may have originated in various classic Greek plays, which takes them totally out of our focus here. So we'll move on to something that "everybody knows"....

"The animals went 'Two by Two' into Noah's Ark."
      You see it on every bulletin board in every primary classroom in the world when the story that begins in Genesis 6 : 9 is told. They'll have happy, smiling, cute giraffes, and bears, and elephants parading to an impossibly small wooden boat with the Patriarch standing on the bow with his white beard, either looking like Russell Crowe or John Houston, depending on which movie they were thinking about when they made the cutouts.
      Well, it's a nice image for a third grader, but the reality is somewhat more complicated.

      Early in the story, chapter 6 : 19 and 20 Noah was to bring two of every animal with him on the ark, as well as food for them and his family. But the message changes slightly in chapter 7. See verse 1 and 2:
"The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs (14 'critters') of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate (two)," (NIV (with slight additions), see link below).

      While the KJV (see link below for the 1611 online) does not specify 'seven pairs', it does clearly state 'the male and his female', which brings us nicely to looking at what the Hebrew says.
      In the Hebrew, the word "sib'ah" is repeated, literally, "seven (and (implied)) seven, a male and his female". (See link to Hebrew/English interlinear below.)

      Part of the question here is what was "clean and unclean" as this is a very long time before the Mosaic dietary laws given during the Exodus.
      The point is stated again in Genesis 7 : 8 and 9, clean and unclean beasts went into the ark.
      Evidently they had some idea that certain animals were good to offer as a sacrifice to God, and some weren't. We see that in Genesis 4 with Abel's offering, and then later with others such as Abram. As to whether this idea carried over into the animals also used for human food, we don't know.
      Some maintain that Noah had some sort of Patriarchal Insight, or maybe God told him in a dream or something. That's a very nice idea, but it probably has more to do with some traditional insight among the faithful that the rock badger is not an acceptable sacrificial animal and isn't anybody's first choice for dinner, while the domestic sheep and cattle are good for both.
      This places us squarely in the middle of the idea that this sort of information was being passed down in an oral tradition among the faithful long before it was codified in the Book of Moses. Which seems to be a reasonable conclusion from this far down stream.
      And related to the above topic....

Is "cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness" Biblical?
      The phrase is a direct quote from a sermon by John Wesley, yes, That John Wesley, the originator of the Methodist Church, from a sermon in which he discussed proper dress in 1791. See link below to his sermon on the website of Northwest Nazarene University.
      It is worth noting that while Mr. Wesley quotes a great deal of Scripture in this sermon, when he's speaking on this point, he only quotes somebody named Mr. Herbert, who appears to be George Herbert (1593 - 1633) who was a priest of the Church of England that wrote metaphysical poetry and had connections to King James I. Herbert is venerated as a Saint (which we'll get to later) in a number of Protestant denominations including the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Anglican churches.
      Both of them apparently got the idea from a noted predecessor who wrote:
"For cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God, to society, and to ourselves." - Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England (1561 - 1626)

      However, just like the "help yourselves" phrase above, it isn't exactly phrased that way in the Bible. While the idea is expressed in various ritual washings in both the OT, see Exodus 30 : 17 and following, and quotes from Peter such as in 1 Peter 3 21 "And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience...." it isn't verbatim.

      Speaking of ritual bathing....

"Did John the Baptist 'dunk' or 'sprinkle' Jesus?"
      We'll start by looking at what John was doing in Luke 3: 3.
      John is traveling around the Jordan river "proclaiming a baptism of repentance" in Greek "kerysson baptisma metanoias". Again, see the Interlinear link below for the Greek.
      The b-word here implies a ceremonial bath that includes submerging the celebrant into water for symbolic cleansing. It does not, and never, means anything other than immersion, even when used symbolically talking about fire instead of water. For the fire see Matthew 3, Luke 3, and then check Malachi 3 and compare to Hebrews 12 : 29 and consider that a foreshadowing of a subject that is coming up soon.

      We'll leave that right there for now and change the subject.

"Do all angels have wings, and if not, which ones do?"
      and, when were they created?
      The Desk has done an extensive examination of that topic on a couple of occasions. The most recent of which was during the in depth study of Revelation, is linked below.
      But for now we're going to focus on the important OT classes, and what we'll call 'standard issue / garden variety' angels, and we will focus on the ones that 'kept their original estate' instead of the "fallen" variety who now work for the Bad Guy. Remember, those too, started out 'life' as angels. And we'll discuss them when we discuss him.

      First off, in the OT in Hebrew and related languages, the term is "malak" which means 'messenger', and is used 213 times in various forms. The first is in Genesis 16 when a 'messenger of God' appeared to Hagar in the wilderness, they were later seen climbing a ladder in Genesis 28. Then it is also used in Malachi 3 : 1 which uses "malaki" as 'messenger', and yes, that is also the name of this Minor Prophet, which implies that a Minor Prophet is as much a 'messenger of God' as your typical angel angel, which is why in the majority of these cases, a word is used to indicate exactly that, we'll look at an example in a moment.
      And in the NT in Greek you see them as "aggelos" 176 times in a handful of forms, usually meaning 'messenger'. Such as in Mark 16 at the tomb, and in Matthew 1 : 20 it is presented with the additional terms we mentioned in the Old Testament except here it is in Greek "angelos Kyriou" 'angel of the Lord'.
      But, in everything from Jacob's vision on the ladder, to the somewhat odd encounter in Judges 13 ....(we'll skip to the punch line in verse 6 of the NIV)
"Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name."

      OK, somebody just said 'that's not what the KJV says', and they're right. This is the original 1611 King James, see link below:
"Then the woman came, and told her husband, saying; A man of God came vnto mee, and his countenance was like the countenance of an Angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name"

      In the Hebrew the word that is in the NIV 'awesome' and in the KJV 'terrible' is "nowra" which can mean either of those, but would be better rendered as 'unnerving / unsettling' as in 'something to be afraid of' or 'to hold in reverence'.
      But the key here, and elsewhere in the OT, and at the Tomb in the Gospels, and even the tour guide that appeared to both Zechariah and John the Apostle, none of them had wings.
      And if you're curious, all the documented angels are Male, or androgynous. There are a pair of exceptions in Zechariah 5 : 9 where two women had the wings of a known unclean bird, 'a stork', and they were definitely NOT identified as an 'angel', but instead carried a basket off.
      In one of the more tenable of the Apocrypha (link below), 2 Maccabees 3 we see a couple of individuals show up to prevent an agent of the king from looting the temple.

"26 Two young men also appeared to him, remarkably strong, gloriously beautiful and splendidly dressed, who stood on either side of him and flogged him continuously, inflicting many blows on him. 27 When he suddenly fell to the ground and deep darkness came over him, his men took him up, put him on a stretcher, 28 and carried him away—this man who had just entered the aforesaid treasury with a great retinue and all his bodyguard but was now unable to help himself with all his weapons. He recognized clearly the sovereign power of God." (NRSV)
      They sound like they belong to the same club as the one in Judges 13.

      Also, Gabriel, in the various descriptions of his appearances in connection with the Nativity, is never described with a mention of wings.
      Now we'll pay a brief visit with some 'angelic' type beings with wings.

      Seraph / Seraphim (Hebrew for 'burning ones'):
      "Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying." Isaiah 6 : 2

      Cherub / Cherubim ('angelic being' (maybe)):
      Apparently have four wings. As seen on top of the Ark of the Covenant: Exodus 25 and inside Solomon's Temple, 1 Kings 6 : 23 and following.

      In Ezekiel chapters 1, 10, we have "Living Creatures", they're the ones with the wheels. Here we also see Cherubim. Are they the same? It is not clear from the text.
      Now as long as we're in the neighborhood, these 'cherubs' don't look anything like what you see either on the ceiling at the Vatican or on greeting cards sent around mid February. Those are fiction, and when looked at in this context, an abomination.

      So, in short. The vast majority of Biblical Angels DO NOT have wings. Those were added by classic artists to differentiate their 'angelic beings' from everybody else in the picture, and to imply the ability to fly. And they also do not look like the "angel girl" in the popular show based on an angel that costarred a classic singer. Nor do any of them resemble the beautiful young woman with wings hovering behind two pudgy barefoot children who are crossing a rickety bridge, in the well known and much copied guardian angel painting by Hans Zabateri (1859 - 1945).

      As to when they were created. We don't know. They already existed prior to the Fall of Man, but there is no record of them in the grandstands watching the Original Act of Creation from Genesis 1 : 1. So, it was sometime in that all but infinite period between that and 'us'.
      Which is also when the rebellion happened and Christ watched Satan take the 'quick way' down. Which we come back to later.

"Was King David really naked when he danced in worship and celebration of the Lord?
      ... wait a minute, he was DANCING, isn't that a sin as well?"
      The scene is in the second half of 2 Samuel 6 when the Ark of the Covenant is being brought to Jerusalem.
      We join the action at verse 13 and following in the New American Standard:

"And so it was, that when those carrying the ark of the Lord marched six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened steer. 14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his strength, and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with joyful shouting and the sound of the trumpet.
"16 Then it happened, as the ark of the Lord was coming into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked down through the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she was contemptuous of him in her heart."
      And then we'll skip to 20 and continuing before we come to our conclusion:
"20 But when David returned to bless his own household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, 'How the king of Israel dignified himself today! For he exposed himself today in the sight of his servants’ female slaves, as one of the rabble shamelessly exposes himself!'
21 But David said to Michal, 'I was before the Lord, who preferred me to your father and to all his house, to appoint me as ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. So I will celebrate before the Lord! 22 And I might demean myself even more than this and be lowly in my own sight, but with the female slaves of whom you have spoken, with them I am to be held in honor!'
23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death."
      OK, now the answers. 'was David totally naked?', no, he was wearing a fancy vest. Besides, exactly where does it say, in so many words, in the Bible that being naked is a sin? Go look it up and let us know if you can find it. "shame" yes, like long hair. "Sin", no. For evidence we will cite the given fact that Christ was Without Sin. Right? The Romans did not crucify people while they were dressed, which further degraded and humiliated the condemned person. Which is why the soldiers could gamble for Christ's garments, Matthew 27 : 35, because they had relieved him of them. The "modesty cloth" was added in classic paintings and sculptural representations of the Crucifixion such as the classic Crucifix to protect those same people that put a fig leaf on Michelangelo's David.
      Was King David wearing anything else? No, see the statement from King Saul's daughter in verse 20.
      Is 'dancing' in and of itself a sin? No. Especially this dancing, 'with all his might' (NIV), in celebration to the Lord. Somebody will bring up the admonition to 'avoid all appearance of evil', well. OK. Does that also apply to cheesecake as well?
      Part of the explanation of the last verse of the section could well be what she thought of the man who is described as 'a man after God's own heart' in both 1 Samuel 13 and Acts 13. King David is also the one through whom the Messiah came, and whose throne HE will claim, so... we're OK with that sort of dancing if God is.
      In the interest of full disclosure, this incident inspired the title and spirit of a series called Dancing in the Sight of the Lord, and is mentioned in this writer's somewhat strange doctoral thesis Metaphysical Boundaries which are linked at the very end of all this.

      And now we'll see what's shaking out on the Yellow Brick Road.

"Good is beautiful, evil is ugly."
      We have a shining example of this one. Not an exaggeration, it is quite literally 'shining'. Think back to the 1939 movie version of the 1900 classic book "the Wonderful Wizard of Oz". The book made the point in black and white, but the movie lit it up in Technicolor. The Good Witch, Glenda, played by Billie Burke, was radiantly beautiful, with a dress that even appeared to have wings. The wicked witch, is unnamed, wears a shapeless black robe, has an unhealthy green tint to her skin, and needs to see a cosmetic surgeon about her nose, and, if you watch her appearances in the movie, she also doesn't have good posture.
      It is also worth noting that at the time the movie was shot, Ms. Burke was nearly twenty years older than Margaret Hamilton, who starred as the wicked witch. (... insert comment about effective movie makeup here... )

      But now we are going to pop Glenda's travel bubble by inserting a word from Scripture, this time from the English Standard Version as published in 2001. 2 Corinthians 11 : 13 - 15

"... For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."

      And then, we're going to insert a line from Sir Mick and friends to drive the point home:

"Let me please introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste"
- Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones, attribution and more information below.

      No irony here, as we move from Mick Jagger to Melchizedek without missing a beat.

"How could Melchizedek be a priest of YHWH, he wasn't a Jew."
      First off we have to explain who, and what, Melchizedek (Melchisedec / Malkitsedek / etc) was. Then, we'll look at the Jewish-ness of the matter.
      He was the ruling priest and king of the ancient city of Salem, which was later to be renamed Jerusalem.
      He was already in place and working both of his jobs when Abram arrived after he won a series of battles against an array of locals, including pulling his kinsman, Lot, out of the proverbial fire as outlined in the opening verses of Genesis 14.
      We meet Melch... in verse 18. The first clue is in the name itself, it is the word for king, combined with the word "tsedeq" (is right) which means the usual translation "king of righteousness" is good enough for government work. He is introduced as the "melek" (king) of Salem, and then the text mentions that he was a "kohen" (priest) of "le 'el 'elyown" (of God Most High). The term is a title, but it could also have been his name. We don't know.

      And that is essentially everything we know from the original source.
      However, we can call up some information from other ancient sources about the roles of kings and priests in the region at the time.
      In places like Egypt to the west and Sumer to the East, the king was the king, and the priests were the priests. Those were two different occupations. To the point that the word for Sumerian in the language of the Akkadians meant "land of civilized kings", see link below for more.
      While you had priests that were members of the royal family and other crossovers going both ways, to have a High Priest who was also the Ruling Sovereign was quite unusual. In fact, it is anthropologically all but unheard of and points to how special cultures like the Indus valley's Mohenjo-daro civilization was. See link below for more on their 'priest-king'.

      But now we have to look at Abram's new friend himself.
      There are only a couple of references after the primary passage where this mysterious individual has a scene with Father Abraham (who is touring the area as Abram at the time) in Genesis 14.
      The first of those is in Psalm 110 : 4 (NIV)
"The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'"

      This verse is quoted during the extensive discussion of Christ in that role in the book of Hebrews, see chapter 5 verses 5 and 6. He is also mentioned in Chapter 6 and then again in 7. All of which are discussing the ancient priest and king in terms of the role of the Messiah as High Priest to GOD.
      There is nothing in any of the texts that indicate that Melchizedek was anything other than a human ruler and worshiper of GOD.
      As we have just established that this mysterious person was, indeed, a Person, now, just who was he?
      There is a very old line of Jewish historical speculation that comes up with the idea that he was Shem, a younger son of Noah, yes, that Noah, the one with the floating zoo we met earlier in this work. But even though he wasn't the oldest of the brothers, Shem was the first one Noah blessed after he had slept off his post-flood bender in Genesis 9. The sons of Shem and confirmation that he was not the oldest child of Noah is in 10 : 21. The areas where they settled are in "the east" and later it talks about Chaldea in what is today Iran and Iraq, not what became Jerusalem in any case.
      There were at least nine generations between Shem and Abram, but there is a chance that Shem could have still been alive when Abram was on his trip. Several individuals have worked up a timeline based on the ages of the various characters in the genealogies, much as Bishop Ussher did for his date of creation, which we will touch on again later. But just as with that date, the overlapping of lives requires some "fuzzy math" and no small number of assumptions.
      Could.... no, make that COULD it be Possible that the priest king of Salem was Shem the son of Noah that went on a year long boat ride? Yes. It is within the realm of possibility. But if he was Abram's great-great-etc grandfather, wouldn't the writer of Genesis have identified him by name instead of just using the title?

      There is also speculation that Melchizedek lived without the benefit of a human mother or father or that he was an early manifestation of one of the Archangels, or even of Christ Himself (stay tuned), are pure speculation. Yes, Hebrews 7 : 3 says he was "without mother or father", but was the "King of Peace" Paul was talking about Christ or Melchizedek, because the passage also said he was without a beginning or an ending.
      The idea is also based on otherwise unsupported statements from sources like the Second book of Enoch, a book of ancient Jewish oral traditions most likely written down in the form preserved today in the first or second century AD, and is quoted in Hebrews. The book itself has nothing to do with the Enoch mentioned in Genesis as walking with GOD. See link below for a source for an in depth academic discussion of it, and the good king himself.
      And, oh by the way. That isn't the only bit of Jewish folklore to make it into the NT. There's also that line about a dispute over the body of Moses. See Jude 9. But we need to get back on track here.

      And now comes the question about how could the good king be a priest since he wasn't a Jew.
      Two things. One, there has always been Gentile believers, a group of the most famous of those visited the child Christ from the East after following a star, and another one lived in the "Land of Uz", see Job 1. -and- Two, when Abram had lunch with the king, Abram wasn't a Jew yet, that happens in Genesis 17. So there is nothing to say that the king could not be a priest of God. And- PS: Shem wasn't "a Jew" either.
      We'll revisit some of this again in the Heresy section, which is Part Two of this work.

"What in the Bible is to be taken literally and what should be taken symbolic / metaphorical / figuratively?"
      some examples: foot washing / holy kiss / tithing / love feast / Theotokos

      This one gets really touchy to a lot of people. Entire denominations have been built, and broken, by taking the something like that one incident of Christ's example of serving others as a matter of salvation... while ignoring other similar examples, we might add.... or calling Mary the 'Mother of God', and maintain that doing this one act or participating in it, is required as an Ordinance of the Church or a central Article of Faith. We'll come back to that.
      Let's back out and look at what IS required, and what is, shall we say, Very Strongly Recommended, and let the rest of it fall where it may as, 'suggestions', or as some sort of poetic reference.
      We'll trot out Philip's new friend from out of town in Acts 8 beginning in verse 26. The royal official already believed. He was most likely at least a gentile Jew, and believed in God. So he was halfway there. In 36 the eunuch asks the question, and oddly enough, there is no verbal answer from Philip recorded, only his actions. We see the answer earlier in Acts when Simon Peter tells the crowd what they must do to be saved when they asked in Acts 2 : 37.

      The other required item was instituted by Christ the night before He was Crucified in the Memorial Meal that is called "The Lord's Supper", see Matthew 26, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11. As to whether or not the Memorial Meal should be observed every time the general congregation comes together for a worship service. All it says in Luke 22 : 19 and is restated in the 1 Corinthians passage is that we are to do it "in remembrance of Him". Which brings up the question, how often should we "remember the Lord"?

      So we have, first, Believe, the second is a couple of parts: Accept Him, Repent, and be Baptized, and then Remember the Lord in the Way HE said. And then, later, live like He would want you to live.
      Very simple. In fact, it is TOO simple for some people. They need, they actually Need rules and directives, requirements, detailed lists of 'does and don't's, to the point of where long periods of classwork and study are needed to join the church. Some of these go as far as to call King David's choice of celebration 'a sin', they put entirely man-made restrictions on diet, and even tell women not to have more than one earring per ear. None of which have anything to do with either the Great Commission of Christ or Peter's answer on Pentecost.
      In fact if you look through the letters of Paul, the Epistle of James, and the other New Testament books, you'll find surprisingly few of these sorts of statements even mentioned. And the ones that are, are usually either a local phenomenon or even perhaps a case that the Apostle liked being kissed when he got to town. See Paul's letters: Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16, and 1 Thessalonians 5. Does that mean that the 'holy kiss' is equal to Communion as an article of faith? If you believe that, then what did it mean when Judas kissed Christ?
      The one thing from our list of examples that fell out of favor early on, the Love Feast, which Paul burnt to the ground beginning about halfway through 1 Corinthians 11. As for the statement about the Virgin Mary as "theotokos", we'll come back to that in the second article.

      There was a singular teaching incident by Christ, during the Last Supper in John 13. The Messiah demonstrated the humility of a servant, by washing the feet of his apostles.
      There is no record of any of the apostles, Peter, John Paul, none of them, ever washing anybody's feet.
      Paul's instructions to Timothy and Titus didn't mention foot washing.
      So, then why would some branches of various Protestant churches take doing so as an act of faith? "Who knows?"

      This was part of that list, but we're going to break it out for some detail....

"Does tithing just mean giving ten percent of your money?"
      The answer here is Yes, and No, and we're going to go with 'mostly no' and cite two passages New Testament then move on.
      The first is from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
- Matthew 6 : 19 - 21 (ESV)

      The second is Colossians 3 : 17 (ESV) "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

      When you think about those two together, is it just talking about money?

      Now, we're going to look at two words in Greek in the Gospel of John.

"Christ's 'disciples' versus 'brothers'"
      John 2 verse 12. Jesus leaves Capernaum with His mother and some others. The first word for them is "adelphoi" the Greek for "brother" and is used to refer to a near kinsman. The next word is "mathetai" which is "pupil / disciple".
      Why would the gospel writer use two different words to refer to the same people, and why would they mention his mother if the first were not family members?
      We'll touch on this again later, but now we're going to 'go fishing'...

"Did the story of Jonah and the whale really happen?"
      We went into this during the Minor Prophets Study in some depth, where part of this discussion was: "Jonah may well be the only person who has a book of the Bible named after them that you aren't supposed to like." see link below.
      For now, we'll summarize it like this: From the existing text, it is clear that the book was not written by the individual who stars in the drama. There are passages that discuss things that Jonah could not have known, such as what went on onboard the boat while he was busy drowning. There's also the problem with Jonah's message to the townspeople (five words in Hebrew), when compared to the king's speech and actions while Jonah was on his way out of the city to his campsite.
      As for Jonah's 'special friend in the sea', the word in the Hebrew is 'fish', but there is no other information there except that the thing was really big. As to whether or not the desert culture of Israel even had a word for 'whale' is something left for another time.
      The point of the book is NOT 'how a Minor Prophet catches fish', but instead that GOD can use anybody for His purpose, even if they have major psychological issues.

      Now we have a question that Causes major psychological issues.

"Who, or What are the 'sons of God' and the Nephilim in Genesis 6"
      We'll start with a look at the Hebrew terms as used in verse two and four. Starting with 2 where the text says 'sons of God' the words used, "bene ha 'elohim" mean that they were "descendants". The implication is that they may or may not have been angels, as some have speculated, but that they were of the line of believers in YHWH because the terms would be the same, especially since the text is talking about them being 'down here' with us and NOT in Heaven. Now as to who the other group, the "benowt ha'adam" were is another question. The "daughters of men" could be taken to mean that these women were from 'outside', as the term 'adam' means "humanity / mankind". Those words are repeated in verse 4. There is no indication in the Hebrew in either verse that any of these are angelic beings either.
      It could simply be that the 'sons of the faithful' thought the girls from 'across the tracks' were better looking than the locals, and maybe they were.

      And now comes: the Nephilim. It is worth noting that the exact same word "nepilim' is used for a group of people before the Flood, here in Genesis 6, and after the Flood, during the Exodus, in Numbers 13. The word is usually translated as "giants" but the actual meaning of the Hebrew and its derivatives is dubious in the academic sources. Could these individuals be the ancestors of Goliath and his brothers? It is possible. But from this far out, there is no way to be certain.

      So what's going on here? Verse four specifies that the children born to the union of the two sides produced an exceptional kind of human being. "gibbor" means "strong / powerful" and then it says 'of renown' using the term for 'name' which basically means they were the celebrities of the day.
      All we can read with any confidence is that those that believed 'got romantic' with those that didn't and the resulting offspring grew up to be remarkable individuals which were extraordinary enough to have been talked about several hundred years after the fact to have been written down in Genesis so we can read and discuss it some five thousand years later.
      So, they were 'men of renown' indeed. Speaking of which.......
      Remember that "man of wealth and taste" we mentioned earlier?

"Is there a Devil?"
      ..... clarification ... "A single individual who can be identified as Satan himself."

      This one comes down to a handful of verses. We'll look at Isaiah 14 beginning in verse 12 and following that describes in Hebrew "helel" (shining one (also 'morning star')) as "fallen from heaven".
      And then Luke 10 : 18 where Christ recounts the event as He says that He witnessed it.

      Go back into the Old Testament and find the first chapter of Job. In verse six it talks about those "sons of God" that we just talked about with identical Hebrew words, but now, those beings are in Heaven with God and not down here in the slums, meaning they were 'angels'. But then it mentions somebody else. The word in Hebrew "satan" (meaning: adversary) is essentially the same as it is in English, and means a singular, identifiable, individual, who when he speaks to God does so in as an individual through the rest of this chapter and when he reappears in chapter two.

      It is also worth noting that in Matthew 4 during the temptation of Christ, the term in Greek is "ho diabolos" (the devil) as a singular being. The same is true in verses like Hebrews 2 : 14 and various verses in Revelation where the lead 'bad guy' is always referred to as an individual while his followers are in plural, such as Mark 5 with 'legion for we are many'.
      We'll end with Matthew 25 : 41 which has both, a singular 'ruling' Devil and some friends:
"Then shall he say to them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels."
- 1599 Geneva Bible (as printed)

"Where did all the denominations come from? When did that start?"
      Second question first. It started in the first century. Go check out 1 Corinthians 1, beginning about verse 10 or so, as Paul is talking to them about divisions in the church. In 12 he names names. Then in 13 there is the crucial question.

      The first major split in the church was the 'great schism' of 1054 which was as much about politics as it was theology. Yes there were some disagreements about things like communion, and whether or not priests should be celibate, but there were also economic and flatly political ideas that came into play and resulted with the Roman Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicating each other, and breaking the Christian world in half.
      But that was just the first and largest fracture. Since then everybody from Luther in the 1500s, and certain ones before whose steam ran out early, to various ones in America in the 1830s broke from this group or that denomination, and then joined another one and then around again. The Desk did a review of the Reformation and the Restoration and whether they have any meaning today. See link below.

      As we said, part of this is from theological differences, like when good friar Luther got all worked up and wrote his "95 Thesis" which, among other things, stated that God's Grace can not be earned. Which is what the Bible says. Which upset Pope Leo X to no end.
      And then comes something else out of the Bible. 2 Timothy 4, and a few other places, which says that people will not put up with sound doctrine, but want to hear what they want to hear. And, evidently they'll start their own church and hire a preacher that they agree with. And when you get several groups together, they'll start a volleyball league and have a convention at the beach every other year.

      But, denominations are what we have now. Part of this comes from major theological differences about things like the true nature of the Man Jesus, to minor spats about whether or not church furniture should be 'fake wood' or 'real wood' and so on. Some baptize by immersion, some sprinkle babies, then dunk adults, or not, some have communion every week, some do it once a month, some have a piano only, some have a full praise band with stage lighting, some are non-instrumental, some use the KJV only, some barely crack any Bible at all.... and so on, ad nauseum.
      Another aspect that comes into play here, besides the volleyball league, is "church hopping" by people who get upset with whatever it may be here, then go down the road, and, wouldn't you know it, they find something to get upset with there as well. And by the fifth or sixth time, including changing 'brands' of church, you'd think they'd figure out that they are taking their problem with them, but no, they'll work their way around until they come back here again. And the cycle repeats.

      There's a link below to a "quick" guide to the denominations. And as it is 'quick', and has been online for some time, it is incomplete, because mergers, divisions, splits, and reconciliations are happening weekly. And no, they are not of Paul, and Apollos, or Christ.

      How close to the original Gospel are ANY of them? Well, if you ask somebody from the Freewill Cornerstone Apostolic Grace Church of St. Amandus of Flanders... they're marching right down the middle of that straight and narrow road.
      PS - Amandus is the patron saint of bartenders.

"Lost Books of the Bible"
      This one floats to the surface in various online discussion groups, endlessly forwarded emails, social media posts, and the occasional late night radio talk show. We'll pick on the radio show for now, but the same idea works in the others as well: You'll have the sincere sounding host introduce a guest who is described as a researcher who had uncovered new Earth shattering evidence about a conspiracy to keep 'the truth' away from the rest of us. Then the guest will get all breathless and intense as they describe a manuscript found in the attic of a monastery, or maybe even in the "Vatican Secret Archives". They may even talk about how it was written in a forgotten dead language, or was intentionally concealed and suppressed and not included in the Bible because it mentions things that are unmentionable.
      Well. It makes good radio.
      And it makes for marvelously conspiratorial forum posts. And is perfect fodder for those that forward stuff in emails and on social media without checking them out first.

      The truth of the matter is far more mundane.

      We're going to turn to the flagship book of the Old Testament 'lost books', the Book of Enoch. See the links below to this and several other so called 'lost books'.
      First off, we'll look at what it isn't. The books associated with the name "Enoch" have nothing to do with any of the men by that name from the Patriarchal period, especially the one that "walked with God and was not, because God took him" in Genesis 5, who was the direct ancestor of Noah of floating zoo fame. Nor were they written by the Enoch that was the son of Cain who built a city in Genesis 4, or the one named in chapter 4 of the Book of Jubilees.
      The "Book of Enoch" is actually three (or four) unrelated and unconnected pseudepigraphical (a work falsely attributed to 'usually' a famous individual who cannot disavow it because they're long dead) books. The oldest section of which, the part of 1 Enoch entitled "the Watchers" was probably written just after the Babylonian captivity, or perhaps as late as during the Inter-testament period. The other part, "the Parables" date to just before the time of Christ. Fragments and sections of One Enoch were recovered in the Dead Sea cache, so it is known to be at least that old. The entire book of 1 Enoch is recognized as canon by both the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which preserves a relatively complete copy of it in their ancient trove, and the Ethiopian Jewish congregation. The contents are a collection of ancient Jewish legends and mysticism, combined with oral traditions. It is extremely interesting as some of the tales in it are, indeed, ancient.
      2 Enoch is no older than the early Middle Ages, was unknown outside of south eastern Europe, and even the oldest examples have major differences between each other.
      3 Enoch has been dated to the seventeenth century. Other works that may or may not be older than 2 or 3 have have Enoch's name attached to them, and lack any credibility. As for the rumored "Fourth Enoch", nobody can even agree on what that really is, only that some of the works circulating with that name on them are also Gnostic in origin, and many are newer, some even dating into the 1800s.
      So is there anything in 1 or even 2 Enoch that shatters mainstream Christianity? No. Not at all.

      As for the other works that are often mentioned as an OT 'lost book', include the one we've already mentioned, Jubilees, linked below, which is considered canon by the Ethiopian church, and was part of the manuscripts found in pieces in the Qumran caves. Most are easily available, beginning with the link to the website you'll find below. The book may have been written in the post-Babylonian period, but the stories it relates led it to be called "Little Genesis" and are indisputably ancient.

      Moving on to the New Testament.
      These include everything from the Gospel of Thomas, which may be a collection of the sayings of Jesus as related by the Apostle, but probably isn't, but we'll come right back to that in a minute, all the way through to the Book of the Birth of Mary, to the Gospel of James, and the Apocalypse of Peter.
      At best ... the majority of these are Gnostic works from somewhere between 300 and 700 AD. Most were unknown outside of the Coptic and related Egyptian churches where Gnosticism (literally: 'having knowledge') held sway. Fifty of their books, written about 500 AD, were saved from being burned in a peasant's cooking fire in 1945. These were later translated and became known as the Nag Hammadi codices, see below.
      It was in that collection that an essentially complete version of the Gospel of Thomas was discovered. Also among the surviving pages were copies of Plato, some Hermetic (alchemical) articles, and a handful of the known New Testament books, as well as hymns, prayers, and sermons. Other similar troves of documents, although mostly smaller, from the Coptic church have been discovered over the years, one of those includes the "book of the Birth of Mary", and the "Infancy Gospel of James" (note: sometimes these books are referred to by different names).

      While at one time many of these works would have been only available in the musty stacks of a major university library or in a locked cabinet of a monastery on top of some mountain, now, they are downloadable as a PDF or readable online, some complete with images of the original manuscript and a translation into something readable, see links below.
      Be it hereby known that while there is an 'app' available from the "G"play store for your phone to access the entire Nag Hammadi library, we didn't link to that. We would bet that the monks in 450 AD that wrote those books would be smiling if they could have ever dreamed of that.

      As for the others, say, the Birth of Mary or the Infancy Gospel of James, see links below. Suffice it to say that these texts are a charming work of religious fiction. And the Gospel of Mary Magdalene was written several hundred years after her death, and the other, "....James" may have been part of the origination of the beginning of the cult of the Virgin, whose early life is the topic of most of the book, in the Gnostic lands that was later to spread throughout the Western church, which we'll come back to later.
      And that brings us neatly to our next topic:

"Why did the Virgin Mary think the Messiah would do something at the marriage feast?"
      The scene is the famous one from John 2. In short, Mary the Mother of Jesus appears to have been somehow involved with the behind the scenes portion of the marriage feast. He attended with her, and several of his early disciples tagged along.
      The action begins in verse 3 when Mary says to Jesus that the wine has run out. She never answers his question about what that has to do with Him. Instead in verse 5, Mary says the only thing she says regarding her Son in the entire Bible.
      To His credit, Jesus, the promised Messiah, Heir to the throne of David, the One who was to crush the head of the serpent as related in Genesis 3 : 15, doesn't argue with His mother, instead, He makes booze. And according to the host of the feast, it was Good Booze.
      There are those that say that Gentle Jesus would NOT have created real red wine (with an average of 12 percent alcohol (24 proof)), and that what was in the vats was un-fermented grape juice. The master of the feast, an elder in the village or the patriarch of the family, would have known that was what he was drinking and would not have praised it as 'the good wine', he would have called them out on the fraud. Jesus made "oinon" (wine).

      But where did Mary get the idea that HE could do something about the bar running dry? Had He done something at home to make her think that not only He Could, but that He Would do something about it.
      Of course, we can't know. Such information is not recorded in any reliable sources, as well as the sources of questionable authenticity, including those in the Gnostic libraries we discussed earlier. But such an inquiry into the motivation of Biblical figures as to why they said or did a particular thing is fascinating.

      But then you come across something else that leads to a fascinating line of inquiry....

Who was Cain afraid of?
      (... and while you're at it who did he marry, and where did his city come from?)

      We're taking a trip to Genesis 4 for this one. But we're going to spend a few minutes developing the story, because it does reveal something of Cain's personality that is relevant to our work here today.
      You start with Adam and Eve doing Adam and Eve things.... Bit of trivia here. Eve is one of the most famous women in the Bible. Her name in Hebrew "chavvah" is the word for "life", which, given her role is appropriate. However, it is only used as her name twice. Genesis 3 : 20, when we meet her, and in 4 : 1, when she has a couple of sons. Anyway, the First Couple get busy. Then...... Cain is born. Later, and we don't know as to how much later, comes Abel.
      The text in verse two states that Cain is a farmer, and Abel raises herds of animals, and here's the first important point, and yes, we're looking at the Hebrew. Cain is specified as a "'obed 'adamah" (tiller 'of the' ground), while Abel is a "ro'eh son" (keeper of 'grazing animals').
      The drama begins in verses three and four. Now, never mind what some TV preacher says, the text does NOT support that Cain brought some spare grain that he found lying around the barn as an offering to God, perhaps as even an afterthought. All it says is that Cain "yabe / bo" (brought) some of "mipperi ha'adama YHWH" (produce / fruit 'of the' ground / earth 'to' GOD). But it does specify that Abel brough the firstborn of his animals (whatever they were), and of their "umehelbehen" ((implying) choicest bits). And at the end of four, GOD "mayyisa'" (looked upon (implies 'favorably')) Abel's offering.
      Go read chapter three's verses five, six and seven for yourself.
30 second time out
      This is where the oral "morality play" comes into focus and was written down by whoever wrote Genesis, ages and ages AFTER the events of the book. We'll skip why the subtitle "Books of Moses" is probably very attractive fiction and move on.
End time out

      The key is that Cain "harah" (burned (with anger)) and his "napelu paneka" (fell face (implies a dramatic frown)) that his offering was "lo" (not) "sa'ah" (looked upon (the same root as the word for Abel's)). And in seven, he is informed that that brings sin to his door, and the word there is "hattat" which even includes 'ceremonial uncleanliness', but that he can still rule over those emotions.
      At this point in the narrative, Cain has not sinned. For whatever reason, his offering was not as acceptable as his brothers, and he was upset about it. Which is somewhat understandable.
      Except he doesn't do anything about it.

      The section comes to a sudden and violent point just a few words into verse eight. The "way"s (and)s are important here. They imply a continuation in the action instead of premeditation. We shall continue.
      The verse begins with the word "way yomer" (and spoke / talk (implies conversation)) between the brothers. There is no record of what they talked about. However, it is obvious that the discussion did not go well, it could be that Abel replies to whatever Cain said with the local equivalent of "it must be a lousy time being you", as such statements between brothers is part of the human condition.
      But it does specify that they were "bassadeh" ('in the' field) implying that they were on Cain's cropland, but it could also simply be that they weren't somewhere around their residence.
      Verse eight also simply says that Cain "way yaqam" (and arose / rose up (also 'to stand (against))) his brother "way" (and) "yahargehu" (killed / murdered / slew him).
      In the text there is no time lapse between the conversation and the murder and the following scene. We do not know if all of this happened in the same day, or over a period of days or weeks.
      In verse nine, which is apparently some time later, YHWH asks Cain "where's your brother?" and Cain answers with his most famous line.
      Verse ten brings the statement "qowl deme 'ahika 'elay min-ha 'adamah" (the voice of the blood of your brother cries out to Me from the ground). Chilling, no?
      Eleven, there is no answer from Cain, the accusation is undeniable. The curse is dramatic and ongoing. But the section of special interest to us today is in twelve and following.
      Cain is told that he will be a "na (or) nua" and a "nad (or) nud" the related words are repeated, ((the idea here is somewhat poetic) to wander as a wave on the water / tremble / move to and fro / etc (is also translated as vagrant / fugitive)) but the idea is more that he is 'homeless'.
      Thirteen is the first time Cain responds to YHWH since his "brother's keeper" comment, which didn't go so well either.
      Cain continues in fourteen with the summary that he is being "gerasta" (driven away (as in evicted) (includes the idea of 'divorce')) from the 'face of the ground'. Evidently he considers wherever his parents ended up after they were evicted from Eden as 'home'.
      Cain also states that he will be hidden from "Your Face". Which means he was still wanting to have a relationship with GOD.
      And now comes the central idea to the above question.
      Per the text, there are three humans alive on the planet. Cain, and his parents.
      Cain's protests continues in the 1599 Geneva Bible:
"and shall be a vagabond, and a runagate in the earth, and whosoever findeth me shall slay me." which is where 14 ends.
      A "runagate" is best defined as an 'escapee' or 'deserter', it is the ancient term that gave us 'renegade'.
      Cain was worried about vigilante justice. But who is the vigilante? Adam? Doesn't seem likely.
      In fifteen we encounter the promise from God that whoever kills Cain will be punished seven fold, but there's no explanation of exactly what that means. And then the Lord puts a mark on him to identify him. Making him history's first "marked man".
      Again, there's Adam and Eve in the local jurisdiction, they know Cain. And if they were to have a handful of other kids, THEY would know their older brother as "the one that did the thing we don't talk about". So, why a mark?

      And just to make it more complicated.... we'll look at the next two verses, and again, it is obvious that considerable time passes, but we do not know how much.
      Verses sixteen and seventeen. Cain takes off east, to an already named land, where he meets a local girl, gets hitched, has a kid, and builds a city.
      Think about that one for a minute.

      And now a couple of questions that you ARE supposed to ask your Sunday School Teacher, which they really can't answer.

"Is there really a God" - "Who Created God?" - "When was Creation?" - "How big is the Universe?"
      One at a time. Please.
      You can wade into the first one from the side of classic thought exercises such the Ontological argument which uses pure reason and logic to attempt to prove the existence of GOD.
      Or they use the Cosmological argument that originated with Plato and Aristotle, and was polished by Thomas Aquinas, which we'll look at with the second question.
      Those of a serious mind to 'prove the existence of God' point to the minute properties that make it seem like our universe, and indeed, this planet, were created to not only support life, but to support us. Which includes everything from the tilt of the axis of the planet to the polarity of the water molecule, which is the Teleological argument. The idea of these things all occurring here and now seems to indicate an intelligent design and intelligent designer instead of the so called Big Bang which results in a probability factor that has over fifty zeros in it. But then this writer always mentions that when GOD initiated the original act of Creation "In the Beginning...", which was Before the invention of light, that was probably a pretty big "bang". We'll touch on that in question three.
      One of the things those that deny that there is a God can't get around is that Every Ancient Civilization has a creation myth with a Creator God of some sort. From the Orient to the Native American tribes to the African deserts, they have a myth whose origins are lost in the long ago mists of time that describes how a god did something that resulted in the Earth coming into existence, and then that god set in motion a series of events that gave rise to people. There are too many to link to, so we will recommend that if you are curious you visit something of a clearinghouse for them with summaries of several that is linked below. Apparently it is only modern humans that know better than their 'grandfathers' and say that there is no Creator.

      For question two we'll paraphrase Thomas Aquinas's statement that God is the "Uncaused First Cause". We'll continue with the statement that if "God is That of which nothing greater can be imagined", then HE could not have a creator because then that individual would be greater than God. And finally, we'll end with the idea that because the Universe exists, then its existence required the Creator of it. God would be truly aseitic, existing by, for, and of, Himself. And that because the Creator exists, then His Creation exists. A link is below that will either explain it all, or cause a headache. Perhaps both.

      Beginning with the fact that the Universe exists, or "why is there something rather than nothing?" and then makes an effort to determine if existence has meaning.... is beyond the scope of this article, but does come into play in the Desk's partial thesis, which is linked below.

      Now, WHEN did this all (or all this) happen, is question three.
      There are still those today that believe the math done by one James Ussher (1581 - 1656) who was the Anglican Church of Ireland's Primate for the entire island.
      Somewhere in the 1640s good Bishop Ussher decided to try to settle a long debate about the date of the original act of creation. To do so he did some amazing mathematical detective work through the Old Testament's "begots" and came up with his date:
      22 October 4004 BC at 6 pm. It was a Saturday by the calendar in use then.

"I have observed that the Sunday, which in the year [4004 B.C.] aforesaid, came nearest the Autumnal Aequinox, by Astronomical Tables, happened upon the 23 day of the Julian October."
- Archbishop James Ussher

      It is a perfectly wonderful date. However, it is most assuredly wrong.
      To do his arithmetic he had to make some basic assumptions about the dates and lives and times of the individuals recorded in the records in the Old Testament. He also ignored a tendency of the lineages in the books to skip a generation or even more, and that sometimes their years weren't correctly recorded, but were estimates based on memories that may or may not have been as accurate as we would want.
      Another aspect that throws the date in doubt is the known and verifiable history of China. In about 4000 BC, the Chinese had perfected painting pottery and were developing their system of writing that would soon begin recording the individual kingdoms that would lead to the ruling dynasties, so they had been established in the neighborhood for a considerable time. While just south of there the Harrapa had already been living along the Indus river for a millennium or more. See links below.
      And all of that is without talking about dinosaurs or coal. The idea that the CREATOR would have created something that has always been dead, be it a brachiosaurus or a tropical fern forest, is counter to verses like Matthew 22 : 32 and the similar passage in Mark 12.

      The point is that the "days" of creation may well be 'epochs' of creation where the "evening and morning" are figurative and the time involved is God's time, and not a human day. And, really, does it matter?

      As to "how big", that's essentially a meaningless question. And it is demonstrated in that every time a cosmology textbook is published they have a size... 11 billion light years from here to the edge... then the Hubble is launched and, oh, no, make that 13.... then the Webb telescope comes along, and, sorry, 13.5.
      The Universe is essentially endless.
      And one of the questions this writer has asked those who do such things is, "how do you know that the ancient pulsar or quasar you see if you look that way, isn't the same one you see when you look the exact opposite way?"
      So far, it hasn't heard a good answer.

Resources and Links Used
      While we all catch our breath before we move on, we'll run through the list of resources for the above, which are "sort of" in the order they appeared. Well, we tried.

      Then, "turn the page" and we'll get into Part Two, which we'll call "the Heresy section"!
And, of course: Some OBJECTIONS to this article, and a couple of new questions! All links were working as of date of original posting, outside links will open in a new window. Some of the above material may also be referenced in links in the second half of this article.

Multiple Translations Available:
See the original scans of the 1611 text, such as: Iohn 1

Hebrew and Greek Interlinear

Many interesting documents available at the

The Sermons of John Wesley - On Dress

Summaries of Ancient Creation Myths Stories of Coming Into Being

"Sympathy for the Devil" Written by Mich Jagger and Keith Richards, Rolling Stones album "Beggars Banquet", Decca Records, 1968
More about the song:

An introduction to the Sumerians

Two of many such arguments:
"Melchizedek Could Be Shem, Son of Noah"

It is what the link says it is:

An article called: "How an archbishop calculated the Creation"

The so called "Infancy Gospel of James"
"Gospel of Mary Magdalene'
Other early manuscripts are on their index page.

And For example:The Book of Jubilees (translated by R. H. Charles), Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London - 1917

The Nag Hammadi Codices and Gnostic Christianity

With links to the texts: "An Overview of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures"

Full text of "The Gospel Of The Birth Of Mary" as an online text and PDF

Neolithic China

A kingdom in India, 4000 BC

"The Great Schism"
"On July 16, 1054, Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was excommunicated, starting the 'Great Schism' that created the two largest denominations in Christianity—the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths."

Quick Guide to Christian Denominations

The Patron Saint of Bartenders, Brewers, and Winemakers.

CPCC's study of Jonah the Minor Prophet
A Revelation Special Feature: Angels

As mentioned above: "OK, answer this one: Is the "Restoration" or even the entire Protestant Reformation Still Relevant?... and don't just say 'now more than ever'."

Finally, that, long but still uncompleted thesis, as well as the "Dancing" series mentioned above are at:

This one takes some explaining, but it is relevant.
During a Mystery Series article about the legend of Lilith, we took a look at the "Original Bible Texts" and go into some depth about what was written when, and where, and by whom.

Part Two of this article.

Pray for Revival in the Land

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      The Desk is solely responsible for the analysis and conclusions and opinions hereby presented. And are not to be blamed on anybody or anything else EXCEPT the Desk. If the reader has any issues with anything in the article they may contact the Desk through the usual channels.
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