News

Oct 11, 2012 – Jesus’ Wife Fragment – Suspicions it May be a Fake

Facing mounting doubts over the legitimacy of a business card-sized Coptic papyrus fragment that appears to quote Jesus Christ discussing his wife, the Harvard professor who acquired the artifact said Wednesday that she stands behind her findings, but is “open to questions about authenticity.”  In an extract from the story:

Craig Evans, a New Testament professor at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, is one of the scholars who still has questions. Evans blogged Wednesday on Near Emmaus, a biblical history website, that he thought “the papyrus itself is probably quite old, perhaps fourth or fifth century, but the oddly written letters are probably modern and probably reflect recent interest in Jesus and Mary Magdalene.”

“It’s usually the science that precedes the big announcements. These things aren’t usually left untested, especially where a papyrologist has not uncovered it in Egypt,” said Evans in an interview.

Read the whole story http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/jesus-wife-suspicions-fake-artifact_n_1916932.html

Sept 18, 2012 – Initial Comments on the new “Jesus’ Wife Fragment”

A new fragment of ancient Coptic text has been discovered and presented for review.  This piece of papyrus has been authenticated by two reputable scholars, Profs. Roger Bagnall and AnneMarie Luijendijk. There are doubts, however, which have been raised about its authenticity, especially by scholars at the International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome, where there is a good deal of scepticism. This is a tiny fragment of text, (not a “gospel”) but which has something unprecedented in it, namely a reference to Jesus addressing someone as “My wife….”:

1 ] not. My mother has given me [life]
2 ] The disciples said to Jesus, [
3 ] deny. Mary is worthy of it [
4 ] Jesus said to them, “My wife… [
5 ] She will be able to be a disciple to me, and [
6 ] Let evil man ??? […
7 ] As for me, I am with her because [
] an image

Initial comments from Bible Scholar Dr. Darrel F Bock: 

It is a small text with no context.
It is a late text (4th century), if the dating given is right.
It would be nice to know where the text came from on the collector’s market. It is a text without any real setting right now, just a date and a few broken lines.
It needs a larger public vetting by experts (like being in the first quarter of a game and asking for comment on the whole).

Read more – go to his Blog on initial thoughts about the newly discovered “Jesus Wife Fragment”:
http://blogs.bible.org/bock/darrell_l._bock/quick_thoughts_on_the_new_jesus_wife_text

Initial comments from Bible scholar Ben Witherington III:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/
Apr 4, 2012 – Geological Evidence of an Earthquake at the Time of Christ’s Crucifixion

Biblical Archeology Society – According to the Gospel of Matthew, an earthquake shook Jerusalem on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. A new study of cores and seismic activity near the Dead Sea in the latest issue of International Geology Review* may provide scientific data relating to the event described in Matthew 27.  Moreover, some have suggested**that the new research on sediment disturbances can be combined with Biblical, astronomical and calendrical information to give a precise date of the crucifixion: Friday, April 3rd, 33 C.E.

The Gospel of Matthew describes an earthquake during Jesus’ Crucifixion. Sediment disturbances mentioned in a recent article in the International Geology Review points to the Biblical earthquake and may give a concrete date of the crucifixion. Painting by James Jacques Tissot.

Read the full article at Biblical Archeology Society: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/jesus’-crucifixion-reflected-in-soil-deposition/

Dec 21, 2011 – Latest Research Support’s Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin is very likely not the product of Medieval fakery, say Italian researchers who usedmodern technology to test the holy cloth’s authenticity.

Over five years of work, the scientists blasted modern linen with ultraviolet light and examined X-rays of the fabric, attempting to replicate the stunning Christ-like image exhibited in the Shroud.  The findings, released in November by Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development, showed they “achieved a very superficial, Shroud-like coloration of linen yarns,” according to a report on msnbc.com.

It fell way short of the characteristics of the real Shroud, however. They concluded therefore that Jesus’s supposed burial cloth could not have been doctored in Medieval times, as has been theorized during past studies, some of which relied on radiocarbon dating of fiber samples.

Read more: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/shroud-turin-t-a-fake-researchers-scientists-unable-replicate-cloth-christ-like-image-article-1.995661#ixzz1hNKhZEP2

May 13, 2011 – Bart Ehrman is at it again with his new Book “Forged”

Bart Ehrman’s new book,  Forged   (Harper, 2011, 307 pages) has hit the bookstalls  and has been hovering in the 300s in the list of top sellers,  eclipsed by another Harper book that came out at about the same juncture—- Rob Bell’s  Love Wins.

Bart Ehrman argues in this book that half the New Testament is “forged”, and that the authors deliberately misrepresented the facts.  But is this case?  Do his accusations stand up to critical analysis, and true scholarship?

Those who are looking for an excuse to call the early Christians liars and deceivers are delighted with this book.  But let’s look at the facts.  Let’s find out the truth by reviewing this critical analysis:

Link to an analysis by NT scholar Ben Witherington: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/30/forged-bart-ehrmans-new-salvo-the-introduction/

Feb 2, 2011 – 1,700 Year Old Monastery Found!

Ain Soukhna, Egypt (CNN) The founders of this monastery were disciples of St. Anthony the Great, widely considered to be the Father of Monasticism because he initiated Christian monastic life as we have come to understand it today.

The story goes that St. Mark, one of Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles, arrived in Alexandria to spread the word.In a city rife with various schools of thought and religious beliefs, St. Mark was confronted with philosophers who were convinced his teachings were at odds with their own beliefs.

To defend his beliefs, St. Mark founded a theological school, teaching Christianity from a philosophical point of view. He lived a life modeled after Jesus and attracted many converts who ultimately became disciples. For complete details, read the full article about this recently discovered Christian Monastery at CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/01/07/orthodox.christian.monastery.egypt/index.html?iref=obinsite

Feb 21, 2010 – Shroud of Turn to Draw Over 2 Million Visitors

ROME — Some two million people are expected to view the Shroud of Turin, the purported burial cloth ofJesus Christ, when it goes on public display for the first time in 10 years shortly, officials said Wednesday.  “We have already reached a million” people who have reserved their chance to view the relic in the northern Italian city from April 10 to May 23, Turin alderman Fiorenzo Alfieri told a news conference.

Link to article:http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gX1Z__iySoYsWYJ7Px0CdYF9lJxA

Aug 1 – Ancient 2,000 Year Old Cup Has Unusually Long Inscription

LA Times:  U.S. archaeologists have found an extremely rare 2,000-year-old limestone cup inscribedwith 10 lines of Aramaic or Hebrew script near the Zion Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem.  Researchers are not yet able to decipher the cup because the text is in an informal cursive script and is apparentlydeliberately cryptic. They know it contains the Hebrew word for God,YHWH or Yahweh.

It will probably takes some weeks to months to translate the actual language, but this work is done, it will indeed be exciting to learn the details inscribed on this most unusual cup.  For the full details, please see the article in the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-mtzion1-2009aug01,0,6188025.story

May 30 – Biblical “Writing on the Wall” Discovered

May 30 – Biblical Archeology Society, by Ben Witherington.  Archeologists have found evidence of early Christian graffiti.  Quoting the article from the web site:  “One of the most enlightening lectures at the SBL session was Roger Bagnall’s “New Graffiti from Smyrna in the Context of Early Christianity.” He concentrated on what was found in a basilica basement in the vast Smyrna agora. (In the Roman world a basilica was a type of public building, often a hall of justice; only later was its architectural pattern taken over by the church and used as a design for churches.) The basilica had collapsed in 178 A.D. due to a massive earthquake but was later reconstructed. The part of the basilica Bagnall focused on comes from the late first and early second centuries. Plaster or stucco covered the walls that had graffiti on them. The assortment of graffiti was considerable, focusing on sex, love, civic pride, politics and religion, all jumbled together.”

One of the most interesting of Bagnall’s examples reads ό δεδωκως πvεύμα (“the one who has given the Spirit”—namely Kyrios, the Lord Jesus). Bagnall claims that this is probably the earliest evidence of Christian graffiti ever discovered. What was the function of this graffito, inscribed in a public place? It does not seem to have been an advertisement to bring in outsiders, but rather for insiders (Christians), who knew the key clichés, phrases and code words to make sense of the graffito. To insiders it announced that there were Christians in the city with whom other Christians could socialize and worship.

>> Read the full article at:  http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=35&Issue=03&ArticleID=05&Page=0&UserID=0&

May 21, 2009 – Scientists “Roll Their Eyes” at all the Hype Surrounding Evolutionary Ancestor

Time:  As many of you know, the media came out with lots of hype last week about finding “the missing link” that will now “change everything” about how we think about human origins.  Really.  Time just came out with an interesting article discussing how that the recent fossil find “Ida” has been hyped way out of proportion.  Interestingly, the title of the article is “Ida: Human kin’s earliest ancestor (not really)”

Here is a quote from the article:

“Most paleontologists will roll their eyes at that sort of overhyped nonsense, especially given that there’s real science lurking underneath. After wading through the false advertising, though, most people might have a hard time finding it.”

Read the Time Article:  http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1900057,00.html

April 10, 2009 – Colbert Interrupts Bart Ehrman regarding his new book “Jesus Interrupted”

Check this out:  http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=224124

April 7, 2009 – Thorough Review of Bart Ehrman’s book entitled “Jesus Interrupted”

Ben Witherington does a very careful and thorough review of the latest book attacking Christ and the Christian faith, from Bart Ehrman.  The review is being done in three parts, and you can find it all on Ben’s Blog at …http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of.html

March 11, 2009 – Fifth Century Monastery found near Jerusalem

CNN — After a group of Israeli farmers sought last year to expand their property in the hills near Jerusalem, they discovered an archeological gem beneath the dirt – the remains of an ancient Christian Monestary. A team led by Daniel Ein Mor barely had to scratch the surface before finding the remains of a Byzantine monastery, he told CNN on Wednesday.

“The excavation at Nes-Harim supplements our knowledge about the nature of the Christian-Byzantine settlement in the rural areas between the main cities in this part of the country during the Byzantine period,” including Jerusalem, Mor said.  The church is believed to have been built in the late fifth or sixth century, and is decorated with “breathtakingly beautiful mosaics,”   Read the full story at …

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/03/11/byzantine.monastery.jerusalem/index.html

Oct 30, 2008 – Archeological Evidence Now Undisputed – The James Ossuary is Authentic!

Biblical Archeological Society.  “In the most recent embarrassment for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA),the government’s star witness, Yuval Goren, former chairman of Tel Aviv University’s institute of archaeology, was forced to admit on cross-examination that there is original ancient patina in the word “Jesus,” the last word in the inscription that reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”  Read all the details on how “The James Ossuary” – the box that contained the bones of ‘the brother of Jesus’ – is now vindicated as authentic!

Link:  http://www.bib-arch.org/news/forgery-trial-news.asp

Oct 22, 2008 – Christians Being Threatened and Forced to Flee Iraq and Other Predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern States

According to the LA Times, Fox News, and other sources, Christians are being threatened and forced to move out of Iraq for fear of loosing their lives.  A Chaldean Catholic archbishop has warned that Christians in his county face “liquidation”.

According to the LA Times, this is a “tragedy, not only for Christianity, but also for the long-term goal of ensuring Middle-Eastern societies are pluralist as well as democratic.”  The Times also reports that this is “part of a larger pattern in which a faith with origins in the Middle East is being driven out of its native region.  From Iraw to Lebanon, which once claimed a Christian majority, to Bethlehem, the West Bank town revered as the birthplace of Jesus, Intra-Muslim violence and the Arab-Israeli struggle have combined to persuade (and in some case force) Christians to relocate to Europe or North America.”

Please help to right this wrong by supporting Christians under persecution in Middle-East, and letting your voice be heard that this persecution needs to stop.  For more details, please see:

Fox News:  Christians Fleeing Violence in Iraq – http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,270377,00.html 
LA Times: A Christian Exodus – 
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-christians20-2008oct20,0,6502054.story 
The Boston Globe: Killings Spur a Christian Exodus from Mosul
http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2008/10/14/killings_spur_a_christian_exodus_from_mosul/
Christian Persecution Info in the Middle east – http://www.christianpersecution.info/middleeast-archive.php

August 26, 2008 – Dead Sea Scrolls to be Viewable on the Internet

The New York Times.  JERUSALEM — In a crowded laboratory painted in gray and cooled like a cave, half a dozen specialists embarked this week on a historic undertaking: digitally photographing every one of the thousands of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the aim of making the entire file — among the most sought-after and examined documents on earth — available to all on the Internet.

For the full story see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/27/world/middleeast/27scrolls.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

August 18, 2008 – China Confiscates Bibles from American Christians

BEIJING – Chinese customs officials confiscated more than 300 Bibles on Sunday from four American Christians who arrived in a southwestern city with plans to distribute them, the group’s leader said.

The Bibles were taken from the group’s checked luggage after they landed at the airport in the city of Kunming, said Pat Klein, head of Vision Beyond Borders. The group, based in Sheridan, Wyoming, distributes Bibles and Christian teaching materials around the world to “strengthen the persecuted church,” according to its Web site.  For the complete story, please visit:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080817/ap_on_re_as/china_bibles_confiscated

July 13, 2008 – What’s the New Dead Sea Stone Really Says

Prime Time Jesus – Recently a collector has announced the discovery of an ancient stone tablet from the dead sea area, which he bought from a local antiquities dealer.  This collector, and an Israeli scholar, are claiming that this find is authentic, and that it talks about a person raising from the dead in 3 days. 

What is really on the recently discovered dead sea stone is not what one antiquities dealer, and the the media would have you believe.  Its actually a series of broken Hebrew text that requires a lot of creative imagination to come to a conclusion that its talking about another Messiah prior to Jesus who would rise in three days.  It also is ink writing on a tablet, in contrast to writing on scrolls, or carving on tablets – somewhat unusual.  Of course the tablet has to be verified, authenticated, etc., but given all that, the growing consensus is that this tablet is being made out to be far more that what it in fact is (again, it appears the scholar is tring to sell his books and agenda).

Here is the link to the MSNBC full story: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/07/07/1184950.aspx

June 16, 2008 –  Dan Brown’s Latest Attack Film – Banned from Rome

The Vatican has banned the makers of a prequel to The Da Vinci Code from filming in its grounds or any church in Rome, describing the work as “an offence against God”. Angels and Demons, the latest Dan Brown thriller to be turned into a film, includes key episodes that take place in the Vatican and Rome’s churches. Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, said that Brown had “turned the gospels upside down to poison the faith”.

It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into films in the name of business,” he said, adding that Brown’s work “wounds common religious feelings”.   Read the full story on line:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4147839.ece


June 11, 2008 – Earliest Church Found in Jordan?

AMMAN, Jordan  —  Archaeologists in Jordan say they have discovered a catacomb underneath one of the world’s oldest churches that may be an even more ancient site of Christian worship.

Archaeologist Abdel-Qader Hussein, head of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies, says the catacombs were unearthed in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab after three months of excavation and show evidence of early Christian rituals.  Shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, disciples founded churches in the area, many of them underground to escape persecution.

The catacomb lies under St. Georgeous church, built in 230 A.D, making it one of the oldest churches, along with one unearthed in the Jordanian southern port of Aqaba in 1998 and another in Megiddo, Israel discovered in 2005.  Al-Housan said there was evidence that the underground cave was used as a church by 70 disciples of Jesus in the first century after Christ’s death, which would make it the oldest Christian site of worship in the world. He described a circular worship area with stone seats separated from a living area that had a long tunnel leading to a source of water. He said the early Christians hid there from persecution.

In the cave there is also a tunnel that leads to a cistern which supplied water to the dwellers. A mosaic inscription in the floor of the church above refers to the “70 beloved by God and the divine” whom the archaeologist believes were refugees from religious persecution in Jerusalem.

Dr Al-Hassan says that excavation of the tunnel and the cistern may yield yet more evidence about the lives of these early Christians.  “From the tunnel to the cistern is very important. We want to clean it and make an excavation inside it. We found a very old inscription beside it and coins also, and crosses made from iron.”

Read the full article at BBC News:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7446812.stm


May 20, 2008 – New Evidence Concerning Shroud Dating

World Net Daily – The mystery of the Shroud of Turin, a 14-foot-long cloth that many thought may have been the burial cloth of Jesus until scientists reported radiocarbon dating established it as no older than Medieval times, is being resurrected

John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has convinced scientists who performed the age tests on the cloth housed in Turin, Italy, since the 1500s to consider his suggestion that those tests may have been faulty, according to a report in the Denver Post.  For the full story go to World Net Daily at …http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=64881

Building Remains from First Temple Period Exposed West of Temple Mount!

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Mar 13, 2008 A rich layer of finds from the latter part of the First Temple period (8th-6th centuries BCE) was recently discovered in archaeological salvage excavations in the northwestern part of the Western Wall plaza.  Read the full story:  http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early+History+-+Archaeology/Building+remains+from+First+Temple+period+exposed+west+of+Temple+Mount+13-Mar-2008.htm

Islamic Film Presents Muslim View of Jesus – But is it Credible?

ABC News:  A director who shares the ideas of Iran’s hard line President has produced what he says is the first film giving an Islamic view of Jesus Christ, in a bid to show “common ground” between Muslims and Christians.  For a summary of the movie and the film makers remarks, please see the following links: ABC News (AU):  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/16/2139706.htm
ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=4297085&page=1

Click here to read our critical review of the film’s claims.

Feb 12 – Update on James Ossuary – BAS Conference in Jerusalem

In January 2007, the Biblical Archaeology Society convened a conference in Jerusalem of leading scholars from all over the world to assess a number of well-known artifacts that had in recent years been labeled as forgeries. One of these was of course the famous James Ossuary – the alleged box that once contained the bones of the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus.  If these artifacts are in fact genuine, they would have a major impact on our knowledge of the Biblical world.  For the full story, and to hear comments from experts, visit the BAR web site: http://bib-arch.org/forgery/forgeryreport.html

Jan 20 – Scholars Review the Claims about the “Jesus Family Tomb”

Ben Witherington’s Blog contains a recap of the latest discussions about the Talipot Tomb, and why its highly unlikely to be “the Jesus Family Tomb”.  Read more: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/01/jesus-tomb-redux-jerusalem-conference.html

Dec 10, 2007 – Review of “The Golden Compass”.

Christianity Today – Once again Hollywood is attacking God, and Christianity.  The move is “The Golden Compass”, another attempt by Hollywood to make money off attacking the Church.  But not to worry – the attack will not stand, and in the end we all know who wins anyway!  Here is a balanced and thoughtful review of the new fantasy movie:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/fearnotthecompass.html

Dec 10, 2007 – Golden Compass Writer Admits Trying to Undermine Christian Faith

Washington Post – An article in the Washington Post describes Philip Pullman, an atheistic fantasy writer living in England who has produced several fantasy novels targeted at youth.  The first in the series of three is “The Golden Compass”, upon which a new movie is based.  Here is a quote from Mr. Pullman “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”

Dec 4, 2007 – Christians in the Holy Land dwindling under persecution

Jerusalem Post – The ever-dwindling Christian communities living in Palestinian-run territories in the West Bank and Gaza are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Muslim persecution and maltreatment, an Israeli scholar said Monday.

“The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs,” said Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer in an address at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he serves as a scholar in residence.

“For too long the plight of Christian Arabs has been put on the back-burner or ignored altogether,” said Rev. Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the International Christian Embassy, a Jerusalem-based evangelical organization. The Evangelical leader, who has drawn the wrath of Catholic leaders in the Holy Land for his strong support for Israel, said that “power politics” has prevented the major Christian leaders in the Holy Land from speaking out on this issue.

“There is a one-sided debate in which Israel is responsible for everything,” he said. “The Christian world needs to stand up and speak out about this.”

For the full article and photos see:  http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546795874&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Dec 3, 2007 – Temple Institute Announces:  High Priest’s Crown is Ready!

The Bible indicates that in the last days, the “temple will be rebuilt, even in troublous times”.  It seems that we may be getting to even closer to that point, as IsraelNN.com has just reported that the High Priest’s crown is now ready.  Here is the the announcement from IsraelNN.com: “The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announces the completion of the Tzitz, the High Priest’s headplate – now ready for use in the Holy Temple. 

“The tzitz is made of pure gold, was fashioned over the course of a more than a year by the craftsmen of the Temple Institute, and is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  The words “Holy for G-d” are engraved on the headplate, in accordance with Exodus 28:36.  A short video clip presenting the tzitz can be viewed here. “

Of course, this presumes that the Holy Temple is indeed rebuilt in the first place.  Current the Muslim “Dome of the Rock” occupies the Temple Mount, and that would either have to be displaced, or some type of agreement would have to be consummated in order to allow the re-building of the Jewish Holy Temple on the Temple Mount.  What’s interesting is that the book of Daniel talks about a “covenant” that is put in place in the last days to bring peace.  Could it be that this future “covenant” allows for the re-building of the Jewish Holy Temple upon the Mount?

For the full article please see:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124443

Aug 31, 2007 – Temple Mount Destruction Continues

Biblical Archeology Society – The Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that controls the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, has begun digging a major trench on the north end of the complex, which was the ancient site of the Jewish Temples. Begun in July 2007 to accommodate electrical and plumbing infrastructure, the trench was greatly extended in late August.

The trench is being carved by a backhoe—anathema to archaeologists because of the damage such a powerful machine can cause to ancient remains. Indeed, damaged items can already be seen along the pathway of the trench.  So far, the Israeli government is doing nothing to stop the ravage that is being done to ancient artifacts being torn up as the excavating equipment continues its digging.  The only comment is “no comment”. 

The Biblical Archeological Society is mounting a protest, as are many Jews and Christians across the globe.  The most recent development includes an escalation to the Israeli Supreme Court to try to stop the destruction.  For more details, photos and video, please visit http://www.bib-arch.org/templemount/bswbTempleIntro.asp.

August 5 – Microchip Implants – A Sign of the End Times?

AP News – July 22, 2007.   Almost everyone is familiar with a passage in the Book of Revelation in the Bible concerning ‘the mark of the beast’.  In this passage, written almost 2,000 years ago, the writer of Revelation predicts that in the end times people would be forced to take a ‘mark of the beast’.  And that without this ‘mark’, they would be able to neither buy nor sell – in effect, shut out of the planet’s economic system.  Furthermore, predicts Revelation, anyone who takes the ‘mark of the beast’ would be doomed, and those refusing this mark would be saved.

Since the original writing, few have taken this passage literally.  What could such a mark be?  How could it be so inextricably linked to a person such that he/she could neither buy or sell without this mark?  Why, for this to happen the mark would have to be literally a part of the person

Well, it is happening.  In recent years we’ve seen the introduction of the UPC code, e-commerce, the advent of scanners, and now the emphasis on heightened security.   In this AP News article, we are told that a security provider is now embedding RFID chips into people, allowing their persons to be ‘scanned’ – much like a credit card.  A medical grade glass capsule, containing a silicon ‘chip’, is being implanted into people for various reasons.  Currently the applications appear relatively harmless – clients embedded with a chip breeze past long lines into VIP lounges, gain access to secure areas with a wave of the hand, or pay for drinks without a credit card.  What’s to worry about?  “We’re not forcing this on anyone”, states the article.

But will it stop there?  Beware – this may indeed be yet another sign of the end times.  For the complete story, please visit http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070721/D8QH34P80.html

July 16 – China Increasingly Driving out Christian Missionaries

World Net Daily – July 16, 2007 – More than 100 foreign Christians in China have been accused of being involved in illegal activities and have been expelled in just a 90-day period, the biggest assault on the presence of Christianity in China since 1954, according to a new report from the Voice of the Martyrs.

Read the full report at World Net Daily:  http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56660

Apr 4 – CNN Reports – Noted Scientist Believes in God, Sees No Conflict With Science

CNN – April 4, 2007

CNN is running a special this week on ‘what is a Christian?”.  In the context of this news special, they interviewed noted scientist Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. 

“I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.”  For the full article, please go to:
http://us.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/collins.commentary/index.html
.

Mar 6 – Cameron’s ‘The Jesus Tomb’ Labeled “Publicity Stunt”

Washington Post – Feb 28, 007.
by Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer.

Leading archaeologists in Israel and the United States yesterday denounced the purported discovery of the tomb of Jesus as a publicity stunt.

Scorn for the Discovery Channel’s claim to have found the burial place of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and — most explosively — their possible son came not just from Christian scholars but also from Jewish and secular experts who said their judgments were unaffected by any desire to uphold Christian orthodoxy. Read the whole story:  Link to Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/26/AR2007022600442.html

Feb 12 – Visions of a Young Girl

CNN.  Feb 12, 2007.  Click on this link at CNN and view the story of how the young daughter of an atheist has received an astounding gift of portraying heavenly visions on canvas.  She claims to have had numerous heavenly visions, and has been given a fantastic ability to translate these visions onto canvas.  The amazing thing – all of this started at a very young age.   View the details at:
http://tinyurl.com/yxewot
.

Jan 19 – 3,000 New Believers Added Daily in China!

WorldNet Daily.  Jan 19, 2007  Worship services are being broken up by baton-wielding police officers, participants arrested, Bibles confiscated and Christian church buildings demolished. But still, an estimated 3,000 people every day come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ in China.

The report comes from Voice of the Martyrs, a U.S.-based Christian group that works specifically to help those members of the persecuted Christian church worldwide.  Get the whole story at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53808.

Oct 29 – Evidence of the Garden of Eden Found in Turkey?

First Post, by Sean Thomas.  I am standing above an archaeological dig, on a hillside in southern Turkey. Beneath me, workmen are unearthing a sculpture of some sort of reptile (right). It is delicate and breathtaking. It is also part of the world’s oldest temple.

If this sounds remarkable, it gets better. The archaeologist in charge of the dig believes that this artwork has connections with the Eden story!  Read the whole story at http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=2&subID=1007

Oct 21 – Media Relents Momentarily, But Continues its Mocking of Jesus Christ

Rev. Jerry Falwell- WorldNetDaily.  At last, after weeks of flirting with the idea of broadcasting a portion of a Madonna concert in which she appears on a giant cross wearing a crown of thorns, NBC reportedly has decided not to broadcast that portion of the song “Live to Tell.”

While I’m pleased that NBC ultimately made the right decision not to offend millions of Christians by editing out the offensive footage in “Madonna: The Confessions Tour — Live From London”, scheduled to air Nov. 22, this is really a small victory. You see, the broadcast and cable networks continue to assault the character of Jesus Christ on a regular basis.  Why? Because evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics are seen as pariahs. Therefore, the subject of our faith — Jesus Christ — should be mocked.   Recent examples:

  • South Park episodes continue to portray Jesus, the Savior of millions of Christians, as a zoned out hippie or unkept talk show host (while they refrain from any criticism of Mohammad)
  • The media drooled all over “The Da Vinci Code”, which portrays Jesus as a religious leader who died, leaving a married widow and child – all complete speculation without any supporting hard evidence.

Seems the media relishes bashing Jesus and Christians – but treads oh so lightly when other regions come into their view.  Read the full story at WorldNetDaily:  http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52541

Oct 14 – Young Shoppers Want to Pay with Chip in their Skin!

UK – The Daily Mail – Some customers are willing to have microchip implants as a means of paying in stores, a report out today says. Teenagers are more open to the idea of having a high-tech shopping experience, the Tomorrow’s Shopping World report suggests.   Around 8 per cent of 13 to 19-year-olds were open to the idea of microchip implants while 16 per cent wanted trolleys to be fitted with SatNav systems.  For the full story please visit… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=409867&in_page_id=1770

Could this be evidence of a sign of the last days?  An early indication of what was foretold in the Bible two thousand years ago?   In the Book of Revelation we read about a “beast”, a world ruler that grabs power in the midst of turbulent times that shake the nations to their core.  He apparently unites the nations, “and deceives those who dwell on the earth” (Rev13:14).  . 

It then says “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

That no one could buy or sell without a mark on their forehead or hand probably sounded foolish to people 20 or even 50 years ago – but NOW, this is actually being discussed (see article).  Financial institutions are loosing billions of dollars a year due to stolen credit cards, hackers, and others who work tirelessly at cheating the present financial system.  They are able to do this because the current system has multiple points of failure which allow it to be compromised.  Believe it or not, the notion of embedding a “credit card chip” just under the skin is not so far fetched any more.  Young people get piercing routinely, and so an embedded chip is thought to be no big deal, and would make buying and selling so convenient.

And my goodness, how this would solve so many problems!  Of course you could not loose your card any longer, and no one is likely to “steal” it.   Financial transaction processing is improved – their is no need for a second form of identification – its in your skin!  And a side benefit – no need to worry about getting lost due to memory problems – we have all of your personal data inscribed on the embedded chip as well!  Presto — millions saved to averting stolen credit cards.   No issues with unidentified persons.  Improved economic control.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Stay tuned for more in the not too distant future.

Oct 3 – Scientists Confirm Bing Bang and Win Nobel Prize!

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) –Americans John C. Mather and George F. Smoot won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe and deepen understanding of the origin of galaxies and stars. Mather, 60, works at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Smoot, 61, works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.

The scientists discovered the nature of “blackbody radiation,” cosmic background radiation believed to stem from the “big bang,” when the universe was born (read: created).  “They have not proven the big-bang theory but they give it very strong support,” said Per Carlson, chairman of the Nobel committee for physics. “It is one of thegreatest discoveries of the century. I would call it the greatest. It increases our knowledge of our place in the universe.”

Their work was based on measurements done with the help of NASA’s COBE satellite launched in 1989. They were able to observe the universe in its early stages about 380,000 years after it was born. Ripples in the light they detected also helped demonstrate how galaxies came together over time.

“The COBE results provided increased support for the big-bang scenario for the origin of the Universe, as this is the only scenario that predicts the kind of cosmic microwave background radiation measured by COBE,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm said in its citation.  No other competing theory of origins (cycles, the steady state theory, etc.) can explain the “leftover background radiation” detected by scientists, using the COBE satellite –  only the Big Bang or “creation event” provides an adequate explanation.  All other theories are found wanting.

The big-bang theory states that the universe – all of space, time and matter – began some 14-17 billion years ago, from a single point in space, no larger than the head of a pin.  Read the full story on Space.com’s web site at …http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/061003_ap_nobel_physics.html
Sept 19 – Fox to Offer Christian Films to Viewers

LOS ANGELES —  The home-video division of Twentieth Century Fox said Tuesday it will acquire as many as a dozen family friendly movies a year and market them under the FoxFaith banner.

With budgets of less than $5 million each, the films will be aimed at the same Christian audiences that helped boost box-office receipts for such films as “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”  “We saw the opportunity to fill the needs of an underserved marketplace,” said Steve Feldstein, senior vice president of marketing at Fox Home Video.

“All of this programming is entertainment first.  We’re not in the business of proselytizing or preaching,” he said.  About half of the films will be distributed theatrically through a third-party company under a deal with two large theater chains, AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas. The rest will go directly to DVD.   For the full story visit Fox News at: http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2006Sep19/0,4670,FoxChristianFilms,00.html
July 24 – Ancient Copy of the Book of Psalms Unearthed In Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Irish archaeologists Tuesday heralded the discovery of an ancient book of psalms by a construction worker while driving the shovel of his backhoe into a bog.

Interestingly enough, the book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which a plea to God is made not to let the enemies of Israel eradicate God’s chosen nation:

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. (Psalm 83:1-4)

Following this passage, the Psalm lists a number of Israel’s ancient enemies bent on its destruction. 

Strangely enough, Psalm 83 was one of three psalms recited at locations worldwide Tuesday at the request of the governing council of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.  For the complete text, see Psalm 83:  http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Psa/Psa083.html

Wallace said several experts spent Tuesday analyzing only that page — the number of letters on each line, lines on each page, size of page — and the book’s binding and cover, which he described as “leather velum, very thick wallet in appearance.”  The approximately 20-page book has been dated to the years 800-1000. Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries.

Read more on CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/07/25/ireland.psalms.ap/index.html
World Net Daily:  http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51255
July 7 – Search for Noah’s Ark to be Launched this Summer

National Geographic reported that an expedition to find Noah’s Ark is to be launched during the summer of 2006.  Daniel McGivern, the businessman and Christian activist behind a planned summer 2004 expedition to investigate the site, is basing his hopes on recent digital pictures taken from space by DigitalGlobe (a commercial satellite-imagery company).  The company confirmed that they took the images that McGivern is using to guide his search..

“We’re telling people we’re 98 percent sure,” said McGivern, a member of the Hawaii Christian Coalition. “In one image we saw the beams, saw the wood. I’m convinced that the excavation of the object and the results of tests run on any collected samples will prove that it is Noah’s ark. “

Here is a link to close-up photos space photos from DigitalGlobe – are these possibly images of Noah’s Ark from space? http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/zoomviewer/index.php?display_img=ararat

Read the full story at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/04/0427_040427_noahsark.html

June 9 – BP News – 1 in 5 Americans Have Read “Da Vinci’, Barna Poll Says

A nationwide poll by Barna indicates that 1 in 5 Americans have said they have read ‘The Da Vinci Code”(this equates to about 45 million people).  Key findings from the survey:

  • 24% said the book was helpful to them in relation to their “spiritual growth or understanding”
  • 5% said reading the book led them to change some of their beliefs or religious perspectives (this equates to about 2 million people)

For the complete article please go to: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=23245.

May 17, 2006 – Da Vinci Code Movie Opens to ‘Cat Calls’

CNN posted a review of the new Ron Howard movie, The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks.  Apparently the movie has opened to mixed reviews, the article even noting that the audience greeted it with ‘cat calls’ and laughter at its opening at the Cannes Film Festival.  The movie is stirring up further anger and outrage from the Christian community, due to the movie’s deceptive mix of fact and fiction,  Boycotts and protests are underway in countries around the world.  For the full story, please see the CNN web site article at http://edition.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/17/da.vinci/index.html.

May 17, 2006 – Early Reviews of Da Vinci Code Movie – “a dud” says Rolling Stone

Click below for a link to Rotten Tomatoes, a compilation web site of all the latest reviews of the Hollywood attack on the Christian faith http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/da_vinci_code/

May 7, 2006 – Churches Prepare to Rebut Da Vinci Code

Washington (Washington Times) – Prior to the release of Ron Howard’s new movie, The Da Vinci Code, churches prepare people with information debunking the outlandish claims made in this move and book.  For the full story, please see the full article… http://www.washtimes.com/metro/20060507-014436-5581r.htm.

May 7, 2006 – Cardinal urges legal action against Da Vinci Code

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In the latest Vatican broadside against “The Da Vinci Code”, a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called “The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception.”

Arinze’s appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.

“Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget,” Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs.

“Sometimes it is our duty to do something practical. So it is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others,” Arinze said.

“This is one of the fundamental human rights: that we should be respected, our religious beliefs respected, and our founder Jesus Christ respected,” he said, without elaborating on what legal means he had in mind.

A transcript of the documentary, due to be screened in Rome later this month just before the release of the film version of the best-selling book at the Cannes Film Festival, was made available to Reuters.

The book, written by Dan Brown, has sold more than 40 million copies. Continued…
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&storyid=2006-05-07T141257Z_01_L07736154_RTRUKOC_0_US-VATICAN-DAVINCI.xml&src=rss&rpc=22
April 29, 2006 – Boycott of Da Vinci Code Film Urged

Associated Press, ROME – A Vatican official reportedly called for a boycott of the upcoming “The Da Vinci Code” film Friday, saying it contained “slanderous” offenses against Christianity that would have provoked a worldwide revolt had they been directed against Islam or the Holocaust. 

Monsignor Angelo Amato — Pope Benedict XVI’s former No. 2 when Benedict was head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith — made the comments in a speech at the Pontifical Holy Cross University, which is run by the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei, the ANSA news agency reported.

I hope all of you boycott this film, the Italian agency quoted Amato as saying. He said the film, based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, was full of “offenses, slander, historical and theological errors concerning Jesus, the gospel and the church.”

“Slander, offenses and errors that if they were directed toward the Quran or the Shoah would have justifiably provoked a worldwide revolt,” he said, referring to Islam’s holy book and the Hebrew word for Holocaust.

Yet because they were directed toward the Catholic Church, they remain ‘unpunished,’” he said.

For more information see the full story.

April 6, 2006 – Peddling Gnosticism and Cashing In on The Gospel of Judas

This past week National Geographic announced that they had ‘discovered ‘ the ‘lost’ Gospel of Judas. This announcement has been all over the media this past week, after the press announcement – having been carried in the press, on the radio, and on the net.  Apparently they have planned three books, and a television special this Sunday evening.  Based on reports, the release of this so-called ‘discovery’ was carefully timed to occur prior to the Christian Easter celebration, and the upcoming release of The Da Vinci Code movie.

No surprise on the timing of this announcement (apparently this document has been around for a while).  Reports from the Washing Post and other media indicate that the promoters are hoping to cash in big on the claims being generated by The Da Vinci Code -ie, that there are a number of other ‘lost gospels‘. Problem is, this ‘Gospel of Judas’ – like the other false ‘gospels’ of the Gnostics – are not really gospels at all.  “Gospel” means “good news”, and the four New Testament gospels all recount eyewitness testimonies and historical events about the good news of Jesus.  Contrast this to the so-called Gospel of Judas, which was written by an unknown author (yes, not Judas – he was long since dead) and contains a jumbled collections of sayings, supposedly by Jesus and Judas.

To learn more read the complete article.

Aug 22, 2005 – Nun Protests at Film Set of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

London (AFP) – a Roman Catholic nun showed her stuff and demonstrated in protest outside an EnglishCathedral where “The Da Vinci Code” is being made into a movie. Sister Mary Michael, 61, prayed for 12 hours outside Lincoln Cathedral in the east of England where scenes from the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie are being shot.

Said Sister Mary Michael:  “When I face Almighty God, at my final judgment, as we all will, I can say, I did try my best, I did try my best to protest”.  Sister Mary also told the press what we, and may others have been saying all along – that The Da Vinci Code has many distortions and outright lies, such as the idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children by her.  Sister Mary agreed with us when she told the press that the notion of Jesus marrying was based on “an old error, derived from the mystery faiths of the east.”

She had this to say about “the true bloodline” of Jesus, and the movie in general:

“The Church should not be accepting money for something that is not a true story,” she said. “There is something wrong. They really should be praying more, and then the money would come in. I do not believe the film will be successful. The essence of what I believe is that I received the true body and blood of our Lord at Mass this morning. That is the true bloodline.

“To a believer, any believer, what is happening is blasphemousIt is an offence against God. I am not going to bash anyone over the head with a Bible, I am just trying to make reparation to God.”

The producers of The Da Vinci Code were apparently able to gain access to the Lincoln Cathedral after paying the dean of the cathedral a donation of 100,000 pounds (147,000 euros, or about $181,000 U.S. Dollars).

Read the full story and watch the video – see why Sister Mary and other feel strongly about protesting this slam on Jesus and Christianity – BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lincolnshire/4155422.stm

 

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