Monthly Archives: October 2013

How to Study the Bible

Michael Heiser’s Naked Bible Blog provides the serious bible student with excellent material on how to really dig in to the scriptures. Reading someone else’s paraphrase or interpretation of scripture is not where its at for me anymore. Of course digging in for ones self takes handwork and discipline…but its the best way to get the word and it’s proper understanding into your heart.

Dr. Michael Heiser, a scholar in the areas of ancient languages, generously shares his resources on his website and podcast…Some of the topics he covers are:

Jesus and the Virgin Birth

In chapter 1 of the Gospel of Matthew, Isaiah 7 is quoted:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23

Here is the Isaiah 7 prophecy given to King Ahaz of Judah by Isaiah by YHWH’s command:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f]15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

This is the primary scripture/prophecy used to create the doctrine of the virgin birth. After actually reading and studying the prophecy in Isaiah 7 IMO there are some troubling aspects of using the Isaiah 7 prophecy in relation to Jesus:

  • The prophecy was about an event that was fulfilled several hundred years earlier
  • The prophecy was focused not on “the virgin” but on the events that would occur before the child was old enough to know right fro wrong.
  • In other words the “sign” God gave Israel to prove “Immanuel” God is with us, was the destruction of Ahaz’s enemies (King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel who had marched up to fight against Jerusalem (King Ahaz) but they did not overpower it. See Isaiah 7)
  • The sign that “God is with us” was not that “a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son named Immanuel”

Of course this also begs the question how are prophecies to be understood in the first place? Do they repeat them selves? Do they have double meanings that are unfolded later in history?

Here are a couple views on the virgin birth of Jesus as it relates to the Isaiah 7 prophecy.

Tovia Singer a Jewish Scholar (who for obvious reasons is not too popular with evangelical Christians) who has a ministry, particularly Messianic Jews, to bring them out of Christianity and back to Judaism.


Dr. Michale Heiser, a Biblical Scholar in Ancient near east studies and biblical Hebrew also addresses the prophecy of Isaiah 7 as it pertains to the virgin birth of Jesus.

Majestic 12 Papers (aka MJ-12)

The Majestic 12 is an alleged secret committee formed by President Harry Truman in 1947 to investigate the Roswell UFO Incident. The papers remain somewhat of a mystery with lots of speculation surrounding their authenticity. Dr. Michael Heiser is a scholar in the field of Biblical studies and ancient near east and is also an expert in Biblical Hebrew and Semitic languages. What makes him even more interesting is his interest in ufology. Heiser undertook, with his own money, linguistic research to verify and validate the authorship of the MJ-12 papers. He has published a summary his findings here . Actually the findings are of computational linguistic specialist Carol Chaski whom Heiser employed to do the research using her state-of-the-art computational linguistic methods of authorship attribution.

Here is a video of Heiser discussing the findings at the Ancient of Days Conference:

The Sabbath or Sunday

Why do we (mainline protestant Christians) gather together on  Sunday for worship? We who say that we live by Sola Scriptura, how do we understand the Sabbath commandment? There are as many different views on the Sabbath as their are flavors of jelly beans in a jar and yet most followers of Christ cannot reason from the scriptures as to why, if they observe the Sabbath at all, why they think they should do so on Sunday, the first day of the week. Does it matter you ask? Isn’t it a bit legalistic to worry about? My only concern is what does YHWH have to say about it? Would you agree, that’s all that counts?

The following are a list of resources, that address both sides of the argument – Some who argue for a continuation of the 7th day Sabbath and others who argue for “The Lord’s day”, and so on. Just ask yourself as you follow each person’s reasoning, “What does God say?”

An Examination of the Sabbath – this paper examines every scripture in the Bible that has anything to do with the Sabbath and the Lord’s day as well as many resources from men like Jonathan Edwards, Samuele Bacchiocchi and others.

The Sabbath Under Cross Fire – In this video, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, who spent several years pursuing his doctorate degree at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, searches out the answer to the Sabbath or Sunday. He examines the scriptures, the church history as well as Roman Catholic History on the matter. Here is a PDF document of a paper he wrote with much of the same information: From Sabbath to Sunday

Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath by Jonathan Edwards – In depth examination of the topic. Bear in mind as you read Edwards or anyone else for that matter, that frequently authors use the term Sabbath but are actually referring to a Sunday/first day of the week observance.