Questions that Challenge Conventional Christian Doctrine

jokerIf individual souls are saved by making a confession of faith in Jesus Christ at what point in time did that transpire?

Some reformers teach that people who were born on “old testament” times are saved by the same faith in Christ as those born in “new testament” times. If that is true, and clearly those born between the time of Adam and Christ had varying degrees of understanding of the Messiah and His purpose. Most, if not all believing that He was to be the King in the line of David who would rule and reign in righteousness and peace according to Zechariah 14 and all nations would stream to Jerusalem to worship Him. Question, WHO exactly were they (OT believers) placing their trust in for salvation?

The reason the time is important is that most Christian Churches teach that salvation is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you invite Jesus into your heart then you will be saved. My question is…

At what point in time did God flip the switch and require people to “invite Jesus into their hearts” to be saved?

Does anyone else see a slight problem with that? Think world wide. Think Israelites scattered to the 4 corners of the earth by the time of Christ. Think how many people in the time of Christ and say the next 30 years after his ascension had even the opportunity to “know” Jesus…most I submit had never even heard of this God man who was crucified.

So here’s the scenario: Let’s assume there were some righteous, god fearing Israelites (aka Jews) living in the nether parts during the 1st century AD. They are cruising along, acting justly, living humbly, loving mercy etc. They worship the one true and living God YHWH. They are caring for the poor, using accurate weights and measures, giving their tithes and offerings, etc. In other words loving YHWH with all their heart soul mind and strength and also depending on YHWH for their righteousness and salvation.

They think they are accepted by God because this is what the Word of God has taught them all along. But unbeknownst to them a messiah, the heir to David’s throne, has come, died, was resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. He was crucified and many people who knew him say He is YHWH in the flesh (the Son of God that Daniel prophesied about and Isaiah spoke about). And, by the way, now that he has come you have to believe and understand that this young man (who was crucified, raised from the dead and ascended in to heaven) born of Mary, is fully God and fully man.

You thought you were good with God, and you die and discover that low and behold you had no idea about this Jesus and you are now relegated to an eternity in hell. What kind of a cosmic pulling out the rug from under you, joke would that be?


Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald: everyone knows he was the lone gunman responsible for the assassination of the 35th president of the United States in Dallas Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. The day America lost President Kennedy is a tragedy forever engraved in this generations mind. Or was he? Sadly, the even greater tragedy and injury to the soul of America is the massive coverup perpetrated by the US government in undertaking the investigation of JFK’s murder.

The Warren Commission members (who swore to uphold the truth – the whole truth) appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson only a week after the assassination of JFK was appointed the task of investigating Kennedy’s assassination. Approximately 10 months later the commission presented its finds that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone as did Jack Ruby (Rubenstein) who within approximate 48 hours of Oswald’s arrest shot and killed the alleged assassin at point blank range in the Dallas Police Station, as police officers were in the process of transferring Oswald to a local prison.

Judyth Vary Baker reports in her book, Me & Lee about her love affair with Oswald the summer of 1963. She gives fascinating detail about his political views, his work for the US government, his character and personality and his knowledge about the plots to assassinate Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro and US President John F. Kennedy. If Vary Baker can be trusted, it means only one thing: the Warren Commission 800+ page report isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

The Link Between JFK’s Assassination, Monkey’s and the Cancer Epidemic

In the video series The Men Who Killed Kennedy there is made mention of the numerous material witnesses who died under mysterious circumstances in the subsequent early years that followed the Kennedy assassination investigation. One of those witnesses was a nationally recognized cancer researcher named Dr. Mary Sherman. According to one of Dr. Sherman’s assistants, Judith Vary (Lee Harvey Oswald’s lover and author of Me and Lee), Dr. Sherman was working on developing an aggressive cancer virus that could be used as a biological weapon – in this case it is alleged that the weapon being developed was for the purpose of assassinating Cuban Dictator Fidel Castor.

The sub-title of the book, Dr. Mary’s Monkey says it all: How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans, and cancer causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination and emerging global epidemics.

These books and video series demonstrate that politics are not what the collective consciousness of the nation presumes it to be, that the collective consciousness of Americans is deliberately shaped by a steady diet of propaganda to form expedient opinions of political and economic reality, and that elected officials are often just pawns on the board of a secret chess game powered by a stealth shadow government.

The Men Who Killed JFK

This 9 part series by Nigel Turner is “The Men Who Killed Kennedy.” Turner brings to light many eye witnesses including Lee Harvey Oswald’s lover who sheds an entirely new twist on the character of Oswald (the alleged lone gunman) and the work he was involved in for the US government. That fact in and of itself is a stunning revelation to most Americans. This is a 9 part series and each episode is about 50 minutes. It is well worth the time.

Here they are:

  • The Coup D’Etat – Episode 1 (Embedding was disabled on Episode 1 so follow the link)
  • The Forces of Darkness – Episode 2
  • The Cover-Up – Episode 3
  • The Patsy – Episode 4
  • The Witnesses – Episode 5
  • The Truth Will Set You Free – Episode 6
  • The Smoking Guns – Episode 7
  • The Love Affair – Episode 8
  • The Guilty Men – Episode 9

When Was Jesus Born?

Much speculation has been put out there about when Jesus was born. Most scholars (as well as the general public) agree that he was not born in December let alone on December 25th. But can we really know when Christ was born? Although the star of Bethlehem plays a front and center part in the so called “Christmas Story” it had never come to my attention that YHWH may have actually written a prophecy in the heavens proclaiming the birth of His Son until I saw these videos below. Here are a couple videos which demonstrate the possibility and perhaps the probability that YHWH did just that. Interestingly they come to 2 different conclusions.

Michael Heiser once again sheds some light on the matter (no pun intended).

This one by Rick Larson one has a bit of a commercial, rather than  academic feel, but still is worth the time to watch.

One of the conundrums for both theories presented by Heiser and Lawson in these videos is that the conventional dating of King Herod the Great’s death is 4BC.  That’s one of the reason that Reasons to Believe (Astrophysicist, Hugh Ross’s organization) casts skepticism on Larson’s theory. But not so fast Hugh…

Not everyone is in agreement about the date of Herod the Greats death. The Catholic Register explains some of the problems with the 4BC date and comes up with a theory of their own in this article.

Do your own research into the matter, don’t depend on one source – be a Berean.

The Lord’s Supper aka Communion

There are many rules, traditions and doctrines surrounding “The Lord’s Supper” – but the question is are they scriptural? Dr. Michael Heiser explores and challenges some commonly held beliefs concerning this church ritual in his Naked Bible Podcast series – The Lord’s Supper

Not all of my questions about the Lord’s supper are addressed by Heiser, questions like:

  • Was the last supper which Jesus held with His disciples “The” Passover dinner commanded by YHWH in Exodus?
  • Was the last supper Jesus had with His disciples actually a traditional dinner (Seudah Maphseket) which was unique to Galalians as Tom Bradford of the Torah Class states in His article The Passover Problem Solved
  • In other words, is “the” Passover meal replaced by this “Lord’s Supper” or did Yeshua/Jesus simply mean to mind us that the bread and wine served at fellowship dinners should be a reminder of His death and thus we should “give thanks” for all He did and remember Him when we gather together.

Heiser does address some great questions in this podcast:

  • What is the warning Paul gives really about?
  • Should unregenerate children be fenced from the table?
  • What does eating meat sacrificed to idols have to do with the Lord’s supper?
  • Is there a special means of grace attached to the Lord’s Supper?
  • Are the bread and the wine Yeshua’s real body and blood?

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.