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The Beacon 192 April 2014

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Did the Sun Stand Still?

"Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hastened to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded a voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel." (Joshua 10:12-14).

Do you believe the sun stood still? If you are asked by a fellow Christian, you will answer "Yes, of course it did." But, what if you were asked by an atheistic scientist, or a science teacher responsible for making up your grades? Would you answer "Yes", then?

As Don Stewart comments, the Bible often uses the language of appearance. That is, the sun appears to rise in the morning and set at night. One Old Testament expert agrees with this, saying that Joshua used this kind of observational statement. (Marten Woodstra, The Book of Joshua, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans: 1981, p. 175).

The ancient writings of other cultures agree that Joshua's phenomenon actually occurred, and science tends to accept that it happened.

I recently read an article by the Creation group that asked 'Does the Bible Trump all evidence?' Ask me, and my answer is a definite 'Yes', but, I question the question as it is worded!

Firstly, one has to understand the difference between 'proof' and 'evidence' (see our articles on this). Once that is sorted out, we can rewrite the question, something like this: 'Does scripture always trump human claims?' The answer is ALWAYS 'yes'. It HAS to be this way, because the bible is true, 100%. It CANNOT be wrong. And, as I have said repeatedly, true scientific evidences point towards scripture as being right, where it touches on science.

So, if we use the rather crude question, 'Does the Bible trump all evidence?' we must answer, 'Yes'. If the Bible only once was shown to be wrong in its pronouncements, then there would be no reason to trust it.

So, did the earth actually stand still? Yes, it did. How do I know? Because scripture says so. What about science? I don't really care if science attempts to debunk the statement... what God says is always true.

However, in this matter, science is more believing than many Christians, who are afraid to appear 'stupid' or 'naïve' before men they consider to be paragons of intelligence!

For a more detailed examination of this topic, please see our Article, A-528, 'The Sun Stood Still' (also listed under SC-07), and A-529, 'Does the Bible Trump Science?' (also listed as SCC-08).

Do you REALLY believe the sun stood still? After all, the Hebrew terms used mean exactly that. To deny the truth of the statement is to deny the truth of scripture. Which is it to be – acceptance by earthly unbelievers, or approval from Almighty God? We can similarly test our faith by accepting, or not accepting, every statement of scripture, no matter what it says. God alone speaks absolute truth. Do you truly believe it?

Did You See the Field Mouse?

We went for a walk on a fairly sunny day recently. We got a bus to the top of the hill leading to a coastal place called Langland and turned left. We love to walk this road, because of its line of large homes, belonging to folks who are quite wealthy. No fighting for parking spaces! No rowdy neighbours! No rampaging kids! No rubbish thrown casually onto the pavement and road! Lots of greenery and trees, and always birds singing. Apart from that, it is quiet. And people living there are sociable, pleasant and courteous. (Sigh).

As we reach the end of the road we come to a gated area on the left, with huge mansion-style houses, costing over a million. Even so the folks there, too, are pleasant. Last time, we began to pass a couple with a large mountain dog, a black version of one once owned by my sister, Dianne. I chatted to the couple, the dog ambled up to me to sniff, and the man said 'Thank you' (?) before going into the gated area.

On we went, noting the lovely blue sky and sea to our right. I commented to Diane that I used to walk down the side of the field with its wild flowers to a hidden sandy cove, and Diane commented on the flowers in the field. (She is still able to observe and comment on these lovely bits of nature). Our favourite pastimes used to be to simply walk, anywhere, town or country. We would look at gardens lovingly made by owners, and loved to naughtily look into rooms made light by the sun or light bulbs! Our jaunts are now rare, but we still do the same things. Promenading is not for us – strolling along very public paths occupied by seemingly thousands of others, all jostling for space.

On we went, walking around the perimeter walls of the mansion area and coming to a street with less wealthy homes, but still nice, quiet and parkable! We continue to the bend in the road and look left, where the hill is steep, and the houses very small, old fishermen's cottages painted different colours. Walking up is far better than walking down... it doesn't hurt my toes so much!

Round the bend, passing two private fields containing a variety of self-built wooden cottages and caravans, and past a large house I had always wanted to buy (without money, of course), because it had outbuildings – my wish if I could buy something like that – I could use as an artist' studio, and another for a sculpting studio... and all amidst the sound of song birds, and the beauty of trees.

We go on, and to our right is the huge home built by film stars Catherine Zeta Jones and husband, Michael Douglas. We commented on the fact that neither visit Swansea much, so what's the point. We know that Catherine's parents live there – but are they equals, or just unpaid caretakers?

Around the bend are those boxy houses big enough for dwarfs, but no doubt attracting big prices because of their location.

Onwards down the gently-sloped road, passing holiday flats and cottages until we reach the end of the road. The holiday lets are being renovated at last. Walking down this road we again see the waves. An old ice-cream/café is at the bottom. We note that a bit of land covered in briers has been bought at last by a builder. Above is a protected hill, a nature reserve.

Turning left, we see the coast guard station above us to the right, and a rocky cove below – Limeslade Bay, reached by rickety stone steps, and people enjoying a makeshift picnic on the rocks.

A few steps more and we see a very popular restaurant/café to our right, overlooking another bay. To our right we see the Mumbles lighthouse on its own rocky island, and some of South Wales in the far distance across the bay. We both note the changing foliage and buds.

We then come to a small car park. At the entrance is the well-known 'apple', now repainted and repaired. It is a smallish ice-cream and seaside kiosk that has been there since at least WW2 time. Through the car park we reach the top of steps leading down to the pier. Before us, a vista worth seeing of the whole of Swansea Bay and much of the city. The pier extends below us, and the new lifeboat station is now completed.

Diane now finds steps like this scary, but she held the handrail and bravely reached the bottom. So we cross the narrow road and enter the café near the pier. We sit by the window overlooking the sea and have a small bowl of chips between us and a coffee.

The café is cute, and has an automatic piano playing all kinds of music we like. There is a 'posher' café further on, called Verdi's, but it doesn't have the same kind of friendly atmosphere. By the time we sit down my legs and feet are extremely painful, and I know I will suffer the consequences of stopping. Even so, I like to treat Diane, so we keep walking!

On we go along the private road from the pier to the main road leading to Mumbles. To the right are two large rocks, brought down onto the pebbled beach when workmen blasted their way through the hill many years ago to make way for a roadway to Limeslade. To the right, are yacht-parking spaces and car parking. As we strolled (painfully) towards the end of the private road, though I was looking forward my eyes caught a very slight movement in the low bushes, and I stopped.

I looked into the grass and bushes and waited. Wow! There were two little brown field mice. One was snuffling around and the other just sat on its haunches nibbling at something very small but green. We were fascinated, because only a very low wall and a few inches separated us from the mice. Yet, they continued their daily search for food and just sat there for us. It seems that animals and birds seem to know they are safe.

We stayed looking for about fifteen minutes until they moved on. But, no-one else stopped to see what we were so intent on watching! Diane and I have often noted how people on holiday, or just out for the day, look so miserable! Or, they walk fast with a 'life-or-death' appearance on their faces.

Ever noticed that? They must go from A to B, fast! The bits in-between are just an hindrance! They never observe, listen to the birds, or notice the changing scenery and plant life. Nope! Just keep on going regardless, looking stoical/miserable! "We will enjoy ourselves, or else!" Why go out at all? Only we saw the field-mice. Maybe it's my artist' eye, or the fact that I was trained to observe as a nurse. Whatever!

On we went past Verdi's, the sea on our right. Past the older buildings on Mumbles Road and the park to the right with its glorious tulips, all in bloom, and hearing the 'tinkle-tinkle' of the yacht ropes and bits in the breeze. Past the laughing children on half-term and into the next village area called Oystermouth, with its older feel and castle, bustling and busy. There we caught a bus back into town, and then another back home.

On the way, we observed and listened, watched, laughed, and chatted, enjoying everything. How different for those sad people who passed us, so earnestly intent on getting there, they couldn't enjoy, or stop, listen, or observe! The best things in life are free, they say! (Except for the real chips and coffee). We often think back, to the times (until 2010 in fact), when we could not afford to stop for coffee. How grateful we are. Perhaps it was our many decades of poverty that enables us to enjoy the simplest things God has given us.

It seems to me that many Christians are so busy being 'Christian' they fail to stop and watch, observe and study, what is obvious and in front of them. They attend their meetings, chat enthusiastically (or dutifully) to their fellow believers, and earnestly live as they think others expect them to live.

Along the way they fail to notice people in need, or those who would love a chat; they 'do things' during the week... but how many read scripture? How many bother to unravel matters of vital doctrinal importance? Very few. For this reason I tend to chat on their level and don't enter into biblical or theological discussion. If they wish to be superficial, I grit my teeth and listen until I can make a hasty retreat. No point in wasting words and effort when there is no interest. No, I'm not being superior! It is just a plain fact.

As a person I rarely talk unless there is a reason for it, and I have no real time for those useless topics of chatter many folks like to indulge in. Indeed, I feel irritated when I am caught in such useless conversation (when the other person usually does all the talking anyway). Sorry, but that's the truth.

Who wants to discuss the wickedness around us, or the stupidity of evolution? Or, the importance of this or that doctrinal issue? How many understand WHY these things are vital to their lives? Unless they stop and observe, learn and investigate, they are just like the sightseers who see everything and yet see nothing!

Christians should not be promenading, but should go off the beaten-tracks of society, forged by years of disinterest. They can't see what is happening in their own lives, and perhaps do not see their own mortality, spurring them on to enjoy everything God has shown them (even if they fail to see). How many see the field-mice?

When Did Jesus Arise?

Different groups claim Jesus died on Thursday. Some give intricate reasons. Others say the change of calendar gave us erroneous conclusions. But, none bother to check the actual scriptural text... and none understand the significance of the simple words: "... the first day of the week"! This one phrase alone determines when Jesus was killed and when He arose!

Almost all the other claims are rooted not in scripture and legitimate interpretation, but on cultist reasoning. Be careful and don't let cults fashion your beliefs! Read our article, A-482! Note how people who try to muddy the waters always resort to complex reasoning that can barely be held together by any ordinary thinker.

A Charismatic Book - Caution

I don't usually bother to read books by charismatics, because they are a waste of my time and effort. But, I heard about a book currently taking the charismatic world by storm, with rave reviews from Benny Hinn and others who are prominent in the paganism of charismatic thought and teaching.

It is written by the co-founder of GodTV, Wendy Alec (See A-80: 'The Christian Channel'). The book is called 'Visions from Heaven' (Warboys Publishing). She claims to have been healed by God of a ravaging illness... but for me the case remains open. Why? Because she appears to have had a virus, and it was dealt with by a Christian nurse who knew of it. Was that a miracle? I don't think so. One way to check is to ask if there was any possible way for a condition to be healed humanly. If it could be, then it will rarely be a miracle.

Anyway, the book claims to be a vision she had in Heaven. Remarkably, many of the things she said can be found in scripture! They are consistent with God's word – unusual in charismatic circles. Here comes the 'BUT'...

I asked myself while reading the book, time and again – "How much of this is a projection of her own mind and fantasy?" She writes novels and scripts, and, frankly, the book seems to be set out ready for transcription into a TV or film script.

I take serious issue with her many uses of the word 'Daddy' to speak to God the Father (a common charismatic nonsense), and I dislike her repeated reference to Jesus calling the Holy Spirit "My" Holy Spirit. It implies that the Spirit is subordinate to Christ instead of one of the Trinity, an equal, and also implies that He sends the Spirit separate from a command by the Father. Maybe I have not correctly interpreted what she was saying on that point, but it irked me each time. And the overall way she spoke about talking to the Father seems to have lost the biblical teaching that no-one can come face to face with the Father, because they would die. Even John did not look at the Father directly.

The book is crammed with references to crying and sobbing, etc. But, when in Heaven, there will be no more tears! Towards the end of the book there are other bones of contention, too, but those pages do contain a coming wave of charismatic delusion, in particular that God will move mightily in the end days (which are now beginning) and many would come to Him as a result. This is the exact opposite of what scripture says.

A warning should be given, too, for Alec places the whole 'vision' within the Word of Faith movement and what it teaches. This alone should serve as a great caution, especially as Alec alludes to actual biblical truths correctly. I believe books like hers will serve to further deceive charismatics, and those who think that charismaticism – a field of tares – is genuinely Christian. And anything with a Foreword by Benny Hinn is to be avoided! Now, at least, no charismatic can accuse me of not knowing what I am talking about... I've read the favoured book and found it wanting!

Do I believe in Miracles? Yes, I do. Do I believe they can be found today? Yes, I do. Do I believe in the miracles claimed by charismatics? No, I do not. This is because charismatic teachings are Arminian, and Arminianism is fully false, godless, preaching a false Gospel of human will. They are also rooted in the foulest of foundations, as the Toronto Blessing clearly proved, and still does.

Vote UKIP?

Should Christians vote UKIP? I know what I think, but if others do not judge the situation properly, I will not attempt to persuade them! I can only warn that UKIP WILL become 'middle of the road' if it gains power. As ALL parties prove, they are more than ready to appease homosexuals, even though their numbers are very small. What this shows us is that Satan, not MPs, garner votes for their power-bases. They all obey the EU, itself a satanic organisation, if not a cult. And the EU demands pro-homosexuality and pro-PC in all things. UKIP makes a big living out of the EU and while Farage is bold speaking against the EU that pays him (from our taxes), it does not prove in any way that he is different in his heart from all other politicians. Choose as you wish, but as for me, I choose God!