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February 2012

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Miracles or ‘Mother Nature’?

image from creationrevolution.com
Were the ten plagues of Egypt, as recorded in Exodus chapters 7–11, all overt miraculous acts of God? Yes, according to Moses. No, according to the natural-cause-and-effect theory of Greta Hort, first published in 1957–58,1 and today widely cited in Bible reference books and encyclopedias.2 However, Hort’s ideas have never been subjected to independent scientific scrutiny, until that of Brad Sparks in 2003.3

Hort’s ‘chain reaction’

According to Hort, the first plague, of blood, was supposedly4 a massive amount of red algae, plus a huge quantity of red earth washed into the Nile by excessive rains on the Abyssinian plateau. These algae allegedly de-oxygenated the water, thus killing the fish, which somehow gave rise to anthrax bacteria. The frogs then sickened, left the river (the second plague) and died. Hort’s third plague was mosquitoes, which had bred in the floodwaters, and her fourth was the biting fly Stomoxys calcitrans, breeding in the decaying plants left by the retreating Nile flood. The livestock disease of her fifth plague was anthrax spread by the dead frogs. The sixth plague, of boils on animals and people, was supposedly skin anthrax transmitted by the biting flies.

According to Hort, the seventh plague, of hail and thunder, was a coincidental local weather feature, which also promoted the locusts of the eighth plague.5 The ninth plague, of darkness, was allegedly caused by a desert sandstorm known as a khamsin, which blotted out the sun by throwing into the air the blanket of fine red dust from the first plague, left on the ground when the widespread Nile floodwaters receded. And Hort’s tenth plague was not the death of the firstborn, but the destruction of the last remains of the ‘first-fruits’ of the harvest, ‘due to a corruption of the Bible text’ (Hort 1958:52–54).3

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Queen of Sheba's gold found by archaeologists?

Mine discovered in Ethiopia may have been main source of Bible royal's treasures

(GLOBAL POST) — An ancient mine believed to be the source of gold that belonged to the queen of Sheba has been uncovered by British archaeologist Louise Schofield.

Schofield, an archaelogist and former British Museum curator, led the excavaction on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, reported The Guardian.


The Hypocrisy of the Right

Commentary By Bob Barney:

The hypocrisy of the so-called conservative right over this latest Obamacare fiasco just cannot continue with some sort of realistic commentary. Before I go into the Plain Truth about this particular issue that has the entire country in a fuss, I want to say that Obamacare and any such mandate is unconstitutional, and I agree with those fighting against the implementation of this fascist farce and sincerely hope that the Supreme Court will do their job and strike the entire deal out. That being said that down right ignorance of the right, or worse yet, the possible misrepresentation of this contraception issue in the light of their support of the Patriot Act 10 years ago just cannot stand with someone ranting to heaven over the lying and misrepresentation taking place.

 

 

Issue one. If a church had a belief that surgery of any kind was against God's will and refused to allow any of their employees working in their schools from having an insurance which covered surgery, would any of these right-winged pundits be arguing against the government mandating against that belief? Am I not right? Sean Hannity would not be defending those “kooks” who would not allow modern medicine to their non-believing members, would he? Be honest with yourselves. If contraception is a religious matter, so too is the religious view that no surgery can be performed. Our laws can only be concerned what is legal, constitutionally and not what is right or wrong religiously. I believe abortion is murder. This is NOT a religious view any more than my belief that killing your ten year old child should be outlawed because it morally wrong. Murder is not a religious matter, it is a state secular issue! So to is contraception and abortion.

 

We as a society must hold life sacred and rule when life begins. If it is a medical fact that life begins at conception, and the majority are in agreement, then abortion should be illegal on the grounds of murder and not what some Pope, or holy Joe thinks about it. If contraception is not killing a life in a secular view, then our Constitution requires that the government stay out of the issue. In this country religion plays no part of the regulation of the law. Yes, Christ is coming back here someday as king, and He will rule as a king (He won't be “elected”) but our nation does not allow any religion to have preeminence over any other. In fact, I do not even believe tax exemptions for any religion is legal! All churches should pay the taxes of anyone else. Not to get off the point, because it really doesn't matter much because there should be no income taxes or property taxes of any kind (that is for a different day).

 

Here is my beef. The Patriot Act, started by President Bush and supported by almost every Republican at the time is more of an outrage against your and my freedom than anything Obamacare can do to you! When they allowed the illegal Act (which in no way is patriotic) to become the law of the land, you lost rights you don't even realize you had. Are you aware that the FBI can right out by hand their own search warrant without a judge? And after they give you that search warrant, you cannot tell anybody about it, not even your lawyer! Did you know that? Are you aware that you can be held for the rest of your life without ever being charged? That the FBI can hold you for 99 or more and never let you talk to a lawyer! Are you aware that this act allows you to be killed without due process of law? And you conservatives are worried about who is going to pay for a birth control pill that is going to be taken anyway? Get real, and get your priorities straight. This entire episode being played out is just another, in a long line of attempts to take away your freedom!

 

It is about time that Americans start to use the brains that God gave them and start asking questions of everyone. I know few trust me, yet I have have given you more truth today than almost anyone you are listening too. Start asking questions. Have you proven global warming? How about lead paint causing birth defects? Evolution, the idea that oil is a fossil fuel, or that God of the Bible is just a fairytale?


Earliest Gospel of Mark found?

author-image by Joe KovacsEmail | Archive Joe Kovacs, executive news editor for WND, is an award-winning journalist and author of the No. 1 best-selling book "Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told."

 


image from www.wnd.com
A New Testament professor is setting the world of Bible scholarship on fire with his claim that newly discovered fragments of early Christian writings could include a first-century version of the Gospel of Mark, from the same century in which Jesus and the apostles lived.

Daniel B. Wallace of the Dallas Theological Seminary made the stunning announcement during a Feb. 1 debate with Bart Ehrman at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today.

“If this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the original followers of Jesus!” Wallace said. “Not only this, but this manuscript would have been written before the New Testament was completed.”

Yes, the Bible is true, but why are so many simple facts from it suppressed? Find out what you’ve been missing in the No. 1 bestseller, “Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You’ve Never Been Told,” just $4.95 today only!

Wallace says seven New Testament fragments written on papyrus had recently been discovered – six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. He expects further details to be published “in about a year.”

“These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 40 percent of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

“It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.”

Wallace’s interest is focused on the portion from Mark’s Gospel.

“Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century. This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.”

Craig A. Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, says the find may indeed be of very great importance.

“If authenticity and early date are confirmed, this fragment of the Gospel of Mark could be very significant and show how well preserved the text of the New Testament really is. We all await its publication,” Evans told the Christian Post.

Others agree.

“Any find that gets us a quarter-century or so closer to the time the original gospels were written would be highly significant, even sensational,” Andreas Kostenberger, senior professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological in Wake Forest, N.C., told Baptist Press.

“Of course, in part the significance of the discovery depends on the size of the fragment, not to mention the verification of the date. There have been previous reports of discoveries of early Mark or other gospel manuscripts that did not check out at closer scrutiny, so it is certainly appropriate to maintain scholarly caution until the full data are known and available to public scrutiny. For example, some scholars got burned when they prematurely accepted so-called ‘Secret Mark,’ which turned out to be a forgery.”

When asked about the trustworthiness of what Mark really wrote if we don’t possess an actual original copy of his manuscript, Kostenberger said, “The fact is that the earliest manuscripts of all or parts of Mark that we do have show remarkable consistency and stability. And none of the minor variations between different manuscripts affect any major doctrine of Christianity at all.

“Of course, there is no way to prove positively one way or another what might have happened during the period between the original writing of Mark and the first available copies. Knowing what we do know about the care with which ancient Jews as well as early Christians took to preserve the original wording of what they believed to be authoritative and sacred writings – in fact, the very words of God – inspires a high degree of confidence. First the apostles, and then those after them carefully guarded the reliability of the eyewitness testimony to Jesus contained in the four canonical gospels.”

If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WND poll.

 

WND.COM


Ancient biblical gardens 'bloom' again

Reconstruction of 2,500-year-old site reveals paradise of exotic plants

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An ancient royal garden has come back into bloom in a way, as scientists have reconstructed what it would’ve looked like some 2,500 years ago in the kingdom of the biblical Judah.

Their reconstruction, which relied on analyses of excavated pollen, reveals a paradise of exotic plants.


Isaac Newton's writings on God uploaded

English: Isaac Newton Dansk: Sir Isaac Newton ...English: Isaac Newton Dansk: Sir Isaac Newton Français : Newton (1642-1727)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(CENTREDAILY) — JERUSALEM — He’s considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew and Jewish mysticism.

Now Israel’s national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton’s writings, has digitized his theological collection – some 7,500 pages in Newton’s own handwriting – and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton’s famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.

Newton revolutionized physics, mathematics and astronomy in the 17th and 18th century, laying the foundations for most of classical mechanics – with the principal of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion bearing his name.

However, the curator of Israel’s national library’s humanities collection said Newton was also a devout Christian who dealt far more in theology than he did in physics and believed that scripture provided a “code” to the natural world.

also from our archives- read: Isaac Newton meets Jerusalem Temple!
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