Archive for January, 2018

David’s Census

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

In 2 Samuel 24:1 the bible says that God made David want to count the people but in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it says it was Satan so why the huge confusion and why were the people killed and nothing happened to David even though it was his sin?

This is a difficult question because it appears to be one of those rare places where the copies and translations may not been accurately preserved throughout the centuries. However, I believe that we can figure out what the original manuscripts said. As you noted, 1 Chronicles 21:1 reveals that it was actually Satan (not God) who rose up against Israel and incited David to take the census. God apparently allowed Satan to tempt David into this sin for the purpose of punishing the people. So, David committed a personal sin when he conducted the census. This was wrong because it was done in pride and self-glory, so that David could be proud about being the leader of so many people. However, God’s overall purpose here was to punish the people, which He did by taking many lives. However, David was only the tool that He used for this overall purpose.

Trump’s First Year

Sunday, January 28th, 2018



  • – Court Appointments
    • – Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
    • – 23 Trump nominees have been confirmed for federal appeals and district courts
  • – The Tax Plan
    • – The removal of the ObamaCare Individual Mandate
  • – The defeat of ISIS in Iraq
  • – Cut federal regulations
  • – Speaking directly to the American people
    • – Tweets
    • – Exposing fake news
  • – Immigration
    • – Travel bans
  • – Prolife


  • – Couldn’t completely repeal ObamaCare
  • – The Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller
  • – Hiring (and then having to fire) Mike Flynn
  • – His use of vulgarity and profanity
  • – Jeff Sessions – aggressive stand on marijuana


  • – The opponents of his strong immigration stance call him a racist.
  • – Russia
  • – Firing Comey

Why We Can’t Trust the Government

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

I grew up in the 1960s, watching news reports about the Vietnam War. I was encouraged every night because of the body counts. One day there would be a battle where we (the U. S.) lost 2 marines, and our allies (South Vietnam (SVA)) lost 10 soldiers, but the enemy (North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC)) lost 40 soldiers. The next day, in another battle, we lost only 15 soldiers and the SVA lost 75 men, but the NVA / VC lost 300 men. Although I had family members fighting there, I quickly became numbed to losing 15 soldiers, especially when the enemy lost 300. I got caught up in their game of numbers. I heard these news reports daily about how we were winning the war, day after day, year after year. We didn’t realize, even while this was happening, that we would lose an average of 15 soldiers every single day for ten years.

We praised President Nixon for withdrawing our 500,000 troops, and within two years, South Vietnam fell to the communists. Well, we didn’t win that war. We lost it. Nixon made us feel like we had won by getting (a good number of) our POWs back. Our government and military officials knew for 20 years that we wouldn’t win, but their lying and poor judgment kept us encouraged; that is, until we had lost 58,000 men–then we realized that something fishy was going on.

In 1954, President Eisenhower said, of Vietnam, that “No military victory is possible in this theater.” At the same time, he explained his falling domino principle. At a time when we were all scared to death of communists, he said that if one nation fell to communism, then the next one would fall, and the next one, until the last one fell. In 1957, he said that if South Vietnam fell, “… our prestige in Asia would sink to a new low.”

Then President Kennedy said that if South Vietnam fell, then Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even India would fall to the communists. He used this argument to scale up the war by increasing the number of advisors in Vietnam to 16,000, while being careful to refer to them as “advisors” instead of “combat troops,” even though they were going into combat with the SVA. In 1962, to defend the administration’s decisions for sending so many troops, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that we were making “substantial progress” in Vietnam. Also that year, General Harkins ignored any negative reports from the combat zones, and he said that we would be victorious in six months.

Still, in 1963, President Kennedy contradicted his own actions by referring to the Vietnam War as “their war,” meaning that it was up to the South Vietnamese to fight it, and we couldn’t be expected to fight it for them. Also that year, he said that he should not have given his consent to support the coup which resulted in the death of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

In 1964, President Johnson said privately that the war wasn’t worth fighting for. Knowing that he would not win the presidential election if he escalated the war, he said, “We still seek no wider war.” Still, he quietly increased the number of “advisors” to 23,000, and he widened the war with the systematic bombing of North Vietnam in secret, keeping the American people unaware of it. Then, after the election, he announced “a graduated response” against the enemy.

In 1965, in an effort to avoid humiliation, President Johnson sent 100,000 combat troops to Vietnam. He would send more and more combat troops into a war that he was secretly told couldn’t be won. Eventually, we would lose 58,000 men in our losing effort. Like today’s leaders, he blamed bad intelligence. In public, he unsuccessfully tried to shift Americans’ attention from the war in Vietnam to his war on poverty, but he eventually lost both.

While the people in charge knew we were losing the war, General Westmoreland publicly declared that we were “on the five yard line,” about to win the war. He said that he was sure we would win the war in three years, if he could get just 200,000 more troops. He pointed to the 10-to-1 kill ratio where for every American who died, we killed ten of the enemy. As I stated above, this worked to fool me, and millions of other Americans. McNamara privately knew by this time that we wouldn’t be able to win the war that he had escalated. Yet, publicly he said that our “military progress exceeded expectations,” and, “We will prevail.”

LBJ thought that all anti-war sentiment was directly inspired by internal communists and the U.S.S.R. CBS aired Morley Safer’s report showing how bad things were on the battlefields. LBJ’s response was to place a disparaging phone call to the president of CBS. LBJ said that Safer was probably a communist.

By 1967, LBJ had more than a half-million troops in Vietnam, and still the public was caught up in the numbers game, where we always killed more of the enemy than we lost. In public, he said that we were making “dramatic progress,” but privately he knew he couldn’t win the war, and that every soldier we lost was in vain. He told the American people, “The grip of the Viet Cong on the people is being broken.” He claimed that we were reaching the crossover point, where the enemy could no longer replace their dead soldiers as fast as we killed them. Meanwhile, no victory seemed to matter, and lower officers were saying, “Victory is not close at hand. In fact, it may be beyond reach. LBJ complained that the war in Vietnam was taking him away from social programs at home, such as the war on poverty.

In 1968, LBJ publicly said that the “enemy has been defeated in battle after battle.” Yet he knew that all of those battle victories would not result in a war victory. He said privately that the bombing of North Vietnam wasn’t working. That year, Westmoreland said that he had “never been more optimistic” and that we were making “real progress.”

Then we began hearing reports about our own officers condoning U. S. soldiers who were raping, mutilating, and murdering women and children. We learned more about the misconduct of our soldiers and officers during the Me Lai Massacre, and that they had lied about it.

LBJ’s claim of victory in the Tet Offensive showed how we had been lied to. Americans began to ask: If we won the Tet Offensive, then why did we need 200,000 more troops in Vietnam? LBJ had so mismanaged the presidency: by sucking Americans into his war effort that he knew we couldn’t win; by sending 2.5 million boys to war; and, by watching and allowing 58,000 of them to be killed. As a result, he withdrew from seeking re-election in 1968 because he had no chance to win.

McNamara became so disillusioned with the war, and so sure that we couldn’t win it, that he quit his Secretary of Defense job and headed the world bank–all put into a positive light by LBJ and other politicians. LBJ’s new Secretary of State, Clark Clifford, also said privately that we could not win the war.

Then, three days before the presidential election of 1968, Richard Nixon underhandedly caused the South Vietnamese to boycott the peace talks. Once elected, Nixon secretly bombed Cambodia. In 1969, he privately agreed that military victory in Vietnam was impossible. In negotiating our withdrawal from Vietnam, Nixon appeased President Thieu of South Vietnam by assuring him that we would re-enter the war if South Vietnam was invaded–obviously a promise he never meant to keep.

Most of this proved to be endless lying. This taught me that we can’t trust the U. S. government. So, when we went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, I didn’t believe what the politicians said. When they sent “advisors,” I knew what they were doing. They continually said that we were winning these wars–drawn out for 17 years now, and with some 35,000 casualties, and costing $150 million a year. It appears that all presidents lie, whether Democrat or Republican. And with our presidents as our role models, the lying extends to the Cabinet, Congress, the media, military officers, and even enlisted men.

The Gender of Angels

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Question from a reader:

I have a question for you about angels. I did some searches on your site and others, but it seems there are differing opinions about the topic. 

1. There are no “new” angels, correct? The ones that exist now were all here before man, correct?

2. Even though the bible doesn’t name any female angels directly, is there anything that says there are absolutely no such thing as female angels? Can we or should we even think of angels in terms of male and female in the same ways we think of male and female humans?

The Internet is full of conflicting opinions on this. It seems that certain bible passages can lead some to believe one way and others lead in another direction (like a lot of them I guess).

Unfortunately, the Bible shares very little information about the gender of angels (or much information at all about angels), so, in my view, we can’t be too definitive on this subject. Some people with other views use extra-biblical sources, but I usually stick with only what the Bible says about these controversial issues.

One of the most definitive passages that we have is Genesis 6:1-4, although it doesn’t specifically use the term “angel.” It describes the type of wickedness in the world that caused God to send the great flood in Noah’s day:

“1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

This is a controversial passage because of the varying opinions about “the sons of God.” Some believe that this is a reference to the two lines of Adam and Eve’s family; i.e., the sons of Seth, as opposed to the sons of Cain. However, others believe that this is a reference to angels. I usually decide such issues using a very straightforward reading of the text. Since the “sons of God” are contrasted with the “daughters of men,” I believe that the “sons of God” were angels. Furthermore, it follows that their offspring were somewhat abnormal; i.e., the Nephilim, described in Numbers 13:33 as giants who inhabited Canaan. So, I believe that this passage indicates that angels, like humans, can be either men or women. Even further, the angels and humans were able to produce offspring together, although God may have since put a stop to this.

Now, oddly enough, we have no passages showing that angels can cohabit with other angels to reproduce offspring. Instead, all we have is the above (sort of weird) variation where angels and humans were able to produce some sort of mixed offspring. BTW, Hebrews 13:2 supports the idea that angels can sometimes take the form of humans, when it says that some people have shown hospitality to angels without even knowing it, by showing hospitality to strangers.

We also have Matthew 22:30, which says, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” This passage is usually used to show that, in eternity in heaven, we will not be married to our spouses as we are now. However, it also says that this arrangement will make us “like the angels” in that respect; i.e., no marriages. So, as of Matthew’s writing of his gospel, it appears that, although the angels do not marry, they do have gender, or else the whole subject of marriage among angels would have been a moot point.

So, specifically, I would answer your questions like this:

1. You are correct; there are no new angels. Angels, like humans, are created beings. It appears that the angels were created first, because of the information we have about Satan (an angel) being cast out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels (demons), to wander on the earth, before the creation of man (Isaiah 14:12).

2. No, there’s nothing that says that there are no such things as female angels. According to the passages above, we can indeed think of angels in terms of being either male or female, similar to humans. However, I’m not aware of any impact (neither positive nor negative) that this would have upon any other aspects of the theology of my belief system.

If you’re interested, I would recommend *Systematic Theology* by Lewis Sperry Chafer, where he has some 120 pages on Angelology.

I hope this helps.



Is Drinking a Sin?

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Question from a reader:

Where in the bible does it say not to drink alcohol? 

Thank you for your question. It’s an interesting question. I’ve addressed it in my article entitled Is Drinking a Sin?, and here are the highlights:

There are three passages in the Bible that suggest abstinence from all alcoholic beverages. The first is in Proverbs 31:4-5 where “kings” are forbidden to drink because their judgment would be impaired. In those days of monarchies, kings were the ultimate court judges, like one-man supreme courts. The Bible said that they shouldn’t drink because of the important decisions they were expected to make. In the same way, who among us today is not responsible for decision-making to some degree, and unsure when he might have to make a decision?

The second reference suggesting abstinence is 1 Peter 4:7 which tells us that, since the end is near, we should stay sober and clear-minded so that we can pray. How many drinks does it take to distort one’s thinking? Isn’t the mind-altering effect of alcohol one of the major motivations for most drinking?

The third reference is Romans 14:21 where we are charged not to drink if it offends someone else or bruises their spiritual confidence. Even if a Christian has personally searched the Scriptures and decided that he is not violating God’s Word by drinking, he may still choose to abstain to keep a fellow Christian from stumbling; who may not have the same level of understanding. This is where one must be accountable for what he believes and how he interprets scripture. This is one reason why daily Bible study is so important.

Furthermore, the Bible explicitly forbids drunkenness in Ephesians 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 6:10.

However, on the other hand, Jesus partook of wine (Luke 22:20), and He even miraculously turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). We also know that Jesus never sinned, so how could it be wrong to drink? One could argue that none of the above passages explicitly says that Christians must not drink. In fact, some passages even appear to be imperatives to indulge. Consider the following examples:

Proverbs 31:6-7 is directed toward the distraught: “Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

1 Timothy 5:23 is a comment by Paul to Timothy: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that if they choose to drink, they should do it at home rather than at a church service, implying that this would be acceptable.


Of the six passages referenced above, the former three lean toward abstinence, especially for leaders, and the latter three lean toward indulgence, especially for the distraught. Either way, drunkenness is forbidden. If you’re a Christian drinker, you probably emphasize Proverbs 31:6-7 and 1 Timothy 5:23. If you’re a Christian abstainer, you probably prefer Proverbs 31:4-5 and 1 Peter 4:7.

The deciding factors, however, are the mind-altering effects and the long-term health risks of alcohol (Romans 12:1). If one drinks in moderation without altering his thinking capability to the extent that it affects his decision-making, and his drinking doesn’t present a long-term health risk in his particular case, then he has not violated the Scriptures. If he experiences mind-altering effects when he drinks, so that his decision-making rationale is impaired, he has violated Scripture.

Regardless, we are each accountable for ourselves. In general, a person’s drinking is between him and God. Of course, there can be extenuating circumstances when intervention is required and / or if that person is doing harm to others. However, in most cases, it is nobody else’s business unless that person seek help (1 Timothy 4:11). To be sure, there are many who place too much emphasis on this issue simply because they’re not minding their own business. Too often, the pious abstainer may be displeasing to God by his Pharisaical pride than the indulger is by his drinking.



What’s Worse than 32,000 Opioid Deaths?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

It is estimated that 32,000 Americans die every year from opioid overdoses. Some of these people were well-meaning patients in pain with well-meaning doctors who sometimes over-prescribed pain killers.  Others were drug user wanting another high, and 13,000 of these deaths were from heroine.  What could be worse than our opioid epidemic?

This year, supposedly well-meaning parents and doctors will kill one million children through abortion.  While the parents believed they had a choice, those children had no choice.  Those children were denied the right to decide whether or not to try to be doctors or lawyers or presidents, or to make right or wrong choices about drugs.  Their lives, which could have included being 80-year-old grandparents, were taken from them before their first breath.

Abortion is the killing of unborn children and it is morally defended on the ground that the unborn are not full persons. The killing is justified on the basis that the unborn are not full persons. The developing child therefore is described as a mere mass of protoplasm in a pre-human state. This ignores the fact that the developing child quickly assumes human form and that it can never become anything but a human being made in the image of God.

How is abortion argued, based upon medicine, science, humanity, and the Bible?  To find out, click Abortion.

The Cross

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Question from a reader:

Is there somewhere in the bible that talks about the two aspects of crosses….meaning the crucifixion side and the symbolic religious side? I mean on one hand crosses have been used for killing people in past history. On the other hand they were (and are) used as a positive symbol for loving God. There seems to be some disconnect there in my mind about that. Does the bible address that issue anywhere? Or what do you think about that?

You have asked some interesting questions on the subject of the cross–the physical aspect vs. the spiritual aspect of the Crucifixion. Unfortunately (as with so many things that we wish the Bible talked about more), I don’t know of any specific Scripture passages that talk about this. However, I believe that we can still construct a Biblical answer to your question by tying some verses together.

However, first of all, I think it’s important to note that the people living throughout the Roman Empire during the time of Christ were well aware of the violent nature of crucifixion. Rome was a powerful world empire, and it used its power to strike fear in the hearts of its adversaries. Rome’s enemies lived in fear of its military power, and its domestic enemies (lawbreakers) lived in fear of crucifixion. Crucifixion was quite common, and Rome proudly displayed the crosses and the broken bodies on them. The idea was that a would-be criminal would think twice before breaking the law if he thought he would end up like that–usually suffering a very slow death over a period of many days, where the cause of death was often dehydration, exhaustion, and / or asphyxiation. The victims were in agony, but not only because of the nails in their hands and feet. The nature of crucifixion also made it difficult for them to breathe. They would hang loosely from their arms for a while, trying to rest their muscles, but causing respiratory distress from the pressure on their rib cage. Then they would muster enough strength to push up with their legs, and take a few relatively clear breaths, until the strength in their legs would give out again. As a result, if the soldiers (and the authorities) took pity upon someone who was crucified, they could break his legs, as this would actually hasten their death.

Incidentally, Christ’s death was relatively quick, and unusual for crucifixion. The soldiers were ordered to break His legs in order to hasten His death (in response to the plea of the Jews that He should not have to hang on the cross throughout the Sabbath Day–John 19:31). However, when they came to break His legs, He was already dead. So, part of the miracle of the Cross is that Christ actually bled to death, due to the wounds in His hands and feet (from the nails), His skull (from the crown of thorns), and His side (from the spear). This is why, in Christendom, the blood of Christ is sacred–the very means by which the only sinless man was sacrificed for those who choose to believe in the gospel message. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Now back to the Biblical answer to your question, I believe that the following Scriptures apply:

– Acts 2:23 notes that Christ was “… nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” This confirms what history tells us about how gruesome death by crucifixion was.

– Galatians 3:13 says that, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE.” This teaches that the perfect Christ became a curse when our sins were placed upon Him.

– Colossians 1:20 says that Christ “… made peace through the blood of His cross.” Our reconciliation (for our sins) with God was made possible only through Christ’s blood on the cross.

– Hebrews 12:2 notes that Christ “… endured the cross, despising the shame.” Everyone understood that crucifixion was quite something to endure. More importantly, Christ overcame the shame of the cross through His resurrection.”

– 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ “… bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” This is one of many scriptures explaining that, upon believing this gospel message, we believers know that Christ died for our sins, and we will live with Him in eternity (John 3:16-18).

So, I can understand why you might feel a disconnect between the killing aspect of crucifixion and how we use it in our faith as a symbol for God’s love. However, I believe that this disconnect can really be interpreted as a connection–between Christ’s great sacrifice and how it provided salvation for us when we had otherwise had nothing worthy to offer God.

One other thing comes to mind: I was taught (as a Protestant) to believe that the display of a cross in our day was acceptable as long as it was only a cross; i.e., not a cross with Christ’s body on it, as seen throughout Roman Catholic churches. We were told that, since Christ had defeated the cross through His resurrection, then we should think of the cross as “the empty cross which could no longer hold Him,” instead of the cross that held His dead or dying body. Well, I’m no longer as adamant about this as I used to be. Although it’s my preference to display an empty cross (like on Karen’s “wall of crosses” in our kitchen), I can also understand why one would also want to remember the cross as it still held Christ’s body, re-enforcing the idea of His great sacrifice.

Sorry, I got a bit long-winded there. I truly get excited when I think about Christ’s death on the cross for sinners such as myself.