Apologetics · Theology

Aaron’s Benediction

Aaron’s Benediction numbers 6:22-27 (nasb)

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’

“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

No shawl, no hand gesture, no Jewish tradition, will make this more efficacious.  It was between God, Moses, Aaron and his sons, and Israel.  When Hebrew Roots movement person says this to me, while wearing a shawl, and doing the traditional hand gesture that goes along with it, I wonder to myself, “Why?  Why are they doing this?  Why are they doing it the way they are doing it?”  Before you say, “I’ve never seen anyone do that!”  Think about it, you might not have, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  Just do a quick google or youtube search for, “Aaronic blessing Numbers 6” and you’ll see the lunatic fringe.  This is what happens when people trade legalistic traditions for the gospel.  There is only one who saves.  It is Christ Jesus.  You can call yourself a Christian, or Hebrew Roots, or whatever, but if your faith is so bound up in Jewish traditions instead of the Christ who is the perfection of all sacrifice and work, you are missing the boat.

Here is what the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary has to say,

The priests were solemnly to bless the people in the name of the Lord. To be under the almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving Father, or as the cheering beams of the sun; while he mercifully forgives our sins, supplies our wants, consoles the heart, and prepares us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings. In so rich a list of mercies worldly joys are not worthy to be mentioned. Here is a form of prayer. The name Jehovah is three times repeated. The Jews think there is some mystery; and we know what it is, the New Testament having explained it. There we are directed to expect the blessing from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, 2Co_13:14; each of which Persons is Jehovah, and yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.

Bible Reviews

A Tome of Tomes, The Lockman NASB New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.

tome of tomes, get it?  Well, I thought it was funny.

nasb picture bible 006

The Bible has been called the, “Book of books.”  This Bible gives you the impression that it is a, “Tome of Tomes.”  It is large and substantial.  The size of this thing is not in vain.  The paper is terrific, the print is great, and the binding is sewn.  Not to mention all of the 436 interesting photographs. (Yes, they are from real photographs, not pictures snapped by a teenager with their phone, while on vacation.) The photographs are from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  They give you the feel that you are looking at an Israel before modern tourism.  Of course there was tourism in Israel back then.  These are just lacking modern accoutrements. The pictures help you to connect the places that you are reading about, to their actual locations.  The photographs enrich the readers experience.  I don’t know of any other Bible out there like this one.  It isn’t really a family Bible.  It isn’t one that I would take to Church, or carry around, due to the size, but it definitely scratches an itch for those of us who want to see the sites.  It fills a niche that leaves it with little competition.  There are archeological Bibles with pictures, but there is a distinct difference in their purpose, design, and layout.

It is also appealing because of the cover.  I realize it is not genuine, tooled leather.  It is a synthetic cover, but it does a good job of masquerading as an ancient tome that you discovered in an old library, far from home.  That makes it kind of fun to have and put on display.  I put it on the coffee table for a while and now it is on the mantle.  Here is what the description on Lockman Foundation’s page says about it,

From Sacralion Publishing House, Includes 436 pictures of Holy Places taken between the middle 19th – early 20th centuries. These images are spread throughout the whole biblical text and correspond exactly to the specific verses in the Holy Bible.

Features include, Concordance, Maps, Full Column Cross References and notes, Verse Format, Black Letter, Two Column Text, Photograph Index,  Two Marker Ribbons, Old Testament Genealogy Tables, and Illustrations.

Lockman Foundation credits Sacralion Publishing House with the NASB New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.  If you are interested in them you can check out their pages here and here.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the NASB translation of the Bible, I can assure you it is one of, if not the most accurate translations out there.  Lockman Foundation is dedicated to being loyal to God in their translation work.  You won’t find any gender inclusive agenda with them.  Some people say it is a bit more difficult to read, but I have never experienced that.  I have found it an accurate translation that conveys the majesty of God’s word in a modern English translation.

So without further eloquence I will now show you the pictures.

The Bible arrived packaged in two boxes.  One was inside the other cushioned with paper.  I imagine this was due to the size and weight of this Bible.  It arrived undamaged and in good condition.

nasb picture bible 001 nasb picture bible 002

It was shrink wrapped and labeled.

nasb picture bible 004

nasb picture bible 005


The spine is hot stamped with, “Holy Bible” at the top, “The New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem” next, and then, “Updated New American Standard” and finally at the bottom, “Sacralion Publishing House.”  The front cover is stamped with, “Holy Bible.”  As well as being gilded it is ornately decorated like the cover.

nasb picture bible 008

As I mentioned earlier the synthetic cover is stamped to look like tooled leather.  It does add to the aesthetic value of the Bible as well as the tactile experience.  Of course this leads one to wonder what this Bible would look like with a tooled leather cover.

The first few pages are an, “Introduction to the New Illustrated Bible of Jerusalem.”

nasb picture bible 015

Then we have, “A note to readers.”

nasb picture bible 016

The, “List of Photographic Illustrations” in the front of the Bible is very helpful in being able to match a photograph to scripture and its real location, as well as the page number it is on.

nasb picture bible 019 nasb picture bible 020

The Bible is wonderfully formatted.  It is a joy to read.  The double column, verse format has a  center column reference.  The center column is black text on a grey background.  The font is printed sharply and well inked against the cream colored paper.  The paper is very opaque.  There is virtually no ghosting making this one of the least distracting Bibles to read.

nasb picture bible 026 nasb picture bible 028 nasb picture bible 027

There are two ribbon markers that are quite different from what I am accustomed to.  They aren’t flat.  They are round.  The ends are frayed, and it looks like they are supposed to be this way.  I have a Greek New Testament that has the same style ribbon marker.  It was bound in Germany.  Since both came new out of the packaging like this and I have seen others like this, I assumed this is the style.  One is a white and the other is blue.

nasb picture bible 034

The photographs are black and white.  They are placed with relevant scriptures to help the reader connect to what they are reading.  Here is an example of some of the photographs you’ll see in this Bible.

nasb picture bible 033

The binding on this large Bible is sewn.  That is in my opinion a must for a large book of any kind.  It enables a book of this size to fully open.  At the end of the Bible is a Concordance, The Old Testament Genealogical Tables, and 11 maps.  I think that this is a compelling enough edition that every home library should have one of these.

If you want to order one of these you can find them here Lockman.org and here Amazon.com and here Christianbook.com

ISBN: 0984234306
ISBN-13: 9780984234301


The Cost of Sin, Then and Now.


During my reading of Leviticus I noticed the personal cost associated with sin under the sacrificial system.  Of course this is only one aspect of the sacrificial system to learn about.  There are others, but this one struck me today.  The notion that there is a price to be paid, a sacrifice that has tangible personal expense, that must be paid.  A bull, one that is perfect, a ram that is perfect, a lamb that is perfect, these creatures were meaningful to their owners.  They were a source of many staples.  They had a value to them.  They were not easy and free.  They could not be easily replaced.  It took work to replace them.  It took work to sacrifice them.  It took faith to believe that it was efficacious.  On this side of the incarnation it is something we can look back at and marvel.  We can appreciate the sovereignty of God more when we see His plan in the past and the perfection of it in the crucifixion of Christ.  We live in a new covenant with God.  The old covenant magnifies Christ Jesus.  Let us do the same in thought, word, deed, and prayer.


Justification, 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith




Paragraph 1. Those whom God effectually calls, he also freely justifies,1 not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous;2 not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone;3 not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith,4 which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.5
1 Rom. 3:24, 8:30
2 Rom. 4:5-8, Eph. 1:7
3 1 Cor. 1:30,31, Rom. 5:17-19
4 Phil. 3:8,9; Eph. 2:8-10
5 John 1:12, Rom. 5:17

Paragraph 2. Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification;6 yet is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.7
6 Rom. 3:28
7 Gal.5:6, James 2:17,22,26

Paragraph 3. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those who are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due to them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf;8 yet, in as much as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them,9 their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.10
8 Heb. 10:14; 1 Pet. 1:18,19; Isa. 53:5,6
9 Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21
10 Rom. 3:26; Eph. 1:6,7, 2:7

Paragraph 4. God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect,11 and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification;12 nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit in time does actually apply Christ to them.13
11 Gal. 3:8, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Tim. 2:6
12 Rom. 4:25
13 Col. 1:21,22, Titus 3:4-7

Paragraph 5. God continues to forgive the sins of those that are justified,14 and although they can never fall from the state of justification,15 yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure;16 and in that condition they usually do not have the light of his countenance restored to them, until  they humble themselves, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.17
14 Matt. 6:12, 1 John 1:7,9
15 John 10:28
16 Ps. 89:31-33
17 Ps. 32:5, Ps. 51, Matt. 26:75

Paragraph 6. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.18
18 Gal. 3:9; Rom. 4:22-24

Bible Reviews

The Revised English Bible or REB, an odd thing here in the States.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 010

Out of curiosity, I requested a copy of the REB from Cambridge.  I typically don’t like synthetic covers.  I was curious about the translation and the quality of the synthetic cover that Cambridge used on the REB.  I am glad I took the time to look it over a while.  Some have called the REB the UK’s equivalent to the NIV here in America.  I would have to agree, but with an exception.  I think the REB and the 2011 and newer NIV’s are similar.  They both employ some gender neutral/accurate/inclusive language.  I call it gender neutral, agenda driven translation when words are not directly translated into their English counterparts when they are available.  This is done in the NRSV extensively and for the sake of being inclusive rather than accurate.  That bothers me.  How can anyone consider it a good scholastic translation when an agenda like that has driven its translation?  There are the gender accurate ones like the NET Bible.  Where they just correct some translation errors that versions like the KJV have.  I don’t have a problem with that, as long as they are doing it for the sake of being accurate, and not for political correctness.  After all, we are to conform to the word not the other way around.  The REB doesn’t change as much as the NRSV or the NIV, but it does make an effort to be more gender neutral than what I think is acceptable.  Keep in mind, I think that if it is a correction it is acceptable, but if it is for the sake of being, “inclusive” it is not.  So that leaves us with the REB.  Kind of a, “middle of the road” little guy.

Being neither theologically conservative or liberal has placed this Bible in obscurity.  Roughly half of any given American Church is made up of liberals and the other half conservatives. We can see this demonstrated via the litmus test of gay marriage.  When a Church accepts it, about half of the people leave.  God even says He’d rather we be hot or cold instead of lukewarm.  So fence sitting isn’t a good place to be.  I’d suggest that the powers that be make this a dynamic equivalent that adheres to accurate gender pronouns, or they toss 2000 years of orthodoxy and just put in whatever pronouns they please.  I’m sure that would make the liberals happy.  After all, who are we seeking to please, God or man?  So when the Bible says something like, “man” in reference to, “mankind” and the word is translated directly as, “man” with the understood connotation in English as, “mankind” leave it, “man” don’t change it to, “mankind, humans, or people.”  We aren’t stupid.  We know from context that the meaning is all of mankind.  Anyone who would mistranslate something for the sake of inclusivity or societal acceptance should not be translating the Bible.

It’s not that this is a bad translation.  A person could get saved reading it.  It gets the concepts across.  It isn’t as bad as the NRSV or NIV.  It doesn’t mess things up near as much as they do.  It is just not what it could be.  I’d love to see a very conservative dynamic equivalent. The 1984 NIV was good.  The REB could be better, but as it is I don’t think it will ever be that popular in America.  There will always be a more conservative or liberal choice out there.  There really isn’t much room for one that sits between.  It is funny to me that the very things that this Bible lists as selling features on the back of the slipcase are the things that would stop me from buying it.  They would also stop about half of the Church goers in America from buying it.

When I read the REB my American brain stutters a bit.  It puts things an odd way.  I read John 1:1-14 and was confused about word choices as well as the way things were phrased.  ***(update/ 04/21/21 It was brought to my attention that I made a mistake here.  I inadvertently quoted from the NEB which is the text the REB updated instead of quoting from the REB.  Here is the REB text, “I copied the text from the NEB (New English Bible) and pasted it in by accident. The R.E.B. is an update of the NEB’s text. It should have read, “In the beginning the Word already was. The Word was in God’s presence, and what God was, the Word was.” I am leaving the article the way it was so that the comment about the mistake will make sense, and so people can also have the correction in the text of the article.)***  “Here is John 1:1 for your consideration, “When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. “This translation was done for English reading people in the U.K.  It doesn’t flow as easily for me.  People from the U.K. probably have no problem at all with this translation.  Being an American, it just doesn’t make sense to me.  Here is how my favorite translation renders John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (NASB)  Finally let’s look at the Greek, “ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος” transliterated as, “En archē ēn ho logos kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon kai Theos ēn ho logos” or in English, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God.  The HCSB is a mix between formal equivalent and dynamic equivalent and it does a better job with John 1:1, “In the beginninga was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.”

Another concern I have is the ecumenism involved for this translation.  I noticed that there were Roman Catholics involved with the translation.  That put me off right away.  There are many theologically liberal people in America who consider Roman Catholics to be fellow Christians.  I don’t know how anyone can study the RCC Catechism and come to that conclusion.  It is obvious that they do not hold to Biblical teachings as authoritative.  Consider that when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, what he says trumps the Bible.  Magisterium or RCC tradition also seems to trump the Bible.  We haven’t even mentioned Mariology.  So the squishy ecumenism is a reason for concern.  Keep in mind that I am very opinionated.  I am firmly in the conservative camp.  I have my own allegiances.  You might not agree with me or my conclusions about this translation, but that is alright.  That is what we call tolerance people.  We can disagree and not lop of peoples heads, burn a city, or politically pressure people into silence.

Now that we have dealt with the translation let’s look at the quality of construction.  It was printed by CPI William Clowes in the U.K.  William Clowes Ltd. is a British printing company that was founded by William  Clowes in 1803.  They printed reference books and catalogues.  They have been in the printing business for quite a while.  We might not be familiar with them here.  I am satisfied with the quality of this Bible.  I was a bit concerned when I read that the paper was recycled.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 006

I thought perhaps it wouldn’t be opaque enough or maybe it would be to brittle or easy to tear.  Thankfully none of that was true.  The Bible was sent to me in an easy to open cardboard box along with the ESV Clarion that I reviewed here.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 001

Both Bibles arrived undamaged and in good condition from Cambridge.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 003

The REB comes in a stout slipcase.  It looks like it should hold up well.  Keep it for storing your Bible in.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 007

Once I had the Bible out of its case I was quite anxious to look the cover, binding, and paper over.  This is the first synthetic covered Bible from Cambridge that I have reviewed.  The cover looks a lot like leather and handles like a leather cover for the most part.  It appears that attention was paid to the details.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 010

The corners look good, the vinyl liner is glued down well, the binding is sewn, but it is a bit stiffer than a luxury Bible.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 039 Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 038

Don’t expect it to behave like a $200.00 Bible.  It isn’t.  It won’t open flat right out of the slipcase.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 018

It takes some breaking in.  Since it does have a sewn binding it will be nice after it is broke in.  There is a design stamped into the front.  I have no opinion one way or the other about it.  There is one ribbon marker, page edges are gilded, and the weight and size make this convenient for taking with you to Church.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 016 Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 014

This is a two column, paragraph, format text Bible, black letter edition.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 030

The paper is less flexible than the paper used by Jongbloed on the other Cambridge Bibles I’ve reviewed.  It seems a bit more stiff.  Like the cleaner put extra starch in your shirt.  The pages are off white and the font is nicely printed in 8 point, “Swift” typeface.

Cambridge ESV Clarion and REB 024

There is a, Preface, Measures and Weights, and a Presentation Page, at the beginning of this Bible.  Even though I am not a fan of the translation there is nothing wrong with the quality of this Bible.  They did a good job of putting together a durable Bible with a synthetic cover and recycled paper.  The retail price online is too high for a Bible with a synthetic cover.



I don’t foresee that many Americans shelling out their hard earned dollars for a synthetic leather cover and recycled paper.  For the same amount they can get a Bible with genuine leather, albeit pigskin leather, and a sewn binding.  So if Cambridge wants this Bible to make it in America they should either go full liberal or full conservative, put a leather cover on this, and by all means kill some trees.  After all we aren’t going to destroy the planet like the Emergent church lunatics tell us.  God will destroy it with fire like He says in His word.  (disclaimer-I am not advocating and abdication of our God ordained duties of being in dominion of the Earth and the creatures thereof.  I am asserting that quality paper for the word of God to be printed on is an honorable end for a tree.  I was also attempting humor.)

***Addendum 02/18/15  “On a technical point the paper used in the REB is not ‘re-cycled’  –  The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) reference denotes that the wood pulp used in the making of the paper comes from forests that are environmentally managed (cut trees replaced by new) and where the supply chain can be clearly identified  i.e. we can be confident that no illegal logging has been involved. Although ‘re-cycled’ is mentioned, it does not form a part of this particular sub-group of papers.” ***

REB Standard Text Edition RE532:T Imitation Leather

ISBN-13: 9780521195577

Apologetics · mormonism

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

In the Bible we have doctrines that are expressed by Jesus Himself, The one and only God incarnate, none ever before Him and none after Him anywhere or anytime.  These doctrines are repeated and expounded upon by the Apostles in the Epistles of the New Covenant recorded in the New Testament.  These doctrines are exclusive claims to actual truths.  When someone else confesses a doctrine that asserts something other than what has already been established by the one true, immutable, and infallible God, then our only option is to reject their  assertion as heresy.

Let’s look at some of their doctrines that conflict with Biblical doctrines, and are mutually exclusive in their claims.  Christians claim there is only one true God.  There has never been any other god besides Him. He has always existed in trinity. He has never not existed.  We also claim that if you don’t believe in Him as explained here, as one being in three personages, that you can not be called part of the Church.  Because, you have put your faith in a different god.  Obviously, worshipping a different god makes you not a Christian.

Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) do not have one triune God.  They actually have a number of gods approaching infinity.  They choose to worship just one of the gods Joseph Smith imagined for them.  The god they choose to worship, was once a man named Elohim.  He lived on a planet orbiting a star called Kolab.  So their god is an E.T. extra terrestrial, alien from outer space.  Allegedly he was such a good follower of the mormon doctrines that he was promoted to being an exalted man.  He eventually became the god of this solar system and the Earth that we live on.  So the one god that they worship out of the billions of gods they have, was once a created man.  He was born of his father god and goddess mother.  They now call him Heavenly Father and believe he has a body of flesh and bone.  They believe that he had sex with Mary the virgin and that Jesus the spirit child was then embodied in his biological son with Mary.  Here is a quote from the Brigham Young University site,

As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret” (TPJS, p. 345). Thus, the Father became the Father at some time before “the beginning” as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth. There has been speculation among some Latter-day Saints on the implications of this doctrine, but nothing has been revealed to the Church about conditions before the “beginning” as mortals know it. The important points of the doctrine for Latter-day Saints are that Gods and humans are the same species of being, but at different stages of development in a divine continuum, and that the heavenly Father and Mother are the heavenly pattern, model, and example of what mortals can become through obedience to the gospel (see Mother in Heaven). Knowing that they are the literal offspring of Heavenly Parents and that they can become like those parents through the gospel of Jesus Christ is a wellspring of religious motivation. With God as the literal Father and with humans having the capacity to become like him, the basic religious questions “Where did I come from?,” “Why am I here?,” and What is my destiny?” are fundamentally answered.

Keep in mind that our LDS friends co-opt many of our words.  They mean something completely different to them.  When we talk of God the Father or Jesus we are talking about a very different God than they are.  They might believe we are talking about the same god, but they have better and more true information than we do.  The gospel to them is not the same things we think of.  Their gospel is a bunch of laws, rules, do’s and don’ts, from their book Doctrine and Covenants.  Our understanding comes from the Biblical definition.  The word, “gospel” means, “good message or news.”  When we think of the gospel of Jesus, we understand it to mean the penal substitutionary atonement wrought by Christ God Himself for the salvation of His sovereignly elected saints to bring glory to His name. In Christianity the work has been done by Jesus.  He paid for our sins.  By repenting and believing in Him, his work is imputed to us.  It is done, done, done.  We do good works because of our new affections and desires born from a regenerated spirit as born again believers.

with this article on only of few of the many differences, I hope it is obvious that the LDS are not Christian.  They are a polytheistic Arian cult, created by the false prophet Joseph Smith.


Christian worldview analysis of Alfred Hitchcock “Rope” (1948)

The Domain for Truth



As an example of evaluating a film with consideration of its worldview I will be looking at Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948).  This movie reminded me the lesson that bad ideas can make people into monsters.  In what follows we will look at a summary of the story of the film, make the point that this movie is about philosophy, cover the philosophy that drives the villains follow by a discussion of the dilemma that such a philosophy poses for the characters and the audience before a quick summary of what we can learn.  Readers must also be warned that there that this essay will have many spoilers.

The Story

In an essay by Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, this is how they summarized the movie:

Brandon and Philip share a New York apartment. They have distorted the rather Nietszchean ideas of their former headmaster Rupert and decide to strangle…

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