[es-senz’, (Essenoi, Essaioi)] When Josephus describes the sects of the Jews, he devotes most of his time and attention to the third of these sects, the Essenes. Strangely enough, although there are frequent references in the New Testament to the other two sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees, no reference has been found to the Essenes. Notwithstanding this silence of the Gospels, the prominence of this third sect is undeniable. Even in Egypt, they are known. Philo, the Jewish philosopher, gives an account of these Essenes in terms that, while in the main resembling those used in Josephus, yet different enough to prove him clearly an independent witness. Another contemporary, Pliny the Naturalist, also mentions these Essenes. Approximately a century later we have a long account of the habits and tenets of these sectaries in Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies. A century and a half later still Epiphanius describes these under various titles. Despite the fact that no reference to the Essenes can be found in the Gospels or the Acts, at all events under that name, there can be no doubt of their existence. Would one understand the Palestine in which our Lord’s ministry was carried on, he must comprehend the place occupied by the Essenes.
This assumes several forms in different authors–indeed sometimes two forms appear in the same author. Josephus uses most frequently the form of the name which stands at the head of this article, but sometimes he speaks of individuals as “Essaeans” (BJ, II, vii, 3; viii, 4). This latter form is that preferred by Philo, a form that is adopted by Hegesippus as quoted by Eusebius, IV, 22. Pliny in his Natural History, v.15 writes “Essaeans.” Hippolytus also has “Essenus.” Epiphanius has mixed his information so that this sect appears with him under several names as “Ossaei” and “Jessaei.”
Forms It Assumes–Etymology, Origin
It is clear that the name is not primarily Greek–it has passed into Greek from another tongue, since none of the forms has any easy derivation in Greek. Notwithstanding, there have been attempts to derive it from some Greek root, but all are preposterous as etymologies. The etymology must be sought either in Hebrew or its cognate, Aramaic The usage in regard to the translation of proper names is our only guide. Reasoning from the practice as seen in the Greek translation of the Scriptures and in Josephus, we can deduce that the first letter of the original word must have been one of the gutturals `, chapter, h, ‘. That the second letter was a sibilant is certain, and the last was probably y, ‘, for the final “n” in the common form of the name is due to the desire to render the word suitable for Greek accidence. We may say that to us the two most likely derivations are `asiya’, “doers” or ‘aciya’, “healers.” Our preference is for the latter, as one of the characteristics of the Essenes dwelt upon by Josephus is the fact that they were healers by means of herbs and incantations (BJ, II, viii, 6). This view is held by the great mass of investigators, as Bellerman, Gfrorer, Hamburger, Herzfeld, Dahm, etc. The name “Therapeutae” given by Philo to the kindred sect in Egypt supports this etymology, as it would be in one of its senses a translation of it. Lightfoot’s objection that it is improbable that the ordinary name of the sect “should have been derived from a pursuit which was merely secondary and incidental” does not follow analogy. The term “Methodist” was derived from a purely temporary characteristic of the society that gathered round Wesley. The extreme probability, from the fact that the name is not found in the New Testament, is that it was the nature of a nickname, like “Quakers” applied to the Society of Friends. The multitude that followed Our Lord affords evidence of the influence that a reputation for healing gave to one.
The Authorities for the Tenets of the Essenes
Philo and Josephus, as contemporaries and Jews, are necessarily our principal sources of information.
Next is Pliny, though a contemporary of the sect, yet as a Roman, of necessity receiving his information secondhand. There is next in point of date Hippolytus in his work Refutation of All Heresies, written more than a century after the fall of the Jewish state and the disappearance of the Essenes. One point in his favor as an authority is his habit of quoting from sources that would be reckoned good even now. He seems to have founded to some extent on Josephus, but he appears to have made use of some other source or sources as well. Slightly later is Porphyry. He avowedly draws all his information from Josephus The latest of the ancients who may be reckoned as authorities is Epiphanius. Writing in the 4th century, and naturally, of a somewhat confused intellect, any statement of his unsupported by other authority is to be received with caution.
In estimating the evidence that Philo gives concerning the Essenes, we must remember that he was living in Alexandria, not shut up in a Ghetto, but mingling to some extent with the scholars and philosophers of that city. The Jewish community there appears to have been more completely Hellenized than any other assemblage of Jews. The object of Philo’s numerous works seems to have been the twofold one of commending Jewish religious thought to the Greek philosophic society in which he mingled, and of commending Greek philosophy to his Jewish kinsmen. The geographic distance from Palestine may be to some degree neglected from the frequent communications between it and Egypt. The work in which Philo devotes most attention to the Essenes is his early work, Quod Omnis Probus Liber, “that every good man is free.” This treatise is intended for a Gentile audience–the “Lawgiver of the Jews” is introduced casually first, and then more emphatically, till he is named. The Essenes are brought forward as the very flower and perfection of Mosaism.
Description from Quod Omnis Probus Liber
“There is a portion of that people called Essenes–over four thousand in my opinion. They are above all servants (therapeutai) of God. They do not sacrifice animals but study to preserve the sanctity of life. They live in villages, avoiding all cities on account of the lawlessness of those that inhabit them. Some of these men cultivate the soil, others live by peaceful arts and so benefit themselves and all their neighbors. They do not lay up treasures of gold or silver for themselves, judging contentment and frugality the great riches. With them are no makers of arms or of military engines and no one is occupied with anything connected with war. They all avoid commerce and navigation, thinking that these employments make for covetousness. They possess no slaves, holding all men to be free and all are expected to aid one another as real (gnesiois) brethren. They devote their attention to the moral part of philosophy–to the neglect of logic–using, as instructors, the laws of their country which it would have been impossible for the human mind to devise save by Divine inspiration. They abstain from all work on the seventh day, which they look on as sacred. On it they assemble in sacred buildings which are called synagogues and, seated in order according to age, they hear the Scriptures (tas biblous) read and expounded. They are thus taught to choose what is right and to avoid what is wrong. They use a threefold criterion–love of God, love of virtue, love of man. They carefully avoid oaths and falsehood–they regard God as the author of all good. They all dwell in companies, so that no one has a dwelling absolutely his own. They have everything in common, their expenses, their garments, their food. When they work for wages they do not retain these for themselves, but bring it into the common stock. The sick are not neglected when they are unable to contribute to the common store. They respect their seniors as if they were their parents. Such men never can be enslaved. As a proof of this none of the many oppressors of their land were able to bring any accusation against the Holy Essenes.”
The above is a very much condensed summary of the passage on the Essenes in Philo, QOPL. No one can fail to be struck with the resemblance all this has in the first place to the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the practice of the early church. Although celibacy is not mentioned it is implied in the picture here presented of the Essenes.
There is another account in a passage quoted from Philo by Eusebius, Preparatio Evangelica, VIII, 11:
Description from Quotation in Eusebius, Preposition Evang
“Our lawgiver trained (eleipsen, “anointed”) ten thousands of his followers and formed them into a community called Essenes from their holiness. They dwell as numerous communities in many cities and villages of Judea.” It will be observed that this contradicts the statement above that there were only 4,000 Essenes and that they avoided cities. “This sect is not hereditary. There are no children nor youths among the Essenes as such persons are unstable. No one among them has property of his own. They regard all possessions as part of a common stock. They all dwell in the same place, forming themselves into clubs and societies. They do everything for the benefit of the whole society, but different members take up different employments, laboring ceaselessly despite cold or heat. Before sunrise they go to their work and do not quit it till sunset. Some are tillers of the soil, some shepherds, some tend bees, some are artisans. These men when they have received their wages give them up to the general manager who purchases what is necessary. Those who live together eat at the same table day after day. Their dress also is common. In winter they have thick cloaks, in summer light mantles. Each takes what he wants. When anyone falls sick he is cured from their common resources. Old men, even if they happen to be childless, are as if they had a numerous offspring of affectionate children. They repudiate marriage because they look on woman as a selfish creature and specially addicted to jealousy and hypocrisy, thus likely to dissolve their brotherhood. A man bound to a woman is hampered by his affection, is no longer a free man but a slave” (compare 1Co 7:1. Paul mentions the same difficulties in regard to wedlock).
Description of Therapeutae from De Vita Contemplativa
In his Treatise De Vita Contemplativa Philo, commencing with a reference to the Essenes, passes on to describe a similar class of coenobites who have their settlements near the Moerotic Lake. These he calls Therapeutae, or in the feminine, Therapeutrides, a title which he interprets as “healers.” While there are many points of resemblance, there are also not a few features of difference. We shall give as full an extract as in the previous instances.
It is related that they have separate houses and only come together for worship or for feasts. They have parallel societies for men and for women. As in the case of the Essenes, there is a reading of ancient sacred books and an exposition of the passage read. The name Therapeutae, with the explanation of the name given by Philo, affords a link, as said above, with the Essenes, if the etymology of their name which we have seen reason to prefer be the true one. There seems also to be some connection between these Jewish monks and the Christian monks of some three centuries later. It ought to be remarked that many suspicions have been thrown on the authenticity of De Vita Contemplativa. Although critical names of authority may be named on that side, yet it may be doubted whether the reasons are sufficient. Lucius, who is the main opponent, does so mainly to invalidate the existence of the Therapeutae. He thinks De Vita Contemplativa was composed by a Christian to give an antiquity to the Christian monks. To prove a practice to have been Jewish would be far from commending it to Christians. But more, the resemblance to the Christian monks, although close on some points, in others of importance the difference is equally prominent. While the common feast suggests the Agapae of the early church, we must remember that this was not a monastic peculiarity. The fact that a female community existed alongside the male and joined with them in worship is out of harmony with what we know of early monasticism. The feast of the 50th day has no parallel in Christianity.
Like Philo, Josephus wrote for a non-Jewish audience. In Rome the philosophic ideas held in the Hellenic world were prevalent, so he, as much as Philo, had a temptation to be silent on any subject which might shock the sensibilities or provoke the ridicule of his masters. In particular, in describing the habits and tenets of the Essenes, for whom he professed so high an admiration, he would need to be specially careful to avoid causes of offense, as in such a case he would be liable to be involved in their condemnation. In dealing with the notices he gives of the Essenes we would consider the descriptions at length first, and then the incidental notices of individual Essenes.
Description from Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, i, 5
The description which comes earliest in history–not, however, the earliest written–is in Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, in connection with the census and survey under Quirinius (Cyrenius) and the resistance to it by Judas of Gamala.
He there (Ant., XVIII, i, 5) begins by referring to their theological position, that they believed in the most absolute preordination. They teach the immortality of souls and a state of rewards and punishments. Although they dedicated gifts to the temple they offered no sacrifices, presumably bloody sacrifices, as they have offerings of their own. A singular statement is made that “they are on this account excluded from the common court” (koinou temenismatos). They occupy themselves with husbandry. “They excel in justice all other men.” They have all things in common. They neither marry wives nor keep slaves. He says, as does Philo, that they number over four thousand men. They appoint “good men priests who should receive the fruits of their labor for the sake of corn and food.”
Description from Wars of the Jews, II, viii, 2-13
A much fuller account is found in the earlier written treatise on the Wars of the Jews, II, viii, 3. In this work he emphasizes the ascetic side of Essenism.
“The Essenes,” he says, “reject pleasures as vice. They despise marriage though they do not absolutely repudiate it, but are suspicious of women. They despise riches and have all things in common. They think oil a defilement. They wear white garments. They elect overseers (epimeletai) to manage their common affairs, much as the Christian bishops did those of the churches under them. They have no one city but many of them dwell in every city.” It may be observed that this statement is a contradiction of Philo’s statement and that of Josephus himself above, that they were only 4,000. “When any of them go from one city to another they find the houses of those of their sect open to them as if they were their own.” It is probable that as the apostles, when sent out by our Lord to preach, were on entering a city to ask who in it was worthy, the traveling Essenes would inquire who in it were Essenes. Like the apostles they took nothing with them when they traveled save weapons for defense against robbers, just as the apostles had at the time of the Last Supper two swords with which they had likely provided themselves for similar reasons. “They get up before sunrise and offer up prayers which they have received from their ancestors. They are then dismissed to their several employments to the fifth hour, they bathe in cold water, put on white linen garments and enter the refectory as if into a temple. Food is set before each.” Much like the Christian grace before meat, a priest offers up prayer. Again, as grace after meat, when the meal is finished the priest again prays. “Both before and after their refection they sing praise to God. As Christ commanded His disciples and said, `Swear not at all,’ they avoid oaths, indeed esteem them worse than perjury. New members were admitted to the society by baptism, and oaths were laid upon them that they were to be submissive to those in authority in the society. They were to keep the doctrines of the sect secret. They kept the Sabbath with greater strictness than did any other section of the Jews. Heinous sins were punished by expulsion from the order which, as they felt their oaths still binding on them, amounted to death. Judicial sentences are arrived at with the utmost care; decisions are come to by an assembly of not less than a hundred who are chosen to be judges. When once the sentence has been pronounced it stands fixed. They regard the bodies as corruptible but the souls are immortal. They believe in a Paradise resembling the Islands of the Blest.” One thing is to be observed: “they are bound by oath to preserve the sacred books of their sect, ta haireseos auton biblia, and the names of the angels.” They utter predictions by means of their sacred books, which predictions are generally fulfilled. There is, however, another sort of Essenes who do not avoid marriage.
The philosopher Porphyry mentions that Josephus had an account of the Essenes in the second book against the Gentiles. If this means Contra Apienem, no such passage is to be found in that work now. It may, however, be some work of Josephus which has not come down to us, which Porphyry has misnamed, though this is unlikely.
This is not, however, the whole of the information concerning the Essenes which we can gather from Josephus. The earliest of these incidental notices occur under the reign of Jonathan (Ant., XIII, v, 9), when the historian mentions the three sects of the Jews, when the only peculiarity he assigns to the Essenes is that they believe that everything happens according to fate. Next, in relating the fate of Antigenus, he tells how Judas, an Essene teaching in the temple, when he saw Antigonus, declared that he was proved a false prophet, as he had foretold that Antigonus was to die that day at Struto’s tower (Caesarea), and he was now six hundred furlongs off from there. Here the statement that the Essenes were excluded from the temple seems directly contradicted. In the days of Herod (XV, x, 4,5) Josephus relates that while Herod demanded oaths of submission from others he excused the Essenes, from the favor he had to them on account of one Menahem, a member of this sect, who foretold his reign. This Essene seems to have been about the court and to have nothing of the coenobitic agriculturist about him. The Essenian fame for prediction and the interpretation of dreams is related in regard to Archelaus, the son of Herod (BJ, II, vii, 3). Archelaus had a dream and applied to an Essene, Simon or Simeon, who foretold the end of his reign. In singular contrast to what had been said by Philo of the objection the Essenes had in regard to everything connected with war, one of the leading generals of the Jews when they rebelled against the Romans was John the Essene, who was made governor of certain toparchies in the North (BJ, II, xx, 4). He was killed in the battle near Ascalon with which the war began, which ended in the capture of Jerusalem by Titus (BJ, III, ii, 1). There is also mention of a gate of the Essenes in Jerusalem, which seems to imply that a number of them permanently resided there.
Pliny speaks of the Essenes in his Natural History (v.17) in somewhat rhetorical terms. They dwell on the west side of the Dead Sea–“a wonderful race without women, without money, associates of the palms.” They are recruited by those wearied of life, broken in fortunes. “Thus a race is eternal through thousands of ages (seculorum) in which no one is born; so fruitful to them is repentance of life in others.” He refers to the fertility of Engedi and adds, “now burned up.”
There is an enigmatical passage quoted by Eusebius from Hegesippus in which the Essaeans (Essenes), the Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbotheans, Samaritans and Pharisees are declared to hold different opinions about circumcision among the sons of Israel “against the tribe of Judah and of Christ” (kata tes phules Iouda kai Christou).
Porphyry’s note regarding the Essenes is simply taken from Josephus
6. Hippolytus:–Uses Josephus, but to Some Extent Independent
In the great work of the mysterious bishop, Hippolytus discovered some sixty years ago, there is a description of the Essenes. Although the work is a Refutation of All Heresies, implying that the opinions maintained were erroneous and required to be refuted, the author does nothing to exhibit the erroneousness of the Essene tenets or habits. In regard to the Gnostic heresies Hippolytus endeavored to reach original sources; presumably he did so in the present case. Although there is no doubt of his indebtedness to Josephus, yet for the features where he differs from Josephus, or supplements him, we may assume that he has behind his statements some authority which he regarded as valid. In some cases there may be a suspicion that in his eagerness to show that certain heresies were derived from this or that heathen philosophical system he has modified the heresy to suit the derivation he has supposed. This, however, does not apply to the Essenes.
In the ninth book of his Refutation of All Heresies, Hippolytus takes up Jewish sects (haireseis) which, following Josephus, he reckons as three. The first he discusses is the Essenes. They are very devotional and temperate and eschew matrimony. They despise wealth, and from sharing with the destitute they do not turn away (compare Mt 5:42; the verb used is the same). Anyone joining the sect must sell all that he has (compare Mt 19:21; the same words are used in Ac 4:32,37). Overseers epimeletai are chosen by show of hands cheirotonein (Ac 14:23). They do not stay in one city but many settle in every city. They dress always in white but do not own two cloaks or two pairs of shoes, much as our Lord’s instructions to His apostles when He sent them out two and two (Mt 10:10). Their daily course of conduct is described very much in the same terms as those used by Josephus Before dawn they begin their day by prayer and singing a hymn. They return from their work before midday, at the fifth hour, and bathemselves in cold water and clothemselves in garments of white linen. After that they repair into the common apartment. They seat themselves in silence; the cook places food before each individual. The priest prays and pronounces a blessing on the food. At the end of the meal the priest again prays, and those who have partaken join in singing a hymn of thanksgiving. They lay aside their white linen garments, and resume their ordinary clothing and betake themselves again to their occupations. Supper at sunset is conducted in a similar manner. All obey the president (proestos) in whatever he enjoins. No one amongst them is in the habit of swearing. They are careful to read the law and the prophets. Other works of faithful men they also study. All that join the sect are put on probation. The entrant receives a white robe and a linen girdle, and is supplied with an axe for the purposes mentioned in De 23:13. He has to take solemn oaths to worship God, to be just, not to hate anyone who injures him, but to pray for him (compare Mt 5:44). He promises also to show respect to all in authority, as all authority is from God (1Pe 2:13). He is not to divulge the secret doctrines of the society. There follows a description of the fate of those expelled from the society and the mode of conducting trials, borrowed from Josephus Hippolytus proceeds to give an account of four different subsects of the Essenes, all seeming of more than even the wonted fanaticism of the Essenes. One sect would not use coins because of the image of the Emperor on them, inasmuch as this was of the nature of idolatry. Others were prepared to enforce circumcision at the point of the sword. According to Hippolytus the Zealots were Essenes. Later he mentions the class that were freer and did not abjure marriage. A very marked point of difference between the tenets of the Essenes, as described by Philo and Josephus, and those attributed to them by Hippolytus, is in regard to the doctrine of the resurrection. Hippolytus affirms that they did believe in the resurrection of the body. The others, while not in terms denying that they did believe in it, ignore it in such a way as might lead the reader, as indeed it did Bishop Lightfoot, to think that they denied it altogether. The treatment Paul received at Athens when he preached the resurrection showed how incongruous this doctrine seemed to the Greeks. Philo and Josephus wrote for Greek audiences–for the Romans, so far as culture went, were Greeks–and had to consider their taste. Another point held in abeyance by both those writers was the Messianic hopes that we know from the New Testament were so prevalent. Hippolytus says “all sections look for the Messiah,” but held that He was to be merely man born in the ordinary way. The reason for Philo’s silence and that of Josephus is easily understood. They had commended the Essenes so highly; if they mentioned that they had treasonable hopes of a Messiah who should rule the world, their own personal loyalty would become doubtful. For our part, we should regard all the positive elements in Hippolytus’ description as worthy of acceptance.
EPIPHANIUS Confused Account
The last authority to whom we would refer is Epiphanius. In his anxiety to make up the number of heresies, the Essenes figure repeatedly under different names. He declares the Essenes to be a sect of the Samaritans closely associated with the Sebuans and Gortheni. Among the Jews he has three sects whom he calls Hemerobaptistae, Nazaraei and Osseni. Besides he has a sect called Sampseans, evidently also Essenes, which he mixes up with the followers of Elkaisa. He does not seem to have any clear idea about their tenets or habits. The Samaritan sects differ about the three Jewish feasts, but he does not make it clear in what they differ. The Sebuans seem to have reversed the order of the Jewish feasts, but whether the Essenes and Gortheni did so likewise is not clear. That the Essenes whom we are considering were not Samaritans appears to be as certain as anything about this enigmatic sect can be. The obscure sentence quoted by Eusebius from Hegesippus might be interpreted as supporting this statement of Epiphanius, but it is too enigmatic to be pressed. As to the three Jewish sects the first named–Hemerobaptistae–suits the daily washings of the Essenes, but he asserts that they agree with the Sadducees in denying the resurrection. The Nazareans or Nazarenes are not to be confounded with a Christian sect of nearly the same name. They resided in the district East of Jordan. They held with the Jews in all their customs, believing in the patriarchs, but did not receive the Pentateuch, though they acknowledged Moses. The Osseni are the likest to the Essenes, as they are said to dwell near the Dead Sea, only it is on the side opposite to Engedi. Epiphanius leaves them to denounce Elxai and his brother Jexais, of which latter nothing further is known.
DEDUCTIONS AND COMBINATIONS
From the characteristics so many, so confusing, indeed, in some respects so contradictory, it is difficult to get a consistent picture. They are said to be only four thousand, yet they are many ten thousands. They reside in Engedi, a company of coenobites. They dwell in villages and avoid towns, yet they dwell many in every city and in populous communities. They avoid everything connected with war, yet one of their number is one of the trusted generals of the Jews in their rebellion against the Romans. They keep away from the Temple, yet one of them, Judas, is teaching in the Temple when he sees Antigonus, whose death he had foretold. The only way in which any consistency can be brought into these accounts is by taking advantage of what Josephus and Hippolytus say about the subsections into which the Essenes were distinguished.
A parallel the present writer has elsewhere used of the Methodists is illuminative. While the most prominent body of Methodists are Arminians, there are the Calvinistic Methodists. While Wesleyan Methodists do not allow women to preach, the Primitive Methodists do. This is so far confirmed by the fact that while the abjuring of marriage is a marked feature in the representation of Philo, yet the latter says that one class of the Essenes not only do not themselves oppose matrimony but regard those that do oppose it as enemies of the human race. The residents in Engedi formed but a small proportion of the Essenes. It is probable that of them the statement, found alike in Philo and Josephus, that they were 4,000, applies. All the features of the picture of the daily common meals, rising before sunrise, joint devotions, may be true in their fullness only of the community by the Dead Sea. What Philo says (quoted by Eusebius, Preposition Evan., VIII, 11), that among the Essenes “there are no youths or persons just entering on manhood, only men already declining towards old age,” would indicate that the settlement at Engedi was an asylum for those who, having borne the burden and heat of the day, now retired to enjoy repose.
They had communities apparently all over Palestine, if not also beyond its bounds, over each of which there was a president appointed (Hip., IX, 15). This would mean that in towns of any size they would have a synagogue. They appear to have had houses of call, though it may have been that every member of the Essene community kept open house for all members of their sect who might be traveling. The traveler, when he came to a city, would inquire for any that were Essenes, as the apostles were commanded by their Lord, in similar circumstances, to inquire (“search out”) who in a city were “worthy.” The common meals might to some extent be observed in these different scattered communities, probably at intervals, not daily as at Engedi. At these the secret sacred books, read and studied with so great regularity at Engedi, would also be read. In this synagogue not only would the canonical books be preserved but also those other books which gave them the names of the angels, as now in the synagogues of Palestine the library preserved in the synagogue may be used by those connected with it throughout the week. The head of the community at Engedi might have some suzerainty over all the different communities, but in regard to this we have no information. One external feature which would at once make the Essenes known to each other was the fact that they always dressed in white linen. They had priests probably in every one of their communities. The Jewish exorcists in Ephesus, in whom Bishop Lightfoot (Col, 93) recognizes Essenes, were the sons of one Sceva, a high priest (archiereus, Ac 19:14). The high-priesthood was evidently not connected with the temple at Jerusalem, for no such name appears in the list of high priests. It thus most probably was an Essenian high-priesthood.
In regard to their tenets, their belief in the absolute preordination by God of everything appears the feature in the doctrinal position which most appealed to Josephus Hippolytus affirms in terms their belief in the resurrection of the body. This point, as above noted, Philo and Josephus ignore. The passage in Hippolytus is the more striking from the fact that the latter portion so closely resembles the parallel passage in Josephus. Josephus as we have suggested above, avoided crediting the Essenes with belief in resurrection because of the ridicule to which it would expose not only the Essenes, his proteges, but also himself. Hippolytus, writing with information other than what might be got from Josephus or Philo and as, writing for Christian readers, without the fear of ridicule, in regard to the resurrection of the body, boldly and in terms ascribes that doctrine to them. The silence of our two main witnesses as to the Essenes cherishing any Messianic hopes cannot be pressed, as their silence may be explained as above mentioned by fear of the suspicions of Rome in regard to any such hopes. The statement of Hippolytus that all the Jews had these expectations may be said to cover this case. The abjuring of marriage and the shunning of everything connected with war seem to be prominent opinions in some sections of the Essenes, but not held by others.
History and Origin
There is much in Essenism that is difficult to understand. We have seen contradictory features assigned to the Essenes by different authorities; but even in the case of those features concerning which there is least dubiety the new difficulty emerges as to how it appeared as a characteristic of a Jewish sect. This is especially the case in regard to abstinence from marriage. Easterners always have an earnest desire to have sons to keep their memory green, for on a death many of them had and still have ceremonies which only the son of the dead can perform. Yet despite this they avoided marriage. The Jews with their Messianic hopes desired children, as no one knew but that his child might prove the child of promise, the Christ of God.
Essenes and Chasidhim
The earliest note of the existence of the Essenes, as of the Pharisees and Sadducees, is under the pontificate of Jonathan, the successor of Judas Maccabeus (Ant., XIII, v, 9). Josephus says “at this time there were three sects of the Jews,” and proceeds to name them. If this, however, were precisely true, it is singular that there is no mention of any of these sects in either of the books of the Maccabees. The only sect named is the Hasideans (chacidhim) who are called (1 Macc 2:42) “mighty men of Israel, every one that offered himself willingly for the law” (the King James Version “voluntarily devoted himself to the law”; Greek hekousiazomenos). These again are not mentioned by Josephus The meaning of the word is “saints,” and in this sense it appears frequently in the Psalms. A parallel in modern history to their warlike activity and their claim to saintliness may be found in the Cameronians of “society folk” in Scotland toward the end of the 17th century. They were Peden’s “praying folk,” yet they fought and won battles. When William of Orange came they formed the Cameronian regiment which helped to quell the clans and checked their advance after Killiecrankie. Some have identified these Hasideans with the Pharisees (as W. Robertson Smith, article “Assidaeans,” Encyclopedia Biblica, and others). Hitzig would regard their successors as the Essenes. The great resemblance there was between the Pharisees and the Essenes renders it not improbable that originally they were really one sect and split off. If Josephus is to be trusted this division must have occurred, if not before the Maccabean struggle, at least early during its continuance. The Sadducean authors of 1 Maccabees may have grouped them together. According to Josephus, John Hyrcanus was a Pharisee, from which it may be presumed that Judas Maccabeus and his brethren belonged to the same sect of the Jews. The Assideans deserted Maccabeus, so that it would seem at least possible that by that time the separation had become complete, so that the Hasideans are now to be regarded as Essenes. It would seem as if they deserted the Maccabeans when they–the Maccabeans–made alliances with heathen powers like Rome. Then they objected to the high-priestly family being passed over for the Hasmoneans, hence their foolish surrender to Bacchides because Alcimus (called by Josephus Jacimus = Jehoiakim) was with him, a descendant of the race of the high priests. All this is utterly unlike the quiet contemplative lives of the coenobites in Engedi. It would seem that the thousand who died in the wilderness themselves, their wives, their children and their cattle (1 Macc 1:29-38), were more like the inhabitants of Engedi. Before leaving the Hasideans it must be said that the representation of the connection of the Hasideans with Judas Maccabeus put in the mouth of Alcimus by the writer of 2 Macc 14:6 is not trustworthy. After this desertion of the Maccabeans the more religious of them retired to Engedi, while the rest of the party were scattered over the country in the various cities and villages.
Position of Essenes in Josephus
As above mentioned the earliest mention of Essenes is by Josephus (Ant., XIII, v, 9) while Jonathan was high priest. The next is the story of Judas the Essene seated in the Temple surrounded by his scholars “who attended him (paremenon) in order to learn the art of foretelling,” thinking that the appearance of Antigonus in the Temple courts proved his prophecy false that he was that day to die in Strato’s tower (Caesarea). Judas is evidently a resident in Jerusalem and meets his pupils in the Temple courts. This would imply that he had no horror of the Temple nor was debarred from its courts. He had no repugnance for residence in cities. Menahem, the next figure that presents itself, shows a man who is mingling in court circles. He inflicts on Herod, the son of the favorite counselor of the high priest, a playful domestic chastisement and prophesies his future greatness. Herod, as we are told, always favored the Essenes in consequence. Later Archelaus consults Simon or Simeon, an Essene, as to the interpretation of a dream. He is at all events resident in Jerusalem and known in the court circles. He may have been Simeon of Lu 2:25-35. It must, however, be observed that the name is one of the commonest among the Jews at that time. After this, they disappear, unless Hippolytus’ identification of the Zealots with a section of the Essenes is admitted. Those in Engedi were aside from the course of the war, though if Pliny’s representation is to be taken as accurate the vines and palm trees of Engedi had been burned and the settlement had been rendered desolate. They may have betaken themselves to Pella like the Christians, so as not to be involved in the destruction of the city and the Temple. The communities of the sect in Asia Minor disappear also. To all appearance they are absorbed in the church.
Owing to the fact that so many of the doctrines and practices attributed to the Essenes have no resemblance to anything else in Judaism the question of origin has a special meaning in regard to them. Although like all Easterners the Jews have a desire for progeny–indeed the man who has no child occupies a secondary place in social esteem–yet the Essenes, or at all events some of them, shunned marriage. Despite the elaborate system of animal sacrifices that claimed to originate with Moses whom they venerated, they abjured bloody sacrifices. Although the seed of Aaron were anointed priests, they set up priests of their own. Their habit of morning and evening prayer, timed by the rising and setting of the sun, suggested sun-worship. The external resemblance of these tenets of the Essenes to those of the Pythagoreans impressed Josephus, and was emphasized by him all the more readily, since thus he brought himself and his nation into line with Greek thought. This suggestion of Josephus has led some, e.g. Zeller, to the deduction that they were Jewish neo-Pythagoreans. The features of resemblance are formidable when drawn out in catalogue. He shows (Philos. der Griechen, I. Theil, II, 239-92) that like the Pythagoreans the Essenes regarded asceticism a means of holiness. Both abstained from animal food and bloody sacrifices, admired celibacy and, dressing in white linen garments, had frequent washings. Both prohibited oaths; both formed a corporate body into which admission was had by act of initiation and after probation. Community of goods was the custom in both. Both believed in transmigration of souls. The value of this formidable list is lessened by the fact that there is something of uncertainty on both sides as to the precise views and customs. Philo and Josephus unquestionably Hellenized the views of the Essenes when they presented them before readers educated in Greek culture; further the views of Pythagoras have come down to us in a confused shape.
Essenes and Pythagoras
As to the assertion that the Pythagoreans dressed in white linen, Diogenes Laertius says that linen was not yet invented. Zeller has no sufficient evidence that the Essenes avoided the flesh of animals as food, and Diogenes Laertius expressly says that Pythagoras ate fish, though rarely (VIII, 18). While there seems no doubt as to the Pythagorean belief in the transmigration of souls, it seems certain that this was not a doctrine of the Essenes. Neither Philo nor Josephus attribute this view to them. This is the more striking that, immediately after dealing with the Essenes, Josephus proceeds to take up the doctrines of the Pharisees to whom he does attribute that view. Moreover the distinctive views of the Pythagoreans as to numbers and music have no sign of being held by the Essenes. On the other hand the fact that Pythagoras had a wife seems to throw doubt on their alleged preference for celibacy. Another chronological difficulty has to be met. The Pythagoreans as a society were put down in the 5th century before Christ. They may be regarded as having disappeared, till in the 2nd century AD they reappear as prominent neo-Pythagoreans. It is true that Cicero and Seneca mention Pythagoreans, but only as individuals who would claim to be the followers of Pythagoras, and not as members of a sect: they were without influence even in Italy.
Buddhism and Essenism
Chronology is equally against the view favored by Hilgenfeld that the influence of Buddhism may be traced in Essenism. As late as the end of the 2nd century AD, Clement of Alexandria, although acquainted with the name Buddha, is ignorant of his tenets and of divisions of his followers. The Alexandria which Hilgenfeld identified with Alexandria of Egypt, in which there was a Buddhist settlement, was really to be found in Bactria, where a Buddhist settlement was likely.
Parseeism and Essenism
There is more to be alleged in favor of Parsee influence being traceable. Neither geography nor chronology protests against this influence. The Jews were for centuries under the domination of the Persians, who were followers of Zoroaster. They seem on the whole to have been favored by the Persian rulers, a state of matters that would make the Jews all the more ready to view with sympathy the opinions and religion of these masters. Moreover, the Persian worship had spread away to the west, far beyond Syria. At the same time it is easy to exaggerate the points of resemblance. The dualism alleged to be a leading feature in Essenism is more a matter of deduction than of distinct statement. Indeed the proofs alleged by Zeller are almost ludicrous in their insufficiency, since Philo says that the Essenes shun marriage because women are selfish (philautos), and Josephus, that they do so because women are addicted to excess (aselgeia); that therefore they regard the female generally as under the dominion of the evil principle, the fact being that this is really a part of the Hellenizing which the Essene views underwent at the hands of Philo and Josephus. The alleged sun-worship is scarcely more worthy of credit: it is a deduction not even plausible. When carefully looked at the evidence points the other way. Their first prayer is offered not at sunrise but before it (BJ, II, viii, 5); in other words, they work while it is day. Their evening orisons are offered after the sun has set. At the same time their elaborate angelology seems to be due to the influence of the Zend-Avesta, but in this the Essenes merely shared with the rest of the Jews. We know that the Jews brought the names of the angels with them from Babylon.
Essenism Mainly Jewish
The most singular feature in Essenism is really a feature of Judaism emphasized out of proportion. It was unlike the Jews to shun marriage, yet in seasons when special holiness was required intercourse between the sexes was forbidden (Ex 19:15; 1Sa 21:5). The whole act of sexual intercourse was regarded as unclean (Le 15:16-18). In the Pauline Epistles uncleanness is used as equivalent to fornication (Ro 1:24; 6:19, etc.). So also in 2Pe 2:10. Such a view naturally led to the idea which soon became regnant in Christianity that the state of virginity was one of special sanctity (Re 14:4). The respect they gave to the unmarried state may be exaggerated. If Philo’s representation (quoted in Euseb., Preposition Evan., VIII, 11) be correct, men were not admitted until maturity was attained and passed, when, therefore, such desires had begun to die down. Their avoidance of marriage is a matter of less importance. Their extreme reverence for the Sabath is of a piece with their celibacy. Their avoidance of the Temple sacrifices, so far as they did so, may well be due to something of more than contempt for the religion of the Sadducean high-priestly party. Moreover, the long residence of Israel in Babylon, when the Temple worship had to be in abeyance, and the consequent prevalence of synagogue worship, tended to lessen the importance of the sacrifices of the Temple. Thus it would seem that the Essenes were really a Jewish sect that had retained more of the Zoroastrian elements than had the rest of the Jews.
RELATION TO THE APOCALYPTIC BOOKS
Among the features of Essenism which seem to have impressed Josephus most was the fact that they had sacred books of their sect which they preserved, as also the names of the angels, thus bringing the Essenian special books into connection with angelology. These books their proselytes were bound by oath to preserve (BJ, II, viii, 7). Concerning the kindred sect of the Therapeutae, Philo says, “They have also writings of ancient men” (De Vita Contemp., III). On the other hand, we have a mass of writings the same in character, dependent on one another, all apparently proceeding from one school of Jewish thought. Of the three sects of the Jews from which alone they could have proceeded the Sadducees are excluded because, while the apocalyptic books are full of angels, they believe neither in angel nor spirit (Ac 23:8). While doctrinally the Pharisees might suit, the fact that practically there is no reference to any of these books in the Talmud, which proceeded from the Pharisaic school, renders them unlikely to have been the authors. The Essenes seem to us to have been the school from which these apocalyptic works proceeded. The sect, at the fall of the Jewish state, disappeared in Christianity, and in the Christian church, these books are preserved.
Reasons for Holding the Essenes to Be the Writers of the Apocalypses
The section of the Essenes who dwelt as coenobites beside the Dead Sea were in circumstances specially liable to see visions and to have distorted views of morality, so that the composition of pseudonymous writings, literary forgeries, might seem right. As seen in the study of the apocalyptic books there is the undue prominence given to sexual sin–a prominence that seems to be symptomatic of the unhealthy mental state engendered by celibacy. These writings are the product of a school that professed to have secret sacred books. In 2 (4) Esdras 14:45,46 we have an account of how, while 24 of the sacred books were published to the multitude, 70 were retained for the “worthy,” that is, for some inner circle, some brotherhood like the Essenes. In the Assumption of Moses, Joshua is commanded to place the revelations given him “in certain vessels and anoint them with oil of cedar.” Such an order would be held as explaining at once the disappearance of the book for the years succeeding Moses and its opportune reappearance. On the one hand, we have a sect that professes to have secret sacred books, and on the other, we have sacred books that have been composed by a school that must have had many features which we recognize as Essenian. Further, the Essenes disappeared in the Christian church, and in the Christian church and not among the Jews are these books preserved.
The main objection to this ascription is the prominence of the Messianic hope in the apocalyptic books, and the absence of any notice in Josephus and Philo that the Essenes had this hope. But from neither of these writers could be discovered that any of the Jews cherished this hope. Yet from the New Testament we know that this hope was a prominent feature in national aspirations. Philo, associating perpetually with Greeks, would be sensitive to the ridicule to which such views would expose him, and how it would undo much of his laborious efforts to commend Judaism to the Greeks as a higher philosophy. Josephus had not only that motive, but the more serious one of personal safety. To have enlarged on Messianic hopes and declared these hopes to have been cherished by these Essenes whom he had praised so much would be liable to bring him under suspicion of disloyalty to Rome. The silence of these two writers proves nothing because it proves too much; and further we have easy explanation of this silence. The assumption of Dr. Charles that the Essenian ideal was ethical and individualistic is pure assumption. There is another objection that while the doctrine of resurrection is recognized in these books we know nothing of the Essenes holding it. That the Greeks and their scholars in philosophy, the Romans, looked at the idea of resurrection from the dead as a subject for ridicule would be reason sufficient for Philo and Josephus to suppress such a feature in their description of the Essenes. From them it could not be learned that the Pharisees ever had any such belief. It is also objected that while the Essenes held the pre-existence of souls, there is no trace of this belief in the apocalyptic books. Josephus, however, does not really assert that they believed in the prior existence of individual souls, but rather in a soul-stuff from which individual souls were separated. Thus both positively and negatively we think there is a strong case for the Essenes being regarded as the authors of the apocalyptic books. Further objections are brought forward by Dr. Charles as applicable to the Assumption of Moses specially. One is the interest manifested in the Temple by the writer while, so says Dr. Charles, “the Essene was excluded from its courts,” and refers to Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i, 5. He must have forgotten, while penning this sentence, Ant, XIII, xi, 2, in which Judas, the Essene, is represented as teaching in the Temple. His objection that Josephus credits the Essenes with a belief in a paradise beyond the ocean like the Greek Islands of the Blest, appears to us to lay too much stress on what is in both cases figurative language. Moreover, in Enoch the description of Paradise (chapters 24 through 26) would almost seem to be the original from which Josephus (BJ, II, viii, 11) drew his picture. He seems to regard our ignorance of how far the Essenes agreed with the rest of their countrymen in considering the enemies of Israel “the wicked,” as evidence that they disagreed with them on that point.
THE ESSENES AND CHRISTIANITY
1. Resemblances between Essenism and Christianity
That there were many points of resemblance between the Essenes and the church in its earliest form cannot be denied. The Essenes, we are told, maintained a community of goods and required anyone who joined their society to sell all he had and present it to the community (Hippolytus, Adv. Heret., ix; x; Josephus, BJ, II, viii, 3), just as so many of the primitive Christians did in Jerusalem (Ac 4:37). Another peculiarity of the Essenes–noted by Josephus (BJ, II, viii, 4)–that they moved about from city to city, and wherever they went found accommodation with members of their order, although perfect strangers, may be compared with our Lord’s instructions to His disciples when He sent them forth (Mt 10:11): “Into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy.” When one thinks of who those worthy persons could be, and what was the evidence by which their worthiness was expected to be established, one is almost obliged to suppose that it was some specially easily recognized class that was so designated. If the worthiness in question was the moral quality, there are so many ideas of moral worth that when the apostles inquired, on entering a city, who was worthy, before they could act on the answer they would need to discover what was the criterion of worthiness in the mind of him from whom they had inquired. If, however, this term was the private designation of the members of a sect, one by which they, in speaking of each other, indicated that they were co-members, as the “Quakers” speak of each other as “Friends,” the inquiry for those who were worthy would be simple enough. If the Essenes were “the worthy,” then identification would be complete, but we cannot assume that. The majority of the points in which the Essenes resembled the primitive Christians are noted above in connection with each feature as it appears in the passage or passages of the authorities that record it, and to these we refer our readers.
Points of Difference
At the same time, although there are thus many points of likeness, it is not to be denied that there are also many features in Essenism which are at variance with the practice of the early church and the teaching of our Lord and His apostles. The most prominent of these is the difference of attitude toward marriage and the female sex. Our Lord sanctified marriage by His presence at the marriage at Cana of Galilee, although He himself never married. He used the festivities of marriage again and again as illustrations. He drew women to Him and had none of the contempt of the sex which Josephus and Philo attribute to the Essenes. The apostles assume the marriage relationship as one into which Christians may be expected in due course to enter and give exhortations suited to husbands and wives (1Pe 3:1-7; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19). The apostle Paul uses the relation of husband and wife as the symbol of the relation of Christ to His church (Eph 5:32). The writer of the Epistle to the He declares, “Marriage is honorable in all” (Heb 13:4 the King James Version).
Another point in which the Essenes differed from the practice of our Lord and His disciples was the exaggerated reverence the former gave to the Sabbath, not even moving a vessel from one place to another on the seventh day. our Lord’s declaration, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mr 2:27), cuts at the feet of that whole attitude. The point of His conflict with the Pharisees was His disregard of the Sabbath as fenced by their traditions. The Essenes shrank from contact with oil, which our Lord certainly did not do. On the contrary He rebuked the Pharisee for his neglect (Lu 7:46). He was twice anointed by women, and in both cases commended the deed. The purely external and material bulked largely in the opinions of the Essenes. our Lord emphasized the internal and spiritual. Many have held and do hold that our Lord was an Essene. If at the beginning of His career He belonged to this sect He must have broken with it long before the end of His ministry.
Why our Lord Never Meets the Essenes
There are some phenomena which, irrespective of these resemblances and differences, have a bearing on the relation between Essenism and Christianity. The first is the fact that our Lord, who met so many different classes of the inhabitants of Palestine–Pharisees and Sadducees, Zealots and Herodians, publicans, Samaritans, Greeks–never is recorded to have met an Essene. The common answer, which satisfied even Bishop Lightfoot, is that they were so few and lived so retired that it was no marvel that He never encountered any of them. They had little or no effect on the national life. This mistaken answer is due to forgetting that though both Josephus and Philo say the Essenes were 4,000 they also declare that they were “many in every city,” that there were “ten thousands of them.” our Lord must have met them; but if the name “Essene” was a designation given from without like “Quakers,” then they may appear in the Gospels under another name. There is a class of persons three times referred to–those “that waited for the consolation of Israel” (Lu 2:25 the King James Version), “looking for the redemption” (Lu 2:38), “waited for the kingdom of God” (Mr 15:43 the King James Version; Lu 23:51 the King James Version). There are thus Simeon and Anna at the beginning of His earthly life, and Joseph of Arimathea at the end, connected with this sect. If, then, this sect were the Essenes under another name, the difficulty would be removed. If, further, in any sense, our Lord belonged, or had belonged, to the Essenes, then as He would be perpetually meeting and associating with them, these meetings would not be chronicled. A man cannot meet himself. If they are the authors of the apocalyptic books, as we contend, then the title “waiters for the kingdom of God” would be most suitable, full as these books are of Messianic hopes. If this opinion is correct our Lord’s assumption of the title “Son of Man” is significant, taken in connection with the prominence given to that title in the Enoch books.
The disappearance of Essenism in Christianity
Another significant phenomenon is the disappearance of Essenism in Christianity. Bishop Lightfoot, in his dissertation on the Colossian Heresy (Comm. on Col, 21-111), proves that it was Essenism. These Essenes must have been baptized into Christ, or they could not have got entry into the Christian communities which had been drawn to Christ from heathenism. But that is not the only heresy that is connected with the Essenes. The Ebionites seem to have been Essenes who had passed over into Christianity. In the Apostolical Constitutions the Ebionites and Essenes are brought into very close connection. Epiphanius, in his confused way, mixes up the various names under which the Essenes appear in his works with a certain Elkaisa, a connection also to be found in Hippolytus, an earlier and better authority. But Elkaisa claimed to be a Christian. His leading follower, Alcibiades, appeared in Rome and was resisted by Hippolytus. The Clementine Homilies, a religious novel of which Peter is the hero, has many Essenian features. It is assumed to be Ebionite, but that only makes the evidence that the Essenes had become Christians all the more convincing. The Ebionites were Christians, if defective in their views, and the presence of Essenian features in a work proceeding from them emphasizes the identity.
There is another phenomenon, more extensive and important than those we have considered above–the presence of Monachism in the church. Notwithstanding that our Lord prayed “not that” the disciples be taken “out of the world,” but that they be kept “from the evil” (Joh 17:15), implying that they were not to retire into solitude, and that the apostle Paul regards it as demonstrating the falsity of our possible interpretation of an exhortation of his that it would imply that the disciples “must needs go out of the world” (1Co 5:10); yet the monks did retire from the world and regarded themselves as all the holier for so doing, and were regarded so by others. The apostle Paul declares the “forbidding to marry” one of “the doctrines of demons,” yet very soon asceticism set in and virginity was regarded as far holier than the married state. Retirement from the world and asceticism were the two cardinal characteristics of Monachism. Despite that these were in antagonism to the teachings of Christ and His apostles, within little more than a century after our Lord’s ascension Monachism began to appear, and prevailed more and more and continues to this day. These characteristics, retirement from the world and asceticism, especially forbidding to marry, were marked features of Essenism. The wholesale entrance of the Essene sect into the church would explain this. On the other hand this wholesale passing over into Christianity of so intensely Jewish a sect implies a historic connection or affinity. It is true that the catechetic school of Alexandria praises the contemplative life, so admired by their contemporaries, the neo-Platonists, and that philosophy which had been looked at askance by the church was, so to say, taken under their protection by the Alexandrian school, and the retirement of solitaries into the deserts or the formation of monasteries served to promote this contemplation. This led to all the extravagances of the monks being regarded as heights of philosophy. Such views were a cause, but as certainly were they also effects. The cause of these effects as it seems to us was to some extent the admiration extended by Philo, the Alexandrian, to the Essenes and Therapeutae, and the influence of Philo on his Christian successors in Alexandria.
Philo, Josephus, Pliny, Hegesippus, Porphyry, Hippolytus, Epiphanius.
While submitting these as a sample, and only as a sample, of the vast literature of the subject, we agree in the advice given by F. C. Conybeare–in HDB, under the word: “The student may be advised to study for himself the very limited documentary sources relating to the Essenes and then to draw his own conclusions.”
by J. E. H. Thomson
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Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth …
All of us will go through difficult times that we may not fully understand. The apostle Paul wrote, “in the last days difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Those difficulties are part of the human imperfection (Rom. 5:12) and living in a fallen world that is ruled by Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4). But when we find ourselves in such a place, it’s crucial that we realize God has given us a way out. (1 Cor. 10:13) Edward Andrews writes that if we remain steadfast in our faith and apply God’s Word correctly when we go through difficult times, we will not only grow spiritually, but we will …
Why should you be interested in the prophecy recorded by Daniel in chapter 11 of the book that bears his name? The King of the North and the King of the South of Daniel are locked in an all-out conflict for domination as a world power. As the centuries pass, turning into millenniums, first one, then the other, gains domination over the other. At times, one king rules as a world power while the other suffers destruction, and there are stretches of time where there is no conflict. But then another battle abruptly erupts, and the conflict begins anew. Who is the current King of the North and the King of the South? Who are the seven kings or kingdoms of Bible history in Revelation chapter 17? We are living in the last days that the apostle Paul spoke of, when he said, “difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7) How close we are to the end of these last days, wherein we will enter into the Great Tribulation that Jesus Christ spoke of (Matt. 24:21), no one can know for a certainty. However, Jesus and the New Testament authors have helped to understand the signs of the times and …
The theme of Andrews’ new book is “YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” As a Christian, you touch the lives of other people, wherein you can make a positive difference. Men and women of ancient times such as David, Nehemiah, Deborah, Esther, and the apostle Paul had a positive influence on others by caring deeply for them, maintaining courageous faith, and displaying a mild, spiritual attitude. Christians are a special people. They are also very strong and courageous for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference, be it with ten others or just one, you will have done what Jesus asked of you, and there is no more beautiful feeling. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE with joy.
Many have successfully conquered bad habits and addictions by applying suggestions found in the Bible and by seeking help from God through prayer. You simply cannot develop good habits and kick all your bad ones overnight. See how to establish priorities. Make sure that your new habits work for you instead of your old bad habits against you. It is one thing to strip off the old habits, yet quite another to keep them off. How can we succeed in doing both, no matter how deeply we may have been involved in bad habitual practices?
It may seem to almost all of us that we are either entering into a difficult time, living in one, or just getting over one and that we face one problem after another. This difficulty may be the loss of a loved one in death or a severe marriage issue, a grave illness, the lack of a job, or simply the stress of daily life. As Christians, we need to understand that God’s Word will carry us through these times, as we maintain our integrity whether in the face of tremendous trials or the tension of everyday life. We are far better facing these hurdles of life with the help of God, who can make the worst circumstances much better and more bearable.
The world that you live in today has many real reasons to be fearful. Many are addicted to drugs, alcohol, bringing violence into even the safest communities. Terrorism has plagued the world for more than a decade now. Bullying in schools has caused many teen suicides. The divorce rate even in Christian households is on the rise. Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is prevalent everywhere. Our safety, security, and well-being are in danger at all times. We now live in a prison of fear to even come outside the protection of our locked doors at home. Imagine living where all these things existed, but you could go about your daily life untouched by fear and anxiety. What if you could be courageous and strong through your faith in these last days? What if you could live by faith not fear? What if insight into God’s Word could remove your fear, anxiety, and dread? Imagine a life of calmness, peace, unconcern, confidence, comfort, hope, and faith. Are you able to picture a life without fear? It is possible.
John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell,” because it is considered a summary of the central theme of traditional Christianity. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “The heart of the Bible, the Gospel in miniature.” The Father had sent his Son to earth to be born as a human baby. Doing this meant that for over three decades, his Son was susceptible to the same pains and suffering as the rest of humankind, ending in the most gruesome torture and execution imaginable. The Father watched the divine human child Jesus grow into a perfect man. He watched as John the Baptist baptized the Son, where the Father said from heaven, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) The Father watched on as the Son faithfully carried out his will, fulfilling all of the prophecies, which certainly pleased the Father.–John 5:36; 17:4. …
This commentary volume is part of a series by Christian Publishing House (CPH) that covers all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. These volumes are a study tool for the pastor, small group biblical studies leader, or the churchgoer. The primary purpose of studying the Bible is to learn about God and his personal revelation, allowing it to change our lives by drawing closer to God. The Book of James volume is written in a style that is easy to understand. The Bible can be difficult and complex at times. Our effort herein is to make it easier to read and understand, while also accurately communicating truth. CPH New Testament Commentary will convey the meaning of the verses in the book of Philippians. In addition, we will also cover the Bible background, the custom and culture of the times, as well as Bible difficulties. …
SECTION 1 Surviving Sexual Desires and Love will cover such subjects as What Is Wrong with Flirting, The Pornography Deception, Peer Pressure to Have Sexual Relations, Coping With Constant Sexual Thoughts, Fully Understanding Sexting, Is Oral Sex Really Sex, …SECTION 2 Surviving My Friends will cover such subjects as Dealing with Loneliness, Where Do I Fit In, Why I Struggle with Having Friends, …SECTION 3 Surviving the Family will cover such subjects as Appreciating the House Rules, Getting Along with My Brothers and Sisters, How Do I Find Privacy, … SECTION 4 Surviving School will cover such subjects as How Do I Deal With Bullies, How Can I Cope With School When I Hate It, … SECTION 5 Surviving Who I Am will cover such subjects as Why Do I Procrastinate, … SECTION 6 Surviving Recreation will cover such subjects as … SECTION 7 Surviving My Health will cover such subjects as How Can I Overcome My Depression, …
Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling in their walk as a young person. Anyone who has a friend who is having difficulty handling or coping with their young life, so you can offer them the help they need. Any parent who has young ones. And grade school, junior high or high school that wants to provide an, in touch, anti-suicide message to their students. … Many youths say that they would never dream of killing themselves. Still, they all have the deep feeling that there are no reasons for going on with their lives. Some have even hoped that some sort of accident would take their pain away for them. They view death as a release, a way out, a friend, not their enemy. …
The purpose of Waging War is to guide the youth of this program from start to finish in their therapeutic efforts to gain insight into their patterns of thinking and beliefs that have led to the current outcomes in their life thus far and enable them to change the path which they are on. Waging War is a guide to start the youth with the most basic information and work pages to the culmination of all of the facts, scripture, and their newly gained insight to offer a more clear picture of where they are and how to change their lives for the better. Every chapter will have work pages that Freeman has used and had found to be useful in therapy, but most importantly, this workbook will teach the Word to a population that does not hear it in its’ most correct form. What is the significance of controlling ones’ thoughts and how does that apply to you? Doubts, fears, and insecurities come from somewhere, especially when they are pervasive. Understanding this idea will help one to fight those thoughts and free them from the shackles their mind puts around their hearts, preventing them from achieving their dreams and the plans God had intended for them when they were created.
There are many reasons the Christian view of humanity is very important. The Christian view of humanity believes that humans were created in the image of God. We will look at the biblical view of humanity. We are going to look at the nature of man, the freedom of man, the personality of man, the fall of man, the nature of sin and death, as well as why God has allowed sin to enter into the world, as well as all of the wickedness and suffering that came with it. Andrews will answer the following questions and far more. How does the Bible explain and describe the creation of man and woman? Why is it imperative that we understand our fallen condition? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …
In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM, Edward D. Andrews offers practical and biblical insights on a host of Christian spiritual growth struggles, from the challenge of forgiveness to eating disorders, anger, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, and many others. Based on Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV): “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Andrews’ text works from the position that if we can change the way that we think, we can alter the way we feel, which will modify the way we behave. FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM offers far more than self-help to dozens of spiritual struggles, personal difficulties, and mental disorders. It will benefit Christian and non-Christian alike. The Scriptural advice and counsel coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy will be helpful even if every chapter is not one of your struggles. For As I Think in My Heart enables readers to examine the lies and half-truths …
THERE IS A GENUINE HAPPINESS, contentment, and joy, which come from reading, studying and applying God’s Word. This is true because the Scriptures offer us guidance and direction that aids us in living a life that coincides with our existence as a creation of Almighty God. For example, we have a moral law that was written on our heart. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, at the same time, we have a warring against the law of our mind and taking us captive in the law of sin, which is in our members. (Rom. 7:21-25) When we live by the moral law, it brings us joy, when we live by the law of sin; it brings about distress, anxiety, regrets to both mind and heart, creating a conflict between our two natures. In our study of the Bible, we can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with us. And in APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY, we will learn how to engage His words like never before. Andrews helps his readers …
THERE IS ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Christian living books by Andrews and those by others. Generally speaking, his books are filled with Scripture and offer its readers what the Bible authors meant by what they penned. In this publication, it is really God’s Word offering the counsel, which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) From the moment that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans have been brought forth in sin, having become more and more mentally bent toward evil, having developed a heart (i.e., inner person) that is treacherous, and unknowable to them, with sin’s law dwelling within them. Sadly, many of us within the church have not been fully informed …
A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and profound joy that is seldom found in this world under the imperfection of fallen flesh that is catered to by Satan, the god of the world. Many who were formerly living in sin and have now turned their life over to God, they now know this amazing relief and are able today to hold a good and clean conscience as they carry out the will of the Father. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD, has been written to help its readers to find that same joy, to have and maintain a good, clean conscience in their lives. Of course, it is incapable of covering every detail that one would need to consider and apply in their lives …
This book is primarily for WIVES, but husbands will greatly benefit from it as well. WIVES will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS. It offers wives the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. WIVES learn that marriage is a gift from God. WIVEStake in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. WIVES will be able to make Christian marriage a success. WIVES will maintain an honorable marriage. WIVES will see how to submit correctly to Christ’s headship. WIVES will learn how to strengthen their marriage through good communication. …
This book is primarily for HUSBANDS, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. HUSBANDS will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES. It offers husbands the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. HUSBANDS learn that marriage is a gift from God. HUSBANDS take in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. HUSBANDS will be able to make Christian marriage a success. HUSBANDS will maintain an honorable marriage. …
Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change. Some of the questions that Anderson will answer are: What are the technological challenges of the 21st century? How should we think about the new philosophies like transhumanism? Should we be concerned about big data? What about our privacy in a world where government and corporations have some much information about us? How should we think about a world experiencing exponential growth in data and knowledge? What social trends are affecting baby boomers, baby busters, and millennials?
Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. The thirteen chapters in this book not only look at the broad founding principles but also provide an in-depth look at other important political and governmental issues. One section explains the history and application of church and state issues. Another section describes aspects of political debate and discourse. A final section provides a brief overview of the Christian heritage of this nation that was important in the founding of this country and the framing of our founding documents.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day …
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Each of the twenty-five chapters in the POWER THROUGH PRAYER provides helpful methods and suggestions for growing and improving your prayer life with God through the power of prayer. So, what can we expect if we make prayer a part of our life? Prayer can give you a peace of mind. Prayer can comfort and strength when facing trials. Prayer can help us make better life choices. The Bible says: “If any of you lacks wisdom [especially in dealing with trials], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Prayer can help to avoid temptation. Prayer is the path yo forgiveness of sins. Your prayers can help others. You will receive encouragement when your prayers are answered.
DOZENS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Why is prayer necessary? What must we do to be heard by God? How does God answer our prayers? Does God listen to all prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers? What may we pray about? Does the Father truly grant everything we ask for? What kind of prayers would the Father reject? How long should our prayers be? How often should we pray? Why should we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? Must we assume a special position or posture when praying? There are far more than this asked and answered.
What forms of prayer do you personally need to offer more often? Who benefits when you pray for others? Why is it important to pray regularly? Why should true Christians pray continually? To whom should we pray, and how? What are proper subjects for prayer? When should you pray? Does God listen to all prayers? Whose prayers is God willing to hear? What could make a person’s prayers unacceptable to God? When Jesus says, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith,” an absolute guarantee that we will receive it? HOW TO PRAY by Torrey and Andrews is a spiritual gem that will answer all of these questions and far more. HOW TO PRAY is a practical guidebook covers the how, when, and most importantly, the way of praying. An excellent devotional resource for any Christian library.
Christian Apologetics and Evangelism
Was the Gospel of Mark Written First? Were the Gospel Writers Plagiarists? What is the Q Document? What about Document Q? Critical Bible scholars have assumed that Matthew and Luke used the book of Mark to compile their Gospels and that they consulted a supplementary source, a document the scholars call Q from the German Quelle, or source. From the close of the first century A.D. to the 18th century, the reliability of the Gospels was never really brought into question. However, once we enter the so-called period of enlightenment, especially from the 19th century onward, some critical Bible scholars viewed the Gospels not as the inspired, inerrant Word of God but rather as the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In addition, they determined that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, saying the Gospels were written after the apostles, denying that the writers of the Gospels had any firsthand knowledge of Jesus; therefore, for these Bible critics such men were unable to offer a record of reliable history. Moreover, these critical Bible scholars came to the conclusion that the similarities in structure and content in the synoptic (similar view) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), suggests that the evangelists copied extensively from one other. Further, the critical Bible scholars have rejected that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection ever occurred as recorded in the Gospels. Lastly, some have even gone so far as to reject the historicity of Jesus himself.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Jesus?’ ‘He was the perfect, divine, Son of God.’ Admittedly, you cannot be a perfect teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Jesus taught. THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Paul?’ ‘He was an inspired author, who served as an apostle, given miraculous powers.’ Admittedly, Paul likely accomplished more than any other imperfect human. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Paul taught. THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
How true is the Old Testament? For over two centuries Biblical scholars have held to the so-called documentary hypothesis, namely, that Genesis – Deuteronomy was not authored by Moses, but rather by several writers, some of whom lived centuries after Moses’ time. How have many scholars questioned the writership of Isaiah, and are they correct? When did skepticism regarding the writership of Isaiah begin, and how did it spread? What dissecting of the book of Isaiah has taken place? When did criticism of the book of Daniel begin, and what fueled similar criticism in more recent centuries? What charges are sometimes made regarding the history in Daniel? Why is the question of the authenticity of the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel an important one? What evidence is there to show that the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel is authentic and true? Do these critics have grounds for challenging these Bible author’s authenticity and historical truthfulness? Why is it important to discuss whether Old Testament Aurhoriship is authentic and true or not?
Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? If Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, then how was his own death and burial written in Deuteronomy Chapter 34? Many mainstream Bible scholars argue that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch since he likely existed many centuries earlier than the development of the Hebrew language. When was the origin of the Hebrew language? Popular scholarship says that if Moses had written the Pentateuch, he would have written in the Egyptian language, not the Hebrew. Moreover, most of the Israelites and other people of the sixteenth century B.C.E. were illiteral, so who could have written the Torah, and for whom would it be written because the people of that period did not read?
Finally, analysis of the first five books demonstrates multiple authors, not just one, which explains the many discrepancies. Multiple authors also explain the many cases of telling of the same story twice, making the same events appear to happen more than once. The modern mainstream scholarship would argue that within the Pentateuch we see such things as preferences for certain words, differences in vocabulary, reoccurring expressions in Deuteronomy that are not found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, all evidence for their case for multiple authors.
What does the evidence say? What does archaeology, linguistic analysis, historical studies, textual analysis, and insights from Egyptologists tell us? Again, who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? Andrews offers his readers an objective view of the evidence.
Agabus is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim Agabus as an illustration of their convictions. This study defends the position that Agabus’ prophecies are true in every detail. Beginning with a survey of major figures in the debate, the author conducts an exegetical analysis of passages where Agabus appears in defense of the infallible view.
Islam is making a significant mark on our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers. This book provides practical, biblical answers so Christians can understand Islam, witness to their Muslim friends, and support efforts by the government to protect all of us from terrorism.
IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform them, as a protection again the misleading media. The non-Muslims need to hear these truths about Islam and the Quran so they can have an accurate understanding of the Muslim mindset that leads to their actions. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Radical Islam has taken the world by storm, and the “fake media” has genuinely misled their audience for the sake of political correctness. This book is not a dogmatic attack on Islam and the Quran but rather an uncovering of the lies and describing of the truths. The reader will be introduced to the most helpful way of viewing the evidence objectively. We will answer the question of whether the Quran is a literary miracle, as well as is there evidence that the Quran is inspired by God, along with is the Quran harmonious and consistent, and is the Quran from God or man? We will also examine Islamic teachings, discuss the need to search for the truth, as well as identify the book of truth. We will look at how Islam views the Bible. Finally, we will take up the subjects of Shariah Law, the rise of radical Islam, Islamic eschatology, and how to effectively witness to Muslims.
The average Christian knows somewhat how dangerous radical Islam is because of the regular media coverage of beheadings of Christians, Jews, and even young little children, not to mention Muslims with which they disagree. However, the average Christian does not know their true beliefs, just how many there are, to the extent they will go to carry out these beliefs. Daily we find Islamic commentators on the TV and radio, offering up misleading information, quoting certain portions of the Quran while leaving other parts out. When considering Islamic beliefs, other Islamic writings must be considered, like the Hadith or Sunnah, and the Shariah, or canon law. While Islam, in general, does not support radical Islam, the vast majority do support radical beliefs. For example, beheadings, stoning for adultery or homosexuality, suicide bombings, turning the world into an Islamic state, and far too many other heinous things. THE GUIDE TO ISLAM provides Christians with an overview of Islamic terminology. The reader will learn about Muhammad’s calling, the history of the Quran, how Islam expanded, the death of Muhammad and the splinter groups that followed. In addition, the three sources of their teaching, six pillars of belief, five pillars of Islam, the twelfth Imam, and much more will be discussed. All of this from the mind of radical Islam. While there are several books on Islam and radical Islam, this will be the first that will prepare its readers to communicate effectively with Muslims in an effort toward sharing biblical truths. …
If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, … If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, straightforward style, Salisbury covers such issues as: Does God exist? Can I trust the Bible? Does Christianity oppress women? Can we know truth? Why would God allow evil and suffering? Was Jesus God and did He really rise from the dead? How does or should my faith guide my life?
A Time to Speak: Practical Training for the Christian Presenteris a complete guide for effective communication and presentation skills. Discuss any subject with credibility and confidence, from Christian apologetics to the sensitive moral issues of our day, when sharing a testimony, addressing a school board, a community meeting, or conference. This exceptional training is the perfect resource for Christians with any level of public speaking ability. With its easy, systematic format, A Time to Speak is also an excellent resource for home-schooled and college students. The reader, in addition to specific skills and techniques, will also learn how to construct their presentation content, diffuse hostility, guidance for a successful Q&A, effective ways to turn apathy into action, and tips on gaining their speaking invitation.
Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation (Historical Criticism), and why is historical criticism so popular among Bible scholars today? Its popularity is because biblical criticism is subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal feelings or opinions and is dependent on the Bible scholar’s perception. In other words, biblical criticism allows the Bible scholar, teacher, or pastor the freedom to interpret the Scriptures, so that God’s Word it tells them things that they want to hear. Why is this book so critical for all Christians? Farnell and Andrews will inform the reader about Biblical criticism (historical criticism) and its weaknesses, helping you to defend God’s Word far better.
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and is destructive in its very nature. Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of over seventy books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan apologetics and evangelism. They will learn what Christian apologetics is. They will be given a biblical answer to the most demanding Bible question: Problem of Evil. The reader will learn how to reach hearts with are the art of persuasion. They will use persuasion to help others accept Christ. They will learn to teach with insight and persuasiveness. They will learn to use persuasion to reach the heart of those who listen to them.
REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively. We can also have preconceived ideas that have been a part of our thinking for so long; we do not question them. Preconceived is an idea or opinion that is formed before having the evidence for its truth. If we are to be effective, we must season our words, so that they are received well. Then there is the term preconception, which means a preconceived idea or prejudice. Seasoned words, honesty, and accuracy are distinctive features of effective apologetic evangelism.
Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on the message of God’s Word that we share but also the method in which we do so. Our message, the Gospel (i.e., the good news of the Kingdom), this does not change, but we do adjust our methods. Why? We are seeking to reach as many receptive people as possible. “You will be my witnesses … to the End of the Earth.” – ACTS 1:8.
Why should we be interested in the religion of others? The world has become a melting pot of people, cultures, and values, as well as many different religions. Religion has the most significant impact on the lives of mankind today. There are only a few of the major religions that make up billions of people throughout the earth. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8) That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions. …
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they can grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist’s words should always be seasoned with salt as he or she shares the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example in helping the unbeliever to understand the Bible has been provided by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Whether dealing with Bible critics or answering questions from those genuinely interested, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and at times used appropriate illustrations, helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Word of God. The apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving” what was biblically true. (Ac 17:2-3) The material in THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST can enable us to do the same. Apologist Normal L. Geisler informs us that “evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel” and “pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Cor. 3: 6).”
THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the Kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14) This is the assignment, which all Christians are obligated to assist in carrying out. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) If one failed to be obedient to the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, he or she could hardly claim that they have genuine faith. All true Christians have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing Bible beliefs with others.
“Absorbing, instructional, insightful. Judy Salisbury’s book Divine Appointments embodies examples of truly speaking the truth in love. The stories she weaves together provide perfect examples of how to relate to others through conversational evangelism… Divine Appointments is an apt companion to any apologetics book, showing how to put principles into practice. It’s an apologetics manual wrapped in a warm blanket. Snuggle up with it.”— Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for which he can build throughout his Christian life. These eight sections with multiple chapters in each cover biblical interpretation, Bible translation philosophies, textual criticism, Bible difficulties, the Holy Spirit, Christian Apologetics, Christian Evangelism, and Christian Living.
“‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.”(p. xiii)—Dr. Lee M. Fields.
The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the 1960’s has permeated the Western culture and weakened its very core. The West is now characterized by strict elitist media censorship, hedonism, a culture of drug abuse, abortion, ethnic clashes and racial divide, a destructive feminism and the dramatic breakdown of the family. An ultra-rich elite pushes our nations into a new, authoritarian globalist structure, with no respect for Western historical values. Yet, even in the darkest hour, there is hope. This manifesto outlines the remedy for the current malaise and describes the greatness of our traditional and religious values that once made our civilization prosper. It shows how we can restore these values to bring back justice, mercy, faith, honesty, fidelity, kindness and respect for one another. Virtues that will motivate individuals to love one another, the core of what will make us great again.
EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the Kingdom of God? What was their worship like and why were they called the Truth and the Way? How did 120 disciples at Pentecost grow to over one million within 70-80-years? What was meant by their witness to the ends of the earth? How did Christianity in its infancy function to accomplish all it did? How was it structured? How were the early Christians, not of the world? How were they affected by persecution? How were they not to love the world, in what sense? What divisions were there in the second and third centuries? Who were the Gnostics? These questions will be answered, as well as a short overview of the division that grew out of the second and third centuries, pre-reformation, the reformation, and a summary of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a lengthy introduction to First-Century Christianity, there is a chapter on the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today, followed by sixteen chapters that cover the most prominent Christians from the second to fourth centuries, as well as a chapter on Constantine the Great.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or congregation, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” OURS is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A half brother of Jesus warned us against doubting: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (Jam. 1:6) When insidious doubts begin to creep into the mind and the heart, it is only a matter of time before a CRISIS OF FAITH gives way spiritual shipwreck. Since we have been warned that “some will fall away from the faith,” we should be ready “to save some,” even ourselves. …
The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they say occurred in 607 B.C.E. The Witnesses conclude that Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel prophesied a 2,520 year period that began in 607 B.C.E. and ended in 1914 C.E. They state, “Clearly, the ‘seven times’ and ‘the appointed times of the nations’ refer to the same time period.” (Lu 21:24) It is their position that When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings was interrupted, God’s throne was “trampled on by the nations” until 1914, at which time Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven. …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, do you find continuous demanding appeals for money disturbing, perhaps even offensive? FLEECING THE FLOCK by Anthony Wade is an exhaustive examination of all of the popular tithing arguments made from the pulpit today. …
DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.
Plunkett exposes the errors corrupting the Christian church through the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, and extreme charismatic movements. LEARN TO DISCERN, by author Daniel Plunkett highlights how an encounter with a rising star in the Word of Faith / “Signs and Wonders” movement was used by God to open his eyes to the deceptions, false teachings, and spiritual abuses running rampant in the charismatic movement today. These doctrines are thoroughly explored as taught by some of today’s most prominent speakers and evangelists and contrasted with the clear teachings of Scripture. LEARN TO DISCERN is an invaluable resource …
Translation and Textual Criticism
The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use. The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly because it carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. It is CGBT’s desire to take challenging and complex subjects and make them easy to understand. CGBT will communicate as clearly and powerfully as possible to all of its readers while also accurately communicating information about the Bible. …
We have come a long, long way from the time that the KJV was The Bible in English and the many translations available today. Finding the right Bible for the right person can be daunting, with almost too many choices available. However, it is still possible to divide the options into two broad categories: literal translations and dynamic equivalents. What is the difference, and why should you care? Bible publishers used to say that literal translations are good for study purposes, and dynamic equivalents are better for reading. So literal translations were advertised with terms like “accurate,” “reliable,” and, of course, “literal.” For dynamic equivalent translations, terms like “contemporary,” “easy to read,” and “written in today’s English” were used. Naturally, publishers do not advertise the negatives, so they did not point out that the literal translations might be a little harder to read, or that the dynamic equivalents might not be entirely faithful to the original languages of the Bible. However, more recently, some scholars have been taking this analysis in a new direction, assessing literal translations as less desirable than dynamic equivalents even for accuracy and reliability.
There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word of God. Then, there are dynamic equivalents, where the translator determines what the author meant by the original language text, and this is what they give the reader. There is also a paraphrase translation, which is an extremely interpretive translation. Exactly what are these differences? Are some translations better than others? What standards and principles can we use to determine what makes a good translation? Andrews introduces the readers to the central issues in this debate and presents several reasons why literal translations are superior to dynamic equivalent and paraphrase translations. We do not need to be a Bible scholar to understand these issues, as well as the importance of having the most accurate and faithful translation that is reflective of the original text. …
THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (TTNT) is an introduction, intermediate and advanced level coverage of the text of the New Testament. Andrews introduces the new and relatively new reader to this subject in the first few chapters of the TTNT. Andrews deepens his handling of the material, while still making it easy to understand in the next few chapters of the TTNT, all the while being very informative in both sections. All of this prepares the reader for Wilkins’ advanced chapters. THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews offer the reader an account of the copying by hand and transmission of the Greek New Testament. They present a comprehensive survey of the manuscript history from the penning of the 27 New Testament books to the current critical texts. What did the ancient books look like and how were documents written? How were the New Testament books published? Who would use secretaries? Why was it so hard to be a secretary in the first century? How was such work done? What do we know about the early Christian copyists? What were the scribal habits and tendencies? Is it possible to establish the original text of the NewTestament? …
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT is a shortened 321 pages of Andrews and Wilkins 602 page TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT without losing the value of content. The foremost thing the reader is going to learn is that the Greek New Testament that our modern translations are based on is a mirror-like reflection of the original and can be fully trusted. The reader will learn how the New Testament authors made and published their books, the secretaries in antiquity and their materials like Teritus who helped Paul pen the epistle to the Romans, and the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early copyists. The reader will also discover the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament. The reader will also learn how textual scholars known as paleography determine the age of the manuscripts.
The reader will learn all about the different sources that go into our restoring the Greek New Testament to its original form. Then, Andrews will cover the ancient version, the era of the printed text, and the arrival of the critical text. After that, the reader will be given a lengthy chapter on examples of how the textual scholar determines the correct reading by his looking at the internal and external evidence. Finally, and most importantly, the reader will find out the truth about the supposed 400,000 textual errors within the Greek New Testament manuscripts. The last chapter will be faith-building and enable you to defend the Word of God as inerrant.
THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COPYISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT intends to examine and evaluate the making of New Testament books, the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early Christian Scribes, the original or earliest text of the New Testament, and the secretaries in antiquity and their materials. We will also assess the early Christian copyists, the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament, scribal tendencies or habits, as well as the sources of New Testament textual criticism, which would include a lengthy chapter on ancient versions of the New Testament. We will also look into how paleographers date the ancient manuscripts and how did textual variations and manuscript families arise? Just how many textual variants are there and how are they to be counted? All of this to determine what guarantee do we have as to the reliability of the Greek text. What sort of changes did scribes make to the text and can we restore the Greek New Testament to its original state. NOTE: If you have read THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT by Andrews and Wilkins, you need not read this publication, as it is select chapters from TTNT.
Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the biases, assumptions, and shortcomings supporting Ehrman’s arguments. Using sound reason, scholarly exegesis, and the Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, as well as New Testament textual criticism, Andrews helps both churchgoer/Bible students, as well as scholars, overcome the teachings of biblical errancy that Ehrman propagates.—Easy to read and understand. …
CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM goes back to the early seventeenth century with a Christian theological debate between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate is centered around soteriology, that is, the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate has developed its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, the issues that are fundamental to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some fashion since the days of Augustine of Hippo’s disputes with the Pelagians in the fifth century. CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM is taking a different approach in that the issues will be discussed as The Bible Answers being that it is the centerpiece.
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. Stalker’s work includes a section at the back entitled “Hints for Teachers and Questions for Pupils.” This supplement contains notes and “further reading” suggestions for those teaching on the life of St. Paul, along with a number of questions over each chapter for students to discuss. In addition, seventeen extra chapters have been added that will help the reader better understand who the Apostle Paul was and what first-century Christianity was like. For example, a chapter on the conversion of Saul/Paul, Gamaliel Taught Saul of Tarsus, the Rights, and Privileges of Citizenship, the “Unknown God,” Areopagus, the Observance of Law as to Vows, and much more.
With solid scholarship and exceptional clarity, beginning in Gethsemane, Stalker and Andrews examine Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Their work is relevant, beneficial and enjoyable because they cover this historical period of Jesus’ life in an easy to understand format. Stalker’s expressive and persuasive style provides a great resource to any Bible study of the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST is an academicish book written with a novelish style.
Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly level, yet making it understandable to all. He has sought to provide the very best tool for interpreting the Word of God. This includes clarification of technical terms, answers to every facet of biblical interpretation, and defense of the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Andrews realizes that the importance of digging deeper in our understanding of the Bible, for defending our faith from modern-day misguided scholarship. Andrews gives the reader easy and memorable principles and methods to follow for producing an accurate explanation that comes out of, not what many read into the biblical text. The principal procedure within is to define, explain, offer many examples, and give illustrations, to help the reader fully grasp the grammatical-historical approach. …
Anybody who wants to study the Bible, either at a personal level or a more scholarly level needs to understand that there are certain principles that guide and govern the process. The technical word used to refer to the principles of biblical interpretation is hermeneutics, which is of immense importance in Biblical Studies and Theology. How to Interpret the Bible takes into consideration the cultural context, historical background and geographical location in which the text was originally set. This enables us to obtain clarity about the original author’s intended meaning. Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded as the start of a major historical transition to something new and promising and hailed as a major paradigm shift. Is it a philosophy that has passed its “sell-by” date? No! The radical fringe has become the dominant view and has been integrated into all aspects of life, including the Christian church. With the emergence of multicultural societies comes interaction with different belief systems and religions. Values like tolerance and a dislike of dogmatism have become key operating concepts, which reflect a change in worldview. …
In an age obsessed with physical and psychological health the author emphasizes the importance of spiritual well-being as an essential element of holistic health for the individual Christian and for Christian communities. This work constitutes a template for a spiritual audit of the local church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the author, aware that throughout the history of the church there have been a number of diverse views about how Revelation ought to be interpreted, presents the reader with four distinct interpretive models. These are the idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Beville explains these interpretive approaches simply and critiques them fairly.e …
This is a comprehensive study of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It traces the historical debate, examines the legal status of such activity in different countries and explores the political, medical and moral matters surrounding these emotive and controversial subjects in various cultural contexts. The key advocates and pioneers of this agenda-driven movement (such as the late Jack Kevorkian, popularly known as “Dr. Death” and Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International) are profiled. Not only are the elderly and disabled becoming increasingly vulnerable but children, psychiatric patients, the depressed and those who are simply tired of life are now on a slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare. The spotlight is brought to bear on the Netherlands, in particular, where palliative care and the hospice movement are greatly underdeveloped as a result of legalization. These dubious “services” are now offered as part of “normal” medical care in Holland where it is deemed more cost-effective to be given a lethal injection. The vital role of physicians as healers in society must be preserved and the important but neglected spiritual dimension of death must be explored. Thus a biblical view of human life is presented. …
Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark’s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use of illustrations to be helpful in preparing their own messages and as such, it will find a welcome place in the preacher’s library. Simply, powerfully, with great precision, and exegetical accuracy, Kieran Beville masterfully brings us on a life-transforming journey. Readers will be both inspired and challenged as they hear the words of Jesus speaking afresh from the page of Scripture and experience the ministry of Jesus in a spiritually captivating way. The author has a pastor’s heart, a theologian’s mind, and a writer’s gift. His style is gripping, as he beautifully explains and illustrates Mark’s Gospel. Kieran Beville has done a great service to the church, and especially to true believers, who desire to grow in grace, increase in their knowledge of truth, and experience the intimacy, joy, and underserved and unspeakable privilege of walking, as disciples, with Jesus. This book is ideal as a study companion for Mark’s Gospel. One can read a section from the gospel and then read the corresponding section to receive a fresh viewpoint and a practical application. …
What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control humans? How can we win our struggle against dark spiritual forces? How can you resist the demons? Do evil spirits exercise power over humankind? Is Satan really the god of this world and just what does that mean? What did Jesus mean when he said, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan]”? Andrews using the Bible will answer all of these questions and far more. …
Donald T. Williams learned a lot about the Christian worldview from Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis, but it was actually Tolkien who first showed him that such a thing exists and is an essential component of maturing faith. Not only do explicitly Christian themes underlie the plot structure of The Lord of the Rings, but in essays such as “On Fairie Stories” Tolkien shows us that he not only believed the Gospel on Sunday but treated it as true the rest of the week and used his commitment to that truth as the key to further insights in his work as a student of literature. “You can do that?” Williams thought as a young man not yet exposed to any Christian who was a serious thinker. “I want to do that!” His hope is that his readers will catch that same vision from this book. An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.
The Bible describes the events that will occur before and after the destruction of Gog of Magog. Who is Gog of Magog mentioned in the book of Ezekiel? Why should we be interested in the prophecy recorded in Daniel chapter 11? Find out in a verse-by-verse explanation of Daniel Chapter 11, as you discover who the kings of the North and the South are from before Jesus’ day throughout the last days. You will benefit from paying attention to Daniel’s prophecy about the battle between the two kings? Taken together, the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation not only identify eight kings but also show the sequence in which they would appear. We can explain those prophecies.
People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?
Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it important that we know who the antichrist and the man of lawlessness are? The antichrist and the man of lawlessness have had a greater impact on humanity and Christianity over the past centuries than many know. Moreover, the influence on the true worshipers of Christianity today has been even more significant and will only go from bad to worse as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. …
Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” (Isa 45:18) He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Father who “created them [humans] from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, the Father is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.” (Isa 40:28) It is because of God’s will that we exist, for He has ‘created all things, and because of his will they existed and were created.’―Revelations 4:11 …
Eschatology is the teaching of what is commonly called the “Last Things.” That is the subject of Andrews’ book, which will cover, Explaining Prophecy, Explaining Clean and Pure Worship, The New Testament Writers Use of the Old Testament, Explaining the Antichrist, Explaining the Man of Lawlessness, Explaining the Mark of the Beast, Explaining Signs of the End of the Age, Explaining the Rapture, Explaining the Great Tribulation, Explaining Armageddon, Explaining the Resurrection Hope, Explaining the Millennium, Explaining the Final Judgment, Explaining the Unevangelized, Explaining Hell
The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who will survive the end? These questions and far more will be answered as Andrews delves into The SECOND COMING of CHRIST. In chapters 1 and 2, we must address why Jesus is saying there would be an end to the Jewish age. In chapter 3, we will take a deep look at the signs that establish the great tribulation is closing in, and when is it time to flee. In chapter 4, we will go over the signs of the end of the Jewish age. In chapter 5, we will walk through the events leading up to the end of the Jewish age from 66 – 70 C.E., and how it applies to our Great Tribulation in these last days. In chapter 6, we will cover the second coming of Jesus where the reader will get the answers as to whether verses 3-28 of Matthew Chapter 24 apply to Christ’s second coming. We will close out with chapter 7, and how we should understand the signs, and how we do not want to be led astray, just as Jesus warned even some of the chosen ones would be misled. We will also address what comes after the end.
What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in Hell? What Is the Lake of Fire? Is It the Same as Hell or Gehenna? Where Do We Go When We Die? What Does the Bible Say About Hell? Andrews Shares the Truth on WHAT IS HELL From God’s Word.
Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place? There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that is often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve every problem if we are faithful? Does the Bible provide absolutes or guarantees in this age of imperfect humanity? Are miracles still happening today? Is faith healing Scriptural? Is speaking in tongues evidence of true Christianity? Is snake handling biblical? How are we to understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit. Andrews offers his readers very straightforward, biblically accurate explanations for these difficult questions. If any have discussed such questions, without a doubt, they will be very interested in the Bible’s answers in this easy to read publication.
Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the Bible discriminate against people with same-sex attractions? Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts? Should not Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation? Did not Jesus preach tolerance? If so, should not Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality? Does God approve of same-sex marriage? Does God disapprove of homosexuality? If so, how could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality, is that not cruel? If one has same-sex attraction, is it possible to avoid homosexuality? How can I as a Christian explain the Bible’s view of homosexuality? IT IS CRUCIAL that Christians always be prepared to reason from the Scriptures, explaining and proving what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, yet doing it with gentleness and respect. Andrews will answer these questions and far more.
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach. Terry Overton was determined to find out what problems middle school children and teens were worried about the most. While visiting her grandchildren one weekend, she asked her granddaughter to send topics to her so that she could write a devotional about the topic. In a matter of weeks, not only did her granddaughter send her topics, but the other grandchildren and their friends sent topics of concern. Once the author wrote a devotional for a topic, it was sent to the teen requesting the devotional. Soon, these requests were happening in real time. Students sent text requests about problems happening in school and asked what the student should do? How should this be handled?
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior. Kieran Beville’s daily devotional combines down-to-earth, unstuffy humanity in today’s world with a biblical and God-centered approach, and draws on rich theology in a thoroughly accessible way. He addresses not just the intellect and the will but gets to the heart, our motivational center, through the mind. If your Christian life could benefit from a short, well-written daily blast of Christ’s comfort and challenge, get this book and use it! These short Bible-based meditations are fresh and contemporary. Beville gives to the twenty-first-century reader what earlier authors have given to theirs. Here is practical wisdom that is a helpful guide to stimulate worship and set you thinking as you begin each day with God.
The Conversation: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter is a unique and riveting reconstruction from the unnamed disciple’s account found in Luke 24 regarding his journey with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus after witnessing Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, along with hearing claims of His empty tomb. Suddenly, a Stranger begins walking with them. With their eyes “prevented” from recognizing Him as the risen Lord Jesus Christ—Yeshua the Messiah, their new, wise Traveling Companion correlates the Old Covenant Scriptures, by way of Moses and the prophets, with what they witnessed.
This “journal” is your opportunity to eavesdrop and learn what that conversation might have been like, as pertinent prophecies unfold revealing evidence that the Messiah’s suffering, death, burial, and resurrection were, in fact, specifically foretold.
Unique and life-changing, More Than Devotion, through a melding of accounts from both the Old Covenant and New, proves that our trustworthy God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All fifty convicting devotions draw from a rich scriptural context, concluding with a practical, achievable call to action, plus journaling space for personal reflection. New believers and veteran followers of our Lord can grow in the innermost areas of their lives and enjoy a more intimate walk with the Savior.
AN APOCALYPTIC NOVEL: As you are no doubt are aware, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in 1995 wrote a novel entitled “Left Behind.” Jerry and Tim had some prior success with a major publisher and were able to get their novel published. The Left Behind novel was published by Tyndale House beginning in 1995 within a multiple volumes Left Behind series resulting in sales exceeding 60 million books. In 1992 Don Alexander wrote the storyline embedded in Left Behind. He copyrighted the novel in 1992 under the title “Oren Natas” [who is the Anti-Christ in his storyline]. The entire novel is contained in a single volume. It is a novel written depicting a colorful and witty cast of characters who live through all the “end time” Bible prophecies.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
ONLINE REVIEW: “Very fun read. Fast paced and honest. Tons of evolution occurs during the process thru the story. Wonderful girl trying to become an adult Christian in a world that also pits her superpowers against terrorists with the help of her own special forces team. Buy this book and just enjoy!”
In June 1985, an excavation project was undertaken by The British Antiquities Volunteers (BAV) at a plot of rocky land where the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys meet near the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. That year many hundreds of (mostly redundant) ‘small finds’ were recovered in the Judean desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of Judas Iscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings of Judas, a disgruntled disciple, as he accompanies Jesus of Nazareth during His ministry, and uses this fable and allegory to explore some of the ways a person might resist becoming a Christian.
Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of the beast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up with an unlikely trio who befriends him. Together, they set out towards Garbor. Unfortunately, however, they are soon faced with their first major catastrophe, which sparks debate among them as to whether or not they really are in the Great Tribulation. On their journey, the group meets up with many people, some of them good and some of them evil. …
There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to embrace the Light because it exposed their wickedness. They rejected the Light of the Word and ruled themselves. Those few who had embraced the Light and hated the darkness were killed. Since that time anyone who embraced the Light of the Word, pursued or talked about it were arrested. Those arrested were sentenced to death by stoning. The last prophet gave a prophecy before he was martyred. “The whisperer will come and empower three witnesses that will make manifest the works of darkness and destroy it, and deliver my people from the grip of darkness to the freedom found in the light.” All the Children of the Light were killed off or went into hiding living among the Children of Darkness in secret, not mentioning the Light for fear of death. Generations grew up being ignorant of the Light of the Word and never knowing the difference. No one ever mentioned the Light or dared to even talk about the Light. …