Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Veil Torn In Two

"And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom..." Matthew 27:51
Quite some time ago, I had heard mention of the thickness of the temple veil that had been torn in two (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). If I am not mistaken, I believe the speaker claimed it was 15 inches thick. I had thought the speaker had been Todd Friel, but I am not certain after all this time and so I will not attribute anything to him that may be mistaken. Whether it was him or someone else, I would like to make it known that the speaker was entirely wrong. How they came to that conclusion or where they received their information I do not know, but I do know that it was incorrect. Recently, I had been thinking about that supposed thickness and I simply could not accept it. There is no way the veil was 15 inches thick. You could not move it. It would be like a solid wall. So how thick was the veil?

There is no detailed description in Scripture concerning Herod's Temple, and the brief description of the veil in Solomon's Temple (2 Chr. 3:14) does not comment with regard to its thickness. The Bible says absolutely nothing with regard to the thickness of the veil. So where does the information concerning it come from?

In the Ryrie Study Bible (which is no "study Bible" in the least—as is true for most so-called "study Bibles"), a note on Exodus 26:31-35 has this to say: "Josephus reported that the veil was 4 inches thick, was renewed every year, and that horses tied to each side could not pull it apart. It barred all but the High Priest from the presence of God, but when it was torn in two at the death of Jesus of Nazareth (see Mark 15:38), access to God was made available to all who come through him." First of all, Exodus 26 describes the Tabernacle; the veil that was torn in two was part of Herod's Temple. Here is just one of hundreds of examples where Dispensationalists apply information incorrectly to contexts that have nothing to do with that information. Second of all, Charles Ryrie is giving false attribution as Josephus has nothing to say concerning the thickness of the veil.

Ryrie failed to provide a specific reference to his quote (as is typical of Dispensationalists), but a search for the word "veil" in Josephus' work reveals that none of the references (War 5.5.4; Ant 3.6.4; Ant 3.7.7; Ant 8.3.3;Ant. 14.7.1) that speak of the temple address the thickness of the veil.

John Gill and Alfred Edersheim are likely two Christian sources that have led to information concerning the thickness of the veil as both demonstrate interaction with rabbinic sources. John Gill's comments, found in Matthew 27:51, say:
The account the Jews give of the veil, is this {w}: "R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said, on account of R. Simeon, the son of the Sagan, the thickness of the veil is an hand's breadth, and it is woven of seventy two threads, and every thread has twenty four threads in it: it is forty cubits long, and twenty broad, and is made of eighty two myriads; (which is either the number of the threads in it, or the sum of the golden pence it cost. Some copies read, is made by eighty two virgins {x};) two are made every year; and three hundred priests wash it.''
Gill cites these sources: {w} Misn. Shekalim, c. 8. sect. 5. Shernot Rabba, sect. 50. fol. 144. 2. Bernidbar Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 183. 2. {x} Vid. Bartenora & Yom. Tob. in ib.

In his work The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, while he does not reference the statement concerning the veil's thickness, Edersheim writes:
The Veils before the Most Holy Place were 40 cubits (60 feet) long, and 20 (30 feet) wide, of the thickness of the palm of the hand, and wrought in 72 squares, which were joined together; and these Veils were so heavy, that, in the exaggerated language of the time, it needed 300 priests to manipulate each. If the Veil was at all such as is described in the Talmud, it could not have been rent in twain by a mere earthquake or the fall of the lintel, although its composition in squares fastened together might explain, how the rent might be as described in the Gospel.
There is a passage in the Mishnah, the early codification of Judaism's "oral law"—explanations of the Torah, that addresses the thickness of the veil:
Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Simeon son of the Prefect: The veil was one handbreadth thick and was woven on [a loom having] seventy-two rods, and over each rod were twenty-four threads. Its length was forty cubits and its breadth twenty cubits; it was made by eighty-two young girls, and they used to make two in every year; and three hundred priests immersed it.
This statement is put forth straightforwardly and factually. Later rabbinic commentaries, however, suggest the statement is an exaggeration, a form of hyperbole. Regardless, this information is not borne of Scripture and so we ought to be careful when conveying it. We should say something like, "Early Jewish tradition stated that the Temple veil was as thick as a man's hand, although this might be an exaggeration." Supposing that it is not an exaggeration, this brings greater awe to the tearing of the veil upon Christ's crucifixion. If horses pulling it from either side could not tear it in half, having a width of 4 inches and suddenly sheering in two would be a miraculous and phenomenal event. A marvelous sign indicating that God no longer dwells in temples and that He can be reached by anyone at any time. A thin veil would be nothing to be seen torn in two, but a 4-inch-thick veil torn in two? Imagine the expression on the priests faces.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Missions and Evangelism

Many individuals within the church have an erroneous view of what actually constitutes missions and/or evangelism. These people have attempted to split hairs by trying to make a distinction between missions and evangelism. The fact is, missions and evangelism are two sides of the exact same coin.

When you inform these people that missions must first begin in your home town and then expand from there, these people try arguing that missions involves "being sent" whereas evangelism involves your home town, place of work, etc. The problem with their logic and what they have learned or been taught is that no matter where you are, when you witness the Gospel to others for Christ, you are engaged in evangelism. Missions is your destination while evangelism is the work you do while there. The two are inseparable.

If these people's semantics are true, where do we draw the line between the two? To what extent does "being sent" apply? What constitutes "being sent"? Does it only apply to going to another country? Especially one with tropical weather? Or where our money turns into a fortune and we can live like kings in our new environment without actually demonstrating the Gospel and following in Jesus', and the Apostles', footsteps? If we look in the Bible, we will see that their "being sent" first involved their own province, followed by every area of the Roman Empire, and then extending outside that empire to the rest of the world.

If you live in Canada, what constitutes "being sent"? Too many people have this erroneous idea that "being sent" is strictly and solely about going to another country; somewhere that is not Canada or the United States. I hate to burst your bubble and give you a taste of reality, but "being sent" includes being sent to another town or city within your own province, as well as being sent to another province in your own country. If you live in Clinton, Ontario, Canada, you are a missionary if you are sent by your church to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, or if you are sent to Manitoba or Alberta or Nova Scotia.

Until we get a proper view of missions, we are going to continually err and ignore where it is needed the most. We think other countries are in desperate need of the Gospel, whereas if we would open our eyes and look around, our own country is in desperate need of it. But God forbid we should "go" to our own countrymen and evangelize them with the Gospel. Better to go to a tropical climate and maximize our exchange rate so we can live like kings and exhibit very little of the Gospel to the people we claim we are trying to reach. Sure, we will pass out tracts and try to talk to them about Jesus, but by our living as kings in these foreign lands we will silently convey to them the false gospel of prosperity. Seems to me that when Jesus and the Apostles went on missions, they were not "living it up" where they went. Why is it people today think that is a requirement for missions?

Missions involves being sent, but not to the extent people have ignorantly assumed in recent years. Like we see in the Bible, missions involves being sent to cities, towns and villages in your own province or state; being sent to other provinces or states within your own country, and then being sent to other countries. What you do when you are sent to these places is evangelize. You are a missionary if you stay home and evangelize those around you, and you are a missionary if you go to Africa to evangelize. The two are one in the same and cannot be separated from each other.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Four Guidelines For Modesty

by Unknown

  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.
  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.
  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.
  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parental Quotes

 "Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered: he wants what he wants—his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toys, his uncle's watch, or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is dirty; he has no morals, no knowledge and no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, but all children are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-centered world of infancy, given free reign to their impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would grow up a criminal, a killer, a thief, and a rapist." —Reb Bradley, Biblical Insights into Child Training

"No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education." —Plato

"The silent influence of parental conduct is far greater either for good of for evil, than most parents are aware of. You teach by what you say, you influence by what you do; and also by what you do not say, and do not perform." —J. A. James

"O parents, parents! Take care what you are teaching your children by your example. You are always influencing them for good or evil. You are leading them to Heaven or to Hell. Not a day passes, but you produce impressions, perhaps permanent impressions, either good or bad!" —James Smith

Every minute of every day, walk with your children and instruct them in the way of the Lord.
Caring for our children is leading in worship, praying for them, confronting sin in their lives, protecting them physically and spiritually.
We are on our childrens' side—anything done to or against them is done to or against us.
We hear from God for our children and set a doctrinal foundation for them.
Parents cannot make their children grow, they can only train them and lead them.
Parents do things for the good of their children.

"When disciplining a child, let them know why they've done wrong and why they are being punished. When you make a promise of discipline, follow through with it." —Unknown

Friday, May 23, 2014

Protecting Your Children From Pornography

by Unknown

  1. Ensure the computer is in a public, high-traffic area. Password the computer so the children can only use it when other people are around.
  2. Do not allow your children to have a computer in their rooms; do not allow them to have their own televisions.
  3. Let your children know that you will be monitoring what they see, do and say on the computer, and that they will not be able to view pornography without you knowing. Be sure you know how to look through a computer's history to see what your children have been looking at.
  4. Be especially careful with sites like Google Video and YouTube. It is a small step from videos of girls kissing and other exploitative videos to pornography.
  5. Teach your children about real sex, and about pure sex, and about God's plan and desire for sex. Talk to them about pornography, not leaving it as "pornography is filthy and disgusting," but discussing why they might be interested in it, what it will do to them, and how they should react when (not "if") they are exposed to it.
  6. Model purity and love and respect in your own marriage. Pray for them and their future spouse.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Teen Creed

by Unknown

Don't let your parents down,
   They brought you up.
Be humble enough to obey,
   You may give orders some day.
Choose companions with care,
   You become what they are.
Guard your thoughts,
   What you think, you are.
Choose only a date,
   Who would make a good mate.
Be master of your habits,
   or they will master you.
Don't be a show off when you drive,
   Drive with safety and arrive.
Don't let the crowd pressure you,
  Stand for something or you will fall for anything.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Ways to (Wrongly) Provoke Your Children and Violate Ephesians 6:4

by Unknown

  1. Make it a habit to discipline your child while angry.
  2. Make it a point to scold your child—especially in public. Mockery and ridicule work well.
  3. Deliberately embarrass your child in front of his/her friends. Name calling really gets their attention.
  4. Create double standards so that the child never knows who or what to follow. Don't be consistent.
  5. Preach and hold the child to a gospel of self-discipline instead of a gospel of grace. (Note: the Bible presents Pharisees as very unhappy people.)
  6. Never admit you're wrong and never ask your child for forgiveness.
  7. Inspect your child until you find something wrong. Holding them to an unreachable standard makes this task easier.
  8. Judge a fight between your children before you've listened to them. (see Prov. 18:13)
  9. Compare your child to others.
  10. Promise your child things early in the day and then don't fulfill the promise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rules For Raising Children

by Susana Wesley

  1. Eating between meals is not allowed.
  2. Children are to be in bed by 8pm.
  3. Children are required to take medicine without complaining.
  4. Teach children to fear the 'rod of correction.'
  5. Teach children to pray as soon as they can speak.
  6. Require all children to be still during family worship.
  7. Give children nothing that they cry for. Only grant their wishes when asked for politely.
  8. Parents should not punish any fault which is first confessed and repented of. This will prevent lying in children.
  9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
  10. Commend and reward good behaviour. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
  11. Strictly keep all promises to children.
  12. Parents are to subdue self-will in every child. When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies may be passed by. I insist on the conquering of the will of children early, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education. When this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Children Learn What They Live

by Unknown

If a child lives with criticism,
   He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
   He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
   He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
   He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
   He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
   He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
   He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
   He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
   He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
   He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
   He learns to find love in the world.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Red Letter Christians

Many people are starting to become red letter Christians. In attempts to justify certain attitudes and actions, these people give temporary authority to Scripture so that they can punctuate those things Jesus did not say as being the ultimate standard of absolute truth. Meanwhile, these same people also conveniently forget to give authority to the vast amount of things Jesus did say. You could call this Cherry-picking Theology.

The problem is, red letter Christians are not actually Christians at all.

These people will argue, "Jesus never said anything about smoking marijuana," or "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality," in attempts to find justification for the wrong they are committing. Jesus also never said anything about bestiality or pedophilia. Does that make them okay to commit? Absolutely not! There is more to the Bible than just the red letters. The entire Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is God's Word. Since Jesus is God, the entire Bible is His Word. Not just the red letters.

First of all, the Bible informs us that not everything said or done by Jesus has been recorded. So arguing that Jesus never said anything about something in particular is a foolish argument. Second of all, while something may not appear in the red letters, it is either addressed directly elsewhere or the principle behind it can be found elsewhere. Those who try to live by what is not found in the red letters are engaging in a corrupt form or reverse legalism.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14
There is a principle to be gleaned from this passage. As Curtis Allen said, "When the majority of people are saying that something is good, best believe that is the wide gate that leads to destruction. So take the opposite perspective, though it will be hard, because it leads you to life everlasting." Legalizing marijuana, prostitution (bringing back brothels), and homosexuality does not make them okay, right, or correct. It does not matter what the majority of sinful wretches chase after and say is fine, the truth of the matter is that they are not fine. They are harmful to the individual, to those around them, and to society and culture as a whole.

Man does not know what is best for mankind. God does! The church needs to start being the guiding influence in the lives of those around them again, being the salt and the light. Salt preserves and light illuminates. The problem is, the church has lost its saltiness and its light has grown dim. When the church cannot discern right from wrong there is a problem. That should be evidence that the Holy Spirit is missing from those individuals and those churches. There needs to be repentance and a returning to the Lord via revival. May that revival start with ourselves and spread from there.