Monday, August 31, 2015
It was quite satisfying to see such a large stack of newsletters on my desk Sunday afternoon. The new Xerox ColorQube 8880 printer has been doing an awesome job. The print quality is the best I have ever seen for the newsletters. Added to the joy of the experience yesterday was being able to utilize my newly developed software program that has automated much of my record keeping and printing processes. The brother who has been working on this application for me has been putting in long hours, literally working through the night, to develop and test the software. He delivered to me a working copy early Sunday morning, and after a couple of tweaks, I was delighted to see the program work flawlessly as it spooled about 140 newsletters to my printer, requiring little more than my having to press three little buttons.
You can see the buttons on the right. I press button number 1 to clear all the table's fields to prepare for the new print run. Then I press number 2 which calculates the next newsletter to be printed for each man. Then I press button three which activates a Visual Basic routine that creates a mail merge table, opens Microsoft Publisher, opens the appropriate newsletter, loads the mail merge table, sends the newsletters to the printer, then closes Microsoft Publisher. I just sit back and watch it all happen as the process is repeated automatically until all of the newsletters have been sent to the printer.
The next couple hours the only thing I have to do is reload the paper tray on the printer when it is empty, and remove the growing stack of newsletters from the output tray.
All of this automation sounds easy, but the development of these routines was actually somewhat complex. For example, calculating which newsletter is to be printed next requires a fair amount of logic programming. All of the newsletters are divided up by books, and numbered accordingly. I normally start with book 1 and when it is complete I start sending book 2, all the way to book 20. Then I start sending miscellaneous shorter writings that have been put into newsletter format.
This would be fairly easy to program, but there are frequent exceptions to this process. I have men request specific books or writings regularly, which leads me to print something out of its normal numeric order. I never want to interrupt a book midway, however, so I will tell a man that I will begin sending him the requested writing as soon as he has completely received the series of newsletters currently being mailed to him. All of this had to be programmed into the logic of the application.
The way this is handled is that 4 columns were added to list special print requests. The program will always check these columns before calculating what newsletter is to be printed next for an individual. If something is listed in one or more of the columns, then the program will check to see if the man has completed his current series. If he has not, then the program will continue sending the current series until it is complete. If it sees that the man has just completed a series, it will then begin printing the special request, and will continue doing so until all of the newsletters in the requested book series have been mailed out. Once the special request(s) have been printed, the program will then return to the standard numeric sequence.
I used to have to keep up with all of this on paper. Now I simply enter the information into the spreadsheet as I receive it, and the computer does all of the calculations for me. A column was even added so that I can suspend a person's newsletters for a time per their request, and then start them back up at any time. I love all of this automation. It has greatly improved the efficiency of this part of the work. There is still considerable labor involved as I have to staple, fold, label, and affix postage to each of the newsletters, but it is a labor of love. I watched a Sons of Korak live concert on DVD on my laptop as I did the manual stuff yesterday. All in all, it was a landmark day, and highly satisfying.
I have been busy answering correspondence from men in prison today. I thought I would share the following correspondence as I believe it will be of interest, and hopefully instructive, to some who read it.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Letter From an Inmate
Dear Joseph Herrin,
Peace be upon you! I receive your newsletter and am of the Islamic faith. I’m on the edge of converting to Christianity and have much influence over the Muslims at my institution. You may have a newsletter for the questions I have, but if you can provide information to prove your answers, I’ll be your brother in Christ and likely will get the other Muslims. My questions are:
1. How can you follow the Bible when its been changed so much?
2. There is no historical facts of Christ’s crucifixion. Why do you believe he died on the cross?
3. If he did die on the cross, was it a tree or a cross?
4. How did you make Baphomet, Mohammad?
5. Do you have any backing that Islam is actually Satanic?
6. How do you feel about St. Barnabas?
7. What is the origin of Christmas?
8. What is the symbolism of Santa Claus, etc.?
9. What is God’s proper name? In the Old Testament you had El and Yahweh, but the Hebrew alphabet didn’t have vowels.
10. Who are the Rosicrucians?
11. Can you debate any way that the Quran has been rewrote?
12. Why is Jesus pictured white when he was described different?
Alright, if you can answer these and have some proof, you can count me in as a soldier for Christ.
Hello (Name Withheld),
Thank you for writing. I am very happy to reply to the letter you wrote to me. I typed up your letter and included it below so that you will remember clearly what you wrote.
Let me begin by addressing some misconceptions that you expressed in the first paragraph of your letter. Becoming a disciple of Christ is not something that a man can choose at will. It is not like joining a club, or enrolling in a school. Man’s ability to come to Christ in this life rests first and foremost with God choosing a man, not with the man choosing God.
I am very happy that you asked me to “prove” all of my answers, so I will begin by giving you evidence you can test that will demonstrate that what I have just shared with you is what Christ and the Bible teaches.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him...”
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
But though [Jesus] had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them.”
(Name Withheld), what the Bible teaches is that salvation in this age is a gift from God, and He bestows it upon those whom HE chooses. You cannot choose to become my Christian brother simply by a choice of your will. The reason for this is that becoming a Christian is much more than embracing a certain religion, or set of beliefs. To become a Christian a man must experience a second birth. All men have been born of woman. The Bible refers to this as being born of water. To be a Christian a man must also be born of the Spirit.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'”
(Name Withheld), even as you did not come into this natural world by your own choice, you cannot enter into the spiritual realm of the kingdom of God by your own choice. Unless your natural father had chosen to place his seed into the fertile womb of a woman, you could not have been born. So too it is in the kingdom of God. Unless the Father in heaven chooses to place His spiritual seed in a man, that man cannot be born spiritually. The choice is Yahweh’s, not man’s. The apostle Paul expands on this idea in his letter to the Romans.
And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
[End of Scripture]
I encourage you to study the words above until you have understood their meaning. There are many people today, even among those who profess to be Christians, that believe that in order for God to be just and righteous that He must give every man, woman, and child an invitation to receive His salvation. Some then conclude that God does so, but that not every person will accept God’s free gift. This places the power in every man’s hands to either accept or reject God. Such an idea is false, and is nowhere taught in the Bible.
What the Bible does teach is that all humanity was in Adam’s loins when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. Because we were in Adam as his seed, everything Adam did was credited to us. The seed is identical to the living thing producing the seed. When Adam disobeyed God, choosing his own will and ways over God’s will and ways, we did the same thing, for we were in Adam. This is why the judgment that fell upon Adam fell upon all humanity who would be born as his descendants. When Adam sinned, and came under the bondage of sinful desires, so did we. We were all born sinners because we made a fateful decision 6,000 years ago to rebel against our Creator and choose our own way. We made this decision by virtue of our being in Adam.
What many people today don’t understand is that when they say God must give all men an opportunity to accept Him as Lord of their life, or reject Him, is that all mankind has already faced such a choice and their choice was to reject their Creator and to serve the beast nature. To state it another way, we all chose in Adam to rebel against Yahweh. Yahweh had informed Adam that the consequences of him rebelling would be death. When Adam sinned, death entered into the world. All of us are subject to death because we were in Adam and we share the consequences of our forebear’s actions.
There is no law that requires Yahweh to show mercy to every man, or any man. Man was informed of the penalty of his sin before he transgressed. Nevertheless, Adam (man) willfully chose to disregard the will of his Creator. We are told in the Bible, that God in His great mercy sent forth His Son to redeem mankind from the curse of sin and death. Christ came to set men free from their slavery to sinful desires and to bear the penalty for their sins.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The way in which men are set free from their slavery to sin is by being born again of the Spirit. Without the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, we lack the power and the desire to subdue the evil passions and desires of the flesh and live uprightly before Yahweh. As we read earlier, God does not offer this gift of salvation to all men at this time. In this present age Yahweh is focused on calling a firstfruits company of sons to Himself. He is choosing to have mercy on some, while hardening others in their sin and unbelief. Mercy is never required to be given, otherwise it would not be mercy. Mercy is always an unmerited gift. Yahweh spoke through Moses saying, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Salvation is ALWAYS initiated by God. No man can come to Yahshua unless it has been granted to him by Christ’s Father.
I share this because your words reveal the presence of pride that will most certainly keep you from coming to God. You write as if you have the power to choose God and His Son at any moment, and that you can also influence others to become Christians as well. Can you cause a man to be born of the Spirit? You do not understand what it truly means to become a Christian. The apostle Paul wrote that the true test of whether a man belongs to God the Father is whether that man has become a partaker of the Spirit of Christ. A person does not become a Christian simply by confession, or by an act of his own will.
II Corinthians 13:5-6
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?
This is the true test of whether a man is “in the faith.” If the man has been born spiritually and is a partaker of Christ’s Spirit, then that man belongs to Christ. If the man has not been born spiritually and does not have the Spirit of Christ, then He does not belong to Him.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
(Name Withheld), the reason I say that the pride you are expressing will keep you from God is that the Bible tells us that Yahweh gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud. Since it is Yahweh who chooses whom He will have mercy on, and He shows grace to the humble, it is advisable for all men to adorn themselves with a humble spirit.
It is a prideful thing for you to state that by an act of your own will, based upon the answers I provide to your questions, that you will become a Christian, and not only this, but you will influence the other Muslims to become Christians as well. Such a statement is an example of great hubris. You are speaking as if it is completely up to you to determine whether you come to God and His Son. The truth is that no man can come to Christ unless the Father grants that he should do so. Yahweh will have mercy on whomever HE chooses, and He will harden any man whom HE chooses so that man will remain bound up in his sin and unbelief.
It was necessary for me to share these things with you BEFORE I answer your questions. I want you to be informed that it is not left up to you whether you will become my brother in Christ. If I spoke truth to you, and answered every objection with perfect wisdom and discernment (which I make no claim to be able to do), there would be no guarantee that you could receive my words. The reason for this is that the truths of Christ must be spiritually discerned. If you have not been born of the Spirit of Christ, you lack the faculties to be able to understand spiritual words.
I Corinthians 2:14
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
A very common occurrence among those who come to faith in Christ is that they are humbled first. They come to see themselves as sinful men, women, or youth who have transgressed against a holy God, and are deserving of His judgment. Perceiving that there is nothing they can do to erase their guilt, or assuage the judgment of a holy Creator, they humble themselves like the tax collector that Yahshua spoke about in the Gospels.
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Name Withheld), you are in prison charged with serious crimes. You are among other men who have spent much of their lives committing many evil acts. Would it not be appropriate for you to approach God as did this tax collector, confessing that you are a sinner, and asking Him for mercy. Such a plea is far more likely to elicit a response of grace from Yahweh than the proud attitude you have expressed as you present yourself as one who will give me, or God, some great gift by becoming a Christian if I will answer your questions satisfactorily.
In your questions you asked the following:
How can you follow the Bible when its been changed so much?
Your question implies that the Bible is untrustworthy, having experienced numerous alterations and corruptions by man over the years. I fully admit that such changes have occurred to the Scriptures. One of my most recent writings is titled Yahweh’s Book. Following is an excerpt from that book.
I believe the Scriptures as originally written by men who were inspired of the Holy Spirit are free of error. However, we are thousands of years removed from the original autographs of these men, and if you are like me, the Bibles you read today have been translated into a language unknown to the Hebrew and Greek speaking writers. No matter how careful scribes are, or how much integrity men manifest in producing a Bible translation, errors are unavoidable. It is a sad reality, however, that not all who work on copying or translating Scriptures manifest integrity. In this fallen world we have sin and Satan to contend with. It should come as no surprise that Satan has paid special attention to introducing error into the pages of the Bibles that millions of people read.
II Corinthians 11:3-4
But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
As much as Christians may protest, the fact remains that the very thing Paul warned against in the verses above has occurred. The serpent by his craftiness has led millions astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. One need only observe how the church has lost all practical knowledge of the feast days of Yahweh and have substituted the idolatrous celebrations of Christmas and Easter in their place. In this, they are no different than Jeroboam who erected an altar and golden calf in both Dan and Beersheba as a substitute for the true worship of Yahweh. One can also observe how many churches refer to Sunday as the “Sabbath Day.” The Biblical Sabbath has always been the 7th day of the week. It begins at sundown on Sunday and runs until sundown on Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the week, and it is never called the “Sabbath” in the pages of Scripture. Yet the substitution of dates and holy days is merely the tip of the iceberg. So extensive has been Satan’s work in introducing falsehood and corruption to the church that there is hardly an area of doctrine or church life that has not suffered profound alteration. The apostle Paul prophesied the following regarding the state of the church in the last days in which we now live.
II Timothy 4:1, 3-4
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons... For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
As one surveys the landscape of Christendom today they will observe thousands of denominations and sects all having embraced discordant beliefs. That great error has permeated the body of Christ is hardly debatable. Millions imbibe the polluted waters of false doctrine weekly as they attend their myriad houses of worship. Seeing that Yahweh has not preserved the church without error, why would believers think that the Bible has escaped unscathed through the millennia? The Scriptures have been in the care of sinful men. They have been copied and translated by people who are subject to all the failings of the sinful flesh. The Bible has been distorted as translators and copyists have been motivated by politics, monetary considerations, sectarian beliefs, and various base impulses.
Does it trouble you to hear one of Christ’s ministers declare that all existing Bible versions contain error today? If it does, perhaps your understanding of the environment that is most suitable for spiritual growth needs correcting. Spiritual beings need an adversarial environment to provide them an opportunity to struggle. It is the struggle that transforms fleshly beings into spiritual. Yahweh in His wisdom has allowed sin to be present in the church, and error to enter into the Scriptures, for He knows that the struggle of each individual to arrive at truth is essential to their attainment of spiritual maturity. Yahweh both tests and judges His children as He observes how they respond to the apostasy that exists in Christendom. Do they struggle against the darkness of error and sin? Or are they complacent, accepting as truth whatever other men and women tell them? In the kingdom of God, it is those who stir themselves up, and prepare themselves to do spiritual battle, who make the most progress. Complacency will consign an individual to become mired in the falsehoods and myths that thousands of years of sin and deceit have produced.
I would exhort Christians to view the presence of myriad and profound errors in the Bibles available to them today as an opportunity to exercise themselves spiritually. Do not think that Christianity cannot exist and flourish without a belief in an inerrant Bible translation today. The fact that the church is leavened with sin and error does not prevent you from walking as an overcomer in Christ. You simply need to rise up, exercise yourself unto godliness, and extricate yourself from the morass that Christendom has fallen into. The fact that all Bibles today contain error, much of it profound, does not prevent you from arriving at the knowledge of the truth. You have the Holy Spirit as your helper, and Yahweh will not withhold truth from those who prove themselves to be lovers of it.
These words above explain why I do not believe that errors and corruptions having entered into the Biblical texts are an obstacle to faith in Christ. Quite the contrary. They present an opportunity for those who are lovers of truth to prove themselves as they accept Paul’s admonition to Timothy found below.
II Timothy 2:15
Study to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
My answer to your question points back to the important role the Spirit of Christ plays in the life of those who are Yahshua’s disciples. The Bible contains errors, but the Spirit whom Christ has sent to indwell mankind always speaks truth.
“I [Yahshua] still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
No matter the corruptions that Satan and fallen men have introduced to the Bible, the Spirit of Christ will guide those who are attentive to His voice to the truth. Your next question was:
There is no historical facts of Christ’s crucifixion. Why do you believe he died on the cross?
What do you identify as “historical facts”? If the testimonies of eyewitnesses, preserved for posterity in a vast number of ancient manuscripts, is not to be considered historical fact, then there is not much that could pass your test. The crucifixion of Christ was spoken of by many witnesses to the event. These include Christ’s disciple John who was present at the crucifixion, and Peter who was present during Christ’s arrest and questioning. Both Peter and John were also eyewitnesses to the empty tomb, and the angel who appeared to tell them that Christ had risen. We also have the testimony of Matthew, another of Christ’s disciples who was an eyewitness to these events. John begins his Gospel account with the following words:
I John 1:1, 4
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life... these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
The following citation is taken from a writing titled 129 Facts of Jesus Christ.
If you still don't think Jesus lived in person on earth then that issue can be tackled elsewhere since 95 to 99% of sceptical and non-sceptical scholars do not doubt Jesus walked the earth. If you are going to deny the life of Jesus then you will have to throw out everyone in history, because Jesus is the most documented person in antiquity.
In "The Historical Jesus - Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ" (1996) by Gary R. Habermas, the leading scholar on the resurrection, we can summarize what the earliest sources have said (pages 225, 250-253). Tiberius Caesar who died four years after Jesus only has 9 sources of him whereas Jesus has 45 sources within 150 years of their deaths.
"We have examined 45 ancient sources for the life of Jesus, which includes 19 early creedal, four archaeological, 17 non-Christian, and five non-New Testament Christian sources. From this data we have enumerated 129 reported facts concerning the life, person, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus, plus the disciples' earliest message..."
"Of all the events in Jesus' life, more ancient sources specifically mention his death than any other single occurrence. Of the 45 ancient sources, 28 relate to this fact, often with details. Twelve of those sources are non-Christian, which exhibits an incredible amount of interest in this event.
"Not only is Jesus' death by crucifixion of major concern to these authors, but 14 of 28 sources give various details about the crucifixion, from medical observations to political information concerning the current rulers, to historical specifications of the times in which Jesus died, to religious details about the reason for his death...It is fair to assert that this is one of the best-attested facts in ancient history.
If you would know more about the historical evidence regarding the life and crucifixion of Christ, I would refer you to the book mentioned in the article above, or a great many other books that look at the historicity of Jesus’ life. Your next question was:
If he did die on the cross, was it a tree or a cross?
The Bible states that Yahshua was crucified both on a cross and a tree. The reference to Yahshua being crucified on a tree is a form of symbolic speech. The cross was made of wood, and wood comes from a tree, thus it is appropriate to state that Christ was crucified on a cross and on a tree.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree."
But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Note that both of these statements were written by the same man (the apostle Paul) and are found in the same letter which he addressed to the church in Galatia. Paul had no problem stating that Christ was crucified on a tree and on a cross. Your next question was:
How did you make Baphomet, Mohammad?
You will have to provide me with the source of this association as I do not remember having made such a statement. However, I will state that all false religions are of the deceiver, who is Satan. Consider the following words of Christ.
Jesus therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.”
Although Mohammad came AFTER Christ, the saying still applies to him, for Mohammad is presenting another door for people to enter to gain access to God. Any who say they are the way to God (other than Yahshua) are liars and the truth is not in them.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.”
If Christ is true, then those who say Mohammad is the way to God are thieves and robbers. They are seeking to steal that which belongs truly to Christ and ascribe it to another. You also wrote:
Do you have any backing that Islam is actually Satanic?
In the book of Acts the apostle Peter declared the following words on the day of Pentecost.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
The apostle Paul declares a similar thing.
I Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.
If that were not enough, we also have the words of Christ Himself who said “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Islam denies that these things are true. Therefore, Islam is a work of Satan who is the great deceiver who deceives the entire world. Islam presents an image of Christ that is distorted. It denies the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the deity of Christ. Islam says that Isha was a prophet, but Mohammad is a greater prophet. This is a lie, and Satan is the father of lies. Yahshua said:
“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”
Next you wrote:
How do you feel about St. Barnabas?
I do not know whom you are referring to as “St. Barnabas.” The use of the prefix “St.” before the name of a Biblical or extra-Biblical person is a practice promoted by Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism in no way resembles the faith of Christ and His apostles, or the faith of the early church. Roman Catholicism is a corruption of that which is holy. It is falsehood and deception pretending to be Christianity. I have written much about the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. I will print out some of these writings and send them to you.
There is a Barnabas mentioned in the Bible, but I do not know him as “St. Barnabas.” The Barnabas I know was a Jewish follower of Christ from Cyprus whose actual name was Joseph. The name Barnabas was a nickname given to him by other believers which means “son of encouragement.” This Barnabas was a companion of Paul during Paul’s first missionary journey. He has a good reputation among the body of Christ.
There is an early book called the Gospel of Barnabas that was attributed to this same companion of Paul. However, the early church did not consider this book authentic, or to pass the test of a divinely inspired writing as the rest of the Scriptures, so it was rejected for inclusion in the canon of Scripture. Next you wrote:
What is the origin of Christmas?
What is the symbolism of Santa Claus, etc.?
I am sending you writings I have posted on this subject as well. Christmas was not observed in the Bible, nor known among the disciples of Christ and the church of the book of Acts. As I mentioned previously, Satan has worked tirelessly to introduce corruptions into the church of Christ. These things are shameful, but they do not present an obstacle to a true disciple of Christ. Rather, they are a means by which Yahweh is able to prove those who love the truth, and those who do not. Next you wrote:
What is God’s proper name? In the Old Testament you had El and Yahweh, but the Hebrew alphabet didn’t have vowels.
It may be true that the ancient Hebrew alphabet did not include vowels, but the spoken language has always included vowel sounds. Your question implies that since we do not have the most early Hebrew manuscripts telling us how the name of God should be pronounced that we cannot be certain of the pronunciation today. I do not disagree with this conclusion. I have a writing posted titled The Usage of Divine Names in which I have discussed this subject. I admit that it is not possible to be certain about pronunciation of Yahweh’s name, but I do not perceive this to be an impediment to the worship of Christ and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yahweh judges the thoughts and intentions of men’s hearts, and it is enough that His Spirit within us cries out to Him as our “Abba, Father.”
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God...
Next you wrote:
Who are the Rosicrucians?
I can tell you who the Rosicrucians are not. They are not Christians, for they deny the basic truths of Christ’s unique role as the only way to access the Father. The Rosicrucians teach that all religions are like petals on a flower. They say that all religions lead to God and are acceptable unto the Creator. These are assertions that the Bible condemns.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
I Corinthians 3:11
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all...
I John 5:11-12
And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
(Name Withheld), all of these Scriptures, and many others, declare that Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah is the ONLY way to the Father. Salvation is found in no other name; not Mohammad, not Buddha, not Confucius, not any of the Hindu gods, etc.. This is one evidence that Islam is a lie. Islam claims to revere Isha/Jesus while denying His unique position as “the only begotten Son of God,” and “the only name given under heaven by which men might be saved.” If Islam is true, then Christ and His disciples were liars. If Christ and His disciples spoke truth, then Islam is a lie and a deception of Satan. Next you wrote:
Can you debate any way that the Quran has been rewrote?
There are many sources available for anyone to search out who wants to look into this subject. The Quran has undergone changes since it first was written, just like any other ancient manuscript that has been kept alive and passed through the hands of many men. This is not a subject that has drawn my attention, and I see little reason to include it as a test of the authenticity of the Christian faith. Whether the Quran has been altered, or whether it has been preserved perfectly, it is still a book that contains a heretical view of the identity of Christ, denying His deity, His crucifixion, and His resurrection from the dead.
Your last question was as follows:
Why is Jesus pictured white when he was described different?
Your question once more goes back to the issue of men introducing corruptions into what is referred to as the Christian faith today. Just as the Bible has been corrupted, and even as many heretical practices and beliefs have been introduced into Christianity (Christmas, Easter, eternal torment, being but a few examples) so too have men created images of Christ that contain error and lack authenticity.
The Bible reveals that Jesus/Yahshua was born of Jewish kin. He would have had the complexion and appearance of the Jewish people. He was not a white man. He was not a black man. He was Semitic. He did not have long hair as many pictures portray Him, for long hair was a shameful thing for a Jewish man and dishonored God, as Paul declared in I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 11:14
Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him...
Christ did not have a short beard, as most drawings show Him to have. He had a full beard. This is revealed in the fact that the Roman soldiers pulled His beard out by the handfuls. You cannot grab the beard of a man with a short beard.
I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
If you would judge the authenticity of the Christian faith, you should not look to the corruptions of man and of fallen angels to prove or disprove it. That there are a great many errors which have entered into the church in this hour fulfills what was prophesied about the state of the church at the end of the age 2,000 years ago. The apostle Paul wrote:
II Thessalonians 2:3
Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy (a falling away from the truth) comes first...
II Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
Christ also spoke of many deceivers coming to lead His disciples away into error before His return.
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise... so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
As I mentioned previously, the fact that Yahweh has allowed Satan to have much success in introducing error into the Christian faith does not hinder those who love truth and pursue Christ with a whole heart. Rather, the presence of error serves to distinguish those who are faithful and those who are not. Those who are zealous for Christ and who love truth will contend for the faith. They will labor to divide between truth and error, and to separate themselves from all the apostasy that is present in the churches today. The very low spiritual condition of the church provides an environment for those who are advancing toward spiritual maturity which requires them to battle for truth and to overcome many who stand in opposition. In this way the sons of God learn spiritual warfare and are driven time and again to their knees to pray that the Father would guide them into all truth.
It is my earnest hope that you would humble yourself before God and invite Him to do the same for you. Confess to God that you desire to know the truth, and ask Him to guide you to His truth, and trust that He will do so.
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