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    by Published on 10-19-2014 02:29 PM     Number of Views: 561 
    1. Categories:
    2. Atheist, Agnostic, Agtheist

    Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell mused, "If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause." But the question of what or who caused God is misguided.

    First, science supports the notion that the universe had a beginning and that something independent of the universe brought it into being. The well-accepted scientific belief in the universe's origination and expansion and the second law of thermodynamics (energy tends to spread out) support the universe's absolute beginning from nothing (from whence there was nothing but God). This sounds remarkably like Genesis 1.1! The chances of a thing's popping into being from literally nothing (non-existence, all by itself) are exactly zero. Being cannot come from nonbeing; there's no potential for this. Even skeptic David Hume called this "absurd" - a scientific (real) impossibility.

    Second, believers reject the claim "Everything that exists has a cause" and affirm "Whatever begins to exist has a cause." To say "Everything needs a cause" would necessarily exclude an uncaused God. This is "question begging" (assuming what needs to be proved). It's like presuming that since all reality is physical (which can't be demonstrated), a nonphysical God cannot exist.

    Third, why think everything needs a cause, since an uncaused entity is logical and intelligible? Through the centuries, many believed that the universe didn't need a cause; it was self-existent. They thought a beginningless/uncaused universe wasn't illogical or impossible. But now that contemporary cosmology points to the universe's beginning and an external cause, skeptics insist everything (in nature) needs a cause after all!

    Fourth, a good number of uncaused things do exist. Logical laws are real; we can't think coherently without using them (e.g., the law of identity, X = X, tells you: "This book is this book"). Moral laws or virtues (love, justice) are real. But none of these began to exist. They are eternal and uncaused (being in God's mind).

    Fifth, the question "Who made God?" commits the category fallacy. To say that all things, even God, must be caused is incoherent - like the question "How does the color green taste?" Why fault God for being uncaused? When we rephrase the question to say, "What caused the self-existent, uncaused God, who is by definition unmade, to exist?" the answer is obvious.
    by Published on 05-30-2011 08:31 AM     Number of Views: 1542 
    1. Categories:
    2. Partial Rapture

    The 144,000 in Rev. 7.1-8 are a remnant of Israel. The 144,000 in Rev. 14.1-5 are not a remnant of Israel, but firstfruit virgin Christians (v.4). God has three groups in view: remnant Israel, Christians, and the nations. God will not break His promise to Israel to be the center of all nations, yet any Jewish person in Israel to be saved still must believe in the Lord, for the true Jew is a Christian. Abraham or Isaac or Jacob if they were alive today would be a Christian, accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

    Who are the 144,000? The 144,000 cited in Revelation 7.4 and 144,000 spoken of here in 14.1 are two different classes of people, contrasted as follows:

    (1) The people of 7.4 are the chosen among the children of Israel, while those of 14.1 are purchased from among men.
    (2) The seals received by them are not the same. The one spoken of in 7.2 is “the seal of the living God”, which is Old Testament terminology. The seal alluded to in 14.1 bears the name of the Lamb and the name of the Father, and such names are related to the church. Hence these people must come from the church.
    (3) The people told about in 7.3 are called “the servants of our God”, but those in view in 14.1 are the children of God (this conclusion is deduced from the name of the Father).
    (4) Throughout the entire book of Revelation the Lord calls God as Father each time. And He always says it in connection with the church (1.6, 2.27, 3.5, 3.21). The Lord never uses it in connection with Israel.
    (5) The people spoken of in 14.1ff. are associated with the Lamb (standing with the Lamb, having the name of the Lamb, following the Lamb, and being the first fruits unto the Lamb). In chapter 7 the Lord is seen as another angel; and this, as we have seen, is a returning to His Old Testament position.
    (6) The song they sing is described in 14.3 as a new song, whereas the song the people mentioned in 7.4 sing is but an old song.
    (7) The people in view in 14.4 are virgins, but with Israel virginity is to be bewailed. (According to Ex. 23.26, Deut. 7.14, 1 Sam. 2.5, and Ps. 113.9, to bear children is considered a blessing while to be barren is deemed a curse. In Judges 11.38,39 the daughter of Jephthah is said to have bewailed her virginity for two months.)
    (8) The articles preceding both of the 144,000 numbers cited in 14.1 and 7.4 are indefinite, and are therefore general and not specific. Thus these 144,000 numbers constitute two different classes.

    14.1 The group of 144,000 here is a special class of people in the church; they are not all the people of the church. And the reasons for this conclusion are as follows:

    (1) Since the 144,000 figure in 7.4 is taken literally, the number here should also be reckoned as literal.
    (2) This group being the first fruits (14.4), it cannot be said that the entire church makes up the first fruits.
    (3) There is no such fact that the people in the entire church keep their virginity.
    (4) Prior to the arrival of the Great Tribulation (for it is before the voices of the three angels are heard, 14.6-11), these people are already raptured to Mount Zion.
    (5) 14.5 tells of the exceptional features of these people, concerning which it cannot be said that all the born-again ones possess such characteristics.

    Consequently, the 144,000 standing on Mount Zion are the best of the overcomers of the church; that is to say, this group of 144,000 is representative of the totality of the overcomers.

    Who is this man child? (Rev. 12.5) He must be the overcomers: for example, (1) some Christians in the church in Smyrna, since “Be thou faithful unto death” (2.10) coincides with the last clause in 12.11—“they loved not their life even unto death”; (2) some Christians in the church in Thyatira, for “he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (2.26,27) agrees with “a man child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (12.5); (3) some Christians in the church in Philadelphia, because they are kept out of “the hour of trial” (3.10) just as the man child is “caught up unto God” (12.5); and (4) some Christians in the church in Laodicea, since they will “sit” on the “throne” (3.21) just as the man child “is to rule all the nations” (12.5).

    Some others advocate the interpretation of Christ being the man child, but this is also inapplicable for the following reasons:

    (1) The woman represents Jerusalem, while the Lord Jesus is born in Bethlehem.
    (2) This man child is not personal but corporate in character (12.10-11).
    (3) Should this man child be Christ, the dragon will then be Herod, yet 12.9 states explicitly that the dragon is Satan himself.
    (4) As soon as the man child is born, he is caught up to the throne, whereas the Lord Jesus is taken up to heaven only after He has lived over thirty years, died, and been raised from the dead.
    (5) Because all this is a vision, the word “travail” cannot be interpreted literally.

    Still others say that the man child denotes the whole church. This too is impossible since (1) the whole church is not all raptured at the same time: some will go in advance of others and some will follow afterwards, but here the man child is caught up as a unit simultaneously; (2) to rule all the nations with an iron rod is not a promise given to the entire church, rather is it promised to the overcomers only (2.26-27), and not all in the church are overcomers; and (3) to reign is promised to those who suffer and endure with the Lord today (2 Tim. 2.12).