To save space I wrapped my (rather lengthy) response(s) in spoiler tags. You know you want to read what I wrote. You know you do. To save you time, I wrote specific responses to Niunio, GullRadriel, Elverion, Neil Roy, and Bamccaig. CTRL-F for the win. Kudos to anyone brave enough or patient enough to read everything I wrote.
Actually, the so called Big Bang wasn't an explosion: it was an inflation of space. I know that it is hard to picture.
Expansion and slowing are hallmarks of explosions. Besides if it was expanding, what was it expanding into? Existence? What is outside of the beginning of the Universe? The fact that I believe in both God and a super old universe probably blows your mind. The Bible DOES NOT say that the Earth is 6,000 (or 10,000) years old. It says that this Earth AGE (Greek aion in the NT) is that old. There are THREE Earth ages. Genesis says Earth became void and without form, NOT that it was created that way.
Edit - I am wrong about the part in brackets.
It was the [flood of Noah] that destroyed the [first Earth (age)], to destroy the Geber, the children of the daughters of Adam and the Nephilim (fallen angels) (human/angel hybrids).
Genesis 6:4 NRSV said:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
It wasn't the flood of Noah that destroyed the first earth age, but a world wide flood that destroyed all life. Noah's flood was to destroy the Geber though, that part is accurate.
This web page explains it thoroughly.
You can learn all about this from the man who taught me the Bible, Line by Line, and Verse by Verse, Pastor Arnold Murray, of Shepherd's Chapel. RIP Pastor Murray. His son Dennis is carrying on the Ministry. He is one of the most intelligent, enlightened men I have ever known. He teaches the truth of God's word, through in depth Bible study. He puts so called 'biblical scholars' to shame. I digress. You can view part one and two of his series on the three Earth ages on Youtube here :
I know I just blew your mind like a thousand times over, but I've studied with Arnold Murray long enough to know he knows what he's talking about.
It is beyond my biblical skill to teach this subject, but I leave you in capable hands if you're willing to listen. Second Peter Chapter 3 teaches about the Earth ages if you're willing to study it in depth, and read it with understanding. I'll try to explain some of it here :
2 Peter 3:10-18 KJV said:
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
So basically what it says is that the (second) Earth and Heaven (age) will pass away in order that a new Heaven and Earth (age) will come to pass where righteousness shall rule.
You're missing context. This is a song written by psalmists of Judah mourning their captivity and exile to Babylon. Babylon had committed terrible crimes against Judah, including murdering infants, women, and children. This psalm is the voice of those who suffered under Babylonian rule wishing for the crimes of their captors to be repaid upon their own heads. It is a cry for justice, not a call to murder babies. The following commentary on Psalm 137 verse 9 is spot on.
Verse 9. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Fierce was the heart of the Jew who had seen his beloved city the scene of such terrific butchery. His heart pronounced like sentence upon Babylon. She should be scourged with her own whip of wire. The desire for righteous retribution is rather the spirit of the law than of the gospel; and yet in moments of righteous wrath the old fire will burn; and while justice survives in the human breast it will not lack for fuel among the various tyrannies which still survive. We shall be wise to view this passage as a prophecy. History informs us that it was literally fulfilled: the Babylonian people in their terror agreed to destroy their own offspring, and men thought themselves happy when they had put their own wives and children to the sword. Horrible as was the whole transaction, it is a thing to be glad of if we take a broad view of the world's welfare; for Babylon, the gigantic robber, had for many a year slaughtered nations without mercy, and her fall was the rising of many people to a freer and safer state. The murder of innocent infants can never be sufficiently deplored, but it was an incident of ancient warfare which the Babylonians had not omitted in their massacres, and, therefore, they were not spared it themselves. The revenges of providence may be slow, but they are ever sure; neither can they be received with regret by those who see God's righteous hand in them. It is a wretched thing that a nation should need an executioner; but yet if men will commit murders tears are more fitly shed over their victims than over the assassins themselves. A feeling of uersal love is admirable, but it must not be divorced from a keen sense of justice.
The captives in Babylon did not make music, but they poured forth their righteous maledictions, and these were far more in harmony with their surroundings than songs and laughter could have been. Those who mock the Lord's people will receive more than they desire, to their own confusion: they shall have little enough to make mirth for them, and more than enough to fill them with misery. The execrations of good men are terrible things, for they are not lightly uttered, and they are heard in heaven. "The curse causeless shall not come;" but is there not a cause? Shall despots crush virtue beneath their iron heel and never be punished? Time will show.
Again, you're missing context. This verse is speaking of the role of a member of the church in relation to it's preacher. Neither man nor woman should be attempting to teach or speak during a church service or bible lesson. Does the student know more than the teacher? If so, why are they there?
In addition, assuming that this verse is literal, and not figurative, presenting this as the sole opinion of the Bible on how women should be treated is near-sighted and for the most part, is not what the Bible teaches. There is an excellent article about what the Bible says on how to treat women here :
This bible verse sums it up quite nicely :
Ephesians 5:21-30 NRSV said:
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind--yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body.
It says wives should be subject to their husbands, not subjugated by them. It says for men to take care of their wives, not to mistreat them.
For one thing, the page your first link goes to doesn't even quote the Bible (nor any translation of it) accurately. It deliberately twists, mocks, and distorts God's word into something that it is not.
Galatians 6:7 said:
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.
Secondly, did you even read the second page you linked to? Did you even read the context surrounding the verses that it quotes? Take Jeremiah 19 for example. The verse your link quotes is in italics. Bold is my emphasis.
Jeremiah 19 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
The Broken Earthenware Jug
1 Thus said the Lord: Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jug. Take with you[a] some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, 2 and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. 3 You shall say: Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 4 Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, 5 and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind; 6 therefore the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter. 7 And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. 8 And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 9 And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and all shall eat the flesh of their neighbors in the siege, and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.
10 Then you shall break the jug in the sight of those who go with you, 11 and shall say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended. In Topheth they shall bury until there is no more room to bury. 12 Thus will I do to this place, says the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. 13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Topheth—all the houses upon whose roofs offerings have been made to the whole host of heaven, and libations have been poured out to other gods.
14 When Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people: 15 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am now bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks, refusing to hear my words.
Did you read what they were doing? It is the first section I marked in bold. I ask you this : Does God have the right to punish those who do evil? To repay evil with evil? Surely he does. They were burning their children to death as sacrifices to Baal. They were killing innocent people. They were worshipping other gods. Have you never heard that God is a Jealous God? The people had broken His Commandments :
Exodus 20:2-6 KJV said:
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
God warns us (his children) again and again, and yet some refuse to listen.
Hebrews 10:26:31 said:
26 For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But again, God calls us to repentance. Do you think he wants to destroy his own children?
Matthew 9:13 KJV said:
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
I don't feel the need to debunk your second link any further. All it consists of is ignorance and quotes taken out of context.
I swear, if I hear one more religious nut tell me that God loves me, but also hates me and that I'm going to hell, I'm going to lose it.
Let me ask you this. Do you do good? I assume you do. Are you always good? Or at times do you do evil, whether intentionally or not? Are you perfect? I highly doubt it. If then at times you do good, and at times you do evil, is God then not allowed to love the good that you do and simultaneously hate the evil? What it boils down to is that God loves good, and hates evil. Flesh is weak. Flesh suffers temptation. Flesh does what is wrong. Have you never heard that God himself repented (regretted) that he had made man flesh?
Genesis 6:5-8 NRSV said:
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.
So then God destroyed the early world with a great flood, but saved Noah, who was righteous. So then God loves good, and hates evil.
More biblical proof that God loves you :
John 3:16-21 NRSV said:
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
They cannot leave out the part about the punishment. It's impossible to sell the delusion without it. "You must dedicate your life to the interpretations of a compilation of books written by an ancient people in a foreign language, no matter how absurd they seem, and just have faith that everything is true, even when it seems to contradict itself."
"What if I don't?"
"Nothing! You'll probably be completely fine. So, will I see you next Sunday?"
Threats are all they have. They're most effective against women and children.
Your perception is mistaken. They are warnings, not threats. Let me ask you this. If someone you loved was doing something that endangered their well being, would you try to prevent it? If they were heroin users, would you let them continue their habit, despite the fact that they might die of an overdose? (Heroin overdoses are real, I know someone who died of one, and it's a damn shame). If your friend wanted to drive home drunk would you let him? If someone you knew was suicidal, would you try to get them help? Or would you simply stand there and watch them kill themselves? In a way, that is at the heart of what is going on here. As a Christian who believes in Heaven and Hell, what is the responsible action for me to take here? Should I simply let you all go to Hell? Or should I do the right thing and warn you of what I believe to be a danger to your existence? Now I'm not saying I believe you're all going to Hell, because I fully believe in God's mercy and forgiveness. It is God's will that all men come to repentance. (And sins are forgiven upon repentance, through Christ's blood. And if your sins are forgiven, then you are saved from the judgement of destruction that they would have brought upon you. They call Jesus Christ a savior for a reason.)
God has foretold all things. God knows people will stubbornly refuse to believe in Him. God knows people will scoff at him.
2 Peter 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
The Promise of the Lord’s Coming
1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2 that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. 3 First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” 5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
Final Exhortation and Doxology
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Something I find personally amusing is that atheists talk about how Christians (and other religious folk) expect them to believe in God without any proof, but atheists expect us to believe there is no God when there is also no proof that he doesn't exist. To the contrary, there IS proof he exists. He wrote us all a letter. It's called The Bible.
And the reason I quote the Bible is because it speaks for itself.
I feel sorry for those who refuse to believe in something that is so plainly clear to all who are willing to give the Bible a chance and keep an open mind.
Proverbs 15:29-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the body.
The ear that heeds wholesome admonition
will lodge among the wise.
I feel sorry for everyone who believes that after we die we simply cease to exist. Have you ever seen someone die? It is clear to me that when someone dies their soul leaves the body. Where does it go if not to be with the LORD? Do you really all believe that a fleshly body is all that we are made of? Truly I would rather bet on life after death than choose to believe that all that we are simply ceases to exist. I watched my Dad die before my very own eyes, but I know in my heart that all that he was is not lost. I have felt my Dad's presence long after he was gone. I know he's watching over me. I know that he languishes when I suffer, and that he rejoices when I find success.
Go ahead, show me from your bible where it says you go to heaven when you die. You cannot find it. But I can find where it says you do not (John 3:13) and where the dead are DEAD and in there GRAVES when Jesus returns. if the dead go to heaven or hell when they die... who does Jesus resurrect from the grave when he returns?! Why did Jesus resurrect Lazarus after he was dead for four days, wasn't he in heaven by then? If people are judged guilty and sent to hell at the moment of death, or good and sent to heaven when they die, than WHO does Jesus resurrect?!?! And WHY is there a judgment day, for WHO?! Weren't they already judged when they died?! THINK! Read your bible and quit believing LIES.
Neil, all due respect, but I have to firmly disagree that everyone who has died is waiting in their graves for Jesus to resurrect them. Something you should know is that there are TWO resurrections. Bear with me. The first resurrection comes when Jesus returns. The second resurrection happens at the end of the Lord's Day. At the first resurrection, all those who believed on Christ will put on eternal life. Then the Lord's day comes, 1000 years of teaching where those who didn't make the first resurrection get a chance to change their minds and come to repentance and believe in God. At the end of the Lord's day, those who do believe will then join those of the first resurrection and put on eternal life. Those who still refuse to believe end up in the lake of fire. That is the second death. The one you can't come back from. At least that is what I have been taught. I would have to do research to show it is biblical though. However, neither resurrection has come yet, but surely people's souls are not lodged in the ground tied to their rotting corpses. Who could believe in such a thing? What kind of God would do such a thing? I know there is scripture to support this. The first thing that comes to mind is this :
Matthew 22:31-33 NRSV said:
And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,
‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.”
And when the crowd heard it, they were astounded at his teaching.
Clearly, this is to be interpreted as saying that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all still alive. Granted, their flesh bodies died, but their spirits (souls) continue to live (and are now with God in Heaven).
And I went to John Chapter 3 to see what reference you were making. Humor me, and read it again, paying special attention to the parts I have put in boldface :
John Chapter 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
Nicodemus Visits Jesus
1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born from above.’[e] 8 The wind[f] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you[g] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
So you must be born of water (have a mother and live in the flesh) and be born from above (be born of Spirit (born from God)) to enter the kingdom of God. Personally I would interpret that as saying that only the spirit (soul) can enter Heaven.
Also, allow me to rephrase verse 13, which you believe to be proof that no one who has lived and died has entered Heaven. The part I changed is in boldface italic :
My paraphrase of John 3:13 said:
No flesh has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
When you read it that way, it does not provide proof that no one who has died has entered Heaven.
Have you read the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man? It clearly shows there is a Heaven and a Hell apart from this Earth where the "dead" reside :
Luke 16:19-31 NRSV said:
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.[g] The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
This also clearly shows that when someone dies, they are placed on (judged to go to) one side of the chasm or the other, that is to say, to "Heaven" or to "Hell".
I also feel sorry for everyone who doesn't know of God's promises, or even worse, for those who refuse to believe them. I know I have something to look forward to. I know that this life of suffering and sorrow and evil is merely a waypoint in the journey to something better. And I know that the LORD will lead me there. All I have to do is follow Him.
Isaiah Chapter 44 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
God’s Blessing on Israel
But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,”
another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,”
and adopt the name of Israel.
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?[a]
Let them tell us what is yet to be.
Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.
The Absurdity of Idol Worship
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. 10 Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? 11 Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.
12 The ironsmith fashions it[c] and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!” 17 The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god!”
18 They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?”
Israel Is Not Forgotten
Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who by myself spread out the earth;
who frustrates the omens of liars,
and makes fools of diviners;
who turns back the wise,
and makes their knowledge foolish;
who confirms the word of his servant,
and fulfills the prediction of his messengers;
who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,”
and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,
and I will raise up their ruins”;
who says to the deep, “Be dry—
I will dry up your rivers”;
who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,
and he shall carry out all my purpose”;
and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”
What makes me so confident? I have seen and felt God's presence in my life. There is a great analogy, likening the Spirit of God to the wind. You can't see it, but you can see it's effects. You can see the wind blowing the leaves in the trees. You can see the wind sweep the clouds along the sky. You can see the devastation a tornado leaves in it's wake. But air is invisible. Who though in their right mind would deny the existence of wind or air? We all know it's there. To deny it would be sure folly, and the people of the Earth would declare you mad. It is the same way with God. His Holy Spirit is with us always. You just have to open your (spiritual) eyes to see that it is there, through the things that it affects.
You can all scoff, you can all disbelieve, you can all poke fun, you can all deny God all you want, but if you want to know where it will get you, all you have to do is read the Bible.
Matthew 10:26-33 said:
Whom to Fear
26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven;
33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
So, who wants to know the ending of the story? If you hadn't heard, it's called the Good News for a reason.
Revelation Chapter 22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) said:
The River of Life
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7 “See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Epilogue and Benediction
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; 19 if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
And it goes without saying that God deserves all the credit. Everything I have shown you He has shown me. This is His wisdom, not mine.
Romans 16 NRSV said:
25 Now to God[m] who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom[n] be the glory forever! Amen.