Have we got the message?

About 3 weeks ago our television stopped working. This sign came up on the screen NO SIGNAL. I checked all the connections and even brought out two other televisions to try as well! Again, NO SIGNAL x 2. Was I getting the message at last? NO SIGNAL meant something other than that there was a fault with three televisions. My friend told me that his television also had this NO SIGNAL message and that he was able to retune his set. Everything was now working properly. I tried this but, sadly, I couldn’t access the screen directions.

As I went to take our car for its MOT I noticed a television company van parked at the roadside. I stopped and asked the driver about our problem. He was really helpful and suggested that it might be because the TV tower had recently had changes to its frequency. A new aerial might be the only answer. He opened the rear door of the van to show me a dozen or so new types of aerial he was now having to fit. I felt that I had found the truth of the matter. This man had clearly explained what I must do. He was an expert!

If we want to know the truth about God and His Son Jesus, we have to open our Bibles to read what they tell us about what is promised for us in the Word of God. God promises resurrection from the grave to live forever when Jesus returns to live on this earth to set up his Father’s Kingdom.

God’s message gives us hope. He is the expert. He is in control. Open your Bible (rather like the van doors) and you will find the “truth of the matter” within its pages.

As soon my helpful nephew retuned our television normal service resumed. We can switch it on to watch a programme at any time of day.

Of course we can all open our Bible at any time of day to access God’s message to us all. God doesn’t want any of us to perish. Our minds need to be tuned to His message. We need to be on God’s frequency to understand how we should live our lives by God’s laws.

John 3: 16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Jesus said “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30.

Quotes ESV

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Spiders and the Bible

Whatever have spiders got to do with a blog about the Bible? Well, in the Book of Proverbs we are directed to study some of the smaller creatures. Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise” So let’s look at the jumping spider! A study carried out by Harvard University reveals the amazing ingenuity of the jumping spider, Myrmarachne formicaria. Whenever a potential adversary looms into view they impersonate something their predator would avoid.

This involves mimicking an ant, because ants have venomous stings, produce unpleasant chemicals and are generally aggressive.

How is a tall, stocky, eight legged spider with three segments able to mimic a thin, six-legged ant with two body segments?

For starters, the spider lifts up two of its legs above its head to give the impression of antennae. It mimics the ant’s winding gait. Finally, it adopts the ant’s habit of frequently stopping for incredibly short periods of a 10th to a 100th of a second. Amazing!

Are we seeing here the completion of evolution, a development over millions of years? Remember, every act of mimicking must work at the same time. Or are we seeing the work of God the Almighty Creator? Jesus Christ believed in creation. Mark 10:6 “ But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female” See also Matthew 19:4 “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female …” Mark 13:19 “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now …”

Quotes from the ESV.


Join us this coming Sunday at 6pm for a special Bible-based presentation on A Bugs Life – presented by the curator of entomology at the National Museum of Wales Cardiff (he will even bring along some of his collection for you to see)! More details can be found here.

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6 Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Affirm Details in Scripture

Each time an artefact related to the Biblical narrative is unearthed in Israel or the surrounding lands of the Bible it becomes a witness to the perfection of God’s Word.

And it happens all the time.

Here are six recent discoveries that affirm some rather obscure details in the Bible. Each one provides material evidence of the historical reliability of the Bible, and hopefully, increases our faith.

Biblical city of Ziklag

Aerial view of the archaeological site at Khirbet a-Ra’i where researchers believe they have located the biblical city of Ziklag.
Photo credit: Emil Ajem, Israel Antiquities Authority

While hiding from Saul in Philistia, King Achish of Gat awarded Ziklag to David as a vassal state. The book of Samuel reveals the Amalekites later destroyed Ziklag. Now when David and his men came to Ziglag on the third day the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziglag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire….. (1 Samuel 30:1) Read the whole chapter to find out what David did!

(Though archaeologists have suggested several sites as possible locations, none have included evidence of both a Philistine settlement and a settlement from the time of David.)

That is until a few weeks ago.

After a 12-year study of the entire region, archaeologists say they may have found the biblical city of Ziklag near the southern town of Kiryat Gat2 in Israel. The find, dating to the early tenth century BC, is consistent with scriptural references to the geography of the area: a rural settlement dating to the time of King David among the remains of a Philistine settlement that had been destroyed by fire.

Clay Pomegranate found in Tel Shiloh

A distinctly Jewish symbol, pomegranates were one of the seven species of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25) and were common tabernacle and temple motifs (1 Kings 7:18; 2 Kings25:17). But long before the first temple was built, they were sewn into the hem of the high priest’s robe by God’s command:

“On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.” (Exodus 28:33-35)

That’s why the 2018 discovery of a small, fully intact ceramic pomegranate at Tel Shiloh, the site where many believe the tabernacle rested (Joshua 18:1), bolstered scholars’ excitement.

This clay pomegranate fits the description in both shape and size of the pomegranates that hung from the priests’ robes. For some scholars, the discovery of the pomegranate affirms the sacredness of Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:12) for the Jews in Israel’s early days.

Photo credit: Ancient Shiloh

Beka weight from the Temple Mount

Beka weight found among dirt near the foundation stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Photo credit: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David

A small weight dating to the First Temple period was unearthed at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in soil removed from under the Western Wall, just north of the City of David in the area of Robinson’s Arch.

The Hebrew word beka (בֶּקַע) inscribed on the weight is equivalent to a half shekel, or about 0.20 ounces. (Exodus 38:26) explains these small stones served as the measurement for the half-shekel temple tax.

“The silver from those numbered among the congregation . . . a beka (בֶּקַע) per person, that is, half a shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel.”

When Jews would bring their half-shekel tax to the temple for the census, they had no coins, only pieces of silver—and it was necessary to know their true weight. Silver pieces were weighed based on the beka weight.

The beka discovery lines up with the biblical narrative and helps confirm the Old Testament system of weights and the existence of Solomon’s Temple.

Five rare coins from Jerusalem

Photo credit: Zachi Dvira, Temple Mount Sifting Project

Though small, these five coins are a big find.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project discovered five rare coins dating from the fourth century BC from around the time described in Ezra and Nehemiah. These two books document the Jewish people returning from Babylonian exile and beginning construction of the Second Temple by decree of Cyrus the Great.

Bearing the inscription in ancient Hebrew יְהוּדָה (Judah), they are believed to be some of the earliest evidence of Jewish coin minting in Israel:

“These were the first coins ever minted by Jews . . . They express the people’s return to their land after the Babylonian exile, and their ability to hold and maintain diplomatic ties with the ruling empire—then Persia.” — Zachi Dvira, Temple Mount Sifting Project

Like the beka weight, these coins affirm details often overlooked in Scripture: a thriving commercial and administrative temple life.

“Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.”8 (Ezra 3:7)

Watchtower dating to the time of Hezekiah

Photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Just weeks ago, the remains of a 15 X 10.5-foot stone watchtower were discovered on a hilltop inside a paratrooper base in southern Israel. It’s believed to be a watchtower abandoned when Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded the area in 701 BC at the end of King Hezekiah’s reign.

The view from the tower includes the Hebron hills, the Judean plain, and Ashkelon. In Hezekiah’s day, soldiers could easily monitor the area and report activity back to their king.

At that time, the entrance to the tower was sealed up and the soldiers fled. Sennacherib’s military campaign in Judea was particularly devastating with Assyrian writings claiming he destroyed 46 cities and over 2,000 farms and villages. Sennacherib went on to lay siege to Jerusalem but was ultimately unsuccessful.

You can read the whole account of Sennacherib’s unsuccessful siege of Jerusalem in (2 Kings 18:13-27)

“He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. … In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” (2 Kings 18:8, 13)

Fortification wall at Lachish

Photo credit: Yossi Garfinkel, Hebrew University

Biblical scholars have long debated whether a strong centralized kingdom existed during Solomon’s reign.

But recently, archaeologists unearthed a fortification wall at Lachish and dated it to the tenth century BC. They argue the fortifications are evidence of the Bible’s account of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.

The kingdom of Israel had split after Solomon’s death, and to prepare for an expected attack from Egypt, Judah’s new king fortified a series of cities:

“Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defence in Judah . . . Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah . . . He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. And he put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.” (2 Chronicles11:5, 9, 11-12) Though some scholars disagree, others stand firm that the finding shores up this biblical account in the book of Chronicles.

These recent discoveries are the latest of many discoveries found by archaeologists. They all prove that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We hope that you will reach for your Bible to read all the given passages and that you will be encouraged to read about the wonderful message it has about God’s promise of salvation to all who put their hope and trust in Him.

This article was originaly written by Karen Engle Wed, July 24, 2019. Karen Engle received her MA in Biblical Studies and Theology from Western Seminary. She is an editor for Faithlife and regularly takes groups to Israel.
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Lessons from a Silversmith

A group of women were studying the book of the prophet Malachi in the Old Testament. As they were studying Malachi 3 they came across verse 3, which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver …” This verse puzzled the women, and they wondered what this statement told them about the character and purpose of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and report back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman phoned a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest in order to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. Then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time as the silver was being refined. The man answered, “Yes” and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”

God refines and tests all who believe and try to follow the example that Jesus shows them. He wants all his followers to try always to reflect something of His character.

The apostle Peter tells us, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ … as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

Throughout the lives of those who follow Jesus there will be times of trial, frustration and sadness. Believers aren’t promised trouble free lives but they know that God is watching over them at all times and shaping them to be fit for eternal life in the Kingdom that Jesus will establish on earth when he returns. 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their cry …” True believers will “… run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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No Easter at Notre-Dame

Isn’t it remarkable? In a widely atheistic age, in a secular republic, a fire at a medieval Catholic landmark has brought people and nations together. It has caused them to unite, to pray and to thank God.

I am, of course, talking about Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. I am obviously not a Catholic, so this building holds no religious significance for me.  Matthew 18v20 Jesus tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. We don’t have to worship God in a vast and ornate cathedral. It is hard, however, to be unmoved by the unfolding of recent events. But, in this largely post-Christian age, how is it that Notre-Dame has outlasted its original reason for existing?

Even if religion is set aside, historically and architecturally this building is of immense significance. Cathedrals such as this are, without doubt, great works of art. They have in their time been centres of community. They have witnessed and hosted both their nations greatest and saddest events. They were built in an age before machines by the hands of the very people who would congregate there to worship.

As an avid tourist of history and literature, it is fair to say that few houses of faith have such a vivid story to tell as Notre-Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame has been, for all of us, an embodiment of Paris and its history, of the city’s medieval Catholic past, its religious wars, its national triumphs and disasters. It was the backdrop for the Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The film begins with the song, The Bells of Notre Dame, which poignantly summarises the part this building still plays in the lives of the people of Paris:
Morning in Paris, the city awakes,
To the bells of Notre Dame.
The fisherman fishes, the baker man bakes,
To the bells of Notre Dame.
To the big bells as loud as the thunder,
To the little bells soft as a psalm,
And some say the soul of the city,
The toll of the bells,
The bells of Notre Dame.

My own story with this building began as a little child when I first encountered Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, not just because of the vivid colours and the enchanting music, but because this cathedral is the stage for a story of hope, of acceptance for outsiders and those who see the world a little differently. It is something which the apostle Peter brings out for us in his first epistle, “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 1Peter 3v8-9.

As I got older my love of this story caused me to read Victor Hugo’s, Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the great works of French literature and the story that inspired Disney. Whilst the book is darker than Disney’s interpretation, it holds a wonderful quote, which I often bring to mind, ‘A one-eyed man is much more incomplete than a blind man, for he knows what it is that’s lacking.’

That’s really the crux of my ponderings here today. Is the modern, confused and agnostic world around us the blind man? Has society travelled so far from ‘The Age of Faith’ that it doesn’t even know what it is lacking? As Jesus asks in Luke 6v39, “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

This has happened at a time of miserable squabbling over the future of Europe. The truth is that, whatever we think about Brexit or a customs union, or any of the esoteric options lying before our politicians, we are all heirs of a great common history. If only the world had one eye that it might recognise what is lacking and seek out the hope set before them in the Bible – to be heirs of a future, not just a past, to be heirs of the promises of God.

In Hebrews 12v2 we are told to, “Look unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Rather fitting really when we remember that this weekend is Easter Weekend, a time when Christians worldwide reflect on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, for the first time in nearly nine centuries there will be no Easter at Notre-Dame.


You are warmly invited to join us this Sunday, April 21st 2019 at 6pm for a Bible talk about ‘Jesus Christ, The Cross and You’. Find out how Jesus’ sacrifice can have a positive effect on your life and what it could mean for your future!

*All quotes are from the King James Version.

 

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The Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
(Exodus 20:7)

Many people in UK have heard of the Ten Commandments we find in the Bible. Some of these commandments still remain a basis for many of the laws in this country. “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)

But what about the 3rd Commandment? What does it mean? “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
Put very simply it means that God is asking people not to use His Name in a familiar or derogatory way. God tells us plainly that, if we do, we are guilty of causing offence to Him. The LORD wants us to realise that He is our Creator and, because He is, He expects men and women to respect Him.

For those who say that they believe in the God of the Bible and in His Son, Jesus Christ, this command is very important to remember.

We live in a society that has, for the most part, sidelined God and His Son and the laws that they have laid down.

Every day we hear the name of God and His Son used as swear words on our TV and radio programmes. They are misused in books and newspapers. People use them as swear words or as expressions of exasperation and annoyance. It is common to hear very young children misusing God’s name. Celebrities seem to think it makes them look “cool” to swear and blaspheme.

If we profess to follow God and Jesus we must try to show that we do by never ever using their names in this way. We are advised to put away
“… obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Surely the most obscene talk for believers of God and His Son must be to take their names in vain.

Quotes ESV

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Loneliness at Christmas

December is almost here and the shops have been promoting Christmas since mid October! It is also appearing in adverts in newspapers, magazines, online and TV.

For most of us it is a happy time spent with families and friends but for some it is the loneliest time of the year. They live alone. Their loved ones may have died or are living far away. They remember the years gone by when they were surrounded by so many who loved them. Most of us can’t imagine being so isolated and unhappy.

We know, of course, that everyone struggles with loneliness at some point, even in the midst of a crowd.

The problem is so prominent in our society that the Government is proposing the setting up a Minister and a team to see what can be done.

The Bible, God’s Word, can provide hope and strength if we are prepared to let its message filter into our thinking. Please think about the positive flow of thought that comes from the Bible passages listed below. They are just a few of many.

King David wrote: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

“O Lord, all my longing is before you ; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)

“He (God) heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

Jesus, God’s beloved Son, appealed to the people: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you , and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The apostle Paul wrote: “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peter, Jesus’ disciple, also adds to the message:” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

So David, Jesus, Paul and Peter, although at times feeling lonely, found their solace and comfort in God, knowing that His purpose with them would be fulfilled . The power of meditating on the Word of God, prayer and actively applying God’s principles in their lives provided the stimulus to keep going. We, with them can look forward to the promise of God’s Kingdom on this earth (Hebrews 11 to 12:1 and 2) and in that Kingdom feelings and experience of loneliness will be a thing of the past.

May those of us who are blessed with families and friends and looking forward to their company this Christmas spare a thought for the lonely and, if we can, invite them to share our happiness.

All quotes from English Standard Version. To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Our Favourite Verses

The blog this week is made up of 4 of our favourite verses. It is amazing to see how the Bible message from creation to salvation shines through!


Psalm 95 v 4–5
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it
; and his hands formed the dry land.”

To anyone who looks at the world and sees the stunning snow topped mountains, lush beautiful coasts and majestic forests and fails to see the Maker at work needs to take a closer look. All these amazing sights could not happen by chance. Everywhere you look all these things have been created. Come rain, snow or shine we are very blessed with such a beautiful land to live in, Everywhere we look we can see the Maker’s work. It really should make us stop and think how awesome his wonderful creation is!


Choosing a favourite is very tricky as it all depends on the mood I am in, so for this reason I tend to lean towards this one.

Philippians 4 v 4–7
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Acts 1 v 11
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

I love this verse – I can remember it! It’s such a straightforward verse. If you honour God’s word and take it at its face value, it’s so valuable. It is solid and concrete, providing hope of the Lord Jesus’ return and so gives comfort when life’s grim realities could pull one down.


This is a favourite verse of mine as this world can be tough, so to keep myself upbeat and cheerful I like to concentrate my mind on the things that God has in store for us.

Habakkuk 2v14
“For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.”


To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk or our Facebook page.

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What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago.

How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived?

The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived. The evidence for Jesus is not limited to later folklore, as are accounts of Arthur.

What do Christian writings tell us?

The value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed. The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eyewitnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

What did non-Christian authors say about Jesus?

As far as we know, the first author outside the church to mention Jesus is the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote a history of Judaism around AD93. He has two references to Jesus. One of these is controversial because it is thought to be corrupted by Christian scribes (probably turning Josephus’s negative account into a more positive one), but the other is not suspicious – a reference to James, the brother of “Jesus, the so-called Christ”.

About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus, who held some of the highest offices of state at the beginning of the second century AD. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – reports that fit with the timeframe of the gospels. Pliny contributes the information that, where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their “pig-headed obstinacy” and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

Did ancient writers discuss the existence of Jesus?

Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who questioned whether Jesus lived.

How controversial is the existence of Jesus now?

In a recent book, the French philosopher Michel Onfray talks of Jesus as a mere hypothesis, his existence as an idea rather than as a historical figure. About 10 years ago, The Jesus Project was set up in the US; one of its main questions for discussion was that of whether or not Jesus existed. Some authors have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth was doubly non-existent, contending that both Jesus and Nazareth are Christian inventions. It is worth noting, though, that the two mainstream historians who have written most against these hypersceptical arguments are atheists: Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina). They have issued stinging criticisms of the “Jesus-myth” approach, branding it pseudo-scholarship. Nevertheless, a recent survey discovered that 40% of adults in England did not believe that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Is there any archaeological evidence for Jesus?

Part of the popular confusion around the historicity of Jesus may be caused by peculiar archaeological arguments raised in relation to him. Recently there have been claims that Jesus was a great-grandson of Cleopatra, complete with ancient coins allegedly showing Jesus wearing his crown of thorns. In some circles, there is still interest in the Shroud of Turin, supposedly Jesus’s burial shroud. Pope Benedict XVI stated that it was something that “no human artistry was capable of producing” and an “icon of Holy Saturday”.

It is hard to find historians who regard this material as serious archaeological data, however. The documents produced by Christian, Jewish and Roman writers form the most significant evidence.

These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.

This post was adapted from The Guardian, written by Simon Gathercole – Reader in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge.

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Israel at 70

On Wednesday, April I8th, Israel celebrated 70 years of statehood.
In 1948 the new state’s population was 872,000. Today there are over 6.6 million Jews living in Israel, just under half of world Jewry.
No other post-colonial state has remained a democracy whilst granting its people a developed world standard.
GDP per capita, Israel ($40,762) is twenty third out of 193 states-just behind France and the United Kingdom!
Israel, in 1948, was an exporter of avocados and oranges.
Today she is second only to Silicon Valley, California, in the technical sector.
Israel has the world’s highest quota of engineers.
Israel has the most powerful military capability in the Middle East.
The whole country has become a listening post, and a constant source of intelligence for Western States.
T-shirts sold in tourist shops bear the slogan ‘Don’t worry, America: Israel’s got your back’!

What has this got to do with the Bible, you may ask?

Well, the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, their prosperity, their reliance on their own ability and not on God is a sign that JESUS IS COMING BACK . This nation is a wake up call for all who would serve God to prepare for this momentous event.

He is coming back to be their King.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King coming to you … he shall speak peace to the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:9-10)

At his trial Jesus told Pilate, the Roman Governor of Israel, clearly that he was born to be King of Israel. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to him ‘Are you a king then? Jesus answered ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:36-37)

To Mary, the mother of Jesus, the angel Gabriel said: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give unto him the throne of His father (ancestor) David; And he will reign over the house of Jacob (the Jewish nation) for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”(Luke 1: 30-33)
The Jewish nation must be in Israel in order for this to happen. Jesus is a direct descendant of King David, who reigned in Jerusalem.

The return of the Jews is a sign of the times. God is at work among the nations. When Jesus reigns over the Jews in the Kingdom of God they will accept Jesus as their King. They will be a splendid example of godliness and, with the believers of all ages, will help bring about the time when “the earth will be filled with the glory of God.”

We must all get ready now to welcome King Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

(Quotes from The New King James Version.)

To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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