The Christian Noob (n00b)

born & raised Catholic, now going to a Presbyterian church & still learning

Category Archives: book review

“Sherlock Holmes and the Needle’s Eye: The World’s Greatest Detective Tackles the Bible’s Ultimate Mysteries” by Len Bailey

Sherlock Holmes and the Needles EyeIn “Sherlock Holmes and the Needle’s Eye: The World’s Greatest Detective Tackles the Bible’s Ultimate Mysteries” (ISBN 9780849964831) by Len Bailey, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes is hired to uncover ten mysteries in the Bible, but at first he hesitated. In the process, he and Watson go back in time and share their thoughts and findings from a highly intelligent point of view.

“‘The note forecasts, upon acceptance, ten Bible puzzles to be solved. Ten adventures fueled by deep mystery.'”Sherlock Holmes

“‘Puzzles? Isn’t the Bible rather straightforward to be mysterious?'”Dr. John H. Watson

Holmes‘ comment almost sounds as what many of us — doubting Christians — have secretly thought of at least once in our life time. We’ve all wondered at some point or another if the Bible truly is the word of God or some man-made fable.

“‘But your disinterestedness in Scripture is remarkable, Holmes. Will you accept this challenge?'”Dr. John H. Watson

The book’s refreshing, combining fiction (Sherlock Holmes & Dr. John H. Watson) and Biblical historical accounts (or man-made fables used to teach us about God, depending on your secondary belief system attached to the Judeo-Christian faith).

“Honor dictates that one must side with one’s friend in his hour of need. How honorable is it, in a coup d’état…”Sherlock Holmes

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ – Comfort or Confusion?” by L. Ralph Rohr, MD

The Revelation of Jesus Christ Comfort or Confusion by L. Ralph Rohr, MD“The Revelation of Jesus Christ – Comfort or Confusion?” (ISBN 9781449767655) by L. Ralph Rohr, MD, feels related to “Revelation and the Antichrist” (ISBN 9781449772307) by William Edward Dewberry. The book tries to express the function of Jesus during the end of times. It’s not a topic that hasn’t been covered before and doesn’t feel like a refreshing view. It increases the confusion of what role the Christ will take care off during the end of times. If anyone should bother buying this book and/or adding it to his/her collection should be a theologian. Normal lay-people (myself included) can only get more confused, angry and even skeptic.

The other book in question written by a different author shows the other side of the coin — the Antichrist. Maybe my fascination with horror movies like The Omen (1976) make me more curious about evil, demons, hell and Satan stories and documentaries.

Revelation and the Antichrist by William Edward DewberryIf I had to give these two books ratings, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” would get two out of four flaming skulls, while “Revelation and the Antichrist” would get three out of four laughing skulls.

“Revelation and the Antichrist” by William Edward Dewberry

Revelation“Revelation and the Antichrist” (ISBN 9781449772307) by William Edward Dewberry was an interesting book. During my reviews, I include key sections to sell the story or persuade others not to. The folowing’s perhaps the longest quote I’ve included.

“Revelation was written not only to reveal the events of the persecution and tribulation, but also to encourage and comfort Christians when the time comes. Satan will be the instigator of the tribulation, and those who are spiritually unprepared may become victims of Satan’s evil plot to destroy their faith. The Antichrist, empowered by Satan, will come before the second coming of Christ, and he will be responsible for the persecution and tribulation.
The spirit of mankind does not die — life extends beyond the grave, and at the end of time God will deal justly with all people of every time period. According to Matthew’s gospel, people will be divided into two groups — the righteous and the unrighteous. Jesus and the angels will come to the earth to take vengeance on Satan, the Antichrist, and the people who are still unrighteous. Christ and the angels will be seen descending on the clouds of the sky in glory with great power.
Christ’s coming will be a time of grief and sorrow for the unbelievers and the unrighteous, but it will be a time of joy and comfort for God’s people. The earth will be destroyed at the end of time, but God has prepared a new heaven and new earth in which the righteous will live. The righteous will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and they shall ever be with the Lord. Then the earth and everything in it will be destroyed with a consuming fire.”

I often get confused with these two terms — Satan (Lucifer, etc) and the Antichrist. Are they the same entity in two different representations or is the Antichrist merely a peon in Satan’s attempt to rule this world and all souls living and/or departed?

By the way, as I’ve pointed out numerous times, fire-and-brimstone preaching isn’t my cup of tea. To my surprise, this book seems to break the stereotype and it’s actually interesting to read merging the actual text of the Book of Revelation (Word of God) and the man-made secondary beliefs (adaptations, interpretations, rights and wrongs, etc).

The book also covers the promise of New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem as told by the Prophet Isaiah (65:17) eons before the Book of Revelation (21:1-2) — not Doctor Who’s New Earth (S2E1, 09/29/2006).

“17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17 KJV)

“1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2 KJV)

As those few who’ve read the Book of Revelation know (myself barely included), the number seven’s repeated through out the book. The symbology of the number seven (7) is “spiritual perfection” as in the explanation below by the Christian Churches of God World Conference.

“Seven (7) denotes spiritual perfection. It reflects the work of the Holy Spirit as the power of God, as a hallmark does. It is the mark of life and divides the periods of reproduction in animal life. It is the number of rest and the cycle of rest in the Jubilee. It is also the period of return to God in rest and return to His Law, and that is why the Law is read in the Sabbath year of the cycle.”
http://www.ccg.org/english/s/p007.html

As such, there are seven churches, which John wrote his book and send copies to — Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. We also have seven stars, seven candlesticks, as well as seven of this and seven of that.

“11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:11-20 KJV)

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887Perhaps everyone’s least favorite are the seven seals — the horrors that nightmares are built on.

  1. First Seal — First Horseman of the Apocalypse, white horse, bow, crown

    “1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:1-2 KJV)

  2. Second Seal — Second Horseman of the Apocalypse, red horse, great sword

    “3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:3-4 KJV)

  3. Third Seal — Third Horseman of the Apocalypse, black horse, scales

    “5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6 KJV)

  4. Fourth Seal — Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, pale horse, none (Hades following him)

    “7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:7-8 KJV)

  5. Fifth Seal — Souls of martyrs, white robes

    “9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11 KJV)

  6. Sixth Seal — Great earthquake, darkness

    “12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17 KJV)

  7. Seventh Seal — Seven angels, seven trumpets

    “1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8:1-6 KJV)

The main idea behind “Revelation and the Antichrist” is to make people conscious of what’s to come, but we must remember that the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2 KJV)

“Jesus is ____” by Judah Smith — responses

Jesus is ____ by Judah SmithThese are some of the responses left in my Facebook account by Bijbelstudenten Biblestudents — worth posting (thanks).

“There may be many Christians who feel the need to judge and think they are the good ones and the non believers are the bad ones; But whom are the good ones and who the bad ones? But you can already question of those believers follow the teachings of their so called master. Jesus never considered himself God and always said he could do nothing without God who is greater than him; Though many Christians made Jesus not only to be a god but to be to be the God. Jesus is the son of God, which is totally different to being ‘god the son’.

God can not die, but Jesus did. God can not be seen nor touched and can not be tempted, but Jesus could be heard, seen, touched and spoken to and was more than once in his lifetime tempted. He also had contact with many sinners but he himself never sinned. He made the choice to follow the Will of his Father, and not to do his own wil, even not at the time that his life was in danger. this makes Jesus such a special man whose offering for that reason was accepted by the God of gods as the only ideal and full ransom for the sins of humanity.

No matter what we try to do, as non-believers or as believers, as Christians, may it be as Presbyterian,Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal or even serious bible Student, we all are sinners and have to face our weaknesses. It is only by facing those shortcomings that we shall be able to grow and work on our character (to become more like Christ).

Read original post — “Jesus is ____” by Judah Smith.

“Jesus is ____” by Judah Smith

Jesus is ____ by Judah SmithI should have read and written a book review a while ago for “Jesus is ____” (ISBN 9781400204755) by Judah Smith.

First off, I lacked interest in reading, in general (perhaps what could be categorized as chronic depression). Besides even if I had wanted, I had no glasses, I couldn’t. I finally have my glasses (new prescription, frames and all) and now I’m trying to feel interested enough to read this book written by a Seattle pastor about a small social experiment where people could finish the sentence “Jesus is ____.” Most of the answers were nice while others were short of offensive.

“That last bit often makes people feel awkward. They try not to swear around me, which mostly makes me laugh. They think I can’t relate to them. A pastor, of course, doesn’t swear, have impure thoughts, yell at his kids, watch porn, get drunk, do drugs, or cheat on his wife or taxes. He also judges everyone he sees, doesn’t have any fun, tries not to smile, and only has sex because it’s a necessary evil in order to perpetuate the species.”

In his half-joking manner, the author describes the textbook Christian.

“Let’s be honest. Mostly good people like to look down on mostly bad people. We enjoy the feelings of condescending pity or self-righteous outrage. We gleefully hold up notorious evildoers as marvels of depravity, examples of just how bad people can get. Then we finish off our lattes, load our 2.2 children into our almost-paid-off SUVs, and head off to contribute to society.”

He also points out that we’re either sinners who acknowledge our trespasses and those who are “holier-than-thou” who put down other sinners.

“In Jesus’s conversation with Matthew, he lumps all of humanity into two groups: people who think they are righteous and people who know they are sinners.”

These are the same Christians who feel the need to judge — forgetting that only GOD has that right.

“Stage 1. I am a good person, and I am justified in criticizing bad people.
Stage 2. I am a good person, but I should show compassion to bad people.
Stage 3. I am a sinner who needs just as much help as the next guy.
Stage 4. I am loved by Jesus, just as I am, and so is everyone else.”

The author’s biggest (to my criteria) is that pastors don’t know their flock and most importantly those unwanted outsiders who should be part of the flock. They fail to identify the drug pusher, the sexual trafficker, the victims (consumers, providers, slaves, etc) and/or other not-so-holy members of society in order to welcome them to the body of Christ, help them, clean them and eventually lead them to straight-and-narrow.

On a different topic, I’ve got disc 2 of Sandinista by The Clash on heavy rotation, especially the song Lose My Skin with a fiddle and bag pipes as the song refers says, “I got to lose this skin I’m imprisoned in” (The Clash, Sandinista! 1980).

Lloyd Kaufman

born & raised Catholic, now going to a Presbyterian church & still learning

Tromemoir

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Lee Ann McAdoo

Psychic. Lion Tamer. Ensorcelling Muse.

Jenna Abrams

Rely on common sense

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