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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's not just what the words of Scripture say that are important, but how, when and where they are said that is also important

It's not just what the words of Scripture say that are important, but how, when and where they are said that is also important

If you just focus on the simple information found in the Bible and do not take into consideration the issue of how the Bible is designed, you are missing opportunities for learning.

I have some posts on my blog about the importance of the order of the Biblical books and some of the things we can learn from that issue.




 Note the following. If it is just the information and not also the design of the Bible that is important, why is it that in some Biblical texts, we find the almost exact same material found as in other Biblical texts?

The reason is, is that there is an important design found in Scripture and it is up to us to find out the deeper meanings of the text and not only just focus on what it is saying supposedly on the surface.

Note the following examples:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror,
for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
(Psalm 14 ESV)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good.
God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
Have those who work evil no knowledge,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
There they are, in great terror,
where there is no terror!
For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you;
you put them to shame, for God has rejected them.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
(Psalm 53 ESV)

Both the above are virtually identical. The next two sets of examples are the same thing.

Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay!
(Psalm 70 ESV)

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
(Psalm 40:13-17 ESV)

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go forth, O God, with our armies.
Oh, grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
(Psalm 60:9-12 ESV)

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
(Psalm 108:10-13 ESV)

Note: For more information, see Ernest L. Martin's "Restoring the Original Bible" (ASK Publication: Portland:OR, 1994) , pg.481.

Let's pay close attention to design and content. You may find that there is meaning which needs to be discovered.

Download Samuel Martin's free ebook - Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy here - http://whynottrainachild.com/2013/06/22/download-martins-book/

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why Do I Write?

Why Do I Write?

I am working on a new website and I'll probably be making a video as an introduction on who I am (and it may include some exotic Jerusalem locations) and why it is that I am doing what I am doing. (sort of my own personal intervention logic - a nice development term)

But I got to thinking about it and thought I'd stretch outside of myself and explain myself in a very simple way.

I write because I love writing and because I was taught to be a writer. I may not have reached the level of writing proficiency that I hope to aspire to, but my father always told me to continue writing to improve my work. That is what he did throughout his life and through his own ministry which lasted over 40 years.

My dad in his infectious style, which was eternally optimistic, forward thinking and always positive told me constantly that I would achieve greater things than he ever did. So, for comparitive purposes, you can check out the following photo which explains why I write. My books are the one's on the right. :)

PS. Two of my other publications are in fact done and will be published very soon as ebooks, but they are not pictured here. Not yet anyway :)

Download Samuel Martin's free ebook - Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy here - http://whynottrainachild.com/2013/06/22/download-martins-book/

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Excerpt from the book "What was the Mark of Cain?" by Samuel Martin

Excerpt from the book "What was the Mark of Cain?" by Samuel Martin

When I think of this, I go right back to the story of Cain and Abel. Cain did not murder Abel.

We are not told precisely in the book of Genesis when this event happened, but may we make speculations in this regard? We are told that Cain and Abel were the first children of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:1,2). The births of these two children preceded the birth of Seth who was born in the 130th year of Adam’s life (Genesis 5:3). This same Seth, the Scripture teaches, produced his first child. Enoch, at the age of 105 (ibid., 5:6) We are not told precisely, but could it be that Cain and Abel were born sometime just after Adam passed his 100th year? We are not told when Cain was born, but if Cain was born when, for example, Adam was, say 105 years old, then Abel for the sake of this example, was born at least a year or perhaps two or even three years later.[1] You would have Cain becoming 12 in Adam’s 117th year and his brother, Abel, becoming 11 or 10 (or perhaps 9) in Adam’s 118th or 119th years (or 120th year if there was a three year gap between the children).[2]

One of the interesting things about this issue concerning the ages of Cain and Abel is that we have a source that seems to indicate this. In the Midrash Rabbah it quotes Lamech, a descendant of Cain, who says the following: “Did ‘I’ slay Abel who was a man in height, but a child in years, that my descendants should be exterminated on account of this sin (the sin of Cain who killed Abel).”[3] It is interesting that we do find some evidence that seems to point to the youthfulness of Abel (and also by extension of Cain himself).

Since we do not have a clear statement in the Bible about the number of years between these children, we have to look to other sections of the Bible that might help us to better understand this issue. One thing that can help us perhaps is to look at other figures in the Bible, particularly in these earlier sections and look at families and see if we have any clues about the normal spacing of children in these earlier periods.

Much of the data is very terse and short, but if we will pay close attention to the information that we do have, we might just find some clues to help us better understand what was happening here in this early section of Genesis.

Since Moses was the writer of this section,[4] perhaps it makes good sense to look at his life. We are told in the Bible that Moses had a brother named Aaron and that his brother was three years older than he was.[5] In addition, a careful study of the life of Moses’ older sister Miriam will show that she was born at least six years before Moses was.[6] We find some evidence in the Bible, which indicates that there may have been a tendency among the ancient Hebrews to space their children about three years apart. This is because of the ancient custom of weaning children from the breast finally at age three.[7] We find this indicated in other sections of the Bible as well where the tendency to wait until one child was weaned before seeking to get pregnant again is referenced. Note what is spoken of the wife of the prophet Hosea:

“Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son.”[8]

The idea of weaning as the chosen method to “complete” or “ripen” a child is something that is found in the Hebrew verb (gah-mal) that the word “to wean” comes from. Strong’s Hebrew Concordance defines this word as “A primitive root; to treat a person (well or ill), that is, benefit or requite; by implication (of toil) to ripen, that is, (specifically) to wean: - bestow on, deal bountifully, do (good), recompense, requite, reward, ripen, serve, wean, yield.” There is a strong tendency to believe that in the Biblical period, God initially passed down the idea to Adam and Eve that once you had a baby, it was preferred to “ripen” that child through breast feeding for just over two years and then a family could think about adding another child after the previous one had been “ripened.”

Now, since we are not told, can we, with the information we do have, make some reasonable speculations regarding the age of Cain when he committed this killing? Naturally, Cain must have been at least one year older (probably three years is more likely) than his younger brother Abel, but we are not told precisely how old they were when the killing took place. Can we, however, make some educated guesses from the Biblical text? Perhaps.

It is interesting that in the time of Moses that the death penalty applied to numerous situations. For example, there was a man who suffered the effects of capital punishment for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. (Numbers 15:32) This individual, who died in the book of Numbers, is called a “man” (Hebrew: ish). In light of this issue, it is seemingly very uncharacteristic (under the circumstances where Cain did kill Abel) of the LORD that the death penalty was not assigned to Cain. How was it that this man who committed the crime of working on the Sabbath suffered the death penalty, but Cain who took a life, did not? Why was this? His offense seemingly was greater than that of the man who lost his life for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? After all, he did kill his brother.

We also have the story of Uzzah at the ark. Uzzah lost his life for reaching out to steady the ark in violation of the Law,[9] but once again Cain took a life and received a punishment that does not seem congruent with the crime? Or did he?

We have another story in the Bible in this regard. Scripture tells us that the LORD brought a retribution of capital punishment on Onan due to the fact that he failed to perform the legal obligation to continue the name of his departed brother.[10] Onan, due to his ability to perform this act of “raising up seed to his brother,” was clearly physically able to perform this task (and there is every indication from the text that he understood the legal obligation), but failed to do so, thereby coming under the divine retribution. Now, let us look practically at how this matter relates to the issue of Cain and the taking of Abel’s life.

Is it possible though that Cain did not commit a premeditated murder, but rather in an episode of youthful rage, his anger got the best of him and he killed his brother? As sad as this story is, we in the modern world hear horrible stories of young people who, for one or a hundred reasons, kill one another, but malice aforethought is absent. These cases today are called “manslaughter.” We in the modern world are even familiar with terms related to degrees of manslaughter, which are found in courtroom parlance.[11] Manslaughter is a very different thing than premeditated murder. Could it be that Cain’s sin, while a death did indeed take place, was looked on differently by the LORD?

One thing that is for certain is the fact that Abel was at least about a year younger than Cain. In this regard, we ask is it possible that both of them were under the age of 13? The age of 13 is the time in the life of a young Jewish male when that “boy” begins the process to becoming a “man” and then he is obligated to begin keeping all of the commandments (Hebrew: mitzvot) of God.[12] Could it be that what we are reading here is an incident involving what we today would call “teenagers? Perhaps the reason the LORD did not demand the death penalty of Cain was that he had not yet reached the age of accountability, or, was this a case of negligent homicide or manslaughter? We cannot say 100% for sure, but we can say this: Cain killed his brother.

Regarding the age of Cain, the Bible does make one fact clear. All of the events associated with Cain and Abel took place prior to the time that Cain married and had his own children. Of this we can be certain because of the indications mentioned directly in the Biblical text.[13]

[1] Adam and Eve probably had about an equal number of female children, which must also be considered here.
[2] Note: We have to have Cain and Abel at least reaching to these ages when we consider the information in the texts about their taking on the responsibilities of work in tending a field and in taking care of flocks. Children smaller than these ages could not, under normal circumstances, take on these duties.
[3] Bereshit Rabbah 23 in Rosenbaum & Silbermann, “Rashi's Commentary on the Pentateuch,” p.21.  Shapiro & Valentine & Co. London, 1946.
[4] See Luke 24:44,45
[5] Exodus 7:7
[6] See Bullinger’s Companion Bible Appendix 50, Chronology Charts.
[7] Mc’lintock & Strongs: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological & Ecclesiastical Literature, vol. II, pg. 243, article. child,’ which refers to Genesis 21:8; Exodus 2:7,9; I Samuel 1:22-24; II Chronicles 31:16 and Matthew 21:16
[8] Hosea 1:8

[9] II Sam. 6:3 CBTEL vol. X, p. 689 says Uzzah’s sin was he wasn’t an Aaronic priest and ineligible to touch the ark.
[10] Genesis 38:11
[11] http://www.law.ua.edu/colquitt/crimmain/crimmisc/jurymur.htm – This link points to two degrees of murder and two degrees of manslaughter.
[12] For information on 13 being the age of accountability, see Encyc. Judaica, “Bar Mitzvah” v. 4, p.243.)
[13] Genesis 4:17

For more information about how you can get your copy of this book, please contact Archives Bookshop in California toll free - 1 800 204 2063 - Ask for Chris.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And He was with the beasts (Mark 1:13)

“And He was with the beasts.” (Mark 1:13) 

Comment: This artistic representation of the Jordan river taken in the Jerusalem Natural History Museum really caught my eye. I give it here in comparison to the current picture of the same river. Really a stark difference several thousands of years makes.

It is important to note that the animal life found in Israel today is different than what it used to be. Some species have left the area permanently. If you look at the picture above on the left it is an artistic representation of what is known as the ‘Sudanian penetration zone,’ which used to characterize the region right around the Jordan river up to and including an area just north of the Dead Sea. Pockets of this zone can be found all around the Dead Sea and the area around the Dead Sea’s northern end and extending in pockets 30-40 miles north of the Dead Sea itself.  

This Sudanian Penetration Zone is pretty self explanatory. It means that the geography in the Holy Land has elements of “Sudanian penetration”, that is: you have areas here that look like Sudan! To further clarify, what we are talking about here are basically jungles!

And what kinds of animals inhabited these Sudanian penetration zones in Israel in the ancient times? Lions (extinct in Israel), Cheetahs (extinct in Israel), Bears (extinct in Israel), Leopards, (rare), Gazelles (rare), Oryx (extinct in Israel), Fallow deer (reintroduced in a few places in the North of Israel), and Hyena (rare).

Note that the lion we are talking about here is a smaller variety than the African one, but it is still a lion nonetheless. Jeremiah talks about the “canebrake on the banks of the Jordan, the ‘pride’ of the river, was their favorite haunt. (Jeremiah 49:14; 50;44) and in this reedy covert (Lamentations 3;19) they were to be found at a comparatively recent period, as we learn from a passage of Johannes Phocas, who travelled in Palestine towards the end of the 12th century.” (CBTEL, vol. V, pg. 447)

This presents a very interesting type of environment of the Jordan river area in ancient times and the wild nature of the area. One certainly had to watch their step in this region due to the wild animals living there. Here is what I said previously which I have now added some new information to in light of these new ideas.

The 40 days in the wilderness at the very beginning of Christ’s ministry is to me a fascinating story. When I picture Christ following that event, I am reminded of seeing people who have just come off hunger strikes (like Gandhi) being carried by other people as they barely can hold themselves up. This is how I see our Lord following the 40 days in the wilderness. Talk about a trial. Can one imagine going without food for 40 days? Really unfathomable to me.

There is though this little statement in the first chapter of Mark, which interests me greatly. It says: “And He was with the beasts.” (Mark 1:13) We also have the added statement just following this that angels ministered to Him.

Now, when I consider the whole trial that Christ went through and I also consider the region where He was at the time, the whole idea of the animals that might have been present take on some interesting possibilities.

I had pointed out some time back about the recent sightings of leopards in the region of Ein Gedi (you can find nice photos on Google Images). Yes. Today, in the most inhospitable region of Ein Gedi, which is right on the shore of the Dead Sea in the Judean Wilderness, we have leopards present and one can only imagine how frightening it might be to be out in the wilderness alone facing such animals. This region in and around Ein Gedi in ancient times was one of those pockets of what they called Sudanian Penetration Zone once again.

We read some 150 times in the Bible about lions and according to our sources, lions were present here in the Holy Land up until about 600 years ago. Once again, imagine being alone at night in the desert wondering if a lion might be about. And this not just for one night, but 40 in a row! Pretty amazing.

Then, we have to consider scorpions. Remember I Kings 12:11? Yes. Scorpions were well known in Biblical times and one location in the Bible appears to be called “Scorpion pass.” (Numbers 34:1-5 – where the Hebrew word “ak-rawb” [scorpion] is used of a place at the southern end of the Dead Sea).

Snakes also are quite common here and dangerous. We have to take care walking out away from our houses and we find on occasion snakes coming quite near our homes and we have killed a couple here and there and these snakes are poisonous with a capital “P.” The vipers come in all shapes and sizes and some of them are no longer than your hand, but they are nonetheless quite deadly. There are in fact eight species of poisonous snakes here in the Holy Land.

Were these exposures to dangerous animals a part of the trial of Christ? Did God send His angels to minister to Christ and protect him from harm from these dangerous animals? Is what Christ went through something similar to what Daniel endured in the lions den and that is why we have this reference in Mark 1:13 to the beasts? These are speculations and we are not certain from the Biblical texts what exactly happened. One thing is for sure though; those 40 days in the wilderness were a serious trial in an environment that was a lot more wild than it is today, which helps all of us who go through our daily hard circumstances of life to remember that we have a Savior who understands us. He knows hardship, difficulties, pain, being too hot or cold, being hungry or thirsty or being very sick (Matt.8:16,17) or even to be in an inhospitable environment with dangerous animals around. Thank God for this wonderful reminder in the Gospel.

The above referenced painting is from the St. Gerasimos monastery in the Judaean desert. It is located very near the Jordan river and the traditional site of the baptism of Christ. It was positioned very near the Sudanian Penetration Zone, which we are here discussing and lions were a feature of the region. St. Gerasimos here pictured lived in the fifth century and is believed to have had a lion who was his lifelong companion named Jordan. Photo:http://orthodoxwiki.org/Gerasimos_of_the_Jordan

The lion is such a common theme in and around Jericho. Here is another representation from the Coptic Church in Jericho taken in January 2013.