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Friday Church News Notes
Volume 18, Issue 43 - October 27, 2017
The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, though this does not imply an endorsement.
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ANCIENT BEE HIVES DISCOVERED IN ISRAEL (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - Twenty times the Bible describes the ancient land of Israel as a land flowing with “milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8, etc.). Many modern historians and archaeologists have claimed that this honey was the product of dates or figs rather than managed bee hives, but in September archaeologists led by Hebrew University professor Amihai Mazar uncovered a 2,900-year-old honey bee industry in the Jordan Valley in northern Israel. The well-preserved clay hives, thought to be the oldest in existence, are each 2.5 feet long and one foot in diameter. They were stacked three high in orderly rows. One hundred and eighty have been found, and just 30 of the hives could have produced up to one half ton of honey per year (“Oldest Bee Hives Discovered in Israel,” Patterns of Evidence, Oct. 12, 2017). Mazar says, “You can tell that this was an organized industry, part of an organized economy, in an ultra-organized city” (“Archaeologists Find 3,000-year-old Beehives,” Haaretz, Sep. 4, 2017). The hives are so well preserved that old beeswax and the remains of bees could be analyzed, including workers, drones, pupae, and larvae. The industry was sophisticated. Each hive had a removable plug at one end for honeycomb extraction and a small hole in the other for the bees to enter and exit. Carbon dating of grain found near the hives posits them to the time of Israel’s divided kingdom, and they were found in Tel Rehov (Rehob in the KJV, about three miles south of Beit Shean and two miles west of the Jordan), where the prophet Elisha is thought to have lived (“World’s Oldest Beehives,” BreakingIsraelNews.com, Sep. 26, 2017). An altar to fertility goddesses was found alongside the hives, opening a window into the idolatry of Israel’s northern kingdom as described in Scripture. This discovery gives an archaeological background for Ezekiel 27:17, which says that Israel sold honey to the Phoenicians. The Bible’s historical accuracy has been externally verified countless times. There is no ancient book that can compete with its accuracy, even from an honest secular perspective. (For more see Bible Times & Ancient Kingdoms: Treasures from Archaeology, a 572-page book accompanied by 50 PowerPoint presentations packed with about 4,200 high quality color photos, drawings, historic recreations, and video clips, available from Way of Life Literature.)

NEW MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE IS “BROAD, ECUMENICAL, AND NONSECTARIAN” (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - A board member of the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., says it is “broad, ecumenical, and nonsectarian” (“Sneak Peek,” The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2017). The goal, he says, is to “present facts and let people make their own decisions” about whether or not the Bible is true. But if a museum leaves out or downplays the central event and theme of the Bible, which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ as infallible evidence of His Sonship, it is most emphatically not presenting the facts. After reporters Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer, and Sarah Bailey were given a “sneak peek” at the $500 million museum which is set to open in November, they observed that “there is very little Jesus ... the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is almost absent” (Ibid.). While Jesus is downplayed, there are “art and exhibits dedicated to the Virgin Mary.” Originally, there were plans to “discuss historical evidence that demonstrates proof of the stories in the Bible,” but that was dropped. The museum’s director, Seth Pollinger, says, “Our goal isn’t to give answers but to arouse curiosity,” but that isn’t what the Bible itself and Christ Himself has commanded. God’s people are to preach the gospel, which involves proclaiming dogmatic truth and giving answers. The museum is funded by Steve Green, chief executive of Hobby Lobby, who says, “The museum has fence posts--limits. It doesn’t overtly say the Bible is good--that the Bible is true.” This is open disobedience to the very Bible that Green claims to revere. It could be that the Green family couldn’t raise the massive funding for the museum without such great compromise, but better no museum than a museum that does not give people all of the facts to enable them to understand that the Bible is nothing other than or less than the infallible Word of God. Believing the Bible is not blind religious faith. There are countless evidences of its divine inspiration and historical accuracy, but the visitors to the Museum of the Bible apparently will not see these evidences. The chief “infallible proof” is Christ’s resurrection, which was witnessed by hundreds of people and which converted trembling men and women into world-shaking witnesses. Shame on the Green family.

BILL HYBELS TO RETIRE AND BE REPLACED BY CO-ED PASTOR TEAM (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, is retiring in October 2018, to be replaced by Heather Larson as “Lead Pastor” and Steve Carter as “Lead Teaching Pastor.” Willow Creek had female elders from its inception in the 1970s, but in 1997 all staff members were given one year to submit to this stance or step down. That year John Ortberg, one of Willow Creek’s “teaching elders,” wrote a paper saying that the Bible “teaches the full equality of men and women in status, giftedness, and opportunity for ministry” (“Femme Fatale: The Feminist Seduction of the Evangelical Church,” World magazine, March 29, 1997). This is open rebellion to the clear teaching of God’s Word. Willow Creek was one of the first “seeker sensitive” megachurches. Early on it advertised itself like this: “There is no hell-fire and brimstone here, no Bible-thumping, just positive witty messages.” Its main worship center in the community of Willow Creek west of Chicago cost $73 million and seats over 7,000. About 25,000 people attend weekend services at the church’s eight campuses.

HAMAS CHIEF SAYS “NO ONE IN THE UNIVERSE CAN DISARM US” (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said recently that “no one in the universe can disarm us” and they are debating “when to wipe out Israel” (“Hamas Chief,” The Times of Israel, Oct. 20, 2017). This was stated in a meeting on October 19 to discuss the U.S. demand that the terrorist group disarm and recognize Israel before being allowed to be reconciled with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has a standing army of 25,000 and a large arsenal of weapons, but its days are numbered. It is spouting the same arrogant nonsense that destroyed the Edomites and Moabites, neither of which currently exist as a people. “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD” (Obadiah 1:3-4). Obadiah says that Edom’s pride deceived her. The proud thinks that all is well and that things will work out, but in fact he is headed to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Pride was the original sin of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6; Isaiah 14:13-14). It is the sin of all men who rebel against God and His laws. The pride of life is a major characteristic of this fallen world system (1 John 2:16). Pride will be a prominent trait of the antichrist (Revelation 13:5-6). And pride will characterize those nations that join the antichrist in his ventures against God. In the day of the Lord, man’s pride will be punished (Isaiah 2:12; 13:10; Malachi 4:1).

POPE DENOUNCES CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - Speaking to an audience convened to mark the 25th anniversary of the New Catholic Catechism on October 11, Pope Francis denounced the death penalty as “an inhumane measure” and “contrary to the Gospel” (“On the death penalty,” Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2017). He said that “church doctrine” has been wrong on this issue for “2000 years.” In 2016, the pope called for “a world free of the death penalty” (“Pope Francis calls for,” Crux, Jun. 21, 2016). Instead of renouncing the papacy itself and a thousand other Roman Catholic heresies that are stated in the New Catholic Catechism, the misguided pope chooses to renounce something that is plainly supported by Scripture. The Catholic Church long abused the death penalty by putting Bible-believing Christians, Jews, and others to death under the Inquisition, but an abuse of a good thing does not destroy its value. The death penalty for heinous crimes is both justice and a deterrence. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Romans 9:6). But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4).

EIGHT-LEGGED THIEVERY (Friday Church News Notes, October 27, 2017, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is from CreationMoments.com, Oct. 13, 2017: “Out of more than 30,000 species of spiders, there are three species that make their living through thievery. Several years ago that number was raised from two with the discovery of a tiny, thieving species on the island of Taiwan. The other two species live in South America and are known to steal only silk from the webs of other spiders. This strange little spider from Taiwan steals much more than just silk and is described as looking like a tiny drop of mercury with legs attached. It preys on the webs of giant wood spiders, whose webs can be more than three feet across. Many spiders eat their own webs for the purpose of recycling the silk to repair a tattered web. But this newly discovered little thief eats the webs of the giant wood spider. Researchers say that these little spiders can, on the average, make a wood spider's web 21 percent smaller. They have also been seen stealing small insects from the wood spiders' web as well as wood spider eggs. They are able to do this because they are small and rather sneaky. They do spin their own webs when they are ready to lay eggs, and they also spin their own silk to cover their eggs. While it is wrong for us to steal, theft is apparently the way God has chosen to feed these spiders in a fallen world. That our world is corrupted by our own sin should remind us that God is our ultimate provider. He has even prepared forgiveness and eternal life for us through the holy life and innocent suffering and death of His own Son, Jesus Christ. Notes: S. Milius, ‘New Spider: Unusual suspect steals web,’ Science News, v. 154, p. 53.”

CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14).

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Distributed by Way of Life Literature., publisher of Bible Study Materials and reports for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY (REPORTS AND FRIDAY NEWS) IS NOT DEVOTIONAL. IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

The Way of Life Literature preaching and publishing ministry is based at Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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