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From The End Time


Gnosticism part 1: secret knowledge

Yesterday I introduced a new series on Gnosticism. I’m reading Colossians, which was a prison letter from Paul to the church at Colossae. Paul was responding to Epaphras’ news that the new Colossian believers were being quickly turned away from the faith by people who believed a different Gospel. What was that different Gospel? It was from the Gnostics, a group of cultish believers plaguing the church throughout the First Century, (and the second and third) and popping up here and there throughout the centuries since. Today, there is a resurgence of Gnostic belief encroaching and polluting even our fundamentalist churches among the Southern Baptist Convention. In other words, Gnosticism is a continual problem that never really went away.The Tribulation is a time when all sins will be released for their fullest iniquity. The Holy Spirit’s ministry of restraint will be taken out of the way, and all sins, spiritual and carnal, will explode onto the earth. We see the setting for this coming explosion now. All false doctrines that have ever plagued the church are rising to the fore, all at once. We are battling Gnosticism, Mysticism, Liberalism, Post-Modernism, Legalism, Ecumenism, Prosperity Gospel, and much more. Jesus’s Seven Letters to the Seven Churches contained in Revelation 2-3 are a listing of some of the false doctrines and behavioral failings the early believers were falling prey to. Those false doctrines and behaviors hinder us now.

Zondervan’s NIV bible lists 6 elements that comprise Gnosticism. They are not exclusive, as Gnosticism has several branches and many different elements can be said to comprise the philosophy. In addition, several other false doctrines overlap Gnosticism, such as Mysticism and Legalism, for example. But for the sake of brevity (sort of) we will stick with the Zondervan 6. They are:

1. secret knowledge,
2. asceticism,
3. depreciation of Christ (lowering Him in name and in glory),
4. strict rule-keeping, ceremonies, or rituals
5. worship of angels,
6. and reliance on human wisdom and traditions

Today we will take a look at the element of “secret knowledge”.

David Grabbe wrote in “Whatever Happened to Gnosticism?” that “Gnosticism was the predominant source of heresy when the New Testament was written. The books of John, I Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, I and II Timothy, Jude, and I John all combat various elements of Gnosticism. Even the book of Revelation cites a couple of Gnostic beliefs and practices, referring to “know[ing] the depths of Satan” and “the Nicolaitans” (Revelation 2:6, 15, 24).”

Gene Edward Veith wrote in World Magazine in this 2006 article “The Return of the Cainites,” “The Gnostics were eastern mystics who taught that the physical realm is intrinsically evil and that the spirit can be freed from its bondage to physicality through the attainment of secret knowledge (or “gnosis”). They rejected the Christian doctrine of creation (saying that the material world is evil). They denied the incarnation (saying that Christ was a spiritual being who brought the secret knowledge and denying that He became “flesh”). And they denied the redemption (saying that sin is not a moral failure – since what we do in the flesh does not affect our spirits – but simply a lack of spiritual knowledge).”

Jennifer Trafton and Rebecca Colossanov wrote in “Gnostics: Did you Know?” that “The Gnostics sometimes claimed that secret truth had been handed down by one apostle to a select group of insiders. But Christian opponents like Irenaeus argued that the true church represented the teaching of all of the apostles passed on in many locations.”

The word “Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means “knowledge.” Gnosticism rejects the doctrines of original sin, human depravity and salvation through the substitutionary death of Christ. It emphasizes transcendence through inward, intuitive knowledge, i.e., “gnosis,” of the “divine spark in each individual.” (source)

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Noah’s Ark

Dec 19, 2013

December 19, 2013 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,


A description of the ark (Gen. 6:14-16)

The word “ark” refers to a box-like vessel. The ark was a modified box-shaped craft like a modern oil tanker. It was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high (Gen. 6:15). Given a cubit of 18 inches, this would have been 450 feet long by 75 feet wide by 45 feet high.

It was three stories high (Gen. 5:16).

It had one window and one door (Gen. 6:16).

It was made of gopher wood and pitched within and without so that it was watertight (Gen. 6:14). Though we do not know what gopher wood was, it is obvious that it was a strong and pliable wood suitable for the purpose. The pitch was some sort of waterproofing, such as the slime or bitumen that was used in building the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:3).

The sea-worthiness of the ark

Was it stable enough and strong enough to withstand the raging sea?

1. The Bible says that God instructed Noah how to build the ark, and those who believe in an Almighty, All-wise God have no problem believing that He could construct an ark that was strong enough to do this job.

2. Further, about 1,600 years had passed since creation, and the technological level of man was doubtless very advanced. Adam’s first sons were skilled in city building, metal working, agriculture, music, etc. (Gen. 4:20-22). Men lived to long ages then and had one language so knowledge would have increased rapidly. At the Tower of Babel, God said that because of man’s intelligence and unified language, “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Gen. 11:6). The Creation Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, has a large section that demonstrates how that men in ancient times had the knowledge to build wooden vessels with multi-layered hulls that could withstand the conditions encountered by the ark. Though some skeptics have claimed that such a large ship could not be constructed out of wood, in fact ships just as large as the ark existed in ancient times. The third century B.C. Leontifera, a fighting ship with 1,600 rowers, was between 400 and 500 feet long. Another third century B.C. ship, which was built by Ptolemy Philopator to carry 7,250 men, was 420 feet long (“The Large Ships of Antiquity,” Creation ex nihilo, June 2000).

3. The ark’s dimensions were perfect. The ratio of length to breadth was 6 to 1. Some giant oil tankers are 7 to 1. A model of the ark made by Peter Jansen of Holland proved that it was almost impossible to capsize (John Whitcomb, The World that Perished, p. 24).

The size of the ark

Was the ark large enough to carry all of the animals?

1. Noah only needed to carry a representative of each major kind of creature and not every variety within the kinds.

2. The following is a description of the ark if the cubit was 18 inches: “Its carrying capacity equaled that of 522 standard railroad stock cars (each of which can hold 240 sheep). Only 188 cars would be required to hold 45,000 sheep-sized animals, leaving three trains of 104 cars each for food, Noah’s family, and ‘range’ for the animals. Today it is estimated that there are 17,600 species of animals, making 45,000 a likely approximation of the number Noah might have taken into the Ark” (Ryrie Study Bible).

3. It is also possible that the cubit in Genesis 6 was larger than 18 inches, which would mean that the ark would have been even larger than the previous description. “The Babylonians had a ‘royal’ cubit of about 19.8 inches, the Egyptians had a longer and a shorter cubit of about 20.65 inches and 17.6 inches respectively, while the Hebrews apparently had a long cubit of 20.4 inches (Ezek. 40:5) and a common cubit of about 17.5 inches” (R.B.Y. Scott, “Weights and Measures of the Bible,” The Biblical Archaeologist, May 1959, pp. 22-27, summarized by Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood).

4. As for the dinosaurs, their average size, based on the fossil record, was the size of a sheep or small pony (Ken Ham, The New Answers Book, p. 167, quoting M. Crichton, The Lost World, p. 122). Struthiomimus, for example, was the size of an ostrich, and Compsognathus was the size of a chicken. Thus, only some of them were overly large, and of these, Noah could have taken the eggs or he could have taken juveniles. Even the largest dinosaurs were small when first hatched. Since reptiles can grow as long as they live, the large dinosaurs from the fossil record were probably very old ones (The New Answers Book). “There were probably fewer than 50 distinct groups or kinds of dinosaurs that had to be on the Ark” (The New Answers Book, p. 168).

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Q. Is the Shroud of Turin really Jesus’ burial shroud? 

A. The Shroud of Turin is a 14.3 × 3.7 ft (4.4 × 1.1 m) linen clothPicture of the Shroud of Turin bearing what appears to be the image of a man. The popes of the Roman Catholic Church accept as authentic the claim that the shroud is the cloth wrapped around Jesus Christ at His burial, and that the image was formed at His miraculous resurrection.

The scientific debate over the authenticity and age of the shroud, and the origin or cause of the image, has spanned centuries and continues today. But scientific analysis is not needed to answer the question of whether the shroud is really the cloth in which Jesus was buried.

Biblical Evidence

There is clear biblical evidence that will tell us whether the Shroud of Turin is genuinely Jesus’ burial cloth. Let’s examine it.

After Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea requested and received permission from Pilate to take Jesus’ body and bury it. Nicodemus assisted him. Then, as we read in Matthew 27:59-60, “Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.”

The word “wrapped” here is from the Greek entulissō. “Linen cloth” is from the Greek word sindōn, which means “fine linen.” The Apostolic Bible Polyglot, which is a literal translation, renders this verse, “And having taken the body, Joseph swathed it with pure fine linen.”

The parallel account in Mark 15:46 reads, “He bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.” “Linen cloth” is the same Greek word as is used in Matthew’s account. “Wound him,” however, is a different word. It is eneileō. It means to “roll in” or “encoil.” Thayer‘s says, “to roll in, wind up.”

Luke 23:53 says this: “He took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid.” “Wrapped” is the same word Matthew uses, entulissō. “Linen cloth” is again sindōn.

John tells us this: “Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds. So they took Jesus’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:39-40).

“Bound” in this verse comes from the Greek word deō. It means to “bind, fasten, or tie up.” “Linen cloths” this time is from the Greek word othonion. Specifically, it is othoniois, which is the plural. It means “strips of linen bandages.” In other words, Joseph and Nicodemus wound Jesus and the spices in tightly bound strips of clean, fine linen bandages.

What Peter and John Saw

After Jesus’ resurrection, Mary Magdalene and the other women reported the empty tomb to the apostles. Luke tells their reaction: “These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn’t believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping and looking in, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he departed to his home, wondering what had happened” (Luke 24:11-12). “Strips of linen” is again from the plural form of othonion.

John gives us an additional, important detail:

Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!” Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first. Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying, and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed. For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
John 20:2-10

“Linen cloths” is once again from the plural form of othonion—”strips of linen bandages.” Peter and John saw these strips of linen bandages lying but without the body in them. But they saw something else. They saw “the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself” (verse 7). “Cloth” in this verse is soudarion. It means a “handkerchief” or “sweatcloth.” It was lying separate from the strips of linen bandages, it was “rolled up” (entulissō) “in a place by itself.”

What John’s account shows us is that, apart from Jesus’ torso being bound with strips of linen cloth somewhat like a mummy, Jesus’ head was wrapped in a separate handkerchief.


The Shroud of Turin is a one-piece sheet of linen. The image of the body and head is within that one cloth. This does not at all agree with the biblical account of the way Jesus was buried. As we have just seen, Jesus’ torso was wound with strips of clean, fine, linen bandages, and His head was wrapped with a separate cloth or napkin.

This evidence from the Word of God proves the Shroud of Turin to not be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It also proves the pope to be fallible, and exposes him as someone who rejects the Word of God. As for what the Shroud of Turin really is, we can let the scientists debate about that.

Peter Ditzel

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Copyright © 2013 Peter Ditzel. Permissions Statement. Unless otherwise noted, Bible references are from the World English Bible (WEB).

Beth Moore’s Dangerous Bible Twisting

I recently reviewed two segments of Beth Moore’s “Bible teaching” on my radio program and I must admit I was bowled over by just how bad and dangerous her teaching really is. I know she’s popular but this woman is NOT rightly handling God’s word. Instead, she is twisting the scriptures to her own destruction and the destruction of her hearers.

Take a listen for yourself. Not only is this bad, its downright dangerous false teaching!

Noahs_Ark.jpg Noahs Ark image by popa14701

Question: “Would the discovery of Noah’s Ark be important?”

Answer: There have been numerous claimed discoveries of Noah’s Ark in recent years. The discoveries have been in various locations, ranging from Mount Ararat in Turkey, to a mountain range in Iran, to an entirely different location on Mount Ararat (with a visitors’ center). It is not the purpose of this article to evaluate whether or not the Noah’s Ark discovery claims are legitimate. Rather, the question at hand is: If Noah’s Ark was discovered, would that be significant? Would the discovery of Noah’s Ark cause people to turn to God in faith?

The discovery of a boat-like structure in the mountains of the Middle East, carbon dated to approximately the time of the biblical account of Noah’s Ark (2500 B.C), with evidence of animal life once having been aboard would surely be a tremendous discovery. For those who believe in God and trust in the Bible as His inspired Word, it would be powerful confirmation that the Bible is true and that early human history occurred precisely as the Bible describes it. A verified discovery of Noah’s Ark would likely cause many seekers and open-minded skeptics to at least re-evaluate their beliefs. For the close-minded critic and hardened atheist, however, the discovery of Noah’s Ark would not make one bit of a difference.

Romans 1:19-20 declares, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (ESV). If a person is rejecting the clear evidence of God in the universe, no biblically-related discovery would change his/her mind. Similarly, in Luke 16:31, Jesus declared, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” No discovery, no argument, and no miracle will change the mind of a person who has been blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is, with a hard heart and closed mind, rejecting the light of the Gospel.

Conversely, would it matter if Noah’s Ark is never discovered? No, it would not matter because the Christian faith is not built on every biblical account being explicitly/conclusively proven. The Christian faith is built on faith. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). With that in mind, though, there are two primary explanations for why Noah’s Ark might never be discovered. First, the wood of the Ark would have been very valuable post-Flood. Noah and his family would have needed wood to build their homes. It is possible that Noah and his family, or their descendants, deconstructed the Ark and used its wood for other purposes. Second, even if Noah and his family left the Ark intact, approximately 4500 years have passed (if the biblical account is interpreted strictly literally). A wooden structure exposed to harsh elements for 4500 years would, for the most part, decompose/decay into virtual nothingness.

While the discovery of Noah’s Ark would be a tremendous and powerful archaeological find, it will never be something Christians should place their faith in. The discovery of Noah’s Ark, or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Garden of Eden, or any other biblical artifact will not prove the Christian faith and will not change the mind of anyone whom God is not drawing (John 6:44). “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).


December 2022



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