heaven is for real

Not sure why this is a recurring theme this year for my book reading. But I have read three books so far this year by those who say they have visited heaven and returned. Heaven is for Real I finished last night … and I thought it was amazing.

One may quibble with the four year old’s descriptions. The more I read Scripture, the more I realize, especially in the realm of prophecies, visions, and dreams … that God paints pictures of using things we recognize, to illustrate spiritual realities and truths. Did the kingdom of Alexander the Great literally look like a leopard with four heads and four wings? No … but what a perfect representation to illustrate a literal reality! So I am not among the quibblers. I do believe the evidence that the boy experienced something which could not be rationally explained outside of the supernatural — outside of God’s personal and direct intervention — far outweighs the quibbles.

Another book I have read this year is Return From Tomorrow by George Ritchie. His experience took place during WWII in boot camp. He contracted pneumonia while in boot camp and died. His experience was also fascinating and amazing.

I also recently read Nine Days in Heaven: the Vision of Marietta Davis by Dennis Prince. Her experience took place in New York in 1848. She fell into what was described as a trance or coma from which her family or her doctor was unable to awaken her. She awoke on her own nine days later completely transformed by her experience. Dennis Prince updated the Victorian language style into modern English but did not alter the story. Both these books have been continuously in print since the first editions.

If your grief or sorrow for loved ones who have died cannot be comforted, you might consider reading these testimonies.

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treasures of my library

I found some books available in pdf on the Internet yesterday, which I had been looking for to add to my library. They are older and out of print, which was making them difficult to obtain. They were:

The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers by LeRoy E. Froom, 4 vols. published 1944.
(Seventh Day Adventist summary of the four volumes)

Now this set was written to trace the prophetic interpretations of Scripture from the Jewish expositors before the advent of Jesus, through the Christian Era and up to the 20th century. However, as LeRoy Froom was of the historicism school of interpretation, these four massive volumes unearth the history of the Christian Era from thousands of source documents, which have been sanitized from modern books. It is an invaluable reference for the true history of the church and the world for the past 2000 years.

The books can either be read online or in pdf format here.

Free! free! free!

Sometimes the biggest challenge to homeschooling is not the teaching – it’s finding the money to buy all the books we want! I have been saving my money for a Kindle eReader. Slow going so far. In the mean time, I discovered that Amazon.com has Kindle apps – programs you can download for free that enable you to read Kindle eBooks on devices other than a Kindle. I downloaded Kindle for PC – it lets me read Kindle eBooks on my computer or laptop as if I had a Kindle.

Then I discovered most of the classic history and literature – the old books we prefer using with our children as homeschoolers – are available for free in Kindle editions. I downloaded the free Kindle app for my PC while I am saving for a Kindle; then downloaded the classic history and literature I have been working so hard to collect for my library – for free – to read on my Kindle app. One day I will have my whole classic history and literature library on a 5×7 Kindle I can slip in my purse, instead of in 36 apple boxes as is now the case.

Of course I love reading real books rather than text on a screen – and the advantages to having the real books are clear. But for those on a budget without the resources to spend on the real books; for those with space constraints (always an issue for us) without the bookshelves to house all the books we wish we had; having your entire library on a Kindle – immediately portable and accessible even if a flood or tornado was coming – is such a wonderful option! There are days when I absolutely love technology!

I have even found quite a few books I am excited to read, that are new discoveries (for me) that were hard to find in my usual haunts of library used book sales and flea markets. Titles like Athens: Its Rise and Fall by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton; Roman Life in the Days of Cicero by A. J. Church; The History of England from the Norman Conquest to the Death of John by George Adams; The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle.

For homeschoolers trying to save money, this is a huge advantage. And while the free versions of the classics may not come with all the bells and whistles the paid versions come with, you have the text of the book – the most important thing – without an outlay of cash.

As I find more free Kindle treasures in the coming months, I will post about them here. 🙂

On The Two Babylons

Last week I mentioned a book by Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, as a recommended book to read to learn biblical history, specifically, how Nimrod’s rebellion at Babel established paganism throughout the world, and how various aspects of that paganism carry on in our society today. The question was asked about a book by Ralph Woodrow, The Babylon Connection? which is supposed to debunk Hislop, and my opinion on the matter. Here it is.

I have Woodrow’s book, and frankly, I did not find his evidence against Hislop convincing or authoritative. In my opinion, he did not, in that book, bring forth proofs which invalidated Hislop’s research. He instead questioned Hislop’s conclusions without showing that Hislop’s facts or conclusions were false. That does not constitute proof of falsity.

Here is another critique of Hislop’s book from a website which is much more careful in showing evidence of their statements. In this critique, the author gives three examples of errors of fact in Hislop’s work, all of which have to do with the second part of Hislop’s book, which is to show that Babylonian paganism infected the Roman Catholic Church. I concur with the author of this critique that these are in fact errors on Hislop’s part; and of the three examples cited, none contain the footnotes and documentation which abound in the first part of Hislop’s work. The first part of the work all has to do with showing the connection of Nimrod and Babylon to paganism as it has spread around the globe.

But in any critique, the author takes the most egregious errors of fact and exposes them to make his point solid and secure. The three examples cited are relatively minor compared with the entire content of Hislop’s work, and in fact does not address the most important connections Hislop draws, with authority, between Babylonianism and paganism and its traditions which still abound in our society today. I can only conclude that those connections are not exposed because they cannot be exposed; they are irrefutable.

And I just have to take exception with the author’s 2nd stated reason why he cannot recommend Hislop: "Outdated scholarly sources and the fact that The Two Babylons was written well over 100 years ago." The date of sources do not disqualify their facts, nor does the date of Hislop’s authorship — otherwise atheists can tell us that the Bible is an unreliable source since it was written thousands of years ago! (And some of them do say this, but age does not invalidate truth or facts.) I was frankly surprised to read this on a website of this caliber. But if anyone has evidence of the error of Hislop’s main scholarship, especially in regard to the Nimrod and Babylonian connection to paganism, other than the two I have already discussed (the only two I could find, by the way) please let me know — I am always learning and would appreciate a chance to study this subject further.

In fact, I read Hislop’s work last after reading numerous other works of even greater antiquity, all of which confirmed Hislop’s facts, especially in the first part of the book, the part dealing with the Babylonian connection to paganism. Those resources include Josephus, George Rawlinson’s Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World, Jacob Bryant’s Ancient Mythology, and others. This is why, when I read Hislop, his statements concerning Nimrod and Babylon did not surprise me, having encountered evidence for them in the numerous other works I had read in preparation for Story of the Ancient World.

Hislop footnotes and documents his information extensively from classical (Greek and Latin) sources, which were independently verified by Edward Joshua Cooper of Markree Castle, Ireland, who passed away in 1863, ten years after the first edition of Hislop’s book was published. Cooper was a distinguished scholar and astronomer, the author of his own works on astronomy, a fellow of the Royal Society, of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy, as well as a member of Parliament for many years. He was a sincere Christian who, in his private time, personally examined 260 works cited in Hislop’s footnotes in the original Greek and Latin and confirmed their accuracy.

Back in December of 2006, I asked that if Hislop’s assertion that Christmas is a tradition which has been received from the Roman Catholic Church, and has been infected with Babylonian paganism, is false, then why did the Puritans who emigrated to America in 1620 forbid the keeping of Christmas as a pagan festival 200 years before Hislop was born? No one has answered this question yet, to my knowledge.

Anyone wishing to examine the Babylon connection which exists between Nimrod and paganism, can follow the series I am blogging beginning with this post, incidentally using none of Hislop’s work as a source, since there is a dispute over him. But by the end of the series, we will see how much of Hislop’s research has been verified.

"Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her [Babylon], My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:4-5

Discovering the evidence for Biblical history

A homeschooling mom recently asked me what resources could I recommend for learning Biblical history, and to begin unlearning the evolutionary lies as they relate to history that most of us were fed, and which fill library bookshelves.

The Story of the Ancient World by Christine Miller and H.A. Guerber is Biblical and ancient history told in a storybook format and accessible to young and old alike. It contains distillations of truths gleaned from all the other resources I am recommending below. I am listing these other recommendations in the order they should be read if someone is just starting out on a study of Biblical history, from easiest and most general to hardest and most specific:

Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick
After the Flood by Bill Cooper
The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop – the Babylonian (Nimrod) root of paganism
The Long War Against God by Henry Morris – the root of evolution in ancient history
Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews
Annals of the World by James Ussher – not easy reading, very detailed
Chronology of the Old Testament by Floyd Nolan Jones – for dating questions
Ancient Mythology by Jacob Bryant (six volumes) – mythology’s roots in Biblical history

And some helpful articles and essays at the Answers in Genesis website:
The Sixteen Grandsons of Noah – evidence for the table of nations in Genesis 10
The Original Unknown God of China – evidence for Genesis in ancient Chinese script
Athena and Eve – Greek mythology’s Garden of Eden roots
The Serpent Worshippers – mythology rooted in man’s rebellion from God

Rediscovering Biblical history, and the fact that there is mountains of evidence for it which has been buried and discarded, but never disproven, is a like a treasure hunt for a lifetime. The above is a good start, but as you begin, you will discover other books and resources, which will continue to add little pieces to the big picture. I hope you enjoy the search as much as I have.

An analysis of ancient mythology

One of the great books which helped me with Story of the Ancient World is A New System, or an Analysis of Ancient Mythology by Jacob Bryant. Jacob Bryant was a learned British scholar of the 18th century, the height of English and American classical education for men of this epoch. He was born in 1715, entered Eton in 1730, then King's College at Cambridge in 1736. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1740 and his Masters in 1744. His academic accomplishments were noted by the Duke of Marlborough when he sought a tutor for his son, and Byrant was engaged, given his own rooms at the Marlborough estate, and was made keeper of the famous Marlborough library, a masterpiece of ancient, classical, and medieval manuscripts in Greek, Latin, French, and other languages. When the son who had been tutored by Bryant became Duke of Marlborough in his turn, he made Bryant his private secretary. In this capacity he served until his death at 89 years of age, in 1804.

Of Bryant it was written, a few years after his death, that, “in point of classical erudition, he was, perhaps, without equal in the world.” His lifelong study was not only in literature, but in the investigation of truth. “By truth, we are to understand religious truth, his firm persuasion of the truth of Christianity, to the investigation and establishment of which he devoted his whole life. This was the central point, around which all his labors turned; the ulitmate object at which they aimed.”

He wrote extensively on the subjects of ancient history and mythology, of which A New System was the culmination of his life's study. This work was an attempt to “divest tradition of fable, and to reduce truth to its original purity.” In it, he begins with the history recorded in Scripture as true history, and traced the ancient mythologies and histories of the Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians to the true historical events which they attempted to record. Meticulously researched, cross referenced, and footnoted, the inescapable logic of this work cemented his reputation as the formost scholar of antiquity in Britain.

However, toward the end of his life, Bryant published a paper attempting to prove that Troy never existed, and the Greek expedition recorded by Homer was never undertaken. This conviction arose from an acquired distrust of the Greeks as historians, for he discovered so many errors in their accounts through the course of his studies, that he came to distrust anything Greek. It might be this famous paper which prompted Schliemann to search for the ruins of Troy, which he discovered in 1871.

Thus Bryant was discredited, and with the rise of the acceptance of Darwinism and long ages to civilization, his seminal work forgotten. But his error about Troy does not disprove his other valuable work. I knew of Bryant, as he appears in quotes and footnotes of other academic works of ancient history that I had, and was able to find a copy of A New System earlier this year, after a long search. I will quote excerpts in future posts.