Yes. More specifically, they were the bride's wedding party that attended to her needs before and during the wedding. They would be akin to the bridesmaids we know of today. In those days, the bridegroom would come to retrieve his bride. While he approached the bridesmaids would meet him afar off and escort him to the gate of the home and escort the bride to her groom. Though I disagree with Covenanter's presumption of the 70 AD destruction, this passage is indeed meant caution of Jesus imminent return and the need to be watchful and ever ready.
What you're referring to regarding the 12th Imam (referred to as the Mahdi) is specific to Shiite version of Islam which is predominantly located in Iran, most of Iraq, and Lebanon. Their theology also states that the Mahdi can only come to usher in peace if there be widespread chaos and violence. There portion that believe they must help bring this about through mass violence, often called Twelvers. Interestingly, if you really dig into this guy, the Mahdi mirrors the Antichrist of the Bible in a lot of ways. There are a lot of people that have this same theory.
I've had similar thoughts before. I can't say I'm dogmatically committed to one over the other at this point. In Jewish prophetic and apocalyptic literature, Babylon is often used to symbolize complete idolatry and spiritual whoredom since it was the first great epitome of such. This is especially evident all throughout Isaiah. One reason the RCC has often been given the label is the way it has sunken into ever-increasing idolatry through Mariolatry, saint veneration (i.e. worship), and various other pagan-esque practices and the way it has long had worldwide influence. For the seven-continent theory to hold, there would have to be a rise of a false religious system that equals or surpasses the power and influence of the RCC (Islam maybe...?). Otherwise the Babylon reference would not make sense.
This morning I was watching Fox News when Mike Huckabee came on to discuss last night's debate and something caught my ear. In response to John Kasich's capitulation on gay marriage, Huckabee revealed himself as a Biblical Creationist by asserting a 6,000 year human history in support of traditional marriage. It was an incredibly short part of a larger answer but also incredibly telling. From that one little quote we know that he firmly believes the Bible and that he holds God's Word above man's word, even when it's likely to get him skewered in the public arena. I know he was a Baptist pastor for a while (of the SBC variety), but that's a stance even many of those won't say on TV. A politician who stands on the Bible regardless of the consequences? Whatever else he stand on politically, that is at least something I can get behind.
Yes, that's true. However, had arches been an important structure for the temple, a massive filling and flattening effort would have been cause for uproar and revolt rather than praised for its engineering and ingenuity.
Depends on the dictionary but I'd say they're about as reliable as Webster's 1828 (which I also use regularly btw) or Oxford English Dictionary. As the Webster 1828 aptly demonstrates, any dictionary is a snapshot in time due to definitional drift; but I believe there are some that are quite accurate to Koine Greek usage in/around the 1st century.
I've found Greek and Hebrew to be very helpful in illuminating the KJV word usage. English just isn't always great at expressing things coming from highly inflected languages like Greek and Hebrew (e.g. mood, case, tense, etc.) and so sometimes I just find it helpful to see what the underlying reasons for word usage or word order that may seem a little awkward at first in English. As a very simple and benign example... Greek has no set word order and sentences are formed by inflecting words to show how they relate. More often than not, word order is used to show emphasis to make a point. In English, John 1:1 reads: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Pretty clear in English, no real need for a word study here. The Greek word order reads: In beginning was the word and the word was with the God and God was the Word. The only thing that's really different is the last phrase (the Word was God vs. God was the Word). The truth conveyed is the same but the Greek word order makes it the deity of Christ and His oneness with God so much more emphatic. It doesn't change anything. It's not earthshattering. It's just illuminating. Another reason I like looking into original languages is the way words tend to have multiple meanings and what a possible meaning in an English word may be completely out of bounds for the Greek/Hebrew word it was translated from and vice versa. Another simple and benign example... People like to argue over where exactly the nail was driven during crucifixion (hand vs. wrist vs. forearm). Some people read "hand" and dogmatically say it can only mean through the palm. Others go with the anatomical argument say it had to have been in the wrist or forearm because it would have ripped out of His hand. Well, the Greek word used for "hand" (see Luke 24:39 for an example) covers everything from the elbow to the fingertip, so it really doesn't matter where the nail was placed. No truth was changed. No doctrine was challenged. All we did was clarify the intended meaning. Another, more pertinent example. The English usage of "baptize" has taken on a variety of meanings that validates sprinkling and pouring and confines it to religious ritual. However, the Greek word can only be taken to mean full immersion, thus clarifying an important doctrinal position without having to examine and argue from every example of baptism found in the Bible to see exactly how they did it. These examples are really simple and have no great impact and this type of word study makes up probably 80%-90% of valid word studies in the original languages. However, the rest can make big differences in the interpretation of things such as election/predestination that have enormous doctrinal impact. In every case, though, all it should do is make the intended meaning clear when the English rendering appears to leave more than one possibility on the table and people choose the one that suits them rather than the one that was intended.
Wow, that is an excellent and astute question and one I don't think I've ever gotten before. It's not often someone makes me stop and think on an academic level, so thanks for that. The answer is actually kind of simple. What we've left out of this conversation so far is that there is a possibility in addition to an allele persisting or being lost, and this is an allele being damaged. A great example is human blood types which has three possible allele's (A, B, and O) that produce four different blood types (A, B, AB, O). The intriguing thing is that the O allele is, functionally, a damaged A allele that will not allow production of A traits on the outside of cells. This might sound a little bit odd, but denying evolution via a gain of genetic information through mutation does not necessarily mean we should deny that mutation never happens. Indeed, it happens all of the time, but it is deleterious or damaging. If a damaged allele is copied and propagated, it results in a different gene expressions, but that does not make it a new allele and it certainly does not add information to the genome.
In short, you're correct. This is a very simplistic example of how loss of information leads to a certain expression of traits. In reality, there would be several letters with various levels of dominance. Human eye color, for example, has three different alleles (B - brown, G - green, b - blue). It's chart would look something like this:
As you can see, even adding 1 allele variation gets a little cumbersome to look at which is why I used such a simplistic chart for the beaks. What should be immediately clear, though, is that blue eyes can only result from a complete absence of both B and G allele because they are dominant. This brings me to the answer for your first statement. Variation does not only come through a loss of information, but also through allele combination. This will sound a little backward, but in truth lack of variation is what comes from a loss of information. Take, for example two parents, one with blue eyes and one with brown: BbBBBBbbBbbbThey will be capable of producing both brown- and blue-eyed children and you will see variation within the population. Since both brown and blue alleles are present, there is variation. However, if you have two blue-eyed parents, the only possible outcome is blue because there is only one allele at play: bbbbbbbbbbbbIf you extrapolate this to a larger population, you'll see that a group of people that only have blue eyes, you know that there has been a complete loss of both the brown and green alleles. This is the same process that is at play in Darwin's finches that started this line of discussion. There likely existed the capability of variation at one point, but as the populations were isolated, the variation within each population was truncated and resulted in static speciation even though they are all of the same created kind. The point is, that the speciation did not occur through random mutations (which is what both micro- and macro-evolution assert). Organisms don't adapt and change through a gain of information, they simply lose the ability create varied offspring and so only one possible trait becomes expressed.
On micro-evolution, not exactly. The variation is never due to added genetic information. What you see with finches is more of a sorting and subsequent loss of genetic information. When a species becomes isolated in a particular environment, the genes most effective for survival are the ones that end up becoming expressed. Rather than gaining a mutation to survive in a particular environment, less effective genes are essentially bred out. Consider the attached graphic of finch beak alleles where "T" (large/thick beak) is the dominant trait and "t" is recessive. If the available food supply cannot be collected or eaten with a small beak, the "t" will ultimately die out and "T" will eventually be the only available trait to be expressed. This is an example of how the loss of genetic information is what produces variation and not the addition of it. Speciation occurs when enough genetic material is lost from a population so as to be distinct from another previously identical population. You don't need a compromise with evolutionary theory to explain the variation in kinds or the diversity of species.
In addition to UM's excellent points, here's a fantastic article on a Noah's Ark feasibility study that should answer most questions you have on that one: http://creation.com/how-did-all-the-animals-fit-on-noahs-ark Additionally, I would caution against the use of micro-evolution because it still implies evolution is a real phenomenon. Evolution (be it micro or macro) assert a gaining of genetic information through mutation. Rather, what we see with speciation within the created kinds is a loss of genetic information that differentiates between species we know of today.
Whaaat? I asked an honest question trying to understand why you find something so irrelevant to be so "unholy" that you need to label it "anti-Christ." Seriously, I just wanted to know what your issue is with Looney Toons of all things. I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with any of it. I just don't understand why you're making such an issue about something that very few people even think about anymore, much less actively care about. Are you always this combative?
Help me out here, because I am truly confused about why you're making such a big deal about Bugs Bunny, of all things. Why such a disdain for a set of cartoons and tv shows that have pretty much fallen off the air? Surely there are more important, more influential, and more ungodly things to take issue with right?