Greetings, Karen! I just wanted to add to Lena's response - it sounds like you're looking for a more technical answer about the breath of life. Leviticus 17:11 states that "the life of the flesh is in the blood." Thanks to modern science, we can clearly see the connection - when we breathe, our lungs pull oxygen from the air into the bloodstream (before the 1800s, nobody knew that! Yet another proof that the God who authored the Bible is also the Author of life).
A baby develops its own blood cells at just 5 weeks of gestational age (which is actually only 3 weeks after conception since gestational age is counted from the start of the last period) and its own heart starts beating at that time also. Even from the moment of conception, the "breath of life" technically enters the baby's cells via the mother's bloodstream. While we don't have explicit answers about every detail, it is clear that the baby has LIFE in a biblical sense very early on.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 states that "the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God." How you choose to translate the Hebrew "teruah" in light of this passage is almost beside the point, since there will be both a great shout and the blowing of a trumpet at the return of Christ, and no other significant prophetic occasion fits the bill. Not to mention that a loud trumpet blast clearly qualifies as a "teruah," which literally just means a "great noise" (for what it's worth, ancient Jewish sources describe a teruah as a specific pattern of shofar blasts, which was a trumpet made from a ram's horn).
Also, Trumpets were in fact blown on the Feast of Trumpets in the Old Covenant - we see this from Numbers 10:10, which says the two silver trumpets were to be done on all the feast days as well as at the beginning of each month - the Feast of Trumpets happens to be the only feast day that coincides with the beginning of a month.
I believe that the Church's understanding of the Feast of Trumpets is biblical, and I don't see where you've made any compelling point for a different understanding.
Hi, Lee - the bible doesn't speak to that issue directly in a way that I can recall off the top of my head. Certainly the answer lies in the balance between the sovereignty of nations to protect their citizens and the moral obligation to help those in need. In essence, this is the same balance of the principles of justice and mercy - two ideals with strong precedent in the law of God that do not compete, but must be administered by righteous judgment in love, as God does toward us. To that end, I'll just quote what I wrote in the article for reference:
"For today, the most important thing we can do as Christians is to pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom and that our current leaders will exercise sound moral judgment. America’s leaders must recognize the necessity of maintaining the rule of law if we expect to continue to provide a safe haven for anyone, and most people agree that major reform of the American immigration system is needed.
One hopes the debate will bear out an improved legal process that helps those truly in need without compromising the stability of the nation or the safety of its citizens."
Respectfully, Stephen, this is just plain wrong. To answer the first hypothetical: no, we do not agree this person is a Christian at that point. Without the law of God, this person cannot understand what sin is - John said clearly "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). The law of God in its fullness is found only in the Old Testament. It's the same law that Jesus Himself lived by and taught!
You have greatly confused the Old Testament with the Old Covenant, and further confused the Old Covenant with the eternal Law of God that is present in both the Old and New Covenants. Reading the Old Testament and keeping the law of God is not at all equivalent to "joining the Old Covenant." You fail to understand the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. The law is the same, simply administered differently now in the New Covenant. For example, New Covenant believers MUST be circumcised in heart - it is completely obligatory, not optional. This replaces and supersedes circumcision of the flesh, but circumcision is still the law! I hope this helps you understand where you are lacking understanding in the role of God's law for us today, but there is much more.
Prophecy loses its value if it's only "kind of" fulfilled - the God of the bible just doesn't operate that way. We reject that reasoning because of the specificity of Jesus' words - "3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth" cannot mean anything other than that He would be in the tomb for that period of time. You can't count a part of a night here or there, and you certainly can't count it from when His trial started.
Jesus made less precise statements elsewhere, but in this one we get exacting detail, such that nothing short of fulfilling it precisely would suffice to uphold His words. Have you asked yourself WHY you are so ardently defending the condensed, traditional Easter timeline that requires interpretive gymnastics? It's just not the best way to understand the scriptures, plain and simple.
You assume I wrote the article with the common biases of pro-Israel sources, but these were not part of my motivation or perspective. We at the United Church of God are not pro-Israel. We do recognize Israel's modern rise as a part of the plan of God. I said as much in the article, but I'll recap here.
Over the last 100 years, Israel rise to prominence does not add up by mere human effort. Some mistakenly interpret this to mean that God supports their every move. We do not endorse the actions of Israel's military or that of any human government - this article is about recognizing God's power to bring about His prophetic plan. Part of that plan, like it or not, is for Jews to be in Israel at the end time, and God has clearly worked that out.
My heart breaks for Palestinians living in Gaza - especially for the fatalistic thinking and hopelessness that Israel's actions have bred in their minds. Not one nation God has used through history has acted righteously in accomplishing His purpose - Israel included! That is why we look forward to the Kingdom of God rather than trusting in any government of man.
Hi, Dan - I'd also like to point out that the Resurrections and Eternal Life is one of the Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God - see https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/fundamental-beliefs-of-the-united-church-of-god/the-resurrections-and. The "resurrection of the dead" is listed as one of the "elementary principles of Christ" in Hebrews 6:1 - notice that it's not just Jesus resurrection, but the resurrection of the dead in general. If you want to dig into the truth of this in the bible, start with reading Revelation 20 carefully and honestly and pay attention to what it says about the dead "living again," a "second death," the "first resurrection," and related statements - you really might be surprised!