In Exodus 22:29 it says 

Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.g]

“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.

In the websitehttp://thetorah.com/giving-your-firstborn-son-to-god/ they state that it is clear in a later passage that the human son is to be redeemed:

“34:19 Every first issue of the womb is Mine, from all your livestock that drop a male as firstling, whether cattle or sheep. 34:20 But the firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. And you must redeem every firstborn among your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.

This passage as well presents an analogy between the treatment of firstborn animals and humans: all belong to God.[2] But here the firstborn of an ass—an animal that may not be sacrificed—must be redeemed, or exchanged, for a sheep, and the firstborn of a human mother must likewise be redeemed. This law upholds the principle that all firstborns belong to God, while making a practical distinction between firstborns that are slaughtered on an altar (“kosher” animals) and those that are not (“non-kosher” animals and humans).[3]”

This website also has a lot of information on this topic:https://bible.org/question/what-significance-%E2%80%9Cfirstborn%E2%80%9D-bible

 In this pass in Ezra, it shows how the Israelite’s were forced to send away the wives they took from foreign nations and the children they had with them. This seemed cruel to me, and I wondered what other theologians though on the topic. 

A great write up is found here: http://www.evidenceunseen.com/bible-difficulties-2/ot-difficulties/ezra-job/ezra-103-doesnt-it-seem-cruel-that-these-pagan-wives-and-children-would-be-put-away-by-these-men/

“Third, this could be a case of an irresolvable moral dilemma. Dilemmas like these occur when there is no good ethical choice; that is, both options are bad. In such circumstances, it is appropriate to choose the greater good (or the lesser of two evils).

Under Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel divided and eventually split, because Solomon’s idol-worshipping wives led him away from God. 1 Kings 11:2 states, “They [the unbelieving wives] will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon’s decision to take foreign wives led to a 500 year spiritual and moral decay in Israel, ending in child sacrifice, prostitution, and eventual judgment in the Babylonian Exile. Ezra 9-10 takes place on the eve of the Exile… and the men were instantaneously falling back into the same exact sin of King Solomon!

While divorce is immoral, having all of the men of Israel being married to idol worshippers would be even worse. Saving the nation of Israel from corporate apostasy and judgment is ethically greater than preserving several dozen marriages. Moral dilemmas like these end in poor results no matter how you pick. Either circumstance is ugly, but one is worse than the other.

Fourth, the unbelieving wives could have been given an opportunity to convert to Judaism. Nothing in OT law explicitly prohibits Jews from marrying Gentiles, as long as they converted to Judaism (e.g. Ruth and Boaz would be a key example). While Ezra 10 does not explicitly tell us the spiritual convictions of the wives, could it be that they refused to convert to Judaism in the full two months it took to decide this legal case? (Ezra 10:16-17)

Furthermore, once (or if?) these women refused to convert to Judaism, it could’ve been an ethical dilemma on what to do with the children. Presumably, these children were very young (perhaps even newborns?), and tearing the children away from their mothers would be a tragic circumstance.”

Another good site is: https://www.gotquestions.org/abandon-foreign-wives-children.html

“We know that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), and some have asked how this event is related to the issue of divorce in today’s society. A couple of relevant points can be considered. First, this event took place during a previous dispensation, in a time when God’s chosen people were to live according to the Law of Moses. Christians today should not look to this account for justification to divorce a spouse.

Also, 1 Corinthians 7:15–16 gives the related principle for today’s believers married to unbelievers. Paul wrote, “If the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” In other words, a believer is called to stay with an unbelieving spouse whenever possible. However, if the unbelieving spouse abandons the relationship, the believing spouse is not to dispute the matter.”

I kept seeing these two differences and was unsure what the differences were between Judah and Israel. 

“Israelites had a single kingdom during the reigns of Solomon and David. After the death of Solomon, the country was divided into two independent kingdoms. The southern region came to be called Judah which consisted of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Jerusalem was their capital. The northern region was called Israel which comprised the remaining ten tribes. They had the capital at Samaria.”

Read more: Difference Between Israel and Judah | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-israel-and-judah/#ixzz4xZxskoPM

Another interesting site on the subject: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/12-tribes-of-israel/israel-and-judah/

A neat map on the subject: https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/map-gallery/i/map-israel-and-judah

Even more: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-two-kingdoms-of-israel

As I always check when I see these passages, it appears that this lamentation has not been found.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laments_for_Josiah

“Laments for Josiah is the term used in reference to 2Chronicles 35:25. The passage reads: “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.”

This source, as described by the Chronicler, should not be confused with the canonical Book of Lamentations. The same event is retold in 1 Esdras 1:32, although it lacks any reference to writing, or the recording of the lamentation. Nevertheless, the dirges referred to in 2 Chronicles and 1 Esdras, as well as Lamentations may refer to a larger corpus of laments that once existed in the temple or palace archives of ancient Jerusalem.”

When I got to Chronicles I realized most of it was a retelling of Judges and Kings. I was curious as to why it would be included in the Bible and what its purpose is…

“First of all, not all of the content of the Chronicles is found in Samuel and Kings. In fact, over half of the content of Chronicles is unique.”  https://www.gotquestions.org/purpose-of-Chronicles.html

“Also interesting is the name of 1 and 2 Chronicles in the  Septuagint  (a Greek translation of the Old Testament produced around 300 BC). The title translates as “The Books of Things Left Out,” referring to additional details surrounding the historical events recorded in the books of Samuel and Kings. Due to the Judean emphasis of the Chronicles, we learn much more about the southern kingdom of Judah and its kings; the books of Kings contain more detail about the northern kingdom of Israel. “

Another site also has some interesting statements, here is a snippet of what they said:http://info.austingrad.edu/christianstudies/things-omitted-why-chronicles-is-important

“Many Christians through the ages have looked at it as an addendum or appendix, with some helpful additions, but paling in importance next to the magisterial history of Samuel and Kings. 

This widespread opinion does not do justice to the importance and influence of Chronicles. First, the theology and purpose of Chronicles is completely different from Samuel and Kings. Samuel and Kings are part of a much longer history, from Joshua to 2 Kings, with Deuteronomy as the introduction. The purpose of this collection is to hold Israel up to the light of the law in Deuteronomy and show how the people have consistently violated the covenant, especially the laws against idolatry. After hundreds of years of warnings given by the prophets, this history shows the inevitable consequence of idolatry —loss of land and exile— as spelled out in Deuteronomy. There is however, hope for Israel. If Israel will repent and return to the Lord, as she had done so often in the past (the period of the Judges, David, Hezekiah, etc.), God would once again hear them and restore them. “


An Ephraimite that is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 25:7 is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Ephraim. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ephraimite

“According to the Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim is descended from a man named Ephraim.[2] This Ephraim is recorded as the son of Joseph, the son of Jacob.[3] The descendants of Joseph formed two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of Jacob was the founder of only one tribe.”

Much more information about the Tribe of Ephraimite can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Ephraim

Also if you read the link above, read the last section about “Destiny.” Some interesting stuff I plan to research in more detail at some point.

Both are books probably lost to time, though maybe one day one or all will be found. They are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 9:29

“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?”

It is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 12:15 relating to Rehoboam and 2 Chronicles 13:22 relating to Abijah.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visions_of_Iddo_the_Seer

So my wife showed me this really interesting article: http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-concluded-that-the-universe-shouldn-t-really-exist

The short version it says: “All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the Universe should not actually exist,” says one of the researchers, Christian Smorra.”

On a side note, but somewhat related to this article; I’ve also been entertained by the sheer number of Atheists that got enraged when I posted this to the Christian Reddit board. Before I started spending any time on religious groups forums and Reddit boards, I never understood when Christians have told me that they are relentlessly attacked by Atheists questioning their faith. I love to debate and argue, so it does not bother me in the slightest. I am disappointed in the amount of Christians that do not push back with science against them. Atheists feel this is their domain.

Both Christianity and Atheism is based on faith. Atheists believe the Universe spontaneously formed from nothing, (such as the Big Bang, or a Multiverse bubble, etc), where as different religions believe a God is the creator. 

I would rather be wrong about God not being real when I die, then not believing and he does exist. Then, if you believe there is a God, you go down the rabbit hole of which religion is the most likely to be real. I feel all evidence points to Christianity, but there will be countless more articles written by me that support this in the months and years to come.

Most Atheists point to physics and science to explain away God. Often I struggle with many of these questions, and while I have read about countless famous physicists that believe there must be a God, I was curious as to what the more modern Physicists and Theologians thought on this topic.  Upon doing some research on the topic, I came across a really interesting site that explores this topic. The article is written by PHD Fr. Robert Spitzer who has written some very highly regarded books on the subject. This article, https://strangenotions.com/how-contemporary-physics-points-to-god/, goes into some of the modern theories on the Big Bang Theory, the Multiverse Theory, and the theory of an oscillating universe in higher dimensional space. 

“Guth concluded this study as follows: “In my own opinion, it looks like eternally inflating models necessarily have a beginning…As hard as physicists have worked to try to construct an alternative, so far all the models that we construct have a beginning; they are eternal into the future, but not into the past.”3This snippet is from a point in the articles where three separate papers by written by the Physicists Borde, Vilenkin, and Guth all came to the same conclusion. The article is very scientific and parts are hard to understand, but if you are a science nerd, you will find it fascinating. 

On a side not, there is a massive list of books recommended by this site that this site recommends, many of which will be added to my exhaustive reading plan. https://strangenotions.com/books/

Another article that was dumbed down, but the final page has a super interesting article. Watch the double slit test. I had read about this recently and was baffled. 

Article on the Afterlife

More recently in 2007, one scientist claims to have discovered a theory within quantum physics that provides and explanation for death and afterlife. Dr. Robert Lanza, developed the theory of biocentrism which states that the existence of life and biology are central to being, reality and the cosmos—our consciousness. In essence, it is that life creates the universe, rather than the other way around. Dr. Lanza uses the famous ” double-slit test ” to illustrate his point: the double slit test is an experiment of light and matter which found that it can display characteristics of both waves and particles—it’s behavior changes depending on the observer’s perception and consciousness—quite an unexplained phenomenon of quantum physics! Dr. Lanza asks “Why does our observation change what happens? Answer: Because reality is a process that requires our consciousness.” He claims that this experiment would explain the quantum effects of the afterlife and supports the many reports of afterlife experiences by people who have died, visited another realm and lived to tell about it. One such supporter of this theory is Dr. Eben Alexander, whom cannot scientifically explain his experience visiting heaven when he was clinically brain dead from meningitis, thus making it scientifically impossible to generate any neurologic activity and brain function. Yet, he had such a powerful afterlife experience that he has lived to tell.  He said, ‘My journey deep into coma, outside this lowly physical realm and into the loftiest dwelling place of the almighty Creator, revealed the indescribably immense chasm between our human knowledge and the awe-inspiring realm of God.”  He goes on to state, “The brain itself does not produce consciousness.  That it is, instead, a kind of reducing valve or filter, shifting the larger, nonphysical consciousness that we possess in the nonphysical worlds down into a more limited capacity for the duration of our mortal lives.” (Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, 2012) While Dr. Lanza’s theory is not widely embraced by fellow scientists, his discovery in conjunction with quantum physics certainly could shed light on God’s promise of eternal life to those who believe (John 3:16). As the Bible so beautifully explains in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/galleries/how-quantum-physics-proves-gods-existence.aspx?p=5#3Goy0mweW5FM4G6f.99

Another non-scientific article that has a good statement by a Physicist:http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/we-physicists-are-the-only-scientists-who-can-say-the-word-god-and-not-blush

 I had read or heard somewhere that Christians should memorize the Lord’s prayer and say it each morning and evening. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me, so I did some research. According to https://bible.org/seriespage/3-lord-s-prayer-matthew-65-15-luke-111-13 It says, “One of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus said that prayer should not be a way to get attention and praise from people. It should be done with a right heart toward God. It is wrong to pray just to impress people.” 

Another section goes on to say, “Prayer is the time you spend being real with God. It is when you pour our your heart to Him. You can tell God anything and everything. You can tell Him when you are angry or hurt or disappointed. You can talk to Him about the good stuff that happened in your day. He is with you every minute, so it should be easier to talk to Him than to your best friend or even your mom or dad. Prayer is also when you stop to listen to His voice (John 10:27).

Jesus gave a perfect example of how to pray. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” Lots of people can say this from memory, but remember, Jesus just said not to repeat the same words over and over. Reciting this prayer does not take the place of heart-felt conversations with your heavenly Father. Jesus wanted to tell His disciples the type of prayer to pray. These things are the type of things that God will honor in your prayers.”

Here are the two examples of The Lord’s Prayer. It is a great prayer to know for family gatherings etc, when you are uncomfortable just talking from your mind in a group or family setting, like at Easter or Christmas dinner. 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%206:9-6:13&version=KJV
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%2011:2-11:4&version=KJV
Luke 11:2-4King James Version (KJV)
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.