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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Don’t Judge Me!

One of the most frequent rebukes that we receive from irate readers is this: “Oh, you are judging!” If there is one passage in the Bible with which the critics are familiar, surely it is this one: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Mt. 7:1). They have no clue as to what the text means, but they know that it is there!
It is an unfortunate thing that those who so flaunt this passage, in such a careless fashion, have not studied the broader biblical theme diligently. The truth is, this quibble, more often than not, is a mere defense mechanism that “judges” the alleged “judge”!
The most common word for “judge” in the Greek Testament is the verb krino, found 114 times. It is rendered into English by a variety of terms, e.g., “judge,” “determine,” “condemn,” “call in question,” etc. The word means to “select”; then to “come to a conclusion, make a determination” — sometimes with the added idea of relating that conclusion to a specific act or a certain person. The basic term is neutral in its character; only the context can suggest either a positive or negative connotation.
That “judging” is not intrinsically evil is demonstrated by the fact that God judges (Heb. 12:23), and so does Christ (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:8). The common retort to this observation, though, is this: “Yes, God and Christ have the right to judge; but we, who are but mere mortals, do not.” While that may sound noble, it is not under-girded with scriptural evidence.
The truth of the matter is, “judging” is both condemned and commended in the Bible. It is prohibited and commanded. But how can this be, if, as Christians commonly claim, the Scriptures are inspired of God, and thus do not contradict one another? The answer is a very simple one. The concept of “judging” is employed in different senses in sacred literature.

Judging Condemned

There are several New Testament passages in which “judging” is cast into a sinister light. Let us consider but three of these for illustrative purposes. In the Sermon on the Mount Christ spoke thusly:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured unto you. And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck from your eye; when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye; and then you will see clearly how to take the speck from your brother’s eye” (Mt. 7:1-5).
Appropriate judging must be done sincerely, and for the welfare of the individual. Obviously the individual who pronounces judgment upon another, when he is personally guilty of equal (or even greater) transgressions, is not genuine in his censures. Many of the Jews were of this hypocritical nature. While they condemned the gross wickedness of the pagans, they practiced identical breaches of fidelity (see Rom. 2:1-3).
Does this imply that one must be “sinless” before he can declare a “judgment” concerning another’s conduct? It does not. Paul was not sinless (Rom. 7:14ff; 1 Cor. 9:27; Phil. 3:12ff), yet he did not hesitate to “judge” the flagrant fornicator who was disgracing the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5:3). The person who presumes to judge, however, must be a truly spiritual person (cf. 1 Jn. 1:7), with the good of others genuinely in view (cf. Gal. 6:1).
On another occasion, the Lord warned the Jews: “Judge not according to appearance?” (Jn. 7:24). [Note: For the fuller context of this admonition, see below.] Superficial judging is condemned. To judge someone, strictly on the basis of race, cultural background, unsubstantiated rumor, appearance, financial standing, etc., is wrong (cf. Lk. 10:25ff; 15:1ff; Gal. 2:11ff; Jas. 2:1ff). In his sermon at Caesarea, Peter declared that God is no “respecter of persons.” The Greek term denotes an opinion formed on the basis of the “face,” i.e., appearance. The Lord does not do that (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7), and neither should we.
Finally, James cautions:
“Speak not one against another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able to save and to destroy: but who are you to judge your neighbor?” (Jas. 4:11-12).
Here the inspired writer places “judging” within the framework of harsh, wounding language. The expression “speak against” renders the Greek katalaleo, which means to slander, degrade, or insult. Some scholars suggest that it hints of being critical of the person in his absence (cf. William Barclay, The Letter of James, p. 13). Certainly there are back-stabbers who do not have the courage to confront an adversary face-to-face (unlike Paul — Gal. 2:11). The malady rebuked in this context reflects an attempt to tear down, rather than to help.
Let it be made clear. The type of judging that is condemned in the New Testament is not the righteous exposure of error or wickedness, or even the rebuke of a particular false teacher (see 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18). Rather, it consists of that which is done hypocritically, superficially, and in hostility.

Judging Commanded

Earlier we cited John 7:24, where Christ cautioned: “Judge not according to appearance....” The balance of the verse (on the opposite side of an adversative particle) is seen in this command: “...but judge righteous judgment.”
The context has to do with an earlier miracle wherein Jesus had healed a lame man on the sabbath day, and subsequently commissioned him to take up his bed and walk (Jn. 5:8). On account of this alleged violation of the sabbath, and because the Lord claimed divine authority in the miraculous healing, the Jews sought to kill him (v. 18). While it might have “appeared” that Christ initiated a violation of the sabbath on that occasion, actually he did not. Jesus was “lord of the sabbath” (Mt. 12:8), and he had the perfect right to heal this man on that occasion. And a higher goal was to be achieved by his command to the healed man. The Jews, however, saw only the superficial (the man carrying his pallet), and thus did not make a correct “judgment” regarding the significance of the event.
And so Christ admonished, “...but judge the righteous judgment.” The verb, krinete, is present tense (sustained activity), imperative mood (command), thus, the sense is: “practice judging, of the righteous sort.”
There is a principle here set forth. Judging (drawing correct conclusions) is not merely an option; it is an obligation. “Righteous” depicts both the character, and the manner, of the one who does the judging. All of us make judgments regarding others; indeed, we are forced to every day. But those judgments should be rendered compassionately and in conformity with the facts.
Here is another example. With reference to church disciplinary matters, Christians are to “judge” erring members. In a case relating to a brother who needed to be disfellowshipped, Paul asked: “Don’t you practice judging those who are within [the church]?” (1 Cor. 5:12). The question is rhetorical, demanding a positive answer. The church is under obligation to “judge” its wayward members (1 Cor. 5:13b; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thes. 3:6ff). Elsewhere see our article on (“Church Discipline – A Tragic Neglect”,“Church Discipline”).

Judging by Example

Everyone “judges” — if he lives noble standards — regardless of how conscientiously he may claim otherwise. When one holds his conduct to a certain, divinely-prescribed standard, by his example, he judges those who refuse to yield to that standard. Note these points.
A strengthened form of the verb krino is katakrino, which signifies “to pronounce a sentence after a determination of guilt.” In Matthew 12:41-42, the term is used twice.
First, it is applied to the people of Nineveh; then it is used of the Queen of the South. In both instances, the example of these people “condemned” the Jews of Jesus’ day, i.e., cast them in a unfavorable light. In a sense, these ancient citizens stood as “judges,” of the rebellious Hebrews who crucified their own Messiah (see Danker, et al., Greek-English Lexicon, 2000, p. 519).
When Noah obeyed God by preparing the ark as he was commanded (cf. Gen. 6:22), he “condemned” (katakrino) the generation with whom he was contemporary (Heb. 11:7). He judged them by standing in vivid contrast to their disobedience!

Judging Self

There is a sense in which we even “judge” ourselves. In a letter to the Corinthian saints, Paul addressed some of the disorders associated with their observance of the Lord’s supper. For one thing, some were not focusing upon the meaning of this sacred event; they were not “discerning” (diakrino), i.e., making proper judgments about the significance of the elements (bread and fruit of the vine), thus, they were partaking in an “unworthy” fashion. Those who acted in this irresponsible way brought divine “judgment” (krima) upon themselves (see:1 Cor. 11:27-29).
It is out of this background that the apostle exhorts: “But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged” (v. 31). The meaning is this. If the Christian would “judge” his own conduct, i.e., evaluate it in the light of Scripture, draw proper conclusions relative to any misdeeds, and thus alter his actions, he would not be subject to the disciplinary judgment that could issue from Christ.


An evaluation of the collected biblical evidence clearly demonstrates that the knowledgeable student of the Scriptures will not make such foolish statements such as: “It is wrong to judge.” There is a wrong way to judge (and surely the best of people err in this manner on occasion), but there also are right ways to judge, and these must not be neglected due to a misconception of what judging actually is.
Matthew 7:1; Hebrews 12:23; Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3; Romans 7:14; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Philippians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 5:3; John 1:7; Galatians 6:1; John 7:24; Luke 10:25; Galatians 2:11; James 2:1; James 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; John 5:8; Matthew 12:8; 1 Corinthians 5:12; 1 Corinthians 5:13; Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Matthew 12:41-42; Genesis 6:22; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Jackson, Wayne. "Don't Judge Me!" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 20, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/637-dont-judge-me

Friday, August 18, 2017

Did God Create Evil?

“If God is only good, how is it that the Bible says that he created ‘evil’ (Isaiah 45:7)?”
In order to get the feel of Isaiah 45:7, at least a slightly larger portion of the immediate context needs to be surveyed. The prophet, on behalf of the Lord, wrote:
“I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, who does all these things” (Isa. 45:5-7).
Beginning in the previous chapter, and continuing into the present one, the Lord had argued the case for his sovereignty over the nations — particularly his right to deal with his chosen people, the nation of Israel. Jehovah had blessed the nation wonderfully, but his people had rejected him time and time again, giving themselves over to the worship of idols — dumb idols that had no power to bless. In this vain worship, the Hebrews had evinced an incredible lack of understanding. As a result, the kingdom of Judah would have to be punished (in the period of Babylonian captivity). Eventually, though, the Lord would forgive his people, and bring them back into their land again.
The providential instrument in accomplishing this momentous task would be a Persian king, Cyrus by name, whose presence upon the earth was yet a century and a half in the future. In was in connection with the role of Cyrus in the divine plan, that the dramatic declaration of 45:5-7 was made.
In this announcement several important truths are stated:
  • The Lord God is unique; no idol can begin to compare with him.
  • By his power, and in the utilization of the mysterious modes of providence, Jehovah would “gird” (i.e., empower) Cyrus. He would equip him for the task that he was to accomplish.
  • Though the Persian commander was unacquainted with the true God, that fact would not hinder the Lord’s use of the ruler.
  • As a result of Jehovah’s orchestration of this feat involving the release of his people, his holy name would be glorified from the east to the west, i.e., throughout the earth.
  • The Lord’s uniqueness would be apparent.
  • Jehovah’s creative and providential powers stand as evidences of his divine identity.
It was in association with this final declaration that God said: “I make peace, and create evil.” In order to understand this statement, it must be viewed in concert with the overall affirmations of Scripture relative to the character of the Lord.
Jehovah is absolutely holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), “his work is perfect,” “all his ways are just,” he is a Being of “faithfulness” who is “without iniquity,” and is both “just and right” (Dt. 32:4). Moral evil cannot be attributed to the Creator in any way (Hab. 1:13; Jas. 1:13-14).

The Flexible Nature of Words

Any serious student of language is aware of the fact that words are flexible vehicles of communication. This principle is no less true of the Bible than it is of any piece of literature.
For example, the term “God” may refer to a Being who is truly divine in nature (Jn. 1:1), or the same word may be employed of a false object of worship that is void of the essence of deity (1 Cor. 8:4-6). The verb “believed” may reflect nothing more than a superficial emotion (Jn. 12:42), or it may represent a genuine conviction that is expressed in obedience (Acts 2:41,44). There is none “righteous” (Rom. 3:10), yet Joseph, the husband of Mary was “righteous” (Mt. 1:19). It is wrong to “judge” (Mt. 7:1); it is right to “judge” (Jn. 7:24). One cannot be justified by “works” (Eph. 2:9), yet justification is obtained by “works” (Jas. 2:24).
Examples of this nature are almost endless. A word is defined, in great measure, by how it is used in a certain setting — in its context. This is a fundamental principle of language interpretation.

The Varied Use of “Evil” in the Scriptures

As with many other words, the term “evil” can have more than one meaning, depending upon the manner in which it is used. The Hebrew word for evil is ra’, which derives from a root meaning “to spoil” or “to break in pieces.”

Sin is evil

Obviously, the term “evil” may be used with reference to sinful activities. Ezekiel rebuked Israel for her worship of idols (20:39), which rebellion was characterized as “evil” (vv. 43-44). Jesus once spoke of “evil thoughts” that produce a variety of ungodly actions, e.g., fornication, theft, murder, etc. (Mk. 7:21-23).

Catastrophe or disaster is evil

On the other hand, “evil” may refer to a disaster of some sort. In discussing the punishment that would be visited upon Israel for her wickedness, Isaiah declared:
“For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, ‘No one sees me;’ [but] your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you, and you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me. Therefore shall evil come upon you; you will not know the dawning thereof: and mischief shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it away: and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know not.” (Isa. 47:10-11; emp. supplied).
Observe the parallelism in this text. The “evil” of verse 11a becomes the “mischief” and the “desolation” in the latter portion of the passage. The “evil” of which the prophet spoke, actually was the impending Babylonian captivity (see also Jer. 18:8).
Similarly, when the prophet Amos warned the northern kingdom of Israel of its eventual doom, he referred to that time of temporal judgment as the “evil day,” which, of course, ultimately was the Assyrian invasion (722/21 B.C.).

Physicial illness or distress is evil

Sometimes “evil” can simply refer to physical infirmity. Solomon admonished those still in their youth to remember the Creator in the vigor of those early times of energy, because eventually the “evil” days come and the “years” take their physical toll (Eccl. 12:1). Some of those bodily ailments are then chronicled in the balance of the chapter (see vv. 3-7).
From the divine view point, therefore, such things as national judgments and physical degeneration are characterized as “evil” because all such hurtful human experiences ultimately are the result of humanity’s foolish choices to engage in “evil” (rebellion) against the Maker of men. Natural evils are the result of moral evil — not in every individual situation (consider, for instance, the case of the patriarch Job, and that of Christ as well) — but in a general, ultimate, cause-and-effect sense (cf. Rom. 5:12).

An Objection: Is God Responsible for All Evil?

Frequently it is alleged, however, that ultimately God is responsible for “evil” — for had he not created angels and men, the evil they have generated would not exist.
The logic employed in this objection is flawed, and the critic who makes it will scarcely stay with it in a consistent manner.
No greater compliment could have been paid to man than to have been created in the very image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). A part of that “creation package” was the gift of personal volition, that is, the ability to make moral choices. There are only two logical possibilities — one might be created with “free will,” or without “free will.”
Now which option is the obvious expression of love (cf. 1 Jn. 4:8). The former, of course. The Lord thus signally honored human beings by granting them the personal power of choice. Once such action was taken, the Creator is not morally culpable if the gift of choice is abused, and the possessor thereof elects to pursue the road of danger and destruction.
Is the designer or manufacturer of an automobile morally responsible for the drunk driver who runs down and kills an innocent child? And what of the godly mother who made every effort to raise her children in harmony with the Lord’s will; is she accountable for the actions of a wayward offspring who robs a bank or commits murder? These questions hardly need an expressed answer.
And so, while God is the Maker of men, he is not morally indictable for the follies of those upon whom he bestowed one of the greatest gifts possible — that of genuine freedom!
Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 45:5-7; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:4; Habakkuk 1:13; James 1:13-14; John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; John 12:42; Acts 2:41, 44; Romans 3:10; Matthew 1:19; Matthew 7:1; John 7:24; Ephesians 2:9; James 2:24; Mark 7:21-23; Isaiah 47:10-11; Jeremiah 18:8; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Romans 5:12; Genesis 1:26-27; John 4:8
Jackson, Wayne. "Did God Create Evil?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 18, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/676-did-god-create-evil

Is the Apocrypha Inspired of God?

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In the ever urgent work of winning souls for Christ, the Christian occasionally will encounter members of the Roman Catholic Church who note, with perhaps some degree of pride, that their version of the Bible contains more books than standard translations used by non-Catholics.
More often than not, the average Christian is at a loss to explain why there are forty-six books in the Old Testament of the Catholic Bible, yet only thirty-nine books in the Old Testament of the common versions.
The qualified teacher needs to be able to give a reasonable explanation to his Catholic friends for the absence of those seven books in the versions we use.

The Disputed Books

The Apocrypha is a collection of documents, generally produced between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D., which were not a part of the original Old Testament canon. The names of these books are 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, The Rest of Esther, Song of the Three Holy Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees. The last seven of these are incorporated into Roman Catholic editions of the Bible. The Catholic Council of Trent (1546) affirmed the canonicity of these books, as found in the Latin Vulgate, and condemned those who reject them.
The title, “Apocrypha,” is a transliterated form of the term apokruphos, meaning “hidden.”
A plural form of the word is used in Colossians 2:3, where Paul declares that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are “hidden” in Christ.
The adjective “apocryphal” has come to be applied to those books that do not bear the marks of divine inspiration. There are several reasons why the Apocrypha is to be rejected as part of the Bible.

General Principles

There is abundant evidence that none of these books were ever received into the canon (that which conforms to “rule”) of the Hebrew Old Testament.
Although they appear in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament—known as LXX), that is not necessarily a reliable criterion. Professor G. T. Manley notes: “[These books] do not appear to have been included at first in the LXX [third-second centuries B.C.], but they found their way gradually into later copies, being inserted in places that seemed appropriate” (1962, 39).
The apocryphal books are not in those most ancient works which allude to the Old Testament Scriptures. For example:
Philo Ignored: The Jewish philosopher of Alexandria (20 B.C. – A.D. 50) wrote prolifically and frequently quoted the Old Testament, yet he never cited the Apocrypha, nor did he even mention these documents.
Josephus Rejected: The Jewish historian, Josephus (A.D. 37-95), rejected them. He wrote:
“We have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine” (Against Apion1.8).
By combining several Old Testament narratives into a “book,” the thirty-nine of our current editions become the twenty-two alluded to by Josephus.
Missing from Ancient Lists: The most ancient list of Old Testament books is that which was made by Melito of Sardis (ca. A.D. 170). None of the apocryphal books were included (cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.26.14).
Not Recognized by Origen, Tertullian: In the early third century A.D., neither Origen nor his contemporary, Tertullian, recognized the books of the Apocrypha as being canonical.
Accepted by Low-ranking Church Officials: Though some of the apocryphal books were being used in the church services by the fifth century A.D., they were read only by those who held inferior offices in the church (see Horne 1841, 436).
Originated During Divine Silence: The apocryphal books were produced in an era when no inspired documents were being given by God. Malachi concludes his narrative in the Old Testament by urging Israel:
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.”
He then projects four centuries into the future and prophesied:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come” (Mal. 4:4-5).
This text pictured the coming of John the Baptist (cf. Mt. 11:14; Lk. 1:17). The implication of Malachi’s prophecy is that no prophet would arise from God until the coming of John. This excludes the apocryphal writings.
Josephus confirms this when he declares:
It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets since that time(emphasis added).
He further says that no one “has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them” (Against Apion 1.8).
F. F. Bruce contended that there “is no evidence that these books were ever regarded as canonical by any Jews, whether inside or outside Palestine, whether they read the Bible in Hebrew or in Greek” (1950, 157).
Jesus, Disciples Never Quoted from Apocrypha: Jesus Christ and his inspired New Testament penmen quoted from, or alluded to, the writings and events of the Old Testament profusely. In fact, there are one thousand quotations or allusions from thirty-five of the thirty-nine Old Testament books are found in the New Testament record.
And yet, significantly, not once are any of these apocryphal books quoted or even explicitly referred to by the Lord or by any New Testament writer.
Noted scholar Emile Schurer argued that this is really remarkable since most of the New Testament habitually quoted from the LXX (1894, 99).
Despite the fact that New Testament writers quote largely from the Septuagint rather than from the Hebrew Old Testament, there is not a single clear-cut case of a citation from any of the fourteen apocryphal books .... The most that can be said is that the New Testament writers show acquaintance with these fourteen books and perhaps allude to them indirectly, but in no case do they quote them as inspired Scripture or cite them as authority (Unger 1951, 101).
Apocryphal Books Do Not Claim Inspiration: It must be observed that the apocryphal books, unlike the canonical books of the Old Testament, make no direct claims of being inspired of God.
Not once is there a, “thus says the Lord,” or language like, “the word of the Lord came unto me, saying ...” In fact, some of the documents actually confess non-inspiration! In the prologue of Ecclesiasticus, the writer states:
ba. “Ye are intreated therefore to read with favour and attention, and to pardon us, if in any parts of what we have laboured to interpret, we may seem to fail in some of the phrases.”
Awkward Literary Style: Then there is the matter of literary style. Dr. Raymond Surburg has written:
When a comparison is instituted of the style of the Apocrypha with the style of the Biblical Hebrew Old Testament writings, there is a considerable inferiority, shown by the stiffness, lack of originality and artificiality of expression characterizing the apocryphal books (1980, 7).

Evidence Negating Inspiration

The Apocrypha contains a great variety of historical, geographical, chronological, and moral errors. Professor William Green of Princeton wrote: “The books of Tobit and Judith abound in geographical, chronological, and historical mistakes” (1899, 195).
A critical study of the Apocrypha’s contents clearly reveals that it could not be the product of the Spirit of God. The following examples are ample evidence of this.
Creation Contradiction: Rather than the creation being spoken into existence from nothing by the word of Almighty God, as affirmed in the Scriptures (Gen. 1:1; Psa. 33:6-9; Heb. 11:3), the Apocrypha has God creating the world out of “formless matter” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:17).
Where Was Baruch? According to the prophet Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem on the tenth day, fifth month, of the nineteenth year of his reign (Jer. 52:12-13). Subsequent to this, both the prophet and his scribe, Baruch, were taken into Egypt (Jer. 43:6-7). At this same time, the Apocrypha claims that Baruch was actually in Babylon (Baruch 1:1-2).
Contradictions With Itself: There are two contradictory accounts of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, that dreaded enemy of the Jews. One narrative records that Antiochus and his company were “cut to pieces in the temple of Nanaea by the treachery of Nanaea’s priests” (2 Maccabees 1:13-16), while another version in the same book states that Antiochus was “taken with a noisome sickness” and so “ended his life among the mountains by a most piteous fate in a strange land” (2 Maccabees 9:19-29).
When Did Tobit Die? Tobit is said to have lived 158 years (Tobit 14:11), yet, supposedly, he was alive back when Jeroboam revolted against Jerusalem (931 B.C.), and then still around when the Assyrians invaded Israel (722/21 @B.C.2)—a span of some 210 years! (1:3-5).
False Doctrines: The Apocrypha teaches the erroneous doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, suggesting that the kind of body one now has is determined by the character of his soul in a previous life:
“Now I was a goodly child, and a good soul fell to my lot; Nay rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled” (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19-20).
The foregoing was a common belief among heathen peoples, but certainly it is contrary to the biblical view that the soul of man is formed with him at conception (Psa. 139:13-16; Zech. 12:1).
Praying for the Dead: The Apocrypha teaches that prayer may be made for the dead:
“Wherefore he made the propitiation for them that had died, that they might be released from their sins” (2 Maccabees 12:45).
Roman Catholics cite this passage to find support for their dogma of praying for the dead to be released from purgatory, but the effort is vain. Obviously there’s no New Testament passage to buttress the notion.
Alms for Sins: The Apocrypha suggests that one may atone for his sins by the giving of alms: “It is better to give alms than to lay up gold: alms doth deliver from death, and it shall purge away all sin” (Tobit 12:9).

The Suspect Morality of the Apocrypha

The moral tone of the Apocrypha is far below that of the Bible. Note some examples:
Suicide Noble? The apocrypha applauds suicide as a noble and manful act. Second Maccabees tells of one Razis who, being surrounded by the enemy, fell upon his sword, choosing “rather to die nobly” than to fall into the hands of his enemy. He was not mortally wounded, however, and so threw himself down from a wall and “manfully” died among the crowds (14:41-43).
Magical Potions: It describes magical potions which are alleged to drive demons away (Tobit 6:1-17).
Murder Applauded: The murder of the men of Shechem (Gen. 34), an act of violence which is condemned in the Scriptures (cf. Gen. 49:6-7), is commended and is described as an act of God (Judith 9:2-9).
These, along with various other considerations, lead only to the conclusion that the Apocrypha cannot be included in the volume of sacred Scripture.
  • Bruce, F. F. 1950. The Books and the Parchments. London, England: Pickering & Inglis.
  • Green, William. 1899. General Introduction to the Old Testament. New York, NY: Scribner’s & Sons.
  • Horne, T. H. 1841. Critical Introduction to the Holy Scriptures. Vol. 1. Philadelphia, PA: Whetham & Son.
  • Manley, G. T. 1962. The New Bible Handbook. Chicago, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
  • Schurer, Emile. 1894. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls.
  • Surburg, Raymond. 1980. The Christian News, November 24.
  • Unger, Merrill F. 1951. Introductory Guide to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Colossians 2:3; Malachi 4:4-5; Matthew 11:14; Luke 1:17; Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6-9; Hebrews 11:3; Jeremiah 52:12-13; Jeremiah 43:6-7; Psalm 139:13-16; Zechariah 12:1; Genesis 34; Genesis 49:6-7
Jackson, Wayne. "Is the Apocrypha Inspired of God?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: August 18, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/111-is-the-apocrypha-inspired-of-god

Monday, August 07, 2017

Flat or Spherical Earth? Evaluating Astronomical Observations

by Branyon May, Ph.D.
Alana May, M.S.

[Editor’s Note: In the July issue of Reason & Revelation, Hebraist Dr. Justin Rogers addressed the matter of whether the Bible gives any credence to the notion of a flat Earth. In this month’s R&R, we consider whether science supports a flat Earth. AP scientist Dr. Branyon May holds a Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama. Alana May, his wife and co-author, holds an M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama.]
While the idea of a flat Earth is not a new one, it has been recently resurrected into mainstream pop culture. For a variety of reasons, many have adopted this view, or have begun looking toward it as a viable option. For some, the arguments contrasting a spherical versus a flat Earth are confusing and have caused frustration. This frustration has then led to a sense of doubt towards many previously accepted beliefs and facts. Such doubt towards authority has even caused some Christians to question their faith in God’s Word.
So what about humanity’s understanding for the shape of the Earth? Is the Earth spherical or flat? The best way to work through this discussion is to consider the observational evidences. One of the most definitive ways to directly see the spherical nature of Earth is through the images taken from space by various space agencies. However, because many people who hold to a flat Earth have also expressed concern about government conspiracy theories, we wish to present the space-based observations after we discuss some simple backyard-type observations. When considering new ideas, a bit of healthy caution is good, but can become unhealthy when conspiracy and paranoia consume the conversation over the facts and observations. Using the laws of nature and physics that God set in place, let’s investigate how we can know the Earth is, in fact, spherical.


Between Flat-Earth and Globe models, the Sun and the Moon have drastic differences in physical characteristics and scale dimensions. The Sun’s generally accepted location places it toward the center of Earth’s orbit at a distance of approximately 93 million miles, with a physical diameter of 864,600 miles. In contrast, Flat-Earth models describe the Sun as being 32 miles in diameter and orbiting above the surface of the Earth at a height of approximately 3,000 miles.1 Since by observation the Sun and Moon have equivalent angular sizes,2 Flat-Earth models must also place the Moon in an orbit coinciding with the Sun’s orbit at a distance of 3,000 miles and having the same 32-mile diameter.3 Such scales for the Moon are vastly different than the Moon’s generally accepted location in space, where it orbits the Earth at a distance of 238,900 miles and has a physical diameter of 2,160 miles. We should also note that between these two views there is a vast contrast in distance between the positions of the Sun and Moon. In the Flat-Earth model the two objects share similar planes of orbit, circling above Earth parallel to the ground. Therefore, their physical distances from each other would fluctuate substantially depending on where in their orbits they were. At least once during every month’s cycle the two would be physically very near to each other. By contrast, the standard heliocentric and spherical context describes the Moon’s position in orbit around the Earth, where its distance from the Sun would keep approximately the same 93-million-mile-physical-distance as Earth.
With such vast differences in scale these models must also describe vastly different physical characteristics for the Sun and Moon and, in fact, they do. Flat-Earth models describe the Sun and Moon in terms similar to spotlights moving above the Earth’s surface, illuminating in such a way as to produce periods of day and night. Resulting from this description, Flat-Earth models hold that the Moon is not reflecting the Sun’s light, but must instead be producing its own light. The physical characteristics of the Moon are therefore vastly different from the solid, rocky body and sunlight-reflecting surface usually discussed.


One means of testing these contrasting parameters is by evaluating eclipse events, where the Sun, Moon, and Earth experience well-defined and observable changes. First, the most obvious type of eclipse is a solar eclipse. In this type of eclipse the observed effect is for the New Moon to pass in front of the Sun eclipsing some or all of our view of the solar body. Due to the Sun and Moon having similar apparent sizes in the sky, a total solar eclipse can occur when the Moon’s path precisely crosses the Sun. A total solar eclipse causes a daytime period of dramatic darkening, allowing the less bright outer regions of the Sun’s atmosphere, including the chromosphere and corona, to become visible to observers. While these portions of the Sun’s atmosphere are always producing light, their levels of emission are much less than the extremely bright photosphere. Solar eclipses do not usually result in the total eclipse orientation, but rather will occur more often as partial eclipses where only part of the Sun is obscured by the Moon. What information do eclipse observations provide? Eclipses demonstrate several important facts, which we will expand on below, including: (1) the apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon are approximately equal, (2) the distances from Earth to the Sun and Earth to the Moon are not equal, and (3) the spherical shape of Earth.
Eclipses provide for us an important understanding about the positioning of the Sun, Moon, and Earth. We see from the fact that the Moon passes in front of the Sun that the two bodies must be at different distances. During a solar eclipse when the Moon obscures the Sun, the Moon’s distance is closer to Earth than the Sun’s. When we couple this with the first important fact mentioned, that the apparent sizes are approximately equal, then we are able to also understand that the Sun and Moon must be different in their true physical sizes. If two objects were the same true physical size, then placing one of them farther from you would cause it to appear smaller. Thus, since the Sun and Moon appear the same size, then the Sun (which is farther away) would have to be larger than the Moon (which is closer) in order to appear equal in size. As we consider a difference in distance between the more distant Sun and less distant Moon to be greater and greater, the necessary size of the Sun must be larger and larger to result in an observed equivalent, apparent size.
Now that we have established they are not at the same distance, we can also explore how solar eclipses also help provide evidence for the distance factors of the Sun and Moon. A total solar eclipse occurs when the observer is located within the shadow cast by the Moon blocking the Sun’s light. Consider the shadow cast on a wall  by placing an object in front of a light source. What happens to the shadow as the distance between the object and light source is decreased? The shadowed area becomes larger, and a viewer within the shadowed region would have to move farther to leave the shadowed area and lose this precise alignment. If the distance between the light source and object becomes larger, then the shadow that is cast on the wall will become smaller and subsequently the observer’s location in the shadow for an eclipse alignment must become more precise (i.e., since the shadow is smaller, there is less area located within the eclipse shadow region).
Total solar eclipses are very rare events to see on Earth, which tells us that the alignment of such an event requires certain precision. It first requires precision for the orbits and locations of the three bodies to be exactly aligned. Second, it requires that an observer be located within the area of the Moon’s shadow cast on Earth. This second requirement increases the rarity of seeing a total solar eclipse, because the area of the Moon’s shadow resulting in totality is small, at most only about 165 miles in diameter.4 The casting of a small shadow means there must be a significant distance between the Sun and Moon. In addition, the path of totality, which is the track that the Moon’s shadow takes as it moves across the Earth’s surface, is a very narrow strip. When seeking to see a total solar eclipse event, the location where you go to observe must be very precisely chosen within the track.
If we focus on the second major type of eclipse, a lunar eclipse, then we see, not only further evidence for distances and orientations matching the heliocentric view, but also evidence for the spherical nature of Earth. Lunar eclipses occur when Earth is positioned between the Sun and Moon, and its shadow is cast across the Moon’s surface causing a darkening of the Moon. While solar eclipses only occur during the New Moon phase, lunar eclipses similarly occur only during the Full Moon phase. The precise alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth is emphasized by the fact that while lunar eclipses only occur during Full Moon phases, they do not occur every cycle and are quite rare. In contrast to a solar eclipse that involves one body, the Moon, obscuring the more distant Sun, a lunar eclipse involves the Earth’s shadow progressing across the Moon’s surface until it becomes completely engulfed. The evidence for a spherical Earth comes from the fact that as the lunar eclipse event begins the curvature of the Earth’s shadow can be seen advancing across the Moon’s surface. This provides direct observation for the circular shape of the Earth’s body, as well as the required orbit of the Moon to go around to the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. Both of these observable facts are contrary to Flat-Earth models, some of which postulate Earth as an indefinite plane5 or as a circular inhabitable region set in a rectangular block.6

Observing Objects Outside of Earth

As we consider the shape of our own planet, we can gain perspective by making direct observations of other celestial objects. By comparison of the physical features we observe in other objects, we can make application to the features we observe on Earth. A good starting place is to consider the planets in our own Solar System, objects that are generally the easiest to observe: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Each of these planets is conventionally described as being spherically round, so let’s discuss the observational evidence.
The planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are the four easiest of the planets to observe with simple backyard telescopes or even binoculars. With these tools the casual observer can see that each of these objects has dimensions and shape, showing more than the spot of light seen with the naked eye. In a simple description, the planets are obviously round; but are they three-dimensionally round objects? During short times of observing, we are able to capture short picturesque views of the planets; but what happens as we continue our observations? If we simply make the effort to add repeated observations, we will be able to see the snapshot characteristics begin to show their dynamic and varying nature. With observations over a matter of days and weeks (even better over months), you will see Venus’ phase change, Mars’ apparent size and surface features change, Jupiter’s rotation, and Saturn’s ring orientation change.
Let’s begin making a few specific observations. Beginning with the planet that has the largest average apparent size, we find Jupiter to be a beautifully banded planet. The roughly horizontal striations of Jupiter have varying colors from white to brownish-red. Overlapping the middle bands, you might see one of the most well-known features of Jupiter: the “Great Red Spot.” This feature serves as a good landmark and is one of Jupiter’s most fascinating features. Named for its appearance, this giant, oval-shaped region in Jupiter’s atmosphere has existed for several hundred years and is similar to features described by Galileo Galilei and Giovanni Cassini as far back as the 1600s. In fact, Giovanni Cassini used careful observations to track the movement of spot features, seemingly similar to the Great Red Spot, in order to conclude that Jupiter was indeed rotating about its axis. From the measurements, Cassini calculated a rotation speed for Jupiter of approximately 10 hours.7 Even with Cassini’s very primitive equipment, his calculation matches the currently measured rotation period of 9.925 hours.8
The next planet has captivated astronomers’ attention as far back as the telescope: the red planet Mars offers intriguing observations. In a similar fashion to his calculations of Jupiter’s rotation, Giovanni Cassini also calculated the length of Mars’ rotation by measuring how long it took for surface features to make it back around to the same spot. Both Cassini and Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens independently calculated the rotation period of Mars to be similar to Earth’s at just over 24-hours.9 The similarity between Earth and what we see when observing Mars is much more than just a similar period of rotation. Mars has surface features such as large plains, expansive ravines, and elevated mountains. White regions aligned with its axis of rotation are similar to Earth’s icy polar regions. Mars also has varying atmospheric changes, which most notably include huge dust storms that can obscure large regions. As we consider a round, rotating planet with mountains and canyons, polar ice caps, and an atmosphere that at times is clear and other times is congested with dusty storms, we cannot help but think about days on Earth with beautiful sunny days and about camping excursions in quiet valleys, or maybe cloudy days that often bring sudden storms while hiking in the mountains. If Mars exists as a rotating, spherical planet with diverse landscapes, then so can Earth.

CREDIT: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: R.G. French (Wellesley College), J. Cuzzi (NASA/Ames), L. Dones (SwRI), and J. Lissauer (NASA/Ames)
One of the most recognizable planets, the ringed-world of Saturn, provides an interesting context to consider. With Saturn we find the geometries of both a flat disk for the rings and a spherical body for the planet. Saturn’s ring system is a collection of particles surrounding the planet, individually orbiting Saturn as evidenced from spectroscopic studies showing differential rotation of ring material.10 Even in commercially available telescopes, Saturn and its beautiful rings can be readily seen. However, as we make repeated observations from year to year, we can watch as the ring orientation changes in its tilt with respect to our perspective from Earth.
In some years, Earth’s view is edge-on with Saturn’s ring plane, causing the rings to be barely visible, while other years, such as late 2017, the rings reach a tilt angle of 27° allowing the outermost A-ring to be visible in its full circumference. The changing tilt-angle of the rings is a regular cycle, oscillating in such a way that both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of Saturn’s body will be directed towards Earth during the cycle. What this comparison provides is a single view contrasting a spherical versus flat geometry in space. If all of the planets were simply flat circles, then we should see the same type of drastic visual differences from their changing orientations that Saturn’s rings demonstrate, since Saturn’s rings are understood, even in the heliocentric model, to be approximately flat circles. Additionally, the fact that the ring-tilt observations are consistent for every observer on Earth shows that Saturn is a very distant object, so that even observers separated by great distances on Earth will have comparable views.
The more distant planets of Uranus and Neptune are harder to observe with smaller amateur equipment. However, with diligence and larger telescopes, their round bodies can be observed in similar nature as the other planets. The fact that both Uranus and Neptune have their own systems of orbiting moons helps us to understand their relative size and gravitational dominance in their regions of space. The brightest of Uranus’ moons, Titania and Oberon, have been studied for well over 200 years. Titania, the largest and brightest moon, completes an orbit every 8.7 days, while Oberon takes 13.5 days.11  The largest moon of Neptune, Triton, has been observed for over 150 years and has an orbital period of 5.9 days.12 Thus, when we compare our observations of Uranus and Neptune to those of Jupiter and Saturn, we see many similarities and, by extension, can understand Uranus and Neptune as large spherical bodies.
Simple observations of the Moon and Sun in the sky clearly show a circular body. Couple this simple observational fact with a few additional observations and we can understand them as three-dimensionally round, as well. For instance, in similar fashion to some of the planets, the Sun can easily be monitored over several days tracking visible photosphere features called sunspots, progressing across its surface. Sunspots are dark areas in the brightly visible layer of the Sun, called the photosphere. As we track a sunspot feature across the Sun’s apparent surface, we find that shape and orientation of their entire context shows its movement to be caused by the Sun’s overall rotation and not large atmospheric motion. Even small backyard telescopes with proper solar filters can be used to monitor the presence and movement of sunspots.
For the second brightest object in the sky, the Moon, our regular observations can be done even easier than trying to safely view the Sun. The most obvious observation of the Moon is that it progresses through a regular cycle of phases each month. As this cycle occurs, there is an obvious curvature seen in the visibly bright portion of the Moon. The shape of the Moon’s phase, defined by the dark and light regions, is not caused by any shadowing from Earth. Instead, the obvious curved shapes of a Gibbous or Crescent Moon are due to the overall spherical curvature of the Moon itself. As the Moon’s position relative to the Sun’s location changes, our view of the Moon’s sunlit portion changes, and we see the side of the Moon facing away from the Sun. The direct relationship between lunar phases and the Sun can be seen by how each phase corresponds with the Sun’s position, noting also that the phase of the Moon is approximately the same for every observer—evidence for the Moon having a large distance from Earth. Flat-Earth models have the Moon located quite close, and as such, the Moon’s phase would be dramatically different based on where the observer is located. Instead, a Full Moon is always found opposite the Sun in the sky for every observer. When the Sun is setting below the horizon, the Full Moon is rising above the horizon, and when the Full Moon is setting, the Sun will be rising. Conversely, when the lunar phase is a New Moon, both the Sun and Moon will be seen in the same direction. The sunlit portions and the oppositely shadowed regions of the Moon are the visible results of the spherical shape of the Moon.
Even further, as we gaze at the Full Moon, its varying surface features are obvious by the contrasting light and dark regions. Employ binoculars or a small telescope and you will have immediate access to a wealth of topographic variation: rough and smooth areas, large and small craters, elevated peaks and depressions. Focusing on the surface features, we find that the shadowing effect that the phases provide enhances our understanding of the three-dimensional aspect of the Moon. The boundary line produced by the curved shadow across the Moon’s surface (during the Gibbous or Crescent phase) is called the terminator. You will find as you observe the Moon that the terminator is a region of excellent viewing. “Why?,” you might ask. There is a subtle decrease in the brightness of this region, allowing it to be somewhat easier on the eyes. The brightness difference is caused by the fact that the shadows of visible features along the terminator become lengthened as the terminator line approaches them. First, this is one piece of evidence toward the Moon not producing its own light, as some Flat-Earth proponents suggest,13 but rather reflecting light from an outside source (the Sun). Second, the shadows become extended when features are near the terminator, showing to a greater degree a contrast in height above the lunar surface. Here we can begin to identify the differences between elevated and depressed features by where their shadow is cast. The Moon is a distant, three-dimensional body with a variety of topographic landscapes.

Evaluating Observations of the Constellations

As we view the night sky and trace out familiar patterns in the stars, we can begin to map out the constellations. It is these consistent arrangements of stars that allow us to map and chart the heavens. We can use the positions of constellations relative to other stars and constellations to help us determine, not only where lesser-known and less-obvious celestial objects are located, but to help us on Earth to navigate our own geography.
Similar to how Earth’s geography has been mapped through history to provide our current knowledge of how the major landforms are oriented, the entire sky has likewise been mapped to give us a relation for how each constellation is oriented and located relative to the others. Following the same process for how Earth’s maps were compiled, requiring not only exploration but a combining of knowledge from many diverse groups across the world, the constellation map of the sky has been compiled from astronomical observers from different regions of the Earth over long periods of time. This process of combination was not only a good arrangement but was necessary for a complete map, since the available view of the sky is dependent on your location on Earth. Observers in different locations will have different views, not only for similar times of night or seasons, but also may have access to view constellations not available to other regions.
First, the view of a single observer varies seasonally. The visible constellations follow a regular cycle throughout the period of a year, and then repeat the same exact cycle the next year, and every year after that. What this seasonal cycle illustrates is that for any single location, there will be constellations that can be viewed during the winter months but that are not visible during the summer months, and vice-versa. This variation means that the Sun’s position in the sky is independent of the star and constellation positions, and thus there must be two motions in process to account for the Sun’s position and the constellation positions. The fact that there are seasonal variations seen in the East to West changing of visible constellation positions supports the spherical curvature of Earth and its rotational axis motion that impacts the star’s positions.
Second, there are constellation variations based not only on seasonal changes but on the geographical locations of observers. If we consider different observers located in the midwest United States, in central Africa, and in Australia, we find that each will have dramatically different observations. The set of constellations visible will be very different for locations with large North-to-South separations, where many constellations will not be visible from the opposite location. Constellations that may be visible from two locations with smaller North-to-South separations will still have very different apparent positions in the sky. Thus the stars and constellations visible at a particular location correspond directly to an observer’s latitude, where observers located at dramatically different latitudes will have unique views. These variations show us that there is a North-to-South curvature of Earth, which is aligned with a preferred axis of East-to-West rotation. A Flat-Earth model is not able to describe these observations, where a spherical Earth provides a simple description for how they occur.
These observable facts make clear sense for a spherical Earth, as the relative positions on the globe would determine your outward facing view of the sky. Other regions of the sky are obscured by the curved body of Earth. The reason that some constellations may be completely unique based on your location, results from Earth’s globe having a rotating motion about its axis. Where an observer is located on the surface, relative to the axis of rotation, will define what regions of the sky may or may not be visible and which stars are circumpolar (meaning they circle the celestial pole and are continuously above the horizon). The nearer you are to one of Earth’s poles (North or South), the less of the total sky you are able to see. A person South of the Equator will never see the North Star, Polaris (located at the North Celestial Pole). A person North of the equator at latitudes greater than about 26 degrees will never see the Southern Cross (near the South Celestial Pole).14 This location-dependent view is why Australia and New Zealand have this prominent group of stars on their nation’s flags, but Northern Hemisphere nations do not.
Flat-Earth models have huge complications when trying to describe how the visibility of constellations varies based only on an observer’s latitude. Problems are further compounded when addressing the observations of completely different constellations visible to those located at far Northern and far Southern latitudes, and that there are not one but two celestial poles around which stars rotate.
(to be continued)


1 Eric Dubay (2014), The Flat–Earth Conspiracy (Self-published), p. 89; See the phrase “under 4,000 miles” in Samuel Rowbotham (“Parallax”) (1865), Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe!(Bath: S. Hayward), p. 74.
2 Both the Sun and Moon have an angular size of 0.5 degrees. “Angular size” measures how large in angular units, such as degrees, an object appears. Angular size is not a measure of the true physical size, but rather an apparent size based on the object’s distance.
3 See “The Moon” at the Flat Earth Society Web site: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=The+Moon.
4 http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit2/eclipses.html. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will only be about 70 miles in diameter, as measured from the NASA map projections. See https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html.
5 “The Flat Earth Society, along with previous notable flatists such as Samuel Shenton and S. Rowbotham, believe there is no end to the Earth and that it continues indefinitely. The only edge to the earth is the one you are standing on.” Seehttps://theflatearthsociety.org/home/index.php/faq#173818.
6 See the flat Earth map on the cover of this issue of R&R created by Orlando Ferguson in 1893. Also at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orlando-Ferguson-flat-earth-map.jpg.
7 Thomas Hockey (1999), Galileo’s Planet: Observing Jupiter Before Photography (Bristol, PA: IOP Publishing), pp. 31-32; C.A. Young (1886), “Rotation Time of the Red Spot on Jupiter,” The Sidereal Messenger, 5:289-293, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1886SidM....5..289Y.
8 C.A. Higgins, T.D. Carr, and F. Reyes (1996), “A New Determination of Jupiter’s Radio Rotation Period,” Geophysical Research Letters, 23:2653-2656.
9 “All About Mars” (no date), NASA, https://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/mystique/history/1600/; Jim Plaxco (1999), Mars Timeline of Discovery: 1570 BC thru 1799, http://www.astrodigital.org/mars/timeline1.html.
10 Helen Sawyer Hogg (1963), “Out of Old Books: James Keeler and the Rings of Saturn,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 57:269, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1963JRASC..57..269S.
11 David Williams (2016), “Uranian Satellite Fact Sheet” (Greenbelt, MD: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/uraniansatfact.html.
12 David Williams (2016), “Neptunian Satellite Fact Sheet” (Greenbelt, MD: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/neptuniansatfact.html.
13 Dubay, pp. 78-81.
14 Bruce McClure (2017), “Northerners’ Guide to Southern Cross,” EarthSky, http://earthsky.org/favorite-star-patterns/the-southern-cross-signpost-of-southern-skies.

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