By Tyson Thorne

September 12, 2018

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"Media" used to mean "print media" like books and newspapers, but the world has grown. Today media can also mean radio, television and movies delivered to personal computers, tablets and cell phones. As the world's best selling book of all time the Bible continues to make headlines, both good and bad, across all forms of media. This week in the Bible and Media: Crosses across Henan province in China, and in Louisiana and Florida are being torn down, and the birth of the first red heifer in 2,000 years may signal the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

China continues to oppress the Christian Church, this time by having crosses removed from steeples across the provinces of Zhengzhou, Nanyang and Yuzhou. Ever since a major policy change last February, Christians have suffered increased persecutions, including the shutting down of house churches and the tearing down of crosses. The province of Henan has suffered the most extrme persecution so far, restricting what pastors can preach and forcing them to fly China's flag outside the church thereby violating their freedom of religion.

Not unlike the Chinese persecution, a Louisiana high school also tore down a cross — at least in effect. In an effort to promote his business and help Benton High School, Billy Weatherall paid $3500 for his business logo to appear in the end zone of the schools football field. Officials at the high school, however, decided to paint over the logo because it displayed a cross and the name "Christ." You see, Mr. Weatherall's business is "Christ Fit Gym". The company logo displays not only a cross but the reference "1 Timothy 4.8" (For “physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.”). Weatherall is suing the Benton Football Booster Club. In speaking to KSLA-TV news reporters he stated:

“It’s a slow fade, and I promise you, if I don’t stand up for this right now, it ain’t stopping with the logo on the field. They’ll be coming for ads next. They’ll be coming for what’s in the programs. It’s just not gonna stop right here, I promise you it will not stop with this."

And he's right, it won't stop with field sponsors as is shown in Pensacola, Florida where a 34 foot tall cross marking a World War II memorial was ordered to be removed. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reluctantly ceded to the American Humanist Foundation, stating it is bound by precedent. One judge, Kevin Newson (a Trump appointee) urged that the case be heard and that the earlier ruling be corrected, but the majority opnion simply read "our hands are tied".

And in other news, the Temple Institute in Israel claims the birth of a perfect red heifer, which is the first sign of the End Times. In Jewish theology, a perfect red calf between three and four years old is to be sacrificed in order to purify the third temple. It is this event that precedes the coming of the Messiah. In order to be considered for sacrifice, the heifer must not have more than two non-red hairs, must be borm naturally, may not be impregnated or used for labor of any kind. A board of rabbis recently certified the calf.

Ezekiel chapters 41-45 teaches that near the end times there be a temple in Jerusalem, the third temple. For that to happen there would have to be a red heifer to cleanse the water used in the temple (Numbers 19.1-10). In Matthew 24.15 Jesus prophesied the abomination of desolation, that is the anti-Christ desecrating the temple.

According to Rabbi Chaim Richman, the international director of the Temple Institute:

“If there has been no red heifer for the past 2,000 years, perhaps it was because the time was not right. But now what could it mean for the times we live in to have the means of purification so close at hand? With the words of [Jewish philosopher] Maimonides in mind, we cannot help but wonder and pray: If there are now red heifers, is ours the era that will need them?”
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