Director of “Oracles of God” Discusses First Movie Installment
THE ORACLES OF GOD
“What advantage has the Jew? Much in every way! For to them were committed the Oracles of God.” – Romans 3:1-2
The Oracles of God is a series of feature-length docudramas about the creation and canonization of the Bible. Featuring expert interviews, a cast of hundreds across three continents, and narration by actor Iain Glen (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones), the project follows the history and archaeology behind the best-selling book of all-time. CBN Films is planning four parts:
- The Story of the Old Testament (now available)
- The New Testament (filming Summer 2023, release tentatively scheduled for Fall 2024)
- The Canon (Fall 2025)
- The Manuscripts (Fall 2026)
THE OLDEST WRITTEN LANGUAGE
The Bible, spanning 1,500 years and written in multiple languages by various authors, is believed to be guided by the Holy Spirit to convey God's truth on theology, history, and ethics.
The Hebrew Bible, known as the Old Testament, consists of three sections:
• The Law: The first five books, also called the Torah/Pentateuch.
• The Prophets: Including Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and more.
• The Writings: Wisdom Literature containing Psalms, Proverbs, Job, etc.
Moses is traditionally credited as the author of the Law, with evidence supporting his familiarity with the world's first alphabet. However, Moses couldn't have been the sole author, as his death is recorded. It is likely the Torah originated with Moses, with later editors adding their own contributions.
Around 1000 BCE, during King David's time, the Torah and Hebrew traditions were compiled into book form. Scribes recorded the songs of David, including many Psalms attributed to him. King Hezekiah continued editing and compiling sacred texts around 800 BCE.
The world's oldest biblical text, dating to this period, contains the Priestly Benediction found in Numbers 6:24-26:
"May the Lord bless you and keep you...
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
In 587 BCE, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Hebrews to Babylon. During the exile, scribes copied manuscripts extensively due to the availability of materials.
After 70 years, the Jewish people were allowed to return from exile. Ezra, a skilled scribe, copied the Torah and collected historical, prophetic, and other writings. Ezra aimed to revive Hebrew language, customs, and knowledge of the laws.
The Torah was translated into Greek in the 3rd century BCE, known as the Septuagint (LXX). It became the Bible for Jews outside the Holy Land and was often quoted in the New Testament. The Greek Orthodox Church still uses the LXX.
And while the Septuagint was probably the biggest translation job ever undertaken in the world, it brings up the question about accuracy. No translation is ever completely accurate, but a scholars will note that a word-for-word translation wasn’t necessarily the goal of the Septuagint project. Some parts are, in fact, very literal and close to the original Hebrew as could be rendered into the Greek. Others have been paraphrased to make the Hebrew text more intelligible or understandable. Scholars will also point out that the first Christians believed that the Septuagint was an accurate and faithful representation of what was said and what was meant in the original texts.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
In 1947, Bedouin shepherds discovered scrolls and fragments in Qumran caves. The Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to the 1st century BCE and 1st century AD, provide insights into Jewish beliefs during Jesus' time. Comparisons with later Biblical manuscripts reveal remarkable similarities, indicating the accurate preservation of language.
The authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls formed a community in Qumran. Every letter and word in a scroll was counted, allowing up to three mistakes per page. Failure to correct them led to burning the entire manuscript.
Despite Roman campaigns against the Jews, the Dead Sea Scrolls survived while other artifacts were lost.
The discovery began with shepherds selling fragments to a shopkeeper. Professor Sukenik, an archaeologist, recognized their significance in 1947, coinciding with the UN vote for Israel's independence. His son later remarked, “It’s as if these manuscripts had been waiting in caves for two thousand years, since the destruction of Israel's independence, until the people of Israel had returned to their home and regained their freedom.”
For more information regarding Oracles of God please visit www.cbnfilms.com.
Arm Healed Without Pain Medication
Everyday Rosemary Gustafson rises early to manage her and her husband's, Ragnar, 41 acre horse farm called, “Son Shine Ranch.” It takes a lot of energy and strength, especially when it comes to throwing around the 60 pound bales of hay they use to feed their 12 horses.
Rosemary said, “Well, I don't, I do if I have to, but my husband, who is 85, throws the big bales of hay around and he, he works just as hard as anybody at 85.”
In October of 2022, that task would fall on Rosemary when Ragnar and their son were out of town visiting relatives in Norway for two weeks.
She said, “I pulled a bale of hay down with one arm, this one, my right arm, which it hurt a little bit. And then I picked up way too much hay and threw it over the stall, which I shouldn't have. And I just felt it rip and tear.”
“I know better than to throw that much hay over. And I wasn't thinking...I was probably, I don't know what I was thinking because I should know better than that.”
Rosemary assumed she had just pulled a muscle and went about taking care of the farm the best she could. Over the next couple of days, the pain only got worse. “Horrible, excruciating,” recalled Rosemary. “I just kept it right at my side and just fed the rest of the horses with one hand.”
For a minute she thought about going to the doctor. “Doctors are good. I’m not saying don't go to doctors because God can use doctors, but I just didn't feel like at that time they would do anything but give you pain pills. And I don't do those.”
She said, “I put my own pain patches on, which helped a little and then just held it real still. I just held it right here.”
Rosemary also went to God. “Just, 'God, help me get through this. God help me get through this. Help. Give me the strength, Father God. And I thank you for the healing because You're just....you thank Him.' You're not moved by what you see or what you hear. You're moved by God's word and His word says, 'He healed them all,'” said Rosemary.
Then, on October 22nd, Rosemary came in the house at noon as she has done for years and turned on The 700 Club. Later in the show, Gordon Robertson started praying, “There's somebody out there that has terrible pain in their right shoulder,” said Gordon.
“And I said, oh, that's me. And I put my hand on my shoulder. But then he went on to say, 'but then it goes up into your head and you have headaches, and it goes down your back and all over your back.' And I thought, oh well, that's not me. So, I didn't even think about it and didn't think it was me. So went on the rest of the day, didn't think much about it.”
That evening, still holding her right arm at her side to prevent pain, Rosemary was putting on her jacket to go outside when. . .“All of a sudden, my arm moved and I, I moved it. I could not move it before that. I held it up in the air and it was totally, completely healed,” said Rosemary.
“And because we support The 700 Club and are members - they call us every once in a while and ask, 'Do you have a prayer request?' Well, actually I shared with them that I don't have a prayer request, but I do have a praise. And so I shared that praise with them.”
Rosemary was able to take care of the horses – and moving around that hay – with no pain at all! When asked about God and His healing, Rosemary says she and Ragnar believe there’s something we all need to remember, “Faithful. He's faithful and there's nothing in your life that He's not interested in. I mean, you cannot, you cannot limit God because He loves us.”
Agonized by Shadows from the Job
For Michael, that meant going into law enforcement.
“As a little boy, I would play with my little cars and pretend to be a police officers because I just, um, held that uh profession uh with honor.”
So after graduating high school in June of 2000, he joined the Marines.
“My goal was to be an MP. And of course, like anything else, you go into boot-camp and they tell you got this job, and then it didn't work out that way because it's-it's filled up. So I ended up working for the adjutant's office."
In his time as a Marine he married Laketa and had two children. Then, after 4 years of honorable services. He left the Marines and enrolled in the Virginia State Police Academy. After graduating, he reported for duty in Springfield, VA.
“You know, it was - it was exciting. You know, I was prepared to-to just come out there and serve people, you know. Um to be able to meet people at where they're at in their worst time of need, to help to helpless, to-to-to encourage those who are discouraged, you know.”
Three months into his career, Michael responded to a gruesome, fatal car accident.
“You know, I-I realized it affected me, but I didn't know how deep. In law enforcement, they'd say, keep work at work and home at home, and you don't want to bring that bear – that burden to your family."
That was only the first of hundreds of tragic scenes Michael would witness as a first responder. And over the next few years, the emotional stress started taking a toll.
“I would suppress those feelings. And it kinda, in a sense, you become numb to the pain. And if I could be honest, um because of suppression, you stop feeling, you stop feeling."
Then, in 2013, Michael became a police chaplain and joined the honor guard. Now he was not just first on the scene, it was his job to inform and comfort the families of victims.
“I'll tell you, one of the worst things you will ever do in this profession and deal with is doing death notifications, man. You'll never forget that moment when you walked into their house and gave him this devastating, devastating news."
Even harder, was having to attend the funerals of fallen officers – some who were friends.
“Carrying these officers and these troopers, caskets, to honor their service with thousands of people walking behind us, um as their family mourn. And just listening to the weeping, it's heavy. But at the same time it's honorable."
Eventually, the stress and trauma started affecting Michael’s relationship with his wife and children.
“My heart was-was hard because of the trauma. I remember one day my-my daughter said to me, she said, 'Dad, sometimes I feel like I don't even know you.' And it crushed me."
Near the end of 2015, Michael experienced a string of deaths closer to home. One of them was a co-worker's wife who had been abducted and killed.
It would only take a routine fender-bender to send him over the edge.
“And I remember sitting my car and tears start rolling down my eyes and it was just anger. And at that point I knew, I was like, yeah, I have nothing else to give, man. The passion - the passion um, it went away. It was - it was pain. It was pain from a trauma, um what I experienced, and what I was witnessing. At the same time, the pain of-of watching these men and women that wear a uniform, life be taken."
Nightmares soon followed, and in 2015 Michael took a leave of absence and went into counseling, where he was diagnosed with PTSD. But after 6 months, the pain and nightmares still tortured him.
“I wanted those nightmares to go away. Cause every time I closed my eyes, every fatal crash, every fatality, every death experience I've ever experienced in my career all came back. And for me, you know, I-I-I-I thought about it. I thought about, ended my life. It wasn't that I wanted to die. Not at all. I love Jesus. I love my family. It was just, I just wanted the pain to go away."
One night in July of 2016, Michael had but one place to turn.
“I woke up crying because of those dreams and those nightmares. I went into my closet, closed the door, got on my knees, lay prostrate on the floor and begin to weep and cry, begging for the Lord to release the burden off my shoulders." He said, "Son, let it go. I got it. Give it to Me. I'll take it. You don't have to carry that burden anymore."
And that’s what Michael did.
“That pain was given to the Lord, gave it to Him. I said, 'It's all You, Lord.' And He said, 'Michael, what are you going to do with it?' I said, 'I'm gonna make it known. I'm not being silenced anymore.'"
So after rejoining the Virginia State Police and restoring his relationship with his wife and children, Michael became a speaker for Blue H.E.L.P. and First Responders' Bridge, two organizations who help law enforcement officers and all first responders cope with the stress of trauma and PTSD.
"It's okay to-to let your guard down. It's okay not to carry the weight on your shoulders. It's okay to talk about those dark things. It's okay, cause that's the only way you can heal. So that's been my passion ever since my experience, that's been my motivation uh since my experience."
And of all his experiences as an officer, there’s one he remembers most of all.
“And in that closet, I can tell you, as the Lord released a burden off my shoulders, He touched me. He strengthened me and He lifted me up."
Turning Heartbreak into Joy
Rosta can never forget how she felt on the day when her daughter, Achava, was born with a cleft lip and palate. “I was heartbroken when I saw her because I knew we could not afford surgery to fix it,” she told CBN with tears in her eyes.
Rosta said she had been extremely nauseous during her 1st trimester of the pregnancy and blamed herself for her daughter's condition. “I consumed medicine each time I felt nauseous,” she added. Sometimes I wondered if I caused the cleft palate from taking that medicine.”
As a Christian, Rosta said she cried out to God for help. “I said, ‘Why God, why? Why do you give us a child without giving us the money to fix her lip or buy what she needs?’” she said, sobbing. Then her husband Rudi got laid off from work.“I grew hopeless,” he said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay for her surgery.”
Then one day Operation Blessing met with the family and arranged for Achava to receive free surgery to repair her cleft lip. “I am so happy to see my daughter now smiling happily,” said Rosta smiling. “I am grateful and now she looks beautiful!”
We went back a few months later and found Achava’s lip had healed nicely.
“Thank you so much to Operation Blessing and especially to all the donors,” said Rudi. “I hope that you will be able to help more families like ours! Thank you.”
Thank you so much and God bless you,” said Rosta with a smile.
CBN’s impact around the world
Daily prayers for people across the country
CBN’s prayer team prayed with over 1.2 million callers in 2022 alone, while also praying with people through email, social media channels, live chat on the website, and written correspondence.
Highlighting testimonies of God’s faithfulness
Vida Dura or “Hard Life” stories are sourced throughout Latin America and produced in Spanish to reach a region with testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turn to God for change. CBN has a prayer center in Latin America to support people through prayer and faith resources.
Serving in the wake of natural disasters
CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground quickly in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, providing much-needed food, relief supplies, and medical aid. After large-scale natural disasters, Operation Blessing strives to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave, tending to the needs long after the news cameras leave.
Ukraine and Poland
For 30 years, CBN has been serving the people of Ukraine
Through CBN’s Orphan’s Promise and Operation Blessing, we were able to quickly provide valuable resources soon after the conflict began, and we continue to support Ukrainian refugees.
Projected 135 million* watched a CBN program in 2022
CBN partners are reaching children around the world with the Gospel of Jesus through Superbook, a Bible-based animation series. In 2022 alone, children in 139 countries watched at least one episode of Superbook.
Bible Reading for the Day
Read or listen to today's Old and New Testament Bible readings. Each day is portioned to give the entire Bible to you in a year. Start anytime. Scroll forward or backward if you miss any days or want to get ahead.