Conservative churches that discourage or ban use of alcoholic beverages are bewildered at the production of wine as Jesus’ first miracle. Such churches have sometimes insisted that the wine in John 2 was nonalcoholic, despite the wedding guests’ unusual delight and appreciation of it. Surely, Jesus did make very good wine, yet not hint of alcoholic abuse clouds this account. Continue reading DOES JESUS’ MIRACLE AT CANA ENCOURAGE THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
We sometimes think of the Old Testament as a book in which God makes repeated appearances of many kinds. But when we put a time line next to the account, we quickly realize that God’s manifest presence was far more rare and purposeful than we realized. The last time God made a direct appearance in Genesis he visited Jacob in a dream (46:1-7) and assured him his family would become “a great nation” while in Egypt (v. 3). Over four hundred years would pass before God would make another recorded appearance. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (MOUNT SINAI)
A shepherd from Midian and his brother stood before Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Hebrew slaves. Pharaoh was the strongman leader of the strongest country in the world. He ignored God’s command to release 600,000 male slaves and their women and children. Despite the demonstration of God’s power-the Nile turned to blood-Pharaoh returned to his palace and put “the whole thing out of his mind” (Exodus 7:23 NLT). Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (PHARAOH: A HEART IN DENIAL)
The Bible does NOT condone slavery but recognizes slavery as part of the social structure of the times. Rather than attacking slavery directly, biblical guidelines weakened and undermined the institution from the inside by reminding Christian masters that they had a Master and were to treat slaves as brothers (Ephesians 6:9). For slaves, the dignity that came with freedom in Christ had a powerful long-term social effect. Continue reading DOES THE BIBLE CONDONE SLAVERY?
As a physical feature, darkness is nothing in and of itself. Darkness is instead defined as the absence of light. Synonymous with emptiness, darkness is used to describe the earth at the very beginning of creation when “darkness covered the deep water” (Gen 1:2). Out of this absence, the first thing God created was light. In the beginning, Scripture pictures light and darkness as balanced parts of a single day and night: “So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light day, and the darkness he named night” Gen 1:4-5). Continue reading SIGNGS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DARKNESS)
The people of Bible times sang while working in the fields to escape from the monotony of farm work. Isaiah declared that the singing and gladness of the Moabites would be taken away when God judged them for their idolatry and disobedience. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (NO SINGING AT WORK)
RABBI- (Ra’b’ bi’) Title meaning “my master,” applied to teachers and others of an exalted and revered position. During the NT period the term “rabbi” came to be more narrowly applied to one learned in the law of Moses, without signifying an official office. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (RABBI)
- Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
- (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
- Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
JOHN 11:3 NIV- Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. . . So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
As you lie on your sickbed, hoping Jesus shows up in times to heal you, your sisters, Mary and Martha, are doing everything they know to do help you-including sending word to Jesus about your condition. But He doesn’t show up in time and you fade away and die. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (LAZARUS: BACK FROM THE GRAVE)
To kill an innocent animal seems quite cruel. Our modern sensibilities are often by this requirement. But the lesson is this: Sin is serious! It offends a holy God. Human behavior bears consequences for all of creation. Continue reading ANIMAL SACRIFICE SEEMS BARBARIC AND PRIMITIVIE. WHY WOULD GOD REQUIRE SUCH AN UNPLEASANT RELIGIOUS EXERICSE?