John the Baptist set himself apart from the normal lifestyle of his world to do what God had called him to do. He did not drink alcohol or cut his hair. He lived in one of the harshest desert environments in the world, dressing primitively and eating simply. Yet people flocked into the desert to see this unusual man and hear his powerful message. When they arrived, they saw a man dressed like Elijah, the premier prophet of Israel hundreds of years earlier. His speech was harsh, clear, and penetrating.Continue reading WHY DID JOHN THE BAPTIST DRESS AND ACT SO DIFFERENTLY FROM OTHERS?
During the Roman era, tax collectors and the manner in which taxes were collected evolved and varied from one region to the next. Here we offer a general picture of the process that will allow us to appreciate the role tax collectors played in the Gospels. Taxes were paid to both the temple and the state, each of which established its own tax code without consideration of the other. First-century Jews paid a religious tithe of their produce, herd, and flock (Lev 27:30-32); they were also required to pay the half-shekel or two-drachma tax for sanctuary upkeep (Exod 30:13; Matt 17:24). The state demanded taxes that included a poll tax levied on males fourteen to sixty-five years of age and females twelve to sixty-five, real estate tax, customs tax collected at road and harbor stations, a tax on produce that amounted to 10 percent on grain and 20 percent on wine, fruit, and oil, a 1 percent income tax, and sales and inheritance taxes.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)
An anonymous reader wrote:
Shouldn’t a person have the right to watch or read whatever he pleases? As long as he watches or reads in the privacy of his own home, and nobody gets hurt, what difference does it make?Continue reading PORNOGRAPHY’S PAIN (WHO GETS HURT BY THIS “HARMLESS” PASTIME?)
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those words would have made a good motto for Israel during its period of the judges. The seemingly endless cycle in which the Israelites found themselves went like this: The people of Israel would rebel against God, so God would allow their enemies often the Philistines-to mistreat them. After serval decades of oppression, the Israelites would call out to God for help. Then God would send a judge-a military leader-to deliver them from their enemies. One of the last of these judges was Samson. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SAMSON: A STRONG AND WEAK MAN)