In the Old Testament, the object erected time and time again to communicate the presence and power of God was an altar. The altar could be a single rock or a loosely organized arrangement of large stones, so people were never far from an altar or could build one in a few moments. Nothing was more prominent as a biblical image for worship and allegiance to God than the altar. It is no exaggeration to say that the most visible sign of one’s devotion to the true God in the worship of the old covenant was the building of altars or traveling to them for acts of sacrifice or offering. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (ALTAR)
Elevate site, usually found on the top of a mountain or hill; most high places were Canaanite places of pagan worship.
HEATHEN WORSHIP AT THE HIGH PLACE: The average high place would have an altar (2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron 14:3), a carved wooden pole that depicted the female goddess of fertility (Asherah), a stone pillar symbolizing the male deity (2 Kings 3:2), other idols (2 Kings 12:31; 13:32; 16:32-33). At these places of worship the people sacrificed animals (at some high places children were sacrificed according to Jer 7:31), burned incense to their gods, prayed, ate sacrificial meals, and were involved with male or female cultic Continue reading DEFINITON OF THE DAY (HIGH PLACE)
Cattle were primarily a measure or symbol of wealth in biblical times. They were both familiar and significant, good characteristics for symbolic use. Among his livestock, the wealthy Job had a thousand oxen (Job 1:3). Cattle not only provided meat, milk, leather, and other by-products, they were the main animal workforce in ancient agricultural societies. Oxen (castrated bulls) pulled plows as well as wagons. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BULL/CALF)
DOG – Considered an unclean animal; often wild, scavenger animal that ran in packs (Pss 22:16-22; 59:6) but sometimes kept as domestic pet. Dogs served as watchdogs for herds (Isa 56:10; Job 30:1) and for the dwelling (Exod 11:7). Some were training for hunting (Ps 22:16), but some ran stay in the streets (Exod 22:30; 1 Kings 14:11). Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (DOG)
Of the men of the Bible two knew what it was like knew what it was like to have a personal, untainted, unobstructed relationship with God himself. One was Jesus, the Son of God. The other was Adam. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (ADAM: WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN)
In order to understand the idea of sacrifices and offerings, we must go back to the very beginning of the Bible. By Genesis 4, the first sons, Cain and Abel, were practicing an early form of sacrifice: “Later Cain brought some crops from the land as an offering to the LORD. Abel also brought some choice parts of the firstborn animals from his flock. The LORD approved of Abel and his offering, but he didn’t approved of Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry and was disappointed” (Gen 4:3-5). From the beginning, offerings and sacrifices generally expressed two attitudes: gratitude and repentance. In the case of Cain and Abel, later history of sacrifice might lead us to think that God’s rejection of Cain’s offering was because it wasn’t a blood sacrifice, but the text doesn’t indicate such a conclusion. Cain’s offering was casual and perhaps careless; Abel’s was costly. Cain brought “some crops”; Abel presented “some choice parts.” Cain’s response to God’s correction revealed his heart. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (SACRIFICE/OFFERING)
Wine was one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in Bible times. People grew grapes to make their own wine, and many farmers produced wine for sale as a commercial product. This verse, from Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner, gives insight into how grapes were grown and made into wine.
Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (CARING FOR A VINEYARD)
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?
Even in Bible times deer were game animals, and they were permitted in the Israelite diet because they chew the cud and “divide the hoof.” They are admired for their agility and grace, even in difficult terrain, and when they sense danger they are able to run swiftly. As the sole caretakers for fawns, does are gentle. In an arid environment like that of Israel, deer would have had to travel long distances to find water. Beautiful, graceful, swift, and sure-footed, deer were often used by the writers of Scripture to portray personal and spiritual qualities.
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DEER)