This quote is part of the Bible’s earliest record of God. The Hebrew people leaving Egypt understood God as a devouring fire (Exodus 24:17), especially when Moses entered the mist on top of Mount Sinai to receive God’s commandments. Moses spoke of God as a devouring fire (Deuteronomy 4:24) when he explained to the people why he, their leader for forty years, could not enter the promised land with them.Continue reading HOW IS GOD A “DEVOURING FIRE”?
The Old Testament concept of being clean can be difficult to grasp. The basic idea sounds foreign to modern ears, and the legislation that describes how that state is achieved and maintained can overwhelm us, making books like Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy much more difficult to understand. But when we acquire a clearer understanding of the notion, we find that the image of being clean is a helpful one that spreads its influence from Genesis through Revelation.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLEAN/UNCLEAN PT1)
Male circumcision requires the amputation of the foreskin in order to expose the glans of the penis. The Bible mentions that this procedure was common not only among the Israelites but also in Egypt, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and among “all who live in the wilderness” (Jer 9:25-26); conspicuous by its absence is any mention within Mesopotamian cultures. Consequently, when the Lord spoke with Abraham about circumcision (Gen 17:1-14), any familiarity he had with the procedure probably was gleaned during his Egyptian stay rather than from his experience in his former homeland.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMCISE PT 1)
A theological term used to summarize the Christian belief in the tree-in-one identity of God. The doctrine of the Trinity may be succinctly defined as follows: There is only one true and living God who simultaneously and eternally exists as three distinct persons: the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. The three distinct person possess equally the fullness of theContinue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (TRINITY PT 1)
All these trapping mechanisms are mentioned by the biblical authors in figures of speech. Because these devices are often referenced with the same Hebrew or Greek term, we look to the larger context, which may be helpful in determining exactly which type of trapping device isContinue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TRAP/SNARE PT 2 OF 3)
The Bible never explicitly condemns polygamy. Many Old Testament leaders accumulated wives in a manner similar to the pagan kings of the ancient Middle East without divine disapproval. A closer look, however, reveals that God originally defined marriage as “a manContinue reading WHY DID DAVID (“A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART”) KEEP SO MANY WIVES?
These verses occur in the context of presenting a sacrificial animal as an offering to the Lord. The Israelites believed the blood of such an animal was sacred, since it carried the very essence of life itself. In a sense, the blood was the ransom price that atoned for their sins. It was to be drained from the animal and poured on the ground at the base of the altar.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (EATING BLOOD FORBIDDEN)
God’s concern for the poor is also demonstrated in this law (see notes on Deuteronomy 24:10-11 and Deuteronomy 24:12-13).Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (OLIVES FOR THE POOR)
The idea that one Israelite could permanently own another was completely ruled out; and though debt slavery was permitted, it was limited in duration to six years (Exod 21:1-4; Lev 25:39-55). What is more, each slave was invited to participate in the religious life of God’s people, including Passover and the Sabbath day of rest (Exod 12:43-44; 23:12). This took on an even more mature tone when Paul taught that slavery was not a barrier to becoming aContinue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE BIBLE TIMES (SALVE, “TO BECOME OR TO BE FREED”)
We may expect that the idea of one person owning another would be strongly censured in the Bible. What we find instead is a general acknowledgment of the existence of slavery, the use of slavery as a metaphor, and a theological trajectory that moved society in the direction of abolition without formally demanding it.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SLAVE “TO BECOME OR TO BE FREED” PT 1 OF 2)