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)
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? They’ve just been brought through the Red Sea and saved by miracle after miracle, than a month into the wilderness they decide that they want to go back to Egypt. “At least there we had food,” they whined. “Out here we’ll starve to death. ” Never mind the flawed thinking that God would save them from the Egyptians and then starve them in the wilderness. And never mind the fact that they seemed to have forgotten that they were slaves in Egypt! Continue reading WHY DID THE ISRAELITES COMPLAIN SO MUCH?
One scholar recently uncovered controversial evidence suggesting that the ancient Egyptians produced written sheet music during the same centuries as the building of the mighty Sphinx, about 4500 years ago. Maureen M. Barwise claims to have deciphered musical hieroglyphs that date back as far as the fourth dynasty of the old kingdom, roughly 2600 B.C. Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (THE WOLD’S OLDEST SHEET MUSIC?)
PHARAOH- Title for the ancient kings of Egypt meaning “great house.” Every ancient pharaoh had five “great names,” which he assumed on the day of his accession. Since it was not deemed proper to use such powerful names in direct fashion, a polite circumlocution developed; he came to be called Pharaoh. Continue reading DEFINITION OF PHARAOH.
This plague consisted of a thick, heavy darkness that fell across the land of Egypt for three days (Exodus 10:22). This must have been an eerie blackness with no sliver of light, similar to the total darkness a person experiences deep within a cave when all of the lights are turned out. It was so frightening that the Egyptians did not venture outside their houses (Exodus 10:23). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (DEEP DARKNESS)
When you ask for someone’s identity, you normally get a name. Names distinguish individuals from other people. Jane differs from Sarah and from Jennifer, who are all women, similar in many ways yet distinct. But God has no similar others; thus God has no name. Continue reading WHAT DID GOD MEAN BY IDENTIFYING HIMSELF TO MOSES AS “I AM WHO I AM”?
This is the first of only two references to embalming in the Bible. Like his father, Jacob, Joseph was also embalmed after his death (Genesis 50:26). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (EGYPTIAN EMBALMING)
The Bible most often portrays the land of Egypt as the crucible in which the nation of Israel was forged. But Egypt played an important role earlier, in the lives of Abraham as well as his great-grandson Joseph. Abraham found shelter there during a famine but left in disgrace after lying to the Pharaoh about Sarai (Gen 12:10-20). Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and became not only a great blessing to the nation, but also the means by which the rest of his family was kept safe during another devastating famine (Gen 37-46). Eventually Egypt enslaved the young nation and treated them mercilessly for four hundred years. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (EGYPT)
Both mesmerizing and mysterious, fire represents combustion, a chemical reaction that releases both heat and light. Today, fire seems to be at our fingertips-we just need to turn on the stove or light a match. Because we no longer have to work to get it, most of us take fire for granted. Yet we rely on fire for light, warmth, cooking, manufacturing, and refining. Fire figures into the Bible in numerous ways-in daily life, religious ceremony, Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (FIRE)
Depending on how the original words are translated, Jesus received visitors who could be referred to as wise men, magi, or astrologers. We don’t know names, how far they traveled, or how many arrived. We usually think there were three of them because they brought three gifts, but there could have been more. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE “THE WISE MEN” HONORING THE KING