Tag Archives: Israel

HOW COULD ANCIENT ISRAEL SUSTAIN 500,000 WAR CASUALTIES IN A DAY?

The battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest three days in U.S. war history, saw about 100,000 men fall. The entire Vietnam war involved about 55,000 U.S. casualties. A half-million dead and injured in one day is a staggering sum, almost more violence then we can conceive an army enduring.

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THE TEN PLAGUES

The ten plagues were direct attacks against the false gods of Egypt. The following table shows a possible pairing, among many, of plagues and Egyptian gods. However it might have been, it is certain that God was showing that Pharaoh was a false god. Only the LORD is God, and only he is in control of creation, including Egypt.

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ISRAEL AT SINAI

Exodus 19 describes Israel arriving at Sinai. This chapter is important for understanding the events at Sinai, where Israel spent over two years (Numbers 10:11). God addressed the people as “the house of Jacob. . . the people of Israel . . .” (Exodus 19:3) as a way to remind them that they were the people of the covenant, the descendants of Abraham. What was about to happen at Sinai was not a new covenant with the people but an extension of the covenant God made with Abraham.

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DEFINITION OF THE DAY (HEMORRHAGE)

Heavy or uncontrollable bleeding the KJV translates the underlying Hebrew and Greek terms as “issue of blood” (Lev 12:7; Matt 9:20) or “fountain of blood” (Mark 5:29). Modern translations render these terms as hemorrhage, flow, or discharge of blood, Mosaic law said any discharge of blood, whether associated with the birthing process (Lev 12:7), with menstruation (Lev 15:19), or continued bleeding (Lev 15:25; Matt 9:20) rendered a woman unclean.

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THE HIGH PRIEST

GREAT HIGH PRIEST

When Christ is called our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) it is because he and he alone was chosen by God to make the perfect sacrifice and intercession for us before God’s merciful throne-and not before an earthly throne, but before the very throne of God’s presence!

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JESUS AND THE PLLLAR

From the moment the Israelites left Egypt, danger followed them all the way. Between the Egyptian army pursuing them and the dangers in the wilderness, the Israelites were a crowd of scared, tired people. They had seen God’s power in Egypt, but they were walking into the unknown. Seeing the cloud during the day and the column of fire during the night was probably a great comfort. The pillar of cloud and fire functioned as a reminder of God’s guiding and protective care, shown in Exodus 14:19, the pillar interposed between Israel and the pursuing Egyptian army, striking fear into the camp of Egypt and encouraging the Israelites.

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THE WILDERNESS

The wilderness played an important role, affecting life in ancient Israel in several different ways. For instance, every year, at the beginning and end of summer, a hot, dry desert wind blows from the east. This wind, called sirocco, raises the temperature and can be quite destructive to vegetation. The wind was yearly reminder to Israel that the wilderness was within reach.

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SACRIFICES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

The idea of sacrifice is at the core of the Christian faith. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is one of the central truths of the gospel. However, this important element of the Christians faith finds its origin and explanation in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. It is true that Jesus’ sacrifice has made obsolete the Old Testament sacrificial system (Hebrews 10:1-18). However, the original readers of the letter to the Hebrews knew and understood the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. From that knowledge, they were able to more fully understand Jesus’ work on the cross.

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ISRAEL IN EGYPT

MOSES

After Joseph saved Egypt from starvation (Genesis 41), the Israelites lived in Egypt as guests. Eventually, the Egyptians forgot about Joseph and enslaved the Israelites (Exodus 1:6-14). For many years the children of Abraham suffered under Egypt’s slavery.

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PRACTICE OF MAGIC

Magic is typically forbidden to Israel for a number of reasons: (1) Magic is human encroachment into the divine realm. (2) Magic is used to manipulate deity. (3) Magic involves relying on a power other than Yahweh. If that is the reason, a sanctioned prophet would be able to bypass all three; his office already enters the divine realm, and the power comes from Yahweh, even though the prophet appears to have some autonomy in using it. The prophets are called to wield divine authority at some level.

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