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)
True, Esther doesn’t mention the name of God, yet underlying the story are veiled references to God. Cousin Mordecai encourages Esther to go before King Xerxes saying. “Who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). He was implying that God might use Esther to deliver the Jews. Esther then asks Mordecai to gather the Jews and fast; she herself fasted for three days (Esther 4:3) showing her petition to God for assistance.
Continue reading THE BOOK OF ESTHER DOESN’T MENTION GOD, SO WHY IS IT INCLUDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Matthew, author of the Gospel of Matthew, was a jewish citizen who collected taxes from his countrymen for the Roman government. After Jesus called Matthew to become one of His disciples, Matthew invited some of his tax collector friends to his home for a meal with Jesus and His other disciples.
The Pharisees criticized Jesus for associating with tax collectors and other whom they considered outcasts and sinners. Tax collectors were hated by the Jewish people because they considered them traitors who cooperated with the Romans to drain their country of its resources (read Luke 5:27).
But Jesus replied that His mission was to seek and to save people like Matthew and his friends. “They that be whole need not a physician,” He said, “but they that are sick” (Matthew 9:12).
MATTHEW 9:10- As Jesus sat at meat in the house [Matthew’s house,] behold, many publicans [tax collectors] and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
MATTHEW 9:12- But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
LUKE 5:27- And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of customs: and he said unto him Follow me.
It was customary among the Romans to scourge or flog a condemned criminal before he was executed. A scourage was a whip with sharp pieces of metal or bone imbedded in the leather. The back and chest of the criminal were struck repeatedly with this whip until the flesh was severely lacerated, sometimes all the way down to the bone. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES “PUNISHMENT BY SCOURGING”
Elijah never died. Celestial chariots of fire and a whirlwind carried him away.
Since his body wasn’t destroyed, some Jews consider it reasonable that he can return. Malachi’s promise leads many Jews to believe that Elijah will become the advance man for the Messiah-or as Isaiah put it, “the voice of someone shouting, ‘Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD!. . . Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together’ ” (Isaiah 40:3,5). Continue reading SECOND COMING OF ELIJAH
Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, would have been much happier at his Roman enclave in the heavily fortified port city of Caesarea. But he was expected to be in Jerusalem during Passover week to maintain order. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (PILATE: FAILURE OF NERVE)
Ezekiel is writing from a bad situation to more than 10,000 fellow Jews in the same situation. They’re all exiled a thousand-mile walk from home and living in the heart of the Babylonian Empire, in what is now Iraq. Continue reading MISERY IS GOING TO GET COMAPANY
Since Jesus is the Son of God who has existed before time began, some people assume He has no family history. But this assumption is wrong. Two Gospel of the New Testament-Matthew and Luke-contain family histories of Jesus. And these genealogies give us valuable information about Him and His revolutionary ministry that changed the world. Continue reading THE FAMILY HISTORY OF JESUS
Matthew, atuthor of the Gospel of Matthew, was a Jewish citizen who collector taxes from his countrymen for the Roman government. After Jesus called Matthew to become one of His disciples, Matthew invited some of his tax collector friends to his home for a metal with Jesus and His other disciples. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (EATING WITH TAX COLLECTORS)
John’s use of the “Word” to describe Jesus was a startling new application of a popular expression. The term was used widely by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks. It described the agent of creation (Psalm 33:6); God’s message to His people through the prophets (Hosea 1:2); and God’s law, His standard of holiness (Psalm 119:11). In Greek philosophy, “the Word” was the principle of reason that governed the world. Continue reading IN WHAT WAY WAS JESUS THE “WORD”?