The Lord speaks; Satan speaks. They talk about Job as if they are negotiating over the evil initiatives that Satan propose and the constraints that God imposes. Do cosmic conversations like this really happen? Continue reading ARE SATAN AND GOD ON SPEAKING TERMS (JOB 1:6-7)
Both men and women of Bible times wore outer robes or cloaks that extended almost to the feet (see note on Gen 37:3; Deu 22:5; and 1 Sam 19:24). These loose-fitting gowns were held tight against the body by a belt or sash (generally referred to as a “girdle” by the King James Version) around the person’s waist. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (TUCKING IN THE CLOAK)
Branches in the world of the Bible were either on trees or vines and were relatively rare given the arid climate, so the picture of a healthy and fruitful tree was a symbol of vigor and prosperity. “Branch” or “branches” could refer to families (Gen 49:22) or rulers (Ezek 31:3,6). Broken or unfruitful branches symbolized judgment or the downfall of a person or nation (Job 15:32; 18:16; Dan 4:14; Isa 9:14: 17:6; Jer 11:16). But God always gives the hope of restoration, and branches figure in the symbolism of redemption as well: “When that day comes, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and wonderful. The fruit of the land will be the pride and joy of Israel’s survivors” (Isa 4:2). The image of judged or redeemed branches reaches its climax in the prophecies of the messianic Branch and the salvation he brings.
Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (BRANCH)
Angels apparently spend most of their career serving Christians working as bodyguards or perhaps “spirit guards,” helping Christians remain faithful throughout life. It is interesting that this type of job would be noted in the book of the Bible that describes Christians as most vulnerable to defeat and loss. Surely Jesus is the captain of all the company of the saved, but angles are the rank-and-file “coast guards.” defending the spiritual perimeter against attack from the evil one. This job function does not prevent Christians from suffering disaster or defeat, as experience clearly attests. The effectiveness of the angels’ work will be known only in heaven. But the hints we have concerning these guardsmen suggest that heavenly praised to God will be all the more joyous for the help we unknowingly received from these unseen agents.
Hebrews 1:14 – Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
In a few places in the Bibles, the term beast is used in its modern descriptive sense of la menacing or mindless animal whose behavior is somewhat unpredictable. Jacob compared his son Issachar to a donkey or beast of burden (Gen 49:14), creating a picture of capacity and stubbornness as strong traits in his ninth born. Many biblical monsters seem to be mythical, or at least are symbolic of threats of God’s order and authority in the world. But unlike the monstrous beasts of surrounding cultures and religions, God retains power over all the beasts and chaos in the world, and will ultimately defeat them. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BEAST)
Most uses of the word oil in the Bible have ceremonial rather than food connections. Oils were harvested from animals fats, minerals, and vegetables. Oil also had medicinal purposes (Ps 23:5; Luke 10:34) and was used to fuel lamps Matt 25:1-13). In a bartering economy, oil was a commodity of value. In 2 Kings 4:1-7 Elijah helps a widow and her two sons by telling them to gather as many containers as possible and pour her meager supply of oil into the jars. The oil didn’t run out until every available jar had been filled. Elisha then told her to see the oil and live on the proceeds. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (OIL)
Working in clay is one of the ancient professions. Long before paper, damp clay served as a surface to receive the marks that represented early writing called cuneiform. And people discovered that baked clay contained water and could be used for cooking more efficiently than tightest woven baskets. When one of our brilliant ancestors discovered the potter’s wheel, the age of clay had arrived. Eventually, clay pots became widely used
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE JAR/POTTERY/VESSEL/
Trumpets in Bible times were made of metal or bone and formed into an instrument at least two feet long. They had a high sound that could be regulated to some degree, but they were used more for signaling than for making music. Rams’ horns, also called shofar, were signaling instruments used to assemble the army (Judg 3:27; 1Sam 13:3) or sound an alarm (Job 39:24-25; Jer 6:1; Amos 3:6). They are the most commonly mentioned instrument in the Bible, with seventy-two references.
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (TRUMPET/SHOFAR)
Do you know someone whose parents are getting divorced? Has a friend been in an accident? Has a relative ever been really sick? You want to help, but visiting a hospital or just being with the person can feel uncomfortable. What do we say? How can we show we care? Job had more things happen than most people could imagine. Within a sort Continue reading HOW TO COMFORT SOMEONE WHO IS HURTING.
Creation starts the Bible, in the book of Genesis
The end of the world finishes it, in Revelation. That could lead us to think the Bible is printed in chronological order. But it’s not. If it were, Job would likely come after Genesis. That’s because Job seems to have lived in about the time of Abraham, whose story appears in Genesis. Instead, Job’s story comes after Esther, though this Persian queen wasn’t born for at least 1,500 years after Abraham and Job. The Bible is a library of 66 books written in many genres and over a span of more than a thousand years. How
Continue reading BIBLE BOOKS OUT OF ORDER