The matter of circumcision became a contested issue as the early Christian church was finding its feet. To appreciate why, we first need to understand that this had grown to be a most important element within Judaism. Between the time of the Old and New Testament, Seleucid King Antiochus IV attempted to stamp out Judaism, in part by forbidding the practice of circumcision among the Jews. This rite had become so vital to the identity of God’s people that they chose to die rather than yield to this pagan order.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMCISE)
Term used to express the deity of Jesus of Nazareth as the one, unique Son of God. In the OT certain men and angels (Gen 6:1-4; Psa 29:1; 82:6; 89:6) are called “sons of God” (note text notes in modern translations). The people of Israel were corporately considered the son of God (Exod 4:22; Jer 31:20; Hos 11:1). The concept also is employed in the OT with reference to the king as God’s son (Psa 2:7). The promises found in the David covenant (2 Sam 7:14) are the source for this special filial relationship. The title can be found occasionally in intertestamental literature (Ezra 7:28-29; 13:32,37,52; 14:9).Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SON OF GOD)
Roads of Bible times were little more than paths, rough and crude by modern standards. When a king traveled, his servants would go ahead of him, removing stones, filling in low places, and straightening curves so the king’s journey would be more pleasant.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (GET REDY FOR THE KING)
An act necessary for comfort and cleanliness for any who have traveled dusty Palestinian roads wearing sandals. Customarily, a host provided gusts with water for washing their own feet (Judg 19:21; Luke 7:44, where the complaint was that Simon had not provided water). Foot-washing was regarded as so lowly a task that it could not be required of a Hebrew slave. In this context the statement of John the Baptist that he was unworthy to untie the sandal (to wash the feet) of the One coming after him (Mark 1:7) indicates great humility. As a sign ofContinue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FOOTWASHING PT1)
Roads of Bible times were little more than paths, rough and crude by modern standards. When a king traveled, his servants would go ahead of him, removing stones, filling in low places, and straightening curves so the king’s journey would be more pleasant.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (GET READY FOR THE KING)
Many Christians feel that dancing is wrong, the vertical substitute for horizontal immorality. This verse certainly speak to the dangers of dance. Captivated by the sensuality of dance, Herod made a foolish promise that he had to keep for political reasons. John the Baptist lost his life because of a sexy dance.Continue reading IS DANCING RIGHT OR WRONG?
The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine. The importance of the vine is why the Pharisees took the point so angrily when Jesus told the story of the wicked tenants in the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-41, 45-46). As the fulfilment of all that Israel should be to God, Jesus was the true vine (John 15:5-7).Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (VINE SYMBOLISM)
LUKE 11:1-4 This model prayer for Jesus’ disciples is similar to the one in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 6:9-13), but much shorter. Apparently, the disciples were motivated to learn to pray by both Jesus’ example and that of John the Baptist and his disciples. It was unusual for Jews to refer to God as Father. Such an address would seem too personal and familiar. Even though Luke emphasized the offer of the kingdom of God (4:43) and the nearness of the kingdom inContinue reading UNDERSTANDING LUKE 11:1-4
The Gospel writer Luke precedes his account of Jesus’ birth with that of a lesser (though still prominent) figure in Jewish prophecy: the forerunner who would prepare the way for the Messiah and announce his arrival.
The circumstance of this forerunner’s birth were memorable. His mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Jesus’ mother, Mary. His father, Zechariah, served as a priest in the temple. One day the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to announce that he and his wife would have a son. When Zechariah asked how that could be possible, since he and Elizabeth were well past the age when most people become parents, Gabriel told him he would be mute until his son was born because of his unbelief (Luke 1:5-20).Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (JOHN THE BAPTIST: LIVING LIKE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE)
The Jordan River played an important role in a number of memorable events from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is known for being a fertile valley and an important landmark. The first mention of the Jordan occurs in the story of Abram and Lot, where Lot chose for himself “all the plan of Jordan” (Gen 13:11 KJV). The next time we come upon it, Jacob is wrestling with his adversary at the ford of the Jabbok, one of the major tributaries of the Jordan. Elsewhere the Jordan is crossed and is used as a place of baptism and provision. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (JORDAN RIVER)