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)
A shepherd from Midian and his brother stood before Pharaoh and demanded the release of the Hebrew slaves. Pharaoh was the strongman leader of the strongest country in the world. He ignored God’s command to release 600,000 male slaves and their women and children. Despite the demonstration of God’s power-the Nile turned to blood-Pharaoh returned to his palace and put “the whole thing out of his mind” (Exodus 7:23 NLT). Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (PHARAOH: A HEART IN DENIAL)
As a physical feature, darkness is nothing in and of itself. Darkness is instead defined as the absence of light. Synonymous with emptiness, darkness is used to describe the earth at the very beginning of creation when “darkness covered the deep water” (Gen 1:2). Out of this absence, the first thing God created was light. In the beginning, Scripture pictures light and darkness as balanced parts of a single day and night: “So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light day, and the darkness he named night” Gen 1:4-5). Continue reading SIGNGS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DARKNESS)
RABBI- (Ra’b’ bi’) Title meaning “my master,” applied to teachers and others of an exalted and revered position. During the NT period the term “rabbi” came to be more narrowly applied to one learned in the law of Moses, without signifying an official office. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (RABBI)
To kill an innocent animal seems quite cruel. Our modern sensibilities are often by this requirement. But the lesson is this: Sin is serious! It offends a holy God. Human behavior bears consequences for all of creation. Continue reading ANIMAL SACRIFICE SEEMS BARBARIC AND PRIMITIVIE. WHY WOULD GOD REQUIRE SUCH AN UNPLEASANT RELIGIOUS EXERICSE?
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?
The first chapter of Exodus gives only a few facts about the years the Israelites spent in Egypt. If was clear from what God revealed to Abraham that they were destined to live in this country for several centuries. “Know certainly,” the Lord told Abraham, “that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13 NKJV). Continue reading YEARS IN EGYPT (EXODUS 1)
On its own, the ark was little more than an interesting piece of furniture. But the ark held the Ten Commandments and symbolized God’s presence. Any attempt to see power in the ark itself (as in the popular Indiana Jones films) is tantamount to idolatry. The people of Israel made this mistake frequently. They assumed that possession of such a powerful instrument as the ark gave them some control over God Himself, since God was obligated to guarantee the success of anyone (or any group of people) possessing it. Continue reading IF THE ARK OF THE COVENANT WAS SO SPECIAL, WHY WERE THE PHILISTINES ALLOWED TO HAVE IT?
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.
The Sabbath was once-weekly rest from normal business to worship and honor God. Those who sought to gain commercial advantage during this respite were not only upsetting the community’s economy, they were also offending God. Everyone knew the Sabbath requirements, so no one in the nation could plead ignorance of this all important rule. Continue reading WHY WAS GATHERING WOOD ON THE SABBATH A CAPITAL CRIME?