Mary had a front-row seat for an unbelievable life full of amazing stories: the angel Gabriel showing up out of the blue to tell her that she, a virgin, was pregnant (Luke 1:26-38)-and not just expecting, but expecting the Son of God; the baby’s birth in an animal shed far from home (Luke 2:1-7); the odd parade of well-wishers saying beautiful and occasionally frightening things (Matt 2:1-12; Luke 2:8-38); the mad dash to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath (Matt 2:13-14).Continue reading WOMEN OF THE BIBLE (MARY “THE MOTHER AND FIRST DISCIPLE OF JESUS”)
Several different cults or societies characterized in part by elaborate initiation rituals and secret rites. Though attested in Greece before 600 B.C., the mystery religions flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods (after 333 B.C.) before dying out before A.D. 500. In particular the intermingling of religious concepts made possible by Alexander the Great’s far-flung conquests accelerated the spread of some cults and facilitated the development ofContinue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (MYSTERY RELIGIONS PT 1 OF 2)
The Romans appear to have at least two types of whips for flogging. The more serious of the two, the flagellum, consisted of a handle with leather straps attached to it. Knots were tied into the straps with bone or sharp metal bits tied onto them. This was the device used prior to crucifixion to brutalize those condemned so severely that they would be incapable of effective resistance. There was no limit to the number of blows that could be struck, and the beating often continued until the flesh hung down in bloody strips.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FLOG,WHIP,SCOURAGE PT2)
SIN’S CONSEQUENCES – The Bible looks upon sin in any form as the most serious of humanity’s problems. Though sinful acts may be directed against another person, ultimately every sin is against God, the Creator of all things. David acknowledged this in his confession in Psalm 51. David sinned against many people (2 Sam 11:1-12; 23), and yet David confessed: “Against You-You alone-I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight” (Psa 51:4).Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SIN “SIN’S CONSEQUENCES”)
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, which means he likely was one of the least popular citizens of Jericho. Jewish people in the first century AD despised tax collectors. They not only did the work of the hated Roman Empire but also overcharged their fellow Jews and pocketed the extra money. That’s why Luke describes Zacchaeus as “rich” (Luke 19:2). He likely built his wealth from the funds he stole from the people in his community.Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (ZACCHAEUS “DESPISED BY MOST, EMBRACED BY ONE”)
This is the only place where the word firkin appears in the Bible. It was the main liquid measure of the Roman would in New Testament times. A firkin was equal to about nine gallons.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (WATER INTO WINE)
Walking was the most common way for people living in Bible times to get from one place to another on a daily basis. Given the fatigue that discourages sustained running, those who ran were either special people with unique vocations or ordinary people who were responding to unique situations. Those expected to run included athletes, couriers, and royal guards. The Greeks introduced the world to athletic contests that were the precursor to our Olympic games. The ancient games included running events of various distances in which athletes couldContinue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE BIBLE TIMES (RUN PT1)
Most of these religions were polytheistic, which means that they acknowledged many gods and demons. Once admitted to the pantheon (a culture’s collection of deities), a god could not be eliminated from it.
He or she had gained ‘ ‘ divine tenure.’ ‘Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS IN THE BIBLE (MANY GOD’S)
The Bible is a historical book as well as a spiritual one. As such, it contains many important historical leaders and describes their impact on the nation of Israel. These people are not often used as symbols in the Bibles, but their influence on the history of God’s people carries symbolic importance because of the particular interactions they had. The Jews look back on these leaders as people who operated under the sovereign will of God either to help them as an instrument of mercy or to test and punish them as an executor of his just wrath.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (XERXES THE GREAT “and Other Significant Rulers”)
Surely this was one of the most brutal massacres of the Bible, if not in raw numbers, in terms of its victims. Only the most corrupted form of evil could lead a state to summarily execute innocent children. Why did the people not resist? Continue reading WHY DID THE PEOPLE OF BETHLEHEM NOT PROTECT THEIR BOYS FROM HEROD’S SOILDERS?