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?
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?
Judea Capta-“Judea is captured”-read the the coins minted by the Romans in commemoration of their victory 70. Thousands of Jews died in battle; thousands more were taken into slavery; many others chose to leave the country center of worship, the temple, was burned to the ground and the and the capital of Judaism had fallen. Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (WHEN SACRIFICE STOPPED)
Molech was the chief god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:33), whom worshipers honored by sacrificing their own children (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; Jeremiah 32:35). Jewish law (Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5) and the prophets strictly forbade these kinds of heinous rituals. Zephaniah apparently regarded Molech worship as one of the most detestable form of Semitic idolatry (see Jeremiah 7:29-34; Ezekiel 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26). Continue reading WHO WAS MOLECH?
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?
This verse continues Isaiah’s condemnation of the people of Judah, whom he compared to dancing girls (see note on Isaiah 3:16). He declared that God would take away all evidence of Judah’s pride, symbolized by the fine clothes and jewelry worn by these dancing girls. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (PAGAN JEWELRY)
The most notable candlesticks in the Bible are those created for use in God’s house. The lamp stand or menorah that stood in the tabernalce was made of a single sheet of pure gold and had seven branches, each topped with a lamp in the shape of an almond blossom (Exod 25:31-40). Solomon’s temple had ten of these candles (1 Kings 7:49). Each lamp burned olive oil and was kept burning through the night as a symbol that God was with his chosen people at all times (Exod 27:21; 1 Sam 3:3). Extrabiblical sources suggest that in later times the middle lamp, which represented God himself, was kept burning around the clock. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CANDLESTICK/LAMP STAND)
Cisterns of Bible times were little more than deep pits dug in the ground or shallow reservoirs carved out of limestones rock. Rainwater water directed into these holding thanks and stored for use during the dry season (see notes on Genesis 37:24 and 2 Samuel 17:18-19). Continue reading DRINKING FROM A CISTERN
The number thousand (or thousands) in the Bible is sometimes a literal number, but in many cases it is used to create a large round number. Hebrew and the other Semitic languages used approximations to express large numbers because they were rarely needed for small populations and tiny kingdom. Examples of this can be found in Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10 and 7:9; 1 Samuel 18:7; and Psalms 50:10, 90:4 and 105:8. Ten
Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (THOUSAND)
The term Sabbath come from the Hebrew word for “case.” This day of stopping normal activity and work was to serve as a reminder of God’s rest after the work of creation (Gen 2:2-3). God set aside this day as holy and blessed it as a gift to humankind. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (SABBATH)