The Hebrew verb “make sport” is used to indicate ridicule (e.g. Gen 21:9) but also sport in the sense of entertainment (Jug 16:25,27) or play (Exod 32:6; 104:26; Zech 8:5).Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SPORTS)
Giving the powerful role that fasting might play in developing this perspective, the biblical authors are roundly critical of those who abuse it. Typically, the presentation of fasting is surrounded by positive connotations, as when Luke mentions the widow Anna, who spent her days at the temple praying and fasting (Luke 2:36-37). But those who presumed that the mere act of fasting was sufficient in and of itself as leverage with which to force the Almighty intoContinue reading EVERYDAYL LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST)
The practice of using clothing to make a statement regarding one’s status or position in society was just as prevalent in the biblical world as it is today. However, clothing styles did not change as rapidly in antiquity and so the effort to remain stylish was less hectic.Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FASTING)
Their predictions about Jesus can be found in many books of the Old Testament. The prophet Micah, for instance, said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Other BibleContinue reading DID YOU KNOW THAT GOD TOLD MANY OLD TESTAMENT PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS BEFORE HE WAS EVEN BORN?
WERE DREAMS EVER WRONG OR WRONGLY INTERPRETED?
Dreams were neither foolproof nor infallible. Both Jeremiah and Zechariah spoke against relying on dreams to express the revelation of God. Dreams could come without being God’s word (Jer 23:28). Jeremiah lumped dreamers together with soothsayers, sorcerers, and false prophets (Jer 27:9). He cautioned exiles in Babylon not to listen to dreamers and false prophets who told them that the exile would not be long (Jer 29:8). Zechariah pointed people toward the Lord, apparently because they were relying on dreamers and others to give them the truth (Zech 10:1-2). Thus while God often used dream to reveal His will, there is a warning, too, not to rely on this method to know the will of God.Continue reading DEFFINITION OF THE DAY (DREAMS PT3)
General term for religions marked by rites that reenact a myth accounting for the orderly change of the seasons and the earth’s fruitfulness. Such myths often involve a great mother-goddess as a symbol of fertility and a male deity, usually her consort but sometimes a son, who like vegetation dies and returns to life again. In Mesopotamia the divine couple was Ishtar and Tammuz (who is mourned in Ezek 8:14); in Egypt, Isis and her sons Osiris: in Asia Minor, Cybele and Attis. In Syria the Ugaritic myths of the second millennium B.C. pictured Baal-Hadad, the storm god, as the dying and rising god. (A local manifestation of this god is mourned in ZechContinue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FERTILITY CULT PT1)
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)
Objects of unknown shape and material used to determine the divine will. Often in the ancient Near East people, especially priests, made difficult and significant decisions by casting lots on the ground or drawing them from a receptacle. Several times Scripture mentions the practice. We do not know exactly what the lots look like. Nor do we know how they were interpreted. We do know that people of the OT and NT believe God (or gods in the case of non-Israelites or non-Christians) influenced the fall or outcome of the lots (Prov 16:33). Thus, casting lots was a way of determining God’s will. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (LOTS)
Elizabeth, mentioned only in Luke’s Gospel, was married to a priest named Zechariah. “Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).
Yet in a culture where children were viewed as a primary evidence of God’s blessing, they were also childless. Elizabeth was unable to conceive. This barrenness was a source of deep disgrace to her (Luke 1:25). Only those who’ve suffered through fertility issues can fully appreciate the sting of all those unanswered prayers, the piercing pain of an empty nursery. Since Elizabeth and Zechariah “were well along in year” (Luke 1:7), it’s not unreasonable to assume that they had given up the hope of ever becoming parents. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (ELIXABETH: THE MOTHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST)