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Showing posts from December 4, 2014

Magdala

Magdala
‎The village Magdala where Mary Magdalene came from was located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The excavations of this site proofed that this place experienced a period of prosperity at the time of Jesus. The Streets were constructed in Greek style. Magdala was a regional center for pickling fish, which brought some moderate wealth to the residents. ‎Matt 27:56, 27:61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 15:47; 16:1, 16:9; Luke 24:10; John 19:25; 20:1, 20:18


Entrance to Caesarea Philippi

Entrance to Caesarea Philippi
‎Cæsarea Philippi, Bâniâs. This ancient city occupies one of the most picturesque sites in Syria. It is about three and a half miles from Dan. This was anciently the old Greek city of Panium, which Herod the Great rebuilt and renamed Cæsarea Philippi. In the picture we are looking northward. We enter the old city through a gateway beyond a narrow single-arched bridge. “Two sublime ravines cut deeply into the ridge, having between them an isolated cone more than 1000 feet in height crowned by the ruins of Subeibeh. On the terrace at the base of this cone lie the ruins of Cæsarea Philippi. The terrace itself is covered with oak and olive trees, having green glades and clumps of hawthorn, acacia and myrtle here and there, all alive with streams of water and cascades.” The main attraction of Bâniâs is the great fountain, the “upper source” of the Jordan, bursting from the mouth of a cave, sweeping down a rocky bed, scattering its spray over thickets of olean…

Landscape at Philippi

Landscape at Philippi
‎The Greek city Philippi lies in coastal plain; the foothills of the mountains begin already after a few kilometers an. Paul visited the city on his second and third missionary journey. ‎Acts 16:12; 20:6; Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 2:2

The Tower of Jezreel

The Tower of Jezreel ‎

At Jezreel, now called Zer’in, Joseph and Mary would be reminded of the wicked life of Ahab, the son of Omri, who reigned in Israel 918–897 B. C., and whose contribution to the fund of iniquity exceeded that of all who had preceded him in Israel. They would remember, too, the name and infamy of Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, and the daughter of Ethbaal, the King of the Zidonians; how she established the Phœnician worship in the court of Ahab and built a temple and set apart a grove of Astarte in the neighborhood of Jezreel; how she supported four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Astarte from her own table. They would remember Elijah and his conflict with the prophets of Baal on Carmel. At Jezreel they could perhaps have seen the very point on Mt. Carmel from which Ahab left with his chariot, when Elijah sent the message to him to get down from the Mountain. And Elijah said, “Go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot and get thee down …

Carob tree

Carob tree ‎The carob tree can reach a height of 8 m. It has dark-brown pods that are up to 25 cm long and 4 cm wide, and have kernels embedded in its sweet pulp. All animals ate these very nutritious legumes, but they also provided nourishment for humans, especially in hard times. ‎Luke 15:16

... as to the Lord

... as to the LordEphesians 5:22 The meaning of as to the Lord is slightly different from the phrase in Colossians 3:18. Here the figure of Christ as the husband and the church as the wife seems to have led the writer to write as to the Lord; this is not to be taken in the strictest sense, as Beare points out, but is to be understood to mean that the Christian wife’s attitude toward her husband reflects her (and his) relationship to Christ. The phrase should not be rendered in such a way as to suggest that a wife should treat her husband as her Lord, but she should be willing to obey her husband in the same way as she would obey the Lord.
Bratcher, Robert G., and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Reconciliation

ReconciliationRomans 5:10-11 Excerpt There are four important NT passages which treat of the work of Christ under the figure of reconciliation, namely, Rom. 5:10f.; 2 Cor. 5:18ff.; Eph. 2:11ff.; Col. 1:19ff. The important Gk. words are the noun katallagē and the verbs katallassō and apokatallassō. Reconciliation properly applies not to good relations in general but to the doing away of an enmity, the bridging over of a quarrel. It implies that the parties being reconciled were formerly hostile to one another. The Bible tells us bluntly that sinners are ‘enemies’ of God (Rom. 5:10Col. 1:21Jas. 4:4). We should not minimize the seriousness of these and similar passages. An enemy is not someone who comes a little short of being a friend. He is in the other camp. He is altogether opposed. The NT pictures God in vigorous opposition to everything that is evil. More Morris, L. L. “Reconciliation.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 1002. Print

Rooms or Mansions?

Rooms or Mansions?John 14:2 Excerpt The Greek word monai was rendered in the Vulgate by the Latinmansiones, which came down through the Tyndale version to the KJV as “mansions.” The use of the word “mansions” here is unfortunate because it has become infused into popular Christian culture so that one can hear some Christians speaking about the fact that they have “a mansion just over the hilltop.” Such a concept, unfortunately, supports the Western economic notion that following Jesus will lead to economic prosperity either in this life or in the life to come, especially if one must suffer in this life. But such a concept fails for several reasons. First, God does not promise economic prosperity. Second, the idea is a typical Semitic word picture84 describing a relationship of God with the people of God like the picture of heaven in Revelation 21–22. Third, and most importantly, monai does not mean a castle-like home anymore than mansiones in the Vulgate is to be interpreted in that …

Jerusalem: Church of the Visitation-Mosaic

Jerusalem: Church of the Visitation-Mosaic
‎The facade of the Church of the Visitation at Ein Karem, decorated with a mosaic depicting the Virgin Mary on her way from Nazareth, accompanied by angels, to visit her relative Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, who was a priest in the Temple. The mosaic was made in the Vatican in 1943. The inscription at the bottom of the golden frame is a quotation from Luke 1:39: “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah”. It is related that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the babe leaped in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit, and when her time came she gave birth to St. John the Baptist.

The Fiery Serpent

The Fiery Serpent
Illustration. Where the NIV reads “fiery serpents” the Aramaic O.T. has kwawatha kharmaney, the cockatrice. These shiny reddish colored snakes are extremely poisonous and aggressive as well. During the First World War the British army had many problems with these snakes, in the same area the ancient Israelites were passing through.
  Interestingly, a copper serpent has been found by archaeologists in a Midianite worship center dating from at least 1150 B.C.
Total destruction (21:2). The theme of total destruction is sounded frequently in the story of the Conquest of Canaan. This was ordained by God as a punishment for the gross immorality and idolatry practiced by the Canaanites, and to protect the Israelites from corruption. Look and live (21:4–9). Jesus drew an analogy between His cross and the bronze snake Moses raised on a pole (cf. John 3:14–15). The link between these two events is expressed in verse 15. The person who believed God’s Word enough to look to the sou…

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life Excerpt Whereas God had possibly created trees with the appearance of age (1:12), the trees in the garden were others that had grown later (2:9). Among those trees in the garden was one that produced life (the tree of life) and another that produced knowledge (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), or at least eating from them did. This “knowledge” was experiential. “Good and evil,” a merism for the things that protect life and that destroy life, would be experienced if the forbidden fruit were eaten (v. 17). The potential for catastrophe was great if they in self-confident pride (hubris) overstepped their bounds and attempted to manipulate life. The tree of life, on the other hand, was apparently a means of preserving and promoting life for Adam and Eve in their blissful state. These trees were in the middle of the garden, apparently close to each other; they provided the basis for the testing to come. More Ross, Allen P. “Genesis.” The Bible Knowledge Comment…

City Seals

City Seals Cylinder Seals A distinctive collection of stone cylinder seals has so far been recovered from the site. These seals bear designs made by simple use of the drill and cutting wheel to engrave circles and lines onto the surface of the cylinders. The designs include stylized scenes of squatting figures, animals and basic geometric compositions. The city seal impression, made by a large cylinder seal on the surface of 13 proto-cuneiform clay tablets at Jemdet Nasr. The scene is in two registers, only the upper of which is at all intelligible. Names of ancient Mesopotamian cities are represented by groups of symbols.
Matthews, Roger J. “Jemdet Nasr: The Site and the Period.” 1992 : 200. Print.
Matthews, Roger J. “Jemdet Nasr: The Site and the Period.” 1992 : 199–200. Print. When these cylinder seals were first discovered at Jemdet Nasr in the 1920's, it was believed that they typified the glyptic of the Jemdet Nasr period. Their subsequent discovery across a wide range of th…

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree Excerpt This parable of the barren fig-tree is intended to enforce the warning given just before: the barren tree, except it brings forth fruit, will be cut down. This parable in the first place refers to the nation and people of the Jews. Yet it is, without doubt, for awakening all that enjoy the means of grace, and the privileges of the visible church. When God has borne long, we may hope that he will bear with us yet a little longer, but we cannot expect that he will bear always. More Henry, Matthew, and Thomas Scott. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Print

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

‎The last rays of the sun take their leave of the Sea of Galilee on a long summer day. To the east the Golan Heights are already in darkness. Israel’s only fresh water lake is at the north of the Jordan Valley Rift, 210 meters below sea level. It is 21 kilometers long and its maximum width is 12 kilometers. Its main sources are the River Jordan and rain water. It appears in the Book of Joshua as Kinneret, the name of a Canaanite town on its shores: “…  sea of Chinnereth on the other side of Jordan eastward” (Joshua 13:27). Perhaps the lake’s name comes from its resemblance to a violin, “Kinnor” in Hebrew. Around its fertile shores and in the neighboring towns Jesus preached his sermons and performed miracles.

Sennacherib's Prism

Sennacherib's Prism
‎This prism contains six columns of text in which Assyrian king Sennacherib describes his triumphs. On column three (shown), he recounts his campaign against Judah, presenting a version of the events narrated in 2 Kgs 18–19. Like the Bible’s account, he describes the victories that led to his siege of Jerusalem. He implies, however, that he left Hezekiah in Jerusalem “like a bird in a cage” after Hezekiah sent him the spoils of the city. Conversely, the Bible describes Sennacherib’s army departing after the Angel of Yahweh slew many of them.

The Tower of Jezreel

The Tower of Jezreel
‎At Jezreel, now called Zer’in, Joseph and Mary would be reminded of the wicked life of Ahab, the son of Omri, who reigned in Israel 918–897 B. C., and whose contribution to the fund of iniquity exceeded that of all who had preceded him in Israel. They would remember, too, the name and infamy of Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, and the daughter of Ethbaal, the King of the Zidonians; how she established the Phœnician worship in the court of Ahab and built a temple and set apart a grove of Astarte in the neighborhood of Jezreel; how she supported four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Astarte from her own table. They would remember Elijah and his conflict with the prophets of Baal on Carmel. At Jezreel they could perhaps have seen the very point on Mt. Carmel from which Ahab left with his chariot, when Elijah sent the message to him to get down from the Mountain. And Elijah said, “Go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot and get thee down t…

Magdala

Magdala
‎After performing the many miracles upon multitudes of people.—Matthew 15:29–31; Mark 7:31–37, and having fed the four thousand—Matthew 15:32–39; Mark 8:1–10, He sent the multitude away and took ship and came into the coast of Magdala—Matthew 15:39. Magdala is now called Mejdel, a miserable little hamlet, the only inhabited spot on the plain of Gennesaret. There are here about twenty miserable houses and the ruins of a watch tower of not very ancient date. This is supposed to have been the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, out of whom Christ cast seven devils, and to whom He appeared after His resurrection—Mark 16:9. In the picture above, which was taken at half-past eight o’clock in the morning of May 9th, 1894, we are looking toward the north. This is all that remains of a spot associated with a name familiar and fragrant as “ointment poured fourth,” because of the lesson of love and forgiveness left us in the story of Mary Magdalene. Edwin Arnold has given a splendid picture o…

What is a Vat

What is a VatProverbs 3:10 Excerpt And your vats will be bursting with wine: Vats refers to large containers, sometimes cisterns carved out of stone, tubs, or wooden vessels for holding the juice of grapes as it ferments into wine. In Matt 9:17 wine is stored in skins. The word rendered vatsmay also refer to the wine press. The picture presented in this line is of wine vats or presses running over because they cannot contain the abundance of wine. More Reyburn, William David, and Euan McG. Fry. A Handbook on Proverbs. New York: United Bible Societies, 2000. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Coin of Herod Archelaus

Coin of Herod Archelaus
‎After the death of Herod the Great, Herod Archelaus became ethnarch of Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea. Since again and again there were revolts under his rule, the emperor put his territory under the rule of a Roman procurator in 6 CE. The coin of Herod Archelaus shows a galley (perhaps alluding to his journey by sea to Rome at the beginning of his rule). Above the galley appear the Greek letters for ethnarch. ‎Matt 2:22

Heron

Heron
‎Some scholars identify the bird mentioned, for instance, in Jer 8:7 as heron, some as stork. This animal is considered unclean; therefore it is not allowed to be eaten. ‎Lev 11:19; Deut 14:18; Ps 104:17; Jer 8:7; Zech 5:9

Disease and Healing in the First Century

Disease and Healing in the First CenturyActs 4:9
Excerpt In the early Christian period illness may be caused by numerous demonic entities who are not always acting at Yahweh’s command (Matt. 15:22Luke 11:14), and not necessarily by the violation of covenant stipulations (John 9:2). Illnesses mentioned include fevers (Mark 1:30), hemorrhages (Matt. 9:20), and what has been identified by some scholars as epilepsy (Mark 9:14–29). The cure for illness may be found in this world, and not simply in some utopian future. Christianity also may have attracted patients who were too poor to afford fees charged in many Greco-Roman traditions (cf. Matt. 10:8). Some Greco-Roman traditions insisted that travel to a shrine was necessary for healing, but Christianity, with its emphasis on the value of faith alone, in effect announced that travel to a shrine was not required (Matt. 8:8). Likewise, Christianity resisted temporal restrictions on when healing could be administered (Mark 3:2–5). Nonethele…

The Head of the Son of Man

The Head of the Son of ManRevelations 1:14 Excerpt Ver. 14.—His head. From the garments of the great High Priest, St. John passes on to himself. What he had seen as a momentary foretaste of glory at the Transfiguration, he sees now as the abiding condition of the Christ. In Dan. 7:9 “the Ancient of days” has “the hair of his head like pure wool.” This snowy whiteness is partly the brightness of heavenly glory, partly the majesty of the hoary head. The Christ appears to St. John as a son of man, but also as a “Divine Person invested with the attributes of eternity.” As a flame of fire. “The Lord thy God is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24). “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins” (Jer. 17:10). The flame purifies the conscience and kindles the affections. More Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. Revelation. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909. Print. The Pulpit Commentary

Ruth the Moabitess

Ruth the Moabitess Excerpt ‎Ruth’s story is cast against the backdrop of an ancient patriarchal culture, where a woman’s identity and security depended on her relationships with men (especially her father and/or husband). Her value as a wife and contributor to society was measured by counting her sons. Under these cultural standards, it is puzzling that a Gentile outsider like Ruth—who for most of the story is widowed, childless, and barren—became a luminary of biblical history. Yet she is unquestionably one of the most significant women in the Bible. ‎Ruth’s story forms a historical and theological bridge from the era of the judges (Ruth 1:1), when the people of Israel did evil in God’s sight (Judg 2:10–19), to Israel’s monarchy. In contrast to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, Ruth embodies the courageous, sacrificial character that God’s image bearers are supposed to possess. …More Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012. Print.

Words of "Sin" in the New Testament

Words of "Sin" in the New TestamentRomans 5:12-21 Excerpt The principal NT term is hamartia (and cognates), which is equivalent to ḥṭ’. In classical Gk. it is used for missing a target or taking a wrong road. It is the general NT term for sin as concrete wrongdoing, the violation of God’s law (Jn. 8:46Jas. 1:151 Jn. 1:8). In Rom. 5–8 Paul personifies the term as a ruling principle in human life (cf.5:126:12147:17208:2). paraptōma occurs in classical contexts for an error in measurement or a blunder. The NT gives it a stronger moral connotation as misdeed or trespass (cf.‘dead through … ’, Eph. 2:1Mt. 6:14f.). parabasis is a similarly derived term with similar meaning, ‘transgression’, ‘going beyond the norm’ (Rom. 4:15Heb. 2:2). asebeia is perhaps the profoundest NT term and commonly translates pš‘ in the lxx. It implies active ungodliness or impiety (Rom. 1:182 Tim. 2:16). Another term is anomia, lawlessness, a contempt for law (Mt. 7:23;2 Cor. 6:14). k…

Mundy's Quote for the Day

Mundy's Quote for the Day
In order to serve the Lord you must be: Humble and submissive to His will, precepts and commandments. God dislike a haughty person who wants to serve Him. - Reverend Lynwood F. Mundy

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 4

  They all forsook him, and fled Mark 14:50
Separation never comes from His side.

J. Hudson Taylor

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

December 4

BLESSED BE THE NAME
W. H. Clark, 19th century, Refrain by Ralph E. Hudson, 1843–1901
 I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever … for you have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word. (Psalm 145:1 and Psalm 138:2)
The Bible teaches that there are two things our Lord honors above all else: His Name and His Word. These two priorities should also be the most sacred trusts in our spiritual lives. A name is an individual’s main identification, as well as the carrier of his reputation. In the Bible, God renamed individuals—Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:22–32) and Saul to Paul (Acts l3:9)—to reflect more accurately their changed lifestyles. It is only normal, then, to defend one’s name at all costs.
To many people today, the names “Jesus” and “God” are merely words to use in blasphemy. To those of us who associate these names with divine love, such talk cannot be dismissed lightly. Christ Himself spoke out against becoming sacrilegious in our…

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest

December 4th
The law of antagonism
To him that overcometh.… Rev. 2:7
Life without war is impossible either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual life is antagonism. This is the open fact of life.
Health is the balance between physical life and external nature, and it is maintained only by sufficient vitality on the inside against things on the outside. Everything outside my physical life is designed to put me to death. Things which keep me going when I am alive, disintegrate me when I am dead. If I have enough fighting power, I produce the balance of health. The same is true of the mental life. If I want to maintain a vigorous mental life, I have to fight, and in that way the mental balance called thought is produced.
Morally it is the same. Everything that does not partake of the nature of virtue is the enemy of virtue in me, and it depends on what moral caliber I have whether I overcome and produce virtue. Immediately I fight, I am moral in that pa…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, December 4      Go To Evening Reading
         “I have much people in this city.”           — Acts 18:10
This should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the most debauched and drunken, an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ’s property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them he will have them. God is not unfaithful to forget the price which his Son has paid. He will not suffer his substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go forth to the…

Mundy's Quote for the Day

Mundy's Quote for the Day In order to serve the Lord you must be: Humble and submissive to His will, precepts and commandments. God dislike a haughty person who wants to serve Him. - Reverend Lynwood F. Mundy

Connect the Testaments

December 4: Put Off, Put On
Jeremiah 6:1–7:29; Colossians 3:1–17; Proverbs 12:1–28

We often hear that being a good Christian means not doing bad stuff. This statement is true—but not exhaustive. In Colossians 3, Paul says, “Therefore put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustful passion, evil desire, and greediness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5). He then lists other inappropriate behaviors: “anger, rage, wickedness, slander, abusive language” (Col 3:8). And he also lists new behaviors we need to “put on,” like “affection, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience” (Col 3:12).
From this we can gather that, as Christians, our lives should look different. But is there more to this command than certain behaviors?
We’re not supposed to put on new behaviors simply so that we can have polished, admirable lives. Colossians 3 opens with a statement: “Therefore, if you have been raised together with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is” (Col 3:1…