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Showing posts from December 8, 2014

Feast of the Booths

Feast of the Booths
‎In Judaism, the Feast of Booths is still celebrated in such a way that each family has to built a hut with a roof made of organic material at one place of the house where the view of the sky is not obstructed. There the family has to sojourn during the Feast of the Booths. ‎Lev 23:34, Lev 23:42; Deut 16:16; Neh 8:14; Zech 14:16–19; 1 Macc 10:21; 2 Macc 1:18; 2 Macc 10:6; John 7:2

Reconstruction of the Midianite Tent-Shrine

Reconstruction of the Midianite Tent-Shrine
Reconstruction of the Midianite tent-shrine discovered at Timnah. This was probably similar in concept to the Hebrew tabernacle and furnishes archaeological evidence for Oholibamah, ‘tent of the high place’. Mid-12th cent. BC.

Whitney, J. T. “Oholibamah, Oholah, Oholibah.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 843. Print.

OIL. Unless cosmetic ointments (Ru. 3:3; 2 Sa. 14:2; Ps. 104:15) or oil of myrrh (Est. 2:12) are indicated, all other biblical references to oil are to the expressed product of the *OLIVE fruit. The abundance of olive-trees (Olea europaea) in ancient Palestine enabled a flourishing trade in oil to be carried on with Tyre and Egypt. Solomon supplied large quantities of oil to Hiram as part-payment for the construction of the Temple (1 Ki. 5:11; Ezek. 27:17), while Egypt imported substantial quantities of Palestinian oil (cf. Ho. 12:1), because the Egypt climate is not conducive to successful cultivation.
As an i…

Prayer for His Disciples

Prayer for His Disciples Excerpt Here the Divine Intercessor turns from himself, and from the approaching glory of his own mediatorial Person and position, to meditate, for the advantage of his disciples, on what had already been done for them, in them, to them. He clothes these meditations in the form of a direct address to the eternal God, and makes the series of facts on which he dwells the groundwork of the prayer which follows for his disciples, as representative of all who, like them, have come into relations with the Father through him.More Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. St. John. Vol. 2. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909. Print. The Pulpit Commentary

Made in the Likeness of God

Made in the Likeness of GodJames 3:9 Excerpt The fault of invoking curses on fellow human beings is deplorable because they are made in the likeness of God. This is obviously a reference to Gen 1.26-27. In the Genesis passage two words are used; one is “image” and the other is “likeness.” It is not clear why James chose the second word rather than the first one. In any case there seems to be no need to press for a different sense between the two, as they are obviously meant to have the same meaning. What James wants to communicate here is simply that acting against people who resemble God is the same as acting against God, who created those people. It is logically inconsistent to pretend to bless God and then to curse the representation of God (human beings). In other words, cursing other human beings is in effect cursing God, who created them. More Loh, I-Jin, and Howard Hatton. A Handbook on the Letter from James. New York: United Bible Societies, 1997. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Offering up a sacrifice

Offering up a sacrifice
‎The relief shows an altar in the middle, and bulls that were to be sacrificed on this altar behind and in front of it. In the Roman period, ritual sacrifices played a prominent role in cultic rites. ‎Acts 14:12–13, Acts 14:18; 1 Cor 10:20; Heb 8:4

The Blessings of God

The Blessings of GodHebrews 6:7–8 Excerpt An illustration from nature now drives home the writer’s point. Whenever rain-soaked ground is properly productive, it receives the blessing of God. Here the writer compared the spiritual privileges he had just enumerated (vv. Hebrews 6:4-5) to a heavenly rain descending on the life of a Christian. Their effect should be a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed—a reference perhaps to the way other Christians benefit from the lives of fruitful believers (cf. v. Hebrews 6:10). Such productivity brings divine blessings on fruitful believers’ lives. More Hodges, Zane C. “Hebrews.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 795. Print

Mary, However, remained “Seated in the House”

Mary, However, remained “Seated in the House” Excerpt The custom was for the bereaved to remain seated in the house and for the guests to come and sit in silence and periodically support the grieving parties with sympathetic tears and moans.315 For me the experience of having observed modern wakes in the Middle East has left an unforgettable memory of what “sitting in the house,” crowded on benches in the heat of day and mourning for the dead, can mean. Moreover, one must not forget that it was the brother (the obvious wage earner of that home) who had died. The loss was an intense one. Reading again Ruth 1:6–14 will provide some sense of the feelings that probably were present in that room. More Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

Jerusalem: Olive Tree

Jerusalem: Olive Tree
‎Jerusalem. The olive, one of the seven species with which the Land of Israel was blessed, along with “wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:8). The olive tree is an evergreen, whose leaves shine like silver sparks when the wind passes through them. The olive branch has symbolized peace ever since the story of the Flood. The olives are eaten or used to produce oil, which served in ancient times for lighting, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Today, too, olive oil is considered an important element in healthy nutrition. The wood of the olive tree is used in the production of furniture and other items, an also for wood carving.

Walking With Jesus

Walking With Jesus Excerpt In the Bible, “walking” is a frequent figure of behavior or lifestyle. Since Jesus lives in the believer, a person who is living close to Him will have a Christlike lifestyle. Christ loved and gave Himself for us. Anyone who hates his brother is still in darkness. Love for others is one way that Jesus expresses Himself in our lives. More Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Troubled Hearts

Troubled HeartsJohn 14:1–2 Excerpt To comfort the disciples, Jesus gave them several exhortations along with promises. Do not let your hearts be troubled, He said. “Troubled” is tarassesthō (“stirred, agitated”) from the same verb translated “troubled” in John 11:33; John 13:21; John 14:27. One’s heart is the center of his personality. Each believer is responsible for the condition of his heart (cf. Prov. 3:1, Prov. 3, Prov.5; Prov.4:23; Prov.20:9). By a firm trust in God the Father and Jesus the Son, they could relieve their soul-sorrow and be sustained in their coming tests More Blum, Edwin A. “John.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 322. Print.

Being Missional

Being Missional Excerpt ‎The earliest known usages of the term “missional” occurred in 1883 in C.E. Bournes’ The Heroes of African Discovery and Adventure and then in 1907 in W.G. Holmes’ The Age of Justinian and Theodora. The meaning of the term has changed enough that neither of these occurrences embodies the way it is used today. Today, the term missional is commonly used in conversations among Christians. As it has grown in popularity, however, it raises some theological concerns, challenges, and opportunities. ‎The defining missiological debate in mission history has been the relationship between “church and mission,” which has become a catalyst for three dimensions of missional: missionary, mission, and the missio Dei. … More Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012. Print

Mem (119:97-104) - Beyond Bible Study

Mem (119:97-104) - Beyond Bible Study Never have there been so many tools available for serious Bible study, and we are grateful for them. However, the Word of God is unlike any other book: we must be on good terms with the Author if we are to learn from what He has written. Our relationship to the Lord is determined by our relationship to His will, and that is determined by how we relate to His Word. Too many believers have only academic head knowledge of the Word, but they do not know how to put this knowledge into practice in the decisions of daily life. What we all need is a heart knowledge of the Word, and this means being taught by God (v. 102). Here are the conditions we must meet. We must love His Word and meditate on it (vv. 97–100). We enjoy thinking about people and activities that we love, and meditation means loving the Lord by pondering His Word and allowing its truths to penetrate our hearts. (See vv. 48, 113, 127, 159, 165, 167; and 1:2.) This does not mean that we ab…

Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre-Calvary

Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre-Calvary
‎Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A woman kneeling under the altar to get as close as possible to the silver slab marking the spot where the cross stood at the Twelfth Station—Golgotha in Aramaic, Calvary in Latin. There is a large crack in the bedrock at the right of the altar, believed to have been caused by the earthquake that occurred at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, as told in Matthew 27:51: “… and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent… ” The crack goes down to the Chapel of Adam beneath Calvary, where, according to tradition, Adam is buried and Jesus’ blood dripped onto his skull.


MamreIn Haram Ramath el-Khalil, about 3 km north of Hebron, Herod the Great constructed a shrine in memory of the cult site in Mamre that was connected to Abrahams altar. The picture shows the wall surrounding the sacred place; on the floor plan cf. Herod obviously no longer knew the exact location of the biblical Mamre that must be found nearer to Hebron. ‎Gen 13:18; Gen 18:1; Gen 23:17, Gen 23:19; Gen 25:9; Gen 35:27; Gen 49:30

Sargon II, King of the Assyrians

Sargon II, King of the Assyrians
‎Until the discovery of the treasures of Dur-Sharrukin (“Fort Sargon,” the site of ancient ruins located underneath modern Khorsabad, Iraq), many believed that the Sargon mentioned in Isaiah 20:1 was fictional. Now many scholars believe that Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC, the year of Shalmaneser V’s death and the accession of Sargon II. It is believed that the Israelites were defeated under Shalmaneser’s rule, but were carried off into captivity under the command of his usurper, King Sargon II. Sargon II died in battle before the palace was completed. It is believed that, upon his death, the building project was abandoned.

Hill of Saris

Hill of Saris
‎Leaving the scene described on the Jerusalem road, Joseph and Mary would next pass the Hill of Sarîs. The village of Sarîs lies on the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem on a plateau with numerous olive trees. Winding up the side of another valley we ascend the hill on which lie the ruins of the ancient Sarîs. From the top of this hill a beautiful view of the tree-crowned, flower-decked plains may be seen, while beyond lies the silent sea shining in the sunlight. The hill wears a crown of wild olives, which graciously spread their protecting arms as if to shut out the very memory of the desolate ruins at their feet. “I have often tried,” says Thomson, “to realize the appearance of these valleys and hills around Jerusalem during the great feasts. Covered with olive groves, fruit orchards and terraced vineyards, beneath whose friendly bowers many a happy family and neighborhood group assembled, rising rank over rank to the very top of the mountains; I marvel that no artist has…

Calf of Dan

Calf of Dan
Illustration. The “calf of Dan” is a small cast image dating to the 2nd millennium B.C. It may have been a cult object used by Israelites, or by the Canaanites. The storm god of the Canaanites was often portrayed standing on the back of a bull. Thus the golden calf of the Exodus symbolized the presence of a deity, and clearly implied paganism.

Loving God (Deuteronomy 10:12–13). “Love” in Scripture is more than an emotion or feeling. God’s love finds expression in saving acts performed for His people. Those acts reveal not only His power, but His faithfulness, compassion, and commitment to His own. We know God through His acts, as those are recorded and explained for us in Scripture. These critical verses remind us that those who truly love God express their love in action too. They “walk in all His ways,” they “serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” They “observe the Lord’s commands and decrees.” We respond to God’s loving acts performed for us…

The Passing of the Third Day

The Passing of the Third Day Excerpt This third scene begins with the statement that at the arrival of Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days (John 11:17). This notation was extremely important to those familiar with Jewish burial customs.312 The general belief was that the spirit of the deceased hovered around the body for three days in anticipation of some possible means of reentry into the body. But on the third day it was believed that the body lost its color and the spirit was locked out. Therefore the spirit was obliged to enter the chambers of Sheol (the place of the dead).313 The passing of the third day, therefore, signaled the conclusion of the last modicum of hope for the mourners. More Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11.Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary


‎Mandrake in Hebrew means “love plant.” The mandrake plant contains hallucinogens, but it can be poisonous. Its roots sometimes contain bifurcations causing them to resemble human figures. According to a legend already spread in the 1st century CE, it is perilous for humans to dig up the plant. One should rather bare the roots, and tie the plant to a dog. The animal could then safely pull out the plant. ‎Gen 30:14–16; Song 7:13

Nazareth: Basilica of the Annunciation

Nazareth: Basilica of the Annunciation
‎From its place in the center of Nazareth the conical gray dome of the Basilica of the Annunciation is seen from every corner of the city. It is one of the largest and most sacred of the churches in the Holy Land. In the 5th century A.D. the first church was built on the site believed by Catholics to be the house of Mary and Joseph. The remains of that church, including a mosaic floor, are to be found underneath the present church. In 1730 the Franciscans built a small church over the Grotto of the Annunciation. In 1955 building started on the modern church, whose design took into consideration the church’s long history and the conditions of the local terrain.


‎In the 2nd millennium BCE, Hazor was the only real cosmopolitan city of Palestine; it had many international connections. The city consisted of an upper town (sites A, B and G) of 12 ha, and a lower town (sites C, E, F, D, K and H) of 70 ha. Its ideal location at the most important north-south route of the Levant was part of the reason for its wealth. In the monarchic period, the population was again limited to the upper town. The city was now a bulwark against the Aramaeans who settled east of the Huleh Valley. ‎Josh 11:1, Josh 11:10–13; Josh 12:19; 19:36; Judg 4:2, Judg 4:17; 1 Sam 12:9; 1 Kings 9:15; 2 Kings 15:29; Tobit 1:1; 1 Macc 11:67

Mill on Jerusalem Road, Damascus

Mill on Jerusalem Road, Damascus

‎The old Jerusalem road from the Holy City to Damascus is but little traveled and is neither safe nor interesting. Between the shore of the Sea of Galilee and the plain of Damascus we pass but one inhabited village. While we are not able to identify the spot of Saul’s conversion, the scenery of plain, mountain, river and sky is substantially unaltered. Near this sacred spot is this old mill in the suburbs of Damascus. The artist and his associate reached Damascus after a hot ride through the desert. We started from Beitima, about twenty miles from Damascus, at three o’clock in the morning. The stars deep and thick filled the Syrian sky. Our path was narrow and rough. The dragoman forbade us talking until the sun was up. He said, if robbers were lying in wait and heard horses’ hoofs and no talking, they would assume that the party was composed of soldiers and would not attack us; but the voices of foreigners would expose us to robbery, and possibly dea…

Mundy's Quote for the Day

Mundy's Quote for the Day
May you give to the Lord this man-made commercialized holiday of Christmas which is not a YHWH festival. Give to the Lord in your place of worship and see how He will bless you; He only ask that you tithe with a return of His blessings that you will see. Man-made Christmas does not give back to you, but takes away with high daily and monthly interest rates even for years if you cannot repay on-time. - Reverend Lynwood F. Mundy

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 8

  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits … who crowned thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies
Ps. 103:2, 4

We talk about the telescope of faith, but I think we want even more the microscope of watchful and grateful love. Apply this to the little bits of our daily lives, in the light of the Spirit, and how wonderfully they come out!

Frances Ridley Havergal

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 8

Latin hymn, 18th century
English translation by Frederick Oakeley, 1802–1880
  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about!” … (Luke 2:15, 20)
The songs of the Christmas season comprise some of the finest music known to man, and this hymn is certainly one of our universal favorites. It was used in Catholic churches before it became known to Protestants. Today it is sung by church groups around the world since it has been translated from its original Latin into more than 100 other languages. The vivid imagery of the carol seems to have meaning and appeal for all ages in every culture.
The original Latin text consisted of four stanzas. The first calls us to visualize anew the infant Jesus in Bethlehem’s stable. The second stanza is usually omitted in most hymnals, but it reminds us that the Christ-child is very God Himse…

My Utmost for His Highest

December 8th

The impartial power of God

For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14.

We trample the blood of the Son of God under foot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only explanation of the forgiveness of God and of the unfathomable depth of His forgetting, is the Death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the outcome of our personal realization of the Atonement which He has worked out for us. “Christ Jesus … is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” When we realize that Christ is made all this to us, the boundless joy of God begins; wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is at work.
It does not matter who or what we are, there is absolute reinstatement into God by the death of Jesus Christ and by no other way, not because Jesus Christ pleads, but because He died. It is not earned, but accepted. All the pleading which deliberately refuses to recog…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening

Morning, December 8      Go To Evening Reading
         “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” 
         — Revelation 3:4

We may understand this to refer to justification. “They shall walk in white”; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works.” He who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks in sweet communio…

Connect the Testaments

December 8: The Gospel for Barbarians and Fools
Jeremiah 14:1–15:21;Romans 1:1–17; Proverbs 15:1–33

It’s dangerous when we feel entitled. We may come to believe our communities are righteous while all those outside are not. This can even take place inside our faith communities—popularity or various achievements can create subtle feelings of superiority. We begin to believe it’s something we’ve done that brings us favor.
As he writes to the church in Rome, Paul explains that it’s not anything we do, anything we are, or anything we obtain that makes us right with God. His calling verifies this: “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus I am eager to proclaim the gospel also to you who are in Rome” (Rom 1:14).
Ethnicity was a big obstacle for the early church to overcome, as the church was now made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers. God promised Abraham that through him “all the peoples on earth will be blessed” (Gen 12:3). Ch…