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Formless and Empty

Formless and Empty
Genesis 1:1–2

Excerpt


The words “formless” and “empty” can be literally translated “unformed and unfilled.” This phrase is the literary key to the creation account. In the first three days the earth was “formed,” and in the second three it was “filled.” The arrangement of those first six days shows a clear order in God’s creation. More


Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Print. The Tyndale Reference Library.

Branches Of Church History

Branches Of Church History

Excerpt

‎The kingdom of Christ, in its principle and aim, is as comprehensive as humanity. It is truly catholic or universal, designed and adapted for all nations and ages, for all the powers of the soul, and all classes of society. It breathes into the mind, the heart, and the will a higher, supernatural life, and consecrates the family, the state, science, literature, art, and commerce to holy ends, till finally God becomes all in all. Even the body, and the whole visible creation, which groans for redemption from its bondage to vanity and for the glorious liberty of the children of God, shall share in this universal transformation; for we look for the resurrection of the body, and for the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. But we must not identify the kingdom of God with the visible church or churches, which are only its temporary organs and agencies, more or less inadequate, while the kingdom itself is more comprehensive, and will last for ever. ……

“Joseph’s Well,” in Dothan, Palestine

“Joseph’s Well,” in Dothan, Palestine‎Gen. 37:12–36

A Sheepfold

A Sheepfold

A SHEEPFOLD
The word sheepfolds (NRSV, REB, and NAB) is not contemporary American English. The Hebrew term refers to a fence-like enclosure made of stones. Some sheepfolds were permanent, consisting of stone walls and a roof; others were temporary constructions. The words by the way mean that the sheep pens were near the route along which people walked, or “along the side of the road” (CEV).

Omanson, Roger L., and John Ellington. A Handbook on the First Book of Samuel. New York: United Bible Societies, 2001. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

God’s Judgment of the Whole World, Especially Judah and Jerusalem

God’s Judgment of the Whole World, Especially Judah and Jerusalem
Zephaniah 1:1
Excerpt

‎Zephaniah, speaking for God, proclaims a great and worldwide destruction. This will be focused particularly on Judah and her capital Jerusalem.
‎God will destroy the priests and people who are worshipping the Canaanite god Baal, the god Molech (the Ammonite god Milcom, favoured by some of King Solomon’s wives) and the sun, moon and stars. The priests have been mixing pagan worship with the worship of the Lord. The royal court has been mixing the Hebrew way of life with foreign dress and superstitions. All this has obscured the truth about God and muddied the purity of his people. Zephaniah calls for absolute silence, as God approaches the very moment of judgment. … More

Present-day Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Present-day Temple Mount in Jerusalem
‎Today there are two of the most holy religious sites of Islam on the site of the Herodian temple: the so-called Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque (on the left side). The wall with the Golden Gate is visible in the foreground.

Bethany

Bethany ‎ On the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, and but a half an hour’s walk from Jerusalem, is the town of Bethany—the house of dates—so called because of the tall date palm trees which once grew among the little white dwellings. The Arabic name is El-Azariyeh—the place of Lazarus. The palms are all gone now. It is now and always has been a poor, small mountain hamlet with nothing to charm except its seclusion and nothing to interest the Christian world save its associations. It is made sacred as the place where our Redeemer rested and prayed, and where no noisy crowd broke in upon His meditations. Lazarus, probably a rich man, lived there with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus was invited to abide with them on one occasion, and always afterwards on his visits to Jerusalem made a home at the vine-clad cottage of Lazarus. “There,” says Porter, “no sound of the busy world followed him in the quiet home of Martha, and in some lonely recess of Bethany’s secluded dell he res…

Smyrna agora

Smyrna agora

Section Outline One (Galatians 1)

Section Outline One (Galatians 1)
Galatians 1:2–5
Excerpt


I. Paul’s Greetings (Gal.1:2–5)

A. To the saints in Galatia (Gal.1:2) : Paul sends greetings from himself and the Christians he is with.

B. From the Savior in glory (Gal.1:3–5)

1. Who died to save us (Gal.1:3–4a)

2. Who lives to sanctify us (Gal. 1:4b–5) More


Willmington, H. L. The Outline Bible. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999. Print.

‎Blanford’s fox at Haibar

‎Blanford’s fox at Haibar

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Mary Visits Elizabeth
‎Before leaving Mary, the angel told her also of the child which was soon to be born to her cousin Elizabeth. Mary therefore hastened to visit her cousin, that they might wonder and rejoice together. Where Elizabeth’s home lay, we do not know. One tradition locates it at Hebron, the ancient city of Abraham, in the southern mountains; another places it in a village close to Jerusalem. ‎Mary, reaching the house, hurried in eagerly, calling to Elizabeth. At the sound the older woman was suddenly and profoundly stirred, was “filled with the Holy Ghost”, so that she cried aloud in sudden ecstasy, “Blessed art thou among women.” Then she humbled herself before Mary; for it was given her to know the other’s destiny. “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” ‎Thus encouraged and believed in, Mary burst into that beautiful chant of thanks and praise, known as the Magnificat. It begins, “My soul doth magnify the Lord”, and goes on to glorif…

Beliefs of the Samaritans

Beliefs of the SamaritansJohn 4:1–45

Excerpt

The main beliefs of the Samaritans demonstrate both the close affinities as well as obvious divergencies from mainstream Judaism. They held in common with Judaism a strong monotheistic faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In contrast, however, there was an elevating of Mt Gerizim in the north as the only holy place for sacrifice, based on several divergent passages in Deuteronomy and Exodus in the Samaritan text. Mt Gerizim came to be identified with the site of Abel’s first altar (Gen. 4:4), the site of Noah’s sacrifice after the flood (Gen. 8:20), the meeting place of Abraham and Melchizedek(Gen.14:18), the site of Isaac’s intended sacrifice (chGen. 22), and many other associations. More

Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible 1988 : 1887. Print.

Serpent in the Ancient World

Serpent in the Ancient WorldGenesis 3:1, Genesis 3:2, Genesis 3:4, Genesis 3:13, Genesis 3:14 Excerpt

serpent, a reptile, in the Bible another term for snake. In the ancient world, there was general respect for, revulsion at, and fear of serpents, most being assumed to be poisonous and therefore dangerous. The serpent thus came to be understood symbolically with both positive and negative connotations. In some ancient cultures, the serpent was associated with deity and was depicted in statues and paintings with various gods and goddesses. Serpents also played various roles in ancient mythological stories (e.g., the BabylonianGilgamesh Epic). Some even linked the serpent with the process of healing, as in the case of the Greek god Asclepius. In Canaanite religion, which the early Hebrew people encountered upon their arrival in the area, the serpent was associated with the fertility worship of Baal, his consort Astarte (also known as Anath or Asherah) being depicted with a serpent. More

Tabernacle altar of incense

Tabernacle altar of incense

Herod’s Temple

Herod’s Temple
‎The inner courts of Herod’s Temple were accessible by 10 gates, through which only Jews could enter. Once inside, there were several chambers and a courtyard where sacrifices were made. At one end was the Holy Place—a two-room sanctuary used by Jewish priests. Herod’s Second Temple and Temple Mount expansive building project was completed in approximately 62–64 AD, only to be destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea ‎ When Jesus at one time during his latter days left Jerusalem at the feast of the dedication because the Jews attempted to stone Him, it is said that He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John had first baptized, and there he abode. The view above is taken from a point about four miles south of the traditional place of John’s baptizing. One morning at six o’clock (on the 26th of April, 1894) the artist and one of the editors saw the sun rise over the mountains of Moab and bathe the whole plain of the Jordan, as well as the Judean mountains, in a deep red, glowing, liquid fire. We were about ten miles from Jericho. Our party took a bath at this point to test the truth of the oft made statement that one could not sink in the Dead Sea. We found it to be literally true. It is almost impossible to keep one’s feet under water. The taste of the water is as pungent as ammonia, though it is as clear and as bright as any body of water. You see our old sheik st…

The Blessing of the Lord

The Blessing of the Lord

Excerpt

God’s blessing on the righteous man brings trouble–free wealth. The thought is that when good fortune is a result of God’s blessing, we are free of the anxieties which come when we make our money wrongfully. When riches come bound up in the same bundle with worries and fear, they can never satisfy. More

Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

John 14.1–8.

John 14.1–8.

Excerpt

I am the way, the truth, and the life (so most translations) is a fairly literal translation of the Greek text. Of the major modern language translations, onlyGeCL has a dynamic equivalent: “I am the way, and I am also the goal, since in me you have the truth and the life.” Even this restructuring is rather ambiguous for the average reader. What is the relation between the wordsway, truth, and life? In the present context Jesus as “the way” is the primary focus, and “truth” and “life” are somehow related to Jesus as “the way.” Thus there are two possible interpretations: (1) The emphasis may be on the goal to which the way leads (note GeCL). If this exegesis is followed, one may translate “I am the way that leads to the truth and to life”; or, expressed more fully,“I am the way that leads to the truth (about God) and to the life (that God gives).” (2) However, the emphasis may be on the way itself. If this exegesis is followed, “truth” and “life” must be taken as q…

The Proposed Reconstruction of Beersheba Stratum VII

The Proposed Reconstruction of Beersheba Stratum VII
Fig. 19. The proposed reconstruction of Beersheba Stratum VII (after Herzog).
A further objection to Herzog’s model is that, while attributing the need for enclosures to the settlers’ desire “to secure their safety and property,” he is forced to reconstruct his enclosed settlements in poorly defensible positions—on hill slopes, covering only part of the summit, while buildings left outside the enclosing perimeter testify, he writes, to “the settlers’ feeling of security” (Herzog 1990: 228, 232). One should not be surprised, of course, that Finkelstein unreservedly accepts the reconstruction, as well as the comparison (Finkelstein 1988a: 242–43),17 as they seem to agree with his own sedentarization model, based on his excavations at ʿIzbet Sarta, in particular his reconstruction of Stratum III.

Meshel, Zeev. “The ‘Aharoni Fortress’ near Quseima and the ‘Israelite Fortresses’ in the Negev.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental…

Jerusalem: House of Caiaphas

Jerusalem: House of Caiaphas
‎Jerusalem. Just as the incense dispersed in the church symbolizes the words of the disciples that were spread throughout the world, so the candles held by the acolytes in the service at the House of Caiaphas symbolize the divine, spiritual light. A sunbeam filtering into the church also adds its share, while the priest reads the passage in the New Testament describing Jesus meeting with the High Priest Caiaphas and being questioned by him before being handed over to Pontius Pilate (John 18:19–24).

Martyrs of the Faith

Martyrs of the Faith
The expression “time will fail me” or “the day will fail” is a rhetorical commonplace by which one segues into a peroration. The author calls to mind a host of examples even as he protests that he has not the time to do so. Hebrews 11:32–35a, beginning with a list of names spanning Judges through potentially Malachi, at least provides a summary of the achievements of faith through 2 Kings; Hebrews 11:35b–38 takes in the fates of the prophets and the Maccabean martyrs as well, thus rounding out the canonical history in addition to making reference to several legends about the deaths of the great prophets of Israel. The survey is structured cleanly in two parts. The first half (Heb. 11:32–35a) speaks of those figures who, through trust in God, achieved what any person in the world would consider marvelous or miraculous things (military prowess, timely deliverance from death, resuscitation of corpses). The second half (Heb.11:35b–38) speaks of those who are, in the …

Temple Mount from west

Temple Mount from west

Water Pot

Water Pot

The Righteousness of God

The Righteousness of God

Excerpt

Paul said, God’s righteousness is (being) revealed (ἀποκαλύπτεται, present tense). Here he says, God’s righteousness has been manifested (πεφανέρωται, perfect tense). There is little difference. The present tense emphasizes the continuation of the process in the proclamation of the Gospel, the perfect the fact that the process has a beginning. It will shortly appear that this beginning is to be found in the death of Jesus.
This manifestation of righteousness takes place apart from the law; not because the righteousness of God could not be manifested through the law, but because the righteousness which, when manifested through the law, could only lead to wrath, since the law was abused (cf. Rom. 4:15), has now been manifested in a different way so as to lead to justification. It is because law has been defined out of the manifestation and faith (Rom. 3:22) defined in, that in this paragraph (contrast Rom. 1:18) we hear nothing of wrath. More

Barrett, C. K. …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

October 20

  Who is among you that feareth the Lord … that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God
Isa. 50:10
“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman, “we can do but one thing, there is only one way; we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”
This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way. Reason cannot help you. Past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there. You must stay upon the Lord; and, come what may—winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers—no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus.

Richard Ful…

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan

October 20: It Has Been Granted to You
Ezekiel 39:25–40:49;Revelation 19:11–20:6;Job 38:25–33

“It has been granted to her that she be dressed in bright, clean fine linen” (Rev 19:8), announces a voice from heaven in John’s revelation. The voice describes the bride who waits in anticipation—representing the believers who wait in expectation of being reunited with Christ.
The text contrasts the fine linen of the bride with the purple and scarlet cloth of the harlot, Babylon, who represents all that oppose God’s reign (Rev 18:16). The harlot receives criticism for her infidelity: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.… For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the power of her sensuality” (Rev 18:2–3).
But the cry goes out in and among Babylon: “Come out from her, my people” (Rev 18:4). The bride, who is preparing herself for …

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

October 20th
Is God’s will my will?


This is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:3.

It is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me; is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me all that has been made possible by the Atonement? Am I willing to let Jesus be made sanctification to me, and to let the life of Jesus be manifested in my mortal flesh? Beware of saying—‘Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.’ You are not, stop longing and make it a matter of transaction—“Nothing in my hands I bring.” Receive Jesus Christ to be made sanctification to you in implicit faith, and the great marvel of the Atonement will be made real in you. All that Jesus made possible is made mine by the free loving gift of God on the ground of what He performed. My attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness), a holiness based on agonizing repentance and a sense of unspeakable shame and degradation; and also o…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, October 20      Go To Evening Reading
 “Grow up into him in all things.”          — Ephesians 4:15
Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year. No up-springing of advanced and refined feeling is manifest in them. They exist but do not “grow up into him in all things.” But should we rest content with being in the “green blade,” when we might advance to “the ear,” and eventually ripen into the “full corn in the ear?” Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, “I am safe,” without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fulness which is to be found in him? It should not be so; we should, as good traders in heaven’s market, covet to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to keep other men’s vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. Why should it always be winter time in our hearts? We must have our seed time, it is true, but O for a…