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Showing posts from December 21, 2015

Nabonidus, Father of Belshazzar

Nabonidus, Father of Belshazzar
‎Nabonidus (“Nebo is praised,”reigned 556–539 B.C.) was the last ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. In this relief, the first and largest deity symbol in front of Nabonidus’ head is that of the moon god Sin. This king’s devotion to Sin and to Sin’s temple in Haran antagonized the devotees of the Babylonian national god Marduk. Some scholars believe that this tension was the main reason that Nabonidus moved his capital to the city of Tema on the Arabian Peninsula, leaving his son Belshazzar to govern the city and region of Babylon. ‎Dan 5:1–31, Dan 7:1, Dan 8:1
‎Image by user Jona lendering, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

He Was Unable to Speak to Them

He Was Unable to Speak to Them
Luke 1:221:22He could not speak to them. According to Tamid 7.2 priests coming out of the holy place were expected to pronounce a customary blessing, such as Num 6:24–26, upon the people. Whether Luke’s readers would have known this is uncertain. Luke 1:62 implies that Zechariah also could not hear. They realized he had seen a vision. Luke did not say how they came to this conclusion, but the implication is that they noted the delay and the muteness of Zechariah and assumed that something must have happened in the sanctuary where God dwelt.

Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

Valley of the Kedron

Valley of the Kedron
‎We have passed and repassed this valley many times as we have followed with our notes and illustrations the “Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee.” Every view of it calls up associations pathetic and sacred. From time immemorial the Valley of Jehoshaphat or Kedron has been a place of burial for the Jews. According to tradition the Virgin Mary was entombed in this lonely and desolate ravine. Here rests the body of the Prophet Zacharias, who was slain between the temple and the altar, and here also is the tomb of Absalom, so imperious and wayward, and yet so loved and wept by his father. The tomb to Absalom, which stands in this valley, is said to have been constructed by David. Of course, this has no foundation except in fancy. This whole region is a place of tombs, and the Garden of Gethsemane quietly blooms here, as if, some one has said, forming the conclusion of some melancholy chapter in a history of great events. These tombs of prophets, princes and king…

Gezer Solomonic gate

Gezer Solomonic gate

God, The Comforter

God, The Comforter
‎While the general tone of the Psalms is full of joy and praise, so much so indeed that they are known collectively in Hebrew as “The Praises,” yet through many of them there runs a sadder note. They tell of grief and sin and the misery of life. Seven of them have been specially separated from the others and called the “penitential psalms.” These seven (numbers 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) are filled with intense remorse for sin. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak,” says the sixth psalm. Then it tells in detail of the agony of penitence. “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.”
‎This is the typical scene of the penitential psalms which Tissot’s picture reproduces. The sinner, broken and weak with shame, crouches on his bed’s edge, while over him bends the loving kindness of his Maker. “The Lord hath heard my supplication,” cries the psalm, “the Lord will receive my prayer.”

The Deluge

The Deluge ‎And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. ‎Genesis 7:23



Commonly interpreted House of Mercy; others House of the Portico. The readings also vary. Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort give Βηθζαθά, Bethzatha, House of the Olive. The site cannot be identified with any certainty. Dr. Robinson thinks it may be the Fountain of the Virgin, the upper fountain of Siloam. See Thomson’s “Land and Book,” “Southern Palestine and Jerusalem,” pp. 458–461.

Vincent, Marvin Richardson. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 21

  The sea wrought, and was tempestuous
Jonah 1:11
Sin in the soul is like Jonah in the ship. It turns the smoothest water into a tempestuous sea.


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

Connect the Testaments

December 21: Expenses
Jeremiah 39:1–41:18; Romans 9:13–29; Proverbs 24:1–22

It’s important to pause occasionally to reflect on the cost of sin. If we don’t, we can find ourselves living in it without thought of the ramifications. Few passages illustrate the cost of sin more vividly than the fall of Jerusalem recorded in Jer 39. The fall of Jerusalem is brutal, depressing, and sadistic, but we can learn from Jeremiah’s account of the event.

We could view Jeremiah’s depictions as merely historical, or we could recognize the theological lessons they offer: Sin is expensive. Sin will destroy you. Sin will bring a nation to its knees. Sin will leave you begging for mercy. Sin is death. That’s what God’s people learned from this event: Disobeying Yahweh is a costly action. It’s not that God wants His people to endure this pain, but pain is a natural consequence of their decisions. He cannot defend people who refuse to live as beacons of light—of goodness, beauty, and blessing—to the world. I…

My Utmost for His Highest

December 21st
Experience or revelation

We have received … the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 1 Cor. 2:12.

Reality is Redemption, not my experience of Redemption; but Redemption has no meaning for me until it speaks the language of my conscious life. When I am born again, the Spirit of God takes me right out of myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ. If I am left with my experiences, my experiences have not been produced by Redemption. The proof that they are produced by Redemption is that I am led out of myself all the time; I no longer pay any attention to my experiences as the ground of Reality, but only to the Reality which produced the experiences. My experiences are not worth anything unless they keep me at the Source, Jesus Christ.

If you try to dam up the Holy Spirit in you to produce subjective experiences, you will find that He will burst all bounds and take you back again to the historic Chris…

Morning and Evening

Morning, December 21      Go To Evening Reading
 “Yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant.”    — 2 Samuel 23:5
This covenant is divine in its origin. “HE hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” Oh that great word HE! Stop, my soul. God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a covenant with thee; yes, that God who spake the world into existence by a word; he, stooping from his majesty, takes hold of thy hand and makes a covenant with thee. Is it not a deed, the stupendous condescension of which might ravish our hearts for ever if we could really understand it? “HE hath made with me a covenant.” A king has not made a covenant with me—that were somewhat; but the Prince of the kings of the earth, Shaddai, theLord All-sufficient, the Jehovahof ages, the everlasting Elohim, “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” But notice, it is particular in its application. “Yet hath he made with ME an everlasting covenant.” Here lies the sweetness of it to each believer. It i…