Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March 14, 2016

The Resurrection was NOT on Easter

The Gifts of the Magi

The Gifts of the Magi

Matthew 2:9–12

Excerpt


What the Magi recognize as divine guidance fills them, literally, withexceedingly great joy (v. 10). They find the mother and child and prostrate themselves before him in worship. The gifts used to honor the new king were typically associated with royalty. Because Matthew has not yet introduced the theme of Jesus’ death, it is not likely that he is implying it here, even though myrrh was a spice often used in embalming. Rather, all three gifts honor the Christ child as King. Gold, then as now, was a precious metal prized for its beauty and value, an appropriate regal gift. Frankincense and myrrh were fragrant spices and perfumes equally appropriate for such adoration and worship.31 Similar visits of Magi to royalty are described in other Greco-Roman literature of the time (Dio Cassius Roman History 63.7; Suetonius, Nero13), but more significant here is the Jewish background. The Magi appear as Balaam’s successors to witness the fulfillment o…

Easter: The Untold Story

Temptation

Temptation

James 1:12–15

Excerpt


The term is used in the Bible to convey two somewhat different ideas. The first is that of ‘testing’ or ‘proving by testing,’ to determine the depth and integrity of one’s commitment to God (see, e.g., God’s command to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice in Gen. 22:1-19; also the testing of Job in Job 1-2). In the NT, some of the writers thought of persecution as a ‘testing’ in this manner (e.g., 1 Pet. 1:3-9). The intent of this testing is ultimately to strengthen the person’s faith and devotion to God.

The second nuance of temptation is more in line with modern popular understandings of the term, namely, an enticement toward sin leading to a deliberate act of evil against God or one’s neighbor. The biblical writers are careful, however, to make it clear that God does not ‘tempt’ humans to do evil (e.g., James 1:12-15) and in fact makes available the resources necessary to resist temptation (e.g., 1 Cor.10:13). The familiar petition in the Lord’…

Serpent in the Ancient World

Serpent in the Ancient World

Genesis 3:1, 2, 4, 13, 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.


Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Soci…

Altar of Burnt Offering

Altar of Burnt Offering


The Suffering Servant

The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 52:13–53:12

Excerpt


The Messiah Servant suffered willingly and silently (cf. Matt. 26:63;27:11–14; Luke 23:9). The unjust judicial proceedings Christ was subjected to were reflected in 53:8. The Jewish Sanhedrin violated their own laws by (1) convening at the house of Caiaphas rather than the regular meeting place, (2) meeting at night rather than during the day, (3) convening on the eve of a Sabbath and a festival, (4) pronouncing the judgment the same day as the trial, and (5) ignoring the formalities allowing for the possibility of acquittal in cases involving a capital sentence. Although condemned with wicked criminals (the two thieves), Christ was buried in the tomb of a rich man (cf. Matt. 27:57–60).


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

Place Where St. Paul Was Let Down

Place Where St. Paul Was Let Down
‎ Paul was not destined to be the evangelist of the East. His retirement in Arabia was not of long continuance. The time from his conversion to his final departure from Damascus is said not to have exceeded three years. Meanwhile, he had returned to Damascus, preaching boldly in the name of Jesus. The Jews, being no longer able to meet him in controversy, resolved to assassinate him. All due precautions were taken to evade the danger, for Saul had become acquainted with the conspiracy. The Jews watched the gates of Damascus to waylay and destroy Saul. The church continued in prayer for him. In the night from some overhanging house he was let down from a window in a basket. Along the southeast angle of the wall of Damascus is Bab Kisan—a gate which has been walled up for many centuries, and the wall has been rebuilt several times. Monkish tradition still points to the wall between the round tower and the gate west of it as the place from which Saul wa…

Watchtower at Yad HaShmonah

Watchtower at Yad HaShmonah

Pastor Terry K. Anderson 2016 | You Have A Reason To Rejoice

Connect the Testaments

March 14: A Psalm of Confidence
Numbers 15:1–41; John 20:1–31; Psalm 16:1–11

“You are my Lord,” the psalmist acknowledges. “I have no good apart from you” (Psa 16:2).
We know that God is everything we need, but somehow the details still get in the way. We want to alleviate our troubles through other means—that vacation, the position that will bring recognition, or the spouse who will complete us. The psalmist says that anyone who places their desire in anything other than God will only increase in sorrow (Psa 16:4).

It seems radical and difficult to live out the psalmist’s simple confession. The ancient practice of idol worship is alive and well in our modern-day culture and in our own hearts. (Just look at the magazine rack or TV shows if you think I’m wrong: what is worshiped there?) We are just like the Israelites—unfaithful and prone to “hurry after another god” (Psa 16:4).

For the psalmist, however, “Yahweh is the portion which is my share and my cup” (Psa 16:5). He is all the psal…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings.

Morning, March 14      Go To Evening Reading
     “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” — 1 Corinthians 10:12
It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, “I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall.” “I have fervent love,” says another, “I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray.” He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious will be its scent. Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst thou be kept from falling. Be much more in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures mo…

My Utmost for His Highest

March 14th
Obedience


His servants ye are to whom ye obey. Romans 6:16.

The first thing to do in examining the power that dominates me is to take hold of the unwelcome fact that I am responsible for being thus dominated because I have yielded. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame for it because at a point away back I yielded myself to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because I have yielded myself to Him.

Yield in childhood to selfishness, and you will find it the most enchaining tyranny on earth. There is no power in the human soul of itself to break the bondage of a disposition formed by yielding. Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust (remember what lust is: ‘I must have it at once,’ whether it be the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind), once yield and though you may hate yourself for having yielded, you are a bond-slave to that thing. There is no release in human power at all, but only in the Redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation…