Israel was God's special nation among the pagans. It was a nation in the true sense of the word, with government, land, borders, states (tribes), and a population based on birth.
As such, the government was supposed to represent God's will and promote it among the people. The government was first made up of judges and prophets. Then the people demanded to be ruled by a king, like the Gentiles. The king should encourage justice and righteousness and quickly punish evildoers. ...continue reading →
Balance, said the flamboyant Ira North. So when we hit the false doctrines — and we should hit them, make no mistake about it — shouldn't we also draw out the postive truth of Scripture and let that light draw people to the beauty of the Lord?
When people cried at the reading of the Word, the strong governor Nehemiah said, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" Neh 8.10. ...continue reading →
If an unclean spirit could identify you and proclaim to the world your identity and your activity, what would it say? This happened to Paul and Silas, in Philippi.
She followed behind Paul and us and kept crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
Acts 16.17 NET
The unclean spirit did not want anyone to be saved. It was alerting everyone, in a way, to avoid them. But it knew very well who they were and why they had come to Philippi. And it described the two of them and their mission very well.
What would cause the Israelite leaders to take such a radical position?
A proclamation was circulated throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles were to be assembled in Jerusalem. Everyone who did not come within three days would thereby forfeit all his property, in keeping with the counsel of the officials and the elders. Furthermore, he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.
Ezra 10.7-8 NET
Many of the people, recently returned from exile, had married foreign women. It was against God's law, v. 3. It constituted "infidelity," v. 6. ...continue reading →
Jesus warned his followers ahead of time what would happen to him. He would suffering at the hands of the authorities, would be killed, and on the third day would rise from the dead.
I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling.
John 16.1 HCSB
Stumbling in this context means to lose or abandon one's faith (see NLT). "Forewarned is forearmed," says the proverb. The disciples would not be caught unawares. They would know that God was still in control and that all would happen according to his plan. ...continue reading →
A new poll is out about the Bible in the US. These stats are disturbing, if not surprising. Only half of Americans read, at least once a year, some religious text at all, 95% of those reading the Bible. So the majority of the American population is totally and completely ignorant of Scripture. ...continue reading →