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Showing posts from January, 2018

The Scrolls: Jesus In Context

However old and widespread the notion of “the Bible” as a series of books may be, though, it is a misleading concept.  The books of the Bible are not books in the modern sense of the word and did not exist as books in the ancient world. To see them as such distorts the historical reality. There were no books in ancient Israel -- there were only scrolls and clay tablets. In the late first century the early ancestor of books – the codex (a Greek invention) – began to gain popularity around the Mediterranean and in the Near East. In the world of Jesus, scrolls were the popular material upon which scribes wrote.
The Great Isaiah Scroll
It is important to understand that only about 10% of the population could read and write. “High literacy” was confined to a small group, to which scribes were the central figures. The account in Luke 4, where Jesus is handed the scroll of Isaiah, unrolls it and finds a specific section of the text and reads it to the synagogue audience indicates that Jesus w…

The Temple: Jesus In Context

The history of the descendants of Abraham from Moses to Jesus is divided into periods that reflect the temples of Yahweh – The Tabernacle of Moses, The First Temple and the Second Temple.
(1) When the Israelites entered Canaan, they brought the Tabernacle of Moses with them and established to semi-permanently at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1).
(2) When King David conquered Jerusalem in 1010 BCE, he transferred the Ark of the Covenant to a tent-shrine in his new capital. In 960 BCE Solomon built the First Temple and the elements of the Tabernacle were incorporated into it. The First Temple replaced the Tabernacle as the place where humans could approach the presence of Yahweh. The First Temple operated for 374 years until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
(3) The Second Temple began operations in 530 BCE under the authority of Cyrus the Great, King of the Persian Empire. It would continue to operate until 70 CE, about 43 years after Jesus was crucified. It was destroyed by Roman arm…

The Land: Jesus in Context

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised . . .” (Genesis 17:7-12a)

And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus . . . (Luke 2:21a)
Jesus lived in the “promised land,” the land that Yahweh pro…

The Third Blessing and Mystery of the Seventh Day

In the seventh day the Creator completed Its mission, which It had made. The Creator rested on the seventh day from all Its mission, which It had made.
The key to understanding the Creator’s actions on the seventh day is discovering what the word “rested” meant to the ancient author and audience. The author couldn’t have made the importance of the seventh day any clearer, if he had painting a gigantic sign. Read the complete blog at --

Bishops, Emperors and Beliefs

There were Christian churches -- but not a Christian church, not one that was catholic, or universal -- until at least 325 CE, when the First Council of Nicea met (Thursday May 20th to Saturday June 19th) and formulated the first creed.1 The Council was called by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Why did the most powerful person in the Roman Empire call for a council of Christian bishops (leaders of the above churches) to assemble? Read the complete blog at --

Jesus In Context

Many years ago I was in Chicago doing research on Yeshua, the Jewish Jesus, with a friend. We were in a university library in downtown Chicago when the professor we were visiting with called out, “Hey Yeshua!” I quickly turned in the direction she was looking and saw a young man wave at her. But, for a split second, my brain was expecting to see another Yeshua – and that was a very weird experience. For years the only Yeshua in my mind was Jesus -- andI really wasn’t expecting to see him that day in Chicago.
The professor laughed when she realized what was going on. She reminded me that Yeshua was still a very popular Jewish name, just like it was 2000 years ago in Galilee and Judea. There were lots of people named Yeshua in Jesus’s world. But when many Christians picture those places in that time period, they picture only one. So how did people view him back then?
Jesus didn’t live in a “holy force field” that separated him from the rest of mankind. In his world in 6 BCE to 27 CE, no …

The Creation of the First Two Humans

The Creator said, "Let us make ADAM in our image . . . .”
The two underlined words have received a tremendous amount of attention and raised some very interesting questions over the past two thousand years.
(1) Who is the “us”?
(2) What is an ADAM?
Keep things in context” is a basic linguistic rule to remember when you are searching for answers to questions like these. Read the complete blog at --

Biblical Wisdom for Successful Living Today!

Wisdom and knowledge are related but not synonymous. The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Knowledge, on the other hand, is defined as “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.” Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but wisdom cannot exist without knowledge. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.

We are living in the Information Age, drowning in tsunamis of knowledge-claims. What’s missing is wisdom! The Wisdom of the Beginnings is recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis. It is packed with Time-Tested Values, Principles & Insights that give those who understand them distinct advantages in making successful decisions for living today – and it’s free! Got to --

The Creation of the Earth

Is this the picture that pops into your mind when you hear the word “Earth”? 

Did you know that no human had ever seen this view of earth before October 24, 1946 when a group of scientists in a New Mexico desert saw the first pictures taken by cameras onboard a rocket they had just launched?1 Now we are going to take a trip back in time to about 450 BCE and see what picture of the Earth the ancient scribes had in their minds. Read the complete blog at --

The Complexity and Miracle of Human Creativity

In 1951, James Watson and Francis Crick pieced together the existing pieces of a scientific puzzle they had been working on for many years. What they discovered allowed them to see the basic building blocks of lifefor the first time in the history of mankind -- deoxyribonucleic acid – known by most people as DNA. Read the complete blog at --