Numerous modern critics of the Bible say the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) is simply a myth based on pagan stories of "resurrected gods" from around the world, and that the authors of the New Testament borrowed from these myths and incorporated them into the Bible. But the similarity of two stories proves nothing about their origin or truth content. The Jews of Yeshua's time were steeped in Old Testament monotheism which had a well developed tradition of resurrection believed and taught by the Pharisees. Polytheistic pagan ideas would have been abhorrent to men who understood and practiced the Judaism of the apostles and New Testament writers.
Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart [...]
In the year 1920, young Oswald Smith stood before the examining board for the selection of missionaries. He had wanted to be a missionary for as long as he could remember, and for all that time had been crying out to God that He might open a door for him to do so. Finally, his time had come. There he stood awaiting his destiny. His long-awaited was about to come…"No."
Carl Armerding wrote a funny story in Moody Monthly, about his experience at the zoo. "As I stood there," he said, "an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom.
One of the greatest stories of the Bible is David and Goliath. It's such a good story, in fact, that the world has come to make common use of it! A prime example of this is when the underdog faces an invincible champion in just about any sport on national television, commentators always seem to make mention of David and Goliath.
Most people overlook a very significant part of the parable of the prodigal son, which is – the elder son received his inheritance as well! (Luke 15:12b) According to the custom of the times, the older son's inheritance would have been twice that of the younger son. In that light, his response to his younger brother's initiative, a response of silence…speaks volumes.
There is a tale told of that great English actor Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: "I wish you would explain to me something."
When God called Gideon to lead Israel against their enemies, He wanted to show that a small army empowered by God was more effective than the largest armies. But notice how they fought – without weapons that an army would normally use. They fought with shofars and lamps! They fought with weapons that the world would consider ineffective, yet triumphed mightily over their enemies. They shouted as loud as they could, sounded the shofar, and broke the vessels that held the fire so that their lamps burst through with brightness.
As parents trying to raise kids in this world, we're constantly reminded by the Lord of Proverbs 22:6, 'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' The Hebrew word 'train', in this passage is, 'Chanak' which can be translated, 'train up' or 'dedicate.' It's the root word from which we get the word, Chanukah.
According to ancient Jewish legend, one day Abraham was shown his father, Terah's room of many idols. Young Abraham, thinking that perhaps he could discover intimacy with them, made some desirable delicacies and placed them before the idols. When nothing happened, he realized that these idols were nothing more than clay — they could do nothing for him or anyone else for that matter. So he proceeded to destroy all the idols, except for one.
The setting in 1 Samuel 14 is war between the Israelites and the Philistines; and while King Saul relaxed under a pomegranate tree [1 Samuel 14:2], his son Jonathan along with his armor-bearer left the camp quietly to see if the Lord would fight the battle on their behalf. Jonathan had no idea what he would face out there, how many Philistines he would encounter, their battle skills or strategies. He only knew that if God delivered the enemy into his hands he would be victorious. And he was.
Throughout the history of the modern state of Israel, there have been accounts of angelic interventions protecting Israeli soldiers in the midst of intense warfare. One instance recounted by an Israeli military historian after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, describes an Israeli soldier in the Sinai taking captive an entire Egyptian column and leading them to where the Israeli troops were. The Egyptian commander was asked why he and his men gave themselves up to the lone Israeli soldier. He responded with surprise, "One soldier? There were thousands of them."
Many are discouraged with the election results in the United States today, others, perhaps are elated. Most Christians and Messianic believers do not see the nation choosing Biblical values with the continuation of the present administration, and are deeply concerned about the direction America is heading.
Yom Kippur, which literally means Day of Coverings, can be a day of deep reflection on what the Lord has done for us. As Yeshua (Jesus) died on the cross 2000 years ago, the Gospel describes how the veil in the Temple was torn in two. This profound spiritual event reveals that the Lord gave all whose sins are covered by His blood access to the Holy of Holies, as He had become our High Priest in addition to being, Himself, the perfect sacrifice for sin.
In the 1940's, the world fought against the greatest evil it had ever seen, Adolf Hitler and his terrible regime. In the midst of this war, Winston Churchill said, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
In the days of Isaac, there was famine in the land of Israel. It appeared then, that the right thing to do was to go to Egypt where there was plenty. But the Lord instructed Issac not to go, and instead cling to the promise that He made with His father, Abraham.
Recently, I've been impressed by the Lord to address the anxieties many are feeling about the future– how to be strong in the face of the intense opposition we’ll be facing as believers. One of the founders of the modern state of Israel, David Ben-Gurion once said, “Courage is a special kind of knowledge, the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. From this knowledge comes an inner strength that inspires us to push on in the face of great difficulty. What can seem impossible is often possible with courage.”
In today's news, Bloomberg reported that according to a recent study, Americans can add as many as two years to the nation's life expectancy if they stand up more often and watch fewer hours of television. What a concept — move around and you'll live longer!
Since moving to Israel we've been thrust into a Middle Eastern culture of "extreme hospitality". The above parable from Luke takes place in a similar cultural context, and it powerfully illustrates how God wants us to approach Him.
Yeshua (Jesus) asked this man "Do you want to be made well?" Of course he did! Wouldn't you? Why did Jesus ask a question like this when its answer was so clearly obvious? It seems the Lord wanted to hear him verbalize his need.