Come and Buy

Come and Buy

ORMSKIRK is a small town in north-west England, well-known locally for its unique parish church, its gingerbread and its vibrant market. This outdoor market is held near the old clock tower every Thursday and Saturday throughout the year. When the weather is good it is bustling with people buying, selling, chatting and advertising local events. It is one of the oldest markets in the UK, dating back to 1286 when monks at nearby Burscough were granted a charter by King Edward I to hold an outdoor market in Ormskirk. In today’s market you will not see cattle and pigs roaming around, and we can be sure that there were no electrical goods in the Thirteenth Century. But for hundreds of years it has been a place to buy food, drink, clothes and hardware. The clock tower was built in the marketplace in 1876, and soon became a focal point in

Daniel

Daniel

DANIEL WAS a Jewish captive who was deported to Babylon in about 606 BC. He and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, though only teenagers, displayed great courage in exile, holding to their beliefs and the worship of the God of Israel (chapters 1–3). As an old man he faced being thrown into a den of lions rather than renounce his faith (chapter 6). God delivered him. A Book of Prophecy The Book of Daniel contains many prophecies, which concern the conflict between the kingdoms of men (particularly as they affect Israel) and the Kingdom of God. For example: Chapter 2 Nebuchadnezzar’s image: the statue of a man whose parts, from head to feet, represent successive empires involved in God’s purpose. Chapter 5 The writing on the wall: warning to Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belteshazzar of the imminent  overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Chapter 9 Vision of 70

The Apostles Teaching

The Apostles Teaching

This is the ninth in a series in which we examine this fascinating Bible book. You can catch up with the previous articles at www.gladtidingsmagazine.org. IN THE ACTS of the Apostles we have a number of speeches made by the apostles. These were generally given for one of three reasons: they were speeches given to outline the Gospel for those who did not know it, or they were defences of the apostles against accusations from either the authorities or the public, or they were warnings to Christians about threats to the Gospel. In this article we shall focus on the speeches in which the apostles were proclaiming the Gospel. The reason that these are important is that they show the message that the apostles proclaimed to the world, which is the message that people accepted before they were baptised. There are six speeches in which apostles proclaimed the Gospel to

The Bible Today

The Bible Today

HOW OFTEN do we hear the Bible quoted nowadays? Actually, more often than you might think! There are many common expressions that come from the Bible. Examples are ‘wisdom of Solomon’, ‘go the extra mile’, ‘by the skin of my teeth’, ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. Of course, this does not mean that people are aware that they are alluding to the Bible, far less that they believe it. The expressions may have become part of our English language in the same way as those from Shakespeare, such as ‘pound of flesh’. Quotes In The News Most of us are interested in the news, and the Bible is still referred to in the news. For example, in August 2019 the English town of Whaley Bridge was threatened because the local dam was in danger of collapse, due to rain which a BBC reporter described as of ‘near biblical proportions’. In July

The Ebla Tablets

The Ebla Tablets

BETWEEN THE Syrian city of Aleppo and the Mediterranean coast lies a huge mound which is the remains of the ancient city of Ebla. Excavations have revealed that it was once a metropolis at the centre of a sophisticated civilisation. Archaeologists believe that the city was ransacked and rebuilt twice before it was finally destroyed by invaders around 1600bc. In 1975 an extraordinary discovery was made in the ruins of one of the city’s palaces: an archive of clay tablets, lying where they fell when the wooden shelves they were stacked on collapsed as the palace burnt to the ground. Around 1,800 of the tablets were intact, they were still in order, and there were even clay reference tags showing how the archive was organised. There were financial records and economic documents, religious and literary texts and school books. They were all made of clay, because they were made long

The Living Word

The Living Word

I REMEMBER my school teacher demonstrating to our class why we shouldn’t trust the Bible. He lined up some pupils and they played Chinese Whispers —the person at the front whispered a message in the ear of the one behind them, who whispered what they heard in the ear of the person behind them, and so on. Finally the person at the back said what they’d heard, and it was hilariously different from the original message. That, declared my teacher, is how it is with the Bible. It’s an ancient book which has been copied through the generations, so what we now have will be completely different from what was originally written. This is a view that is held by many people. It’s an appealing view, because the Bible is a challenging book and it says things that many people find uncomfortable. It claims to be the word of God,

Religion Causes Wars!

Religion Causes Wars!

“Christianity preaches ‘Love your enemies’—but what about the crusades, inquisitions, persecutions and wars that have been conducted in its name? When you think of all the violence that religion is responsible for, is it any wonder that people turn away from it?” WHAT CAUSES war and conflict? There are many factors, including economic, ethnic, territorial, political, sociological and religious. To simply blame religion and leave it at that is far too simplistic and crude; it is not real analysis and it is not a real answer. To illustrate this, let’s consider two alternatives. Wars sometimes result from differences of political opinion—so should we say ‘politics causes wars’? Does that mean human beings should therefore abandon politics because politics is ‘bad’? Again, wars often result from economics—they are fought over resources such as land, oil, water and so on. So should we say ‘economics causes wars’?  If no one would make

Jesus in the Book of Acts

Jesus in the Book of Acts

This is the tenth and final article in a series in which we examine this fascinating Bible book. You can catch up with the previous articles at www.gladtidingsmagazine.org. JESUS IS THE central figure of Christianity, and he appears throughout the whole of the Bible, both in the Old Testament (as the promised Messiah) and of course in the New Testament which revolves around his life and teaching. The Acts of the Apostles is the account of the activities of the church after Jesus rose from death and ascended to heaven. In Acts Jesus is spoken of by the apostles, and he also speaks to them on occasion. The teaching of the apostles about Jesus is strikingly different from the teaching of many modern churches. The picture of Jesus in the apostles’ speeches is very consistent, from the speech of Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2) to the defences of Paul to

How to Be a Saint

How to Be a Saint

I ONCE KNEW a man who ran a second-hand bookshop. He loved books and would read anything that came into the shop. So when someone brought in a Bible he sat down to read it, even though he was an ardent atheist. Next time he saw me he wanted a word: “Tell me about David.” “King of Israel,” I said. “A great man. The Bible calls him a ‘man after God’s own heart’” (1 Samuel 13:14). “Aha!” he said. “Do you know what David did to Uriah?” (He’d been reading 2 Samuel 11 and 12.) “Seduced the guy’s wife, and then had him killed to cover it up! And you say he was a great man?” I tried to explain how this shows that even someone as great as David can fail and commit a horrible crime, which shows that even the best of us fail at times; that David

Hosea

Hosea

THIS IS A prophecy about God’s love for His people Israel. Through the sad story of his own miserable marriage, Hosea shows his people how they have been like an unfaithful wife in their dealings with God. Israel’s Failure Hosea had to warn Israel, especially the Northern Kingdom termed ‘Ephraim’, that God would punish her because of her disobedience. In this book, several symbols describe Israel’s failure as God’s ‘wife’: •             Her goodness had disappeared—like a ‘morning cloud’ (6:4); •             Like a ‘silly dove’, she had turned first to Assyria, then to Egypt, for help—instead of to God (7:11); •             She had once been like ‘grapes in the wilderness’, when God first took her (9:10); now she had become like a barren fig tree (9:16) (compare Mark 11:13 and Luke 21:29-31); •             She would now have to plough a lone furrow, without God (10:11). Israel, instead