GOD’S PEOPLE ARE described in the Bible as ‘the temple of God’ (1 Corinthians 3:16), ‘the temple of the living God’ (2 Corinthians 6:16) and ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 6:19). These fascinating terms refer back to the actual temple which existed in Jerusalem, and they have profound implications for how disciples of Christ should live. It was King David who originally proposed to build a temple (or ‘house’) for God (the account is in 2 Samuel 7). God explained to him through Nathan the prophet that he would not be the one to build the house, it would be his descendant. Also, by means of his descendant God would build a house for David! When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He
IN 2004 A SEWER sprang a leak in Old Jerusalem, and while repairing it the workmen came across a length of buried stone steps. Archaeologists moved in to investigate, and identified that the steps dated to the Second Temple Period (around the First Century ad, that’s the time of Jesus). As the excavation was widened it emerged that they belonged to a mikveh—a ritual bath in which pilgrims visiting the city for religious festivals would purify themselves before heading up to the Temple to offer their sacrifices. The bath was roughly square, and huge, about the size of two Olympic swimming pools. (The First Century historian Josephus records that over two million people would descend on Jerusalem for the feasts.) It was soon realized that this was none other than the Pool of Siloam, which is well known to Bible readers because it was here that a blind man was
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give lists of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:1–17 provides his legal ancestry through his step-father Joseph, and Luke 3:23–38 provides his biological ancestry through his mother Mary. All the ancestors named in Luke are men, but Matthew also names five women. These five women were all very special individuals. In this series we will look at them in turn. The first is Tamar. ABRAHAM LIVED around 2000 bc. God made special promises to him, and he became the founder of Israel (the Jews)and of many of the Arab nations. Much of the Bible is concerned with the nation, and neighbours, of Israel. Jesus was born of Mary, a Jewess. Abraham’s son was Isaac, and Isaac’s son was Jacob, and it was through these sons that God’s promises were passed. Jacob had twelve sons, and the fourth was called Judah, whose descendants lived
The Gospel of John records a number of sayings of Jesus which begin “I am…” In this series we think about some of the profound things he said about himself. AS THEY were sharing the Last Supper on the night before he died Jesus said to his disciples, “Where I go you know, and the way you know” (John 14:4). Thomas, one of his disciples, asked him “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus replied, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (v. 6). The disciples had been with him for a long time. It is remarkable that Thomas did not know ‘the way’. Perhaps at the time the disciples still suffered a disconnect with Jesus’ teaching and failed to fully understand the Gospel he preached. It
The Bible can be a daunting book. In this series we look at what it is, and how to read it. IF YOU REALLY want to understand the Bible, the first thing you must do is read it. By reading the text you will become familiar with it. When you read one part it will begin to remind you of something you have already read. As your familiarity with the book increases so will your understanding. As the Bible says itself, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Understandably this may seem to be quite a daunting task, the Bible is after all a very large book. It is therefore helpful to have a bit of an overview of what it’s all about. For the Bible isn’t just one book, but a collection of 66 books, written by different authors over a period of
THIS IS A short prophecy, consisting of just one chapter, about Israel’s Arab neighbours. It applies particularly to our days, and it has an amazing outcome! Esau and Jacob The name Obadiah is Hebrew, meaning ‘servant of Yahweh’, the God of Israel. Interestingly, the prophecy is about both Israel and Arabs. The nation of Edom was descended from Esau, who was brother to Jacob the ancestor of Israel. Edom was located south and east of the Dead Sea. Today it is the southern part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The Edomites were always hostile to Israel, just as their ancestor Esau had been to Jacob (see Genesis 27:41). When the Babylonians invaded Judah around 586 bc, the Edomites took the opportunity to persecute the Jews(verses 11–14). Mount Esau and Mount Zion Mount Esau (vs. 8, 9, 19, 21), sometimes called Mount Seir, is another name for the country of Edom.