John 5:39-40 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.
I have read and heard read this verse so many times, I thought that I understood it, but I made a drastic error in my interpretation. You see when I hear the word scriptures, I think of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, but not what the people who first heard Jesus thought. You see when this verse was first spoken by Jesus, he had not yet been crucified, the New Testament had not yet been written. So the term scriptures could not mean the New Testament, he was only referring to the Old.
Now read my paraphrase of the passage
You pore over the Old Testament because you think you have eternal life in them, yet it testifies of Jesus. And you are not willing to come to Jesus so that you may have life.
He is telling us that we can find Jesus all over the Old Testament if we know to look for him. It isn’t just about judgment and the angry Father like many people think it is. It is also about salvation and Jesus.
I knew that the Old Testament was more than many think that it is, but only in a way that you know a recipe before you have actually made the dessert on the card. I saw the words, could put them together, but I had not yet seen, smelled or tasted the dessert that the card described. Once you have put it in your mouth, and tasted it, you know that you will never look at that recipe card the same way again. Just like my next reading of the Old Testament will be more beautiful, with a newfound understanding and appreciation.
If you want to know more about Jesus in the Old Testament please consider reading
Finding Jesus in the Old Testament by David Limbaugh
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Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Who are these Magi, and where did they come from, and how did they know that the star would lead to? Some have said that they were astrologers, that is possible, but I think that there is a more likely explaination.
The Wise Men that came to worship Jesus, were from the East. The nearest land to the East was the Babylon Empire, which at one point Isreal was part of. When we read about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego we are reading about events that took place in Babylon.
When Daniel survived in the Lion’s den, King Darius was so grateful that he said
“Daniel 6:26-27 (KJV)
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in Earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
So to at least some extent, Babylon knew about Isreal and the Jewish religion and would have access to the history of the Jewish people, not only because they once occupied them, but because they were close enough to have contact with each other. . This would include many of the Prophecies made about the coming Messiah.
One of those prophecies was made by the reluctant prophet Balaam (The guy with the talking Donkey)
In Numbers 24:17 Balaam says “I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel”
A sceptre is a symbol of Kingship, and a star in the land of Jacob is connected with that king.
One of Daniel’s prophecies particularly sticks out as a foretelling of the coming of Christ
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
This was understood to mean in seventy weeks of years (490 years) it would be time to anoint the most Holy. Which gave the Babylonians a time frame for this to happen.
Since the Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had such a big impact on Babyalon, it would only be natural for them to record those events, and thus the Wise Men would have had access to those records
While Babylon did participate in astrology, it’s study of the stars, also led them to lay the groundwork for modern day astronomy. If they had studied the work of Daniel, and then heard of a strange star in the sky durring the time of the prophecy, I am sure they would want to check it out, and since wise men were typically under the employment of the government, it would have been an obligation of the royal house to give a gift to any new born king to help secure peace, thus explaining how the Wise men had such expensive gifts on hand.
We should also consider the fact that not long after the Wise Men had given their gifts to Jesus, Joseph was told to take his family to Egypt to live. Trips like that cost a lot of money. If those Wise Men had not come, I doubt a carpenter would have been able to afford that kind of trip, so I believe that God sent the Wise Men to give the money to Joseph that he was soon going to need.
If you would like to support Smart Christian, and do more research into this subject. Please consider buying these books from Amazon.com via the links below.
Finding Jesus in the Old Testament , by David Limbaugh
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
The Moody Bible Commentary
And a wikipedia link talking about the origins of Astronomy in Babylon
“They can believe anything they want to believe. As long as what they believe is consistent with the evidence.”
So, this is just an advice post for doing apologetics.
Here are three situations I’ve run into while doing apologetics in the last month.
First situation. I was talking with a lady who is an atheist. I had a copy of “God’s Crime Scene” in my hand, and she asked me about it. I told her that it was a book written by the guy who solved the homicide case that I asked her to watch on Dateline. She remembered – it was the two-hour special on the woman who was killed with a garrotte. She pointed at the book and said “what’s in it?” I said, it has 8 pieces of evidence that fit better with a theistic worldview than with an atheistic one, and some of them scientific. Her reply to me was – literally – “which denomination do you…
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The Mormons and others believe that marriage exists in Heaven. It is a happy thought for some, that I hate to take from them, but for others, it isn’t so happy of a thought. Imagine being married to non-Christian. If marriage existed in Heaven you would have to face the idea of being unmarried for eternity while most of the population was still married. That isn’t a pleasant thought!
Matthew 22:23-32 Tells the story of a woman whose husband has died, this man had six brothers, and when the first one died, she married another, and he died, and she married another..in the end, she had married all seven and never had any kids. The Sadducees wanted to know which of the brothers would be her husband in the Resurrection. Jesus reply is “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven”.
They may still have a relationship with the person they were married to. but there won’t be a need for marriage. The institution of marriage was invented for the sake of Adam, so he would not be alone. No one will be alone in the resurrection, we will all have every single believer and the Messiah with us in a relationship better than any of us have now, and we will have JESUS! Our relationship with him will be eternally more fulfilling in the resurrection than it is now.
I am sorry if this upset anyone, but we won’t be upset about it when we reach Heaven. We will be too busy loving Jesus, and every other Christian in Heaven to miss out relasionships here.