New Appreciation for a Well Known Verse.

 

Dusty Bible
     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

If you purchase it via the link above a small percentage will go to help absorb some of the cost of making this page.

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The Wise Men



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









No Private Interpretations!

cropped-bible-e14417322078632 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Bible was a gift given to all people at all times. Some of the scriptures were meant for a particular person of a group of people, but as a matter of history, everyone needs to know about them.  After the context is considered (Is it historical, future prophecy, or for all people at all times) It means the same thing as it has always meant.

If you are interpreting it in a way that is just for you, and the meaning changes when someone else reads it, you are going against this passage.

I once heard of a man that was lusting over a woman named Grace. He was already married, and so was she. One day he was praying about it and he read in the Bible something about grace, that led him to believe that he had permission from God to break up two families and marry Grace. Unless God wanted every person who has ever lived to marry a person named Grace, the Bible did not mean that. A careful study of the Bible would have told him that divorce may have been permitted at times, that wasn’t what God wanted for anyone. It can, however, tell a single man that if someone named Grace is a single Christian who isn’t related to him, she might be the one, but the meaning of the passages in question would be the same if the woman in question was named Gina, Cindy, or Sarah.

The Holy Spirit can make different passages stand out to different people at different times. I personally have read passages that I know I have read before, but I suddenly had to stop and re-read the passage several times then realize that there is something that the Lord wants me to pay particular attention too. But if the passage is about feeding the hungry, it has always been about feeding the hungry…while the application of the verse may vary from person to person, it means the same thing that it meant thousands of years ago.

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How Do We Know the Apostles Died As Martyrs?

Many people are willing to die for their beliefs, but finding people who are willing to die for something they know is a lie, is another matter entirely.

Read more by the presenter of this video
Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith

God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe

 

Three Atheists Explain Why the Bible Should Be Taught in Schools | Intellectual Takeout

You Are Here Three Atheists Explain Why the Bible Should Be Taught in Schools Annie Holmquist | October 5, 2017

Ask most Americans if the Bible should be read in schools and a majority will likely say no. After all, the Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that states and school boards may not require the Bible to be read in schools… so doesn’t that mean that its presence should be completely abolished?Even though the Supreme Court insisted that this was not the case, many schools have taken this stance, not only in the U.S., but in European nations as well. But according to British broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, such a move is very detrimental to society. As a liberal atheist, Bragg’s opinion does not appear to be the result of religious proselytizing; instead, Bragg argues that failure to have children read the Bible will result in a dearth of cultural literacy:“'[The Bible] should be read so that people have depth to language and depth of reference, which they are without.‘I think it is a great deprivation. What have we thrown away? One of the greatest pieces of art, work, whatever way you want to put it. It’s awful.”Bragg specifically advocates for the King James Version of the Bible, comparing it to works of Shakespeare in beauty and relevance.

Read more at: Three Atheists Explain Why the Bible Should Be Taught in Schools | Intellectual Takeout

 

A book that may interest you

Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines 
an incredible tool to help you conceptualize the Bible including
an overview of the books of the Bible
How we got the Bible
Weights, measures, and money in the Bible
100 Proofs for the Bible in Archeology
Christian history timeline
100 Old Testament Prophecies fulfilled by Christ
and much more
If you buy via this link a small percentage will go toward making Smart Christian a better site.

His Mercies Never End

cross against the sky

Lamentations 3:22-24  Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

ח Khet

22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
24 I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him.

Many of you are probably thinking “yeah, that’s easy to say when things are going your way.”, Not so fast, when it comes to Bible interpretation, context makes all the difference.   Jeremiah and all of Isreal were going through some times that would make most of our nightmares look like day dreams.  Cities demolished, enslaved, starvation …

Yet Jeremiah wasn’t without comfort. He knew that the Lord would forgive, and deliver them.  While the Lord may seem far away at times, there is still hope. God will somehow deliver if you trust in him.

Colossians 2:8 is Philosophy bad?

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the Musée Rodin in Paris

Colossians 2:8

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.   (HCSB)

Many people assume that this verse is warning Christians away from philosophy, but this passage talks about a particular kind of philosophy, the kind that is based on what human tradition says. Philosophy based on Christ is a good thing.

Philosophy is a method of discovering truth. Many people claim that science is the only way to truth, but  I ask “What scientific study did you do to discover that truth?”, “How much does that “truth” weigh?”. There are several other questions I could ask to point out that not all truth is scientific.

In Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm says ” Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. ”

The reason that they did not stop to think about that question is that should and ought are in the realm of philosophy, science can inform moral truth, but it can not discover it.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and true wisdom flows from God’s truth.
Wisdom is mentioned many times in the Bible, and most of the time it is in a good light. The wisdom of Solomon was at one time famous all over the then known world, and his wisdom came from God.

A good book that is filled with Christian Philosophy, that debunks the most common bad philosophy today, the “everyone is right but the Christians view” is
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl
If you have ever been told not to judge, or that truth is relative, and did not know what to say,  you need this book.