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The Third Seal – The Black Horse

Second Seal

from Google Images

As Jesus opened the third seal, John heard the command of the third beast (Revelation 4:7), “Go,” and John saw a black horse, and its rider carried a pair of balances (Revelation 6:5). Then he heard a voice that came out of the midst of the four living beings saying, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6). A measure of wheat was what one would expect to satisfy one person for one day. A penny was considered a day’s wage for an unskilled laborer (Matthew 20:2), so if a person worked about 12 hours for only what amounted to what he could use to feed himself for a single day, the demand for food was exceeding greater than the supply, so famine conditions seem to be indicated. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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Righteous Living and the Rich Fool

Rich Fool

from Google Images

While Jesus taught his disciples, a man in the crowd asked him to tell the man’s brother to share the inheritance with him (Luke 12:13). Often questions of one’s worth come at a time of death or when one is writing his last will and testament. Some may say this man is or was worth millions. Of another, some may conclude that he wasn’t worth much at all! Yet, of the two who is to say which one enjoyed life more? Who, by taking into account only the accumulation of tangible wealth, could say for certain which of the two lived a richer life. Wealth can buy many desirable things, but it can’t buy love, long life or peace. Even the poorest of men could enjoy all three of these, so one’s worth in this context cannot be accurately put into tangible terms. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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How Should We Treat Our Enemies?

from Google Images

from Google Images

In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus connects those who are rich, full and content with the status quo (Luke 6:24-26) with both the enemies of the Gospel and the enemies of the poor (the hungry, those who weep). Jesus claims that the evidence shows the rich (as a rule) hate the poor and the hungry, separating themselves from their company. Moreover (as a rule), they will defame those who embrace the hope given the poor by Christ, sending them away as though they were guilty of the world’s ills (cf. Luke 6:22). In recent history the America rich and powerful did this with the Blacks and even the Jews. Most recently they do it with illegal immigrants Nevertheless, Jesus’ disciples are called upon to love their enemies (Luke 6:27a), but what does that mean, and what does loving one’s enemy look like in real life? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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The Sermon on the Plain

from Google Images

from Google Images

Luke’s record of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry seems to be set in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. It was a time of harvest (Luke 6:1), and the fact that it was the grain harvest, indicates it was the later harvest in the year. It was a time of pilgrimages to Jerusalem, when men journeyed to appear before the Lord at the Temple. It was also a time for folks in Jerusalem and Judea to celebrate with folks in Galilee and rejoice together over how the Lord had made them a people, a nation among the nations of the world. From time to time, Jesus would go to Jerusalem to celebrate the great annual Holy Days that pointed to God’s blessings upon his people during their history, but sometimes he chose to celebrate those days in Galilee. The latter was true for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, because this was the time he chose his apostles, and at least most of them would come from the folks in Galilee. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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What About Foreign Slaves?

Slavery

from Google Images

The Mosaic Law makes a significant distinction between servants who are Israelites and servants who are not—i.e. foreign servants living among God’s people.[1] Some critics will point this out and conclude that, even if Israelites weren’t considered property, certainly the foreign born servants were treated as though they were property. Nevertheless, I believe this conclusion is read into the text, for I don’t see anything in Scripture to indicate that the Mosaic Law viewed foreign servants in Israel as slaves. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in apologetics

 

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The Dignity of the Poor Under the Law

Hammurabi CodeOnce we understand that it was God’s desire to eliminate poverty in the land (Deuteronomy 15:4), the Scriptures that concern servitude take on new meaning, especially when one considers that in the year of release (every 7th year) the master was to load down the released servant (the poor) with gifts (Deuteronomy 15:13-14).[1] In other words the wealthy were called upon to offer an image of God in their persons, in that, because their ancestors were once bondservants in Egypt and God released them, so they were to do for their servants as God had done for their ancestors. Therefore and unlike accusations coming from the new atheists meant to denigrate God, great dignity was afforded the poor, just as Israel was given great dignity in the eyes of the Egyptians when God redeemed his people from bondage in Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Helping the Poor in Ancient Israel

Women Reaping the Fields

from Google Images

The problem of the poor is with us even today.[1] I wonder, in the event that someone is able to show he is qualified to judge, who met or meets the need of the poor better—affluent America or ancient Israel under the Law of Moses. Certainly, neither America nor Israel can be held up as offering the ideal problem-solving method, because the poor existed throughout Israel’s history, and they still exist in America today. No nation in history has ever solved the problem of the poor in their societies. Even if many were cared for, many were not. Even if many were fed, clothed and sheltered, few (if any) were taught to feed, clothe and acquire shelter for themselves. So, which method is better, and who is qualified to judge? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Victims and Injustice

from Google Images

from Google Images

Everything about us matters to God. When he set Israel apart from other nations, he showed he was intensely interested in their lives—how they behaved toward one another and even how they treated their enemies.[1] In fact, God’s interest in such things becomes even more evident in the diet he commanded for his people. The very food they ate in their daily meals was to remind them of how they should behave toward others. In previous blog-posts I examined the injustice of predatory behavior. Overly aggressive, violent activity and holiness simply do not mix. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Economics According to Jesus

from Google Images

from Google Images

I had often wondered about Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-23.[1] Jesus told him that, if he wished to be perfect (mature in his faith), he needed to sell all he had and give it to the poor, and then he could come and follow Jesus. If every believer did what Jesus said here, Christianity would be understood as a religion of the poor and foolish. While there is nothing wrong about being called foolish for doing as Jesus says we should do, and there is certainly nothing sinful about being poor, still I have to wonder, if Jesus really wanted everyone to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, in order to be one of his mature disciples. Where is the wisdom in Jesus’ words in this scripture? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Jesus

 

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The Circumcision Controversy

from Google Images

from Google Images

Circumcision was a religious ceremony, which was given to Abraham for the purpose of expressing devotion to God. It became the official sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish nation in the time of Moses. Although the rite represented the circumcision of the heart, Paul opposed its requirement for gentile believers, maintaining that all believers are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ. The rite itself was merely a religious ceremony of Jewish tradition, which had no inherent saving value. What was important was the spiritual meaning of the tradition. Circumcision, which represents our dedication to God, is not a physical matter but spiritual. It is, therefore, a heart issue not something that can be witnessed by one or more of the five senses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Does the Church Ever Get ‘Lucky’?

I am reminded at this point in Paul’s third recorded missionary journey of the beginning of his second. Originally, Paul had intended to evangelize Asia about six years earlier, but was drawn away by the Spirit to minister to other areas (Acts 16:6). Now, he intended to sail to Syria with an offering for the poor at Jerusalem, but, after discovering a plot against his life, Paul began a tour of the churches he had planted in Europe and Asia Minor with messages of encouragement, comfort and warning. None of these things we have in Acts 20:4-38 would have occurred had Paul been able to leave for Syria from Corinth. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 3rd missionary journey

 

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The Son of Consolation

Let’s Talk About BARNABAS THE SON OF CONSOLATION

from Google Images

In the conclusion of Acts 4 we are introduced to a man called Joseph who is given the name “Barnabas” by the Apostles, and Luke translates the name as “son of consolation”. However, strictly speaking the name, Barnabas, means “son of prophecy” (cp. Hebrew: H5030 nabiy meaning prophet; and H5016 nebuah meaning prophecy). No doubt Luke intends for us to see the fruit or end result of his new name, for the end of the words of the prophet is to console and encourage his hearers. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles

 

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