A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism
BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — The carved stone block is about the size of an occasional table. It has held its secrets for two millenniums. Whoever engraved its enigmatic symbols was apparently depicting the ancient Jewish temples.
But what makes the stone such a rare find in biblical archaeology, according to scholars, is that when it was carved, the Second Temple still stood in Jerusalem for the carver to see. The stone is a kind of ancient snapshot.
And it is upending some long-held scholarly assumptions about ancient synagogues and their relationship with the Temple, a center of Jewish pilgrimage and considered the holiest place of worship for Jews, during a crucial period, when Judaism was on the cusp of the Christian era.
Hollywood has a history of swapping tragic endings for happy ones based on the reaction of test audiences. Perhaps the most spectacular example is the 1986 movie adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors, whose original sinister ending was so disturbing that it remained unseen for decades and became the stuff of legend. Yet this musical really does require two endings, the comic and the tragic, because its conniving, carnivorous plant has biblical roots.
Why You’ve Been Duped Into Believing The Myth That The World Is Getting Worse and Worse
by J. D. King
A former colleague disclosed his anxiety about the violence in the Middle East. Of particular concern for him were the brutal onslaughts against Christians by an organization known as ISIS. This terrorist organization that began as part of al Qaeda in Iraq has spread throughout Arab world. It has beheaded and brutally opposed anyone who differs from their fierce form of Islamic Fundamentalism.
All of the arcane “personal” stipulations in the Torah find their fulfilment in the corporate worship of Israel. Just as the sacrifices were to be without blemish, so also were Israelites to be spotless if they were to stand before God. But the rules for the identification, quarantining and ceremonial cleansing of leprosy only begin with the skin of the worshiper in the wilderness. They then move to the garment, and finally to the house in the Promised Land. A failure in personal holiness would lead eventually to a corruption of corporate worship. James Jordan writes: Continue reading
“The Forbidden Chapter” in the Tanakh
Did you know that there’s a “forbidden chapter” in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)? What’s been hidden from us all these years? It’s changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people! Watch till the end for a surprising twist!
“Based on covenant history, the fact that God’s words now enrage His enemies is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of their imminent doom.”
With same sex marriage now legalized in many Western countries, and militant Islam ravaging the East, Christians might be wondering what God is doing. With the repeated failure of predictions of an imminent second coming, is the Bible any help to us at all in predicting what will happen next? I believe it is.
If people today know anything about the Pharisees, they know them as the villains of the New Testament. Those who know a little more probably have a conception of the Pharisees as overly strict, eating their gruel with a scowl and casting condemnation in every direction, while Jesus was open and chill. Some might go beyond this and imagine the Pharisees as the perfect (or perfectly bad) model of self-salvation: The Pharisees wanted to save themselves by their good works, but the New Testament (it’s thought) is all about salvation through faith, and works are no big deal.
“Behold, The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
James Jordan has observed that Abraham’s “calling on the name of the Lord” was in fact evangelical proclamation of his faith. Abraham’s witness to the Canaanites was something for which they would be held accountable when Israel returned to claim the land. Chris Wooldridge sees this “vocal allegiance” as the key to understanding the meaning of the washing away of sins in the New Testament. Seen in the context of the last days of the Old Covenant, this was not baptismal regeneration but a public identification by the Jewish worshiper with the final sacrificial lamb (Leviticus 1:1-9).
There are no “Abrahamic” promises concerning offspring — or real estate — for New Covenant believers.
Like the dogma of evolution, the doctrine of paedobaptism is not supported by indisputable evidence. Rather, the data must be interpreted through the lens of a pre-existing framework. The paedobaptistic lens is, however, a biblical one, being Abrahamic, and it comes in extremely handy when used in the right way. It deals with the few texts which paedobaptists rely on for proof, showing that they are not establishing a revised Abrahamic tent, but bringing the old one to an end.