• Hermeneutics,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Fulfillment of Scripture is More than Prophecy

    We see the use of “fulfillment” terminology all over the New Testament. For example, in reference to Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Elsewhere John says that the events of the crucifixion happened “that Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 19:36). These are just two of the numerous examples in the New Testament where a fulfillment formula is used. The question is, what does it mean? Fulfillment as Prediction and Actualization of Prophecy The most common understanding of the fulfillment formula is that of prediction-actualization. The Old Testament prophets predicted certain things, and the actualization of that prophecy comes to pass (i.e., it was fulfilled). For example, in Isaiah 7:14 we see a prophecy concerning a virgin giving birth. In Matthew 1:22–23 we see that this prophecy is actually realized (fulfilled) in the virgin birth of the Messiah, Jesus. Similarly, there are…

  • Old Testament,  Theology

    Does the Bible Say There will be a Future Temple in Israel?

    One area of contention among those who argue about eschatological matters is whether there will be a future temple for Israel. Many think that the death of Jesus put an end to the sacrificial system (cf. Heb 10:18), so any rebuilt temple would be an attack on the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Does Scripture give any guidance on the issue of a future temple? Should Christians expect a temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem? The answer to this question must be found by examining Scripture. One’s preconceived theological ideas should not influence the straightforward interpretation of Scripture. On that note, it may surprise some readers that the Old Testament prophets speak regularly about the concept of a rebuilt temple. Ezekiel 40–48 and the Future Temple The most well-known passage which talks about a future temple in Israel is Ezekiel 40–48. It is filled with detailed descriptions,…

  • Christian Living,  Old Testament

    When the Lovingkindness of God Leads to Disobedience

    We often rightly rejoice in the lovingkindness of God. We see His goodness all over the place. His love for us is what compels the believer to obedience (cf. 2 Cor 5:14). It should go without saying that the lovingkindness of God is one of the most powerful themes of the entire Bible. In fact, in the Old Testament, when God reveals His own character, He specifically zeroes in on His own compassion and lovingkindness as definitional characteristics He wants His people to know about. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and…

  • Christian Living,  Ethics,  Old Testament

    Jealousy is Not Always Wrong

    Paul labels jealousy as a work of the flesh in Galatians 5:20, and we ought to view jealousy as a wicked sin. However, some people might assume jealousy is always a sin. But there are times jealousy is not a sin. Yes, you read that accurately—jealousy is not always a sin! In fact, jealousy can sometimes be good. If that surprises you, then we definitely need to look at the biblical evidence. A Deeper Look at the Concept of Jealousy We tend to think of jealousy (sometimes used as a synonym for envy) as wanting what someone else has or being resentful of them (and that is wrong). However, in biblical language the Hebrew and Greek words for jealousy are often synonymous for the idea of zeal. For example, in Psalm 69:10 the psalmist says, “Zeal for your house has consumed me.” Yet the same word can be used for…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    Collection of Articles on the Law

    Christians regularly have questions on the Law and how Christians should think about it. Because I have written quite a few articles on the subject of the Old Testament Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, this post will serve as a summary of these posts. Anyone who is interested in the Law or the Ten Commandments specifically may find the following articles interesting. The OT Law in Its Narrative Context This post was an analysis of the Law as it appears in the Pentateuch. Oftentimes we miss some of the significant applications of the Law because we neglect the context in which it occurs. Unsurprisingly, the narrative context of the Law becomes very important to interpretation and understanding. The Purpose of the Old Testament Law In this post we discuss the overall purpose of the Law. We discuss how some people have wrongly attributed other purposes to the Law.…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    Israel’s Prohibition against Coveting and the Need for Contentment

    As noted in other articles dealing with the Ten Commandments, the first four commandments relate to God’s relationship with man, a vertical component. The next six commandments pertain to man’s relationship with man, a horizontal component. The tenth (and last) of the Ten Commandments is a little different than the others, specifically targeting an attitude, not an action. The Tenth Commandment prohibits a wrongful desire, “You shall not covet.” Coveting in the Old Testament Compared to the Ancient World It is interesting that other ancient Near Eastern civilizations did not have laws prohibiting an attitude like coveting. There were many laws prohibiting wrongful action, but none that prohibited a desire for something that was prohibited. Coveting can be thought of as internal desire for something forbidden. It is not the action that is in view in the tenth commandment, but the implicit desire for what does not belong to you.…

  • Old Testament

    Why Didn’t Saul Remember David?

    One potentially confusing aspect of David’s story is that he is introduced to Saul in 1 Samuel 16, where he is brought on to the king’s staff as a talented musician. But later on, in 1 Samuel 17 it might seem like Saul has no idea who David is. Is this a contradiction in the Bible? Liberal scholars will often claim there are multiple versions of the David Legend which have been woven together into the whole story we read today. Liberals claim that these stories are not real history, but have been edited together to present a fanciful version of Israel’s kingship history. Does this apparent discrepancy between 1 Samuel 16 and 17 indicate we should not take Scripture at face value as a historical narrative? The Background of the Interaction between David and Saul David is introduced the first time to Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14-23. An evil spirit…

  • Hermeneutics,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Theology

    Should We Expect a Future Kingdom for National Israel?

    It is becoming increasingly popular to discount a future kingdom for geopolitical Israel. But both Old and New Testaments speak of a time when Israel will be restored as a national kingdom, with the Messiah ruling from Jerusalem. Passages such as Psalm 72:1–20, Isaiah 2:1–3, 11:1–9, 65:17–25, Zech 8:4–5, 14:16–19 are but a few of the passages which teach a future kingdom for Israel that is distinct from the eternal state. Although the Old Testament is very clear when speaking of a future kingdom for Israel, some biblical interpreters believe that the New Testament tempers our expectation for a future kingdom for Israel. Yet, there is no reason to deviate from what is clearly laid out in the Old Testament. The General New Testament Expectation of a Kingdom for Israel Rather than adjusting the expectation of a future kingdom for Israel, the New Testament confirms what the Old Testament told…

  • Culture,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Slavery—Why Does the Bible Allow It?

    Why does the Bible allow slavery? At first glance this seems an irredeemable blemish to the goodness of the Bible’s message. Slavery is recognized as one of the great evils of our history. To many, this provides a significant reason for rejecting what the Bible teaches. Some balk at the belief that Christians can believe God revealed himself in a book which, not only does not condemn slavery, but actually allows it. How should we think about the fact that the Bible allows slavery? This is a challenging issue because our society brings with it cultural baggage which makes accurate interpretation of biblical texts on slavery difficult. Those of us who live in the Americas and Europe are familiar with the African slave trade, and this is the kind of slavery that we envision taking place in the Bible. But there are some key differences between the Bible’s picture of…

  • Christian Living,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Theology

    Are We Living in the Last Days?

    The concept of the “last days” or end times captivates the imagination of many Christians. It conjures up vivid images of the rapture, the Antichrist, and apocalyptic events preceding Christ’s return. But what does the Bible actually teach about the last days, and are we living in them now? Intriguingly, the Bible declares we are living in the last days (but not in the last of the last days). Why We are Currently Living in the Last Days Thankfully, the Bible talks quite a bit about the issue of the last days. The Old Testament speaks about it prophetically, and the New Testament authors make it very clear that we are currently living in the last days. For example, in his sermon at Pentecost, Peter declares the dawn of the last days by quoting the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will…