• Old Testament,  Theology

    When did Israel Stop Being God’s People?

    No one can deny that Israel had a unique role as God’s chosen people in the past. They received a privilege no other nation had ever experienced! They were his firstborn son (Exod 4:22) and his treasured possession (Exod 19:5; Deut 7:6). When Moses was reminding the people of their special role as God’s people, he noted the uniqueness of God speaking to them “out of the midst of the fire” and taking “a nation for himself from the midst of another nation by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war…” (Deut 4:33–34). We read one of the most descriptive statements about Israel’s unique status as God’s people in Deuteronomy 7:6. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the…

  • Old Testament

    What Was the Population of Earth Before the Flood?

    Depending on who you ask, the global population is somewhere around 7.9 billion people. That is a lot of people. Is this the highest population the earth has ever experienced? In the spirit of investigation I want to consider what the population of the earth was before the flood. The Earth’s Population at the Very Beginning A straightforward reading of the Bible begins with two human beings, Adam and Eve, created by God and put in charge of the garden to take care of it and work it (Gen 2:15). Their offspring include Cain, Abel, and Seth, although Genesis makes clear Adam and Eve have other sons and daughters as well (Gen 5:4). Cain kills his brother in one of the most appalling acts of violence recorded in Scripture, and is banished from his immediate family. While in exile, Cain finds a wife, marries, and has children. Although some people…

  • Ethics,  Old Testament

    Why is Incest Wrong According to the Bible?

    Although incest is specifically prohibited by Leviticus 18, we often (unfortunately) isolate this text from its foundation. In biblical law it is important to understand the relationship between Law and creation to aid the process of application. In the case of incest, we need to understand that incest is prohibited because of its connection to Genesis 2:24. Tracing the Language of Incest to Genesis 2:24 Leviticus 18:6–18 begins with the introductory phrase, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness” (אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶל־כָּל־שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו לֹא תִקְרְבוּ לְגַלּוֹת עֶרְוָה). This verse functions as an introductory phrase which relates to the entire section on incest. The pertinent phrase we need to consider is “blood relative,” which can be literally translated, “flesh of his flesh” (שְׁאֵר בְּשָׂרֹו). This phrase invokes repetition of a concept which is first mentioned in Genesis 2:24 in the description of the “one flesh”…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    Was Melchizedek Jesus or Someone Else?

    The king-priest Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14:17-20. He is a bit of a strange character who seems to appears out of nowhere, and then disappears. We do not hear about Melchizedek again for a thousand years, when he shows up in the writings of David (Psalm 110:4). Melchizedek later becomes a prime topic of discussion in Hebrews. Because of this attention paid to an otherwise unknown character, some readers want to identify Melchizedek as Jesus. But are Melchizedek and Jesus one and the same? Admittedly, if it were not for the extended excursus on Melchizedek in Hebrews 7, one might pass over the brief mention in Genesis 14. Yet, we should also note that there is quite a bit of prominence given in Psalm 110:4, where Melchizedek is mentioned in conjunction with the Messiah. Because of the prominence given to Melchizedek in Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7, some have…