• Christian Living,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    What does the Bible Say about Dreams?

    What does the Bible say about dreams? Although at one point I was surprised whenever someone would ask this question, this has long since ceased. Christians regularly want to know what the Bible says about dreams. One of the reasons for this is because human beings are naturally curious about dreams. Dreams intrigue us. This is evidenced in part by the fact professional dream interpreters have their own business. Additionally, almost everyone has read of Sigmund Freud and his propensity for analyzing dreams and what they signified about an individual. For Christians, not only do dreams interest us, but the Bible also interests us. Hence, when we read about God speaking to people through dreams, it is a natural question which comes up—should we expect to hear from God in dreams? Dreams in the Old Testament The first mention of dreaming in the Old Testament comes in Genesis 20:3, where…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    The Feast of Booths and the Kingdom of God

    The Feast of Booths is not something we often take the time to study because it involves a lot of time in the Old Testament. However, the New Testament assumes you know about it! In fact, knowing about the Feast of Booths helps us understand the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. What is the Feast of Booths? The Feast of Booths (Sukkot in Hebrew) was important for those in the OT and the NT. It was one of three times a year when all of the males in Israel were mandated to come to Jerusalem before God (Deut 16:16). The Feast of Booths was an 8-day celebration (beginning Tishri 15 on the Jewish Calendar), which happens to be in September/October in our calendar. During this feast, the people would live in temporary shelters (booths) and give offerings to the Lord (Lev 23:36). According to Lev 23:42, this was for native Jews only. The…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Link between Eschatology and Spiritual Gifts

    Although not often thought about, there is a link between eschatology and the spiritual gifts. There are many ways to argue for the cessation of spiritual gifts (for example, the cascade argument). But in this article I simply want to look at the correlation between one’s eschatology and the belief about miraculous gifts. Simply put, what what believes about eschatology, specifically the kingdom of God, has a logical impact on their understanding of the spiritual gifts. Before talking about eschatology, we can overview the Bible and see that there are specific times in history when there are major displays of miracles. Further reflection shows that these miraculous exhibitions are linked with time periods that are related to the Kingdom of God. To show this in summary form, I have adapted a chart from Mike Vlach: Kingdom Situation Time Period Kingdom Mediator(s) Result Signs and wonders to deliver Hebrews from Egypt…

  • Old Testament

    David as a Man after God’s Own Heart (1 Sam 13:14)

    The Bible says David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). Most people want to take this phrase as a reference to the moral character of David. As such, David was a man after God’s own heart in that he was committed to God’s ways and demonstrated fidelity to God’s Law. However, this viewpoint has a couple difficulties. On the one hand, David was far from morally pure. He was a murderous adulterer (2 Sam 11). He killed Uriah the Hittite, and committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. Can we say David was uniquely a man after God’s own heart when his actions seem to communicate otherwise? To get around this potential problem, some people will say that David never engaged in direct idolatry and that is the explanation for saying David was a man after God’s own heart. However, there are a couple other…

  • Old Testament

    Why was God Upset Israel Asked for a King in 1 Samuel 8?

    1 Samuel 8 is an interesting passage of Scripture because both Samuel and God seem displeased Israel asked for a king (1 Sam 8:6-9). The reason this is initially surprising is that God had promised Abraham that kings would come from him (Gen 17:6), and that same promise is repeated to Jacob (Gen 35:11). Furthermore, God’s revelation to Israel foretold a king who would come from Judah (Gen 49:10; cf. Num 24:7, 17). Not only was there to be an expectation of a king of Israel, but in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 God had given Moses specific guidelines about installing a king once Israel was in the land of Canaan. So, Israel had prophecy creating the expectation of a king, and they also had laws given by God to help their king govern. So, why was God upset that Israel asked for a king? Why did both Samuel and God view this…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The King in Israel: a Contrast with ANE Nations

    Sometimes students of Scripture are surprised to find out that it was always God’s plan for Israel to have a king. God had promised Abraham that “kings shall come from you” (Gen 17:6). God gave a similar promise to Jacob (Gen 35:11). In fact, by the time the Pentateuch wraps up, we are expecting a powerful king who will come from Judah (Gen 49:10; Num 24:17). It should not really be that surprising that Israel would have a king. A king ruling over a kingdom was the default governmental system for the ancient Near East (ANE) nations. But, what is very surprising is the kind of king that Israel was expected to have. The king of Israel was to be of a very different sort than the surrounding nations. The king of Egypt, for example, was thought to be the earthly embodiment of the god Horus. The king was known…

  • New Testament

    Israel’s Future Kingdom

    Studying the end times is important to do for a variety of reasons. First, it gives you an eager expectation and longing to see God’s will accomplished. Second, it provides the stimulation to live in a difficult life now as you wait for your hope to be fulfilled in the future. Third, it gives a sense of peace to the believer, knowing that Jesus is in fact in control of all of history, and He will return. A significant subject in discussing the future is the role of Israel. What awaits them in the future? As the title indicates, I believe the Bible clearly teaches a special kingdom for Israel in the future that coincides with the promises of the Old Testament. Acts 3:19-21 speaks to this issue clearly: