Log in

No account? Create an account
03 March 2013 @ 06:25 pm
Back in Biblical times, a person's genealogy was rather important. Reasons for this varied from simple identification to the roles people were expected to take in their lives, and so people kept very detailed and through records to keep track of their family history.

Jewish society held genealogies to be very important, as which tribe you were from mattered a lot. For example, each tribe had a claim to a specific part of the land. If you were from Dan, you lived in the area given to Dan, and so on. Another reason why it mattered was that the tribes of Judah and Levi had special unique roles in Jewish society. The tribe of Judah was the royal tribe, and was thus the tribe from which the Jewish kings came. Likewise, the tribe of Levi was the priesthood; no one from any other tribe could serve in the temple. Those that tried were slain before they got close.

An added catch is that God promised king David that his line would have a permanent throne, and for most of the old testament the kings came from David's family. When Israel and Judah were conquered by the Babylonian empire, the crown was seemingly lost. However, the records were kept and David's bloodline was maintained.

In the opening of the Gospel of Matthew we have a nice family tree for Jesus Christ. This certifies that Jesus was part of the royal bloodline and thus heir to David's throne.

It also was part of the reason Herod wanted Him dead and attempted to have Him killed. As I mentioned earlier, Herod was from Esau's line not Jacob's. Thus while he had the title of king of the Jews, Herod was not a member of the royal tribe or any of the twelve tribes at all. A male descendant of David's family would have the claim to Herod's title by birthright, and that was a more legitimate claim than anything Herod could even try to defend.

A final addendum is that when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD, they burned the libraries and records. Thus the only surviving family tree that ties to David's special family line is the one in Matthew that belongs to Jesus Christ. Nobody else can back up a claim that they were from any particular tribe anymore.
22 February 2013 @ 07:09 pm
One of the things people generally find rather boring in the Bible is the lists upon lists of genealogies. But there's actually some points about the bloodlines that is worth noting. The first point I'd like to mention is that several bloodlines ended up breaking into family feuds; one family causing endless amounts of trouble for the other.

Even worse, many of these long lasting fights began as a squabble between brothers. The children of one brother would continue to fight the children of the other down though generations until you had nations fighting nations!

One example was Jacob and his brother Esau. When Jacob got the family blessing through trickery, Esau was enraged and the fight began. Jacob's family eventually became Israel, while Esau's family became Edom. Throughout the old testament Edom hounded and attacked Israel, even aiding other factions in their wars against Israel. In short, the fight between Jacob and Esau led to nations killing one another.

But Edom's story doesn't quite end there. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, King Herod had all of the male toddlers and babies in Bethlehem slain. This infanticide was ordered because one of the children was supposed to be the King of the Jews, and that title was one Herod refused to give up. Politics alone provided all the motive that one needs to explain Herod's action, but there's one other detail.

By blood, Jesus was a descendant of Jacob. King Herod the Great was an Idumaean: a descendant of Esau. The old feud continued.

Another example comes from earlier on in the old testament. Abraham ended up getting tired of waiting for God to give him and his wife the son He'd promised, and so Abraham took matters into his own hands and impregnated his servant Hagar. But, when Abraham's wife Sarah became pregnant with Issac as God promised, Abraham all but abandoned Hagar and her son. Hagar and Ishmael were sent away with no part of the blessing or inheritance!

Issac went on to father Jacob and thus the nation of Israel.

Ishmael never really forgot about being the have-not, and his children, the Arab nations, have been an enemy of the Jews ever since.
14 February 2013 @ 02:07 am
It's been nearly a year since I last posted to my own journal. Most of this has been because I didn't really seem to be finding much to write down from my daily Bible studies.

After all, I'm going straight through the Bible, and once you start going through the Prophets you'll notice that things tend to get a bit repetitive. Most of them were contemporaries of each other, and so reported the same situation each time. There were of course some differences in how things were revealed or explained, but the message was the same.

However, towards the end of his summary of the Old Testament Wiersbe starts bringing in various points and comparisons that are pretty interesting and worth noting down. So if I'm going to use this blog as a dump of the interesting stuff I've found about Christianity -- which was the point when I started it over again last April -- then I should get off my duff and start posting again.

Good morning y'all!
20 May 2012 @ 06:01 pm

Young people who take care of their minds and bodies, avoid the destructive sins of the flesh, and build good habits of health and holiness, have a better chance for happy adult years than those who "sow their wild oats" and pray for crop failure.

-- Wiersbe
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
03 May 2012 @ 10:42 pm
It may not look like it, but the world is caught in a war between two spiritual forces: those following God, and those following the Devil. This isn't something we can ever afford to forget.

The game of Chess developed as a warfare simulation, and it's a very good metaphor for the spiritual warfare we find ourselves in. But the thing is, many Christians forget our place in this battle.

We're pawns, not bishops, rooks, knights or queens. It's frequently portrayed that Satan wants to fell as many of God's people as possible (ie, gather as many souls as he can), but the fact is he's not interested in cutting us down just for the sake of claiming more pieces. The only piece on the board that he wants to dethrone is our King.

To the Enemy we are just in the way; the only time we matter to him is when it gives him a perceived chance at his target.

Remember when the Enemy tempted Christ? He offered Jesus the entire world, but it wasn't enough to have the Son of God sin. Old Scratch had to be worshiped by Him!

It's our job to frustrate the Enemy's plans by winning people to our side, but that is where our job ends, and it is well that we remembered that!
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
04 April 2012 @ 12:20 am
In Proverbs, Wisdom reached out to people three times. The wise heeded the call immediately, but three other groups did not. Here's an overview of these three types of people -- and how Wisdom responded to them.

The Simple
These are the people that are gullible and naive; they themselves don't do any critical thinking and let others think for them. They are ignorant of the very fact they are ignorant, and refuse to learn. Wisdom reaches out to them all three times, hoping to get them on track.

The Scorners
Essentially the know-it-all jerks, these people refused to listen to Wisdom because they are already convinced they know everything. Instead of heeding Wisdom, they mocked it. As a result, Wisdom only reaches out to them the first time, and when the time comes for the world to be judged, Wisdom will mock the scorners.

The Fools
Interesting point here: the word "fool" has changed meanings over the years to mean silly or dumb. The old meaning, and the one used here, derives from follis, which is Latin for "bellows". In other words, a fool is a windbag -- all hot air and no substance. Fools are blissful in their ignorance; they won't learn from experience or teaching, nor can they control their words or temper. Wisdom called them twice, and was laughed at. When the judgement comes, Wisdom will laugh at them.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
26 March 2012 @ 11:11 pm
A wise man has the following qualities:

  • They have saving faith in Christ

  • They listen to wise instruction

  • They fear the Lord

  • They associate with other wise people

  • They remember what they've learned and use it

  • They flee from sin

  • They choose their words carefully, thinking before speaking

  • They are diligent in their efforts

  • They seek to drive others to God

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
22 February 2012 @ 02:50 pm

And here's the gallery for it.
18 February 2012 @ 07:18 pm
Psalm 129 describes a suffering believer as land being plowed. There's a good message here: the image of a plowed field provides an analogy about dealing with suffering.

In reality, seed planted on untilled soil may take root, but it'll die quickly and not leave any kind of impression. On the flip side, seed planted using a plow to stir the land grows strong and lasts a long time. Likewise, those who never suffer don't grow stronger -- remember the old saying "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger" ?

How one reacts to being mistreated by others determines what kind of seed we plant. If we react with hostility, we will only harvest bitterness. If we instead react as Christians should and love even our enemies, we will harvest blessings.

Or to put it another way, when things go awry we shouldn't ask "why did God allow this to happen?", but instead "what does God want me to learn from this?"
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
06 February 2012 @ 05:43 pm
The Bible is not a magic book that conveys divine life to anyone who picks it up and reads it. God's living Word communicates His life and power to those who read it, meditate on it, and obey it because they love God and His Word.

-- Warren Wiersbe

(Emphasis mine)
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative