Thursday, March 14, 2013

The River Turned to Blood

In Exodus 7, God begins His deliverance of Israel by bringing plagues on the Egyptians. The first plague was, in my opinion, one of the more impressive feats.
Exodus 7:20-21
So [Aaron] lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Stop and think about seeing an entire river turn to blood before your eyes. Wouldn't that completely freak you out??

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Holy Spirit, our... Midwife?

 The life of a Christian can be put into a rough correspondence with the events of the Exodus, and this imagery is especially helpful for us during the Passover season. I've written previously about the similarities between Pharaoh and the "old man" written of by Paul (Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22), and this post is along the same lines. The "old man" is the person that we were before repentance and baptism. As much as we would like to be a 100% new person who doesn't sin anymore after baptism, it just doesn't work that way! We are still physical beings, and we have to struggle against the flesh and bring it into subjection to God. Occasionally, the Old Man gets the upper hand, and our spiritual lives wane - in effect, we go back to bondage in spiritual Egypt.

God allowed Israel, His people, to suffer slavery in Egypt for over 400 years. Even while they were slaves, God watched over them and allowed their population to grow larger and larger, working to fulfill a promise made to Abraham. Eventually, the Pharaoh came to see Israel's increasing numbers as a threat, and so he devised a plan to keep their population under control. 
Exodus 1:9-11
And [Pharaoh] said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land." Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bad Logic on the Immortal Soul

Most Christian churches incorrectly teach that human beings are born with an immortal soul which will live forever, either in eternal reward or eternal punishment. The bible clearly shows that those who follow God's way will live forever; however, it does not state that the human soul is inherently immortal and that God cannot (or will not) destroy it. Rather, immortality is a gift that God gives His people after they have believed, repented, and received the Holy Spirit. Even then, one still has to live a life of overcoming and holding on to that commitment!

Recently, I've read several arguments claiming to prove that humans have an immortal soul. Here's a sampling of them, along with explanations of their various fallacies.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Did the Levites Work for Peanuts?

I've dedicated a lot of time and effort to the subject of tithing, so some of what I say here might require some legwork on the part of the reader. I've conveniently compiled my series on tithing as a reference. It explains about a particularly outspoken group of people who teach that tithing is not valid for Christians today. They challenge the premise of tithing from every angle, and so I've worked diligently to defend it from every angle. One of their claims is that the command to tithe was limited to agricultural products - the offspring of the herds and the yield of the crops - and that it was never paid by wage-earners such as Jesus, who was a carpenter. I've answered this argument before (you can read about it on the tithing page), and this post is just some more thoughts on the matter.

The tithes of Israel were allocated to the Levites as an inheritance and in exchange for their service in the temple:
Numbers 18:21
Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the Tabernacle of Meeting.
The reasons for which the Levites received tithes play a role in the discussion of whether tithe was limited to agricultural products only. As the above scripture shows, they received tithe for two purposes: as an inheritance and in return for the work of the Tabernacle. If tithe was only required on food items as some claim, then this would mean that the Levites were both given an inheritance and paid for their work in food.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Practical Purpose of Physical Circumcision

In today's culture, typical arguments in favor of circumcision focus on health issues. I'm not going to attempt to validate circumcision with science, and I'm not interested in addressing the claims of those who consider modern circumcision to be a barbaric practice that ought to be illegal. I simply want to pose and answer a couple of questions. According to God's Word, what benefit, if any, does physical circumcision have? Is there a biblical reason for Christian parents to circumcise their sons? On the other hand, is there a biblical reason for them not to?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

God's Holy Spirit and the Circumcision of the Heart

This post is a continuation of the previous article, Becoming Circumcised as a Christian. As noted there, every Christian must be circumcised, but the meaning of "circumcision" is spiritual: physical circumcision is symbolic of the spiritual process of cutting out and putting away our inborn sinful nature. This post will elucidate the intimate connection between circumcision and receiving the Holy Spirit. Just as physical circumcision was rendered useless for a Jew who did not keep the law, so also spiritual circumcision is rendered useless for a Christian who does not keep the law.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Becoming Circumcised as a Christian

Thus far, I have examined the relationship of circumcision to the New Covenant in two parts: that it is the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, which is the foundation of the New Covenant, and that it was an outward sign intended to mirror an internal spiritual process. In this article, I would like elaborate on how Christian circumcision, which is spiritual, differs from the physical circumcision undergone by Israel under the Old Covenant.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Nature of Circumcision

In a previous article, I explained that both the Old and New Covenants have the covenant with Abraham as their foundation and that the practice of circumcision originally began as the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was decided in Acts 15 that the physical act of circumcision is not required for an uncircumcised man who becomes part of the New Covenant; however, there are other NT scriptures which simultaneously assert that every person of God is required to be circumcised, and these concepts need to somehow be reconciled.

The purpose of the present article is to examine the nature of circumcision. As I will show, God viewed circumcision as a spiritual matter from the beginning, and this is precisely the point that the NT writers were striving to convince the Jewish converts of.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Does Numbers 18 Prove Tithing Isn't on Income?

After the discussion of tithes in Leviticus 27 in the context of redemption, tithing isn't discussed again until Numbers 18. Here, the main theme is that tithe was to be the wages and inheritance of the Levites.

Again, we find absolutely no instructions saying "you shall tithe on the following items." Rather, the only indication in this chapter that tithe was to be received in the form of food comes in verse 31:
Numbers 18:30-31
Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress. You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Does Leviticus 27 Prove Tithe isn't on Income?

One of the foundations of the anti-tithing argument is that the bible gives very specific lists of those things which are to be tithed on and that these lists do not include (among many things) money earned for one's labor. While they are correct in asserting that the lists do not include monetary income, they are incorrect in assuming that these lists were ever intended to be an exhaustive guideline. In the interest of not having an excruciatingly long article on the subject, I've decided to do a series of posts dealing with each relevant passage. If you're just stumbling upon this tithing discussion, an overview and summary of the articles I've written on tithing can be found on the tithing page.
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