Practical Insights

"Any possession, or pursuit, or amusement, or enjoyment--however useful, however agreeable I may find it--must be rejected and renounced forever if it be to me, though it may not be to others, a necessary source of temptation or occasion of sin." Prof. John Brown, commenting on Matt. 5:29

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Scripture of the Day (Through Exodus)

Yahweh set a definite time, saying, "Tomorrow Yahweh will do this thing in the land." So Yahweh did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died. Pharaoh sent men to investigate, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Exodus 9:5-7

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"He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 121:4

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

"I will give to you and to your seed after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."

Genesis 17:8


"He has remembered His covenant forever...the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.' "Psalm 105:8-11


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Biblical and Post-Biblical
Jewish Holidays

Shavuot

Sunset, June 11

Shavuot (Wheat)

Shavuot, or Feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:10), is one of the five feasts in Leviticus 23 and the second of the three pilgrim feasts in which all males in Israel were to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem (Deut. 16:16). (The first was Passover/Unleavened Bread, the third the Feast of Booths.) Historically, Shavuot celebrated the barley and wheat harvests provided by the Lord. The word Shavuot is the plural of the Hebrew word meaning period of seven or week. Leviticus 23:9-22 states that the offering of the first harvest sheaves was brought the day after the Sabbath on the festival of Passover. From that Sabbath they were to count exactly seven weeks plus one day, making 50 days. Thus the Feast of Weeks celebrated the wheat harvest seven weeks after the firstfruits of the barley harvest. Shavuot is also called the Feast of Pentecost, the Greek word for fiftieth. After the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, the celebration of Shavuot changed. According to Jewish tradition dating back at least to the second century A.D., Shavuot is also the anniversary of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai (cf. Exod. 19:1), and that is the emphasis of the holiday today. All the feasts were designed to illustrate and celebrate aspects of God's redemption for his people Israel. They served as memorials of God's saving acts in the past, celebrations of his provision in the present, and pictures of the ultimate salvation of Israel in the future. Paul states that the Passover was a type of the sacrifice of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7), which is the basis of salvation for both Israel and the Gentiles. It is also of interest that on Shavuot, 50 days after the Passover when Christ was crucified, the Holy Spirit was given, indeed a mighty act of God's provision (Acts 2:1-4). This year Shavuot begins at sunset, June 11, and ends at sunset, June 13, 2016. (Read our notes on the other biblical and post-biblical Jewish holidays.)

Heading: Latest Items Posted Image
  • Salvation: What is means "to believe" by Stonewall Jackson. (5-26-2016)
  • Prayer: A good exposition of Matthew 7:7-11 -- ask, seek, knock -- by Professor John Brown. (5-22-2016)
  • Judging Others: Our Daily Devotional has a new entry that we all shall profit by. (5-21-2016)
  • Daniel: We have posted major portions of Remarks on the Prophetic Visions in the Book of Daniel by Samuel Tregelles. Click here. (4-22-2016)
  • Introduction: We have now posted Paton Gloag's introduction to 2 Thessalonians. (4-17-2016)
  • Prayer: Another helpful sermon, this one by Howard Crosby. (4-9-2016)
  • Gratitude: Another new devotional reading here. (4-03-2016)
  • Israel: J. C. Ryle's sermon on regathering Israel is critical reading today. Not only do surrounding nations want to annihilate her, but in Christian circles, to our shame, Reformed theology teaches that "the church" has "replaced" Israel. Click here. (3-19-2016)
  • The Ideal Statesman: In light of these upcoming elections, please be sure to read this short sermon by Alexander Maclaren. (3-13-2016)
  • Naaman: Will we see Naaman in heaven? Read an uplifting sermon by Henry Blunt. (3-13-2016)

Important Topics

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We have long lamented the lack of depth in the preaching within Evangelical churches today. Many Christians possess only a shallow knowledge of both the Bible and theology. Check yourself with two questions that should be very simple to any Christian who attends a Bible-believing church.

  • Bible knowledge: The Psalmist wrote, "Sing the glory of his name" (Ps. 66:2). What is his name? What is the name of the God of the Bible, the God you worship?

  • Theological knowledge: What is the meaning of the word propitiation, which is used, for example, in 1 John 2:2?

We hope that the Bible study material posted at this Web site will both increase your knowledge of the Bible and theology and also encourage you to buy and read books by great Christian theologians and preachers. The full contents of this site can be seen at a glance on our Site Map; there are over 1000 items.

Our Sister Web Site:
Messiah Studies

We have another Web site, Messiah Studies, that is devoted to a detailed study of Messianic prophecy. However, it is a new Web site, and so far there are only a few papers posted. It is our goal, however, to develop a series of papers dealing with the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in historical order. The site is designed for Jewish inquirers, but Christians can gain much from these studies as well. There is also some Jewish music you can listen to, including HaTikvah (Israeli National Anthem), Hava Nagila, Jerusalem of Gold, and the Yigdal (on which the Christian hymn, "The God of Abraham Praise," is based). Please take a look and send us your suggestions.

Judaism and Christianity

What common belief forms the fundamental foundation of both Judaism and Christianity? For the answer, read this encouraging article by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, "Growing in Our Understanding of God."

Jon Voight on Israel

Do You Love Israel?

Israel is God's chosen people and covenant nation. How often does your church pray for the safety of Israel and the peace of Jerusalem? If it doesn't, ask your pastor why not. God promised in the covenant he made with Abraham that he will bless those who bless Israel (Gen. 12:3). Please listen to legendary actor Jon Voight as he gives us an urgent message about Israel.

Nicky's Children Youtube Video

For a 4-minute version taking you back to Sir Nicholas in 1938, see this Youtube video.

The "British Schindler"

Beginning in 1938, Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of over 600 Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia. Here is a very touching video from a BBC television program reuniting Sir Nicholas with many of these children, now adults. How cold our own hearts must be if we cannot thank Jesus for saving us from eternal death with the same emotion that Vera Gissing shows in this video when she meets Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved her as a young girl from the Nazi death camps.

NIV Translation Unreliable

In many ways, we are living in a dangerous age. Some dangers are where you would least expect them, as for example the degree to which feminism has infected even evangelicalism. What translation of the Bible are you using? The NIV has become an unreliable translation. Read "An Evaluation of Gender Language in the 2011 Edition of the NIV Bible" produced by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.


Replacement Theology and Amillennialism

Anyone at all familiar with this Web site knows that we are at the opposite end of the theological spectrum from replacement theology and amillennialism. At our sister Web site, Messiah Studies, we have posted a number of lectures from perhaps the best book on Messianic prophecy that I have read: The Messiahship of Jesus by Alexander McCaul (1852). He does argue that the Messianic prophecies point to fulfillment by Yeshua (Jesus), but in his discussions he gives considerable attention to the Jewish objections to Christian interpretations of these prophecies. However, the point I would like to emphasize here is that he also argues for a literal fulfillment of the prophecies dealing with the future of national Israel and forcefully critiques replacement theology and amillennialism, which sees no future for Israel in an ethnic and national sense. I suggest that those who hold to replacement theology and amillennialism should examine this book carefully. See the the McCaul page . The Messiah Studies site also has a short paper written by me "The Messiah: An Overview," which summarizes what the prophets indeed predict for national Israel--God's chosen, covenant people, the apple of his eye (Zech. 2:8) and the nation written on the palms of his hands (Isa. 49:15-16). You might also be interested in a short paper here on Rediscovering the Bible, "Does Eschatology Matter in Jewish Evangelism?"


Psalm 107

Ship In Storm

"He that cannot pray, let him go to sea, and there he will learn."

John Trapp on Ps. 107:23-29, cited by Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.


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