Saul Goes to Caesarea – Acts 9

Caesarea_090814Saul left Damascus for Jerusalem. He wanted to join the disciples there, but they were understandably afraid of him. It was Barnabas, who we met at the end of chapter 4, who spoke in Paul’s defense to the apostles. He told them of Saul’s conversion, how it had happened., and how he had been preaching the gospel.

So now Saul went in and out among them at will, as he continued preaching about Jesus. Verse 29 speaks of how he disputed against the Hellenists. Obviously, this was a different group of Hellenists from those spoken of in Acts 6:1. These were Jews who had not been converted, and they were plotting to kill Saul, presumably for his “change of allegiance” as much as for anything else. So the brothers had to get him out of there. They took him to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

So according to verse 31, the church all over Judea, Galilee, and Samaria then had peace and began to grow and many were filled with the Spirit.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

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All Together in One Place – Acts 2

Icon of the Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. – Acts 2:1

This verse is the subject of so very much misunderstanding, contention and disagreement. For now, we will focus on what this “one place” means. Some people are stuck on the “upper room” of Acts 1:13. But that just does not work. The attraction of attention that follows in the verses to come because of the sounds of voices indicates that they were present in some publicly accessible place. Some house with a large courtyard or very close to a large area of the temple compound is most likely where the maximum amount of pilgrims who speak other languages would be able to hear what happened.

The next question, of course, is who “they” refers to in the above verse. Again, there are many who are stuck, in this case on the 120 people mentioned in Acts 1:15. But that does not work either for more than one reason. It has now been 10 days since Jesus ascended to heaven. Before the early church fathers started putting chapter divisions in the Books of the New Testament, context for that first verse above would be easier. The comments of Don Dewelt and J.W. McGarvey do a good job of explaining this:

“The persons thus assembled together and filled with the Holy Spirit were not, as many have supposed, the one hundred and twenty disciples mentioned in a parenthesis in the preceding chapter, but the twelve apostles. This is made certain by the grammatical connection between the first verse of this chapter and the last of the preceding. (J.W. McGarvey, The Acts of the Apostles, Cincinnati, Standard Publishing Company,” 1892)

“The fact that the antecedent of any pronoun is found by referring back to the nearest noun (or pronoun) with which it agrees in number etc., clenches the argument of the baptism of only the apostle’s in the Holy Spirit.” (Don Dewelt, Acts Made Actual, Joplin, Missouri, College Press, 1958)

And the last verse of Chapter one says:

And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

English: The Pentecost Mosaic, in the center i...

What happened was the sound of a mighty rush of wind (not actual wind) filling the house, and divided tongues “as of fire” rested on each one of the apostles (not literal fire – but resembling fire). They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then we are told that (especially because of Passover) there were devout men from every nation dwelling in Jerusalem; and a multitude of them heard what was happening and came to see and hear for themselves.

Each of them heard the apostles speaking in their own language. Verses 9-11 name a laundry list of countries with different languages that the people hailed from. Of course, they were amazed; and then something important was said: “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

That is another clue that only the Apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit on this occasion. The fact that all of them were Galileans could only fit with the Apostles themselves. Even if it were possible that the 120 people who others insist upon were all from Galilee, these people could not identify so many as being so!  Also, Jesus Himself made a promise only to the apostles that “the Helper” would come, and they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, Acts 1:5).

Why is it important to understand that? This “Helper” that they receive will be with them forever (John 14:16), so they would have the power and understanding that the Lord intended for them to have to perfect the word of God and His church before they all are done on this earth. This was the responsibility of the Apostles, as His chosen messengers.

The ability at this time to speak in other tongues was no parlor trick either. It served to show many people from many nations that this was an act of God, and that these men were speaking for the Lord. Each of them would return eventually to their lands, and the gospel would literally spread like wildfire – getting its first big opening boost from this day.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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The Green Wood – Luke 23

Pilate was ready to release Jesus (following a sound beating, of course), but the chief priests and the rulers and the people that he had called to give this news to all cried out to him to take Jesus away and release Barrabas. Barrabas was in prison for insurrection and murder, but the Romans by custom would release one prisoner on Passover. Pilate tried again to reason with them, as he wanted to release Jesus. But the shouting to crucify him began.

Jesus helped by Simon of Cyrene, part of a ser...

Jesus helped by Simon of Cyrene, part of a series depicting the stations of the Cross. Chapel Nosso Senhor dos Passos, Santa Casa de Misericórdia of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Oil on canvas, XIXth century, unknown author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pilate tried again, saying “Why? what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they grew more demanding, and eventually he released Barrabas and gave in to their demands. As they led Him to His fate, they got Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross. (Cyrene is now an archeological site in present-day Lybia. It was a settlement of the Greeks, but became Roman Province in 74 B. C.). There was a great crowd of people following Him, and women who were weeping for Him. But Jesus then said to them:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Part of this, Jesus quotes from Zechariah 12:10-14, which speaks of mourning for “him whom they have pierced.” For the second time (the first being when He arrived at Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44), Jesus is foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem which will occur about 40 years from then. “They” in that last sentence means the Romans. The green wood represents the innocent savior, and the dry is what will be left of that Jerusalem generation after He is gone.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Solomon Anointed King – 1 Chronicles 29

The chapter opens with David addressing the assembly of all of the officials of Israel that had gathered together in Jerusalem in chapter 28. He tells them that Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the task at hand (building the temple) is formidable. It is only in 1 Chronicles 29:1 and 29:19 that the word “palace” is used to describe the temple. According to Albert Barnes, “the original word here used is the Hebrew form of a Persian word, and generally designates the residence of the Persian monarch,” as in Esther 1:5. But David makes it clear in verse 1 that it is not a house for a man, but for the Lord.

It is then that David gives one of the last examples of his leadership as a godly king. He tells the assembly of the precious metals that have been provided and also of the large amount of treasure from his own personal wealth that he has donated to the cause of building the Lord’s house. He then asks those assembled who among them will give of their own possessions for the Lord. The result is a huge unifying onslaught of reverent generosity that gives the people great joy.

The Anointing of Solomon by Cornelis de Vos. A...

The Anointing of Solomon by Cornelis de Vos. According to 1 Kings 1:39, Solomon was anointed by Zadok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David then offers a prayer to God in verses 10-19. It is a humble prayer of thanksgiving and worship for the Almighty – to whom all of these things they have given actually belong. This was followed by thousands of burnt offerings and drink offerings, and all sacrifices were accompanied by a great feast and celebration.

Solomon was then anointed king in his second coronation, and Zadok was anointed as priest. Verses 26-30 mark the death of David, who the scripture says reigned 40 years over Israel – seven at Hebron and 33 at Jerusalem. Verse 28 says “he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Rising Star

The 13th chapter of 1 Chronicles takes up with David making plans to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The ark symbolized God’s presence and His covenant under Moses. Though it was revered and kept holy, it had been seriously neglected throughout the reign of Saul, and had been in Kiriath-jearim for some time. Now David, attempting to assemble and unite the nation, was making plans to transport it from the house of Abinadab (1 Samuel 7:1).

 

The Chastisement of Uzzah

The Chastisement of Uzzah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So they loaded on a cart, and Uzzah and his brother drove the cart. But as the oxen stumbled, Uzzah reached out to take hold of it, and God struck him dead. David had gone about this all wrong. Only the Kohathites were allowed to carry the ark – with poles, for even they could not touch it “lest they die” (Numbers 3:29-31, Numbers 4:15). David was angry with God and afraid, and had the ark taken to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, where it would remain until he could figure out the proper way to transport it.

 

Chapter 14 has David making moves to solidify Jerusalem as the focal point – the capital – of Israel. Hiram, the Gentile king of Tyre sent cedars, masons, and carpenters to help build David’s palace. His family grew greatly in number, as well as his strength. God gave him victories over the Philistines, and his fame spread. The chronicler tells us in verse 17 that “the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.” Under David, and with God’s blessing, the nation was becoming a real world power.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

 

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Psalm 122 – A City Bound Firmly

English: picture of Jerusalem from mount zion

English: picture of Jerusalem from mount zion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the third of the 15 “Songs of Ascents” (see this previous post for more information). The superscription says that it is “of David.” It is a song of joy at the privilege of making a pilgrimage to Zion, God’s chosen city.  It resonates as well for Christians as we make our pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem as stated in Hebrews 12:22-24:

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Psalm 132 – If Your Sons Keep My Covenant

David dances in the presence of the ark.

David dances in the presence of the ark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is psalm number 13 of the 15 “Songs of Ascents” (see this previous post for more information). Some have classified this as a post-exillic psalm, but that really does not appear to be the case. If one looks carefully at verses 8-10, it is evident that it was written at a time when the Ark of the Covenant was still in the possession of God’s people:

 

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one

 

Also, those verses are quoted at the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 6:41. Or perhaps, the passage here is a quotation of that scripture. Either way, the ark seems not to have been missing at the time. In verse 6, Ephrathah, is a district with villages called Bethlehem and Jaar – or Kiriath-jearim, where the ark had been left for a time before coming to Jerusalem (1 Samuel 7:1-2).

 

The song’s lyrics build the pilgrims’ excitement as they journey to Jerusalem for the Passover and other feasts; and gives them pause for remembering the promise of the Lord to have one of David’s line on the throne forever. this was a conditional promise, though, as they were reminded by the psalm itself in verse 12: “If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

 

/Bob’s boy

 

___________________

 

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

 

Major Prophets (part 2) Book of Isaiah

In chapter 6, Isaiah recalls the time of his call to be a prophet. We know from verse one that this was about 740-739 B.C., as that was most likely the year that King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26) died. Isaiah lived long enough to write of the death of Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:37-38), the Assyrian king who reigned until 681 B.C.

English: Isaiah; illustration from a Bible car...

English: Isaiah; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional secular Jewish and Christian writings state that Jeremiah and Isaiah were the two prophets referred to by the Hebrew writer as having been “sawn in two” (Hebrews 11:37). These writings refer to the persecution under Manasseh, the king of Judah from 687-642 B.C. Other writings in the Book of Isaiah can be dated as well. Chapter 7 was written about 735 B.C.  Chapters 36-38 can be dated about 701, which is the time of the Assyrian invasion.

The book opens with an indictment of the people of Israel, and the declaration that Israel has no excuse for its apostasy (Isaiah 1:1-10). It lists God’s requirements of the people of Israel in order to avert the coming judgment (Isaiah 1:16-20), It also contains the lament over Jerusalem and its coming fate (Isaiah 1:21-23), and a declaration of God’s coming judgment upon the people (Isaiah 1:24-31).

Isaiah is considered to be the most prophetic book of the Bible, and is quoted in the New Testament over 400 times.  The most well-known of his Messianic prophecies are in what is known as the “Suffering Servant” songs. The most beautiful and best understood prophecies that are a source of understanding of the Savior’s purpose as the Messiah are contained in Chapter 53.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

1 Chronicles – The Annals of the Times

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

David bringing the Ark to Jerusalem

Like the Book of Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles were originally one book. The Hebrew title is “Dibre Hayyamim” (meaning “Events of the Times” or “Annals”), which can be assumed to have been abbreviated from “Sepher Dibre Hayyamim,” for “The Book of the Events of the Times.”  In the Septuagint, it is known as “Paraleipomena,” or “The Things Omitted,” suggesting information supplemental to The Books of Samuel and Kings. In fact, so much of the Scripture in the Books of Chronicles can be found in Kings that many people wonder why God would have wanted two such similar records.

There are a couple of very good answers to that question. As always, it is good to remember that any time we see something repeated in Scripture, it is a pretty good indication that it is important. Secondly, unlike Kings, the Books of Chronicles have little at all to say about the northern kingdom, but instead they are centered almost totally around Judah, or the southern kingdom. It is also argued that the perspective in the Chronicles is less from a historical viewpoint than it is for edification.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

As an act of pride, King David forced Joab to take a census of men of military age. The Lord was displeased with David for this and sent a great plague.

Jewish tradition holds that Ezra was the author, although there is nothing in the books to verify this. It was once believed that the Chronicles along with Ezra and Nehemiah were once one book, but most scholars now recognize them as separate works of approximately the same period. A post-exilic date of 450-400 BC for the Book seems to be validated by the mention of several descendants of David from the period in places such as 1 Chronicles 3:17-24.

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are a lengthy list of genealogies that begin with Adam and conclude with that of the returning exiles. Such a long and tedious (to us) list provokes questions about the reason for them to be there at all.  In fact, they are important for more than one reason. First, it would be important to identify the Levites after returning from captivity in order to properly preserve the priesthood. Secondly, the proper heirs for the land could be identified for distribution to those returning to Jerusalem from captivity. Finally, it preserves the record of the lineage of David – important to validate the lineage of the Messiah.

Outline of 1 Chronicles

 /Bob’s boy

___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Book of Joshua (Part 2) – Taking the Promised land

Ai - Joshua's soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Ai – Joshua’s soldiers were first defeated here, but then God provided a stunning victory.

Picking the Book of Joshua back up in chapter 9, the next few chapters are filled with more conquest, and a deception that will have lasting consequences.

  • The Gibeonite Deception (Joshua 9:1-27).  Upon hearing of what had happened at Jericho and Ai, the various Canaanite kings gathered together and joined forces to do battle against the approaching Israelites.  But the people of Gibeon came up with a plan of their own.  Altering their appearance to make themselves look like they had traveled a long distance, they went straight to the Israelite camp and to Joshua, claiming they had come from a distant country, and asking to make a covenant with them.
    • The deception worked, and they extracted an oath of cooperation and protection from the leaders and elders of the congregation.  When the deception was discovered, the anger of the people was kindled, but the oath had been made and would be honored.  But  because of their trickery, many of them would serve the congregation forever, just like servants, as woodcutters and drawers of water.
    • So just as the Lord (and Moses) had specifically warned them many times not to do (as in Deuteronomy 7:2), the Israelites had made a covenant with people in Canaan before the battles were even half over.  And the blame for this horrible mistake lays in their failure to seek counsel from the Lord (Joshua 9:14-15).
  •    The defense of Gibeon and the conquest of the south (Joshua 10:1–43)
    • Gibeon_001

      Gibeon, view north of El Jib; the Gibeonites tricked Joshua to make a treaty with them.

      Gibeon was no small city, and its men were known warriors.  So when the king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek, heard of the peace between them and Israel, he was afraid.  Summoning the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, he gathered all of their forces to make war against Gibeon.  The men of Gibeon then went to Joshua at Gigal seeking their help.

    • Bound by the oath they had made, Joshua prepared his mighty men to do battle, and the Lord told him in Joshua 10:8 “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”  It was during this battle that the famous “long day” occurred, upon which Joshua commanded the sun to “stand still.”  For our comments on this event, see this previous post.

    • After the victory, Joshua and the men hunted down and executed the five kings.  Then, with God fighting on their side, they won victory after victory in the south, capturing their kings and taking the land “from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza.”

  • Joshua 11-12 details the victories of the Israelites in the northern part of the land, with Joshua 12:1-6 recounting the kings that had been defeated under the leadership of Moses (some of which was told in Numbers 21).
/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.