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Leviticus   1 - 4



Laws for Burnt Offerings

Leviticus 1:1  The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.

     No book in the Old Testament presents a greater challenge to the modern reader than Leviticus, and imagination is required to picture the ceremonies and rites that form the bulk of the book. However, it is important to try to understand the rituals in Leviticus for two reasons. First, rituals enshrine, express, and teach those values and ideas that a society holds most dear. By analyzing the ceremonies described in Leviticus, we can learn about what was most important to the Old Testament Israelites. Second, these same ideas are foundational for the New Testament writers. Particularly the concepts of sin, sacrifice, and atonement found in Leviticus are used in the New Testament to interpret the death of Christ.
     Precisely because the rituals of Leviticus are so central to Old Testament thinking, they are often obscure to us, because the writers did not need to explain them to their contemporaries. Every Israelite knew why a particular sacrifice was offered on a specific occasion and what a certain gesture meant. For ourselves, every hint in the text must be grasped to understand these things, and a judicious reading between the lines is sometimes required.
     Leviticus is part of the covenant law given at Sinai. The ideas that inform the whole Sinaitic covenant, including God’s sovereign grace in choosing Israel and His moral demands, are also presupposed here. Certain themes are especially prominent in Leviticus. First, God is present with His people. Second, because God is holy, His people must also be holy (11:45). Since man is sinful, he cannot dwell with the holy God. Contact between the sinner and the divine holiness may result in death. Hence, atonement for sin through the offering of sacrifice is of paramount importance.
  ESV Reformation Study Bible
3 “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. 4 He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 6 Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, 7 and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 9 but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

10 “If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish, 11 and he shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. 12 And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall arrange them on the wood that is on the fire on the altar, 13 but the entrails and the legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer all of it and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

14 “If his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or pigeons. 15 And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head and burn it on the altar. Its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. 16 He shall remove its crop with its contents and cast it beside the altar on the east side, in the place for ashes. 17 He shall tear it open by its wings, but shall not sever it completely. And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

Leviticus 2

Laws for Grain Offerings

Leviticus 2:1 “When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it 2 and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 3 But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the LORD’s food offerings.

4 “When you bring a grain offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil. 5 And if your offering is a grain offering baked on a griddle, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil. 6 You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. 7 And if your offering is a grain offering cooked in a pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 8 And you shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the LORD, and when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. 9 And the priest shall take from the grain offering its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 10 But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the LORD’s food offerings.

11 “No grain offering that you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey as a food offering to the LORD. 12 As an offering of firstfruits you may bring them to the LORD, but they shall not be offered on the altar for a pleasing aroma. 13 You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

14 “If you offer a grain offering of firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits fresh ears, roasted with fire, crushed new grain. 15 And you shall put oil on it and lay frankincense on it; it is a grain offering. 16 And the priest shall burn as its memorial portion some of the crushed grain and some of the oil with all of its frankincense; it is a food offering to the LORD.

Leviticus 3

Laws for Peace Offerings

Leviticus 3:1  “If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD. 2 And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar. 3 And from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as a food offering to the LORD, he shall offer the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 4 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 5 Then Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood on the fire; it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

6 “If his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD is an animal from the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. 7 If he offers a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD, 8 lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it in front of the tent of meeting; and Aaron’s sons shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. 9 Then from the sacrifice of the peace offering he shall offer as a food offering to the LORD its fat; he shall remove the whole fat tail, cut off close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 10 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 11 And the priest shall burn it on the altar as a food offering to the LORD.

12 “If his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD 13 and lay his hand on its head and kill it in front of the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. 14 Then he shall offer from it, as his offering for a food offering to the LORD, the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 15 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. 16 And the priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the LORD’s. 17 It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood.”

Leviticus 4

Laws for Sin Offerings

Leviticus 4:1  And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, 3 if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering. 4 He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD. 5 And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, 6 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. 7 And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD that is in the tent of meeting, and all the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8 And all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall remove from it, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 9 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys 10 (just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace offerings); and the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. 11 But the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its dung— 12 all the rest of the bull—he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap it shall be burned up.

13 “If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting. 15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. 16 Then the anointed priest shall bring some of the blood of the bull into the tent of meeting, 17 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the veil. 18 And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is in the tent of meeting before the LORD, and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 19 And all its fat he shall take from it and burn on the altar. 20 Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. 21 And he shall carry the bull outside the camp and burn it up as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.

22 “When a leader sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by the commandments of the LORD his God ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 23 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish, 24 and shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering. 25 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26 And all its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. So the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin, and he shall be forgiven.

27 “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, 28 or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. 29 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 31 And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

32 “If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish 33 and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34 Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 35 And all its fat he shall remove as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on top of the LORD’s food offerings. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.

ESV Study Bible

What I'm Reading

The Reception of the Book of Revelation in the Early Church

By Michael J. Kruger 11/1/2016

     There is little doubt that most people are confused by the book of Revelation. Perhaps is not surprising, then, that people are equally confused by its journey into the New Testament canon.

     Revelation is one of those “debated” books in the early church, along with books like 2 Peter, 2-3 John, and Jude.

     If you are looking for more on the canonical history of Revelation, I point you to my recent article entitled, “The Reception of the Book of Revelation in the Early Church” which has just come out in the new volume Book of Seven Seals: The Peculiarity of Revelation, its Manuscripts, Attestation, and Transmission (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament) (English and German Edition).

     In essence, I argue that Revelation had a very different canonical history than most other debated NT books. Other debated books tended to have a lukewarm reception at the earliest stages, only to gain more and more acceptance over time. Revelation, on the other hand, had nearly the opposite experience; it had a very early and positive reception in many parts of the church, only to run into serious challenges at a later point.

     For a briefer (and less academic) overview of Revelation’s canonical history, see my prior blog article “The Book of Revelation: How Difficult Was Its Journey into the Canon.”

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

The Likely Forger Behind the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

By Michael J. Kruger 6/16/2016

     It has been a while since the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has been in the headlines. It was originally unveiled by Karen King at Harvard (here), but quickly exposed as a likely forgery. I have also written on the fragment (here and here).

     While this document’s status as a forgery is relatively certain, what has been uncertain (until now) is the identity of the forger. Who was the person who created this document and convinced King and others to promote it?

     The forger must have had some Coptic abilities. But, the abilities would have had limits–as demonstrated by the mistakes in the Coptic text.

     What is remarkable is that King herself has not undertaken a rigorous investigation of the document’s origins and provenance. Who discovered this document? Who owned it? And how was it passed along? If the authenticity of a document is in doubt, this is an important avenue to pursue. But no one has wanted to pursue it.

     But, now someone finally has.  A journalist named Ariel Sabar has just published a splendid piece in The Atlantic documenting the history of this forgery and tracing it back to the current owner, and likely forger, a rather shady German business man, and washed-out Coptic student, named Walter Fritz.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

My Review of “How the Bible Became Holy

By Michael J. Kruger 12/14/2015

     This past week, my review of Michael Satlow, How the Bible Became Holy appeared in the latest volume of Themelios.

     As the title suggests, this is yet another book (in a long list of predecessors) that insists that the idea of an authoritative Scripture is a late invention of Christians.

     According to Satlow, the Bible was not originally holy. It became holy. And that didn’t even happen until well into the third century or later.

     Although Satlow’s volume covers both OT and NT issues, my review addressed some weaknesses on the NT side of things:

     "As for the development of the New Testament canon, Satlow provides a brief overview of some of the major players in the second century, including Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Irenaeus (pp. 241–56). Although there is substantial evidence that these individuals held a high view of New Testament writings, one gets the impression that Satlow is trying to minimize this evidence at every turn. For example, when it comes to Justin Martyr, he argues that the Gospels “play a relatively minor role for him” and “didn’t play much of a role in the lives of most ordinary Christians” (p. 250). But, then Satlow just glosses over the major text that shows otherwise, namely Justin’s description of how the Gospels are read in early Christian worship services as Scripture on par with the Old Testament writings (1 Apol. 67.3). Surely this suggests that the Gospels not only possessed a high authority, but that they did play an important role in the life of ordinary Christians.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

What is the Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament?

By Michael J. Kruger 10/19/2015

     In the study of the New Testament canon, scholars like to highlight the first time we see a complete list of 27 books. Inevitably, the list contained in Athanasius’ famous Festal Letter (c.367) is mentioned as the first time this happened.

     As a result, it is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.

     But, this sort of reasoning is problematic on a number of levels. First, we don’t measure the existence of the New Testament just by the existence of lists. When we examine the way certain books were used by the early church fathers, it is evident that there was a functioning canon long before the fourth century. Indeed, by the second century, there is already a “core” collection of New Testament books functioning as Scripture.

     Second, there are reasons to think that Athanasius’ list is not the earliest complete list we possess. In the recent festschrift for Larry Hurtado, Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado (The Library of New Testament Studies), I wrote an article entitled, “Origen’s List of New Testament Books in Homiliae on Josuam 7.1: A Fresh Look.”

     In that article, I argue that around 250 A.D., Origen likely produced a complete list of all 27 New Testament books–more than a hundred years before Athanasius. In his typical allegorical fashion, Origen used the story of Joshua to describe the New Testament canon:

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 17

In the Shadow of Your Wings
17 A Prayer Of David.

6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7 Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,

ESV Study Bible

Do We Have the Original Text? Some Optimism in Textual Criticism

By Michael J. Kruger 12/3/2014

     Over the last few decades, the world of textual criticism has had a less than an optimistic feel about it. While the central purpose of textual criticism has traditionally been the recovery of the “original” text (regardless of whether one is dealing with the New Testament or any ancient text), some are now suggesting that it should not necessarily be the goal of the discipline.

     Bart Ehrman, commenting on the attempts to recover the original text, declares, “It is by no means self-evident that this ought to be the goal of the discipline…there may indeed be scant reason to privilege the ‘original’ text over forms of the text that developed subsequently” (“Text as Window,” 361, n.1).

     In addition, others have express substantial skepticism about whether the “original” text can even be recovered at all. Helmut Koester has argued that the text has changed dramatically in the earliest time period of its transmission–a period prior to our earliest copies–and thus scholars are “naive” if they think it can be recovered (“Text of the Synoptic Gospels in the Second Century,” 19).

     Now, it is important to recognize that these scholars are correct in many ways. Prior generations of scholars have perhaps given too little attention to the complexities and challenges in recovering the original text of the New Testament. And it is correct that we cannot have absolutely 100% certainty regarding every single textual variation.

     That said, I thought it might be helpful to also revisit the more optimistic voices within in the practice of textual criticism. One key question is whether the original text has been lost entirely (and thus appears in none of our manuscripts), or whether our manuscripts (at least somewhere) contain the original text. Here are just a few quotes from scholars who think that the original text is still in our possession:

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

Is the Original Text of the New Testament Lost? Rethinking Our Access to the Autographs

By Michael J. Kruger 5/13/2015

     One of the standard challenges for New Testament textual criticism is whether we can work our way back to the original text. Some scholars are notoriously skeptical in this regard. Since we only have later copies, it is argued, we cannot be sure that the text was not substantially changed in the time period that pre-dates those copies.

     Helmut Koester and Bart Ehrman are examples of this skeptical approach. Koester has argued that the text of the New Testament in the earliest stages was notoriously unstable. Most major changes, he argues, would have taken place in the first couple centuries.

     Ehrman makes a similar case. Since we don’t have the originals, and only copies of copies of copies, then who knows what the text was really like before our extant copies were made.

     But is it really true that we only possess copies of copies of copies? Is there really an enormous gap, as Koester and Ehrman maintain, between the autographs and our earliest copies?

     A recent article by Craig Evans of Acadia University suggests otherwise.  In the most recent issue of the Bulletin for Biblical Research, Evans explores the question of how long manuscripts would have lasted in the ancient world, and whether that might provide some guidance of how long the autographs might have lasted–and therefore how long they would have been copied.

Click here for entire article

     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

The Problem Of The Old Testament

By James Orr 1907

THE TABERNACLE

An initial difficulty in the Mosaic account is the richness and splendour of the “tent of meeting,” said to be reared by command of God in the wilderness. This of itself, however is not insuperable. Neither the resources nor the skill of the people in leaving Egypt were so slender as the critics represent, and the rearing of a sanctuary was an object for which they would strip themselves of their best. If the ark was as fine an object as its description implies, we should expect that the tabernacle made for its reception would have some degree of splendour as well. Much more radical is the position now taken up by the Graf-Wellhausen critics. Such a tabernacle as the Priestly Code describes, they tell us, never existed. The tent of the wilderness is a pure creation of the post-exilian imagination. In Wellhausen’s language: “The temple, the focus to which the worship was concentrated, and which was not built until Solomon’s time, is by this document regarded as so indispensable even for the troubled days of the wanderings before the settlement, that it is made portable, and in the form of a tabernacle set up in the very beginning of things. For the truth is, that the tabernacle is the copy, not the prototype, of the temple at Jerusalem.” The critical and other difficulties which inhere in such a conception are left over for the present; we look only at the facts.

1. Our starting-point here, as before, is the admission of the critics that a tabernacle of some sort did exist, as a covering for the ark and a place of meeting with Jehovah, at least as far back as they will allow the history to go. Graf may be quoted here, though his concessions are ampler than those which Wellhausen would be disposed to make. “The presence of the ark in the field ( 1 Sam. 4:3 ff.),” he says, “presupposes also that of a tent, of however simple a character, which might serve as a protection and lodging for the ark and for the priests with the sacred utensils; and it lies likewise in the nature of the case that before this tent, where sacrifice was offered by the priests, and the will of Jehovah inquired after, meetings and deliberations of the host were also held; hence the tent was the ohel moed (tent of meeting).” But then, it is contended, this is not the tabernacle of the Priestly Code, and reference is made in proof to “the tent” which, in  Ex. 33:7, Moses is said to have pitched (R.V. “used to pitch”) “afar off” without the camp, and to have called “the tent of meeting,” when as yet the tabernacle of the law was not erected. Wellhausen goes further, and will have it that the pre-Solomonic tabernacle was not a single tent at all, but a succession of changing tents, staying himself in this contention, of all authorities in the world, on the Chronicler, whose words— “have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another” —are made to bear a sense which that writer assuredly never dreamt of.

Now it is the case, and is an interesting fact, that after the sin of the golden calf, before the Sinaitic tabernacle was made, Moses is related to have taken—strictly, “used to take”—“the tent,” and pitched it “without the camp, afar off from the camp,” and to have called it “the tent of meeting.” The mention of “the tent” comes in quite abruptly, and may fairly suggest that we have here, as the critics say, part of an originally independent narrative— the same to which also  Num. 11:16 ff., and  12:4 ff. (cf.  Deut. 31:14, 15 ) belong. As it stands in the context, however, the impression distinctly produced is, that the withdrawal of the tent or tabernacle from the camp is penal in character (cf. vers.  3–5 : “I will not go up in the midst of thee”), and that the tabernacle itself is a provisional one, meeting a need till the permanent “tent of meeting” is got ready. The tenses, indeed, imply usage; but duration of usage is limited by the writer’s thought, and need not cover more than the period of alienation, or at most the interval —the greater part of a year— till the erection of the new tabernacle. The critics, however, will not admit this; and, comparing the passages above mentioned, maintain that there are the clearest points of distinction between this JE tent or tabernacle and that of the Priestly Code. The former, it is said, is always represented as pitched without the camp; the latter is as invariably pitched in the midst of the camp. The one is a place of revelation (Jehovah descends in the pillar to the door of the tabernacle); the other is a place of divine service or worship. The one has Joshua as its attendant; the other is served by priests and Levites. On this last objection— the absence of Levites— it is enough to remark that, at the time referred to in  Ex. 33, Levites had not yet been appointed; the ark itself had not yet been made. The other two objections deserve more consideration. They rest on grounds which have a degree of plausibility, though closer examination, we are convinced, will bring out the essential harmony of the accounts.

2. The first question relates to the place of the tabernacle. Is there real contrariety here between the JE and the P accounts? When we examine the evidence for the contention that all through the wanderings, in the JE narrative, the place of the tabernacle was without the camp — “afar off” — we are struck, first, with its exceeding meagreness. It consists of the two passages in  Numbers above referred to, concerning which it may be observed that, while their language, taken alone, will agree with this hypothesis, it certainly does not necessitate it. It is not conclusive that we are told on one or two occasions that persons “went out” from the camp to the tent, or that Moses “went out” from the tent to the people; for the same language would be as appropriately used of going out from any particular encampment to the open space in the centre where the sanctuary stood; just as it is said of Dathan and Abiram that they “came out” and stood in the door of their own tents. The question requires to be decided on broader grounds. Even in  Ex. 33:7, the natural suggestion of the statement that Moses, in particular circumstances, took the tent — assumed as known — and pitched it “without the camp, afar off from the camp,” would seem to be that the original and proper place of the tent was within the camp; and there are not wanting in the narratives indications that this was the real state of the case. Both in the JE and the P sections the region outside the camp is regarded as a region of exclusion from Jehovah’s presence; it would be passing strange if His tabernacle, surmounted by the cloudy pillar, were thought of as pitched “afar off” in this region. It requires much faith, for instance, to believe that when Miriam, smitten with leprosy, was “shut up outside the camp seven days,” she was nearer the tabernacle of Jehovah than the people who were within; or that, when quails were sent, the tabernacle was in such a position as to be certainly smothered by them when they fell; or that, when Balaam, looking on Israel, testified, “Jehovah his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them,” the tabernacle of Jehovah was really beheld by the seer as far apart from the people. But there are other and more crucial JE passages. When, in particular, it is declared in  Num. 14:44 that “the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and Moses, departed not out of the camp,” it cannot be supposed that the ark was, before starting, already outside of the camp — “afar off”; the words imply as plainly as may be that its resting-place was within the camp. When, again, Moses is related in  Num. 10:36 to have said at the resting of the ark, “Return, O Jehovah, to the ten thousands of Israel,” his formula has hardly any meaning if the ark did not return from going before the people to a resting-place within the camp. In the same direction point such allusions as “the cloud of Jehovah was over them by day, when they set forward from the camp” — “and Thy cloud standeth over them — allusions which those who adopt the hypothesis we are criticising think it necessary to relegate to P or a redactor; together with instances of an immediate acting, speaking, or calling of Jehovah from the tabernacle (were Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, e.g., “afar off” when they heard Jehovah call “suddenly” to them, as in  Num. 12:4? ), or of direct transactions with the officials of the sanctuary. Taken together, these things show that, while there may be divergences in the mode of representation, there is no essential disagreement in the accounts as to the place of the tabernacle.

3. Neither, when we take the history as a whole, does there appear to be any better basis for the statement that in JE the tabernacle is a place of revelation only, whereas in P it is peculiarly a place of worship. In P also, as in JE, the tabernacle is a place of revelation; in JE, and in pre-Solomonic times, as in P, it is a place of worship, with its altars and sacred furniture, its priestly ministrants, its assemblies at the feasts, etc. Only by isolating one or two special passages, in which the aspect of revelation in JE is prominent, can it be made to appear otherwise. In certain respects there is obvious resemblance from the first. In P, as well as in JE, the tabernacle is called ohel moed (tent of meeting): in P this alternates with the name mishkan (dwelling). A curious fact here, and one puzzling to the critics, is that in certain sections of P ( Ex. 25–27:19 ) only mishkan is used; in others (chaps.  28–31. ) only ohel moed; in others the names intermingle. In both JE and P Jehovah manifests His presence in a cloud of fire; the fact that in JE the cloud is spoken of as a “pillar” is no contradiction. If in JE Jehovah descends in the pillar to the door of the tabernacle to speak with Moses, this mode of communication is also recognised in P (“At the door of the tent of meeting … where I will speak with you,”  Ex. 29:42, 43 ); elsewhere Jehovah speaks from between the cherubim. The tabernacle in both JE and P contains the ark of the covenant; a Levitical priesthood in its service is implied in the JE notices in  Joshua, and in  Deuteronomy. A tabernacle existed, and was set up in Shiloh, in Joshua’s time, as  Josh. 18:1, ascribed to P, declares: this reappears under the name “the house of God” in Shiloh, in  Judg. 18:31.10 In this connection it should not be overlooked that the Book of the Covenant (JE) already provides for offerings being brought to “the house of Jehovah thy God.” At the sanctuary at Shiloh an annual feast, described as “a (or the) feast of Jehovah,” is held, which is most naturally identified with one of the three prescribed feasts (cf.  1 Sam. 1:3 ). The notices of the ark, again, and the custom of “inquiring of Jehovah,” attest the existence of a stated priesthood, of sacrifices — the offering of “burnt offerings and peace offerings before Jehovah” — and of the priestly ephod. In face of all this, Wellhausen’s assertion that in the Book of  Judges “there is no mention of the tabernacle … it is only in preparation, it has not yet appeared,” can only excite astonishment.

When we pass to the Books of  Samuel, we get fresh and valuable light on the tabernacle, and its place in the religion of Israel. At the end of the period of the  Judges, it is still at Shiloh, with Eli, of the house of Aaron, as its principal priest. It bears the old name — “the tent of meeting” — to which no suspicion need attach; contains the ark with its cherubim; is the centre of worship for “all Israel”; in its furniture and ritual suggests the prescriptions of the Levitical Code. “The lamp of God” burns, as directed, all night; from the later incidental mention of the shewbread, and of the regulations connected with it, at Nob, we may infer the presence of the table with the shewbread. Elkanah goes up yearly to worship, and his sacrifice for his vow is according to the law. In  1 Sam. 2:22, there is allusion to “the women who did service at the door of the tent of meeting” — the only other mention of these women being in  Ex. 38:8. (P). The genuineness of this important passage, the second half of which, for reasons that may be guessed, is omitted in the LXX (Vat. Cod.), has been disputed, but, it seems to us, without sufficient reason.

Thus far the resemblance of “the house of God” in Shiloh to the tabernacle of the law must be admitted. But objections, on the other hand, are urged, which, it is thought, disprove the identification. It is pointed out that the sanctuary is described, not as a tent, but as a “temple” (hēkal), with doors and posts, which implies a permanent structure; that Samuel is represented as sleeping in the room where the ark of God was; that the sons of Eli were within their Levitical rights in demanding uncooked flesh, etc. But there is needed here not a little forcing of the text to make out a case in favour of the critics. “Everywhere else in  1 Sam. 1–3, ” says Wellhausen, arguing against the name ohel moed, “the sanctuary of Shiloh is called hēkal”: the “everywhere else” being simply twice. And it does not prove his point. Whatever structures or supports may have grown up about the sanctuary (for safety, stability, protection, convenience) during its century-long stay at Shiloh — and from its age such were to be expected — it was still essentially, as  2 Sam. 7:6 shows, “a tent and a tabernacle,” nor did Israelitish tradition ever know of any other kind of habitation of Jehovah. The further supposition that Samuel slept literally in the shrine of the ark is, from the point of view of an Israelite, an outrage on all probability; neither does the language of the text compel any such meaning. Samuel and Eli slept in contiguous chambers of some lodgment connected with the sanctuary, such as may be presumed to have been provided for the priests and others engaged in its service. The sin of the sons of Eli consisted in their greed and violence, and in the appropriating of such portions as their “flesh-hooks” laid hold of, before the fat was burned on the altar, as the law required. The Levitical dues are presupposed: not contradicted.

What remains to be said on the tabernacle may be briefly summed up. Ark and tabernacle, as above noted, were separated during the long period that the former was at Kirjath-jearim. When David brought the ark to Zion, the tabernacle, probably then old and frail, and unfitted for removal, was at Gibeon. Thence it was brought up with its vessels, and preserved, apparently, as a precious relic, in Solomon’s temple. The supposition that the ohel moed of  1 Kings 8:4 was not this historic tabernacle, but the temporary tent set up by David on Zion, is contradicted by the name, which is not given to that tent, by the mention of the vessels, and by the unlikelihood that a temporary tent would have such honour put upon it, while one can well understand why the old tabernacle should.

     The Problem of the Old Testament

The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream

By John Bunyan 1678

THE FOURTH STAGE

     Then there came to him a hand with some of the leaves of the tree of life, the which Christian took and applied to the wounds that he had received in the battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat down in that place to eat bread, and to drink of the bottle that was given him a little before: so, being refreshed, he addressed himself to his journey with his sword drawn in his hand; for he said, I know not but some other enemy may be at hand. But he met with no other affront from Apollyon quite through this valley.

     Now at the end of this valley was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Death; and Christian must needs go through it, because the way to the Celestial City lay through the midst of it. Now, this valley is a very solitary place. The prophet Jeremiah thus describes it: “A wilderness, a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought, and of the Shadow of Death, a land that no man” (but a Christian) “passeth through, and where no man dwelt.”

Jer. 2:6  They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that none passes through,
where no man dwells?’
  ESV

     Now here Christian was worse put to it than in his fight with Apollyon, as by the sequel you shall see.

     I saw then in my dream, that when Christian was got to the borders of the Shadow of Death, there met him two men, children of them that brought up an evil report of the good land

Num 13:32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.

making haste to go back; to whom Christian spake as follows.

     CHR. Whither are you going?

     MEN. They said, Back, back; and we would have you do so too, if either life or peace is prized by you.

     CHR. Why, what’s the matter? said Christian.

     MEN. Matter! said they; we were going that way as you are going, and went as far as we durst: and indeed we were almost past coming back; for had we gone a little further, we had not been here to bring the news to thee.

     CHR. But what have you met with? said Christian.

     MEN. Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but that by good hap we looked before us, and saw the danger before we came to it.

Psa. 44:19  yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
  ESV

Psa 107:19  Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
  ESV

     CHR. But what have you seen? said Christian.

     MEN. Seen! why the valley itself, which is as dark as pitch: we also saw there the hobgoblins, satyrs, and dragons of the pit: we heard also in that valley a continual howling and yelling, as of a people under unutterable misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons: and over that valley hang the discouraging clouds of confusion: Death also doth always spread his wings over it. In a word, it is every whit dreadful, being utterly without order.

Job 3:5  Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
Let clouds dwell upon it;
let the blackness of the day terrify it.
  ESV

Job 10:22  the land of gloom like thick darkness,
like deep shadow without any order,
where light is as thick darkness.”
  ESV

     CHR. Then, said Christian, I perceive not yet, by what you have said, but that this is my way to the desired haven.

Psalm 44:18-19 18  Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way;
19  yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
  ESV

Jer. 2:6  They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that none passes through,
where no man dwells?’
  ESV

     MEN. Be it thy way; we will not choose it for ours.

     So they parted, and Christian went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, for fear lest he should be assaulted.

     I saw then in my dream, so far as this valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep ditch; that ditch is it into which the blind have led the blind in all ages, and have both there miserably perished. Again, behold, on the left hand there was a very dangerous quag, into which, if even a good man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on: into that quag king David once did fall, and had no doubt therein been smothered, had not He that is able plucked him out.

Psa. 69:14  Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
  ESV

     The pathway was here also exceeding narrow, and therefore good Christian was the more put to it; for when he sought, in the dark, to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other; also, when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch. Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly; for besides the danger mentioned above, the pathway was here so dark, that ofttimes when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where, or upon what he should set it next.

     About the midst of this valley I perceived the mouth of hell to be, and it stood also hard by the wayside. Now, thought Christian, what shall I do? And ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises, (things that cared not for Christian’s sword, as did Apollyon before,) that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake himself to another weapon, called All-prayer,

Eph. 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,   ESV

so he cried, in my hearing, O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Psa. 116:4  Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
  ESV

     Thus he went on a great while, yet still the flames would be reaching towards him; also he heard doleful voices, and rushings to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the streets. This frightful sight was seen, and these dreadful noises were heard by him for several miles together; and coming to a place where he thought he heard a company of fiends coming forward to meet him, he stopped, and began to muse what he had best to do. Sometimes he had half a thought to go back; then again he thought he might be half-way through the valley. He remembered also, how he had already vanquished many a danger; and that the danger of going back might be much more than for to go forward. So he resolved to go on; yet the fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer. But when they were come even almost at him, he cried out with a most vehement voice, I will walk in the strength of the Lord God. So they gave back, and came no farther.

     One thing I would not let slip. I took notice that now poor Christian was so confounded that he did not know his own voice; and thus I perceived it. Just when he was come over against the mouth of the burning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stepped up softly to him, and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind. This put Christian more to it than any thing that he met with before, even to think that he should now blaspheme Him that he loved so much before. Yet if he could have helped it, he would not have done it; but he had not the discretion either to stop his ears, or to know from whence these blasphemies came.

     When Christian had travelled in this disconsolate condition some considerable time, he thought he heard the voice of a man, as going before him, saying, Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

Psa. 23: 4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
  ESV

     Then was he glad, and that for these reasons:

     First, Because he gathered from thence, that some who feared God were in this valley as well as himself.

     Secondly, For that he perceived God was with them, though in that dark and dismal state. And why not, thought he, with me? though by reason of the impediment that attends this place, I cannot perceive it.

Job 9:11  Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
  ESV

     Thirdly, For that he hoped (could he overtake them) to have company by and by.

     So he went on, and called to him that was before; but he knew not what to answer, for that he also thought himself to be alone. And by and by the day broke: then said Christian, “He hath turned the shadow of death into the morning.”

Amos 5:8  He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the LORD is his name;
  ESV

     Now morning being come, he looked back, not out of desire to return, but to see, by the light of the day, what hazards he had gone through in the dark. So he saw more perfectly the ditch that was on the one hand, and the quag that was on the other; also how narrow the way was which led betwixt them both. Also now he saw the hobgoblins, and satyrs, and dragons of the pit, but all afar off; for after break of day they came not nigh; yet they were discovered to him, according to that which is written, “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.”

Job 12:22  He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
and brings deep darkness to light.
  ESV

     Now was Christian much affected with this deliverance from all the dangers of his solitary way; which dangers, though he feared them much before, yet he saw them more clearly now, because the light of the day made them conspicuous to him. And about this time the sun was rising, and this was another mercy to Christian; for you must note, that though the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous, yet this second part, which he was yet to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous; for, from the place where he now stood, even to the end of the valley, the way was all along set so full of snares, traps, gins, and nets here, and so full of pits, pitfalls, deep holes, and shelvings-down there, that had it now been dark, as it was when he came the first part of the way, had he had a thousand souls, they had in reason been cast away; but, as I said, just now the sun was rising. Then said he, “His Candle shineth on my head, and by his light I go through darkness.”

Job 29:3  when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness,   ESV

     In this light, therefore, he came to the end of the valley. Now I saw in my dream, that at the end of the valley lay blood, bones, ashes, and mangled bodies of men, even of pilgrims that had gone this way formerly; and while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave, where two giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old times; by whose power and tyranny the men whose bones, blood, ashes, etc., lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered; but I have learnt since, that Pagan has been dead many a day; and as for the other, though he be yet alive, he is, by reason of age, and also of the many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy and stiff in his joints that he can now do little more than sit in his cave’s mouth, grinning at pilgrims as they go by, and biting his nails because he cannot come at them.

     So I saw that Christian went on his way; yet, at the sight of the old man that sat at the mouth of the cave, he could not tell what to think, especially because he spoke to him, though he could not go after him, saying, You will never mend, till more of you be burned. But he held his peace, and set a good face on it; and so went by, and catched no hurt. Then sang Christian,

“O world of wonders, (I can say no less,)
That I should be preserved in that distress
That I have met with here! O blessed be
That hand that from it hath delivered me!
Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin,
Did compass me, while I this vale was in;
Yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets did lie
My path about, that worthless, silly I
Might have been catch’d, entangled, and cast down;
But since I live, let Jesus wear the crown.”

     Pilgrim's Progress (Illustrated): Updated, Modern English. More than 100 Illustrations.

The Continual Burnt Offering

By H.A. Ironside - 1941

February 1
Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”  ESV

     The ark going down into the Jordan pictured our blessed Savior going into the dark waters of judgment for us. He had to go on alone, none could share with Him in the work of making atonement for sin. Just as the people of Israel waited until there was a space of two thousand cubits between them and the ark, and did not enter the river bed till the floods were rolled back, so we, who had no part in the atonement, now obtain the benefit of that death which Jesus endured alone in order that we might be saved. We could only look on in awe-struck silence as He took our place and bore our penalty.

Alone He bore the cross,
Alone its grief sustained.
His was the shame and loss,
And He the victory gained;
The mighty world was all His own,
Tho’ we shall share His glorious throne.
--- Swain


The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God

Critics Preferring an Earlier Date for Deuteronomy

By Gleason Archer Jr.

     In 1919, Martin Kegel produced his Die Kultusreformation des Josias (Josiah’s Reformation of the Cultus) in which he gave his grounds for considering the 621 date unsound for D. Since even those influential leaders (such as the priesthood of the high places and the pro-idolatrous nobility) did not raise the issue of the genuineness of  Deuteronomy   as an authentic work of the great lawgiver Moses (even though they had every incentive to challenge its authenticity), it follows that D must have been a very ancient book indeed by Josiah’s time, and must have been known as such. (Kegel was even inclined to doubt the identification of the discovered book of the law with  Deuteronomy   alone; he felt that the evidence pointed toward the inclusion of all the other parts of the Pentateuch which were already in writing.) Furthermore, the oftrepeated assertion that the main purpose of Josiah’s reform was to enforce worship at the central sanctuary (the Jerusalem temple) was not at all borne out by the evidence of  2 Kings and  2 Chronicles; they show that his chief concern was the cleansing of Jehovah worship from idolatry.

     In 1924, Adam C. Welch of Edinburgh pointed out that a “law of the single sanctuary” would have been quite impractical for the seventh century B.C., for it did not reflect conditions which prevailed at that time. Furthermore, he showed that many of the legal regulations in D were much too primitive in character to fit in with the late Jewish monarchy. Rather than showing a Judahite origin, some of the laws indicated a North Israelite origin. It was therefore far more justifiable to look to the age of Solomon (tenth century B.C.) as the time when the main core, at least, of the Deuteronomic legislation was written down. One insertion only was definitely assignable to Josiah’s time, and that was  Deut. 12:1–7 which made the central sanctuary mandatory (a passage which was used by Josiah to sanction his reform program). But the primary purpose of the book in its original form was to purify the cultus at all the various local sanctuaries and thus to combat the contaminating influence of Canaanite theology and practice.

     Other more recent writers who favored a pre-Josianic date for  Deuteronomy include R. Brinker (The Influence of Sanctuaries in Early Israel, pp. 189ff.), who argued that the essentially Mosaic legislation of  Deuteronomy was later supplemented by priests in the various local sanctuaries; but its main thrust was opposition to Canaanite idolatry. Gerhard von Rad suggested that  Deuteronomy arose among circles of rural Levites and must have been completed by 701 B.C. (Studies in  Deuteronomy, 1953, p. 66). A. Westphal felt that it dated from the early part of Hezekiah’s reign. Both Albright (The Biblical Period from Abraham to  Ezra, 1963, p. 45) and Eissfeldt dated  Deut. 32 (the “Song of Moses”) to the time of Samuel, citing MS fragments from 4Q.

     In the following decade a series of articles was issued from the pen of Edward Robertson in the Bulletin of John Rylands Library, in 1936, 1941, 1942, and 1944, in which he defended the thesis that at the time of conquest, the Hebrews must have entered Palestine as an organized community possessing a nucleus of law, including the Decalogue and the Book of the Covenant ( Ex. 20–23 ). After their settlement in Canaan, they split up into various religious communes, each with its own special sanctuary. These various local traditions of Mosaic law were combined by Samuel (cf.  1 Sam. 10:25 ) on the threshold of the establishment of the United Monarchy. This background satisfactorily accounts for the diverse elements and inconsistencies of the background material of the Tetrateuch. As for  Deuteronomy, it was composed shortly thereafter, about 1000 B.C., in order to cement together the new political unity. This work then was lost and not rediscovered until the reign of Josiah.

     During the 1940s and 1950s, Yehezkel Kaufmann of Jerusalem argued for the priority of P to D, saying, “Only in D and related literature is there a clear and unmistakable influence of the centralization idea. In the time of Hezekiah the idea began to gain favor; Josiah drew its ultimate conclusions. Thereafter Judaism was enthralled by the image of the central sanctuary and chosen city. It is incredible that a priestly law which evolved at this time should pass over this dominant idea in silence. It has been shown above that there is no trace whatever of D’s centralization idea in P; P must therefore have been composed before the age of Hezekiah.” This meant that P had to be dated early in the eighth century or before, rather than being a product of the exilic or post-exilic age. Kaufmann was convinced that monotheism characterized Israel’s religion from the very first, and that the tabernacle was an authentic, historic shrine employed in the days of Moses. “The idea that the tent is a reflex of the Second Temple is a baseless contention of modern criticism.”

Critics Preferring a Later Date for Deuteronomy

     R. H. Kennett’s work on  Deuteronomy and the Decalogue has already been referred to (p. 107). It was his thesis that the legislation of D presupposes not only J and E, but also H (which according to the Wellhausen scheme did not arise until 570 B.C. under  Ezekiel’s influence). Particularly is this true of  Deut. 12. The inference is, then, that D must have been late exilic at the very earliest. (According to Kennett, the order of the documents was EJHDP, i.e., E—650 B.C., J—615 B.C., H—570 B.C., D—500 B.C., P—450 B.C. Contrast this with Wellhausen’s EJHDP.)

     In 1922 Gustav Holscher produced his Komposition and Ursprung des Deuteronomiums (The Composition and Origin of  Deuteronomy ). In this work Holscher quite decisively denied that D could have constituted the book of the law which Hilkiah found. The characteristic legislation of  Deuteronomy does not at all conform to the contemporary conditions prevalent in Josiah’s time. For example, the enforcement of a single sanctuary law would have been utterly impractical idealism before the tragedy of the fall of Jerusalem and the restoration of the exiles from Babylon to make a new beginning in the land. During the centuries preceding the exile, how could even a visionary reformer seriously expect that whole communities in Israel which had embraced the worship of false gods or the worship of Jehovah with images could be put to the sword by the central government (as  Deut. 13 and  17 required)?  Kings and  Chronicles testified to the fact that almost every municipality in Judah was infected with this idolatry, not excluding Jerusalem itself.

     It would never have occurred to a lawmaker after the population of Israel had settled down along the whole tract of Palestine, all the way from Dan to Beersheba, to enact a provision that all the male inhabitants had to forsake their homes and farms for days or weeks at a time no less than three times a year, just to participate in religious rites at some central sanctuary. The only sensible conclusion to draw is that  Deuteronomy was drawn up when the Jewish remnant under Zerubbabel and Jeshua had newly resettled the land. (At this point it would be appropriate to suggest that if  Deuteronomy does so clearly point to a time when the Hebrews had newly settled the land and were still grouped closely together, these specifications admirably accord with the time and setting the book of  Deuteronomy gives for itself [ 1:1–4 ], that is, when Israel was all assembled on the plains of Moab just prior to the conquest [ca. 1400 B.C.]. But Holscher does not even discuss this possibility.)

     With this conclusion of Holscher’s, Johannes Pedersen (cf. p. 105) was in general agreement. He felt that the pervasive anti-Canaanite bias in  Deuteronomy pointed to the antiforeign spirit which prevailed in the age of Zerubbabel and  Nehemiah. (But Pedersen likewise failed to consider the possibility that such an anti-Canaanite spirit characterized the age of Moses and Joshua, when the whole corrupt culture of the Canaanites lay under the condemnation of God.)

     How shall we characterize the trend of twentieth-century scholarship in its treatment of Pentateuchal criticism and of the Wellhausen hypothesis? At the very least it must be regarded as a period of reaction against the neat, tight structure erected by the Documentary Theory of the nineteenth century. Almost every supporting pillar has been shaken and shattered by a generation of scholars who were brought up on the Graf-Wellhausen system and yet have found it inadequate to explain the data of the Pentateuch. At the same time it must be recognized that for the most part, even those scholars who have repudiated Wellhausen have shown no tendency to embrace a more conservative view of the origin of the books of Moses. They have undermined the defenses and torn down the bastions which buttressed the Documentary Hypothesis, but they have gravitated quite definitely into an even more implausible position than that occupied by their predecessors: despite the analogy of Israel’s pagan neighbors and contemporaries (who embodied their religious beliefs in written scriptures long before Moses’ time), the Hebrews never got around to inscripturating the records of their faith until 500 B.C. or later. It requires a tremendous willingness to believe the unlikely for an investigator to come up with a conclusion like that.

     We close with an apt quotation from H. E Hahn, “This review of activity in the field of Old Testament criticism during the last quarter-century has revealed a chaos of conflicting trends, ending in contradictory results, which create an impression of ineffectiveness in this type of research. The conclusion seems unavoidable that the higher criticism has long since passed the age of constructive achievement.”

     It is of great importance to biblical scholarship that students of higher criticism be accurately informed as to the contribution and distinctive emphasis of each modern critic so that he understands his presuppositions and his line of evidence and logic so as to be able to explain this to an inquirer even though he doesn’t accept it as sound theology. It is important to have a mastery of the contributions of Liberal or Negative Criticism in order to respond intelligently in dealing with their errors. This facilitates effectiveness in discussion or confrontation with those who have been trained in the school of Negative Criticism. Otherwise a defender of the historical Christian position may be taken as imperfectly informed in his theological training and scholarship. A good conservative scholar must be able to analyze accurately and fairly the positions taken by Rationalist scholars before he can successfully refute them. Therefore, we have prepared an excursus with a more detailed discussion of some of the more recent scholars who carry on the tradition of the Documentary Hypothesis or Formgeschichte so we may be well-informed as to what and why these scholars believe as they do. This enables the evangelical student to understand the fallacies of those approaches when dealing with the data that bears upon the subject at hand. In this way a student of conservative conviction may find himself on much more advantageous footing than would be the case if he simply ignored and rejected without serious refutation those liberal views and conclusions which he understands to be false. See Excursus 3.

     A Survey of Old Testament Introduction


  • Make Me Understand It!
  • It Is I Myself
  • Gifts of the Ascended Lord


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     The marriage covenant (1)
     2/1/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘For those who are married, I have a command that comes…from the Lord.’

(1 Co 7:10) To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband ESV

     Having God’s blessing on your marriage is contingent upon your operating according to His rules. To enjoy His protection, peace, and prosperity you must follow His instructions. For example, you can spend hours arguing and still not resolve the issue, when if you’d just followed God’s rules, the argument could have been over in a matter of minutes. And both parties would have been satisfied at the end of the process. When your car breaks down, you take it back to the dealership. Why? Because they sold it to you and they know how to fix it! God performed the first marriage. So, when your relationship gets into trouble, if you’re wise you’ll talk to Him about it before talking to each other. Furthermore, when you get married with the attitude, ‘If this doesn’t work out I can always get a divorce,’ you’re running in the opposite direction from the truth of God’s Word. Paul writes: ‘For those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife’ (vv. 10-11 NLT). Yes, there are some acceptable reasons for divorce, but they are the exception and not the rule! Recently a Hollywood celebrity spent millions of dollars on her wedding and then divorced her husband two months later on the grounds of ‘incompatibility’. When you say, ‘Till death us do part,’ you say it before God and you’re supposed to mean it.

Exodus 19-20
Matthew 18:21-35

UCB The Word For Today

Unlocking the Secrets
     Of the Last Supper

     Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, received the Jewish sign of circumcision, and grew up in a Jewish town in Galilee. As a young man, he studied the Jewish Torah, celebrated Jewish feasts and holy days, and went on pilgrimages to the Jewish Temple. And, when he was thirty years old, he began to preach in the Jewish synagogues about the fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures, proclaiming the kingdom of God to the Jewish people. At the very end of his life, he celebrated the Jewish Passover, was tried by the Jewish council of priests and elders known as the Sanhedrin, and was crucified outside the great Jewish city of Jerusalem. Above his head hung a placard that read in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (John 19:19).

     As this list demonstrates, the Jewishness of Jesus is a historical fact. But is it important? If Jesus was a real person who really lived in history, then the answer must be “Yes.” To be sure, over the centuries, Christian theologians have written books about Jesus that don’t spend much time studying his Jewish context. Much of the effort has gone into exploring the question of his divine identity. However, for anyone interested in exploring the humanity of Jesus—especially the original meaning of his words and actions—a focus on his Jewish identity is absolutely necessary. Jesus was a historical figure, living in a particular time and place. Therefore, any attempt to understand his words and deeds must reckon with the fact that Jesus lived in an ancient Jewish context. Although on a few occasions Jesus welcomed non-Jews (Gentiles) who accepted him as Messiah, he himself declared that he had been sent first and foremost “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5). This means that virtually all of his teachings were directed to a Jewish audience in a Jewish setting.


Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Five dollars was all she was paid by the Atlantic Monthly Magazine for her poem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which was published this day, February 1, 1862. The Union’s theme song during the Civil War Julia Ward Howe wrote it while visiting Washington, D.C., and seeing it teem with military, galloping horses and innumerable campfires. Sleeping unsoundly one night, Julia Ward Howe penned: “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea; With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me: As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     But periods of dawning simultaneity and steadfast prayer may come and go, lapsing into alternation for long periods and returning in glorious power. And we learn to submit to the inner discipline of withdrawing of His gifts. For if the least taint of spiritual pride in our prayer-growth has come, it is well that He humble us until we are worthy of greater trust. For though we begin the practice of secret prayer with a strong sense that we are the initiators and that by our wills we are establishing our habits, maturing experience brings awareness of being met, and tutored, purged and disciplined, simplified and made pliant in His holy will by a power waiting within us. For God Himself works in our souls, in their deepest depths, taking increasing control as we are progressively willing to be prepared for His wonder. We cease trying to make ourselves the dictators and God the listener, and become the joyful listeners to Him, the Master who does all things well.

     There is then no need for fret when faithfully turning to Him, if He leads us but slowly into His secret chambers. If He gives us increasing steadiness in the deeper sense of His Presence, we can only quietly thank Him. If He holds us in the stage of alternation we can thank Him for His loving wisdom, and wait upon His guidance through the stages for which we are prepared. For we cannot take Him by storm. The strong man must become the little child, not understanding but trusting the Father.

     But to some at least He gives an amazing stayedness in Him, a well-nigh unbroken life of humble quiet adoration in His Presence, in the depths of our being. Day and night, winter and summer, sunshine and shadow, He is here, the great Champion. And we are with Him, held in His Tenderness, quickened into quietness and peace, children in Paradise before the Fall; walking with Him in the garden in the heat as well as the cool of the day. Here is not ecstasy but serenity, unshakableness, firmness of life-orientation. We are become what Fox calls "established men."


A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future.
--- Alden Whitman


Seeing you make this tremendous effort to come, showing your sympathy, solidarity, and belief in the future of Israel, this to us is tremendous. We bless you and consider you a part of the accomplishment of the prophetic vision spoken of by Zechariah in chapter 14.
--- Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren
[To Christians standing in support of Israel - September 1980]

I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition … we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.
--- Sir John C. Eccles (1903-1997)

So he had them into the slaughter house, where was a butcher killing a sheep. And behold, the sheep was quiet and took her death patiently. Then said the Interpreter, "You must learn of this sheep to suffer, and put up wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she takes her death! And without objecting she suffereth her skin to be pulled over her ears. Your King doth call you his sheep.
--- John Bunyan

... from here, there and everywhere

Proverbs 7:1-5
     by D.H. Stern

1     My son, keep my words,
store up my commands with you.
2     Obey my commands, and live;
guard my teaching like the pupil of your eye.
3     Bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4     Say to wisdom, “You are my sister”;
call understanding your kinswoman;
5     so that they can keep you from unknown women,
from loose women with their seductive talk.


Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                The call of God

     For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. ---
1 Cor. 1:17.

     Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel; but remember what Paul means by “the gospel” viz., the reality of Redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are apt to make sanctification the end-all of our preaching. Paul alludes to personal experience by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (
John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God. The fact that Redemption can be experienced by us is an illustration of the power of the reality of Redemption, but that is not the end of Redemption. If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things for ourselves—something for me to be delivered from! When we touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never bother God any further with little personal plaints.

     
John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoplee to myself.”

     The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the Gospel of God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulation, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God.


My Utmost for His Highest

Inside
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Inside

I am my own
  geology, strata on strata
  of the imagination, tufa
  dreams, the limestone mind
  honeycombed by the running away
  of too much thought. Examine
  me, tap with your words'
  hammer, awaken memories
  of fire. It is so long
  since I cooled. Inside me,
  stalactite and stalagmite,
  ideas have formed and become
  rigid. To the crowd
  I am all outside.
  To the pot-holing few there is a way
  in along passages that become
  narrower and narrower,
  that lead to the chamber
  too low to stand up in,
  where the breath condenses
  to the cold and locationless
  cloud we call truth. It
  is where I think.

The Poems of R.S. Thomas

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul

     The First Chapter / Imitating Christ and Despairing all Vanities on Earth

     HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. (John 8:12) By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.

     The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

     What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it. For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity, except to love God and serve Him alone.

     This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.

     Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing.” (Eccles. 1:8) Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God.


The Imitation Of Christ

Teacher's Commentary
     The Story of Joseph

     The story of Joseph has fascinated laymen and scholars for centuries. As a man Joseph is one of the Bible’s most commendable characters. And his experiences remind us in many ways of Jesus. As a historical record, the portrait given in Genesis of life in Egypt has been demonstrated to be amazingly accurate—amazing at least to those who used to argue that Joseph’s story was written a millennium or so after the supposed events. Leon Wood ( Survey of Israel's History, A ) summarizes some of the details in the Genesis account that ring so true.

     "Corroboration of details in this overall story with contemporary Egyptian practices and customs illustrates the accuracy of the biblical record. The titles, “chief of the butlers,” and “chief of the bakers,” occur both in Genesis 40:2 and extant Egyptian texts. Famines were known in Egypt and the idea of persons being assigned to dispense food during these famines is borne out in tomb inscriptions. One inscription even speaks of a seven-year famine at the time of the Third Dynasty (2700 B.C.). Indication is made on the Rosetta Stone that the Pharaoh had a custom of releasing prisoners on his birthday, as he did the butler (40:20). Joseph shaved before seeing Pharaoh (41:14), and shaving was a distinctive practice of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph a signet ring, linen clothing, and a gold chain (41:42), all three of which are mentioned in Egyptian texts for similar use. Some scholars have objected to the idea of Joseph, a Semite, being elevated to such a high position in Egypt; but a letter dating from the Amarna period has been found written to a person in similar position having the Semitic name Dudu (David). It fits too that the Twelfth Dynasty, ruling at this time, had now moved the capital back from Thebes to the northern site of Memphis. Joseph was thus more accessible to his brothers coming down from Canaan, as the continuing story indicates, and also to them living later in Goshen after Jacob’s arrival."

The Teacher's Commentary
Take Heart
     February 1

     In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up.
--- Luke 16:23.

     At death we are going to lose something, each of us. ( Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) ) We are going to lose the physical. We are going to lose our possessions. Whatever may be our material wealth in this world, we may depend on it that the hands of the dead are not clutching hands. Our shrouds will have no pockets. Death will rob us of all that is material.

     But there is one something that death cannot take away from us. It cannot rob us of ourselves. Yesterday I was myself. I will be myself still tomorrow. I will continue to be myself as long as heaven is heaven, as long as God is God.

     In spite of this fact, however, there is a tremendously great tendency to believe that death will work a moral change, that you can lie down one moment self-centered, sin-conquered, godless—and by the mere act of dying, wake up the next moment holy, sinless, and Christlike. It is absolutely false. If Christ does not save you in the here and now, do not expect death to accomplish what he was unable to accomplish. If the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cleanse you from all sin, do not be so mad as to expect that cleansing at the hands of the undertaker, the shroud, and the coffin. Believe me that as death finds you, so you will be the instant after when you open your eyes in the world unseen.

     The truth of the matter is that God has no way of getting anyone into heaven who has hell in his or her own heart. You cannot mix the living and the dead even in this life.

     So the conclusion of the whole matter is this: Forever you are going to live. Forever you are going to be yourself. You are going to have to keep house with yourself for all eternity. Forever you are going to remember. Forever you are going to enjoy or suffer the destiny that you make for yourself while in this life. If it sounds foolish, remember it is the foolishness of him who spoke the way no one ever spoke. If it seems heartless, remember that it is the heartlessness of infinite love. Remember, too, that though some people are lost, no one needs to be lost. Everyone can be saved who will. This minute you can be saved if you will only be wise enough and brave enough to make a right choice. “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” Will you come? Will you come now?
--- Clovis Gillham Chappell

Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day   February 1
     Stubbornly Generous

     In the fifth century, according to Irish church tradition, a king impregnated a slave, and the baby, Brigid, was raised a servant who grew up grinding corn, washing feet, tending livestock, and giving the king’s bacon to hungry dogs and his butter to working boys.

     Losing patience, he took her nearby intending to sell her. He entered the castle to settle the arrangements. A leper passed by, and Brigid gave him her father’s battle sword from the chariot. The king was enraged, and the prospective husband backed out, saying that he could not afford such a wife.

     Brigid was beautiful and full of spunk, and since she loved music and conversation, her father arranged her marriage to a poet. But resolving to belong only to Christ, Brigid found the man another wife, then deserted the castle.

     Her father thought it good riddance.

     Brigid sought other women wanting to belong only to Christ, and with seven of them she organized a community of nuns like the communities of monks established by Patrick. The monastic settlement at Kildare became a buzzing compound within a great stone wall and peppered with thatched-roof buildings. Artists’ studios, workshops, guest chambers, a library, and a church evolved. This and similar settlements became beehives of industry, producing some of the most beautiful craftsmanship in Europe. The slaves and the poor bettered their lot by becoming artisans.

     Brigid herself traveled by chariot as an evangelist through the countryside, helping the poor, preaching the gospel, and organizing nunneries. By her death on February 1, c. 453, 13,000 women had escaped from slavery and poverty to Christian service and industry. Throughout ensuing centuries, Christians across Ireland have placed St. Brigid’s crosses of woven straw over their doors on February 1, and housekeepers have repeated a rhyme bidding them give a portion of their butter to working boys.

     If you forget to bring in a stack of harvested grain, don’t go back in the field to get it. Leave it for the poor, including foreigners, orphans, and widows, and the LORD will make you successful in everything you do.
--- Deuteronomy 24:19.

On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 1

     “They shall sing in the ways of the Lord.” --- Psalm 138:5.

     The time when Christians begin to sing in the ways of the Lord is when they first lose their burden at the foot of the Cross. Not even the songs of the angels seem so sweet as the first song of rapture which gushes from the inmost soul of the forgiven child of God. You know how John Bunyan describes it. He says when poor Pilgrim lost his burden at the Cross, he gave three great leaps, and went on his way singing ---

     “Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
     The Man that there was put to shame for me!”


     Believer, do you recollect the day when your fetters fell off? Do you remember the place when Jesus met you, and said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins; they shall not be mentioned against thee any more for ever.” Oh! what a sweet season is that when Jesus takes away the pain of sin. When the Lord first pardoned my sin, I was so joyous that I could scarce refrain from dancing. I thought on my road home from the house where I had been set at liberty, that I must tell the stones in the street the story of my deliverance. So full was my soul of joy, that I wanted to tell every snow-flake that was falling from heaven of the wondrous love of Jesus, who had blotted out the sins of one of the chief of rebels. But it is not only at the commencement of the Christian life that believers have reason for song; as long as they live they discover cause to sing in the ways of the Lord, and their experience of his constant lovingkindness leads them to say, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” See to it, brother, that thou magnifiest the Lord this day.

     “Long as we tread this desert land,
     New mercies shall new songs demand.”


          Evening - February 1

     “Thy love to me was wonderful.” --- 2 Samuel 1:26.

     Come, dear readers, let each one of us speak for himself of the wonderful love, not of Jonathan, but of Jesus. We will not relate what we have been told, but the things which we have tasted and handled-of the love of Christ. Thy love to me, O Jesus, was wonderful when I was a stranger wandering far from thee, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Thy love restrained me from committing the sin which is unto death, and withheld me from self-destruction. Thy love held back the axe when Justice said, “Cut it down! why cumbereth it the ground?” Thy love drew me into the wilderness, stripped me there, and made me feel the guilt of my sin, and the burden of mine iniquity. Thy love spake thus comfortably to me when, I was sore dismayed—“Come unto me, and I will give thee rest.” Oh, how matchless thy love when, in a moment, thou didst wash my sins away, and make my polluted soul, which was crimson with the blood of my nativity, and black with the grime of my transgressions, to be white as the driven snow, and pure as the finest wool. How thou didst commend thy love when thou didst whisper in my ears, “I am thine and thou art mine.” Kind were those accents when thou saidst, “The Father himself loveth you.” And sweet the moments, passing sweet, when thou declaredst to me “the love of the Spirit.” Never shall my soul forget those chambers of fellowship where thou has unveiled thyself to me. Had Moses his cleft in the rock, where he saw the train, the back parts of his God? We, too, have had our clefts in the rock, where we have seen the full splendours of the Godhead in the person of Christ. Did David remember the tracks of the wild goat, the land of Jordan and the Hermonites? We, too, can remember spots to memory dear, equal to these in blessedness. Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh draught of thy wondrous love to begin the month with. Amen.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     February 1

          WALK IN THE LIGHT

     Bernard Barton, 1784–1849

     But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin. (1 John 1:7)

     How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior
     Led in paths of light.
     --- E. Hewitt


     Walking in the light means walking as Christ walked while here on earth—seeking to imitate His life style in all that we do. When we walk in the light, our paths become illuminated and purposeful, and there is a glow of warmth and love in our lives that makes us want to care for the needs of others. This life of love is not merely a soft sentimental feeling—but rather a life of action.

     Sometimes we as Christians seem to minimize this basic quality in our lives. We spend our time seeking the unusual and “deep” truths of the Scriptures or arguing with those with whom we may differ. A life devoid of Christ’s tender love for others, both fellow-believers and non-believers, can negate much of our Christian witness. The Bible teaches that a life without love, counts for nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

     Walking in the light is in the present tense. It is a new experience with God each day. It is always helpful to recall God’s faithfulness and leading in the past. But our past blessings must always be blended into the present wonder of walking this day with the Lord.

     The author of “Walk in the Light,” Bernard Barton, was known as England’s “Quaker Poet.” Although he never rose above the position of a bank clerk, his reputation as a man of letters was recognized by many literary leaders of his day. In all, Barton had 10 books of verse published, from which about 20 hymns came into usage.

     “Walk in the Light” first appeared in Barton’s Devotional Verses, published in 1926. Make walking in the light your experience today.

     Walk in the light! So shalt thou know that fellowship of love His Spirit only can bestow, who reigns in light above.
     Walk in the light! And thou shalt find thy heart made truly His, who dwells in cloudless light enshrined, in Whom no darkness is.
     Walk in the light! And thou shalt own thy darkness passed away, because that light hath on thee shone in which is perfect day.
     Walk in the light! And thine shall be a path, though thorny, bright: For God, by grace, shall dwell in thee, and God Himself is light.


     For Today: Psalm 36:9; John 8:12; Romans 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:6.

     Consciously leave time in your schedule to be responsive to the needs of another.
Share Christ and His love with them. ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

One Body, One Spirit, One Hope
     Alistair Begg


Pt One





Pt Two




Leviticus 1 - 5
     Brett Meador | Athey Creek


The Sin Cycle Leviticus 4:27-31
s2-063 | 2-15-2015





The Sin Cycle Leviticus 4:27-31
s2-063 | 2-15-2015






Leviticus 1-5
m2-060 | 2-18-2015




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Overview: Leviticus
The Bible Project





Leviticus 1-2
The Burnt Offering, the Grain Offering
Paul LeBoutillier






Leviticus 3 - 6:7
Fellowship, Sin and Guilt Offering
Paul LeBoutillier





Humility and Unity
Alistair Begg






One Lord
Alistair Begg





One Faith
Alistair Begg






My Help Comes From the Lord
Alistair Begg





The Beginning of Wisdom
Josh Moody






One Baptism | Alistair Begg





True Freedom | Alistair Begg






One God and Father of All
Alistair Begg





Over, Through and In All
Alistair Begg






Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul Jr. | Ligonier