Malachi 3:6-10

Will a man rob God

A tale from India records the chronicle of a frightened mouse.  So terrified is he of cats, he is too afraid to venture out.  So, a wizard agrees to convert the tiny creature into a cat.  Now graceful and stealthy, with his fears removed, he is courageous—until he finds a wild dog chasing after him. […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 7: Judith, Pt. 2

Judith with Sword

Recap Last week, we learned Judith “put sandals on her feet, and put on her anklets, bracelets, rings, earrings, and all her other ornaments, and made herself very beautiful, to entice the eyes of all men who might see her.”  So, Judith and a servant make their way to the Assyrian camp.   Judith Goes […]

Isaiah 6:1-7: Holy, Holy, Holy

Isaiah, the Lord, and the Seraphim

To gaze on the glory of God in all His grandeur!  In our wildest imaginings, this vision hypnotizes our senses and seizes our hearts.  Such foolishness!  For in our fallen state, we will be devastated.  Every fiber of our being will convulse in terror, with our tongues left stammering.  The glimpse will burn us in […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 6: Judith, Pt. 1

Judith

Introduction Judith is work of religious fiction without the pretense of recounting actual history.  The story opens with a fictionalized Nebuchadnezzar making war on an invented King of the Medes, Arphaxad.  The first hearers of Judith would catch this, clueing them in to understand Judith for its religious value.  The real Nebuchadnezzar was king of […]

John 14:23-31: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word

If Anyone Loves Me

The word “Pentecost” means 50.  A festival of the Old Covenant, at first, a celebration which took place every year.  Now we understand why so many pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem on the day the potent Wind from eternity graced the people of God. For the Israelites, Pentecost thanked the Creator for the first harvest of […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 5: The Greek Portions of Daniel, Pt. 3

Bel and the Serpent

Earlier, we learned about the Prayer of Azariah, the Hymn of the Three Young Men, and Susanna.   Today, we study Bel and the Serpent.   Who or What is “Bel”? The Babylonian god, “Bel” is a variant of the word, “Baal,” which means “Lord” and is another name for the Babylonian god, Marduk.  Non-biblical sources […]

Mark 16:14-20: Christ Precedes Us, Not Abandons Us

Christ's Ascension

The Lord commissions His Apostles before returning to heaven: “Preach the gospel to all creation.”  Next, He adds the promise of Baptism.  Left out of our Lord’s final words are commands to clothe, shelter, or mend broken marriages.  Though noble, helpful, and part of what we should be doing, such work is always secondary. For […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 4: The Greek Portions of Daniel, Pt. 2

Two Elders Trying to Get Susanna to Sin

Last week, we looked at the Prayer of Azariah and the Hymn of the Three Young Men, which are placed between Daniel 3:23 and 3:24.  Today, we study the story of Susanna, which becomes Daniel, chapter 13.    Susanna Susanna is the story of a woman, whom two “dirty old men” accused of committing adultery.  […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 3: The Greek Portions of Daniel, Pt. 1

Fourth Man in the Fire

The Protestant edition of Daniel is written in Hebrew (1:1-2:3, 8:1-12:13) and Aramaic (2:4-7:28).  The Daniel of the Septuagint is all Greek, with some portions not being a translation but with an original Greek text.  These include a couple of liturgical pieces: The Prayer of Azariah and the Hymn of the Three Young Men, which […]

Numbers 21:4-9: The Snake on the Pole

Snake on the Pole2

Most Christian churches display at least one.  This church is no exception.  On the crest of our steeple, you’ll find one, our building’s highest point.  Another is atop a wooden rod, on display, when we begin the service with a procession.  Behind the altar, you’ll spot one, the size of a monument, made by carpenters […]