Daily Archives: October 3, 2014

Yom Kippur: Where do we find atonement for our sins if we have no Temple?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

A beautiful painting of a Jewish priest blowing the shofar (ram's horn) for Yom Kippur. A beautiful painting of a Jewish priest blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) for Yom Kippur.

It is almost sundown here in Israel, and we are about to begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In the Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year.

Only the sacrifice of a perfect animal, done with a humble, repentant heart, and with faith in God’s mercy and grace, would bring about forgiveness of sins.

  • “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)

This Hebrew Bible precept was later underscored in the New Testament.

  • “In fact…

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Questions about the Holy Spirit: What Does It Mean that the Holy Spirit Is Our Paraclete?

 

After Jesus announced to His disciples that He would be leaving them soon, He then gave them a statement of great encouragement: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16–17).

The Greek word translated “Comforter” or “Counselor” (as found in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7) is parakletos. This form of the word is unquestionably passive and properly means “one called to the side of another,” with the secondary notion of counseling or supporting him. This Counselor, or Paraclete, is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He is a personal being who indwells every believer.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had guided, guarded, and taught His disciples; but now He was going to leave them. The Spirit of God would come to the disciples and dwell in them, taking the place of their Master’s literal presence. Jesus called the Spirit “another Comforter”—another of the same kind. The Spirit of God is not different from the Son of God in essence, for both are God.

During the Old Testament age, the Spirit of God would come on people and then leave them. God’s Spirit departed from King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:12). David, when confessing his sin, asked that the Spirit not be taken from him (Psalm 51:11). But when the Spirit was given at Pentecost, He came to God’s people to remain with them forever. We may grieve the Holy Spirit, but He will not leave us. As Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” How is He with us when He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father? He is with us by His Spirit (the Helper—the Parakletos).

To have the Holy Spirit as our Paraclete is to have God Himself indwelling us as believers. The Spirit teaches us the Word and guides us into truth. He reminds us of what He has taught so that we can depend on His Word in the difficult times of life. The Spirit works in us to give us His peace (John 14:27), His love (John 15:9–10), and His joy (John 15:11). He is a comfort our hearts and minds in a troubled world. The power of the indwelling Paraclete gives us the ability to live by the Spirit and “not gratify the desires of the sinful flesh” (Galatians 5:16). The Spirit can then produce His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23) to the glory of God the Father. What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit in our lives as our Paraclete—our Comforter, our Encourager, our Counselor, and our Advocate![1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Creation: Were Adam and Eve Saved? How Many Children Did Adam and Eve Have? When Were Adam and Eve Created?

 

Were Adam and Eve saved? The Bible does not specifically tell us whether Adam and Eve were saved. Adam and Eve were the only two human beings who knew about God before they became tainted with sin. As a result, they likely still knew God better after their fall than any of us do today. Adam and Eve most definitely believed in and depended on God. God continued to talk with Adam and Eve and provide for them after the fall. Adam and Eve knew of God’s promise that He would provide a Savior (Genesis 3:15). God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve after the fall (Genesis 3:21). Many scholars understand this as the first animal sacrifice, foreshadowing the eventual death of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. Putting these facts together, it would seem that Adam and Eve were saved and did indeed go to heaven / paradise when they died.

How many children did Adam and Eve have? The Bible does not give us a specific number. Adam and Eve had Cain (Genesis 4:1), Abel (Genesis 4:2), Seth (Genesis 4:25), and many other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4). With likely hundreds of years of child-bearing capability, Adam and Eve likely had 50+ children in their lifetime.

When were Adam and Eve created? If Old Testament history and the ages in Genesis chapter 5 are traced, Adam and Eve were likely created in approximately 4000 B.C.

Were Adam and Eve cavemen? Genesis chapter 3 records Adam and Eve having a fully intelligent conversation with God. Adam and Eve were surely “primitive” in their understanding of many concepts, but they were not “ape-like” or intellectually deficient by any means. Adam and Eve were the most perfect human beings in the history of the world.

How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before they sinned? The Bible does not explicitly tell us how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before they sinned. It seems as if they were in the Garden for a short amount of time, possibly as little as a day or two. Adam and Eve did not conceive any children until after the Fall (Genesis 4:1–2), so it is unlikely they were in the Garden for very long.

Did Adam and Eve have bellybuttons / navels? A bellybutton is formed by the umbilical cord that connects a baby in the womb to its mother. Adam and Eve were created directly by God, and did not go through the normal birthing process. So, Adam and Eve would probably not have had bellybuttons.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Miscellaneous Bible Questions: What Is Hyssop? What Was Hyssop Used for in the Bible?

 

Since people in the biblical era did not have access to the products we do today, they often relied on naturally occurring resources such as plants, animal byproducts, and minerals for cleaning, cooking, food, medicine, and more. Hyssop, an herb in the mint family with cleansing, medicinal, and flavoring properties, was prolific in the Middle East and was used in a variety of ways.

The Bible mentions hyssop several times, mostly in the Old Testament. In Leviticus, God commanded His people to use hyssop in the ceremonial cleansing of people and houses. In one example, God tells the priests to use hyssop together with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and the blood of a clean bird to sprinkle a person recently healed from a skin disease (likely leprosy). This act would ceremonially cleanse the formerly diseased person and allow him to reenter the camp (Leviticus 14:1–7). The same method was used to purify a house that had previously contained mold (Leviticus 14:33–53).

Hyssop is also used symbolically in the Bible. When the Israelites marked their doorposts with lamb’s blood in order for the angel of death to pass over them, God instructed them to use a bunch of hyssop as a “paintbrush” (Exodus 12:22). This was probably because hyssop was sturdy and could withstand the brushing, but it also likely signified that God was marking His people as “pure” and not targets of the judgment God was about to deal out to the Egyptians.

David also mentions hyssop in Psalm 51:7: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” David does not refer to physical cleansing—rather, he is asking God to cleanse him spiritually as he confesses his sin.

Hyssop also appears at Jesus’ crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers offered Jesus a drink of wine vinegar on a sponge at the end of a stalk of hyssop (John 19:28–30). This was, in fact, Jesus’ last act before He declared His work on earth finished and gave up His spirit. While the hyssop stalk may have been used for purely practical purposes (i.e., it was long enough to reach to Jesus’ mouth as He hung on the cross), it is interesting that that particular plant was chosen. It is possible that God meant this as a picture of purification, as Jesus bought our forgiveness with His sacrifice. Just as in the Old Testament blood and hyssop purified a defiled person, so Jesus’ shed blood purifies us from the defilement of our sin.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Obedience and Accountability

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, 9 “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work. 10 “For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. 11 “Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.” (Psalms 95:7-11 NASB)

Preaching or teaching from God’s Word is nothing to trifle with. The responsibility that goes with each is eternal. Those who minister through the Word will be held accountable and that should be very sobering for all of us. We must ask each time we preach or teach, “Did I treat what is Holy as…

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