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The Greatest Prophet

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

Prophet, Priest, and King. That is how Jesus’ ministry roles are often portrayed. The Gospels emphasize His role as King of the Jews, though He has yet to occupy that position. The book of Hebrews emphasizes His role as High Priest, both in His sacrificial death and current ministry. Yet, while on Earth, Jesus was primarily a Prophet. So what does that title imply? Every day people wonder, What will tomorrow bring? Who will be elected president? What will happen in the Middle East? Predictions are surely part of biblical prophecy. However, the whole picture is much more comprehensive. DEFINING PROPHET The clearest picture of God’s definition of prophet is found in Exodus: “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land’” (7:1–2). “A prophet,” wrote scholar Walter Kaiser, “. . . is one who receives a word from God, just as Moses acted in the place of God in passing on the divine revelations he received from the Lord to …

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Recycling History

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Israel’s wise King Solomon, with years of world-watching behind him, concluded, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). History is a process of recycling, yet people never seem to learn much from the past; and trashing the “old” ways in a quest to be different doesn’t often deliver what is promised. ROOT AND BRANCH At the root of the most catastrophic failures in the recycling process is the rejection of God and rebellion against His divine standards of faith and practice. Scripture warns and history confirms the dire consequences. Today, signs that we are moving in that same fatal direction are too numerous to ignore. Greg Smith, with the Pew Research Center, told The Washington Post, “What we’re seeing now is that the share of people who say religion is important to them is declining.” Furthermore, “The religiously unaffiliated are not just growing, but as they grow, they are becoming more secular.”1 At the root of the most catastrophic failures in the recycling process is the rejection of God and rebellion against His divine standards of faith and practice.Smith’s observation …

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Apples of Gold—May/June 2016

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

Once every two months, I take my wife to the hospital for an eye checkup following a cornea transplant. The last time we were there, two Russian-Orthodox priests sat next to us. We began conversing, and our discussion quickly turned to the matter of faith. Like the many ultra-Orthodox Jews I have spoken to over the years, they were very sure of themselves and showed me their commentaries, which they were positive contained the root of faith. They trusted in the words of men, rather than in the living Word of God. I showed them my small Bible and asked, “Which book is of greater value?” One of the priests answered, “We do not want to see anything in Hebrew because we do not speak that language.” I know Russian, so I replied, “If you like, I will give you a complete translation of any passage in this book.” Then I asked, “Have you ever heard about the Bible?” “Oh yes,” he said. “Do you have a copy with you?” To their surprise, I told them the little book I held in my hand was the Holy Bible. When we began to speak about Jesus, the priests were sure they …

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God’s Way

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“FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NOR ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS,’ SAYS THE LORD” (ISA. 55:8). HERE ARE SOME ENCOURAGING STORIES ABOUT HOW GOD IS WORKING DESPITE PERSECUTION. Youcef Nadarkhani, 38, is an Iranian-Christian pastor. He spent three years in prison and was sentenced to death by hanging on charges of apostatizing from Islam and evangelizing Muslims. Although released in September 2012, he was rearrested and released on January 7, 2013. His wife, Fatemah, was arrested in 2010 for apostasy and sentenced to life in prison but was released after serving four months. They live under constant threat of arrest and worse. The Islamic State (ISIS) is crucifying and beheading Christians and, according to the express.co.uk, is sending “teams of trained killers” disguised as refugees into refugee camps to “kidnap and kill vulnerable Christians” and murder them “in their beds.”1 Why does God allow such persecution? Clearly, He is able to protect. He protected the prophet Daniel’s friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego—from being burned alive by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3). Yet, God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8). His plans and ways are inscrutable.God’s ways are not our ways. His plans and ways are inscrutable.Consider China. The …

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Footsteps in the Stones

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ISAW ISRAEL FOR THE FIRST TIME when I moved my family to Jerusalem in 1979 to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Even though I had a master’s degree in biblical studies, I learned quickly I was not prepared to live in the world of the Bible. Before the Israeli government returned the Sinai to Egypt,1 I retraced Moses’ footsteps with other believers. Several days into our wilderness experience, we got lost and for the next several days wandered around (this was before cell phones), worrying about our lives. Since then, I have never judged the Israelites for complaining to Moses in this desert because we reacted to our situation and leader in the same way. One of the courses I took at Hebrew University was in archaeology. Our classroom was the world of the Bible, and every class was a field trip. As I visited ancient sites and connected them to historical events and biblical truths, my faith began to grow in unexpected ways. I came to terms with the heroes of Hebrews 11, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived by faith as aliens in the Land of Promise, dwelling in tents.Moses by faith chose to suffer …

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The Inquisitors

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At the southeastern end of the old city of Jerusalem lies an impressive series of burial caves. Most date to the time of Jesus. Archaeologists recently have taken a closer look at them and have turned up something fascinating: a postscript to the legacies of Christ’s three inquisitors: Annas, Caiaphas, and Pontius Pilate. Archaeologists have noticed that some of the caves, one in particular, contain the same intricate, decorative designs as the Jewish Temple. The entrance to one of the main tombs is embellished with tall columns; and the ceiling dome features a beautiful, large, ornately carved rosette. After much investigation, it is now believed that the lavishly decorated tomb was probably the burial cave of Annas, before whom Jesus stood after His arrest (Jn. 18:12–13). This extremely significant stone was being used as a landing step. . . . So the only physical evidence of the man who once told Jesus, “I have power to crucify You, and power to release You” (Jn. 19:10) was being walked on for centuries.Annas was the patriarch of a powerful Sadducean family. He served as high priest in Jerusalem for 10 years until he was deposed by a Roman procurator. Nevertheless, he exerted …

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Mount Moriah or the City of David?

In Articles by Israel My Glory3 Comments

For years scholars have argued about the precise location of the first and second Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, almost all archaeologists agree they were situated at or near the Muslim Dome of the Rock. Recently, however, a popular book claims the Temples never stood on the Temple Mount at all. In Temple: Amazing New Discoveries that Change Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple, Robert Cornuke makes the startling claim that they were built in the City of David, over the Gihon Spring. Cornuke’s sensational conclusion is that accepting this location resolves the political and religious impasse between Jews and Muslims over the controversial site and allows for biblical prophecies related to rebuilding the Temple to be fulfilled today. The Temple location is important, and Cornuke’s popular book, written to a general audience, is confusing many Christians. A former police detective, Cornuke based his book on a more academic one by the late Ernest Martin, who originated the theory almost 20 years ago. At that time, many people criticized it, as did I in my book The Temple and Bible Prophecy: A Definitive Look at Its Past, Present, and Future (1999).1 Now Martin’s theory is …

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The Stones Cry Out

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Agrowth-inspiring experience of a lifetime is to walk among the artifacts of empires, civilizations, and societies that have lived and died and, in many respects, shaped our world. For those of us living in the United States, a relatively young country, touring abroad can impart a fresh, transforming perspective. For Christians, standing before the judgment seat in ancient Corinth, where Paul likely stood accused before the Roman proconsul Gallio, or climbing the steps to Mars Hill in Athens, where he shattered the philosophers’ folly of worshiping many gods, is a breathtaking revelation of what has gone before. Spiritually, experiencing Israel and its crowded bazaars; the Garden Tomb; Gethsemane; Nazareth; Bethlehem; and Jerusalem, with its Temple Mount and adjacent Western Wall, instills a sense of quiet awe. Within the con­fines of tiny Israel, every life-chang­ing aspect of the believer’s existence transpired. History and faith come alive in an inescapable fashion, and true Christians come away changed. Humility, reverence, perspective, discernment, certainty, devotion, mission, and appreciation for the Book and its people inescapably tug the heartstrings of believer pilgrims. MARKED FOR DESTRUCTION For more than 1,400 years, the monastery of St. Elijah near the city of Mosul, Iraq, stood as one of …