writings

Biblical Writings

Historical Evidence of the Gospel: Tacitus on the Church

As with our previous discussion of Josephus, we turn to other sources of significance. Significant because they were quite contemporary with the events of Christ and the early church, but also that these sources were not part of the believers. These historians, therefore, had nothing to gain by reporting the life of Christ; so they serve as important witnesses. After all, some of the most important witnesses of any situation are those who have nothing to gain, nor side with the individual(s) they are reporting facts about. Tacitus There are three Roman historians that give corroborating evidence to the biblical […]

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Historical Evidence of the Gospel: Josephus and Jesus

In the last couple of articles, we have considered Josephus’ documentation on John and Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and Herod.  In this article, we will be looking at Josephus’ most important corroboration with the biblical account, his documentation of Jesus. There are two separate occasions when Josephus mentions Jesus, and we will deal with the second time first. In Josephus’ “Antiquities of the Jews” (20.9.1), he speaks of the stoning of James, and identifies him as the brother of Jesus: “and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James.” Here, Josephus […]

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Historical Evidence of the Gospel: James and Herod

Josephus (Please Refer to the previous article for information on who Josephus was), a non-Christian historian from the first century, unwittingly became a significant source by corroborating events also found in the biblical account of the beginning days of the gospel. In this article, we will examine his account of the death of James as well as the death of Herod, and parallel it with what the bible has to say about these events. How God Killed Herod. Acts chapter twelve records a short-term persecution when King Herod Agrippa, possibly wanting to gain favor from some influential Jews, “stretched out […]

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Historical Evidence of the Gospel: John the Baptist

Flavius Josephus In the year 37 AD, a Jew named Joseph was born. He grew up to become a General in the Jewish forces. During the Jewish-Roman war (66-70 AD), General Joseph and the Jews were defeated by the Romans at Galilee. Joseph then defected to the Romans and remained on their side till his death in 100 AD. He took a more Roman-sounding name: Flavius Josephus, and after the war he became a historian, recording the events of the war, as well as the whole history of the Jewish people. His history of the Jews certainly corroborates all of […]

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Q&A: Calling on the Name of the Lord / Led into Temptation

Today, we will consider two more questions from the question box. “How is calling on the name of the Lord different in the New Testament from when they called on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament?” The action of calling on the name of the Lord is certainly found in many places in both the old and new testaments. However, even though the testaments change, the meaning of the phrase remains the same. The ancient Hebrew pictograph for the word “call”, pictures the sun at the horizon and the gathering of light, followed by a picture of […]

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Q&A: Sprinkled Hearts and the Meaning of Amen

Today, I will answer two questions from the question box. “Please explain what the phrase ‘having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience’ means, which is found in Hebrews 10:22. In particular, the use of the word ‘sprinkled.’” The context of Hebrews 10:22 is drawing pictures and parallels between Jesus and the old covenant High Priest who would enter the Holiest place every year to atone for the sins of Israel.  But Jesus has made “a new and living way” for us, by his sacrifice, to enter in Holiest and be in the closest communion with God. But before we […]

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Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees?

Little is said of these two groups in secular history, and what is said about them comes from biased sources (siding with one side or the other), so we cannot have any confidence in the accuracy of these witnesses. The witness of God in the Bible is certainly the best evidence we have concerning these groups, however, the Old Testament text says nothing about them, because they were born after the Old Testament record. Thus, all information concerning them comes from the New Testament. And yet, the New Testament does not focus on who these groups are, but on their […]

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The Expanse

Lately, we have considered the details of the first day of creation, when God spoke into existence the whole sum and substance of unformed matter of the heavens and the earth, and followed with shining His light upon it, marking the first 24-hour day by the period of darkness (night) and the period of light (day). Day one is certainly a challenge for us to wrap our minds around as it describes a situation for the heavens and the earth that is unlike anything we’ve seen before. The latter days of the week of creation are much easier to picture […]

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Let There Be Light

A couple of weeks ago I wrote concerning the first twelve hours of the first day of creation. Today, I’d like to discuss the last twelve hours of day one. It was on the second half of day one that the voice of Christ said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. Let’s consider what the rest of the Bible has to say concerning what happened. There is a great deal of depth and meaning in the way that God went about creating and forming the heavens and the earth in six days. The order by which He chose […]

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Who are the Nephilim?

The Nephilim are mentioned in Genesis 6 as part of an explanation of the time before the great flood when mankind grew exceedingly wicked. Within the text, there are three groups that require identification: 1. The sons of God; 2. The daughters of men; 3. The Nephilim. Let’s first read the passage carefully, and then we can discuss the meaning of each group of people addressed in the text. “When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, (2)  the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they […]

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