I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel.
There has, of course, been much debate over the identity of the 144,000.
Aune lists the following possibilities: ‘(1) the faithful remnant of Israel, (2) Jewish Christians, (3) Christian martyrs, (4) Christians generally, the Israel of God, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:11–19), or (5) primarily gentile Christians, since the Jews have rejected their place.’…
John Stott argues from Paul’s celebrated Areopagus speech in Acts 17.
First, Paul affirmed the unity of the human race, or the God of creation. For God had “made from one every nation of men” (v. 26), and all human beings are therefore his “offspring” (28, 29). We evangelicals rightly reject the concept of “the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of men” if it is used to deny the special fatherhood and fellowship God gives to his redeemed people.…
Simon Peter went aboard and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three, but although there were so many, the net was not torn.
Many weird and wonderful attempts have been made to find special meaning in the number of fish in the net.
- Jerome, for example, reported that ancient writers believed that there were 153 different species of fish in the net, thus symbolising all the nations of the world.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, to plagiarize is ‘to take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one’s own.’
Plagiarism can occur in various walks of life: in academic study, in art and music, and in preaching. Obviously, it is the latter that we are concerned with here.
Plagiarism may be intentional (in which case it is dishonest). Or it may be unintentional (in which case it is due to poor work methods).…
The term ‘union with Christ’ sums up the relationship between Christ and his people.
The church has understood this in various ways.
1. Incarnational union. This view, which was held my many of the early Fathers and continues to be held in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, is that in incarnation God in Christ became one with us in order to make us one with him. He took on our human nature in so that we might partake in his divine nature. …
John 7:40-44 Some of the crowd began to say, “This really is the Prophet!” Others said, “This is the Christ!” But still others said, “No, for the Christ doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the scriptures say that the Christ is a descendant of David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of Jesus. Some of them were wanting to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.…
A Pharisee whose name was Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the council and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 5:35 Then he said to the council, “Men of Israel, pay close attention to what you are about to do to these men. 5:36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him.…
When you mount the steps to the pulpit and are about to speak God’s Word on His behalf, let these exhortations come to mind:
• Preach to honor God’s Word.
• Preach to reach the unconverted.
• Preach to please God.
• Preach to equip Christians for the work of the ministry.
• Preach to lift up the downhearted.
• Preach to be more effective this time than last.
• Preach to bring conviction of sin and repentance.…
There was a time when preaching single verse sermons was the norm. In some places, it still is.
Should we, or shouldn’t we, preach single verse sermons?
Peter Mead offers the following guidance:
1. If a single verse is a complete unit of thought, great! For instance, many proverbs stand alone as a complete unit of thought and can be profitably preached as such.
2. If a single verse conveys the main idea of the unit of thought, great!…
Gen 3:16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
The rare word translated ‘desire’ in many translations can have both positive and negative connotations. Some (e.g. Walton, Giles, Steinmann) interpret the present verse in the light of Song 7:10, where the word refers to sexual desire. Others (e.g.…