As I was reading through the text of the book of Exodus this summer, I noticed something regarding the two signs, which the LORD gave to Moses. Those two signs were aiming, not only, at mere confirmation of the truthfulness of the message (Exod 4:1-9), but also were to witness קוֹל a message to the hearers.
The usage of קוֹל (sound/voice), and the verb שׁמע (listen) in the phrase יִשְׁמְע֔וּ לְקֹ֖ל הָאֹ֣ת (Exod 4:8) translated by the NET Bible, “pay attention to the … sign” does not point to the meaning of the sign, but rather denotes “the voice”, the “noise” it causes. As if the signs cry loud to the people, “this is supernatural, this is divine, and you got to believe.”
Therefore, these signs were to accompany Moses’ words, in order to witness to the divine origin of the salvation he proclaims. The Signs were a voice, a trumpet that this Salvation is both true and divine.
In fact, this pattern is similar to Jesus’ proclamation of salvation (John 10: 36-38). A proclamation that was accompanied by marvelous signs to witness to the Divinity of Jesus and the truthfulness and seriousness of His Salvation. Of course I need to do further study to confirm/refute this interpretation. Nonetheless, I thought it is worth sharing so far.
The Christian love is shaped by the biblical concept of sacrifice. God the Father showed us His love in the incarnational and sacrificial work of His Son (Jn 3:16). Moreover, love is given to Christians by the dwelling of His Spirit in them when they believed (Rom 5:5). Therefore, true Christian love is not about satisfying the self, nor it is mere emotionalism.
Loving our enemies for instance, does not necessary involve having affections towards those who persecute us ( the context of Luke 6 for instance; the early followers of Jesus anticipated persecution). Nor does biblical love mean to pretend to have passion towards those who embrace sin and impose it on others ( think of all kinds of sin, may be this is a sort of hypocrisy). In our endeavors to win sinners to Christ, we should be cautious not to be no different from them. The downward spiral in the name of love is an easy way to go.
Rather to love our enemies involves caring for them and their souls, being able to serve them and to work for their true interest, despite our own feelings (Luke 6:27). In short, biblical Christians should not buy into the world’s perception of love, because we disagree with the world on the meaning, source, and the end of love. If we believe in the Bible authority, we should make it the fountain of our perspectives.
John Bunyan is a major figure in the seventeenth century’s English Puritan movement. Many factors have contributed to make Bunyan as famous as he is today, factors such as his unique conversion experience, his devoted ministry, which led to his persecution, and some of the sixty books he authored during his life. Nonetheless his unique book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part 1, is the main cause of his prominent fame. This specific work is regarded as one of the most important contributions to Christian thought.
Bunyan was born in November, 1628, to a father who worked as a tinker. While John was still a young man he joined the parliamentarian army and participated in the English Civil War. During the war years he married. After the war, he went through a long process of Christian conversion (1650-1655). Soon after his conversion, he became an active preacher, and because of his faith and ministry, Bunyan was detained and put into jail for twelve years (1660-1672) for preaching without a license from the Church of England. In the course of his long imprisonment he was able to write many books including his masterpiece, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Catholic University of America., New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. II (New York,: McGraw-Hill, 1967), 886.
Vera Brittain, Valiant Pilgrim : The Story of John Bunyan and Puritan England (New York: Macmillan, 1950), 41.
Surely there are many good and non violent people among all races and religious groups.Yet one cannot predict who out of the followers of Islam would be born from below. By the “born from below,” I simply mean the exact opposite of the biblical term “born from above,” or in other translations “born again” (John 3).
While this term might sound weird for most of non Christians, Christians shouldn’t be surprised. Because we Christians believe that God through His Spirit transforms their lives, and they refer to this transformation as being “born again” or “born from above.” Therefore, it is not hard for us to understand that another faith system can offer an opposite transforming experience from our own.
To be more clear, I am not trying to demonize the followers of Islam, but to clarify the wickedness of Muslims who take Islam seriously. Those serious followers of Islam are certainly transformed by an evil belief system of deception. This system of faith is simply evil since it comprises clear elements of envy and violence. A belief system that justifies bloodshed of infidels, Jews, and Christians. All this, can be found , not only in the Quran, but also in the Hadith, and in the history of interpretation, and is practically manifested by their long history of intolerance toward different non Muslim faiths for more than fourteen centuries.
By personal observation, this transformation can span from few days to years, also it can never be completed to a full transforming experience in the life time of a Muslim (which is in fact more common). Yet when this “born from below” experience occurs, and his/her mind is activated and indoctrinated with a seriously strong jihadic belief system.
The consequences conform to Hell, and people are astonished or rather stunned by this acts of Jihad. Nonetheless, Christians shouldn’t be appalled by these acts of evil, because we also have a belief system that is good, and we not only believe that our good God exists, but also we belief that Satan exists, and that he is active in this fallen world (Eph 2:2). We can understand that there can be an evil transforming religious experience, when people truly believe in bad and evil doctrines.
Moreover, we also know that our ultimate hope is not in the wisdom of this age, nor in an earthly savior who is a smart politician or a good statesman (although these are needed to restrict evil in the world), but our real hope is in Christ and God’s Kingdom.To him be Glory and the final victory over all these evils, and over Satan himself (Rev 20:10).
I enjoyed my summer New Testament class, learned a great deal specifically about the importance of the “Kingdom of God” concept. Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels came proclaiming the Kingdom to his hearers. What is the relation of this concept with Jesus ministry, death, and Resurrection? Does the kingdom implies two elements, or rather more than one eschatology? What is the relation between the Kingdom and God’s plan of salvation (esp. in Luke)? George E.Ladd’s Book: A Theology of The New Testament, was a very helpful source for understanding the Kingdom’s concept during the course.