Read for This Week’s Study: Luke 2:21-24; Exod. 13:2, 12; Luke 2:41-52; Matt. 17:24-27; John 8:1-11; Deut. 22:23-24.
Memory Text: If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me (John 5:46, NRSV).
Many Christians have been raised on stories about Jesus’ supposedly negative relationship to the Jewish religion, an unfortunate misconception that has only helped feed anti-Semitism through the centuries. Jesus spoke out against abuses of the religion, that’s true, but not against the religion itself. [...]
Elizabeth Kimongo was born into a traditional Maasai family in Kenya. In her culture girls are expected to marry soon after their twelfth birthday. Women have little to say about their lives, but Elizabeth refused to leave school to marry. She had a dream.
Elizabeth Kimongo courtesy of the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission
While home for vacation before starting high school, Elizabeth learned that her father had arranged for her to marry an older man. With her mother’s blessing, [...]
Further Study: Read also Ellen G. White, Oath Taking, pp. 201-204, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1.
If Adam had not transgressed the law of God, the ceremonial law would never have been instituted. The gospel of good news was first given to Adam in the declaration made to him that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head; and it was handed down through successive generations to Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The knowledge of God’s law, and the [...]
However much Roman law, Mosaic law, and rabbinic law impacted the lives of Jews living in first-century Israel, many people who followed the religion of Israel lived outside of Palestine and beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. Thus, many of these laws would not have played a big role in their lives.
Image © Justinen Creative from GoodSalt.com
At the same time, however, anyone professing to be a follower of the God of Israel would have adhered to the Ten [...]
In addition to the Mosaic laws, Jews at the time of Jesus were also familiar with the law of the rabbis. The rabbis were the scholastic arm of the Pharisees, and they took the responsibility of ensuring that the Mosaic law remained relevant to the people. The rabbis counted 613 laws in the five books of Moses (including 39 pertaining to the Sabbath), and they used these laws as the basis for their legislation. They supplemented these written laws with [...]
Read Leviticus 1:1-9, 2:14-16, 5:11-13. To what are these laws referring? What was their purpose? What important truths were they meant to teach?
Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com
Besides the civil laws in ancient Israel, there was also what is often called the ceremonial law. This law centered around the sanctuary and its services, all of which, of course, were designed to teach the children of Israel the plan of salvation and point them to the coming Messiah. In the [...]
Although the Jews were under Roman rule at the time of Jesus, they were granted authority over those issues that were unique to their customs and religion (see Acts 18:15). The legislative body responsible for administering Jewish law was called the Sanhedrin. Sometimes referred to as the council (John 11:47, Acts 5:27), the Sanhedrin consisted of 71 men selected from among the priests, elders, and rabbis and was presided over by the high priest. It served as a type of [...]
Read Luke 2:1-5. What lessons can we learn from the ways in which these two faithful followers of the Lord interacted with their political environment?
A medieval depiction of the Roman Senate
picture from Wikimedia commons
Since the time of the early republic, the Romans recognized how important written laws were for the governance of society. In fact, the system of constitutional law established by the Romans remains a foundation of the legal systems found in many of today’s democratic societies.
For the most [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Luke 2:1-5, Heb. 10:28, Deut. 17:2-6, Lev. 1:1-9, Luke 14:1-6, James 2:8-12.
Memory Text: For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves (Romans 2:14, NASB).
In most societies, various laws function at the same time. There can be general laws that apply to everyone and, simultaneously, local laws that prevail in one community but not in another.
In New Testament [...]
Some tools lived together in a carpenter’s shop. They were having some problems getting along, and some complained that others were not doing their share of work. They met to discuss their issues.
The Hammer spoke first, for he served as the chairman. “Brother Drill,” he began, “you and your family are so noisy. And you seem to spin in circles, but go nowhere.”
The Drill quickly spoke up. “It’s true that I go around in circles, and my work makes noise. [...]