Biblical Studies/Theology

Assessing the Return of Haman

People visiting Israel during the annual Purim celebration in March, when masses of costumed Israelis joyously parade through the streets, might liken the event to…

Incontestable

Jesus Christ’s resurrection is the heartbeat of Christianity. Though most denominations have theological differences, one core truth binds the whole lot together: the belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ…

The Truth About Who Killed Christ

A few months ago, I met with a high-profile Jewish leader who was giving a talk about his journey from poverty to entrepreneurial success. As a boy growing up in the slums of Boston…

Casting Down Serpents

Exodus 7:8–12 records the account of Moses’ and Aaron’s first miracle before Pharaoh: turning Aaron’s staff (a symbol of authority) into a serpent that swallowed those produced by Pharaoh’s magicians…

Comforting the Persecuted

The apostle Paul made a practice of visiting churches he had planted and providing pastoral care and counsel. But sometimes opposition to him and his ministry made the task impossible…

Who Doesn’t Want a Blessing?

Nostalgia. That’s the emotion fans of the iconic 1960s TV series Star Trek feel when they hear the words live long and prosper. The character of Mr. Spock…

From Bitterness to Joy

Everybody loves a good story. God made us that way so He could instruct us in truth and illustrate it through the people whose lives are recorded in the Bible. Their stories show us, rather than tell us, how to live…

The Gold-Box Idol

During the closing period of the judges, the Israelites embraced wicked beliefs in their worship and view of God. God had confirmed Samuel as His spokesman and true prophet, but the Israelites refused to obey….

A Hearing Heart

I have many fond memories of my mother from my childhood, but there is one memory that is far from fond. I still get a knot in the pit of my stomach when I think about it. When I was around 11 years old, we were…

‘Bring Up Samuel for Me’

Disobedience to God can drastically change a person’s life. King Saul’s disobedience dramatically altered both his life and his kingship. As a consequence for transgressing into the priestly office…

Samuel’s Big Disappointment

The expectation of great potential can be exciting. It certainly is for athletes and professional sports teams, as each new season dawns. Many a manager has left training camp saying to himself…

Samuel & David

Much is written about David in the Bible. At the mention of his name, some people immediately think of the courageous teenager who slew Goliath using a slingshot and a stone. Others remember a tender young shepherd who penned Psalm 23…

Why Would God Harden a Heart?

Exodus 4:21 records a statement God made to Moses: “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will…”

O Jewish Town of Bethlehem

This Christmas season, as we gather in our churches to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and sing the carols of Christmas, we no doubt will sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” one of the most beloved hymns of all time…

A Night in the Fields

Birth announcements are exciting. Parents share the news first with family, then with close friends, and later with the community. In the first century, however, it was unthinkable to send birth announcements to the poor and to those who held lower-class occupations, like shepherds…

The Incredible Incarnation

I have some Christian friends who do not celebrate Christmas. They object to the many pagan traditions that have crept into the holiday and argue that Jesus was not even born on December 25. I don’t disagree. They are quite correct…

Q: What is the Unpardonable Sin?

According to Jesus, the unpardonable sin is “blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit” (Mt. 12:31). However, it is important to study the context of Matthew 12:22–32 to understand what this means…

Our Wonderful God of Christmas

For more than 50 years, Charles M. Schulz’s animated classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, has touched millions of television viewers. In it, Charlie complains, “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy…

The Tyrant Who Tried to Kill Jesus

King Herod was a complex man. He was a brilliant builder and politician, yet a ruthless and brutal tyrant. He makes a brief appearance in Scripture as the cold-blooded killer of baby boys in Bethlehem and surrounding areas…

Divine Affirmation

“Who were those people? What just happened?” Mary and Joseph may have asked themselves these questions following their brief encounter with Simeon and Anna at the Temple in Jerusalem. They had gone there to…

The Men from the East

The story of the wise men, or magi, is one of the most interesting and captivating accounts recorded in the Bible. Countless Christmas cards, carols, and plays present the story of their journey to see Jesus, the one “born King of the Jews” (Mt. 2:2)…

How Do We Know the Exodus Happened?

“The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” declared Pennsylvania State University Jewish Studies Professor Baruch Halpern.1 The ancient Israelites created…

God is Faithful

Paul’s concluding words in this epistle are extremely important. He revisited prominent themes of prayer, sanctification, the Lord’s faithfulness, spiritual commitment, and preparedness for the Rapture of the church…

Church Life

The apostle Paul often addressed the church as a family. He called members brothers and sisters and encouraged them to love one another. To function properly, a church—like a family—must have structure, order, respect for its members…

Ezekiel: The Times, The Man, The Book

The prophet Ezekiel burst onto the scene during Jerusalem’s darkest days at the end of the sixth century BC. Then, as now, the Middle East was in crisis. In fact, the Middle East had been in crisis for most of the eighth and seventh centuries BC due to the…

The Power Behind the Throne

From the time God created the world, Satan has wanted to rule it. In ancient days, one of Satan’s strongholds was the Phoenician city-state of Tyre, which dates back to around 2700 BC…

Q: Who are the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2?

“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose” (vv. 1–2)…

The Christian’s Life

“At the Rapture,” wrote Bible scholar John F. Walvoord, “Christians will see their loved ones who died and preceded them to heaven. It will also end their earthly problems, and they will be forever with the Lord.”1 For these reasons, the Rapture has been a…

Inside View May/Jun 2018

Nowadays, trying to discern between truth and fake news is a full-time job. Such is also the case with the distinction between Israel and the church. I believe God’s Word clearly teaches Israel is not the church, and the church is not Israel…

Five Facts You Should Know About Israel

Have you ever wondered why the Jewish people have been scattered throughout the nations of the world more consistently than any other people? Why anti–Semitism persists in rearing its ugly head repeatedly throughout history? Why Nazism specifically targeted the Jewish people for genocide in the…

The Day of the Lord

1 Thessalonians 5:1–3: In 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, we saw that Christians (both dead and living) will be raptured to be with Christ when He appears to receive His church. But what about those left behind?…

From the Editor Mar/Apr 2018

A minister once told me about a church that was having difficulty finding a pastor. Its doctrine was identical to that of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. The church used…

Errant or Inerrant? That is the Question.

For centuries conservative biblical scholars have believed in the inerrancy of Scripture. Such theologians as Augustine (354–430), Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), Martin Luther (1483–1546)…

The Changing Face of Dispensationalism

A student recently came to my office and told me he had been to a conference with pastors from mainline churches. When he mentioned he was taking a course on Dispensationalism…

Redefining the Gospel

When our children were young, my wife and I would take them every October 31 to the storage shed behind our house. They each brought a sheet of paper on which they had written…

Navigating the Current Theological Fog

As a child, I loved to play with silly putty. I would make putty pancakes and press them onto newspapers so the words would appear on the putty. Then I’d remove the putty…

Q: What did Jesus mean…(Mt. 24:34)?

The key word here is generation (Greek, genea). It can mean race, nation, or age and can also refer to a physical or moral span of time. Jesus made the statement…

Understanding the Kingdom

The topic of the Kingdom of God dominates Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels. Yet throughout church history, an amazing disunity has characterized the interpretation of…

How to Spell Blessing: Israel

We live in a world of widespread redefinition. Some people view the practice as a positive modification to an old, outdated understanding of certain terms and practices, while others…

United Hearts, Divided Tongues

Some people claim the biblical story of the Tower of Babel is merely a folk tale to explain the formation of different languages. But archaeology supports the Bible. Before the Tower of Babel…

Our Blessed Hope

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18: When Paul established the Thessalonian church, he taught believers there about Jesus Christ’s imminent return. They were told, “wait for His Son from heaven…

When Do People Receive Their Resurrected Bodies?

Every person born since the creation of man will receive a resurrected body. Some will enjoy eternal life with God, while others will suffer eternal damnation and judgment in the Lake of Fire. This chart explains the various resurrections.

Q: What does the phrase Israel of God mean?

Israel of God refers to Jewish people who received Christ as their Savior and consequently belong to the church. It does not refer to the entire church. The phrase appears in Galatians 6: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision…

The Identity of Nimrod

Archaeological excavations in ancient Mesopotamia reveal striking parallels between the Bible’s King Nimrod and the ancient Semitic ruler Sargon the Great, thus confirming the biblical king’s historicity. The Old Testament mentions Nimrod four times, calling him…

A Life That Pleases God

1 Thessalonians 4:9–12: How to live a life that pleases God is the overriding theme of the first 12 verses of 1 Thessalonians 4. Verses 1–8 speak about sexual purity, and verses 9–12 provide practical instruction on how to maintain right relationships with…

The Unbroken Line

Even the most unlikely situation can become a vehicle for God’s grace, as it did with Tamar. The story of Tamar as recorded in Genesis 38 is both sordid and tragic. Many readers consider the narrative indecent, and some even suggest it should never…

Redeemed

How the great faith of a Canaanite woman saved both her and her entire family. Few people hang skeletons on their front doors. But that’s exactly what the New Testament does. The book of Matthew opens with the genealogy of Jesus, which includes…

On the Judah Road

Sometimes we make one decision that changes our lives forever. That’s what Ruth did, and God blessed her. I’d like to tell you about a girl who grew up 30 centuries ago and made a decision so momentous it not only secured her place in history but…

What Grace Can Do

God is the author of history; it’s His story. In God’s sovereign plan, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). That’s why some call God’s providence “the hand of God in the glove of history.”

The Woman God Chose

While waiting to check out at the grocery store recently, a publication caught my eye. It was a reissue of LIFE magazine on Mary, the mother of Jesus. I began to peruse it, more out of curiosity than interest, until I read…

The Making of a Miracle

My wife made a casual remark last Christmas that has stuck with me. We were thinking about all of the family members we were expecting on Christmas day and all of the presents we needed…

Noah’s Ark—Fact or Fiction?

About 20 years ago, the news media reported on the search for the remains of Noah’s ark. In an interview on the subject, a professor of Old Testament at a liberal Christian university quipped that…

Living in Moral Purity

1 Thessalonians 4:1–8: Some people find it difficult to live for Christ. But God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us, and we need to learn how to yield our lives to His control. In the final two chapters of 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul…

The New Testament and the Kinsmen of Jesus

Is the New Testament anti-Semitic? Unfortunately, many Gentiles have used it to vent their ingrained hatred and unholy wrath on the Jewish people. But if we read it…

Paul’s Encouraging Word

1 Thessalonians 3:6–13: Greatly relieved by Timothy’s encouraging report that the young Thessalonian church was not wavering in its faith despite persecution, the apostle Paul penned this letter to the Thessalonians.

A Trail of Carcasses

Camped at Sinai for 12 months, the fledgling nation of Israel received God’s Law, constructed His Tabernacle, and established the Levitical priesthood. It had great dreams and high expectations of entering a land that flowed “with milk and honey” as it set out from…

The Facilitators

In 2003, President George W. Bush surprised American troops stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, with a visit for Thanksgiving dinner. “I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere,” he joked. More than 600 soldiers from the 1st Armored and 82nd Airborne Divisions were shocked…

Fiasco at Kadesh Barnea

After traveling through the desert from bondage in Egypt, the children of Israel embarked on the last leg of the journey to their new home: the land of Canaan—the land God had promised them. With the end of the trek in sight…

Rebels Without a Cause

It didn’t go well for Korah and crew when they complained against God. In fact, the ended up in what people today might call a giant sinkhole. Anyone who knows a little Yiddish probably knows the word kvetch. It means complain and whine habitually.

The Covert Conspiracy

Many things happen behind the scenes that affect our lives and the history of nations. The Israelites fell prey to the enemy’s devices, and it cost them dearly. If you think you know everything going on around you, think again. Life is not always what it seems. Sometimes circumstances are orchestrated…

The Desert Complaint Department

A lesson in what NOT to do–even though God is always faithful. Complaining is a flaw of sinners. It is part of humanity’s sinful condition. It is part of humanity’s sinful condition. We grumble about long lines, prices, people…

Satisfying God’s Wrath

The biblical doctrine of propitiation is under attack in our culture. Adherents of postmodernism and even some people within the church have rejected biblical teachings they perceive to be too harsh—such as judgment, hell, and the doctrine of propitiation.

A Minister’s Encouragement

1 Thessalonians 3:1–5: Birthing is not easy. That’s why it’s called labor. Paul felt personally responsible for the Thessalonian church, which he had birthed through his ministry. He cared for the babes in Christ there with the gentle love…

A Minister’s Heart

1 Thessalonians 2:13–20: The testimony of a new believer in Christ causes other believers to rejoice. Imagine how overjoyed the apostle Paul was to learn of the Thessalonians’ steadfast faith despite their persecution. He rejoiced over them and longed to see them again.

Ministering With Affection

1 Thessalonians 2:7–12The church is a family. People enter it by being born into it spiritually. And, as in a family, all members have responsibilities; and their commitment to and love for one another are necessary to create…

A Little Math Helps a Lot

It is often interesting to know the age of individuals at significant points in their lives. The Bible is not written in chronological order, and ferreting out that information often requires doing a little math. But the results can be fascinating.

Troubled Twins

Struggle defined Jacob and Esau’s relationship. It began in the womb, continued when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and culminated when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Though they were twins, the men were…

Family Feud

God uses all types of circumstances to shape people. Sometimes they are favorable; other times they involve trouble, heartache, and grief. In the case of the patriarch Jacob, the Lord used 20 difficult years in Padan Aram, when Jacob worked for…

From Bethel to Bethel

Many people struggle through life. Every day brings them something new to worry about. Some have illnesses. Others have grief. The list of troubles that shape a person is endless. The patriarch Jacob knew all about trouble…

The Man Whom God Knighted

There is no other biblical personality that has been made more the butt of harsh and unfair criticism than that of the patriarch Jacob, one of the ancestors of the Jewish race. He is depicted as the cunning supplanter…

Ministering with Integrity

1 Thessalonians 2:1–6: The apostle Paul’s abrupt departure from Thessalonica brought accusations that he was a religious charlatan preaching for financial gain and personal honor. If the accusations went unanswered, they…

God Is…

Although we’ll never grasp God in His entirety, we can still learn about Him through three things in particular. When I was a PhD candidate, I had to endure a comprehensive oral examination before four professors…

The Unfathomable Christ

During His incarnation, Christ was humiliated for our sake. Here are seven characteristics of Jesus that should make us love Him even more. You are about to read one of the most enlightening passages in all of Scripture…

The Story of Glory

Bobby was exactly my age—only 28. The cause of death was a horrific car crash. His extended family was unchurched, and I was asked to pray with them and later conduct the funeral. As a young pastor…

The Thessalonians’ Testimony

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10: When the Thessalonians received Jesus Christ as their Savior, they experienced a thrilling transformation. They were completely delivered from the darkness and depravity of paganism and anxiously…

The Conflict Begins

Have you ever asked yourself, Why is the world the way it is? What’s going on here? Most people have. Here is a brief explanation in an edited excerpt from Dr. Renald Showers’ extraordinary book What on Earth Is God Doing?

Inside View Sep/Oct 2016

It is common to cross paths with Christians who don’t believe the Jewish people today are God’s Chosen People. They fail to see how Israel fits into God’s plan for this world…

Plays on Words

The locations mentioned in Micah 1 have names that are similar to the verbs in the same sentence,1 creating plays on words that are lost when translating the text from its original Hebrew…

The Decivilization of Judah Micah 3

What goes around comes around. That means you can’t get away with doing wrong because eventually, wrong will be done to you. Biblically, it is the law of sowing and reaping, something the Judean leaders…

Waiting For Deliverance Micah 6—7

It’s election year in America, and again many are hoping for new leadership to restore the glory of our country. We think if only we get the right leaders into positions of influence, then perhaps we can…

Rejoicing Over Salvation

1 Thessalonians 1:5–8: The apostle Paul did not preach on the power of positive thinking to the Thessalonians. He did not use skillful oratory, philosophical arguments, clever expressions, or…

The Sense of Plain Sense

Another way in which I was subjected to the attitude of Replacement Theology was through the teaching that all of the Old Testament had been nailed to the…

The Greatest Prophet

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…

What Went Wrong

Contrary to what some people think, the concept of priesthood did not originate with Israel. In the patriarchal period, the male head of each household functioned as a…

The Divine Separation

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” So said Sir John Dalberg-Acton in the 19th century, and nothing happening in the world to date has contradicted him…

Thankful for the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 1:2–4: When kindness is shown to someone, the usual response is to say thank you. No New Testament writer other than Paul expressed thankfulness to his fellow Christians…

Liberty, Love, and Life With Christ Conclusion

During its formative years, the church was entirely Jewish, as Jewish people by the thousands recognized Jesus as their long-promised Messiah. But by the end of the apostle Paul’s first missionary journey…

Liberty, Love, and Life With Christ Part Four

Christians are to honor God’s holiness by keeping His commandments. But what about gray areas where the Bible is silent? In those cases, followers of Jesus must not offend their consciences or those of other believers…

Introduction to the First Epistle to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 1:1: First Thessalonians is a key book for every Christian, whether a new believer or seasoned saint. The theme is the coming of the Lord, and each chapter builds on an aspect of the believer’s life…

Dancing with the Devil

The reality of demonic attack and Jesus’ victory over it is woven throughout the Gospels, and there are 82 references to the word demon or demons in the New King James Bible…

The Thessalonian Church

Acts 17:1–10: One of the apostle Paul’s most important ministries took place in Thessalonica. His letters to believers there show how he established churches early in his ministry, met with opposition…

Liberty, Love, and Life with Christ Part Three

Christian liberty is a gift from God. Scripture says Christians are free to practice whatever God’s moral absolutes do not prohibit (Gal. 2:4; 5:1), providing they do not violate their own consciences (Rom. 14:22–23)…

The Permanence of the Promise

Some people maintain Romans 9—11 is a digression. However, as Bible scholar Thomas R. Schreiner noted, “The idea that these chapters disrupt the argument of the epistle has all but vanished today…

Vessels of Clay Romans 9:1–29

Four thousand years ago, God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees (southern Iraq) to the land of Canaan (Israel) and made him an awesome promise…

Mission Impossible Romans 9:30–10:21

On my first day of college many years ago, I met a Gentile who was “born again.” He presented Jesus Christ as Savior and the only way to heaven and told me…

It’s Not Over Yet Romans 11:25–36

Unfortunately, many people do not understand what the Bible teaches about Israel. God loves the Jewish people; and, according to Romans 11:25–36, His redemptive plan for them is not over yet.