William Varner

The Many Masks of Satan

If you think Satan appears like the caricatures of him, with horns and a red tail, think again. More often than not, he appears as the “noblest” among us.

The Preservation of the Jewish People

The Bible tells us what it will take to destroy the Jewish people. And it tells us when God finally will say to Himself, “I’ve had enough of them!”

Israel’s Internal Battle

Religious vs. Secular. Likud vs. Labor. Hawks vs. Doves. For a country fighting to stay alive, little Israel has more than its share of domestic troubles.

Jesus the Son of God

Do Christians read more into the words Son of God than the Bible intends? Examine the origin of the title and how it applies to Jesus.

How Near the End?

If there is one question that seems to come up more than any other these days, it is this one: “Do you believe that the coming of the Lord is really near?” For almost 2,000 years believers have been looking forward to that…

A Palestinian State?

With a new Israeli prime minister who appears more open to negotiating with the Palestinians than his predecessor, it is appropriate to raise this question: What would a Palestinian state involve?

A Subject in Everyone’s Mouth James 3

The average person speaks nearly 30,000 words each day—enough to fill a good-sized book. Do we realize that each of us is writing an unwritten book every day of our lives? As we read a book, we often form certain opinions about…

The Messiah’s Death

The clearest declaration about the historical facts of the Christian gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures…

Israel at 50: The Battle For Soil And Soul

To the casual observer of life in the Middle East, the real struggle there appears to be about the issue of soil. Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are arguing over “land rights.” At times, this struggle has erupted into violence over how…

The Fiery Trial

Early Christians probably did not fully realize how serious the persecution would eventually become. John Foxe’s classic volume, Book of Martyrs, describes in rather gruesome detail the horrors of the arena, the stake, and the wild beasts that…

Prophet, Priest, And King

If you ask someone to name the founder of Christianity, he or she will probably reply, “Jesus Christ.” Most people think that Jesus was His first name and Christ was His last name. The word Christ, however, is not a name—it is a title. It means Messiah. Therefore…

The Temple in the First Century

“He who has not seen Herod’s Temple has never seen a beautiful building.” With those deliberately exaggerated words, rabbis extolled the magnificence of the Temple that was in Jerusalem during the first century A.D. Although the religious Jews often despised…

Six Days In June Oct/Nov 1997

“A people considered for centuries as non-fighters carried out in June, 1967 against long odds the most nearly perfect military operation in modern history.” With these words an eminent American historian opened her…

Profaning God’s Name Ezekiel 36:16–24

Ezekiel 36:16–24 A few years ago a survey was taken to determine which events cause the greatest stress on a family. It was discovered that, next to the death of a spouse…

Herod the Great?

History has bestowed on him the descriptive title, “the Great.” The primary Jewish chronicler of his period, Josephus, was the first to use the actual phrase “Herod the Great” in his Antiquities of the Jews.

Jesus and the Role of Women

It has become quite fashionable among some feminist writers and people sympathetic to the women’s liberation movement to castigate biblical writers for their “sexism.” Often biblical authors have been characterized as “male chauvinists”…

Behind the Balfour Declaration

The most prominent events marking the early days of the modern Zionist movement were the publication of Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State in 1896 and his calling of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

Hasidic Judaism

Within the world of Orthodox Judaism there is a group of intensely religious Jews whose influence and significance far outweigh their number. Termed ultra-Orthodox by outsiders, they are more properly known as Hasidic Jews…

Joseph and His Tribes

As the aged, bedridden Jacob pronounced prophetic blessings on his sons by Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, he must have looked forward with great anticipation to what God had in store for his two youngest sons…

Jesus in the Rabbinical Literature

It is easy to determine the Jewish opinion of Jesus during His earthly ministry by reading the Gospel accounts. In simple terms, the common people, even if they did not accept His Messianic claims, generally…

Jesus in Josephus

Flavius Josephus was a Jerusalemite priest who lived in the last half of the first century. He also was the commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee during the war with Rome from AD 66–70.

Messianic Trends in Israel

In his essay, “The Messianic Idea in Israel,” the renowned scholar, Gershom Scholem, contrasted the Jewish and Christian concepts of the Messianic redemption. While Christianity conceives of redemption as an event in the spiritual…

Ezekiel’s Strange Signs

Was Ezekiel a paranoid schizophrenic? If not, he must, according to some writers, at least have had an abnormal personality. To lovers of the Bible, such a diagnosis of a biblical prophet is nothing short…

Denying the Dead

It has often been said that truth is stranger than fiction. That is certainly the case when studying the writings of those who deny the occurrence of the Holocaust.

The Restrainer, the Rebel, the Rejecters

The beginning of 2 Thessalonians 2 makes it clear that at least two events will precede the advent of the Day of the Lord: the arrival of the great apostasy and the unveiling of the…

“Of Whom Speaketh the Prophet This?”

In August of each year, the synagogue Scripture reading from the prophets is taken from the Book of Isaiah. Around the third Sabbath in August, the reading ends at Isaiah 52:12…

The Palestinians

“And Isaac entreated the Lᴏʀᴅ for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lᴏʀᴅ was entreated by him, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived. And the children struggled together within her;

The Greeks

When Bible readers move from the Old to the New Testament, they encounter many new ideas and institutions. They encounter groups like the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and Zealots, who are not mentioned in the Old…

Trouble In The Temple: Matthew 23:37–24:2

As with so many important chapters in God’s Word, Matthew 24 actually begins at the end of the previous chapter. The 23rd chapter records what was undoubtedly the hardest-hitting message Jesus delivered during His earthly…

Nehemiah the Leader Feb/Mar 1994

Being a leader is an unenviable calling. It appears glamorous and glorious, but it is more often lonely and thankless. The best training for a would-be leader is to observe closely the model…

Israel’s Political Patchwork

There is a saying in Israel that if you really want to learn about the political situation in the country, the person to ask is a taxi driver.

Jewish Believers Test the Law of Return

On February 21, 1993, three Jewish families in Israel were ordered out of what they had hoped would be their adopted country. Gary and Shirley Beresford came to Israel from their native Zimbabwe in 1987…

The Abrahamic Covenant

It would not be appropriate to ask which is the most important Old Testament covenant. Each of the covenants plays its own unique role in God’s marvelous plan of redemption and is therefore very important.

The Rise of the Crescent: The Arabs and Islam

The Arabs of the Middle East are constantly in the news, one probable reason being that they control a major portion of the world’s petroleum. Islam, the religion most often associated with them…

An Uneasy Tension

Relationships between Jews and Christians have always been characterized by an uneasy tension, which has at times turned into violence of the worst kind. At other times, relations between the two have been more peaceful…

Ruth and the Messiah

The charming little account contained in the Book of Ruth has all the interest-catching elements of an absorbing short story. The reader is exposed to a plot containing elements of tragedy, conflict, characterization, and resolution.

The Nations at Armageddon

Although the Bible deals primarily with Israel and the Messiah, it is surprising to realize how much the Scriptures teach about the Gentile nations and their future role in God’s prophetic plan.

A Portrait of the Messiah

With the shadow of the cross shading their minds, two of Christ’s disciples left Jerusalem. They were headed for Emmaus, a village seven miles from the city.

Messiah in the Law

The Law is known in Hebrew as the Torah, the first of the three traditional divisions of the Hebrew Bible. The other two divisions are the Prophets and the Writings.

Paul the Jew

This Jewish man called himself “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13) and twice referred to his role as that of “a teacher of the Gentiles” (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).

A Call to Hope 1 Thessalonians 4

The New Testament epistles do not teach systematic theology. That statement may appear shocking to some readers, but a little reflection will clarify what is meant. A systematic theology textbook gathers all that the Bible…

Messianic Ideas and the Messiah

What did the Jewish people of Jesus’ day believe about the Messiah? What Messianic preconceptions greeted Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel?

Operation Solomon

Many questions have been asked recently about the Jewish people in Ethiopia and their immigration to Israel. These Ethiopian Jews are sometimes referred to as the Falashas. Who are they? How did they become Jewish?

Yom Kippur

It is the most awesome day of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur is the Hebrew phrase for the Day of Atonement. For more than 3,000 years, Jewish people have observed this annual day of solemn…

Yom Haatzmaut

The time was 4:00 p.m. The date was Friday, May 14, 1948. A black sedan pulled up to the front of the Tel Aviv Museum. Out of the back seat emerged a short, white-haired man…

The Parting of the Ways

Although it has sometimes been overlooked, a straightforward reading of the Book of Acts reveals that Christianity began as a sect within the Jewish community. Jesus was born of a Jewish mother, was reared…

The Mercy Ship Sails for Poland

The Friends of Israel recently had the privilege of joining thousands of others in an unprecedented relief effort to Poland. On Tuesday, April 24, 1990, four of our workers drove to New London, Connecticut…

Where Was Herod’s Temple?

Many Bible students are aware of the Old Testament Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary of the Lord described in graphic detail in Exodus 25-40. Fewer students however, have paid close attention to the Temple, the permanent…

In Quest of the Holy Cow

It was the only sacrifice for which the animal had to be a special color. It was the only sacrifice that had to be performed outside the camp instead of on the altar.

Who Is the True Messiah?

We nearly fell out of our cushioned synagogue seats when we heard the rabbi’s answer! I had accompanied a group of believers from a suburban Detroit church to a conservative synagogue to learn more about…