The Upper Room

The Upper Room

On the day before he died the Lord Jesus shared a last meal with his disciples. He had already started making preparations for it: Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare, that you may eat the Passover?” And he sent out two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us” (Mark 14:12–15). When all was ready and they were seated Jesus said, “With fervent desire I have

Three Times in a Nation’s History (part 2)

Three Times in a Nation’s History (part 2)

Continued from Glad Tidings edition 1621. In PART ONE of this article, we considered how the nation of Israel, in its history and its very survival, is living proof that God is in control of world events. Choosing three events from three different periods (the ‘Three Times’) we find a consistent picture of Israel suffering at the hands of the superpowers of the time, being defeated and exiled, but being preserved just as God’s prophets had foretold. Last time we considered the Babylonian invasion of 598 BC and the Roman siege of 70 AD. In this concluding part, we think about the Third Time – an attack which is yet to come. Israel Regathered In the establishment of Israel, we have witnessed one of the most remarkable examples of the fulfilment of Bible prophecy in the whole realm of human experience. The Old Testament of the Bible abounds with prophecies

The Priestly Blessing

The Priestly Blessing

Excavation of ancient tombs can be frustrating, because it’s usually the case that they have already been looted. However, occasionally a tomb is found which has escaped the notice of the grave-robbers. In 1979, archaeologists were investigating a series of caves on the edge of the old city of Jerusalem. They had been used as a communal tomb and had held around a couple of dozen bodies. They had been stripped by grave-robbers long ago, but the archaeologists discovered a corner which had been protected by a section of fallen roof. In this forgotten corner they found a large number of pots and other artefacts, and most exciting of all, two tiny silver scrolls, the largest measuring less than 10cm long. They were badly corroded and fragile. It took three years to decide how best to open them, but when they were finally unrolled the scientists found, to their huge

Mysteries and Myths

Mysteries and Myths

It WAS a blisteringly hot day as the two friends finished their walk. “I’m going to buy a Coca Cola.” “Oh dear! I don’t like that stuff. I have no idea what it’s made of but did you know that if you leave a tooth in it overnight the tooth will be dissolved by morning?” Coca Cola or ‘Coke’ is drunk worldwide and is massively popular. It was invented in 1886 and its formula has always been a closely guarded trade secret, one which is now worth billions of dollars. The formula was not even written down until 1919, and is now safely locked away in a vault in a museum. The belief about the tooth is one of many false but commonly quoted myths about this drink. So, there are mysteries and myths about Coke. Bible Mysteries Mysteries are described in the Bible, and they are very significant. However,

Ezra

Ezra

The Book of Ezra recounts the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon, led first by Zerubbabel and Joshua and later by Ezra the Scribe. The temple was rebuilt in spite of opposition from adversaries living in the land. The Cylinder of Cyrus The Persian monarch, Cyrus I, recorded his exploits on a clay cylinder (shown below), now in the British Museum. The inscriptions on it include his decree made in 536 BC, which allowed the Jews who were in exile in Babylonia and Persia to return to Israel. This fulfilled God’s promise, made through the prophet Jeremiah, that the Jews would be able to come back from Babylon after 70 years of captivity (see Jeremiah 29:10). Enemies of Israel A small number of Jews returned under the initial decree of Cyrus (Ezra chapter 2). These were led by Zerubbabel (a prince of the royal tribe of Judah) and

Axe Heads and Chariots

Axe Heads and Chariots

There was a group of faithful men, known as the ‘Sons of the Prophets’, who appear throughout the work of Elijah and Elisha. They seem to have tried to be a positive influence, encouraging people into godly ways, when times were often difficult and sometimes dangerous for those who remained faithful to God. One group had outgrown the place where they had been living and decided to move to Jordan, there to build a suitable place for them all to live. They were going to build the place themselves, and explained their plans to Elisha, and received his blessing. They also persuaded him to go with them, and they reached the place and began to fell trees for their building. One of their number was cutting down a tree when the head came off his axe and it fell into the water. It would have been a problem at any

A Real Reflection

A Real Reflection

Last week, I knocked a picture off our living room wall. Thankfully it wasn’t broken, and I was able simply to put it back up. However, at first I had some difficulty – the picture was of a reflection which was so clear that I couldn’t work out which way up it should go. Whether we think about a reflection in nature, or when we speak about one thing being a reflection of another, the concept is the same. The original is the benchmark, the standard, and the reflection will be an image of the same – maybe very clear, maybe not, depending on the material doing the reflecting. Reflecting God Throughout the Bible, we are directed to this idea. God has always existed, and He is the standard for what is right and good. He wants men and women to develop characters that reflect His own – and this