The Passover

The Passover

ON MARCH 30th 1956, the peninsula of Kamchatka in the far east of Russia was rocked by a tremendous explosion. With an energy equivalent to 40 billion electric fire bars, the great volcano Bezimianny literally blew its top. Within seconds millions of tons of rocks, reduced to fine powder, shot into the stratosphere at twice the speed of sound. Later that afternoon a strange thing happened. As the dust began to drift back out of the sky, the daylight faded. Soon a darkness fell over the surrounding cities, so impenetrable that you could not see your own hand, not even holding it close to your face. People returning from work groped about in the streets, searching for their homes. They were disorientated and terrified. To the Egyptians in the time of Moses, the ninth plague that God brought upon the land must have been a similar experience. We are not

Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel

THE ACCOUNTS of the first act of worship in human history and the first murder are recorded in Genesis chapter 4. They follow the account in chapter 3 of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden and the entrance of sin into the world. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. They each brought an offering to God (Genesis 4:3). Some wonder how Cain and Abel were to know what to sacrifice. The answer is that their parents must have instructed them concerning the details of acceptable worship. Adam and Eve had tried to hide their shame by sewing fig leaves together (Genesis 3:7), then they had watched as God killed an animal to clothe them with its skin (v. 21), and so they had learnt the principle that is explained much later in the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘Without the shedding of

Your E-mails: November

Your E-mails: November

AM: According to the Gospels Jesus was crucified, but in Acts 5:30 Peter says that he was hanged on a tree. Did Peter get it wrong? Ed: JESUS CHRIST died by crucifixion. This was a form of capital punishment which the Romans tended to use for the lowest criminals, and is possibly the most excruciating method of torture ever invented. The victim of crucifixion was hung on a ‘cross’. This is traditionally understood as a stake fixed upright in the ground with a cross-piece to which their hands were fixed. Actually when our English Bibles use the word ‘cross’, they are translating the original Greek word ‘stauros’ which simply means a stake or post. Some historians believe that crucifixion involved just the stake, without the cross-piece. The cross is at the heart of the Gospel message. Not the object itself—that was not important, and anyway no one knows what it