From Steve Singleton... What is the origin of Judaism, according to the Bible?

What is the origin of Judaism, according to the Bible?

1. Terminology

Judaism, Jew, Judea, etc. Unfortunately, many of the terms associated with Judaism are virtually indistinguishable in common usage. The terms “Judaism,” “Jew,” “Jewish,” “Judea,” and “Judeans” for example, are all based on the name of the patriarch Judah, one of the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob (conveniently listed in Gen. 35:23-26). The story of the births of these brothers, along with Dinah, their only sister, which is an amazing account of wifely competition, is recorded in Gen. 29:16 – 30:24 and 35:16-18.

Strictly speaking, the terms “Judaism” and “Jew(s)” should not describe Israelites earlier than 721 B.C.E., the year that the Assyrians conquered the northern nation of Israel, leaving only the southern nation of Judah. From that time on, “Judah” was used synonymously with “Israel” and “Jew” with “Israelite,” even for descendants belonging to tribes other than Judah. This is because by 721 B.C.E., and for almost 200 years previously, “Judah” referred not only to the tribe that descended from Judah himself, but also to the political entity composed mainly of the tribe of Judah, but also including the tribes of Benjamin, Simeon, and most of Levi, with members of other tribes included as well. In actual usage, however, “Judaism” and “Jewish nation” applies to the entire history of Israel, from its founder, the patriarch Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather (c. 1800 B.C.E.). The related term, “Judaea” was the name the Romans gave to the southern portion of Palestine after they took control in 60 B.C.E.

Israel, children of Israel, Israelites, Israelis“ Because God renames Jacob “Israel” (Gen. 32:28), these boys are called “the sons of Israel,” and their descendants “The 12 tribes of Israel,” “the children of Israel,” or simply “Israelites.” This should not be used interchangeably with “Israelis,” which properly refers only to citizens of the modern nation of Israel.

Hebrews“ A rarer term is “Hebrew,” used only 34 times in the Old Testament. Two theories compete with each other regarding the origin of this name. Some say it comes from “Heber,” an ancestor of Jacob’s grandfather, the patriarch Abraham (Gen. 11:14-26). Abraham is called a “Hebrew” (Gen.14:13), and the name “Hebrews” is often applied to his many descendants through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (Gen.39:14, 17; 40:15; Exod.3:18; 1 Sam.4:6; 14:11; Phil.3:5). (The name “Hebrew,” however, does not apply to Abraham’s many descendants through his son Ishmael. These people the Bible calls “Ishmaelites,” according to Gen.25:12-18 and are held by tradition to be the ancestors of the Arabs.) A second theory is that it comes from a similarly spelled Hebrew verb, abar, which means “to cross over. Hebrews, then, would be those who have crossed over some boundary, in other words, foreigners. The logical boundary it might refer to is the Euphrates River (see Josh. 24:15).
Habiru, Hapiru, SA.GAZ Archaeologists have long debated whether the biblical term “Hebrew” is related to the name “Habiru or “Hapiru" or the cuneiform name SA.GAZ. These three are found in documents of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt of the second millennium B.C.E. A useful summary of the ongoing debate occurs in LaSor, Hubbard, and Bush (207):

The earliest mention of the SA.GAZ or Habiru occurs in a text from the Third Dynasty of Ur (ca. 2050); if the pr and Habiru are the same”which is not at all firmly established”references to the Habiru can be found in Assyrian, Babylonian, Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Hittite texts for the next seven or eight hundred years.
Identification of the Habiru with the Hebrews is tempting, and a number of scholars have adopted it. However, it is impossible to interpret most references to the Habiru as also indicating the Hebrews. Moreover, the Habiru are described as warriors, mercenaries, marauders, and caravaneers all over the ancient Near East”which does not fit the biblical picture of the Hebrews. If the Exodus was in 1446, then at the same time the Hebrews were in the wilderness of Sinai, [the Egyptian pharaoh] Amenhotep II (1438-1412) was reporting the capture of 89,600 prisoners, among them 3,000 Apiru, from his campaign in Syria and Palestine. If it [i.e., the Exodus] was in 1290, then the Hebrews were still slaves in Egypt at the time of Amenhotep. Neither case permits an easy identification.

The problem of the Habiru cannot be solved here. The important point is that identification of the Habiru with the Hebrews is not easy.

It appears that “Habiru” is either a broad term for semi-nomadic peoples, of which the Hebrews were one component, or not an ethnic term at all but a sociological one”a class of wanderers who do not consider themselves subject to local laws and who hire themselves out for caravans, mercenary armies, or as servants of one kind or another. The breadth of the occupations described by the word as well as the extensive geography involved, has led many scholars to conclude that “Habiru came to be used rather loosely as a derogatory term for anyone in a menial capacity, or anyone who was a foreigner.

Semitic“ Another broad term is “Semitic,” though non-Biblical, comes from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah, many generations prior to Abraham. All of Shem’s descendants can be called “Semitic,” which would include both Arabs and Jews, though modern usage often limits the term to the Jews only.

Want to go deeper?

Here are some sources you can pursue in your study of the terminology of Judaism:

Less advanced:
W. S. LaSor, D. A. Hubbard, and F. W. Bush. Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament (2nd ed., 1996). Provides a great overview, not only to the origin of Judaism in particular, but to the Hebrew Scriptures as a whole.

Yamauchi, Edwin. “Habiru,” 223-224 in New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology (1983).

More advanced:

Von Rad, Gerhard, and others. Article on Israel, Israelite, Jew, Judea, Jewish, Judaize, Judaism, Hebrew, Hebraic, etc., 3:356-391 in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Ed. Gerhard Kittel and G. W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Harrison, R. K. Introduction to the Old Testament, with a comprehensive review of Old Testament studies and a special supplement on the Apocrypha. 318-325. (1969)

Mayer, Reinhold, and others. “Israel, Jew, Hebrew, Jacob, Judah,” 2:304-323 in New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (4 vols., 1986)
R. L. Harris. “abar word group” “eber,” and “ibri,” 2:641-643 in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (1980)

Bright, John. A History of Israel. (4th ed., 2000) 93-96, 134-143.

Online resources:

Links for studies on Habiru/Hapiru/‘Apiru

2. Formative events

The origin of Judaism is largely dependent on a few significant historical events, which would certainly include the call of Abraham, the Exodus, the United Kingdom, and the Babylonian exile. We will briefly look at each in turn.

The call of Abraham 
“ The LORD called Abram to leave his country and family for a place the LORD would show him (Gen. 12:1-4; Acts 7:1-4). After the death of his father Terah, Abram set out from Haran in what is now southeastern Turkey and traveled to Canaan (now in Israel).

Over the next 25 years, after starting out on that journey, Abram learned and responded to the faithfulness of God. Sarai was still childless and well beyond the child-bearing years, yet the LORD promised not only that Abram would have an heir, but that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars (Gen. 15:4-5).

Despite the physical obstacles, Scripture states that Abram “believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). This trust Abram had in the LORD, this unwavering loyalty, became the model for all believers in the LORD who were to follow. Abram became known as the “friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7; James 2:23) and the “father of the faithful (Gal. 3:6-9).

The LORD entered into covenant with him, marking the changed relationship by the sign of circumcision as well as by changing Abrams name to Abraham and his wifes name to Sarah (Gen. 17).

God blessed him with wealth and finally with Isaac, the “son of promise. Abraham also received Gods promise of land, though during his lifetime, the only real estate he owned was the burial site he purchased at Hebron, the cave of Machpelah.

Isaac, Abrahams heir, continued the semi-nomadic lifestyle of his father and renewed his fathers covenant with the LORD. His son, Jacob, or Israel, established the family of 12 sons whose descendants became known as “the twelve tribes of Israel.
The clan becomes a nation“ Because of a drought in Canaan, Jacobs entire family moved to the delta region of Egypt, where they stayed for the next 400 years (Gen. 38-50). During this time, the extended family of 70 became a great nation of some 3 million. This is summarized in Deut. 26:5

Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, putting us to hard labor. Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the first-fruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.”

Under the leadership of Moses and Aaron, and by the miraculous intervention of the LORD in the 10 plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, the Israelites broke free of the slavery they had endured during the final generation of the 400-year period in Egypt (see Exod. 1-15).

The Israelites assembled around Mt. Sinai, where they witnessed the awesome glory of the LORD and entered into covenant with Him who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Exod. 19 – 24).

The covenant document, inscribed on two stone tablets, is now known as “The Ten Commandments (Exod. 31:18; 34:1-32). Much of the rest of the Law of Moses is an explanation of these ten principles as they apply in the daily life of the nation.

David and the United Kingdom For another extended period, after the Israelites entered into and mostly conquered Canaan under Joshua (recorded in Joshua), the 12 tribes remained a loose confederation united mainly by their shared covenant with the LORD. The leadership exercised by what English Bibles have traditionally called Judges was sometimes both spiritual and military, sometimes only one or the other, and seldom involved the entire nation (see the Book of Judges).
Toward the end of the ministry of the prophet Samuel, the last of these “judges,” the nation demanded a king to lead them, ignoring the aged prophets warnings of the dire consequences of rebelling against the kingship of God Himself (1 Sam. 8). Under Gods direction, Samuel anointed Saul as the nations first king. After a good beginning, Saul’s position and power corrupted him to the point that he flagrantly disobeyed the LORD‘s direct orders and received from Samuel the LORD‘s rebuke and rejection (see 1 Sam. 9:1 – 13:14).

Saul’s successor, David, did the most to unite the nation, winning victories over all of its enemies in the bordering nations, and extending the territory of the country to include all of the lands God promised to Abraham (1 Chron. 22:18-19). David also led the nation to a renewal of its worship of the LORD. He set a wonderful example of personal devotion to God (see 2 Sam. 6:1-15; 7:1-29; 22:1 – 23:7; 1 Chron. 29:10-22), despite his dreadful sins (2 Sam. 11 – 20; 24:1-25; 1 Chron. 21:1-28), wrote much of the nation’s hymn-book (the Psalms), and prepared the way for a national sanctuary, the temple his son Solomon built that stood for nearly 400 years (1 Sam. 22 – 26; 28 – 29; 1 Chron. 23 – 29).

Ever after, the people looked back to the reign’s of David and Solomon as Israel’s golden age. They looked forward to the time when the Son of David would arise and restore the nation to its former glory (see Ps. 118:50; Isa. 9:2-7; Ezek. 34:23-24).

Exile in Babylonia“ After the death of Solomon, the nation divided, with Judah ruled by Solomon’s son Rehoboam and Israel (most of the other tribes) ruled by Jeroboam. Jeroboam led Israel into a perverted worship of the LORD that involved an unauthorized priesthood, different feast days, and official shrines at the northern and southern extremities of the nation, featuring idols resembling calves. Despite the rebukes of prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Jonah, Israel continued in its rebellion against the LORD until the Assyrians destroyed its capital in 721 BCE and carried off many of its citizens into an exile from which they never officially returned.

David’s dynasty, meanwhile, continued to rule Judah, though often ruthlessly and wickedly. Although God was very patient with David’s line, He did permit the Assyrians under Sennacherib to punish them severely (701 BCE), conquering all of the cities of Judah except Jerusalem (see 2 Kings; 2 Chron.; Isa. 36-39). The deliverance Jerusalem experienced at that time created a spiritual revival under the leadership of the prophets Micah and Isaiah and their patron, King Hezekiah.

Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, however, was very wicked and led the nation away from the LORD. Of the kings that followed, only Josiah was devoted to God. The nation slid into apostasy to the point that God, through the prophet Jeremiah, announced that its destruction was unavoidable. The Babylonians, successors to the Assyrians in imperial power, became the overlord of Judah. They removed the upper class of the nation to Babylon in 605 BCE and again in 597. Ezekiel, Daniel, and Daniel’s three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) became exiles at this time.

Because Judah renewed her rebellion against the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the powerful ruler laid siege to Jerusalem and conquered her in 586 BCE, taking another group of Israelites back to Babylon.

The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE marked the end of the First Temple, the one Solomon had built in about 920. For the first time in more than 300 years, the Israelites could not offer sacrifices or worship at the temple in Jerusalem. It was during this period of the Babylonian Exile that their local assemblies, or “synagogues” (from a Greek word that means “come together”) became important.

Even after the return from exile and rebuilding of the temple became possible after the Babylonians fell to the Medo-Persian empire (539-516 BCE), the synagogues remained a vital component of Judaism. Not only did the synagogue become a place for the Jews to worship and read the Scriptures, but it was also their school, their civil court, their social assistance center, and their community center.
By the First Century CE, the synagogue was a long-established institution, as demonstrated in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Jesus and Paul both used synagogue as a center for religious instruction (see Luke 4:15-30 and Acts 13:14-48). They understood Christ’s church to be the synagogue perfected, reaching its ultimate fulfillment in magnifying God, submitting to Jesus as Messiah and Lord, and in its acceptance of Gentile believers, finally realizing the promise God made to Abraham, “In your offspring, all the nations of the world will be blessed.”

Of course, those who rejected Jesus as the Messiah rejected His followers also, and eventually excluded them from their synagogues. This process accelerated after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE, this time by Roman legions under Titus. The Jewish Christians, who refused to participate in the Jewish rebellion against Rome, were regarded as not only apostate because of their allegiance to Jesus, but also disloyal to the nation.

As a result, Christianity and Judaism divided, and only in very recent times has anyone made much of an effort to bring them back together again in the Messianic Jews movement.

Want to go deeper?

Recommended for purchase:

Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament by W. S. LaSor, D. A. Hubbard, F. W. Bush (1996). Provides a great overview, not only to the origin of Judaism in particular, but to the Hebrew Scriptures as a whole.

A History of Israel by John Bright (4th ed., 2000). Offers excellent historical background, including how the rise of the Hebrews fit in with the political dynamics of the ancient Middle East.

The Emergence of Judaism by Jacob Neusner (2004). An Introduction to Judaism by one of the foremost Jewish scholars.

Online resources:

Read the rest of the articles on Judaism in “The Shallows.” Then in “Study Links,” take a look at the section on Rabbinic Literature for links to some of the best Judaica on the web for non-Hebrew speakers.

From Jim McGuiggan... To the Church of God in the Lord Jesus Christ:

To the Church of God in the Lord Jesus Christ:

You know who atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett think you are. You know  who the hedonists of the world think you are. You know who the truly weary and oppressed of the world think you are.

Mostly I think you think you know who you are. Who you think you are you have learned mostly from your preachers, teachers and leaders.

Depending on their interests, charisma, talents and agendas you see yourself as they present you.

All in all, you’re nice people who pursue virtue and try hard to avoid outrageous sins like sexual immorality of any kind so as not to dishonor the Lord Jesus and his Church.

But you have [I presently judge] no profound sense of destiny or cosmic mission.

You see yourself as a group of individuals who were fortunate enough to hear the gospel and were willing to obey it and you pretty much gather together to thank God for the forgiveness of sins as you wait for Jesus’ return to take you to real life in heaven.

You see yourself as part of the great human failure of the human race. God wanted better for us, we wouldn’t have it and we rebelled, God graciously tries to save as many as he can before he obliterates the entire creation.

The Church, then, is the omelet God made when the eggs were broken. He purposed a human family to exercise dominion over the creation in his image [Genesis 1:26-27] and instead he got rebellion. He established a kingdom again in Israel [Exodus 19:5-6] and he got more rebellion and then he came in and as Jesus [who did his part flawlessly] but the humans rejected him.

So in place of the kingdom he purposed God did the best he could; he picked up the pieces and made the Church instead. Since the creation purpose has failed miserably [because we the human family have been faithless] God will completely destroy it all and he will take the very very few fortunate enough to have heard the gospel—he will take them to a spiritual world where they will live eternally.

No—that’s not how the NT sees the Church of the Lord Jesus. You are glorious in His eyes!

he Church was eternally purposed [Ephesians 1:3-14]. It was no substitute for anything!

There has been nothing like you before—you are a new thing in the earth! You are part of a new creation that began in the Lord Jesus.

You were not an afterthought nor are you a substitute for the kingdom God eternally purposed and will bring into fullness in a coming day.

Your faith didn’t create the Church [his faithful love eternally purposed it and created it].

Not only did God eternally purpose the existence of the Church, he purposed it to be “the body of Christ”. It is the body of Christ in and through which Jesus proclaims the faithful love of God in each generation. He purposed that this People, his Church, would experience and recapitulate in its life and teaching and worship the Story of the Lord Jesus.  The People, the Church he foreknew [had in mind and purpose] he foreordained that it would be conformed to the image of his Son who suffered in and for the world on his way to glory [Romans 8:29—an entire (8:17-39) section on suffering and see Luke 24:44-49 and 1 Peter 1:11].

You have no special beauty that humans should admire you!
Like your holy Lord you will be exempt from no pain or loss!

As the body of Christ you share the hurt of the world on the world’s behalf!

From Mark Copeland... A Model Of Christian Courtesy (Philemon 1-25)

                        THE EPISTLE TO PHILEMON

                   A Model Of Christian Courtesy (1-25)


1. There is a book in the New Testament which has been described as:
   a. A model of Christian courtesy
   b. A manifestation of Christian love
   c. A monument of Christian conversion

2. That book is Paul's epistle to Philemon, the shortest of all of 
   Paul's letters

3. In this lesson, we shall take a brief look at this unique letter

[Before actually reading it, it might be helpful to consider some...]


      1. The apostle Paul, of course
      2. As clearly indicated in verses 1,9,19

      1. By carefully comparing this epistle with the one to the 
         Colossians, it is clear that both were written at the same time
         and from the same place
         a. Like Colossians, the epistle to Philemon was written while
            Paul was in chains (Phm 1,10,13,23; Col 4:18)
         b. Timothy joined Paul in both epistle (Phm 1; Col 1:1)
         c. Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke joined in the 
            salutations of both (Phm 23,24; Col 4:10-14)
         d. Onesimus, the subject of the epistle to Philemon, was one of
            the messengers by whom the epistle to the Colossians was 
            sent (Col 4:7-9)
      2. If the epistle to Philemon was written about the time of 
         Colossians and the other "prison epistles" (Ephesians and 
         a. Then it was written during Paul's imprisonment at Rome, the
            time mentioned in Ac 28:30-31
         b. This would make it sometime during 61-63 A.D.

      1. PHILEMON
         a. He was likely a member of the church at Colosse
         b. A very hospitable one, as we shall see
         c. It is possible that he was one of Paul's own converts (cf.
            Phm 19)
      2. APPHIA - possibly the wife of Philemon 3. ARCHIPPUS
         a. Thought by many to be the son of Philemon
         b. A minister of the gospel (cf. Col 4:17)
      4. ONESIMUS
         a. He had been one of Philemon's slaves (Phm 16)
         b. Who had evidently run away (Phm 15)
         c. Somehow, he had traveled from Colosse to Rome, found Paul,
            and was converted to Christ (Phm 10)
         d. He had become very dear to Paul, and very useful (Phm 11-
            13; Col 4:10)

      1. Paul did not think it right to keep Onesimus with him in Rome,
         and was therefore sending him back to Philemon 2. This letter to Philemon is an appeal by Paul...
         a. To receive Onesimus back, now as a brother in Christ
         b. To forgive him if he had done any wrong

[With this background information, let's now READ the epistle,






[With a reading of the epistle fresh on our minds, let me suggest 


      1. Philemon opening his house for the church to meet - Phm 1-2;
         cf. also Ro 16:3-5; 1Co 16:19
      2. His love for all the saints - Phm 5; cf. also Col 1:4; 2 Th 1:3
      3. How he refreshed the hearts of the saints - Phm 7; cf. also
         1Co 16:15-18
      4. How Paul could depend upon on him for a place to stay - 
         Phm 22
      -- Certainly an example worthy of imitation!

      1. Paul could have "commanded" Philemon, but instead he "appealed"
         to him - Phm 8-9
      2. He introduced the subject of his appeal "gradually" - Phm 10
         (in the Greek, the name of Onesimus is the last word in the
      3. He refused to compel Philemon to let him retain Onesimus in 
         Rome, but sent him back - Phm 12-14
      4. He offers to pay Philemon for any wrong incurred by Onesimus
         - Phm 18-19
      5. He believes in the basic goodness of Philemon, not suspicious
         of how he will react - Phm 21


1. From both the example of Paul and Philemon, there is much to be
   gleaned from reading and meditating on this very short epistle
   a. From Philemon, a model of Christian hospitality
   b. From Paul, a model of Christian courtesy

2. If you have not ever carefully studied this epistle before, I hope
   that this brief lesson has whetted your desire to do so in the future

3. In closing we notice the last verse:

      "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Amen"

Are we living in such a way to allow the grace of the Lord Jesus to be
in our lives?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 22

Bible Reading  

February 22

The World English Bible

Feb. 22
Exodus 3
Exo 3:1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God's mountain, to Horeb.
Exo 3:2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Exo 3:3 Moses said, "I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."
Exo 3:4 When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses! Moses!" He said, "Here I am."
Exo 3:5 He said, "Don't come close. Take your sandals off of your feet, for the place you are standing on is holy ground."
Exo 3:6 Moreover he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look at God.
Exo 3:7 Yahweh said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
Exo 3:8 I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Exo 3:9 Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me. Moreover I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
Exo 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
Exo 3:11 Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
Exo 3:12 He said, "Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain."
Exo 3:13 Moses said to God, "Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you;' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' What should I tell them?"
Exo 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM," and he said, "You shall tell the children of Israel this: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
Exo 3:15 God said moreover to Moses, "You shall tell the children of Israel this, 'Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.
Exo 3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and tell them, 'Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt;
Exo 3:17 and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey." '
Exo 3:18 They will listen to your voice, and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall tell him, 'Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh, our God.'
Exo 3:19 I know that the king of Egypt won't give you permission to go, no, not by a mighty hand.
Exo 3:20 I will put forth my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in its midst, and after that he will let you go.
Exo 3:21 I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it will happen that when you go, you shall not go empty-handed.
Exo 3:22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her who visits her house, jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons, and on your daughters. You shall despoil the Egyptians.
Feb. 22, 23
Matthew 27

Mat 27:1 Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
Mat 27:2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor.
Mat 27:3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Mat 27:4 saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it."
Mat 27:5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself.
Mat 27:6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It's not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood."
Mat 27:7 They took counsel, and bought the potter's field with them, to bury strangers in.
Mat 27:8 Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day.
Mat 27:9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced,
Mat 27:10 and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."
Mat 27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "So you say."
Mat 27:12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Mat 27:13 Then Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear how many things they testify against you?"
Mat 27:14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
Mat 27:15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired.
Mat 27:16 They had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Mat 27:17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?"
Mat 27:18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up.
Mat 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."
Mat 27:20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
Mat 27:21 But the governor answered them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!"
Mat 27:22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!"
Mat 27:23 But the governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, saying, "Let him be crucified!"
Mat 27:24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it."
Mat 27:25 All the people answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!"
Mat 27:26 Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified.
Mat 27:27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him.
Mat 27:28 They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him.
Mat 27:29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
Mat 27:30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.
Mat 27:31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
Mat 27:32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.
Mat 27:33 They came to a place called "Golgotha," that is to say, "The place of a skull."
Mat 27:34 They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink.
Mat 27:35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots,
Mat 27:36 and they sat and watched him there.
Mat 27:37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Mat 27:38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left.
Mat 27:39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads,
Mat 27:40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"
Mat 27:41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said,
Mat 27:42 "He saved others, but he can't save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
Mat 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' "
Mat 27:44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach.
Mat 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
Mat 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mat 27:47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, "This man is calling Elijah."
Mat 27:48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink.
Mat 27:49 The rest said, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to save him."
Mat 27:50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit.
Mat 27:51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.
Mat 27:52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
Mat 27:54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God."
Mat 27:55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him.
Mat 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mat 27:57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus' disciple came.
Mat 27:58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up.
Mat 27:59 Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Mat 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.
Mat 27:61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Mat 27:62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate,
Mat 27:63 saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise again.'
Mat 27:64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He is risen from the dead;' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
Mat 27:65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can."
Mat 27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

From Gary... Beyond emoticons...

I was watching the news this morning and on one of the "morning" shows there was a discussion about how dogs understand human beings. I knew this already, because my dogs can tell what is going on by my voice- whether is loud or soft, quick or slow, happy or sad, etc.. And then I came upon this picture in my collection.  Things have surely changed since I was young; emoticons, texting, blogging and other new technologies have intensified our ability to communicate. I wonder what could possibly be next???  Well, how about something very, very old....

Romans, Chapter 8
 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.  23 Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body.  24 For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees?  25 But if we hope for that which we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.  26 In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don’t know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can’t be uttered.  27 He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God.

God knows our heart better than even we do, ourselves!!!  Beyond symbolism, HE knows our thoughts, intents and reasons for everything we do. The Spiritually indwelt human being is in tune with God and there is a level of communication there that is truly impossible to communicate with mere words. Even emoticons, or some sort of sophisticated typographic writing or a lie detector test can not analyse the human heart- only God can!!!  The creator of the universe chose to humble himself and live in this world as one of us, so I KNOW HE UNDERSTANDS me!!!  I just wish I could dream up an emoticon TO EXPRESS THAT!!!  And then there is John 3:16!!! Finis!!!!