All posts tagged: Jesus

¿Tenía Jesús barba?

English: Did Jesus have a beard? ¡Nuestra respuesta inmediata a la pregunta que plantea el título es SÍ! Sin embargo, un plato de vidrio del siglo IV muestra una cosa muy singular: Muestra a Jesús sin barba. El descubrimiento se considera una de las primeras representaciones de Jesús. Fue encontrado por arqueólogos en Andalucía, España. Formaron parte del proyecto FORVM MMX excavando en el sitio de un edificio religioso en el antiguo pueblo de Cástulo, fechado alrededor del año 350 D.C. El plato de vidrio probablemente contenía pan para la Eucaristía. La imagen grabada en el vidrio también era diferente en otros aspectos. El artista retrata a Jesús con el pelo corto y rizado y con una toga. En la foto al lado de Jesús están los apóstoles Pedro y Pablo, que también están sin barba. Los tres tienen halos sobre su cabeza. No tenemos idea de si esta representación se basó en imágenes aún más antiguas de Jesús, pero obviamente la gente de esta era aceptó a un Jesús sin barba como realidad. Sudario …

Ruins of the ancient city of Capernaum, the home town of Jesus. Photo: Bon Adrien/Foter/CC-BY

¿Tenía Jesús un hogar en Capernaum?

English: Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum? Muchos tienen la impresión de que Jesús fue un predicador itinerante, viajando de un lugar a otro alrededor de Galilea predicando el Evangelio. Sin embargo, hay una pista que Jesús tenía su propia casa. En Marcos 2, tenemos el relato de que Jesús estaba en una casa en Capernaum. Tantas personas se habían juntado que un grupo de hombres se vio obligado a abrir un agujero en el techo para bajar a su amigo paralítico para que Jesus le sanara. Pero note lo que dice Marcos en el versículo 1: 2 Cuando Jesús entró de nuevo en Capernaúm varios días después, se oyó que estaba en casa. 2 Y se reunieron muchos, tanto que ya no había lugar ni aun a la puerta; y El les explicaba[a] la palabra. (NBLH) Habla de que esta casa es la casa de Jesús. Por el tamaño de la multitud era obvio que Jesús era un poco famoso en la ciudad. Este versículo también sugiere que no era la primera vez que la gente …

Ruins of Capernaum Credit: Stewart Cutler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesús posee una casa en Capernaum?

English Version: Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum? Muchos tienen la impresión de que Jesús fue un predicador itinerante, viajando de un lugar a otro en torno a Galilea predicando el Evangelio. Sin embargo, hay un indicio de que desde el principio Jesús tenía su propia casa. En Marcos 2, tenemos el relato de Jesús de estar en una casa en Capernaum. Así que muchas personas se habían reunido de que un grupo de hombres se vieron obligados a cortar un agujero en el techo para bajar su amigo paralítico a Jesús para la curación. Pero note lo que Mark dice en el versículo 1: Cuando Jesús entró de nuevo en Capernaúm varios días después, se oyó que estaba en casa. 2 Y se reunieron muchos, tanto que ya no había lugar ni aun a la puerta; y El les explicaba la palabra.. (NBLH) Se habla de esta casa de ser el hogar de Jesús. Por el tamaño de la multitud era obvio que Jesús fue un poco de una celebridad en la ciudad. Este verso también sugiere que no era …

The Magdala Stone: Credit: Hanay/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does the Magdala Stone provide a clue to why Jesus was crucified?

The discovery of a small coin dated to 29 AD was tantalizing enough, but its discovery in an ancient synagogue found in Northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee has provided new understanding of ancient Judaism and even the Gospels. The site was uncovered during construction of a christian retreat center and spa for a Catholic order called the Legionnaries of Christ. The organization which trains men for the priesthood has a controversial reputation. Some accused the order of  being cult-like due to its regimented structure that during its early years forbid adherents from contacting their families. This policy has since been completely reversed. The coin confirms the synagogue’s existence during the time Jesus ministered in Galilee. He undoubtedly taught at this synagogue as the Lord regularly spoke at synagogues throughout Israel  (Luke 4:15). The town where the synagogue was discovered is the hometown of Mary Magdalene. She was a close follower, who Christ delivered of evil spirits. 2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, …

Shekel overlaid on a model of the Temple: Source Wikipedia/Juan R. Cuadra

Why did Jesus pay the Temple tax?

There is an interesting story in the Gospels involving Peter and the Temple tax collectors.  They had cornered the apostle and asked him if he and His Master — Jesus — paid the temple tax. Under pressure and in typical Peter fashion, he blurted out “yes” without thinking (Matthew 17:24-27). “Does your teacher not pay the [b]two-drachma tax?”25 He [Peter] said, “Yes.” (Matthew 17:24b-25 NASV) The priests had instituted a yearly tax for the temple of two drachma (half shekel). It was patterned after similar taxes paid in the Old Testament. Moses instituted a half shekel sanctuary tax to help fund the tabernacle (Exodus 30:12-13). However this tax was only collected when Israel performed a national census. There was also a one-third shekel tax instituted annually for the temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:32; Ezra 6:8). But this was a voluntary contribution from the people while the Exodus tax had the authority of Moses behind it. So priests merged these two ideas together — taking the half-shekel tax from Exodus and combining …

The Temple Mount Photo: Jordan Pickett/Flickr/Creative Commons

Shocking news: Jewish Sanhedrin appoints a High Priest

Breaking Israel News reports that Israel’s “Nascent Sanhedrin” has just appointed a high priest. His name is Rabbi Baruch Kahane, a prominent Jewish scholar knowledgeable in Jewish sacrifices. The announcement was a bit surprising considering there is no Jewish Temple. But a spokesperson for the ‘Nascent Sanhedrin’ explained that they wanted to have a High Priest in place in case there is a sudden change in policy on the Temple Mount. The ‘Nascent Sanhedrin‘ also called the developing Sanhedrin was set up in Israel in 2004. It is considered a national court of Jewish Law. Over the last 500 years, there have been six failed attempts to establish a Sanhedrin. This is the most successful so far. The major obstacle to constructing a Temple is that the Temple Mount with its Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock is controlled by the Muslims. Because of this, the Israeli government limits Jewish access to the site and forbids prayer on the Temple Mount. When Jews visit they are not allowed to pray including bowing their heads …

Galilean Sunset. You can see the Sea of Galilee in the distance. Photo: Dan Zelazo/Flickr/Creative commons

Matthew 9:35 receives its verification

A verse in the Gospel of Matthew has caused lots of problems. I don’t think Matthew gave it a second thought when he added it. He wrote: 35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. (Matthew 9:35 NASV) But those opposed to Christianity have used this verse and other similar ones to discredit and even question Jesus’ ministry. Why? Because Matthew said Jesus had preached in the synagogues in the villages of Galilee and since no synagogues had been found in rural Galilee, it is argued they did not exist and the verse was a complete fabrication. And since it also talked about Jesus healing every type of sickness and disease, this called into question Christ’s ministry. But on August 9, 2016, the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology discovered a small rural synagogue dated to the second temple period confirming they did exist. This is the temple, built by King Herod, that …

The Muslim Qur'an written several centuries after the Bible states that Jesus never died on the cross. Photo: Katrine Kaarsemaker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Jesus the slave of Allah?

ISIS puts out quarterly Arabic magazine called Dabiq. Also available in English, in its  latest issue ISIS reveals the stark contrast that Muslims have in their concept of God with Christians. In its publication entitled “Break the Cross,” ISIS tells the world that Jesus is “the slave of Allah.” It was part of the overall theme of the magazine attacking Christianity and particularly our concept of Jesus. The Muslim Qur’an speaks a lot about Jesus and even Jesus’ mother Mary has more verses dedicated to her than the prophet Muhammad. According to the Qur’an, Jesus is considered a prophet of Allah (Surah 2:136) and one who performed miracles including raising the dead and healing the sick (Surah 3:49). Many Muslims look upon Jesus as the healing prophet. Muslims do not believe Jesus is God or even the Son of God (Surah 19:88-92) because in their thinking the latter meant God had sex with Mary. Of course, the Bible does not say that. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus supernaturally and even Mary was shocked by her …

Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time by Jean Leon Gerome (1897) Wikipedia

Is Jesus Real? Philo and the Christ Myth

There is a popular argument going around these days “Jesus never existed and we can prove it.” At the time of Jesus, a Jewish writer named Philo lived in Alexandria, a large city on the coast of Egypt. Philo tried to integrate the Jewish religion with Greek philosophy, to make the Jews more Greek and Roman. Historically, he was not popular with his fellow Jews. We know about him now because Christians liked his writings. It is interesting that Philo never once mentioned Jesus in his writings. This man lived when the New Testament tells us Jesus preached and did miracles, and Philo is silent about Jesus. Today, some critics are saying Christians believe in a made up character, the “Christ Myth.” You can search for “Philo” and the other terms on the Internet, but I don’t want to give links because most of the discussions are aggressive and offensive. Today, Philo’s silence encourages some people to believe that Jesus never existed. So what should we do with Philo? The argument of silence is always …

Beautiful Thailand Photo: Robert Saltori/Flckr/Creative Commons

Is Satan real? Thai model manifests a spirit on live TV?

An interesting YouTube video has gone viral showing a young Thai model, Thippawan ‘Pui’ Chaphupuang” being possessed by a spirit while being interviewed on a live TV show in Thailand. During the interview, the young woman tells the host that she is often visited by a Thai spirit called ‘pop.’ According to Thai beliefs, Pop is a powerful ghost or spirit said to possess women. It is thought to be cannibalistic and will eat the internal organs such as the heart and liver of the girl it possesses. In other words, it will eventually destroy the person, it possesses. It is believed to be the malevolent side of a group of Thai spirits called Phi Fa that causes natural disasters or disease. During the interview the girl tells the host that ‘pop’ is coming to possess her and she begins to manifest this spirit. The original poster removed the video, but others have since posted it. The young woman begins to writhe and screech and at times speaks in a lower tone. The host asks …

Jesus breaks the curse of Generational curses!

Generational Curses: Part 4 — Jesus breaks the curse

In this series we have been studying a Biblical principle found in Scripture often called Generational Curses. First cited in Exodus 20:5 and referenced several times after (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9 and Jeremiah 36:31), it revolves around the idea that the sin/iniquity of the parents can be be passed down to the children for up to four generations. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. (Exodus 20:5 NASV) In our previous article, I discussed how King David’s family was affected by such a curse or sin stronghold. So the obvious question is, what type of iniquity or sin can be passed down? In the Exodus passage, it states that iniquity of the parents can be passed down, not the sin. While sin refers to the act of sinning, iniquity speaks of a sin addiction. Since one of the earliest references to …

The aftermath of a 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit California on December 22, 2003. Photo: Brian Lopez/Flickr/Creative Commons

Geologists warn mega earthquake looming

Over the past week the earth has been hit with several large earthquakes resulting in hundreds of people being killed. Two major earthquakes hit Japan. The first one occurred on Thursday, April 14. With a magnitude of 6.5, it resulted in nine deaths and 800 injuries. A similar-sized earthquake hit the Pacific island of Vanuatu that same day with no reported deaths. Then a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Japan two days later on Saturday, April 16 killing 34 and injuring 1,500. There is even concern that repeated earthquakes could eventually split Japan’s southern island in half. That same day an earthquake with a 7.6 magnitude rocked Ecuador, South America killing over 272 people (update: 570 dead as of April 21, 2016) and injuring 2,500. This group of earthquakes fell in the Ring of Fire, that circulates around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in this region and as well 81% of the major earthquakes, those exceeding 7.0 magnitude. Anyone with an interest in end-times events are probably …

Understanding who we are in Christ will change us. Photo: James/Flickr/Creative Commons

Rooted in love

Recently, I heard a beautiful message on having Christ’s love rooted in our lives because it has the power to radically change us. Our pastor talked about Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge , that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:17 -19 NASB) This prayer came out of the Apostle Paul’s deep desire that the Ephesians would know their identity in Christ.  Once they grasped who they really were through a revelation of God’s love their perception of themselves and the world would change: Paul was passionate about believers being rooted and grounded in the love of God.  He knew it would bring a stability and security that would produce wholeness and make them complete. Our pastor referred to a story …

God ordained one man, one wife. Photo: Jose Carlos Castro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Was it Christianity’s insistence on monogamy that led to successful societies?

In a recent article in the National Post, Barbara Kay discussed a book, Marriage and Civilization, written by William Tucker. In it, Tucker argues that what made certain civilizations more successful than others was their insistence on monogamous marriage — one husband and one wife. He does not suggest that nations pushing monogamous marriage were perfect, but they tended to be more successful than those that practiced polygamy. He attributes Christianity for being the major reason for the acceptance of monogamy. Despite having a secular view, he described Christianity as “the most powerful force for implementing monogamy in Western Civilization.” Tucker states one of the hallmarks of a polygamous society is that it is often in conflict. He says “everywhere polygamy is practiced it creates conflict” which hindered the culture’s development. And there is a very good reason for this because “there is always a shortage of women” in a polygamous society. As a result, men would raid other groups in search of women for marriage. A second thing also happened. Due to the lack of …

Orthodox Jews wearing a kippah in Warsaw, Poland. Photo: Alex Proimos/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why do orthodox Jewish men wear a kippah or skullcap?

With Jewish groups in Europe warning Jewish men against wearing a kippah or skullcap in public for fear of attack, I was a bit curious as to why they actually wore one. There are no passages in the Old Testament requiring men to wear a cap. After a bit of research, I discovered through that the tradition is based on the Talmud which is a collection of ancient Jewish writings interpreting the Old Testament Law — essentially an ancient Jewish commentary. The Talmud tells the story about an astrologer who told a Jewish woman that her son was destined to be a thief. To prevent this from happening, the woman demanded her son wear a cap as a reminder that God was watching his every move and to remind him of God’s presence. It even includes an incident that happened to the boy as he was sitting under a palm tree. His hat had fallen off and when a fruit fell to the ground he was strongly tempted to eat it, even though it …

Orthodox Jews walking down a street in Old Jerusalem. Photo: Rico Grimm/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are Orthodox Rabbis changing long-held opinions on Jesus?

Maybe the time predicted by the Apostle Paul is nearer than we think. Quoting from Isaiah 59:20, Paul stated one day that all Israel would be saved:  “and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’” (Romans 11:26 NASV) In the Old Testament verse that Paul cited, the Deliverer is none other than Jesus and His removal of the ungodliness from Jacob speaks of the nation accepting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, a belief they have rejected for two centuries. But in what may be another step towards this acceptance, Israel Today is reporting that just before Christmas 25 prominent Jewish rabbis issued a statement calling for a remarkable change of attitude towards Jesus. Though they have not reached the point of accepting Christ as the Messiah, it is nevertheless significant. The group is made up of prominent rabbis of congregations, seminaries and Jewish institutions in Israel and around the world including the UK, Canada and the US. Since its …

“I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." Jesus (Luke 10:18) Photo: Matt/Flickr/Creative Commons

The real story behind the first Christmas

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright… When Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr of Austria penned the famous Christmas carol Silent Night in 1818, they painted a calm, idyllic image of Christmas. It along with many Christmas carols portrayed the birth of Jesus as we see it in Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 1:18-2:23 — Shepherds in the field, Angels singing, a baby in swaddling clothes,  a manger, bleating sheep and lowing oxen. Peaceful, serene… yet is this what really happened at the birth of Jesus? There is a third version of the Christmas story, found in the Book of Revelation, that isn’t often read this time of year: The Woman, Israel 12 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. The Red Dragon, Satan 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red …

Meeting Jesus at Chicago O'Hare Airport Photo: Ronald Woan/Flickr

A Christmas Story

We had just arrived in Chicago, on our way home. Carol’s wheelchair attendant was, as promised, waiting at the cabin door for her. He was a cheerful fellow, with a cheerful smile and a cheerful demeanor as he very cheerfully asked me to take the wheelchair. I understood – his tablet read my name, not Carol’s. “No,” I said. “It’s for my wife.” That’s when he saw her and could clearly see she had the greater need. “No problem,” he said. “Can you make it to the top of the ramp?” Being satisfied I was taken care of, he pushed Carol to the top while I hobbled with my cane behind, already exhausted. At the top, he said “Sir, you must let me take you as well. Your next flight is just too far away. I’ll get another chair.” Gratefully, I accepted. When he got back, it quickly became obvious he didn’t misspeak when he said he would take me and Carol as well. With one hand on Carol’s chair and the other on mine, …

Jesus cleansing the temple by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)

The problem of the Jewish Messiah and the Temple

As they did in Jesus day, many Orthodox Jews reject Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Even today they still await their Messiah’s coming. In the Old Testament, there were a number of prophecies that spoke of the Messiah and Jesus fulfilled them all including being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and even riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). But there is one prophecy from the Book of Daniel that is very problematic for the Jews and it involved a prophecy about the Messiah and the Temple. In some ways it explains the love hate relationship Jesus had with the Temple. On one hand Jesus cleansed the Temple by taking a whip and driving out the money changers claiming it was supposed to be a House of prayer (Matthew 21:12-17). But Jesus also prophesied the Temple’s destruction telling His disciples that not even one stone would be left standing on another (Matthew 24:1-2). In the end, it would be Jesus’ public statements about the Temple that got Him into trouble with the ruling class. After Jesus …

The traditional site on the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Photo: Jan Smith/Flickr

The Key is the Word and the Word was the Key

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV) Insomnia is never fun. Not long ago on a Wednesday night after struggling to fall asleep, I woke up again after two or three hours. As well as being frustrated with the pressure of having to work the next day on little sleep, the demonic darts started pushing all the wrong buttons (“You’re too old,” “God is finished with you,” “people have forgotten about you,” “you’re nothing,” etc.) I felt like I was being flushed down a large black toilet. A black demonic cloud was descending over my mind. Then I heard a still small voice: “the baptism of Jesus”. This phrase may not send the demonic hordes running in everyone’s life, but it did for …

Gospel of Jesus' wife fragment. Background photo: Jame Marvin Phelps/Foter/CC BY NC

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake: the murky world of antiquity forgeries

The 2012 discovery of a business-card sized piece of papyrus by Harvard University professor Karen King has led to speculation Jesus was married. King received photo copies of the papyrus along with a second piece that included parts of the Gospel of John from a person who purchased the two papyri several years back. The buyer, who remains anonymous, later provided access to the original papyrus. What caught everyone’s attention was text on one fragment possibly referring to Jesus’s wife. Written in Egyptian Coptic, the text reads “Jesus said to them, My wife….” and then it stops as the papyrus is torn at this point. Since Mary is also mentioned on this same fragment, some concluded this was a reference to Mary Magdalene who they believe was the wife of Jesus. King dated the fragment to the fourth century and believed it was a copy of text written in the second century. She suggested it was evidence that some in the early church thought Jesus had a wife. King does point out that because of …

Was a girl healed from a critical injury after a friend laid hands on her and prayed?

[by Dean Smith] In 2011, at the age of 14, Taylor Hale of Waukee, Iowa was with friends when she fell off the hood of a car hitting her head on the pavement. Unconscious, she was rushed to hospital by ambulance. According to an article in USA Today, the doctors medically induced a coma to help heal her brain trauma. Over the next six days medical staff worked on Taylor, but the news wasn’t good. Her head was sinking into her spinal canal, and according to doctors this was irreversible. But the sixth day, September 17, 2011, proved eventful. Early in the morning, Taylor suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. With no brain activity, the doctors recommended to Taylor’s parents, Stacy and Chuck Taylor, that their daughter be taken off life support. The family agreed and began planning for her funeral.

Jesus loved terrorists and still loves them today

[by Dean Smith] An interesting story has emerged about one of the Muslim terrorists killed in the attack on a Mohammad drawing event held in Garland, Texas, Sunday, May 3,2015. The event sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative was offering a $10,000 reward for the best caricature of Muhammad. Elton Simpson, 30, along with his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34 ,were shot by a police officer when the heavily armed duo launched their attack on the event. If the officer had not stopped the two, many of the 200 people attending would have undoubtedly been either killed or injured.

Girl falls 30 feet inside a hollowed-out tree, has a vision of Jesus, but then an odd thing happens

[by Dean Smith] According to a report in the Daily Mail, Annabel Wilson Beam, 12, of Texas was playing with her two sisters on a hollowed out Cottonwood tree in December 2011, when she fell 30′ down inside the tree. Trapped at the bottom, emergency crews were called in to pull her out. Falling in and out of consciousness, Annabel then 9 was rushed by helicopter to nearby Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth Texas. After her arrival, MRI scans showed wounds consistent with head trauma (she had apparently hit her head three times on the way down), but other than a few bumps and bruises they could find nothing wrong with her. Annabel was eventually released. One doctor quipped: “I guess someone up there was looking out for her.” That in itself was a miracle. However, after Annabel was sent home, things started getting a bit bizarre. Annabel told her parents, Kevin and Christy Beam, that while unconscious she went to heaven and sat on Jesus’ lap. Annabel described Jesus as having dark skin, …

Jesus, the Passover lamb

[by Dean Smith] The Catholic tradition of Easter has diluted the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and Jewish Passover and its annual sacrifice of a lamb. Even renaming it “Easter” disconnects it with the most important sacrifice on the Jewish calendar. During Passover, each family bought an unblemished lamb (called the Paschal lamb) to the temple as part of their sacrifice. It was sacrificed in the outer court, the blood collected by the priests, and parts of the animal sacrificed. Later that evening the family would eat what was left of the lamb in the Passover feast called Seder. The connection and Catholic diluting starts at Christ’s birth. We read in Luke 2:8-20, about shepherds out in the fields watching their sheep, when an angel appears announcing the birth of Israel’s savior. Why did an angel announce the birth of Christ to a group of shepherds and no one else?

Another end-times event? The Temple Institute has built the Jewish altar

UPDATED MARCH 23, 2015: [by Dean Smith] Israel’s Temple Institute, based in Jerusalem, just announced it had finished constructing the Altar of the Lord (also called the altar of burnt offering) this past December. The altar would be used for animal sacrifices if a new Jewish Temple is built in Jerusalem. The Romans destroyed the last temple in 70 AD. There were two altars in the original temple — the altar of burnt offering — which was just built and the smaller altar of incense. The Institute built the new altar according to the strict measurements and conditions laid out in the Old Testament. The media originally reported it stood 5 meters high (16 feet), however according to information just released by the Temple Institute, the altar is actually five amot high (a Biblical measurement) which works out to 7.7 feet and 24.5 feet wide. It comes complete with a ramp that allows for easy access to the top of the altar where the sacrifices took place.

Has Golgotha lost its nose?

Three Gospel writers — Matthew (Matthew 27:33), Mark (Mark 15:22) and John (John 19:17) — refer to the place of Jesus’ execution as Golgotha. The Aramaic word “Golgotha” means simply “skull” and the three writers add the phrase the “Place of a Skull” to specifically describe the spot. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, (Matthew 27:44 NASV) For years, many were uncertain what Golgotha referred to. Jerome, an early Latin priest (347 AD – 420 AD), said the place received its name from the skulls that littered the execution area after crucifixion. Others today believe it refers to an unusual weathering of limestone rocks that created a skull-like appearance in the rock, still visible today.

Has Jesus’ childhood home been discovered?

[by Dean Smith] In a Biblical Archaeological Review article, archaeologist Ken Dark reports he may have found Jesus’ childhood home in Nazareth. According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1), raised in Nazareth (Luke 4:16) and eventually moved to Capernaum (Matthew 4:13) where He started ministering. In 670 AD, an Irish Monk named Adomnan from Iona wrote a document called De Loctis Sanctis that discussed the pilgrimage of Bishop Arculf to Nazareth. During his journey, Arculf visited a church at the site of the home where Jesus grew up.

Can we change the past through God?

[by Dean Smith] I won’t pretend to understand anything these guys are talking about, but I am always fascinated when scientists talk of Quantum mechanics. In a recent study, a scientist has suggested that contrary to our personal experience time runs both forward and backwards. Our experience with time is that it goes from the past to present to future and only the past and present can affect the future. However, professor Kater Murch from Washington University has been looking at quantum mechanics and discovered that time in the quantum world seems to run both ways. And by doing so, the future has the ability to change the past. As odd as this sounds, I sometimes wonder if these strange theories may help us understand some puzzling statements made by Jesus in the Gospels. But before we get to those verses, let me explain a bit more about Murch’s theory.

Did Jesus own a home in Capernaum?

Many have the impression Jesus was an itinerant preacher, traveling from place to place around Galilee preaching the Gospel. However, there is a hint that early on Jesus owned His own house. In Mark 2, we have the account of Jesus being at a house in Capernaum. So many people had gathered that a group of men were forced to cut a hole in the roof to lower their paralytic friend down to Jesus for healing. But notice what Mark says in verse 1: When He [Jesus] had come back to Capernaum several days afterward; it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking to them. (NASV) It talks about this house being Jesus’ home. By the size of the crowd it was obvious Jesus was a bit of a celebrity in the city. This verse also suggests it was not the first time people had gathered at Jesus’ house, as people were waiting for …

Has the place where Jesus was sentenced to death been discovered?

[by Dean Smith] According to an article in the Washington Post, archaeologists may have discovered the very place where Pilate sentenced Jesus to die on the cross. Fifteen years ago, while working in a building beside the Tower of David Museum, archaeologists discovered a massive structure below the floor boards of the building which had originally served as a prison for the Ottomans and as well the British during the 1940s. As they continued their work, they uncovered what is now believed to be the remains of Herod’s massive palace — including its walls and sewage system. It is generally agreed that Herod’s palace was located on the western side of Old Jerusalem, putting it near the Tower of David museum.

Jesus a Palestinian?

[by Dean Smith] Just before Christmas, the Palestinian Authority rewrote history. It has become a bit of an annual event in Palestine. Over the past few years, a few days before December 25th, the Palestinians roll out a number of officials who make statements claiming Jesus was a Palestinian. This year was no different. According to the Wafa News Agency on December 22, 2014, Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas said: “We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace.”

Christmas display in Rome. Photo: Lorenzoclick/Flicrk/Creative Commons

Why December 25th was chosen as Christ’s birthday

There is much debate on why December 25th was chosen as the day Jesus was born. There is little Biblical evidence that reveals the date of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:8 refers to shepherds in the fields suggesting Jesus’ birth took place in the spring when shepherds were with their flocks during lambing. Maybe not coincidentally, John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Clement of Alexandria (150 AD – 215 AD), an Egyptian Christian teacher, had cited May 20th and April 20th or 21st as possible dates of Christ’s birth fitting the spring theory. By 400 AD, December 25th along with January 6th were considered the dates for Christ’s birth with December 25th the leading contender and eventual winner. The December date was listed as Jesus’ birth on an ancient Roman almanac from the 4th century that listed the death dates of early Christian martyrs. The most popular reason why December 25th was chosen is because the church was Christianizing the pagan celebration of Sol Inviticus — a sun-god — that Roman Emperor Aurelian …

Does the “Sandwich theory” help us understand a puzzling Bible story?

[by Dean Smith] In Matthew 21:18-22, we have the strange story of the fig tree. Jesus who was hungry saw a lone fig tree by the road and went to it looking for figs. When He found no figs, Jesus cursed the tree and it withered and died. The disciples were shocked by what happened and Jesus gave them a brief teaching on faith and they continued their journey into Jerusalem. However, what makes the story a bit odd is that it was not the season for the fig tree to produce fruit — which Mark notes (Mark 11:13). Jesus and the disciples knew this and in this odd statement we realize one thing — the story is not about the fig tree.

When it comes to worry and stress: Women lead the way

[by Dean Smith] A poll commissioned by Kalms Herbal discovered that 20% of women feel stressed on a daily basis as they try to manage work and home life. The survey asked 2000 people from Britain aged 25 to 50 how stressed they were, what caused it and how they dealt with stress. The study had one major conclusion: on almost every front women feel stress more than men. The survey found: