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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have They Heard?

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" (Luke 10: 2-4 NIV). 

It is estimated that 28% of the world's population (1.5 billion people) has never heard of Jesus...not even once!  Wikipedia and other sources also report that the percentage of people who call themselves Christian (whether or not they consider themselves "born again" or believe they have a relationship with Christ) is hovering around 50% in some regions of the United States.

Though I have some doubts about the accuracy of these statistics (I can't locate an original source), I think the statistics just underscore the necessity of missions work in the world.  The numbers are too high.  Even if they were half of what they are, they would still be too high.

There are so many missionaries of various kinds in my family and my circle of friends and acquaintances, so perhaps it's no wonder that I think about this topic so often.  It's been a reoccurring theme in my personal reading, lately, as well.  I just finished reading an incredible missionary autobigraphy called, Before We Kill and Eat You: Tales of Faith in the Face of Certain Death by H.B. Garlock, with Ruthanne Garlock.  I followed that one with a biography of Eric Liddell (the "Flying Scotsman" of the Olympics who was later a missionary to China), entitled Run to Glory, by Ellen Caughey.  Another title I could recommend is The Inn of the Sixth Happiness by Alan Burgess.

Calling All Missionaries

I don't feel God calling me to missions in a distant land, as these people did, but I support and pray for the missionaries who are at this moment out there spreading the truth among all those people who've never heard.  Are you a missionary?  If so, please feel free to share in the comments section.  I'd love to hear from you.

God hasn't called me to serve abroad (at least, not yet), but I do believe He is using my efforts on this blog for a missionary purpose.   Since the founding of this blog, I've noticed a marked increase in visits from "closed" countries and other countries that are predominantly non-Christian.  They aren't just coming in on strange, unrelated Google searches either;  quite often these visitors have a very pointed question and end up on the blog post I felt God leading me to write to answer those questions!  The world wide web gives me (and other Christian bloggers) a key to back doors that have been closed to Christ for centuries.  Are we using this key to bless God's kingdom, or are we wasting this blessed opportunity to gripe or glorify ourselves?  Lord, I pray that You will give us wisdom!

Paul, on Missions

The Apostle Paul wrote passionately about missions work in the book of Romans, chapter ten.  I want to remind my Christian readers of his words, because they cut to the heart of the matter.  Here is the bulk of what Paul wrote on this topic:
"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.... for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
   How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'....Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."(Romans 10: 9-10; 13-15; 17 NIV).
Let us broadcast the "good news" so that everyone may hear the truth, and not a lot of nonsense.  Christ is coming back soon to judge the world, and time is running out for all of those people.  When He comes, they will be punished and swept away without having ever heard that there was a way of escape for them.  Who will have compassion?

So That Everyone May Hear

I can answer that question.  I do!  If you are someone who has never heard about Jesus Christ or why He came, here is your answer. >>>>>>

Long ago, the eternal, living God of the whole universe set the penalty for rebellion as death.  Blood alone could atone for wrong that had been done.  This was meant to emphasize how much God hates wrong.  For a time, this punishment could be put off through animal sacrifice, but in the end, every person had to die to pay the full penalty, and, after death, every soul would spend eternity cursed and separated from God and all good things.  This was called the second death--the death of the soul, not just the body.

Now, God loved the people He had made, and hated to see them all getting this punishment, but because He loved justice, He couldn't break the law He had established.  So God worked out a plan to rescue humankind.  He sent His son, Jesus (who is, in fact, God Himself) to die as a man on earth.  Jesus never sinned, because His very nature was God; therefore, He didn't deserve the punishment of death.  When He died, Jesus offered up His blood as a sacrifice for all who would ask Him, to atone for their sins.  Because of Jesus' obedience, God raised Him from the dead, to show the world that His sacrifice had satisfied God's requirements for sin.  Thus God proved that through Jesus, He would raise souls from the dead.  To this day, everyone's body dies eventually, but those who have asked Jesus to cover their sins will have their sins atoned for.  At the end of the world, when Jesus returns to judge the world, those who have believed in Jesus and His Salvation will not suffer the second death; they will be resurrected from the dead and will live eternally.  However, those who have rejected Jesus Christ will die eternally, without remedy.

Those who do not know Jesus may tell you that this is an unlikely story, but I'm telling you that it's true.  Don't listen to them and find out the hard way!  Just remember:  God is not a liar, that He doesn't carry out what He said He would do, and He is not too powerless to do it.  However, God is also a loving God, and He wants to forgive you.  He hates having to punish you.  He'd much rather get to know you, as a friend. Will you accept the gift of salvation that Jesus is freely offering you?

If you answered, "Yes, but how?"  I'm asking that you bow your head, wherever you are, and pray along with me.  "Dear God, I know that I have sinned and rebelled against you, but I have heard today that you sent your son, Jesus, to take away my punishment, and that He will save me if I will believe in Him and obey Him with my whole life. I believe in Jesus, and what He did.  Please help me to obey You, so that I can enjoy eternal life with You.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

After that, get your hands on a Bible, or read it online, and God will help you to do what it says!

God bless you all!  See you here, again, in a few days.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekly Trivia Files, Some More -Theisms and Related Terms

Last Friday I posted three religious terms and their definitions as part of a move to explain some of the tricky religious talk out there.  There are times when too much technical language in religious discussion can hinder people's understanding of Scripture.  I don't like that.  Then again, there are times when we avoid getting technical and end up accepting doctrines that are not recognized by the Bible.  I don't like that either.

So, here are some more definitions of major classifications of religious beliefs.  Again, I am open for corrections and if there is anything I've left out, feel free to leave me a comment.

  • Atheism-- A- "no; without" + -theos "God" + -ism "state of being."  Atheists simply don't believe in the existence of God (or any other god, for that matter).  I'm seeing more of this religious belief (it's a religious position, too) in television programming and movies than I'd ever seen before.  The majority of atheists in society today are in the scientific community. Example: The television show, House, or the majority of the Star Trek movies and television episodes.
  • Agnosticism--A- "no; without" + gnostic/gnostos "knowledge, especially secret spiritual knowledge."  Agnostics are like atheists, in that they don't worship God or any other god.  What distinguishes them from atheists is their opinion that God may exist but cannot be known or proven.  They are also primarily found among the more highly-educated people in western society.  This religious position is also spreading quickly through the medium of movies and television, although I can't think of any specific examples right now.
  • Spiritism/Mysticism--This religious group believes in supernatural, non-scientific phenomena, such as the belief in ghosts, astrology, the powers of stones and metals, spells and incantations, charms, and the like.  These people don't necessarily believe in any God or god, or any official or organized religion.  Nevertheless, their belief in these things is very serious.  I'm seeing a lot of these teachings on television and in the movies as well. Examples: Supernatural and Ghost Whisperer.
Stay tuned for more next week.  I'll be posting another long post in a few days, whenever I get the chance. I've been awfully busy, lately, but I have been missing blogging.  I'm not going away, anyway.  That's a promise!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Was It All For?

Future Talk

In the U.S., anyway, I've noticed a trend toward thinking of Christianity only in terms of our lives now--our marriages, our finances, and our work, for instance. Perhaps that isn't a bad thing, but I'm missing the old future-focus of Christianity. We rarely discuss how someday, at some time, all of the mundane things we worry about are going away. Someday, Christ is coming back to take us away from here, and the world as we know it will be judged and destroyed.

We aren't talking about that. Why? Are we afraid to believe that the same God who fulfilled His promises before will do it again? Maybe we're feeling self-conscious in front of all the mockers out there who think it's crazy to talk about the end of the world. Whatever the reason for the silence, I believe it's time to start talking about biblical prophecies and the Second Coming again. It's just better for our spiritual health.

We're missing something vital if we think that Christianity is only about laboring in the trenches, resisting sin, and wishing there was some reward for doing good. Unfortunately, that's fast becoming the general view of Christianity. What's the use of enduring persecution or denying ourselves when there is no reward in sight? At day's end, what is there? All that pain without a reward is enough to make anyone want to give up.

Is that you today?

Good News Brings Health to the Bones

I've got some good news for you. That isn't all that Christianity has to offer. It really would be a dead kind of religion if it only involved this life, which we sooner or later leave behind.

The good news is that our reward is not a temporary one, so that it passes away with this life. Nor is it a small one, which doesn't equal all the trouble we endured to reach it. Christians have a great reward coming if we hold on until the end, and we will get to enjoy it, too.

If we think only of this present life and our troubles in it, our perspective will become skewed and we will feel depressed. I speak from experience. For the sake of our faith, we need to be constantly reminded that our lives are just a short prelude to eternal life.

Our reward is so much more than merely living forever, though. We get to live in victory. When the end comes, whether to this life or to this whole world, our past troubles are not going to be left unresolved. God will give us victory--over ourselves and those things that used to tempt us, and over our enemies.

God has said in His Word, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them" (Deuteronomy 32: 35 NIV). And in many, many other places, the Bible says that God will repay everyone "according to what they have done." For the obedient, a blessing of eternal life, but for the wicked, there will be wrath (Romans 2: 6-8). "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded," the author of Hebrews notes. "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10: 35-36 NIV). In Proverbs, it is also written, "The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing" (Proverbs 10: 28 NIV). When Christians talk about the future, they are remembering with joy that one day, the sun will set on their troubles for the last time.

Therefore, when we gather together, we should not only talk about what God is doing in our lives now, but also talk about everything He is going to do. It will lift us. We have a future to look forward to; a future full of hope and the certainty of justice. There's no reason to feel discouraged or ashamed. As for those who say Christians are crazy for talking about the end of the world, let them take it up with God, whose power to judge they have refused to acknowledge. Meanwhile, let us hold on to our hope, and feel our strength renewed.

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40: 30-31 NIV).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekly Trivia Files, Technical Terms: The "-Theism"s Part 1

Religious discussions are always full of technical terms and idioms of various kinds, and unfortunately, to an untrained ear they all tend to sound the same after awhile. In this series, I thought I'd go through a few terms each week, defining them and contrasting them where possible to help you get them all straightened out.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or a correction (nobody is perfect), don't hesitate to leave a comment.

The "-theism"s

There are many types of religions in the world, and if you ever get into a discussion about world religions, you will probably hear a lot of terms that end with "-theism." They are basic terms for describing the differences between the world's religions. I'm discussing them today, not to give my approval for any religion other than Christianity, but to lay out the groundwork for possible in-depth discussion later. Obviously, my definitions are biased as they are being given from a Christian perspective (and as long as free speech is really free I have a right to do so), but I will do my best not to distort your understanding of the facts.

Theism, or -theos is a Greek root word that means "God" or "god." These terms, then, describe the nature of the deity a particular religion or belief system follows. Here are some terms that use "-theism," and their definitions:

  • Monotheism--literally, mono- "one" + -theos "god" + -ism "state of being; is." Monotheist religions only follow one god (God), not a group of deities. Examples include Christianity, which follows the God of Israel as revealed in the nature and person of Jesus Christ; Judaism, which follows the God of Israel as known from Mosaic Law; and Islam, which also lays claim to the god of Abraham as told by their leader Mohammed.
  • Polytheism--literally, poly- "many" + -theos "god(s)" + -ism "state of being; is." Polytheistic religions worship many deities at once. Their deities may have ranks (some being more powerful than others, for instance), and their forms can include masculine, feminine, plant, animal, and inanimate (not representing a living thing, such as the sun). Examples include the religions of most African, Eurasian, Oceanic, and native North and South American tribes, and the ancient Romans and Greeks. As you can see, this is a pretty all-encompassing term, which glosses over the differences between a lot of different tribal beliefs.
  • Pantheism--literally, pan- "all, universal" + -theos "god" + -ism "state of being; is." Pantheistic religions worship a pervasive force, or spirit, of the universe or nature; in essence, their god is in everything, therefore everything is divine. Hinduism is one notable example, as are many tribal religions in places like Australia and North America. Many of these also have many idols that they worship, but their belief system describes them as parts of the same "divine force/being."

Well, I think three definitions are enough for one day. See you on Monday or Tuesday with another, more in-depth article for next week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Good And Bad Seeds

I have been so busy over the past week.  I realized, sometime around Thursday, that I was taking a week off from blogging, whether I liked it or not.  Well, I'm back now, and today I'm wanting to say a little bit about seeds, and future generations.

I've been re-reading the Bible for the past few months, and one of the symbols I'm noticing again is the frequent reference to seeds as spiritual symbols throughout the Bible.  I have heard it preached that they often represent good and bad deeds, and that isn't too far off the track, but I'm seeing that they are more than that.  Really, they are the spiritual consequences of choices, not merely symbols of the choices themselves.  Seeds symbolically represent the future results of small choices, emphasizing the enormity, and seriousness, of the little decisions we make every day.  Seeds sown in our lives today may destroy us later, or they may put on a crop of good fruit that brings blessing to both ourselves and those around us.

Volunteer Plants

Now, let me call your attention to the photo I've included in this post.  It's a couple of Four O' Clock seedlings in my front flower bed.

I planted Four O' Clocks last year in a pot on my front porch, and when they got large, they prolifically scattered seeds everywhere.  This year, I have volunteer plants all over the place that came from the seeds of the first three.  I never planted or watered them, but they are sprouting in several flower beds and even my yard.  If I allow them to grow, they will continue to be everywhere in increasingly large numbers.  That's the thing about seeds.  They have a way of multiplying themselves exponentially.  If you don't want a whole lot of them, you have to get the first plants and all of their seeds, or you will have a plague on your hands.

Four O' Clocks aren't so bad, but this volunteer seed situation makes me remember my grandparent's farm where I used to play as a child.  They had a significant problem with sand burrs.

You might be familiar with cockle burrs, which put on grape-sized brown seeds that have hooked spines all over them.  Cockle burrs were the inspiration for velcro.  Sand burrs are similar, but much nastier.  They're the size of black-eyed peas (or a little smaller) and have needle-sharp spines.  They make cockle burr plants seem downright friendly.  Sand burrs draw blood and have the ugly habit of tangling themselves in shoelaces and socks.  Even after you remove the seeds, you still find the spines in your laundry and shoelaces for months afterwards.

My granddad tried everything he could think of to get rid of the sand burrs from his fields.  He tried mowing, controlled burning, and spraying herbicide or gasoline, but there were always more plants the next year.  It seems that once a sand burr plant grows in an area, the species never quite leaves the place.

However, there never were any sand burrs growing close to my grandparents' house.  Why?  Well, if they found a sand burr seed, they threw it away.  If they saw a plant coming up, they pulled it up with the roots.  Sand burrs and other nasty weeds can escape and grow where no one is watching, but if they grew where they could be noticed, people tend to destroy them before the next generation can come along.

The Good and Bad Seed

In the Mosaic Law, the Israelites had several laws concerning seeds and planting,  including a law not to plant two kinds of seed together (Leviticus 19: 19; Deuteronomy 22: 9).  These laws were to be taken literally, but they had symbolic meaning; in essence, God was cautioning His people not to mix good and bad decisions (sinful and obedient behavior) in their lives, because if the bad "seed" put on a "bumper crop" of consequences, the results could be fatal to the whole field (life), strangling out the good (see also Jesus' Parable of the Sower Matthew 13: 1-23).

This idea of good and bad seed is not just explained in symbolism, so that no one could be confused about it. Moses also specifically instructed the people about one particular type of bad "seed," that is, the seed of apostasy, and it's consequences for the individual as well as the nation.  Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 29: 18-19,

"Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.  When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, 'I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.'  This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry."

In other words, don't let one bad seed sprout, or it will ultimately bring disaster to everyone, because that one bad seed will put on more seeds, until it has seeded itself through the whole nation.  Moses goes on to explain to the Israelites in the Deuteronomy 29 passage that God would punish each individual who turned away from Him, but that in doing so, the whole land would be laid waste (see Deuteronomy 29: 16-25 and Matthew 13: 36-43).  So singling out such evil "weeds" at the onset would protect the whole nation in later generations.

Moses' instructions have some bearing on us today.  If we aren't careful, and we find ourselves making excuses for our own life choices, our decisions could lead our children, and their peers, into increasingly rebellious behavior.  Sins aren't born in a vacuum, and the destruction they leave behind certainly doesn't fade away like a cloud of mist.  One bad but exceptionally influential "weed" in the neighborhood could eventually lead millions into destructive lifestyles that harm others (such as drug and alcohol abuse), which also draws God's wrath.  A legacy of destruction and sorrow can start by tolerating just one seed, and once begun, it's very difficult to remove completely.

Wanna Leave a Legacy?

There is a decidedly positive side to all of this.  Many people talk about wanting to leave a legacy for future generations, and it is certainly possible.  Just as bad people who put out bad "seeds" leave a legacy of trouble and sorrow, good people who obey God in every area of their lives are putting on good "seeds" for a future generation.

If you want to leave a positive legacy, it starts with how you live your life today.  If you make decisions based on what God would have you do, even if it comes with a personal cost, people around you will see and some will copy you.  If you are a parent, you must model godly behavior for your children, and you shouldn't shy away from talking to them about God.  If you are a business person, model godly business practices, not merely ethical ones, so that your employees will see and take note of what you did and how God blessed you in it.  If you are a friend or neighbor, treat those around you with kindness and respect and they will notice and at least contemplate doing the same.  If one person obeys, it could turn into a whole harvest of obedient people.

The key to leaving this kind of spiritual legacy is not just getting noticed for looking like the "seed" you want to produce, but by actually becoming the kind of spiritual "seed" you desire to produce, so that the "seeds" you sow into the next generation will sprout up as the right kind of "plant."  You can't just obey God when you think people are looking, or at the root you will be the wrong kind of "plant," and the seeds you sow may also include poison weeds.  As Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15: 5 NIV).

This week, think about what kind of legacy you are leaving for generations to come.  Seek Christ's help in rooting out the "weed" seeds from your life before they bear fruit, and let Him teach you how to bear the good, wholesome seeds that will bring a blessing and not a curse.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wrapping Up Trivia Files Contest: Answers and Winner

Well, I'm getting this up a little late, but here is a list of all the answers to all of my quiz questions.

  1. Sacred or Secular: Quote one is Galatians 4: 16; Quote 2 is from Pericles, I.i. 97, by Shakespeare.
  2. Who said it?: The Apostle Paul said this at the beginning of his sermon to the Athenians on Mars Hill.
  3. Movie Accuracy: Actually, Moses raised his staff above the waters; he did not strike the waters of the Red Sea to part them. (see Exodus 14: 15-31)
  4.  Commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself” is one of the two “greatest commandments” that Jesus put forth, not one of the Ten Commandments.
  5. One for the Soldiers: Gideon.  He overheard two men in the Midianite camp discussing a dream one of the men had, in which a large loaf of bread rolls through their camp.  The other man interpreted the loaf to symbolize Gideon.  (Judges 7)
  6.  Symbolism and Eschatology: The lampstand was associated with the almond tree from the beginning (see Exodus 25: 33).  The almond tree was the first to bloom in the springtime, and in Hebrew, its name is very similar to the word for “watching” (see Jeremiah 1: 10-12, where God uses it as a symbol for “watching to see that [His] prophecy is fulfilled”).  I discussed this in my post, “An Almond Branch.”  In essence, the lampstand seems to illustrate, figuratively, a faith in God, a belief in things He will do, not just things He’s done (see Hebrews 11:1, 2).  So when Christ threatens to remove the lampstand from the church in Ephesus, He was acknowledging that they were losing that pure, young faith that trusts God with the future.  They knew what was righteous, but their faith was dying and being replaced by a type of ritualistic Christianity.
  7. Prophecy Fulfilled: There are many prophecies from the Old and New Testaments that have been fulfilled and can be confirmed archaeologically and historically.  The nation of Israel was predicted to be sent into exile, and the one who would send them back was predicted by name—Cyrus—well-before he was even born.   Cyrus did exist, and outside sources confirm that he ordered that Israel be returned to their homeland.   The changes in kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar's dream has of course been confirmed through history, but there have been some who contest the identity of some of the different kingdoms in the dream.  They seem to be a series of great empires, but some say not all of them have come yet.  Another fulfilled prophecy is Christ's prediction of the Roman invasion of Israel that resulted in the scattering of the Jews throughout Europe.  The most notable prophecy that has been confirmed in recent years is the return of Israel to Palestine in 1948, a subject that no one ever thought would happen, and which continues to draw comment from secular scholars.
  8. Riddle Me This: Samson, at the wedding feast, tells a riddle to his new in-laws.  His Philistine wife begged for him to share the answer so her in-laws wouldn't lose the bet, and Samson ended up killing a bunch of Philistine in Ashkelon to fulfill his end of the bargain (See Judges 14).
  9. Test a prophet: Ask a vague question and get a thorough answer.  I was only asking for the test proscribed in Deuteronomy 18: 19-22, that the test of the prophet's prophecy is whether it comes true.
So by my tally, Kamal got most of the questions correct (the lion's share, in fact), and I think he should get extra credit for question 9.  Since there were no other challengers, it looks like he's getting the copy of  So What's the Difference? by Fritz Ridenour.  Kamal, since I know you on facebook, I think it would be faster if you would just send me a message with your address in it, so I can know where to send the book.

This quiz has been a sort of thanks to my readers and those who leave comments on my posts.  You are one big reason why I keep writing.  Please keep them coming!  More contests to follow.  Next up, a regular post you might want to read.

Friday, June 4, 2010

From the Trivia Files Contest: A Final Test

I was trying to think of a great way to wrap up this series, and I thought up a question last night that seemed strangely apropos.  Today, I'm ending the contest series with a test, of sorts.

So here it is, the last question:

What is the Bible-prescribed test to know that a prophet's message is from God?

Now that we're at the end of the contest, I think I need to share how this game ends. I'll be posting my answers on Sunday.  In the meantime, all post answer sections in this series will remain open until noon CST this Sunday, June 6th.  See you then!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

From the Trivia Files: Riddle Me This

Jesus spoke in parables so that those who didn't want to listen to His message could persist in their stubbornness, quoting the prophecy in Isaiah which said:
"'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isaiah 6: 9-10 NIV).
In essence, Christ often taught in riddles so that those who really wanted to know what He was talking about would actually ask.  Those who weren't humble enough to ask questions and accept the answers, never got them.  It was a way of getting people to pay attention.

There was one other person in the Bible who is on record for speaking to a crowd in riddles, although this individual's motives were not so pure.  Who was it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From the Trivia Files Contest: Historical Perspective

There are those who believe that the Bible is nothing more than a historical document.  Those who have a relationship with Christ know that it is so much more than that.

That said, besides Christ's birth, death, and resurrection, can you name one significant prophecy in the Old Testament that was fulfilled (and has been confirmed by outside scholars)?
  Don't forget, if you want to win So What's the Difference? by Fritz Ridenour, you have to answer all the questions.  You can read and answer the previous questions in this quiz series by clicking on the "Bible tidbits and trivia" tag below.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From the Trivia Files Contest: Eschatology

The book of Revelation opens with the image of seven lampstands, each representing one of the seven churches.  In the letter to the church at Ephesus, Christ warns, "You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place" (Revelation 2: 3-5 NIV).

My question for today:

What is the traditional, symbolic meaning of the lampstand in the Bible (both Old and New Testaments)?