Michael Boling – Literary Analysis of Judges 13

LITERARY ANALYSIS OF JUDGES 13:1-25

INTRODUCTION
Judges 13 is arguably one of the more well known stories in the book of Judges. Its tales of “ribaldry, bloody action, and its lengendary coloration” have provided interpretative challenges for scholars and laymen alike as the exploits of Samson resemble that of Herculean legend. The Samson saga in its entirety is ultimately a story of promise noting God’s election of Samson to deliver Israel from Philistine oppression. Judges 13, though full of hope, contains no promise of deliverance thus providing insight into Israel’s depraved spiritual milieu and also serving as a reminder for believers to remain faithful to God’s commands as the ecclesia.

LITERARY TECHNIQUES AND FEATURES OF THE NARRATIVE
This pericope is the foundation for the plot outlined in subsequent chapters. The setting establishes Israel’s spiritual depravity and God’s continued faithfulness to His covenant with Israel. Against this literary backdrop, the author utilizes the literary technique of inter-textuality in verse 3. An angel of the Lord appears to Manoah’s wife, declaring despite her barrenness, she will conceive and bear a son. This statement is strikingly similar to the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 15 and served to remind Israel of God’s providence and commitment to them. Furthermore, this motif “was a formula of blessing used also in Isaiah 7:14” asserting the author’s utilization of inter-textuality to drive home his message.

Another literary technique is a vital development of plot found in the comment made by the angel of the Lord in verse 5 stating Samson will only begin the deliverance from the Philistines setting the stage for what ultimately became a protracted struggle that continued into the time of David. A vital link to the remainder of the Samson saga is the necessity expressed by the angel of the Lord for Samson to be dedicated to God as a Nazirite specifically the command for a razor never to touch Samson’s head. In Judges 13, the thematic element of the Nazirite vow in relation to Samson is first mentioned to Manoah who then relays the message to her husband. Additionally, Manoah’s wife is commanded to abstain from wine and unclean foods.

The concomitant themes of promise and fulfillment are woven throughout Judges 13. The author’s focus on Manoah and his wife display “the narrative is carefully constructed to suggest movement towards its conclusion, the fulfillment of the promise.” It is apparent the author is setting the stage for a point of comparison between the necessity of Samson to fulfill his Nazirite vow with the overt and repeated violations of this command of the Lord in his life. Grant Osborne saliently notes “one of the clues to the Samson story is the carnal, mistaken perspective of Samson contrasted to the omniscient comments of the narrator. As a result the reader experiences in a poignant way the tensions within the story.” Continue reading “Michael Boling – Literary Analysis of Judges 13”

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover)

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Pesach (Passover)

In the previous post, Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach, we explored the scriptural mandate for this observance to include how a typical Passover Seder is conducted today. In this post, we are going to see how the Feast of Pesach was fulfilled by the pure, spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We will begin by analyzing each aspect of the Passover Seder noting how this service is replete with signs pointing to Christ and the Renewed Covenant through his blood.

The Feast of Pesach is often described as the Feast of Salvation or the Feast of Freedom. This is not surprising given the fact Pesach was first established as a remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in the land of Egypt (Mitzraim). God saved His people from slavery delivering them to the Land of Promise just as He had covenanted with Abraham. Pesach is to be “a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” (Ex. 12:14) As we walk through the Passover Seder identifying each element a bit further, paying special attention to how each aspect points to Christ and his sacrifice, we shall begin to see why Passover was to be an everlasting ordinance. It was to be celebrated in perpetuity and whether we realize it or not, we will be celebrating throughout eternity the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb and the penal substation provided through the cross. This eternal celebration can be seen in Revelation 5:12 which declares “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

As noted earlier, Passover is largely a celebration of salvation, redemption, and freedom. For Israel, that salvation from was slavery and the sacrifice of the lamb represented the price that was paid to redeem and free them from bondage. Thus, each aspect of the Passover Seder brings to the mind of the celebrant what God did for His people long ago. Additionally, the promise of the Messiah can also be seen in the Passover Seder, One who would come in the spirit of Elijah to for all time bring peace to the land and to forever save God’s people. To properly understand the significance of Pesach requires one to understand Pesach as a time of remembrance and a time of longing. For the Jew who does not believe Jesus was the Messiah, it is a time of remembrance and a time of longing as they are still longing for his coming. For those who affirm Jesus is the Passover Lamb, it is a time of remembrance of the deliverance provided through the cross from sin and death and a time of longing for the return of the spotless Lamb who will one day return for His people to deliver them for all eternity from sin, death, and the grave. With that as a background, let’s begin to examine the Passover Seder observance in more detail. But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pesach (Passover)


The Feast of Pesach (Passover)

“And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. “It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. “And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ “that you shall say, ‘It [is] the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:24-27)

“These [are] the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth [day] of the first month at twilight [is] the LORD’s Passover.” (Leviticus 23:4-5)

These scriptures demonstrate the Feast of Pesach (Passover) was to be an ordinance to be observed not just by the Israelites as the exited Egypt and not by them as they settled into the Promised Land. It was to be a holy convocation observed by all future generations. Before we examine exactly what is involved in the Feast of Pesach, it is vital to point out this is described by God as a feast of Yahweh. Also notice it was to be observed at a very specific time and date. These are things we will return to later in this study but that I wanted to note at the outset if anything to note this is not just a Jewish feast. It is a feast of the Lord to be observed forever.

So what is the background of the Feast of Pesach? Arguably, this is the most well-known feast outside of perhaps Pentecost. Additionally, many people have likely attended a Passover Seder (service) at some point, either at their own church, a Jewish synagogue or a Messianic Jewish congregation. Thus, much of the background and elements of this feast may be somewhat familiar. Nevertheless, we are going to walk through the background of this feast and how it is celebrated followed by, in the next post, a discussion of how Jesus, as the Passover Lamb, fulfilled this feast. But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

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“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35)

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:7-8)

“ For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

“ I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48)

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:24)

As we discovered with the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread also finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah. Furthermore, in each element of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we find a foreshadowing that not only points to the Messiah, but also reveals vital theological and spiritual truths in regards to the necessity of purging sin from among us in order to be a holy bride for our bridegroom. With that in mind, let’s walk through once again the Feast of Unleavened Bread noting the wonderful truths subsumed within that time of remembrance that continue to have great relevance for us today.

As with all the Feasts of the Lord, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was established as a memorial to forever be remembered by God’s people. This is an important point to make at the outset given the fact Christ fulfilled this feast with his broken body on the cross. This is not just an ancient Jewish festival with no importance or application for the people of God today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The appointed times of God are just that, appointed times established by God for a purpose. In regards to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the purpose is for believers to remember the broken body of Christ, THE bread of life as well as providing a time of introspection in regards to the necessity for believers to cleanse their lives of sin through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14-17)

“Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.” (Exodus 13:7)

“You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.” (Deut. 16:3-4) But wait, there’s more!

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Tim Challies – Deadly Doctrines: Facing Evil Like Snakes and Doves

Since its earliest days, the church has been plagued by false teachers and deadly doctrine. Never has there been a period of rest, a time when Christians could relax their guard. Satan has opposed the church since the day of its founding, and he will continue to oppose her until the day of his destruction.

Naturally, then, Paul was seriously concerned about false teachers and deadly doctrine, warning of them in almost every one of his letters. As he comes to the end of his letter to the Romans, he reminds the church to be on guard, since false teachers are skilled at using flattery and smooth words to deceive even believers. Paul loves this church and wants them to be aware of the challenges they will face from predatory teachers. But his solution may strike us as surprising. He tells these Christians “to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b).

Paul seems to be echoing Jesus here. In the book of Matthew, we read of Jesus sending out his disciples and warning them of impending persecution from enemies of the gospel. He tells them how to behave in the midst of such trials: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus and Paul both call for wisdom and innocence. Let’s see how these two passages instruct us on protecting ourselves and our churches from false teachers and their deadly doctrine.

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Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge – Atheism is Religion

Almost all atheists claim that, because (supposedly) there is no God, their own worldview is not a religion. Many of them would argue that they have a “nonbelief.”

One of the definitions of religion in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, however, is this: “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

Atheism certainly fits that definition, and many of its adherents are quite zealous about their faith system.

Atheists have an active belief system with views concerning origins (that the universe and life arose by natural processes); no life after death; the existence of God; how to behave while alive; and so much more. Honest atheists will admit their worldview is a faith. Atheism is a religion!

One candid atheist wrote, “My attitude is not based on science, but rather on faith . . . . The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.”

The Religion of Atheism Is Growing

This secular (anti-God) religion of atheism is growing. Atheism is all around us in various forms. It is practiced (and funded) by almost all government schools. In essence atheism has become the religion of the state, and it pervades the media, courts, museums, textbooks, the internet, science journals, and influences many people you encounter.

About 90% of children from our church homes attend government schools. Your kids and grandkids have likely been adversely influenced by this religion…and they may not have even realized it.

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Nick Batzig – 7 Ways to Care for Your Wife

In that extremely complex and, at times, hard to understand section of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we come across the comparison between the married and the unmarried (1 Cor. 7). In short, the Apostle insists that marriage is good (and the norm) but that it brings with it a division of attention. Those who are married have a preoccupation with their spouse. Those who are unmarried are free to more fully “care about the things of the Lord” while “the married man cares about…how to please his wife” and “the married woman cares about…how to please her husband.” This forces us to ask question, “What does it look like to biblically care about the needs of my wife?” That is a question that I feel as though I am just beginning to learn how to answer 11 years into marriage. While there is no silver bullet, there are many things that the Scriptures teach us in order to help guide the process of learning to love your spouse. Here are 7 basic, biblical ways that the married man can seek to please his wife:

1. Lead Her in Worship. Whether this occurs one on one or in the context of family worship, a godly husband will seek to “wash his wife with the water of the word” and to lead her “to the throne of grace” that they might together receive grace and mercy to help in time of need. A man who truly loves his wife will want to sing God’s praises with his wife and to encourage her with God’s word. This is the most foundational way that a godly husband can love and serve his wife. Everything else in the marriage is secondary to and will necessary wax and wane commensurate with this all important calling. God has given a believing husband his wife so that he might shepherd her soul to glory.

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Michael Boling – Exegetical Paper on Psalm 72

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INTRODUCTION
Psalm 72 has been explicated by biblical scholars as Messianic due to similarities with Messianic prophecies contained in Isaiah 11:1-5 and Isaiah 60-62. As noted by Derek Kidner, “as a royal psalm it prayed for the reigning king, and was a strong reminder of his high calling; yet it exalted this so far beyond the humanly attainable as to suggest for its fulfillment no less a person than the Messiah.” The hyperbole utilized in this royal psalm that finds its fulfillment only in the persona and work of Yeshua has resulted in this psalm being classified, at a minimum, as indirectly Messianic.

Authorship of this psalm has been attributed by some to the psalms penned by King David; however, strong arguments have been made for it being a work of King Solomon. Scholarly debate on this matter resides on the interpretation of the superscription which alludes to Psalm 72 as a Psalm of David with King Solomon as the subject and not the author. Franz Delitzsh argues for Solomonic authorship in his statement that Psalm 72 is for the most part distichic, which has less of original freshness and directness than of an artificial, reflective, and almost sluggish manner, the geographic range of view, the richness in figures drawn from nature, and the points of contact with the Book of Job…these are coincident signs which are decisive in favor of Solomon.” Scholars are divided on the issue of authorship; however, strong arguments have been put forward for this Psalm being a prayer of blessing for the reign of King Solomon or more appropriately, a prophetic declaration of the Messiah. Perhaps the best argument provided for Davidic authorship is given by James Mays who comments that “Superscription and colophon taken together ask that the prayer be read as David’s intercession for his seed and successor, a prayer that the vocation of God’s king be realized in his son.” Continue reading “Michael Boling – Exegetical Paper on Psalm 72”

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Dr. Kevin Anderson, Brian Catalucci, and Dr. Nathaniel T. Jeanson – Three Puzzles Evolution Can’t Solve

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For more than a century Christians have looked for the scientific silver bullet that would destroy Darwinian evolution and prove biblical creation to be true. We already know from God’s revealed, infallible Word how the universe, the earth, and all life came into being: He spoke them into existence (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 11:3). This fact alone refutes Darwinian evolution. Yet in a world where secular researchers reject the supernatural and divine revelation, many Christians still feel compelled to provide empirical (observable and repeatable) evidence to confirm the Bible’s claim.

The problem is that neither creation nor evolution is observable or repeatable. Empirical science alone can’t prove a miraculous, onetime historical event any more than it can prove evolution. Instead, we must make assumptions, and our conclusions are only as good as our starting assumptions.

The issue is not the evidence, but how we interpret the evidence through our worldview. Does our worldview make sense of the world we observe today?

Evolution is based on a faulty initial assumption, while belief in creation is based on facts revealed by the only eyewitness, the Creator Himself.

God’s Word says we should always be ready “to give a defense to everyone who asks” (1 Peter 3:15). When witnessing to unbelievers, we should challenge their worldview and show how the biblical worldview makes better sense of our world.

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