Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 28 - Morning

"The people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”  But Jesus turned and rebuked them." - Luke 9:53-55

Samaritan Opposition

In October of 29 AD, seven months before the crucifixion, Jesus leaves Galilee for the final time to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles on October 15 (John 7:2). Jesus planned on going from Galilee, through the land of Samaria, and then entering Judea, where he would go to the feast in Jerusalem. In order to prepare a place for his disciples and those following him to the Jewish feast in Jerusalem, Jesus sent a couple of the disciples ahead into a village in Samaria to prepare for their overnight stay. Their assignment would have included securing shelter and food. The foresight and preparations would have been a courteous gesture to the Samaritan villagers who could have been seriously inconvenienced when overrun with these travelers.
Historically there had been opposition between the land of Samaria (northern Israel) and the land of Judea since the days of Solomon’s son Rehoboam when the twelve tribes of Israel split into two countries: northern Israel and southern Judah. In 721 BC Israel was deported by Assyria and the population replaced with Gentiles who inter-married with the remaining Israelites to create the people known as Samaritans. In 537 when the Jews of Judea returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem the Samaritans asked to join in the effort, but their offer was rejected by Zerubbabel, Joshua and the other leaders of Judah (Ezra 4:1-5).
In response to this rejection the Samaritans opposed the Jewish effort in Jerusalem, but also built their own pagan version of the Temple on Mount Gerizim in Samaria. In 128 BC John Hyrcanus, one of the descendants of the Maccabees (called the Hasmoneans) who became the High Priest/King of Judea attacked Samaria, forced them to convert to Judaism and burnt their Temple on Mount Gerizim. When Rome annexed the lands of Israel in 63 BC they relieved the Samaritans from their Judean oppressors.
So, by 29 AD when the Samaritans learned that Jesus “was heading for Jerusalem” through Samaria to worship at the Jewish Temple it, makes complete sense that “the people there did not welcome him.” (Luke 9:53) The Samaritan opposition to Jews making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem through their land was often hostile and at times violent to the point of battle and murder. Josephus records an event that occurred in 50 AD that involved Samaritans killing Galileans traveling through Samaria:
“It was the custom of the Galileans, when they came to the holy city at the festivals, to take their journeys through the country of the Samaritans; and at this time there lay, in the road they took, a village that was called Ginea…where certain persons thereto belonging fought with the Galileans, and killed a great many of them…they came to Cumanus (Roman procurator of Judea 48-52 AD), and desired him to avenge the murder of those that were killed; but he was induced by the Samaritans, with money, to do nothing in the matter; upon which the Galileans were much displeased, and persuaded the multitude of the Jews to betake themselves to arms” (Josephus, book XX, chapter 6, verse 1)

It is interesting to note that the attitude of James and John was completely normal for the age in which they lived. And, considering James and John had only a few days before been taken by Jesus up Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philipi to see Elijah who himself had called down fire on a military captain from Samaria and his 50 troops on two different occasions (2 Kings 1:9-12), it makes some sense that James and John would assume the appropriate thing to do to these opponents of Jesus and the Temple would be to ask, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
Jesus rebuked James and John because, as John himself would write over 50 years later, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.” (John 3:17) Neither was Jesus was going to force obedience on the Samaritans, but offered them an opportunity to respond by faith to the Truth and the Spirit of God. Judgment will come, eventually, and it will come by the hand of the Lord. Mark records that Jesus called James and John “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). Episodes like this one in Samaria may have earned James and John this title. It is interesting that when we think of the aged Apostle John we do not necessarily think of a man of thunder.
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Shir (Hb) - Sing, Song (Eng) - Shir is the verb that means "to sing," but comes from the noun shir that means "song." The Hebrew people sang in times of deliverance and despair.
Over half the times the word
shir is used it is used in the book of Psalms.
The book Song of Songs is
Shir Shirim in Hebrew. The -im ending makes the word shir plural so that shir means "song" and shirim means "songs."
The title Song of Songs means "it is the best song of all the songs,"or the "most excellent song."
Thus, Song of Songs, or
Shir Shirim.
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If the Lord rejected James and John's idea and rebuked them for their plans, will he not at times need to rebuke my ideas, plans and attitudes? What plan of mine has been rejected or when has the Lord possibly rebuked me for an idea that I thought was useful and right?

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text

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To be a good spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend


Spirit of giving
Local economy
Pakistan - revival in the heart of the unevangelized world.

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The model of the Temple Mount with Wilson's Arch in the bottom right. The stone wall seen in the background is the west wall of the Temple Mount in the Western Wall Tunnels. The stone wall is represented in the model just to the left of Wilson's Arch and Gate.
(click on image for larger size)
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This is a history timeline with details of the seventieth week and potential eschatological time frames. (click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

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"When boiled down to its essence, unforgiveness is hatred."
- John R. Rice

Something to Ponder

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People of the Bible used lamps, and never candles. Candles were never part of biblical culture for they had not been developed yet. Romans were the first to use a wick, but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that beeswax was used with the wick.

Here’s a Fact

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A clay seal, called a bulla, from 735-715 BC that says, "Belonging to Ahaz son of Jehotam, King of Judah" has been found. There are fingerprints embedded in the hardened clay, possibly those of Ahaz himself when he sealed the document. (Ahaz is referred to in 2 Chr.28;2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7:10)


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"Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back."
- Proverbs 28:17

Coach’s Corner

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The less you pray the more distance you feel between you and God, but the more you ask, the closer your relationship with God becomes and the more your prayers will be answered. 

Nehemiah 4
New International Version (NIV)
Opposition to the Rebuilding
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
Matthew 24
New International Version (NIV)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,     and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky,     and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Nehemiah 8
New International Version (NIV)

all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.
So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the teacher to give attention to the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written.
16 So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves temporary shelters on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.
18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

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