Hanukkah and Christmas are often thought of together. What is Hanukkah? Is it simply a Jewish substitute for Christmas? Hardly! Hanukkah (Hebrew, "dedication") is a Jewish feast mentioned in the New Testament (John 10:22) that celebrates the cleansing and eight-day dedication of the Second Temple in 165 B.C. after it had been desecrated by the Greek king, Antiochus IV ("Epiphanes") in 167 B.C. Thus Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication. According to Jewish tradition, at the dedication there was only enough oil for the lampstand to burn one day, but by a miracle from God it burned for eight days. Thus Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights. Part of the celebration today involves lighting a nine-branch Menorah. This year Hanukkah runs from sunset December 16 to sunset December 24. (Read our notes on other biblical and post-biblical Jewish holidays.)
Latest Items Posted
- Prayer: "Everyone that asks receives." James H. McConkey encourages us by explaining that we truly do receive something when we pray, although it may not be exactly what we asked for. You will enjoy this sermon on The Certainty of Prayer. He has also tackled that verse in James, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick," in his sermon entitled Prayer and Healing. (Dec. 17, 2014)
- "Lead Us Not into Temptation": We've recited this phrase from the Lord's Prayer myriads of times, but do we know what it means? Does God lead some of us into temptation? Howard Crosby has an enlightening sermon on it, and you will not be disappointed. Read it here. (Dec. 5, 2014)
- Prayer: Read here a wonderful prayer of Thomas Chalmers when he was on the brink of death. We have also posted an excerpt from a sermon entitled "Prayer" by George Jehoshaphat Mountain that will encourage those who feel their prayers never seem to get answered. (Nov. 25, 2014)
- Introduction to Genesis: Here is a very good, and succinct, "Introduction to Genesis" that will be of great help to all students of the Bible. (Nov. 19, 2014)
- Self-Ignorance: Why are we so afraid to search our own hearts and know what lies within? Rev. John Caird, in this sermon entitled "Self-Ignorance," gives four reasons why. Although primarily a sermon directed to the unsaved, all Christians will profit greatly in reading it. (Nov. 17, 2014)
- The Unpardonable Sin: In this sermon Rev. Thomas Somerville delves into the subject of the sin against the Holy Ghost, or what is perhaps better known as "The Unpardonable Sin." What exactly is it? Have I committed it? Can I commit it? There is much assurance in this sermon for the weak and wavering Christian. But as Somerville attests, "it is the duty of faithful preachers to warn and alarm the guilty as well as to comfort the fearful and desponding." (Nov. 15, 2014)
- Circumcision and Water Baptism: Ken gives ten of the most obvious weaknesses to this theory in covenant theology: "Did Water Baptism Replace Circumcision as the 'Sign of the Covenant'?" These are strong arguments, and every reader will profit by having them at his fingertips. (Oct. 21, 2014)
- Death and the Eternal State: The well-known hymn, "My Jesus, I Love Thee," has these lines:
In mansions of glory and endless delight
I'll ever adore thee in heaven so bright.
Many hymns portray really bad theology. This is one of them. What is the final destiny of the redeemed? Is it heaven? Read our new paper, The Christian Answer to Death and The Eternal Destiny of the Redeemed" and find out. (August 27, 2014)
- Divine Pardon: In this sermon Rev. William Nevins illustrates 11 ways in which God's pardoning of sinners surpasses any pardon given by man. "Who is a pardoning God like thee?" will warm your heart with gratitude for what God has done in pardoning you! See also our Helpful Sermons page for many more uplifting sermons. (Sept. 1, 2014)
- The Worship Service: Should the Sunday morning worship service contain "entertainment"? Unfortunately, that is often a major emphasis today, usurping in some services even the place of Scripture reading and prayer. Should Christians at the worship service engage in social talk or, worse, business talk? Read this profound sermon by James Richards, "Behaviour Appropriate to God's House." See also our Helpful Sermons page for all the sermons. (August 13, 2014)
- Ecclesiastes: We have just expanded our material on the Book of Ecclesiastes. If you would like to learn about this fascinating book, check out our Ecclesiastes page. (July 31, 2014)
- The Psalms: David wrote, "For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?" (Ps. 6:5). Didn't David believe in an afterlife? See our new page, Studies in the Psalms. (June 7, 2014)
- A Christian Hymn? Read The Truth About "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee". (June 3, 2014)
- Replacement Theology and Amillennialism: Anyone at all familiar with this Web site knows that we are at the opposite end of the theological spectrum from replacement theology and amillennialism. At our sister Web site, Messiah Studies, we are posting perhaps the best book on Messianic prophecy that I have read: The Messiahship of Jesus by Alexander McCaul (1852). He does argue that the Messianic prophecies point to fulfillment by Yeshua (Jesus), but in his discussions he gives considerable attention to the Jewish objections to Christian interpretations of these prophecies. However, the point I would like to emphasize here is that he also argues for a literal fulfillment of the prophecies dealing with the future of national Israel and forcefully critiques replacement theology and amillennialism, which sees no future for Israel in an ethnic and national sense. I suggest that those who hold to replacement theology and amillennialism should examine this book carefully. The McCaul page is under the main menu item, "Messiah in the Tanakh." Under the menu selection "Summary Papers," there is a link, "The Messiah: An Overview," which is a short paper written by me summarizing what the prophets indeed predict for national Israel--God's chosen, covenant people, the apple of his eye and the nation written on the palms of his hands. You might also be interested in a short paper, "Does Eschatology Matter in Jewish Evangelism?" (February 18, 2014)
NIV Translation Unreliable
In many ways, we are living in a dangerous age. Some dangers are where you would least expect them, as for example the degree to which feminism has infected even evangelicalism. What translation of the Bible are you using? The NIV has become an unreliable translation. Read "An Evaluation of Gender Language in the 2011 Edition of the NIV Bible" produced by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
We have long lamented the lack of depth in the preaching within Evangelical churches today. Many Christians possess only a shallow knowledge of both the Bible and theology. Check yourself with two questions that should be very simple to any Christian who attends a Bible-believing church.
Bible knowledge: The Psalmist wrote, "Sing the glory of his name" (Ps. 66:2). What is his name? What is the name of the God of the Bible, the God you worship?
Theological knowledge: What is the meaning of the word propitiation, which is used, for example, in 1 John 2:2?
The answer to the first question is Yahweh (often misspelled "Jehovah," based on an error made by European scholars of the Renaissance period). Why doesn't every Christian know the name of God? Part of the reason, no doubt, is that even though it is used about 6000 times in the Old Testament, our English translations foolishly render the Hebrew name Yahweh as "LORD" (all capital letters). However, every minister should be using God's name as he preaches and should also be explaining to his congregation how to recognize when the divine writers of Scripture are using it. For more information, read my paper, Who Is the King of Glory?"
The answer to the second question is appeasement of wrath. That the death of Christ appeased the wrath of God on us is central to the theology of salvation. Why doesn't every Christian know the definition of propitiation?
We hope that the Bible study material posted at this site will both increase your knowledge of the Bible and theology and also encourage you to buy and read books by great Christian preachers and theologians. On this Web site we've posted a number of condensations of classical works as well as full-length books by various scholars and theologians. There are also a number of sermons by the "Prince of Preachers," Charles Spurgeon. In addition, you'll find several original, in-depth Bible-study papers written by us. The Site Map shows you everything on this Web site at a glance.
We hope you enjoy this Web site and that the Lord will use it to stimulate your interest in the Bible and the theology it teaches. Comments and questions are always welcome.
Daily Devotions from the Classics
Carol's "Daily Devotions from the Classics" contains 365 short, insightful excerpts from great Christian scholars and preachers of long ago as well as the recent past. You will be blessed by the writings of these godly men, among them Matthew Henry, Thomas Watson, Charles Spurgeon, and J. C. Ryle. Click here for your "daily devotions from the classics"!
Our Sister Web Site
We have another Web site, Messiah Studies, that is devoted to a detailed study of Messianic prophecy. However, it is a new Web site, and so far there are only a few papers posted. It is our goal, however, to develop a series of papers dealing with the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in historical order. The site is designed for Jewish inquirers, but Christians can gain much from these studies as well. There is also some Jewish music you can listen to, including HaTikvah, Hava Nagila, Jerusalem of Gold, and the Yigdal, on which the Christian hymn, "The God of Abraham Praise," is based. Please take a look and send us your suggestions. (January 27, 2012)
The star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.