Loving Leviticus

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Well, Hello out there. How in the world are you? I hope you are well, and enjoying the shopping season. Black Friday is behind us. Yay. And we are so looking forward to Christmas. Man… You are listening to the Rediscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’ll be your host. Whether you are a long time listener, or brand new to the show, I’m delighted you stopped by. For those of you who are new, we are in a really crowded time period, and I’m not able to bring you a show every week. So we’re getting on here as often as possible. Once this period settles down a bit, we’ll get back to weekly. Again, if you’re new, we have a whole boatload of historic episodes you can listen to. I’ll include a link to the archives in the show notes. You’ll find those notes at samburtonpresents.com. While you’re looking at them, I’d love it if you’d just go to the home page and sign up to receive notices every time we put a show out. Also, please drop me a note, either on the comments section of my FB account, or, in the comments section of the .com site. If you’d like to ask me a question privately, please send that to .

Now, that’s enough commercials. At least it is for me. We’re going back to the Old Testament today. Last time, I just had to take a side trip, but we’re back on the road today. And we’re going to look at the OT book of Leviticus. Everybody’s favorite. More than any other book of the Bible, this one is a show stopper. More people give up on reading the Bible here, than anywhere else. By a long shot. I’m going to try and change that for you today.

First, remember to read the NT first. That is mission critical. I know that’s not normal, or at least it feels odd. But trust me. In fact, I have a reading plan for the Bible that will really help you if you’re new to the Bible, or have trouble understanding it. Just write to me at samburtonpresents@gmail.com or use the comments section on the page with the show notes, and I’ll send it right out to you.

But, loads of people who are trying to read the bible, get through Genesis and Exodus, bog down in Leviticus, and quit. Frankly, they find the book, slow, gory, and far too detailed. There are hardly any stories in it. So they just give up and tell all their family and friends that they tried to read the Bible, but it was too boring.

Let me give you just a couple of tips to help you out. I know a few have already left us, just hearing the topic. I could hear them screaming and clicking the off button. But How and why did this book come about?

First, there are a lot of us who think that Moses only received the 10 commandments while he was up on the mountain. Mostly, we can blame Hollywood for that. But he was up there for 40 days. God gave him, all kinds of laws besides the 10 commandments. He also gave him instruction on the special clothes the priests were to wear, and detailed instructions regarding the tabernacle and it’s furniture.

But why? Why all this maddening detail? Why all these sacrifices? Why all these Tithing laws? What is all this stuff about leprosy? It seems to make no sense.

First, chances are, you’re not Jewish. The law has never been a part of your life or your family’s. It sounds so odd. So very foreign. But think of it a bit this way. Do you remember learning to drive? You got a manual. You had to take some tests, right? You had to read it over and over again to learn the material. First, so you could pass your test. Then so you could avoid accidents and tickets for disobeying the driving laws. You learned it. I bet you almost memorized it. Things like stopping distances kept you up at night, because you just knew some of that would be on the written test.

In a way, that’s why the book of Leviticus is in the Bible. It’s like a driving life, Bible manual, written directly by God. If you were a Jew, that would be an important read. Especially if you were a priest.

But you and I aren’t every going to have to pass a test on these laws. So why do we need to even read it, except for historic purposes.

First of all, it shows us how bad sin is. Look at the things we do, or have done, that would require an animal to be slaughtered. It’s awful. It was not unusual for up to 144,000 sheep, goats, bulls, and turtle doves to be sacrificed in a single day. Not in a year, but in a day. Blood flood like rivers. Life had to be especially tough on the priests and levites. Can you imagine the sight, the smells, the gore. But that’s how ugly sin is.

It shows us how holy God is. He can’t stand sin. He can’t be around it. He wants us to know that. He wants it gone. That, by the way, explains all the stuff about leprosy. Leprosy was a picture of sin. Any kind of rash, or open sore, or mould, or mildew might be leprosy. It had to be tested. If it was leprosy, it had to be dealt with. That’s what sin is. It makes us ‘unclean.” It makes us unfit to be around God. It is infectious. It spreads over us, and from one person to another. The book of Leviticus, points out explicitly, and graphicly, how bad sin really is.

But more than that, it Shows us Jesus. Jesus is the sacrificed lamb, goat, bull, and turtle dove. It doesn’t matter who we are, whether we’re rich or poor, educated, uneducated, male or female, or what nationality or race we are. We are all sinners. And sin puts us in a broken relationship with God. In the book of Hebrews we learn that the blood of Bulls and Goats can never take away sin. That’s why
we need Jesus. That’s why He came. That’s also why reading the new testament first, is important.

We will never have to sacrifice animals. There is no disease of leprosy anymore. Yes, there’s a disease called leprosy, but that’s a misunderstanding that we can blame the crusaders for. What we call leprosy today, is a baccillus, and is called, Hansen’s disease, after the doctor who isolated it.

became man. Sin is still awful. It still separates us from our perfect God. And that is some place nobody

When Jesus came, died, and was raised from the dead, he fulfilled the old testament law. No one ever has to sacrifice an animal again. Jesus died for us. Jesus was the man who is God. He is the God who wants to be. And it’s a place God doesn’t want us to be. Which is why Jesus came. That’s the meaning of Christmas. God became a man. He left the glory of heaven. The worship of angels, became a baby, grew to manhood, lived 33 years, taught, healed, loved, and forgave, every day of his life. Then he was butchered like a lamb. He was treated with contempt. He was chosen. He suffered humilitation and torment, so we wouldnt have to. After being savagely beaten for hours, he was taken out and crucified. Blood ran from his face, his hands, his back, and his feet. Then to make sure he was dead, he was pierced in the side with a spear, and blood flowed from there, too. He spilled his blood, all of it, to pay the price for our sin. We can accept his sacrifice by faith, repent of our behaviour, and be accepted by God. How great is that. Some of us have sinned a great deal. And we know it. Some of us may not be savagely guilty, but none of us is sinless. And the book of Leviticus shows us very clearly, that one is enough to do us in, to separate us from God.

But Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

It’s hard for me to do this via radio. But I will try. You know you’ve sinned. Many of you have already repented and received Christ. You are following him. You are forgiven and you know it. But there’s someone, or some ones, who haven’t. You know, maybe from Leviticus, that you are far from God. But you can change that today. Right this moment. You can turn to God. You can repent, that means turn. Change direction. Give God the Keys and let him drive. You can believe that God wants to forgive you. You can hit the pause button and do that now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

God asks us to do one thing to show our seriousness about faith and repentence. He asks us to be baptised in water. , you can read about this in the book of Acts in the NT, to show people we’ve made that choice, that confession, by being immersed in water. That’s why everybody love a baptismal service. Because that’s where we publicly declare our faith and repentence. And that’s it. It’s done. Sure there’s more to learn, but that’s where we are born again, Faith and Repentance. How easy is that.

If you’ve done that today, write me, and let me know. I want to pray for you. I will help you find a good Church, where you can grow, and enjoy the company of others who have made the same decision. Or, if you want to know more, please write me. Do it today. I will help any way I can. Sin is awful. You know it is. You know how broken you feel. But It can all change. Right now.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll talk to you next time. Remember, Leviticus will point you to Jesus. He will receive you and forgive you. Not might. He Will. Have a great week. I’m out

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Podcast Episode – I’m Calling An Audible

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Image result for calling an audible imagesIt’s cold outside. I just thought you should know that. I’m aware that many of my U.S. Friends are already experiencing snow. It’s rather early for that. Brr… It’s not that bad here in Buckie. Sure the temps are in the 30s, and there’s been a lot of frost early in the mornings, but we’ve not had any real snow. We had some sleet and snow early this week, but it was much worse in the mountains. They are snow capped. Again, I know many of you had a very long hot summer, now winter has come early. That’s wild. It’s no wonder that so many people like to talk about Climate Change rather than Global Warming. But I digress. You are listening to the ReDiscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’m your host.

Whether you’re a brand new visitor, or a long time listener, I am so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much. Please tell a friend, or 10 about the show. You are awesome.

Listen, I’m calling an audible today. I’m changing up just a bit. And I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. Those of you who are regular listeners know a couple things about ReDiscovering the Bible. You know that we’ve been going through the Bible, looking at the Books, discovering who wrote them, to whom and why. We are taking a very general overview. I’m trying to help you read the Bible for yourself, rather than explaining all of it. And I’m supposed to get with you every week. I’ve failed repeatedly at that. Mostly it’s the time of year. Some call it Christmas, or “the Holidays”. But I also bit off a rather big mouthful by starting back to school to earn my Doctorate degree. What a silly time of year to do that. Some things have taken a hit. This show is one of them. For that I do apologize, but I’m also letting you know that until I get this finished, you should look for every other week rather than every week. I don’t want to stop this program until I get finished with my doctorate, That would be counter productive. But I do want to be honest. So, for the time being, I’ll probably produce something every other week.

Now, the second audible is, we were going to look at three books of the Old Testament today, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But something happened yesterday that has really affected me, and I want to share my thoughts about it with you.

Yesterday morning, I got a text from a good friend of ours in Maine. She told me that a mutual friend of ours, a chap I used to work with, had died. I was devastated. William was one of the best managers I’ve ever known. He genuinely cared about his team. Every spring, at the end of April, we had to let about 50 people go. It was a seasonal business. We ramped up every year from late autumn till mid april, then we had to let a bunch go. It was just the nature of things. William studied his daily reports and tried to find a way to keep as many people employed as possible. He hated to let anyone go. He wouldn’t sleep for a week. His team meant that much to him.

And they knew it. There are all kinds of people discussing him, his life, and his funeral arrangements online. Everyone is in shock. Totally stunned.

I haven’t seen him in ten years. The company was sold. I was kept on and transferred to GA. William, for family reasons, came to GA for 6 months, but went back to Maine in the spring of 2009. He came to my office, we shared some coffee and memories, and he left. That’s it. I never saw him again.

I’m sad about that. I’ve been way too guilty of kind of forgetting about people from my past, including people who meant a great deal to me.

I had a friend, Robert, from Indiana, who followed me as youth minister in KY, when I first came to Scotland, back in 1980. Robert came in 82 and lived with me for 6 months, then returned to the states to raise money to come back full time as minister here. He lived with me another 6 months, then found a place to live. We had many adventures together over the years. We went to Germany to a conference I was preaching in. That was tons of fun. He was one of two friends who was with me on my first preaching trip to Northern Ireland. He was in the car when I got arrested for being somewhere I shouldn’t be, and taking photos of the British army. It’s a long story, I’ll save it for some other time.

When I was returning to the States in 93, Robert came to my home to tell me he was going back to the States as well. He returned to Indiana. I went to Florida. I never saw him again. Robert died in 2015.

William and Robert are just two examples of a personality flaw I have. I’m really terrible at staying in touch with the people that matter. Sure, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help, but there are so many people I have neglected over the years. Even the Churches here in Buckie, The one I planted in Forres, and in Cumbernauld, I simply ignored. So many people I cared about have long since passed on, and I was blissfully unaware.

I have friends from High School, and college, who mattered a great deal to me, that I couldn’t tell you what’s happened to them. Except when I get a notice that they have passed away. I look back on the people I worked with in Florida, who I served as minister to in Iowa, Argentina, Kentucky, and Maine.

I’ve got a friend, right here in Scotland, that I’ve only seen once in 2.5 years. He lives about 40 minutes away from me. He was the first Christian in the Forres Church. We used to have our Bible Studies in his house. I talk to his wife via Facebook, but I’ve really neglected Mike. I’m a real slob of a friend, sometimes.

I really want to do better. I want to be better. Some of the people from my past have died without knowing Jesus as their savior. I certainly know I spoke with each of them about Jesus, but I truly hurt, when I think about people who enter eternity alone.

Please, if you have been neglectful, like I have been, I encourage you to make a fresh start. Again, the internet is a great tool for using to reaquaint ourselves with people from our past.

And, on a related note, none of us knows if we will even have a tomorrow. Make the most of today. If you need to talk to someone, do it. If you need to visit some place, go there. Regrets are terrible monsters. Read that book you’ve always wondered about. See that film, or play. Go to that concert. Try on that dress. Taste that food. You have today. Make the most of it.

I also want you to consider Jesus. Do not permit your life to end, without investigating His claims. He really died for you. But more than that. He rose again, three days later. Jesus is the Man who is God. He is the God who became Man. He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to give you the chance to start over. He wants to forgive you. He wants to give you eternal life. Guaranteed.

Just this morning I was reading something really neat in the Gospel of Matthew. This is in Chapter 20, if you want to read it for yourself, and I hope you will. But Jesus is telling a story to the people. He talks about a wealthy land owner who hires a bunch of people to work for him in the fields. He goes back at 9 in the morning, and hires some more. Then he is out and about near the end of the day, and sees a bunch of people milling about, and offers them a job too. At the end of the day, he pays the last hired the same amount as the people who had worked all day.

That is the best news. All of us get the same heaven. Some of us, like me, have been in the Kingdom all day long. I was 9 years old when I first followed Jesus. I don’t regret it at all. But many people don’t follow him until late in the day. I saw an article online about a woman, 100 years old, who decided to follow Jesus. I saw a photo of her being baptized. That was awesome to me. And, if you’ve read the Gospels, you’ve read about one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus who said to Jesus, “Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus said, “TODAY. You will be with me in paradise.”

It’s never too late. As long as you’ve got your wits about you, and breath in your body, you can receive Him as your Lord, and He will accept you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. How much, or How little. Just don’t keep saying tomorrow. Because you don’t know if your tomorrow will come.

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Exodus Part Two

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Exodus part 2

Image result for 10 commandments images public domainToday we’re looking at the second part of our study in the book of Exodus. If you missed last week’s episode, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you. And you’ll find those show notes at samburtonpresents.com. Please follow the instructions right below my photograph and register to get notifications every time a new episode comes out. I guess alternatively, you could go to my FB page, samburtonga, and friend me there, you’ll also get notifications there. Of course you’ll get all my news that way. And that could be scary. By all means, friend me on FB, if you dare.

Anyway last week we quick look at the first 15 chapters of Exodus. There is some incredible drama there, so do look up the episode.

I realize that Genesis – Deuteronomy covers a fairly detailed time period of 40 years, and it’s mostly hilights, or low lights, but it never seems to strike me how the Israelis complained almost constantly.

In chapter 16, after God had delivered them from the Egyptian army, they start fussing about food. Did God bring us out here to die? We should have stayed in Egypt? They’ve already forgotten how bad things were in slavery, and where whining about the shortage of food.

All my life I’ve been mystified by this one. They have all their herds and stuff with them. They never think, Oh, let’s slaughter a sheep and eat. Some of these people would have large herds. A single sheep would have fed a family for a couple days, at least. A cow would have fed them a long time. But they don’t even consider that. Instead they complain because God should provide something for them.

And the amazing thing is, God did. He gave them something they called Manna. Manna means, what is it? I seemed to come down with the dew. It appeared for them 6 days a week for 40 years. They never had too little. They didn’t have to touch their herds and flocks to eat.

I find it astounding that even then it wasn’t enough. In chapter 17, they complain because they are out of water. Just as an aside, if they are getting dew every morning, it would have been fairly easy for them to get at least some of their water. When it rained they knew how to catch more, but they had to complain.

And again, God provides water for them from a stone. It’s a tremendous story. In our for what it’s earth story, in Saudi Arabia, not too far from the place I told you about last week, that’s a possible place of crossing the red sea, there is a rock that stands apart from the others. It’s kind of in a clearing. It looks like it’s been split in two just like a tree that’s been hit by lightening. The surrounding countryside looks very similar to the countryside described in the Bible story. Honestly, when I see pictures of it, it really looks like the rock has been split by God. I can see in my mind, water flowing from the rock into the valley below, filling it up and providing more than enough for the people and their animals.

I get rather impatient with the Israelis. It seems like no matter what God does for them, they have become so entitled, that regardless of what He does, it’s not enough for them. I truly hope that I’m not that way.

The next big event in Exodus, is in many ways, the most famous part. It’s in Chapter 20, when God gives the 10 Commandments. These 10 commandments have been the foundation of the majority of laws in the civilized world. I’m not going to park here, because I might just stay a week, but I would like you to consider this.

Once, Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment. You can read all about it in Matthew 22:36-40. His answer was most interesting. He says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

When you look closely, you’ll see that the first 5 of the 10 commandments are about loving God, and the next 5 are about loving your neighbor. I find that fascinating.

Then the next several chapters, through Chapter 31, are a variety of other specific laws and instructions concerning the tabernacle that God gave to Moses. When you read them, I want you to pay special intentions to the specific requirements. God has selected the Israelis to bring his Messiah into the world, and he has a few special instructions for them.

But you’ll see, that even while God is giving the laws to Moses, the people at the base of the mountain are involved in great sin. They are making an idol. They even get Aaron involved in their blasphemous behavior.

We get to that in Chapter 32. God tells him about the disobedience and says He’s ready to wipe them out, but Moses comes to their defense. When Moses comes down off the mountain, where he’s just spent a few weeks with God, he finds the people are in total chaos. He throws the tablets to the ground in either disgust or anger. God’s commandments are broken.

In my opinion, that is an incredibly illustrative story. God gave the law to point out how bad sin is. In fact it’s so bad, that before the people even hear God’s law, it’s broken, both spiritually and literally.

But God is gracious. He calls Moses back up the mountain to get the law again, but this time Moses carries tablets with him.

The rest of the book is all about the precise building of the Tabernacle. The tent. The representation of God’s presence with men. He even gives precise detailed instructions on the garments the priests are to wear.

I think that’s really interesting. God gives these major instructions on a temporary building. In fact, God always considered the tabernacle to be temporary. It was David who wants to build a permanent structure, which God allows Solomon to build, but He authorized the tabernacle.

Jesus was always God’s permanent plan. The book of Hebrews in the NT explains that. The whole plan was to bring the Messiah into the world.

But the Jews missed it completely. We’re going to see over and over how the OT shows us how humans could not live by the law. We’re going to see rebellion after rebellion. And we’re going to discover multiple thousands of animals sacrificed. And still the people sin.

But we’ll save some of that for next time. In fact, we’ll look at 3 books, leviticus, numbers and, Deuteronomy. It’s a tough slog, but it’s given to us for a very good reason. So, until then, you all take care. That’s all I’ve got right now. See you…I’m out…

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Ketogenic First World Problems! I Got Em!

Image result for fat guy on scales images public domainI’m Stuck. I haven’t lost any weight in a month. Yikes! Have you ever had that happen? If so, then you understand the discouragement. I have not been ‘cheating’ and eating carbs. They are offered to me all the time, but I stay away.

In the past, I would just say, “Forget this”, and go back to eating the old way. But this is a new day. What I have had to do, is figure out what I’m doing wrong, and make adjustments. I have done that, and my direction is clear. I need to cut calories. Wow! That even hurt to type.

See, one of the mistakes people often make when switching to a Ketogenic Diet, is forgetting about calories. When we get off of sugar, and other carbs, our bodies naturally lose some weight. And generally, we’ve cut our calories just by switching fuels.

But I’ve hit a point where I need to cut some calories, too. So it’s time for me to add in the calories I’m eating in addition to the protein, carb, and fat macros. I need to eat less than 1900 Calories if I want to keep losing weight.

That scares me, because I might not feel full at first. Since I started this journey back in April, I haven’t had to feel hungry at all. Now I’m forced to face my fears. Hunger is one of my greatest fears. What am I going to do?

First, I’m going to pray. I am one of those people who believes God wants the best for us, and that He will help us find solutions, and stick to them. I need His help. When I hurt my ankle, or knee, I sometimes need help walking. I have had to use a crutch or a walking cane. I have a cane in my closet in the hallway. I’m not ashamed of it.

I need God to help me in every area of my life. Some day, I’ll explain that in detail, but for now, just know that I’m going to ask God to help me deal with this. My weight has held me back in more ways than I tell you. Two years ago, it nearly killed me. I can’t run anymore, because of damage to my knees, from being too fat. I can’t even compete with dogs in the sports I love, because of my fat. I can’t wear nice clothes. Fat has been a major problem. I need God’s help to beat my addiction, not just to sugar, but to food.

Ok, I’m ranting, let’s move on. I’m also going to go back to the beginning and journal every bite I take. Not so much to track the carbs, but to track the calories. I have no doubt that I’m eating too much peanut butter, cheese, and other dairy products.

I’m scared, but I’m not giving up. I’m going forward. I have beaten this sugar thing. I no longer fear it. Now I just have to face down the Calorie Monster. I’m not going to try something silly like a 1500 calorie diet, but I’m going to set 1900 as my maxim calorie limit for a day.

So here goes. This starts tomorrow. Watch this space. I’ll keep you posted. What about you? Have you had to cut calories when you switched to Keto? Tell me about your experience. After all, we’re in this together.

Exodus Part 1

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Show Notes

Image result for Red Sea Discoveries imagesToday, we’re going to look at the Book of Exodus. That’s the second book in the Old Testament. In case a new discoverer, we’ve been looking at each of the Books of the Bible. We started with the New Testament, and now we’re going back to the Old. I’ll leave a link in the show notes, in case you want to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows.

The book of Exodus is really rather exciting. It tells the story of how the Israelis were in Egypt and were eventually made slaves. It talks about how God sent a deliverer names Moses to set them free and lead them through the desert towards the land he had promised them. It’s really quite dramatic in it’s telling. The book was written by Moses himself, somewhere around 1407 BC.

There is some controversy around when these events happened, and we’ll tackle some of them while we

re together. But let me just say that when we think of Ancient Egypt, we tend to think that everything we find buried in the sand, is all related to the slavery of the Jews. That simply isn’t true. For example, I don’t think they built the great pyramid. I think it was built a long time before the Israelis. But I think all the talk about Rameses II and the 1200s BC talk that you often hear from liberal scholars, is also rubbish.

Moses gives us enough detail that we can pretty much pin the dates to the 15th century BC. When the story begins, the midwives of the Jews are asked to kill baby boys, but Moses mother, hides her son in a basket, in the Nile and he was found by a woman callled, Pharoah’s daughter. Interestingly, there was a woman who actually had that as her Title. Her name was Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Tutmose II and the brother of Tutmose III. Her father loved her very much and she was the first woman to be treated like a pharoah. This woman would have been powerful enough to rescue an Israeli baby and raise him as her own. And she lives right at the time tha’t best fits the Biblical time period. She is hated by her brother, Tutmose III and once he becomes pharoah, he tries to wipe her name out of existence. It’s fascinating to read about it and see the conflict between them. And it follows that Tutmose would be angry with Moses. Because he was raised by Hatshepsut as a prince of Egypt, he would have been seen as such by the people and explains how he had access to Tutmose whenever he liked. Hatshepsut had been loved by many people so Tutmose would have indulged Moses.

One of my favorite visits, was to the Egypt exhibit in the British Museum. In fact, Brittan and I are going there in a couple of weeks. One of the things I love is all the stuff they have related to Tutmose III. His very sarcophagus is there. As I walk through that exhibit, I can imagine, the debates between Him and Moses.

When we look at the ten plagues God cursed the Egyptians with, we must take note that these plagues were directly related to Egyptian worship. They worshiped the Nile, Frogs, their cattle, their gods of the sky and harvests. Ultimately, they worshipped the Sun and Pharoah himself. So each of the plagues was pitting God against those worshiped by the Egyptians. They are not random acts. There is purpose to them. We don’t see that unless we’re told about it, but the Egyptians and Israelis both would have known exactly what this was all about.

The slavery part of Israel’s history ends with the Passover. God tells them to butcher a lamb and eat it quickly, with a few quick vegetables and herbs and unleavened bread. They are to take some of the blood of the lamb and paint the top of their doors with it. When the angel of judgment and death comes by, he will pass over any doors covered by blood.

Death was everywhere in Egypt that night. By morning they were begging the Israeli’s to leave. They were actually paying them to go. And the Jews walked out of Egypt, a free people.

To this very day, Passover is an important part of the Jewish calendar. Even Jews who don’t believe much at all will practice the passover.

But sadly, they don’t see it as a picture of Jesus. Jesus, who, like the lamb, was sacrificed, at Passover. Some day, each one of us will stand before the Judge. We are all guilty and deserve punishment, but we will be passed over by the blood of the lamb who’s blood we claim, just like the Jews did. Oh how I see Jesus in every part of the Passover. I hope you will, too.

There is one more part of the Book of Exodus I want to look at for a moment. And that is, the crossing of the Red Sea. That’s a really awesome story. We read about it in the 14th Chapter. After the Jews had been gone a few days, Pharoah had regrets and sent his army out to bring them back. The Jews found themselves trapped, with the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They thought they were done. But God spoke to Moses and told him to stretch his walking staff out over the sea. When Moses did that, the sea parted. Interestingly, the Cloud of God’s presence stood between the Jews and the army almost like a fog, and the Egyptians did not see them crossing on dry ground. When God lifted the cloud, the Egyptians saw the Jews and ran into the sea bed, which God closed in around them, drowning the army of Egypt.

The story is beyond dramatic, it’s miraculous. Many people scoff at it. But why? Interestingly, this coincides with about a 70 year time period, when the Egyptians became monotheists. Now, they weren’t worshiping the God of the Jews, but their pantheon of Gods had just been defeated, along with their army. They had a new pharoah, and he led them in this monotheistic revival.

Also, consider the archaeological evidence. I remember when I was young, thinking divers should find something at the bottom of the red sea, but there was nothing there. That’s until fairly recently. See, the red sea has two fingers that stick up. There is the Gulf of Suez, but there is also the gulf of Aquaba. We have always thought the Jews crossed the gulf of Suez. Liberal scholars have even suggested there was a shallow bit to the north that would have worked. But in the late 60s, an explorer found an interesting set of sites over in the gulf of Aquaba.

Roughly a quarter of the way down the gulf, there is a sandy beach, directly across from it is another beach in Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi side, he found memorial markers and other signs that made him think this might actually be the spot. The problem is, the Saudis wouldn’t allow anyone to come see them.

He did manage to get some divers to do some work in the sea and they found several chariot wheels and other objects that looked like something had happened. But again, the saudis were a hindrance to the research.

Just last week, I read that the Saudis are considering opening these sites up for exploration and possibly even tourism. This could be really interesting. Especially, because if it pans out, a lot of tourist places and old worship sites like monasteries, built since the middle ages, will prove to be false. And we will have to deal with the repercussions of the scandal from the fall out. Stay tuned for this part. There is another site in this region of Saudi that looks pretty interesting, too, but again we’ll have to wait and see. I will get into it a bit next week.

When you read Exodus, I want you to understand the history that was surrounding these events. The events of the bible happened in space and time. Much of the history we can’t find, because history was not well chronicled in those days. But much has been uncovered. And the Bible is being confirmed all the time. You don’t hear about it, because it doesn’t match the agenda people want to feed or be fed. But the simple truth is, the Bible is stunningly accurate is all it proclaims.

So far in the book we’ve seen that God loves his people and delivers them from bondage. And folks, that’s the story of Jesus. God love his creation. He knows that we are held prisoner, not from Egypt, not from any government, but from sin. Jesus died and his blood sets us free. We will still be chased and tested, but God will be there with and for us. Every step of the way. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will trust him. That’s your call.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll finish the book of Exodus next time. I hope you have a great week. Read the book of Exodus, if you can. Write me with questions and thoughts. I’ll talk to you then, but for now…..Yep…I’m out…..

Podcast – Genesis Part 2 – Pictures of Jesus

 

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October is a very interesting month for English Speaking Christians. It was in October, the 6th to be precise, that an English Christian was executed for his faith back in 1536. His name was William Tyndale. Tyndale was executed for the crime of translating the Bible into English. Yikes. For that crime he was strangled to death, then his body was burned at the stake.

Within just a few years of his death, the King of England ordered that an English Bible be placed in every church in the country. And in less that a hundred years, King James the 1 of England, and the 6th of Scotland, authorized a brand new translation, that was in the common ordinary language of the people of the 17th century. We call it, the King James version. The British call it, the Authorized version. And the King James Bible changed the entire British Empire. Even in the 21st century, it is still the most widely recognized translation of the Bible. It still sells millions of copies a year.

Plus, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries we’ve had a flood of new translations, each one trying to make the Bible understandable to modern ears.

I also read last week that Christians in China are memorizing the entire Bible. All of it. The Chinese govt. is burning Bibles again, so people are committing it to memory, because the Govt. can’t ban it from your memory.

Most of us have Bibles somewhere in our homes, probably gathering dust. Yet, William Tyndale gave his life so you could have one. And the chinese are memorizing huge portions of it. What’s the deal? What are we missing. Perhaps it’s time for us to rediscover the Bible. And that’s why I’m here. To help give you some information to make the Bible more interesting, and to help you make the most of it when you read it for yourself.

If you look through the episodes, you’ll find something one every book of the New Testament. We started looking at the old testament last week. I’ll put some links in the show notes so you can easily find past episodes. If you’re listening on a stitcher app. You can just search Rediscovering the Bible on it and find every episode. But like I said, I’ll put something in the show notes on samburtonpresents.com. So you can find them.

Last week we looked at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Those are some of the most criticized chapters in the Bible, because they talk about how the world was created, about the Flood of Noah, and some other kind of far out stories. While I believe those are just highlights, I do believe they are historically accurate, Because Jesus talks about Creation, and Noah and the Flood. He puts his stamp of approval on the book of Genesis. That’s why I want you to read the NT before you start on the Old. It just makes sense.

But the story changes starting with Chapter 12 of Genesis. This is where we see the genesis, or beginning of the nation of Israel, the Jews. It begins with Abraham. Abraham lives in Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was a real place. It is in southern Iraq. Obviously, it’s just a ruin today, but when God calls Abraham, that’s where he lived.

I think it’s important to note here, that the Bible indicates there are many people who worshipped Him long before there were Jews or Christians. Noah, of course. Here we meet Abraham. Later we’ll meet Melchizedek. In Exodus, we’ll run into Moses’ Father in Law, who is a priest of God. It’s not like there were not faithful followers before the Jews. The jews were chosen because God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to bless the whole world by providing a savior through his bloodline.

Abraham is a genuine hero. His story is full of action and intrigue. He is not perfect. But he loves and serves God. And God promises to bless him.

The rest of the book is all about his family. Its about his relationships with women, with God, with his kids. And it’s about his son, grandson and great grandchildren. God promises to give him the land we now call the Holy Land. His descendants are going to inherit this land. But not just yet.

When you read the book, you’ll enjoy many of the adventures and misadventures of Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. their stories are only part of the story. The whole bible is about Jesus. And I want you to take special notice of pictures of Jesus in the Book of Genesis.

First, Isaac is a picture of Jesus. He is the chosen one. The promised one. And when he is just a young man, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is about 125 give or take when God asks him to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac is in his mid 20s. Frankly, I think he could have taken out his dad, but he is willing to be an offering of that’s what God required. Wow. That is definitely Jesus. Just like Jesus will carry his own cross, Isaac even carries the wood for the fire where he is going to be burned.

But there is another picture of Jesus in that story. It’s in chapter 22 btw. At the very last moment, God spares Isaac, and provides a Ram as Isaac’s replacement. Jesus is the ram for us. We should face judgement for sin, but Jesus took it for us. And one of the things that a lot of people don’t know, is Jesus was crucified on the very same hill as this event with Abraham and Isaac. This is where David built his city. It is where Jerusalem is today. It is where the temple stood. That’s amazing. Think about that. What are the odds? Unless of course, God had something to do with it.

But there is one more picture of Jesus in Genesis. That is Joseph. Joseph, we know him mostly for his amazing technicolor dream coat. But he is a picture of Jesus. First of all, while we see sin in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And in his other sons. The bible is silent about Joseph’s sin. He even resists temptation when he is faced with it. He is sold for a pittance to passers by, just as Jesus is sold by Judas. He disappears. His father is sold a story of his spilled blood. He is dead as far as his family is concerned. But God raises him up in Egypt. And he is able to save his entire family from a terrible famine sweeping the world around them.

It’s a remarkable story of sin and salvation. The book of Genesis is really quite unforgettable. And it’s not made up. I know you’ll enjoy it. You’ll have questions. Keep the Gospels in mind before you read it. I’d really like to hear any that you have. Write me with them. I’ll talk to you soon. Have an awesome week. I know I plan to. For now, That’s all I got, so…I’m out.

 

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Genesis – The Beginning

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Image result for the big bang images public domainLast time we were together I mentioned to you that all the old episodes of the show were back up and available. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. But it kind of changes the direction of the show. All the programs related to books of the New Testament, are available to you, beginning with episode 16. That’s where we started looking at the book of Matthew. I’m going to link to that episode in the show notes, but I will also put a link to the Podcast Garden website, and an RSS feed link so you can get the episodes. For those of you with a Stitcher app on your phone, you can search ReDiscovering the Bible and get all the episodes that way. I still haven’t checked to see what our status is on iTunes, but since iTunes is going away, I’m not in a big hurry to look at it. I do know that if you have the podcast player app, that you can find us there. Please tell your friends about the show, and let me know if there are other places we should be. I’m still working on Spotify. Stay tuned.

Today, we’re going to start looking at the books of the Old Testament. Honestly, they are much harder to understand in the 21st century than the books of the New Testament. That’s why I always recommend reading the NT first. And twice if you can, before you read the Old Testament. And, read the book of Hebrews in the New Testament just before you start reading the old testament, as it’s like a decoder ring for helping you understand the Old Testament. I’m serious. If you read Hebrews first, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The Old Testament, just like the New, is about Jesus. But is was written long before he was born. The oldest books were about 1400 years before, and the most recent was about 400 years before he was born.

From the 12th Chapter of Genesis on, the OT deals with the nation of Israel, the Jews. The storyline goes simply that God chose this guy Abraham to bring the savior of the world through his offspring. As you read, you’ll see why. I just don’t want to get into the weeds just yet. Since Abraham had multiple children, God chose to work through his son, Isaac. Isaac had 2 sons, Jacob and Esau. The bloodline was to go through Jacob. Jacob has 12 sons. They become the nation of Israel. The rest of the Old Testament is about their trials and tribulations as a people. Their great successes and their catastrophic failures. The Bible doesn’t suggest that the Jews are the only people on earth or that God doesn’t care about other nations. It’s simply that the coming Saviour is to come through the Jews.

God gives them some special and strict laws. Those laws were for the Jews only. There are some horrific things that happen in the Old Testament. I will try and explain them as we get to them. We are not under the old testament laws anymore. Jesus changed all that. The new testament tells us that He fulfilled all the requirements, and we are in a new covenant with God. It’s not one written in stone, but written on our hearts. Jesus has set us free from all that. And as we go, you’ll see why Christianity is such a great thing.

One other thing. The books of the Old Testament are not put together in your Bible in chronological order. They are grouped according to theme. Oddly, the first books, are the first ones. There are 5 of them. In fact, the Books are divided into 5 themes. And you only have to remember these numbers, 5, 12, 5,5, 12. There are the 5 books of law, followed by the 12 books of history, then we have the 5 books of poetry, followed by 5 the five, Major prophets, and we finish with the 12 minor prophets. The names major and minor are only because of the lengths of the books. Nothing to do with importance.

God is the ultimate author of these books. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, that all Scripture is God Breathed. But God had nothing to do with the order in which we have them in our Bible. It’s probably not in the best reading order. But we’ll go through them in the order you find them in the table of Contents.

The first book is Genesis. Genesis, means beginning. Kind of makes sense. And there are several beginnings described in the book. Moses is the author. It was written between 1447 and 1407 BC, during the 40 years the Israelis were wandering in the wilderness.

In the book, Moses tells us about several beginnings. He tells us about the beginning of the world. Then he tells us about the beginning of Sin, and God’s plan to redeem the world. And he describes the Beginning of the nation of Israel. As you read, keep in mind that the Bible never pretends that the Jews, are the only people on earth. It is focused on them, because they are chosen to bring the Saviour to the world.

You will learn a lot about how bad Sin is. How great God is. And how impossible it is to be religious. Say what? One of the things the old testament teaches us is that sin separates us from God and that religion, however good it is, is not effective. But I’ll come back to that. You’re still shocked by hearing a conservative preacher say such things about religion.

Let’s take a closer look at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Those chapters sound so odd to our 21st century ears. In many ways, it reminds of of reading Gilgamesh, or Homer, or old stories from Greco or Roman legends. Some of that has to do with writing styles. And some is just the way the history is remembered and passed on.

Remember, Moses wasn’t there at the beginning. He was relaying the story as it was handed to him from generations before. In fact, most scholars think that Genesis 1 is like a poem, or something similar, which is how each generation taught the Creation of the world. There’s a huge difference is the style in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

I think Chapter 1 is Moses relaying the creation story as it was relayed to him. It is poetic and majestic. But that doesn’t mean it is not true. Was the earth created out of nothing, or did it evolve over billions of years. None of us was there. We can’t possibly speak from experience. I remember going to Carlsbad Caverns when I was a sophmore in college. I remember very well, the guide saying that if the stalagtites were growing at the same rate since they began, then it would take X billion years to reach their current size. But there’s no way of knowing whether or not things have changed. I also remember learning that there were stalagtites in Churchills tunnels build for WW II. Those had begun growing very fast and were only 50 years old when at the time.

Honestly, Darwinian Evolution has been shown to be absolutely rife with holes. If you dig a little you’ll see what I mean. None of us was there and we have to make assumptions. The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation says that God made the heavens and the earth. He is the creator. Jesus himself believed that. Therefore, so do I.

I’m not anti science. I can just look at the world around me and see consistency with what the Bible says. Was it created in 7 days? I’m not going to get into that discussion. I’m just not. I think that the Bible is consistent in how it uses the word day. I believe it was 7 literal days. I think that to deny that, creates problems with other parts of the Bible. I know the Bible says God made the world. He made it on purpose and for a purpose. He made humans different that the other animals. And the Bible is about people. The Gospel is about people.

Ok, I’m getting bogged down. My goal is not to defend creationism. Maybe I’ll do that another time. But I do want to defend the fact that the Bible teaches that God made the world. All of it. And that humans are different than the other animals. We alone are made in the image of God. We alone have created speech and written languages. We alone have invented the airplane and the smartphone. God made us the top of creation. But He also told us to be responsible to take care of it. We’ve done a terrible job of that.

When you look at the plastic in the ocean. Oh my gosh is it bad. By the way, it’s not coming from straws in California. In fact, less than 3 % of the water pollution comes from the western world. Less than 3%. It comes first from Asia. China, India, Thailand, etc. Secondly it comes from Africa. The USA and GB could stop using plastic 100% and it would have no impact on the oceans. I’m just saying that the outrage makes us feel better but it’s not going to help.

I get just as frustrated with commercial agriculture. If you look at the poison in our waterways you’d be stunned. We have millions of tons, millions upon millions of gallons, of chemicals being washed into our waterways from factories and factory farms. Is it any wonder that we have the mess we have. We’re killing off birds, butterflies, and bees by trying to have the best looking lawns in our HOA. We’re doing it. Big agra and Big Pharma are making them, but we buy them and spray our fields and our gardens and our yards. We are killing our planet. Even a little thing like a bag on the back or side of a lawnmower is helping to kill the planet. Yet, we’re blaming cow farts. Oh my gosh. Sin had made us stupid.

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked again. I do that. After Creation. Genesis describes the beginning of Sin. First in Adam and Eve’s disobedience followed by Cain killing Abel. Sin and its consequences are what the Bible is all about. Adam and Eve sinned. That cost them eternal life. It greatly increased their work load. It cost them their garden home. Their access to the tree of life.

Sin is universal. If we learn anything about life from the OT, it’s that. One of the interesting thing about the Bible is it does not hide the flaws of it’s heroes. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later Moses, David, Solomon, and so on…are flawed people. Some of them seek God’s forgiveness. Some walk away from God altogether. But sin is everywhere.

If you learn anything from reading Genesis, learn that. Look for it as you read the book. Sin cost adam and Eve so much. Besides their eternal lives and their home. It cost them their first two sons. Abel because he died, and Cain because he was forced to leave his home and wander the earth.

By the 6th chapter, sin has become so all encompassing, the human race has made sinning a kind of worship. Even Angels join in the rebellion. That’s why the flood came.

Humans had become so corrupt that God was sorry he ever made us in the first place. But, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It was grace, undeserved favor, that kept Noah and his family alive. I’m so grateful that God is gracious and forgiving.

In fact, all the way back in Genesis chapter 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, God told them that one day, a savior would come. In 3:15 we read the first promise that Jesus would come. And that verse sets the stage for the entire OT. It’s about God preparing the world for this saviour.

There are also some things in Chapter 6 that will help you to understand why God is so upset with the people of Canaan when the Israelis inherit the land upon their release from slavery in Egypt. I want you to take note of verses 2-4. About these Nephilim. These hybrid people that were physical giants and very evil. I know it sounds like something out of Greek mythology. But perhaps greek mythology is based on something that really happened. Nearly every people group has a legend of giants, and a flood, and a survivor of the flood.

Even the North American native people told of Giants. And their fear of 6 fingered men. We’ll talk about that again in a few weeks. I promise.

I’m convinced that the Bible has the story right and that other myths and legends are just that. I’m convinced of it because of Jesus. Jesus put his stamp of approval on the story of creation. On the story of Noah. And Jesus rose from the dead. That gets my attention.

I want to make clear that the Bible says more that that it rained for 40 days and nights. Gosh I live in Scotland. It does that here every year. The Bible says that the heavens opened up. The clouds emptied themselves in torrential rain. But it also says the fountains of the great deep broke up. That means the earth exploded. The clouds above emptied themselves and the earth blew up. The tectonic plates shifted and everything went crazy. The very earth reshaped itself. That’s why the fossil records are so chaotic. That explains so much about geology. The whole world went through a kind of recreation. Everything changed. The story of Noah’s flood is not a children’s fable. It’s a horror story that holywood can’t possibly recreate. It will keep you up at night if you really think it through.

What could possible cause such a catastrophy? What could make God that angry? Sin. Sin separates us from a relationship with God. He cannot allow it in his presence. It was so all encompassing, that he had to destroy the earth and nearly every person on the planet because of it.

But Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord. We got a brand new start on a rebuilt earth. And yet sin is so widespread, it has taken the human race captive within a single generation after the flood. By my reckoning, Shem, the son of Noah, was still alive at the tower of Babel. One who saw the destruction of the entire planet was still around yet the people were caught up in rebelling.

We’re going to see that over and over through the Old Testament. Sin, it’s consequences, and it’s control over the people will be a constant theme of the O.T. That’s why it’s such a hallelujah moment when Jesus is born in Bethlehem.

 

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