Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Josephus
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 22:5

The word lad means "a boy, a young man." How old was Isaac at this time? The Hebrew word translated "young men," although plural, is the same as the word for "lad." The Jewish historian Josephus gives his age as 25, while rabbinic tradition says he was 36. Other commentators suggest he was 33. Because Isaac's life parallels the life of Christ to such an extent, that he was 33 years old at this time feels right.

Abraham tells his servants, "We will come back to you." Was he lying to them so as not to let Isaac know what was happening? It seems unlikely. Abraham is known as the "father of the faithful," and he had had the time to think the whole situation over. He knew that for God to deliver on His promises, Isaac would have to live. Hebrews 11:19 says Abraham acted as he did, "accounting that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead." He knew with ironclad certainty that God would resurrect his son. This in no way diminishes what Abraham had to do, for he still had to kill his own son! How many of us have that kind of faith?

Mike Ford
Abraham's One God

1 Kings 6:7

Josephus adds:

Now the whole structure of the temple was made, with great skill, of polished stones, and those laid together so very harmoniously and smoothly, that there appeared to the spectators no sign of any hammer, or other instrument of architecture, but as if, without any use of them, the entire materials had naturally united themselves together, that the agreement of one part with another seemed rather to have been natural than to have arisen from the force of tools upon them. (ibid.)

What a beautiful picture! This is what will happen when God completes His Temple! Living stones will come from all around the world, from different "quarries." God needs gems, stones, and boulders of different shapes, sizes, materials, and colors to finish His beautiful House. Thus, God is calling people from all personality types, backgrounds, races, and strengths so each can be the precise stone He needs in a specific place in His Temple.

There will be many needs, tasks, jobs, and projects in God's Kingdom. He knows exactly what "stone" He wants and where He needs it. We are those stones, planned for a specific spot for which God is preparing us. Because of His grace, blessings, and gifts, we will be fulfilling a precise role in His holy Temple.

The quarry is wherever we are now, where God is cutting, shaping, and polishing us to fit into the masterpiece He is building. We lose sight of this sometimes because we do not see the whole Temple coming together. How could we? We are still in the quarry where all we can see are a few other stones perhaps similar to ourselves. We cannot see the stones from the other quarries: first-century Christians, patriarchs, prophets, kings, true Christians throughout history, or even all the believers alive today. We do not see the whole picture yet—and will not—until all the stones arrive at the Temple Mount.

Living Stones in God's House

2 Chronicles 26:19-21

Josephus relates an interesting story, although there is no telling how true it is. He writes that the earthquake mentioned by Amos in Amos 1:1 (where the prophet writes that he prophesied two years before the earthquake), occurred when Uzziah entered the sanctuary. Further, he says that the roof of the sanctuary was torn or rent by the quake, and a ray of sunlight drilled into the Temple, striking Uzziah in the forehead. The shaft of light was quickly obscured, but the leprosy remained. Tradition says that this was the hand of God, showing His displeasure at the presumptuous pride of this man, whom He had blessed so greatly and who now felt infallible, above doing wrong, and that his word had become law.

Again, we see a man who started out marvelously, but when confronted late in life with the truth and told to repent for turning away—God was trying to save him from his destructive course—Uzziah refused.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Three Kings Are Missing From Matthew 1


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