Christ's Death and Resurrection
On Saturday, March 27, 2004, Norbert Link will be giving the sermon, titled, “Christ’s Death and Resurrection.”
Do You Have Such A Heart?
by Edwin Pope
Saul was a man called and chosen of God because of his desire to do God’s Will. Once God called Saul, He did something very special for him. In 1 Samuel 10:9-10, we see “… that God gave him another heart … then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them (God’s prophets).” Yes, God gave Saul His Spirit and began to work with him. However, in the course of time, Saul allowed pride and vanity to interfere with his good judgment and he ceased his loyalty to God’s Ways.
The prophet, Samuel, in speaking to Saul, revealed that God would remove the kingdom from him after he had become rebellious and had broken God’s Command (1 Samuel 13:13-14). Samuel noted to Saul that God sought for Himself a man after His own heart. Of course, we know that God chose David to succeed Saul as king over His people.
Just as God had called and had chosen Saul as king over Israel, He established David in that position once Saul proved himself unfaithful. David would now have to prove his faithfulness to God and His Ways if he would be successful in his calling. We are all familiar with the life of David, his successes and his failures. But a revealing statement is made concerning David in Acts 13:22. “And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have raised up David the son of Jesse, a man after MY own heart, who will do all My will.'”
God has dealt with many such faithful men and women down through the ages. Many of these are listed and codified in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 — such men and women as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel and the prophets. All, of course, are not listed here, as there have been many faithful to God down through time.
God has called and chosen many such people during our time to learn of Him and His Ways and to walk in those Ways — called to do all His Will. Many who have been called have been faithful, but others have chosen to walk contrary to God’s Way. What about you?
The feast of Passover is now approaching rapidly, followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread. These days, which give insight into God’s Way and His Plan are all commanded by God to be kept in their season. This is a time of self-examination. One called of God must be faithful to God, His Laws, and His Ways — keeping His festivals in a right spirit — and must be drawing closer to Him as the time of Christ’s return draws near!
There is too much at stake for one to give in now to human nature, to Satan, and to the ways of this world. It is going to take men and women seeking after God’s own heart to fill the positions He has made available for all who love His Way and His Appearing!
Do you have such a heart?
This Week in the News
TURMOIL IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Following the murder of 190 innocent victims in Spain, the world learned on March 22, 2004, that “Israel killed Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in a helicopter missile strike outside a Gaza City mosque Monday, prompting threats of unprecedented revenge by Palestinian militants against Israel and the United States,” according to USA Today. The article continued: “Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Yassin the ‘mastermind of Palestinian terror’ and a ‘mass murderer who is among Israel’s greatest enemies.'” Reuters added: “Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom branded Yassin the ‘godfather of suicide bombers’ and urged the U.N. to call a special session to deplore terrorism.” The article also pointed out that “Israel… sees the United Nations as bastion of anti-Israel bias [and said] other countries were not qualified to judge the threat it faces.”
The Western and Arab world, as well as Russia, were quick, in general, to vehemently condemn Israel for the assassination. Only a few voices, including that of the United States and — to an extent — of Germany and Poland were heard, pointing out their concern about the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East, without outright condemning Israel.
Most Western and Arab countries and power blocs did, however, condemn Israel. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday canceled a visit by Egyptian legislators to Israel to protest the assassination of Yassin. As Reuters reported on March 25, 2004, “Even Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which has close ties with Israel, joined in the outcry, saying in a newspaper interview on Thursday that the Jewish state had committed an act of ‘terrorism.'”
In a statement, the EU foreign ministers said “Hamas was guilty of ‘atrocities… which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis’ and that Israel has the right to protect itself against terrorist attacks. Israel is not, however, entitled to carry out extra-judicial killings… Violence is no substitute for the political negotiations which are necessary for a just and lasting settlement.”
In individual statements, the European foreign ministers voiced additional remarks of condemnation. Most surprising was the outspoken criticism of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, alleging that Israel had violated international law. One must ask how Israel’s assassination was any different from the U.S. and Great Britain-led invasion of Iraq with the declared goal to get rid of Saddam Hussein, even if that meant his death. At that time, Mr. Straw did not have the same concern as many of the European nations, which felt that international law was violated. Instead, Mr. Straw fully supported the war against Iraq. On the other hand, nations like France, Denmark or Norway have been consistently condemning both the war against Iraq and the assassination of Yassin.
Hamas announced initially that they would avenge themselves in an unprecedented way, charging the United States with prior knowledge of the assassination. The U.S. government vehemently denied any prior knowledge, pointing out at the same time that Hamas is a terrorist organization responsible for suicide bombers indiscriminately killing innocent women and children.
On Wednesday, Hamas “backed off its initial threats against the United States, saying… that it would focus on attacking Israel — and try to kill Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.” Reuters reported on Thursday that “Israeli troops arrested a 16-year-old would-be suicide bomber at a West Bank checkpoint after talking him into taking off his explosives vest at gunpoint… Hamas, sworn to wipe out Israel, wants the JEWISH STATE and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for a future Palestinian state RUN IN ACCORDANCE WITH ISLAMIC LAW.”
We must conclude that the road map to peace has become a dead end street. Of course, it should have been clear to any objective observer that it was never anything but a futile attempt to bring peace to the Middle East — an attempt destined to failure from the outset. Biblical prophecy reveals that it is not the United States or Great Britain, but a powerful United Europe, which will bring a temporary and fragile “peace” to the Middle East — but not necessarily with peaceful means. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
GERMANY NOT IMMUNE
Although Germany condemned the war against Iraq, and although German President Johannes Rau has been an ardent spokesman for civil rights and privileges of the Muslim community in Germany, Herr Rau was forced to cancel his trip to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, after receiving threats that Islamic terrorists were planning to assassinate him, according to Associated Press of March 24. Bild Online added that the attack was apparently planned to be made via a car bomb. The German President stated that he was convinced by German governmental agencies that he was indeed targeted for an attack. Bild commented that Herr Rau barely escaped death. It is unclear whether the attack was planned by al-Qaeda.
EU VS. WORLDWIDE TERRORISM
As Associated Press reported, “the European Union threatened Monday to withdraw economic support for countries that fall short in the fight against terrorism.” The article continued: “The EU has already used economic leverage to try to bring nations back into line. With Iran, it has suspended free trade talks until Tehran comes clean on its nuclear weapons program, while an aid and trade deal with Syria hinges on Damascus agreeing to an anti-terrorism clause. The foreign ministers also approved measures to commit member states to help one another in case of a terrorist attack and backed the creation of an EU anti-terrorism coordinator to improve cooperation… [The plan] includes a pledge to mobilize ‘all the instruments at their disposal, including military resources,’ to prevent attacks or assist one another in the aftermath… France, for one, is against sharing sensitive military and political intelligence with all EU member states.”
WORLD LEADERS ATTEND MASS IN SPAIN
As Reuters reported on March 24, 2004, “political leaders and royalty from Europe and beyond joined the people of Spain in a Christian cathedral mass Wednesday to mourn the 190 victims of the suspected Islamist train bombers who struck Madrid this month.” The article listed as prominent guests in attendance: Spain’s King Juan Carlos; Queen Sofia of Spain; Secretary of State Colin Powell; British Prime Minister Tony Blair; German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; French President Jacques Chirac; Prince Mulay of Morocco; as well as the current and the future leaders of Spain, Joe Maria Aznar and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The article raised this interesting concern: “Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, celebrated the memorial mass… There had been some unease expressed by representatives of other religions at the choice of a full Roman Catholic mass to remember the dead — at least three of who[m] were Moroccan Muslims.”
A CLOSE CALL
As Der Spiegel Online reported on March 19, 2004, an asteroid of 30 kilometers in diameter flew by the earth within a distance of 43,000 kilometers. The magazine stated: “The distance between the earth and the moon is 380,000 kilometers. Never has an asteroid, which was discovered ahead of time, come so close to earth.” The magazine pointed out, too, that in case of a hit, “tremendous devastation would have been the consequence.”
MUST DOCTORS BE IN SUPPORT OF ABORTION?
An alarming, appalling and incredible article was published by WorldNetDaily on March 23, 2004, reporting that “a student in his senior year at a Canadian medical school will not be permitted to graduate because of his Christian, pro-life stand against abortion.” The article continued that the student “was given a failing grade in obstetrics and gynecology because he refused to perform abortions or to refer patients out for any abortive procedure.”
We must congratulate the student for standing up for his convictions, which are in accordance with the Biblical teaching. If you want to learn more about the fact that abortion is murder in God’s eyes, please read our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”
Numbers 12:1 reports about Miriam's and Aaron's rebellion against Moses "because of the Cushite woman whom he had married." Is it known who this Cushite woman was, and when Moses married her?
The Biblical text does not indicate here whether this was a marriage which had taken place some time previously or whether this was a recent event. The Hebrew commentary, Soncino, offers one possible explanation that the Cushite woman was “a woman of Ethiopian origin.” It continues:”Legend tells that Moses married the queen of Ethiopia…”
The Hebrew writer Josephus gives the following narrative in his work, “Antiquities of the Jews”, p. 58, addressing one of Moses’ campaigns as an officer in Pharaoh’s army, prior to his flight from Egypt (compare Acts 7:22-29; Hebrews 11:24-27):
“Tharbis was the daughter of the king of the Ethiopians: she happened to see Moses as he led the army near the walls, and fought with great courage; and admiring the subtlety of his undertakings, and believing him to be the author of the Egyptians’ success, when they had before despaired of recovering their liberty, and to be the occasion of the great danger of the Ethiopians were in, whence they had before boasted of their great achievements, she fell deeply in love with him; and upon the prevalency of that passion, sent to him the most beautiful of all her servants to discourse with him about their marriage. He thereupon accepted the offer, on condition she would produce the delivering up of the city; and gave her the assurance of an oath to take her to his wife; and that when he had once taken possession of the city, he would not break his oath to her. No sooner was the agreement made, but it took effect immediately; and when Moses had cut off the Ethiopians, he gave thanks to God, and consummated his marriage, and led the Egyptians back to their own land.”
If this narrative is based on truth, and if Miriam and Aaron brought up Mose’s alleged marriage with Tharbis in Numbers 12:1, then it would be very clear why the “anger of the LORD was kindled against them” (verse 9) — after all, Moses would have married the princess before his flight to Midian, that is, long before his conversion.
There is, however, another possibility as to who the “Ethiopian woman” might have been. Soncino continues to explain: “[A commentary] identifies the Cushite woman with Zipporah [whom Moses married while in Midian, after he had escaped from Egypt, compare Exodus 2:21] who was a native of Midian. The Midianites, who were tent-dwellers and dark-skinned, were also known as ‘Kushim.'”
The Midianites were descendants of Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:1). Abraham took Keturah as his wife (same reference) or concubine (1 Chronicles 1:32) after the death of Sarah.
The Broadman Bible Commentary has this to say about the “Cushite woman”:
“The identify of the Cushite woman has been widely debated. The only known name of a wife of Moses was Zipporah (Ex. 2:16-22; 4:25; 18:2). However, there are times here and elsewhere at which Moses’ wife is referred to without specific name. It may be that the writer is referring to Zipporah here… For a long time, Zipporah had been left with her father (along with Moses’ two sons) but Jethro brought them to Moses. While Zipporah and the sons were absent, Miriam and Aaron had no challenger for second place; but when they were present there was a constant reminder of the several suggestions which had come through the Midianites upsetting the status quo arrangement. Zipporah was a Midianite (Ex. 2:16) or Kenite (Judg. 1:16; 4:11). In Habakkuk 3:7 the term ‘Cusham’ and ‘Midian’ are used in synonymous parallels. So she may have been referred to accurately as a Cushite woman. The story of Zipporah records the fact that Moses sent her away (Ex. 18:2). This is the same term as is used elsewhere for divorce. In the same chapter (Ex. 18:1,6) we are told that Jethro, still called the father-in-law of Moses, brought Zipporah to Moses ‘in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God’ (Ex. 18:5) along with her two sons. This account indicates (Ex. 18:27) that later ‘Moses let his father-in-law depart’ to his own country. No mention is made of Zipporah and the two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. Thus it may be that the Cushite woman was Zipporah. The reference in this case would explain a repeated reference to Cushite to emphasize with some disdain that Miriam and Aaron considered her a ‘foreigner.'”
This explanation would also shed light on the fact that God’s anger was kindled against them, and mainly Miriam, the apparent “spokesperson” in the incident. Verse 2 reports that they murmured against Moses, saying, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses [“and” — following the comments of the Broadman Bible Commentary — “Zipporah, that Cushite woman, who is influencing Moses”]? Has He not spoken through US ALSO?”
God, however, was not pleased with this criticism. He told Miriam and Aaron: “I speak with him [Moses] face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” (verse 8).
Although we don’t hear anything further about Zipporah (if she was indeed the Cushite woman in Numbers 12:1), the Bible may contain a later possible reference to Moses’ first-born son, Gershom, in the book of Judges. We read that the Danites engaged in idolatry, setting up for themselves a carved image, and “Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh [in the margin, an alternate rendering is given as “Moses”], and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan” (Judges 18:30). The Hebrew Tanakh points out that “an earlier reading [i.e.,] ‘Moses'” instead of Manasseh, is “indicated.” The Ryrie Study Bible comments that the better rendering is “son of Moses. The Danite priests traced their lineage to Moses.” Most German translations, including Luther, Zuercher, Menge and Elberfelder, consistently render this phrase as, “son of Moses.” If the reference in Judges 18:30 to Gershom is indeed a reference to the son of Moses, then Moses’ and Zipporah’s grandson Jonathan had begun to be deeply involved in idolatry.
We find an additional reference to Gershom, the son of Moses, in 1 Chronicles 23:14-16; 26:24. These passages mention Shebuel, a son of Gershom, the son of Moses, who had become overseer of the treasuries. This grandson of Moses seemed to have stayed loyal to God’s way of life. We also learn, in 1 Chronicles 23:15, 17, that Moses’ second son, Eliezer, had a son, named Rehabiah, and that “the sons of Rehabiah were very many.”
In any event, whether the “Cushite woman” in Numbers 12:1 was a princess of Ethiopia or Zipporah, Miriam and Aaron should have never used Moses’ marriage as a justification to develop feelings of self importance and envy, resulting in their murmuring against Moses. They later acknowledged and repented of their sin, so that God could continue to use them in His great plan (verse 11).
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