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Below you will see a list of some of the most recent edits and updates to the REV commentary. If you click the “Read More” link at the end of each update, it will open the commentary page in a new browser window or tab.
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Date added or revised: 9/15/2020 9:50 AM EST Commentary for Jeremiah 44:17[Ignoring God has serious consequences]
“For then had we plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil.” The people miss the point and are spiritually blind. They do not see that any good times in Judah were due to God’s continued blessing on Judah because of His covenant faithfulness, and that the evil that came upon them was due to their breaking the covenant they made with God. Also, they thought that the evil that came upon Judah was due to the weakness of Yahweh, and that He could not protect them from evil. They ignored the prophets who said over and over that their evil activities would bring disaster upon them, and that there would be horrific consequences of breaking their covenant with Yahweh.
Interestingly, the spiritual blindness of the people shows up in that they seem to think that if they had been more dedicated to the Queen of Heaven she could have protected them, which is why they say they want to continue worshipping her now. But there are problems with their logic. For one thing, that “Queen” did not protect them in Judah, which is obvious from the fact that Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians (who included Ishtar in their pantheon). Also, why would the people believe that not serving the Queen of Heaven fervently enough would have...Read More
Date added or revised: 9/1/2020 7:53 PM EST Commentary for Genesis 15:6[Abraham’s righteousness through trust]
“and he credited it to him as righteousness.” This statement teaches us a lot about what it means to be declared righteous in God’s sight due to trust, which is very important for people to know and understand because today people are saved—are granted everlasting life—because of their trust in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22, 26-31). All Abraham had to do to be declared righteous in God’s sight was to trust what God said (cp. Rom. 4:1-5). All we have to do to be saved today is trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was raised from the dead, and now is our Lord (Rom. 10:9).
Through the centuries, many well-meaning teachers have wrongly taught that trust (“faith”) in Jesus Christ is not enough to be saved. Many things have been added by various teachers or denominations to the simple truth that all a person had to do to be saved was trust in Jesus; that he died, was raised, and is Lord. Some of those wrongly added things include: being water baptized, confessing one’s sins, believing in the Trinity, going to church regularly, not sinning after “getting saved,” and not committing a “mortal” sin.
But in Abraham we see the Old Testament foreshadow of the New Testament salvation that is so clearly articulated in the New Testament...Read More
Date added or revised: 8/28/2020 10:10 AM EST Commentary for Leviticus 24:21[Animals are not as important as humans]
“He who kills an animal is to make restitution.” This verse settles an issue that has come up in these modern times. There are environmentalists who state that animals are just as important as humankind. That is not what the Bible says. Animals are not made in the image of God, and many of them are specifically stated to be a source of food (cp. Gen. 9:3) and of domestic blessings. Biblically, the life of an animal is not valued as highly as the life of a human being. [For more on the death penalty, see commentary on Exod. 21:12].
Date added or revised: 8/27/2020 6:46 PM EST Commentary for Ruth 3:9[Ruth calls herself a “servant”]
“I am Ruth your servant.” The Hebrew word used here in Ruth 3:9 and translated “servant” is 'amah (#0519 אָמָה), and it generally referred to a female servant or female slave, a maid or handmaid, a concubine. However, 'amah is a different word from the Hebrew word translated “servant” in Ruth 2:13, which is shiphchah (#08198 שִׁפְחָה). Although shiphchah also means female servant or female slave, maid, handmaid, or slave girl, shiphchah is considered by many scholars to refer to the lowest rank of female slave, who was also often the female slave of the mistress of the house.
The words 'amah and shiphchah are often used synonymously, or seemingly without distinction in the Hebrew text, especially when they are used in Hebrew poetry. But sometimes, such as here in Ruth, the difference between the two words is important. When Ruth first meets Boaz in the field and he is unexpectedly kind and generous to her, she refers to herself as a shiphchah because that was how she was debasing herself and portraying herself, the Moabite girl, as the lowest form of servant girl. But here in Ruth 3:9 Ruth is about to ask that Boaz marry her, so referring to herself as the lowest possible slave would have been inappropriate. Thus,...Read More
Date added or revised: 8/22/2020 10:21 AM EST Commentary for Genesis 2:15[God’s purpose for the earth will be restored.]
“to work it and to care for it.” God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28), which not only displays His goodness and trust in humankind, but it reveals part of God’s purpose for them: to govern the earth on God’s behalf. Here in Genesis 2:15 we see part of that purpose spelled out—Adam and Eve were to work the garden and care for it. Working the garden gave Adam and Eve something productive to do and allowed them to care for their own needs, which promotes maturity, self-respect, and mental health. Also, caring for the garden involved a lot of responsibility. For one thing, before the Fall, all the animals on earth ate plants (Gen. 1:30), and the most luscious plants on planet earth would have been in Adam and Eve’s garden. So “caring” for the garden would have meant protecting it from all the animals wanting to eat it as well as other “caring” type functions.
Also, the “Garden of Delight” that God planted for Adam and Eve would have had to have been very small, perhaps only a couple of acres, or maybe a little more if there was an area for fruit trees. God did not create Adam and Eve just so they could work every day from dawn to dusk taking care of a garden. Caring for the garden would have been a joy, not an...Read More
Date added or revised: 7/30/2020 7:20 PM EST Commentary for 1 Thessalonians 4:15[Dead Christians will be raised to be with Christ]
“will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.” Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is one of the very good pieces of supporting evidence that when a person dies they are dead in every way and not alive in any form. People who have died stay dead until they are raised from the dead, which is why the resurrection from the dead is such an important topic in the Bible.
For background, we must first understand why the people of Thessalonica would be so concerned and confused about the state of the dead. Although there are always differing opinions about death in any large population, in general the Greeks and many Greek-speaking Jews believed that when a person died, their human body decayed but their “soul” went to the land of shades, or Hadēs, a dreary and gloomy place where people lived out eternity. They believed that because they believed in an “immortal soul,” which was part of their mythology; but there is no “immortal soul” in the Bible. That is tradition but not truth; Jesus said the soul would be destroyed in Gehenna, the Lake of Fire (Matt. 10:28). In Greek mythology there was no resurrection of the body and no participation in the wonderful future life that the Bible promises for believers. That the...Read More
Date added or revised: 7/23/2020 8:23 AM EST Commentary for Ruth 1:21[“Yahweh has testified against me” said Naomi]
“Yahweh has testified against me.” The general thought of the time was that if a person lived righteously then Yahweh would bless them, and if they were evil then things would not go well with them. Based on that belief, Naomi said Yahweh had testified against her by way of the circumstances of her life.
The Old Testament did not reveal the Devil, nor the intensity of the war between Good and Evil, and that left a lot of questions unanswered. Even kings and prophets had a lot of unanswered questions when it came to the evil that occurs on earth (and people who read the Old Testament without realizing that it had been superseded by the teaching in the New Testament have those same questions). When Jesus revealed the Devil and demons to his disciples, he told them things never before revealed: “And turning to the disciples, he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see the things that you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings desired to see the things that you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things that you hear, and did not hear them” (Luke 10:23-24). Grace and “truth” came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). [For more on why bad things happen on earth, see commentary on Luke 4:6, that God is not in...Read More
Date added or revised: 7/18/2020 10:01 AM EST Commentary for John 7:51[The behavior of the evil religious leaders]
“Does our law condemn a man without first hearing from him.” Nicodemus, of course, is correct. The Law of Moses does not condemn anyone without testimony and trial. But the evil and arrogance of the religious leaders in this situation sets up a powerful irony. The religious leaders had just announced that that crowd was cursed because they did not know the Law (John 7:49), but it was the religious leaders themselves who did not know or obey the Law.
Furthermore—and this is a very common tactic of the Devil and his evil followers—when the religious leaders were asked a very honest and relevant question as to whether the Law condemns someone without trial and testimony, they did not answer it, but instead railed on Nicodemus who asked the question. They accused Nicodemus of possibly supporting Jesus because of some tie to Galilee. The religious leaders were wrong and ungodly in every point: they called the crowd “cursed” when all the crowd did was to question whether Jesus could be the Messiah; they said no prophet came from Galilee when Jonah clearly came from Galilee; they asserted Jesus came from Galilee (and possibly Nicodemus also) when they should have known Jesus was born in Bethlehem—after all, they knew enough about his...Read More
Date added or revised: 7/18/2020 9:36 AM EST Commentary for John 7:52[religious leaders blinded by their evil passion.]
“no prophet arises out of Galilee.” These evil religious leaders were only interested in killing Jesus. They were not interested in the truth, and their evil passion blinded them to what was real and true. R. C. H. Lenski correctly observes: “blind passion made these men set up false and unwarrented claims which contradicted their own better knowledge.” Jonah was a prophet from Gath-hepher in the Galilee (2 Kings 14:25) in the tribal area of Zebulun (Josh. 19:10-13), and was just over 4 miles (over 6 km) north-northeast from Nazareth. It is also possible that Hosea and Nahum came from Galilee (the name “Capernaum” means “Nahum’s town,” and it is possible that Nahum came from there or near there). Rather than answer Nicodemus, they tried to bully him by making him look ignorant, when it was they themselves who were ignorant. It is an important lesson to learn that evil leaders can be so blind to the truth that they ignore facts and lie. The wise Christian keeps an eye out for evil leaders, who often reveal themselves by their tactics of bullying, inconsistency, and self-contradiction.
Date added or revised: 7/18/2020 8:17 AM EST Commentary for 2 Kings 14:25[Jonah prophesies in Israel.]
“Jonah.” This is the same Jonah as in the Book of Jonah, so Jonah was a prophet from Gath-hepher in the Galilee, which was in the tribal area of Zebulun (Josh. 19:10-13). Gath-hepher was just over 4 miles (over 6 km) north-northeast from Nazareth, and about 3.5 miles (5.5 km) southeast of Sepphoris. Although the text acknowledges that Jeroboam restored the traditional border of Israel in the Transjordan, he does it “according to the word of Yahweh the God of Israel that he spoke by his servant Jonah,” so the real credit goes to the prophet and to God, whose unseen hand is at work to give the land of Israel back to His people.
There is a wonderful lesson here for God’s people: Jeroboam “did what was evil in the eyes of Yahweh” (2 Kings 14:24) and his reign was corrupt and moral decay during his reign was rampant and increasing, but in spite of that God did not abandon His people and worked to seek their welfare in many ways, including restoring tribal boundaries and sending prophets such as Jonah, Amos, Isaiah, Micah, and Hosea, who were all of that same basic time period, to call Israel back to Himself and avert disaster for Israel. Israel had a chance to repent and be a strong and godly nation, but they ignored the prophets...Read More