When he came to earth, the Son of God took upon himself our humanity. We speak of the two natures of Christ: he is both fully God and fully human, two natures perfectly united in one Person. In his glorification, the Son of God did not push away his human nature. The risen Lord appeared … Continue reading Christ’s two natures after his resurrection
Risen or raised?
“Jesus rose from the dead.”“God raised Jesus from the dead.” Which of these statements is the most correct? In the first sentence, the intransitive verb “rise” is used. Jesus is the one acting here: he himself came out of death. But in the second sentence, we have the transitive verb “raise”. God the Father is … Continue reading Risen or raised?
Biblical words for “hell”
In older Bible versions, the word “hell” occurs more often than in modern versions. The reason is simply that the original text uses different words, with at least two distinct meanings. Sheol (OT Hebrew). The cords of Sheol coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. (Ps. 18:5) Sheol is the realm of the … Continue reading Biblical words for “hell”
In our Western culture, the dead are customarily buried or cremated. It does not surprise us that Jesus’ body was buried. But it was surprising, giving the culture and customs of that time. The Romans did not usually allow crucified criminals to be buried. Crucifixion was meant to be horrific and shameful until the very … Continue reading Jesus’ burial
Who was Pontius Pilate?
“He suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The Apostles’ Creed give the full name of the Roman governor who had Jesus tortured and crucified. Who was this man, and why is he so important? In New Testament times, the Holy Land was part of the Roman Empire. Judea was a notoriously province: many Jews never accepted the … Continue reading Who was Pontius Pilate?
Jesus Christ emptied himself
Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself. (Phil. 2:6f) Theologians speak of kenôsis, Greek for “emptying”, to describe how the Son of God lay aside his divine glory and majesty when he became a man. Philippians 2 points out … Continue reading Jesus Christ emptied himself
“One and Only” or “Only-Begotten”?
From early on, the church has emphasized that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God. We find this phrase in the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Until recently, it was also found in English Bibles, for instance in the well-known verse, John 3:16: God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. … Continue reading “One and Only” or “Only-Begotten”?
Anointing in the Old Testament
In Old Testament times, it was common practice to anoint officials: prophets, priests, and kings. But even the patriarchs (Abram, Isaac, Jacob) are called God’s “anointed ones” in Ps. 105:15. The ritual of anointing with oil is, first of all, a sign of dedication to God. In Gen. 28:18 we read that Jacob poured oil … Continue reading Anointing in the Old Testament
Names of Jesus
Our Lord Jesus has many names and titles in the Scripture. The Apostles’ Creed lists several of them, which we discuss in the catechism in Lord’s Days 11-13. Here is a longer list. Each of these names is a call to admire the beauty of our Saviour and the glory of his saving work! Christ … Continue reading Names of Jesus
Does God create evil?
In the old King James Bible, Isaiah 45:7 read: “I [the LORD] create evil.” The Hebrew word for “evil”, ra`, means “bad” in a broad sense. Modern Bible versions tend to narrow it down by translating “adversity”, “calamity”, etc. But what about morally bad things? Does God have a hand in wickedness? Did he create … Continue reading Does God create evil?