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Finding Pilate...

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It's always fun when folks in the Bible show up outside of the Bible. Pontius Pilate is a good example.

You remember Pilate. The gospels call him the Roman governor of Judea (Matthew 27:2; Luke 3:1). In Matthew's account, he's the one who releases Jesus to the demanding crowd, quite literally washing his hands of the matter (Matthew 27:24), and claiming innocence of any bloodshed related to Jesus. Overall, I think it's accurate to say the gospels portray Pilate in his brief appearance as a fair, albeit somewhat weak, ruler (but check out Luke 13:1 in your free time). In the gospel accounts, it seems more important to Pilate to maintain peace than to maintain justice.


A man named Josephus also wrote about Pilate. Josephus was a Jew who lived in the 1st century AD. Details of his life are sketchy but certainly interesting. He was part of a Jewish revolt against Roman rule that took place between 66-74 AD. He eventually surrendered, spent some time in jail, and offered in…

Holy, holy, hol... Wait. How many holies were there again?

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In Revelation 4, a man named John describes for his readers a vision he was given of the throne room of God.

When you read Revelation 4, you should also read Isaiah 6. It's also a throne room vision, but written some 800 years earlier. We'll come back to that a little later in this post.

Revelation is what is called apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic literature likes to use symbolic imagery. You might want to read Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 7 also. They have a lot in common with Revelation 4.

Anyway, back to the throne room. On each side of the throne room are these things that John calls "four living creatures." One is like a lion, one like an ox, one like a flying eagle, and one has the face of a human. That's not all. All four of them are covered in eyes.

Yikes.

Remember Pan's Labyrinth? The one dude who had a single eyeball located in each of the palms of his hands? I thought he was scary. That guy was nothing.


John says the four living creatures were "f…

What Does Death Taste Like, Anyway?

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A friend sent me an early morning text recently. "Matthew 16:28. Are not all those dudes dead?"

My friend was talking about this verse:

"Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
I replied to his text. "You are correct. Those dudes are most certainly dead."
Ahhh, years of grad school in biblical studies and biblical languages finally paying off.
There is a lot happening in Matthew 16. Here in Matthew, Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah, the son of the living God. Soon after, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be killed but will rise from the dead. He even tells them that following him may mean that they lose their lives. But in Matthew 16:28, he lets them know that not all of them will be dead before something big happens.

It's normal for readers of this verse to think it's talking about the second coming of Jesus. I suspect we've heard as much in a sermo…