Stephen has the face of an Angel?

a href=”https://ethanponder.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/stephen.jpg”>Stephen has the face of an Angel?
Stephen has the face of an Angel?

While reading through the book of Acts I came across something that grabbed my attention. So much so that it was hard to concentrate throughout the rest of the book mostly because instantly after reading the last verse of Acts chapter 6 which says “And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” The song by Billy Fury called Angel Face kept playing in my head. Silly I know, but more importantly, why did the author of Acts describe Stephens face with that of an angel? If you were just reading through Acts and didn’t pay much attention to detail you’d think that the author was describing Stephens’s physical appearance, but I think there are more elements to the story. During his speech, Stephen says something interesting “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (Acts 7:51-53)To me Stephen is almost referring to himself as an angel in a way because he is also giving and preaching the law to the people, and not only that but referring to all the others who have given the law before him as angels. This source uses the other speeches that Stephen gives as further reference as well, “However, I think there is some indication that Luke was talking about something else. Where is that indication? In the speech that Stephen gives to the council (Sanhedrin). Remember that when Luke wrote the book of Acts, there was no chapter division between Acts 6:15 and Acts 7:1. Instead, immediately after Luke says that Stephen had a face like that of an angel, the high priest asked Stephen to defend himself against the accusations that he was speaking against the law and the temple.” Stephen was a powerful figure in the book of Acts, without a doubt, but was he an angel? Unfortunately, I don’t think that Stephen was a literal angel. “Stephen was as close to God as a person can be. Angels exist in the presence of God and they are messengers of God. Stephen also was a messenger of God when he preached Jesus. Stephen and six other men ministered to the people of the church and saw to their needs. Angels are also ministering spirits for the Lord. Those are the reasons why Stephen’s face appeared as an angel’s face.” This source suggests that Stephen, being “full of spirit,” was able to “glow” so to speak with the Holy Spirit, giving him an angel like appearance. The question to me was intriguing and made me realize the true source of where we got the awesome saying, “face of an angel.” Without this verse how else would we describe gorgeous people?

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Works Cited

http://www.alanknox.net/2011/06/stephen-his-face-was-like-the-face-of-an-angel/

http://www.christianhut.com/the-face-of-an-angel/

The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007

Link for the photo: http://www.google.com/search?q=stephen+face+of+an+angel&hl=en&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Lf4XUbemKILe8ATx5YHoBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAA&biw=1440&bih=766#imgrc=QJ-Wl7JDnpb73M%3A%3B6UScw15_eaBTWM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdays.pravoslavie.ru%252Fjpg%252Fim3892.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.nediaplayer.com%252Fvideos%252Fstephen-face-of-an-angel-sort%253Aview%3B1580%3B1330

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Exactly how long was Jesus’ ministry?

Exactly how long was Jesus’ ministry?
The actual span of which Jesus’ ministry lasted is something that is under much debate amongst scholars today. While reading through the gospels prior to John they give an example of the time to which Jesus had been teaching, preaching and healing; that being about a year being that he only attended one Passover during the time of his ministry, according to Matthew, Mark and Luke. However, while reading through the book of John I noticed that John states he attended not one but three Passover feasts during the time of his ministry, but more importantly, why the difference in years between the gospels? “According to Luke 3:1, John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign. Tiberius was appointed as co-regent with Augustus in AD 11, and 15 years later would be AD 26. Jesus began His ministry shortly thereafter at approximately the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). This gives us a basis upon which we can approximate what year Jesus began His public ministry: around AD 26. As for the end of His ministry, we know that it culminated with His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.” Through the information presented in Luke, one could make an accurate claim to the time which Jesus started his ministry, even approximately what year. We don’t however; see any information telling us the exact span of time in which Jesus’ ministry lasted.
“According to John’s Gospel, Jesus attended at least three annual Feasts of Passover through the course of His ministry: one in John 2:13, another in 6:4, and then the Passover of His crucifixion in 11:55–57. Just based on that information, Jesus’ ministry lasted 2 years, at the very least.” With this information we are still only at 2 years of ministry, but there has to be some extra time in between there, some that isn’t clearly mentioned. We know that at the time of Jesus’ baptism his ministry began, and through the reign of certain political figures of the time we are able to pinpoint a fairly precise time to which that might have been. “Years later in other research I found compelling research for the correct years of Jesus birth and death: Fall 3 BCE and Spring 30 AD, respectively. These years only leave room for a life span of 31 years, not the 33 years that you need to make a 3½ year ministry beginning at age 30 fit. Only a short one year ministry works. If I still believed the 3½ year ministry at the time of the discovery of those two data points, I probably would have rejected one of this as wrong when all along it was the 3½ year ministry that was wrong. (Note: when you find the difference between 3 BCE and 30 AD be sure to subtract 1 for no year zero! And another 1 because Jesus died six months before his birthday that year. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an age at death of 33 or 32 instead of 31.)” The common thought of a three and a half year ministry sort of comes together with all of the information received. The gospel of John was right after all. It seems as if John was more informed of all the life of Jesus and what all he had accomplished more so than the other writers of the synoptic gospels; that is not a proven fact but it is what many biblical scholars would argue. So ultimately, according to the timelines found in the gospels and the views of the different biblical scholars, it would be fair to say that Jesus’ ministry was somewhere around the time of 3 and ½ years.

Works Cited
http://www.gotquestions.org/length-Jesus-ministry.html
http://timmchyde.com/how-long-was-jesus-ministry/
Link to Picture: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=jesus’%20ministry&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&bvm=bv.41867550,d.eWU&biw=1440&bih=766&wrapid=tlif135992230624111&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=gMQOUfKjLY6E8ASinoHQCQ#imgrc=_

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The Apostle Luke, the Gentile?

The Apostle Luke, the Gentile? When reading through the book of Luke, to me this book seemed much more of an eye witness perspective than the others. Maybe this is because Luke is much more detailed in his description of things in his gospel, or maybe because he was simply a better writer than the others. But more importantly why did Jesus pick Luke, the physician, the gentile? “It may not seem important whether or not Luke was a Gentile, but when you think about the magnitude of his work, the issue becomes truly significant. By counting the pages written by Luke in both his Gospel and Acts, it is clear that Luke wrote more pages of the New Testament than any other writer, including Paul and John. If Luke was a Gentile, then the Lord entrusted more pages of New Testament revelation to a Gentile than to any other writer. This would be remarkable, to say the least.” In some way, for some reason, Jesus (along with God) entrusted Luke to write and preserve the happenings of the New Testament in such an awe inspiring way that what he wrote would be without borders. It’s amazing to me to think that a Gentile wrote so much of the beginning of the Christian revelation. That would be like today, if there were another messiah type figure to lead another Christian revolution and leaving the bulk of the work to a Jewish man, to me it doesn’t make much sense. We must divulge deeper into the question and point out an interesting fact that may or may not prove that Luke was in fact a Gentile. “Usually, biblical commentators simply assert that Luke was a Gentile, without offering any proof at all, as it is so universally believed. Some commentaries, though, present arguments for sustaining the concept of the Gentile background of Luke. Chief among these arguments are the lists from the Epistle to the Colossians.” Many scholars claim that Luke was in fact a Gentile before actually digging deeply into the facts, and are going off of one simple referral rather than look at the big picture of the argument. There are many different arguments to Luke being a Gentile and to Luke being a Jew, but I am going to present the ones that are most compelling to me. “The idea that Luke (Paul’s traveling companion and perhaps the author of the Third Gospel) was a Gentile is based largely on one particular interpretation of one passage of Scripture – Col. 4:14 which says: “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you.” The assumption at work in this hypothesis is that Paul in Col. 4 is identifying two different groups of colleagues: the former being Jews, “those of the circumcision” (Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus), and the latter being Gentiles, “those not of the circumcision” (Epaphras, Luke, and Demas). Hence, the belief that Luke was a Gentile is based solely on the assumption that Paul’s phrase “those of the circumcision” means “Jew,” and therefore those excluded from that designation (including Luke) must have been Gentiles” This argument gives the argument that simply because Luke’s name wasn’t on the list of those “circumcised” must have meant that he was not a Jew. That argument is not necessarily valid mostly because “every time Paul uses the phrase “those of the circumcision” (oi˚ o¡nteß e˙k peritomhvß in the Greek), you will find that he does not use this phrase to distinguish Jew from Gentile; rather, he means by this phrase those of the circumcision party, that is, Judaizers.” In conclusion, there is not circumstantial evidence that would suggest that Luke was in fact a Gentile, because it is more likely that he was actually a Jew. I say that simply because of the close relationships that he had with the inner Jewish circle. So, ultimately I believe after reading the arguments of both sides, that Luke was in fact a Jew, just like the other apostles.
Works Cited
1. http://www.levitt.com/essays/luke
2. http://www.levitt.com/essays/luke
3. http://www.rwaynestacy.com/2011/03/was-luke-gentile.html
Website for Photo: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=apostle+luke&hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&tbm=isch&tbnid=02eiCj5Mb84h7M:&imgrefurl=http://www.calvaryspokane.com/sermon/series/luke%3Fstart%3D30&docid=qZM7ga8UrRCRFM&imgurl=http://www.calvaryspokane.com/assets/Series-Icons/SeriesIconLuke300x.jpg&w=300&h=300&ei=apkFUf71DYbs8gSZ14DIBQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=87&vpy=181&dur=1694&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=131&ty=92&sig=102221423899226821693&page=1&tbnh=143&tbnw=142&start=0&ndsp=46&ved=1t:429,r:35,s:0,i:247&biw=1440&bih=766

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Why Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration?

Transfiguration
Why Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration?

While reading through the book of Mark the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain made me think. Mostly, why just Peter, James and John and not everyone? And also why didn’t he want them to tell anyone what they had seen? Firstly, let’s start with the disciple Peter. Peter as we know loved Jesus more than the other disciples and Jesus loved Peter in return. We can find evidence for this in the book of John 21:15. “Peter was greater than the rest on account of the excellence of the love which he had for the Savior: Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. (John 21:15) Indeed, Peter loved the Lord more than any of the other Apostles.” At this point I believe it would also be important to note another example that sets the stage for Peter would be a verse that we read last week in Matthew 16:18, which basically says that Jesus will build his church on the rock and referring to Peter as the rock. James is thought to represent the brain from the three. With Peter representing the body and John the heart/spirit, which could be the reason Jesus chose these three men. Another possibility would be that in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 19 verses 15 Moses requires witnesses of two or three to convince others of truth, essentially. “John In the privilege of Christ’s love for him on account of his virginity, and, again, on account of his being privileged to be an Evangelist.” It is believed that John was chosen because of his pure heart. As in the article linked for instance, the author believes that John was chosen as one of the three simply because he was pure in heart unlike the other apostles. “Essentially, these three apostles were more intimately associated with the suffering of Christ: first Pope (Peter), first Martyr (James), only Apostle at the crucifixion and guardian of Mary (John).” After researching the topic, the only clear explanation for Jesus choosing the three apostles that he did is simply that those were the three he was closest to, and the three that he most trusted to keep what they had seen a secret until his death and resurrection.
This now leads us to the question, why didn’t Jesus want the men to tell anyone what they had seen until after his death and resurrection. “Wisely, Jesus told the disciples to not speak of the transfiguration until after His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus was the final confirmation of His ministry and glory; until then, reports of the transfiguration would be more likely to test the faith of those who did not see it rather than strengthen their faith.” This makes perfect since because with others testifying of what they’d seen it would simply “add fuel to the fire” so to speak; Especially, within the community of the first century Jews where Moses, and Elijah were held so dear to them. The story of the transfiguration is an interesting one to indulge into. Although there are many speculations of the small facts within the story, at times the simplest of answers may be the best.

Works Cited
1. http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-did-jesus-privilege-peter-james-and.html

1. http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-did-jesus-privilege-peter-james-and.html

2. http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-did-christ-choose-peter-john-and.html

3. http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4017.htm

Link to Photo used: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Transfiguration+of+Jesus&hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&tbm=isch&tbnid=QraDamUwacrMJM:&imgrefurl=http://anglicanorthodoxchurch.blogspot.com/2012/08/transfiguration-of-jesus-christ.html&docid=UdgfnYylG73YXM&imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cFV3NvrK5To/UCAO4Gl2bqI/AAAAAAAADOI/EkthOXA9jrk/s1600/transfiguration06032011_01.jpg&w=534&h=396&ei=pFL8UI6MNIO68wS0j4CoCw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=65&vpy=158&dur=1129&hovh=193&hovw=261&tx=198&ty=123&sig=105224046124943847571&page=1&tbnh=132&tbnw=189&start=0&ndsp=39&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:153&biw=1440&bih=766

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Who bought the potter’s field?

Who bought the potter’s field?

 

While reading the book of Matthew, at the beginning of chapter 27 I found an interesting question to pose. Upon research of the topic I found there is a lot more controversy over the question than I ever realized. The question simply being, “who bought the potter’s field?” The story found in Matthew of the potter’s field is that Judas after realizing what he had done in betraying Jesus felt horrible and wanted to take back what he had done. He brought back the thirty pieces of silver that he had been bribed with to rat out the location of Jesus. After the chief priests and elders received the silver back, they were unsure what to do with the silver, knowing they could not put the silver into the church treasury. After counseling about the topic they decided to buy the potter’s field, for a burial place for strangers. This question seems simple and to the point, but, in Acts chapter 1 verse 18 Paul writes, “ Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.” Paul was referring to Judas who betrayed Jesus; this statement by Paul has ignited controversy of who really bought potter’s field.  Researching the topic became interesting simply because of all the controversy that this simple statement has made, but I believe the answer to the question is clear. After giving the silver back to the chief priests and elders, Judas then hung himself. We all know that it is impossible for a dead man to sign a property deed, but according to Paul, Judas gets the credit for the purchase of the potter’s field. The reason he was said to have purchased the potter’s field is because in actuality he did, not personally of course but with his money he had accepted from the Jews. The chief priests and elders had no clue what to do with the money at first, but ultimately decided to purchase to potter’s field, (the reason they chose to do that is unsure.) in this case the chief priests and elders were simply the “middle man”, they pretended as if the money still belonged to Judas and used the money to purchase the potter’s field. So, since the money technically still belonged to Judas, he is the one to get the credit.

Works Cited

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=755

http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/potters-field

The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007

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Coheed and Cambria- The Afterman Allusion

Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman. picture

Coheed and Cambria- The Afterman Allusion

 

She gave her heart
to a falling star
When news filtered through of this tragedy
all the walls went out

Around the world she declines
as the tears from her eyes fall
No one understands and no one will
all she has lost

If he’s not here, then where?
If he’s not here, then where?
If he’s not here, then where?
If he’s not here, then where?

When she found it there
In the cold, blue clear
The words distressed and unfamiliar
with the feeling seared

Emptiness had hold
and in her chest she clenched
Reality settled as the memories raced
while on the screen he lived
She teared “Your selfishess has robbed you
of the man you could have been
I wouldn’t change a thing about you
I love you dearly, my friend”

She gave her heart
To a falling star
When news filtered through of this tragedy
All the walls went out

Around the world she declines
As the tears from her eyes fall
No one understands and no one will
All she has lost

If he’s not here, then where?
If he’s not here, then where?
My love, been searching for my Afterman
If he’s not here, then where?
If he’s not here, then where?
My love, been searching for my Afterman

When I first heard this song I didn’t think much of it, but over time it started to grow on me and then I started to see the allusion that lies buried within the song. The video aides nicely in the allusion, I think that without the video it would be hard to deceiver a true allusion within the song. The song describes someone (in this case a woman) looking for someone who isn’t there. The man in the video isn’t around anymore, giving the allusion that he has died at some point in time from the rocket crash. I think that the rocket signifies the thought that whatever it is that is protecting her or that is watching over her is not of this world, and is in fact something much greater than her. In the video it portrays the woman being comforted by a man after she thought he had died, but in fact he had survived. This again to me shows some type of a Godly figure that is always there no matter the circumstances, and is not limited by a physical death. She is comforted so greatly by this person that she allows herself to sleep, showing her being very comfortable with that being. The man gives off some sort of an omnipresence vibe being that he is instantaneously in a astronaut suit then in casual clothes shortly after, which again to me signifies something that can be with you all the time in any scenario and in any place. The place is significant as well being that she is in the ocean, a place known by people on earth to be lonely and desolate. I think that the ocean gives you an insight to the alones that the woman is experiencing. At the end the man slips away into the ocean, after she is sleeping peacefully, again signifying that he is not human and showing that he will comfort her under any circumstances. I think that you can’t get the full affect unless you watch the video a few times which will allow you to see the allusion a little more clearly.

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