Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Journey Through the Bible: Luke 2 and Exodus 25

Luke 2

Luke 2:36--"Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity." The interesting thing about this verse is that Anna was from the tribe of Asher. We don't hear a lot about any of the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel after they were taken into Assyrian captivity. This has led to a lot of speculation about the "10 Lost Tribes." It has been suggested that they migrated to Britain and became Anglo-Saxons; others propagate that they moved to America. I believe this is the Mormon teaching. Well, at least some of them were still around in Israel, as indicated by Anna's tribal membership. Actually, a proper understanding of the two sticks of Ezekiel 37 teach that all of the Jews who were left, both from the north and the south, were reunited in Palestine after the Babylonian captivity. There weren't many of any tribe left, but that's where they went.

Exodus 25

Exodus 25:2--"Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering." Offerings to God must always be from a willing heart. What good is a forced sacrifice? God wants to see our desire to please Him, and if we are compelled to do anything good, then that mitigates completely the virtue of the deed. This is what makes modern welfare systems basically immoral; people are coerced, by law, to contribute their moneys, which are then distributed as seen fit by bureaucrats. Certainly the needy are to be taken care of, but the Bible speaks nowhere of God being pleased with an unwilling gift. Let us give, and let us give liberally, generously, and from a willing, pure heart. Otherwise we haven't made any headway in our relationship with Jehovah.