Biblical Exposition

downloadI was challenged a few days ago because I said that James, the brother of the Lord and bishop of Jerusalem in the Bible, was not the same as the two Apostles named James among the Twelve.

The courteous gentleman suggested I misspoke and that the Apostle James son of Alphaeus (or James the Less) was one and the same with James the brother of the Lord mentioned in Galatians 1:19.

So I spent most of the day yesterday responding. It was fun since I love digging in on topics like this.

So, if you are interested in such things, you can read our correspondences and my ultimate conclusion HERE.

By the way, when the Bible refers to James as the “brother of our Lord” we know he is either a cousin or a stepbrother since Mary had no other children. But that is a whole other discussion.

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When I was a Protestant we spoke of the “400 years of silence” between the last of the OT prophets (Malachi) and the coming of Jesus. Is that correct? I was asked this question earlier today.

I have been enjoying The Chosen TV series, ever since I saw an article where Dr. Janet Smith gave it a good recommendation.  Their Christmas special mentioned “400 years of silence” before Jesus was born.  A singer named Chris Tomlin sang a song on this special which mentioned this same 400 years of silence.  I have never heard of this concept in Catholic circles.  Is this 400 years taking into account the Books of Maccabees?  Maybe the Maccabean times are not considered prophecies, strictly speaking.

Here is how I answered:

download (3)Regarding the 400 silent years — you rarely hear this terminology in Catholic circles or in Catholic books and documents. I believe this is mainly a Protestant idea. Since they discarded the seven Deutero-canonical books, mostly written in Greek and some fitting in during the “400 years of silence” before the coming of John the Baptist, the Protestants have a big gap in their Bibles and in the story of salvation.
As a popular Protestant commentary says,

 

After some four hundred years of silence and absence, the Holy One of Israel had again come to his people. About four centuries had passed since the voice of Malachi, the last of the prophets, had been heard. ( H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., St. Luke, vol. 1, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 11.)

There is an assumption that God was not only silent but even absent.

The last prophet was Malachi and he prophesied from about 420-397 BC. After him, there was no prophet speaking God’s word publically until John the Baptist appeared on the scene as the last of the OT prophets and the first of the NT prophets.
          This is mentioned also by Dr. Peter Kreeft, but interestingly, this is the only Catholic reference I could find to the “four hundred years of silence” in over 15,000 resources in my Catholic software Verbum.

 

John would not appear for over four hundred years. Malachi is apparently the last Old Testament prophet—unless Daniel was written much later than the rabbinic tradition has believed. He is followed by four hundred years of silence from God. The silence was broken by John the Baptist’s voice quoting Isaiah 40:3 (Mt 3:3). Jesus called John the greatest of the prophets (Mt 11:11). Malachi may have been the closest to him in time. He is at least the closest to him in the pages of the Bible. (Peter Kreeft, You Can Understand the Bible: A Practical Guide to Each Book in the Bible (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 160.)

So from this standpoint, there were no public prophets speaking to Israel like Isaiah, Jeremiah or Malachi during those 400 years, but as the seven books of the Deutero-canon demonstrate, it is clear God was still at work with the people of Israel and therefore not silent nor absent. 
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Listen to audio or watch on YouTube below.

Fun show about the Nativity: People and Things Present at the Nativity including the cave, the star, Mary and Joseph, the Tomb of Rachel, shepherds and magi, sheep and angels – and much more. Fun show.

We started by discussing Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary, the cave and the dangers of travel in biblical times.

Questions Covered:

  • 15:57 – Can you tell us more about the Wise Men? 
  • 22:52 – Why is the entrance to the Nativity in Bethlehem so low to get into? Why is there so much division over the location? 
  • 30:05 – What was the timeline of the birth of Jesus to the presentation and then the flight into Egypt? 
  • 34:00 – When Joseph traveled with Mary, did they travel alone without other people? Was that true and was that unsafe? 
  • 41:17 – Why did the angel of the Lord go to Shepherds first? 
  • 43:48 – What was the topography of the journey that Mary made to Elizabeth? 
  • 49:20 – You said you think the star was a miracle. How could this be if the star first led them to the evil Herod? 
  • 51:17 – What is the meaning of the Nativity scene in the Vatican?

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Lansing Diocese’s “Year of the Bible” – with my 3 minute intro to Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes

December 14, 2020

Bishop Boyea of our Lansing Michigan Diocese has been very creative with a well-prepared and well attended “Year of the Bible” program to encourage his faithful to read the Bible daily with him. He also has added many “intro’s” from Bible teachers in the area. He included me for Matthew 5 and John 6. Here […]

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A Walk through the Holy Land with Steve Ray and John Evans

December 9, 2020

This was a delightful discussion between myself (Steve Ray) and a passionate Catholic John Evans. It is loosely entitled “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”. I hope you enjoy this YouTube.

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A Walk through the Holy Land with Steve Ray and John Evans

December 9, 2020

This was a delightful discussion between myself (Steve Ray) and a passionate Catholic John Evans. It is loosely entitled “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”. I hope you enjoy this YouTube.

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50+ of the Best Catholic Bible Experts Conference

December 7, 2020

50+ of the top Bible scholars and teachers yours for FREE. January 8-10. The conference is entitled “Take & Read: A Journey into the Bible.” To register for free and learn more, visit https://www.virtualcatholicconference.com/Bible2021 Check out the list of committed speakers below.  

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A New Talk by Steve: Walking with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus – free at this conference

December 3, 2020

My friend Charbel Raish in Australia asked me to do a talk for their free conference “Jesus-Centered Life“. My topic is “Walking with Jesus: the Road to Emmaus”. The conference is open from December 5-8, 2020. I was pretty happy with the talk and hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

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Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

November 21, 2020

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS […]

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Are You Born Again?

November 20, 2020

I posted this for the listeners of Catholic Answers Live on Wednesday evening, March 21. I will post the audio link as soon as it is available and a list of all the questions we answered. It seems that God is kind of predictable in a way :-) since He always starts new things in the […]

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Paul Prayed for the Dead; we should too

November 2, 2020

Does the Bible record St. Paul praying for a dead man? Does the New Testament relate an incident of prayer for the dead? It seems quite certain that it does. Let’s begin with Onesiphorus—a faithful Christian who cared for St. Paul while he was in prison and who took great personal risk to serve the […]

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Will the Gates of Hell Prevail in the USA?

October 30, 2020

“The gates of hell shall not prevail!” I have heard this affirmation many times in the last year. There seems to be a certainty that we will prevail as a church even as our country spirals into chaos and confusion  pours out of the Vatican. Is the church’s success something that we can take for granted […]

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Segment on Spirit Catholic Radio on Works of the Law

October 29, 2020

I was just called with a 10-minute warning and asked if I would fill in to talk on Spirit Catholic Radio’s “Good Book Club” discussing Galatians 2″11-21. So I did! To understand the New Testament one must place themselves in 1st-century Jewish-Roman culture. Here is a picture of the Jewish St. Paul, which is probably […]

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Biblical Meal…Sparrow! Should we Try?

October 4, 2020

I wondered why Jesus made the comment that two sparrows were sold for a penny (Mt 10:29) and five sparrows sold for two pennies (Lk 12:6). Well after a little research, I found out and we gave it a try :-) Earlier post about eating grasshoppers and also mentioning sparrows.

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Why Did God Allow Man to Sin? “O Happy Fault of Adam”

September 9, 2020

This is a question that has puzzled people from the beginning. If God is good and all powerful why didn’t he stop Adam and Eve from sinning? Fair question. Of course we all know that he took the risk of giving us free will so that we could choose to love him. I don’t want […]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – John the Baptist was a Manly Man who Teaches us Many Things

September 8, 2020

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. I know. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. And that was with protective equipment! Wild honey is […]

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