Scripture in Context: Essays on the Comparative Method by Carl D ..
Dr. Clarke says, on Matt. iiI 12: "He will burn up the chaff, that is, with unquenchable fire, Le Clerc says: "By these words is signified the utter destruction of the Jews;" and Bp. Pearce remarks: "In this whole verse the destruction of the Jewish state is expressed in the terms of the husbandman." [See Paige's ] These eminent orthodox writers understand the scriptural usage of the language, and show us that the judgments symbolized by it are not endless in duration, nor located beyond the earth. It is plain, therefore, that the Savior employed the phrases in question in the same sense in which the prophets had employed them, the sense which the people attached to them; that of a terrible and desolating judgment, without any reference to the time of its continuance. The idea of endlessness seems never to have been thought of in connection with the phraseology; nor duration of any length, indeed, but only the intensity and destructiveness of the punishment or judgment.
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These passages, which might be greatly multiplied, demonstrate the error of Bishop Warburton and others, who attempt to show that the earlier Hebrew Scriptures do not contain "even the idea of a future state." They certainly do, but that this idea is as clear and satisfactory as the view given in the Gospel, no one would think of affirming. There is evidently a growth in this respect, as it is easy to see that the faith of the Psalmist and the prophets is much more full and rounded than that of their ancestors. God instructed mankind by degrees, removing the darkness, and adding to their knowledge little by little, till at last Christ brought the doctrine of life and immortality out of all shadow, and set it before the world in the clear and perfect light of the Gospel.
(Peters, 1998) This essay seeks to describe the different aspects of the ‘art of comparing’ and also to detail the reasons why the comparative method is a necessary tool in the belt of any political scientist....
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The following from Schleusner, a distinguished lexicographer and critic, will show the origin of the word, and indicate its scriptural usage: " originally a Hebrew word, which signifies Here the Jews placed that brazen image of Moloch. It is said, on the authority of the ancient Rabbins, that to this image the idolatrous Jews were wont not only to sacrifice doves, pigeons, lambs, &c., but even to offer their own children. In the prophecies of Jeremiah (vii 31), this valley is called from a drum; because they beat a drum during these horrible rites, lest the cries and shrieks of the infants who were burned should be heard by the assembly. At length these nefarious practices were abolished by Josiah, and the Jews brought back to the pure worship of God. 2 Kings xxiiI After this they held the place in such abomination that they cast into it all kinds of filth, and the carcasses of beasts, and the unburied bodies of criminals who had been executed. Continual fires were necessary in order to consume these, lest the putrefaction should infect the air; and there were always worms feeding on the remaining relics. or hell."
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The phrase "second death" is peculiar to the book of Revelations, and is found here four times only. ii 11; xx. 6, 14; xxi 8. It appears, from the context, that it is used as a figure of judgment, or punishment; and it is upon the context that we must chiefly depend, as there are no examples in the Old or New Testament, save those named, which may be appealed to as scriptural usage to determine the meaning of the expression.
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It is a valuable observation of Dr. Hammond, respecting this phrase, that "it seems to be taken from the Jews, who use it proverbially for This is unquestionably its meaning in the Revelations, being employed to point out the entire overthrow of those to whom it is applied. If the Jews were accustomed to use it proverbially in this sense, it is very likely that John, if he expected to be understood by them would use it in the same manner. And the Jews, in the habit of speaking and hearing the phrase continually with this signification, would at once understand it as descriptive of some destroying calamity or judgment. This will appear more clearly upon an examination of the several passages in which the expression "second death" is found.