Character in Context
Episode 128: Sukkot—When the Season of Our Joy isn’t Joyful

Episode 128: Sukkot—When the Season of Our Joy isn’t Joyful

September 17, 2021

We knew how to celebrate and love Christmas, but a lot of people really struggle when coming into the Biblical festivals and especially Sukkot. We’re going to take a look at some really common challenges based on a great conversation on my social media wall and come up with some solutions and we’re also going to talk about that elusive spiritual fruit of joy—which doesn’t mean being happy all the time!

Episode 127: Yom Kippur, Job, and the Prosperity Gospel

Episode 127: Yom Kippur, Job, and the Prosperity Gospel

September 10, 2021

The Prosperity Gospel comes in many forms—all of them smacking of paganism and an extreme misreading of the purpose of blessings and curses in the Bible and oftentimes a lopsided cherry-picking of wisdom literature. As this aberration curses those who we are commanded to bless, we’re going to talk about how believers should respond to the reality that not everyone who seems blessed has their blessings due to righteousness and not everyone who seems cursed has their troubles due to unrighteousness.

Episode 126: Rosh HaShanah and the Barren Woman

Episode 126: Rosh HaShanah and the Barren Woman

September 3, 2021

Traditionally, the barren women of Scripture are studied and celebrated on Rosh HaShanah—so why are they historically considered cursed and sometimes even experience persecution by other women? And what does Proverbs 31 woman have to say about the perfect wife/woman?

Episode 125: Mark Part 60—No One Knows the Day or Hour…Except the Guys on YouTube

Episode 125: Mark Part 60—No One Knows the Day or Hour…Except the Guys on YouTube

August 27, 2021

Yeah, you guys get the picture. I have my snark on for this one. Yeshua/Jesus is pretty specific here but we don't like it so we try to find workarounds. Let's look at these final verses of the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13 to find out exactly what He is and is not saying.

Episode 124: Mark Part 59—The Coming on the Clouds and the Fig Tree

Episode 124: Mark Part 59—The Coming on the Clouds and the Fig Tree

August 20, 2021

What is the huge deal here about the Son of Man coming on the clouds and what does it tell us about the identity of Yeshua/Jesus? And fig trees again? Did the fig tree growers association have an endorsement deal with the writers or is there a deeper meaning to be found here?

Episode 123: Mark Part 58—The Abomination that Causes Desolation

Episode 123: Mark Part 58—The Abomination that Causes Desolation

August 13, 2021

Such a controversial subject and we are going to look at some of the leading theories as to when this was as well as some more off the beaten path proposals. And just what is it that the reader is directed to understand?

Episode 122: Mark Part 57—These Are Not the Signs You’re Looking For

Episode 122: Mark Part 57—These Are Not the Signs You’re Looking For

August 6, 2021

Here, at the beginning of the Olivet Discourse, the longest speech in Mark and perhaps the oldest written document about Yeshua/Jesus, Yeshua responds to the disciples question of “When the heck is the Temple going to be destroyed??!!” with a bunch of false signs which won’t tell them much of anything because, as He says, “These are all just part of normal life.” And so why, when so many non-scholars read them, do they get moved out of the immediate context and into predictions of still future events?

Episode 121: Mark Part 56—The Fall of Jerusalem and the Temple of Doom

Episode 121: Mark Part 56—The Fall of Jerusalem and the Temple of Doom

July 30, 2021

The destruction of the Temple Herod rebuilt marked the end of Jewish life as they had known it. The Temple marked the center of Jewish culture, Jewish religion, Jewish worship, Jewish hopes, Jewish nationalism, and Jewish identity. To call it the end of the world as they knew it is to severely misrepresent what it was like for them. This week, we will look at the writings of Josephus, Tacitus, and other historians at the Jewish war of 66-70 CE and the destruction of the Temple by Titus in 70 CE.

Episode 120: Mark Excursus—Apocalypticism, Prophecy, and Eschatology in Context

Episode 120: Mark Excursus—Apocalypticism, Prophecy, and Eschatology in Context

July 23, 2021

Mark 13 is filled with apocalyptic symbolism and prophecy—but is it pointing to what we presume it us? We’re going to do a quick and dirty crash course in the genre of Jewish apocalypse. We’re going to clarify and clean up the reality and wrong assumptions about prophecy in Scripture. And we will find out what eschatology means and how it relates to Mark 13, if at all.

Episode 119: Pharmakeia in Context/Mental Illness, Suicide, and the Church

Episode 119: Pharmakeia in Context/Mental Illness, Suicide, and the Church

July 16, 2021

The son of a social media friend committed suicide back in February and while talking about it, I realized how shamefully the believing community fails to serve those who are suicidal, clinically depressed, and mentally ill. Part of the problem is a terrible misunderstanding of what the word Pharmakeia meant in the ancient world and the tendency for modern people to look at a word and judge the ancient context by what related terms mean today. As this misunderstanding adversely affects those who need our help the most, we’ll be looking at Pharmakeia in the Greco-Roman world and also at what it is actually most like today—and the results may shock you.

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