Job Prefigures Revelation?

Did You Know?

It’s well-known that the book of Revelation makes frequent reference to the Old Testament, especially prophetic themes and phrases.  But did you know that it actually makes a thematic reference to the book of Job?

In Job 40-41, God speaks to Job from the whirlwind (a whirlwind is loud enough, but can you imagine a voice speaking to you even louder than the whirlwind?!?).  God explains to Job that He is in charge, and can control things that humans can’t hope to.  As an example, God directs Job’s attention to two well-known creatures: the Behemoth and the Leviathan.  So, in essence, God tells His servant, “These two creatures you can’t control, I can.”

How does this fit in with the book of Revelation?  Simply this:  In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (known as the Septuagint, or abbreviated as LXX), which was the main Bible of the first century, the word “Behemoth” was the Greek word Therion; the word “Leviathan” was the Greek word Drakon.

In Revelation 12-13, we are introduced to two creatures that were causing great difficulty for the Christians: the Beast (as in “mark of the beast”) and the Dragon.  You’ve probably figured out the connection by now, but I’ll say it anyway: the word “Beast” in Revelation is Therion (just like “Behemoth”); the word “Dragon” is Drakon. In the book of Revelation, it’s made pretty clear that the servants of God had no hope of overcoming these creatures—but God tells them, in essence, “These two creatures you can’t control, I can.”

Thus, the book of Job is part of the background to understanding the book of Revelation.  Did you know?

-Bradley S. Cobb

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More on the OTHER “Wee Little Man.”

In searching the website, I discovered that something was missing.  If you remember, last year, I started posting sections of my still-in-progress book on the people called “apostles” in the NT.  In that was a section on James, the brother of Jesus.  Apparently, the part that I had written showing the connection between James the brother of the Lord and “James the Less” (they’re the same guy) was left out.

So today, we remedy that mistake.

James the Less

Most writers believe that Mark 15:40 references the apostle known as James, the son of Alphaeus,1 but there is actually more evidence that the man called “James the less,” or “little James” is James, the brother of Jesus.

First, it is logical to assume, given that he identifies a woman named “Mary” by who her children are, that these children would have already been mentioned at some point in the gospel narrative.  One of those children is “James the less.”  Thus, we should be able to find someone named “James” earlier in Mark’s gospel account who could be identified with this man.

James, the son of Zebedee, is eliminated because (1) he is always called “the son of Zebedee” and connected with John, whereas “James the less” is connected with Mary and Joses; and (2) Matthew 27:56 shows that the mother of Zebedee’s children is a different woman than “Mary, the mother of James and Joses.”

Second, if we accept the logical assumption that Mark wouldn’t throw in a name at the end of the gospel unless it had been mentioned earlier (or was an important figure), then we have to account for his including the name “Joses.”  The “Mary” mentioned in Mark 15:40 is identified by the names of her sons: James the less and Joses.  Thus, we should be able to look back in Mark and find the name Joses.  We find it only once—Mark 6:3, which speaks of “Mary” and her sons “James, and Joses…”

Therefore, if we accept the premise (and we do) that “James the less” must be someone previously mentioned, then so, too, must Joses be someone previously mentioned.  The evidence fits perfectly that Mark 15:40 is describing the mother of Jesus, who was also the mother of James and Joses.2

-Bradley S. Cobb

1 See chapter on that apostle for more information.

2 Compare Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25, which put the same group of women together: Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary’s sister, Salome, the mother of Zebedee’s children.  It might be inquired, if this is accurate, why isn’t she called “Mary, the mother of Jesus” in Matthew and Mark?  It is because John mentions her while Jesus is still alive, whereas Matthew and Mark mention her after His death—thus, they identify her by her then-living children.

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The OTHER “Wee Little Man”

Did You Know?

Sometimes when reading the New Testament, you can get confused about who is being spoken of because of several people having the same name.  For example, two of Jesus’ disciples were named “Judas.”  In order to differentiate them, John called the non-betrayer “Judas…not Iscariot” (John 14:22).  There were two apostles named “Simon,” both of whom were called by surnames—Simon Peter, and Simon the zealot.

The fact that there are three prominent followers of Jesus named “James” necessitated that there be some kind of identifying marker given to distinguish them.  One was called “James, the son of Alphaeus,” one was “James…the son of Zebedee,” and of course there is James, the brother of Jesus.  But he is called “James the less” in Mark 15:40.  (Note: some scholars believe it is speaking of James, the son of Alphaeus, but I believe the evidence better supports the brother of Jesus.  More on that Wednesday, though.)

The word “less” in that verse is the exact same word used to describe Zacchaeus in Luke 19:3—little in stature.

So Mark describes the brother of Jesus as “Little James” or “Short James.” (poor guy)

Did you know?

-Bradley S. Cobb

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Lose a Tooth, Gain Your Freedom?!?

Did You Know?

In the Old Testament, God permitted the Israelites to purchase people as slaves (how and why this was done is a topic too large for this short article).  In the New Testament, God permitted slave-owners to retain their slaves.  However, God did give rules for how the master was supposed to treat his slave.  In the New Testament, masters were told to remember that they too had a Master in heaven (thus they were slaves to Jesus), and to treat their slaves accordingly (Colossians 4).

In the Old Testament, God gave instructions regarding the treatment of slaves, some of which are quite interesting.  If the slave was an Israelite, he had to be released—along with his family—at the year of Jubilee.  But did you know that in the Law of Moses, God states that if a master hit his slave, and caused that slave to lose his/her tooth, he had to release them from their slavery?  Exodus 21:27 says so.

I don’t know about you, but if I was a slave to a cruel master, that might not be a bad tradeoff!

-Bradley S. Cobb

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The Murder Plot That’s Usually Forgot

(NOTE: I have been asked to write short articles for the church bulletin at our new work.  Each one is a “Did You Know?” article, focusing on little-known facts in the Bible.  We will be posting those here each week–starting today–for your enjoyment.  Also, we are still in the process of house-hunting, and helping to improve the property at Jesse’s parents, which has limited how much posting I’ve been able to do here.  Thanks for sticking with us!)

Did You Know?

He was quite famous, a celebrity in Israel. The people flocked to see him, and because of him, many people believed. But the chief priests wanted him dead. Surely you know who we’re talking about, right?  Well, let me give you one last clue: a week before the cross, even Jesus came to see him!

The man is Lazarus.

In John 12:9-11, the Bible says that the Jews came not only to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus.  His resurrection from the dead was so impressive to them that many of them believed in Jesus as a result of seeing and talking to Lazarus.  Here was undeniable proof of the power of Jesus, and confirmation that He was sent by God with a mission—He could be the Messiah!

This was unacceptable to the chief priests, whose rejection of Jesus had already caused them to contemplate murdering Him (John 11:47-53).  But now they had Lazarus in their sights, ready and willing to put him to death as well.  Their mood certainly didn’t improve when the next day, Jesus enters the city and people spread the word about Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead at Jesus’ hand (John 12:16-17).

The murder plot to kill Lazarus is often lost among the many details of Jesus’ final week, but happen it did!  Did you know?

-Bradley S. Cobb

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The Christian Minister’s Manual

Over the years, I’ve personally seen several different books with the title The Christian Minister’s Manunal.  One was by George DeHoff, another had Jim Bill McInteer’s name attached to it, and yet another was put out by Standard Publishing.

The oldest one I’ve seen (which is being added today to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary) was written by F.M. Green, a preacher in the late 1800s, who also wrote a biography of James A. Garfield.

This book was written as an aid for preachers in dealing with various things that come up in the life of a minister, such as:

  • Selection and Ordination of Elders
  • Church Discipline Problems
  • Marriages
  • Deaths and Sicknesses
  • Business Meetings
  • Lord’s Supper Preparation
  • and much more.

To read online or download for later, just click the link below:

Christian Minister’s Manual (F.M. Green)

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House Hunting and Meeting Christians

We looked at a house for sale yesterday, knocked on the door, and the woman politely informed us her house wasn’t for sale (that’s another story). I started by introducing myself and my wife, and said I was the new preacher at the church of Christ in town. She said, “oh, in Branch?” I said, “No, the one in Charleston.” She said, “I didn’t know there was one in Charleston. I’m a member at Branch.” (that whole “didn’t know there was one in Charleston” is another story too…)

After a twenty minute conversation (during which she suggested we could just move in with her so she could have company and not be lonely), we finally left, with a promise that once we found a house, we would come visit her.

I am guessing, from our short talk with her, that she hasn’t been able to attend lately, because she can’t drive any more, and none of the members at Branch live near where she lives. So I think we might see if she’d mind if we picked her up for church at Charleston.

That whole conversation never would have happened if we hadn’t introduced ourselves as members of the Lord’s church.

Don’t hide your faith, brethren!

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We have Accepted a New Work

First, thank you to all those who have prayed for us, encouraged us, checked on us, and showed their love for us during our “in between” time.  You are very much appreciated.

After leaving McLoud, we moved to Moreland, Arkansas (where the Gravel Hill church of Christ is located) until we found a new congregation to work with.

Some preachers send out a plethora of resumes, and are beside themselves with stress until they find a congregation that offers them a job.  Thankfully, we were able to wait until we found one that was the best fit for us.

We went to South Carolina, and met with a fantastic congregation in Columbia (we recommend the Long Creek congregation if you happen to ever be in that area), and though it would have been wonderful to work with them, we decided that it was just too far away from our relatives in Arkansas and our brethren in McLoud.  So we removed our names from consideration, resolving to limit our search to places within a day’s drive of both places.

A few weeks ago, we went to Louisiana to meet with a congregation, and it was a very enjoyable trip.  However, they decided that they were going to continue the search, and wished us well.

Then, two weeks ago, we received a phone call out of the blue from someone who had been a member at Gravel Hill, but who had long-since moved.  He told us that the congregation where he was a member was looking for a preacher.  After a conversation with another member there, we drove there and preached that Sunday.

They liked us, but there were several members who were out of town, so they asked us to come again the next Sunday (which was yesterday) and preach.  We did, and to make a long story short, we have agreed to move to Charleston, Arkansas and work with the church there.  We still have to find a house and move and all that fun stuff, but we will be preaching there each Lord’s day starting next week.

Charleston is just 90 minutes from the in-laws, and under three hours from our friends and spiritual family in McLoud and the surrounding area.

Pray for us, if you would, during our exciting time of transition.

-Bradley S. Cobb

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Great Preachers of the Past

Guy N. Woods, Gus Nichols, Franklin Camp, Batsell Barrett Baxter, Cleon Lyles, David Lipscomb, G.C. Brewer, N.B. Hardeman, H.A. Dixon, G.K. Wallace, Foy E. Wallace.

What do these names have in common?  They are all subjects of chapters in the book, Great Preachers of the Past!

And thanks to the kind folks at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies (formerly East Tennessee School of Preaching), we are making it available as a free download in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary.

And if you’re wondering who wrote this book?  Here’s the list of authors:

  • J.E. Choate
  • E. Claude Gardner
  • Alan Highers
  • Robert Taylor, Jr.
  • James W. Boyd
  • Garland Elkins
  • William Woodson
  • Richard England
  • Carroll C. Trent
  • Bobby Duncan
  • Willard Collins

To read it online, or to download for later perusal, just click the link below!

Great Preachers of the Past

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A History of the Christian Connexion

Yes, we are still alive and kicking (though not so high right now, after some of us got badly sunburned on the feet…).  We don’t have any news to report, except that God is taking care of us quite well (as always) while we are trying to figure out where he wants us to be.

Today, I realized that there are some books that I had already prepared to be added to the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary, and simply forgot to actually add them.  So, today, you get a short book called “An Account of the Christian Denomination in the United States” by Simon Clough.  Clough was a preacher in the “Christian Connexion,” which boasted Abner Jones and Elias Smith as some of its most prominent early preachers.

In essence, it is a letter written in 1827 to explain their beliefs, history, and practices in response to the inquiry of the General Baptists of England.

It was just four years later that a large segment of the Christian Connexion (the part which worked with Barton W. Stone) formally united with the “Reformers” (including Alexander Campbell, Raccoon John Smith, and Walter Scott,).  Clough, however, was not a party to this union, and actually opposed it.

The book can be read online or downloaded by clicking the link below:

An Account of the Christian Denomination (Simon Clough)

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