History & Rituals

Discover exciting supplementary information about his life in a fresh and inspiring new way. Discover facts about the traditions of the time of his life and the worship that has continued through today.

Keeping Your Herods Straight

By the time we get to the Acts of the Apostles we have read about 3 Herods. They were all pretty interesting men, so let’s get them straight.

Jews in Nazareth?

Jews in Nazareth? Some scholars have wondered why Mary and Joseph, both descendants from the tribe...

The Real Story of Christmas

Sometimes we see articles that give correction, but they fall short of the whole picture. Here are some facts that help to imagine the birth of Christ.

Who Were The Wisemen

There are three. But the Bible doesn’t tell us that there were only three wise men, so there could have been more than three (or less). So who were they?

Some Hidden Lessons in the Story of 12-Year-Old Jesus in Jerusalem

Jesus was sinless. How often have we judged others for a missed appointment or bungled communication? It’s only human that we sometimes space on an event, leave a few minutes too late, or don’t account for heavy traffic. It’s a relief to hear from this story that to err is human, but it’s not a sin.

The Judean Wilderness

The location of Jesus’ baptism was a tributary of the Jordan River near Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea.

John Created a Spectacle

So why were so many people attracted to John that they would make this kind of journey to hear him?

What you Need to Know about Jerusalem

Jerusalem is considered to be “the mountain of the Lord’s house.” Because it is the holy city, people always say they are going “up” to Jerusalem.

Did the Jews of the Bible Baptize?

Similar to Christian baptism, the Jews had a practice called “mikveh.” A mikveh is a ritual bath that purifies the person entering it.

Ancient Samaria

Samaria at the time Jesus lived included cities and towns that were Greek and some that were Samaritan.

Capernaum at the Time of Jesus

The Hebrew word kfar means “town.” Nahum is a man’s name and connotes “pleasant.” The two together create the name of the town Capernaum.

The Pool of Siloam

The Pool of Siloam The Pool of Siloam was a spring-fed pool cut from rock southeast of the Old...

What Is a Synagogue?

The word “synagogue” surprisingly comes from Greek, not Hebrew. It refers to gathering together in a group.

Was the Law of Moses Cruel?

The Law of Moses was the Aaronic Priesthood law, that is, it was a lower, school-master law meant to prepare Israel to receive the higher laws of the Priesthood of Christ.

What the Law of Moses Said about Leprosy

On several occasions in the New Testament, we see Jesus healing lepers. Most people know that lepers were quarantined away from other people and that this was really difficult for them to bear.

Who Were the Publicans?

Publicans at the time of Christ were basically tax collectors although they could also have roles in supplying the Roman military, managing port contracts, or overseeing building contracts.

Fasting Among the Jews

Jews believe in personal prayer and may fast at any time when they feel the need. Certain holidays, including the Sabbath, are to be so full of joy that Jews are commanded NOT to fast.

Was there Corn in the Holy Land?

There was no corn in the Holy Land at the time of Jesus. Scientists believe corn originated in Central Mexico about 7,000 years ago.

How the Pharisees Viewed the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath is very serious indeed. In ancient times, punishable by death. But the rabbis could declare something a matter of life and death and excuse breaking the Sabbath to save a person or animal.

The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is actually not a sea but a lake of about 64 square miles ― 13 miles long and 7 miles wide.

Throwing the First Stone

It included trial law to protect the accused. Under the Law of Moses the accuser had a lot of responsibility.

Why the Conflict Between Jews and Samaritans ?

The Greco-Syrian empire conquered the Holy Land in 175 B.C. The Samaritans denied they were Jews in order to fit in. In Judea, the Maccabees revolted and became the rulers of Judea. Their kingdom was smaller, but they forayed north into Samaria to expand it.

Welcome to Caiaphas’ House

Caiaphas’ house was grand enough that a crowd gathered inside and in the courtyard to watch the illegal trial, including Peter, who had just denied Jesus.

What is the Higher Law?

What is the Higher Law? Some people think that the higher law is to love your neighbor and that...

What You Need to Know About Bethlehem

In Hebrew, the word “Bethlehem” is Beit-Lehem, or “house of bread.” It is a suburb of Jerusalem and was a small town at the time Jesus was born.

About John the Baptist

John was so important to God’s work that the angel Gabriel announced his pending birth and prophesied his greatness.

A Scarcity of Wood

Wood is scarce in Israel. Modern Israelis have planted millions of trees, but naturally, trees and wood have been very precious in the country.


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