The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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April 29

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - Deu 16:13

"Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress" (Deu 16:13).

"We shall probably find the meaning of this in the contemplation of this feast of ingathering as the type of the final harvest of life eternal, of which Christ is the individual, and his people the collective first-fruits. To this harvest all the work of God has been working forward from the beginning. That it should be foreshadowed by the last of all the feasts of the year is fitting: and that this feast should be held on the seventh month is in the same line of harmony, also that it should commence on the first day and last nearly the whole month, is striking. That it should begin with a joyful trumpet blast is suggestive of the great joy with which the arrival of the day of God will be hailed" (Robert Roberts, "Law of Moses" 208).

Reading 2 - Ecc 8:8

"No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war..." (Ecc 8:8).

No one has power over the date of his own death, or even the death of his brother (Psa 49:7-19; Gen 3:19; Ecc 9:5) -- a good example of this being Hezekiah in 2Ki 20:1-3.

The KJV has: "Neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in THAT war" (ie, the battle with death).

"Death is an enemy that we must all enter the lists with, sooner or later: There is no discharge in that war, no dismissal from it, either of the men of business or of the faint-hearted, as there was among the Jews (Deu 20:5,8). While we live we are struggling with death, and we shall never put off the harness till we put off the body, never obtain a discharge till death has obtained the mastery; the youngest is not released as a fresh-water soldier, nor the oldest as a soldier whose merits have entitled him to a discharge. Death is a battle that must be fought, There is no 'sending' to that war (so some read it), no substituting another to muster for us, no champion admitted to fight for us; we must ourselves engage, and are concerned to provide accordingly, as for a battle" (Matthew Henry).

Reading 3 - Acts 7:56

" 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God' " (Acts 7:56).

Why does Jesus stand here, when elsewhere he is always sitting? The answer may be found in Paul's last words: "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord STOOD at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom" (2Ti 4:16-18).

Christ was so involved with the life of his servant Stephen that he was moved to stand beside him. He tore, as it were, the thin veil separating us from his sight, rose from his seat, and revealed himself to Stephen, encouraging him as he himself had been encouraged by an angel at Gethsemane.

Jesus is acting as the "Comforter" or "Advocate" -- the Greek being "Paraklete", which is a legal term for one who is called to stand alongside, that is, a defense attorney (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; 1Jo 2:1). The defense attorney, then as now, stood alongside the accused in the courtroom and took his part with the Judge.

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