Three Bible Stories about Unusual People and Their Importance
The Value of Exploring Biblical Texts
The Bible is rich with stories concerning the people of the nation of Israel which have influenced cultures around the planet. These tales have immeasurable value for those participating in several religions. Divided into the New and Old Testaments, the Bible provides guidance in how to worship the Judeo-Christian God. However, the text forming the current Bible has been changed over time. The left out writings form the Apocrypha.
Since the Holy Book is essential for spiritual development in several religions, insight can be gathered from multiple sources through the utilization of different approaches. Some individuals may be seeking to establish a firmer spiritual foundation. By contrast, others may prefer to view what is written as undisputable, refusing to conduct any research. After all, one’s relationship with God is personal, and human beings must decide on the level of information they require for spiritual growth. Nevertheless, the books of the Bible were canonized by a single group, suggesting bias may exist. But various Christian denominations still use some of the omitted apocryphal texts.
Three Biblical Stories about Unusual People and Their Importance
As an ordained Christian minister, I encourage my congregation to read and investigate biblical topics which interest them. This is because Christianity is a participatory religion in which a person must work on his/her spiritual journey. For this reason, I am always involved in research to help those who want further knowledge about a subject. Below I’ve provided information about three biblical topics. They are:
- St. Longinus: This was a Roman soldier who played a pivotal role in the Crucifixion of Christ. He lived and died in the first century. He is referred to in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus in the appendix known as the Acts of Pilate. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, and seen as a martyr by the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
- Simon Magnus: This man was a contemporary of Christ and the apostles during the first century. Debate continues among scholars to whether this biblical figure is the founder of Gnosticism. However, his name appears in biblical and Roman documents.
- Tribe of Dan: This is one of the more mysterious groups of the nation of Israel. The tribe provided substantial military support for the Jewish nation as they conquered Canaan. But the Tribe of Dan split from the nation of Israel and was exiled after invasions from enemies of the Jewish state around 950 B.C. The members of the Tribe of Dan were known as skillful sailors.
Have you heard of any of these individuals mentioned above?
1. The Story of the Tribe of Dan
The Tribe of Dan is first mentioned in Genesis along with the other eleven tribes making up the nation of Israel. They were to be the “judges” of the Jewish state. In fact, the Book of Judges in the Old Testament features individuals from the Tribe of Dan, such as Sampson. Joshua, another important biblical figure, is also from this tribe. Christ was betrayed by a member of the Tribe of Dan in Judas.
Instrumental for various tasks for Israel in biblical texts, the Tribe of Dan is not found in the Book of Revelation with the other descendants of the Jewish nation. Scholars speculate the tribe is absent from the Book of Revelation because of the practice of idolatry. Others suggest the anti-Christ will emerge from the Tribe of Dan during the end of time.
Coincidentally, this story has important spiritual implications. Primarily, God has a plan for all of us. To such a degree, descendants of the Tribe of Dan are believed to be all over the world, from Ethiopia to northern Europe. In essence, we may roam the globe; but what He has set in motion for us will occur.
2. The Story of Simon Magnus
A great battle occurs between Simon Magnus and the Apostle Peter as recorded in Acts 8:9-24. Apparently, Simon Magnus, also called Simon the Sorcerer, felt he should lead the church after the death of Christ. He summoned demons to aid him in his confrontation with Peter on the Road to Damascus. Peter won the contest, causing Simon to fall out of the air, and scattering the demons. The sorcerer was mortally wounded during the conflict, but his name lives on.
Without question, we can benefit from the lessons this story teaches. For example, everyone is not meant to lead. Also, we can’t purchase influence with God. The activities Simon engages in were detrimental to the church, and we have the term “The act of simony,” derived from his name as a reminder to follow God’s Will. Finally, Simon the Sorcerer, descended from the Tribe of Dan, conspired with the dark forces to overcome the light. That is always a losing approach for anyone.
3. The Story of St. Longinus
Longinus is the name given to the soldier who pierced Jesus Christ in the side with a spear at the Crucifixion. Later additions to the story suggest the blood of Jesus Christ dripped from the spear, curing the Roman soldier of a visual impairment. In the tale, Longinus also is noted as cleaning the wounds of Christ after he was taken down from the cross. The centurion became a Christian, carrying the Word of God to Cappadocia. Eventually, Roman soldiers were dispatched to kill him. Longinus was decapitated; his head was sent to Pontius Pilot, the Roman governor of Judea.
This story is significant for a number of reasons. Currently, various Christian denominations have celebrations recognizing the disputable acts of Longinus. In addition, the story of the Roman centurion indicates people can change after exposure to the teachings of Christ, performing incredible deeds accompanied by faith. In other words, Christians may have to suffer for their faith, but their rewards in Heaven and on Earth can be greater than the pain endured.