Theology Notes --- John Mobius Owen
Books of the Old Testament
- Genesis *Exodus *Leviticus * Numbers *Deuteronomy
Motives from the First Exercise of Lord God are in conflict relationship in which the motives conflict is uncomfortably intimate.
ANY FRIGTHENING CHARACTER IS MORE SO WHEN HE STANDS NEAR ENOUGH TO TOUCH YOU.
God - Desires image. Lord God - Desires company.
Does He not feel regret?
He might have explained why He did what He did. He did not yet there is an inherent tenderness.
It is not desire but knowledge of desire that creates shame.
Originally w/o knowledge of desire
understood desire, admitted neet that shames.
SAME LORD GOD - what if he took from the tree of life and lived foreer?
Would immortality not foster obedience to God's only positive command of "be fruitful and multiply."
God regards truth anxiously.
God --- Lofty, unwavering, silent.
God has become Lord God --- Intimate, volatile and prone to dark regrets and dark equivocations. The Lord God is God: one protagonist, 2 personalities.
In the language of the Bible parental imagery and metaphor is absent from Genesis through II Kings.
Starting with Isaiah God begins to speak of Himself fairly freely as both Creator and Father.
Also, husband, lover, shepherd, redeemer.
Genesis -- initially talking to Himself but not of Himself
Something precise in mind & each stage of project leads without hast but w/ extreme economy & directness to the next stage
Light - FIRST
Water - "Soup" primordial first
Vault of Heaven - SECOND
6 days of creation - unchecked effortless
Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil -- Once you have knowledge of Good and Evil you shall die.
Tree of Life - kept from mankind.
- First Account - Something commanded but nothing forbidden
- Second Account - Inevitable discovery leads to punishment of deeds
If man has failed the Lord God then by implication all that God put in place for man's sake is less than a total success.
The creative act is less than successful or complete
We are unprepared for the speed and ruthlessness of the vindicative reaction to the TREE OF GOOD & EVIL
Why would God reach with such brutal impertinence to the disobedience of the woman and the seemingly innocent mistake of the man
In the utterly crucial opening moment what sort of relation to man is God seen to have?
- SECOND ACCOUNT serves as a sequel, not a correction
- FIRST CREATION ACCOUNT - Cosmic, Perfect
- SECOND CREATION ACCOUNT - Profane, Limited, Arbitrary
Lord God contrasted to God - Less powerfully but more temperamental, gratuitous in wraith and gracious in bounty. Everything hangs on obedience to deceptive command.
"I regret that I made them."
AGRICULTURE - Singled out as punishment for sin
Hunters and Gatherers ---> Farmers & Shepherds
STORY OF CAIN & ABEL
Lord vs God
Why an offering? He requested none. Why rejected? Unclear.
First words principally to condemn
Condemnation dies not spring from broken commandments: None yet given
Given no commandment not to kill : Discovered murder merits condemnation
CAIN's punishment is an intensification of Adam's
"I shall be hidden from your face."
Value of relationship is discovered only after it is lost.
Man is discovering life outside of Eden, God is discovering what his role is to be.
It was only in generation after CAIN and ABEL that men men began to invoke the Lord by name.
FLOOD STORY - Brief but terrifying period wherein the Tiamat aspect takes over
Story of flood like story of creation occurs twice. Unlike to creation stories, two flod stories are interwoven
- God version 2 of ever kind
- Lord version 7 clean 1 unclean
- Striking difference in mood between Lord and God accounts.
Lord - acts of own feelings, regret. God - cleansing what world needs destruction not a means, en end an expressive not instramental act
Lord Forsees no covenant at the start
God acts w/o anger and w/ perfect knowledge, forsees new covenant.
God flood proceeds with same cool mastery as 7 day creation
Dialectice between sacred and profame seen in duality of God/Lord
- Noah is the first to make a burnt offering
"The Lord smelled the pleasing ordir and the Lord said to Himself: 'Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the devising of man's heart are evil from his youth; nor will I ever destroy every living thing as I have done."
Mankind is born Evil, Incorrigible.
Anger - interpersonal outburst of temper
Promise to refrain from further catastrophic violence is altogether unpremeditated and still lacks any stipulation of what he wants man todo or to refran from
Lord has been seduced out of a recurrence of His rage by the scent of Noah's offering
God requires no offering of Noah
God gives Noah a sign - the Rainbow
"Never again shall all fles be cut off by the waters of a flod."
COVENANT now with entire human race (Gen 9:11)
- Sopek dam ha ama ba'adam damu yisopek
"Shed man's blood, by man be your blood shed."
"For God made man in His image" (God, full quote)
Prohibition of human blood shedding comes after Flood.
10 generations between Creation and Flood
Lord/God ---> Both aborbed into CREATOR/AMUN
Creator has proven capacity to be a destroyer
Each is the fruit of a distinct breakthrough
Each personality belongs to the same Creator.
We realize what God is capable of and we can not forget it.
PARENTHOOD / MURDER
FERTILITY / STERILITY
LFIE / DEATH
Control over positive implies control over negative.
Dialogue between ABRAHAM & LORD ---> shows the depth of Abraham's resentment over broken promises.
You say You will but will You? And when you don't your excuse will be, will it not, some defect in my righteousness.
Horror of judgement is rendered more horrible by the levity of the dialoge between God and Abraham that precedes it.
In SODOM morality is not the issue, power is. Crime of violence only recognized when it first occured.
Crime of illicit sex only recognized when it first occured
Now that act is intrinsically evil? That act infringes on divine perogative.
When God/(Lord God) destroys Sodom He is reclaiming a power that humans sought to seize; a power HE fully grasped as His own only at the moment when He punished its attempted theft.
Power is fully grasped only at the moment of attempted theft.
The punishment owes from the fact that it violated a just disclosed Divine perogative.
LOT townfolk of SODOM have battled the LORD GOD in the most direct way possible over human and divine life force
SUBMISSION of ABRAHAM vs REBELLION of SODOM
7th time sacrifice of ISSAC son o ABRAHAM
ABRAHAM's actions far more ambiguous than God chooses to believe. He goes as far as he can w/o doing the deed.
By the end of ABRAHAM / ISSAC test God knows how much he can get and how much he can not get.
GOD + ABRAHAM linked not just by COVENANT but by TRUCE.
Before Abraham and Isaac LORD GOD announces his own intent AFTER (7th invocation) Abraham announces intent of Lord God
After Abraham + Issac, Lord God announces his own intent after (7th invocation) Abraham announces intent of Lord God.
After Abraham and Isaac God becomes a known quantity, defined and constrained by past commitments
El - general and widely diffused term for divinity throughout the ancient near east. It is the name of SKY GOD or GOD MOST HIGH
YAHWEH - morphologically a verb but always treated as a noun. Originally the predicate of a sentence name in which the subject was El
Cananite El - Divine Ego.
My God is the Cosmic Will / SKY GOD. My will and COSMIC WILL are intertwined. Submission to COSMIC WILL implicitly a bid for cosmic power/authority?
Oh LORD YAHWEH --- God of my Master Abraham. Indicates implicitly to whom OH LORD YAHWEH is implicitly responsible.
Fusion of features that polytheism had attributed to several divine personalities.
ABRAHAM infers EL will act as a personal God. He thus introduces a new religious perspective.
Monotheism emerges in ISRAEL, God of ISRAEL combines features otherwise best described as those of CANNANITE EL and Mesopotamian personal god.
Two originally separate divine notions are now being addressed simultaneously and equated.
W/ servant abraham no longer only one abole to invoke God of Abraham.
Acclaim control of human fertility ---> domesticated into house of Abraham
LORD speaks as EL but Jacob answers as a friend of the family.
JACOB & ESAU
So Jacob named the place Peniel meaning
'I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.'
Jacob's interpretation is not necessarily that of author of the text. TExt leave tauntingly open the question of whether Jacob actually saw the face of the wrestler
El the God of Israel -- building his own new name.
There is in JACOB / ISRAEL something resembling cynicism in his use of the religious belief of his forebears. Jacob trades on others reverence for what he merely manipulates.
Was JACOB's nocturnal visitor ESAU himself?
Come to kill his brother as years earlier he had promised to do?
Primal imagrey of two men wrestling returns when JACOB speaks to ESAU in code.
Statement is ambivalent if not consciously ironic.
Ironic and ambivalent as he was in the beginning he seem whole hearted in the end
It is as if since LORD GOD is on Jacob's side Jacob is free to lie about the LORD GOD
LORD GOD at this point is unconcerd by human speech. Human speech at this pointconcents him with
Story of JOSEPH ---> Lord God neither active nor articulate: more like an assumption than a character.
LORD GOD - Maximally powerful & minimally kind
God mirrored in Joseph is maximally kind and minimally powerful.
LORD - less lawful, more poweful more personal, ABSENT from last quarter of Genesis
GOD who stands quietly in the back of JOSEPH story is almost loving but not quite
Joseph most appealing figure yet in Bible
GENESIS speaks never of divine love
Consistently selects the younger heir.
JOSEPH story now an argument but an impression
JOSEPH to gain in contrast with offensive JUDAH
The Spirit comes to guide me in my need I write "in the beginning was the Deed."
Lord returns with sudden violent force
God like a novelist who can only tell his story through his characters
Quest for self image is not an idle and optional indulgence but an indispensible tool of SELF UNDERSTANDING
SIGNATURE is Mountain and Flame : Echo of Ba'al, the dominant deity in Canaan, the region to which Abraham can when he left Ur
Ba'al --- translates as Owner, Master.
Master of the universe but one that had become so by military force
In mythic terms Ba'al is a young God, a rebel god.
"I am that I am" --- "I am what I shall be" --- "You will find out who I am"
'ehyeh 'asen 'ehyet
Hebrew text contains consonants only hyh sr hyh.
hwh --- most likely means 'become'
in consecutive conjugation it would mean "cause to become" "make it happen" "act"
---> "I am what I do"
Actions precedes His intentions or at least full consciousness of his intentions.
Sign of gathering self knowledge
"I will act" sent me
This proves most likely connected to introduction of phrase Yahweh
THE PASSOVER - Deeply ominous overtones.
LEVITES led by MOSES in bloody and indiscriminate reprisals against IDOLATERS
Crescendo of ISRAELITE suffering
Crescendo of DIVINE militance
Contrast of GOD as warrior
that of GOD as law giver.
Literary power of Bible lies partly in its incongruities and jolting transitions
Animal Sacrifice - Small Role, Large Role, No Role
LEVITICUS - Contain the fears of ISRAEL in elaborate and symbolic domestication.
Complex set of rituals designed to guarantee ISRAEL's purity, immunity and safety
Levite ritual - purification and exculpation
- Ritual reaction & order to fear of chaotic and unpredictable deity
LORD GOD of Exodus is a terrifying God
LEVITICUS - ritualized orderly reaction to Divine terror. Contain and order Lord God, domesticate Him
Complex set of rituals meant to guantee purity, immunity and safety: the very tedium soothes c.f. liturgy one can not be bored and terrified at once.
LEVITICUS - God through OCD glasses
One can not be paralyzed with fear and meticulous in ritual simultaneously
LEVITICUS LORD no longer threatens to "break out" in any unexpected way
LEVITICUS - Least dramatic, least engaging book of Bible one fo the greatest
Lord complains endlessly about ISRAEL's complaining
ISRAEL is nothing if not grudging in accompaniment of DIVINE PLAN
stiff necked - yoking of oxen
Stiff necked ISRAEL repeatedly refuses to submit to ways of the LORD
LORD is a harsh character, imposed by brute force.
Baal of Peor? Met with massive Divine reprisal.
MOSES is angry that Israelites have been insufficiently ruthless
Why is Baal of Peor such a threat to LORD GOD?
BAAL - Strange God who most appeals to the populace and most apalls the leadership.
Baal both stormy war God & fertility God involving ritual copulation 'Cult of Passion'
Cult of Baal perceived temptation to ISRAEL
Soft murmuring start of ELIJA versus volcano of MOSES
Work of ELIJAH is interrupted: business unfinished
scenes of deep and desperate urgency.
LORD decrees a future that does not come to pass
ISRAEL now two realms: ISRAEL north and JUDAH south.
ELIJAH ELISHA & ISAIH raise fierce, doomed protest.
Assyrians take ISRAEL, Babylonians take Judah
587 end in wreckage slaughter and exile
COVENANT ends in failure
Exodus --> II Samuel - Lord a warrior God, similar in temper to Cannanite Ba'al but with opposite sexual mores.
Various messages of PROPHETS contradict one another freely and frequently
Infer from the contradictions that the central character might be experiencing distress.
Tone of prophets poignant but powerfully engaging agitation. Labors under extreme duress to produce something from within Himself that may be relevant to a crushing external crisis.
Must mine Divine History aggressively.
Often unstable in person the Prophets are destabilizing in affect
Isaiah - Manic
Jeremiah - Depressive
Ezekiel - Psychotic
Aramaic - Lingua franca of Babylonian & Persian Empires
Judean creation myth probably was composed and edited in Babylonian exile
- Joshua * Judges *1 & 2 Samuel * 1 & II Kings
- Isaiah *Jeremiah *Ezekiel
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
if the LORD does not want burnt offerings what does He want?
Cease to do evil - Learn to do good - Seek justice - Correct oppression - Defend the fatherless - Plead for the widows
LORD's preoccupation with abuses of wealth is now, as is notion that other nations can be converted vs. exterminated.
HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL - friend of the poor, bitterly sarcastic opponent of both wealthy and jaded corrupt
never before a king of ISRAEL
Isaiah's HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL is exalted, enthroned in Heaven and yet His concern is with the lowly of the earth.
Wills ISRAEL understand His message only after punishment has been inflicted: no wonder He is unknowable
ISAIAH is full of jolting reversals
6 was a vision of Yahweh on heavenly throne
9 parallels with vision of Messianic king
Undoubtably enlargement of idea of kingship of ISRAEL came about as a reaction to the emergence of the world state of ASSYRIA
Miraculous beginning of this sort may have seem to have been externally in place but it was not; it has a beginning in Isaiah
Isaiah 13 through 23 contain oracles predicting grim disaster for one nation after another.
All long on wraith & short on what provoked it.
They are dead they will not live
They are shades they will not arise
To that end thou has visited them with destruction
And wiped out all memory of them
Thy dead shall live, their bodies shall rise
O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy
For thy dew is a dew of light
And o the land of the shades thou wilt let it fall
text is inconsistent?
Eschatology and apocalypticism before ISAIAH have played no part in the Bible since Genesis 6.
sin qua non for apocalypticism may have been exposure to the Assyrian empire and globalization of social though and second the more personal experience of having one's own world destroyed.
Frames mutually inconsistent responses that reflect separate parts of His own character and His own past.
By doing all of this He talks Himself into a new conception of divinity
The process is shot through with life and death contrasts.
Little Apocalypse of Isaiah the vision of death previously quoted is suceeded without quite being supplanted, by a vision of life.
Mind that contains vengence and Messianic promise is by no means at peace with itself.
Prose interlude concerning Hezekiah
ISAIAH's baffling shifts begin to abate and the good news begins to predominate the last portion of the book - "Second Isaiah"
SECOND ISAIAH drastically transforms mood by strategic omissions, substitutes, and the adoption of a tone of tender, almost maternal solicitude that is without precedent and is the most striking because joined to an equally new emphasis on His awesome uniqueness as the only God that is truly real.
Some particular changes:
1) God dispenses almost entirely with further oracles of destruction against either ISRAEL or any other nation except one : BABYLON.
2) GOD refuses from condemning ISRAEL for moral failings, abuse of the poor, graft, etc or for any other rupture of the Mosaic covenant law related rhetoric of Deuteronomy is completely missing
3) Mocks Babylonian idolatory w/o ever suggesting that the exiled Jews have shown any interest in it.
Mystery rather than power is the source of Holiness
First, now broken, covenant was based on the clarity of the law and its requirements the new one is located in the mystery of the LORD's personality and his unknowable intentions.
Between prohibition of idolatory in the Decalogue and Second Isaiah polemic against Babylonian idolatry there are surprisingly few mentions of idolatry in the Tanakh
Cananite religion that was Yahweh's rival during the centuries before the Babylonian conquest was itself not idolatrous.
Charge against Ba'al worship is covenant infidelity, not idolatory.
Cult of Ba'al Canaan employed sacred objects including altars, sacred poles, trees, standing rocks etc but ISRAEL had its own elaborate set of ritual objects
Yahweh worship and Ba'al cult parted ways not over idolatry but over sexual morality. Cult of Ba'al was orgiastic, ISRAEL promoted chaste morals.
Cult prostitution was a standard practice of Ba'al worship.
Babylon delivered a more major shock than the cult of BA'AL
Image of Marduk in ziggurat temple -- famous tower of Babel was as close to literal divinity for Babylonians as any icon in religious history has been
Assyrian idea of world state made positive contributions to Jewish religious thought. Babylonian idea of a divine statue made a negative contriution
Once unreality was predicted on idol deities it was predicted on all non Yahweh deities
Competing Gods whether idolatry was involved or not
This was broadly the way of the ancient world other nations did not deny the reality of Yahweh as Jewish national God
Deuteronomy comes close to acknowledging a world of many nations and many Gods
Isaiah - whether or not other nations recognize LORD they should have no other Gods - "Worship Me or worship nothing."
The notion that God is inscrutable, loftily mysterious and beyond the comprehension of mere men is all but absent form biblical presentations of Him before Isaiah
For God of Moses what counted was not His unknowability but His awesome power
To God of Isaiah power undeniably counts but mystery counts even more
Isaiah's GOD understand mankind, mankind does not understand God.
Prophecy died with return to ISRAEL
most of the marvels that Isaiah and other prophets predicted for an Israel returned from exile never came to pass.
The failure of prophecy is a personal failure of the life of God.
And yet the writer was quite correct in his belief re: monotheism
The spread of monotheism through Christianity and Islam had not been what he foresaw and in diffusion the Jews had been more often vilified than glorified: yet Christianity and Islam do understand themselves to worship the same being that Israel first worshipped: Jerusalem yet remains the sacred city.
As the Lord God comes to full consciousness of his literal uniqueness and thereby His extraordinary power we may say that the trauma of Israel's defeat and the crisis of the shatter covenant have shown Him who He is i.e. have shown Him who He has come to be - that is what His history and personality have combined to make Him.
Whatever His character originated it is difficult to believe that it is the simple projection of a human character.
Book of ISAIAH - God's unknowability begins to be asserted
God is temporal, developing - His omniscience seems to increase as his direct intervention decreases.
Opening of Genesis - God has blind self confidence of a sleep walker.
Elaborate animal sacrifices can not be conducted in exile but even in exile the fatherless defended etc.
I will smelt away your dross - the Lord is now re conceiving his own action
- Hosea *Joel *Amos
- Obadiah *Jonah *Micah *Nahum *Habakkuk *Zephaniah *Haggai * Zechariah * Malachai.
- Psalms *Proverbs *Job *Song of Songs *Ruth *Lamentations *Ecclesiastes *Esther *Daniel *Esra *Nehemiah *I & II Chronicles.
Plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisers they succeed
How much better to get wisdom than gold to choose understanding rather than silver
Pride goes before destruction A haughty spirit before the fall
Better a patient man than a warrior A man who controls his temper than one who takes a city
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet Than a house full of feasting with strife
Starting a quarrel is breaching a dam So drop the matter before dispute breaks out
He who loves a quarrel love sin He who builds a high gate invites destruction
A hot tempered man must pay the penalty. If you rescue him you will have to do it again.
Make plain by seeking advise If you wage war seek guidance.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls When he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice
Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready after that build your house
An angry man stirs upp dissent and a hot tempered one commits many sins.
Sayings of Jesus
"The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
"Allow the dead to bury their own dead but as for you go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God."
"No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God."
"Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear while you yourselves will not touch the burdens with one of your fingers."
"Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets and it was your fathers who killed them."
"Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves and those who were entering in you hindered."
"If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
"FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOOSE IT BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR THE WORD WILL SAVE IT"
"What good is it to gain the whole world but loose your soul?"
"It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves"
"For I will give you utterances and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute."
"By your preserverence you will win souls."
The Kingdom of God is alive within those who accept Him.
Nothing that ever appears in God's personality ever quite disappears.
In principle God will never not be a destroyer or a warrior.
Yet the dominant mood of the psalms is gentle.
God of psalms never too tender for vindication.
Lord is a warrior
Equation of leadership with conflict.
Rewards of psalmist are reasonably prosperous life.
5 books of Torah
5 books of Psalms
Final formulation of monotheism in 2nd Isaiah.
man who does not recognize how much will inevitably escape his control is doomed to frustration and despair.
The Battlefield against Sin
If you allow yourself to be creative you may come up with some options that you otherwise would not have thought about.
The more you fight a feeling the more it consumes and controls you
The battle for sin is won or lost in your mind.
We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on.
Focus on God. God is always enough.
If you are serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake.
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts
DO NOT ALLOW TRASH INTO YOUR MIND INDISCRIMINATELY.
This takes a lifetime of practice but with the help of the Holy Spirit you can reprogram the way that you think.
If you fall without having a friend nearby you are really ni trouble.
Hiding your hurt only intensifies it.
You are only as sick as your secrets.
Take off your mask, stop pretending you ar perfect, and walk in freedom.
The Purpose Driven Life
Life is meant to be shared.
Real fellowship is experiencing life together.
- Unselfish Loving
- Honest Sharing
- Sacrificial Giving
- Sympathetic Comforting
- All of the other "one another" commands of the New Testament
SMALLER FELLOWSHIPS ARE BETTER
Once a group gets above about twelve it loses its cohesiveness. Focus upon real community.
Being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure, rejection and being hurt again.
WHY WOULD ANYONE TAKE SUCH A RISK? Because it is the only way to grow spiritually and be emotionally healthy.
MAKE THIS YOUR COMMON PRACTICE : "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed."
We only grow by taking risks and the most difficult risk of all is to be honest with ourselves and others.
In real fellowship people experience mutuality. Mutuality is the art of giving and receiving.
Mutuality is the heart of fellowship: building reciprocal relationships, sharing responsibilities and helping each other.
All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us.
The Bible commands mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, mutual serving and mutual honoring.
"Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."
"As Holy people be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle and patient."
bitterness and resentment always destroy fellowship.
Fire Within - St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and the Gospel on Prayer
Son (Logos) radiant Image (Form) of the Father's (Unmoved Mover) Glory.
Has come to cast a fire upon the earth (Spirit)
And He longed for it to burst into a Blaze.
Fiery Tounges * Timorous *Burining Love * Ardent Zeal.
Fire has not yet gone out; consuming conflagration never to be contained.
Men and women on fire - Saints.
The burning ones are the un-flickering light of the world, the savory salt of the earth, the lively leaven mass.
Universal call to holiness and a deep prayer life.
Aspire to be filled with the utter fullness of God.
Anyone and everyone must "renounce all that they possess - not just part or most of it."
In our finite condition, every choice entails negation.
If I spend money on one thing I can not spend it on something else.
No one can serve both God and Mammon.
No one can attain ecstatic pleasure of God without giving up paltry self centered pleasures.
The dark night of faith is in no sense a nothingness --- it reflects the radiance of invisible stars of love.
Strive for extinction of Ego - subsume self image into that of a vessel through which from unmerited Grace God's Holy Spirit is allowed to operate through.
The Gospel According to Luke
- In the days of Herod, king of Judah, there was a certain priest by the name of Zacharius, of the division of Abijah.
- He and his wife were both righteous in the sight of the LORD
- According to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the LORD and burn incense.
AN ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARED TO HIM
Zacharius was greatly troubled when he saw him and fear gripped him.
But the angel of the LORD said to hi,:
(you will bear a son and give him the name John)
"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth."
"For he will be great in the sight of the LORD, and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Blessed be the God of Israel
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people
And raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant.
4.5 - And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
4.6 And the devil said to Him "I will give You all this domain and its glory for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."
4.7 "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours"
4.8 And Jesus answered him and said to him "YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY."
YOU SHALL NOT FORCE A TEST OF THE LORD YOUR GOD.
To remember His holy covenant.
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father
That we might serve Him without fear
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days
TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH.
To guide our feet in the way of peace.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terribly afraid.
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying---
"Glory to God in the highest And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
The eternal Trinity.
< Yahweh * Yashua * Holy Spirit >
Cast of Characters
if a public relations firm planned the introduction of God's son on earth, whom would they invite? Certainly not the group that Luke introduces. No Roman emperor or Greek philosopher attended. Instead Luke tells of an obscure priest and his wife, a carpenter and his young fiancee, a group of shepherds, and two elderly people. Jesus never had much to do with the high and mighty, except during his trial and execution. He would change the world through the lives of ordinary people.
The Gospel of John
In the beginning was the Word (Greek Logos) And the Word was with God, and the Word was God He was with God in the beginning.
LOGOS - Word --- Information, the spoken word, but also the unspoken word, the word still in the mind.
Opposite of entropy.
(Holographic Universe, Turing Machine, Black Hole Information Paradox.)
The WORD (Logos) Was God. John 1:1
All things were made through Logos; In the Word was Life and the Life was Light
The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Law preceeds creation.
1:4 LIFE Appeas in John 36 Times 3*12 IN JOHN.
Born of God - Baptized in Water Word & Spirit.
Testimony: 2*7 = 14
- 70 AD Jerusalem Destroyed by Romans
1) Popular Messianic speculation
2) Hostility between Jews and Samaritans
Miracles of Jesus in John
- Water into Wine - 1
- Money Changers at Temple
- Conversation with Nicodemus
- Testimony of John the Baptist
- Dialogue with Samaritans
- Visit to Jerusalem
- Feeding 5,000 - 3
- Feast of Tabernacles
- Good Shepherd
- Conflict at identity
- Anointing of Feet
- Triumphal Entrance
- Prediction of own death
- Conflicts among Jews
- Farewell Prayer
Miracle as "sign" or symbolic message. Significance is in metaphysical interpretation of meaning of miracle in context of Divine character, not in the action or spectacle.
"Spirit Gives Birth to Spirit"
To all who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God.
World - Universe, the earth, most people, the Godless.
Salvation by faith alone and by Grace alone.
Seven spheres of Society - Family : Education : Government : Economy : Arts : Media : Religion
SEVEN MIRACLES OF YASHUA IN GOSPEL OF JOHH
1. WATER TO WINE: Water (Gen 1:1) (Rev 21:1) to Wine - Spirit, Life, Logos, --- "Divine Miracle demonstrates God's potency to create Spirit out of lifeless "Waters." (Aperion, Chaos)
2. CLEARING OF THE TEMPLE
3. HEALING OF THE ROMAN OFFICIAL'S SON
4. FEEDING OF 5,000: Bread of Life (correlation of Energy and Spirit)
5. HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN AT SILOAM: The restoration of sight, clarity.
7. ASCENSION TO HEAVEN
Grace and Truth --- 'unfailing Love and faithfulness'
Flesh - sounds almost crude --- Made His dwelling - same as tent or Tabernacle.
1:7 - It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
The same Jesus who has been taken from you into heave will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven.
In the Last Days, God says I will pour our my Spirit on all people Your sons and daughters will prophesy Your young men will see visions Your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy I will show wonders in the Heavens above and on the earth below blood and fire and billows of smoke. the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood Before the coming of the great and glorious Day of the Lord And everyone who calls on the name of The Lord will be saved.
-(Israel) disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to (Israel)
Abide in the Holy Spirit, pray for its power.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.
How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?
"Go, stand in the Temple courts," he said "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
"We must obey God rather than men! THe God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree.
"But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourself fighting against God.
The Most Hight does not live in houses made by men.
Freedom not merely absence of restraint - it is presence of something to do.
In Galatians Paul talks of the freedom of those who follow Chirst's teachings have from the weight of evil in their lives.
Freedom is power to do what you choose to do; not just the right to do whatever you feel like doing.
New life not by good works but by trust.
Legalism stems from misunderstanding
Living a life of live.
Galatia - Roman province in central part of modern Turkey
Galations C. A.D. 48-53
Let him be condemned he who preaches a different gospel.
1: 8-9 desire for ultimate authority in the Bible.
Arabia ---> Damascus
Peter in Galatians ---> The Disciple.
James in Galatians ---> Brother of Yashua
"Through the law I died to the law; I died to the law."
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung by a tree" (Appeal to Scripture, God holds the curse?"
Notes on Qa'ran
Much of the earliest material has a vigor that is terse and abrupt.
Old Testament stories dominate much of the narrative of the Qa'ran.
By far the most important is Moses.
Rejection of Trinity
Rejection of Crucifixion
Notes on Documentary Hypothesis
Doublets - Yahweh & Elohim
J source - anthrophomorphism, physical, intention & emotion and reaction to events. Litter interest in precise dates or chronology. Interest in Judah & King David
E - Elohim at least two separate some documents exhibits anthropomorphism.
P -- Amorphous, distant aloof
E - Older than P but perhaps younger than J
Doublets in E and J reflect the political and religious propaganda wars between Israel and Judah after the two nations spit apart.
Judah - Strong Monarchy
Elohim - Favored a highly decentralized political and religious system.
Deuteronomy - Virtually no trace of earlier sources, reflects reformist views of king Josiah in the late seventh century B.C. and begins with the story of Moses.
2 Kings claims the law of Moses had been lost and that Josiah aides accidentally found it in some remote part of the Temple.
Over riding theme of Deuteronomy is obedience to God.
Stories of neighbors well known and widely circulated. Most educated people of the time believed.
Biblical text does not borrow any of the narrative passages of the Assyrian.
Flood 10th king or 10th generation
Book of Joshua - one in Joshua and one in 2 Samuel
David mostly in 1 2 Samuel in addition to 1 Chronicles
CREATION 4004 3960 3761
EXODUS 1548 - 1270
RULE OF JUDGES 1081
Genesis 1-11 provides a fascinating insight into how the Bible evolved from polytheistic myths into mostly coherent monotheism.
Two narratives P and J present contradictory accounts and very different views about divinity.
P and J evolved from two separate Egyptian mythic traditions.
J - Heliopolis
Heliopolis center of monotheism & challenged traditional beliefs stirrup up much passion and turmoil.
P -Thebes - Deity was Amun theban priests devised the idea that each of the other creator deities was just a form of Amun.
God - A Biography by Jack Miles
Forebeares strove for centuries to perfect them selves in an image of God is a historical fact
Men and women consciously set to model themselves on Him.
Imatatio dei - imitation of God, central category of Jewish piety.
Imitation of Christ - Equally central for Christians.
Many in West no longer believe in God but lost belief, like a lost fortune, has effects that linger.
You can not give your history away: contrast to everything else in the end it is all that you possess.
c.f. Japan and West have grown alike
for Non-Westerners knowledge of God opens a uniquely direct path to the core and origins of the Western idea of Character.
Empirical fact that many human beings rather than project their own porsonalities upon Gods wholly of their own concern have chosen to introject the religious projections of other human personality.
Religion can be seen as literature that succeeds beyond it's wildest dream.
In our own day, millions fuse the real lives and screen lives of movie goers, assign the combination an importance greater than any they oncede to the real human beings whom they know and suffer the melancholy consequences.
If nothing is serious, Nothing is funny.
To the eyes of faith the Bible is not merely words about God versus words of God.
Bible has been a staggering success.
Anxiety of God? God amalgam of several personality traits in one enormously complex character.
Tension among these personalities makes God difficult, but makes him compelling and rewarding.
Despite longing for a central human ideal the only people who we find satisfyingly real are people whose identity bind several incompatible subdivisions together.
As westerners seek to get to know each other personally that is what they seek to know of one another.
Incongruity and inner conflict are not merely permitted in Western character, they are required.
People who are merely clever about playing various roles fall short of these ideal. They have personalities but they lack character.
Uncomplicated people also fall short of this ideal.
We may admire their inner peace but in the least we are unlikely to imitate them.
Centered and all too centered they have character but little personality.
Being of God in Old Testament combines several personality traits.
Much that the Bible says of God is rarely preached from the pulpit because, examined too closely it becomes a scandal.
If only some of the Bible is actively preached none of the Bible is quite denied.
God's last words are those he speaks to Job, the human being that dares to challenge not his physical power but his moral authority. Withing Job climactic and overwhelming reply seems to silence Job. Paradoxically, Job seems to have silenced God.
God never speaks of Job & he is rarely spoken of.
Esther -God's people flee a genocidal enemy - He is never so much as mentioned.
What is the meaning of the long twilight of the Hebrew bible, the ten closing books of silence?
God does not die but He never again intervenes spectacularly in human affairs; by accumulated implication, no further intervention is expected.
His people cherished Him more than ever, more certainly than when he vanquished Pharaoh with mighty hand and out stretched arm. Back then they were recalcitrant now they are devout but he has nothing further to say to them or about them - or to or about them - or to or about anybody or anything else.
God and His people are at end of Hebrew Bible but it seems like His life is over?
Theography - God creates the successiveness of men.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." says Hebrews 13:8
Aristotle - God as unmoved mover, existing in a single eternal moment.
Contradictory as it must seem He also enters time and is changed by experience.
Were it not so He could not be surprised and He is endlessly and most unpleasantly surprised.
God is eternal in character albeit not immutable through experience. c.f. dynamic, changing, what are the harmonies of that dynamic.
Knowledge of an unresolved conflict in a character may be the most crucial knowledge of all.
Lucifer - Latin for "Light Bearer"
Everything that exists came out of the continuing creative impulse.
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God... I will be like the Most High."
Man born a rebel, never willing to dethrone himself.
Set one'swill against the will of God is to make oneself supreme
7th chapter of Romans
p36. "If all this appears self contradictory - Amen, be it so."
"the various elements of truth stand in perpetual antithesis."
p39 "Because God lives in an everlasting now, He has no past and no future."
"God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God"
All within us cries for life and permanence yet everything around us reminds us of mortality and change.
Ecclesiastes - clearly begun challenging what might be called the hidden premises of Jewish monotheism
Ringer in the cannon. Kind of inversion of all that had gone before.
Book of Job - climax of Tanakh and the climactic moment in the biography of God. Books that follow are in effect a denoument: Job is the climactic moment in the Bible.
God subsides? Incorporated into Jewish nation
Esther mimics foundation myth of Exodus - Genocide averted.
Messiah never mentioned in Esther, Israel never cross protagonist's lips
Ancient of Days
Book of Daniel - God and Israel at least through intermediaries are together again.
Daniel 6 - Daniel's persecutors die in the lion's den they had prepared for his execution.
Daniel like Joseph is a dream interpreter.
to Joseph - great enough to know what was going on but not great enough to know what would happen.
Daniel admits more autonomy for God than does Ecclesiastes
Increasing knowledge is the power - time, times and half a time.
c.f Imagery in Gabriel in Daniel to imagery of Yashua in Revelation.
p401 Diffuse anxiety is more characteristic mood of Tanakh: what will be may or not be - it all depends on a frighteningly unpredictable God.
Plot is trapped within principal character, clarity disappears.
Psalmist cry "Why do you sleep, O Lord?"
- Religious Anxiety
- Literary Suspense
Tanakh - Begins in activity and speech and ends in passivity and silence.
Why a long decrescendo to silence?
Why does it begin with climax and descend from there?
Omnipotence ---> Impotence
Ignorance ---> Omniscience
What has happened to God that reduces Him to silence?
"let us make man in our image, after our likeness?"
-- initial untransparency of God to Himself.
When the writer first takes pen to hand how prepared will he be for what shall ensure?
Initially self ignorant, immense power
Apparent ignorance of self connected to will to create?
At the start He does not appear to know what He wishes
Once God understands what motivated Him at the start His motivation to continue is undercut.
TANAKH AS A REFUSAL OF TRAGEDY
- The desire for self image carries within it a tragic potential.
Once you have seen yourself, will you desire to keep looking? Or will self knowledge prove fatal to self love? Can you lose interest in yourself once you know who you are?
TRAGEDY HAS CLARITY AND FINALITY
The refusal of tragedy typically has neither. Tanakh refuses tragedy and ends in a kind of muddle. Protagonist is alive, not dead; it is a Divine Comedy, but one that barely escapes tragedy.
Feminine not merely absent from Divine character but actively excluded?
God in plural (Elohim) and saw reflection in couple rather than in the male.
What rescues God's story is what does not fit into either.
Song of Songs breaks the mood, changes the subject, and saves the Lord from tragedy.
Ruth - solidifies the new mood. Lord God is in glaring silence covered oer by the rising bustle and hum of human life.
In Lamentations through Daniel the silence of God may continue.
We find ourselves again in a historical narrative. God has honored place in the narrative but now is a motivating force rather than an actor.
Nehemiah - the first day of the rest of the Lord God's life.
Act first, reflect later --- reflection of the early Yahweh - Elohim.
Authors of later portions of the Tanakh were chronological contemporaries of the earliest Greek tragedies.
Elizabethan society read the Bible far more serious than it read the Greek literature and it was descended from a medieval English society that read little else.
Profound effect of the bible is why Shakespearean tragedy is unlike the literature is unlike that of Greek polytheism - Greek myths are a part of popular culture, elite know of it but assign it little or not impact.
God's character is contradictory and He is trapped within the contradictions.
Lord of Heaven / Friend of Poor ---> Escape this trap & cannot escape
2 Isaiah vs Joshua.
God is both and can not escaped : He is trapped like Hamlet - in Himself.
Western Civilization is descended equally from Athens as Jerusalem
-Two kinds of tragedy
Greek Tragedy --- Challenger / Enron.
Jewish tragedy --- Torment of a man who is determined to be bot a tender father figure and a careerist athlete of the larger world is a Jewish tragedy
1st, Greek, rises from without / inevitable resolution.
2nd, Jewish, rises from within / no resolution, muddled tramped.
The second, Jewish kind, touches us the most deeply.
The intellect of man is forced to choose / perfection of life or of work
God is the internally divided original whose divided image we remain.
Metaphorical prostitution and literal prostitution are inseparable for the prophets.
Lady Wisdom - Not Asherah but she appropriates Asherah symbol "Tree of Life" - recall Garden of Eden - Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The past never dies -- to the extent that it can be recalled it still has power to shape the future.
We engage daily in an ongoing assessment of the people we live and work with.
Hebrew Bible vs Old Testament
The order of the books of cannon is a crucial artistic consideration
Hebrew Bible & Old Testament are not quite the same work
Action ---> Speech ---> Silence (Hebrew)
Action ---> Silence ---> Speech (Old Testament)
The difference between these two arrangements is crucial.
TWO DIFFERENT WORKS HAVE RESULTED
Two different tables of contents
Jews --> People of the scroll Christians ---> People of the book
Who are the people of the internet?
What we call a book was then called a codex
For ceremonial purposes the Jews have retained the scroll down to the resent
CODEX may be Christian invention
Book of Revelation - Consciously antiquarian by a write who among other qualities is obsessed with the scroll.
Position of Prophets in Bible better announces the Gospel
In art practically nothing is left to chance.
In the real world chance accounts for a great deal
The air f reality within a work of art is enhanced therefore if chance is admitted or eve feigned
The emergence of monotheism from polytheism can be recovered for literature as the story of a single God struggling with himself.
The Lord God has always been intermittently baffling or irritating or inconsistent or arbitrary because of them?
- El (sky bliue)
- Abba (earthly)
- Baal & Tiamat (blood red)
- Asherah (evergreen)
mono theos - came into being after they were fused.
must be understood in riven and difficult unity
Bible Story - God rather than Israel is protagonist.
Begins - Desire for self image
From this initial conflict others emerge.
Plot reaches its crisis when God tries and fails to conceal His original motive from a single physically ravaged but morally aroused exemplar of Himself. (Job)
- Why did God create the world? Won such flimsy ground did He destroy it so soon after creating it?
Why for so long with no interest in wars did he suddenly become a warrior?
Why after attending so slightly to morality did he suddenly become a moralist?
As covenant with Israel seems to break up what consequences loomed for Him? What awaited after that breaking?
How did the promises of prophets and their disappointment force adjustment?
I am my mother and my father, my chosen vocation allows me to live out my contradictions.
From our moment of conception we are defined by our inner division.
OUR NEW IDENTITY IS A LACK OF SINGULAR IDENTITY
We have nothing at all completely out own
Upon that initial division other divisions intrude
Book of Job has long been a favorite in literary circles.
Secular exegesis often see Book of Job as the self refutation of the entire Judeo-Christian tradition.
Job - the first dissenter.
Book of Job - God plays games with a fiend and and is manipulated, controlled by a fiend.
In all of the Bible up to Job it never occurs to GOd that mankind should serve him for naught.
In furious speech to Job Lord never claims to be just, only almighty.
God's unknowability seems an escape clause in which not just the contract but one of the contracting parties may disappear.
Intuitively the writers who have bene drawn to Job as a yawning abyss have been right.
Job's naive confidence in the day to day fairness of the world is still sharply chastised - nonetheless God's bright side is strongly than His dark side.
Lord does not win wager with the devil, He simply drops it.
3 parts to fables?
Repose of the Bible is "no one is guilty of no injustice."
Hebrew scriptures remarkable in how they cut their greatest figures down to sinful mortal size.
Lord's two part speech to Job is His testament, his last words.
Interpretation has managed to change into repentance a reply that should probably be heard as irony responding to sarcasm.
Lord in Job refers to absolutely nothing about himself except His power; explicitly subsumes His justice to His power.
"Might makes Right." He thunders at Job.
Lord presents Himself with withering sarcasm and towering bravado, as amoral irresistible force.
Why this time does the Lord stop with the prelude? He does so because He is in a bind.
Thanks to ingenuity of the Job fabulist Lord's inscrutable ways have been made all too scrutable: Deity has something to hide and He hides it by rising to His full majestic stature, drawing the robes of creation around and regally changing teh subject.
In no other part of the Bible does Lord speak of himself as sheer amoral power.
Lord's speech to Job may be in short Job's last trial: a test by calculated deception in a book that is a gigantic test by calculated deception.
Job offers not just blameless behavior but an open and adoring heart.
The Lord's fantasy is that by wantonly inflicting suffering on Job, Job is provoked only to a greater and more glorious demonstration of Job's adoring and selfless devotion. To the Lord's horror, Job turns out to be a more perfect self image of the Lord than the Lord had planned on. Job is the supreme image of God's desire to know God: he accepts his suffering but does not do silently; he is not resigned to have no explanation for it.
Lord tempts Job by speaking to him in the tones of merciless power
Job's response - 7 short verses replying to 123 verses from the Lord
A refusal to speak can be wonder in it's inscrutability.
Silence can be defiant as well as deferential.
Symmetry in the form of two demands and two refusals -Speaks at length about justice - God refuses to respond - God speaks at length about power and demands that Job respond - Job refuses.
Job responds just enough to make it clear that he is refusing to respond.
Lord by silence tortured Job
Job by near silence leaves Lord in another kind of agony.
Job first quotes something God has said and then comments on it faintly insulting thing to do in ordinary.
-Long tirade against me (Job)
-Calmly you (Job) quote your very first words verbatim in your teeth.
-Serve notice that I (Job) have kept my cool, that what you have said has now bowled me over.
Confession? Ironic counterboast?
Like a cornered political candidate Lord tries to make his opponent the issue.
Job concedes God is enormous power: at the same time Job successfully withholds everything that can be witheld.
After Job, God knows his own ambiguity as He has never known it before.
Pervasive mood of Job not redemption but reprieve.
From end of Job to end of Tanakh God never speaks again.
Book of Job has 42 chapters.
Apocalypse is a cryptic revelation of imminent destruction to be followed by a definitive divine interpretation.
"weed sprang up from the charred earth of failed prophecy
predictions coded & elaborately mysterious, global in reach
-Vaster but vaguer than prophecy
Tendency to encode and postpone.
Earlier prophets - God uses metaphor freely but allegory sparingly
Zechariah 13 shows hostility towards prophets, prophecy a mistake the Lord will not make twice.
psalms not what they say about but what they say to Lord
2 centuries between Malachi and Alexander
faithful remnant versus apostate majority
in imposed peace of Persian Empire ISRAEL ceases to be even a minor player in the world stage.
Enemies in 1/3 of Psalms, and attack is most often what prompts prayer.
Word Prophet occurs perhaps 5 times in Psalms.
Seven in Revelation
Look, He is coming with the clouds
and every eye will see Him
even those who pierced Him
and all the peoples of the earth
will mourn because of Him
Even so, Amen
Rev 1:12 --- 7 Golden Lampstands "All the lights of earth" --- "all the churches of earth"
Rev 1:16 --- 7 Stars "All the lights of heaven" --- "all of the angels"
Stars - angels Lampstands - churches
Imagery equates light with spirit
"Holds the seven stars" -- controls the angels"
"walks among the lampstands" -- Moves through spiritaul community.
1 Conquest (Military)
7 Lamps in the Throne in Heaven --- 7 Spirits of God
7 Seals of the Scroll
Song to Lamb in Rev 5 --- 7 lines long.
Each successive of 7 judgements more severe than preceeding
6-7 144,000 Sealed : those who serve God's will are sealed
the 7th seal --- dramatic peace
Starts the cycle of 7 Trumpets --- 7 Blasts
1) Hail & fire mixed with blood
1/3 earth burned
2) Flaming mountain into sea
1/3 of waters
3) Star falls on rivers
1/3 of water goes bad
4) 1/3 of cosmos goes dark
5) Plague, torture for 5 months
6) Great War.