“nothing is necessary except one thing, and Miryam has chosen the good portion that will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:42 Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels
Except one thing – The last day of this solar year brings me to a page of notes, items that I wanted to write about but didn’t get to this time. Let me share them with you. Each one is worthy of the “one thing” Yeshua mentions.
“Self-renewal must be constant. To repeat oneself is to commit forgery; one becomes mired in routine. Therefore, avoid the trodden paths! As least one day a week – on the Sabbath – keep away from sameness.” (Abraham Heschel, A Passion for the Truth, pp. 168-169.)
“You can be the best artist in the world, but if they ask you to reproduce the Mona Lisa with a paint roller, you’re gonna lose some nuance.” (Ronald Thomas, in private communication).
In our Western paradigm, “function is a consequence of physical properties and natural laws.” But in the biblical world of the ancient Near East, “function is a consequence of purpose.” (John Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, p. 191.) We should seriously consider what this means for the design of the ‘ezer kenegdo, the woman, the wife. Unless we understand her purpose, we cannot understand a woman, any woman.
In the Greek paradigm, man is master of the world. In the biblical paradigm, man is appointed priest in the world.
In the West, truth has an empirical basis (cause and effect + natural law). In the ANE (Ancient Near East), truth is what the gods do.
In the West, history is dysteleological, i.e., it is going somewhere on the basis of cause and effect momentum. Its trajectory is not random because it has causal links, but it is not planned because causality is simply mechanical. In the Bible, history is teleological. It is going somewhere because it is driven by divine purpose. The Bible is “an interpretation of significant happenings” (Speiser), not just a record of events. In the Bible, there is no secular history. All history is the record of God’s purposes worked out in the lives of men. (cf. Walton, p. 226)
There are two cardinal rules of Hermeneutics:
1. No interpretation can be sustained that contradicts the character of God
2. No interpretation can be sustained that is inconsistent with the Word of God
Fitting these two together is our job, not His.
A prophet is a man or woman whom God trusts.
In the Genesis account, there is no first day. First is a relative term requiring temporal order. There is a second, third and fourth, etc. day. But in Genesis there is only Day 1. This is the beginning of the counting. (cf. Gorelik) What does this mean for our view of time?
In the Bible there are many patterns of doubles. Moses comes twice, the second time in the form of Yeshua. The Messiah comes twice. There are two deaths (the final judgment is the second death). There are two cities of Jerusalem. Yeshua sends out His disciples in pairs. The first relationship is incomplete in the singular. It requires a pair which “shall become one flesh.” The word for “heaven” is always plural.
Progressive revelation is like brick building – one course of bricks at a time. The foundation must be firm and straight before it can support the next course of bricks. Without the foundation of the Tanakh, the entire New Testament collapses.
Hebrew thought gives you pieces of the puzzles which you must use to put it together. Greek thought describes the final picture but doesn’t give you the pieces to put together on your own.
“Sovereignty anticipates certainty in spite of temporary obstacles.” Bob Gorelik
Paul says, “Take all thoughts captive.” What does this mean? Captive? Why doesn’t he say, “Kill these thoughts”? Why keep them alive but imprisoned? What good comes from keeping them imprisoned rather than executed? Are we taught about this – the power of knowing the yetzer ha’ra imprisoned? (Do you think this is connected to Paul’s cry, “to know Him and the power of His resurrection”?) Are we taught to restore desires to their godly purpose? Or are we taught to attempt to slaughter them – to exterminate them? What happens to the person who no longer acknowledges the presence of the yetzer ha’ra? Is that person a robust human being in God’s image, or is that person the most vulnerable to egoism?
“I have always thought that one of the great things about being an adult and getting older is that I finally realized I have a license, and even a duty, to think for myself. I also have the freedom to take all views into consideration without great fear or risk of ‘contaminating’ myself. I have a number of friends –who I affectionately call ‘the Bible police’ who seem to be appalled by some of the books I read, people I quote, and the movies I watch!” (Ron Ferguson, in private communication)
May you have a blessed new solar year just as you have a blessed year on God’s calendar.