Provocative thoughts . . . Is the Bible more than a religious tome?

Provocative thoughts . . . Is the Bible more than a religious tome?

Copyright 2017 by Joan Berry

Generations past and present were/are taught that the Bible is only a book about the Jewish nation and moral laws that apply to all regardless of the age in which we live, and that its contents are a precursor to the arrival of the Messiah. All mentioned is true, but not complete. It is common knowledge that some clergy, archaeologists, anthropologists, and related scholars have asserted that the Bible is not a book to be relied upon for science, accurate history, or some concepts of religion. The Bible contains poetry, songs, history, prophecy, parables, diet, laws, what the people of God experienced and what they saw and recorded; all inspired by God.

Following is an example of a little mystery in Job. Those who take the Bible literally may pick up on what the following verses in Job are describing: God said to Job (Ch. 40)–

“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you;
He eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips,
And his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar;
The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze;                                                                                          His ribs like bars of iron.

The conclusions that many scholars have arrived at is that the beast may be a metaphor, an elephant, hippopotamus, ox, or a crocodile. However, ‘the tale of the tail’ says otherwise. “He moves his tail like a cedar” — The crocodile neither grazes on grass nor lifts its tail up high as do some reptiles. An elephant, hippopotamus, and ox do not have tails like cedars. The tails are short and fat. However, there was an animal that does fit the description in the family of the sauropod dinosaurs. Specimens of this dinosaur were found and some of the tails were as large as a tree trunk. The animal had a long neck and the huge tail helped balance the sauropod. Some descriptions include a description of the hips. That dinosaurs existed with mankind should not be a surprise. Fossils of human and dinosaur footprints sites were found in recent years in Texas where the prints were side-by-side. It has also been suggested that the animal was a stegosaurus dinosaur.

What do you think is being described?

Provocative thoughts . .

Provocative thoughts . . .Abortions

Currently, there is quite a controversy about late-term abortions and for a good reason. No matter the decision to perform such an action, it is outright murder. I realize in some circumstances, an abortion may be necessary, but as a birth control method is going way too far. Some infants survive the abortion only to be killed by the doctor using surgical scissors to cut through the vertebrae at the base of the skull and death occurs. Another horrible procedure that is done earlier than late-term abortions is to dismember the infant (fully formed) while the child is in the womb. Infants (fetuses) hear noises and also react to pain. I leave it to you to imagine what that baby must experience being torn apart. Somewhere on the Web, there is a secretly filmed record of these procedures, based on an investigation. Now there is a movement to allow abortions right up the birth of the baby.

Exegetical Fallacies

By Joan Berry

In this study will be a discussion of exegetical fallacies as they appear in the epistles which should be treated as the letters that they were to the early churches. Paul did not intend for them to become systematic theology and should not be read in that manner. Much of our Christian faith is based on these letters because of the theology through orthopraxy that they offer. Paul was writing to persons in his era of the early church – his original audience – and we should not read meanings into his letters that are not based on how we think now or express any “reading between the lines” to insert our own opinions.

Fallacies to Avoid

Word meanings change over time; root fallacy should be avoided. In regard to Hebrew and Greek terms, efforts must be made to determine what a word meant at the time it was written.

          Example: In English language Bibles, the classic Hebrew use of El Shaddai in Genesis 35:11 (NIV) is translated as “God Almighty.” The root word, Shadad, means destroyer or to overpower. However, in Genesis 28:3 and 49: 25, the word takes on the meaning of being associated with God as provider.

 The second fallacy is sematic anachronism in which a more contemporary word meaning is read back into a much earlier work where the word did not have the same meaning. Try to determine how far removed in time the word is now from the selected Scripture. Prevent in the King James Version meant to precede. But in modern English, it means to stop something from happening.

           Example: Psalms 119: 147-148:

KJV:  I prevented the dawning of the morning and cried I hoped in thy word.

NIV:  I rose before the dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.

A continuation of sematic anachronism includes the error of modern-day speakers misinterpreting a Greek term with an English word that happens to have the same Greek root. D. A. Carson (1996) gave the following example from personal observation:

            Carson said the origin of dynamite comes from a Greek word translated as dynamis meaning power or miracle. But taken out of its origin of meaning, some translate it as dynamite. He recounts hearing preachers quoting Romans 1: 16 as being, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the dynamite of God unto salvation for everyone who believes” (Carson, 1996, pp. 33-34). Tongue-in-cheek, Carson commented that he did not know if Paul planned on blowing up the gospel since dynamite was used for destruction. And there is the point that dynamite was not invented until the 19th century A.D. Points made and taken: the original meaning of power should have been used (Carson, 1996, p. 34).

The fourth semantic fallacy is the illegitimate totality transfer. This is where the importance of knowing the context of the Scriptures is apparent when you are studying. This error occurs when an exegete disregards the context as determining the meaning. The context almost always pinpoints the meaning of a particular word or phrase. Carson (1996), uses the example of Abraham to demonstrate this error by using Hebrews 11:17 – “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son . . .”

   “Most of us know that Abraham had more than one son. He had Ishmael by Sarah’s handmaiden and more by Keturah (Gen. 25: 1-2). But, he had only one special son, the one God promised by his wife, Sarah. If the exegete did not know Abraham’s story and that it foreshadowed God’s only begotten son, the exegete would assume that Abraham had only one begotten son. The writer of Hebrews was trying to point out the importance of the specialness of the Son (Son of God and His sacrifice). Had the exegete, read the full context of the passage, he would have known that “his one and only son” had more than one meaning” (p. 31).

In Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit’s command appears as “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (NASB,  KJV, NKJV, ESV, NRSV, NIV). All of these translations ignore the little word, δή (Barrick, n.d.).  The short meaning of the word is: so, then, indeed, truly. The longer meaning when it is used in a clause expressing demand is: (a) so, then, (b) indeed, (c) truly. The word “then” should be inserted following “set apart” then (or so, indeed) for me, Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have called them.” Barrick (n.d.) commented that combined with the imperative “set apart” there is a concept of urgency.

Conclusion

In the words of W. D. Barrick, “Every student of the Bible must attempt to interpret the text as objectively as possible. In order to maintain accuracy, the student must avoid taking shortcuts that result in committing the fallacies described in this session. Correct interpretation is the result of careful attention to details, to context, and to what the text says. Above all, the attitude of the interpreter is extremely important. We must not approach the text with academic swagger, a feeling of superiority to the ancient writers, or an unteachable spirit. Hubris can have no home in the heart of the hermeneut. We dare not make the Word “lordless” (avkurow) by our human understanding” (Matt 15:6).

References

Barrick, W.D. (n.d.). Common mistakes every student of the Bible must avoid.            http://www.ntslibrary.com/Exegetical_Fallacies.pdf

Carson, D.A. (1996). Exegeting Fallacies (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI:Baker Academics.

The NIV Study Bible (NIV). (1995). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House

 Scofield, C.I. (ed.). (1967). The new Scofield reference Bible: King James Version (KJV). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Shepherd, B. (2006) Exegetical fallacies conference. www.ntslibrary.com/Exegetical_Fallacies.pdf

Part III: The Holy Angels

Part III: The Holy Angels

“Angels are created spiritual beings with moral judgment and high intelligence, but without physical bodies. Angels have not always existed; they are part of the universe that God created” (Grudem, 2000, p. 397). The mention of Angel of the Lord is the form God took at various times to appear to human beings. Some angels were not totally righteous and at times used bad judgment regarding their actions. An example is that of the angels that rebelled against God in Heaven (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). They were severely punished for their sin against God as were the Watchers who lusted after human women.

There are two or three views about when the angels were created: the first is based on Gen. 2:1 which says “Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the hosts [angels and other creatures] of them. The second view is based on Exodus 20:1 that states “In six days the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” By following that line of thought, the angels may have been created by the sixth day. Still, another view is that God created the angels in Heaven with Him where they had been given their ranks, and duties to carry out following the Creation of Earth.

Supporting that idea is Job 38: 6-7, “The morning stars (heavenly beings) shouted for joy at the time when God laid the foundations of the cornerstone and sunk its bases in the process of forming or founding it” (Grudem, 2000, paraphrased p. 402). Prior to the temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1), the angel, Lucifer, and his followers sinned against God by trying to usurp His throne. This event must have occurred after the seventh day because in Gen. 1:31, God saw everything that He had made and beheld and said, “It is very good.”

For in Your sight a thousand years are but a day that passes, or a watch of the night (psalm 90: 4);But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8).

The nature of angels

First and foremost, angels do the biding of God and Jesus (1 Peter 3:22, NKJV). They obey and worship God, carry out His plans, carry out punishment and watch over the Earth. They praise and glorify God, sing, shout and have emotions. Two examples are when Jesus was born and when someone turns to Jesus for salvation (Ps. 103:20; 148: 2, Rev. 4:8; Luke 2:14; Heb. 1:6; Luke 15:10; Grudem, 2000, pp. 405-406). In addition to singing and praising, angels can speak to people (Matt, 28: 5; Acts 12: 6-11; Rev. 4: 11; 5: 11). Angels, being spirits or spiritual creatures, usually do not have physical bodies (Heb. 1: 14; Luke 24: 39). However on important occasions, they take on the appearance of human men. They also are charged with guarding and protecting us (Num. 22:31; Luke 2: 13; 2 Kings 6: 17; Matt. 28: 5; Heb. 13:2). Angels observe God’s people with interest (Luke 12: 8-9; 1 Cor. 4: 9; 1 Tim. 5:21). Angels appear to have the ability to fly “. . . while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice” (Daniel 9:21, NIV). “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people” (Revelation 14:6, NIV).

We are cautioned to aware receiving false doctrine from evil angels because even Satan can disguise himself as an angel (that he once was). Do not worship or pray or seek them Col. 2:18; Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11: 14; Grudem, 2000, p, 407). Angels will not always be superior to mankind. Just as our Lord’s humanity is, in resurrection, superior to angels in every way (Heb.1:4 – 2:18). Angels should neither be worshiped nor disrespected. It is important to keep in mind both their present superiority and their eventual subordination to us. Angels are not to be disrespected (Luke 10:20; 2 Peter 2: 10-12; Jude 1: 8-10; Rom. 13: 7), but neither are they to be worshipped (Rev. 19: 10, 22:9; 2 K 17: 16; Jer. 19: 13; Col. 2:18 NIV).

The apostle John mistakes an angel for God and the angel replied: And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that. I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19: 10 NKJV).

Humans and angels are the only moral and highly intelligent beings created, however angels are not made in the image of God (Gen. 1: 26-27; 9: 6), and they are not subject to the limitation of human flesh (Job 4: 18). Angels are powerful, mobile, and knowledgeable but not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent (2 Thes. 1:7; 2 Peter 2:11; Gen. 28: 28: 12; 2 Sam. 14: 20; Matt. 24: 36; Rom. 8:38; Dan. 10: 13). At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NIV).

Conclusion

There is much more to the nature of angles to include in an article such as this. In the sources section, there are references that you can follow up with and that will lead you to other sources. I hope this series has been helpful for you.

Sources:

Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/

Bible Verses about Angels. (2015). Compiled and edited by BibleStudyTools Staff.

Grudem, W. (1994/2000). Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan.

New King James Study Bible. (2nd.ed., 2007). Nashville, TN. Tomas Nelson, Inc.

Life Application Study Bible (2012). Carol Stream, IL. Tyndale House.

Luginbill, R. D. Dr. (2017). Angelogy: the study of angels

Part II: Angels

Part II: Exploring the fallen Watchers/angels listed in the Book of Enoch

Note: This group errant Watchers is listed in ancient Hebrew/Jewish writings of 250 BC in the Book of Watchers, which was merged with other writings to create what we know as the book of Enoch, and used in Orthodox Ethiopian Christian Cannon (one of the first Christian movements in the world); but was omitted by the Roman Catholic Western Cannon around 700 AD, and considered heretical due to the confusion over the order of chapters, parables and visions inserted in the wrong places; and the fact that that this account was written when the Earth was young. References to Watchers/angels are found in the Book of Enoch, Dead Sea Scrolls and Tobit. Note that the names may differ depending on text eg: Zadkiel also known as Sachiel. New and more accurate translations are available with the material in the proper order.  http://scriptural-truth.com/stuff/BookOfEnoch.pdf.

Background of the Book of Enoch

“The book is probably what it appears to be; well preserved, ancient and genuine.  Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah, and father of Methuselah, and his book gives a unique view of the world before the flood; which recent research suggests may have occurred as long ago as 17,000 BC. Enoch wrote his book, after his grandson Lamech was born, but before Noah was born.  Noah is only named in the section that Methuselah wrote, (see section 10 at 107.3), and of course in his own section (section 11, The Book of Noah).  So, there may still have been 40 – 80 years left before the flood, at the time when Enoch wrote his book. There is a long gap between the time of the flood and the time when Moses gave praise to Enoch in Genesis. Genesis dates from around 1400 BC, and forms part of the Torah (the first five books of the bible).   In Genesis, there is Enoch’s family; as named by him in this book, and a quick recap of some of Enoch’s story. It seems likely therefore, that copies of the Book of Enoch survived into Egyptian times, 3500 BC, and was known to Moses around 2,000 years later” ( McCracken,2002).

Fallen watchers/angels and their fate

The Watchers/angels discussed in this section of Enoch were not the angels associated with the treasonous archangel, Lucifer. These were 200 rebel Watchers whose leaders conspired, under the threat of being cursed, to take human females as mates. The rebels were described as blonde, stature much like giants, white hair, and capable of changing into human form of men. (This is also mentioned in the Old Testament (OT). It should be noted that the abode of the Watchers was Heaven and Enoch referred them as angels as well as Watchers because of their divinity (McCracken, 2002).

The leaders of the 200 Watchers and of all the others with them were: Semyaza, who was their leader, Urakiba, Ramiel, Kokabiel, Tamiel, Ramiel, Daniel, Ezeqiel, Baraqiel, Asael, Armaros, Ananel, Zaqiel, Samsiel, Satael, Turiel, Yomiel, and Araziel. These leaders taught their hybrid families charms and spells, the cutting of roots and trees. This information was forbidden to be shared. The children born to the fallen Watchers are described as giants and these hybrid children became a disastrous race of beings with horrendous appetites. They ate all crops of the people and when all that was devoured, they ate any animal they could get their hands on. When they depleted the animal source, they turned on each other and became cannibals and drank the blood of their victims. At some point, the people of Earth complained that the world had changed and nearly destroyed by the wicked Watchers and their offspring. The holy Watchers petitioned God on their behalf for a solution. It was at this time that God ordered the destruction of the rebel leaders and foretold the flood to cleanse the Earth (Enoch).

Following are the leaders and the forbidden knowledge they passed on to their families: Azazel taught men to make swords, and daggers, and shields, and breastplates.  And he showed them the things after these, and the art of making them; bracelets, and ornaments, and the art of making up the eyes, and of beautifying the eyelids, and the most precious stones, and all kinds of colored dyes. See then what Azazel has done; how he has taught all iniquity on the earth and revealed the eternal secrets that are made in Heaven.

 Semyaza used known spells to rule over those who are with him.

Amezarak taught all those who cast spells and cut roots.

Armaros taught the release of spells.

Baraqiel taught astrologers.

Kokabiel taught portents.

Tamiel taught astrology,

Asradel taught the path of the Moon.

“And the world was changed. And there was great impiety, and much fornication, and they went astray, and all their ways became corrupt” (Enoch).

The punishment

God instructed archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael to carry messages to the rebel leaders of their doom and then proceed to destroy them. Raphael was ordered to “Bind Azazel by his hands and his feet and throw him into the darkness. And split open the desert, which is in Dudael, and throw him there. And throw on him jagged and sharp stones and cover him with darkness.  And let him stay there forever.  And cover his face so that he may not see the light. And so that, on the Great Day of Judgment, he may be hurled into the fire.”

And the Lord said to Gabriel:  “Proceed against the bastards, and the reprobates, and against the sons of the fornicators.  And destroy the sons of the fornicators, and the sons of the Watchers, from amongst men.  And send them out, and send them against one another, and let them destroy themselves in battle; for they will not have length of days. They will see their families destroyed by fighting amongst themselves during their lifetime.  They will suffer in the afterlife and the societies they founded will be wiped away by a flood.” He says, at 10.22, that there will never again be another flood like the one to come.”

The Lord also said: “When all their sons kill each other, and when they see the destruction of their loved ones, bind them for seventy generations, under the hills of the earth, until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the judgment, which is for all eternity, is accomplished. And in those days, they will lead them to the Abyss of Fire; in torment, and in prison they will be shut up for all eternity. And then Semyaza will be burnt, and from then on destroyed with them; together they will be bound until the end of all generations. And destroy all the souls of lust, and the sons of the Watchers, for they have wronged men. Destroy all wrong from the face of the Earth and every evil work will cease.

And the Lord said, “And restore the Earth which the Angels have ruined.  And announce the restoration of the Earth.  For I shall restore the Earth so that not all the sons of men shall be destroyed because of the knowledge which the Watchers made known and taught to their sons. And the whole Earth has been ruined by the teaching of the works of Azazel; and against him write: ALL SIN.”

Coming: Part III: the holy angels and their works

Sources:

McCracken, A., Trans. (2002). The Book of Enoch.

Enoch. (Dated before the Great Flood of Noah; approx. 17,000 B.C.E.). The Book of Enoch. a23973d939b