Thursday, October 4, 2018
Everyone has a right to believe and say what they want in America. Those who value the teachings of Yeshua have the responsibility of making his voice and Gospel are heard too. Make sure you understand what Yeshua, the Jewish Jesus, actually taught. Read the complete blog at -- https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-christian-doctrine-that-destroyed.html
Monday, October 1, 2018
To speak about the books of the Bible is misleading on more than one account. Historically, the Hebrew Bible is a collection of scrolls, and scrolls cannot be simply equated with books. The difference between the two is not merely a matter of form; it affects the mode of writing, editorial strategies, and the way in which readers use the text.1
The ancient world was a world without books. Reading and writing were restricted to a professional elite; the majority of the population was nonliterate. If we are to understand the making of the Hebrew Bible, we must familiarize ourselves with the scribal culture that produced it. They practiced their craft in a time in which there was neither a trade in books nor a reading public of any substance. Scribes wrote for scribes.2
Reading was an oral activity. In order for the message to reach its destination, however, the written text needed a voice. Texts were for the ears, rather than the eyes. Written documents were read aloud, either to an audience or to oneself. Silent reading was highly unusual. Even the student who read in solitude “muttered” his text.3
This scroll of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate/utter in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.4
Students of the Bible first listened to their teachers speak the words of the scrolls. The teachers would then teach the students the meanings of the texts they read and ask their students questions. Students were encouraged to ask their own questions. But the key skill all students learned to develop was memory. Very few students owned scrolls, so they memorized texts taught by their teachers. When called upon to discuss those texts they first had to quote the portion they were discussing from memory. Recalling words of different scrolls in discussions was a very different experience than flipping pages of one book.
The next time you read your Bible, try speaking the words loud enough for your ears to hear them. If a Bible verse pops into your head, speak it so your ears will be able to hear. This will change the way your brain processes those words. Of course, before you memorize any words, do your best to discover what those ancient words meant to the scribes that wrote them. Get ready to experience your Bible in new and powerful ways!
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1 Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible by Karel Van Der Toorn © 2007 Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts; p. 23.
2 Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible; pp. 1-2.
3 Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible; p. 12.
4 Joshua 1:8
Friday, September 28, 2018
The first word in Yeshua’s first message was TESHUVAH:
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,
“TESHUVAH, for the Kingdom of Heaven is here!”
English translators translate the words above as -- “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Today people think of “repent” a ritual that is done as part of “being saved,” or “a prayer that is prayed after committing a sin.” That is not what “TESHUVAH” meant to Yeshua or his Jewish audience. They knew that Yeshua was “teaching a way life.” Learn what TESHUVAH meant to Yeshua at -- https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2018/09/repentance-is-way-of-life-not-ritual.html
Sunday, September 23, 2018
The first clue the ancient text provides about this mysterious image is found in two words of Genesis 1:2 – “RUACH ELOHIYM.” RUACH is defined as breath, wind or spirit; ELOHIYM is the word translated God. They are traditionally translated as “Spirit of God.” But, since they are in a “construct state,” this means they are so closely united that “together they constitute one compound idea.” Read the complete blog at -- https://biblicalheritagecenter.blogspot.com/2018/09/what-is-image-of-god.html
Thursday, September 20, 2018
I began this series by asking why is it important for 21st century Americans to share a common understanding of “what it means to be humans?” My answer to that question was because it is the one thing that affects every thought we have that includes humans – others and ourselves. And then I pointed out that if your beliefs about God are linked to the words of Genesis, then your understanding of what it means to be a human includes “humans are created in the image of God.” This is the second blog in this series and it is about the first activities that took place on the Sixth Day of Creation.
Keeping things in context is essential for creating accurate understanding of the words of Jewish and Christian Scriptures. For some readers, some of the things you are about to read may challenge your understanding of certain verses. That’s normal because of the linguistic model we use to translate the ancient Hebrew text into English.
We let the words of the ancient texts tell their own culturally and historically accurate stories
instead of reading our stories and theologies into the words of our Bibles.
When we find differences between the ancient meanings of the words of the Bible and our beliefs, we work to discover the origins and histories of our beliefs and why they differed. Now let’s review some highlights of activities on previous days that led up to the events on the sixth day.
● Prior to Creation: Immersed in absolute darkness is a deep primordial ocean with a surface above which an unnamed god with a RUACH ELOHIYM hovers. The creation process that follows is the result of the will of the unnamed god and nothing else.
● Day One: Mysterious form of light created, distinctions made between light and darkness, light named “Day,” darkness named “Night,” first use of the TOV Standard, first unit of time created.
● Day Two: Solid dome-like structure made below the surface of the deep ocean creating two completely separate bodies of water, solid dome-like structure named “Heavens.”
● Day Three: Waters inside solid dome-like structure commanded to “gather” into one place and named “Seas,” in the previous place a “dry thing” appears and is named “Earth,” Earth commanded to cause plants and trees to sprout and grow, and the Earth does as commanded.
● Day Four: Two great lights and the stars are made “set in” the solid dome-like structure like a jeweler sets precious stones in a bracelet, they give light on Earth which is for signs, seasons, days and years.
● Day Five: First creatures with a soul created, they live in the Seas, winged creatures that fly created, new water creatures empowered to be fruitful, multiply and fill the waters, and winged creatures empowered to multiply upon the Earth.
All of those things had to take place before the creation of humans, because in many cases, if they had not been done first the environment required for human survival would not have existed.
The Creation of the ADAM
The first action that takes place on the sixth day is the creation of animals.
God said, “Let the Earth bring forth a living soul like her kind; a large animals, smaller animals, and wild predator of the Earth, like her kind. And it was so.
God made the wild predators of the earth like her kind, the large animals like her kind, and every small animal of the Earth like his kind.
And God saw that it was TOV.1
It is very important to understand the roles of the Earth and God in the creation of animals.
1. The Earth brought for an Earth soul with appetites, desires and longings linked to her. In Hebrew a soul is the seat of appetites, desires and longings. The Earth soul is the seat of appetites, desires and longings of three kinds of animals – one of which devours the other types of animals as food.
2. After the Earth brought forth an Earth soul, God made the physical bodies of the animals. They share many things in common, but have important physical differences.
3. God measures His work with the TOV Standard. For an act to measure TOV it must be beautiful and pleasing to the Creator’s eyes because lives are protected and preserved, made more functional and the quality of life increased. What God saw was TOV. 2
Next is the account turns to the creation of humans.
God said, "Let us make
ADAM in our image, according to our likeness;
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and
over the cattle, over all the Earth and over every creeping thing that creeps
on the earth."
Simply by understanding the roles of the Earth and God in the creation of animals, answer the question of who the “us” is. The real question raised by the text is “What is “ADAM?” According to the context and ADAM is a “them.” They will have an Earth soul too, with her appetites, desires and longings. They will be creatures that exercise dominion over other creatures, including the animals. The Hebrew word “ADAM” has these meanings – people, men, man or be a name “Adam.”
God created the ADAM with His image;
with the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.4
You may also have noticed that we used “with” instead of “in” – “with His image.” Let’s breakdown what happened here.
1. The ADAM is a creature created by God.
2. The ADAM is a creature with the image of God.
3. The ADAM is a “him.”
4. The “him” is “male and female.”
5. The “male and female.” is a “them.”
6. The ADAM is a “them.”
We have now answered the question above and understand how ADAM is a “them.” In the next blog I will discuss what “the image of God” means.
If you found this blog interesting and informative – and want to know when the second blog in this series “The Sixth Day of Creation” will be online -- please let us know by “Liking” the Biblical Heritage Center Facebook Page by clicking here. Also please share this blog with others -- and discuss it!
1 Genesis 1:24-25a
2 The traditional definition of “TOV” is good. Our definition is based on the context of its use in the first creation account.
3 Genesis 1:26
4 Genesis 1:27
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
This is the first blog in a series I call “A Radical New Understanding of Humans.” Why is it important for 21st century Americans to understand what humans are? It is because that our view affects and influences everything we do – and everyone else’s view affects and influences what they do.
Humans are social creatures and that means from conception to the disposal of the body humans are dependent on other the actions of humans. In most of the “good” and “bad” things humans experience in life, they are the result of actions of other humans. So, individual and cultural understandings of “what humans are” and “why humans do what they do” are very important.
In many cases, “understandings of what humans are” is related to “understandings of what gods are.” Conflicts over gods and their relationships to human have been major factors in the rise and fall of nations, as well as the types of governments that exist and the quality of life those that are governed experience.
If your understanding of gods and humans is linked to the book of Genesis, it probably includes the belief that “humans are created in the image of God.” But, it is a fact that Christian and Jewish religions have very different “understandings of God.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century, provides insights that are very relevant to this topic.
In many religions, man is regarded as an image of a god. Yet the meaning of such regard depends on the meaning of the god whom man resembles. If the god is regarded as a man magnified, if the gods are conceived of in the image of man, then such regard tells us little about the nature and destiny of man. Where God is one among many gods, where the word “divine” is used as mere hyperbolic expression, where the difference between God and man is but a difference in degree, then an expression such as the divine image of man is equal in meaning to the idea of the supreme in man.
It is only in the light of what the biblical man thinks of God, namely a Being who created heaven and earth, the God of absolute justice and compassion, the master of nature and history who transcends nature and history, that the idea of man having been created in the image of God refers to the supreme mystery of man, of his nature and existence.
Leaders of Jewish and Christian religions have been arguing about those differences for almost two-thousand years now – and the belief gap between them has widened not decreased. So, I propose that we take a different approach by asking a different question -- “What would humans be without the ‘image of God’”?
The answer to that question was very important to Ezra and his group of scribes that produced the first Torah scroll in Babylon in the fifth century BCE. They were descendants of the Jewish captives taken to Babylon after the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BCE. Their answer is found in the activities that take place on the Sixth Day of Creation.
I will continue this study in the next blog in this series on “A Radical New Understanding of Humans.” The next blog will be about the Sixth Day of Creation.
If you found this blog interesting and informative – and want to know when the second blog in this series “The Sixth Day of Creation” will be online -- please let us know by “Liking” the Biblical Heritage Center Facebook Page by clicking here. Also please share this blog with others and discuss it!
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Many pages of opinions have been written about the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven.” Some say they mean the same thing, others say they mean different things and few say they have very mysterious meanings. Two questions will help us discover what Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven mean. Read the complete blog at -- https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2018/09/kingdom-of-god-or-kingdom-of-heaven.html