Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool Words in the Gospel of Luke

Last week we looked at how Luke lines up and links with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We saw how the word wisdom occurs noticeably in Luke and not the other gospels. I wondered if there were other words that would show up in greater numbers in the three resh books (Bible books that line up with the same Hebrew letter, in this case Proverbs, Luke, and 3rd John) if I did a search. Of course they would have to be words that started with this Hebrew letter. In The Bible Wheel by Richard Amiel McGough words such as physician (ropheh), to heal (rapha), friend (reyah), and racham (mercy, compassion and with different vowel points womb) are given as key words that link to these three books. I chose “friend” and did a search. Here’s my chart of what I found:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Linking the Gospel of Luke to Proverbs


Luke is our third gospel account of the life of Christ. Luke writes from a perspective different from the others because he was not an apostle, however, as a Greco-Syrian physician who traveled with St. Paul and spoke with many eyewitnesses, his accounts are accepted and authenticated. Luke was a well-educated man as evidenced by his command of the Greek language. His Latin name hints that he was probably not Jewish. Scholars believe his Gospel was written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Right away I’m going to link Luke to Proverbs, because Proverbs (a book of Wisdom) is the 20th book in the Bible, matching up to the 20th Hebrew letter, resh, and Luke appears 22 books later, also matching up to resh. In my research I found instances where writers referred to Luke as the “Proverbial Gospel” so I did my own chart to see if I could corroborate this claim. I found 41 parables in all in Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn’t have a single parable though it does contain allegories. There are 41 different parables, 23 in Matthew, only 9 in Mark, and the most, 29, in Luke with 17 of those being unique to this Gospel.
First I want to show you how the word parable relates to the word proverb. In Luke 4:23 we find this:

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Different Look at the Gospel of Mark



The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Mark, the author, belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem where he became a Christian. He worked with both Paul and Peter. His gospel is unique because it emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings, moving quickly from one episode to another. Mark does not begin with a genealogy as Matthew did, because he is writing for the Gentiles who would not care about His lineage. He starts with John the Baptist preparing the way, then Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples. Then Mark gives us healings and parables and miracles.  We follow Our Lord’s journeys through Galilee, the surrounding areas, and then to Judea at a rapid pace. In fact, the swiftness is revealed in the actually telling of the events. An example of this unique swiftness presents itself early on in chapter 1, verses 10 – 14. This is from Young’s Literal Translation so you can see the fast pace exactly as it was written. I eliminated the verse numbers and put the "swift" words in red:
  And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Jordan; and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in whom I did delight.' And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness, and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.
Whew! Notice the punctuation? Just two sentences. Now let’s compare other nearly identical scenes recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke and see how Mark uses a particularly “swift” word:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Matthew, part 2, Jesus' Last Public Speech

Let’s look at Matthew chapter 23 and really examine it. This is the last public speech that Jesus gives. It is Wednesday, two days before the crucifixion. In my Bible this chapter is headed the “Seven Woes” and it starts with a big slam of the current teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Read 23: 1 – 12:
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Wow, what a speech. Jesus denounces the false leaders. He says in verse 2 that the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat which gives them great authority. The Greek word here is kathedra which means bench and is the basis of our word cathedral. In verse 3 he says to obey them and to do what they preach, which is the Law, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they preach. There’s trouble coming otherwise; just look at verses 13 – 36:

Friday, April 28, 2017

The First Book of the New Testament, An Overview of Matthew

Mathew, part 1
Matthew’s name means “gift of Jehovah” which is interesting since we know that he was a tax collector. There is some evidence that he wrote this book originally in Hebrew and maybe in both Hebrew and Greek. There are 23 parables in Matthew, 11 of which do not appear in the other gospels. Of the twenty miracles recorded, three are unique to this account.
There’s a lot to cover in Matthew like the genealogy of Jesus, His birth, the story of the wise men being guided by the star, and the escape into Egypt. Then Matthew jumps thirty years ahead to John the Baptist preparing the way, Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the disciples. There’s the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ ministry, including many healings and miracles, many parables and a lot of teaching. Matthew records Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
What’s particularly interesting is the explicit use of the word “righteousness.”
First compare the beatitudes as presented in Matthew with the equivalent verses in Luke. Matthew 5:6 says:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled
Whereas Luke 6:21 says:
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
One after another the parallel passages in Matthew include the word “righteous” or "righteousness," but those words are absent from Luke.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Malachi, part 2, Its Chiastic Structure

Malachi has a chiastic structure or pattern. That is, an artistic effect is achieved by balancing reversed clauses against one another. Here’s the chiastic structure in Malachi:
Message (1:1)
B Proof of God's Love (1:2-5)
C Condemnation (1:6—2:9)
D Marital Infidelity (2:10-16)
D' Marital Infidelity (2:17—3:6)
C' Condemnation  (3:7-12)
B' Proof of God's Love (3:13—4:3)

A' Message (4:4-6) 
(Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary, 3:1245-1396. 3 vols. Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, 1993, and 1998.(p. 1250))

Isn't that cool? Here's what each section is about:
A Superscription (1:1): Yahweh has a message for Israel.
B First Disputation (1:2-5): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
C Second Disputation (1:6—2:9): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
D Third Disputation (2:10-16): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.
D' Fourth Disputation (2:17—3:6): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.    
C' Fifth Disputation (3:7-12): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
B' Sixth Disputation (3:13—4:3): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
A' Summary challenge (4:4-6): Yahweh has a message for Israel.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Malachi, part 1, The Last Book of the Old Testament

Malachi, part 1
Malachi (“my messenger”) was written by Malachi. This book is the last of the Minor Prophets and fits in our timeline just after Esther and the institution of the feast of Purim. Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is thought that we can date Malachi during Nehemiah's governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah deal with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and inter-marriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28). When will they learn?
In a quick reading of chapter one you’ll find the Lord a bit angry to put it mildly. He says, “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” He calls out the priests for showing contempt for his name by offering defiled food on the altar. Read the following and you’ll begin to feel the mounting anger:
 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.
 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty.
   “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
 What else is the Lord saying? Should we give Him our very best? How can I give the Lord anything less than my best?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Zechariah, part 3, Rebukes, Reminders, and Restoration



Now the book jumps ahead two years and there are rebukes and reminders before Israel can be restored. In chapter 7 the Lord rebukes the people for fasting and mourning for themselves instead of for the Lord. He reminds them to administer justice, show mercy and compassion, not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor and not to think evil of each other. He reminds them that they did not do these things and as a result they suffered condemnation.
Chapter 8 outlines the restoration and that God will save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. God will take them from poverty to productivity, from cursing to blessing, from fear to strength and power, and from fasting to feasting.
Next we have oracles and your Bible may have the print set up to look like poetry. The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the anti-Christ. Look at 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Who is he talking about? Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Zechariah, part 2, the Visions



Before summarizing the visions let me tell you that these are rich in interpretation and deserve a more thorough examination than space allows me here.
Vision number 1 (Zechariah 1:8 – 11) is of a horse patrol; four horses of varying colors go throughout the earth and report back that the whole earth is at rest and in peace. Sounds calm, but that phrase has bad connotations. In verse 15 the Lord says “I am very angry with the nations that feel secure.” The Lord adds that He will return to Jerusalem with mercy and rebuild His house. The people are encouraged by this.
Vision number 2 (1: 18 – 21) is of four horns and four craftsmen. Horns usually signify military might. The four horns are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, the four Gentile nations which plundered Judah and scattered its people. The four craftsmen are the succeeding Gentile nations which in turn clashed with each of the above “horns.”
Vision number 3 (2:1 – 13) is

Friday, March 24, 2017

Zechariah, part 1




As outlined in my book CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet make perfect match ups to each of the 66 books of the Bible. The sixteenth Hebrew letter, ayin, matches the sixteenth book, Nehemiah, and 22 books later we have Zechariah. It also matches up to ayin (which means “eye”). 👀
If you’re looking for it, and if you know Hebrew, you can find Nehemiah’s name in the first chapter of Zechariah. (Hint: it’s in verse 17.) First of all, Zechariah means “God has remembered”. The first ayin book ended with Nehemiah stating “remember me” and now our second ayin book is named “God has remembered”. Very cool.
This book has more Messianic prophecy than all of the other Minor Prophets combined and is second only to Isaiah in the number of references to Christ. Additionally the New Testament refers to Zechariah more than 40 times. Zechariah is sometimes called the “Book of Revelation” of the Old Testament. The theme of the book is apparent in the opening verse which names Zechariah, his father, Berekiah, and Berekiah’s father, Iddo. The Hebrew meanings of these names are “whom the Lord remembers” “the Lord blesses” “at the appointed time”. God raised up Zechariah to proclaim that God remembers His chosen people and that He will bless them in His appointed time.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Haggai, part 2, third and fourth prophecies



Continuing on with the prophecies in the Old Testament book of Haggai:
Verse 10 of chapter 2 gives the date of the 3rd prophecy as December 18, 520 BC. Read 10 – 19:
 10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated
meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”
   The priests answered, “No.”
 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
   “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
 14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
 15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
   “‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
This may seem like a confusing prophecy, but Haggai now asks the people a question which the priests are supposed to answer: If a priest is carrying something holy and he touches something unholy, like a corpse, does that make the corpse holy? The priests answer no. If the person who is unclean touches the priest, does that make the priest unclean? The priests answer yes. What is the point of this?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Haggai, part 1, first 2 prophecies



Haggai’s name means “festive” or “festival” and it is awesome to learn that his second message (2:1–9) was delivered on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, an important Jewish festival. He was a prophet who most likely was born before the first Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. Perhaps he remembers the glory of the amazing Temple. He is an old man when he prophesies and we know precisely when he made each of his prophecies, right down to the exact date.
To begin, there are 4 prophecies and according to chapter 1, verse 1, the first one is made on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of King Darius, which was August 29, 520 BC. The Lord is angry with the people for stopping their work on the Temple and focusing on their own homes instead of His.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Zephaniah, part 2


Zephaniah prophesies about the Great Day of the Lord in Zephaniah 1:14-18. I’ve put in bold red print the words that show the complete devastation of what will happen:
14 "The great day of the LORD is near—
       near and coming quickly.
       Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
       the shouting of the warrior there.
 15 That day will be a day of wrath,
       a day of distress and anguish,
       a day of trouble and ruin,
       a day of darkness and gloom,
       a day of clouds and blackness,
 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry
       against the fortified cities
       and against the corner towers.
 17 I will bring distress on the people
       and they will walk like blind men,
       because they have sinned against the LORD.
       Their blood will be poured out like dust
       and their entrails like filth.
 18 Neither their silver nor their gold
       will be able to save them
       on the day of the LORD's wrath.
       In the fire of his jealousy
       the whole world will be consumed,
       for he will make a sudden end
       of all who live in the earth."
Yikes! Hurry.