Friday, February 06, 2004

Hints, Allegories, and Mysteries -- The New Testament Quotes the Old

RSSAbstract: This essay presents examples where the New Testament treats Old Testament passages as hints to broader truths.

This series of essays comes from a complete paper available on this web site. I am serializing it on this blog to both advertise it and to invite discussion. You can read the entire paper by clicking here.

Remezim (Hints)

Let me start with the three passages from Matthew. Somewhat arbitrarily, one might categorize them as remezim or “hints.” The principle reason for this choice comes from Matthew’s use of the Greek word PLEROO translated “fulfill.” Although our tendency is to think of prophetic fulfillment in a predictive sense with “fulfill” meaning, “coming to pass,” PLEROO can also mean “complete,” “fill full,” or “fill to the brim.”  This, then, is the sense that Matthew had in mind for these quotations.[1] 

From this viewpoint, when Mary, while yet a virgin, conceived and gave birth to Jesus, it filled up or gave enhanced meaning to Isaiah 7:14. In other words, the significance of the historical event forever adds a shade of meaning to the prophetical event. A remez recognizes that God wired us with associative memories. Who can read “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” and not think of Jesus, His virgin birth, and the fact that He was God among us? Regardless of the p’shat meaning of Isaiah’s words to Ahaz, they will forever afterwards also speak by association of the virgin birth of our Lord. The verse has a fuller meaning that it had before[2].

Similarly, when Jesus’ parents took Him to Egypt and later returned, it “filled full” the meaning of Hosea 11:1. Israel is called “God’s son,” but how much greater is the One who is more truly God’s Son?  That He would also dwell, for a time, in Egypt communicates God’s desire that the Messiah would completely identify with His people. One can imagine that Matthew, who composed his gospel to reveal Messiah as Israel’s King, decided to bring the subtle hint, contained in Hosea 11:1, into sharp focus.

Likewise, the words of Jeremiah are a perfect description for the grief of the mothers whose children Herod killed. And so the scripture, after the historical event, hints at and speaks to the horrible grief experienced by Bethlehem’s mothers.

Here is an interesting example of the remez principle at work! You will not find it in the New Testament, but it illustrates the rabbinical concept of “hint” in a very fresh and enlightening way.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. (Genesis 14: 18)

Have you ever thought of the Sacrament of Communion when you read this passage? Have you ever looked more closely at the event to see if there was a prophecy of communion? Although there is no prophecy of the Last Supper here, the central importance of Communion in the Church provides an associative link between this verse and church practice. Genesis 14:18 is a remez of Holy Communion. Matthew recognized the same principle when he quoted Isaiah 7:14, Hosea 11:1, and other passages.

The point is this. A scriptural text may carry semantic associations that go beyond the simple meaning of its words and context. It is a right-brained connection and, therefore, violates the western-enlightenment-left-brained preference for propositional logic. The importance of this has been stated well Dr. Daniel Wallace:

The Holy Spirit does not work just on the left brain. He also works on the right brain: he sparks our imagination, causes us to rejoice, laugh, sing, and create. Few Christians are engaged and fully committed to the arts today. Where are the hymn writers? Where are the novelists? Painters? Playwrights? A very high-powered editor of a Christian magazine told me two weeks ago that he knows of only one exceptional Christian fiction writer. What are our seminaries doing to encourage these right-brainers? What is the Church doing to encourage them?[3]

The interpretive modes of remez, drash, and sod are right brained, non-linear, associations of meaning that we can imagine that God intended from the beginning. Furthermore, their proper use may help encourage right brain activity in the church. Of course, there must be guidelines. We do not want them to become a source of strange doctrines and confusions.

Here is a remez from the Apostle Paul.

For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?  Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Corinthians 9:9-11)

The strict exegete must chuckle uncomfortably whenever he reads “God is not concerned about oxen, is He?” From a strict grammatical-historical exegesis, God cares about them very much! The tension only increases with the words, “Or is He speaking altogether for our sake?”  This seems to say that oxen are of no account whatsoever. Paul, it would seem, totally discounts the p’shat of the text.

But Paul discerns that the commandment hints at a higher principle. That principle has no better translation than these words of Abraham Lincoln,

It is the eternal struggle between two principles---right and wrong---throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says: ‘You toil and work and earn bread---and I’ll eat it...’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.” 

But note how terse and handy the scripture reference is. It is easy to memorize and communicates to young and old.

But how does Paul get away with minimizing the importance of the ox? It is the rule of proportionality. If the commandment is good for oxen, how much more is it for mankind. If it is good for mankind, how much more is it for preachers of the gospel. For Paul, this commandment, by protecting the bottom of the agricultural food chain, protects those whom God most cares about.

Monday: More Hints

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>

[1] This raises an interesting question about the use of PLEROO in Matthew 5:17. Did Jesus “fulfill” the Law and the Prophets in the sense of walking perfectly in them? Or did Jesus “fill them to the brim” or “complete” them? If it is the latter, then the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount may be understood in the light of completing the Law. It is the backdrop for Jesus’ formula during the sermon, “You have heard that it was said <quote from the Law>, but I say <violation in the heart invisible to the eyes of men>” The Law is made complete by bringing the heart into the equation. In so doing, Jesus lays the groundwork and establishes the necessity of the new covenant that Jeremiah prophesied (Jeremiah 31:31-34). That is, the Lord will write His Law on our hearts (heart righteousness) and our sin He will remember no more (a permanent solution). By making obedience a heart issue and by sending the Holy Spirit for our sanctification, the Lord writes the “filled full” law on our hearts and we find the “obedience of faith.” [Romans 5:1] By His death and ressurection, He completely cleanses us from our sin.

[2] It can be noted that the NET Bible translation of Isaiah 7:14, although accurate, no longer communicates the remez of the text. In my opinion, this is an unfortunate loss.

[3] Wallace, Daniel B., The Uneasy Conscience of a Non-Charismatic Evangelical (Biblical Studies Press, 1994)  [On-line]. Available:

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Hints, Allegories, and Mysteries -- The New Testament Quotes the Old

This series of essays comes from a complete paper available on this web site. I am serializing it on this blog to both advertise it and to invite discussion. You can read the entire paper by clicking here.

This second essay introduces the rabbinic methods for studying the scriptures. What I find attractive here is that there are logical reasons for connecting these methods to the New Testament authors.

What is going on?

Matthew, Paul, the writer to the Hebrews, Jesus and the other New Testament authors often quote scriptures removed from a grammatical and historical context. Note the troubling word “fulfilled” in the four verses above. In what way can anyone say that a verse quoted out of context is “fulfilled?”

The issue, of course, is that we cannot actually complain. We are not reading the papers of young biblical scholars. We are reading inspired Scriptures. It is not up for correction. We cannot give it a bad grade. One can find and read case-by-case attempts to say that the problem text, if read just so, is not a problem[1]. In truth, though, the more firmly one holds to the grammatical-historical method, the larger the problem looms!  Either you accept the violation or bend the method to remove the violation. Either way the strict application of the grammatical-historical method falters. It seems better to discover a paradigm for understanding the scriptural anomalies. But how might one go about it?

Coming to Grips

There are, of course, scholars for whom this is not an issue. For them, the grammatical-historical methodology is good for everything except prophecy. They understand prophecy to have a large symbolic element, and thus, for example, see the Church as the fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom. As Robert P. Lightner wrote in his The Last Days Handbook:

All evangelicals do use the literal method for their understanding of most of the Bible, but some, namely those of amillenial and postmillenial persuasion, think it best to use a less than literal hermeneutic with much unfulfilled prophecy. It is at this point that the evangelical world is divided over things to come and this is what puts prophecy in the middle of the debate. Premillenialists cannot understand why their brothers and sisters insist on using a different method in interpretation with some unfulfilled prophecy but not with all of it. They wonder on what grounds is the less-than-literal approach to be restricted to only some themes of unfulfilled prophecy?[2]

Based on how Matthew, Paul, Jesus, and others sometimes quoted the Old Testament do the amillenial and postmillenial scholars have a better grasp of prophetic meaning? Should we abandon the grammatical-historical hermeneutic for interpreting unfulfilled prophecy? It is my thesis that this is not the case, but a satisfactory resolution only comes from coming to grips the hermeneutic used by the New Testament authors.

The Jewish Connection

One promising avenue of research toward resolving this issue emerges when we realize that the authors of these mysterious quotations were Jews writing and living in a Jewish context. This becomes especially apparent when we observe that the preponderance of the problem quotations exist in those books that have a distinctly Jewish focus. It is generally acknowledged that Matthew’s highlights Jesus as the King of the Jews. The gospel of John is increasingly regarded as a Jewish book. The writer to the Hebrews clearly wrote to the first century Jewish believers. These are the books that contain the most problematic of the New Testament quotes of the Old.

If one examines the Jewish roots of Christianity, one discovers that there is a long standing “rabbinical” hermeneutic that can explain the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Dr. David H. Stern, a Messianic Jew and translator of the Jewish New Testament, in his Jewish New Testament Commentary, describes four rabbinical modes of scriptural interpretation. According to Dr. Stern, the Jewish authors of the New Testament both understood and used these four modes. In his words:

We must understand the four basic modes of Scripture interpretation used by the rabbis. These are:

(1) p’shat (“simple”)—the plain, literal sense of the text, more or less what modern scholars  mean by “grammatical‑historical exegesis,” which looks to the grammar of the language and the historical setting as background for deciding what a passage means. Modern scholars often consider grammatical‑historical exegesis the only valid way to deal with a text; pastors who use other approaches in their sermons usually feel defensive about it before academics. But the rabbis had three other modes of interpreting Scripture, and their validity should not be excluded in advance but related to the validity of their implied presuppositions.

(2) Remez (“hint”)—wherein a word, phrase or other element in the text hints at a truth not conveyed by the p’shat. The implied presupposition is that God can hint at things of which the Bible writers themselves were unaware.

(3) Drash or Midrash (“search”)—an allegorical or homiletical application of a text. This is a species of eisegesis—reading one’s own thoughts into the text—as opposed to exegesis, which is extracting from the text what it actually says. The implied presupposition is that the words of Scripture can legitimately become grist for the mill of human intellect, which God can guide to truths not directly related to the text at all.

(4) Sod (“secret”)—a mystical or hidden meaning arrived at by operating on the numerical values of the Hebrew letters, noting unusual spellings, transposing letters, and the like. For example, two words, the numerical equivalents of whose letters add up to the same amount, are good candidates for revealing a secret through what Arthur Koestler in his book on the inventive mind called “bisociation of ideas.” The implied presupposition is that God invests meaning in the minutest details of Scripture, even the individual letters.

The presuppositions underlying remez, drash and sod obviously express God’s omnipotence, but they also express his love for humanity, in the sense that he chooses out of love to use extraordinary means for reaching people’s hearts and minds. At the same time, it is easy to see how remez, drash and sod can be abused, since they all allow, indeed require, subjective interpretation; and this explains why scholars, who deal with the objective world, hesitate to use them. These four methods of working a text are remembered by the Hebrew word “PaRDeS,” an acronym formed from the initials; it means “orchard” or “garden.”[3]

Here, then, are the tools to understand the New Testament’s uses of the Old Testament and to derive their intended meanings. There is even an English word, like the Hebrew “pardes”, that can help remember these strange terms: p’shat, remez, drash, and sod. That word is “PaRaDiSe,” in which the consonants provide a mnemonic for the four terms. Interestingly, both words can mean “garden.”

The New Testament quotes the Old Testament using all four rabbinical modes. The p’shat, of course, is easy to discern. So, the remainder of these essays will bring to light some examples of hints, allegories, and mysteries. They will discuss whether it is appropriate for us to incorporate these modes in our teaching and what the ground rules might be. Lastly, they will discuss how these four interpretive modes can bring together the covenant and dispensational theologians.

Friday: Hints

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>

[1] It is amazing to me how often I read that Isaiah 7:14 is literally fulfilled with no indication that there is a contextual problem.
[2] Lightner, Daniel P. The Last Days Handbook (Thomas Nelson Publishers 1990, pp. 130, 131)
[3] Stern, David H., Jewish New Testament Commentary (Jewish New Testament Publications,  1992) 11, 12

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Hints, Allegories, and Mysteries -- The New Testament Quotes the Old

This series of essays comes from a complete paper available on this web site. I am serializing it on this blog to both advertise it and to invite discussion. You can read the entire paper by clicking here.

This first essay presents the problem of how the New Testament authors quote and use the Old Testament.

The Ideal

Although its detractors use terms like “hyper-literalism,” the grammatical-historical method of Bible study has much to commend it. Who can fault a system that strives for objectivity in its pursuit of the knowledge of God? The grammatical-historical method encourages us to read and study without predefined doctrinal lenses. It encourages us to seek out, recognize and put aside long held presuppositions about Christianity and the Bible. Consequently, with the Holy Spirit, an open mind, and hard study anyone can discover important truths and discern the amazing internal consistency of the scriptures. There is no need to read from more enlightened scholars to know what the Scriptures say and mean.

The grammatical-historical method reads poetry as poetry, history as history, and prophecy as prophecy. At every juncture, the common idiomatic sense of language is what rules. In other words, the primary meaning of a passage of scripture is never an allegory, unless it is so declared by the author. It is not an exact science. Certainly the discernment of which images in the Bible's apocalyptic sections are literal or figurative will always be an interesting debate.

The Dilemma

Although one might be an ardent practitioner and defender of the grammatical-historical method, it must be recognized that it has a fundamental problem. That problem, simply stated, is this, “If grammar and historical context are so vital to correctly dividing the word of truth, why did the New Testament authors sometimes violate it?  Should they not have been the very models of scriptural correctness?”

Apparently not: for the very first Old Testament reference in the New Testament has no direct connection to its original Old Testament context. And the third and fourth quotes are no better!  As we read and compare the New with the Old, we uncover usages that sometimes strike us as odd. To see this, take a look at some New Testament quotes of the Old Testament.

The Example of Matthew 1:22,23

Compare Matthew’s quotation of Isaiah 7:14 and the extended quote from Isaiah which follows:

Matthew: Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22,23)

Isaiah: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken. The LORD will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria. In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (Isaiah 7:14-18)

Isaiah’s prophecy really outlines a timetable for the destruction of two troublesome foreign kings named Rezin and Pekah. Isaiah says to Judah’s king Ahaz, in effect, that by the time a particular maiden[1] marries, has a son, and sees him through his “Bar Mitzvah”, these two kings will be gone. Some commentators try to say that Isaiah is not speaking to Ahaz, but to the whole “House of David.” They take this mental handle and try to stretch the meaning to make it fit the true virgin birth to come. But verse 16 ties the prophecy to the two kings and verse 18 calls upon Egypt and Assyria to be the instruments of their destruction. What have Egypt and Assyria to do with the conception and birth of Jesus?[2]

Note how the New English Translation phrases Isaiah 7:14:

For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, the young lady over there is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young lady, will name him Immanuel[3]. (Isaiah 7:14)

The NET Bible completely captures Isaiah’s original sense. So what was Matthew thinking when he so boldly proclaimed the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14?

The Example of Matthew 2:15

Now compare Matthew 2:15 and Hosea 11:1

Matthew: He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:15)

Hosea: When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. (Hosea 11:1)

Hosea’s prophecy specifically refers to the nation of Israel and the Exodus from Egypt. Whereas, Isaiah 7:14 has some interesting handles to grab and stretch, Hosea 11:1 just doesn’t!  His words are what they are and cannot possibly be said to predict that a future Messiah would spend any time in Egypt. Why would Matthew say that Hosea’s words were fulfilled?

The Example of Matthew 2:17,18

Matthew: Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” (Matthew 2:17,18)

Jeremiah: Thus says the Lord, “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” Thus says the Lord, “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “And your children will return to their own territory.” (Jeremiah 31:15-17)

Jeremiah refers to the land weeping for the Israelites who have been dispersed to foreign lands. Following the verse about weeping, Jeremiah says, “‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord, ‘And they will return from the land of the enemy.’”  There is nothing about a king slaughtering children, because of the birth of Messiah. Rather the tears are a precursor to joy; not the hopeless despair of the young mothers whose children Herod destroyed.

The Example of John 13:18

Even Jesus abandoned strict grammatical-historical usage when He quoted Psalm 41.

John:  “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’” (John 13:18)

Note the broader context of Psalm 41:

Psalm 41: As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” My enemies speak evil against me, “When will he die, and his name perish?” And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood; His heart gathers wickedness to itself; when he goes outside, he tells it. All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt, saying, “A wicked thing is poured out upon him, That when he lies down, he will not rise up again.” Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:4-9)

It is difficult to conclude that this Psalm’s author intended it to refer to Jesus the Messiah, because verse 4 reads, “As for me, I said, ‘O Lord, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.’” Did Jesus have some secret sin in His life? To ask the question is to answer it. Of course, He didn’t.

Thursday: The Jewish Connection

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>.

[1] The word translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 is “almah” rather than the stronger and clearer “betulah.”

[2] One possible reconciliation between Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew1:22, 23 lies in a remark that Isaiah makes in the section that extends from Isaiah 7:1 through 9:7. Briefly, in 8:18, Isaiah says, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”  Assuming that Maher-shalal-hash-baz is the son promised by Isaiah 7:14 for the short term prophectic fulfillment, Isaiah 8:18 leaves room for a second and more substantive fulfillment by a true virgin bearing the true Immanuel.

[3] The New English Translation  (Biblical Studies Press, 1996)  [On-line]. Available:


Philippians--Joy in Service

This is lesson 15 in a study of Philippians. To start at the beginning, click here.

Finally Paul personally thanks the Philippian church for the special place they have had in his ministry:

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 

But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:10-23)

It is obvious that the members of the Church at Philippi had sent a substantial gift to Paul and that it encouraged him. He was on their minds and in their prayers.. Now that we are at the end of the letter, we can surmise that they had sent the gift with Epaphroditus. Paul and he had talked about the people in Philippi and that was the basis for the instructional aspects of Paul's letter.

Look at the effort that Paul makes to communicate that the Philippians had sent a gift rather than fulfilled an obligation.

  • Paul is content whether he has little or much. A perpetual state of contentment is the key to being in a perpetual state of thanksgiving, because everything is received as a gift. The Philippians can know that they have brought joy to Paul in their remembering him, and they do not have to feel guilty about not sending a gift sooner or more often or for a greater amount.
  • He praises them for being a continual part of his ministry.
  • He acknowledges their generosity.
  • He is pleased to tell them that God will reward them.

It is interesting to note the context of two famous verses. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" is written in the context of a life unaffected by material things. There are two sides to this.. On one side is being able to live with basic necessities while giving thanks for them and without desiring more. On the other side is being able to live in prosperity without clinging to those possessions and able to let them go when needed. Of course, the ability to do "all things" includes much more, but it is significant that the immediate application is to the material things of life. These are what can hinder a call to discipleship more than anything else. Just think of the rich young ruler who walked away from an invitation to follow Jesus, because he could not let go of his possessions. I would say that the means to leave everything and follow Jesus is the first of "all things" that we can do through him. Earlier Paul had written:

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:6-12)

The second famous verse "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." The promise of supply is in response to a generous gift. The best commentary on this comes from 2 Corinthians 9

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

My pastor has defined prosperity as "Having everything that you need with something to share." That is the dynamic in this portion of Philippians and in 2 Corinthians. Note what Paul says, "Always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed." All that you need is not luxury. Paul defines contentment as having "food and covering." Sufficiency suggests enough food, a change of clothes, and a roof over your head. It all comes down to this: be thankful for and generous with what you have.

Philippians is full of joy in troubled circumstances. Its central message is that joy comes from giving up self interest in order to look out for the interests of others. May the lessons of this book dwell in us fully and richly.

Wednesday: PaRaDiSe

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>

Monday, February 02, 2004

No it wasn't the Super Bowl

I have no Philippians post today. I took some time yesterday to begin converting the Job series into a book. I collected my posts and put them into a Word document. Call it a rough/rough draft. I have 115 pages of material. They say that you can eat an elephant one bite at a time (sorry PETA -- Pet Elephant Training Association), but I was amazed that I have that much material already. As I work through it, I will be improving the writing and expanding the material. I have ideas to balance my time between the daily blog and this book and I do plan to give priority to this blog, there just may be a few more down days.

I will be finishing up Philippians this week. What I plan to do next is to blog the material in a paper that you can already read online. It is called Hints, Allegories, and Mysteries - The New Testamant Quotes the Old. You are probably asking why I am doing such a thing. First, I believe that there are people who will read a daily blog, but not go off and read a whole paper. Second, A blog, through comments, opens the door for dialog and discussion. Third, I can add new material along the way. Fourth, I am deeply interested in Christianity developing a common Ecclesiology and Eschatology and today the fundamental dividing point is our Hermeneutics. We see Christianity differently because we have different rules for interpreting the Scriptures. I have been encouraged that both dispensational and covenant theologians have read and received this paper well. Those of you who are now interested could perhaps read the paper and then join the discussion. Fifth, goal four is lofty and perhaps impossible. I have not the seminary credentials -- only some 30 years of self study and reflection. I have not access to the various journals -- only a blog that can reach the world. This is not going to make a name for Nagid Ben Chesed or Don Curtis. In the first case, I did not develop this hermeneutic, the Jewish Rabbis of old did. In the second case, it will sow seeds that will bear fruit in others who have credentials and who have access. In the third case, there are already others who are speaking and dialoging in it. My goal is an increased unity on the body of Jesus the Messiah that includes a future for believing Jews as Jews. The practical outworking of this paper might be the development of a Pre-Post-A-millennial view that includes a restored and believing nation of Israel.

Till tomorrow then.