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The Bible Project

Updated 7 days ago

Rank #3 in Christianity category

Education
Religion & Spirituality
Christianity
Read more

The creators of The Bible Project have in-depth conversations about biblical theology. A companion podcast to The Bible Project videos found at thebibleproject.com

Read more

The creators of The Bible Project have in-depth conversations about biblical theology. A companion podcast to The Bible Project videos found at thebibleproject.com

iTunes Ratings

6176 Ratings
Average Ratings
5842
152
93
45
44

Love it.

By pepsihero32 - Nov 21 2019
Read more
Great biblical content and conversations!

Awesome podcast!

By Love the Enneagram People - Nov 16 2019
Read more
Kingdom win. Must have for Christians.

iTunes Ratings

6176 Ratings
Average Ratings
5842
152
93
45
44

Love it.

By pepsihero32 - Nov 21 2019
Read more
Great biblical content and conversations!

Awesome podcast!

By Love the Enneagram People - Nov 16 2019
Read more
Kingdom win. Must have for Christians.

Listen to:

Cover image of The Bible Project

The Bible Project

Updated 7 days ago

Read more

The creators of The Bible Project have in-depth conversations about biblical theology. A companion podcast to The Bible Project videos found at thebibleproject.com

The Empty Throne - Son of Man E1

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In part one (0:00-19:30), the guys discuss what “son of” means in our current culture. They bring up certain phrases like “Sons of Anarchy,” “Sons of Liberty,” etc. Tim says this means that someone identifies with an idea or ideology.

Tim then offers the fact that historically people have referred to Jesus as Christ. Christ is actually a Greek word meaning Messiah. Messiah in Hebrew means the anointed one.

Tim then says that Jesus never referred to himself as Christ or Messiah, and when others would refer to him as this, he would reply that he is the “Son of Man.” Why is this?

For example in Luke 9:18-22:
"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Peter answered, 'God’s Messiah.' Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, 'The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.'"

Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man in the third person immediately after Peter called him the Messiah.

Tim then posits that Paul doesn’t use the phrase “the Son of Man” in his writings. Instead, he uses phrases like “the firstborn of all creation” or “the new humanity.” Tim says this is because Paul is taking the message of Jesus to an international audience that isn’t familiar with what the Son of Man means.

So what does the Son of Man mean? And where does it come from?

Well in part two (19:30-32:00), Tim takes us to Daniel 7, a famous dream that Daniel had where the Son of Man appears. Tim says that this dream is very iconic and well known in Jewish history. Everyone would have known about it.

Daniel has a dream about a succession of beasts that trample humanity. There are thrones established in the heavens over the earth, but only one of them is filled. It’s filled by the Ancient of Days, which is Daniel’s phrase for God/Yahweh. So there is an empty throne, then a figure called the Son of Man rides up on a cloud to the Ancient of Days. The Son of Man is presented to the Ancient of Days and then is given dominion. The Son of Man then sits down on the empty throne.

In part three (32:00-end), the guys break down the phrase the Son of Man. If someone refers to themselves as “the Dark Knight,” people automatically know that they are referring to Batman. Similarly, if someone calls themselves “the Son of Man,” they are referring to a certain character in the Hebrew storyline. They discuss what it means for Jesus to be comfortable inserting himself into Daniel’s dream.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Someday Be Free, Copyright Free Instrumental.
Miss Emili, General Vibe

Show Resources
Our video on the Son of Man: https://bit.ly/2FvYzGb

Jan 14 2019

51mins

Play

God or gods? - God E1

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This is our first episode in our new series on the Bible’s portrayal of God! We are currently working on a theme video about God that will be released later in 2018.

In part 1, (0-8:33) Tim overviews the whole subject. He says later on in the discussion they will talk about the Trinity in the Bible, but for now, they will just focus on the development of the word God in the Bible.

In part 2, (8:33-37:34) Tim outlines the problems of modern conceptions with God compared with ancient Hebrew conceptions of God. Tim says that it comes down to how people use the word ‘God’. Today people use the word ‘God’ to refer to a personal being that exists. ‘God’ is both a title for a kind of being and a name for a specific being: the Judeo Christian God.

Tim says that if you look up “monotheism” in the dictionary, they define it as “the belief there is only one God, specifically in Judeo Christianity.” Tim asks how can this be the case if the Bible says things like “Lord of lords” and “God of gods”. How did monotheism today come to mean something that it didn’t mean to the ancient Hebrews?

Tim says the Hebrew word for “God” is ‘Elohim’. The short forms of this word is “el” and also “eloah”. Tim says that in Hebrew “Elohim” is plural.

In part 3, (37:34-54:05) Tim outlines a unique use of the word “Elohim” the story of Saul in 1 Samuel 28:12-13: Saul has a spirit-medium conjure up the presence of the deceased Samuel: “And the woman saw Samuel, and she cried out...and said ‘I see a elohim rising up from the ground.”
This refers to a human who exists apart from their body. This is not saying Samuel is “God” or a “god.” Rather, the word elohim apparently refers to the mode of existence: a member of the non-physical, spirit realm.

The later biblical authors developed vocabulary to talk about these beings to more clearly distinguish between them as elohim and the one elohim: Angel, demon, spirits, etc… The implications are Yahweh is an elohim, but not the only elohim (= spirit being). He is the most powerful, and authoritative, and he alone is the creator of all things, including the other elohim.

Tim cites this quote by theological scholar Michael Heiser: “Yahweh is an elohim, but no other elohim is Yahweh. Elohim is a place-of-residence term. The word tells you what the proper domain is for that being. By nature, the God of Israel, the many elohim of God’s council, demons, angels, the departed human dead like Samuel, they are part of a non-physical domain, that’s related to, but distinct from the physical, embodied domain. An elohim is by definition and by nature a disembodied entity, so the word can refer to many different beings who inhabit that realm.”

In part 4, (54:05-end) Tim outlines a New Testament example. 1 Corinthians 8:4-6: Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

Tim says Paul is telling the Corinthians that there are other “Elohim” but for the Hebrews, their is “one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” What does this mean to the Hebrews? Find out next time in episode 2!

Thank you to all our supporters!

Resources:
Paul Jouon & T. Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew
Michael Heiser: The Naked Bible Podcast
1 Samuel 28:12-13
Check out all our videos and resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Produced By:
Dan Gummel. Jon Collins. Matthew Halbert Howen

Music By:
Defender Instrumental: Rosasharn Music
In the Distance: Tae the Producer
Nocturne: Nomyn 2.

Jul 16 2018

1hr 8mins

Play

The Kingdom of God Part 1: The Kingdom of God Is the Gospel, starting from Genesis 1

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In this episode, Tim and Jon look at a key Biblical theme that traces throughout the entire Bible––the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is central to Jesus’ message, but it can be confusing to understand completely. The guys will discuss why Jesus talked about the Kingdom so much and what that should mean to us as Jesus followers. Before they dive into the discussion, Tim will give a brief explanation of the concept of the Kingdom and its introduction into Scripture in Genesis 1.

In the first part of the episode (01:05-07:00), Tim and Jon talk about Jesus’ message in the Gospels. The New Testament authors boiled down Jesus’ message to, “repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.” We tend to think of Jesus as a moral teacher, but his lessons on morality and love only make sense if the Kingdom of God and his reign are coming to change the world.

In the next part of the episode (07:20-14:02), the guys talk about what it means for the reign of God to arrive in Jesus. The image of God is an idea in Scripture that is connected to this Kingdom, and both of these ideas are anchored in Genesis 1.

In the final part of the episode (14:24-29:18), the guys look at what it means for God’s Kingdom to be seen through humans. Psalm 8 is a poetic reflection on Genesis 1 and humanity’s role in God’s creation. God rules the world through humans, and human rule is tied to being made in God’s image.

Video:
This episode is designed to accompany our video called, “Gospel of the Kingdom." You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmFPS0f-kzs

Scripture References:
Genesis 1
Psalm 8

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music
Blue Skies by Unwritten Stories
Flooded Meadows by Unwritten Stories

Nov 03 2015

29mins

Play

Acts E1: The Startup of Christianity

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This is episode 1 in our series on the book of Acts! In part 1 (0-19:20) Tim and Jon cover the opening verses in Acts 1. Acts 1 is designed to seamlessly connect with the end of the book of Luke. Tim comments that Luke has laid the plot line of the book of Acts on top of the plot of the book of Luke. There are three main movements in both books. 1) The Galilee mission of Jesus with the disciples mission in Jerusalem, 2) the missionary journeys of Jesus with the missionary journeys of Paul, and 3) the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem with the arrival of Paul in Rome.

In part 2 (19:20- 24:40) Tim makes a point that the title of the book is “The Acts of Jesus through the Holy Spirit” because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the only two characters that are consistent throughout. Jon asks a question about titling of ancient scrolls.

In part 3 (24:40-35:55) the guys discuss the question the disciples ask Jesus “Is it at this time you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” and Jesus answer in Acts 1:7-8 ““It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Was this a dodge answer from Jesus?

Tim says no. But in fact this verse unlocks the structure of the entire book of Acts. The disciples will start by being Jesus witnesses in Jerusalem, then moving into Judea and Samaria, then moving to other parts of the world.

In part 4 (35:55-end) the guys discuss the use of the phrase “the kingdom of God.” Tim says this phrase frames the entire book: Acts 1: (repeated 2x): Jesus spends 40 days teaching the disciples about “the kingdom of God” (1:3) generating their question about arrival of “the kingdom” (1:6).
Philip goes to Samaria to “announce the good news of the kingdom of God” (8:12). Paul and Barnabas challenge the disciples in Antioch that entering the kingdom of God requires suffering (14:22. Paul arrives in Corinth “bearing witness to the kingdom of God” (19:8). Paul describes his ministry in Ephesus as a period of “preaching the kingdom” (20:25)
Acts 28: (repeated 2x): Paul under house arrest in Rome “bears witness to the kingdom of God” (28:23) and ends the book “announcing the kingdom of God” (28:31).

Thank you to all our supporters!
more info at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Resources:
Eckhard J. Schnabel, Acts, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Alan Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus,

Produced By:
Dan Gummel. Jon Collins. Matthew Halbert-Howen

Music:
Acquired in Heaven: Beautiful Eulogy
Excellent: Beautiful Eulogy
Conquer: Beautiful Eulogy
Defender Instrumental: Rosasharn Music

Apr 30 2018

40mins

Play

The Restless Craving for Rest - 7th Day Rest E1

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SHOW DESCRIPTION

The sabbath. Talking about it can be complicated and confusing, yet the biblical authors wrote about it a lot. So what’s it all about? The sabbath is more than an antiquated law. It’s about the design of time and the human quest for rest. The sabbath and seventh-day rest is one of the key themes that starts on page one of the Bible and weaves beautifully all the way through to the end.

FAVORITE QUOTE

“The seventh day is like a multifaceted gem. One of the main facets is the fabric of creation as leading toward a great goal where humans imitate God and join him in ceasing from work and labor. But there’s going to be another facet that’s all about being a slave to our labor. And so the seventh day is a time to celebrate our liberation from slavery so that we can rest with God.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The theme of the sabbath or seventh-day rest is a key theme in the Bible that starts on page one and goes all the way through to the end.
  • The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shabot, which means most simply “to stop” or “to cease from.”
  • Keeping/observing/remembering the sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. It sticks out as being a uniquely Jewish practice at the time in history when the commandments were given.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to the first episode in our series on understanding seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-6:35), Tim outlines the theme in general. He says the seventh-day rest is actually a huge theme in the Bible, even more prominent in the Scriptures than other TBP videos. Tim calls it an “organizing main theme in the Bible.”

In part 2 (6:35-23:45), Tim recounts a story from when he and Jon visited Jerusalem. They were both able to share a Sabbath meal with practicing Jews in Jerusalem. Tim shares that the Sabbath tradition is one of the longest running traditions in any culture in the world. Even the word shabat’s most basic meaning is “to stop.”

In part 3 (23:45-33:00), Tim says this series isn’t really going to be about the practice of sabbath but about the theme and symbolism of sabbath and seventh-day rest in the Bible. This theme is rich and complex, woven from start to finish in the Scriptures. The practice of the Sabbath itself is only one piece of the underlying message the authors are trying to communicate.

In part 4 (33:00-45:30), Tim and Jon discuss “keeping, observing, or remembering” the sabbath in the Ten Commandments. This command sticks out as a unique Jewish practice. The Jews are told to keep the sabbath for two different reasons according to two different passages:

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested (Heb. shabat) on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Keep the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest (Heb. nuakh) as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Tim notes that in the first passage, Jews are told to keep the sabbath because it is an act of participation in God’s presence and rule over creation. But in the second passage, keeping the sabbath is an act of implementing God’s presence and rule by the liberation from slavery. Tim says these two ways of viewing the practice of the sabbath are two of the core ways to think about the seventh-day rest theme in the bible.

In part 5 (45:30-end), Tim cites scholar Matitiahu Tsevat about the biblical phrase “it is a sabbath of Yahweh” (שבת ליהוה), literally, “a sabbath that belongs to Yahweh.”

“This phrase is so important, it’s easy to miss its centrality... Just as in the 7th year of release man desists from utilizing the land for his own business and benefit, so on the sabbath day he desists from using that day for his own affairs. And just äs the intervals in regard to the release year and the jubilee years are determined by the number seven, so too is the number seven determinative for that recurring day when man refrains from his own pursuits and sets it aside for God. In regular succession he breaks the natural flow of time, proclaiming, and that the break is made for the sake of the Lord. This meaning which we have ascertained from the laws finds support Isaiah 58: “If you restrain your foot on the sabbath so äs not to pursue your own affairs on My holy day…” Man normally is master of his time. He is free to dispose of it as he sees fit or as necessity bids him. The Israelite is duty-bound, however, once every seven days to assert by word and deed that God is the master of time. … one day out of seven the Israelite is to renounce dominion over his own time and recognize God's dominion over it. Simply: Every seventh day the Israelite renounces his autonomy and affirms God's dominion over him in the conclusion that every seventh day the Israelite is to renounce dominion over time, thereby renounce autonomy, and recognize God's dominion over time and thus over himself. Keeping the sabbath is acceptance of the kingdom and sovereignty of God.” (Matitiahu Tsevat, The Basic Meaning of the Biblical Sabbath, 453-455.)

Tim says the structure of the sabbath is meant to be inconvenient. God is the master of all time, and he holds all the time that we think actually belongs to us.

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Royalty Free Middle Eastern Music
  • Shabot Songs:
    • Psalm 121 (Lai Lai Lai) by Joshua Aaron
    • L'maancha by Eitan Katz

Resources:

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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Oct 14 2019

56mins

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Spiritual Warfare - God E3

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This is episode three in our series outlining the development of the character of God in the Bible! In this show, Tim and Jon walk through the big ideas of the “Divine Council” and spiritual warfare.

In part one (00:00-23:40), Tim outlines a strange story in 1 Kings 22:19 about the prophet Micaiah. Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left." Jon asks what a “host” is in the Bible. Tim explains that "host" is used to describe an army or a set of advisers. Tim says the point is that God is depicted as a military captain with a set of lower ranking officers. This theme continues in other passages like Job 1:6 and 7:6. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the satan also came among them." "The Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

Jon asks who are the "sons of God are. Tim explains that it is a turn of phrase used to represent a class of spiritual beings. Followers of Old Testament prophets were often called “sons,” not to demonstrate physical sonship, but to demonstrate a sort of relationship where the greater power was in a position of authority over a lesser power. Tim says the point is that the Bible portrays God as having a sort of staff team, or mediators, that do his bidding in order to interact with the world. This is God’s “divine council.”

In part two (23:40-49:48), Tim outlines a very strange section in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 32:8-9
When the Most High [Yahweh] allotted the nations,
and set the divisions for the sons of humanity,
He fixed the territories of peoples
According to the number of sons of God [Heb. sons of elohim]
For Yahweh’s portion is his people
Jacob his own allotment.

Tim says there is a large biblical scholarship debate over the interpretation of this passage. To explain this passage, Tim quotes from Jefferey Tigay:

“Deuteronomy 32:8-9 refers to an early tradition, that when God was allotting nations to the delegated authority of other divine beings, he made the same number of nations and territories as there were such beings. Verse 9 implies that He then assigned the other nations to those divine beings, and states explicitly that He kept Israel for Himself. This seems to be part of a concept hinted at elsewhere in the Bible and in postbiblical literature. When God organized the government of the world, He established two tiers: at the top, He Himself, “God of gods (ʾelohei ha-ʾelohim) and Lord of lords” (Deut 10:17), who reserved Israel for Himself, to govern personally; below Him, seventy angelic “divine beings” (sons of ʾelohim), to whom He allotted the other peoples. The conception is like that of a king or emperor governing the capital or heartland of his realm personally and assigning the provinces to subordinates.”

Jon seems flabbergasted. God put other gods in charge of other nations?
Jon asks how this view can be reconciled with actual knowledge of world history and human development.

Tim says this is a theme in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 4:16-19, Moses says to Israel, “Don’t act corruptly and make a image for yourselves in the form of any figure… And don’t lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the Lord has taken you...to be a people for His own possession, as today."

Tim says this hints at a concept in Hebrew culture that portrayed a spiritual rebellion against God that coincided with a human rebellion. Tim says the human rebellion is told in detail in the Bible, but the spiritual rebellion is only hinted at. The complex story of the “sons of God” sleeping with human women in Genesis 6 could be viewed as them going into rebellion and crossing a line.

Tim says this theme reaches its culmination in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel and the story of the Prince of Persia.

In part three (49:48-1:01:26), Tim says the Jesus carries these themes of other elohim forward into the New Testament. The greek word for “demon” in the New Testament is connected to the word “daimonion” (δαιμόνιον). Demon is a word that means “demi” or lesser god. In Hebrew categories, it would be a son of elohim.

Tim says he has a tough time reconciling this with a western “rational” worldview. He says Jesus and the authors of the New Testament clearly believed in a world that included unseen spiritual forces. Tim says that the New Testament passage in Ephesians 6, referring to the "armor of God," shouldn’t be appropriated as passages about spiritual warfare of demonic attack; rather, they should be seen as warnings against elevating differences above unity in the body of Christ. The point of Ephesians is for the church to learn how to live in unity with a group of diverse people. Therefore a spiritual warfare attack is when Christians are not living in unity.

In part four (1:01:26-1:07:18), Jon asks how to interpret all of this with a modern view of human development. Tim says the purpose of the Bible is not to tell me about the origins of the physical universe, but to be a unified story that leads to Jesus. Tim says that attempting to place spiritual and human rebellion narratives into a chronological order that makes sense to modern people can be dangerous because you lose the context of the original stories.

Jon says his temptation is not that, but to think that there is no spiritual realm, not that there is a complex one ruled by a divine council. Tim agrees and says that all of the same idols that existed in other cultures exist in our culture, but modern people worship money, sex, and power, not as named deities like Mammon, but just as objects in themselves.

In part five (1:07:18-end), Tim previews the next part of the – God’s complex relationship with the world. If God is portrayed as having a set of staff, these staff interact with the world consistently throughout the Scriptures. One example is how the Angel of the Lord appears many times acting on behalf of God.

Next episode we will have a Q+R. Send us audio recordings of your questions to info@jointhebibleproject.com. Please mention your name, where you're from and keep your questions to about 20 seconds. Thanks!

Resources:
“The Divine Council,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

Larry Hurtado:

  • Books: "One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism" and "Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus Devotion"
  • Interviews: "Early High Christology on Trinities Podcast"

Michael Heiser:

  • Books: The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, and Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World and Why it Matters
  • Podcast: The Naked Bible Podcast
  • Videos: "The Divine Council" and "Divine Council Introduction"

Produced By:
Dan Gummel. Jon Collins. Matthew Halbert Howen.

Music:
Defender Instrumental: Rosasharn Music
Moments: Tae the Producer

Jul 30 2018

1hr 12mins

Play

Day Of The Lord Part One: What's The Deal With "Babylon"?

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The End Times. The Tribulation. Judgement. All of these buzz words can be sensitive subjects for Christians. But how do the Bible authors deal with the future of the world? They use a phrase called "The Day of the Lord."
This is the first episode in our new series on that phrase. Tim and Jon talk about this phrase, its origins, and some of big questions attached to it. Where does the Bible think history is going? What is God going to do about evil?

This series will accompany a new theme video on The Day of the Lord that will be released later this year.

Music Credits
Defender (Instrumental) by Rosasharn Music
Thule by The Album Leaf
Shot in the Back of the Head by Moby

Apr 07 2017

1hr 4mins

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How to Read the Bible Intro: What is the story of the Bible?

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The Bible can often seem like a weird ancient book that many people use to say different things. These things can even sometimes lead to using the Bible to oppress or hurt others or the world. And on top of the confusion, reading the Bible can also be tedious and confusing, so most of us just stick to the parts we know and understand.

But what is the story of the Bible? Like the big, meta story? The ideas in this episode might surprise you.

In this episode Tim and Jon discuss the big, narrative arcs of the Bible. What is the Bible really talking about? Sin? Salvation? Judgement?

Tim and Jon first discuss the importance of the, oftentimes overlooked, Old Testament, which is essential in understanding the overall narrative of the Bible.

They then discuss the centrality of the texts (the Bible) to second temple Jews, Jesus, and the early Christian church, and the uniqueness of such texts.

The Bible is BIG and can be confusing. Tim and Jon cover the major movements of the Old Testament, and the over-arching point!

What is this Kingdom of God Jesus is talking about, and how is this in contrast the default condition humanity finds itself in?

This episode is designed to accompany our new video series and our new video called "The Story Of The Bible". You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_CGP-12AE0

Book References:
The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner
The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli

Show Music:

Defender by Rosasharn Music
Good Morning by Unwritten Stories
All Night by Unwritten Stories
Chilldrone by Unwritten Stories

May 19 2017

59mins

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The Holy Spirit Part 1: Spirit of the Old Testament vs. The Spirit of Christianity

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The Holy Spirit is a tough subject in Christianity. It seems everyone has their own experiences of how the Spirit works. Or doesn’t. Tim and Jon talk a little bit about their own Holy Spirit experiences growing up. Jon grew up in a Baptist church where the Holy Spirit was largely theoretical. Tim grew up with the opposite experiences in a community that got really dramatic about the Holy Spirit.

The guys also talk about what the ancient Hebrews believed about the Holy Spirit and the differences between their ancient beliefs and the modern Western view.

To the Hebrews, the Holy Spirit was the essential, mystical force of life. An all encompassing energy that created the world and kept creating the world over and over, right before their eyes. For Hebrews, creation and sustaining the creation were not two separate ideas.

Tim and Jon reflect on what it might look like if we adopted a similar worldview the ancients had. How it might invite us to become re-enchanted with creation. That we would begin to see God’s personal presence animating and energizing all of the world.

Music credits:
Defender (instrumental) by rosasharn.bandcamp.com
Look Back In by Moby. album 18.
Chord Sounds by Moby. album Every Day.

Feb 23 2017

57mins

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The Quest for Wisdom - Wisdom E1

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In part one (0:00-15:20), Tim goes over what books are considered wisdom literature: Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

Tim says there are different ways to classify the books in the Bible, but the books are primarily grouped into two categories.

Wisdom of King Solomon
-Proverbs
-Ecclesiastes
-Song of Songs

The themes of wisdom, the "good life," and the fear of the Lord
-Proverbs
-Ecclesiastes
-Job

In part two (15:20-31:50), Tim clarifies exactly what wisdom literature is. In short: the entire Hebrew Bible. Tim uses Psalm 119:98-99 and 2 Timothy 3:15 to illustrate this point.

Psalm 119:98-99:
"Your instructions make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation."

2 Timothy 3:15:
“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Tim points out that the entire Bible can be used to gain wisdom. Jon says that there are many different lenses to view the Bible through. Seeing it as a book of wisdom is perhaps a very universal one.

The guys discuss how messy life is, just like the book of Genesis is messy. Humans in their desire to live are constantly faced with difficult choices.

Tim shares a quote from Rolan Murphy:
“Within the Hebrew Bible, the wisdom literature is exciting, because it deals directly with life. The sages of Israel were concerned with the present, how to cope with the challenges provoked by one’s immediate experience… The choice between life and death which Moses dramatically places before Israel in Deuteronomy 30:15-30 is re-echoed in the sages emphasis on wisdom that leads to life. The life-death situation is expressed in the image of the “tree of life.” Proverbs 3:18: “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who grasp her; how fortunate are those who embrace her.” This image is well-known from its appearance in Genesis: the first dwellers in the garden were kept from that tree lest they live forever (Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24). In a vivid turn of metaphor, wisdom in Proverbs has become the tree of life and is personified as a woman: “Long life is in her right hand, in her left, wealth and honor. She boasts that the one who finds find life (Prov 8:35) and the one who fails is ultimately in love with death (Prov 8:36)... One must hear wisdom obediently, but one must also pray for the gift that she is…. Embracing the gift of wisdom is precarious, however, because, according to the sages, we are easily deceived: “There is more hope for a fool, than for those who are wise in their own eyes” (Prov 26:12)” -- Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, pp. Ix-x.

In part three (31:50-40:20), Tim dives into Genesis 1-3 and discusses the human quest for wisdom.

Tim notes that you can trace the thread of God discerning what is “good and bad” in the creation narrative:

God is the provider with all knowledge of “good and bad” (tov and ra in Hebrew). God the creator provides all that is “good” (Heb. tov). Seven times in Genesis 1 "God saw that it was tov.” God is the first one to identify something as “not good:” a lonely human in the garden. God sees the problem and asks how humanity can “be fruitful and multiply and fill the land and rule the creatures” alone, and sees the need for human companionship.

In part four (40:20-end), the guys continue the conversation. What does God do? He "splits the adam" and creates man and woman.

Genesis 2:21-25:
"So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the human, and he slept; then He took one of his sides and closed the flesh at that place. And the Yahweh God built the side which He had taken from the human into a woman, and brought her to the man. The human said,
'This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman [issah]
Because she was taken out of [ish].'
For this reason, a ish shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his isshah; and they shall become one flesh. And the two of them were naked, the adam and his wife and were not ashamed."

Tim notes that God provides humans with what they cannot give themselves: blessing, fruitfulness, and dominion over the land (Gen 1:26-28). God divides the human in half (the word means "side" in Hebrew) and makes two humans who are unique and yet designed to become one. This relationship of man and woman becoming one, with no shame, no powerplays, no oppression, to know and be known in pure naked vulnerability before God and before one another, nothing hidden, everything revealed and loved, this is Eden. And Eden is where humans become kings and queens of creation.

Show Resources:
Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, pp. Ix-x.
Derick Kidner, The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes
William P. Brown, Wisdom's Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Drug Police, Moby
Heal My Sorrows, Beautiful Eulogy
Where Peace and Rest are Found, Beautiful Eulogy

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Jun 10 2019

46mins

Play

How to Read the Bible Part 1: Reading the Bible Aloud in a Community?

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This is our first episode in our series "How To Read The Bible." Tim and Jon discuss the differences in ancient and modern ways of reading scripture, including why the Hebrew people would read scripture together as a group. The guys also talk about how challenging it can be to read the Bible by yourself.

In the first half of the show (0-34:00) the guys talk about the differences between modern day emphasis on application the reading of God’s word, and the Old Testament emphasis on “responding” to hearing God’s word.

The second half of the show (34-50:00) Tim exposits on the ancient Hebrew practice of reading the Torah out loud together. A practice that was instituted in the Old Testament and has continued all the way through to modern times in today’s synagogues. Tim also talks about an interesting piece of Jewish history, the Dura Europos Synagogue. Jon asks why is it so important to read the Bible together as a group.

The last ten minutes of the show the guys ask what the origins of the sermon are and why ancient Israel had such a difficult time remembering what God had done for them.

We have a video coming out later this month that will accompany this podcast series. You can view all our videos on our youtube channel: youtube.com/thebibleproject

Additional Resources:
The Word Of Promise: Dramatic Reading of The Bible App.
Dura Europos Synagogue in Syria [see Wikipedia]
Jeffrey Tigay, ​The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy​
Mesha Stela [see Wikipedia]

Music Credits:

Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music
Acquired in Heaven by Beautiful Eulogy
The Truth about Flight, Love and BB Guns by Foreknown

Jun 02 2017

59mins

Play

The Kingdom of God Part 2: Co-Ruling with Jesus

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In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss Jesus’ authority over heaven and earth and what it means for humans to rule with Jesus. The guys talk about what it will be like for God’s Kingdom to be fully realized. The Bible tells us that God’s Kingdom arrived in Jesus, but the fullness of that Kingdom is yet to come. What went wrong with the establishment of God’s Kingdom, and how does he plan to fix it?

In the first part of the episode (01:22-13:20), Tim and Jon talk about Jesus as the one who has authority over heaven and earth. What does this mean exactly, and how are humans invited into this with Jesus?

In the next part of the episode (13:40-17:29), the guys talk about the New Jerusalem that’s introduced in Revelation 22:1-5. This is a key passage in understanding how humans will serve and reign with Jesus in God’s Kingdom.

In the next part of the episode (18:02-23:22), the guys look at how God responds to humans setting up their own kingdoms. In the book of Genesis, we see that humans keep getting in the way of God’s plan. God’s covenant promise with Abraham and the children of Israel was all about trying to correct what went wrong with God establishing his Kingdom on earth.
In the final part of the episode (23:45-43:37), Tim and Jon talk about Israel’s many rebellions––their rejection of God’s Kingdom and the creation of their own kingdoms. They take a look at God as King and how he challenges human kingdoms throughout the Bible. Finally, the guys talk about the tension between God being a King now but also one who will bring his Kingdom later. This is the “now and not yet” theology of the Kingdom of God.

Video:
This episode is designed to accompany our video called, “Gospel of the Kingdom." You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmFPS0f-kzs

Scripture References:
Revelation 22
Genesis 3
Exodus 15
Deuteronomy 17
Psalm 96
Isaiah 52

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music
Blue Skies by Unwritten Stories
Flooded Meadows by Unwritten Stories

Nov 10 2015

43mins

Play

The Significance of 7 - 7th Day Rest E2

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QUOTE

“Genesis 1 isn’t just telling you about what type of world you’re living in; it’s showing you, as a Israelite reader, that your life of worship rhythms are woven into the fabric of the universe.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The idea of resting and the number seven are intimately connected in the Bible.
  • In Genesis 1, the word or number "seven" has two key symbolic meanings: seven represents a full and complete world, and getting to seven is a linear journey from one to seven.
  • The rhythm of practicing sabbath or resting every seventh day is one way that humans can imitate God and act like they are participating in the new creation.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to our second episode tracing the theme of seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-18:30), Tim shares some of the numeric symbolism in Genesis 1. The opening line of Genesis 1 has seven words, and the central word, untranslated in English, is two Hebrew letters, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet: aleph and taw.

When one isolates the theme of time in Genesis 1, another design pattern emerges that provides a foundation for all of Israel’s rituals of sacred time.

Tim points out that there are many other ways the number seven is symbolic in the Genesis narrative: there are seven words in Genesis 1:1, and fourteen words in Genesis 1:2. There are seven paragraphs in Genesis 1:1-2:3 marked by “evening and morning.” The concluding seventh paragraph in Genesis 2:1-3 begins three lines which have seven words each (Gen 2:2-3a).

In part 2 (18:30-28:30), Tim summarizes a series of details about the literary design of Genesis ch. 1 from Umberto Cassuto's commentary on Genesis:

"In view of the importance ascribed to the number seven generally, and particularly in the story of Creation, this number occurs again and again in the structure of our section. The following details are deserving of note:

(a). After the introductory verse (1:1), the section is divided into seven paragraphs, each of which appertains to one of the seven days. An obvious indication of this division is to be seen in the recurring sentence, And there was evening and there was morning, such-and-such a day. Hence the Masoretes were right in placing an open paragraph [i.e. one that begins on a new line] after each of these verses. Other ways of dividing the section suggested by some modern scholars are unsatisfactory.

(b–d). Each of the three nouns that occur in the first verse and express the basic concepts of the section, viz God [אֱלֹהִים ʾElōhīm] heavens [שָׁמַיִם šāmayim], earth [אֶרֶץ ʾereṣ], are repeated in the section a given number of times that is a multiple of seven: thus the name of God occurs thirty-five times, that is, five times seven (on the fact that the Divine Name, in one of its forms, occurs seventy times in the first four chapters, see below); earth is found twenty-one times, that is, three times seven; similarly heavens (or firmament, רָקִיעַ rāqīaʿ) appears twenty-one times.

(e). The ten sayings with which, according to the Talmud, the world was created (Aboth v 1; in B. Rosh Hashana 32a and B. Megilla 21b only nine of them are enumerated, the one in 1:29, apparently, being omitted)—that is, the ten utterances of God beginning with the words, and … said—are clearly divisible into two groups: the first group contains seven Divine fiats enjoining the creation of the creatures, to wit, ‛Let there be light’, ‘Let there be a firmament’, ‘Let the waters be gathered together’, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation’, ‘Let there be lights’, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms’, ‘Let the earth bring forth’; the second group comprises three pronouncements that emphasize God’s concern for man’s welfare (three being the number of emphasis), namely, ‘Let us make man’ (not a command but an expression of the will to create man), ‘Be fruitful and multiply’, ‘Behold I have given unto you every plant yielding seed’. Thus we have here, too, a series of seven corresponding dicta.

(f). The terms light and day are found, in all, seven times in the first paragraph, and there are seven references to light in the fourth paragraph.

(g). Water is mentioned seven times in the course of paragraphs two and three.

(h). In the fifth and sixth paragraphs forms of the word חַיָּה ḥayyā [rendered ‘living’ or ‘beasts’] occur seven times.

(i). The expression it was good appears seven times (the seventh time—very good).

(j). The first verse has seven words.

(k). The second verse contains fourteen words—twice seven.

(l). In the seventh paragraph, which deals with the seventh day, there occur the following three consecutive sentences (three for emphasis), each of which consists of seven words and contains in the middle the expression the seventh day:

And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which

He had done.

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.

(m). The words in the seventh paragraph total thirty-five—five times seven.

To suppose that all this is a mere coincidence is not possible.

§ 6. This numerical symmetry is, as it were, the golden thread that binds together all the parts of the section and serves as a convincing proof of its unity against the view of those—and they comprise the majority of modern commentators—who consider that our section is not a unity but was formed by the fusion of two different accounts, or as the result of the adaptation and elaboration of a shorter earlier version."

U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I, From Adam to Noah (Genesis I–VI 8), trans. Israel Abrahams (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1998), pages 13–15.

Tim says all of this numerical symbolism is completely intentional. The authors want us to learn that seven represents both a whole completed creation and a journey to that completeness.

In part 3 (28:30-41:00), Jon asks why the number seven became so symbolic in ancient Hebrew culture. Tim says the origins of the number seven being associated with completeness is likely tied to the lunar calendar of moon cycles. The biblical Hebrew word for “month” is “moon” (חדש). Each month consisted of 29.5 days, and each month consisted of four 7.3-day cycles, making a “complete” cycle of time. However, the sabbath cycle is independent of the moon cycle, and sabbaths do not coincide with the new moon. It is patterned after creation, and stands outside of any natural cycle of time.

Tim then makes an important note on Hebrew word play. Seven was symbolic in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture and literature. It communicated a sense of “fullness” or “completeness” (שבע “seven” is spelled with the same consonants as the word שבע “complete/full”). This makes sense of the pervasive appearance of “seven” patterns in the Bible. For more information on this, Tim cites Maurice H. Farbridge’s book, Studies in Biblical and Semitic Symbolism, 134-37.

In part 4 (41:00-52:30), Jon asks what it means for God to rest?

In response, Tim says there are two separate but related Hebrew concepts and words for rest.

The Hebrew word shabat means “to cease from.” God ceases from his work because “it is finished” (Gen 2:1). Compare with Joshua 5:12, “The manna ceased (shabat) on that day….”

The Hebrew word nuakh means “to take up residence.” Compare with Exodus 10:14, “The locusts came up over the land of Egypt and rested (nuakh) in all the land.” When God or people nuakh, it always involves settling into a place that is safe, secure, and stable. 2 Samuel 7:1 says, “Now when King David dwelt in his house, for Yahweh had provided rest from his enemies….”

The drama of the story, Tim notes, is the question as to whether humans and God will nuakh together? All of this sets a foundation for later biblical stories of Israel entering in the Promised Land, a land of rest.

In part 5 (52:30-end), Tim asks what it means that God blessed the seventh day?

Tim cites scholar Mathilde Frey:

“Set apart from all other days, the blessing of the seventh day establishes the seventh part of created time as a day when God grants his presence in the created world. It is then his presence that provides the blessing and the sanctification. The seventh day is blessed and established as the part of time that assures fruitfulness, future-orientation, continuity, and permanence for every aspect of life within the dimension of time. The seventh day is blessed by God’s presence for the sake of the created world, for all nature, and for all living beings.” (Mathilde Frey, The Sabbath in the Pentateuch, 45)

Tim says in Genesis 1, the symbolism of seven is a view that the “seventh day” is the culmination of all history. Tim cites scholar Samuel H. Balentine.

“Unlike the previous days, the seventh day is simply announced. There is no mention of evening or morning, no mention of a beginning or ending. The suggestion is that the primordial seventh day exists in perpetuity, a sacred day that cannot be abrogated by the limitations common to the rest of the created order.” (Samuel H. Balentine, The Torah’s Vision of Worship, 93)

Tim also cites scholar Robert Lowry: “The seventh-day account does not end with the expected formula, “there was evening and morning,” that concluded days one through six. Breaking the pattern in this way emphasizes the uniqueness of the seventh day and opens the door to an eschatological interpretation. Literarily, the sun has not yet set on God’s Sabbath.” (Richard H. Lowery, Sabbath and Jubilee, 90)

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Optimistic by Lo Fi Type Beat
  • Kame House by Lofi Hip Hop Instrumental
  • It’s Ok to Not Be Ok by Highkey Beats
  • Hometown by nymano x Pandress

Resources:

Show Produced By:

Dan Gummel

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Oct 21 2019

1hr 5mins

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Q+R: Nephilim, Enoch, Satan and Demons - God E5

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This is our first full Q+R for our ongoing podcast series on the development of the character of “God” in the Bible. Thank you to all of our listeners who sent in questions! Have a question? Send it in to info@jointhebibleproject.com. Don’t forget to give us your name and where you’re from.

Tim and Jon responded to four questions.

(0:40) Felipe from Brazil: “Hi Tim and Jon! My name is Felipe. I am from Brazil, and my question concerns the rebellion of the Sons of God in Genesis 6. Supposing this story talks about actual divine beings as opposed to human kings, do we know for sure the author’s version of the story is the same as 1 Enoch’s, that the divine beings had actual sex with human girls and had actual super-human kids?”

(36:12) Bradley from Kentucky: “A passage that's always been interesting to me is 1 Samuel 16:14, where God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul. It's connected to a passage you mentioned in 1 Kings 22, one of the only other places where this spirit type is mentioned. I was just wondering how your understanding of the Divine Council helps us understand God's sovereignty through this passage.”

(42:20) Jeremy from California: “I'm hoping you can shed some light on Luke 10: 17-20. This is the passage where the 72 disciples return from preaching and report to Jesus that even the demons submit to them in his name. Jesus then responds by alluding to Isaiah 14 regarding the fall of the king of Babylon, but he connects it to the fall of Satan. What's going on here? Does this passage refer back to the fall of the Elohim you mentioned that takes place in the early chapters of Genesis? And does this confirm that "The Satan" is the chief of all of the fallen Elohim just like the king of Babylon is the chief of fallen rulers?”

(1:04:52) John from Houston: “My question is about the term "Son of God" and how that is used in the New Testament. If we look at Romans 8, we can see that we can accept adoption as sons of God in relation to the only begotten son of God, but this seems like a totally different usage of what you guys described from Genesis. So is there any connection that can be made there?”

Show Resources:
Check out all our resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins, Matthew Halbert-Howen.

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Rosasharn Music

Thank you to all our supporters!

Aug 20 2018

1hr 21mins

Play

The Purpose of The Law - Law E1

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Welcome to our first episode looking at laws in the Bible!
In part 1 (0-4:00), Tim explains how this set of conversations will be different than the previous podcast episodes that looked at biblical law (the first two episodes of this podcast).
In parts 2 and 3 (4:00-17:45 and 17:45-35:00), Tim and Jon discuss ancient law vs. modern law. They talk about the importance of biblical law, but how these laws often cause hang-ups for modern readers. Tim notes that for centuries, interpreting biblical law has been a major point of debate among Christians, Jews, and everyone else.
In part 4 (35:00-end), Tim explains a debate over the number of laws in the Old Testament Torah. Some say there are 611 commands; others say 613. So which is it?
This is one small but significant example that illustrates how important interpreting the law was in Israel. Here’s a glimpse into the debate to give you a fuller picture.
A few centuries after Jesus, rabbis still firmly held to both views. The main disagreement came down to two passages where a commandment could be implicitly read. Consider:
Exodus 20:1, “I am Yahweh your God” = Believe that Yahweh exists.
Deuteronomy 6:5, “Yahweh your God, Yahweh is one” = Believe that Yahweh is one.
Yet even though the number of laws in the Torah can be debated, early rabbis recognized the ability to “reduce” many laws to just a handful that fully captured the spirit of the law. A famous passage illustrates this in the Babylonian Talmud (one of the primary sources for interpreting Jewish religious law and theology). It states:
Six hundred and thirteen commandments were given to Moses.
David reduced those commandments to eleven. (Psalm 15)
Isaiah reduced them to six. (Isaiah 33:15-16)
Micah the prophet reduced them to three. (Micah 6:8)
Isaiah again reduced them to two. (Isaiah 56:1)
Amos reduced them to one. (Amos 5:4)
Habakkuk further reduces to say, “But the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
Throughout the episode, Tim highlights differences in the law. For example, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 (both presenting the Ten Commandments) talk about the Sabbath in slightly different ways.
Or consider another instance, where Moses gives two different commands about how to prepare the Passover. Should you roast it or boil it? According to Exodus 12:8-9, you should roast it and not boil it. But in Deuteronomy 16:6-7, Moses tells the people to boil it.
These problems we see in the law are more than just ancient interpretation. To modern readers, some of the laws seem noble and inspiring, while others seem odd, primitive, or even barbaric.
We encounter all three of these examples in two adjacent chapters in the Torah:
In Leviticus 19, we read about God’s command to leave the extra gleanings of the harvest for the needy and stranger. God shows his care for the least of these.
A few verses later, we find laws about tattoos and beard etiquette. Weird!
One chapter later, we read the command that “a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:27)
Now these laws leave us feeling a tension around how to understand the idea of “biblical authority.” What does obedience to the laws of the Torah mean? Do we obey all of them, some of them, or none of them?
This issue has caused many conflicts in both Jewish and Christian history. For example, what is a Jew supposed to do about sacrificial ritual laws when the temple is destroyed in 586 B.C.? Or for a follower of Jesus, how do these laws relate to us as the messianic new covenant family?
We see that Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) So what can Paul mean when he says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4) Yet Paul still quotes from the Ten Commandments in places like Ephesians 6:1-3.
Overall, Tim makes the case that the law presented to us in the Old Testament is not a “code” in the same way modern readers often think of a law code. Instead, we see how Moses, the prophets, Paul, and even Jesus handled the laws. Each held a deep respect for the underlying meaning and ideals presented by the law to the people of God. Though times and customs changed, God’s law served as a bedrock of guiding ideals to help the people of God (both then and now) live in such a way as to love God and love neighbor.

Thank you to all our supporters!
Visit our website: thebibleproject.com
Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel
Show Music:
Defender Instrumental: Tents
Pilgrim Instrumental
Roads by LiQWYD
Skydive Loxbeats
Show Resources:
Jacob Neusner, The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary, vol. 17a (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 120–122.

Apr 29 2019

1hr 2mins

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Abundance or Scarcity - Generosity E1

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In this series, Tim and Jon trace the theme of generosity and abundance through the Scriptures.

In part 1 (0-7:45), the guys quickly introduce the conversation. Tim explains that generosity is both a theme and a concept that is found throughout the Scriptures.

In part 2 (7:45-32:10), Tim shares from a famous passage in the gospel accounts.


Luke 12:22-34

"And He said to His disciples, 'For this reason I tell you, don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat; and don’t be anxious about your body, what clothes you put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Ponder the ravens, for they don’t sow seed or reap a harvest; they have no storerooms or barns, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life’s span? And if you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Ponder the lilies, how they grow: they don’t toil or spin clothes; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You who trust God so little! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and don’t foster your anxiety. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be granted to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'"

Tim points out that freedom from anxiety is rooted in a conception of the universe, like a safe place where I’m welcomed by a generous host. The same overabundance we see in nature comes from a Creator who shows that same generosity towards us. This mindset frees us from a scarcity mentality, releasing us to freely give resources to others. Jesus observed this not primarily as a religious principle but as one written on the DNA of the universe. Jesus sees the birds and flowers and grass and notices God’s generosity and overabundant love.


The words of Jesus sound almost irresponsible to Type A, hardworking people. Yet with these words, Jesus articulates a way of seeing the world rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and their depiction of God’s generosity. Tim notes that often we’re the ones who need our eyes opened to see God’s generosity in creation.

In part 3 (32:10-36:30), Tim points out Jesus’ view of creation, that God created a good world that always produces enough, as long as humans live in accordance with the image of God.

In part 4 (36:30-53:20), Tim asks: What kind of tradition and culture did Jesus grown up in that allowed him to have this mindset? One passage Tim offers is Psalm 104:10-17 and 24-28:

He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.

O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.
They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.


Tim points out that this is a Psalm Jesus would have grown up hearing in synagogue. Jesus believed creation is an expression of the generous, creative love of God. Genesis 1-2 shows us that God brings order out of chaos (Gen. 1) and a garden out of a wasteland (Gen. 2). These God gives as a gift to humanity.

One way of thinking of the biblical storyline, Tim points out, is as a story of giving and taking. Yahweh God creates a wonderful world, full of potential, and he gives it to humanity to rule with him through wisdom. Humanity then desires to rule on their own terms and takes creation for themselves.

In part 5 (53:20-end), Tim points out the human problem, not only on a societal level, but on a heart level. By default, we act to benefit ourselves. In the midst of this, Tim notes, the Bible’s view on wealth is complex. Jesus talks about wealth and money more than most topics—a top-three subject of conversation. Scripture is suspicious about wealth, knowing how affluence and abundance can make humans indulgent and arrogant.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Find our resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie

Show Music:
• Defender Instrumental by Tents
• Conquer by Beautiful Eulogy
• Shot in the Back of the Head by Moby
• Scream Pilots by Moby
• Analogs by Moby

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Aug 05 2019

1hr 8mins

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You Are A Soul

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This is our first episode related to our new word studies video on the Hebrew word “Nephesh” which often gets translated as “soul” in English bibles. In Hebrew the most basic meaning of the word is “throat.” Which seems weird to us. So how did we get “soul” from “throat”? Tim and Jon discuss.

In the first part of the episode (0-12:30), Tim and Jon outline where the word “soul” comes from (Old English), and why most people think that a core teaching of the Bible is people “having souls.” Jon asks how much you can really separate the ideas of a person’s “mind, soul, and body.”

In the second part of the episode (12:30-41:20), Tim explains that the Hebrew word “Nephesh” is an extremely common word in the Hebrew Old Testament. It occurs over 700 times, but less than 10% of the time is it translated as “soul.” It also gets translated as “life”, “heart”, “you”, “people” and several other words.
Tim outlines some famous verses in the Old Testament that use the word soul. Like Psalm 42 “ As the deer pants...My soul thirsts for you” the original meaning is Hebrew is “my throat thirsts for you.”

Tim explains that the word Nephesh is designed to show the essential physicality of a person. Whereas “soul” connotes the non-physicality of a person.

In the third part of the episode (41:20-end), Tim says “Nephesh” isn’t just used to describe humans, but also used to describe animals and what the land produced in Genesis. “And God said ‘Let the waters teem with living Nephesh.’”

The bottom line, biblically, is that people don’t have souls. They are souls. They don’t have “nephesh” they are “nephesh.” And the ultimate hope for Christians is not a disembodied existence living as souls, but an embodied existence living in their Nephesh.

You can check out our new word studies video on Nephesh here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_igCcWAMAM

Thank you to all our supporters! Check out more free resources on our website: www.thebibleproject.com

Show Resources:
The Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Original uses of the word Nephesh meaning throat:

Psalm 23
Psalm 42:1-2
Isaiah 58:11

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental: Rosasharn Music
River Deep: Retro Soul (Danya Vodovoz, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B1tVfm832w)
Lotus Lane: The Loyalist
Herbal Tea: Artificial Music

Show Produced By:
Jon Collins and Dan Gummel

Nov 13 2017

55mins

Play

Justice Part 1: What's the Biblical Vision of Justice?

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This is our first episode in our new series on the theme of Justice in the Bible. When most of us hear the term "justice" we think of courtrooms, judges and cops. Some of us might think of biblical justice as “God’s Judgement”.
What did the Hebrews believe justice looked like? And what was the biblical vision for a “just society?”

In the first part of the conversation (0-22:50) Tim outlines where the words “Justice” and “Righteousness” come from in the Bible and what they meant in their original context. The guys speculate about why every person seems to have an ingrained idea of “fairness”.

Tim shares three common perspectives of Justice from a Harvard professor (Brian Sandel) book Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Justice is Maximizing Welfare
Justice is Respect of Individual Freedom
Justice is Promoting Virtue

In the second part of the show (22:51-44:45)
Tim outlines the famous verse in Micah “do justice, love mercy” and what that verse originally meant to Hebrews. The guys talk about the differences between retributive justice and restorative justice.
Tim shares the prophets ideas of the quartet of the vulnerable: widows, orphans, immigrants, the poor.

Finally, (44:50-end) the guys discuss the story of the Hebrew Exodus, and how that story framed many images in the Bible about justice.

Thank you to all our supporters!

You can learn more about the bible project on our website: https://thebibleproject.com/

Resources:
Books:
Annie Dillard: Pilgrim At Tinker Creek
Michael Sandel: Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental: Rosasharn Music
Flooded Meadows: Unwritten Stories
You Can Save Me: Beautiful Eulogy
Exile Dial Tone: Beautiful Eulogy

Oct 09 2017

58mins

Play

Two Kinds of Work - 7th Day Rest E3

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QUOTE

“So once [the fall] happened, we go to Genesis 3, and all of a sudden the ground that was the source of humanity’s life as a gift from God—‘cursed is the ground because of you.’ So all of a sudden, we’ve lost the seventh-day ideal and not attained it.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • After the fall, there was a change in the fundamental nature of humanity’s work. Before the fall, it was enjoyable by default. After the fall, work becomes a task done for survival.
  • God calls Abraham in Genesis 12 with a seven line poem. This is a symbolic use of the number seven and meant to tie in with the Genesis creation narrative.
  • In Genesis 2:15 a keyword is introduced to the story. That word is nuakh, “rested him” (וינחהו / nuakh) and it is meant to portray an act of full abiding residence. Humanity was meant to be fully present and abide in the garden that God created.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to episode three in our series on the theme of the seventh-day rest in the Bible.

In part 1 (0-21:45), Tim comments on Genesis 2:15.

Genesis 2:15

Then the Lord God took the human and ‘rested him’ (וינחהו / nuakh) into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

God “rests” the human in the garden so that he can “work” it. Tim notes that this is the first appearance of the Hebrew word nuakh in the Bible. This becomes an important word in the theme of seventh-day rest. Tim says that this word can be understood as “to dwell,” or “to abide and rest in.” Humanity is to be fully present in the garden (Heb. nuakh = “to take up residence”).

Tim also says that this abiding rest is conditional. Will humans obey God and not take of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad? Answer: no. So what happens? Humanity rebels and is exiled from the heaven and earth Eden mountain, sent to “work/labor” the ground.

Genesis 3:17-19

Cursed is the ground because of you;

through painful toil you will eat food from it

all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are

and to dust you will return.

Tim says that this is a change in the nature of our work. The work is no longer enjoyable by default; instead, work becomes a task done for survival.

In part 2 (21:45-33:20), Jon asks how this idea fits with God’s call for humanity to tend and maintain the garden. Wouldn’t ruling and subduing creation take work?

Tim responds by talking about two different types of work. Humanity was created to work, but the original work they were destined for was fundamentally different from the post-fall, post-eden work. Tim quotes from Abraham Joshua Heschel, a famous 20th century Jewish rabbi and his book The Sabbath.

“We are all infatuated with the splendor of space and the grandeur of the things of space. Thing is a category that lays heavy on our mind, tyrannizing all our thoughts. In our daily lives we attend primarily to that which are senses are spelling out for us. Reality to us is thinghood, consisting of substances that occupy space. Even God is perceived by most of us as a thing. The result of our thinginess is a blindness to all realities that fail to identify itself as a thing. This is obvious in our understanding of time, which being thingless and unsubstantial appears to us as having no reality. Indeed we know what to do with space but do not know what to do with time, except to make it subservient to space. Most of us seem to labor for the sake of things of space. As a result we suffer from a deeply rooted dread of time and stand aghast when compelled to look into its face. Time to us is sarcasm. A slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking therefore from facing time, we escape for shelter to things of space.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, prologue)

In part 3 (33:20-40:45), Tim focuses on Psalm 90.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place

in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust

and say, “Return, O children of man!”

For a thousand years in your sight

are but as yesterday when it is past,

or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,

like grass that is renewed in the morning:

in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;

in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger;

by your wrath we are dismayed.

You have set our iniquities before you,

our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;

we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

The years of our life are seventy,

or even by reason of strength eighty;

yet their span is but toil and trouble;

they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger,

and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Lord! How long?

Have pity on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

and for as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be shown to your servants,

and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,

and establish the work of our hands upon us;

yes, establish the work of our hands!

Tim notes that in verse 14, the English word “satisfy” is the Hebrew word for seven. So the writer is asking God for a completeness that only he can give.

In part 4 (40:45-49:30), Tim looks at the calling of Abraham in Genesis 12. Tim says that this is a seven-lined poem, and there are five promises of blessing which match the five curses earlier in Genesis 3-11. Jon notes that the conversation is actually looking at new creation through the lens of the sabbath and seventh-day rest.

In part 5 (49:30-55:45), Tim dives into a story about Abraham in Genesis 21.

Genesis 21:22-34

Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned.” Abraham said, “I swear it.”

But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today.” Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?” He said, “You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well.” Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Tim notes that this story is symbolic on many levels. Tim notes that the Hebrew word sheba can be translated as both “seven” and “oath.” So the story represents Abraham making a “seven” oath with Abimelech, who symbolically represents the nations. This oath results in peace and abundance for all people involved. Tim and Jon both agree that once you start to look for it, the themes of seven, completeness, and seventh-day rest are all over the Bible.

In part 6 (44:45-end), Tim and Jon recap the episode and preview the next part of the story, which is Israel’s enslavement in Egypt and the Exodus story.

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Ocean by KV
  • Blue VHS by Lofi Type Beat
  • Levitating by Invention
  • Mind Your Time by Me.So
  • The Truth About Flight, Love and BB Guns by Foreknown

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Show Resources:

Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Oct 28 2019

1hr

Play

Heaven and Earth Part 1: What is the Old Testament referring to as "Heaven"?

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In this episode, Tim and Jon begin their conversation about heaven and earth starting in Genesis 1. This is the first time “heaven" appears in the Bible. “The heavens” literally means “the sky.” Did the ancient Israelites think God lived in the sky? Maybe. The guys will talk more about this and what it means for God’s space and human space to overlap.

In the first part of the episode (01:27-08:57), the guys talk about the idea that heaven is in the clouds. How did we get there? Tim will break down the Hebrew word for heaven and explain a bit more about what the ancient Israelites believed about God’s heavenly space.

In the second part of the episode (09:17-18:59), the guys will talk about the significance of temples for the ancient Israelites. Temples were the place where the divine and human space overlapped, and this was incredibly important to the ancient Israelites.
In the next part of the episode (19:19-25:15), Tim and Jon talk about Jesus as the ultimate meeting place of heaven and earth. Throughout the gospels, Jesus calls himself the temple of God and makes clear that he is God’s temple presence made accessible for humanity.

In the final part of the episode (25:45-40:57), the guys talk about the ways we see this overlap between heaven and earth throughout Scripture. We see it through Jesus, through visions of heaven, like Jacob has in Genesis 28, and ultimately we see it in the garden of Eden.

Video:
This episode is designed to accompany our video called, “Heaven & Earth." You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy2AQlK6C5k

Scripture References:
Genesis 1
Genesis 28
Psalm 11
Psalm 103
1 Kings 8
Isaiah 6

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music
Analogs by Greyflood

Jan 28 2016

40mins

Play

Seventy Times Seven - Prophetic Math - 7th Day Rest E10

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QUOTE

“Welcome to a fascinating industry in biblical scholarship. What we know is that every Jewish group that left a literary record, whether it’s the Qumran community, the Pharisees, the Zealots, and the early Christians—everyone is is talking about Daniel 9. And you can see why. It sets the clock."

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Daniel 9 and the passage commonly known as "The Seventy Sevens" is one of the most symbolically complex passages in the Bible and also has a wide range of scholarly interpretations surrounding it.
  • Daniel 9 is directly related to Jeremiah 25.
  • The Hebrew prophets like Isaiah in Isaiah 61 began to see the announcement of a jubilee not only as a practice but also as an announcement for a future time when all of humanity would get a restart.

SHOW NOTES

In part 1 (0:00–8:20), Jon briefly recaps the conversation so far. Tim shares a verse from Isaiah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). This verse, Tim says, is at the core of the theological claims behind the theme of seventh-day rest in the Bible.

In part 2 (8:20–27:30), Tim turns to the book of 2 Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 36:20-21

“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”

Tim says that the author of this passage would have had two prophecies from Jeremiah in mind when writing this. 

Jeremiah 25:11-14

“This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will make it desolate forever. I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.’”

Jeremiah 29:10-14

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’”

Tim notes that this is a very famous verse in the Bible, but many people aren’t aware of its original context—a promise from God that Israel will return from exile.

In part 3 (27:30–46:45), Tim dives into Daniel 9:20, a passage commonly known as “the seventy sevens.”

Daniel 9:20-27

“While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—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. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.’

“‘Know and understand this: from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.’”

This passage, Tim says, maps directly onto the two Jeremiah prophecies.

Tim notes that Daniel would have been heartbroken because he was hoping that this would have been a proclamation of good news that Israel would return from exile. Instead, the message is that Israel has a long way to go in its exile.

There are many ways to read and interpret the 490 years (seventy sevens) in Daniel 9. Tim shares about a study from scholar Roger Beckwith, who has done an enormous study on the various interpretations of Daniel 9 in his paper, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation” (see show resources for link).

In part 4 (46:45–end), Tim and Jon cover an important prophecy in Isaiah about a coming jubilee.

Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the Lord

for the display of his splendor.”

Tim shares a quote from scholar Bradley Gregory in his essay on Isaiah 61, called “The Post Exilic Exile in Isaiah.”

“In Isaiah 40-55, the Babylonian exile is understood as an image of the Egyptian captivity. In the last ten chapters of Isaiah (56-66), the oppressive situation in Jerusalem after the exile has become another symbol. One gets the impression that the author doesn’t see the situation after the exile as any better than the situation in Babylon or enslaved in ancient Egypt. In all cases Israel is shackled because of sin, awaiting deliverance by Yahweh. The prescriptions for the jubilee have been eschatologized—the jubilee is now a metaphor and an image for a future hope. Isaiah has moved the concept for jubilee from a law to a concept of future deliverance.”

Show Resources:

Show Music:

  • Mind your Time by Me.So
  • Excellent by Beautiful Eulogy
  • Good Grief by Beautiful Eulogy

Produced by Dan Gummel.

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Dec 09 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

Rest for the Land - 7th Day Rest E9

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KEY TAKEAWAYS 

  • The land is entitled to a Sabbath rest as a part of the Torah commandments.
  • If Israel disobeys the Torah and does not allow the land to rest, they will be punished by God, including being sent into exile.
  • Romans 8 is similar to Leviticus 26. The land (creation) is waiting for its release from bondage, which will occur when humans attain their release from their bondage.

QUOTE


“What we call the natural world in the biblical story is an existence with humans living at odds with our real nature and our environment. (The Land) is not ours to do what we want with.”

SHOW NOTES

In part 1 (0-18:35), Tim and Jon review the conversation so far and quickly go over the Jewish festival calendar year to recap how it reflects the theme of seventh-day rest. They also discuss the Year of Jubilee.

In part 2 (18:35-32:40), Tim shares from Leviticus 26 and talks about the “covenant curses” that God pronounces. If Israel disobeys the commands, they will be exiled. Their exile is portrayed an inverted jubilee. Covenant loyalty will result in Eden blessing, freedom, abundance, and security, much like the jubilee.

Leviticus 26:3-13

“If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full (Heb. שבע, seven) and live securely in your land.

“I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land…

“So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you. You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you (cf.  Genesis 3:8) and be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”

Tim says the takeaway from this passage is that covenant violation will result in seven anti-jubilee curses, slavery, poverty, and oppression, which is also portrayed with symbolic seven imagery.

Leviticus 26:14-18, 21, 23-24, 27-28, 33-35

“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

“If after all this you will not listen to me, I will discipline you for your sins seven times over.

“If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.

“If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.

“If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will discipline you for your sins seven times over.

“I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.”

Jon notes that Western culture allows us to think that we own land. However, owning land in ancient Israel wasn’t reality. Instead, the land would return to the family originally entrusted with it every fifty years. God considers the land to be his, and Israel is tenants upon it.

In part 3 (32:40-end), Tim finishes Leviticus 26.

Leviticus 26:40-45

“If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me, and also in their acting with hostility against me… or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.

“Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”

Tim notes that the same logic that gives the land rest in Leviticus 26 also appears in the New Testament, when Paul writes in Romans 8.

Romans 8:19-23

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

Creation will be liberated from its bondage when humans are liberated from theirs.

Show Resources:

Hittite King Suppiluliuma (Wikipedia)

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Always Home by Ian Ewing
  • The Size of Grace by Beautiful Eulogy

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Join the Bible Project!

thebibleproject.com/vision



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Dec 02 2019

43mins

Play

Jubilee: The Radical Year of Release - 7th Day Rest E8

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QUOTE

“Since it occurred usually only once a lifetime, an impoverished Israelite would spend most of his life anticipating this event of restoration. So when we get to Jesus and the Jesus movement, it was a jubilee movement. Jesus started his mission by reading from Isaiah 61. He said it’s the favorable year of the Lord, the year of release.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25 is one of the most radical ideas in the Bible. Every 50 years, every Israelite was supposed to return to their original piece of allotted land.
  • The jubilee would have effectively prevented cycles of intergenerational poverty and create a social and economic parity that would make Israel unique among all nations.
  • Jesus announced that he was enacting the Year of Jubilee when he launched his public ministry.

SHOW NOTES

In part 1 (0-7:30), the guys quickly review the conversation so far.

In part 2 (7:30-21:30), Tim dives into Leviticus 24.

Leviticus 24:1-4

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.’”

Tim shares a quote from Jacob Milgrom.

“There are three kinds of oil. The first when the olives are pounded in order and put into a basket, and the oil oozes out. Rabbi Judah says, ‘Around the basket and around the sides, the oil that runs out of the basket, this gives the first oil…. The first oil is fit for lampstands.’”

Tim and Jon observe that the first oil would be the safest, least likely to smoke. This would keep the soot for accumulating in the rooms where it is burning.

Tim makes several observations about the lamp from Leviticus 24.

  • The lamp (מאור / ma’or) is attended to every evening so that its light burns perpetually (“from evening to evening,” borrowing language from Genesis 1).
  • The lamp is described with the vocabulary of the sun, moon, and stars in Genesis 1. They are symbols of the divine glory and markers “for signs and for seasons”—that is, for the appointed feasts (Gen. 1:14-16).
  • The lamp is a symbol of the divine light that perpetually shines upon Israel, who is represented by the bread. Numbers 8:1-4 tells us that the light of the menorah “will give light in the front of the lampstand” (v. 2), shining in the direction of the bread.
  • Leviticus 24:5-9 says that the bread is to be placed directly across from the light. Just as new bread is baked every Sabbath, so Israel is “recreated” every Sabbath. This bread is called “an eternal covenant” (Lev. 24:8), meaning it’s a symbol of the eternal relationship between God and Israel.

Tim shares this quote from Michael Morales:

“The menorah lampstand contains the same seven-fold structure, symbolizing the entire seven-part structure of time provided by the heavenly lights…. Just as the cosmos was created for humanity’s Sabbath communion and fellowship with God, so too tabernacle was established for Israel’s Sabbath communion and fellowship with God “every day of the Sabbath” (Lev 24:8). This ritual drama of the lights and the bread, symbolizes the ideal Sabbath, the tribes of Israel basking in the divine light, being renewed in God’s presence Sabbath by Sabbath.”

(Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord, 189-190 [with embedded quote by Vern Poythress].)

In part 3 (21:30-36:00), Tim dives into Leviticus 25 and the practice of jubilee.

Leviticus 25:1-55

“The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.

‘“Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

‘“In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property. If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.

‘“Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. You may ask, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?’ I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

‘“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

‘“If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property. But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.

‘“Anyone who sells a house in a walled city retains the right of redemption a full year after its sale. During that time the seller may redeem it. If it is not redeemed before a full year has passed, the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to the buyer and the buyer’s descendants. It is not to be returned in the Jubilee. But houses in villages without walls around them are to be considered as belonging to the open country. They can be redeemed, and they are to be returned in the Jubilee.

‘“The Levites always have the right to redeem their houses in the Levitical towns, which they possess. So the property of the Levites is redeemable—that is, a house sold in any town they hold—and is to be returned in the Jubilee, because the houses in the towns of the Levites are their property among the Israelites. But the pastureland belonging to their towns must not be sold; it is their permanent possession.

‘“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

‘“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

‘“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

‘“If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. They and their buyer are to count the time from the year they sold themselves up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years. If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.

‘“Even if someone is not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”’”

Tim makes a few observations about the practice of jubilee and the Year of Jubilee. Giving people back their ancestral land would prevent the formation of monopolies and land owner dynasties. It would be a consistent (about once a lifetime) check to level the economic playing field of ancient Israel.

Tim also notes that there are no narrative stories about Israel actually observing this Year of Jubilee. This causes some scholars to wonder whether the jubilee ever happened, or whether it was set up as an ideal to aspire to.

Tim says that jubilee anticipates a future restoration. He shares a quote from scholar John Bergsma.

“There is something inherently ‘eschatological’ about the jubilee, long before it was seen as a symbol of the eschaton by later writers. Since it recurred usually only once in a lifetime, the impoverished Israelite—or at least the one projected by the text—would spend most of his life in anticipation of this event of restoration. Also, from the perspective of the entire Pentateuch, the conquest and settlement of Canaan was a kind of ‘realized eschatology’—the fulfillment of the promise of the land of Canaan originally made to Abraham. Leviticus 25—in its present position in the Pentateuch—looks forward to the time when the ‘eschatological’ condition of Israel dwelling within her own land will be realized, and enacts measures to ensure that periodically this utopian, ‘eschatological’ state of Israel will be renewed and restored.”

(John Bergsma, The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran: A History of Interpretation, 81)

In part 4 (36:00-end), Tim and Jon talk about how the jubilee crosses into social, economic, and political views. Tim notes that Jesus launched his movement by declaring that the Year of Jubilee had arrived.

Thank you to all our supporters!

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Nov 25 2019

57mins

Play

7th Day Rest Q&R #1 - 7th Day Rest E7

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7th Day Q+R 1

Sam from Ohio (1:55): “I've heard you use the phrase that the Hebrew authors are in conversation with their Canaanite neighbors. In the creation narratives, when the Hebrew authors use the word avodah—for slave labor or work—are they saying something significant to their Canaanite neighbors, who in some of their creation accounts claim that the gods created humans to be their slaves? Is the word avodah tied to a unique claim that the Hebrew authors are trying to make about the relationship between God, work, and rest?”

Laura from Missouri (11:46): “As you were talking about sacred time built into the fabric of creation—particularly how the sun, moon, and stars are indented to mark the days and times for seasons and feasts—would these things still have been the case if the fall did not occur? Were these intended to be part of the people of God regardless of the fall? And if so, what would they be looking back to or forward to?”

Mike from South Africa (22:20): “Is the number seven a divine construct imported into the Israelite thinking? Or is it (or was it) an already established cultural idea that God just adopted to teach something that they would have understood if you spoke in their language?”

Brianna from Wisconsin (32:35): “I have a question about the flood narrative, and what’s going on there with all the uses of time and sevens that keep getting repeated. I’m wondering if all the references to time are supposed to get mapped onto Israel’s calendar and the feast days? And if so, does that somehow tie into Noah and his name meaning “rest?” What are we meant to see there with all the reference to time and sevens and the idea that Noah is rest and bringing rest into the world.”

John from Virginia (43:27): “You mention that the Exodus story participates with days one, two, and three of the creation account. I was wondering if there was anything following that that maps onto days four, five, and six that maps onto the new Eden.”

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Nov 21 2019

53mins

Play

The Seven Festivals - 7th Day Rest E6

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QUOTE

“The Holy One, blessed be He, created seven ages, and of them all He chose the seventh age only, the six ages are for the going in and coming out (of God’s creatures) for war and peace. The seventh age is entirely Sabbath and rest in the life everlasting.” – Rabbi Eliezer

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The seven festivals or feasts in the Jewish sacred calendar are integral to understanding the theme of the seventh-day rest in the Bible.
  • These feasts have symbolic meaning connecting back to the creation account in Genesis and the story of the Exodus. They are meant to act as a way to remember and teach.

SHOW NOTES

In part 1 (0-16:10), Tim and Jon recap the conversation so far, including the story of God giving Moses the Ten Commandments and instructions for the tabernacle. Interestingly, Tim notes that he isn’t pointing out all the layers of seven in the Bible, just highlighting some of the significant ones. For example, Moses goes up and down the mountain to commune with God seven times in the whole story of the TaNaK.

Tim moves into the next part of the story. God is now dwelling in the tabernacle, also known as the tent of meeting. Unfortunately, God’s presence is so intense that no one can go in.

In part 2 (16:10-25:00), Tim expands on the theme of Sabbath in Exodus.

Exodus 23:9-12 

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

Tim observes that Sabbath rest isn’t just for the Jews. It’s also rest for the servants, the land, and the animals. All of creation is called to participate in seventh-day rest.

In part 3 (25:00-35:00), Tim looks at a passage from Deuteronomy 15. 

Deuteronomy 15:1-6

At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

Cancelling debts would sometimes happen in the ancient world when a new ruler came into power as an act of political and social favor. What’s unique about the Jewish idea in Deuteronomy, Tim notes, is that this release from debts is meant to be observed independently of any kingship or political system.

In part 4 (35:00-44:00), Tim goes back to Leviticus to trace out the appointed feasts.

Leviticus 23:2-4

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. 

There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.

These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.’”

Here’s a simple way to lay out the sabbath and the appointed festivals.

1. Sabbath

The seventh day of each week.

Duration: one day

Restrictions: no work

2. Passover & Unleavened Bread

The first feast of the year.

Duration: one day plus seven days

Restrictions: no work on the first and seventh days

3. Firstfruits

Held the day after the seventh day of Passover

Duration: one day

4. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

Seven times seven and one days after Passover

Duration: one day

Restrictions: no work

5. Trumpets

First day of the seventh month

Duration: one day

Restrictions: no work

6. Day of Atonement

Tenth day of the seventh month

Duration: one day

Restrictions: no work

7. Tabernacles

Middle of the seventh month (7/15-7/21)

Duration: seven days

Restrictions: no work on the first and seventh days

(Numbers 5-7 are commonly known as "The Days of Awe")

The Sabbath represented a burst of Eden rest into ordinary time. These seven feasts all participate and develop aspects of the meaning of the original Sabbath.

  • Passover and Unleavened Bread: redemption from death (new creation) and commitment to simplicity and trust in God’s power to provide food in the wilderness
  • Firstfruits and Weeks: celebrating the gift of produce from the land
  • Trumpets: announcing the sabbatical (seventh) month
  • Day of Atonement: God’s renewing the holiness of his Eden presence among his compromised people
  • Tabernacles: provision for God’s people on their way to the Promised Land. They are to act like they are living in God’s tent for a Sabbath cycle. “And you will take the fruit of the beautiful tree, the branches of a palm, and branches of a tree of leaf and of poplar trees by a river, and you shall rejoice before Yahweh for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). Israel is called to rest in a mini-Eden tent made of the fruit of a beautiful tree for a Sabbath cycle!

The dates of these feasts float independently of the perpetual seventh-day cycle. Occasionally, when a feast falls on the Sabbath, it becomes extra special. For example, passover falls on the Sabbath during Jesus’ week of passion when he is crucified.

In part 5 (44:00-47:45), Tim moves on and discusses the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks / Pentecost.

In part 6 (47:45-end), Tim covers the last three festivals: the Festival of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Tim notes that there are lots of overlapping calendars in the Hebrew Bible, and it can be difficult to keep them all straight. In modern times we have calendars like “the school year,” “the financial year,” “the sports year,” etc. All of these years and calendars overlay on our actual year in a different way. This is true of feasts in the Bible as well.

These last few feasts are commonly regarded as “the days of awe and wonder” in modern Jewish life. The Festival of Trumpets is now known as Rosh Hashanah. This is would have been considered the Jewish New Year. The Day of Atonement is the next holiday where a symbolic goat takes Israel’s sins out of the camp. The Feast of Tabernacles is last. This feast is meant to reenact the Israelite wandering and journey in the wilderness. Israelites are expected to not work for seven days and camp out.

Tim quotes from Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer.

“The Holy One, blessed be He, created seven ages, and of them all He chose the seventh age only, the six ages are for the going in and coming out (of God’s creatures) for war and peace. The seventh age is entirely Sabbath and rest in the life everlasting.”

Thank you to all our supporters! Have a question for us? Send it to info@jointhebibleproject.com.

We love reading your reviews of our show!

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Lost Love by Too North
  • For When It’s Warmer by Sleepy Fish
  • Ambedo by Too North
  • Shot in the Back of the Head by Moby
  • Shine by Moby

Show Resources:

  • Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord, A biblical theology of the book of Leviticus.
  • Quote from Rabbi Eliezer can be found in Samuel Bacchiochi, “Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus’ Rest and the Sabbath,” pp. 297-99.

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Dan Gummel

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Nov 18 2019

1hr 7mins

Play

The Cathedral in Time - 7th Day Rest E5

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QUOTE

"The Sabbath is to time what the tabernacle and temple are to space: a cathedral in time. On the seventh day, we experience in time what the temple and tabernacle represented in spaces, which is eternal life with God in a complete creation."

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The building of the tabernacle in Exodus 40 has deep connections with the theme of seventh-day rest and the creation account in Genesis.
  • The tabernacle is presented as a mini cosmos, brought into being by the seven acts of divine speech by God. When Moses builds this symbolic mini cosmos, seven times over he obeys the divine command.

SHOW NOTES:

In part 1 (0-8:30), Tim and Jon recap their conversation so far. They go over the story of the Passover and review how it reflects the creation account in Genesis.

In part 2 (8:30-22:30), Tim transitions to the story of Israel collecting manna in the wilderness in Exodus 16.

Exodus 16:4-35

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’” And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it? For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’” So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.

Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony to be kept. The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

Tim notes that manna was supposed to be a little taste of the new creation. Manna was a new work of creation that violated normal creation while also fitting within God’s ideal purpose for creation (i.e., within the seven-day scheme). Manna was a divine gift that came from proximity to the divine glory (Ex 16:9-10). This miraculous provision didn’t behave like normal food, and there was more than enough each day, no matter how much was gathered.

Tim also shares that the rhythms of gathering and not gathering on the Sabbath is an imitation of God’s own patterns of work and rest in Genesis 1. Similarly, God announced “good” days one through six and “very good” on day seven. This parallels with Israel collecting manna on days one through six and “double manna” on day seven. Furthermore, on the seventh day God “rested” (took up residence in his temple), and on the seventh day Israel “rests” and Moses “rested” a perpetual sample of manna “before Yahweh” and “before the testimony.”

Tim cites scholar Stephen Geller:

“... manna is presented as a new work of creation that disrupts the established order of creation. In fact, there is a clear parallelism between the creation account in Gen 1-2:4 and Exod 16. In both passages there is a dichotomy between the first six days and the seventh day. In Gen 1, the work of each day is stated by God to be "good," a term that marks its completion. But on the sixth day the phrase "very good" marks the completion not just of the acts of creation on that day, but of the first six days as a whole. Genesis 2:1 states explicitly that "the heaven and earth were completed." Yet, to the perplex­ity of exegesis, the very next verse says that "God completed on the seventh day the work he did and ceased on the seventh day all work he did." The second of these two statements must be viewed as an explanation of the first: God completed his work by ceasing.”

(Stephen Geller, “Exodus 16: A Literary and Theological Reading,” Interpretation vol. (2005), p. 13.)

In part 3 (22:30-36:30), the guys dive into the actual Sabbath command as part of the Ten Commandments, which is given in seven Hebrew sentences. The Sabbath command in Exodus 20:8-11 is expressed in seven statements arranged in a chiastic symmetry. Tim says this is another fascinating layer of the theme of seventh-day rest in the Bible.

Exodus 20:8-11

A – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

B – Six days you will labor

C – and do all your work,

D – but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God;

C’ – you shall not do any work,

you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant,

or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

B’ – For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,

the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day;

A’ – therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Tim cites scholar Leigh Trevaskis to make his point:

“The sabbatical rest seems to remind Israel of her covenant obligations as YHWH’s new creation. Though this rest is more immediately connected to the exodus in these chapters, it has its roots in the creation story (Gen 2:1-3; cf. Exod 20:11) and by connecting Israel’s remembrance of her redemption from Egypt with the sabbatical rest, the exodus becomes infused with further theological significance: just as Gods seventh day rest in the creation story marks the emergence of his new creation, so does Israel’s sabbatical rest attest to her emergence as YHWH’s new creation through his act of redemption. And since her identity as a new creation is tied up with the covenant (cf. Exod 15:1-19; 19:4-5), Israel’s sabbatical rests… presumably recall her obligation to remain faithful to this covenant, encouraging her to live according to the Creators will.” (Leigh Trevaskis, “The Purpose of Leviticus 24 within its Literary Context,” 298-299.)

Tim then walks through Exodus 24, which is the start of God giving the tabernacle instructions to Moses. This story is a crucial layer to understanding how the building of the tabernacle (the “tent of meeting”) weaves into the theme of seventh-day rest.

Exodus 24:1-11

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

In part 4 (36:30-49:50), Tim continues the story in Exodus 24.

Exodus 24:12-18

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Tim notes that the theme of sixth and seventh day is now clearly established. God appears to Moses on the seventh day.

Here in Exodus 25-31, God presents Moses with the plans for the tabernacle. These plans are dispensed in seven speeches by God.

[1] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 25:1]

[2] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 30:11]

[3] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 30:17]

[4] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 30:22]

[5] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 30:34]

[6] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 31:1]

[7] “And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying…” [Exodus 31:12]

The seventh and final act of speech covers the Sabbath.

After this, in Exodus 40, the completion of the tabernacle is given with seven statements of Moses completing the work God commanded him.

Exodus 40:17-18a

And it came about in the beginning month, in the second year, on the first of the month, the tabernacle was set up (הוקם), and Moses set up (ותקם) the tabernacle…

[1] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:19]

[2] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:21]

[3] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:23]

[4] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:25]

[5] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:27]

[6] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:29]

[7] “…just as Yahweh commanded Moses” [Exodus 40:32]

“And Moses completed (ויכל) the work (המלאכה)” [Exodus 40:33b]

Tim cites scholar Howard Wallace to make the following point:

“The structuring of the narrative in Exodus 25-40 binds the Sabbath observance closely with the construction of the sanctuary. Both are tightly connected with the question of the presence of Yahweh with his people…. The Sabbath is a significant element in the celebration of the presence of Yahweh with his people. Just as the tabernacle was built along lines specified by divine decree, so too in the sequence is the human sabbath institution modeled on the divine pattern. Since the tabernacle, which is patterned on the divine plan, reveals the presence and shares in the role of the heavenly temple to proclaim the sovereignty of Israel’s God, so the Sabbath shares in the proclamation of the sovereignty of Yahweh.”

(Howard Wallace, “Creation and Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-3,” 246.)

Tim also shares a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel.

“The sabbath is to time what the temple and tabernacle are to space. The sabbath is a cathedral in time. On the seventh day we experience in time what the tabernacle and temple represented as spaces which is eternal life, God in the complete creation.”

(The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel)

In part 5 (49:50-end), the guys finish up their conversation. Tim notes that the cliffhanger at the end of Exodus is that Moses and all of Israel have successfully built the tabernacle (or the tent of meeting) and God then comes to dwell in it, to meet with Israel. But when he does, his presence is too intense, and Moses is unable to go in. So what will happen? Find out next week when we turn to Numbers and Leviticus.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources:

Find all our resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Music:

  • The Hymn of the Cherubim by Tchaikovsky
  • Nature by KV
  • Feather by Waywell
  • Solace by Nomyn

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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Nov 11 2019

57mins

Play

Sacred Time & The Feast of Flight - 7th Day Rest E4

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QUOTE

"Another layer of Genesis is that the first, the middle, and last day are all designed to show God creating structures of time. In the timing of the middle fourth day, God appoints the sun, moon and stars to rule over day and night, and they are to mark the moadim, the sacred feasts, the annual sacred feasts. So the whole sacred calendar of Israel that you’ll meet in Exodus and Leviticus is already baked into the story at the beginning of Genesis. (This is) sacred time."

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Jewish sacred feasts are an integral and overlooked theme in the Bible. They are built into the fabric of the original creation story in Genesis 1:14.
  • Passover is considered to be the most important Jewish holiday. Many biblical themes flow into and out of the idea of the Passover.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to our fourth episode discussing the theme of the seventh-day rest in the Bible. In this episode, Tim and Jon look at the Passover and Exodus stories and talk about their importance to the development of this theme.

In part 1 (0-12:30), the guys quickly go over the conversation so far. Tim briefly covers the days of creation and notes how God sets up structures of time on days one, four, and seven. These structures are reflected in the Hebrew calendar.

In part 2 (12:30-19:30), Tim begins to share broadly about the Hebrew sacred calendar. Tim notes that the Jewish calendar is designed to heavily reflect symbolic “seven” imagery.

In part 3 (19:30-37:30), Tim briefly recaps the calling of Abraham that was discussed in the previous episode. Tim notes that Abraham believed that God would bring about an ultimate seventh day. A brief conversation follows about fasting in Christianity as well as a brief discussion on the differences between “hope” and “optimism.” Tim cites scholar Cornel West about the differences between optimism and Christian hope.

In part 4 (37:30-43:00), Tim starts to talk about Passover, which originates in the book of Exodus. Tim says that Passover is the most important feast on the Jewish calendar. The Exodus story is presented in cosmic terms on analogy with the Creation story of Genesis 1.

In part 5 (43:00-56:20), Tim explains the story of the Exodus and how it maps onto the Genesis story. The powers of evil destroy Israel (i.e. new humanity) through slavery (lit. “working” in Hebrew, עבדה), and through the waters of death. But God acts and rescues Israel. The famous story of the ten plagues are inversions of the ten creative words of God in Genesis 1. All of the plagues “de-create” Egypt back into chaotic darkness.

Consider these examples:

The Plague of Darkness


Genesis 1:2-3 

…and darkness (חשך) was over the surface of the deep…. Then God said, “let there be light (יהי אור)….”

Exodus 10:21, 23 

…that there may be darkness (ויהי חשך) over the land of Egypt… but for all the sons of Israel, there was light (היה אור) in their dwellings.

The Plague of Frogs

Exodus 7:28

And the Nile will swarm (ושרץ) with frogs…

Genesis 1:20 

…let the waters swarm (שרץ) with every swarming (שרץ) creature…

The Plague of Locusts

Exodus 10:5 

[the locusts] will eat every tree (עץ) which sprouts (צמח) for you from the field (השדה).

Exodus 10:15 

…fruit of the tree…all vegetation in the tree and green thing (ירק) in the field…

Genesis 1:29-30 

I have given to you for food all vegetation… all the tree which has the fruit of the tree… every green thing (ירק)….

Genesis 2:9 

…and Yahweh sprouted (צמח) from the ground every tree (עץ)…


Pharaoh sends Israel out of Egypt at night (Exod 12:29, 31, 42) and Israel flees to the edge of the Reed Sea where Pharaoh’s army chases them for a night showdown (Exod 14:20). It’s at night that God parts the waters (Exod 14:21), and during the last watch of the night (Exod 14:24), the Egyptians falter in the midst of the sea, and at sunrise (Exod 14:27) the waters destroy the Egyptians while the Israelites flourish on dry land.

Tim says that this story maps directly onto the creation narrative. The passage through the Reed Sea is all days 1-3 together in Genesis.

In part 6 (56:20-end), Tim goes to Exodus 15 to discuss the first “worship song” in the Bible.

Exodus 15:10-13, 17-18


You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;


They sank like lead in the mighty waters.


Who is like you among the gods, O Lord?


Who is like you, majestic in holiness,


Awesome in praises, working wonders?


You stretched out your right hand,


The earth swallowed them.


In your lovingkindness you have led the people whom you have redeemed;


In your strength you have guided them to your holy habitation.

You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance,


The place of your dwelling (שבתך / shibteka / Sabbath!), which you have made,


The sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.


The Lord shall reign forever and ever.

Tim notes that the English word “dwelling” in verse 17 is a wordplay on the word “sabbath,” because it is composed of the same letters.

Tim then discusses more details about the Passover and why its importance in the Bible. The Passover is on the 14th (2 x 7) and is followed by a seven day festival of unleavened bread (15th – 21st), that begins and ends with a “super sabbath” rest.

In Exodus 12:1-2, the new beginning given by God as he says, “beginning of the months, the beginning it is for you,” parallels with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning….” Passover is compared to creation as a seven-day ritual the restarts the calendar, like a new creation.

Tim then dives back into Exodus 12:14-16, 34, 39.

Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.

So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

Tim makes the following observations:

  • 12:15 – “For seven days you are to put to rest (תשביתו) all leaven (שאר) from your houses.” For the resonance of “leaven” שאר with “remnant” שאר, continue reading for the comparison of Passover and the flood.
  • 12:16 – “on the first day it is a holy convocation, and on the seventh day it is a holy convocation… all work should not be done on them.” This parallels Genesis 2:1-4. The seventh day is holy, for God finished his work.
  • 13:6-7 – “Seven days you will eat unleavened bread (מצת) and on the seventh day it is a feast for YHWH; unleavened bread will be eaten (יאכל) for seven days, and leaven will not be seen for you for seven days.” This parallels with Genesis 1-3: There is a certain food provided (מן כל העך), and a certain food that is forbidden (the tree of knowing good and bad).

Here's a quote Tim cites in his notes for this verse: 

“But why require eating unleavened bread as the special focus of the exodus memorial meal, the Passover? The answer is that unleavened bread was the unique food of the original exodus, the event God wanted his people to be sure not to forget. People everywhere normally eat leavened bread. It tastes better, is more pleasant to eat, is more filling. Leavened bread was the normal choice of the Israelites in Egypt too. But on the night they ran, there was no time for the usual niceties—a fast meal had to be eaten, and hastily made bread had to be consumed. The fact that a lamb or goat kid was roasted for the meat portion of the meal or that bitter herbs were eaten as a side dish was not nearly so special or unusual as the fact that the bread was unleavened, thus essentially forming sheets of cracker. Eating it at the memorial feast intentionally recalled the original departure in haste. Eating it for a solid week tended to fix the idea in one’s consciousness.” (Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary, 283)

Consider these points:

  • Passover is coordinated with the “wonder” of the parting of the waters and deliverance onto dry land (Exod 14), which parallels Genesis 1 when God parts the waters so that dry land can emerge.
  • Passover is about Israel’s liberation from “slavery” (עבדה/עב׳׳ד), which parallels Genesis 1-2 about the creation of humanity as God’s co-rulers who “work” (עב׳׳ד) the land.
  • Passover is a reversal of humanity’s exile when Israel is “banished” (גרשו, Ex 12:39) from Egypt, which parallels Genesis 3:22-24 when humanity is banished from Eden into the wilderness.

Tim concludes by saying that Passover and the Exodus are a kind of “new creation” as enslaved humanity is liberated from the realm of exile, death, and darkness and led through the waters of death into the new Eden of the promised land, marked by the celebration of a seven-day ritual (in the month of Abib on the 14th-21st). The liberation brought about at Passover is a new creation. The liberation requires that humans not try to provide their own security or provision (bread) but eat only what God allows and provides. This is clearly in preparation for the manna.

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Have a question? Record your question and send it to info@jointhebibleproject.com. Tell us your name and where you’re from. And try to keep the question under 20-30 seconds. Thanks!

Show Music

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Where Peace and Rest are Found by Beautiful Eulogy
  • All Night by Unwritten Stories
  • Moon by LeMMino
  • Supporter Synth Groove
  • The Pilgrim by Greyflood

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Show Produced by: 

Dan Gummel

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Nov 04 2019

1hr 7mins

Play

Two Kinds of Work - 7th Day Rest E3

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QUOTE

“So once [the fall] happened, we go to Genesis 3, and all of a sudden the ground that was the source of humanity’s life as a gift from God—‘cursed is the ground because of you.’ So all of a sudden, we’ve lost the seventh-day ideal and not attained it.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • After the fall, there was a change in the fundamental nature of humanity’s work. Before the fall, it was enjoyable by default. After the fall, work becomes a task done for survival.
  • God calls Abraham in Genesis 12 with a seven line poem. This is a symbolic use of the number seven and meant to tie in with the Genesis creation narrative.
  • In Genesis 2:15 a keyword is introduced to the story. That word is nuakh, “rested him” (וינחהו / nuakh) and it is meant to portray an act of full abiding residence. Humanity was meant to be fully present and abide in the garden that God created.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to episode three in our series on the theme of the seventh-day rest in the Bible.

In part 1 (0-21:45), Tim comments on Genesis 2:15.

Genesis 2:15

Then the Lord God took the human and ‘rested him’ (וינחהו / nuakh) into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

God “rests” the human in the garden so that he can “work” it. Tim notes that this is the first appearance of the Hebrew word nuakh in the Bible. This becomes an important word in the theme of seventh-day rest. Tim says that this word can be understood as “to dwell,” or “to abide and rest in.” Humanity is to be fully present in the garden (Heb. nuakh = “to take up residence”).

Tim also says that this abiding rest is conditional. Will humans obey God and not take of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad? Answer: no. So what happens? Humanity rebels and is exiled from the heaven and earth Eden mountain, sent to “work/labor” the ground.

Genesis 3:17-19

Cursed is the ground because of you;

through painful toil you will eat food from it

all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are

and to dust you will return.

Tim says that this is a change in the nature of our work. The work is no longer enjoyable by default; instead, work becomes a task done for survival.

In part 2 (21:45-33:20), Jon asks how this idea fits with God’s call for humanity to tend and maintain the garden. Wouldn’t ruling and subduing creation take work?

Tim responds by talking about two different types of work. Humanity was created to work, but the original work they were destined for was fundamentally different from the post-fall, post-eden work. Tim quotes from Abraham Joshua Heschel, a famous 20th century Jewish rabbi and his book The Sabbath.

“We are all infatuated with the splendor of space and the grandeur of the things of space. Thing is a category that lays heavy on our mind, tyrannizing all our thoughts. In our daily lives we attend primarily to that which are senses are spelling out for us. Reality to us is thinghood, consisting of substances that occupy space. Even God is perceived by most of us as a thing. The result of our thinginess is a blindness to all realities that fail to identify itself as a thing. This is obvious in our understanding of time, which being thingless and unsubstantial appears to us as having no reality. Indeed we know what to do with space but do not know what to do with time, except to make it subservient to space. Most of us seem to labor for the sake of things of space. As a result we suffer from a deeply rooted dread of time and stand aghast when compelled to look into its face. Time to us is sarcasm. A slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking therefore from facing time, we escape for shelter to things of space.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, prologue)

In part 3 (33:20-40:45), Tim focuses on Psalm 90.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place

in all generations.

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust

and say, “Return, O children of man!”

For a thousand years in your sight

are but as yesterday when it is past,

or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,

like grass that is renewed in the morning:

in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;

in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger;

by your wrath we are dismayed.

You have set our iniquities before you,

our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;

we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

The years of our life are seventy,

or even by reason of strength eighty;

yet their span is but toil and trouble;

they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger,

and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Lord! How long?

Have pity on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

and for as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be shown to your servants,

and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,

and establish the work of our hands upon us;

yes, establish the work of our hands!

Tim notes that in verse 14, the English word “satisfy” is the Hebrew word for seven. So the writer is asking God for a completeness that only he can give.

In part 4 (40:45-49:30), Tim looks at the calling of Abraham in Genesis 12. Tim says that this is a seven-lined poem, and there are five promises of blessing which match the five curses earlier in Genesis 3-11. Jon notes that the conversation is actually looking at new creation through the lens of the sabbath and seventh-day rest.

In part 5 (49:30-55:45), Tim dives into a story about Abraham in Genesis 21.

Genesis 21:22-34

Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned.” Abraham said, “I swear it.”

But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today.” Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?” He said, “You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well.” Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Tim notes that this story is symbolic on many levels. Tim notes that the Hebrew word sheba can be translated as both “seven” and “oath.” So the story represents Abraham making a “seven” oath with Abimelech, who symbolically represents the nations. This oath results in peace and abundance for all people involved. Tim and Jon both agree that once you start to look for it, the themes of seven, completeness, and seventh-day rest are all over the Bible.

In part 6 (44:45-end), Tim and Jon recap the episode and preview the next part of the story, which is Israel’s enslavement in Egypt and the Exodus story.

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Ocean by KV
  • Blue VHS by Lofi Type Beat
  • Levitating by Invention
  • Mind Your Time by Me.So
  • The Truth About Flight, Love and BB Guns by Foreknown

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Show Resources:

Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath

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Oct 28 2019

1hr

Play

The Significance of 7 - 7th Day Rest E2

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QUOTE

“Genesis 1 isn’t just telling you about what type of world you’re living in; it’s showing you, as a Israelite reader, that your life of worship rhythms are woven into the fabric of the universe.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The idea of resting and the number seven are intimately connected in the Bible.
  • In Genesis 1, the word or number "seven" has two key symbolic meanings: seven represents a full and complete world, and getting to seven is a linear journey from one to seven.
  • The rhythm of practicing sabbath or resting every seventh day is one way that humans can imitate God and act like they are participating in the new creation.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to our second episode tracing the theme of seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-18:30), Tim shares some of the numeric symbolism in Genesis 1. The opening line of Genesis 1 has seven words, and the central word, untranslated in English, is two Hebrew letters, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet: aleph and taw.

When one isolates the theme of time in Genesis 1, another design pattern emerges that provides a foundation for all of Israel’s rituals of sacred time.

Tim points out that there are many other ways the number seven is symbolic in the Genesis narrative: there are seven words in Genesis 1:1, and fourteen words in Genesis 1:2. There are seven paragraphs in Genesis 1:1-2:3 marked by “evening and morning.” The concluding seventh paragraph in Genesis 2:1-3 begins three lines which have seven words each (Gen 2:2-3a).

In part 2 (18:30-28:30), Tim summarizes a series of details about the literary design of Genesis ch. 1 from Umberto Cassuto's commentary on Genesis:

"In view of the importance ascribed to the number seven generally, and particularly in the story of Creation, this number occurs again and again in the structure of our section. The following details are deserving of note:

(a). After the introductory verse (1:1), the section is divided into seven paragraphs, each of which appertains to one of the seven days. An obvious indication of this division is to be seen in the recurring sentence, And there was evening and there was morning, such-and-such a day. Hence the Masoretes were right in placing an open paragraph [i.e. one that begins on a new line] after each of these verses. Other ways of dividing the section suggested by some modern scholars are unsatisfactory.

(b–d). Each of the three nouns that occur in the first verse and express the basic concepts of the section, viz God [אֱלֹהִים ʾElōhīm] heavens [שָׁמַיִם šāmayim], earth [אֶרֶץ ʾereṣ], are repeated in the section a given number of times that is a multiple of seven: thus the name of God occurs thirty-five times, that is, five times seven (on the fact that the Divine Name, in one of its forms, occurs seventy times in the first four chapters, see below); earth is found twenty-one times, that is, three times seven; similarly heavens (or firmament, רָקִיעַ rāqīaʿ) appears twenty-one times.

(e). The ten sayings with which, according to the Talmud, the world was created (Aboth v 1; in B. Rosh Hashana 32a and B. Megilla 21b only nine of them are enumerated, the one in 1:29, apparently, being omitted)—that is, the ten utterances of God beginning with the words, and … said—are clearly divisible into two groups: the first group contains seven Divine fiats enjoining the creation of the creatures, to wit, ‛Let there be light’, ‘Let there be a firmament’, ‘Let the waters be gathered together’, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation’, ‘Let there be lights’, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms’, ‘Let the earth bring forth’; the second group comprises three pronouncements that emphasize God’s concern for man’s welfare (three being the number of emphasis), namely, ‘Let us make man’ (not a command but an expression of the will to create man), ‘Be fruitful and multiply’, ‘Behold I have given unto you every plant yielding seed’. Thus we have here, too, a series of seven corresponding dicta.

(f). The terms light and day are found, in all, seven times in the first paragraph, and there are seven references to light in the fourth paragraph.

(g). Water is mentioned seven times in the course of paragraphs two and three.

(h). In the fifth and sixth paragraphs forms of the word חַיָּה ḥayyā [rendered ‘living’ or ‘beasts’] occur seven times.

(i). The expression it was good appears seven times (the seventh time—very good).

(j). The first verse has seven words.

(k). The second verse contains fourteen words—twice seven.

(l). In the seventh paragraph, which deals with the seventh day, there occur the following three consecutive sentences (three for emphasis), each of which consists of seven words and contains in the middle the expression the seventh day:

And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which

He had done.

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.

(m). The words in the seventh paragraph total thirty-five—five times seven.

To suppose that all this is a mere coincidence is not possible.

§ 6. This numerical symmetry is, as it were, the golden thread that binds together all the parts of the section and serves as a convincing proof of its unity against the view of those—and they comprise the majority of modern commentators—who consider that our section is not a unity but was formed by the fusion of two different accounts, or as the result of the adaptation and elaboration of a shorter earlier version."

U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I, From Adam to Noah (Genesis I–VI 8), trans. Israel Abrahams (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1998), pages 13–15.

Tim says all of this numerical symbolism is completely intentional. The authors want us to learn that seven represents both a whole completed creation and a journey to that completeness.

In part 3 (28:30-41:00), Jon asks why the number seven became so symbolic in ancient Hebrew culture. Tim says the origins of the number seven being associated with completeness is likely tied to the lunar calendar of moon cycles. The biblical Hebrew word for “month” is “moon” (חדש). Each month consisted of 29.5 days, and each month consisted of four 7.3-day cycles, making a “complete” cycle of time. However, the sabbath cycle is independent of the moon cycle, and sabbaths do not coincide with the new moon. It is patterned after creation, and stands outside of any natural cycle of time.

Tim then makes an important note on Hebrew word play. Seven was symbolic in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture and literature. It communicated a sense of “fullness” or “completeness” (שבע “seven” is spelled with the same consonants as the word שבע “complete/full”). This makes sense of the pervasive appearance of “seven” patterns in the Bible. For more information on this, Tim cites Maurice H. Farbridge’s book, Studies in Biblical and Semitic Symbolism, 134-37.

In part 4 (41:00-52:30), Jon asks what it means for God to rest?

In response, Tim says there are two separate but related Hebrew concepts and words for rest.

The Hebrew word shabat means “to cease from.” God ceases from his work because “it is finished” (Gen 2:1). Compare with Joshua 5:12, “The manna ceased (shabat) on that day….”

The Hebrew word nuakh means “to take up residence.” Compare with Exodus 10:14, “The locusts came up over the land of Egypt and rested (nuakh) in all the land.” When God or people nuakh, it always involves settling into a place that is safe, secure, and stable. 2 Samuel 7:1 says, “Now when King David dwelt in his house, for Yahweh had provided rest from his enemies….”

The drama of the story, Tim notes, is the question as to whether humans and God will nuakh together? All of this sets a foundation for later biblical stories of Israel entering in the Promised Land, a land of rest.

In part 5 (52:30-end), Tim asks what it means that God blessed the seventh day?

Tim cites scholar Mathilde Frey:

“Set apart from all other days, the blessing of the seventh day establishes the seventh part of created time as a day when God grants his presence in the created world. It is then his presence that provides the blessing and the sanctification. The seventh day is blessed and established as the part of time that assures fruitfulness, future-orientation, continuity, and permanence for every aspect of life within the dimension of time. The seventh day is blessed by God’s presence for the sake of the created world, for all nature, and for all living beings.” (Mathilde Frey, The Sabbath in the Pentateuch, 45)

Tim says in Genesis 1, the symbolism of seven is a view that the “seventh day” is the culmination of all history. Tim cites scholar Samuel H. Balentine.

“Unlike the previous days, the seventh day is simply announced. There is no mention of evening or morning, no mention of a beginning or ending. The suggestion is that the primordial seventh day exists in perpetuity, a sacred day that cannot be abrogated by the limitations common to the rest of the created order.” (Samuel H. Balentine, The Torah’s Vision of Worship, 93)

Tim also cites scholar Robert Lowry: “The seventh-day account does not end with the expected formula, “there was evening and morning,” that concluded days one through six. Breaking the pattern in this way emphasizes the uniqueness of the seventh day and opens the door to an eschatological interpretation. Literarily, the sun has not yet set on God’s Sabbath.” (Richard H. Lowery, Sabbath and Jubilee, 90)

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Optimistic by Lo Fi Type Beat
  • Kame House by Lofi Hip Hop Instrumental
  • It’s Ok to Not Be Ok by Highkey Beats
  • Hometown by nymano x Pandress

Resources:

Show Produced By:

Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Oct 21 2019

1hr 5mins

Play

The Restless Craving for Rest - 7th Day Rest E1

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SHOW DESCRIPTION

The sabbath. Talking about it can be complicated and confusing, yet the biblical authors wrote about it a lot. So what’s it all about? The sabbath is more than an antiquated law. It’s about the design of time and the human quest for rest. The sabbath and seventh-day rest is one of the key themes that starts on page one of the Bible and weaves beautifully all the way through to the end.

FAVORITE QUOTE

“The seventh day is like a multifaceted gem. One of the main facets is the fabric of creation as leading toward a great goal where humans imitate God and join him in ceasing from work and labor. But there’s going to be another facet that’s all about being a slave to our labor. And so the seventh day is a time to celebrate our liberation from slavery so that we can rest with God.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The theme of the sabbath or seventh-day rest is a key theme in the Bible that starts on page one and goes all the way through to the end.
  • The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shabot, which means most simply “to stop” or “to cease from.”
  • Keeping/observing/remembering the sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. It sticks out as being a uniquely Jewish practice at the time in history when the commandments were given.

SHOW NOTES

Welcome to the first episode in our series on understanding seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-6:35), Tim outlines the theme in general. He says the seventh-day rest is actually a huge theme in the Bible, even more prominent in the Scriptures than other TBP videos. Tim calls it an “organizing main theme in the Bible.”

In part 2 (6:35-23:45), Tim recounts a story from when he and Jon visited Jerusalem. They were both able to share a Sabbath meal with practicing Jews in Jerusalem. Tim shares that the Sabbath tradition is one of the longest running traditions in any culture in the world. Even the word shabat’s most basic meaning is “to stop.”

In part 3 (23:45-33:00), Tim says this series isn’t really going to be about the practice of sabbath but about the theme and symbolism of sabbath and seventh-day rest in the Bible. This theme is rich and complex, woven from start to finish in the Scriptures. The practice of the Sabbath itself is only one piece of the underlying message the authors are trying to communicate.

In part 4 (33:00-45:30), Tim and Jon discuss “keeping, observing, or remembering” the sabbath in the Ten Commandments. This command sticks out as a unique Jewish practice. The Jews are told to keep the sabbath for two different reasons according to two different passages:

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested (Heb. shabat) on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Keep the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest (Heb. nuakh) as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Tim notes that in the first passage, Jews are told to keep the sabbath because it is an act of participation in God’s presence and rule over creation. But in the second passage, keeping the sabbath is an act of implementing God’s presence and rule by the liberation from slavery. Tim says these two ways of viewing the practice of the sabbath are two of the core ways to think about the seventh-day rest theme in the bible.

In part 5 (45:30-end), Tim cites scholar Matitiahu Tsevat about the biblical phrase “it is a sabbath of Yahweh” (שבת ליהוה), literally, “a sabbath that belongs to Yahweh.”

“This phrase is so important, it’s easy to miss its centrality... Just as in the 7th year of release man desists from utilizing the land for his own business and benefit, so on the sabbath day he desists from using that day for his own affairs. And just äs the intervals in regard to the release year and the jubilee years are determined by the number seven, so too is the number seven determinative for that recurring day when man refrains from his own pursuits and sets it aside for God. In regular succession he breaks the natural flow of time, proclaiming, and that the break is made for the sake of the Lord. This meaning which we have ascertained from the laws finds support Isaiah 58: “If you restrain your foot on the sabbath so äs not to pursue your own affairs on My holy day…” Man normally is master of his time. He is free to dispose of it as he sees fit or as necessity bids him. The Israelite is duty-bound, however, once every seven days to assert by word and deed that God is the master of time. … one day out of seven the Israelite is to renounce dominion over his own time and recognize God's dominion over it. Simply: Every seventh day the Israelite renounces his autonomy and affirms God's dominion over him in the conclusion that every seventh day the Israelite is to renounce dominion over time, thereby renounce autonomy, and recognize God's dominion over time and thus over himself. Keeping the sabbath is acceptance of the kingdom and sovereignty of God.” (Matitiahu Tsevat, The Basic Meaning of the Biblical Sabbath, 453-455.)

Tim says the structure of the sabbath is meant to be inconvenient. God is the master of all time, and he holds all the time that we think actually belongs to us.

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Royalty Free Middle Eastern Music
  • Shabot Songs:
    • Psalm 121 (Lai Lai Lai) by Joshua Aaron
    • L'maancha by Eitan Katz

Resources:

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast

Oct 14 2019

56mins

Play

Can I Get a Witness?

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The word witness is a key word in the bible, and the theme of “witnessing” is a key theme in the bible that can be used to understand the whole story of the bible.

Key Takeaways

  • The word witness is a key word in the bible, and the theme of “witnessing” is a key theme in the bible that can be used to understand the whole story of the bible.
  • The greek word μάρτυς (mártus) is used in the New Testament as the word for “witness” it is also the root word for ”martyr:”
  • The word witness is used in a variety of different ways throughout the Bible. For example, God is described as being a witness. Israel is called to be a witness to the nations and Jesus says he is a witness about himself.

Favorite Quotes

“It’s weird how simple and how big of a responsibility being a witness is. God wants a group of witnesses who experience him and then talk about it.”

Show Notes

In part 1, (0-7:45) Tim and Jon introduce the topic and also introduce Carissa Quinn a biblical scholar on staff with the bible project. Carisa is responsible for researching and writing the script for the upcoming video on witness. The group talks about the popular usages of the word witness. Jon toes that in a Christian context, “witness” is often meant to be an activity that someone will do to try and logically convince or debate somebody (a non believer) about Jesus and the truth of the bible.

The group also notes that oftentimes ‘witness’ is best understood in a modern legal context.

In part 2, (7:45-16:50) Carissa says the word witness occurs over 400 hundred times in the bible in a variety of forms. In hebrew the word ‘witness’ is basically (1) someone who sees something amazing or important--in Hebrew, this person is an עֵד (eid) and in Greek, a μάρτυς (mártus). And (2) if this person begins to share what they’ve seen, we call this ‘bearing witness’: in Hebrew עוּד (uwd) and in Greek μαρτυρέω (marturéo).

Carissa shares the story of Ruth in Ruth 4:9, when Boaz buys land from Naomi’s family, he calls together witnesses to see the transaction, so that if there’s a later dispute about the land, they can bear witness about what they saw. Tim notes that this passage is somewhat related to Deut 25:9 a law about sandals and witnessing being used as a form of legal documentation.

The group briefly discusses the role of a public notary in modern culture. They act as official witnesses to legal signings.

In part 3, (16:50-24:50) Carissa goes to Psalm 27 and the theme of “false witnesses”. Carissa notes that God is referred to as a witness throughout the bible. For example in Genesis 31:49 ... “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”

In the New Testament God the Father is said to bear witness to the identity of Jesus. Jesus also says he bears witness to himself in John 8:17-18 “In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

Carissa then notes that many times Paul uses a phrase like “God is my witness” for example in Romans 1:9 “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.”

In part 4 (24:50-42:45)

Carissa continues the conversation by bringing up the fact that an object can be a witness in the bible. For example in Joshua 24: 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.”

Carissa then notes that the word “witness” in the bible can be used to trace the whole story of the bible. Tim says that the word “witness” is an interesting way to think about the image of god. People are created in God’s image to “witness” god and his creation to the rest of the world.

Carissa says that israel is called to be a witness to the other nations in Exodus 19:4-6 “ ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Carissa says that later in the bible the torah is referred to as a “witness” and is often called “the laws of the testimony”. Meaning the laws are testifying or witnessing the relationship between god and israel. Additionally, Moses writes a song in Deuteronomy 32 to bear witness to Israel about God.

Carissa points out that in John 5, Jesus says the Torah points to him in John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

In part 5 (42:45-49:20)

Carissa notes the theme of the word witness in the prophets. For example 2 Chronicles 24:19 "Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified (witnessed) against them, but they would not pay attention.

Carissa notes that to testify against or to witness against was one of the primary roles of prophets in the Old Testament. They were warning/ witnessing to Israel about what would happen to them if they didn’t follow god.

Carissa also notes that Isiah 43:10-12 is a crucial passage to understand the role that the whole nation of Israel was to have in acting as God's witnesses.

Isaiah 42:10 ““You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
12
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.

In the last part, (49:20-end)
Carissa talks about Jesus. Jesus claims to be the “chief witness” from Isaiah 61. He was sent to open the eyes of Israel who are the blind witnesses to God and his creation. Tim notes how ironic it is that Jesus is the ultimate witness bearing witness to God's kingdom that gets him killed. Carissa note that the word “μάρτυς (mártus).” is the greek word for witness which is also the root word for martyr. So Jesus was a martus, and a martyr by staking his life on what he believes in.
In Acts followers of Jesus are called to be “witnesses”. But often times in the New Testament being a witness is directly connected to verifying or believing in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Jon notes that witness in modern context is usually more about debating ore rationalizing Jesus and Christianity to a secular world. Carissa notes that to “bear witness” is a sign of someone's character. Jon then notes that thinking about being a witness in life is actually a really important calling or job. A witness has an important role to play and “bearing witness” is what we are called to do as christians. Not to debate or convince people about the truth of Jesus but to share are own powerful moments of God in our lives.

Show Resources:
Walter Kaiser, Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations

Show Music
Can I Get a Witness: The Rolling Stones. Non Profit, Educational Fair Use. Creative Commons
Fills the Skies: Josh White
Blue Skies: Unwritten Stories
Analogs: Moby
The Truth About Flight Love and BB Guns: Beautiful Eulogy

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Oct 07 2019

1hr 4mins

Play

The Obvious & Extravagant Claim of the Gospel - Gospel E4

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Key Takeaways:

  • All the gospels are essentially saying the same thing. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and his life, death, and resurrection fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • All four gospels climax with a detailed recounting of Jesus' death and resurrection. While this may seem like an obvious point to modern readers, this is not necessarily true for ancient readers when the Scriptures were formed.
  • Modern readers of the gospels should make an effort to familiarize themselves with how ancient Greco-Roman biography and literature worked. The four gospels are not modern texts; therefore, readers should be sympathetic and strive to view them not through a modern lens, but in light of their historic context.

Quotes: 

“The main mode that many Christians, especially Protestants, read the Bible in is the ‘lessons for my life’ approach to the Bible. The deeply held assumption is, ‘the Bible is a moral handbook and each story is giving me a life application lesson that I can apply to my life.’ And I don’t think that’s what the Gospel authors are trying to do.”

"(The gospels are) tying in Jesus’ story as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scripture storyline which is the story of Israel and all humanity. And then all of them are saying the story leads up to the moment of a Jewish wonder-worker’s execution. It’s a simple point. But that is their main point."

In part 1 (0-11:30), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series so far. They discuss the earlier tips for reading the gospels more effectively and deeply. Tim says readers should always remember that the gospels are meant to be stories about Jesus, but they have been specifically selected to be persuasive stories about Jesus. The Gospel authors want the reader to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Sometimes they make this intent obvious and explicit, but other times, they make the claims indirectly. Tim says this method of indirect communication and indirect claims about Jesus is the primary way that Gospel authors design their portraits of Jesus.

In part 2 (11:30-22:00), Tim notes that many of the stories about Jesus, including the stories of miracles, sound unbelievable to many modern Western audiences. Whereas in other cultures, healings and miracles and those who performed them were considered an integral part of life and evidence of God or the gods’ work. Tim shares a helpful resource called The Lost Letters of Pergamum, which is a short historical novel set in ancient Roman culture during the early days of Christianity. The novel helps readers more accurately picture what the original claims of the gospel would have meant to the first followers of Christ.

Tim then says most Western Protestants read these accounts through asking, “What’s the application of this gospel story to my life and how will it improve my life?” Tim says he doesn’t think this is the best way to read the gospels. Instead, readers should learn to read the gospels as intricate and complete portraits of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that are claiming that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah.

In part 3 (22:00-32:00), Tim notes that every Gospel climaxes with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tim then contrasts this with the Gospel of Thomas, which does not include Jesus’ death and resurrection narrative. To the gnostics who used the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus was a wise, divine teacher who dispensed knowledge to humanity to help them learn to be wise.

Tim then says that a good example of the gospels climaxing with Jesus’ death and resurrection would be the Gospel of Mark. Most of the book highlights the final week of Jesus’ life and does a fast fly-by of Jesus’ earlier life leading up to the week of the Passover and crucifixion.

Most stories, Tim observes, end with the good guy defeating the bad guy, thereby using force and violence to triumph. The Jesus story claims that Jesus triumphed by allowing himself to be killed by his enemies. He then was raised from the dead and gives his enemies an opportunity to enter into new life by believing in him.

In part 5 (32:00-end), Tim and Jon discuss the differences between the gospels. Tim says that some of the variances between the stories in the gospels used to bother him. Why couldn’t all the stories be the same? Aren’t the discrepancies evidence that these stories and authors might be unreliable?

However, Tim continues by sharing that over time, his perspective has changed. Now, he realizes that the Gospel authors are advancing a claim about Jesus, not recounting security camera footage of his life. The authors want the reader to understand that Jesus had a totally different way of seeing the world, so they highlight this in their own style. Tim says he would actually be highly suspicious if all the gospels’ stories are exactly identical. That would imply that the Jesus story was not authentic. It also should be taken into consideration that what many modern Christians may perceive to be untruths or discrepancies in the Bible were much more accepted by early Christians. Modern readers should attempt to understand the context and culture of how the gospels were formed instead of importing our own modern view of a biography onto an ancient text.

Show Music:

  • “Defender” instrumental by Tents
  • “Nostalgic” by junior state
  • “lacuna” by leavv
  • “Beautiful Eulogy” by Beautiful Eulogy

Show Resources:

The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World by Bruce Longenecker

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast

Sep 30 2019

52mins

Play

Why are there four accounts of the Gospel? - Gospel E3

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Key takeaways:

  • The four gospels all tell a unique perspective of the same story. They all claim Jesus is the Jewish Messiah who fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • Mark is widely considered to be the oldest Gospel.
  • The genealogies at the start of Matthew have hidden design patterns in them that unify the Old and New Testaments.
  • The story of Zacharias and Elizabeth at the start of Luke is meant to layer onto the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament. This is a key design pattern of Luke. Luke likes to create the characters in his book based off Old Testament figures.

Quote: “(The gospels) are constantly and from the first moment tying the Jesus story back into Hebrew scriptures. There isn’t a story or teaching about Jesus that isn’t packed with Old Testament allusion.”

In part 1 (0-5:00), Tim and Jon briefly recap the last episode. Tim says he’s going to unpack four ways that readers can better understand and uncover themes in the gospels.

In part 2 (5:00-14:00), Tim dives into advanced ways to read these accounts. One way to take your reading of the gospels to the next level is to get a Bible that shows when a Gospel is citing or quoting an Old Testament passage. For example, Tim focuses on the book of Mark. Most scholars view Mark as the oldest of the gospels.

Mark 1 shares links to both Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 4:5-6 in the first verses.

Mark 1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way”—

“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.’”

Tim says that this should alert the reader to the fact that Mark is heavily influenced by the Old Testament. Mark is reading the Old Testament, and his Gospel is structured around and informed by the Hebrew Scriptures.

In part 3 (14:00-22:30), Tim then looks at the start of Matthew. The book begins with a genealogy. This genealogy is broken into three movements of fourteen generations: fourteen from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile, and fourteen from the exile to Jesus.

In order to stick to this pattern, Tim notes, generations would have been left out. So why would Matthew use this pattern?

There are several thoughts. One is that the number fourteen is the numerical value of the name “David.” So Matthew is disguising his claim that Jesus is a new and better David in this genealogy.

Tim also mentions that four women are mentioned in this genealogy. Each of them are non-Jewish women. Again, why does Matthew do this? He wants you to know that Gentile women in the Old Testament played a crucial role in carrying on—and in some cases rescuing—the messianic seed.

In part 4 (22:30-32:30), Tim dives into the opening of the Gospel of Luke. The story of Elizabeth and Zacharias is meant to map onto the story of Abraham and Sarah. Both couples are old and have no children or heirs. Luke then moves onto the introduction of Mary. Mary’s response to the angel’s proclamation is different than Zacharias’ response. So Luke uses a lot of character design to overlap Old Testament and New Testament characters in order to show a new act of God.

In part 5 (32:30-47:30), Tim dives into the opening in the Gospel of John. There are themes of Genesis 1 (“In the beginning”) and Lady Wisdom from Proverbs 8 in the opening lines of John. Many modern Western readers find John's writing style to be the most approachable and easy to understand. John's links and callbacks to earlier Hebrew Scriptures are more obvious to the untrained eye than in the other gospels.

In part 6 (47:30-end), Tim and Jon dive into Mathew 11.

Matthew 11:2-6

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Tim says that this passage is heavily influenced by Isaiah 35 because Jesus quotes from this passage to answer John's question about whether he is the Messiah or not.

Isaiah 35:1-7

The desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;

they will see the glory of the Lord,

the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,

steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,

“Be strong, do not fear;

your God will come,

he will come with vengeance;

with divine retribution

he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened

and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,

and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool,

the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

In the haunts where jackals once lay,

grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Mind Your Time by Me.So
  • Subtle Break by Ghostrifter Official
  • Serenity by JayJen
  • Acquired in Heaven by Beautiful Eulogy
  • For When It’s Warmer by Sleepyfish
  • Euk's First Race by David Gummel

Show Resources:

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Sep 23 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

The Gospel is More Than You Think - Gospel E2

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In part 1 (0-19:00), Tim and Jon give a brief historical overview of Israel at the time Jesus was born. Israel had been under hundreds of years of military occupation by different empires. At the time of Jesus, that empire is Rome. Tim notes that the entire Jewish people would have had a sense of expectation. The Hebrew Scriptures taught them that the glory of the Jewish kingdom would return and a messiah would rescue them. This mindset—though difficult for us to imagine—was that of an ancient Jew under Roman rule at the time when the gospels were written.

In part 2 (19:00-25:00), Tim notes that for one to declare or be declared as “messiah” while under Roman rule would have been viewed as an act of politcal insurrrection and revolution.

In part 3 (25:00-38:45), Tim outlines the history of the word gospel, which comes from the old English word “godspel” or *good tidings*. This word in Greek is εὐαγγέλιον and Tim notes that “the euangelion” is what Jesus is said to proclaim in the beginning of Mark. Mark 1:1 *The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.* Tim then notes how Paul uses the same word at the start of Romans. Romans 1:2-4 *the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.* Tim also shared 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. *Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.* Tim notes that Paul doesn’t have a stock phrase or answer for “what is the gospel.” Instead he tweaks the message in both of these books and offers two complimentary answers. This example from Paul should make us cautious of trying to boil down the gospel to a simple formula. If Paul didn’t really do it that way, why should we? Instead we should try to learn how to articulate the whole story of the Jewish Scriptures and distill the gospel through that lens.

In part 4 (38:45-44:45), Tim also brings up Paul’s speech to the Athenians in Acts 17: Acts 17:22-34 *Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.* *“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’* *“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”* *When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.* Tim notes that also in this presentation, Paul does not bring up Christ’s atoning death explictly. The atoning death of Christ is part of the gospel, but it is not the whole. The larger story of the gospel is portrayed in the four books known as the Gospels. What is the larger story? It is about Jesus inaugurating the kingdom of God.

In part 5 (44:45-end), Tim gives his own definitions of the four books known as "the Gospels." "The gospels are carefully designed theological biographies of Jesus of Nazareth. They focus on his announcement of the euangelion. They are not merely historical records. They are designed to advance a claim that will challenge the readers thinking and behavior, and you are going to be forced to make a decision about Jesus after reading the book. And what is the claim? That the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel and true Lord of the world." Tim closes with an insight from scholars Loveday Alexander and Richard Burridge, as well as a book called *Reading the Gospels Wisely* by Jonathan Pennington.

Show Resources:

* Richard Burridge: [*What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco Roman Biography*](https://amzn.to/32DhKWK).

* Loveday Alexander: [*The Preface to Luke’s Gospel*](https://amzn.to/2Lz4lcI).

* Jonathan Pennington: [*Reading the Gospels Wisely*](http://amzn.to/2wOuw9n).

* [A brief overview of Jewish history pre-Christ and during Roman rule.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_history#The_Hasmonean_Kingdom_(110%E2%80%9363_BCE))

Show Music:

* Defender Instrumental by Tents

* Hello from Portland by Beautiful Euology

* For When It’s Warmer by Sleepy Fish

* Instrumentals of Mercy by Beautiful Eulogy

* Chilldrone: Copyright free

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel

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Sep 16 2019

55mins

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What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean? Feat. N.T. Wright - Gospel E1

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Welcome to a special episode that kicks off our series of How to Read the Gospels. In this episode, Tim sits down with Dr. N.T. Wright to discuss the historical meaning of the word “gospel.”

In part 1 (0-21:20), Dr. Wright notes that word studies are great, but it’s important to understand how words derive their meaning and live in a narrative context. Alternaitve “gospels,” including the Gospel of Thomas, typically are a collection of good advice or wise sayings from Jesus about how to live a good life, whereas the whole “gospel” or good news is the story of Jesus being crowned king and Israel being used by God to bless all the nations.

Tim shares an interesting historical ancedote: a birthday announcement from a historical source called the Calendar of Priene. It’s an old royal announcement from the Roman emporer Augustus Caesar, and it uses the Greek word for “gospel,” εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion, meaning "good news."

"Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him.” (The Calendar of Priene, Caesar Birthday announcement)

Dr. Wright says this historical announcement reveals a very interesting historical narrative. The Roman emporers continually decreed that they had brought peace and justice to the world through violent and political power. These emporers used the same language and vocubulary as the gospel authors when they proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as the one who brings true peace and justice to the world.

In part 2 (21:20-27:10), Tim and Dr. Wright discuss that “news” is an ineffective modern word to describe the gospel. A better alternative in our day would be “announcement” or “proclamation.” Today, the word “news” is used most often to describe everyday occurences, whereas the historical word εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion, was far less common and treated with importance.

In part 3 (27:10-42:45), Tim and Dr. Wright dive into the Gospel of Mark and Matthew.

Dr. Wright focuses on the Beatitudes in Matthew. Instead of it being just an ethical to-do list, the Beatitudes are meant to model what God’s kingdom actually looks like. They represent the corporate moral ethic of God’s kingdom, showing what a world looks like when God becomes king and showing how God's kingdom spreads throughout the world.

Tim and Dr. Wright both cite Isaiah 53, one of the key bridges between the Old and New Testament in the Suffering Servant. They move on to discuss a book by Dr. Richard Hayes called, “Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels” and discuss the royal enactment portrayls in the gospels. Tim and Dr. Wright note that these are very obvious themes. Jesus is given a purple robe and crowned with a crown of thorns. These themes are meant to be picked up by the reader as evidence of the upside down nature of the kingdom that Jesus was enacting. He became king through suffering.

In part 4 (42:45-56:00), Tim and Dr. Wright talk about Paul and his perspective of εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion. Tim reads from Romans 1:1-6:

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

Tim also shares 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

Tim thinks this 1 Corinthians passage may be over-dominant in Western Christianity’s understanding in defining the gospel. Dr. Wright notes a historical view stemming from German and Lutheran interpretation that wants to see “the gospel” only as a salvation by faith that Christ died for our sins on the cross.

This view, Dr. Wright asserts, shortchanges the story of the Hebrew Scriptures. While this is part of the meaning of the word “gospel,” the whole story of the Hebrew Scriptures involves the signficance of Jesus being the new and exalted human, the new Adam, through whom humanity can now realize their orginal destiny that was laid out for them in the Garden of Eden.

In part 5 (56:00-end), Tim and Dr. Wright wrap up their time together by discussing how word studies are important but need to be tied into an informed understanding of the whole narrative of the Hebrew Bible.

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show Music:

  • Defender Instrumental by Tents
  • Daydreams 2 by Chillhop
  • Fills the Skies by Josh White
  • Yesterday on Repeat by Vexento

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Sep 09 2019

1hr 11mins

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Generosity Q&R: Overpopulation, Cain's Sacrifice & Manna Hoarding - Generosity E5

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Welcome to our Q+R for our series on Generosity. Tim and Jon respond on this episode to six questions. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions!

Below are the questions with corresponding timestamps.

Raphael from Austria (1:36):
My question is, in this modern age with trending topics like overpopulation, climate change, and running out of resources in many parts of the Earth, how can we understand or apply the mindset of abundance and that God in a generous host? Thanks for everything you do and for helping me reshape my biblical paradigms so that I may now understand the biblical story in a whole new way.

Nadia from the UK (11:27):
My question is with Cain and Abel: isn't it because the Lord looked on Abel's offering more favorably because he brought the best, the fattened part of his flock and the firstborn of his flock? In comparison to what Cain brought, which was just some of the fruit; it doesn’t say it was the first fruits or the best of, it was just some, and therefore, God looked more favorably on Abel’s, which is why Cain’s was rejected. Thanks!

Seth from Cincinnati (12:03):
You guys have discussed the reasons for why God favored Abel over Cain. The author of Hebrews says, "By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4). ...We can infer that by contrast that Cain's must not have been offered by faith. What do you think of this interpretation?

Lauren from Indiana (30:00):
I love the parable you have going and that we make choices based on fear that abundance will stop, and we need to hoard. That immediately took me to Exodus 16 and the manna that Moses told them to not leave any until morning. Of course, some people did anyway, and it was spoiled. To me, that's a really obvious example of your parable, but are we supposed to be mapping that onto Genesis specifically, or was that just a happy piece of serendipity?

Nathaniel from New Orleans (35:56):
You've focused on how the human self-protective instinct and greed will ruin the party for everyone. But I was curious as to how natural disasters in Scripture—whether they're portrayed as a time of punishment for the wicked or time of testing of the righteous, or or both—how those interact with the image of God as generous host. Thank you very much, and God bless.

Secret from Wisconsin (48:00):
My question was: is there a specific context that we should have in mind when Jesus tells the Young Rich Ruler to go sell all his possessions, and give them away? Just because I know that in some cases it's not very wise to give away all you have because then you become dependent upon other people to help you, and you can't really help people yourself in the way you could if you had those resources. Thank you guys so much.

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Tents

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show Resources:
Christopher J.H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God

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Sep 02 2019

1hr 1min

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Jesus as the Ultimate Gift - Generosity E4

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In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the story of Jesus and how it relates to the theme of generosity.

In part 1 (0-16:40), Tim notes that God’s gifts to humans, and specifically his gift of the Promised Land to Israel, are unconditioned, but not unconditional. The gift of the land places an obligation upon Israel: the gift is unconditioned (unmerited), but not unconditional (non-reciprocal). It is not given to Israel based on an evaluation of their worthiness, but it is given with a clear expectation of obligated response.

Then Tim dives into Matthew 5:43-48 to make the point that the fundamental depiction of God in the New Testament is that of a generous gift giver whose generosity should effect a transformation of our lives.

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
 Therefore you are to be complete, as your heavenly Father is complete.”

In part 2 (16:40-33:40), Tim dives into more passages in the New Testament that build on this theme.

John 3:16
God so love the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has given on us, that we would be called children of God; and that is what we are.

1 John 5:11

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Romans 8:31-32

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely gift us all things?

James 1:17
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Tim says that the generosity Jesus dispenses exposes the heart of humanity, which is bent toward selfishness. Being generous in the way that Jesus is generous creates a different kind of security than economic security. It’s a security based on a community that truly loves each other, sharing freely with each other.

In part 3 (33:40-45:15), Tim dives into 2 Corinthians 8.

2 Corinthians 8:1-11

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the grace of participation (Greek: koinonia) in the service of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this grace as well. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this grace also.
 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
 I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.
 But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.

Tim notes that the word for grace is the same word for gift in Greek (charis, noun: “grace, gift” and charizomai, verb: “to give a gift, forgive”).

In part 4 (45:15-end), the guys wrap up their conversation. Tim notes that the themes of scarcity and abundance or selfishness and generosity are woven from start to finish in the Bible. Why? Because it’s a fundamental part of our human existence.

Thank you to all our supporters!


Have a question for us? Send an audio file with your question around 20 seconds to info@jointhebibleproject.com.

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Additional Resources:
Paul and the Gift by John Barclay: https://amzn.to/2Znueja

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Defender Instrumental by Tents

Migration by goosetaf

Murmuration by Blue Weds (feat. Shopan)

Show Produced by:

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Aug 26 2019

56mins

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The Abraham Experiment - Generosity E3

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In this episode, Tim and Jon trace this theme through the Old Testament.

In part 1 (0-19:45), the guys briefly recap their discussion so far. Tim notes that Eve’s reaction in Hebrew between the birth of Cain and the birth of Seth are decidedly different. Tim says that Eve takes an arrogant stance by naming Cain, seeming to place herself alongside God. However, she takes a humble stance when she names Seth, seeing that God has granted her a son. Tim quotes scholar Umberto Cassuto:

“The first woman in her joy at giving birth to her first son, boasts of her generative power, which in her estimation approximates the divine creative power. The Lord formed the first man, and I have formed the second man. Literally, ‘I have created a man with the Lord,’ by which she means, ‘I stand together equally with the Creator in the rank of creators.’”
(Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I - From Adam to Noah)

Tim notes that in the Bible, there are many stories of parents who abuse the gifts that God gives them in the ability to reproduce and have children, or they take undue parental pride in the gift of children.

In part 2 (19:45-25:45), Tim and Jon discuss the theme of God choosing one over another. Tim points out that God’s choosing of one over another is actually a desire to bless all through the exaltation of the one. God says Cain will be exalted if he only obeys. Instead, Cain chooses to bow to his sinful desires.

In part 3 (25:45-32:30), Tim moves onto the story of the Tower of Babel. Humans were called to spread out and rule the earth. Instead of embracing that gift, the humans decide to build a towering city.

In part 4 (32:30-44:15), Tim dives into the story of Abraham. God chooses one family, the family of Abraham. Tim says that the Promised Land is God’s “gift” to Abraham’s family:

Genesis 12:1-3

Now the Lord said to Abram,

“Go forth from your country,
And from your family

And from your father’s house,

To the land which I will show you;

And I will make you a great nation,

And I will bless you,

And make your name great;

And you shall be a blessing;

And I will bless those who bless you,

And the one who treats you as cursed, I will curse.

And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Genesis 12:7
“To your seed I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to Yahweh who appeared to him.”

Jon points out that sometimes famines come along. Sometimes, there isn’t enough. This tension does exist in the Bible, Tim notes, between God’s abundance and the existence of chaos. God didn’t create a perfectly safe world. He created a world where humans were to learn to co-rule with him, creating order from chaos.

In part 5 (44:15-end), Tim notes that God keeps giving the Promised Land to Israel, and they keep misusing the gift. He cites two passages from Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 11:8-14
“You all shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land... so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.


“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul, that he will give the rain for your land in its season, the barley and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.”

Tim then cites scholar Joshua Berman, saying that Israel’s economy was an “Exodus-style” economy:

“A key theological claim at work in these laws is that of God’s identity as the liberator of slaves. He forms a people out of those who were deemed to be people of no standing at all by the political and economic leaders who oppressed them. The egalitarian streak within Pentateuchal law codes accords with the portrayal of the Exodus as the prime experience of Israel’s self-understanding. Indeed, no Israelite can lay claim to any greater status than another, because all emanate from the Exodus—a common seminal, liberating, and equalizing event… This notion of God’s sovereignty as creator and liberator animated the biblical laws aimed at preventing Israelites from descending into the cycle of poverty and debt.”
(Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought, 88)

Deuteronomy 24:19-22
“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the immigrant, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the immigrant, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.”

Thank you to all our supporters!

Have a question for us? Send an audio recording around 30 seconds to our team at info@jointhebibleproject.com.

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Tents
Quietly by blnkspc_
Mind Your Time by Me.So
The Pilgrim by Greyflood

Show Resources:
Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I - From Adam to Noah
Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

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Aug 19 2019

1hr 4mins

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God as the Generous Host - Generosity E2

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In part 1 (0-15:00), Tim presents God as an amazing and generous host to humanity. Tim then dives into Genesis and re-examines the stories through the lens of generosity. The biblical portrait of evil, Tim shares, begins with a desire for what is not rightly mine and then taking it for oneself.

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the snake was more shrewd than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ”

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for making wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Beginning in verse 1, Tim notes, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden” is an act of subtly undermining God’s generosity. Again this subtlety is seen in verses 4-5: “You will not die. For God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like elohim, knowing good and evil.” In other words, the serpent is portraying God as holding out on humanity, withholding knowledge and good things. Finally, in verse 6, the word “desirable” (Heb. nekhmad, “the object of covetous desire”) combines with the action “take.” Humans become aware that there is something they can desire and take, presumably for their own benefit.

Tim and Jon hypothesize that the tree is placed in the middle of the garden to represent that the human choice to do what is wrong is always in the center of our lives. We are always only one or two decisions away from ruining our lives and the lives of many others.

In part 2 (15:00-26:45), Tim notes that humans don’t know what to do with abundance. We bend abundance to hoard and act selfishly. Tim then pivots to the story of Cain and Abel. Jon explains that he feels God is more generous with Abel than with Cain. Tim says this seems to be an intentionally ambiguous gap in the narrative. Tim says he thinks Genesis is developing a theme of the ‘mystery of election.’ God does seem to choose or favor one person over another, but that doesn’t mean it’s at the complete expense of the other person.

In Genesis 4, Cain’s jealous anger at his brother compels him to take life instead of give. The narrative tells us in 4:2 that Cain was “a worker of the ground” but denies his role as a “keeper of his brother.” This is why murder is such a heinous crime in the Scriptures: to take life gratuitously is to act as if it is yours to “take,” rather than recognizing that your role as a human is to “give” life and participate in its flourishing.

In part 3 (26:45-end), Tim and Jon continue to discuss the Cain and Abel story and how the traits of “taking” continues in the following stories in Genesis. In Genesis 6, the sons of elohim “see” the daughters of humanity are “good” and they “take” what they want. Then in Genesis 11 in the story of Babylon, the people say, “let us build for ourselves a city and a tower, and it’s head will be in the skies, and we will make a name for ourselves.”

In the story of Cain and Abel, Tim notes, God tells Cain that if he does good, he too will be exalted. Instead, Cain chooses to take his brother’s life, rejecting God’s generosity and claiming the life of his brother.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Find all our resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Tents
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Twin Moon by Ashley Shadow

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Aug 12 2019

39mins

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Abundance or Scarcity - Generosity E1

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In this series, Tim and Jon trace the theme of generosity and abundance through the Scriptures.

In part 1 (0-7:45), the guys quickly introduce the conversation. Tim explains that generosity is both a theme and a concept that is found throughout the Scriptures.

In part 2 (7:45-32:10), Tim shares from a famous passage in the gospel accounts.


Luke 12:22-34

"And He said to His disciples, 'For this reason I tell you, don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat; and don’t be anxious about your body, what clothes you put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Ponder the ravens, for they don’t sow seed or reap a harvest; they have no storerooms or barns, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life’s span? And if you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Ponder the lilies, how they grow: they don’t toil or spin clothes; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You who trust God so little! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and don’t foster your anxiety. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be granted to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'"

Tim points out that freedom from anxiety is rooted in a conception of the universe, like a safe place where I’m welcomed by a generous host. The same overabundance we see in nature comes from a Creator who shows that same generosity towards us. This mindset frees us from a scarcity mentality, releasing us to freely give resources to others. Jesus observed this not primarily as a religious principle but as one written on the DNA of the universe. Jesus sees the birds and flowers and grass and notices God’s generosity and overabundant love.


The words of Jesus sound almost irresponsible to Type A, hardworking people. Yet with these words, Jesus articulates a way of seeing the world rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and their depiction of God’s generosity. Tim notes that often we’re the ones who need our eyes opened to see God’s generosity in creation.

In part 3 (32:10-36:30), Tim points out Jesus’ view of creation, that God created a good world that always produces enough, as long as humans live in accordance with the image of God.

In part 4 (36:30-53:20), Tim asks: What kind of tradition and culture did Jesus grown up in that allowed him to have this mindset? One passage Tim offers is Psalm 104:10-17 and 24-28:

He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.

O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.
They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.


Tim points out that this is a Psalm Jesus would have grown up hearing in synagogue. Jesus believed creation is an expression of the generous, creative love of God. Genesis 1-2 shows us that God brings order out of chaos (Gen. 1) and a garden out of a wasteland (Gen. 2). These God gives as a gift to humanity.

One way of thinking of the biblical storyline, Tim points out, is as a story of giving and taking. Yahweh God creates a wonderful world, full of potential, and he gives it to humanity to rule with him through wisdom. Humanity then desires to rule on their own terms and takes creation for themselves.

In part 5 (53:20-end), Tim points out the human problem, not only on a societal level, but on a heart level. By default, we act to benefit ourselves. In the midst of this, Tim notes, the Bible’s view on wealth is complex. Jesus talks about wealth and money more than most topics—a top-three subject of conversation. Scripture is suspicious about wealth, knowing how affluence and abundance can make humans indulgent and arrogant.

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Find our resources at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie

Show Music:
• Defender Instrumental by Tents
• Conquer by Beautiful Eulogy
• Shot in the Back of the Head by Moby
• Scream Pilots by Moby
• Analogs by Moby

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Aug 05 2019

1hr 8mins

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