September - Reading 7

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    The Book of Proverbs at 22:17 now returns to a style similar to the forst 9 chapters under the section entitled Sayings of the wise. The writings wll continue in this format until chapter 24. I like the opening imperative to "pay attention". It is as if the author is speaking to a youngster.

    Our rather lengthy reading of Isaiah today focuses on the fate of Judah's allies and enemies during this perceived time of blessing. Most of the nations and citeies mentioned have been toched on in previous readings. Cush in 18:1 is either Nubia or ancient Ethiopa (not the same as modern Ethiopia.) This was one of the most southern known nations to the Israelites at this time. Much of chapter 19 appears to be unfulfilled though there are some theories concerning these writings. In verse 19, the altar may refer to a temple built by Onias IV who fled Egypt in the second century AD. Again, much of this is speculation and there may yet come a time when Egypt has large numbers of converts to Judaism or Christianity that fulfill this prophecy more literally. An interesting note on Verse 20:1 is that as recently as 1963, a fragmented monument to Sargon was found in Ashdod, 18 miles northeast of Gaza.

    In Luke we read this Gospel's account of the Last Supper. Luke's account does not seem to be chronological when compared to the other Synoptic Gospels. Rather, he tells of the most important events first, the sharing of the bread and the cup. John says that Judas was not present at this event but Luke in verse 21 indicates his presence. At this point I would note that John was present at the Supper. Matthew and Mark are both vague about the chronology of Judas' exit. The "New Covenant" spoken of at the passing of the cup is alluded to in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

    In Hebrews our reading began with one of my favorite all time Bible verses: 4:12. As we know from the Gospel of John, the Word is Christ but we also have the word manifested in the preserved teachings of the Bible. Verse 14 begins a rather lengthy discourse speaking of the superiority of Christ's preistliness to Aaron's. This presentation will continue through to verse 7:28.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Aaron

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    Well, I fell asleep during my reading last night! [​IMG]

    Today's (yesterday's) reading contains various prophecies against different nations, not the least of which were Israel and Judah. A passage from the September 6th reading comes to mind.

    I visited a local Baptist church today, and, as expected, there was much said about the 9/11 tragedies. However, the special music was a secular patriotic rock song, "God Bless the U.S.A" A phrase from that song says that "they" can't take my freedom away.

    The above quote from Isaiah popped into my head. I thought instead of singing of national pride, we should be weeping in repentance over national shame. Is there any accusation against Israel or Judah in these readings that cannot be made against the U.S.A.? We are ripe for judgment.

    God, bring us to repentance!
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson 1/16/05 - continued

    Luke 22:14-23 The Cup and the Bread

    Luke’s description of the Supper is longer than the other Synoptic accounts. As we have witnessed various times in Luke, the meal is used as a time for instruction. The most noticeable difference in Luke’s account is the order of the elements which does not change the meaning of the Supper at all but explains some of the differences in liturgical practices among the various Christian communities.

    The phrase “sat at the table” would be more accurately rendered “reclined at the table”.

    Jesus’ introductory statement of verse 15-16 serves two purposes: (1) It shows that this meal alone stands between Him and His suffering. (2) It identifies the Last Supper with the Messianic Banquet, which Christ will share with His disciples in the coming Kingdom. This meal is a prophetic symbolism of what will be fulfilled in the Kingdom.

    In verse 17 the sharing of the cup is believed to be a part of the Passover meal and not necessarily a part of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The other Synoptics do not record this first passing of the cup. Though it would have been customary for each participant to have his own cup, the sharing from one vessel underlines the unity among the Disciples and Christ. It also demonstrates Jesus’ example of giving thanks to God for all food.

    After the passing of the cup, he takes the loaf of bread and exclaims, “This is my Body.” This phrasing has caused one of the most hotly debated topics in Christendom. Some sects of Christianity believe that the bread and wine actually become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. The term for this supposed miracle is transubstantiation and should be rejected after an examination of the text relating to this Supper. First of all, the underlying Aramaic which Christ spoke could just as readily be translated “This means my body.” Secondly, in the text at hand, Jesus is standing before the Disciples in real human form with His body intact. Thirdly, John states emphatically that Jesus’ body was not “broken” (John 19:36). In any case, the bread is shared by all the Disciples, an expression of the unity of the community created by the redemptive self-giving of the Son of man.

    In verse 20, likewise the cup is passed with the commentary that it represents the New Testament, or Covenant brought about by the shedding of His blood. The Old Covenant was the Siniatic Covenant made with the Israelites when they were released from bondage. This along with the Passover tie the events of the Passion with the Old Testament and brings in the new era spoken of by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Once again, to believe that the wine actually becomes blood is to be rejected and contradicts the instructions of the Law in Leviticus 3:17 and even pre-Law in Genesis 9:4.

    In verse 21 Jesus makes the prediction of betrayal, strengthened and made worse by the fact that such would be committed by one who was in fellowship with Him at the table. The statement that this was “as it was determined” shows that such was a Divine necessity. However, the guilt of the betrayer is in no way diminished. Judas was not working to accomplish the Purpose of God but the purposes of evil men.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    Isaiah 17

    Sunday School lesson - 3/26/06





    Chapters 15-18 of the Book of Isaiah are made up of fragmentary oracles covering a fairly large span of years. The unifying theme among them is that of judgment. In it Isaiah addresses not only the fate of Judah’s enemies, but also Judah herself. Keep in mind that Isaiah lived and prophesied during a time when Israel, the Northern Kingdom, had fallen into a state of apostasy and idol worship. The once great power of the world, Egypt, had fallen into a defensive position as Cush to its south rose in power and the Assyrians to Israel’s east became the most effective conquering army in history. As these powers rose to prominence, the lesser nations formed shaky coalitions in order to try to stem the tide.

    To the man of faith, however, whether he be an 8th century BC prophet or a 21st century Christian, God is the sovereign author of history and the rise and fall of nations is under His control. Israel had made the mistake of thinking that their seat of power lay in their weapons of war. The prophets kept crying vainly that their real power was in their faith and obedience in God.

    Isaiah 17:1-6 The Doom of Damascus and Ephraim

    The Passage is addressed to Damascus, the capitol of Syria, but it is also concerned with the fate of Israel, called Ephraim and Jacob by the author. In 734-735 BC, Syria had made an alliance with Israel under the evil king Ahaz and they had unsuccessfully sieged Jerusalem (2Kings 16). Being partners in crime they would also be partners in punishment.

    The prophet declares that Damascus will cease to exist as a state and that the fortress will disappear from Ephraim. The fortress in Ephraim is likely the fortress city of Samaria, the capitol of the Northern Kingdom. The translation of “Aroer” as a specific city has been suspect over the years, even in the Septuagint, as no city is known to have existed with that name. Nonetheless, the point is made clear that these once powerful and vital places would be laid to ruin as punishment for turning from God. Isaiah states that flocks of animals would lay in them uninterrupted by human presence.

    As history records, Tiglath-Pileser III overthrew Samaria in 732 BC making it an Assyrian province. The meaning of the “glory of the remnant of Syria” in verse 3 is made clear in verse 4. Both nations would suffer the judgment of God for their evil pride and deeds. The prophet uses three similes to make his point. The demise will be like a sickness, the gathering of grain and the gleaning of the olive harvest where only the berries on the top most boughs are left. The judgment, though devastating, is not total.

    Isaiah 7:7-8 The Restoration of True Worship

    These verses show the purifying effect of the punishment meted out by God upon Israel. Men will abandon what their own fingers have made, that is, idols, and turn back to God the Maker, the Holy One of Israel.

    Of particular interest in these verses is the mention of the Asherah. The word occurs in various forms some 40 times in the Old Testament and is consistently rendered “groves” in the KJV. Asherah was a pagan goddess, the mistress of the pagan god El and the mother of some seventy gods and goddesses including Baal. The Ashrah as a cultic object was a staff of wood set near an altar to represent her presence. This is why the Asherah in the Temple was such an abomination.

    Isaiah 17:9-11 The Futility of Idolatry

    There is a rather wide variance in translations of verse 9 as many Bibles follow the Septuagint rendering as opposed to the Hebrew. Even those scholars who espouse only the Hebrew admit that the sense seems to be left in the Septuagint which cites this Passage as referring to the Hivites and Amorites.

    These two groups of people had been inhabitants of Canaan long before Joshua crossed the Jordan. Since Judah had become like Canaan in its religion, it would also become like them in its fate. The old pagan cities lay desolate.

    Judah had taken to worshipping the false god Tammuz or Adonis, the pagan god of vegetation. Ceremonial gardens were planted as part of the rites of this cult. Women would plant fast growing seeds in pots representing the magical bringing to life of Tammuz. That the plants withered as soon as they sprouted served as a reminder to Judah that her hopes would also wither. The only harvest she would have would be one of pain and sorrow.

    Isaiah 17:12-14 The Raging of the Nations

    The historical setting of these verses is rather obscure. Some place it in 734 BC threby identifying the attackers as Syria and Israel while others opt for 701 BC making the enemy Assyria and its vassal nations.

    Though the assembled nations thunder like the sea, they are completely subdued by the rebuke of Judah’s God. They are chased away like chaff before the wind of a storm. In the evening they appear a terrible force but in the morning they are completely gone. Such is the fate of those who oppose God’s people.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Isaiah 18:1-7 Oracles Addressed to the Envoys from Ethiopia


    It should be noted that the Book of Isaiah uses the names Ethiopia and Egypt almost synonymously. That is because Egypt was ruled by the Ethiopian dynasty from 715 until 663 BC when the Assyrians overran Thebes.

    The setting for the oracle is a diplomatic mission from Ethiopia to Jerusalem for the purpose of establishing an alliance against Assyria. One of the most notable features of the oracle is the polite manner in which Isaiah addresses the envoys. He refers to their land as “the land of whirring wings,” likely in reference to the many insects in the Nile basin. He compliments their papyrus boats and their military prowess. He even comments on their good looks. However, the positive aspects of the oracle end there.

    The envoys are told they should leave Jerusalem and go back home. He was clearly opposed to Judah’s involvement in their campaign to wrest back power in the Middle East.

    The points of opposition are stated in verses 3-6. The words are addressed not just to Ethiopia but to the world at large. All nations are to look for the sign of a signal raised on a mountaintop and the blowing of a trumpet. At that time, God will swiftly execute His judgment on His foes. Isaiah’s wording leaves us to wonder whether those foes are Egypt or Assyria. This ambiguity has led some to interpret the Passage as a prophecy of universal judgment.

    In verse 4, the prophet contrasts God to the Ethiopians. God is patient and quietly waits while the Ethiopians wish to strike immediately and take down Assyria at all costs. God’s biding of His time is described as “clear heat,” a reference to the unbearable glare of the sun at midday and a “cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” This image is of a towering cloud in the summer sky conveying the impression of infinite height.

    Verse 7 is confirmed years after Isaiah’s death in 2Chronicles 32:23 when the nations, including Judah and Egypt were released from captivity.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Hebrews

    Hebrews 4:12-13 A Word of Warning

    Though the example of the Hebrews, through the prophets, through the Law, and through Christ, God has spoken and in that message a clear word of warning has been given. That word has three main characteristics:
    • The word of God is living. This is not a word locked away in dusty old manuscripts or old family Bibles. It is a living entity working among His people this very day. The Holy Spirit continues to speak to us now in the present.
    • The word of God is active. This means that is completely capable of accomplishing what God intended. What was true for Isaiah is true for us: God’s word will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11).
    • The word of God is piercing. It lays the man open and God sees into every corner of the man’s soul. Nothing about the Christian’s spiritual life is hidden from the word of God.

    None of God’s creation is a mystery to Him. The masquerades and disguises we may use among our fellow man are stripped away when God turns His gaze towards us. The term “opened” or “laid bare” in verse 12 is a wrestling term referring to a wrestler grabbing an opponent by the throat and downing him. We may evade God for a time but eventually, in the end, We will be at the mercy of divine hands. In the end, what will really matter is what our God sees in us.

    Hebrews 4:14 - 5:10
    The sermon of the Book of Hebrews now enters a new section and a central argument to the Book as a whole: the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The message is repeated often in the New Testament that Christianity grew from the Jewish religion. Therefore, understanding the nature of what Christ has done and is doing for us is contingent upon understanding Jewish orthodoxy.

    Aaron was the high priest under Moses and all priests in the Jewish system were descendant of the order of Levites that served him. The office of priesthood resided within Aaron’s order as far as the Jews were concerned. That particular order fell into obscurity after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. (That the author does not mention this fact in this section is a strong proof of the early writing of the Book.) The duty of the priests under the Law included the sacrificing of animals, care of the Tabernacle and Temple, declaring purity from disease, and receiving the confessions of sins. The priests also followed a strict system of purification rites in order to be worthy of their tasks.

    For the modern reader, Hebrews demonstrates that the priesthood is not an antiquated and obsolete order but rather still an active part of the plan of redemption. In the Book of Leviticus we see that only Aaron was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, the most sacred level of the Tabernacle, and even then only on the annual Day of Atonement. It was at this time that offering was made for the sins of the nation, that is, all of the people of God. Under the new order established by Jesus, He acts as the high priest entering the holiest of places, the Throne room of Heaven where He Himself is presented as the Offering for the atonement of sin.

    Hebrews 4:14-16 Nature of the High Priest

    The offering for the sin associated with the Day of Atonement was only half of the rite. For that sacrifice to be acceptable, the people must also acknowledge and confess their sins. Unacknowledged sin becomes a wall between man and God and prevents any reconciliation between the two. Without confession we can not receive forgiveness. Without forgiveness we can not receive grace. The one to who we confess our sins is the great High Priest, Jesus Christ.

    The office of the priest serves as an intermediary between God and man. He must therefore be in communion with God and communion with man. The author of Hebrews insists that Jesus does exactly that by His very nature. He is all man and all God making Him a great High Priest.

    The term “passed into Heaven” in verse 14 is often interpreted as meaning that just as Aaron and his successors would pass through the veil into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Temple, so has Christ passed through the veil of Heaven entering the world we can not see in order to be in direct contact with God the Father.

    Though our high priest is exalted above all creation, He is not so lofty that He is inaccessible. To the contrary, says the preacher, He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. The Son of God who sits at the right hand of God is also the historic Jesus who was a carpenter, who worked, who hungered and thirsted, and who faced the agony of a tortuous death on a cross.

    Further, this same historic Jesus faced temptations. A favorite debate of theologians is the issue of “could Jesus have sinned?” According to the text in Hebrews, He could have but He was tempted in the same way are in every respect. The difference between Him and us, however, is that He resisted temptation and did not sin.

    Because of this accomplishment, we can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence. Because of the greatness of our High Priest, we can be confident in the mercy of God the Father. The same Father whose word is sharp and penetrating, whose word will hold us by the throat and whose all-seeing eyes will peer into our souls, will show us grace and mercy because of the mediation of His Son, and our Savior.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

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