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Archive for the ‘biblical prophecy’ Category

interpreting-apocalyptic-literature-an-exegetical-handbook

Richard Taylor. Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, July 27th, 2016. 208 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book is part of the Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis series published by Kregel Publications.  Previously I have enjoyed the work on interpreting Old Testament historical books by Robert Chisholm very much and was looking forward to this volume largely because of it.  I was also excited for this volume since apocalytpic literary forms is one of the hardest to interpret in the Old Testament and as a preacher it would be helpful to think through critically and be equipped in handling passages of Scripture like the book of Daniel.

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the-emmaus-code-how-jesus-reveals-himself-through-the-scriptures

David Limbaugh. The Emmaus Code: How Jesus Reveals Himself Through the Scriptures.  Washington D.C: Regnery Publishing, November 9th, 2015.  256 pp.

The subject of this book is on the Messianic prophecies found in the Jewish Scriptures and how it was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  This book truly surprised me.  The author is a conservative political commentator, author and the younger brother of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.  Maybe it is because I became somewhat skeptical of talk show hosts writing books on Jesus after my experience of reading Bill O’reilly’ book on “Killing Jesus” (it left a bitter taste in my mouth with how poor the theology was) but when I first picked this book up my expectation was really low.  Again this book surprised me in the sense that it was really well researched and written.  At first I didn’t know what to make of the book’s introduction in which David Limbaugh said he’s has been studying the Bible and its prediction of Jesus for over twenty years.  I wasn’t sure if I could believe him; but after finishing the book I do.  This book was really well done and of an amazing caliber considering that the author is a “layman.”  He write in a way that is informative and winsome.

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Part 3

Hands_of_God_and_Adam

We’re continuing with our series on a Biblical Theology of Hands.  We’ve seen earlier that Scripture often shows the Hands of the Lord is that it shows He is powerful and punishing of sins.  Now we will see another aspect of the Hands of the Lord.

The hand of the Lord is Protecting

  1. Point: When we look at what the Bible has to say about the Hand of God, we see His Divine Power.
  2. Proof
    1. Exodus from Egypt; remember earlier: “WhenPharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt andbring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.” (Exodus 7:4)
    2. The Hand of God is capable of Saving: “Behold,the Lord’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)
    3. The Hand of God (Jesus) assures us (Revelation 1:16-18)
    4. Putting the truth together: how can we who have sinful hands face the Hand of God that is powerful, punishing and yet be protecting?
      1. Shadows (Types): Laying of hands and the transferring of sins in the Mosaic Covenant: Exodus 29; especially Leviticus 16:21.
      2. Direct Prophecy: “Piercing” of hands of the Messiah prophecied in Psalm 22:16, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 53:5.
      3. Reality: John 20:20, 25, 27.
    5. Assurance of Salvation: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of Myhand.” (John 10:28)

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Return of the Kosher Pig , by Tzahi Shapira

 
Pick up your copy of “Return of the Kosher Pig” over at Amazon

This is a book written by a Jewish Rabbi name Itzhak Shapira who spent years studying rabbinic Jewish texts and came to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah.  The main thesis of the book is that within the traditions of Judaism, the Messiah is understood as someone who is more than a mere man; some sources even suggest that the Messiah possesses divine authority.  Throughout the book the author reminds his readers that he is not arguing that everyone within Judaism accepts the idea that the Messiah is more than a man; instead he argues that the belief in the supernatural origin and character of the Messiah has historically been within the bounds of orthodox Judaism and should not be dismissed as a heretical belief.  Along the way the author also argues that the fulfillment of these characteristics of the Messiah has been fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.

Before we look at the strength and weaknesses of the book, it is important to make a comment about the controversial title of the book.  My initial reaction to the title was whether or not this was design to provoke and offend.  The author makes it clear in the introduction that he’s not out to offend other Jews unnecessarily, and the tone of the rest of the book affirms that.  What Shapira is trying to do is to play on the Hebrew word “return” and “pig,” which share the same Hebrew consonantal roots.  The title of the book also play on the Rabbinic concept that some held that the Messiah will be rejected like a pig as unkoshered, but one day will return and acknowledged as the Messiah.

STRENGTH

This book will help Christians become familiar with the development of rabbinic traditions from the time of Jesus onwards.  Throughout the book the author regularly footnotes what certain Hebrew phrases mean and the glossary in the back of 300 Hebrew phrases will prove to be helpful for the Gentile readers.  I also appreciate that in the beginning of the book the author defines and discusses essential facets of rabbinic Judaism over the last two thousand years.

Whether or not you agree with the author, one can appreciate that in the beginning of the book he makes it clear what his theological methods are.  Since Shapira desire for his Jewish audience to come to know Jesus as their Messiah he adopts the Jewish hermeneutical system call PARDES which is the Hebrew acronym for P’Shat, Remez, Drash and SodP’Shat refer to the literal reading of the Scriptures, with the other three moving on from the literal and direct level of the text.  These four interpretative methods are explained in the book and the author makes it known that he will adopt this Rabbinic framework in approaching the question of the Messiah.  Non-Jews will no doubt find it fascinating to learn of the hermeneutical approach of Rabbinic Judaism.  I appreciated also that the author stresses the literal interpretation of the Bible comes first before employing the other three methods.

The book is well documented, with hundreds of footnotes.  I am amazed at how many Jewish sources the author cited.  As a result of reading this book, I was able to do some further research including looking up the portion of the Talmud that talks about the Messiah in Sanhedrin 98a.  It is a plus any time a book helps points the reader to the primary sources for further study.

The best part of the book are the moments the author deal with the literal interpretation of the Jewish Scripture and draw out from it what it teaches concerning the Messiah.  In addition I appreciated the discussion of the evidence for Jesus Christ involving the Stone Messianic references that I first learned about from Gregory Harris’ book The Stone and the Glory.  There are some excellent literal prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus—and that should move us to worship if we know Him!

WEAKNESS

At times the book was too speculative in its argumentation.  For instance, the author uses the PARDES method beyond the literal interpretation yielded some strange fruits. Take for example how the author allegorizes the donkey in Zechariah 9:9.  Contextually the Messiah is to ride on according to this passage.  The author took “donkey” to mean “the world” since the Hebrew word for donkey and “substance” share the same root (199).  This commits the exegetical word study fallacy by appealing to etymology.  Then on page 205 the author tells us that bread represents a spark of heaven and is referring to resurrected spirit even though he doesn’t establish his case from the Hebrew Scripture.  This is followed by page 206 that tells us “that the feminine manifestation of God represents the part of that God that we can see and remain alive” (206).  The Bible never indicates God’s revelation to us is His feminine manifestation.  I also wasn’t too thrill about the counting of the numerical value of certain Hebrew words to show the value was equal to another Hebrew word; we never see this kind of hermeneutical ploy used by anyone in the Bible to make sense of the Jewish Scripture.  Again, as I said earlier it is way too speculative.  A book full of these interpretative gymnastic is distracting; I think it would have served the cause better and have the case stronger if the authors just stuck to the literal interpretation and the collobration of those interpretation from Jewish rabbinic sources.

At times the author could have done a better job explaining what he was quoting or who it was he was quoting from and why is it that it is important (note, he certainly does this at times but could do it more).  The list of Jewish Rabbis in the back of the book wasn’t helpful when you are reading through the book and wondering who this or that Rabbi was since the Rabbis were not listed in alphabetical order but according to their time period.

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Messianic Jewish Publishers through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

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Not too long, internet Christian apologist J.W. Wartick had a good post about recovering the lost defense of Christianity.  I’ve enjoyed what he had to say, and had myself here on Veritas Domain introduced apologetics’ resources from the past that still have value for today (besides the value of historical insight into the development and progress of how Christian apologetics have progressed today, or even how the past can point out similar timeless truth!).

Why not as old, I this resource is one that is important, concerning Messianic prophecies.

William N. Harding is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Biblical Theological Seminary and presently serves as the Seminary Chaplain. He continues a lifelong teaching ministry at churches, Bible conferences, and college campuses worldwide. He is a graduate of the King’s College and Faith Theological Seminary (M.Div and S.T.M.)

His syllabus could be accessed by clicking HERE.

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Last year, I wrote a short post concerning my fascination with the relationship of Presuppositional Apologetics and Messianic Prophecies which you can read about HERE.  I do believe that it’s important for the apologist to be conscious of worldview and philosophical undercurrents behind those who might rule out Messianic prophecies that attests to the Christian faith as true, and would love to see more Presuppositionalists engage with Messianic prophecies, while those apologists who engage with the exegetical and historical work of Messianic prophecies be more equipped with Presuppositional apologetics as the framework of going about defending the faith!  To that end, I think this post might be appropriate for readers to be better equipped with knowledge of the amazing Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53.

Earlier this year (2012), John MacArthur had a mini-series going through Isaiah 53, focusing on it as Messianic Prophecy of Jesus Christ.  They are made available by Grace to You ministries, and below, you can download each individual messages.

1.) The Astonishing Servant of Jehovah (Overview of Isaiah 53) Download: High Low

2.) The Startling Servant of Jehovah  (Isaiah 52:13-15) Download: High Low

3.) The Scorned Servant of Jehovah, Part 1 (Isaiah 53:1-3) Download: High Low

4.) The Scorned Servant of Jehovah, Part 2 (Isaiah 53:1-3) Download: High Low

5.) The Substituted Servant, Part 1  (Isaiah 53:4-6) Download: High Low

6.) The Substituted Servant, Part 2 (Isaiah 53:4-6) Download: High Low

7.) The Silent Servant, Part 1 (Isaiah 53:7-9) Download: High Low

8.) The Silent Servant, Part 2 (Isaiah 53:7-9) Download: High Low

9.) The Sovereign Servant, Part 1 (Isaiah 53:10-12) Download: High Low

10.) The Sovereign Servant, Part 2 (Isaiah 53:10-12) Download: High Low

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GO TO PART XI

I. Identifying Oracles of Salvation

a. While there are prophetic genre that brings bad news (see Session Eleven on Announcement of Judgment), there are also prophetic genre that brings good news: The Oracle of Salvation.

b. Definition

i.      Also goes by the name promise.[1]

“Promise is the assurance that the LORD will deliver his people and renew his blessing.”[2]

ii.      What is meant by salvation?

“Salvation is any act of God’s goodness and care, of his justice and fairness, of his grace in answering the prayers of sinners.”[3]

iii.      Thus, an oracle of salvation is God’s promise or prophetic reassurance of His promise that He will act in a way that show’s his graciousness and care.

iv.      It is “a word from God that assures people of the validity of God’s promise during a crisis and of his deliverance from an adverse situation.”[4]

c. Elements[5]

i.      Reference to the future

ii.      Mention of radical change

iii.      Mention of blessing

d. Two sub-genre

i.      Promise of Salvation

1. These “address the needs of the people by using the form of an oracle of assurance to an individual.[6]

2. Elements[7]

a. Reassurance

b. Future transformation

c. Basis for reassurance

ii.      Proclamation of Salvation

1. This form “responds to a communal lament and, in doing so, draws much of its language from lament.”[8]

2. Elements[9]

a. Lament

b. Reassurance

c. Future transformation

d. Basis for reassurance

II. Principles in interpretation

a. Prophetic literature is largely poetic, and hermeneutical principles for poetry applies here too.

i.      “God spoke through his prophets largely by poems…”[10]

ii.      Therefore, all the principles in Session Six concerning parallelism apply here as well.

b. Identify the elements within the text.

Consciously identifying elements as listed earlier will help strengthen one’s interpretation of clauses and sentences.

c. If possible, try to identify the specific historical situation from other area in Scripture.

i.      An aspect of oracle of salvation is a future reversal of the announcement of judgment.

ii.      Knowing this background would lead to a further appreciation of God’s faithfulness.

d. Have the announcement of judgment give light to oracle of announcement.

i.      This shows the inter-relationship of genres, and the importance of this in hermeneutics.

ii.      Grace of the oracle of Salvation would be best appreciated in light of announcement of judgment.

e. Remember the Covenants and other promises God made earlier.

Oracle of salvation are not only based upon previous promises but they complement them and even give further details.

f. Realized that some of the prophecies have been fulfilled, others are still awaiting fulfillment.

i.      The prophecies fulfilled should be the basis of trusting that what God says is true.

ii.      The prophecies awaiting fulfillment should give us hope for the future.


[1] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 178.

[2] Willem A. VanGemeren, “Oracles of Salvation” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 140.

[3] Ibid, 139.

[4] Ibid, 145.

[5] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 178.

[6] Willem A. VanGemeren, “Oracles of Salvation” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 143.

[7] Ibid, 144.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid, 144-145.

[10] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 179-180.

GO TO PART XIII

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