Character in Context
Episode 36: Isaiah and the Messiah 3–Isaiah 41

Episode 36: Isaiah and the Messiah 3–Isaiah 41

November 29, 2019

Why is Israel portrayed as holding God's left hand? And what does it have to do with Yeshua/Jesus?

In this week's episode, the comedy-drama really begins in earnest. God demands that the pagan nations and their representative gods come into the courtroom with him and present evidence that they are truly gods--and He presents evidence that it is instead Himself who is the one and only God. We have an idol polemic, a speech of disputation, and a salvation oracle all rolled into one chapter--AND Isaiah's first mention of the only named person (well, he will be named in later chapters, anyway) in all of the Hebrew Scriptures to specifically be called a maschiach--pagan King Cyrus. So now we have seven different characters mentioned--Yahweh, Isaiah, the first and second heavenly council members, Israel the servant, the nations, their gods, and the servant coming from the east. Next week we will have introduced to us one more character who will occur throughout Isaiah 40-55, the one whom the targums, Rabbis David Kimchi and Abarbanel call THE Messiah--but for this week we have quite enough excitement dealing with these new developments in the New Exodus promises of YHWH to His people exiled in the Babylonian Empire. 

Episode 35: Isaiah and the Messiah 2: Idolatry in Ancient Israel and During the Exile

Episode 35: Isaiah and the Messiah 2: Idolatry in Ancient Israel and During the Exile

November 22, 2019

Big thanks to our first podcast supporter! Thanks to ddrjqy! Just this last week I spent a bunch of money on new context books, so I appreciate the support.

This week we're going to explore the ancient Near Eastern world of polytheism and henotheism (the religion of pre-monotheistic Israel) in order to understand why the prophet Isaiah is having so much trouble convincing the exiled Jews that they really can trust God and that the idols of the nations are nothing. What were idols? Were they actually gods? What does it mean for a god to be jealous? Why didn't they believe that God could save them? What are cosmic functions and how did the concept of regional authority work?

This is all incredibly important foundational information for discussing the disputations and idol polemics that we find throughout Isaiah 40-55 and without this knowledge, it is very easy to make some wrong assumptions based on the faulty modern views of paganism put forth by the new age/Wiccan movement.

Episode 34: Isaiah and the Messiah Part 1: Isaiah 40

Episode 34: Isaiah and the Messiah Part 1: Isaiah 40

November 15, 2019

I admit it, I dun lied to you...I said we were going to start the Gospel of Mark this week, but I figured out a while back that so much of Mark depends on Isaiah that I would be having to do too much back and forth so we're going to lay these foundations now instead of haphazardly as we go along. We're going to spend the next few months going through Isaiah 40-56 verse by verse, paying careful attention to the historical, literary and textual context, as well as the Hebrew wording to unravel this beautiful and sometimes very confusing document, which is often used out of context to try to get people to deny faith in the Messiah. This is all in preparation for an intensive study into the Gospel of Mark next year!

 
Episode 33: The Zealots–Phineas, David, Abigail, Daniel and Yeshua/Jesus

Episode 33: The Zealots–Phineas, David, Abigail, Daniel and Yeshua/Jesus

November 8, 2019

We're going to take a hiatus from Mark for a few months in order to lay down some groundwork from Isaiah starting next week, but first I want to cover the very misunderstood and abused virtue of zealousness. Who in Scripture has it and who simply suffers from a profound lack of self-control or a lack of understanding of what God wants from us? And how does it all relate to how we are called to live boldly for God while still loving others?

Episode 32: Men and Women in the Ancient World–Dispelling 21st Century Paradigms

Episode 32: Men and Women in the Ancient World–Dispelling 21st Century Paradigms

November 1, 2019

Okay, so this was recorded completely unscripted. I just had a list in front of me with categories and did the whole thing off the cuff so there won't be a transcript anywhere, sorry. Men and women in the ancient Near East and First Century lived differently and thought differently than we do in modern times--our way of life would seem upside down and completely chaotic to them in more ways than one, and not all of them obvious. This means that a lot of our preconceived notions about how they felt about things are often dead wrong and that twists the meaning of many Bible stories. FAIR WARNING: Knowing this stuff will make you feel like pulling out your hair when you hear a lot of sermons. More in-depth information on this subject is available in my book Context for Adults: Sexuality, Social Identity, and Kinship Relations in the Bible available through this link: www.amazon.com/dp/1973751003

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