Books N More (Feb 22)

Just a few items for today.

Logos: Get $25 in FREE resources in celebration of their 25 anniversary. Just shop online and use code 25YEAR. Code can only be used once per account. Their monthly sale is here or you can change the “sort” feature to pricing (low to high), percent off, etc. Get your FREE $25 in books today. The monthly sale is only good for another week so check it out too.

We Are Worship: FREE Song of the week (requires free account).

New Movie: Is Genesis History will be showing for one day only in several local theater’s. View the trailer here or check out more info about this project by the creators of The Truth Project.

 

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Study the Bible with Sefaria

Studying the Old Testament (OT) can be a great challenge. The new app/website Sefaria provides an insane number of very quick connections (if only Logos Bible software was this quick, lol).

Sefaria: This awesome website (and app) visualizes the connections  between the Hebrew Bible (TaNaKh, Old Testament) and 3,000 years of Jewish writings (Mishna, Talmud, Gamara, Tosefta, etc.). There are more than 30,000 connections just with the Talmud.

What can  you do with this?

Some preliminary uses might be:

  • Learning/Reading the Hebrew (with or without English side by side)
  • Researching Jewish though on the Old Testament
  • Researching/Reading Jewish thoughts on Philosophy and other topics

Before we check this out it will be helpful to know what we are looking at. The Jews wrote many types of commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (OT). In simplistic terms you can think of them along the following lines (see this chart).

  1. Hebrew Bible written (called TaNaKH)
  2. Oral Law (tradition) written – called Mishnah
  3. Commentary on the Mishhan called Talmud
    1. Babylonian Talmud completed around 500 AD
    2. Palestinian Talmud completed around 400 AD
  4. Midrash are explanations of the Law (Halakhic) and Commentary (Haggaidic)
  5. Targums are Aramaic translations with commentary
  6. Kabalah is mystical/spiritualized writings
  7. Grammatica deal with numbers in Scripture

Now let’s try it out!

Let’s say you want to know what early Jewish commentators thought of Genesis 1.

First, you can view the Hebrew and English together, in three different ways (side by side – left or right justified and interspersed by line) by clicking on the “A” in the upper right corner.

Clicking on Genesis 1 will then bring up a list of “connections” with various commentaries, etc. including listing how many connections each source has. By clicking on Bemidbar Rabbah (Midrash: commentary from after Jesus’ time) we find that (although this might not be what you were looking for) Rabbi’s had determined that 70 (picking up from Numbers 7:13) was connected to the idea from Genesis that there were two things not cursed until 70 verses had been written about them – the snake and Haman.This might lead you down a whole rabbit trail on the topic of 70 ….like clicking on the Genesis 50:3 passage in the comments referring to Egyptians mourning for Joseph for 70 days (this brings up a third column of biblical text and when you click on the verse (Genesis 50:3) the various comments available show up again (in a fourth window). By clicking on Rashi we learn that Rashi held that the Egyptians wept so long because they recognized their blessings derived from Joseph. This gives a further link to the Midrash but it is in Hebrew only (as are many of the resources) so we’ll leave it alone!

You can close out some of the windows by clicking on the “x” or back arrow (top right corner of window).

If we go back to our “connections” options and this time pick Targum Jonathan on Genesis we see how Genesis 1:1 was translated in Aramaic

“At the beginning (min avella) the Lord created the heavens and the earth.”

Clicking on the Targum Jerusalem we find “In wisdom (be-hukema) the Lord created. demonstrating the connection between God’s creative acts and wisdom. This concept is further developed in Proverbs 8 and the Wisdom Literature of the Bible.

Going to the Mishan Taanit 4:3 we find that on Sunday’s the portion of Scripture beginnign with Genesis 1:1 was read standing up.

So what does all this mean?

Well, don’t expect to find traditional American commentary information from this process but you should be richly enlightened from various Jewish philosophical, cultural and biblical writings.

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Books N More (Feb. 16)

Tyndale Publishers: Sign up for Counter Cultural Devotional Series from David Platt

We Are Worship: FREE Song of the Week – Oh Blessed (free account required)

Logos: FREE Logos 7 Basic Library and Feature Set. This is the way into using Logos 7. Pick up this FREE Software and then pick up the FREE items offered each month and you’ll be on your way to great Bible study.

  • The Logos 7 Basic Package includes 2 Bibles (LEB, KJV), 1 Study Bible, 1 Commentary, 2 Bible Dictionaries, 1 Cross Reference System, 3 Devotionals, LUther’s 95 Theses, Confessions of St. Augustine, A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament and BDB (abridged).
  • To add (purchase) additional FREE books follow this link which includes various books that include Bible commentaries, Greek and Hebrew fonts and more.
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Books N More (Feb. 6)

Well it’s a new month and here’s the start of some new book deals. Grab the FREE ones while you can, some expire shortly, others are good for the whole month.

Logos:FREE  Following Jesus by NT Wright

Verbum: FREE Pohle’s Dogmatic Theology Vol 1 (Catholic)

WORDsearch: FREE Management Essentials For Christian Ministries; Focus on the Bible (42 vol) commentary on sale for $150 and NAV Press Design For Discipleship Bundle (7 vols) for $30. Call sales dept. for additional discount.

Christian Audio: FREE audio book – Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans

Tim Challies list of Kindle deals is here

Thrifty Reader’s February Kindle deals here

Chrstian Fiction’s latest deals here

Monergism: FREE The Doctrine of God by Louis Berkhof in Kindle or epub formats

Rose Publishing: FREE 50 Proofs for the Bible echart with email sign up.

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Religion and Race

I remember as a young believer being back in NY for the summer to work at a restaurant and listening to a middle school boy claim to be a Christian while at the same time arguing that the KKK was biblical. I tried to no avail to help him understand that Christianity and racism were not compatible.

Fast forward a dozen or more years and I find a group of people who claim to be followers of Jesus, true Israelite’s, who believe white people are destined for hell.

Oh, how racism rears it’s satanic head regardless of color or culture. For me, maybe it was more of a shock when I realized that there were people who thought I – because of my color – was doomed to destruction. I think that was the first time I was on “that” side of the issue.

I happened to be teaching at a Christian school at the time and a former student was being sucked into this group so I began studying their origins, teachings, etc. and wrote a 30+ page refutation of some of their basic teachings (click here to download paper in MS Word).

Unfortunately, since I’m white the student, nor I guess his “teachers” would read what I wrote. I have not seen this student in years but I continue to see the group he was affiliated with – and if you live in Central Florida you probably have too. They frequent areas where non-whites live. Since I live in Pine Hills I see them about every month gathered on the corner of Hiawasee/Silver Star or somewhere else in the Pine Hills area.

Sadly, this group has all day Saturday school where they learn some semblance of Hebrew, study the KJV and the Apocrypha and become zealots for God – hating whites because God hated Esau!

It is a sad state of affairs when the God who appeared to Abraham and promised to bless all the nations of the world through him, who expected Israel to be a light to the Gentiles and was Himself via His incarnation a light to the Gentiles, who healed more than on Gentile in the OT and welcomed numerous Gentiles in the NT would be accused of hating an entire group of people – all of which are descended from one man – Adam! We really are relatives people!

Sometimes, the only thing left to pray is…

Oh, Lord Jesus, Crusher of the Serpent, come soon!

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Vengeance or Forgiveness?

I don’t know that I fully comprehended what was going on at the time. I think that’s often the case when you’re blindsided. But I do know that from time to time I still get angry at what I consider to have been injustice against me.

There are times when I want the people who I believe sinned against me to be held accountable for their actions. This is  the biblical notion of justice..However, it very easily becomes vengeance coupled with unforgiveness.

As I was reading Genesis 50:15-21 this morning I was again reminded  of God’s sovereignty. I’m not exactly sure how he did it, or how long it took him to get to this point, but God’s grace  brought Joseph to a point where  his own just suffering led him to not only forgive those who wronged him (his own brothers) but speak kindly, all the while seeing the sovereignty of God in the situation.

Joseph’s brothers on the other hand  were afraid  that Joseph, like other men (once the protective hand  of their father Jacob, was removed due to his death), would unleash not only his wrath but the wrath of all of Egypt against them (Joseph was the second most powerful man of this great nation).

This fear of vengeance (fear of man) has led many a man to preempt the feared vengeance by acting first. Blood feuds have raged for hundreds of years due to this.

And this is where the grace of God enters the picture for the child of God. Though the Joseph story is not really about Joseph (it is about God fulfilling  his promise to Abraham to create a people living in his place in his presence) we do learn something of the work of God in a man’s life from this passage.

Might we all learn to be  quick to hear, slow to speak and ready to forgive those who have wronged us.  Might we be part of the pipeline that the gospel of the kingdom of God flows through to all the nations of the world and not part of the virus of vengeance circulating in the world.

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Vengeance is…

Vengeance – it’s what we want when we’ve been wronged. It’s what we want when we’re angry or mad. It’s often what we think is the same as justice.

And yet God says “Vengeance is mine” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Lets we think this is only mentioned once – it is also mentioned in Leviticus 19:18 as a contrast with the well-known “Love your neighbor”. Additionally, in the New Testament it is referenced in Romans 12:19.

This is something we (and our culture) are very confused about.The majority of action movies portray vengeance and justice as the same thing. At least the old western movies made a distinction by calling it “vigilante justice”.

The truth; however, is that vengeance and justice are not the same at all. The truth is also that God often (dare we say always) shows mercy in judgment. Instead of Adam and Eve dying immediately, an animal died. Instead of Cain dying immediately for murdering his brother, he was cursed – something he seemed to view as potentially worse than death (Genesis 4).

The act of mercy, and more so forgiveness, comes exceedingly hard when emotions are high and something or someone we cherish is at stake – and this is precisely why God is so much better than we would ever be at doing his “job”.

In America our justice system is set up in such a way that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Thus, until there is a trial, confession or the like judgment is withheld – now to be fair, there is some sense of judgment in being held in a jail cell prior to conviction but let’s leave that aside for the moment.

So where am I going with all of this? Markieth Lloyd. Yes, the man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and a police officer. Despicable actions. Justice must be served.

And yet as I watched the video footage of the capture of this man, of what appeared to be police officers kicking him while he was on the ground, of what seems to be broken bones in the face and maybe a permanently damaged eye, I am saddened and grieved.

While I will hope there will be additional evidence to clarify what happened (e.g. there is no sound on the helicopter video footage), it currently appears like he was the recipient of vengeance.

Not only is vengeance wrong Biblically, but in an era when law enforcement is so frequently accused of demonstrating prejudice in the carrying out of their duties, this is the exact opposite of what is needed.

When vengeance is exhibited by law enforcement officers it damages the reputation and respect of all law enforcement officers. People will be less likely to respect law enforcement and less likely to think they will receive a fair shake in the justice system if the people responsible for rounding them up are going to begin carrying out judgement before they’ve been tried or sentenced? We need law enforcement that, as part of the justice system, is truly just in the carrying out of their duties. It is the court’s responsibility to determine guilt and punishment.

Law enforcement officers should be respected and obeyed.

All people, made in the image of God, should be respected and treated justly.

I’m thankful God does not treat us as we deserve, nor in an emotional fit of rage.

Dear Lord, help us to not do the same either.

 

P.S. May the officers (Officer Clayton and Deputy Lewis) who lost their lives in this incident be remembered for their work in the community and their desire to serve us.

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