Ezekiel 20:25-26 and How to Investigate Biblical Translation Issues

The following are rough notes from a Twitter discussion I had on the translation and meaning of Ezekiel 20:25-26. It was claimed God gave “bad laws” to the Israelites (eg. child sacrifice) because they wouldn’t follow His good laws. This is obviously problematic as its relates to the Goodness of God. These are my tweets and notes from that discussion.

– “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.)”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5414&t=KJV

– “Your reading, if true, is delightfully illogical. The people are so disobedient that god gives them different laws, which they suddenly and cheerfully obey, like the obedient followers they aren’t. And that cheerful obedience mirrors the disobedience of their ancestors.”

– Vs 23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law), because they had not obeyed the Law (Vs 24), “So I gave them other statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs 25)

“23 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. 25 So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live;”

– Verses 30-38 continue this idea of dispersing to the immoral nations and bringing them back home where they are still doing immoral things they brought with them (Vs 32 ‘we want to be like the nations).

Tweet Thread

Okay, continuing the Ezekiel 20:25-26 thead here. I’m going to talk about 3 main points I’ve come across so far from, in my opinion, the least convincing to the most convincing why this could be better translated ‘I gave them [over to] statutes’ instead of ‘I gave them statutes’.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017610935618465793

1. Translation for the word “gave” from: “nâthan, naw-than’; a primitive root; to give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.):” () Note wide usage of meanings. It can’t categorically be said to be wrong to use “gave over” here.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613563605716993

See translation of whole verse here: https://t.co/XW4vCFizeq
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017613689388720130

2. Logical Consistency of Argument (): Israelites so disobedient God gives them other laws…which He expects them to obey??! Infers wording does not indicate bad laws from God – because they wouldn’t obey anyway. Maintains logical consistency of argument.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017614811616686080

Did you read the link? It’s quite clever in its simplicity as an argument: From your side, you’re admitting the Israelites didn’t want to folllow God’s statutes so…God gave them more statutes…to follow? It’s not logical. It breaks the meaning of the passage.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1018211081569951744

3a. Immediate Context Makes It Obvious (): *head hanging in shame* I should have read the chapter much sooner *sigh*. Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017615444579102720

3b. Vs23 God swore to disperse Isrealites to the nations around them (who didn’t have God’s Law) because they had not obeyed the Law (vs24), “So I gave them statutes” meaning the statutes of the nations He dispersed them to (vs25). He claims ownership of statutes… Cont’d…
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616152980320256

3c. God claims ownership of the statutes by way of the dispersion resulting in them acquiring those statutes from the evil nations around them not in the giving of the statutes.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616394551222273

3d. This is the most convincing to me because it’s right there in the text and it just follows so immediately one verse to the other, sequentially, and it maintains its internal consistency. It’s so powerful because it’s so simple.
– https://twitter.com/shovas/status/1017616911683768320

The End is Near: Seeing the Kingdom that is near, here, within, and coming.

The Kingdom of Heaven is more than meets the eye: The Kingdom of Heaven has come near you, it is here, it is within you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is coming.

I was struck by an idea presented in a recent church service: The Kingdom of Heaven is more than meets the eye: The Kingdom of Heaven has come near you, it is here, it is within you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is coming. We tend to think the Kingdom of Heaven as something in the future that we’re all waiting for, and that’s partly true, but it also carries other profound dimensions.

The phrases Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God refer to the same thing. Jesus used both phrases one right after the other in Matthew 19:23-24, explaining to His disciples how difficult it was for people to enter the Kingdom of God/Heaven.

The End is Near

When Jesus sent out the disciples ahead of Him to the places He would soon visit, he told them, “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:8-9)

Jesus had been teaching His disciples about the kingdom of Heaven and now the disciples were preparing the people to hear about it, as well.

You and I are those people and God has sent out his disciples to reach us. Will we welcome his servants? Or, will we reject them and have it said against us,

Say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.Luke 10:10-11

Continue reading “The End is Near: Seeing the Kingdom that is near, here, within, and coming.”

Those who mourn are blessed: Reading scripture backwards.

A few weeks ago our pastor taught on the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12, and he highlighted something I hadn’t really considered: The verses from 3 to 12 are not simply separate sayings, like little nuggets of wisdom. Instead, they form a whole and each verse builds on the one before. They reveal a pattern for the life of a Christ-follower.

A few weeks ago our pastor taught on the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12, and he highlighted something I hadn’t really considered: The verses from 3 to 12 are not simply separate sayings, like little nuggets of wisdom. They’re not like some parts you might find in Proverbs, superficially a list of individual, wise sayings. Instead, they form a whole and each verse builds on the one before. Have a quick read through with that in mind and we’ll pick up after,

Jesus began to teach them,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

The first thing that struck me was that these people were “blessed.” Blessed?! Blessed… Maybe they were blessed because each ‘bad thing’ was followed up by a comforting thing, like “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” but that’s a little morbid, isn’t?

Continue reading “Those who mourn are blessed: Reading scripture backwards.”

Directly Helping the Poor and Needy #TimCard #Charity365

That awkward moment… when you see a panhandler at the intersection as you’re driving your daily commute to and from work. Each and every day, the same man or woman for a few days or weeks at a time, then maybe a different person for a while, there most days of the work week, and most days you hope to avoid them or to avoid eye contact, at the least. A few more intersections, then you’re home free – for one more day…

‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ -Matthew 25:37b-39

That awkward moment…

…when you see a panhandler at the intersection as you’re driving your daily commute to and from work. Each and every day, the same man or woman for a few days or weeks at a time, then maybe a different person for a while, there most days of the work week, and most days you hope to avoid them or to avoid eye contact, at the least. A few more intersections, then you’re home free – for one more day…

And you feel a little guilty, but it quickly fades away once you reach your warm home, familiar family and friends, and your safe bed, and your peaceful sleep…

Until your next commute…

Continue reading “Directly Helping the Poor and Needy #TimCard #Charity365”

Creation doesn’t matter to my faith. Right?

Note: This post is a point-form summary for a small group discussion that I compiled from the last section, “Real, Eternal Value Intended by the Original Authors”, of my previous post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Update 2017-07-29: Our small group discussion brought up some interesting points. Here’s some small updates I sent the group after the meet up…

Update 2017-07-29 (1): If anybody’s interested, here’s an AiG article on the ‘topical parallelism’ of creation days that Paul brought up (spoiler: it’s there on a surface read but the devil is in the details, as always; also like we discussed there’s no saying you can’t use various literary devices in different kinds of literature, even historical, it doesn’t take way from it): https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/12/10/its-not-so-parallel/

Update 2017-07-29 (2): I also didn’t know where to go with the point made about Christ needing to be a blood-relationship to a real Adam versus Christ atoning for our sin (we all sin, no Adam needed) or atoning for our sin nature (from Adam, so blood relationship required). In evolution, there’s no first Adam so we’re not blood related so biblically the kinsmen redeemer idea doesn’t work (so did Jesus act do anything?) But if Jesus only died for our sin acts then maybe a first Adam isn’t needed anyway. I don’t have a solid answer, it’s worth some googling, but apparently it has to do with Original Sin (sin nature) vs Imputed Sin (Adam’s sin is “credited” to us). The first is dealt with by the Holy Spirit through sanctification over time, the second was dealt with by Christ’s righteousness being credited to us (so would require a real first Adam for it to make any sense). http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-difference-between-original-sin-and-imputed-sin

Update 2017-07-29 (3): Btw, I don’t pretend perfection in understanding all this is achievable, but I just love how when you go digging usually you find these things have already been covered and they fit right in.

Note: This post is a point-form summary for a small group discussion that I compiled from the last section, “Real, Eternal Value Intended by the Original Authors”, of my previous post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Is Genesis meant to be taken plainly?

  • What was the author intending to convey?
    • Poetry, parable, etc., or history?
    • No Jewish poetic forms (eg. parallelism absent), scholars agree
  • Jesus and the Gospels said they were given by Moses
  • Genesis 12-50 are not really disputed but 1-11 are
  • Colophons on tablets indicate knowledge known to the author up to the end of the tablet indicating historical records
  • Numbered days, ‘evening and morning’ language, strong support for ordinary, 24hour days
  • Similar language structure in Numbers 7 shows evidence original language choice in Genesis 1 specifically intended ordinary 24hour days as we experience them

Reading: Should Genesis Be Taken Literally, Genesis Is History

Continue reading “Creation doesn’t matter to my faith. Right?”

True Feasting. A Thanksgiving Reflection on Isaiah 58.

Is not this the kind of feasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

True Feasting

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we feasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your feasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your feasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot feast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of feast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a feast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of feasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to fast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Based on Isaiah 58

Misericordia, Soli Deo Gloria

Money is a Test

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The following is an excerpt from James McDonald’s “Found a Faithful Steward” blog from June 23, 2014. It hit home with me because it started at basics and progressed beyond to some things we don’t often consider in how we think about and use our money.

Jesus said,
“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also”
Matthew 6:21

Money is a test of your:

Work ethic: While not universal, generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently did you work, save, and invest in your twenties and thirties? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.

Self-control: You’ll never experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people spend more than they make for years or decades. They’re failing the test, which often leads to financial bondage, tension, and misery in their homes.

Integrity: How did you get what you have? Did you cut corners or twist the truth to win a deal? Withhold taxes? Neglect tithing? Jesus taught, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The money test demonstrates your integrity—or lack therof.

Love for people: When you’re able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one knows. Perhaps you didn’t get a tax deduction. You simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.

Love for God: Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because it’s the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of people’s finances, He doesn’t truly have their hearts.

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Found a Faithful Steward, James McDonald

 

An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ with Daniel Pech -Selah.ca Guest

Why do we espouse Young Earth Creation? Earth is a member of the total cosmos that God created. Would it not be more accurate to call it Young Cosmos Creation? Today, it is popular to think of Earth as a member of ‘the cosmos’. Secularist cosmologists even think of her as entirely the product of him. But not even the cosmological constants are sufficient; their fine-tuning for life is necessary, but not central. There must be an Earth.

I’m happy to introduce a paper by Daniel Pech, an enthusiastic creationist with lots of ideas, in which he proposes a reading of Genesis 1 that includes subtly more nuanced perspectives between the heavens and the earth while retaining a young-earth creationist perspective..

Daniel contacted me after reading my post concerning the complementary nature of Genesis 1 and 2 (as opposed to a self-contained and contradictory nature).

You might be interested in getting to know Daniel a little bit more. If that’s the case, head over to my post entitled Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest.

The first section below, The Best of Both Worlds, is a primer to Daniel’s main idea in his paper on a reading of Genesis that highlights what Daniel believes is a lack of reading the full ‘dimensionality’ of the text.

The second section is an excerpt to Daniel’s paper which more fully reveals his argument and direction.

I hope you enjoy the introduction and take a look at his full paper if you’re interested.

The Best of Both Worlds
by Daniel Pech

The best of both the physics and terrestrial readings conceivably can both be that meant by the author of the account.

By a perhaps very simplistic analogy, suppose we wanted to make a pictograph of a particular portion of a particular year of the Tour De France in which some or even all of the riders saw, on a particular portion of the road, an unusual event in which a flock of birds were on and near the road eating seeds. Here is a single pictograph every bit of which serves to account this particular instance of this particular year of the Tour De France:

O<O O<O
O<O O<O
O<O O<O

Notice that the selfsame set of data comprising the above series of shapes can serve simultaneously to tell both halves of the whole basic story.

Continue reading “An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ with Daniel Pech -Selah.ca Guest”

Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest

I’d like to introduce Daniel Pech, an aspiring creatonist, biblical writer, and philosopher, amidst many other things. Daniel forwarded me his views on Genesis 1 and 2 in response to a blog of my own on the complementary nature, as opposed to a contradictory and self-contained nature, of the first two chapters of Genesis.  I hope here to provide a short meet and greet bio of Daniel to provide a more personal introduction to lead into fuller post later on one of Daniel’s papers.

You can see for yourself Daniel’s prolific writing on his Academia.edu profile. From the art and biology, to the Psalms and Noah, to music and philosophy and beyond, Daniel writes has quite a bit, to say the least. His copious writing style belies very deep and strong critical thinking on the topics he is writing on.

You will see Daniel again on this site under the title An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ where he introduces us to his view that there are extra dimensions of Genesis that a plain-reading is missing, while holding to a young-earth reading.

I asked Daniel to introduce himself with a few questions,

Continue reading “Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest”

Building the case for ancient blood and DNA

A team of international researchers led by the University of Victoria’s April Nowell has discovered 250,000-year-old protein residue – the oldest ever found – extracted from stone tools used by early humans. –Animal residue on ancient stone tools shines light on early humans

Keep an eye on more and more discoveries of blood and blood proteins on ancient artifacts and in ancient fossils – something experimental science deems impossible until it now becomes unavoidable with many recent discoveries.

Now, even without a plausible mechanism for preserving this organic material, science is beginning to say it is possible for blood artifacts to last hundreds of thousands and millions of years, in spite of the clear and obvious conclusion from experience that they decay far, far faster.

What is happening is a case is being built that blood can last millions of years in order to avoid the contradiction with claimed ages of presumed ancient species such as dinosaurs. The truth is blood, blood proteins, and DNA can last thousands of years, not hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

In the near future it will become common place to extract blood and DNA from fossils thought to be millions of years old but it’s not because they are, it’s because they’re thousands of years old, as the blood testifies to and as the Bible book of Genesis plainly says.

Further Reading