Exploration 105 – The Historicity of the Bible

I am reading Douglas Petrovich’s Origins of the Hebrews to better understand Moses and the Exodus. I now see the Israelites entering Egypt in 1876 BC in the 12th dynasty where Joseph provided shelter for them during the seven year famine. I see Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years later in 1446 BC when Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty was Pharaoh.

What this confirms is the historicity of the Bible. That confirmation is made possible by examining evidence from two sources:

  • Archeological Research
    The rate of radioactive decay may have varied over time. As a clock Petrovich trusts Carbon-14 tests back only toward 1400 BC. Test results beyond that require an offset.
  • Biblical Research
    Biblical manuscript traditions give different accounts of the age of the world based on genealogies in Genesis. Putting the date of the flood at an earlier age provides time for known historical events to have occurred.

In the brief interview below Dr. Petrovich discusses both of these sources of evidence which together support the historicity of the Bible.

Path – Six Sentence Story

One path looked rough and narrow. The other one was wide.

He told me, “Take the narrow way.” I told Him, “Look, the other’s fine!”

My mind persisted: Don’t obey. But what do minds know anyway?

______

Denise offers the word “path” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

Seaweed floating to shore
Seaweed floating to shore

Exploration 104 – Behold the Hand, Behold the Nail

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 King James Version

In Hebrew the letters Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey (YHVH) are often translated as Lord, but Lord is a title, not a name. Rock Island Books in the video below attempts to answer the question: Who is YHVH?

The original paleo-Hebrew script was pictographic so we can find clues in each letter that is used. The Yod (Y) is the symbol for a hand. The Hey (H) is the symbol of a man with two hands raised in praise as if saying Behold! The Vav (V) is the symbol for a nail. Translating the word YHVH pictographically they come up with Behold the hand, behold the nail.

These letters can also be used as numbers. The Yod (Y) is the 10th letter representing ordinal perfection. The Hey (H) is the 5th letter representing grace and favor. The Vav (V) is the 6th letter representing man. They offer the following number translation: As a result of God’s anointed and appointed plan man will find himself surrounded on both sides by divine grace and favor.

They ultimately come to the conclusion that YHVH is Yeshua (Jesus). That surprised me, because I am used to thinking of YHVH being more the Father than the Son, but then after thinking of the Trinity perhaps Jesus is a better and more personal answer to the question especially considering that God has given Him a name above every name.

For more on the early Hebrew script and other such topics see Jeff A. Benner’s article, The Ancient Pictographic Alphabet, and the frontmatter to Douglas N. Petrovich’s The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script.

Bookmark – Six Sentence Story

Jeremy’s Bible had a red ribbon glued to the spine which served as a bookmark. Being a gift from his mother he kept it in great shape by not reading it.

Motivated by some controversy that stormed from social media onto his imagination, he opened the book expecting to get to the bottom of the mystery in no time. However, the parts he thought he knew he realized he barely knew at all and the parts he didn’t know – oh, those awesome parts he now knew he didn’t know – humbled him.

Years later when the cover fell open because the spine of the book had crumbled he noticed his mother’s handwriting. She wrote in small letters, shyly so as not to offend and yet boldly so as not to encourage unbelief, “May your life be blessed, my dear Jeremy.”

_____

Denise offers the word “bookmark” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

Red Blossoms
Red Blossoms

Exploration 103 – The Day Begins At Sunset

I suspect most people are aware that the biblical day begins at sunset or early evening sometime if one can’t see the sun actually set. However, there are people who would disagree with this biblical interpretation promoting sunrise rather than sunset as the starting point. Others, such as myself, are more than willing to set them straight since fixing the other guy is more entertaining than fixing oneself.

Some don’t care when the day starts so long as they can get to work on time. Today we can mechanically compromise and let some calculation or satellite pick out a dividing point between yesterday and today such as the stroke of midnight when the Cinderellas of the world best make sure they’re back home.

However, the fourth commandment expects us to keep the Sabbath (aka Sunday) holy. How are we going to do that if we don’t know when He wants the Sabbath to start and end? It is after all His commandment, not ours, to get some rest. Others think their acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus) allows them do what they want. They might be right. It might not be a salvation issue, but we may still be making a mess of our lives by not doing what He wants while we have the opportunity.

Psychologically, the reason we are tempted to think the day starts at sunrise is that is about the time we get out of bed. That is when we start doing stuff. If what we do is all that matters perhaps only the time from sunrise, or earlier dawn, to sunset, or later dusk, is all that matters. Forget about the night or turn on the light.

In Genesis 1 the first day starts in darkness. Elohim creates the heavens and the earth, but the earth is formless and void and darkness is over the deep and the Spirit of Elohim moves over the surface of the waters. There is a lot that Elohim is doing before He says, “Let there be light.”

By analogy with that first day our days need God’s handiwork on us after we stop working at sunset and before we get our turn to hopefully not make a mess of things at sunrise. That might be one reason to see why the day should start at sunset. We stop working (eventually) and let God offer dreams, insight, calls to repentance, and warnings with suggestions that we really do owe Him praise and thanks.

The sunset-start day puts what God does first. It makes sure what we do later during daylight hours is subordinate to what He wants, not what we want, not even what we think is possible for us to do. That’s the main reason I favor having the day begin at sunset, the time we stop working and acknowledge He is in control to begin the new day as the old one ends.

Light at the End of the Tunnel
Light at the End of the Tunnel

Exploration 102 – The Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and Luke

The Messiah is prophesied to have a virgin birth. Given that, his ancestry would come through his mother’s father or indirectly through his adoptive father. We are given two genealogies, one in Matthew 1 and one in Luke 3. Both of these genealogies appear to come through Joseph, His adoptive father. However, in Luke 3:23 Joseph’s father is Heli, but in Matthew 1:16 Joseph’s father is Jacob. They can’t both be right without some explanation for this variation.

One explanation would be that the Joseph in Matthew 1:16 is not the same Joseph mentioned in Luke 3:23. The best explanation I see at the moment is the Joseph in Matthew is Mary’s father. Mary’s father and her betrothed have the same name.

However, that explanation implies that there is something wrong with the Greek text of Matthew 1:16 from which our translations were made. If the Bible is inerrant it means the word ἄνδρα (husband) is a copying error from some earlier manuscript that could be translated as father. Is there evidence for such an earlier manuscript?

As Nehemia Gordon points out in the video below there are Hebrew manuscripts of the genealogy of Matthew with Joseph being the father, not husband, of Mary.

There are other explanations that could account for this such as Danny Zacharias’ explanation that all names were not included, but his explanation brings up another puzzle that there are only 13 generations between the Babylonian captivity and Mary when 14 were claimed to be there. This count would be resolved if the Joseph mentioned in Matthew were Mary’s father.

Mulberries
Mulberries

A Summer Walk in the Sunshine

Dale offers the theme “a summer walk in the sunshine” for this week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge.

These were taken on walks through the forest preserves in northeastern Illinois.

In the first photo there’s an understory of small maples that the photo didn’t emphasize as much as my memory does. In the last photo I was amazed by the shadows cast of those particular leaves.

Maple Seedlings Understory
Maple Seedlings Understory
Sun Through Leaves
Sun Through Leaves
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