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

Exploration 101 – Who Is King Right Now?

Justin J van Rensburg used the Hebrew manuscript of Revelation he recently translated to resolve a question about who is king right now, God or Satan.

From the Old Testament there is no doubt who is King right now. It is God. (Psalm 145:13, Jeremiah 10:10, Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 10:14)

In the New Testament, we read how Satan tempted Jesus: “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (Luke 4:6) Did Satan really have something to give Jesus? Don’t forget, Satan is a liar (John 8:44) and Luke is merely reporting what Satan said, not claiming what Satan said was true.

As a test, ask yourself whether you think Satan was lying or whether he had something he could offer Jesus. Next consider Revelation 11:15.

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15 King James Version

Do the words “are become” suggest that the Lord was not King prior to this event? Van Rensburg compared his translation of this verse from the Hebrew manuscript:

Then the seventh messenger blew, and there were many voices in the heavens, which said, “The rich ones of the world, all of them came after our lord Yeshua, and he will reign from everlasting unto everlasting!”

Revelation 11:15, van Rensburg translation of the Hebrew manuscript

Note the difference. In the Hebrew manuscript the rich ones of the world now come after Yeshua (Jesus). His rulership has not changed. He has not become King. He has always been King, but He is now acknowledged as King by everyone.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Balak, 17 Tammuz, 5782 – July 16, 2022
Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9
Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8
Brit Chadashah: Romans 11:25-32
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley

Labyrinth – Six Sentence Story

The easiest way to get out of a labyrinth is not to go in. They’re all dead ends anyway with monsters seeking someone to devour. Guard your heart and train your imagination to stay focused on better things.

Every time Jeremy got lost in a labyrinth he realized his father was right. He’d promise, should he be given the insight to find his way out, that he’d focus on better things, but times would get easy and he’d get lost again.

The final time Jeremy got lost the monsters found what they were looking for before he found his way out, but at the moment when those beasts gloated in triumph he cried out and saw his father run toward him with open arms.

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

Luke 15:20 – “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” (KJV)

Morning Light
Morning Light

Focusing On Composition

Dale offers the theme “focusing on composition” for this week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge.

I see composition as a harmony between overall elements although I am not sure what it is.

In the first photo there is the curve of the hill contrasting with the tall trees. In the second there is the circle of the gate focusing attention on the leaf, brick wall and light from the shaded window. In the last photo there are horizonal lines made by clouds, water and sky to provide the harmony.

Tennessee
Tennessee Rest Area on the Interstate
Patio Through Iron Gate
Atlantic Ocean, Clouds and Boat
Atlantic Ocean, Clouds and Boat

Exploration 100 – Masoretic or Septuagint Old Testament?

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:4 King James Version

It amazed me recently to see how much of Hebrews is about Melchizedek, his priesthood and covenant. The Old Testament contains only two references to him:

  • Melchizedek offered bread and wine to Abram after his victory and Abram gave a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-20.
  • David referenced Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4.

Since Hebrews 7:3 makes much of him as “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (KJV), one way to discredit Christianity would be to make sure Melchizedek was someone with a father, a mother and a limited lifespan. One popular candidate has been Noah’s son Shem, but didn’t Shem die long before Abram was born?

In Genesis 11:10-32 there is a genealogy from Shem to Abraham with the ages of the fathers when their heirs were born. Oddly those ages in the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT) differ by exactly 100 years from the Greek Septuagint (LXX). The MT offers the possibility that Melchizedek in Genesis 14 could have been Shem while the LXX does not. Did someone change the MT to discredit Hebrews? These differing manuscript traditions can’t both be right.

The shorter MT dates also provide problems for creationists. The MT compresses the time between the global flood and the tower of Babel to about 100 years. This might not be enough time for a large enough population to come from the eight survivors on the Ark for them to consider building a tower. It also makes it difficult for the Egyptian pyramids to have been constructed after the global flood.

Nathan Hoffman has an informative video promoting the ages found in the LXX and showing the problems that arise by accepting the ages in the MT. The creationists Lita Sanders and Robert Carter, however, criticized Hoffman’s position siding with the MT. Others such as Douglas Petrovich, Steve Rudd and Henry B. Smith sided with the LXX.

I think Hoffman is right. That means the time since creation is perhaps 6650 years rather than about 6000 years. Admittedly some think the world is much older. I no longer share those evolutionist views. The upper bound I now use when thinking about the age of the world is 7700 years.

This concern over the textual variations between the MT and the LXX also means that it is helpful knowing both Greek and Hebrew to better understand what the original autographs actually contained.

Although the MT lost (in my view) to the LXX on this variation, there are other questions such as how long were the Israelites in Egypt – 215 or 430 years or some other amount of time? On that question Douglas Petrovich sided with the MT, but that is another story.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Chukat, 10 Tammuz, 5782 – July 9, 2022
Torah: Numbers 19:1-22:1
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-11:33
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 9:11-28; John 3:10-21
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Two Fish
Two Fish

Strike – Six Sentence Story

Miriam’s mother, Jennifer, answered the doorbell to find Snaky, a dragon from the Land of Wormy Delights disguised in a tailored suit, asking her if he could borrow her daughter as a sacrifice. In a loud voice Jennifer called to Miriam, “There’s a nice-looking, young man here who would like to borrow you as a sacrifice to his lord of the 33rd something-or-other (degree) degree…lucywoosi (Illuminatus) illuminatus…?… (Illuminati) latiwhati…(palm slap)”.

As soon as Miriam heard the word “sacrifice” she grabbed the can of Dra-Gone! dragon repellant, the brand with the slogan You never know when you’ll never need it, and rushed to protect her mother shaking the can to charge it for a direct strike onto Snaky’s snout. As soon as Snaky saw the can he ran.

That stuff must really work, thought Jennifer, wondering if they might squirt just an itsy-bitsy bit of it as a test in the street in spite of multiple warnings on the can to never – ever – even think of doing something like that. After the two adventurous experimenters took deep breaths and Miriam gingerly touched the sprayer to release an itsy-bitsy bit they ran back inside gagging, bolting the door, sealing the frame with duct tape while the neighborhood dogs went bananas.

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Denise offers the prompt word “strike” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories. This story is a continuation of Eruption – Six Sentence Story.

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I am grateful to Sammi Cox, editor of Whispers and Echoes, for accepting my very short story Confusing Confetti.

Morning Silhouettes
Morning Silhouettes
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