Monday, 29 July 2013

Monday quote

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, "Mine!"

Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920).

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Highpriesthood of Annas ben Seth's family

As mentioned previously Annas had 5 sons who became high priests:
  • Eleazar (16-17)
  • Jonathan (36-37, 44)
  • Theophilus (37-41)
  • Matthias (42-43)
  • Annas (61-62)
Annas' daughter was married to Joseph Caiaphas (18-36) so Caiaphas was Annas' son in law (John 18:13).

Annas' son Theophilus had a son Matthias who was highpriest c. 65-68.

HighpriestRelationshipYear
Annas ben Seth6-15
Ishmael ben Phiabi15-16
Eleazar ben AnnasSon16-17
Simon ben Camithus17-18
Joseph CaiaphasSon-in-law18-36
Jonathan ben AnnasSon36-37
Theophilus ben AnnasSon37-41
Simon Cantatheras ben Boethus41
Matthias ben AnnasSon41-44
Elioenai ben Simon Cantatheras44
Jonathan ben Annas (restored)(Son)44 
[Cimtheras]
Joseph ben Camydus [?ben Cantos]44-47
Ananias ben Nebedeus47-58 
[Jonathan]
Ishmael ben Phiabi58-62
Joseph Cabi ben Simon62-63
Annas ben AnnasSon63
Joshua ben Damneus63
Joshua ben Gamaliel63-65
Matthias ben TheophilusGrandson65-67
Phinehas ben Samuel67-70

There is a potential allusion to this family by Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus as I describe here.
Caiaphas fits the position of the rich man in this story: he is wealthy, he has 5 brothers-in-law, he is part of the ruling class (dressed in purple), and at least one of his brothers-in-law probably denies the resurrection.
The brother-in-law who denied the resurrection was Annas ben Annas as mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1). However it is likely that Annas the Elder was a Sadducee, and probably all 5 sons; Caiaphas was a Sadducee. The Sadducees denied the resurrection. If Caiaphas was the rich man in the story (which seems both reasonable and probable) then the use of Lazarus as a name would also have been intentional. As I wrote earlier,
We learn that Mary poured perfume on Jesus' feet (John 12:3). This story is also told in Matthew 26 and Mark 14. It is probably the same event but the woman's name is not given. They are in the house of Simon the Leper. So Lazarus may have known Simon, or Simon may be Lazarus' name.
John writes,
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:1-3).
Matthew relates,
Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. (Matthew 26:6-7)
And Mark similar. All 3 authors mention that the disciples were indignant that the perfume was not sold and the money given to the poor; John specifies Judas, and Matthew says it was the disciples (presumably at the instigation of Judas), and Mark just mentions some were indignant. The cost of the perfume is a large sum (Matthew), at least 300 denarii (John and Mark). All 3 specify Bethany as the location. The authors are clearly describing the same event. Lazarus was either the friend of Simon the Leper or, more probably, Simon was Lazarus' name. It is likely that Simon had previously been cured as he was now hosting a dinner, something he would not be able to do were he unclean. Simon was quite possibly healed by Jesus.

In summary Luke 16 has a rich man
  • dressed in purple and linen;
  • eating lavishly;
  • having 5 brothers; and
  • possibly sceptical about the resurrection of the body
and a poor man
  • named Lazarus;
  • covered in skin lesions;
  • starving; and
  • surrounded by unclean animals.
The highpriest Caiaphas fits the profile of the rich man (though he is prudently unnamed) and Simon the Leper fitted the profile of the poor man prior to his healing. Lazarus is mentioned by name in the story so that Lazarus' subsequent resurrection from the dead will bring to mind this story.

It seems likely that this parable was told as a warning to Caiaphas, especially in view of the subsequent raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Yet it also seems interesting that the 5 brothers also became highpriests; only 1 (Eleazar) had been so prior to Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus said these things to the leaders in Israel, and all Jesus' words and deeds were told the Pharisees, priests, teachers of the law. It seems likely that not only did Caiaphas know of this story, but so did other rulers including Caiaphas' brothers-in-law.

Did Caiaphas take this to heart? Did his brothers respond to the warning after they learnt of Lazarus' revival and then Jesus' resurrection?

Monday, 22 July 2013

Monday quote

The question is not whether atheists can believe in universal morals or whether they can act morally; they are, after all, made in the image of God. The real question is whether such belief is intellectually and logically warranted.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Venomous poison

The 1980s song Poison by Alice Cooper has come on the radio a few times recently. Though I know of this song from several years ago the lyrics have recently reminded me of Proverbs 7.

One could argue that Poison is somewhat sadistic and not merely seductive. Possibly, though I think the physical descriptors can be appreciated as metaphors for the evil behind lustful seduction, especially as the man is still tempted despite his knowledge of her harm. Proverbs likewise uses the metaphor of death, though also linking it to spiritual death.

Proverbs 7 and Poison below.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday quote

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask—half our great theological and metaphysical questions—are like that.

C. S. Lewis. A Grief Observed.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The timing of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

God gave the Israelites specific commands concerning the celebration of the Passover and the associated Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Passover was instituted at the time God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. The month of Nisan (Abib) in the Spring became the first month of the year for the Hebrews. Every household was to take one lamb on the 10th day of the month and kill it on the 14th of the month.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight (between the evenings). (Exodus 12:5-7)
Twilight being the time between sundown and the sky turning black. The sky remains lit for a short time after the sun disappears over the horizon. By the time of the New Testament it appears that the Jews considered that the new day commenced at the beginning of twilight; modern Judaism still starts the day at sundown. It seems to me, during the time of the Torah at least, that the new day started at dawn. There are several reasons to think this though I will not address them here, I will continue on the assumption of a new day starting at dawn.

Celebration Day Date
Passover 0 Nisan 14
Unleavened Bread 1 Nisan 15
Unleavened Bread 2 Nisan 16
Unleavened Bread 3 Nisan 17
Unleavened Bread 4 Nisan 18
Unleavened Bread 5 Nisan 19
Unleavened Bread 6 Nisan 20
Unleavened Bread 7 Nisan 21

Leviticus reiterates that the lamb is to be killed on the 14th day.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. But you shall present a food offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.” (Leviticus 23:5-8)
Numbers repeats the command prior to the second Passover 1 year after leaving Egypt.
Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, (Numbers 9:2-5)
The first Passover occurred on Nisan 14 at twilight. The firstborn were killed at midnight (Exo 12:29) still the 14th day of Nisan. Pharaoh summoned Moses and told him to leave. The Egyptians also urged the Israelites to leave. They set out that morning.
They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments. (Numbers 33:3-4)
So they set out in the morning when the new day commenced, that is Nisan 15. The bread was not risen due to the haste at which the Israelites left (Exo 12:39). God also instituted the Feast of Unleavened Bread at this time.
This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:14-20)

You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, (Exodus 34:18)
Therefore unleavened bread was to be eaten from the evening of the 14th until the evening of the 21st, but not necessarily during the day of the 14th prior to twilight, or after sunset on the 21st. The Israelites were to eat bread without yeast at the Passover meal and during the days of Unleavened Bread but it does not appear to be that the yeast was to be removed from the dwelling until the 1st day of Unleavened Bread, that is Nisan 15.

On the 1st day of Unleavened Bread (15th) there was to be a feast, and also on the last day (21st).
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year. (Exodus 13:3-10)
Both the 1st day (15th) and the 7th day (21st) were to be a holy convocation, that is, there was to be no work done.
On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord's Passover, and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. In the same way you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. (Numbers 28:16-25)
Further, there were to be special sacrifices to God during this festival. It was one of the 3 main festivals for Israel: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest (Weeks), and the Feast of Ingathering (Booths).
“Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 23:14-15)
It is notable that the Passover could not be eaten by anyone who was unclean. For those who had become unclean Passover was deferred for 1 month.
And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day,... The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the Lord. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. (Numbers 9:6-11)
Moses repeated the instructions concerning the Passover and the Feast of Unleavend Bread during his sermon prior to entering Canaan.
Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, but at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the Lord your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God. You shall do no work on it. (Deuteronomy 16:1-8)
Again we read the Passover is to occur at twilight, they are not to eat leaven for 7 days. They are to go to there tents in the morning after Passover, that is Nisan 15, day one of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and eat unleavened bread for 6 days inclusive, Nisan 15 to Nisan 20, and hold a holy convocation on day 7, Nisan 21.

On entering Canaan under Joshua they celebrated the Passover
While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:10-12)
To summarise
  • The day commenced at sunrise
  • A lamb was selected on Nisan 10
  • Passover occurred on Nisan 14
  • The passover lamb was killed at twilight and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread
  • No yeast was to be eaten from twilight Nisan 14 until twilight Nisan 21
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on Nisan 15
  • The dwelling was cleared of all yeast on Day 1 of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15
  • A holy convocation was held on Day 1, Nisan 15
  • A feast was held on Day 1, Nisan 15
  • Sacrifices were made on Day 1 thru Day 7, Nisan 15 to Nisan 21
  • A holy convocation was held on Day 7, Nisan 21
  • A feast was held on Day 7, Nisan 21

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday quote

[Plaintiffs] cannot, by simply filing suit and crying ‘character assassination,’ silence those who hold divergent views, no matter how adverse those views may be to plaintiffs’ interests. Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science rather than by the methods of litigation. More papers, more discussion, better data, and more satisfactory models—not larger awards of damages—mark the path towards superior understanding of the world around us.

Frank Easterbrook

Friday, 5 July 2013

Regular sacrifices in ancient Israel

In Numbers 27-28 Moses instructs Israel on the regular sacrifices to be offered thru-out the year. The bull, ram and lamb are all burnt offerings (Leviticus 1). All are also offered with set amounts of flour and oil. The goat is a sin offering (Leviticus 6:24-30). All animals are male.

All sacrifices are in addition to other sacrifices required on the same day. So on the Sabbath there are 4 lambs offered: 2 for the Daily Offering and 2 for the Sabbath Offering.

There is no extra sacrifice required at Passover but there is with the first day of Unleavened Bread, the festival associated with Passover. Passover occurs on day 14 and Unleavened Bread days 15–21. This is an 8 day feast.

The Feast of Weeks is also called the Feast of Harvest and Pentecost.

The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) is also called the Feast of Ingathering. It is also an 8 day feast.

Regular Sacrifices
Name Frequency Month Day Bull Ram Lamb Goat
Daily Daily



2
Sabbath Weekly
Saturday

2
New Moon Monthly
1 2 1 7 1
Passover Yearly Nisan (1) 14



Unleavened Bread 1 Yearly Nisan (1) 15 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 2 Yearly Nisan (1) 16 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 3 Yearly Nisan (1) 17 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 4 Yearly Nisan (1) 18 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 5 Yearly Nisan (1) 19 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 6 Yearly Nisan (1) 20 2 1 7 1
Unleavened Bread 7 Yearly Nisan (1) 21 2 1 7 1
Weeks Yearly Sivan (3) 4 2 1 7 1
Trumpets Yearly Tishri (7) 1 1 1 7 1
Atonement Yearly Tishri (7) 10 1 1 7 1
Booths 1 Yearly Tishri (7) 15 13 2 14 1
Booths 2 Yearly Tishri (7) 16 12 2 14 1
Booths 3 Yearly Tishri (7) 17 11 2 14 1
Booths 4 Yearly Tishri (7) 18 10 2 14 1
Booths 5 Yearly Tishri (7) 19 9 2 14 1
Booths 6 Yearly Tishri (7) 20 8 2 14 1
Booths 7 Yearly Tishri (7) 21 7 2 14 1
Booths 8 Yearly Tishri (7) 22 1 2 7 1

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Luke and the Pastoral Epistles

Charles Francis Digby Moule wrote an article titled "The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles" which was also published in a collection of his writings titled Essays in New Testament Interpretation.

In the article he makes the claim that Luke was the amanuensis (secretary) of the Pastoral Epistles. He bases this on 3 divisions of increasing complexity
  1. Words
  2. Phrases
  3. Theology
He claims that all 3 of these in the Pastorals have features of a Lukan style. I find the first division (based on word choices) more convincing and interesting than the second 2. Other items suggestive of Lukan authorship mentioned are
  1. Luke is the only person with Paul when he wrote his second letter to Timothy
  2. Pseudoepigraphia would not include certain comments
On the first point Paul states that he has sent Tychicus to Ephesus and Luke alone was with him (2Ti 4:11).

On the second point the request to bring cloak (2Ti 4:13) would not be included by an anonymous author writing that Paul though he may die soon, knowing that Paul had in fact been martyred. This statement also authenticates the dating of the Pastorals.

Further, certain posthumous comments would be in very poor taste such as Paul stating he hoped to come to Timothy soon (1Ti 4:13) if Paul was in fact, by the time of writing, deceased.

Moule suggests Luke had greater leeway in the composition than I think likely.

He also suggests that Luke collected the other Pauline letters after Paul's death and compiled them into a single volume. This could explain why the Pastorals were not initially included the collections of Paul's epistles.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Beheading infidels

Syrian priest Francois Murad was martyred on June 23. Militants in Syria attacked a monastery then staged a public beheading. While I think there are situations of justified killing such as warfare and capital crimes, there is no evidence these people were combatants. The militants stated they were applying the law of Allah—presumably against who they considered infidels.

What seems somewhat ominous to me is the preoccupation with the act of beheading (often applied to Christians).

From the Vatican
On Sunday, June 23 the Syrian priest Fran├žois Murad was killed in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge. This is confirmed by a statement of the Custos of the Holy Land sent to Fides Agency. The circumstances of the death are not fully understood. According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.
A video recorded on a cell phone can be seen here, about 9 minutes. It seems legitimate. Warning, viewing is highly distressing.
 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Monday quote

In the end, our theology is shaped by our questions: what concerns we come to the Scriptures with. Inappropriate questions result in poor theology. Poorly balanced priorities in our questions lead to poor theology. Forcing Scripture to answer questions that it is unconcerned with leads to poor theology. And, of course, an unwillingness to listen to Scripture leads to... well poor theology.

Martin Glynn.

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