Dragons In Genesis awam
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Perhaps no other single book of the Hebrew Bible is as important to the New Testament authors as Zechariah. From it we find the idea of a suffering servant figure, a Davidic savior, one who is pierced through, who enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey and will remove the sins of the people before being elevated to the throne of heaven to sit beside G…
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Could Yahweh be a dying-and-rising god? Does Malachi speak to the worship of Asherah in the Jerusalem Temple? Was Yahweh originally an angel who served his father, El Elyon? All these questions and more are raised by the minor prophets who saw the restoration of Judah as a parallel with the restoration of nature and linked it with annual sacrifices…
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From giants and witches, to sun gods and talking animals, the Bible is littered with strange mythology. Curious stories concerning mystical beings can be found in every book, but one of the strangest stories is that of Jonah. Not only is a man eaten by a fish, but this prophet might just shed light on another myth which was prominent in the ancient…
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Throughout the New Testament we’re treated to countless examples of literary influence from the older texts, including the Book of Enoch and the works of Homer. But most striking are perhaps the numerous examples of New Testament authors borrowing directly from the Hebrew Bible in order to craft their most memorable scenes. From the nativity story …
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As the returning exiles begin settling in Judah and our timeline moves nearer the Intertestamental Period, the literature looks both forward and backward in time, to themes of a coming day of judgment that will lay the foundation for Christianity and to the idea that past sins caused their recent downfall which will soon inspire the mythic history …
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The influence from neighboring cultures in Second Temple Judaism cannot be overstated, but that influence shows up in some surprising places and comes from some surprising sources. Perhaps none more alarming are the Babylonians themselves who took the upper classes from Jerusalem hostage. From this hostile neighbor the Jews would get a new writing …
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The Bible is filled with strange scenes, but few can compare with the opening of Ezekiel when the sky is filled with clouds, fire, and lightning and a vision of a strange entity described as “wheels within wheels” terrifies the prophet so that he cannot speak for a week. But it’s hardly the strangest thing we’ll encounter in this episode. There’s a…
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The Mediterranean region is littered with myths of storm gods fighting great sea monsters, and Israel is no different. Their dragon goes by the name Leviathan and wishes to swallow up the world, and Yahweh, in a great tumultuous flood. This is part of their creation myth, but it can serve another purpose. It can be recycled to explain military loss…
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As the destruction of the temple draws near, Jeremiah offers mixed messages of hope and despair, of violent ends and joyous beginnings. The city will be dismantled, no, it will be burned down. The temple will be toppled, or perhaps consumed by cleansing flames. And through it all the story of Zarathustra shines as the prophet replays the court scen…
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When the Jewish exiles returned from Babylon they brought with them sweeping changes to their religion, changes formed during and after their captivity. Many changes were unwelcome, but as they were backed by the Persian state, they held sway in the newly-built Jerusalem. As their reforms took root, older forms of Yahweh worship were deemed apostat…
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Throughout human history people have attempted to explain tragedy with divine wrath. Great calamity seems to invite magical explanations as we seek meaning in our suffering. The final chapters of Isaiah attempt exactly that, ascribing their crushing defeat at the hands of the Babylonians to Yahweh’s anger and using such an explanation as a polemic …
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Throughout the Hebrew Bible we’ve found important sections that were inspired by older myths and stories. From the opening chapter of Genesis drawing upon the Babylonian creation epic to Jacob’s struggle with the mysterious figure by the river taking details from the Epic of Gilgamesh, outside inspiration permeates the stories. But were the stories…
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The Hebrew Bible is filled with prohibitions against human sacrifice as Yahweh repeatedly states he is against such practices and has never asked for them. Yet buried within the text are stories which the redactors forgot to remove, stories in which Yahweh fiery pits are maintained for the purpose of sacrifice children and even entire armies to the…
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The Jubilee Year was a time of change in Jewish lives, a time when property was returned to its original owner and people returned to their homes. A time to return the disrupted nation to a more orderly state. It should come as no surprise that this concept was linked with the Great Flood in which sin was washed away, leaving the world ready for a …
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Throughout the story of Jesus we find countless references to Old Testament passages, and no book of the Hebrew Bible is quoted more often than Isaiah. The contents of this book is concerned with themes of judgment and atonement, the remission of sin and the consequences of corruption, the destruction of the temple and the return to glory, and most…
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The Song of Songs is a collection of erotic poetry that somehow made its way into Jewish scripture, but how did this occur? Apologists have long struggled with this idea, offering thee excuse that it’s secretly an allegory for the love of Yahweh to his chosen people. But the poetry contained in this book might be a love poem between two other deiti…
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We conclude our study of Proverbs with sections 3-8 of the book which includes the Poem of the Good Wife, a work that outlines what it means to be a good woman and the type of person a man should look for when choosing a partner. Moreover, it tells what a husband can expect from a good wife. Though this poem, and the book which contains it, might f…
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The book of Proverbs, attributed to King Solomon despite the fact that most sections are individually attributed to other editors, provides us with poems, phrases, guidance, and sometimes-timeless advice. And in a few places it gives us a glimpse into long-forgotten aspects of Jewish mythology, such as a great Mother Goddess who helped create the u…
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In the wake of the the Babylonian Conquest many Jews found themselves living in captivity, prisoners of their conquerors. Their city destroyed, their worship interrupted, they longed for the days when Yahweh would once again rule over them and provide safety for their nation and community. Thus was born the lament psalms, songs meant to inform God …
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Imagine ancient Jews who didn't observe kosher laws, had no special interest in Jerusalem, didn't practice circumcision, married foreigners, and wrote stories that never mentioned their god. This may seem difficult to imagine, but for Jews living outside of Judah, this was ordinary. Esther explores life in the Persian Empire through a tale of court…
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The Torah is centered around the idea that the descendants of Abraham are the rightful residents of the land of Israel and the religion they follow is the one true faith. Their law code comes from Moses and the land is granted to them according to divine covenant with Yahweh. But according to the Bible itself Abraham came from Babylon and the Law C…
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The Post-Exilic return to Judah from Babylon is central to Jewish theology, but why? Shouldn't their religion have simply picked up where the First Temple left off? What if the Second Temple wasn't a mere continuation of the old religion, but a fresh start? What if Moses and Joshua, and even Abraham were stories told to support a new religion which…
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The wild inventions of the Chronicler continue in this episode as we cover the entirety of the First Temple Period beginning with King Solomon and ending with the Temple's destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, ushering in the influence of Persian rule and religion which is evident in the text. See how the Chronicler changes events from the r…
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The two books of Chroniclers are yet another attempt by biblical authors to rewrite their national history and create new scripture which contradicts the older versions. What makes Chroniclers stand out is the fact that the older version of history, the books of Samuel and Kings, were too prolific to erase. So we're able to see how they attempted t…
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Things aren’t going so well for Israel and Judah. Beset on the west by the Egyptians, the east by the Assyrians, and each other from the north and south, God’s chosen people are battling for their lives. But their hardships are due to their own wicked ways as they offend Yahweh at every turn. However, they didn’t know that what they were doing was …
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Elisha the prophet. Elisha the miracle-worker. Elisha the moon god. As the Israelites moved to a lunar calendar the importance of their lunar figures such as Elisha became more important, thus their stories of greatness and miraculous achievements grew until they outshined those of even their sun gods. Blessed with a double portion of divinity, Eli…
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How much sun god imagery can you fit into one character? I'm not sure, but the story of Elijah is trying to cram it all in there. From calling down fire from the sky (multiple times) to cursing the land with heat waves, the story of this prophet has it all. He also has more parallels to Moses than you can shake a magic staff at... which he also doe…
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Solomon's turn toward strange gods and stranger religious practices has convinced Yahweh to punish the nation of Israel by dividing it into two separate kingdoms, the northern land of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. This begins a series of conflicts led be two successions of kings who seem to go out of their way to displease the Lord. In …
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What did the early Christians believe about Jesus? Prior to the writing of Mark's gospel, Christian theology seemed... strange. It hints that Jesus lived in the heavens and never set foot on earth. But surely that can't be what the first Christian authors are hinting at. So what if they're not hinting at all? What if they left explicit writings det…
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Everything that could go wrong within a church has gone wrong. One member is sleeping with his stepmother and his immoral behavior has attracted the ire of Paul’s rivals who seek to undermine his authority. If that’s not bad enough, the congregation has turned against him. Some are denying that Christ was resurrected and others are openly cursing J…
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One of Paul's final letters, written to the Christians in Rome, contains a treasure trove of information which sheds light on the beliefs of the early Christian community. Though these beliefs don't always match up with the tale later told in the book of Acts. And the Jesus that these early Christians worshiped may have been quite different from an…
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The apostle Paul gives us our oldest surviving Christian writings which were addressed to congregations on two continents. But the version of Christianity he preach and the story of Jesus that he and his congregations understood, is significantly different from what would be stated in the later gospels. His ideas seem constantly at odds with the He…
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We conclude our survey of the Book of Enoch with the Epistles of Enoch. This fifth and final section deals with blessings of the righteous and curses for the wicked, the destruction of heaven and earth, and the divine nature of Noah. We also dig into the overall theology of the authors of this book and how it sets the stage for Christianity.…
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In the Book of Visions we find a strange and curious section entitled the "Animal Apocalypse" which tells the entire history of the world, but replaces all the main characters with various animals. One portion, involving a great man who is being portrayed as a ram, has been hailed as a prophecy for Jesus' imminent arrival. But the truth behind this…
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In the middle of 1 Enoch lies the Astronomy Book, a strange manuscript which details the method for establishing a solar calendar. While this may be important for tracking the seasons, it's difficult to comprehend why it should be included in scripture. Unless there's more to this book and their calendar than we previously believed.…
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The angels have fallen and the stars have disobeyed the covenant. One man will act as intermediary between heaven and earth and serve as both divine scribe and holy messenger. He'll see the entirety of creation and learn the hidden secrets of the universe. But to do that he'll first need to ascend to the highest heaven and see what no man has seen …
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The discovery of a strange book gives new insights into the origins of Christianity and the complex relationship between sects of Judaism. It's filled with bizarre imagery and curious themes. The Sons of God introduce corruption into the perfect creation and bloodthirsty giants walk the earth. People are animals, men are angels, angels are stars, a…
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