Three pieces of humor this week, though the originators did not intend them as such.
First, as a follow-up to last week’s hymn-blog, I was digging through my reference-archive & found this blog I’ve been meaning to talk about:
“When God wants to do a new thing, saddle up” by James Adair (Baptist University of the Americas, San Antonio) in the 4/20/2006 issue of The Baptist Standard. In a section discussing Isaiah 44:1-5, he writes:
“One of the most common archaeological finds in ancient Israel is a jar handle from a broken piece of pottery, often stamped with an indicator of ownership—‘belonging to Jacob’ or ‘to Obed,’ for example. Many jar handles and other objects contain the inscription lmlk (lemelech), which means ‘belonging] to the king.’
In these verses, the prophet says God is about to pour the divine spirit over the Jews, in effect putting a stamp on their hand that says ‘belonging to the Lord.’ God will not allow Israel to fade into the background, become assimilated to the surrounding culture and lose their identity.
On the contrary, the prophet says Israel’s identity comes from its association with the Lord, an association so greatly to be desired even non-Jews will adopt the name of Israel in order to claim that association.”
The reason it’s funny is because I know of no such jar handle stamped “belonging to Jacob”, but if you have some, I’ll be glad to buy them from you! According to Adair, they’re very common, so I would expect them to be fairly inexpensive!
On a serious note, I would like to emphasize that 44:5 includes the expression “LYEVE” (“belonging to Yahweh/Jehovah”, or “belonging to The LORD”) & the very next verse (44:6) re-equates YEVE with MLK (“The King”) as Isaiah did in 6:5. Yet this writer (James Adair) follows suit with so many other liberal theologians & atheistic scholars who insist that at least 2 (if not 3 or more) writers composed the book of Isaiah & pretended to be the prophet.
In this particular case for chapters 40-55, they imagine he wrote in Babylon & gave hope to the Jews in Babylonia about 50 years after their exile. Their favorite line of logic is that a prophet (i.e., a person who foretells future events) cannot actually name a person who hasn’t even been born yet.
As I’ve exhaustively demonstrated in Evolution Science, these people like to make up definitions to prove their point! I find their logic very entertaining: “You see, Jesus could not possibly have been raised from the dead because it’s not possible…”
I respect their right to believe whatever they want, but these theologians fall flat on their face when they suddenly decide to believe in an all-powerful, authoritative God & proclaim (as Adair does): “[W]hen God wants to do something new, when a unique opportunity for service presents itself, we need to keep ourselves ready to respond to God’s call.”
Just hope that God doesn’t ask you to write the name of a future king!
Let’s look at his “Discussion questions”:
“Do you think people outside the church evaluate ‘belonging to the Lord’ in the same way?”
No, some see it merely as a 4-letter word on a piece of clay designating military supplies.
“Although as Christians we claim that there is only one true God, we sometimes act as though other gods exist. What are some of the gods in today’s world that can distract us from following the one true God?”
One is the god of Liberal Theology. The Christians who worship this deity read the name of a 6th-century-BC king in the Bible & immediately believe the writer lived during or after the 6th century BC.
Another god is Evolution. The Christians who worship this deity bow down to the majority of scientists who proudly proclaim there is no God because, by definition, Evolution created everything (with a little help from its angels: Energy, Collisions, & Various Processes Of Fusion; see Evolution Science, p. 49).
“How can we discern whether what someone proposes is God’s will? If we think we might be hearing God’s call to change our lives in some radical way, how can we know whether the voice we hear really is God’s?”
Today if someone were to tell me they heard God’s voice, I’d ask them if they taped it. If not, I’d ask them to go back, get a recording device ready, & ask God to repeat the message so others will be able to hear it. In the meantime, I’d ask them to read their Bible & wait patiently!
“Mario Liverani, in his book, Israel’s History and the History of Israel (London: Equinox Publishing Ltd, 2005) relates Hezekiah’s response to Sennacherib’s message. In his book, Liverani (p. 148) quotes the annals of Sennacherib to express Hezekiah’s reaction: “As to Hezekiah, the Judean, he did not submit to my joke.”
Note that the editorial description of the book on Amazon could not resist emphasizing the Bible’s “historic unreliability” (the translation from the book’s original Italian to English came courtesy of Chiara Peri & Philip R. Davies).
A footnote says she’s “an undergraduate majoring in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago.” That’s an impressive curriculum! Without getting into an argument over whether Nebo-Sarsekim was actually the person who took the great prophet Jeremiah out of prison or not, I just hope her History professor doesn’t see this:
“Spelling variations may seem like a minor problem, but they highlight a greater issue, namely the inconsistency between archaeological evidence and biblical text. One notorious discrepancy involves the 701 B.C. Babylonian campaign against Jerusalem. According to the Bible, Sennacherib, the Babylonian king…”
Huh? Well, I guess depending on how you view his conquest of the region he could be viewed as a Babylonian king instead of an Assyrian king.
“…who reigned from 701-681 B.C., …”
Huh? Well, I guess this is proof positive that scholars differ over the date he ascended to the throne!
“…was unsuccessful in his attempt to sack the city of Jerusalem. … King Sennacherib, however, left a conflicting report on an artifact now known as the Prism of Sennacherib. … In direct opposition to the Bible, it states that Sennacherib captured settlements belonging to the King of Judah, took the king’s daughters and enforced a heavy tribute. Both historical accounts cannot be completely correct…”
She’s right. Somebody must be wrong! Surely no modern scholar with the help of computerized word-processors would make mistakes that might force scholars of the future to choose between one account & another…