Summary: With Israel celebrating its "67th Birthday", here comes this message which in effect is a sneak peek into its rich scriptural tradition about some "events" which for many Christians' would frankly be an eye-opener when viewed from a Rabbi's perspective!
THE RABBI REVELATION
Its quiz time folks! Tell me what is common to 1 Cor 10:4, Jude 1:9 and Jude 1:14? Well, they are accounts from Jewish Tradition, which we may not find in the corresponding Books of Exodus or Deuteronomy or Genesis respectively (where the related events could have most probably figured) but what the Inspired NT Writers’ included wisely in their Epistles by the leading of the Holy Spirit so much so they now figure in Sacred NT Canon.
Well, it’s been about 5 years now since I started an in-depth Bible Study in my Church about OT Canon which- truth be told- were the only Scriptures available to the World-shaking Early Church to start with. Well Apostle Paul affirmed them whilst writing to his young disciple Timothy (conversant with the same thanks to his Jewish mother Eunice) “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”- I Tim 3:15-17
This exhaustive Bible Study necessitated my on-line correspondence with Jewish Rabbis’ whenever confronted by some hard to understand accounts such as how can Moses write the entire Book of Deuteronomy even after he departs from the Earthly scene. Though I first started corresponding with them with a sense of trepidation most of them have been respectful and were even appreciative as I shared my lengthy testimony with them (talk of writing a love letter!) when they enquired about my background. The common refrain in their correspondence with me (in response to my questions) has been “What the Sages teach”. In this message, I would like to place before my Readership many startling truths of Jewish tradition which Christians need to know in order they can better appreciate OT Scriptures and most importantly glorify their Heavenly Father all the more…
It’s evening time on First Easter Sunday! The glorious fact of Jesus’ resurrection was slowly but surely dawning in the minds of grief-stricken disciples and lo and behold the Resurrected Lord Himself was standing amongst them assuaging their grief and fears. Let the Scripture take over at this stage…
“Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44).
Note the order in our Lord’s words, it is NOT Law, Psalms and Prophets as it is available in our Christian Bibles today but a slightly different order. Let me “assuage” your confused minds as to the right order of OT Scriptures as it existed during the First century AD and exists even today amongst the Jews.
1. Law: Genesis to Deuteronomy
2. Prophets: Joshua to Malachi –It needs to be said here that the word “Prophecy” has to be understood in the way Jews and the Early Church understood it. For them Prophecy was not only foretelling but also forth telling! Hence Books of Daniel and Lamentations which appear in the “Prophets” section of the Modern-day Christian Bibles’, despite containing prophecies were not placed in the Prophets’ section but in that of Writings for the simple reason they do not contain anywhere in their contents the authoritative, powerful figure of speech “THUS SAYS THE LORD” which distinguishes a Prophecy from other forms of speech (a praise or prayer) in the Scriptures!!! The Living Bible gets it right when it comes to exactly defining the function of a Prophet. Let me reproduce here verbatim, a part of 1 Cor 12:28 which goes thus…Here is a list of some of the parts he has placed in his Church, which is his body: Apostles, Prophets—those who preach God’s Word, Teachers,….
Has not preaching been all along all about foretelling and forth telling?
3. Writings: Psalms to II Chronicles
If 2 Chronicles had continued to be the Last Book of the OT Scripture till the order was needlessly revised presumably during King Constantine’s time in 4th Century AD, one would have seen a beautiful symmetry existing vis-a-vis the last portion of the last Book of OT Scripture and that of the NT Canon. Now what is the immediate overarching subject of the last Book (Revelation) of N.T? RAPTURE…ah the Blessed hope of every Christian (Titus 2:13) which is alluded to in the command given to John at the sound of something resembling a “trumpet blast” … “COME-UP” (Rev 4:1/1 Thess 4:16)!!! Now as we “bring to the table” as it were, the last words of the last Book (II Chronicles) …“GO-UP” (2 Chronicles 36:23-KJV) an enchanting symmetry comes to the fore!!!