Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Historicity of the Old Testament

Historicity of the Old Testament

part 1

Lives of the great persons of the Old Testament span almost 2000 years. The Hebrew people emerged from a wandering nomadism and into a proud national identity. They went from slaves and nuisances to the Egyptian empire while under Moses’ leadership to close allies with Egypt under the leadership of Solomon and then beyond. Though technology took centuries to develop in comparison with our own time, ideas and customs developed with mounting alacrity over the course of time. During those two millennia of Old Testament life, many important changes happened in the way that these people lived their everyday existence. Each era of the Old Testament had its own individual influence on the people involved and also on the development of the nation as a whole. There are huge differences in the mental framework of the Jewish nation of Jacob’s nomadic times and those of the latter day who lived during the Maccabeus’ day.

Due to the Bible’s development over a period of many centuries, it makes certain assumptions that were shared by the people of the time when a certain passage was written. As an example, marriage customs of the Patriarchs were not familiar to later Jewish people. The Patriarchs themselves may have been confused by such customs as “heaven” and “hell”. Seeing the people of the Bible in real historical settings brings their words and actions to life in a more meaningful way. Historical study by the individual is the death of the atheist agenda. Archeologists, historians, linguists, theologians and scientists have done great works in order to enable us to see these things more clearly. The Bible itself tells the story of these people incomparably better than any book about the Bible, but to the modern day reader, raised on an educational system hijacked by the atheist agenda, many of the details may seem mysterious and unclear, not to mention down right irrelevant. One must place the people of the Bible in their historical settings as revealed by modern scholarly revelation and study in order to fully understand the Bible’s meaning and relevance to the people of its day, and also like wise to our own day. Abraham is the first of the historical figures of the Bible who can be placed in an historical setting. Some scholars place his birth at almost 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus, and as a result almost 4,000 years before our time today. Those who appear before Abraham: Adam, Eve, Cain, Able, Noah and others, are more difficult to place with an historical landmark because the Bible itself gives us no real clue as to when they lived. Abraham brings us the details of place, custom and events that enable historians to approximate a date of inception. 

Then, moving on from Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses, more and more historical facts appear that insert these men into particular times and places. By the time the reader of scripture gets to the books of Judges and Kings, the pace of reading slows considerably due to the overwhelming influence of details provided that give datable events and people, and this continues right up to the end of the Old Testament. The long and short of it is this, that the men who recorded the events of the life of Israel believed they were recording the acts of God. Thus for the people of those days and also for our day, Holy Scripture is literally the book of the acts of God, a holy record of his dealings with mankind. In the Bible historical events are seen as expressing the Lord’s will and purpose, therefore to believe the history in the Bible is also to confess one’s faith. History was important to Biblical man because it not only recorded the past, but indicated the direction of the future, namely, the Kingdom of God. 

This belief in the relationship between religion and history had its roots in the captivity Israel experienced in Egypt around the middle of the second millennium B. C. To the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians, it appeared that the gods only had an interest in the masters and not the slaves. They recalled the promise of God to Abraham of land running over with milk and honey, and then under Moses’ leadership their liberation from Egyptian oppression. With the subsequent covenant at Mount Sinai and then the conquest of Canaan, the achievement of David’s Kingdom seemed to be the fulfillment of the Lord’s power and purpose.

Their faith also made Israel look closely at the world through a different lens than any other nation on Earth. They were forced to look at the world in light of their beliefs and relationship to an outside authority, and when they did not do this, the prophets reminded them of their place and position. Personal and national desires all too often conflicted with that  religious authority and therefore the prophets were often unpopular. But despite it all, Israel endured even their own self destructive proclivities. One need only study the phenomenon of Israeli holidays that stretch out over the centuries and contain major events in the nations history, to the day, to see that something historically unnatural in comparison to the rest of the world has always been in existence concerning the nation of Israel.  Historical events that mark great victories and great defeats are land marked throughout the story of the Israeli nation, and many of those victories or defeats are repeated on the exact same day of the Jewish calendar even though hundreds of years may pass in the interim. There is no other nation on Earth which has this unique historical footprint.

Originally the history of the early days, was handed down in memory from generation to generation and expressed in songs and verse. When writing was first attained, no doubt the recording of these early days was one of the premier events initialized. By the time King Solomon came along, the sacred texts were being copied and stored for posterity on a regular basis. These texts were the first five books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”. Throughout the next 800 years of Biblical history additional books were added until the Old testament was ruled closed by religious leaders in the second century B. C.

We’ll look more at the cannon and reliability of Old Testament scripture in the next segment.

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