Old Testament

Day 133

Went to church this morning. I don’t know if I was tired or what but it was not as emotional but it was enlightening. As an update/continuation from yesterday, I did indeed dream last night. It was a dream of war and international strife. I’m not so sure it was an actual war, though, because despite being decked out in combat gear and getting ready to get into a combat-ready vehicle, I think my “unit” was going to bring aid to some area hit by a natural disaster.

It was interesting.

But, in relation to my dream (and last night’s weather), I learned that James and John, two of the Apostles, were called by Jesus the “Sons of Thunder.” Apparently it is suspected that a) this has to do with their temperament or that b) the transliteration is not entirely accurate. I might say a little of both.

The word “revival” was in my head today at church. It’s a good description of my vision of the future, in terms of faith, but it’s already been appropriated and given meaning by various Christian sects. The other thing I got out of church came directly from the sermon, which spoke about finding God’s purpose for oneself.  The pastor talked about how in the Bible, there are many stories about someone waiting and having patience for God to act through them, but the pastor mentioned that it’s not just waiting — another term that is used is preparing.

It gave me a good perspective on my blog: perhaps this three year endeavor is preparation. For what, I can only guess. I sort of hope it’s in line with my vision, but I know that whatever God has me do will be good. He and I had a productive talk last night. I still have a lot to work on. A lot to prepare for.

The other thing, that came into my head while I was driving around for work today was a sort-of answer to a question I’ve had for a long time. So the conundrum goes like this:

The Bible exists. I’m staring at one now.

I have no way of knowing if anything (in general, but that’s another story) that happened in the past is actually true, therefore I can’t know that the Bible is true.

And then it goes on like: then why is it so important? Do I accept it just because I have no reason to believe otherwise? At that point, wouldn’t I believe anything that is equally a) distant in time and b) irrefutable?

So phooey on all that. I mean I know at some point, theoretically, people had to be around to witness events and write them down and its possible that they got embellished over time but how on earth do you explain something like the resurrection being written down but not actually happening because it seems like the kind of thing people would remember very clearly and the issue is that that event is like the whole crux (no pun intended) of Christianity but on the other hand even though overt miracles like that don’t really seem to happen any more the truth of the matter to me seems to be that every moment of our lives is miraculous and who are we as mortals to say that one miracle is more or less miraculous than any other but how in the world do you explain the resurrection using any kind of science because what the eff unless of course Jesus actually was God at which point I guess anything is possible but that can never be proven so then it all has to be accepted on faith which to an outside observer means and does nothing but the truth of the matter is that faith makes real changes in people’s lives.

Yeah, it’s a run-on sentence. What of it?

Anyway, the sort-of answer I got about all this is that ultimately I believe it because I want to believe it. But why? Couldn’t I then believe anything I “wanted” to believe? Isn’t that what everyone does?

So then the next question was, “Why should I want to believe it?” And the answer is tied to what I wrote above about faith: because of what it means to people, what it means to me. It is a transformative faith, one that brings about the betterment of human beings, individually and as a whole. We can be so much more than what we are, and this faith, this book elaborates on how and why that is as well as why we should seek to grow and how to achieve that growth.

I used to believe that we are who we are, and that’s okay. As I’ve said, there’s no guilt in who we are, but we should have the good sense to look higher, look at the possibilities of what could be, and have the good sense to be ashamed of our miserable state. People can suffer so much and yet never seek to change. The Bible has been good to me thus far, and God in combination with the book have done great things in my life. I want to see God do great things in other people’s lives too.

Numbers 16

Rekris. I click away for like a minute and come back and realize how much I wrote. This is part of why I didn’t originally want to do this tonight. Of course, if I weren’t distracted by the rest of the internet I’d probably be fine. Or I’d find a different distraction. My brain is dying fast; I’m super tired and going to wrap this up.

Basically, a bunch of Levites call out Moses saying essentially that they want to take over the priesthood and that Moses can shove it up his ass. So Moses tells them, alright, you’re-so-smart, get your holy censers and your incense and the 250 of you meet me at the tabernacle in the morning.

So this happens. And predictably, God shows up and tells Moses and Aaron to go right ahead and step back because He’s gotta waste some fools. “Consume them in a moment,” He says in Numbers 16:21.

Moses and Aaron convince God to dial it back a notch and just deal with those responsible. So everyone backs up from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the three guys behind this whole debacle. Moses, says look, if I’m not the appointed priest, then these men and their families will die a nice natural death. But if I am, then they’re about to get eaten by the earth.

I’ll give you three guesses as to what happens, and the first two don’t count.

The ground shakes and caves in right below their tents. Them, their stuff, their families, just gone. So the people start freaking out and scattering, but… God just smokes em. Every one of the 250 dissenters is fried by holy fire. Oh, and Aaron takes the consecrated censers to hammer them into a covering for the altar, so commandeth the Lord.

Anyway, the next day, the congregation comes to Moses and Aaron and complains about all the people who died the previous day. God has had about enough, and barely gives Moses and Aaron warning before bringing death down upon the people in a giant wave of wrathful plague. Aaron lights his incense and runs out into the crowd to make atonement and stop the death. Sure enough, we get into a “Hold me back, bro! Hold me back!” situation where the plague literally stops in a line right where Aaron is.

You’d think by now the people would learn to stop messing up, right? Nobody’s perfect. :\

Good night, all. Peace be upon you.

Advertisements

Day 108

Today was slightly nicer than yesterday and I got a lot of frustration out of my system just over the course of work. I also was nearly passing out while doing my job. I can’t wait to go to bed.

I almost skipped this update, to be honest, but I figure I’m on kind of a streak here and I wanted to say something nice after being so angry yesterday.


Leviticus 18

This chapter lists out the laws against incest, bestiality, and homosexuality. That last one, Lev 18:22, is still a point of contention today, in case you’ve been living under a rock.

I don’t really know how I feel about all this. I guess I’ll have to wait a year and a half, read what Jesus says about all the “old laws,” and get back to you. But I can see how all this made good sense at the time. No inbreeding, no butt stuff, and no animal f***ing. Cut and dried.

Also, in Lev 18:3, God speaks out against the whole “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” thing, because He specifically says to not behave like the Egyptians or like the Canaanites. Keep yourselves separate and holy.

Also also? God prohibits mother-daughter threesomes. (Lev 18:17. You’re welcome.)

Aaaaand on that note… I’m out! Peace!

Day 94

Leviticus 4

Goodness gracious. I’m looking ahead at what’s to come and there are at least 3-4 more chapters of laws and rules and sacrifices.

I suppose I can see the point here; the way parents have to be with children, for instance, is to set up strict rules (bedtime, diets, etc.) that over time grow less severe as the child gains more independence, knowledge, and wisdom. So it is with God as the Father figure to His children. Early on, the Law needed to be obeyed in very specific ways.

I notice, for example, in this chapter that atonement is done through the action of a priest and through a ritualized sacrifice. Later, with the death of Jesus Christ, animal sacrifice was no longer necessary for atonement. From the point of view of the New Testament, I suppose, the old Covenant is fulfilled; the old rules are no longer needed.

As a real world, personal example of this method of teaching, I think back to my math classes that I’ve taken over the years. They start by teaching you general rules, strict yet broad cases. Later, once you understand the general case, they move to specifics, and sometimes those specifics work around the general case. We have to understand the basics before we can understand or respect the exceptions. Perhaps this is a reason that the Old Testament is still a part of Christianity: by reading the old Law, we can see how things have changed and the grace that God has given us in Christ.

But has He made it easier or harder without the old rituals? Does He now trust us as people to give proper respect and worship without elaborate reminders? Does having infinite opportunities to be forgiven make us better or worse?

The world may never know.

Anyway, seriously, Lev 4 is about people goofing up and sacrificing animals. If you want more, go read it yourself.

I’ve said all I need to say for tonight, and I have to be up for work in the morning.

It feels good to get this done. Thanks, Lord, for everything.

Peace be upon you.

Day 81-84

tuckeranddale

“Hello, officer. We have had a doozy of a day.” ¹

Now I hope you’ve all seen Tucker & Dale vs Evil, but if you haven’t, go do that. It’s what the blog I ripped that picture from calls

“An outstanding horror comedy that fully delivers on its hilarious premise.

But seriously. It’s been a tough week.

I’m seriously considering turning this (at least halfway) into an audio blog. I’m driving myself crazy trying to hit my daily updates. Talking would be much easier. I can talk for days.

Case in point, I almost talked my partner’s ear off about the movie Maleficent. In my opinion, cool premise, poor execution. Could I make a more popular movie? Could I make a better moneymaker? Not likely. But I bet I could tell a more interesting story, given the premise. I might have to. But that’s for another time.

…Did I mention I had a Red Bull?

…like ten hours ago?


Exodus 31

Rapid-fire-Exodus-go! Hyaaaaaa!

Yugi-Exodia

Sorta like this. ²

(Update: I was going to split this into four posts, but I’m so wrapped up in you guys seeing my humorous commentary that I lumped them all into one. But I swear all the chapters of the Bible that were supposed to be in here are in here. It’s not a cop-out, I swear. Don’t judge me!)

So God just finished going over a bunch of shhhhh–stuff with Moses, laying out rules for arks and altars and sacrifices and all kinds of covenant-y stuff. Now He is telling Moses a) the specific people Moses will need to get those things built, and b) a quick reminder to absolutely, I’m not kidding you guys keep the Sabbath day holy. Seriously, if a guy works on the Sabbath, f***in’ kill him.

In the end, Moses comes down with

“two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”

— Exodus 31:18, NKJV

Interesting thing I heard once that is only somewhat relevant: I once read somewhere that in old Hebrew law or tradition or something, when you made a covenant or a deal with someone, you made two copies of the deal so that each person had a copy. The story goes that the two tablets were identical, as “a deal” so to speak had been made between man and God. I forget what the significance (if any) was supposed to be of one party keeping both copies of the agreement, but oh well. Something to look up.


Exodus 32

Alright, people. My partner’s asleep, not feeling so hot, and I’m supposed to be at church for the first time in forever in less than 5 hours. Let’s do this.

So the Israelites, like the most ungrateful little… rackin’-frackin’-sassafras… They’re sitting there waiting for Moses and they finally get bored of not knowing who or what to worship or how for that matter, and so they tell Aaron to fashion them a god. Or gods, depending on translation.

And Aaron, who has been Moses’ voice (so it was implied back in Exodus 4:14) for all this time, says “Sure.” The people give Aaron their gold, and he turns it into a calf. Calfs4Gold, 1-800-GOLDCALF, or visit us online at http://www.calfs4gold.com.  Send us your gold, get calfs now! If I didn’t need to sleep, I would photoshop this. 1000 imaginary points to anyone who takes a “Cash 4 Gold” business sign/ad and fixes it like this. Heck, they’re imaginary; make it a million.

God starts b–

God starts complaining to Moses and telling him what is going on. “Seriously you guys we just went over all this stuff why can’t you follow some simple orders oh for My sake…” And so on.

God gets really mad, Moses tells him to be cool (essentially), and so Moses goes down to take care of this for himself. He gets down, sees the golden calf, and shits a brick. (It’s hard to censor the word “shits.”) Moses drops the f***ing tablets from the f***ing LORD and rips Aaron a new a**hole.

Aaron, meanwhile, is basically like, “Well, I took all this gold and boom, calf. Dunno what to tell you. It happens.” So Moses rounds up the faithful, the line of Levi, and they proceed to reorganize and bring everyone back to God and JUST KIDDING THIS IS THE OLD TESTAMENT THEY F***ING KILL EVERYONE.

bearsharkawesome

Three rows down on a Google image search for “blatant theft” “awesome explosion.” ³

Moses goes and prays to God and asks for forgiveness for the people and God basically tells Moses that those calf-worshiper guys are effed in the A. Shouldn’ta done that, boys and girls!

I’ve almost been up for 24 hours. Does it show?


Exodus 33

So apparently there’s this weird side effect of talking to God where either your face glows like some Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer s*** or you just come back with a goofy-a** grin. Maybe both. They “goofy grin” one I’ve experienced firsthand. As long as I’m not crazy. Which I might be.

Oh whoops, that’s Exodus 34.

Whatever!

In Exodus 33, God comes down as a pillar of cloud and spends some time talking to Moses. Moses utters a pretty good prayer in Exodus 33:13, NKJV:

“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.”

Moses wants to see God in all His glory, but God basically tells him that won’t happen. God tells Moses to hide in “the cleft of [a] rock,” and God covers Moses up, and then walks by so that Moses can get a glimpse of the Lord’s back. Back of the head? God’s traps and lats? Dat butt? Who knows.


Exodus 34

God I’m so tired. Honestly, God just tells Moses to make some new tablets, since Moses f***ing broke the other ones. Then God comes down and basically goes over all the laws of the Law again. He reaffirms the promise that He has made to the Israelites. Moses neither ate or drank for the time he went back up to get the Lord’s triplicate/quadruplicate copies of the Law. So he goes back down, and we get Mr. Glow-Face like I mentioned earlier.

Anyway, folks, that is all. I need to go to bed and be up for church in only 3 hours.

I love you all; thanks for reading. And an extra thanks to my subscribers! You folks encourage me so much.

Peace be upon you.


¹ Tucker & Dale vs Evil, 2010. Image retrieved from: http://horroreffect.blogspot.com/2011/10/tucker-and-dale-vs-evil-super-funny.html

² Yu-Gi-Oh! Takahasi, Kazuki.  Image retrieved from: http://desenhospaint7.blogspot.com/2013/05/desenhos-animes.html

³ FIM Fiction. (That’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I cannot guarantee the SFW-ness of this site.) Image retrieved from: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/206371/wheeehoohoohoohoo-one-hundred-follower-ultra-mega-orgy-bonanza-special-extravaganza

Day 4

We got the Internet back up yesterday; it turned out to be a cable in the wrong slot. Of course, our Internet access goes out so frequently due to failure to pay the bill that no one thought to check that.

I spent more time with my partner last night and this morning. I love her so much but this is the worst week to be spending this much time together. I had to tell her as much because I kept snapping at her and she got upset.

Part of it is that I haven’t told her or anyone about this project yet. Granted, it hasn’t even (as of my writing this) gone online yet, but still. Part of me doesn’t want her to know so that I can just write it in peace without having to worry about the opinions of someone I know and love. She’s a Christian with a fairly literal interpretation of the Bible and I know we’re going to clash theologically. We already have, and if she reads this we will have many more occasions to do so. On the upside, we might be able to understand each other better after a few more such discussions, and if we can get through this we could probably get through anything.

But! Once again I am pressed for time. This is what’s stressing me out because she doesn’t realize I’m waking up extra early every day and that I need to take upwards of an hour to write these posts. So here we go with…

Genesis 4

Oy. Here begins the genealogy stuff. There must be a point and a purpose but… right now, this early in the morning, it just makes my head hurt.

Let’s start with Cain and Abel, one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Cain is not only the first murderer, assuming one accepts the account of creation, but the first wise-ass. Cain invented sarcasm.

Cain and Abel, brothers, sons of Adam and Eve, both bring offerings to the Lord. Now the Lord “respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering” (Genesis 4:4-5). The Lord appears to have done this to teach Cain a lesson. Cain gets upset and angry, but the Lord tries to tell him to “rule over [sin].”

God says, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” as written in Genesis 4:7. I find this interesting because it makes me think of, again, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. In that book, one of the titular agreements is “Always do your best,” or “I always do my best.” By doing one’s best, Ruiz writes, one can never blame oneself or feel guilty. If one tries to do more than their best, one will become frustrated and overexerted. If one tries to do less than their best, one will judge oneself and feel guilty. God even says, “If you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” In TFA, Ruiz writes that anything, especially emotions, that go against ourselves are sins, because through those emotions we do harm to ourselves.

It would seem to me that God is telling Cain to do his best, and not worry so much about the outcome. Cain becomes angry, jealous, or envious, which is a result of inner feelings or emotions. Cain feels inadequate, it seems, in the eyes of the Lord, and so instead of looking inward, he looks outward. Cain cannot spend his anger attacking the Lord, so he goes for the easiest related target: Abel, the object of his jealousy and envy.

And this is the part that gets me every time. Cain kills Abel, and when God comes asking where he went, Cain says, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

Wow. Cain literally mouths off to God. I don’t think he thought this one through. So God destroys Cain’s livelihood, it seems, by telling him “When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you” (Genesis 4:12). And then Cain is “driven […] out” by God, crying “I shall be hidden from Your face” (Genesis 4:14).

In other news, now I know where the band name “Avenged Sevenfold” comes from. Should anyone kill  Cain, “vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold,” so sayeth the Lord, Genesis 4:15. (The direct quote shows up in Gen 4:24.)

The website christnotes.org explains the story thusly: Abel came to God humbly and offered the firstborn of his flock as a valuable sacrifice to the Lord. Cain “showed a proud, unbelieving heart.” I’m not entirely sure where they get that out of the scripture, but it makes for an interesting explanation. To me, it seems like Cain was a farmer, so he gave God his crops as an offering. But maybe there’s something I’m missing?

The website goes on to mention that Cain and Abel are representative of two types of believers: “proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of salvation, who attempt to please God in ways of their own devising; and humble believers, who draw near to him [sic] in the way he [sic] has revealed.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t understand this chapter until somewhere down the road.

So Cain leaves the land of his birth and dwells “in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.” I have heard before that the word “Nod” is somehow related to an old Hebrew word for “wander,” and christnotes.org says that Nod means “shaking” or “trembling.” This interpretation is new to me, and the site says that this “shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his spirit.”

“They that depart from God cannot find rest any where else.”

— Matthew Henry’s Commentary, christnotes.org

Cain leaves the “land” and “sight” of God, be this physical or metaphorical, and goes elsewhere. He takes a wife (who?) and has a child named Enoch. Then there is a city that gets built and a whole lot of begetting. Long story short, after a while comes Lamech, who appears to be just as troublesome as his ancestor.

First he takes two wives, which is apparently also a sin according to christnotes.org, even though if you’re reading the Bible like I am and not yet as a whole, this isn’t quite clear. I guess Genesis 2 might imply that the rule is one man and one woman.

Then Lamech has a whole family of people that proceed to become craftsmen, farmers, and musicians (Genesis 4:20-22). From the commentary found on christnotes.org by Matthew Henry, this just showcases the sin of the family, because instead of teaching people about God, Lamech and his family are concerned with worldly things. Even the aforementioned city is due to Cain’s lingering dissatisfaction and unease. He cannot obtain the wonders of heaven, and so he builds a city here on earth. So should we all go live in the woods? Should no one create wonders on earth?

I think the importance here is that we not forget God and heaven while concerned with earthly matters during our human lives. We can integrate the spiritual into the material; perhaps not literally, but like a televangelist who uses the marvels of modern technology to preach the gospel, or even the bookmakers who printed the Bible on a press rather than write it by hand, it is possible to use technology wisely and to our spiritual advantage.

Anyway, so Lamech gets all uppity and starts striking down people who hurt him, saying that “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, / Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold” (Genesis 4:24). What a guy.

And so ends the story of Cain and his family, at least as far as Genesis 4.

My time is running short today, but I wanted to address a few things that I forgot in previous chapters. Firstly, I wanted to make the observation that there are a number of parallels between Eve and the Greek Pandora. This is not news to many, but the resemblance is interesting. Pandora, however is deliberately sent to men to cause harm. One could say that this is not the case for Eve, but in a roundabout way, if God never wanted Man to fall, one would think he could have prevented it. As I said before, the Fall of Man appears to be necessary. Why else would a Redeemer be needed?

There are other interesting parallels between the ancient Greek myths and the first few chapters of Genesis. In Hesiod’s Theogeny, Prometheus plays a trick against Zeus (the powerful divine father figure) related to two separate sacrificial offerings. In this myth, Zeus revokes mankind’s fire privileges, but Prometheus steals that back. In retaliation, Zeus sends Pandora and all the ills of the world are set forth upon mankind, etc., etc.

In Works and Days, Hesiod writes that “had Prometheus not provoked Zeus’s wrath, ‘you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a full year even without working; soon would you put away your rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy mule would run to waste’” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus).

Does this sound familiar? “In toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,” and “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” So sayeth the Lord, Genesis 3:17-19.

Zeus in his myth and God in the Bible both take away mankind’s easy life. In a way, one could take this for a piece of evidence related to the mythology of the Bible. I tend to say that, once again, all stories have a purpose, and if one believes that God guides or at least has a hand in the world, it is impossible to say that something exists either for no reason or for a reason that would go against God and his Word.

So to me, these old myths and legends are good stories. They have tales to tell and lessons to learn, and in a way, the humans of old would have had to learn these lessons before the cultures of Judaism and Christianity came along.

I asked my partner why God is so different from the Old Testament to the New. The Old Testament has animal sacrifices, destruction of cities, pillars of salt, and so on and so forth. The New Testament has Jesus Christ who came to save humanity and absolve all of their sins. So which is it? If God is infinite and unchanging…

Well, her explanation, which I particularly enjoy, is that it’s not God that was different, it’s humanity. In the Old Testament, mankind is in its infancy. How do you discipline a child? Regardless of whether it is right or best, we train children via punishment and reward. God used animal sacrifice and the like as ways for people to show their faith and humility, their submission to the Lord. God gave mankind a path to salvation via sacrifice. Time needed to pass before it would be right for Jesus to walk the earth and offer salvation through the redemption of mankind’s sins.

Also as a quick aside, salvation and redemption are not the same thing. This might not be news to you but it was to me. Redemption is when Jesus died on the cross, and chose to take the weight of all man’s sin. Salvation is what humans receive when they accept redemption. Or something like that.

Well, I deviated quite a bit from Genesis 4 today, and I’ve definitely pushed my time. I hope anyone reading this is happy and enjoying their day, and if not, work through your troubles. Do not be like Cain, always a vagabond, or a fugitive. It seems like we have everything we need in this world, in this life, from our food and shelter to medicine and entertainment, but at our very core, there is a spiritual need from which we turn away. I heard a Christian radio station give the advice once to “rest in God,” and I agree. Find the love and acceptance that is always there for you. Rest and fall into the arms of God the way a child rests in the arms of its mother or father.

If nothing else, know that I am here, thinking of you, wherever in this world you may be. We may not always get along, or we may not always like each other, but we can make the decision to love and respect one another. So go forth into this day, go forth with strength and power, but go forth with humility. There is always something new to learn, and every experience is a new lesson.

Despite what anyone else says, God loves you. I love you. Whoever you are.