Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Still reading...

...every day. Numbers will be history tomorrow (5 chapters to go). A lot of questions arise while reading, but my head refuses to turn them into form of blog entries. Like

1. Jewish people.

They are supposed to obey the law - even today, because they don't believe Jesus was the Messiah, right? So, how about all the offerings they're supposed to give - when did they stop obeying that part of the law? (And this is purely innocent wondering. Don't get me wrong, I love the Jewish people, I must just admit - to my shame - that I don't really know a lot about them.)

2. Meat.

While wondering around the desert, the people complained about never having meat to eat. Well, they did have their cattle and all the animals that were given as offerings. But no meat to eat???

3. Bileam.

The first night God told him not to go with the men. The second time he asked, God told him to go with them
Numbers 22:18-20:
But Balaam answered them, "Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the LORD my God. 19 Now stay here tonight as the others did, and I will find out what else the LORD will tell me." That night God came to Balaam and said, "Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you."
And yet, whilst on the road, God came and said he had disobeyed while leaving!
Numbers 22:32
The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. (the Finnish translation says "against my will")
Did I miss something? Errors in translations? Because the English one is slightly less strict.

These were just a couple of examples. If I start listing them all, I'll never get the reading done *grin*


At 1/17/2006 4:56 PM, Blogger SingingOwl said...

Just one very quick answer. I might post more later if I can. As for sacrifices and related worship...it had to take place at the Tabernacle, and as you've just read, it was supposed to take place in a very specific and prescribed manner. Many generations later, King David decides that it is not right for him to live in a palace while God "dwells in a tent." So he began to gather materials, and the building of the temple (Solomon's Temple) was left to his son. Sacrifies by priests continued at the temple. You'll be reading about it soon enough. :-) But when the Jews' temple was destroyed and many they were taken captive to Babylon, sacrifices ceased. The Book of Daniel is about captives in Babylon, and Ezra and Nehemiah will tell us about the rebuilding. Anyway, idol worship (by Jews) finally ceased after the 70 year captivity. But the rebuilt temple was again destroyed (several decades after Jesus' death and resurrection) and has never been rebuilt. Thus, there is no place to sacrifice. Many scholars, though not all (depending on how one interprets the prophetic Book of Daniel), believe that the original worship, including sacrifices, will be reinstituted at some future date.

At 1/17/2006 8:53 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I've wondered about the Balaam thing myself in past. Finally came to the conclusion that the parts of the story God wants us to focus on are there. The other stuff is apparently unnecessary for our spiritual growth.

I began wondering about the meat thing this readthrough myself.

As for the Law...Singingowl is totaly right about the offerings and sacrifices. There are some other parts of the Law that the Isrealites never followed. For example, I don't believe they ever followed the practice of having a sabath year, much less celebrated a year of jubilee.

At 1/18/2006 12:06 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Yeah - i was confused about God's instructions to Balaam too. Seems like Balaam did what God said, and God still got mad. Go figure!

At 1/18/2006 3:15 AM, Anonymous Jaybee said...

Reading The Message Bible clarified the section about Balam and Balak for me.

At 1/18/2006 11:19 AM, Blogger see-through faith said...

offerings stopped at the destruction of hte temple in AD 70

(The remnant did sacrifice after the exile and then their faith was stronger - I think in exile the concept of the synagogue might have developed as they were far from the temple back in Jerusalem but I'm not sure on this. In any case the sacrifice was always at the temple and never in another place. Hence Jesus going to temple - when he was 12!)

there was a belief (the pharisees) that if ALL jews would observe the law completely for a whole day - the Messiah would come. I think when I understood that I realised thy they were so adamant that the law should be obeyed and why they couldn't recognise Jesus as Messiah (the Christ)

today many of the feasts (weeks-tabernacles, atonement, passover are still celebrated. Hannukah was post OT - in 160 BC or thereabout I think)

At 1/18/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger SingingOwl said...

Yep, you are correct about the synagogue idea beginning in the Babylonian captivity. Somewhere in my study at church (which BADLY needs sorting through) I have a wonderful book on the "Feasts of the Lord" based mostly on Leviticus, and a bit from Numbers. I did a study on if a couple of years ago--one of my personal favorites of all the Bible studies I've led. Amazing to say that, since Leviticus is certainly not my favorite book of the Bible. :-) Anyway, I'll try to locate it and post the title and author. And I think I need a review of the contents myself!

At 1/18/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous eija said...

Thank you for this enlightenment. I thought it might be something like that.

Of course, I've read about David's plans about the temple and Solomon building it, I've read Daniel's book, Ezra, too, and parts of Nehemiah. But not all of them, and not in the right order.

That's what's good in this speed-reading: To get a "total picture" from the whole thing, starting from the beginning. And not just jumping back and forth without any order whatsoever.

About Bileam (Balaam?) - I did check one verse from the Message Bible, too, but maybe I'll read the whole thing from there. I've been planning to buy it...


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