The Weekend Word

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33 Responses

  1. Mr Jesperson says:

    A minor point here Michael: “The Edomites are the forefathers of the Arab nations.” What is your source for that? It is my understanding that the Saudis are descendants of Midian who is one of Abraham’s eight sons. I know it is a common error for pastors to describe the Arabs as children of Ishmael. But that also does not line up with Genesis 25:1-6. You are claiming that they came through Isaac and Esau. I have noticed that many pastors quote Mohammed who claimed to be a descendant of Ismael and not Midian as if that was truth. Muslims believe Mohammed for he is their Prophet, and not scholars whom I have seen point to Midian who was Ismael’s brother.

  2. Mr. J,
    It’s my article. At best we have a competition of dueling scholars (and I don’t mean you and me 🙂 ) – Also, don’t confuse Arab for Muslim.

  3. Mr Jesperson says:

    I am quite aware that most of the worlds Muslims are not Arabs. Muslims exist from the Balkans to Indonesia. And of course there are a few converts as well in Western countries. The Edomites lived in the small northwestern corner of what is today Saudi Arabia. They did not cover the whole of what is now knows as the Arab lands. From what I can find the modern day Arabs are likely a combination of many different tribes. There were many slave women brought back during the initial conquests from the areas that were conquered who had children. It is likely not accurate to state that the Arabs are truly descendants of any one person other than perhaps Noah. Ishmael and his brothers married with women who were already living there. The same would be true of Esau.

  4. Mr. J – you could be right and my statement may be in err – the point is that the enemies of God could have been many and perhaps the Arabs were just forming. If you read Daniel and match up with the book of Maccabees you find the whole area populated by many varying groups.The Hasmoneans among others.

    My point about Muslims is that they were irrelevant as they did not exist for another 600 yrs after Christ. In the end, the devil is the enemy of God and I am sure he was not an Arab 😉

  5. Jean says:

    I’m struck by two things in particular: (1) the “king” of the Jews didn’t know his Scripture on a central prophesy; and (2) when he heard the Word, his heart and those of his court, who enjoyed power and wealth, were hardened from receiving the Gospel.

    “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.” (Matthew 13:19)

    What prevents one from understanding?

  6. Herod was not a Jew, therefore they were not his scriptures and most likely he wouldn’t know them.

    The thing of this time is that Herod was nothing more than a placeholder – saving the spot open for THE KING (who opposed to popular opinion was not Elvis).

    My position has been that God was done with Israel at the captivity – left the Temple and never returned … and all those years were occupied by “placeholders”. There was a prophetic voice in the captivity to point the Jews to what will come – then we have the 400 years of prophetic silence until John the B shows up in the next chapter.

  7. It may sound a bit circular but unbelief prevents understanding.

    But I am interested in the wording of verse 4 – was Herod asking about the birth of Christ or did Matthew put those words in his mouth – a tool so his students would understand?

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In verse 11 I asked the question “Why would they bow down and worship a baby? Is this God worship or is it just the reverence you pay when coming in contact with a king?”

    Any opinions? Did they bow to a divine baby or just to a new ruling king?

    Me? I think they knew – I think these guys are the first gentile believers

  9. JoelG says:

    I agree MLD. I think they were graced with faith from God. Why else would these guys travel so far to come to give these extraordinary gifts and bow to a little baby with peasant parents? They had to know He was the Son of God.

  10. Em again says:

    funny, i never questioned that, whoever these men were or how many, that they’s interpreted the significance of the heavenly display (star) and knew who Jesus was…
    but i think/believe they were Jews who did not return after the Babylonian exile, but like the Jews who did return (and Jews in other areas who didn’t) knew of the promised King… i doubt that they anticipated the crucifixion, if the Jewish community that IS recorded for us is any indicator…
    dunno, tho, just makes the most sense to me

  11. Michael says:

    MLD @ 8… is correct. 🙂

  12. JoelG says:

    Em, what makes you think they were Jews?

    Jean asks a good question above:

    “What prevents one from understanding?”

    Perhaps it just comes down to whether one recognizes a need to be saved from oneself.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    and what about the gifts – did they bring the same gift baskets to all newly recognized kings or was this special / different?

  14. JoelG says:

    These particular gifts foreshadowed the life of Jesus is a very specific way, even if they were commonly given to kings in the ancient world.

  15. Steve Wright says:

    @6 – There was not just a prophetic voice in the captivity but a prophetic voice(s) after the captivity before the years of silence.

    There was also history recorded for us of Israel, as history, as a nation, after the captivity.

    There was also a prophetic voice(s) making clear God intended to bring Israel back from captivity to the land. BEFORE the captivity took place. Daniel was reading one such prophecy while in captivity

    These statements are irrefutable – no matter your systematic theology.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I used prophetic voice in the singular as it is God’s voice – knowing there were several prophets.
    No doubt the message was that the people would return.
    No doubt that the history shows that the people returned

    What is missing is did God return?

    ** the main point to the actual article was who was Herod and would he personally know the Jewish scriptures.**

  17. JoelG says:

    Regarding the gifts: Then there’s the fact that it took some faith to roll into King Herods territory with these royal gifts for the real Ruler of Isreal.

  18. Em again says:

    why do i think the Magii were likely Jews? only a very small number of the Jews that went into Babylon returned when given the opportunity (i think scripture records the number) – if memory serves me, the Jews that went into captivity in the first place were selected for their skills and obviously appreciated by Nebuchadnezzar, so perhaps the idea of going back to a spoiled land and starting over didn’t appeal much – however, i have heard that they didn’t all remain in Babylon either, but moved out into surrounding areas where commerce was good and a good life was to be had… i’m sure they took their “traditions” with them then, also
    dunno, tho, do i? 🙂

  19. JoelG says:

    Interesting thanks Em. I wonder though if Jews in those days would practice what the Magi practiced. I thought it was generally looked down upon in those days amongst the Jews.

  20. JoelG says:

    “But I am interested in the wording of verse 4 – was Herod asking about the birth of Christ or did Matthew put those words in his mouth – a tool so his students would understand?”

    If Herod wasn’t a Jew and didn’t know scripture, then how would he know who Christ is?

  21. JoelG says:

    If he finds this out from the Chief Priests and Scribes, why weren’t they a little more curious about Herods question? It seems like they’d be amazed by the Magi’s story and do all they could to find out more about this.

  22. JoelG, that is why I brought it up. It goes to show that the gospel writers, Matthew in this case crafted their stories to make a point or to order events to help carry out a point. Of course Herod would not have asked about the Christ – but Matthew wanted to be clear to his students (and later readers) who the players were.

    Matthew is set up and ordered around the 5 major speeches (discourses in theology speak) Jesus gave.

  23. Em again says:

    JoelG @19, i don’t know about that practice either, it would be interesting to run it down…
    they did keep track of the seasons, the locations of the stars and phases of the moon… so what was going on in the sky was necessary to carry out their obligations to observe the feasts… (assuming that they, in some form, held onto the practices and disciplines that were part of their heritage as Jews) … again – dunno – i just ponder

  24. JoelG says:

    “Observe, in Herod’s inquiry and subsequent action, the combination of superstition and irreligion. He was willing to accept the witness of stars and of prophecies, but not willing to allow himself to be morally influenced by it. His attempt to kill this Child was the expression of a desire to destroy the Jewish nationality so far as this was severed from himself, and perhaps with it to uproot at the same time a fundamental part of the Jewish religion.”

    -Pulpit Commentary

  25. JoelG says:

    Fascinating commentary on the origin of the Magi

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.lxxviii.html

  26. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Of course Herod would not have asked about the Christ – ”

    Sure he did. His question wasn’t sincere in wanting to worship Him, but he absolutely asked the question.

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    @19 Joel, the early church struggled with that question as well. Tertullian says that God used astrology up until the time of Gospel, and then no longer after that. He is also the first one that we know that referred to them as kings. (around 200 AD)

  28. JoelG says:

    #26 – If this is true, then Herod was a believer as well but responded by hardening his heart toward God in the same way that Pharaoh hardened his heart after seeing God’s power. On a side note this response by Herod is an interesting contrast to the Rich Young Ruler who went away sorrowful instead of hardened.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, Herod was not a believer. He was a paranoid lunatic who wanted to keep his pace in charge of the Jews. His question was not sincere. He was trying to find the next rival so he could kill them off.

  30. JoelG says:

    Only a believer in the sense that he believed the Magi, Scribes and Chief Priests’ stories about Christ. And then arrogantly believing he could impose his will against signs and prophesies that were over his head.

  31. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh yes, I see now. However, he may not have even believed, just was willing to kill…just in case.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Herod was looking strictly for a challenging king.

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    Right, and as you pointed out last week, he wasn’t to discerning about who that might be. IF they may be a threat someday, he has them killed.

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