Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Stuff I'm Learning, Thanks to Rabbi Izaak M.

I continue to read this book with astonishment. It presents things so clearly, and in a way I had never seen them before. No doubt you have, but somehow… well, I’ll try to explain as I go along.

So, back to Genesis, Chapter 3. Adam and Eve have fallen for the serpent’s trick. God says to the serpent (v.15):  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

“Interesting He says it of the woman’s seed,” said Demetrios.

“Yeah, well, as we’re all descended from both, He might just as well have said it of Ad—“


NO. My hands flew to my face and I gasped. No. Her offspring, and precisely NOT Adam’s! The Messiah was to have no earthly father.

I’ve long realized this was a messianic prophecy, but it never occurred to me that it is also, specifically, an allusion to the Virgin Birth, right from the beginning, right in Genesis.

Never mind I’m accustomed to people referring to Mary as the Second Eve, the Leftover Liberal Protestant in me always supposed that expression to be an invention of the Fathers – to express a correct insight, yes, but their invention, nevertheless. No! Not! It’s straight from this verse.

Again, the Leftover Fundamentalist Protestant in me left me unable properly to appreciate Genesis 11:10: “And in that day, from the root of Jesse an ensign shall be established, unto which the nations [the Gentiles] shall run.”

Run? I always thought (or mis-remembered) it as “shall turn to it.” Well, the verb in the Septuagint is difficult to translate. It’s not exactly “run”, but it’s more than “come”. Some versions say, “the nations shall rally to it”.

What jumped out at me this time was the sheer joy of this verse. The LFP in me always used to suppose it meant, now God is going to raise up a Standard for the whole world, not just for the Jews; and now everybody had jolly well better rally around it, or else!

But no, there’s nothing like that here. It’s just pure light and joy. When people see God’s Banner, they will flock to it, eagerly, with delight, practically racing toward it.

Oh, yes, p.s. – the Standard will come “from the root of Jesse”, King David’s father. That used to be the important part of the verse for me. Messiah would be of the royal line.

There are so many other prophecies to the effect that Messiah will be sent for all, not just for Jews, and that Gentiles will receive Him, and/or that Jews, by and large, will not. One of the most familiar, from Isaiah 9:2, is “The people that walked in darkness (that’s Gentiles) have seen a great light; upon them that dwell in the land of the shadow of death has the light shined.”

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 8:14: And he shall be for a sanctuary; But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Also, there are other prophecies in which it is quite clear that Messiah is not to be a human being only, but also God.

Isaiah 9:7:  Of the increase of his reign and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.  Messiah’s kingdom is to be everlasting.

And another familiar one, Micah 5:25. I used to think the important part of this verse was the reference to Bethlehem, and perhaps that is so; but for me, this time, what stood out is the divinity claimed for the Messiah:   And you, Bethlehem Ephrata, although you are small among the thousands of Judah, out of you will come forth to Me a man to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old (or, from the beginning) and from everlasting.

For me, is the most amazing revelation of all, coming from all these prophecies (and more!) combined. The LLP in me used to assume a wrong thing about the prophets. My assumption (and our assumptions are so hard to see, aren’t they!) was that the prophets did not necessarily know whereof they spoke. They said cryptic things that Christians (justifiably, of course) applied to Christ. They said things that could later be seen to have double meanings, and perhaps they were not aware of the meaning Christians would find in their sayings. When I became Orthodox, I added to this assumption that the prophets were speaking by the Holy Spirit, of course, so the meanings hidden within their oracles were indeed MEANT to be there. But I still supposed the prophets themselves seldom if ever knew how right they were!

That’s just balderdash. The more I read the prophets, the more clearly I can see, they knew exactly what they were saying and exactly what it meant. When Jesus said, “Abraham saw My day and rejoiced in it,” He meant that quite literally.

There is just no way Isaiah, for example, could not know what he was saying when he predicted Messiah would be God Himself; it’s simply too outrageous a thing to say unwittingly. There’s no way Abraham saw God as three and this was not the Holy Trinity!

No, the prophets saw clearly and spoke clearly, to help us all recognize the Expected One (yet so unexpected, because who could ever have imagined?) when He should appear. I stand amazed, mind-boggled. Glory to God!

There’s so much more, but this is a long enough post already. I’ll share more soon!


GretchenJoanna said...

I'm so glad you have a blog on which to express your discoveries and joys of the faith, and that it is public, so I can read them. Of course, if you didn't also write about living in Britain and Greece, and about events in your daily life, I wouldn't have found a reason to read the other things. The LLP part of you is interesting, too. I have a lot of LConservativeP in me....