Exodus Part Two

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Exodus part 2

Image result for 10 commandments images public domainToday we’re looking at the second part of our study in the book of Exodus. If you missed last week’s episode, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you. And you’ll find those show notes at samburtonpresents.com. Please follow the instructions right below my photograph and register to get notifications every time a new episode comes out. I guess alternatively, you could go to my FB page, samburtonga, and friend me there, you’ll also get notifications there. Of course you’ll get all my news that way. And that could be scary. By all means, friend me on FB, if you dare.

Anyway last week we quick look at the first 15 chapters of Exodus. There is some incredible drama there, so do look up the episode.

I realize that Genesis – Deuteronomy covers a fairly detailed time period of 40 years, and it’s mostly hilights, or low lights, but it never seems to strike me how the Israelis complained almost constantly.

In chapter 16, after God had delivered them from the Egyptian army, they start fussing about food. Did God bring us out here to die? We should have stayed in Egypt? They’ve already forgotten how bad things were in slavery, and where whining about the shortage of food.

All my life I’ve been mystified by this one. They have all their herds and stuff with them. They never think, Oh, let’s slaughter a sheep and eat. Some of these people would have large herds. A single sheep would have fed a family for a couple days, at least. A cow would have fed them a long time. But they don’t even consider that. Instead they complain because God should provide something for them.

And the amazing thing is, God did. He gave them something they called Manna. Manna means, what is it? I seemed to come down with the dew. It appeared for them 6 days a week for 40 years. They never had too little. They didn’t have to touch their herds and flocks to eat.

I find it astounding that even then it wasn’t enough. In chapter 17, they complain because they are out of water. Just as an aside, if they are getting dew every morning, it would have been fairly easy for them to get at least some of their water. When it rained they knew how to catch more, but they had to complain.

And again, God provides water for them from a stone. It’s a tremendous story. In our for what it’s earth story, in Saudi Arabia, not too far from the place I told you about last week, that’s a possible place of crossing the red sea, there is a rock that stands apart from the others. It’s kind of in a clearing. It looks like it’s been split in two just like a tree that’s been hit by lightening. The surrounding countryside looks very similar to the countryside described in the Bible story. Honestly, when I see pictures of it, it really looks like the rock has been split by God. I can see in my mind, water flowing from the rock into the valley below, filling it up and providing more than enough for the people and their animals.

I get rather impatient with the Israelis. It seems like no matter what God does for them, they have become so entitled, that regardless of what He does, it’s not enough for them. I truly hope that I’m not that way.

The next big event in Exodus, is in many ways, the most famous part. It’s in Chapter 20, when God gives the 10 Commandments. These 10 commandments have been the foundation of the majority of laws in the civilized world. I’m not going to park here, because I might just stay a week, but I would like you to consider this.

Once, Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment. You can read all about it in Matthew 22:36-40. His answer was most interesting. He says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

When you look closely, you’ll see that the first 5 of the 10 commandments are about loving God, and the next 5 are about loving your neighbor. I find that fascinating.

Then the next several chapters, through Chapter 31, are a variety of other specific laws and instructions concerning the tabernacle that God gave to Moses. When you read them, I want you to pay special intentions to the specific requirements. God has selected the Israelis to bring his Messiah into the world, and he has a few special instructions for them.

But you’ll see, that even while God is giving the laws to Moses, the people at the base of the mountain are involved in great sin. They are making an idol. They even get Aaron involved in their blasphemous behavior.

We get to that in Chapter 32. God tells him about the disobedience and says He’s ready to wipe them out, but Moses comes to their defense. When Moses comes down off the mountain, where he’s just spent a few weeks with God, he finds the people are in total chaos. He throws the tablets to the ground in either disgust or anger. God’s commandments are broken.

In my opinion, that is an incredibly illustrative story. God gave the law to point out how bad sin is. In fact it’s so bad, that before the people even hear God’s law, it’s broken, both spiritually and literally.

But God is gracious. He calls Moses back up the mountain to get the law again, but this time Moses carries tablets with him.

The rest of the book is all about the precise building of the Tabernacle. The tent. The representation of God’s presence with men. He even gives precise detailed instructions on the garments the priests are to wear.

I think that’s really interesting. God gives these major instructions on a temporary building. In fact, God always considered the tabernacle to be temporary. It was David who wants to build a permanent structure, which God allows Solomon to build, but He authorized the tabernacle.

Jesus was always God’s permanent plan. The book of Hebrews in the NT explains that. The whole plan was to bring the Messiah into the world.

But the Jews missed it completely. We’re going to see over and over how the OT shows us how humans could not live by the law. We’re going to see rebellion after rebellion. And we’re going to discover multiple thousands of animals sacrificed. And still the people sin.

But we’ll save some of that for next time. In fact, we’ll look at 3 books, leviticus, numbers and, Deuteronomy. It’s a tough slog, but it’s given to us for a very good reason. So, until then, you all take care. That’s all I’ve got right now. See you…I’m out…

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Exodus Part 1

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Show Notes

Image result for Red Sea Discoveries imagesToday, we’re going to look at the Book of Exodus. That’s the second book in the Old Testament. In case a new discoverer, we’ve been looking at each of the Books of the Bible. We started with the New Testament, and now we’re going back to the Old. I’ll leave a link in the show notes, in case you want to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows.

The book of Exodus is really rather exciting. It tells the story of how the Israelis were in Egypt and were eventually made slaves. It talks about how God sent a deliverer names Moses to set them free and lead them through the desert towards the land he had promised them. It’s really quite dramatic in it’s telling. The book was written by Moses himself, somewhere around 1407 BC.

There is some controversy around when these events happened, and we’ll tackle some of them while we

re together. But let me just say that when we think of Ancient Egypt, we tend to think that everything we find buried in the sand, is all related to the slavery of the Jews. That simply isn’t true. For example, I don’t think they built the great pyramid. I think it was built a long time before the Israelis. But I think all the talk about Rameses II and the 1200s BC talk that you often hear from liberal scholars, is also rubbish.

Moses gives us enough detail that we can pretty much pin the dates to the 15th century BC. When the story begins, the midwives of the Jews are asked to kill baby boys, but Moses mother, hides her son in a basket, in the Nile and he was found by a woman callled, Pharoah’s daughter. Interestingly, there was a woman who actually had that as her Title. Her name was Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Tutmose II and the brother of Tutmose III. Her father loved her very much and she was the first woman to be treated like a pharoah. This woman would have been powerful enough to rescue an Israeli baby and raise him as her own. And she lives right at the time tha’t best fits the Biblical time period. She is hated by her brother, Tutmose III and once he becomes pharoah, he tries to wipe her name out of existence. It’s fascinating to read about it and see the conflict between them. And it follows that Tutmose would be angry with Moses. Because he was raised by Hatshepsut as a prince of Egypt, he would have been seen as such by the people and explains how he had access to Tutmose whenever he liked. Hatshepsut had been loved by many people so Tutmose would have indulged Moses.

One of my favorite visits, was to the Egypt exhibit in the British Museum. In fact, Brittan and I are going there in a couple of weeks. One of the things I love is all the stuff they have related to Tutmose III. His very sarcophagus is there. As I walk through that exhibit, I can imagine, the debates between Him and Moses.

When we look at the ten plagues God cursed the Egyptians with, we must take note that these plagues were directly related to Egyptian worship. They worshiped the Nile, Frogs, their cattle, their gods of the sky and harvests. Ultimately, they worshipped the Sun and Pharoah himself. So each of the plagues was pitting God against those worshiped by the Egyptians. They are not random acts. There is purpose to them. We don’t see that unless we’re told about it, but the Egyptians and Israelis both would have known exactly what this was all about.

The slavery part of Israel’s history ends with the Passover. God tells them to butcher a lamb and eat it quickly, with a few quick vegetables and herbs and unleavened bread. They are to take some of the blood of the lamb and paint the top of their doors with it. When the angel of judgment and death comes by, he will pass over any doors covered by blood.

Death was everywhere in Egypt that night. By morning they were begging the Israeli’s to leave. They were actually paying them to go. And the Jews walked out of Egypt, a free people.

To this very day, Passover is an important part of the Jewish calendar. Even Jews who don’t believe much at all will practice the passover.

But sadly, they don’t see it as a picture of Jesus. Jesus, who, like the lamb, was sacrificed, at Passover. Some day, each one of us will stand before the Judge. We are all guilty and deserve punishment, but we will be passed over by the blood of the lamb who’s blood we claim, just like the Jews did. Oh how I see Jesus in every part of the Passover. I hope you will, too.

There is one more part of the Book of Exodus I want to look at for a moment. And that is, the crossing of the Red Sea. That’s a really awesome story. We read about it in the 14th Chapter. After the Jews had been gone a few days, Pharoah had regrets and sent his army out to bring them back. The Jews found themselves trapped, with the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They thought they were done. But God spoke to Moses and told him to stretch his walking staff out over the sea. When Moses did that, the sea parted. Interestingly, the Cloud of God’s presence stood between the Jews and the army almost like a fog, and the Egyptians did not see them crossing on dry ground. When God lifted the cloud, the Egyptians saw the Jews and ran into the sea bed, which God closed in around them, drowning the army of Egypt.

The story is beyond dramatic, it’s miraculous. Many people scoff at it. But why? Interestingly, this coincides with about a 70 year time period, when the Egyptians became monotheists. Now, they weren’t worshiping the God of the Jews, but their pantheon of Gods had just been defeated, along with their army. They had a new pharoah, and he led them in this monotheistic revival.

Also, consider the archaeological evidence. I remember when I was young, thinking divers should find something at the bottom of the red sea, but there was nothing there. That’s until fairly recently. See, the red sea has two fingers that stick up. There is the Gulf of Suez, but there is also the gulf of Aquaba. We have always thought the Jews crossed the gulf of Suez. Liberal scholars have even suggested there was a shallow bit to the north that would have worked. But in the late 60s, an explorer found an interesting set of sites over in the gulf of Aquaba.

Roughly a quarter of the way down the gulf, there is a sandy beach, directly across from it is another beach in Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi side, he found memorial markers and other signs that made him think this might actually be the spot. The problem is, the Saudis wouldn’t allow anyone to come see them.

He did manage to get some divers to do some work in the sea and they found several chariot wheels and other objects that looked like something had happened. But again, the saudis were a hindrance to the research.

Just last week, I read that the Saudis are considering opening these sites up for exploration and possibly even tourism. This could be really interesting. Especially, because if it pans out, a lot of tourist places and old worship sites like monasteries, built since the middle ages, will prove to be false. And we will have to deal with the repercussions of the scandal from the fall out. Stay tuned for this part. There is another site in this region of Saudi that looks pretty interesting, too, but again we’ll have to wait and see. I will get into it a bit next week.

When you read Exodus, I want you to understand the history that was surrounding these events. The events of the bible happened in space and time. Much of the history we can’t find, because history was not well chronicled in those days. But much has been uncovered. And the Bible is being confirmed all the time. You don’t hear about it, because it doesn’t match the agenda people want to feed or be fed. But the simple truth is, the Bible is stunningly accurate is all it proclaims.

So far in the book we’ve seen that God loves his people and delivers them from bondage. And folks, that’s the story of Jesus. God love his creation. He knows that we are held prisoner, not from Egypt, not from any government, but from sin. Jesus died and his blood sets us free. We will still be chased and tested, but God will be there with and for us. Every step of the way. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will trust him. That’s your call.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll finish the book of Exodus next time. I hope you have a great week. Read the book of Exodus, if you can. Write me with questions and thoughts. I’ll talk to you then, but for now…..Yep…I’m out…..

Podcast – Genesis Part 2 – Pictures of Jesus

 

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October is a very interesting month for English Speaking Christians. It was in October, the 6th to be precise, that an English Christian was executed for his faith back in 1536. His name was William Tyndale. Tyndale was executed for the crime of translating the Bible into English. Yikes. For that crime he was strangled to death, then his body was burned at the stake.

Within just a few years of his death, the King of England ordered that an English Bible be placed in every church in the country. And in less that a hundred years, King James the 1 of England, and the 6th of Scotland, authorized a brand new translation, that was in the common ordinary language of the people of the 17th century. We call it, the King James version. The British call it, the Authorized version. And the King James Bible changed the entire British Empire. Even in the 21st century, it is still the most widely recognized translation of the Bible. It still sells millions of copies a year.

Plus, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries we’ve had a flood of new translations, each one trying to make the Bible understandable to modern ears.

I also read last week that Christians in China are memorizing the entire Bible. All of it. The Chinese govt. is burning Bibles again, so people are committing it to memory, because the Govt. can’t ban it from your memory.

Most of us have Bibles somewhere in our homes, probably gathering dust. Yet, William Tyndale gave his life so you could have one. And the chinese are memorizing huge portions of it. What’s the deal? What are we missing. Perhaps it’s time for us to rediscover the Bible. And that’s why I’m here. To help give you some information to make the Bible more interesting, and to help you make the most of it when you read it for yourself.

If you look through the episodes, you’ll find something one every book of the New Testament. We started looking at the old testament last week. I’ll put some links in the show notes so you can easily find past episodes. If you’re listening on a stitcher app. You can just search Rediscovering the Bible on it and find every episode. But like I said, I’ll put something in the show notes on samburtonpresents.com. So you can find them.

Last week we looked at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Those are some of the most criticized chapters in the Bible, because they talk about how the world was created, about the Flood of Noah, and some other kind of far out stories. While I believe those are just highlights, I do believe they are historically accurate, Because Jesus talks about Creation, and Noah and the Flood. He puts his stamp of approval on the book of Genesis. That’s why I want you to read the NT before you start on the Old. It just makes sense.

But the story changes starting with Chapter 12 of Genesis. This is where we see the genesis, or beginning of the nation of Israel, the Jews. It begins with Abraham. Abraham lives in Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was a real place. It is in southern Iraq. Obviously, it’s just a ruin today, but when God calls Abraham, that’s where he lived.

I think it’s important to note here, that the Bible indicates there are many people who worshipped Him long before there were Jews or Christians. Noah, of course. Here we meet Abraham. Later we’ll meet Melchizedek. In Exodus, we’ll run into Moses’ Father in Law, who is a priest of God. It’s not like there were not faithful followers before the Jews. The jews were chosen because God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to bless the whole world by providing a savior through his bloodline.

Abraham is a genuine hero. His story is full of action and intrigue. He is not perfect. But he loves and serves God. And God promises to bless him.

The rest of the book is all about his family. Its about his relationships with women, with God, with his kids. And it’s about his son, grandson and great grandchildren. God promises to give him the land we now call the Holy Land. His descendants are going to inherit this land. But not just yet.

When you read the book, you’ll enjoy many of the adventures and misadventures of Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. their stories are only part of the story. The whole bible is about Jesus. And I want you to take special notice of pictures of Jesus in the Book of Genesis.

First, Isaac is a picture of Jesus. He is the chosen one. The promised one. And when he is just a young man, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is about 125 give or take when God asks him to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac is in his mid 20s. Frankly, I think he could have taken out his dad, but he is willing to be an offering of that’s what God required. Wow. That is definitely Jesus. Just like Jesus will carry his own cross, Isaac even carries the wood for the fire where he is going to be burned.

But there is another picture of Jesus in that story. It’s in chapter 22 btw. At the very last moment, God spares Isaac, and provides a Ram as Isaac’s replacement. Jesus is the ram for us. We should face judgement for sin, but Jesus took it for us. And one of the things that a lot of people don’t know, is Jesus was crucified on the very same hill as this event with Abraham and Isaac. This is where David built his city. It is where Jerusalem is today. It is where the temple stood. That’s amazing. Think about that. What are the odds? Unless of course, God had something to do with it.

But there is one more picture of Jesus in Genesis. That is Joseph. Joseph, we know him mostly for his amazing technicolor dream coat. But he is a picture of Jesus. First of all, while we see sin in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And in his other sons. The bible is silent about Joseph’s sin. He even resists temptation when he is faced with it. He is sold for a pittance to passers by, just as Jesus is sold by Judas. He disappears. His father is sold a story of his spilled blood. He is dead as far as his family is concerned. But God raises him up in Egypt. And he is able to save his entire family from a terrible famine sweeping the world around them.

It’s a remarkable story of sin and salvation. The book of Genesis is really quite unforgettable. And it’s not made up. I know you’ll enjoy it. You’ll have questions. Keep the Gospels in mind before you read it. I’d really like to hear any that you have. Write me with them. I’ll talk to you soon. Have an awesome week. I know I plan to. For now, That’s all I got, so…I’m out.

 

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Genesis – The Beginning

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Image result for the big bang images public domainLast time we were together I mentioned to you that all the old episodes of the show were back up and available. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. But it kind of changes the direction of the show. All the programs related to books of the New Testament, are available to you, beginning with episode 16. That’s where we started looking at the book of Matthew. I’m going to link to that episode in the show notes, but I will also put a link to the Podcast Garden website, and an RSS feed link so you can get the episodes. For those of you with a Stitcher app on your phone, you can search ReDiscovering the Bible and get all the episodes that way. I still haven’t checked to see what our status is on iTunes, but since iTunes is going away, I’m not in a big hurry to look at it. I do know that if you have the podcast player app, that you can find us there. Please tell your friends about the show, and let me know if there are other places we should be. I’m still working on Spotify. Stay tuned.

Today, we’re going to start looking at the books of the Old Testament. Honestly, they are much harder to understand in the 21st century than the books of the New Testament. That’s why I always recommend reading the NT first. And twice if you can, before you read the Old Testament. And, read the book of Hebrews in the New Testament just before you start reading the old testament, as it’s like a decoder ring for helping you understand the Old Testament. I’m serious. If you read Hebrews first, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The Old Testament, just like the New, is about Jesus. But is was written long before he was born. The oldest books were about 1400 years before, and the most recent was about 400 years before he was born.

From the 12th Chapter of Genesis on, the OT deals with the nation of Israel, the Jews. The storyline goes simply that God chose this guy Abraham to bring the savior of the world through his offspring. As you read, you’ll see why. I just don’t want to get into the weeds just yet. Since Abraham had multiple children, God chose to work through his son, Isaac. Isaac had 2 sons, Jacob and Esau. The bloodline was to go through Jacob. Jacob has 12 sons. They become the nation of Israel. The rest of the Old Testament is about their trials and tribulations as a people. Their great successes and their catastrophic failures. The Bible doesn’t suggest that the Jews are the only people on earth or that God doesn’t care about other nations. It’s simply that the coming Saviour is to come through the Jews.

God gives them some special and strict laws. Those laws were for the Jews only. There are some horrific things that happen in the Old Testament. I will try and explain them as we get to them. We are not under the old testament laws anymore. Jesus changed all that. The new testament tells us that He fulfilled all the requirements, and we are in a new covenant with God. It’s not one written in stone, but written on our hearts. Jesus has set us free from all that. And as we go, you’ll see why Christianity is such a great thing.

One other thing. The books of the Old Testament are not put together in your Bible in chronological order. They are grouped according to theme. Oddly, the first books, are the first ones. There are 5 of them. In fact, the Books are divided into 5 themes. And you only have to remember these numbers, 5, 12, 5,5, 12. There are the 5 books of law, followed by the 12 books of history, then we have the 5 books of poetry, followed by 5 the five, Major prophets, and we finish with the 12 minor prophets. The names major and minor are only because of the lengths of the books. Nothing to do with importance.

God is the ultimate author of these books. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, that all Scripture is God Breathed. But God had nothing to do with the order in which we have them in our Bible. It’s probably not in the best reading order. But we’ll go through them in the order you find them in the table of Contents.

The first book is Genesis. Genesis, means beginning. Kind of makes sense. And there are several beginnings described in the book. Moses is the author. It was written between 1447 and 1407 BC, during the 40 years the Israelis were wandering in the wilderness.

In the book, Moses tells us about several beginnings. He tells us about the beginning of the world. Then he tells us about the beginning of Sin, and God’s plan to redeem the world. And he describes the Beginning of the nation of Israel. As you read, keep in mind that the Bible never pretends that the Jews, are the only people on earth. It is focused on them, because they are chosen to bring the Saviour to the world.

You will learn a lot about how bad Sin is. How great God is. And how impossible it is to be religious. Say what? One of the things the old testament teaches us is that sin separates us from God and that religion, however good it is, is not effective. But I’ll come back to that. You’re still shocked by hearing a conservative preacher say such things about religion.

Let’s take a closer look at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Those chapters sound so odd to our 21st century ears. In many ways, it reminds of of reading Gilgamesh, or Homer, or old stories from Greco or Roman legends. Some of that has to do with writing styles. And some is just the way the history is remembered and passed on.

Remember, Moses wasn’t there at the beginning. He was relaying the story as it was handed to him from generations before. In fact, most scholars think that Genesis 1 is like a poem, or something similar, which is how each generation taught the Creation of the world. There’s a huge difference is the style in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

I think Chapter 1 is Moses relaying the creation story as it was relayed to him. It is poetic and majestic. But that doesn’t mean it is not true. Was the earth created out of nothing, or did it evolve over billions of years. None of us was there. We can’t possibly speak from experience. I remember going to Carlsbad Caverns when I was a sophmore in college. I remember very well, the guide saying that if the stalagtites were growing at the same rate since they began, then it would take X billion years to reach their current size. But there’s no way of knowing whether or not things have changed. I also remember learning that there were stalagtites in Churchills tunnels build for WW II. Those had begun growing very fast and were only 50 years old when at the time.

Honestly, Darwinian Evolution has been shown to be absolutely rife with holes. If you dig a little you’ll see what I mean. None of us was there and we have to make assumptions. The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation says that God made the heavens and the earth. He is the creator. Jesus himself believed that. Therefore, so do I.

I’m not anti science. I can just look at the world around me and see consistency with what the Bible says. Was it created in 7 days? I’m not going to get into that discussion. I’m just not. I think that the Bible is consistent in how it uses the word day. I believe it was 7 literal days. I think that to deny that, creates problems with other parts of the Bible. I know the Bible says God made the world. He made it on purpose and for a purpose. He made humans different that the other animals. And the Bible is about people. The Gospel is about people.

Ok, I’m getting bogged down. My goal is not to defend creationism. Maybe I’ll do that another time. But I do want to defend the fact that the Bible teaches that God made the world. All of it. And that humans are different than the other animals. We alone are made in the image of God. We alone have created speech and written languages. We alone have invented the airplane and the smartphone. God made us the top of creation. But He also told us to be responsible to take care of it. We’ve done a terrible job of that.

When you look at the plastic in the ocean. Oh my gosh is it bad. By the way, it’s not coming from straws in California. In fact, less than 3 % of the water pollution comes from the western world. Less than 3%. It comes first from Asia. China, India, Thailand, etc. Secondly it comes from Africa. The USA and GB could stop using plastic 100% and it would have no impact on the oceans. I’m just saying that the outrage makes us feel better but it’s not going to help.

I get just as frustrated with commercial agriculture. If you look at the poison in our waterways you’d be stunned. We have millions of tons, millions upon millions of gallons, of chemicals being washed into our waterways from factories and factory farms. Is it any wonder that we have the mess we have. We’re killing off birds, butterflies, and bees by trying to have the best looking lawns in our HOA. We’re doing it. Big agra and Big Pharma are making them, but we buy them and spray our fields and our gardens and our yards. We are killing our planet. Even a little thing like a bag on the back or side of a lawnmower is helping to kill the planet. Yet, we’re blaming cow farts. Oh my gosh. Sin had made us stupid.

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked again. I do that. After Creation. Genesis describes the beginning of Sin. First in Adam and Eve’s disobedience followed by Cain killing Abel. Sin and its consequences are what the Bible is all about. Adam and Eve sinned. That cost them eternal life. It greatly increased their work load. It cost them their garden home. Their access to the tree of life.

Sin is universal. If we learn anything about life from the OT, it’s that. One of the interesting thing about the Bible is it does not hide the flaws of it’s heroes. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later Moses, David, Solomon, and so on…are flawed people. Some of them seek God’s forgiveness. Some walk away from God altogether. But sin is everywhere.

If you learn anything from reading Genesis, learn that. Look for it as you read the book. Sin cost adam and Eve so much. Besides their eternal lives and their home. It cost them their first two sons. Abel because he died, and Cain because he was forced to leave his home and wander the earth.

By the 6th chapter, sin has become so all encompassing, the human race has made sinning a kind of worship. Even Angels join in the rebellion. That’s why the flood came.

Humans had become so corrupt that God was sorry he ever made us in the first place. But, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It was grace, undeserved favor, that kept Noah and his family alive. I’m so grateful that God is gracious and forgiving.

In fact, all the way back in Genesis chapter 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, God told them that one day, a savior would come. In 3:15 we read the first promise that Jesus would come. And that verse sets the stage for the entire OT. It’s about God preparing the world for this saviour.

There are also some things in Chapter 6 that will help you to understand why God is so upset with the people of Canaan when the Israelis inherit the land upon their release from slavery in Egypt. I want you to take note of verses 2-4. About these Nephilim. These hybrid people that were physical giants and very evil. I know it sounds like something out of Greek mythology. But perhaps greek mythology is based on something that really happened. Nearly every people group has a legend of giants, and a flood, and a survivor of the flood.

Even the North American native people told of Giants. And their fear of 6 fingered men. We’ll talk about that again in a few weeks. I promise.

I’m convinced that the Bible has the story right and that other myths and legends are just that. I’m convinced of it because of Jesus. Jesus put his stamp of approval on the story of creation. On the story of Noah. And Jesus rose from the dead. That gets my attention.

I want to make clear that the Bible says more that that it rained for 40 days and nights. Gosh I live in Scotland. It does that here every year. The Bible says that the heavens opened up. The clouds emptied themselves in torrential rain. But it also says the fountains of the great deep broke up. That means the earth exploded. The clouds above emptied themselves and the earth blew up. The tectonic plates shifted and everything went crazy. The very earth reshaped itself. That’s why the fossil records are so chaotic. That explains so much about geology. The whole world went through a kind of recreation. Everything changed. The story of Noah’s flood is not a children’s fable. It’s a horror story that holywood can’t possibly recreate. It will keep you up at night if you really think it through.

What could possible cause such a catastrophy? What could make God that angry? Sin. Sin separates us from a relationship with God. He cannot allow it in his presence. It was so all encompassing, that he had to destroy the earth and nearly every person on the planet because of it.

But Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord. We got a brand new start on a rebuilt earth. And yet sin is so widespread, it has taken the human race captive within a single generation after the flood. By my reckoning, Shem, the son of Noah, was still alive at the tower of Babel. One who saw the destruction of the entire planet was still around yet the people were caught up in rebelling.

We’re going to see that over and over through the Old Testament. Sin, it’s consequences, and it’s control over the people will be a constant theme of the O.T. That’s why it’s such a hallelujah moment when Jesus is born in Bethlehem.

 

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(Re)Discovering the Bible Relaunch Part 2

Image result for Very Excited images public domainGood News, the old podcasts are up. They have been found and reposted. I’m so excited. I will include a link on how to find them at the end of these notes. This episode is short, but I really needed to finish our review. It was just going to be incomplete. 

To Listen CLICK HERE

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HERE

Do remember if you listen on Stitcher, that it takes a while before the episode is available there. I’m working to make sure we’re connected to some of the other podcast hosting sites.

When we started this podcast, we were going to use it as a kind of supplement for my books of the same name. Those books, Vols 1 and 2, are still available on Amazon. I probably won’t get started writing volume 3 for a few more months. I’m writing a book of weight loss and eating right. It’s taking a toll on my brain, but I want to get it done before the beginning of 2020, because a lot of people start in January, thinking about losing a pound or two with their new years resolutions. Since I’m convinced I’ve found a plan that works, does not cause great hunger pains, and is consistent with what the Bible teaches about food, I’m really excited to get it finished. I’ll keep you posted on progress. My hope is, to finish my research on Re Discovering Volume 3, Pauls letters, and get started writing it, as soon as I get done with my food book.

I’m thinking that we should probably spend two or three weeks in review of Ground we’ve already covered just to get us all up to speed and get our minds in gear. Hopefully, that works for you.

If you are new to the Bible, or let’s say new again, you probably should listen to the last episode, ReLaunch. It will give you some good tips on what the Bible is all about, and how you can find a translation that suits you and your style. That’s really important. You need a version, a translation that matches your reading style. And there are lot’s of them available, for FREE, if you’re willing to download them to your smartphone, or tablet, or laptop, or even your desktop, if you’re still using one of those.

I really believe there are a lot of people, as in millions upon millions, who are really confused about faith and religion, and even Jesus. There’s a great deal of conflicting information out there. It can make your head spin. But you can go directly to the source of our available information. You can read the Bible for yourself, and draw your own conclusion.

But the thing is, and I’m sorry to say it, while the Bible is truly God’s love letter to the human race, the human race has put it together in a way that makes it harder to understand. Seriously. If you read the Bible in New Testament First, then Old Testament, it will make a whole lot more sense to you. It really will. And frankly, I have created a reading plan that will make it even clearer to you than that. If you’ll write to me, samburtonpresents@gmail.com, or use the comments section at samburtonpresents.com, where I put the show notes, and ask for it, I’ll send you the reading plan for the New Testament absolutely free.

You see, the Bible is not A book. Its 66 books, 27 in the New Testament and 39 in the Old Testament. Those books are given to us by God himself. Truly. But the order in which they’re put together was created by book editors and Church leaders. Not by teachers who were trying to help you understand it. That’s where I come in. I’m just a teacher. A guy who wants you to read the Bible and understand it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is who you’re looking for, whether or not you even know you’re looking for him. I also want the Bible to make sense to you. It’s not a bunch of religious jargon. And it’s certainly not boring. Sometimes we preachers are, but the Bible isn’t.

Don’t just listen to someone on YouTube, read it for yourself.

And for those of you who are familiar with the Book, my reading plan will help you see the Bible differently than you ever have before. You’ll understand the flow of the book much better. And I’ve got the harder to understand books later in the plan, because as you understand more of the thought processes in the Bible, the books are not so hard after all.

But whether or not you want to use my plan, do yourself a favor, and read the New Testament first. Then go back and read the old. The whole book is about Jesus. I encourage you to start with reading all about Him, then go back and see how the Old Testament is preparing the world for his coming.

Then after you’ve read the New Testament, think about all it says. After you read one of the Gospels, I suggest Luke first, you’re going to have some decisions to make about Jesus. Then read the book of Acts to find out what you should do about and with Jesus. After that, I’ll leave you to read it on your own if that’s the way you want to do it. But read all the New Testament before you read the old. But just before you read the old testament, read the book of Hebrews again. I believe that Hebrews is the key to unlocking the Old Testament. It’s like a magic pill.

You might be wondering why I ask you to read Luke’s gospel first. Instead of one of the other three gospels. It’s simply because he also wrote the book of acts and it’s literally reading part one and part two of the same story. I also believe that if you read Luke, then Acts, then the Gospel of John, you’ll have a real grip on the whole Jesus message.

When you first start reading the New Testament, you’re going to be surprised at how short the books are. And you’re going to scratch your head at the Chapter and verse divisions. Especially the chapters. Keep in mind, those are not original. The chapter divisions came in the 1200s and the verses in the 1500s. They were to help with memorizing passages and in knowing where you left off reading from the last time you read. They’re not perfect, but they are helpful.

Each book was written for a specific reason. Maybe to answer some questions. Maybe to straighten out some misunderstanding. When the author was finished with that, the book was done. For example, the Gospels are not biographies of Jesus. Even all together they’re not a biography of Jesus. They are memories of Jesus. Kind of like at a family or class reunion, when everyone is telling stories. Sometimes, their not even chronological. That’s true with Matthew and Mark. They are sharing their stories and are not particularly concerned about chronology. Luke is very orderly, so he pays a lot of attention to things like chronology. So does John. But John and Mark don’t say a word about Jesus’ Birth or childhood. Because they are not biographies. Matthew is trying to show that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. He’s the King of the Jews. Mark’s Book has a verse in chapter 10, verse 45 that says, the son of man did not come to be serve, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. And that seems to describe the book. The first part is huge on Jesus serving and healing people. Then he gives his life as a sacrifice for the human race. Luke’s book could be called, The son of man. That phrase is used many times in the Gospel. It shows that Jesus is a fulfillment of prophesies, and the gospel deals with the human race. Our problems. Our crises, our need for God’s intervention. And John’s gospel is clearly to prove that Jesus is both God and Man. He states that in the very first verse and each story clearly establishes one side or the other of Jesus’ dual nature.

The book of acts tells us how important the Resurrection was to the Church. It was not Jesus miracles, nor his teaching, but His death and Resurrection that set him apart. It tells us how churches were born and how the message spread through the Roman empire. And it’s the only book in all the Bible that tells us how people became Christians.

The rest of the New Testament is written to followers of Jesus, whether Churches, or individuals to help us learn to live for Him. And the book of Revelation is there to explain how things will turn out in the end.

I think that will catch you up if you’re new to the show, and is a great brief review for long time listeners.

Last Episode, Part One – Click HERE to listen 

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(Re)Discovering The Bible Podcast Relaunch

TO LISTEN CLICK HERE

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After two plus years, we’re back. I’m so excited. Attached are the show notes, in rather unedited form. I just wanted to get the podcast to you. Thanks for waiting. And thanks to you new listeners.

 

 I want to welcome you, or, welcome you back to ReDiscovering the Bible. I’ve been away a long time. A lot has happened since we were last together. My wife and I have moved to North Eastern Scotland. I’m back full time in ministry. I’ve had a heart attack, 4 strokes and had triple bypass surgery to repair the damage. But I feel great, and I’m looking forward renewing our relationship, or getting to know you for the first time, whichever situation describes you and I. For those of you who were regular listeners before, we don’t have farm animals here in Scotland, so we won’t be interrupted by crowing roosters or braying donkeys, or goats calling for their dinner. And the camper, that I used as a recording studio is also a thing of the past.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the Bible. It’s message is unchangeable. It still points us to Jesus,

I’m looking forward to our time together. For reasons no one can explain, all our old episodes have disappeared. The hosts can’t explain it, but they are doing their best to get them back. But it’s ok with me either way. We’re going to start over. If the old episodes come back, great, if not, most of you are new, anyway, so we’ll do this together.

So let’s get started. What is the Bible? And why do I think it’s such a big deal? First of all, it’s still the best selling book of all time. Plus it’s the most given away book of all time. And each year, it’s best seller. Often, the year’s number one seller. So much so, that most charts just ignore it. The Bible is a category all it’s own.

But while it’s a best seller, and a cherished book to give away, or receive, it’s surprisingly unread. Millions upon millions of copies gather dust and go completely ignored. Yet, it’s subject matter is discussed, and argued about, daily. Many people offer opinions about it without ever reading it. And because their hearers haven’t read it, ignorance is compounded and a huge majority of human beings, especially those in the western world, think they know all about it. And that’s tragic.

Another scary thing, is with the advent of YouTube, ignorance and misunderstanding about the Bible has exponentially increased. Oh there’s some great stuff out there, but there are also hours and hours of drivel and garbage. Frankly, and sadly, people don’t go to Church anymore so they don’t know how much garbage is being published. And, even worse is, there are many Churches teaching junk as well. It gives me a headache just thinking about it all.

So I decided to address the subject for the ordinary person. My books are simple. My podcasts are simple. My sermons are simple. We’re all starting from the beginning. Some of us all over again. Since I have a face for radio, I’m focusing on podcasts and books rather that YouTube. I may sometime try a video or two, but like I said, I have a face ideal for radio, so why push my luck.

I do have two e books available on Amazon, if you want to read them. They are called Rediscovering the Bible Vol 1 and 2. The first volume is on the subject of today’s episode, and vol 2 covers the 4 Gospels, and Acts. Matthew Mark, Luke, John, and Acts of the Apostles are the first 5 books of the New Testament.

But what is the Bible? And why should I read it? First, the Bible is not religious. And frankly, Christianity in not a religion. Religion helped create the mess the world is in. Christianity, and it’s Scriptures, are the answer to the problems created by, and without, religion. The Bible is God’s love letter to the Human race. The short version goes like this, The first 4 books of the New Testament tell us Who Jesus is. The next one tells us, what to do about who he is. And how the news about Jesus spread through the Roman empire. The next 21 books tell us how to live as followers of Jesus, and the last book, Revelation, tells us how it’s all going to end.

The Old Testament is different. It’s main purpose is to show how sin came into the world, and what a mess the world was in before Jesus came, and what steps God took through the human race to get the world ready for Jesus. There are some absolutely awesome stories in it. Things that hollywood can only dream of. There are some beautiful songs, some promises and prophesies, and much more. The Old Testament gets a really bad rap, primarily because people don’t pay attention to the why things are happening. That and they don’t read it, but pass their interpretations of things they haven’t read to a public who haven’t read it either. It’s the oldest form of Fake News.

But I’m kind of getting ahead of myself. Surprise Surprise. The word Bible is just the greek word for book. Seriously. It’s an ordinary word that was used by greek speakers everyday. But it’s not a book. It’s actually 66 books in one volume. Like a whole library in one cover. It’s not in chronological order, or even in importance of topic order. Heck it’s not even written in the best order to read it. Seriously.

The best way to read the Bible is to read the New Testament first, then the Old testament. You will understand the flow of the book much better if you do that. In point of fact, I have outlined a reading program for the whole bible in volume 1 of my book. I believe that alone is worth the three bucks the book will set you back. But if you write me either using the comments section of the blog where I put my show notes, www.samburtonpresents.com, or email me at samburtonpresents@gmail.com. I’ll send you a New Testament reading plan at no charge. I put this plan together to give you the best possible way of reading the Bible to get the most out of it.

The Bible calls itself, “God Breathed”, meaning it comes from the very breath of God. It’s his heart. He’s the ultimate author, as he guided the authors of each book in areas of correct doctrine and history. You will hear claims that the Bible contradicts itself, but that is not the case. That is ignorance or bias speaking. We’ll look at those supposed contradictions as we go along.

Why are there so many translations of the Bible? Now that’s a great question. First of all, the Bible wasn’t written in English at all. Not even King James english. The old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Neither of those languages is spoken any more. Modern Hebrew is as different from Biblical Hebrew as Modern American English is from King James English. And for what it’s worth, King James English was different in 1611, when that version came out, than it is in it’s modern form. We’ll come back to that.

The New Testament was written in something called Koine Greek. That is different that either classical greek or Modern Greek. For years, it was called Biblical Greek, because people thought that only the Bible was written this was as some kind of code. But archaeology has shown us conclusively, that the Koine Greek of the Bible was the way people spoke in the first century A.D. We now have thousands of books from that time period that demonstrate that classical Greek was formal, or generally accepted, but that Koine was the commonly spoken variety. Much like we all have our own dialects of english.

This shows us that God was trying to be understood rather than being formal or grammatically correct. And the New Testament was translated into the commonly spoken languages literally as soon as early evangelists entered those countries.

But language changes over time. So lovers of the Bible have translated it repeatedly as we have better understanding of the original languages and as our own spoken English changes. That’s also why there are often updated editions of various translations.

I encourage you to try out several, to see which one you like best. You can do that for free. They are pretty much all available via apps for your phone, or via google on your home computer or laptop.

Just search Bible on your phones app store, and you’ll see loads of options. To save space on my phone, I settled on YouVersion as my app. I’ve downloaded multiple versions so that I don’t require internet access every time I want to use it. There are other excellent apps. I’ve used most of them. On your home computer try Biblegateway.com. There are many translations there. You can try them out and see which you like best.

Again, there are loads of good places to find translations, I’m just trying to keep things as easy as possible here on the radio show.

If you want a Bible study tool, and you have a laptop or desktop, I highly recommend, e-sword.net. I’ve used it for 20 years. You can download many translations, commentaries, old books, maps, and more. The tool is free. You can make donations if you like. I made a donation some years ago, because the program is so valuable to me.

If you want recommendations for translations, I’m going to give you three here. First of all is the English Standard Version. It’s a solid translation. While it’s not my all time favorite, it’s what I currently preach from. It has become extremely popular in strong Bible Believing Churches over the last 8 or 10 years.

Next is the New Living Translation. This is my wife’s favorite. Again, it’s extremely popular and strong.

The third, surprises a lot of old timers, but it’s the Good News Bible. It used to be called, Good New For Modern Man. Each edition of it has gotten better than the one before it. If you are not a good reader, or if English is not your first language, this translation is for you. I absolutely love it.

You’ll note, I didn’t mention the King James, aka The Authorized Version. That translation is historically very important. It changed everything for the Protestant Reformation in England and the British Colonies. It was an excellent version for it’s time, written in the everyday common language of the people.

I grew up reading the King James. I still love certain parts of it, like the 23rd psalm, and the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. But it is not even close to the most precise translation available to people today. Those who say it is the ‘only Bible to use’ are mistaken. On the other hand, it is not a bad translation. If you still love the KJV, use it. That’s fine.

If you have questions about another translation, feel free to write and ask me about it. I will be totally honest with you. These three are recommendations for those of your who don’t know where to start or don’t have a Bible.

One thing I want to mention is there are some things about the Bible that are NOT inspired. The chapters and verses. The Bible was written without those. They were added later to help people in memorization and to serve as bookmarks to know where they stopped and started reading. The chapters were introduced by Stephen Langton in the early 1200s. And the verses weren’t added until the mid 1500s by Robert Estienne.

Also, just for the record, neither is the paper, ink, or cover of your Bible. Leather editions, and Red Letter editions are sometimes considered more valuable that hardbacks, paperbacks, or e-versions. It is the message, not the vessel that’s important.

I recommend you try and read at least a little every day. Even if it’s only a chapter or two. Start with the Gospel of Luke, then Read the book of Acts of the Apostles. They were written by the same guy, so the flow is good. Like I said, you can get my entire Bible reading plan from Vol 1 of Rediscovering the Bible, or I’ll send you the New Testament plan absolutely free, if you write me and request it.

Gosh, I’m glad you stopped by today. That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be back next week. Have a good one. For now, I’m out…..

First Anniversary Of My Open Heart Surgery. Let’s Celebrate

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Image result for Celebrate images public domainSpeaking of it being June, it was one year ago today, that I received triple bypass surgery. Between January 2107 and June 4, 2018, I had a heart attack and 4 strokes. The last stroke was during my heart surgery. That’s pretty scary. The only after effects of all those attacks on my body, are scars on my chest and legs, loss of vision in half of my left eye, and trouble remembering names and names of places. My speech is not slurred. My long term and short term memory are good. I’m not as quick remembering things. I used to be really good at quizzes and memory games. I could think of things quickly. I’m not as quick as I used to be. It’s kind of like the way you lose a step in football or tennis when you get older. But this is with my mind. I can still recall things, it just might take me a minute to process the question. But all things considered, I’ll take it. The heart specialist told me that it’s not uncommon for a patient to die if they have a stroke during heart surgery. Ok, I’ll take a bit of blindness and a slower recall of historical information. And, with the names, it’s not like I don’t recognize people. It’s just embarrassing, when I’ve known someone for years and suddenly their name is gone. Still, what’s a little embarrassment in the great scheme of things.

For a year and a half, I was so sick. I tell people all the time, that it’s like I was asleep. I have very few memories of what happened during my sick time. I remember being a lot of trouble for my wife, if we went places to sight see, or shop. I was always having to stop and rest, and often spraying my heart meds. Poor lass, couldn’t have had much fun.

We live two or three blocks from the Church of Christ, where I’m the minister, and I couldn’t even walk it without stopping to rest. I remember that Sundays took a lot out of me. Preaching in the morning and at night was almost more than I could do. I had to start taking Mondays off, because I couldn’t get out of bed.

But now, a year on, I feel great. I still need to do some work to get seriously fit. I need to lose some more weight, but I’m losing it. Last week, I walked down to Buckpool harbor and back with my grandchildren. There were no problems. I’ve walked up and down all the stairs over at Brodie Castle. And, I’m awake. I feel like I was asleep, and I’m awake. So today, I’m celebrating. Life is not to be taken for granted. We live in a beautiful world. Especially up here in Moray. From the Sea to the Mountains, and every mile in between. We are surrounded by some amazing views of nature. And let’s not forget all the wonderful people we meet. Life really is a blessing.

But what about after. What would have happened to me, if my stroke during surgery had been fatal. Sure there would have been a sense of shock for some of my friends, and all the folk at church. Probably my wife would have been pretty upset at me. And I hope, a little sad. But what about me?

I am 100% confident of what would have happened to me. I would have awakened with no pain, in a place even more beautiful than Moray. I would never know a moment of sadness or illness, or pain ever again. Not because we all go to a better place, but because Jesus promised a forever of joy for ever single person who would put their Faith in Him. He is the creator of the world we live in. He died on a cross because we sinned, and he didn’t want to be separated from us. And he rose again, to conquer death. Not just once, in his case. But for all of us. And I made the choice many years ago, to give my life into his care. For that reason I know what will happen to me when I die. I know I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. Just ask my wife. But I am forgiven. Like the apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

And what about you? On this anniversary of my surgery I have to ask. There is a funeral going on right now in Buckie. I saw the cars. There have been quite a few recently. Yikes. What if one of them next week is yours? What if your family and friends dress all in black and weep at losing you. What happens to you? Have you made preparations? Do you have a will? Do you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt what your future will be? You can. Seriously. I’m not joking. You can hand the keys over to Jesus right now. You can say, Jesus, I need you. I surrender. You drive from now on. And I can tell you, from experience, that new life with and from Jesus is even better that waking up after surgery. I’m glad I’m alive. I love my life. I love this town. I even love all the rain. And it’s much easier to love it all, because I know that even after it’s all behind me, life gets even better.

We’d love to have you visit us at Church sometime. We talk about things like this. You don’t have to dress up. Wear something. Otherwise you might get arrested. But you don’t have to get all dressed up. Sometimes people think you have to put on fancy duds to come to church. No Way. You can. Some people do. Heck sometimes even I do. But not always. Come as you are. We meet at 11 a.m. At the intersection of West Church and Pringle streets. We also have a meeting at 6:20 sunday evenings. You’d be welcome at either…or both. If you have a church home, I encourage you to go there. But if you don’t you are more that welcome to visit with us.

That’s all I’ve got for now. We’ll talk again soon. But for the rest of this week…..I’m out.