!! Course Assignment – Koinonia Institute – Ruth & Esther !! Discussion Questions !
The next course I selected as part of my Unschooled Master of Theology program was the KI course, Book of Ruth, which covers the book of Ruth and the book of Esther. Here are the Discussion Questions for the entire course along with my responses.
As a reminder, you can all of my course assignments for the uThM here.
So, let’s get started….
KWL – What I Knew Before Starting This Study?
I certainly know more about Ruth than I do Esther, though I’m not certain why that is. Ruth is a type or picture of the story of our redemption. It is why Dr. Missler focuses on it as the greatest prophecy in the Bible. Ruth is the church while Boaz is Christ. Naomi represents the Jews people while Orpah the lost people of the world.
The most important concept in the story is the idea of the kinsmen redeemer, which provides the foundation for Jesus’ authority, ability, and right to claim us in his blood.
I can’t say I know too much about the story of Esther. I know she was a Jewish girl who became queen over a gentile empire. That’s about it.
KWL – What I Want to Find Out in This Study?
Most specifically, I would like to know why God used the kinsmen redeemer concept as a necessity for Christ’s ability to save us. Why go through such an elaborate narrative and why show ahead of time in such cryptic and prophetic fashion what he would do?
As is typical throughout my studies, I would like to find information that explains the hiddenness that remains of God’s plan, of the very nature and essence and fundamental reality of the supernatural realm itself, of God, of his angels? Who are these creatures? What is heaven or this higher or different dimension we know only as the spiritual world (and nothing much more)? What is the ultimate destiny of those who will be granted access to enter into the kingdom and will live with Christ throughout eternity? What happens after? If there is no after, what is there then?
Lecture 1 Discussion Questions
Set in the time of the judges where everybody did what was right in their own eyes, the Book of Ruth exemplifies faithfulness amidst a faithless society. How do you exercise faith today in the culture you live in?
Faith is not necessarily something I exercise or even something I possess. It was something given to me, something that was (and maybe still is) foreign to me, foreign to what was my natural inclination before it was given. As Paul concluded, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Ro 7:18).
I’m not certain the book of Ruth is an example of faithfulness in a fallen world as much as it is a story of redemption, of being accepted by a redeemer, by your redeemer. We cannot say that Ruth was redeemed by Boaz because she was found worthy by him. She was on all accounts unworthy to be redeemed. She was somehow a gentile widow of a Jewish man who died. She was living in a strange place. She was considered poor or even destitute. But, there was something in Ruth that caught Boaz’ eye from the very beginning, certainly she was beautiful and young. He favored her and gave her an easy yoke to bear (more so than many others under his influence).
Yes, Ruth had gone out of her way to show kindness and mercy to Naomi, her mother-in-law, by coming back with her and by helping to provide for her. We certainly do not have the full scope of the story here, since we have no idea what happened to Orpah and we have no idea what would have happened to Ruth if she had gone back to her people. We don’t know what would have happened to Naomi likewise.
In my personal life I live facing God and to him alone since he will be my judge in the end when all is settled and done. I cannot determine what my standing will be in his sight. I cannot determine what he will say to me, whether good or ill, when I come to meet him face to face, either in the clouds on the day of his return or at the bema seat where I will give account for my deeds and maybe even my missed opportunities. I try to live an honest, quiet life in the society He has placed me in. I pray every night that I no longer have to endure this world, that he will choose to take me, that I offer up what little is left of my life, the years remaining that I must wait until his return I gladly forfeit. But, even in doing this it is a blind faith and only hope, for there is no way to know with any certainty what awaits the individual immediately the other side of death. Is it really peace and bliss as the preachers are intent on claiming? Is it objectively better? Would the Rich Man agree? He certainly seems intent on sending word back to his living kin to make better choices than he. Why would that be if “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Co 5:8)? What this statement is true without the value judgment we add to it. Can the Rich Man truly view his time in Hades as a greater value than his time on earth? The Rich Man’s first concern was his immediate condition: to quench the torment of the flame. When his request was rejected, his concern immediately turned to his kin, to his brothers who were still living. He asked that Lazarus be sent back to then, that he would “testify” to them that they might possibly avoid a similar fate. The first response was, “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.” But the Rich Man persists, begging that one from the dead be brought back to life so that his brothers would “repent.” Of course, Abraham’s answer is, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
What is being “testified” about? How would that testimony lead his brothers to “repent” and avoid torment in Hades? What is it found in the Old Testament books that Abraham was referring to that would lead one to this “repentance” and the alternative (presumably the company of Abraham and Lazarus)?
Is this truly summed up by Paul in Romans, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9)? The actual statement in Isaiah (LXX) states, “the one who trusts will certainly not be disgraced.” In the Hebrew it states, “will not act hastily.”
Keeping in mind, this is all to the point of remaining out of torment in this apparent intermediate state. This has no bearing on salvation (or does it). Would one who is saved be found in torment in the intermediate state? Would one who is unsaved (lost) be found anywhere else but in torment? What is the point of all of it to begin with? Why are there differentiating conditions placed on our terms of imprisonment as disembodied souls awaiting the resurrection? And how much better off Lazarus really is from the Rich Man objectively cannot be ascertained (since we have no indication of Lazarus’ condition other than his specific location [in Abraham’s presence] and the single word that he is being “comforted”). My God from what exactly is Lazarus being comforted? Has he not been rewarded in the afterlife? In at least the intermediate life? It at least appears that there is a connection between deeds and ultimate disposition (i.e. Rich Man received good things, Lazarus evil things = karmic reversal in Hades/Paradise).
How does one exercise faith in a fallen culture today? I cling to the Word of God. I cling to the faith that was allotted to me. I cling to the hope I have in the resurrection. In the death of Jesus on the cross. A true and abiding belief in these things alone will separate the individual from the fallen, wicked, and depraved society of today. Because of my faith I must abstain from the worldly pleasures when they present themselves, I must sacrifice that which others simply take for granted.
In a world that is increasingly hostile toward biblical Christianity (as opposed to cultural or liberal Christianity that embraces the modern culture and its demonic and delusional ideologies), faith alone is enough to separate oneself. I find myself today having to declare to my employer and my coworkers my personal faith and convictions just to remain employed, to request governmental exemption in order to protest what appears to be the beginning of a demonic world government.
I pray daily. I read daily. I study daily. I try to memorize more of Scripture daily. I try to follow the examples left to us from the Old Testament and the New. I try to devote my daily life to the call that I’m convinced God has called me to. My own personal ambitions, goals, aspirations, these I try every day to lay down and consider my life no longer mine but the Lord’s. I was free when God found me, and so now I am Christ’s slave (1 Co 7:22).
Do you think the famine was a judgment of God? Does God send famine on today’s world as judgment against sinners?
There does appear to be a precedent in the Old Testament of God sending famine (along with other things like the sword of other nations, wild animals, etc) on to a particular population to exact judgment against them. This is seen in many places, including Amos 8:11; 2 Sa 21:1; Jer 24:10; and Eze 14:21.
I’ve often wondered if this was the reason why Europeans were brought to the Americas, to punish the Native American populations here. They were ostensibly erased from existence. Their culture is all but gone. Most Native Americans living today are not “full blood” (though this is debated by many within the Native American community) and their way of life has been completely eradicated.
I studied history in undergrad and focused on the specific Native American tribe where I now own recreational land. It borders on a natural lake whose shores and valleys were home to several small villages of the same tribe (extended families). The entire population of the lake and the surrounding valley was wiped out before Europeans ever stepped foot on the lakeshore – from smallpox. It traveled through the native populations from the north, through trading. Just the presence of the Europeans (not to mention the malicious intentions that came with them) appear to be a providential judgment on the native populations resistant to conversion (though I can’t imagine I would be all too excited to convert by force from an invading empire either).
In all the examples listed above, including the Native American example, were all these people guilty of a particular sin? In fact, the famine God sent on the Israelite people for 3 long years was caused by the actions of Saul and his kin. How many countless people alive at that time in Israel suffered (and certainly died), not from punishment for their own sin but because of the sin of their King?
How many innocent Native Americans suffered and died, if indeed the invading force of Europeans that rolled over them over the time span of 100 years was the act of divine punishment? Certainly they did not all receive the opportunity to hear the gospel. I’m certain the natives in this local area had no idea they were being punished for their faith and their culture and their way of existence – wiped out entirely before ever even seeing their enemy face to face. Can the Europeans who came to the west coast be held accountable for the genocide of this tribe if they had no direct or intentional involvement in it (did they know they were carriers of smallpox and that the native populations had no immunity)?
The fault of all these deaths, of the mayhem on the earth falls squarely on the God of the universe. He is culpable. He is responsible for everything that has occurred. But, the Bible says as much, “not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Ma 10:29-31).
God has kept a tally. Of all the animals that have died, of all the insects that have perished, of all the species that go extinct every passing day through the course of creative existence. In fact, we are assured that not only are the deaths of the animals part of God’s will, but that our deaths are likewise defined by God’s will. We, in fact, are considered by God to be “of more value than many sparrows.”
History is filled with senseless and brutal and unjustifiable human death. Yet, not one of us can present before God a judgment against him (Ro 9:20).
Just as judgment and punishment came to Americas in time past, I think it will at some point in the future return again. I think that which was once a shining light (though I would argue against the authenticity of that light) is increasingly becoming a blightful stain. In future generations to come, I think other countries will take leadership roles, replacing America on the world stage. I think our economy will crumble. Our moral fabric has already been reduced to tatters and will only worsen. The church (if you can even call it this) will be outlawed or will compromise so completely as to render itself unidentifiable as biblically Christian.
Judgment may already be upon the US as a nations as I write this.
King Mesha erected the Moabite stone and bragged of his defeat over Israel. Does this throw into question the accuracy of the Biblical account?
Paralleling a section in 2 Kings 3 where Jehoram makes an alliance with the King of Judah (Jehoshaphat) and an unnamed king of Edom to go to war against Mesha. They are winning until Mesha sacrifices (his eldest son) to his god Chemosh, which allows Mesha to defeat the others.
The biblical account does not specify who was victorious in the battle, but simply states 1. The Moabite king sacrificed his son on the altar and they were enraged against Israel and 2. The three kings returned to their own lands. Interestingly, in the LXX it states, “Great regret came upon Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their land.”
I would argue that it does cause a question to the accuracy of the Masoretic Hebrew text. But, the LXX seems to be in alignment (more so) with the extra-biblical stone tablet over the Hebrew, but even the Hebrew does not contradict but rather seems to leave out portions of what is included in the stone account.
Personally, I default to the account of the Bible specifically because of Jesus’ attestation of the Old Testament as being inspired by God. In addition, I would likewise default to the NT writings over extra-biblical sources (i.e. such as the Church Fathers or the Gnostic documents) because Paul, Peter, and John all attested to their veracity. Jesus’ claims about the OT take priority over that which has merely been written by man (Lu 18:31; 22:37; 24:44-46; He 10:7).
Would God have approved of the marriage between Ruth and Elimelech’s son, Mahlon, since Ruth was a Moabite?
There are only two possible ways to look at this scene in the Book of Ruth. The problem is not necessarily between Mahlon and Ruth, and not even between Ruth and Boaz, but between Salmon and Rahab. Rahab was the woman who hid the two spies in Jericho when Joshua was taking the land of Canaan. She was a Cannanite woman who went on to marry a Jewish man, Salmon, and they produced Boaz, who would later marry Ruth (who line would later produce Jesus).
The problem here is every generation appears to be against the Law of Moses. Salman should never have married Rahab. Boaz should never have been allowed full rights as a Jew since he was part Jew and part Canaanite.
Likewise, why would Naomi allow her two sons to marry Moabite women when the law strictly forbid it? Was it practicality over theology, since they were had been living in Moab for over 10 years by that point, her husband was dead and gone, and she wanted the best for her children? Maybe she never thought they would ever return to Israel. Why would they? But then both her sons die and she is left destitute. Maybe they did not have a safety net in Moab like she knew they did in Israel. Plus now she had heard the famine (which originally drove them out of Israel) was over. There was a safety net there she could count on.
I read one interpretation that said Naomi was being selfish by encouraging her daughter-in-laws to return to their mothers’ houses and to marry other Moab men (instead of going to Israel with her) because of her innate racism against Moabite people.
If this be the case, she would not have had her sons marry Moabite women in the first place. Neither would she have kissed them farewell when she encouraged them to go. Naomi was actually trying to spare her daughter-in-laws from the difficulty they would certainly experience in a foreign land (she should know, being a Jewish woman in Moab for over 10 years). She states 1. She does not have more sons to marry them. 2. Even if she could find a husband (which was not likely given her advanced age) it was not practical that the young women would wait 15+ years for those sons to become adults.
Naomi knew God had something against her at this point and she was grieved that this was affecting her two innocent daughter-in-laws as well. She was trying to rectify this.
The question itself is incorrect, though. It’s not “would” God approve, but the mystery that God actually did approve of the marriage not only between Ruth and Mahlon, but between Rahab and Salmon, and later between Boaz and Ruth. So much so that it was through this very lineage that God brought to earth the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
There are actually two possible scenarios here. One is God did not approve yet he used this lineage despite itself. This could be argued given the many prohibitions against intermarriage between Israelites and Moabites (Ex 34:10-16; Dt 7:1-6; 21:10-14) or the entrance into fellowship of Moabites and Ammonites specifically (Dt 23:3-6).
The other possible option, which would explain favorable mentions of Rahab in later texts (Ma 1:5; He 11:31; Ja 2:5), is that despite the law given by Moses (which Jesus explain is not always directly from God Ma 19:8), God found favor in these unions to bring about his will and purpose.
All we can do is acknowledge that there are times in which God works outside of the Law of Moses, just like he works outside the laws of grace, and may even work outside of any and every given law or understanding or logic we might conceive. Sometimes he will work outside our sense of reason or justice or good. In those times, is it right or even possible for us to criticize him or question him? Good luck if you do. I will not. I simply accept the fact that there is a mystery remaining that I believe he will explain when the time comes.
I lean on the word of God in everything, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity” (Ps 32:1-2).
Discuss whether grape juice or wine would have been used at Passover. Why does it matter?
There is nothing in the Bible that indicates Jesus used anything but fermented grape juice (alcoholic wine) in the Passover. He turned water into fermented grape juice (alcoholic wine) at the wedding in Cana. But, personally, I do not think it matters. If you are convicted to use wine, then do so. If you are convicted to use grape juice, then do so. There are much more important issues to be dealing with within the church today than this distraction, this futile dispute.
We should instead take Paul’s advice, “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself…let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Ro 14:5-13).
We should do everything we can not to cause a brother to stumble in his faith.
Why might the gospel writer have mentioned Ruth in the genealogy of Christ?
It’s interesting that Matthew seems to go out of his way to list the women when there was an exception: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary. Tamar was an innocent who was forced into deception in order to be treated fairly by her father-in-law (who not only refused to give her a son to marry but also, apparently, frequented prostitutes). Rahab, of course, was a Gentile who helped the spies in the conquest of Canaan, Ruth was the Moabite woman who Boaz married, and Mary was the virgin who gave birth to the Messiah, Jesus.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I don’t recall ever coming across the fact that Rahab was Boaz’ mother. I find that fascinating, though, I have come away from this session perplexed at the consistency (or lack thereof) of the Jesus genealogies. I would like to, at some point in the future, delve deeply into this issue and see if there is not a consistent consensus that can be developed concerning the two disparate genealogies (Matthew and Luke) and how Ruth, Boaz, Rahab, and the blood curse of Jeconiah fit into the puzzle.
There is so much yet to uncover, yet to understand about the Bible, and about my place in the cosmic order of God’s plan. I hope at some point in the future I will gain enough insight that I will feel confident in my knowledge of Christ, rather than feel blind and destitute of the truth.
Lecture 2 Discussion Questions
Discuss the theological significance that true randomness is elusive.
If there is no actual randomness in the physical dimension then it also stands to reason that there is no free will among those who dwell within that dimension.
The idea of randomness has been challenged by “chaos theory” in that there is no such state or event produced by randomness. It claims that there are results that are highly sensitive to the initial conditions and stimulus surrounding it. What appears to be random is simply of such greater complexity of perspective than we can possibly ascertain.
Instead, the nature of the physical dimension is complete determinism – that all events are defined by their initial condition or “in progress” variables and that no randomness is involved. This is exampled by so-called random number generators which are, in reality, only pseudo-random number generators. There is only the appearance that these numbers are produced randomly, when, in actuality, there is a pre-determined process by which the number is selected.
This concept is described as theological determinism or that God ultimately determines every act that occurs (and with middle knowledge every act that could possibly occur that doesn’t actually occur), which is opposite the indeterminism of the free will argument.
There is design everywhere in the creation but many refuse to see it or when they do see it they attribute it to chance or randomness because of their preconceived beliefs. Theological Determinism is also based on personal presuppositional beliefs.
Personally I would argue for theological determinism because:
1. My personal experience.
2. Fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
3. The clear, straightforward teaching of the Bible.
Discuss the kind of relationship that Boaz had with his workers based on Ruth 2:4. How have your business relationships been?
It appears from the reference that he is at least respected by his workers. But, then again, things are not always as they appear. There is no way to determine, simply by this short exchange, that Boaz was truly respected by his workers. All that can be said is it appears as if they respected him. Their relationship appears to be cordial. Interestingly, they all appear to be believing Jews. But this can also be attributed to the culture of the day without actual, individual, belief or faith (like that of Abraham).
As for my own business relationships, I think, overall, I have been viewed in the eyes of my employers as positive. In the past I’ve had several referral comments that were quite surprisingly positive. My current employer has gone out of their way on multiple occasions to keep me as their employee. They have given me raise over raise and have accommodated my own goals (now work only part-time). It’s to the point now that I really think keeping me on is not really all that financially logical or strategic, yet they continue to do so. I try not to question the internal strategy, I simply am grateful to God for the provision (after all, it is only by his will that I found this job when I did, that I’ve survived at the job for as long as I have).
Previous employers have voiced their desire to have me back and I am known for being prompt, consistent, and for not calling off work. I do have an internal moral compass that sometimes can rub people (especially coworkers) the wrong way. I cannot tolerate people who try to “get over” on others. I also do not enjoy being a supervisor or management of any kind because I am a stickler for the rules and this can create enemies of those willing to bend or break them.
I do maximize my abilities to get my work done and then take advantage of the free time afforded to me. Lately (over the last several years), I’ve grown weary of trying to even deal with co-workers or the incessant need/desire by management that co-workers share their work. In my experience, this always leads to the 80/20 rule, so I’ve championed in my own workplace the idea that work should be assigned to a particular individual. I would rather take on a whole project alone than share part of it with another and have to be dependent on them to show up. I like consistency and repetitivity, which makes my current job nearly perfect. The only improvement would be (in theory) to be paid a wage for doing what I do during the week and then have the weekends free. This would be writing fiction, blogging, or possibly writing non-fiction. Unfortunately, this most often does not pay a living wage (even my extremely reduced one) and so (I assume) God has provisioned my current part-time employment to pay my expenses and savings, provide me independent insurance (despite the Federal Government choosing to not honor the promises they made to me), so I can focus the bulk of my time on independent research, writing, and blogging. There is no other way to conclude the acquisition and retention of this job if James and Matthew are at all correct: James 4:13; Matt 10:29.
Personally, I’m now working toward staying at my current job until I’m 50, then either continuing on (if I’m able and the job is available) or retiring to the hermitage full time and live off savings and the sale of my house in town, then off social security when I’m 62. I do think there is a great deal of inflation risk now along with social/economic consequences to being a biblical Christian and it is possible this will disqualify me for social security, for health insurance, and for the ability to keep a bank account. The elites behind the authoritarian takeover and the ushering in of the global government continue to purposefully release variants onto the populous, I am betting (and preparing) for a future point when I will either have to surrender and be placed in a work camp because of my faith, or will have to go underground, live in secret at the property, growing food and living off the land (if that is even possible today).
I particularly do not trust employers or coworkers or people in general, so much of what is said in these environments is often filtered and I keep limited boundaries with them.
What might be involved in “leaving handfuls on purpose” in a Bible study such as KI?
I’m not certain how it would be exampled in KI, but I know I spent a few years as a tentmaker – working a secular job for the expressed purpose of witnessing to the co-workers, and if the opportunity presented it, to the customers. During that time, I ended up starting several Bible studies for co-workers either at the work site or in their homes. I even met my wife through personal evangelism while working together at the job.
But the concept of “handfuls on purpose” is the idea that the reapers were to leave handfuls of grain on the ground for a particular person. I can see this exampled in a particular ministry pricing their educational products (or whatever they are selling) accordingly so while reaping some return, they are leaving “handfuls” on the table for the benefit of those who might listen. The KI institute does this in a fashion while charging for some of their commentaries and teaching materials, they also release some of that material on Youtube or on their site for free.
Discuss the use of types and models throughout Scripture. Give three examples from Ruth.
Types and models are actually one of the few “prophetic” codes that I generally accept as authentic in the biblical text. Too often macro and micro codes, as a concept, and as individual examples are too controversial, are too often lauded as more accurate than they really are. I discovered this when verifying Dr. Missler’s claims concerning the Torah codes in the Torah several years ago and discovered after looking through the text itself with a computer program that the supposed code found was not as perfectly designed as initially claimed. Since then I’ve shied away from using or relying on them.
Types, though, are interesting. The presence of these kinds of “codes” or really foreknowledge by at least the human authors make me wonder what is really happening. There are really only three possible options.
1. The author in question was really good at what they did and made these up entirely.
2. These texts were altered over the course of the last 2000+ years to reflect the types themselves to make them more provocative and mystical.
3. The author of the Bible was really the Holy Spirit and the text is supernatural in its origin and purpose and efficacy to accomplish its goal.
I lean toward #3 primarily because of my own personal, first hand supernatural experience that I had when I was 17 that plucked me out of a foreign religion and worldview (and basically stole from me the ability to benefit from that old belief system any longer) and placed within me not only a new Christian worldview (wholly not learned or reasoned or accepted) and a thirst for the Word of God. Nearly 30 years later and I still long to study his word and understand the mysteries of God.
This supernatural experience establishes the credibility of the text so that I can assume with confidence that what the text says (in a straightforward, plain manner) is true and authentic.
Over the years, types in the Bible as well as authentically fulfilled prophecy (and not that which is easily contrived) has strengthened my resolve and bolstered that once delivered faith that I received at 17.
There is no explanation for why God chose to spare me from myself or from the worldview, the ideology, or the religion that I put myself in all those years ago (and wholeheartedly believed could be an escape from this miserable world). I sometimes think God was sparing me, or maybe he was sparing the world from what I would eventually do as a lost soul. He certainly short-circuited the development of a future monster by interceding in my life. It certainly wasn’t to do “great things” in the Christian worldview since I live in obscurity. Could it be just that one soul, my soul, would be spared? Why? Why me and not all the other monsters out there? It’s quite humbling at times. It will be one of the many questions I will have for the angels that come to collect me when my days are done and my life will be required of me. I hope they will be allowed to answer at least some of my questions.
As for examples of types in the book of Ruth: there is Ruth who is a type of the church as a gentile bride. There is Naomi who is a picture of the Jewish Nation and is the mode by which Ruth meets Boaz (which is also how the Church met Jesus – through Israel). Lastly, there is Boaz who is a model of Christ, the kinsman redeemer, the one who has the legitimate claim to redeem the fallen and the lost from the curse of the devil.
Why is “Boaz” an appropriate name for the Goel character in this story?
His name means “in him is strength” and he was the one who could possibly redeem the property of the dead for their sake so that their name would not be blotted out of history. He was related in this way to Naomi’s dead husband, Elimelech, and it was only through Boaz (since the closer relative declined to do it) that Naomi and Ruth would be spared a life of poverty.
It was the name Boaz that Solomon chose for one of the two pillars in the Temple. He is a picture of the Christ to come, Jesus, who would be the only one capable of redeeming the lost in his name.
How does the Greek model of prophecy differ from the Hebrew model?
Greek prophecy is much like the modern world’s view – it is prophecy and fulfillment. The Hebrew model deals more with pattern than with fulfillment necessarily, though, I do think this is a simplistic view of the differences. Hebrew prophecy does seem to carry with it an important emphasis on fulfillment, too. Well, maybe I should say the Holy Spirit seems to focus on fulfillment which maybe why the Hebrews often missed the prophecies concerning their own Messiah when he would come. Often times it seems to be laying right in front of their eyes and yet they still miss it.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
Lately I’ve been pondering the relation of perspective and biblical interpretation. What the Book of Ruth means to the church as a whole, what it has meant throughout history, and what it could mean to each individual believer (and to those the book had had no impact on at all – as there are increasing number of Christians who have never actually read through the Bible even once).
I think perspective plays a great role in existence. It seems to hinge many things in the physical dimension. Our individual view and experience of the world seems to color what it is we think we see, which is often at odds with actual reality (or, at least, the reality of others). Opinion often shifts based on perspective, and so does worldview and belief and conviction.
The Christianity that I know and have experienced and that has comforted me the last 30 years may be utterly foreign to the Christian who lives in the heart of China, or to the North Korean woman, wife, and mother who has spent her life under the risk of exposure, yet she continues to quietly preach the gospel, holds prayer meetings in her small house at the end of town, and secretly holds the small Bible safely in the false floorboard at the base of the back wall because it is the only printed copy of the Bible the church has for three villages in that particular valley.
There seem to be as many shades of variation in Christianity as there are people who profess to be Christian. We all have our orthodoxy. We all know what we believe (even if we often can’t put it into words), and those beliefs are formed incrementally over time through reading and thinking and praying and meditating on the word of God and through divine revelation. There is no way to be certain that our perception matches that of the truth of God at any given point in the conversation. We may all end up at the judgment seat of Christ and discover that none of us really understood fully what was being said – some more than others. One of my fears has always been that I’ve somehow deluded myself most of my life, that there isn’t actually a God (Christ) or that I woefully got wrong what I was to do. Maybe the JWs are ultimately right and I should have accepted when I had a chance (no thank you) or the Mormons and I should have pulled up stakes and moved to Utah (again, no). It will certainly be disappointing if I suddenly wake up shortly after drawing my last breath and realize that I’m standing before Allah and he is not too happy with the choices I’ve made (not that anyone has ever really tried to convert me to Islam mind you). The Mormons and JWs have, though. The Buddhist and New Agers sure did try over the years to pull me back from the brink. They gave me chants and said everything would be alright if I just go back to meditating. In their minds it was just a choice I was making, maybe out of fear or from cultural or family pressure. Or maybe I was just confused somehow.
They didn’t know, of course, what I knew. They apparently hadn’t experienced a supernatural intercession before. I always wonder why me and not them? Why not give everyone a do-over? Why not take their delusion away from them just like he took mine from me? Unfortunately, there are no answers to these questions.
Just like Ruth really wasn’t in control of what was happening in her life, I have to live by faith. Yes, she made the decision to return with her mother-in-law. Or, did she? We’re not told what she was thinking? We don’t know what her family life was before she married Naomi’s son. Maybe she had it pretty bad and a life in poverty she saw as still a step up from what she would certainly be going back to. Maybe God moved on her and convicted her to the point that she had no idea why she was being so adamant about continuing on with her. Maybe she was just as confused as Naomi was. There’s no way to tell.
When I landed in Germany I carried with me a memo from command that gave me a pinpoint assignment to Heidelberg that I had wrangled out of a fellow soldier that I had done some business with. It was a favor he pulled from the unit he’d just left and yet, once I was in country, and was sitting in the room with all the other soldiers in in-processing, when the officer said, “if you have pinpoint assignments, please pass them up to the front.” Something came over me so strong that I froze in my seat. I didn’t pull out the memo from my back pocket. I didn’t say a word. I just sat there. All I could say to myself was “what is wrong with you? You’re going to get in trouble! They’re going to know!”
I had no idea what it would mean for me not to go to that prearranged posting. I had no idea where in Germany I would end up. I had no desire to go anywhere anyway. My friend’s commander said he would take care of me. Yet, something came over me at that very moment, sitting in that very seat.
Hours later I was on a bus to another part of Germany, to a different company entirely. I had several conversations with my friend back in the States where I claimed I didn’t know what had happened (I really didn’t to be honest). And my new post was really kind of terrible, with terrible and racist people, and I spent over six months in kind of horrible conditions. But, maybe a year went by and I found myself with a plate of hotwings and a soda, sitting on the sofa in the upstairs room of the old officer’s club on base, a place where I went most week nights to eat dinner and watch tv (I didn’t have a tv in my barracks room at the time) and it came on the news as I ate: the pinpoint assignment I had had in my pocket was packing up and heading into combat – the entire brigade.
God’s perspective is so much greater – massively so – than I could ever possibly even comprehend. My four years spent in the military I serendipitously avoided combat of any kind. I didn’t purposefully set out to avoid it. I didn’t get into trouble and avoid it. But throughout my two years there we sent deployments from my own brigade probably 4-5 times, and every time I escaped the random pick.
To this day I have no idea what would have happened if I had gone into a combat zone. I have no idea what would have happened if I had reenlisted after my four years were up (I came really close to doing so – even had a cushy pinpoint assignment in the heart of paradise, too).
I often wonder why he keeps sparing my life. What am I not getting right here? What do I keep getting wrong? Why all these extra chances? Carwrecks, and heart attacks and military deployments – they seem so arbitrary and happenstance. But I do not believe in coincidence. Paul states God has a purpose and that purpose was prepared beforehand in the greatest of detail – I’m simply to walk in it.
Why in the world would God want me to walk in this? I guess, in the end, its all just a matter of perspective.
Lecture 3 Discussion Questions
How critical is it for us to learn about ancient cultural practices in order to understand the Bible?
Culture changes over time, and seemingly changes exponentially and with rapidity the longer time continues to move forward. Signifiant cultural shift occurs much quicker and more severely now and in less time than it did 1000 years ago. Back in the Middle Ages a person could be born, grow into adulthood (granted much less time afforded for this then than today), live their adult lives, and die all within a 7 mile span. Today, this is not the case. Today we see increasingly expedient global travel. We see a great disparity between the wealthy elites and the populous. We see technological revolution as those in power attempt to seize control of everything, of what we do, of how we dress, what we eat, and what we think.
This is why it is important for us to recognize that the Bible was written over the course of many centuries, and spans several different and distinct cultures. Some of those cultures are quite foreign to the only culture we have ever known (I can’t imagine the idea of purchasing land to be unknown and to lease to be the norm – though when I purchase land in America I don’t really purchase as much as purchase the right to lease it from the local government though property taxes). Becoming familiar with those ancient cultures informs the Bible student so they can more easily be alerted to cultural leakage into the text (though I personally find this idea suspect). More so, becoming acquainted with foreign and ancient cultures allows us to not only more clearly discern the intent of the original authors (despite the underlining intent of the Holy Spirit which can violate any kind of cultural setting), but it also allows us to see more clearly how the original audience would have understood and interpreted what the Bible says, given the cultural context in which they lived at the time.
Lastly, it is important and advisable to learn foreign and ancient cultural context as a learning stone for those in the present day. Many of the same questions we struggle with today were also being wrestled with at many different points in the past. This is an expressly stated purpose for the Bible, that we would learn from what is written in it – it is an example for us (to learn from the lessons, mistakes of those who have come before and who already wrestled with some of the questions I am trying to wrestle with today. This can provide at least a context to the question if not an actual answer. As Paul states, “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends fo the ages have come” (1 Co 10:11).
How much more can be learned by example from the history of the world, from the history of human endeavor in general? We know from the Bible that the world is the epitome of the “blind leading the blind” (Lu 6:39). Could they have been given existence simply for the expressed and implicit purpose of teaching us what not to do (Ro 9:22-24)? If so, their contribution to the saved would be immense and purposeful, even if they themselves were never created for mercy but for wrath.
What did God mean when He said that He spread His skirt over Israel (Ezekiel 16:8)?
This appears to be a physical or intellectual and cultural signification of intent to marry another. The man is covering his intended bride with the hem of his garment as an indication that he is going to provide for her and protect her.
The picture has long been established of God the Father as the groom of Israel, his bride. She is, unfortunately preven time and again to be a harlotrous woman and God eventually divorced Israel (Jer 3:6-8). Some would argue that Israel married another (god or gods) and, thus, God could never receive her back again as wife (Jer 3:1ff). But I doubt that the actions of Israel would be considered a proper “marriage” but would be viewed as adultery (illicit fornication). Thus, God could have standing to receive her again. But, in case the latter “relationship” is viewed as a marriage, God could still intervene in the future destiny of Israel through the mechanism of grace, just as he did with the gentiles. Then Peter’s words would ring prophetically true (Acts 15:11).
Overall, the spreading of the corner of the garment (most likely of the sleeping cape) was a public indication of an intent to marry. I do not think God had sex with Israel or that Boaz had sex with Ruth at the threshing floor when no one was looking. Then again, even if they did, God is not limited against using sinful events to further his objective as seen in the Tamar incident (Ge 38:6ff).
What was the purpose of Levirate marriage, and why was it so important?
It is a confusing concept, levirate marriage. I could see why a family would want to continue on its linage or even further its inheritance. But if they did not, what would happen to the land anyway? It sounds as if it would revert back to the original owner (God) or be redistributed within the tribe.
The only explanations that makes sense is that God was insistent that the levirate marriage be institutional was so it could be used as a work around the blood curse so Christ could have authentic and legitimate lineage.
How is Ruth 3:3 a pattern for us to follow?
I think limitedly. It does not take into account that God theoretically selected us from before the foundation of the world (creation) to experience a saving grace, to receive a calling, a drawing from him toward his Son, the Christ. He took us as we were, before we were “washed, anointed, or wearing the best garments.”
God desires us to “worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jo 4:24). Not to put on airs or to indulge in artifice. In fact, this is one of the questions I’ve been pondering lately, and is the premise of a future novel – the mechanism by which God will utilize to determine who is and is not allowed in the Kingdom. Is there a chance someone who is not legitimate could slip in? If all those who were created in the history of creation are subsequently cast into outer darkness or are compartmentalized in the Lake of Fire for all eternity, does that mean there is no means by which individuals can move between the outer darkness and the Kingdom?
When I was in the military and was sent to Germany, I had a pin-point assignment. Despite this, because of my own conviction, I did not give my pinpoint assignment papers to the person processing my paperwork. Subsequently, I was sent to another unit in a different part of Germany. It could be said, then, that while I rode the chartered bus from Frankfurt to my final post, I was illegitimately going to that post and should have been on a bus to Heidelberg, Germany (where I would have subsequently been shipped to a combat zone within 6 months to a year [even though no one knew this while I was inprocessing]). Will it be possible that someone who is not actually a believer be able to secretly or inadvertently slip into the kingdom? What would happen to that person? What would it be like for them to be in heaven with everyone else but have no faith themselves?
God accepted me as I was, and every kind of person I would become along the road of my life when he took me at 17 and wiped from my soul the belief in a karmic worldview. He died on the cross for all of my sins 2000 years before I would commit even the first sin of my life. He died for every subsequent sin thereafter. Life is not a purity test, despite how much modern evangelicalism would want us to believe it is. It’s not about right actions. It’s about right belief. It would be better, certainly, not to be dirty or to be common (without being anointed) or to be dressed shabbily. But I don’t think (may God correct me if I’m wrong) God is all that concerned with the outward as much as he is concerned with the inward. Actually, he says if we clean the inside of the cup the outside will automatically be clean also (Matt 23:26).
If we learn Scripture from the Holy Spirit, why do we need teachers like Chuck Missler?
Realistically, we do not. But, at least for me, Dr. Missler has served as a sounding board, a litmus test to see if I’m on the right path in my studies. Or, a cautionary light telling me to slow down and stay alert, that I might be treading into unorthodox interpretative areas. It is not to say that I consistently or automatically remain within the lines that Dr. Missler draws concerning what is and is not orthodox Christianity. But his corpus of teaching serves as a lamp post to guide my way.
I could go off into the woods and build a small shelter and have just myself and a Bible (the desert fathers had even less than this with few if any bibles available) and live out my days in seclusion, reading and studying God’s word and be perfectly fine concerning doctrine. I would have some right assumptions and some wrong assumptions, just like I do studying with Dr. Missler.
But, harnessing the life of Missler’s effort in his own study and through the use of his commentaries, I am exposed to not only my own efforts but I can also leverage his efforts. Iron sharpens Iron (Pr 27:17). It remains a mystery why we are called to such a relational sanctification (Eph 4:11-16).
In what way does Ruth depart from Naomi’s instructions? Why does she do this?
Dr. Missler states that Naomi instructed Ruth to do xxx in order that her daughter-in-law could obtain a husband. But, in doing this, Ruth initiated the law of the Goel so that she could produce an heir for Naomi.
Personally, I don’t get how this is the case. It is Naomi that instructs Ruth to lay at Boaz’ feet, to uncover them, knowing that he would instruct her.
When she’s discovered in the middle of the night, she responds that she is
2. A Maidservant (meaning available)
3. Tells him to cover her with his garment
4. He is a close relative (goel).
Boaz’ response is that she is blessed because she did not go after a young man for marriage. So, this whole thing was initiated by Naomi for Ruth to present herself to Boaz. If all Naomi was intending to do was find a suitable husband for her daughter-in-law then she would had certainly sent her to seduce a rich young man. But, knowing the law of the Goel, Naomi would have intended to serve both causes
1. Find a wife for Ruth
2. Secure offspring for her dead son
I don’t think Ruth initiated anything outside of what Naomi had intended. Ruth was doing what Naomi told her to do and specifically who to go after. She did add in the section about her being “available” and he being “a close relative.” But we can’t be certain Naomi didn’t coach her on this, too. It also doesn’t mean, even if she didn’t, that it wasn’t in line with Naomi’s plans.
If it had been stipulated in the story that Ruth had eyes for a rich young man in a neighboring field in a different family but then chose the older man who was a close relative, that would provide support for this view. But, given the text, there is no support here.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I often find the Old Testament and the culture it was written in to be extremely confusing and unclear. There seems to be so much obligation placed on the individual from society, from family not to mention the struggle most people must have been under just to get enough food to eat and to feed their children. So many things were outside of their control, its difficult or me to imagine trying to survive in such an environment.
Today, even in light of impending decay of my own culture and society and the artificial system that has been erected in the last 100 years (but mostly the last 30 years), I still live an incredibly leisurely and stress free life. My food is grown, harvested, processed, and shipped to a local hub that is open all the time where I can go whenever it is convenient to purchase what I want. I work very few hours in exchange for quite a bit of money (relative) that affords me double what I need to survive so I’m not only affording my lifestyle but saving the same in the “bank” each month for the future when I retire (hopefully in 5 years or so – if society doesn’t completely fall apart by then). I’ve never known a famine like Ruth did. I’ve never had to move to a foreign country for work or to live. I’ve never had to consider live in actual poverty.
There are so many different ways in which people live or try desperately to exist in this world (many I could not even comprehend). I carry an actual research library on my phone. I guess the adage is always true, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
Lecture 4 Discussion Questions
What was the role and mission of Israel?
Israel’s purpose was to bring about the Scriptures and then to accept their messiah when he came. They did the former but not the latter. Because of that they were blinded with a veil so that the fullness of the gentiles (the church) could come in. Once this is complete and everyone who will be saved on the earth is saved, then God will remove the church and eventually Israel’s blindness. They will see their Messiah that they murdered and will repent of their sin and God will receive them again as his people.
What is the role and mission of the Church?
The Church is a mechanism God uses to bring about jealousy among the Jewish people (Ro 11:11). The Church (universal) is a mystery, something that was hidden from the foundation of the world and was not revealed until Jesus Christ. What it’s true purpose is really still unclear since we do not have access to specific details on what the members of the Church will be doing after the end of all things and there is a new heaven and new earth. We don’t know for certain where we will be residing (or if we will be residing in different places – some in heaven, some on earth, some in the New Jerusalem, maybe others in other places yet unknown).
I know it is difficult for evangelicals to admit or accept, but the mission of the Church is not evangelism. Or, if this is the mission of the entire body of Christ (as a whole) it is not a universal, direct mission for every member in that body. Ephesians 4:11-16 spells this out. Only some are called to be evangelists. Some are called to be apostles. Some elders. Some teachers. The majority of the body are called to do a variety of things not delineated at all – they are simply called “good works.” The purpose of all of it is to bring the body of Christ into maturity, to reflect naturally the fullness of the God man. How this will be accomplished, what it actually means, remains a mystery. It is certainly not through “evangelism” as modern evangelical Christianity seems to insist. This breeds a rather shallow and contemptible kind of faith based on works combined with a kind of folk theology and gnostic mixture of Christianity and Capitalism.
The purpose of the Church is to be built. For those who are predestined to be called are drawn to accept Jesus as their messiah, to be conformed into the likeness of Him who died for us. This is apparently being done in a multitude of ways – some by evangelism, some by visions and dreams, and some by direct intervention. Evangelism alone is not important. What is important is that everyone who confesses a belief in Christ make their calling and election sure so that the work (whatever that work is) is being done on behalf of the body of Christ, so that, ultimately, the fullness of the gentiles comes in. It is my hope that we can somehow hasten it so our King returns earlier than expected, at any moment, and that we can be snatched away from this brutal existence and then the Israelites can subsequently begin their return as well.
Discuss, in detail, how Boaz is a type of Christ.
Boaz is a kinsman redeemer, a close relative tasked to redeem a family member’s property if they die or fall into poverty. This allowed the continuation of the lineage as well as retention of the land within the family itself.
As Boaz was a near kinsman for Naomi and Ruth, Jesus is a near kinsman for those who confess him and believe God raised him from the dead. Just as Boaz redeemed a bride for himself (and the land) so too Jesus will redeem a bride for himself (as well as the entire earth).
Personally, I think this is an interesting comparison, but I’m not certain how far it can be taken. After all, there is much more to our redemption as sons of God than there was the redemption of Naomi and Ruth. There is the issue of the removal of the curse and the destruction of death and the final disposition of Satan and his angels (and then possibly the fallen angels in Tartarus) and assumptively the demons or “unclean spirits” and maybe even “ghosts” (if they are different than the demons).
Though I do hold at least some credence in typology in the Bible, I do not think it is an exact science given our limitations as mortal humans. I think once all is said and done, and the old heavens and old earth have passed away and all things are made anew, then all of these mysteries about the Bible will be made completely clear to us.
Discuss, in detail, how Ruth is a type of the Church.
Ruth does make an interesting picture of the Church. She is a gentile and will be made a bride to the kinsman redeemer. She is introduced to Boaz through Naomi, who is a type for Israel. Dr. Missler emphasizes that Boaz could do nothing until Ruth makes the first move, but I’m not certain I agree with this. In my own personal experience, I was in no way making a move toward God when he chose to interrupt the trajectory of my life, take from within me my conviction toward a karmic worldview and replace it with a theistic one that centered around Yahweh and Jesus the Christ and the Biblical message. I was a happy and somewhat content Buddhist at that time. God certainly made the first move and did so, I would argue, against my will. If I would have been asked if I wanted to be a Christian (and several had asked previously to that point) I would have either answered no or “Not at this point. Maybe at some point in the future.” It was not an invitation that I accepted. Faith was thrust upon me.
Discuss, in detail, how the Nearer Kinsman is a type of the Law.
So, there would be then a closer relative than Jesus, the Law. But, what the Law failed to do, Jesus was able and capable and willing to do for us. The Law came first but Jesus fulfilled the obligation of the Law through the gift of his sacrifice on the cross.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I’m not certain what there is to make of these types in the book of Ruth. To some extent they seem pretty useful. Then again, I’m wondering if they are not being stretched a little too much. I could be wrong, but they don’t seem to fit the comparisons perfectly. Maybe that is where the fault lies, that I’m looking for perfection in the correlations. But, if the Bible is inerrant and infallible, and it is a supernatural message, wouldn’t it be expected to be perfect?
This is very much like the micro codes of the Torah. Similar to the way they are represented but with slight variation and imperfection. Those imperfections discredit the entire concept in my mind, since God would not get it partly right. These types and codes are one of the questions I have for whoever is providing answers after I die. I pray there is someone who will make sense of all this mayhem and crypticism.
I wonder if the author of the book of Ruth intended to embed these types in the text he was writing? He could have been doing it the same way it was done in Isaiah 53, generically about the messiah. Or, was the author simply trying to capture the story of Ruth, as many believe it was Samuel who was the author, probably writing at the behest of David who was at the time King of Israel. David, having Ruth in his ancestry would not have been uncomfortable with her gentile heritage.
How much of it was the author’s initial intent and how much of it was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit is unclear. It does lend to a great deal of contemplation and speculation and, as with most books of the Bible, presents many more questions than it provides answers.
Lecture 5 Discussion Questions
What might God’s purpose have been for the Diaspora?
There were multiple times in which God spread the Jewish people throughout the known world. There was the time of the Babylonian captivity, where only a subset of those carried away returned to the Promised Land. Then again, the Jews were scattered throughout the world after 70 A.D. and the sacking of their city and temple. It would not be until 1948 that the Jewish people would again be granted to return to their homeland, and yet, only a subset of the global Jewish population has chosen to return.
In light of Dr. Missler’s alternative teaching concerning Israel’s future, I’m convinced there will be a second persecution of the Jewish people on the earth, a global holocaust that will drive most Jewish inhabitants back to their homeland (ethnic not necessarily religious, and especially not including those who take on Judaism as a quasi-new age religion such as seen predominately in modern day hollywierd). They will broaden their borders and will find new ways to enrich themselves so that they can live in peace and prosperity in the end times.
Overall, I think the main purpose of sending Jewish people out into the world is so that they will be a thorn in the flesh of all other peoples. I think the presence of the Jewish people are a judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth, a mirror if you will, that illuminates clearly the failures and shortcomings of humanity. The Jewish people are the proverbial scapegoat of the world.
Simultaneously, God has used and I think still uses the diaspora as a means of judgment on Israel herself. The first one in the Babylonian captivity was due to Israel transgressing the law generationally. The second in 70 A.D. was for not recognizing from the OT when their Messiah would appear on earth. The third will be a goading and correction for the Israeli people and their idolatrous ways, for not turning and accepting Jesus as their Messiah now that grace has been poured out onto all the earth, available freely to anyone and everyone who would choose it.
This third and last will coincide with the great tribulation and will paint Israel into a box against the rest of the world and their impending and utter annihilation that only God will or can intervene. When this occurs, the blinders will finally fall from their eyes, Israel will see their Messiah who they first rejected and murdered on a cross, and will collectively repent, and will cry out for mercy from the God they were to serve.
What was suggested when the people said “Let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah” (Ruth 4:12).
I think the intention of this statement was that God’s will would be done for Ruth and Boaz’ child despite any intention or sin or calamity that humanity might cause against it. Whatever occurs, God is in control and he will bring about his good purpose, whatever the end result might be. Judah should have followed the law when his son died, but instead refused to give his other son to Tamar. There is no justification for Tamar’s actions, since two wrongs do not make a right, sin is not to be pursued in order to bring about righteousness. But, despite all these dealings of humans and the mess people make out of their own affairs, we can trust that God is ultimately in charge and will prevail.
It is his purpose and his plan that we should desire, for it is better for each of us than we could possibly comprehend.
How is it significant that Boaz’ mother was Rahab?
This is an interesting process by God to introduce acceptance of non-Jewish people into the scope of human redemption on a global, cosmic scale. It was through Israel, who saw herself as a chosen people, separate and distinct from all other tribes and peoples on earth for generations. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were, in God’s original design, supposed to consider themselves “better than” the gentile, as they eventually did. They would not consort or eat with non-jewish people. They saw themselves more morally justified simply because of their birthright than the sinner or the gentile. Yet, throughout the genealogy of the Messiah, we have a Cannanite woman, a Moabite woman, and then a virgin who was cast by her clan as a harlot (because a virgin birth was impossible in their eyes just as much as it is impossible in the eyes of modern man today). These were all devout women, casting off tribe and blood for the sake of the call God had placed on them. Rahab gave up everything, her community, her heritage, all because she came to believe that the God of the Israelites was the actual true and living God. Ruth, likewise, at some point had to give up the gods of her childhood and her upbringing, of her family. She married a foreign man and then when he died, she clung to the worldview in Naomi that I would assume by then she’d come to recognize as true and abiding.
This, as with all the things written in Scripture, are written for the benefit of all humanity, for all non-humanity (expressly the angels and any other beings in existence that we do not yet know of), that those who exist in the known and the unknown creation might learn about God and about his nature and power.
If there are races out there beyond the human one, future races that will have their own redemptive narrative when humans then serve as sons of God (just as the angels served as sons of God in our narrative), I think they will look back to what occurred on earth as a lesson that God can and will show his mercy on anyone, regardless of their origin or upbringing.
Would God have approved of the marriage between Ruth and Boaz, since Ruth was a Moabite?
I think this is an incorrectly worded question. I don’t think God’s approval of Ruth and Boaz’s marriage is in question. I think we should ask “why did God approve of this marriage?” I think it illustrates how God will work his will regardless of the Law, regardless of human logic or any sense of human morality. Our opinion, our participation, even our level of willingness to participate, have no bearing on what God will do or whether he will use us or how he will use us to bring about his desired ends.
Because of this reality of predestination or better termed, omnipotent preeminent omniscient sovereignty, I struggle to understand clearly what it is Satan is doing. What is his end game in all of this? Is he completely deluded? Has he imagined for himself an alternate reality that simply does not exist outside of his own mind, that has somehow warped reality itself? I do wish we were given more information, more context on why he rebelled in the first place. It makes me nervous, what we do not know about this whole sorted affair.
Bottom line, God is a bit of a black box. What we can understand of his is such a minute fraction of the whole of him. I fear we are in for quite a surprise once all things are revealed. I don’t think many who confess to be Christian have any idea what they are aligning themselves with. It is truly an exercise in faith and hope. Paul said it best, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Co 13:12-13). I hold on desperately to the adage given, “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Co 2:9).
What Biblical evidence is there that Christ’s kingdom will be established by David himself?
From Ezekiel 37:24 and Jeremiah 30:9 it seems pretty clear (if we do not damage the text by our own interpretation) that God will somehow install David as King. It doesn’t say David will “establish” the Kingdom of Christ, but that God will “raise him up for them” and they will serve both God and David. I’ve seen some very strange twisting and allegorization to get around this stated fact. I personally don’t worry about trying to justify this but accept what the Scripture says. If there is a logical problem with it, it’s an issue God will deal with in his time. I’m betting he’ll fulfill all Scripture perfectly and beyond our own ability to comprehend how.
Why is it fitting that Christ was born in a place called “Bethlehem” or “House of Bread?”
Analogous to Christ being the bread of life, it’s an interesting fact. It was a famine that drove Naomi and her family out of Bethlehem to Moab.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
This has been a peculiar study so far. The Book of Ruth is filled with so much typological significance, though I am not certain how much of it is genuine and how much is contrived. This is the reason I committed to the KI program, though, to wrestle with the text itself, to become intimately familiar with it and to devote myself fully to it in the time I have remaining on this earth. It’s my hope that this investment will pay off in the intermediate state and ultimately in the afterlife, that I will retain the lessons I learn here fully in the next world.
Personally, I would like to do the same thing with the Bible itself, since Jesus claimed, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Lu 4:4). I would like to commit large portions of the OT and the majority of the NT to memory. Unfortunately, desire and action are often two different things. I’ve also had the desire to learn biblical Greek so that I can fluently read the LXX and NT in Greek. That has progressed a little further than memorization, but not by much. One of the hinderances I have is that part of me is convinced that when transformed into an immortal, all these things will be naturally and supernaturally gifted to each individual. People will be able to miraculously quote and cite any portion of the Bible (the actual perfect words, not the faulty translations) and that we will speak the only language that matters – whatever language that is spoken in the afterlife. Then again, there is another part of me that is convinced we take with us into the afterlife what we committed to in this life, but retain only that which survives the fires of judgment. If we devote ourselves to entertainment (watching television, hobbies, sports, etc) then we will be void of these things in the Kingdom to come. But laboring in the Word of God, memorizing the Scriptures, learning biblical languages, will only aid us in whatever work we are given in heaven to do.
I hope, once everything is done, if I am still in the presence of God in creation, if Christ has actually acknowledged me before the Father and a place has been allotted to me in the Kingdom, that time will be allowed and I will have access to everything that happened in the course of human events. I want to know what Ruth was thinking about, from moment to moment during this time in her life. I want to know what other things she did. I want to know what has not been revealed to us concerning every part of creation. I want to spend creation reading the books that recorded all the deeds of men. I want to spend creation in God’s library(ies), sifting through what must be mystically inscribed supernatural records concerning all the mysteries he decided humans did not need to be included in while we were alive.
I desire answers to the myriad of questions that constantly swirl about in my head. I pray there will be a time in which those answers will be given.
Lecture 6 Discussion Questions
Paul says “These things (in the Old Testament) happened for examples”. What is one of your favorite “examples,” or lessons, from the Old Testament?
I don’t have a single favorite, but I’m drawn to three that come to mind. Cyrus in his receiving of the prophecy in Isaiah about him specifically. Also I’m drawn to the story of Jonah, but most particularly his distaste for life given the weight and reality of it. Lastly, I’m find great conviction and awe in Isaiah 53, in it’s detailed description of Jesus’ purpose for coming to this earth, to die for us, so that we could be redeemed to God.
What have you learned about where the story of Esther fits into history’s timeline? Why is it important to see the Bible in its historical context?
Esther seems to fit in between Ezra and Nehemiah. After the Jewish people were given permission to go back and rebuild the temple but were not yet given permission to rebuild the city or its walls. She appears to fit into the royal family of Saul the first king of Israel.
If we do not dig in and understand, get a larger picture of the historical account of the Bible, then there will be a great deal of reference and correlation we will miss in other parts of Scripture.
This does not mean that there is just one meaning to Scripture, though. Matthew 2 and other places clearly show that the ultimate author (despite the human authors of each individual document) is the Holy Spirit and different parts of the Bible were written at certain times, but were not necessarily meant to be understood in those times (i.e. Revelation written in the first century but meant for the end of times). the Bible will be the end all of everything once this present world has passed away. I think we will find so many different answers and so many references to the truth of reality within its pages that we will spend (or a subset of beings in heaven – either humans or angels or both) will spend eternity uncovering the mysteries of what is contained therein.
“All authority comes from God.” How does this affect the way in which we handle authority?
It may be true that all authority comes from God but there is authority in the supernatural realms that is “darkness,” as Paul describes it, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). This kind of authority is not something we should submit to. It is prophetic fact that the anti-christ will wage war against the Christian community, against true Christians (Dan 7:21). If that is the case, it means that Christians did not submit to him but put up some kind of defense, albeit most likely it will be passive resistance. We are not called to take up arms, to form militias, or to wage war or incite revolution against a particular government or authority. But we are called to be Christians and to profess our faith before men and before the authorities (whatever authority that may be).
This, though, does not mean we are not allowed by right to take advantage of every legal recourse at our disposal given the governmental context in which we exist. Paul, in his time, exercised his right to appeal to Casear. This, of course, backfired on him and ultimately led to his death (or was exactly as God designed), as might just be the case with those of us who seek religious exemptions against the COVID vaccines – as our names are most certainly being collected on lists by the government to be used later against us.
The most important factor I think in how we relate to and interact with our Governments is
1. We must recognize all government as inherently evil.
2. We must overcome evil with the love and testimony of Christ.
3. Some of us will have to sacrifice our lives for our faith.
Discuss what would have happened in world history had the events in Esther NOT taken place. Would the Jews have been destroyed?
Most practically, there is a good chance that the Jews would have been wiped out entirely, since all 128 territories had the edict to kill the Jews in their areas. This has been attempted several different times in several different ways. I’m not certain when the world will get the message: Israel is God’s chosen people.
But, I doubt there was ever an opportunity for Israel to be in any real jeopardy. Though, I thought it was interesting that the order to kill the Jews was not actual rescinded, but a new order was issued that the Jewish people could kill all those who conspired against them. There certainly must have been some Jews that were killed in the may-lay that ensued. There are also some Jewish people who were destroyed at one time or another. I’m not certain they are included in Paul’s, “all Israel will be saved” (Ro 11:26), since the qualifications of being a Jew is questionable (Ro 2:28). I’m sure there will be just as many Jewish people in the resurrection who are surprised at their reservation in the Lake of Fire as there are Christians who thought their eternal destiny would be in heaven but in fact realized too late that their destination is actually in Gehenna.
It actually kind of terrifies me that there will be certain individuals who are thoroughly convinced they are believers and are doing God’s will but Christ would argue, “I have never known you.” What chance then do any of us have if we can each be so easily fooled?
Discuss the events in Esther as they relate to the historical timing in Ezra and Nehemiah.
This was already explained in an earlier question. But, suffice: Esther occurs after the Jews were allowed to go back to rebuild the Temple but before they were sanctioned to return to rebuild the city and it’s streets and walls for defense. It is a time of the Medo-Persian empire. It is through Esther’s lineage that the Jews are allowed to return to rebuild Jerusalem at all.
Why did Hadassah use the name Esther? Was it right for her to do so; wasn’t this a form of deception?
It’s possible the name Esther (a pagan name) was given to her by the king or those appointed to her charge. Background also states that it was common for Israelites to have both a Hebrew name and a name in the pagan tongue.
As far as deception, I don’t know about that. There was a lot of deceit recorded in the Bible by a lot of people who are considered righteous people. Rahab was quite deceitful in hiding the spies who would ultimately overthrow her city, her culture, and her people. Had the spies been caught she would surely have been killed as a traitor to her country. The same is true of our Founding Fathers, all of which were guilty of sedition against the King. Perspective has a great deal to do with it. In the end, it will only matter that what you did or did not do aligned with God’s purposes and aided in bringing about his will. Everything else will be considered illicit in eternity.
Was it right for Haman to try and have the Jewish people killed? Was it right for the King to have a harem? Was it right for Mordecai to rat out the two conspirators who were plotting to kill the king? We really cannot be the arbitrators of right and wrong when it comes to human behavior. Only God can be the ultimate judge of these things.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I often find myself surprised at the hidden gems found in scripture. There is so much that I still do not know and yet this is the case no matter how many times I read through a book or letter in the Bible. I do wish I had a better understanding of the whole sorted affair, that I no longer felt as if I’m missing the major plot somehow. The problem is, there are large portions of the story missing.
I also discovered that I no longer desire anything in this life. My goal seems to be trying to sort out my situation in the next life while waiting patiently for it to begin (or for at least this one to end). Failure upon failure seems to be wearing on me and I’m surprised I haven’t just given up entirely yet on my earthly goals. Having come to this point in my studies, genuine answers are far and few between. Mostly it seems to be only more unearthing of more and more unanswered questions.
Hopefully this will change at some point.
Lecture 7 Discussion Questions
What were the long term consequences of Saul’s disobedience to wipe out the Amalekites? Does this encourage us to be obedient to God?
Because he chose not to follow God’s command to wipe them out, their dependance brought about Haman and this resulted in the threat of genocide against the Israelites.
I don’t know why it would have any bearing on our obedience to God. Plus, I’m not really certain what obedience to God actually looks like. There is so much tradition and dogma (doctrines of men) clouding the truth, so many centuries of interpretive dogma, if what the biblical authors actually said wasn’t unclear what they meant certainly is.
I do think it is interesting that Saul’s disobedience brought a threat against Israel and David’s mercy brought about support for Israel at just the right time.
“God’s timing is perfect.” How have you experienced this in your life? And how does this affect your outlook on the future?
God seems to know exactly what I need and exactly when I need it. There have been many things over the years that I thought I either wanted to do (job, task, etc) but God had much different plans for me. Not that his plans are necessarily any better than my plans (the very fact that I’m a Christian was against my will and resulted in a pretty uneventful if not rather miserable life – where the counterfactual non-christian life could have been, might have been a whole lot better and more successful – then again, it could have, might have, probably would have been so much worse).
Despite the fact that I have really no ministry, no career success, no social success, and have poor health and have made poor choices throughout my adult life, the sum total of my life actually has resulted in still having the freedom to do the very thing that I really want to (have always wanted since I was saved) do – study the Bible. God put me into a job (that I didn’t even apply for and was not qualified for) and this job, though difficult in the beginning because of the politics of coworkers has ended up becoming the very best job I could have imagined. This job covers all of my needs and provides me 40+ hours free to devote to studying the Bible full time. This is something I could only have dreamed of when I was in my 20’s and 30’s.
As for the future, I have no idea what will become of me or the world. I don’t know how much longer we will have to endure this god-awful place. I do have confidence, though, that God will provide for me, will protect me, and will lead me in the paths he desires me to go. What that will mean for me I have no idea. I simply lean on the Word of God and live by that word. I don’t know what he expects of me. I don’t know what the next reality will be like in the afterlife. I don’t know who God actually is, who these supernatural beings are, how they relate to who I am, or who I will be once I am transformed into an immortal (who I was intended to be from the beginning) or if I will ultimately be allowed access into the kingdom or will be cast out into outer darkness and serve the saved as a cautionary tale.
I trust, though, that God has the best intentions for me. I don’t understand why he would for me and not for any other person that is lost and condemned to hellfire. But these are God’s motives alone. I simply must accept and obey.
As Christians, how should we behave towards those in authority? What if those in authority are ungodly and corrupt?
This question was addressed in the previous lecture. All authority on earth is inherently evil. I don’t care what kind of good intentions someone is operating from, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned while on this earth is that no government is benevolent. They are all malevolent to one degree or another. Power corrupts and the soul of man is the most corruptible and corrupted on earth. These are all, from God’s perspective, beasts of burden, used to accomplish his will but nothing more.
But, we as Christians are not to take up arms against the government (a human instinct), nor are we to incite revolution or even try to use political power or influence to sway the culture or the political system or government toward a more “Christian” order. Even the best Christian governments have been wholly and completely corrupted and debased and some have been just as if not more brutal than their secular counterparts throughout human history.
Our responsibility as Christians is to live a simple, quiet life at peace with everyone around us, and we are to be ready to answer for the reason of our faith, and are to stand passively against any and every government that denies Christ or tries to move us to deny Christ or to somehow commit sin. We are not to take up arms, we are not to protest. We are not to work within the system other than for our immediate defense (lawyers, existing laws, etc). If the government tries to force us to worship another god we must not do so. If the government tries too force us to commit sin by accepting, approving, and perpetuating lies about others (such as homosexuality is natural and okay) we must not do so. When persecution comes, we are to meet it face to face, in full faith that God will provide for us, even to death.
There is no government today that is not corrupt and ungodly. The whole world, all human culture, every instance humans have (especially in masses of people) is corrupt and debased by sin. We must recognize that we as Christians are foreigners (regardless of what country we were born in) and sojourners. We might have citizenship in a particular country by birth and happenstance, but this is nothing, means nothing, compared to the citizenship we have in the Kingdom of God.
Mordecai believed that God would save Israel, whether through Esther or not. Why, then, should Esther have risked her life for this cause?
Mordecai stated that it was possible that Esther was put in the position she was in explicitly so she would have access to the king when it was needed for the sake of her people. He also knew that at some point her heritage would be found out and even the king would not be able to stop her death. So her life was already hanging in the balance.
We have no hint at what alternative God might use to save the Jews. Then again, this is only conjecture by Mordecai. We don’t know with certainty that the Jews would have been spared, especially since God was already working on the problem back in Saul’s time, when he was trying to remove Haman’s lineage before he was even born. The counterfactuals here are endless. We simply do not know what would or could have happened if Esther would have kept quiet. Maybe there was actually no way around it and Esther was predestined to speak to the king at that specific time. Just as Pharaoh was raised up to show God’s glory to the whole world through his dealings with Egypt, maybe Esther too had no real choice in the matter. Talking to the king was simply a work predetermined for Esther to walk in.
Discuss how Satan has used his “puppets” throughout history to try to thwart the plan of God. Give at least three Biblical examples.
Satan, for some peculiar reason, seems intent on condemning the human race (everyone who has ever lived and everyone who will ever live) to a disembodied state in Hades/Paradise. This is really a kind of prison where the human exist eternally but in a sequestered state. Why Satan chose this state (or if he even had control over it) is unknown. What his original argument was over is also unknown. Who Satan actually is/was or what his origin and initial purpose was is likewise unknown (other than he was the Cherub that covers). But, he seems to have an issue with humans (he spends day and night accusing us of something). He likewise wants to usurp God by establishing himself as God (why is also unclear).
Because of this, Satan has gone out of his way throughout the Bible (and human history) to attempt to destroy not just the Jewish people but the lineage that would bring about the Messiah.
He did this first in Genesis 6:2-4 by polluting the bloodline with genetic hybrids from intercourse between angels and human women. How much he was involved in instigating this event is unclear. In fact, there is no evidence that he was apart of it at all, though the reason why a subset of angels determined to leave their “proper domain” and come to earth and have sex with “the daughter’s of men” is unknown. Likewise, why the mixing of angelic and human DNA is prohibited is also unclear. It is obvious (if true) that humans an angels are so closely related genetically that they can interbreed. Why would their offspring be so monstrous? Why would God’s punishment for doing so be so severe (imprisoned in Tartarus)? Ultimately this was not resolved until the flood when the hybrids were wiped out (and at some point the fallen angels rounded up and placed in Tartarus). But we still have demons (which are apparently the disembodied spirits or souls of the hybrids). There are references, though, of giants later in the Bible. If these are nephilim, then similar events must have reoccurred.
Haman, of course, is another example of Satan working behind the scenes to destroy the lineage of the Jewish people.
Lastly, there is the event in the first part of Matthew where King Herod sought to kill every Jewish child under the age of 2 in and around Bethlehem. This was explicitly to remove the possibility that the expectant Christ would be born and survive, which was a threat to Herod’s authority.
Despite the interesting situation here and the post-predictive nature of Revelation 12:4, I am unaware of any reference connecting Satan to this event. Though, when paired with the other attempts to destroy the possibility of Jesus fulfilling his purpose on earth (including the blood curse of Jeconiah – Jeremiah 22:28–30), they all seem to be aligned with what Paul called, “the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). There seems to be a concerted effort, a supernatural conspiracy among the supernatural beings that occupy the supernatural realms to overthrow God’s plans. Such confederates are only alluded to briefly and in bits here and there throughout the biblical text. But, given the description in 2 Kings 6:17-20 with the multitude of “horses and chariots of fire” it is clear that there is a warrior-like kingdom that subsumes our own dimension, and this higher, non-terrestrial culture is undoubtedly at war.
Discuss the power of fasting and praying – give some Biblical and/or personal examples.
Both Jesus and Daniel fasted. So did, of course, Mordecai. Personally, I have never had much luck fasting for either spiritual or practical reasons. I think much of my food intake has been a means of self-medication. When I stop eating for even a few hours and especially for a few days, I become very depressed and lethargic. I’m unable to concentrate on anything, unable to focus on my studies or research, and cannot do anything physical. Most of the time I just lie in my hammock and sleep or watch tv. I was taught instinctively by my parents to eat by taste and by emotion. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m stressed. I eat when I’m depressed. Much of my food is fast food, or processed food, and this has driven me to become overweight and has damaged my body severely. I’m now pretty much addicted to processed sugar and salt and processed foods and have spent the last several years trying to kick the habit but to no avail. To be completely honest, I think I’m doomed.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I found it fascinating in chapter 3 that a copy of the decree was included in the LXX. I was subsequently quite surprised that Dr. Missler did not mention this. In total, the LXX has an additional 6 additions to it over the Masoretic: a dream, the edict, the king’s counter edict, two prayers, and an interpretation of the original dream.
Interesting to note, Jerome removed all of these additions when he was organizing the Vulgate and put them at the end. I’ve always found it surprising how much credence is given to the Masoretic text when the LXX is much older, by hundreds of years and is quoted about 75% of the time by the New Testament writers. Of course, if you accept Steven Anderson’s account, the copies of the LXX we have today is a forgery and not the actual LXX that the New Testament authors had. He also claims the same for the Book of Enoch as well.
Lecture 8 Discussion Questions
Discuss Esther’s courage in taking on this task of appearing before the King un-requested – What kind of character must she have had?
I’m not certain it did require courage form Esther. We can see throughout the ordeal, Esther was apprehensive to do as Mordecai asked. She initially protested, citing her own vulnerability in going to the King without a proper summons. Then, she spent time in prayer and had those around her pray (were they Jewish too?), and then even after she went and the King decided not to have her killed, she still seems to lose her nerve and invites them to a second round of drinks the next day.
Granted, Dr. Missler argues that this was providential, in that God desired another 24 hours to properly set up Haman in his own deceitfulness. But, it still does not explain Esther’s hesitancy. This, of course, is conjecture. We really don’t know what transpired in the mind of the girl. I personally think the incitement to prayer was out of desperation rather than a doctrinal inclination (i.e. difficult times require prayer). And, unlike Rahab, there is no additional Scriptural reference elaborating on Esther’s motives (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).
How are the clothes we choose to wear important? Is it the same today as it was in the days of Esther?
Dr. Missler claims that there is “propriety in dress.” I would disagree to some extent. He states that there is no sign of virtue or religion inherent in having an inattention to bodily attire and is often a sign of low self-respect, or a sign of idleness, slothfulness, or even vanity (i.e. monks or hermits thinking they are more spiritual because of their garb), but I would argue attention to bodily attire is often motivated by vanity or pride. I remember one man in an Amway speech years ago justifying to the audience that he only wore bran new dress shirts one time and then threw them out. He said it was something about the way they felt that a washed shirt simply couldn’t compare with.
Personally, I do not have a wardrobe of clothes. I’ve also turned down speaking invitations because of the kind of clothing one was expected to wear. I do not care if someone is called to business or is involved in academia, or if there is a stigma against sales people who are not dressed in the best suit.
I had a young woman I was dating when I was in my 20’s. She was an old family friend and after reuniting we discovered we had feelings for each other. A few months into our courtship she confessed her hesitancy of a future with me because of two things.
1. I appeared to be going nowhere in my “career” because I worked at a car wash (this job was intentional as it allowed me to serve as a tent maker ministering to coworkers and customers).
2. She disapproved of my attire, that I predominately wore sweatpants and a t-shirt.
I remember coming away from that conversation so relieved to have found out the truth before things with this girl had gotten serious. We broke up not long after since I realized that to her an attractive man was not one with a good personality or nice looks, but was someone who made a lot of money and “dressed for success.” In translation, she was seeking a sugar daddy to provide for her. Years later I heard through the grape vine that this young girl went on to make millions in the real estate market. She also married a man who had been injured while in the military and had a full pension and did not have to work. Together they bought a horse ranch outside of town, and to this day I’m still so thankful for her confession of her superficiality when she made it rather than put me through a long term relationship only to find out later how wrong I was about her. The Bible is clear on the subject and I’ve likewise proven this out in my own failed marriage: “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Pr 2:24).
Conforming to propriety of dress typically indicates one is willing to “play ball” with the artificial system that is in place. It means that one is upwardly mobile or is attempting to become so, and most often is connected directly to pride, greed, and superficiality (worried about what others think of them or how they look).
Today, I predominately wear shorts and a t-shirt of one color and tennis shoes. I also have overalls for when I’m working outside (especially in winter) and thermals when it’s cold. I occasionally will were a hat in the summer when I’m outside to keep the sun off of me. I would prefer to wear a monk’s habit, but since I am not under formal vows I believe doing so would smack of my own pride and arrogance. I resist this temptation.
Clothing choice for me, instead, is primarily based on utility. What is comfortable. What will keep me warm or cool. What will keep me dry. What I can do daily activities in or work in. The pompous concepts of “proper attire,” at least in my mind, is a means of flaunting individual wealth status (i.e. signal that you are included into a certain higher class). To eliminate someone from a group or particular occupation or social connection simply based upon their attire is to treat them with partiality.
But, this is particularly for the Church. It does not matter what the lost world does in this world. It will be judged as it is, against the full weight of the law.
I had a supervisor once that had worked at this particular company for 20+ years. She did everything the director asked of her for those years – came in on weekends, worked late, did the director’s work for her. When it came time for the director to retire the supervisor applied for the position, having been groomed all those years by the previous one in charge.
She was rejected outright by the board. The reason? Because of the way she dressed! She was told since she represented the company to the greater community she needed to have a better wardrobe, needed to come to work wearing makeup, etc. Sadly, the supervisor came in the next day all dolled up and spent several weeks like that (there was nothing wrong with the way the supervisor had dressed previously in my view).
In the end, she still did not get the job and she subsequently went back to the way she previously dressed, defeated.
This is not the church, of course. It’s a business, a secular company that has no need to comply with biblical mandate. But, it is how the world is. Appearance is the lens by which perception is gauged. Superficiality is the spirit by which it operates. Perversion is it’s core.
The point of this, though, is not how the world operates, but how the church is to operate. This is James’ point. We are not to give preferential treatment based on clothing, on wealth, on status, on influence, on political agenda or position. Yet, this time and again occurs because the modern, organized church is not based on the biblical picture of the church but on the modern corporate company and is led not by the spirit but by a spirit of capitalism, where profit is the most important aspect of the corporate mission.
There was a church board that convened because it had a decision to make. If they went with option A three families would certainly leave the congregation. If they went instead with option B, three different families would leave. One elder spoke up and said, “This is an easy decision. We choose the option that will result in the least amount of tithing lost each month.”
This is the church I’ve experienced in my 20’s and 30’s, from large mega church to small, single room country church. It is either greed, prominence, or heresy that overpowers every church established in the modern world. It is so pervasive that I’ve wondered how Christ’ church is even being built at all. The only option is individually, one soul (one brick) at a time.
As Dr. Missler puts it in the lecture, “Whne we approach the throne room, we should do so in our proper attire, that of humility.” As did Esther, we should not approach by the convention of the law, but through grace. Her approach was not based on the variable “ifs” of the law, but on the mercy of the King, with sure and confident faith in his faithfulness toward us.
How, then, do we prepare ourselves to stand before Christ in a way that we know is pleasing to our King (He 11:6)? The passage given here states that we must come to him in faith, believing that he is (who he actually says he is) and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
Faith and trust.
Humility of heart.
Why do you think Esther arranged two banquets instead of making her petition the first time she was granted access to the king?
Of course, there is no way of knowing with certainty why this occurred. Nothing is discussed in the text of Esther’s motive here. It is possible that she lost her nerve at the last minute during the first banquet. But this is conjecture. It can be concluded that, if every action by men is predestined beforehand, then the 24 hour period was desired by God to do what he did: i.e. lead Haman into a trap of his own making. The evil which Haman devised for another ended up being unleashed on him. Not only on him but on his entire legacy.
Haman was led into false confidence, and was happy and prideful before his ultimate fall (Pr 16:18). It’s interesting that the whole switch turned on the King’s inability to sleep that night, and the happenstance that he liked to have something read to him during bouts of insomnia, and that it happened to be the specific text in which Mordecai’s previous actions are recorded. So many happenstantial elements were required to go in a particular direction within a very short period of time in order for Mordecai to be saved and Haman to be killed, and for it to be done in the way it was.
It is unclear how much autonomy we have within our own thoughts and in how we make our decisions throughout our day and life. Are there just some decisions that are predestined for us to “walk in” or are all events and every decision prewritten on our hearts and in our soul, that our lives are simply being acted out from a cosmic script? Likewise, for those who find themselves in heaven, once all of this present world has passed, will their lives then be scripted as well or autonomous like never before? We certainly cannot argue that the angels in Genesis 6:2 were not predestined to leave their domain and come to earth and have offspring with human women. Does that mean we have free will in heaven? Satan certainly seems to have choice over his decisions and his actions. Yet, we know certainly that all in the supernatural realm seem to be held accountable by God for their actions and with terribly severe consequences that accompany those actions.
It is an important question: how much of this life (or the next one) is actually governed by individual autonomy and how much is government by God?
We can all be susceptible to the errors of Haman. Comment on how we ought to consider the example of Haman in our own lives.
In one of the test questions in the previous lecture it aligned Proverbs 6:16-19 with the sins of Haman. I’m not certain if we could ascribe this Proverb being written specifically with Haman in mind or it simply illustrates how humans are, by nature, creatures of habit. Our temptations are “common” and they keep tripping up people generation after generation (1 Co 10:13).
Yet, in this proverb we see the six things that the Lord apparently hates are interestingly close to Human’s sins, nonetheless:
1. Proud look
2. Lying tongue
3. Innocent death
4. Devising of wicked plans
5. Running toward evil
6. False witness (lying)
7. Sowing discord among brethren
Haman is certainly guilty of all of this. And, as Dr. Missler points out, he could easily be used as a type for future anti-god activists who oppose God’s people. But, he could also be a type of church member or leader just as easily.
These are simply the commonality of the fallen, human condition. We cannot help but to be trapped by these universal flaws. But through prayer, through seeking the Spirit as we walk day to day, moment by moment, we might possibly receive mercy from our Creator, who holds not only our life but our destiny in the balance.
Everything in the Bible was written and recorded as a lesson for future generations. the Bible is our guide post, our operating manual. It explains to us what we do (sometimes before we even do it), why we do what we do, and what it is we should strive to do instead. As Jesus put it, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Ma 4:4).
How have you seen evidence of the law of the harvest (you reap what you sow) in your own lifetime of experience?
It is described in Galatians 6:7, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” It is a fascinating idea, though I’m not certain it is a universal law, unless we are extending the “reaping” into the afterlife or at least as far as the great white throne of judgment event. For there are countless multitudes of people who never reap what they’ve sown in this life. There are politicians and evil and corruptible people who do evil and cause great suffering to others throughout their lives. There are evil governments (which are simply conglomerations of people), there are evil individuals (or, at least individuals who do evil).
In fact, God’s assessment was, at least in the beginning, though I can’t imagine his assessment of us has changed all that much since then: “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Ge 6:5). Paul concludes basically the same, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God” (Ro 3:10-12) and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23).
But, if the final judgment is included in this law of sowing and reaping, then, yes, I would concur. All those who have ever lived will at some point stand before their maker and will be judged based on everything they’ve ever done (and maybe even what they’ve thought). Certainly they will be judged based on the motives of their heart.
As for my own experience? No. I’ve actually seen the opposite. In my own estimation, my entire life has been a gift, a mercy to me. When I was born, when I was raised, as a child I had no desire to believe in God. When given the opportunity to choose between all the world’s religions, I chose one that denied the very existence of God, that had erected instead a different worldview based on human effort, on karmic energy, on a means of escaping the physical, dualistic world for a blissful non-existence.
I did not later “choose” to become a believer. I was not convinced by the evidence or by a preacher or Bible teacher. God had to supernaturally present his word to me at a specific time and in a specific place and then supernaturally remove my own belief (in the false religion and worldview) and replace it with a fully formed, alien worldview (that I neither wanted nor believed in at the time). Afterward I fought tooth and nail to try and return to my old ways. I tried to meditate. I tried to study the martial arts. I sought help of other people (Chaplain, my Martial Arts instructor, other instructors, etc). But it was to no avail. I no longer could meditate or practice. That which had once been in me had been removed, excised from me. In it’s place was what would prove to be an insatiable thirst for the Bible. I have spent the last 30 years studying those texts every day because there is nothing else I desire to do anymore than this.
My desire to escape this miserable world has not diminished, but has only grown over time (which was present in me before my conversion and after). Yet, I have not sown the seeds of this life. It was sown for me. I have reaped an uneventful, unsuccessful life, yet at the same time, it is a life full of wonder and great experiences and joys (because of Christ). I don’t know what it was God saved me from when I was 17. I have no capacity to imagine what I would have become as an unsaved adult. I’m certain it would have been some kind of monster. Maybe it was not about me at all, but about those who I would potentially lead astray. By the time I was 17 I already had 3 acolytes following me as a Buddhist. Given my propensity for study and for organization and administration, it is quite possible that I would have gone on to found a Buddhist community, a monastery, or martial arts school that would lead others away from the truth. By saving me (from myself) God may have in turn opened the door to all those other people as well.
Maybe it was, instead, simply an act of mercy on his part, just about me, just for me. I certainly have not received (at least not yet) what I deserve. It’s quite possible, in the end, I will not be carried away by the angels to Paradise when I die, but will take up residence in Hades along side the Rich Man and share in the torments of the damned. Maybe once the smoke clears and the second resurrection has taken place, with our new immortal bodies, prestige and all the damage life has done removed, maybe I will stand in judgment before the King of Creation and be sentenced to Gehenna. This is, of course, what I deserve. It is the proper reaping for the seeds I’ve sown in this life.
May this not be the case, and God will see only Christ’s work on the cross when I come before him. It is my hope and prayer that God does not see me or my sin, but sees the King in which I am forever indebted.
Discuss God’s providence in the Book of Esther.
This is the overarching idea of predestination. That, as Paul claims, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). The book of Esther is a book on design. The hearts of men devise evil, yet God uses that evil for good (Ge 50:20). Haman may have conspired against Mordecai, but it was God’s desire that Mordecai be spared, that all of Israel be spared. There may be no other reason for Esther to have become queen than for this specific purpose.
The same can be said for Ruth or really any of us. We so often desire to be great, to be remembered for something spectacular, as if we are the star of our very own Hollywood movie or television show. But, life is not like this. Some people play a very small role (like Esther). Other’s play quite prominently in the story God is writing (like Paul).
But there are countless others who play no role at all. How many in the third and fourth centuries went off into the Egyptian desert out of a call on their life to live in obscurity, in silence, in contemplation? Most of those people, their lives are hidden from our view, lost forever at least to the living world (maybe not in eternity). I often think of the Native American villages that lined the banks of the lake I own property on. They lived their lives, being born, growing into adult hood, taking wives, having children, growing old, and dying – then vanishing from existence forever. All these centuries later, none of those individuals are remembered, yet they led full and complete lives on the banks of that lake. How will those individuals be remembered, or will they simply be lost to remembrance altogether? Will the most insignificant among us be reduced to just persistent static? Will there be no record? Will there be no memorial? Will we not remember the loved ones lost to the lake of fire? Will their perpetual torment be blotted out of our collective conscience? What occurred before there was a lake of fire (which was created expressly for the devil and those angels that rebelled with him, and apparently also for the fallen angels of Genesis 6:2)?
God’s providence is simply another name to describe God’s sovereignty over us wholly and completely. It is another label for predestination, for our lack of free will. God moves in and out of our lives, making changes as he sees fit, tying together the lines of our lives, making connections, manipulating motives. He does these things for a purpose, but that purpose remains to us unclear. All we can do is wake up each morning we are given, step forward and declare each day a gift from God, with all thankfulness and gratefulness, in humility and soberness of mind. We pray. We labor. We enjoy the blessings he’s allowed us to enjoy. And then, when the time comes and our lives are required of us, we each must meet death head on, and experience that curse with which the first two humans subjected the whole of the world into bondage. It is only by Christ’s work on the cross that we have any hope of escaping the confines of death, of being set free from our prison in the intermediate state – from Hades or from Paradise where we will certainly be waiting.
May it be God’s providence that his mercy is great and unjust and powerful and efficacious to save us from ourselves.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
I found this lecture to be quite an interesting one. Not only did I discover that the book of Esther is not included in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but there are a great number of conjectures as to why this is the case. Some argue that the book of Esther was a late edition and, thus, was not available at the time the DDS were collected. Others claim the story rubbed the Essenes the wrong way due to their poor view of women. Some claim that the Old Testament community saw the Book of Esther as a fiction and thus had no reason to include it. Lastly, others claim the book was included in the collection originally, but was subsequently lost.
There are arguments that it was not included because it did not name God in it’s text. But, this is not probable since the other book in the Bible, Song of Songs, that does not mention God was included in the DSS.
If the Essenes did not care for how Esther was portrayed as the heroine in the story, you would think they would have a similar distates for the Book of Ruth as well (it’s included, though).
As to the idea that Esther was a newer document and was not available to be included is not likely, since the LXX is dated to around the same time period as the DSS, but Ruth is prominently included in that Greek collection (and with greater elaborations).
I personally think it was originally included but later lost, though I have no evidence for this. Would it be possible that the Essenes simply didn’t get their hands on a copy of Esther? It’s possible. There was no “book” of the Bible like we have today. There were collections of scrolls that were exchanged, copied, moved about. Some were lost to fire or weather or any number of circumstances. It’s possible the source of their documents never arrived at the Essene site, for whatever reason (maybe the man carrying it died in the desert and was never to be heard from again).
I do think, whatever occurred, the full account will be available to us in heaven. Maybe not to us individually, but available nonetheless. After a little digging, I’m doubtful anymore that the Essene community was a monastic, men’s only affair. Not only do their writings contain many rules pertaining to women, but archaeological evidence shows that women were present on site. The graves of women alone, some buried with the bodies of men, point to marriage as common, and the presence of children on site also point to the Qumran community being co-ed. I doubt they had issue with the contents of Esther.
I also found a heightened sense of purpose from this lecture, in how we should be focusing on how we will be presenting ourselves in the future to our King. Our preparation, much like that of Esther’s preparation, is in this life our sanctification. We should be striving to prepare for a future call if it by chance might come, just as Esther was called into a particular place and time to serve God in his purpose.
Lastly, as Dr. Missler points out, there are no coincidences. Through my studies at KI and also during my ThD dissertation, I’ve come to the point where I’m quite confident that there is no human free will as the Arminianists argue for. Though I would not go so far as to claim myself a Calvinist or even a Reformed Christian (as they tend to be quote postmillennial or amillennial in their eschatology), I would certainly conform to a strict determinism, that everything that happens to us happens out of pre-design, pre-ordination which took place before the foundation of the physical dimension (or collective space of existence).
I would argue that some are predestined for wrath and others are predestined for mercy. Only those who are drawn by God will heed the call of Christ. It is a free gift and has nothing to do with any personal or individual volition or independent choice. It is an independent, sovereign act of God based on his good pleasure alone.
Lecture 9 Discussion Questions
How does the story of Esther exemplify the phrase “Them that honor Me I will honor.”
To be honest, I’m not all that certain that it does. I understand that the tables were turned on Haman and providentially so. It was not out of cunning political maneuvering that Esther and Mordecai were able to defeat their enemies. It was by the mercy of God. It was by his interceding in the lives of men that positioned Haman to reap the consequences that he had prepared for Mordecai.
But, did Mordecai really honor God in his actions? I think it’s important to determine Mordecai’s motives for now bowing, which was the impetus of all these events that transpired. The Hebrew text does not elaborate, but the additional prayer in the LXX states pretty emphatically that this event of everyone being required to bow to Haman was somehow an act of idolatry. In this way, quite possibly, Mordecai received God’s mercy because he was operating out of his respect and honor for and loyalty to the one living God.
There are many opportunities for us today to take a similar stand in this fallen and deplorable world of ours. In fact, I’m convinced if one is truly a biblical Christian, then it will be impossible for you to escape opposing many of the customs and traditions and ideologies of the modern world. You will either have to make a stand and be declared an enemy of the state or an enemy of the people, be ridiculed or looked upon as dirty, racist, or hateful or you will have to compromise in order to fit in. You will have to embrace the tendency we now see all around us of, “calling evil good and good evil” (Isa 5:20). This is what the world does and, like Mordecai and also Daniel and his friends, it is our choice to stand for Christ or to compromise our faith and allegiance to the one true King.
Discuss the difference between retribution and retaliation.
The distinction between the two words I see are based on who is wielding the action. If it is God then it is retribution. If it is human then it is retaliation. We are told, “God is not mocked. What you sow you reap” (Ga 6:7). But this must include the final judgment, otherwise it is in error for a multitude have lived and died without ever experiencing either retaliation or retribution for their deeds.
As Dr. Missler points out, retaliation is the paying back evil for evil. This is not condoned by God, as he says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (He 10:30). Vengeance is inherent in both, but its legitimacy is based on who is initiating the action. If Vengeance is by man, then it is illicit and is retaliation. If it is by God then it is retribution and justified (for all things by God’s hand is inherently justified). So then, the foundation is found in the properness of judgment.
God wants us to trust him in everything. He wants us to trust him in our daily lives as living beings. He wants us to trust him to make everything right (for there are many, many things that remain wrong). He wants us to trust him that he will ultimately rendered proper and just judgment on the world, on each individual, for all the things they’ve done and thought.
What is the Kingdom of God, and where does the Church fit into it?
It didn’t seem as if Dr. Missler covered this in too great a detail except to say that the church is not the Kingdom. He argues that the end of the Christian dispensation (or the Church age that includes the time from Acts 2 until the fullness of the gentiles has come in) is not the end of the world (does not trigger the tribulation). He argues that there is much more coming where another dispensation will occur where the Jewish nation is once again of primary prominence as God’s chosen vehicle on earth (Ro 11:25).
Other than this, let me try to record here my own views on the Kingdom, if for no other reason than to flush out what I really believe. This is actually an important question because the topic of the kingdom is subject to so much speculation and human dogma, it’s hard to discern between what is Biblical and what is folk theology.
There are actually three terms used in the Bible that are important. Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, and just Kingdom. I, personally, at this point, must consider all three to be reference to the same “organization” or literal kingdom. It is the kingdom that Jesus said, “my kingdom is not of this world. If it were my servants would fight” (John 18:36). I think that is a crucial definition of the general “kingdom.” It is not of this world. So, for all the kingdom now and word-faith and dominion activists, Jesus clearly marks the influence of authority of the kingdom and it is not of this world. All reconstructionist postmillennials can stop their efforts and relinquish their hope in a “heaven on earth” where the Church rules (God help us all). The kingdom is not human government or even church government over the whole world.
I would, at least at this time, argue that the kingdom is the 1000 years where Jesus establishes a kingdom reign over the whole of the earth. It is unfathomable to consider what life will be like during that thousand years. The whole of American history only covers 250 years and life has dramatically and inconceivably changed just in the last 100 years. There is nothing to indicate that the world will be much different than it is today, being ruled by the same laws of physics. It will just be under the rulership of Christ and the saints (most specifically those who were martyred for their faith). This is assumably after the first resurrection (of the martyrs and presumably all of the church) but before the second resurrection, or the resurrection of the lost.
It would be assumed, while the curse has not been removed from the earth or the lost (who will be held captive by death for the entire 1000 years) it has been removed for the church, which has been both resurrected and raptured to Christ in the air. It does not specifically state that the whole of the church will reign with Christ for the 1000 years, but that the subset of the martyrs will. Will the rest of the church have their own special allocation? I can only assume we will be inducted into the ranks of the sons of God by this point. We will seemingly be immortal, with renewed physical bodies, but they will not be physical as much as spiritual (yet still tangible), much in every way like Jesus’ resurrected body.
The kingdom does carry connotations to the new Jerusalem and the new earth and the new heaven – the whole of the collection of renewed properties and possessions of Jesus, who takes the deed of the earth and assumably of the whole of creation.
What of the seemingly limitless recesses of creation, such as the other galaxies, the greatest expanse of the known and unknown universe. Does it include the supernatural realms that exist today, that we term “heaven?” Seemingly, this is the location of the mansions of the Father that Jesus has prepared for us, whether or not they are spatially located in the new Jerusalem, in a separate dimensionality altogether, or somewhere else in the physical universe remains unclear.
The kingdom is the empire of the Christ. It is the country in which we as Christians declare citizenship over and above the citizenship of our physical birth. We, as believers, are no longer citizens of America, the UK, Australia, or Thailand, but are located in these places as sojourners, traveling through from birth to death, until we are redeemed in both body and soul from the jaws of death (the curse), and are restored with new bodies and assumably the old man nature within us is burned away.
What will transpire in eternity within the Kingdom is unclear. Who we will be and what we will be doing is unclear. What will be possible is unclear. We simply are asked to take it on faith that God has our best interests at heart, that everything he does for the good of those who love him. I pray I am considered by Christ to be one of them, that he will stand and confess me before the father. That when the God of the universe looks upon me that all he sees is Christ’s work on the Cross and not my disheveled and dismal sin nature or the sin I’ve racked up along the way in this life.
Discuss the importance of Esther’s association with her people, the Jews.
The plight of Esther’s people is not unlike the plight of the unsaved today. Under the judgment of god. The curse of the law which was broken hanging over their heads. God has given a decree for all who are subject to destruction but we must accept the decree. We can ignore it and perish (just like the Jews in Esther). Our king can hold out his scepter of grace. Esther did not plead good works before the king or the benevolence of the Jews.
Discuss the use of the casting of lots throughout Scripture as a symbol of God’s providence and using circumstances to perform His will.
I didn’t noticed much talk of this in the lecture so I will try to answer this one the best I can.
Apparently, the promised land was divided by casting lots (Nu 26:55; Joshua 18:6-7), the scapegoat by lots (Le 16:8), and, of course, Jesus’ garments were divided up by lots, which were even prophecies in Psalm 22:18 (interesting here, these were Romans centurions, not Jews, so apparently its was the common way to make a decision in the 1st century among many different kinds of people groups). The apostles also cast lots to determine who would replace Judas (Acts 1:25). It actually appears to be quite common throughout the Bible, with Samuel casting lots in 1 Samuel 14:42 and Jonah’s shipmates casting lots in Jonah 1:7. In the Acts of Thomas, the apostles cast lots to divide the regions for ministry. Thomas got India. It occurs in Josephus, in the Church Fathers, in the Pseudepigrapha, and at least two occurrences in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Of course, it occurs in Esther 3:7.
This word, “lot” or “lots” is גּוֹרָל, goral in Hebrew and κλήρους in the Greek. It was a common means by which people could discern answers from deities using small objects in a jar. The way in which the objects fall out of the jar determines the will of the deity. It was a kind of cleromancy that was, apparently, not prohibited as most divination was (Lev 19:31; Deut 18:9-12; Re 21:8; 22:15; Joshua 13:22).
I used to attempt a similar kind of “divination” when making decisions when younger. If I was stuck with trying to make a decision, I would find someone close by and ask them “yes or no.” they would want to know the question, but I would say “I cannot tell you the question, but I need you to answer yes or no.” It wasn’t that their answer would be “the answer,” but I would use their answer to gauge my immediate and visceral response to their answer. If my natural response to their answer was positive and that answer to my original question/decision felt good, then I would go with that decision. If not, if everything in me screamed “that’s not right” or “that’s not what I want,” then I would know to do the opposite.
I’m not certain when I stopped doing this. I think it occurred sometime either during my marriage or after my divorce. It may be that I simply don’t have decisions anymore or don’t have human aspirations where I’m stuck on decisions. Now I simply pray and wait for solutions to issues I have (there are not very many these days).
As for casting lots to divine God’s will? I don’t know. There is certainly precedent for it in Scripture. How valid (or effective) it is in the modern world, I suppose it really depends on the individual or the culture in question. If it is acceptable in your peer group (for whatever reason) then I assume it would be used among individuals to make decisions. I suppose there is a form of this in prayer, as I pray for things and then simply wait to see how they turn out. Pray appears to be a petition in which I make requests to God and he in turn decides through providence, fate, happenstance (whatever term is used) to do his will. He may grant our request. He may not. It is our responsibility to lean on him, to trust in whatever provision he has provided for us.
This leads me often to pray less and lean simply on whatever provision he provides more. If it is true, “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Ro 8:28) and his desire for us is better than we can even comprehend (1 Co 2:9), then what is the need or purpose of petitionary prayer, since God has already allocated for us the very best that could possibly be imagined?
I could see the expediency with casting lots if one was involved with other people. But as an individual who is drawn to a solitary lifestyle, casting of lots really has no high purpose in daily life. I work toward taking Jesus’ advice, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Ma 6:34).
Discuss the reason that Esther wanted the ten sons of Haman to be “hung on a tree.” Give Biblical references.
This was difficult for me to ascertain. It seems unnecessarily gratuitous. But, there is a logical argument that, given human nature, there was no other option than to wipe out Haman’s entire potential lineage. No matter how much his family could have argued, there were 10 sons. If not one or more of them, then possibly one or more of Haman’s grandsons would have tried to seek revenge for their progenitor. It is true that most children are “chips off the old block.” They were raised by Haman so there’s a good chance they harbored many of the same biases that he did (though, I think this had more to do with a personal grudge between Haman and Mordecai than a deep seated anti-Semitic bias, as if often pushed today).
In addition, Saul was given the direct command to wipe out the Amalekites, but he refused (1 Sa 15:3). He was to kill not only the men, but the women, the children, and all the livestock. If Saul had done what he was instructed to do, God would have providentially put away the threat against Mordecai and the Jewish people generations before it ever became an issue.
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
Of the interesting revelations from this lecture, I find it fascinating that Daniel, in his position as second in the administration of at least two empires, he created a long-lasting group of Magi (astrologers of all things) who carried with them, generation after generation, the prophecies of Daniel and especially the prophecy concerning the birth of the King of the Jews.
Whether this group was formalized or more of individuals within the group being influenced by Daniel’s teaching is unclear.
There were some interesting comments made by Dr. Missler. One, that the Jews in the story had to take an active part in their salvation. They had to choose to accept or not. If they chose to ignore the edict from the King, they would have been destroyed. The correlation between this and the salvation of individuals within the church I find somewhat nebulous. I was given no “active choice” and played no “active role” in my own salvation. I, in fact, wanted nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible or whatever it was that was going on in local churches. I had been dragged to a few services in the past and, in my opinion (an opinion that has not chanced since becoming a believer), they are gatherings full of boring sermons, terrible music, and truly terrified and judgmental people.
I played no part in the removal of my then beliefs in reincarnation or (more importantly) my pursuit of nirvana, where I could once and for all escape the karmic wheel and cease experiencing the suffering of existence. Removing this was not my doing. Rendering me incapable afterward of being able to meditate or study the Martial Arts was not my choice. That choice was made for me by God. So I really don’t see any “active participation” involved in salvation and I fall strongly toward predestination and don’t really think there is a great deal of “free will” involved. As Paul puts it, “whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren….whom he predestined, these he also called; whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified” (Ro 8:29-30). And Jesus, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
But, despite my own individual experience, it is possible that salvation is not one or the other (i.e. predestination or free will). As Paul states, “he who is called int he Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise, he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Co 7:22-23). As a Buddhist I was essentially a freedman. I could do as I pleased. Everything was permissible. There was no judgment. But, when this was taken from me, I become Christ’s slave, unable any longer to do as I pleased (meditate, martial arts, etc).
Lastly, Dr. Missler makes the point a few times that God was not working visibly in the book of Esther, but behind the scenes. This can also be said of America as well. We do not have direct intervention by God in the modern world, and especially in the American Church. Those who claim to perform miracles are so ridiculous and so bombastic they can hardly be taken seriously but by the gullible and mentally unstable. Yet, God is building his church here among those in the western world. In fact, the Tribulation is being held at bay so that the fullness of the gentiles can be brought in.
I personally don’t think it is the churches on the corner that Christ is looking at. I think there might be individual within those “organizations” that are a part of Christ’s church. But I think he is working behind the scenes, stone by stone, building and growing the faithful and genuine believer. I often wonder how many is enough? When will the time come that God will finally look to Jesus and say “go” and the angels will descend and reap the harvest? I pray daily, with every breath within me, that I am found to be part of the wheat and not determined to be chaff.
Lecture 10 Discussion Questions
How convinced are you that God put hidden codes in the Bible? How might you convince someone of your conviction?
I am skeptical. When I was first exposed to the codes many years ago (by Dr. Missler) I was really excited. It was, for me, vindication that the Bible was truly the word of God. But then I discovered there are “hidden” codes in books like Moby Dick, and all kinds of really sketchy applications of this (predictive divination, etc) used by people.
The final nail for me was the Torah code that Dr. Missler presented as the Torah pointing in each other books of the Bible to the Law, the first two pointing toward, the last two written (pointing) backwards – all pointing to Leviticus. I took Dr. Missler’s advice and tested this for myself. Unfortunately, it was not as laid out as he described. I think the book of Numbers has it spelled out from left to right, so it is not pointing to the Law (it’s been awhile). These appear in the notes for this lecture (if not in the lecture itself). There is no mention of the Torah code’s problematic nature, but after discovering the issue, and after I emailed K-House with the information, the response I received was that they understood this problem to exist.
I came away a little disillusioned, but then realized that it is no different than any other theory and it wasn’t a crucial issue for my faith or for the accuracy of the Bible (people say a lot of things about the Bible that simply aren’t true).
Over the years I’ve accepted the idea of codes as a possibility, but not as necessity. I do very much like the typology in the Bible, though, I think this is often taken too far. I also have difficulty with deciphering what is truly a type in the text from God and what is human imagination. I do find the Genesis 5 genealogy code quite fascinating, as well as some of the gematria in the gospels.
For me, I have a difficult enough time just trying to understand and apply to my own life the things that are clearly seen in the Bible. Though, I will say, I do very much enjoy my time in study. It has been a passion of mine since I was 17 years old. I’ve always been given to be somewhat studious (just not in school). I spent my summers as a youth riding my bike 2 miles a day to the local library instead of going into town or causing trouble elsewhere (though I did do my fair share of that, too). But, when I turned 17 and read 2 Peter 2, my whole world changed. Before then I barely could open a Bible let alone read it or study it. After that fateful night I’ve barely been able to go a day without wanting to read the Bible or study it or dig into commentaries or Bible dictionaries or listen to lectures from seminaries on any subject that pertains to theology or Christian philosophy. It has become my one true joy in a life of misery and difficulty (though, it is pretty hard to conclude my life is anything resembling true difficulty).
It is my hope and my prayer that the afterlife will be one immersed in studying the Bible, uncovering finally the unanswered questions I’ve been asking all these years. I want to be appointed to one of his cosmic libraries, where the books and records of all of creation are stored and maintained (if there be such a place outside of the mind of God). I hope it is on a deserted tropical planet where I have a monastery library all to myself, where I can uncover the great secrets of God and his good purposes.
Where is the name of God found in the Book of Esther? What’s remarkable about that?
Dr. Missler states the name of God is hidden in acrostics 4 times: Esther 1:20; 5:4; 5:13; and 7:7. I personally do not find a whole lot in this kind of code remarkable. I dismiss it as unconvincing.
We’ve seen how God orchestrated every event and circumstance in the Book of Esther. Share how God has done this in your own life.
This is a deep well (of course). I typically only see God working in my life when I look back at the things that have happened to be over the course of my time. I can recognize how he’s protected me from not only other people but also from myself. I, personally, think he protected either myself or other people from whoever it was I was destined to become if I had not become a believer. If left up to me, I never would have accepted Jesus. I was perfectly happy as a Buddhist. But he led me under false pretense to the bedside of someone I knew in the hospital and staying with them I inadvertently picked up a Bible and read a single chapter and the rest is history.
After that God has provided for me always. I’ve never gone a day without food or shelter or comfort (not sure if this is good or bad). I’ve always had a way to provide for myself. When one job ends there is always another one right around the corner (whether I’m qualified or not). The job I currently have I got, not because I actually wanted to apply for it, nor because I was qualified by the job posting, but because the temp agency where I applied for another job sent my application to this other employer (because I had computer skills). During the interview I did not have the degree they wanted (mine was in history not medical terminology), and I had never worked in a medical office before. But, after I took the computer test with their IT person, I was immediately given the job and immediately given all the reports no one in management wanted to do. Over the course of the next year I was given raise after raise because, as the director once explained to me, “You come to work everyday and no matter what someone gives you to do you’re excited to learn how to do it.”
So now I work for more money than the position should pay (and it allows me to work part time), and I do a job that no one else in my company really knows how to do. I have no real supervisor, work alone in my own office, on a beautiful campus, with no one else in the building, and have no direct contact with the public. It is truly a great job. But, I am convinced it was provided to me by God so that I would have 40+ hours a week free to devote to studying the Bible and doing theological research. It allowed me to finish my Master’s degree and go one and finish my Doctorate as well.
This has been my life. Just enough. God never really provides me more than I need, but never leaves me in lack. I think if I were given a million dollars (win the lottery, become a successful writer, etc) the excess would only drive me further into sin. Money is a temptation (at least for me).
I don’t know why God would do this for me. Maybe God knows that if I were to suffer I would abandon him. I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply out of his mercy and his blessing that he provides for me all of my needs (and many of my wants). Maybe it’s not God at all, and I’m the one who secured the job and make sure my bills are paid, and that I live frugally so as to afford an incredible lifestyle on very little.
I personally give all the glory to my King. We will see in the end of all things what has truly been authored by him.
Discuss some of the similarities between the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther.
They both deal with a bride who marries a King. Ruth, though is a gentile woman who married a Jewish King, while Esther is a Jewish woman who marries a Gentile King.
The both demonstrate that there is no chance or coincidence in the dealings of God in the world. He is constantly at work, moving and influencing people so that they fulfill his good purpose.
Are Bible codes evidence that God gave man the Scriptures “letter by letter?” What are the implications of that?
No. At least not at this point. If, in the end, after the dust settles from the great white throne, and I find myself among those who are counted worthy to be transformed into Sons of God, that I’ve been able to put on immortality and recognize that the former things have gone, at that point I will hopefully be allowed to ask questions. Believe me, I have a very, very long list of them. There are a multitude of questions that the Bible simply does not answer, which is not how modern Christianity would want you to believe. As I say frequently, it is my hope that I will have access to the books that record every deed of man (and it is further my hope) that there is a record of everything that has ever been done by human, by angel, by any creature created by God. I hope there are records that record who God truly is, what his origin story is (if there is one), and what the meaning of all this is, the grand scope of eternity, of providence, and of existence. I hope all the answers are laid bare and that I can spend eternity in perpetual solitude scouring the books and records to uncover the mysteries of God and who he is and why he has done all these things.
I personally hope heaven is not a disappointment.
I do think the Bible is perfect (in its original autographs). I think within the words inspired by the Holy Spirit and penned by the apostles and prophets, are contained all the mysteries of the universe. We just can’t comprehend it. We can’t connect the dots. I think (hope) in the afterlife, we will be able to thoroughly examine the Bible for what it truly is and unravel it’s mysteries and its message.
Discuss the possibility of a deeper meaning to the words of Jesus, “The volume of the book is written of Me.
I know Dr. Missler points out that there appears the name Yeshua 5,538 times in the Old Testament. I personally don’t think this is what Jesus was referring to in Hebrews 10:7. I think he is referring to the many times the Old Testament either prophesied about the Messiah, or there was a type representing the Messiah (i.e. Isaiah 53; Joseph). This is why I argue that we don’t need these micro codes to work out. There are enough direct, straightforward prophecies that have come true (and many that still have not) that are enough to convict a soul to repent. As Abraham said to the Rich Man, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Lu 16:31).
K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.
The first part of this course was quite good. The last lecture seems to be unnecessary and repetitious if you’ve already gone through the other material on the microcodes in the Bible. It’s not that I discredit them as fake, but I’m simply unconvinced given the inherent problems I’ve found in some of them. As I already stated, there are some (such as Genesis 5) that I do find interesting. As well as the gematria ones or the trees listed in certain places, hidden in the text. They are all provocative. But, I remain a skeptic. As I’ve stated, I already have a hard enough time just trying to keep the plain, straightforward message of the Bible within view in my daily life. Microcodes will have to be left for those who are better men than I could possible hope to be.
Overall, this was an interesting course. I do think some of the conclusions were a little over the top or contrived, but that is open to each person’s opinion. I’m just not as convinced by microcodes as Dr. Missler is, I think.
I do like that I’m gaining familiarity with the different books of the Bible, especially those books that I’ve maybe only read once or twice in my lifetime. I also like that, even the books I’m used to, I’m still picking up new things that I’ve never heard of before. Now it’s back to Revelation and finishing the second part of the two part course.
Until my next assignment….
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Excerpt from Sacred the Circle:
There was a knock at the door.
Campbell got up from the chair and crossed the small distance so he could open it.
A young man stood in the doorway, probably in his early twenties.
Campbell could tell he looked a little disheveled.
He had deep rings around his eyes, as if he hadn’t been sleeping much, and he kept checking the hallway in both directions, as if half expecting someone to be stalking him.
“Hey,” Campbell said.
The kid was stumbling over his own words.
Campbell leaned out into the hallway, checking to make sure there was no one else listening.
This guy wasn’t the only one who was becoming paranoid.
There were two students hanging out at the foyer, near the stairs, but the rest of the floor was clear.
“I’m sorry,” the kid said. “Must be the wrong place. I’m mistaken.”
He started to leave.
“Wait,” Campbell said, putting a hand out. “Hold on a second.”
The kid paused.
“What’s your name?”
He fidgeted with his collar.
“I know it sounds crazy, but – ”
“You’re not crazy, Lloyd,” Campbell said, grinning.
“Did you – ? ”
The kid paused, as if unsure if he should continue.
He looked back toward the stairs, then at Campbell.
“Did you know I was coming?” he finally asked. “I mean, that’s not possible, but, were you expecting me?”
Campbell chuckled to himself.
“What’s so funny?” Lloyd asked.
“Well – ”
Campbell pushed the door open all the way so Lloyd could see inside his dorm room.
The entire room was full of them, students, non-students, ranging from what looked like eighteen to even a few middle-aged men, scattered about the room, sitting wherever they could find a comfortable spot.
Lloyd’s mouth dropped open.
“I wasn’t really expecting them, either,” Campbell said. “So, I hope you don’t hold it against me when I tell you, I had no idea you’d be showing up here. Do you care to join us, anyway?”
Buy my book Sacred the Circle to find out what these men are hearing from the supernatural realm. Will they answer the questions tugging at them? What are the visions saying? Who are the Multitude? Why are all these men being brought together? By whom? And why, above all else, are they being convicted….to pray?
Get your copy of Sacred the Circle today! Get the upcoming sequel, Sacred the Sent as well so the story never ends !
But, trust me when I say, you’ll be white knuckling this one with every turn of the page!