Tree of Knowledge – The I’s

In Genesis 2 God has planted a garden for man to enjoy.  The center of His garden has two special trees – life and knowledge.  The tree of life is referenced too again in Proverbs 11 and in Revelations 22.  The tree of knowledge, apparently, has references in Proverbs but English translators don’t expand on the metaphor.  To be fair this study is going to cover more than just this tree, I will be looking at several concepts and ideas in Chapter 1, 2, 3, and probably 4.  To clear away a possible problem let me stress that the tree is the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.  This tree is NOT good and evil.  

Since the Garden is where mankind started I saw the grace and love of your God and Father starting in Genesis 1:29 + 30.  This is a simple thought but this post focus will be on the word “I”.  God says it four times and Adam adds five more by verse twelve, which is where the conversation spreads out, and God’s tone changes.

God’s uses of the word “I” are in 1:29,30; 2:18; and 3:11.  They flow this way – I give, I give, I will make, and I commanded.  The command actually comes in 2:16 but “I” is not used at that time.  So, the first thing God does is to give Adam and the beast plants with seeds and every green plant for food. God commands against the eating of just one tree and then turns His attention again to man and his need for companionship.  

Some Thoughts1. The disobedience of Adam changed the plants as food, as some plants are not suitable for our consumption now.  2. Chapter 2:4 is actually another story of creation that Moses compiled when he wrote Genesis.  Chapter1:1, 4:1, and 5:1 are also separate stories that were possibly oral traditions that he wrote down at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  3. Notice the only command Adam is given is to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam was not given instructions about the tree of life.  

All four of God’s “I’s” are directed for Adam’s good, not his harm.  Well, why did God even put that tree in the garden!  Since I try not to judge God, this is my thought.  God has always wanted people to willingly follow Him.  The tree was a simple thing and Adam failed.  Jesus is the only human to not fail the Father, which is why we need to be found in Him.

Adam’s five “I’s” are the result of nibbling on knowledge.  His response to God is one of “shame and blame” and mankind has lived with that since then.  Adam’s shame “I’s” are – I heard, I was afraid, I was naked, and I hid.  The confession of “I ate” comes after he blames God for supplying the woman which he was singing about in 2:23 + 24.

Adam’s “I’s” are about himself while God’s “I’s” are about doing good for man.

Some More Thoughts1. Most translations quote Adam as saying the poem/song of 2:23 and leave verse 24 as an included explanation.  That would mean Moses or someone else added to the text later.  It just sounds better to extend the quote to include verse 24 and make it a prophecy about his children. 2. I am confident that Adam and Eve were intelligent and that they talked with God about things.  I have always wondered how they would have had a contextual understanding of the word “die” since they had never seen death!  That may have been part of the knowledge that Eve was so eager to get when she chose to eat the fruit.

Well, enough for the intro more will come later on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Tychicus – The Dear Brother

Who Is Tychicus?  He is a friend/disciple of Paul the Apostle.  His name means fortunate (#5190 Strong’s).  In the NIV his name is mentioned five times – Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12, and Titus 3:12.  He was from the province of Asia (Turkey).

What We Know He Did

  1. In Acts, he is accompanying Paul to Troas/to Jerusalem.  Gene Edwards has the men in this group as trainees being readied for ministry as Paul spends twenty-seven months in Ephesus.  
  2. In the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, he is a messenger for Paul.  He is praised by Paul as being a dear brother, a faithful servant/minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord.
  3. In the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, he is also serving Paul by informing the Churches with accurate information about Paul’s ministry.
  4. 2 Timothy has Tychicus again going to Ephesus because Paul sent him there for some reason.  I am guessing that this verse is why the book we identify as going to the Ephesus got that name. (My NIV has a footnote that says early copies of that letter did not have a destination point in verse one.)
  5. Paul in his letter to Titus names Tychicus as a possible replacement for Titus on the Isle of Crete. 

Some Good Guesses About Tychicus

In Acts 19 Paul arrives in Ephesus and stays twenty-seven months.  Since Tychicus is part of the group that leaves with Paul as he heads to Jerusalem, it would be safe to say that he was with Paul during some extraordinary times.  He may have even been part of the twelve men who were baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Tychicus would have seen Eutychus raise from the dead.  He may have gotten the Ephesian elders to go to the beach for Paul’s farewell.  And he would have heard the prophecies about Paul being mistreated in Jerusalem.  If I may continue, he may have helped with Paul’s needs while he was imprisoned in Caesarea.

Tychicus did not accompany Paul to Rome in Acts 27.  It is possible that the “Book of Ephesians” was sent at this time so Tychicus may have been on a journey of his own.  I do think he eventually was with Paul in Rome and worked for/with him there.

Why Question the Book of Ephesians?

It was the question of who Ephesians was written too that started this study of Tychicus.  Ephesians 1:15 makes little sense because Paul started the church there.  This verse sounds like Colossians 1:9 and Paul says he never met the Church at Colosse.  Ephesians 3:2 is another verse that makes little sense because the Church at Ephesus would have known this mystery that was given to Paul. 

At the end of the day, it really does not matter who it was written too.  I like the Book of Ephesians!  But throw in what happened to Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16) and the mystery that covers Hebrews, it makes for some good “think time”.  

Reflection – Tychicus is an example of “the seed” hitting “good ground” and producing a crop of which we have benefited from.  He may have gone on to pastor several churches in Asia, but we really do not know.  He was a help to Paul and the Church of his time.

Pentecost – The Offerings of the Feast

 

Pentecost, one of the three feasts that were mandated for Israel in Exodus 23 and 34.  The first time was during the conversation God had with Moses on Mount Sinai before Moses broke the Tablets of the Law.  Chapter 34 is the same order after Moses had to write the Law.  Pentecost was the party at the end of the grain harvest.  First Fruits was the beginning of the barley harvest that starts with Passover.  Pentecost is the end of the wheat harvest.  (Read the Book of Ruth also see Ruth Continued)  God had planned for parties to take place in the Land, while the people were still in the desert.

In the first two commands about Pentecost, Father God does not go into a lot of detail.  The particulars of the Feast are written in other Books of the Bible. In Leviticus 23: 15 – 22 very specific orders are given to the priest for the offerings.  The orders include four parts that make up the whole package. I am not going into detail on the components. 1. The Wave Offering 2. The Burnt Offering 3. The Sin Offering 4. The Fellowship Offering.  More on this later. Numbers 28: 26 – 31 has a slightly different take on the offerings for Pentecost.  I can see this list being for the people to make sure they have enough materials for the priest to do their job and offer the correct sacrifice.  Deuteronomy 16: 9 – 12 seems to be a reminder to the people to give according to how they have been blessed and that they are to have fun before the Lord.

The Four Parts of Leviticus 23 – It is important to remember that part of this feast commemoratives when God gave the Law in Exodus 19.  It seems that the story really goes to Chapter 32 and ends with the Levites putting to death 3,000 partyers and the destruction of the gold calf.  (Joseph Prince points out that 3,000 joined the Church on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.)  Please allow me to do some extending of the parts of the sacrifice that was taking place in the Temple.

Pumpkin seed and Wheat

  • The Wave Offering – God’s waving created the sound of the rushing wind.
  • The Burnt Offering – The tongues of fire “burned” the disciples in the Upper Room.
  • The Sin Offering – Peter’s sermon introduced Jesus as the “sin offering” that had been paid.
  • The Fellowship Offering – In Acts 2:42 begins the fellowship part of the sacrifice that still should be going on.                The pic is from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/pumpkin-seed-and-wheatdried-cereal-seeds-photo-p182054 

Ruth – Continued

This study of Ruth will overlap other studies I have done, please click on the highlighted links to see them.  I am writing this during the time period called the Counting of the Omer – the days between Passover and Pentecost.  For the Jew these are two Feast that the Lord God gave them to celebrate and remember Him in the celebration.  On the historical side of this thought, it is the time Israel took to go to meet the Lord on Mt. Sinai.  Ruth is set in this period of time as she and Naomi return to the Promised Land during the barley harvest. (Bethlehem means the house of bread.) Because of this connection the study of Ruth in this time period is frequently part of the Counting of the Omer.

It is called the Book of Ruth, but it is also the story of Naomi.  The first chapter is her story and the verses of 4:16 +17 give her a happy ending.  Naomi’s actions are central to the story of Ruth and my musings took me all over the place, which is the reason for this post.   

Family 1 – Naomi shows a “family love” here that is a little foreign to my paradigm.  She inspired a bond with her “daughters” by marriage.  Ruth and Orpah were so attached to Naomi that both of them started out to a strange land without any recorded argument.  Orpah turned back only at Naomi’s urging.  Naomi coached Ruth, as a daughter, in 2:22 and 3:1-4,18.

Ruth’s bond and love for her “mother” have always been a highlight of this story.  “She lived with her mother-in-law” (2:23) is an interesting phrase and that it made it into scripture is equally intriguing.   

Family 2 – The ancient Hebrews/Middle East peoples and some ideas about marriage and family duties that are not accepted or legal today.  The concept, however, is still solid but not carried out with the intensity as it should be – family takes care of the family.  Especially, in times of death to the breadwinner of the family.

Naomi, in Ruth 1:12+13, makes a case to her daughters-in-law for returning to their father’s home.  Naomi is referring to the custom/Law of Moses of a brother marrying his brother’s widow.  Before the Law of Moses this custom is mentioned in Genesis 38:8, Tamar’s husband dies and Judah requires Onan to fulfill the responsibility of a brother.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the inclusion of this in the Law of Moses and the story in Ruth is the practical application of it in real life. The second half of this custom/law is in Boaz’s act of redemption, found in Ruth 4:5.  He reminds the other kinsman that he will get Ruth and be required to maintain the family name/property.

I believe that this whole thought/custom/law came from Genesis 2:23+24 where Adam gives a prophecy concerning the relationship of a husband and wife. The child would belong to the dead husband because he and the wife are ONE.  In noting that thought, right or wrong, Ruth 4:16-22 does list Boaz as David’s descendent in the line of Perez.

Moab – Ruth’s family tree started with the sordid events of Genesis19:30-38.  Lot’s daughters conceive children with him and the older daughter’s child was named Moab.  Moab means “from father”.  

During the Exodus God did not want the Israelites fighting with the Moabites because they were Lot’s family (Deuteronomy 2:9).  They, however, joined into the plan in Numbers 25 to seduce Israel so they would lose God’s favor and protection. So, in Deuteronomy 23:3 Lot’s descendants are forbidden from entering the Temple of the Lord.

If that sounds off to your thinking, you are not alone.  Solomon and David could not enter the Temple because of Ruth!  Okay we know that did not happen.  I do not remember the justification but it is smoothed out in Jewish traditions.  Some translations put the burden on the “father” in Deuteronomy 23:3 which would work because of Boaz being Hebrew.

The Women in the Root – In Matthew there are five women listed in the root of Jess/David/Jesus.  They are an interesting group.  (I have written about many of these ideas in the post below.)  This post I will look at “DNA” additions into Judah/Israel.

  • Sarah, Rachel, and Leah are all family from Terah (Genesis 11:27).
  • Tamar – Genesis 38:27-30 possibly Canaanite
  • Rahab – Canaanite from Jericho
  • Ruth – Family from Terah by Lot
  • Bathsheba – Hebrew
  • Rehoboam’s mother was Ammonite (see Deuteronomy 23:3) she is a descendant of Lot

These are other post about David’s Family

These are the names and their meanings from the Strong’s Concordance/Vines Dictionary.  

  • Elimelech – #458 – God of the king
  • Mahlon – #4248 – sick
  • Kilion -Chilion – #3630 – pining (suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart), destruction
  • Orpah – #6204 – mane, nape or back of the neck, the back, stiff neck 
  • Ruth – #7327 – friend – female associate or neighbor
  • Naomi – pleasant 
  • Boaz – #1162 – uncertain meaning – the name of one of the pillars on the Temple
  • Obed – #5744 – serving 
  • Ephrathites – #673 – fruitless; from the root #6509 to bear fruit or bear fruitful
  • Bethlehem – #1035 – house of bread 
  • Kinsman (KJV) Num. 5:8 -#1350 gaal redeemer, to redeem, 27:11 – #7607 flesh, kin by blood; Ruth 2:1 – #3045 yada, to know/kinsman                        gaal Lev.25:25 redeemer in Deu.19:6/Num.35:19 it is revenger; in Isaiah 41-36 it is God as Redeemer      The pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org 

I AM in John

I AM in John

The purpose of this post is to explore the times when Jesus uses “I am” in the Book of John.  I think this adds to John’s purpose of proving that Jesus is the Messiah.  There are some loose groupings of how/when Jesus used the term.  I will not try and list all of the verses but will leave that up to you and a concordance or a Bible app like BibleGateway. 

We use the phrase “I am” in our speech with other people frequently.  In Exodus 3:14 the Almighty God choose this phase as the name He wanted Moses and the Israelites to know Him by.  As with many translations, our English thoughts and ancient Hebrew usage can yield slightly different meanings.  (see I AM – Exodus) But think about it the next time you introduce yourself to someone or announce that you are going somewhere.

To non-Jews    Jesus used this phrase when He was talking to the Samaritan Woman and to Pilate.  These were at the beginning and end of His earthly ministry.  Jesus affirmed to the Woman that He was the Messiah and to Pilate that He was a King – John 4:26/18:37.  

What Jesus Said About Himself This is the reason I started thinking about this post.  I know there are other sources that will only list seven of these.  (Seldom am I in perfect harmony with them.)  Remember, this is just from the Gospel of John.  They will be out of order.

  1. 8:58 – before Abraham was born, I am (NIV).  The 8th chapter of John has eleven times when Jesus uses “I am”.  This is the only time that Jesus actually declares He is God.  This was done at the end of a long conversation with the Jews in the Temple.  They were going to stone Him and He “slipped away”.
  2. 4:26 – He told the woman at the well that He was the Messiah.
  3. 18:37 – Pilate He was a King.
  4. 6:35 This was after He fed the 5,000.  He identified as the Bread of Life (manna).
  5. 8:12 In the Temple.  He is the Light of the World.  Jesus says this again in 9:5 as He is healing the man born blind.
  6. 10:7+9 This is with the “man born blind” – Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep.    
  7. 10:11 He is the Good Shepherd.
  8. 10:36 He is God’s Son.
  9. 11: 25 He is the Resurrection and the Life.  This was said as He was raising Lazarus and going to Jerusalem for His final Passover.
  10. 13: 13 Jesus quotes the disciples calling Him Teacher and Lord.  
  11. 15:1+5 He calls Himself the True Vine.  This was in His last meal on Thursday of Holy Week.        
  12. 14: 10,11, and 20 Jesus says He is in the Father.  Even without this one, I am over the seven.

He Is Going Away I count seventeen times Jesus says He is going away.  20:17 is to Mary at the garden tomb.  The other times He says this in private and before a crowd starts in Chapter 7:34 and 8:14+21.  Here He was in the Temple.  The majority of these announcements are during Holy Week and are in chapters 13, 14, 16, and 17.  Jesus told the Disciples but they could not hear these as a prophecy.  He told them plainly in 12:36 that He was to be “lifted up”. 

The Mob 18:5,6, and 8 takes place in the Garden with Judas and the mob.  They are looking for Jesus of Nazareth and He answers with “I am He”.  My post the Root, Branch, Fruit deals with the prophecy you “cannot find” in Matthew 2:23.  The key is the word netzer which means branch and is the root for Nazareth.

Great Commission – John’s Style 20:21 has Jesus telling the Disciples “I am sending you”.  Jesus compares His order to what the Father did with Him.  Jesus has also given them “peace” and then breaths on them so receive the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost and their next step in God was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  During the Counting of the Omer, the Disciples spent time with Jesus before the Ascension and their ten days of intense prayer.