Joseph the Tzaddik Christmas 2020

Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, is introduced in Matthew as tzaddik(righteous) for his part in the Christmas story.  That statement in Matthew 1:19 caught my attention because he was making a choice that was not religious (the Law).  John 8 (the woman caught in adultery) would have been the religious solution and would have had Mary stoned as an example. (Was Jesus thinking about His mother while this was taking place?) Stoning was the religious answer, not the righteous one! Joseph’s life and that decision made him tzaddik.

Why, am I using the Hebrew term? I used the two websites below and found the thoughts and the connections very interesting.  This is also a study blog, which means that getting out of your comfort zone is okay. (Note- the Chabad.org site is not Christian, but has great views into Jewish thoughts and practices that I do not find in Christian sites.)  Chabad portrays a tzaddik as a person who is calibrated to the Creator’s original concept of being human.  That dwarfs many modern definitions of the word righteous and challenges me to do some internal checking.

Joseph is not the only tzaddik in the Christmas story.  Luke also places Elizabeth and Zechariah as righteous Christmas characters.  Luke, being a Gentile, would have used the term dikaios for the idea of righteousness.  

I did use the Orthodox Jewish Bible, that is in Bible Gateway, to start this study; use the parallel function.  Grammar is a work in progress for me.  So Jewish grammar is a step-up and I may not have used tzaddik correctly in all of my sentences.

http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/ntstudies/tzaddikim.html

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2367724/jewish/Tzaddik.htm

In a previous Christmas post about Joseph, I had suggested comparing the Joseph of the Old Testament with the one of the New.  I will do a few of those now.

  • Both went to Egypt and escaped certain death.  I have no problem believing that the first Joseph would have been killed by his brothers and the second Joseph would have put up a fight.
  • I do believe that they came back because of/about Passover.  The death angel had cleared the way for Jesus’ return and Joseph’s body came back with Moses.
  • The Magi supplied for the needs of the Holy Family (the gifts) as Joseph met the needs of his family in Egypt.
  • Righteous – both by the way they lived their lives are righteous (tzaddik).  One was before the Law and the second one was before fulfillment of the Law.
  • Dreams – Joseph of Genesis had and interrupted dreams.  Jesus’s Joseph had dreams and then acted because of them.  Okay, they were different types of dreams.

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.

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 

Study of the Kingdom – Elijah

Elijah, the mysterious prophet, who is introduced in 1 Kings 17 announcing a drought on Israel is a powerful figure, both in Judaism and Christianity.  John the Baptist and Elijah are linked together because of prophecies in Isaiah, Malachi and an angel of the Lord (Luke 1), the tradition of Jewish elders, and the testimony of Jesus.  Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2, and Luke 1: 11-17 and 76 refer to Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1 and 4:5.  John does not quote the Old Testament but refers to the Baptist as a witness of the Light.  Jesus instructs the Three on the Mount of Transfiguration of the John/Elijah connection.  Elijah’s miracles of the drought, blazing offering, and the killing of the prophets of Baal are focused in 1 Kings 18:37 while he was praying and acknowledged that God was “turning their hearts back again”.   This idea is reinforced in Malachi 4:5, which also opens the door for John the Baptist and the empty chair at Passover. 

The Jewish custom of an empty chair or an extra glass of wine at Passover is linked with him reportedly visiting each circumcision because he is checking on the people’s heart and turning them to God (check the websites below).  John the Baptist fulfills this by his message in Matthew 3:2 – “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near”.  John’s baptism or ritual washing echoes requirements of the Law, but also carries the idea of leaving Egypt.  It is amazing that this wild man of the desert, this deliverer of fire has become a signal fire of hope as we wander through this wilderness of our lives.

As I read Elijah’s story in 1 Kings 17 I get the feeling that he was well known before the drought.  He had an audience with Ahab in verse 1 and Obadiah recognized him. For two powerful officials to know you, it should mean that they were accustomed to seeing you.    

Elijah in the New Testament

Elijah is mentioned twenty-nine times in the NIV New Testament.  I am going to list a loose timeline of when Elijah is mentioned.  I am doing this more by event because Matthew and Mark share the same references.

  1. Luke 1:17 + 47 – Gabriel and Zechariah talking about John’s mission and how it related to Elijah.
  2. John 1:21+25 – John being questioned if he is Elijah.  He says no and then quotes Isaiah 40:3.
  3. Luke 4:24 – Jesus at Nazareth teaching about prophets.
  4. Matthew 11:24 – Jesus links Elijah to John the Baptist.
  5. Matthew 16:14 – People think Jesus is Elijah.
  6. Matthew 17: 3-12 – Elijah is at the Transfiguration and Jesus teaches the Disciples about John.
  7. Matthew 27: 47+49 – Jesus on the cross, the people think He is calling for Elijah. 

Elijah is also mentioned in Romans 11:2 and James 5:17.

Luke 1:17 has given me a lot to think about!  Gabriel said, “In the spirit and power of Elijah.”  John did not do miracles!  So, the concept of “spirit and power” has made me think hard about Elijah and then how it manifested in John.  I can see “the spirit” part fairly well – both had no problem being alone in the desert, and both got kings and queens mad because of their stand for righteousness.  “The power” part is another story.  Elijah had fire fall three times and the chariot of fire.  No rain, then rain and he divided the Jordan River; so, he was given power over water.  My solution was easy!  I have the wrong idea of power.  James 5:17 talks about Elijah’s power of prayer, not fire falling.  1 Kings 1:17 – it was by his word that it stopped raining.  I do believe that today’s church needs the miraculous acts of God but in themselves miracles may not cause revival, they are to confirm the Gospel.  The power of Elijah in John the Baptist was his message and deeds – repent and be baptized.

The Voice

The Apostle/writer John quotes John the Baptist in John 1:21+25 that he is not Elijah but the voice of one in the wilderness.  Was this statement humility or cluelessness?  Gabriel said he was; Jesus said he was, why would John say anything different?  I really don’t think it is either of those!  Like Elijah, in 2 Kings 1, John knew he was a man of God and he knew his mission.

Elijah and the Miraculous

Elijah means God of Jehovah #452 (Strong’s Concordance) which is a combination of #410 and #3050.  #410, however, is also power (definition 7,8); so, Elijah could be “the power of Jehovah”. 

Moses, Elijah, and Elisha are the main people in the Old Testament that walked in the miraculous.  Yes, others had powerful encounters but not at the intensity of these three.  It has become popular to jump on Elisha’s bandwagon of the double portion of Elijah’s anointing.  There are many websites that count individual miracles to show the “double” blessing.  It was disturbing to realize that one claimed eight/sixteen and another seventeen/thirty-four and other sites had different numbers and different miracles.  Elisha, however, asked for “ruwach” or spirit which, for the most part, means breath or life.  So, I will try to list the miraculous in Elijah’s life but also some of the other things he had in his life.  (Note – the miraculous is not just what Elijah spoke, but what God did for him.  Elijah did not “ask” for every miracle.)

  • One servant and Elisha
  • He had dealings with three kings – Ahab, Ahaziah, and Jehoram (Judah, 2 Chronicles 21:12)
  • Did one of the commands from the cave.

Okay, this list is very subjective but I am listing the miraculous not just miracles.  This is a combination of Elijah spoke, the Lord says, or angels did something.

  1. 1 Kings 17: 1 – Announces no rain
  2. 17:2+3 – go hide
  3. The ravens did feed him
  4. 17:8+9 – go to Sidon
  5. Widow to feed you
  6. 17:14 – Elijah was specific on the flour and the oil
  7. 17:19 – widow’s son healed
  8. 18:1 – go to Ahab
  9. 18:36 – prayed and the fire fell
  10. 18:41 – he heard the sound of the heavy rain
  11. 18:46 – the power to run with Ahab’s chariot approximately 40 miles
  12. 19:5 – angel delivered food and water
  13. 19:7 – angel delivered food and water
  14. 19:8 – traveled 40 days and nights on the two meals
  15. 19:7 – meeting God and receiving the instructions
  16. 21:17 – took a word to Ahab
  17. 21:28 – the word about Ahab’s change
  18. 2 Chronicles 21:12 – word to Jehoram
  19. 2 Kings 1:3 – word to Ahaziah 
  20. 1:10 – fire fell
  21. 1:12 – fire fell again
  22. 1:15 – okay to go with the third captain
  23. 2:8 – struck the river and it divided
  24. 2:10 – he knew how he would be taken (implied); the school of prophets and Elisha also knew he would be taken. 

I will do a comparison list of things for Elisha. See Elisha.

Turn the Hearts

The idea that Elijah turns hearts toward God is still part of his legend today in Jewish culture.  That really is a great idea/ministry.  In 1 Kings 18: 37 Elijah credits that action to the Lord God, which is why fire came down and burned the sacrifice on Carmel.  This also was the ministry of John the Baptist before the revealing of Jesus.  People who were baptized did believe while the Pharisees did not.  Malachi 4:5 gives Elijah the same responsibility.  This in turn leads many to wonder about the two witnesses in Revelation.

Here is a list from Bible Gateway when I used the word “turn” in a search.  I felt turning was the key word and these are examples of that idea.  There are others!

  1. Isaiah 6:10
  2. Isaiah 40:3
  3. Malachi 4:6
  4. Matthew 13:15
  5. Luke 1:17
  6. John 12:40 
  7. Acts 28:27

https://reformjudaism.org/passover-mystery-fifth-cup

https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/504495/jewish/Why-Is-Elijah-the-Prophet-Invited-to-the-Seder.htm

The Number Thirty-eight in the Bible

 

Thirty-eight is mentioned five times in the Bible.  Well, 1 Chronicles is 38,000 but that still counts because it is 38 x 1000.  Notes on the verses are below.

If you do an internet search, it is obvious that there are many thoughts about this number.  The people who wrote about thirty-eight have done some impressive research.  I guess I am taking a slightly different thought toward it, so please add this post to the mix.  Numbers in the Bible are part of the Father’s creation and He uses them in His story (history)! I have always wanted to do that:)

So, please do not try and have numbers direct your life; His peace and righteousness is God’s gift for direction in your life.

I have grouped the thirty-eights into three groups – Deuteronomy/Numbers and John, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Why!  Because this number, like many other numbers God uses, has several thoughts associated with it.

The best place to start is at its first mention/reference in Numbers 14.  Okay, anybody with a concordance knows that thirty-eight is not mentioned in Numbers.  But it was in God’s heart!   The number that is mentioned is forty (verses 33 + 34), but Deuteronomy 2: 14 explains how God carried out His plan.  There are four different viewpoints in Deuteronomy that need to be looked at:

Group 1

Deuteronomy

  1. The People – Predictably they rebelled, but they had already done that. (Remeber, they had tested God ten times.)   Now, there are two sets of people in this group.  The twenty an older group who were being held accountable and the nineteen and under who were going to suffer for the first group’s grumbling.  Knowing teenagers, they would have been in on the complaining, but God drew His line at nineteen years of age.  The thought of going back to Egypt dissolved when they thought about slavery and that they were not allowed to go into the Land.
  2. Joshua and Caleb – they were in the “right” and would still have to wait to get their promises from God. If anybody had the right to be mad it was these guys!  But since they had better spirits than the others I want to image they started working with the youngsters.
  3. Moses, Aaron, (Miriam) – Once again they fell to their knees, but you have to think they may have been annoyed with the people. The people had already tested God ten times and this refusal to go into the Land was serious.  The brothers stood in the middle of this scene and worked for the people.
  4. God – Mad, yes! Out of love for Abraham, He listened to Moses.  He said forty and gave them credit for the first two years.  Or, He cut it short for the sake of the spies.  40 – Joshua and Caleb = 38.  (Well, it makes sense if it was common core math.).   His viewpoint, there is mercy and cleansing in this number.

John –The man at the pool was there for thirty-eight years.  That number directed Jesus’ actions for him.  Like the people in the wilderness, he was “sick” and had a death sentence.  Verse fourteen is a warning that he “stop sinning”, which is pretty much what the nineteen and under group had to do.  I have mixed feelings about the fact he told on Jesus, was this bragging or trying to get favor? (See Psalm 95: 10.)

At the end of these thirty-eights, there were better times and promises ahead.

Group 2

1 Kings 16: 29 and 2 Kings 15: 8 have many similarities besides the number thirty-eight.  Both of these verses are timestamps of when kings of the northern tribes (Israel) came into power.  1 Kings tells of Ahab (Israel) becoming king in the thirty-eighth year of Asa (Judah). 2 Kings is the story of Zechariah (Israel) and Azariah (Judah).  Both of the kings of Judah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”.  These two kings had a severe illness at the end of their reigns.  Neither of the kings of Israel did what was “right” in eyes of the Lord.

Asa– His story is recorded in 1 Kings 15: 9-24 and 2 Chronicles 14: 2- 16: 14.  I will use the later reference for now.  Asa had everything going for him until he made a deal with Ben-Hadad of Aram.  God lifted His protective covering from Asa as a warning/lesson for later kings.  Asa contracted a disease in his feet (possibly gout).  His treaty with Aram probably took place in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, and he went from a good king to a bad king.  16: 12 says that is when he became ill and refused to seek God.  For thirty-eight years he was walking in blessings and then he shut God out!

Azariah/Uzziah– His story is in 2 Kings 15: 1-7 and 2 Chronicles 26.  2 Chronicles 26: 16 talks of pride and unfaithfulness in a king who had been doing right and was blessed.  He also had the Lord’s shield lifted from him and developed leprosy.  I have no clues to support this, but this could have happened in his thirty-eighth year.  The thirty-eight of Uzziah is for Zechariah of Israel, who is the fulfillment of the promise to Jehu.

Group 3

1 Chronicles 23: 3 is part of the preparation David made for the Temple that Solomon was to build.  Well, it is 38,000 but David requiring that the Levities once again take part in the worship of God is a major development.  In Judges, it seemed that only the sons of Aaron were working with the Ark and worship of God.

Reflections– People like definite answers for things – that will not work here!  Numbers frequently have more than one aspect to them and thirty-eight is no different. Having pondered this for a while the best idea, I have, is that thirty-eight signals A SHIFT! This may be to the better or for the worse. Group 1 and 2 easily show a shift. Group 1 went to a better state, while Group 2 declined.  Group 3 is a shift back to the way it was.

The nineteen-year-olds had thirty-eight years to THINK, listen to Joshua and Caleb, or the now regretful older generation.  Some believed Joshua and listened, looked, and learned, some did not.  But the new generation knew where the Promised Land was and that they would get back there.  They even got their own “Red Sea” experience – see Joshua’s Passover.

MY NOTES

Deuteronomy 2: 14 – This passage in Deuteronomy is a recounting of the journey to Promise Land. It was thirty-eight years from when the spies brought the bad report to them getting ready to enter the land.  The reason for the delay was the “fighting men” of the camp had to die off.  The number forty is associated with the wandering.  I feel God gave them credit for the two years of battle training, constructing the Ark, and seeing miracles when He handed out the sentence.

1 Chronicles 23: 3 – David was preparing for the Temple.  He counted 38, 000 Levites and divided them into working units – 24,000 for working on the Temple, 6,000 for officials and judges, 4,000 for gatekeepers, and 4,000 to praise the Lord. This was done while he was alive before any work began on the Temple.

1 Kings 16: 29 – In the thirty-eighth year of Asa, Ahab became king in the Northern Kingdom.  Asa was a king who did what was right and Ahab was not.  Ahab was the seventh king of Israel during the reign of Asa (Jeroboam to Ahab).

2 Kings 15: 8 – in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah, Zechariah became king of Israel.  He is the grandson of Jehu (2 Kings 9 to 10) and completes the prophecy in 2 Kings 10: 30. (See 2 Kings 15: 12). Azariah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord- 2 Kings 15: 3.

John 5: 5 – Jesus was at a Feast of the Jews (vs. 1).  He healed a man of the Sabbath, who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.  Jesus told the man to take his mat and walk.  The man was caught and threatened by the Jews for breaking the Sabbath, carrying the mat was work.  Verses 14 and 15 end the story with the man being warned and then he tells the Jews who healed him.