15 February 2010

Feb 15

Reference links:
Old Testament

We finish Exodus today! More repeats as we get another description of the priest's clothing: the ephod, chest piece, robes, and hat. After that Moses inspects everything and blesses it.

Now that all the pieces are complete Moses puts the Tabernacle together, and we get a repeat of where everything belongs. The text makes it sound like Moses put it all together alone. He probably did not (some of the pieces would have been impossible for one man to move alone), but the idea is still entertaining.
Moses erected the Tabernacle by setting down its bases, inserting the frames, attaching the crossbars, and setting up the posts. Then he spread the coverings over the Tabernacle framework and put on the protective layers, just as the Lord had commanded him. ... [more setup details] ... Then he hung the curtains forming the courtyard around the Tabernacle and the altar. And he set up the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard. So at last Moses finished the work.
Once everything is set up,
the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. 
It is interesting that Moses could not enter the Tabernacle when the glory of God filled it. Earlier, in Exodus 33, we ready how God, in the form of a cloud, would hover at the entrance to the tent of meeting and talk with Moses. I guess Moses could interact with God's cloud, but not be immersed in it?

In any case, the cloud served as a signal to the Israelites which helped them determine when they could travel. They traveled, following the cloud, whenever it lifted from the Tabernacle. When it stayed settled on the Tabernacle, they would not travel.

And that's the end of Exodus.

New Testament

The book of Mark gets off to a quick start! But first, some background. According to Wikipedia:
The Gospel of Mark ... is the second of the four Canonical Gospels in the New Testament, but is believed by most contemporary scholars to be the first gospel written, on which the other two synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke, were partially based.
This belief is based partially on the fact that Matthew and Luke agree with Mark on the details mentioned in Mark, but they disagree with each other on the details not mentioned in Mark. Having only started Mark and not yet got to Luke, I cannot assess that yet.

The Gospel of Mark was traditionally believed to not necessarily be strictly ordered, despite the narrative structure. Instead, an anonymous author traditionally identified as Mark, a cousin of Barnabas and/or a disciple of Peter, is said to have written the document to preserve the well known sayings and doings of Jesus.

Both the beginning and end of Mark are abrupt. The beginning starts with Jesus' baptism and ministry; it contains no nativity. What is traditionally believed to be the ending of Mark is now believed to be an addition by a later author. The original ending (Mark 16:8) is rather abrupt. Both at the beginning and the end, it is unknown whether this abruptness is intentional or the result of the original being lost.

We begin with a supposed fulfilled prophecy:
It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

"Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare you way.
He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
'Prepare the way for the Lord's coming!
Clear the road for him!'"
This prophecy is fairly reasonably in context, if only because the context is so vague it could refer to anything. The problem is that the context is not the context the author of Mark seems to think it is. According to the footnote, this is not even one quote. The first two lines are identified as being from Malachi 3:1. The last three are identified as being from Isiah 40:3! Once again, the Bible builds up the case for it not being the unerring word of God by showing failures of later books to correctly quote earlier books.

The text identifies John the Baptist as the messenger and Jesus as the one who would be coming. John baptizes Jesus. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus from the heavens, and a voice declares Jesus to be the voice's son (the voice, presumably, is God's).

John was arrested and Jesus started preaching in Galilee. He finds his first disciples, all fishermen (Simon, Andrew, James, John). He teaches in the synagogue in Capernaum and cast out an evil spirit. The audience thought this was awesome.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note in Psalms. Some nice lines from Proverbs.
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.