21 November 2010

Nov 21

Reference links:
Old Testament

We finally finish the description of the temple complex. Ezekiel would have benefited from some skill drawing architectural diagrams.

After the main description, the glory of God returns to the restored temple. Apparently, the purpose of this detailed description was to make the people of Israel ashamed of their sins:
Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, and they will be ashamed of what they have done.
I am not quite sure how studying architectural descriptions would make them ashamed of their sins. Maybe because thinking about the temple in general made them ashamed and so God wanted Ezekiel to mention it as much as possible? In any case, I wonder if this description actually ever accomplished that goal.

In any case, Ezekiel is not done with boring descriptions yet. Now that the buildings of the temple have been described, we get to be subjected to a detailed description of the altar and how it was to be used. Goody.

Two things I wonder (but not hard enough to look them up) are: how do these descriptions compare to the descriptions of the old temple and how do these descriptions compare to the actual temple that was rebuilt?

New Testament

The author of the epistle talks about the sorrow and destruction that riches bring. I highly suspect there are modern American believers of predictable political persuasions whose heads would explode upon contemplating these passages too closely.

The author then goes on to encourage the believers to be patient as they wait for the Lord's return. This discussion touches on patience in suffering and also on how believers should not take oaths. Echoing the words attributed to Jesus, the author says that they should, "Just say a simple yes or no".

He also discusses the power of prayer and encourages believers to bring back those who have strayed. Contrast the latter instructions with the statement from Hebrews that those who have strayed can never be brought back to repentance. I suppose you could say that's not a contradiction, but I would be hard pressed to buy it.

And apparently that's the end of this letter. I have to wonder if the original ending was lost since this seems rather abrupt.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's first proverb seems like one the author of James would have liked:
Better to be poor and honest
than to be dishonest and rich.
Although he might have gotten rid of "dishonest and".

The other proverb is about how it is good to live a lawful life and shameful to live a wild life.