Friday, December 5, 2008

Notes on King David-Advent Study #5

Some thoughts on the character of David:

From New Advent:

David was not merely king and ruler, he was also a prophet. "The spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me and his word by my tongue" (2 Samuel 23:2) is a direct statement of prophetic inspiration in the poem there recorded. St. Peter tells us that he was a prophet (Acts 2:30). His prophecies are embodied in the Psalms he composed that are literally Messianic and in "David's last words" (2 Samuel 23). The literal character of these Messianic Psalms is indicated in the New Testament. They refer to the suffering, the persecution, and the triumphant deliverance of Christ, or to the prerogatives conferred on Him by the Father. In addition to these his direct prophecies, David himself has always been regarded as a type of the Messias. In this the Church has but followed the teaching of the Old Testament Prophets. The Messias was to be the great theocratic king; David, the ancestor of the Messias, was a king according to God's own heart. His qualities and his very name are attributed to the Messias. Incidents in the life of David are regarded by the Fathers as foreshadowing the life of Christ; Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds. the betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messias. (more)

From Christian Answers:

...Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly bears the title of the “Psalms of David,” from the circumstance that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the collection. (See PSALMS.)
“The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went, he had striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron
(2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at his accession had reached the lowest point of national depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to the Red Sea” Geikie's Hours etc., iii.

Welcome to Advent Study #5

Study #4 is here
#3 can be found here#2 is here#1 is here here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here. The intro to the study is here .

As a reminder our focus questions, as we examine the genealogy narrative of Matthew:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Today we look at the last two folks in the first group of fourteen generations picked out by Matthew. The first group leads us from Abraham to David, Israel's greatest king and the model for the hoped for messiah.

Jesse (from Christnotes)

firm, or a gift, a son of Obed, the son of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:17,22; Matthew 1:5,6; Luke 3:32). He was the father of eight sons, the youngest of whom was David (1 Samuel 17:12). The phrase "stem of Jesse" is used for the family of David (Isaiah 11:1), and "root of Jesse" for the Messiah (Isaiah 11:10; Revelation 5:5). Jesse was a man apparently of wealth and position at Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:17,18,20; Psalm 78:71). The last reference to him is of David's procuring for him an asylum with the king of Moab (1 Samuel 22:3).

David ( a much abridged summary. Go here for the full piece. )

Meaning: beloved
David was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life. His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1 Sam. 16:12; 17:42).

While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem, having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13). There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought. David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing oil.
David went back again to his shepherd life, but “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward,” and “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul” (1 Sam. 16:13-14).

David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies, led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2 Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron. Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon (3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for the death of Abner.
Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all Israel (4:1-12).

David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he fell, and his character became stained with thesin of adultery (2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of theBible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the attempt to conceal it, led to another. He was guilty of murder. Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim, the corps of heros (23:8), was, by his order, “set in the front of the hottest battle” at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he might be put to death.
Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17; 12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24-25).

David's last words are a grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam. 23:1-7).
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1 Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years, “and was buried inthe city of David.” His tomb is still pointed out on Mount Zion.

If this Isn't Terrorism, What Is?

"How are we going to effectively confront terrorists when we can't even identify them as such? "
From the WSJ:

Last week in Mumbai we witnessed as clear a case of carefully planned mass terrorism as we are ever likely to see.

The seven-venue atrocity was coordinated in a highly sophisticated way. The terrorists used BlackBerrys to stay in touch with each other during their three-and-half-day rampage, outwitting the authorities by monitoring international reaction to the attacks on British, Urdu and Arabic Web sites. It was a meticulously organized operation aimed exclusively at civilian targets: two hospitals, a train station, two hotels, a leading tourist restaurant and a Jewish center.

There was nothing remotely random about it. This was no hostage standoff. The terrorists didn't want to negotiate. They wanted to murder as many Hindus, Christians, Jews, atheists and other "infidels" as they could, and in as spectacular a manner as possible. In the Jewish center, some of the female victims even appear to have been tortured before being killed.

So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain's most respected TV journalists, use the word "practitioners" when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors?
Why did Britain's highly regarded Channel 4 News state that the "militants" showed a "wanton disregard for race or creed" when exactly the opposite was true: Targets and victims were very carefully selected. Why did the "experts" invited to discuss the Mumbai attacks in one show on the state-funded Radio France Internationale, the voice of France around the world, harp on about Baruch Goldstein (who carried out the Hebron shootings in 1994), virtually the sole case of a Jewish terrorist in living memory?...

...What is the motivation of journalists in trying to mangle language -- such as going out of their way to refer to terrorists as "militants," as one Mumbai story on yesterday's Times of London Web site seemed to do? Do they somehow wish to express sympathy for these murderers, or perhaps make their crimes seem almost acceptable?
(more here)

Researchers Question Johns Hopkins Study Claiming No Evidence for Post-Abortion Syndrome

From Lifesite:
..."The ties of senior author Robert Blum to the Alan Guttmacher Institute as a board member and previous board chair as well as the funding of the university's department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, where three of the four study authors work, by Planned Parenthood of Maryland, serve as evidence of the political motivation behind the publishing of the study.
"Johns Hopkins should be admonished for stamping such sham science," said Perkins.
Leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC), the world’s largest network serving women and men harmed by abortion, today also issued stinging criticism of the report.
“The Johns Hopkins University report’s allegation that studies proving the reality of post-abortion depression are politically motivated has to be the new definition of chutzpah,” said Janet Morana, co-founder of the SNMAC. Morana also noted Blum's affiliation with Planned Parenthood, saying, "I wouldn’t exactly call this a report done by a disinterested, objective observer.”
“Three recent studies, from America, Australia, and New Zealand, documenting abortion’s increased risk of subsequent mental and emotional disorders were conveniently ignored by the Johns Hopkins study,” added Georgette Forney, another SNMAC co-founder. “As I and thousands of Silent No More women can testify, the ones playing politics with women’s lives are those who ignore the clear evidence of abortion’s impact on women in order to advance their own pro-abortion agenda.”

The Chambliss Plan- Saving Conservatism From Democrats and Republicans

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Friday, December 05, 2008
We have written before that the message of the November election results for us is simple: Conservatism and the free enterprise system are too important to leave their protection to the morons who run the Republican Party! So when even the ability to filibuster seemed on the verge of being taken from the forces of conservative government, we decided to act directly by helping to raise funds for independent expenditure groups who willing to run the kind of ads and do the sort of cyber-roots campaigning that it seemed to us was essential to stop the slide in conservative fortunes and to guarantee that the Democrats would not get the elusive but crucial 60th vote in the Senate. The challenge presented itself on Election Day when Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to win the 50% of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff. In the runoff, won by Chambliss this past Tuesday, the Democrats had their final shot at getting the 60 votes they will need in the Senate to cut off debate and jam through any legislation they wish.(more)

Mumbai Terrorism Has NEW JERSEY Link?

From the Jawa Report via DoctorBulldog:
Very interesting little tidbit wedged in this article about Azam Amir Kasab, the sole surviving Mumbai attacker, which says that one of the cell phones used by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists had a SIM card in it from New Jersey.
Which goes right back to the post I just threw up minutes ago: is this evidence of a LeT sleeper cells in the U.S.? One thing noted in that previously cited article is that the FBI suspect LeT cells operating in New Jersey.
Perhaps there is another Ziyad Khaleel walking around the Jersey shores right now? You’ll recall that Khaleel was the Virginia student and Hamas webmaster who bought Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone. That would be the same cell phone used to order the African embassy bombings.

Enough with the Oogedy-Boogedy

From NRO:
Kathleen Parker’s war on religion in the Re-public-an square entered a new phase today. In her syndicated column, she nobly attempted to explain her use of the term “oogedy-boogedy” to describe religious conservatives. It’s not that she is “anti-God.” It’s just that God really shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company. Religion can inform our values (gee, thanks). But reason, not religion, should inform our public debates. I hadn’t realized religion and reason were mutually exclusive. It seems Pope Benedict hasn’t gotten the memo, either. As he said in his widely misunderstood Regensburg address in 2006:
In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. (more)

Hey Where's Advent Study #5?

"Hey Where's Advent Study #5?"
Thus wrote a friend of mine in a recent e-mail and to which my initial response was,
"wow, you mean somebody is reading this?"
But here is the real answer. We did some overlap in study 4 and so I gave you (and myself) a day off. You'll get Jessie and David this evening some time (becasue I have drill this week-end) and the we'll have some discussion Saturday evening.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Advent Study -#4 December 4

Welcome to Day 4 of our Advent Study-
#3 can be found here
#2 is here
#1 is here
here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here. The intro to the study is here .

Nashon, Salmon and Boaz are today's focus. Not much info on these but it is interesting to note that Matthew goes to great length to include two of the wives here: Rahab and Ruth. So we must include them in todays readings.

Remember our focus questions:

-who are they?
- where are they from?
- what place do they have-in the Biblical text, in the story of salvation and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Nashon (from Christian answers)

His claim to fame seems to be that he begat Salmon.

Salmon (from christiananswers)

Meaning: garment
the son of Nashon (Ruth 4:20; Matt. 1:4, 5), possibly the same as Salma in 1 Chr. 2:51

Rahab (wife of Salmon) From christiananswers

Whenthe Hebrews were encamped at Shittim, in the “Arabah” or Jordan valley opposite Jericho, ready to cross the river, Joshua, as a final preparation, sent out two spies to “spy the land.” After five days they returned, having swum across the river, which at this season, the month Abib, overflowed its banks from the melting of the snow on Lebanon.
The spies reported how it had fared with them (Josh. 2:1-7). They had been exposed to danger in Jericho, and had been saved by the fidelity of Rahab the harlot, to whose house they had gone for protection.
When the city of Jericho fell (6:17-25), Rahab and her whole family were preserved according to the promise of the spies, and were incorporated among the Jewish people. She afterwards became the wife of Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah (Ruth 4:21; 1 Chr. 2:11; Matt. 1:5).
“Rahab's being asked to bring out the spies to the soldiers (Josh. 2:3) sent for them, is in strict keeping with Eastern manners, which would not permit any man to enter a woman's house without her permission. The fact of her covering the spies with bundlesof flax which lay on her house-roof (2:6) is an ‘undesigned coincidence’ which strictly corroborates the narrative. It was the time of the barley harvest, and flax and barley are ripe at the same time in the Jordan valley, so that the bundles of flax stalks might have been expected to be drying just then” (Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 390).

additional reading on Rahab:

Book of James - Chapter 2 25 There is another example of the same kind: Rahab the prostitute, was she not justified by her deeds because she welcomed the messengers and showed them a ...

Book of Hebrews - Chapter 11 31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies and so was not killed with the unbelievers.

Boaz (from christiananswers)

Meaning: alacrity
The name of a biblical man and a pillar…
The husbandof Ruth, a wealthy Bethlehemite. By the "levirate law" the duty devolved on him of marrying Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 4:1-13). He was a kinsman of Mahlon, her first husband.
The name given (for what reason is unknown) to one of the two (the other was called Jachin) brazen pillars which Solomon erected in the court of the temple (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chr. 3:17). These pillars were broken up and carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

Ruth (wife of Boaz)

Meaning: a friend
a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, whose father, Elimelech, had settled in the land of Moab
On the death of Elimelech and Mahlon, Naomi came with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who refused to leave her, to Bethlehem, the old home from which Elimelech had migrated. There she had a rich relative, Boaz, to whom Ruth was eventually married. She became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. Thus Ruth, a Gentile, is among the maternal progenitors of our Lord (Matt. 1:5). The story of "the gleaner Ruth illustrates the friendly relations between the good Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish land system, the method of transferring property from one person to another, the working of the Mosaic law for the relief of distressed and ruined families; but, above all, handing down the unselfishness, the brave love, the unshaken trustfulness of her who, though not of the chosen race, was, like the Canaanitess Tamar (Gen. 38:29; Matt. 1:3) and the Canaanitess Rahab (Matt. 1:5), privileged to become the ancestress of David, and so of 'great David's greater Son'" (Ruth 4:18-22).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On Becoming Holy -

Book review by Creative Minority Report: Mother Teresa on Becoming Holy - Great advice indeed..

Islamo-facist News

India Terror Attacks Point to Need for Stronger U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation from the Heritage

Mumbai attacks: The world can't ignore India's Islamist terrorists any longer- from the UK Telegraph

Something not being reported on much here inthe U.S (surprised?)
Terrorists Tortured Mombai Hostages-From the Spectator
and complete with color commentary over at Dr Bulldog

The latest Al Qaida threat video over at EuropeNews- The video threatens Denmark, Israel, Australia, the UN, the US, Spain and France- Guess that just about covers it.

Britain's Pakistani community and Brit hate preacher glorifies Mumbai terrorists which follows nicely after Mumbai siege gunmen are from Britain

Advent Study #3 -December 3

Today we look at Hezron, Ram, and Amminadab. If you thought you'd never catch up with all the reading today is the day for you. Rather obscure, in a manner of speaking they present a challenge in regards to the last of our daily questions, do they not?

who are they?- where are they from?- what place do they have-
in the Biblical text,
in the story of salvation and
in relation to Jesus specifically.

#2 is here
#1 is here here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here

the intro to the study is here


The older of the two sons of Pharez (Perez) (Gen. 46:12).


The son of Hezron, and one of the ancestors of the royal line of King David and Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:19). The marginal notes for 1 Chr. 2:9, Matt. 1:3,4 and Luke 3:33 call him "Aram."


Father-in-law of Aaron, his daughter Elisheba was married to Aaron (Ex. 6:23). He was the father ofNahshon, who was chief of the tribe of Judah (Num. 1:7; 2:3; 7:12, 17; 10:14). He was in the lineage of Ruth (Ruth 4:18-20; 1 Chr. 2:10; Matt. 1:4; Luke 3:33).

Aquinas gives us some info on the first two in a tropological (or moral) sense:

“And Perez begot Hezron.” The name Hezron means either “arrow” or “wide entry.” If the first, it represents the sharpness of the preaching of the Kingdom of God, which penetrates into the hearts of those being converted from the idolatry of this world (Ps 44 [45]:6). If the second, it represents the breadth of Christian charity, by which Jesus loved even his enemies (Rom 5:10; Isa 53:12; Lk 23:34), and by which his followers are called upon to do the same. “And Hezron begot Ram.” The name Ram means “on high,” and it prefigures the name of Jesus, which is above “every name that is named, not only in this world but also in the one that is to come” (Eph 1:21), as well as all holy persons: “He who walks justly and speaks the truth … shall dwell on high, (and) the rocky fastnesses shall be his stronghold” (Isaiah 33:15-16). “But our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil 3:20). (section 207 from RTF)

For an introduction of Aquinas' reading of scripture (spritual, moral etc) you can go here.
A shorter explantion can be found in this book review at MereComments:

Patristic and early medieval Christianity originally adhered to a primarily analogical (allegorical) and symbolical method of reading texts and viewing objects, in which words initially refer to objects, and the objects in turn are signs that refer to and have essential, intrinsic relations with other objects. This process establishes a unitary, interconnected network of multi-layered references, significations, and cross-referential meanings. The entire universe is thus not just a set of autonomous objects, but a spiritually, morally, and teleologically oriented system of mystical relations. Origen initially developed a three-fold system of biblical interpretation, with literal, moral, and allegorical levels of meaning, which Augustine modified into the fourfold method of literal/historical, moral/tropological, allegorical/analogical, and etiological/anagogical exegesis adopted and elaborated by the medieval Scholastics.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Study - December 2- Updated with notes on Perez and Tamar

The next three folks in our list and a little less popular, so not as much reading..whew...
the first part of the study is here and the second part is here..
who are they?- where are they from?- what place they have-in the Biblical text, in the story of salvationand in relation to Jesus specifically.

Juda the patriarch- (from New Advent)
The son of Jacob by Lia, whose exclamation on the occasion of his birth: "Now will I praise the Lord" is given as the etymological reason for the name "Juda", which is derived from the Hebrew verb "to praise" (Genesis 29:35). It was Juda who interceded with his brethren to save the life of Joseph, proposing that he be sold to the Ismaelites (Genesis 37:26, 27). Though not the eldest son of Jacob, he is represented as assuming an important and predominating rĂ´le in the family affairs. It is he who, on the occasion of the second journey to Egypt, persuades the afflicted Jacob to consent to the departure of Benjamin (Genesis 43:3-10), for whom he pleads most touchingly before Joseph after the incident of the cup, offering himself to be retained as a slave in his stead (Genesis 44:18 sqq.). This earnest plea determines Joseph to disclose his identity to his brethren (Genesis 45:1 sqq.). Juda is the one chosen by Jacob to precede him into Egypt and announce his coming (Genesis 46:28), and his prestige is further emphasized in the famous prophecy enunciated by Jacob (Genesis 49:8-12). To Juda were born five sons, viz., Her, Onan, and Sela by the daughter of Sue, and Phares and Zara by Thamar (Genesis 38). It is through Phares, according to the First Gospel, that the Messianic lineage is traced (Matthew 1:3).
for information on the Tribe of Judah, go here..

Perez (from Christiananswers)

Meaning: breakthrough; breach; bursting forth
He was a father, and the elder of twin sons of Judah (Neh. 11:4). His mother was Judah's daughter-in-law,Tamar.
He was conceived as part of a revengeful deception. (Gen. 38:29; 46:12)
From him the royal line of David sprang (Ruth 4:12, 18-22). He is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33).
"The chief of all the captains of the host" was of the children of Perez (1 Chr. 27:3; Matt. 1:3).
Four hundred and sixty-eight of his "sons" came back from captivity with Zerubbabel, who himself was one of them (1 Chr. 9:4; Neh. 11:6).

Tamar (christian answers)

The daughter-in-law of Judah, to whose eldest son, Er, she was married (Gen. 38:6). After her husband's death, she was married to Onan, his brother, and on his death, Judah promised to her that his third son, Shelah, would become her husband. This promise was not fulfilled, and hence Tamar's revenge and Judah's great guilt (38:12-30). She eventually bore twins (Pharez and Zerah (Zarah), with Judah as the father. From Pharez, the royal line of King David sprang.

The mention of Tamar is unusual for she (along with Rahab and Ruth) were Gentiles or sinners, which indicates God's graciousness. This passage underscores the role of women in the history of salvation and anticipates the crucial role of Mary. (Orthodox Study Bible)

207. The tropological sense of Matt 1:3. “And Judah begot Perez and Zerah from Tamar.” The name Perez means “division” or “separation.” From the confession of sins comes separation from vice and from the spirit of this world. Zerah means “rising of light,” and represents the light of spiritual understanding that comes from the separation from vices and entrance into the light of faith. Tamar means “bitterness.” It suggests the bitterness of repentance of one’s sins, and it signifies also that conversion to righteousness which comes only through the sharing of the Cross of Christ. ..(from RTF)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Notes and thoughts on Advent Study- Day 1

Notes and thoughts on the Advent Study on December 1:


I cannot read the story of Abrham being asked to sacrifice his son without thinking of my good and wise friend who asked me, shortly after my fist child's birth, if God asked me to sacrifice my son would I do it? "Before you answer", he said, "think about this- it's not a question of whether you will sacrifice your son, it's just a question of which god you will sacrifice him to." But of course that doesn't have anything to do with our study does it? Or does it?


"at once a counterpart of his father in simple devoutness and purity of life, and a contrast in his passive weakness of character, which in part, at least, may have sprung from his relations to his mother and wife. After the expulsion of Ishmael and Hagar, Isaac had no competitor, and grew up in the shade of Sarah's tent, moulded into feminine softness by habitual submission to her strong, loving will."
His life was so quiet and uneventful that it was spent…
"within the circle of a few miles;so guileless that he let Jacob overreach him rather than disbelieve his assurance;so tender that his mother's death was the poignant sorrow of years;so patient and gentle that peace with his neighbors was dearer than even such a coveted possession as a well of living water dug by his own men;so grandly obedient that he put his life at his father's disposal;so firm in his reliance on God that his greatest concern through life was to honor the divine promise given to his race." (Geikie's Hours, etc.)

As delineated in Genesis, the figure of Isaac is much less striking than that of Abraham, his father. Yet, by his manner of life, always quiet, gentle, guileless, faithful to God's guidance, he ever was the worthy heir and transmitter of the glorious promises made to Abraham. He was pre-eminently a man of peace, the fitting type of the Prince of Peace, whose great sacrifice on Mount Calvary was foreshadowed by Isaac's obedience unto death on Mount Moria.
The New Testament contains few, but significant references to Isaac (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 12:28; 20:37; Romans 9:7; Galatians 4:28; Hebrews 11:17 sqq.; James 2:21).


Despite the various difficulties met with in the examination of the Biblical narrative and dealt with in detail by commentators, it is quite certain that the history of Jacob is that of a real person whose actual deeds are recorded with substantial accuracy. Jacob's character is a mixture of good and evil, gradually chastened by the experience of a long life, and upon the whole not unworthy of being used by God for the purpose of His mercy towards the chosen people. The Talmudic legends concerning Jacob are the acme of fancy.

Abraham, Jacob, Isaac

From Thomas Aquinas:
205. The allegorical sense of Matt 1:2. “Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.” The allegory of names. In the division of the spiritual sense into the allegorical, the tropological (or moral), and the anagogical (or final), the first of this order is the Christological sense, that is, the allegory of Christ and of his Church. Matthew, in presenting a carnal genealogy descending from Abraham to Joseph, illustrates the self-humiliation of the Messiah, while Luke, in presenting an adoptive genealogy ascending from Jesus to Abraham and to God, illustrates the priestly dignity of the Messiah, through whom mankind was reconciled to God and we were made his adoptive children. St. Thomas takes up the allegory of names in the genealogy of Matthew. Abraham begot Isaac. The name Abraham means “the father of many peoples,” and it prefigures Jesus, who “brought many children into glory” (Heb 2:10). As Abraham by order of God went out from his native land (Gen 12:4), so did the Divine Word go out (in a certain way) from his heavenly dwelling to become incarnate as Jesus. “I have forsaken my house, I have left my inheritance, I have given the beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies” (Jer 12:7). When Abraham heard that Sarah would conceive a child, he laughed, saying “I a hundred and Sarah ninety?” (Gen 17:17). And Sarah laughed too, saying “God has made a laughter for me” (Gen 18:10). The name Isaac means “he laughs,” and this name prefigures the conception and birth of Jesus, because Mary rejoiced at her conception of the Savior (Lk 1:47), and the whole world of the elect has rejoiced at the news of the birth of Jesus (Lk 2:10), in the rejoicing that is the spiritual expression of worldly laughter. And Isaac begot Jacob. The name Jacob means “wrestler” (“he grabs the heel”), and we are reminded of how a wrestler overthrows his opponent by grabbing his heel. This name pertains to Jesus, because Jesus overthrew the Devil and his minions (Matt 12:28). "But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the Kingdom of God come upon you” (Matt 12:28). And Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. The name Judah means “con­fession” or “profession,” and it pertains allegorically to Jesus, who said: “I confess to You Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth” (Matt 11:25).7
206. The tropological (moral) sense of Matt 1:2. St. Thomas undertakes to illustrate how a pattern of moral allegory may underlie the genealogy in Matthew. It is not that moral allegory or any kind of allegory needs to underlie these names, but the search for biblical allegory can be spiritually rewarding. St. Thomas assumes the framework of the theological and moral virtues. He suggests, to begin with, that the names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as situated in the genealogy, represent the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Abraham, “the father of many nations,” is “the father of the circumcision” (Rom 4:12) and “the father of those who believe” (Rom 4:11). He is our father in faith. Isaac represents the virtue of hope, which is born of faith (Rom 12:12). Jacob represents the dynamism of Christian charity, as “the wrestler” and as having taken two wives: Leah (“laboring”), represen­ting the active life, and Rachel (“ewe”), representing the contemplative life. The name “Jacob” also implies “supplanter” (Gen 25:23-25; 27:36), and it signifies Christ: “You have cast down beneath Me those who rose against Me” (Ps 18 [19]:43)).

After Mumbai: Could It Happen Here?

From the Heritage...
Is the U.S. at Risk?
On the one hand, there is no question that the United States is a much "harder" target for transnational terrorism than it was before 9/11. Likewise, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have paid much more attention to the threat of "homegrown" terrorism. Since the September 11 attacks, government agencies have thwarted over 19 conspiracies aimed at killing Americans on U.S. soil.
Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to believe that all homeland security efforts will deny every attack every time. In particular, armed assaults and vehicle-borne explosive attacks are tactics that are not beyond the reach of any modestly funded and committed terrorist group. ...
More and a list of what to do and what not to do can be found here

Abortion Now Number One Cause of Death in Spain

New report reveals immense toll taken by abortion in formerly Catholic country
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SPAIN, November 28, 2008 ( - Abortion is now the number one cause of death in Spain, and represents the most common type of violence against women in the formerly Catholic country, according to a new report by the international Institute for Family Policy (IPF).
The report, which was issued on the International Day of Violence Against Women, notes that Spain has one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, allowing women to kill their unborn child for "psychological" reasons at any time during their pregnancy.
Under Spain's practically nonexistent restrictions, abortions have more than doubled since the mid 1990s, climbing from 51,006 in 1996 to over 120,000 in 2007. The abortion rate is now approaching one in five pregnancies (18.3%), according to the report.
Although purely elective abortions are not technically legal under Spanish law, the vast majority (97%) were undertaken due to a purported psychological or physical risk to the mother.
Undercover investigations by Spanish media in late 2007 showed that abortion clinics in Spain maintain financial ties with psychologists who automatically issue assessments to abortion clinic customers stating that the woman is psychologically at risk from her pregnancy (see LifeSiteNews coverage at

Advent Study- 1 December

Continuing with our look at the genealogy narrative in Matthew 1:1-17.
Previous entries can be found
here. My apologies for the late posting. I'll try to do better.
As a reminder we are focusing on the following questions though we may only allude to answers to them along the way until we complete the list:

- who are they?
- where are they from?
- what place they have-
in the Biblical text,
in the story of salvation
and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Today we look at the big three, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


"the father of the believers of the Old Covenant" (Orthodox Study Bible)
This was the name of the son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before his older brothersNahor and Haran, because he was the heir of the promises of God. He was originally named, Abram. His wife Sarai would later become Sarah.

For many years, Abram lived among his relatives in his native country of Chaldea in present day Iraq (Genesis 11:31). Then, with his father, family and household, he leftthe city of Ur, where he lived. He traveled 300 miles north to Haran and lived there for fifteen years. The cause of his migration was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4).

Abram received a second and more definite call after his father's death. This call was accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2). As a result, he left at the age of 75 (Gen. 12:4), taking his nephewLot with him, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). He trusted God implicitly.

After moving about for a couple of years he returned to his home at Mamre. Sarai was impatient for God's promises to come about (she was now seventy-five years old) so she persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending any resulting children would be counted as her own.
Ishmael was born and regarded as the heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfillment of that purpose, the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was instituted as a sign of the covenant.
It was then affirmed that the heir to these covenant promises would be the sonof Sarai, though she was now ninety years old. God directed that his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah.

Abraham was later commanded to offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the test (Hebrews 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating obedience to carry out the command; and when about to kill his son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was stopped by an angel of God. A ram (male goat) was revealed, entangled in nearby bushes. This was offered instead of Isaac.
This place was therefore named Jehovah-jireh, i.e., "The Lord will provide."
The promises made to Abraham were again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to the patriarch). He descended the mountain with his son, and returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he lived for some years. (more here and here) (notes and thoughts)


The son of Abraham and Sara. The incidents of his life are told in Genesis 15-35. According to Genesis 17:17; 18:12; 21:6, his name means: "he laughs". Proclaimed sole legal ancestor of the chosen people. His early years were spent in Bersabee, whence he was taken by his father to Mount Moria to be offered up in sacrifice, and whither he returned after his life had been miraculously spared (21:33; 22:19).He married Rebecca, and they were married in "the south country", where Isaac then lived, and continued to live after he had buried Abraham. Many years elapsed before Isaac's longing entreaty toGod for children was actually heard. Of the twins to whom she then gave birth, Esau was beloved by Isaac, while Jacob was Rebecca's favourite (25:21-28).

Because of afamine (Gen. 26:1), Isaac went to Gerar, where he lied about his relation to Rebekah, imitating the conduct of his father in Egypt (12:12-20) and in Gerar (20:2).

During the last years of Isaac's career, there occurred the well-known incident of his conferring upon Jacob the Divine blessing, which he had always intended for Esau (27), followed by Isaac's concern to protect Jacob from his brother's resentment and to secure for him a wife from his mother's kindred in Mesopotamia (28:1-5).

The New Testament contains few, but significant references to Isaac (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 12:28; 20:37; Romans 9:7; Galatians 4:28; Hebrews 11:17 sqq.; James 2:21).

more here and here (notes and thoughts)


The son of Isaac andRebecca, third great patriarch of the chosen people, and the immediate ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel. The incidents of his life are given in parts of Genesis 25:21-50:13. His early years were marked by various efforts to get the birthright from his brother Esau. His struggle for it began before he was born (xxv, 22-5). Later, he took advantage of Esau's thoughtlessness and despair to buy it from him for a pottage of lentils (xxv, 29-33). In virtue of this purchase, and through a ruse, he finally got it by securing the blessing which Isaac intended for Esau (xxvii, 1-37), Then it was that, to escapehis brother's avenging wrath, and apparently also to obtain a wife from his parents' stock, he fled to Haran where he met Rachael who would become his wife. Tricked by his maternal uncle, Laban, who lived in Haran, Jacob marries Leah before he eventually marries Rachel. Twice (going and coming) he stopped at Bethel where he had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el" (q.v.). This second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at Bethel, is referenced in Hosea (12:4,5).

More here and here and notes and thoughts

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Study- 30 November- Updated

Day 1 can be found here.

As threatened, er, I mean, promised, today begins our Advent Study on Matthew 1:1-17.
First, an introduction to Matthew and the reading itself and then every day we will look at the individuals in Matthew's genealogy and focus on the following questions:

  1. - who are they?
  2. - where are they from?
  3. - what place they have-
  • in the Biblical text,
  • in the story of salvation
  • and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Each day we will look at three of the individuals in the genealogy. I will take information from Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant sources. You are welcome to join us with your discussion and thoughts. Hopefully you will find something that is of interest along the way. You might also enjoy this link highlighted from the folks at MereComments on the subject of Advent.

Background Information

Matthew (meaning “gift of God”) is identified as a tax collector (9:9, 10:3) In other accounts of his meeting with Jesus he is called Levi. This double naming has lead some to believe there were two different persons. Also, because Matthew was written in Greek and because there are certain references that point to a date of writing between 80-90 C.E. some believe the book was written by an unknown Greek-Speaking Jewish Christian. (Harper Collins Study Bible) Still, many point to the Jewish tradition of “double naming” (e.g. Simon/Peter, Saul/Paul) and when Jesus called Matthew in 9:9 he renounced his old profession a(tax collector) and became a disciple. (Orthodox Study Bible) Also the dates do not exclude the writing of this Gospel by Matthew himself as tradition holds. (Harper Collins) None of this is particularly important to our study but is presented for the sake of informational purposes only.


Matthew divides the genealogy lit. “origin” (Greek- Genesis) into three sections:

a. Abraham to David
b. David to the Babylonian captivity
c. Babylonian captivity to Jesus

Abraham, David and the Babylonian captivity are key figures/points in Jewish history. The coming of Messiah is another very important event.

"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

Three purposes of Matthew are reflected in this opening line:

1. Jesus is the authentic and legitimate king of God’s people.

a. Genealogies were especially important to the Jewish people. Israel’s king had to be a Jew, and not a foreigner (Deuteronomy 17:15). Later on it was revealed that he must be a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:14). When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, it was important for these returned exiles to show that their roots were Jewish and could be traced through the genealogies. No one could serve as priest whose name could not be found in the genealogical records (Ezra 2:62). Bruner writes that the famous rabbi Hillel was proud that he could trace his genealogy all the way back to King David. He further indicates that Josephus began his autobiography with his own pedigree. Then there was Herod the Great, who was half-Jew and half-Edomite. Obviously his name was not in the official genealogies, and thus he ordered that the records be destroyed. If he couldn’t be found there, he did not want to be upstaged by anyone else.
b. Divides ancestors into three groups of fourteen to symbolically denote the Royal descent from King David
Wordplay – The Hebrew letter “D” stands for the letter 4, the “V” represents the number “6” thus DaViD has the numerical value of 14 (4+6+4) (Douglas R.A. Hare – Interpretation)

2. Jesus was a Jew-
a. Son of David but also Son of Abraham. The “ultimate Jew” in whom Israels deepest hopes would find fulfillment.
Abraham was the ancestor of the Jews but also “a multitude of nations.” i.e Gentiles
b. Inclusion of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Two were obviously non-Jewish and two were regarded so in Jewish tradition- Gentiles and/or sinners

3. New Genesis-
Matthew begins, “This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). The expression, “the record of the genealogy” in the Greek text reads, somewhat literally, “the book of the genesis of Jesus Christ.” It is nearly identical with the Greek translations of Genesis 2:4 and 5:1:
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created—when the Lord God made the earth and heavens (Genesis 2:4).
(More literally from the Greek: “This is the book of the genesis of the heavens and the earth … .”)
This is the record of the family line of Adam. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God (Genesis 5:1).
(More literally from the Greek: “This is the book of the genesis/generations of mankind/Adam … .”)This seems very similar to John’s introduction to his Gospel in the first verse of chapter 1: “In the beginning was the Word… .” Surely John is linking the beginning of his Gospel (and, more importantly, our Lord) with Genesis 1 and the creation. Here in our text, Matthew’s words appear to point us to the first genealogy in the Bible which is recorded in Genesis 5. In Genesis 5, Adam has just sinned. God warned Adam that if he (they) ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he (they) would die (Genesis 2:17). One purpose of the first genealogy, then, is to dramatically underscore the truthfulness of God’s Word. Everyone in Adam’s genealogy died, just as God said. Now, in almost identical words, Matthew introduces his Gospel with the first genealogy of the New Testament. Not only are we reminded that all in this genealogy died; Matthew’s words seem to hint that in Jesus there begins a whole new race of people who will never die. Genealogies almost always contain the record of those who have died. Our Lord’s genealogy is that, but it begins a new line, the line of all who are “in Christ” by faith, who thereby possess the gift of eternal life. (more)