Singing in the key of G

Grace Challenge Day 2

Grace may be the word that best summarizes Christianity. In English, “grace” is connected to two other important words that teach us a response to grace: Gratitude and Graciousness.

Here is how it works. First and foremost, our life, salvation and everything in between is a result of the grace of God. Every breath I take is a grace of God. I cannot be saved apart from grace. Grace emphasizes and points to God as the center. Life is all about Him. He reveals Himself to me not by force, but by grace.

Second, the only appropriate response to grace is gratitude. Thank you is the highest form of praise. Thanksgiving demands a subject and object relationship. You must give thanks “to” someone, it isn’t a “personal” activity. Gratitude acknowledges God’s activity and includes my response to His activity. “I” and “Thou” are included in thanksgiving. The activity of God and its effect on man are tightly woven together in thanksgiving.

Third, when grace has its full impact upon me it forces my vision outward. Grace and gratitude grow into graciousness. Gracious living characterizes true conversion. Judgmentalism, legalism, “holyism”, all deny grace and manifest themselves in me-centered selfish living. It is no mistake that the gifts of the Spirit are called “charismata” ie. “graces” or “grace-gifts.”

Grace leads to gratitude leads to graciousness.

This Thanksgiving month we will be focusing on grace and our response to grace, that is gratitude! Cultivating gratitude is an everyday discipline; it is retraining our minds to focus on grace. The hymn writer got it right: “Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” The lyrics to the tune of Grace are framed in gratitude, they are words of Thanksgiving.

Read Romans 1:1-12, noting the progression of GRACE (1:5, 7) to GRATITUDE (1:8) to GRACIOUSNESS (1:11).

Instructions for Starting the Challenge

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The Grace Challenge

Today we start a monthlong experience of Grace.

For the month of November you will find a daily devotional available at both The Temple Blog and the Olive Grove Church Website.  Reminders and links will be posted daily on Facebook, Twitter, Google+.

Here is the challenge:

  1. Give Thanks every day.  Be deliberate and specific.  Grace demands gratitude and our daily challenge will be to frame our thinking, attitude, heart, and outlook on grace that results in thanksgiving. Every day you will be encouraged to have gratitude be the dominant expression of our inner and outer person.
  2. Verbally express your thanksgiving every day, multiple times per day.  Express verbally (outloud) in prayer. Give thanks to God for every perfect and good gift that he has given to you.  Express verbally to someone else what you are thankful for.
  3. Record your experiences daily.  Get a notebook dedicated to keeping your record of gratitude (we will have notebooks available at church on Sunday – or you can simply get one yourself).  If you are faithful in this task you will have an amazing record of blessing and grace from God that will serve as a memorial and reminder.
  4. Refrain from posting negative posts on Facebook, rather taking a positive posture.  So no whining or complaining.
  5. Come regularly to worship and express publicly what you have collected in your pool of praise and thanks for the week.

The premise to the challenge is this very simple principle:  Gratitude will change your life because it connects you directly to the power of Grace.  The promise is included in the challenge:  Discipline yourself to 30 days of immersion into gratitude and you will be a different person at the end.

I Will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Thy wonders.  I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2).

Grace Challenge Day 2

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Irreplaceable

Nadia Bagdanov, 1924-2013 Rest in Peace

“There is nothing that can replace
the absence of someone dear to us,
and one should not even attempt to do so.

One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard,
but at the same time it is also a great comfort.

For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled
one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness.
God in no way fills it but much more
leaves it precisely unfilled
and thus helps us preserve — even in pain —
the authentic relationship.

Further more,
the more beautiful and full the remembrances,
the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms
the torment of memory into silent joy.
One bears what was lovely in the past
not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within,
a hidden treasure
of which one can always be certain.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer”

ht: Tiana Steinhoff for the Bonhoeffer quote; Ellen Bagdanov for the photo

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In Memory of Nadia Bagdanov

Nadia Bagdanov April 8, 1924 – September 13, 2013 226880_1077708471220_5125_n

Services:

These words were penned by Nadia’s granddaughter Melissa:

If I said that facing the impending death of someone as amazing as my grandma was hard, that would be an understatement. It doesn’t matter how much you try to prepare yourself because the truth is, you’re never really ready to face such a great loss…

As I sit here trying to process it all, her life, her death, the amazing gift of even being able to call her my grandma, the reality of having to live the rest of my life on this earth without her, I find myself overwhelmed at God’s love, His goodness and His perfect timing. Many of you who knew Baba know that she was a very strong, very stubborn woman and she demonstrated that until the very end. The doctors gave her less than week to live, but she and her stubbornness proved them wrong and instead, she lived almost 2 months. Because of that, my family was given a very special gift, a long goodbye…the opportunity to spend precious time with her all the while knowing that every goodbye could be our very last…until it finally was.
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I know her memory will live on…we’ll be able to hear her critiquing our varenyiki every Christmas from now on (we promise not to make them look like slugs, Baba…we’ll aim for 5+’s now more than ever ), we’ll still be able to hear her snarky remarks during Dzeda’s speeches before family meals, and her telling us to love each other…something she did so well.

Until we see her again, we mourn our great loss but celebrate her GREAT gain. I have no doubt she heard the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful, servant’ when she entered the presence of her Savior this morning. She truly was an incredible example…an example whose footsteps have been etched so deeply in my life and heart. She will forever be one of my greatest role models and inspirations and I feel so blessed to be part of such an amazing legacy.
But words cannot even begin to express how much I will miss her…
I love you SO much, Baba

Please leave any comments here and I will be sure to pass them on to my Dad.  I am sure he would love to hear words of encouragement or remembrance from you.  Mom loved Jesus and was confident in her last days.  She loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  She will be missed and her words will encourage us for years to come.  The Bagdanov family was blessed by God to have Nadia as our Mom.
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Praying for Others

The dynamic of prayer in the fellowship of the Saints is a dying art and practice.  Here are some guidelines for the art of what is known as intercession.

in·ter·ces·sion

Moses Prays for Israel
Moses Prays for Israel
/ˌintərˈseSHən/
Noun
  1. The action of intervening on behalf of another.
  2. The action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person.

There are many examples of intercessory prayer in the Bible.  Paul is a good source, he communicated what he prayed to the the people for whom he prayed.  One of the best and most detailed prayer comes from Colossians 1:9-14:

9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NASB)

So here are the items in Paul’s prayer that you can use to pray for others.

  1. Pray that people be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.
  2. Pray that people have spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  3. Pray that people walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
  4. Pray that people please God in every respect.
  5. Pray that people would bear fruit in every good work.
  6. Pray that people would increase in the knowledge of God.
  7. Pray that people would be strengthened with all power so that they would be steadfast and patient.
  8. Pray that people would be filled with joy and would not forget to give thanks to the Father.
  9. Thank God that he qualified them to be a saint in the Light.
  10. Thank God for rescuing them from the domain of Darkness and that they are in the Kingdom of His beloved Son.
  11. Thank God that their sins are forgiven and that they are redeemed.
  12. Thank God that they are in fellowship with you.

Notice that I didn’t do anything special. I just hijacked Paul’s prayer and personalized it.  Paul was praying for actual people in Colossae, pray for the people who sit next to you in church. The following week, share with the person that you prayed for them. Depending on your personal knowledge of the person you are praying for you can be more specific. Depending on your level of study and understanding of the passage you can add detail to your requests.

Some other passages that are intercessory in nature:  Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 1:15-21; Ephesians 3:14-21.  List some others in the comments.

 

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The Five Temples in the Bible

Most people rightly see two Temples in the Bible.  The first would be the temple constructed by Solomon in 1 Kings and the second would be the Temple of Jesus’ day, originally constructed by the returning exiles under beginning with Ezra/Nehemiah and extensively remodeled by Herod.  They are typically referred to as Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple (or Herod’s Temple).  IN reality there are at least 5 “temples” in the Bible.  Here are the 5 temples referenced in the Bible: 
1. The Garden
2. The Tabernacle
3. Solomon’s Temple, The “First” Temple
4. Herod’s Temple, The “Second” Temple
5. The Church
Two thoughts to form as a foundation for our brief look at temples in the Bible.  First, Hebrews 9:23 says that the Temple and Temple furniture were “copies of the things in the heavens.”  Second it was common for ancient temples (not just the Jewish temple but many ancient temples) to use the “cosmos” or the universe as the architectural inspiration.  The idea was that the heavens (dwelling of the gods) and the earth (dwelling of man) met in the temple.  Temples were replications of “the heavens and the earth.”
The First Temple:  The Garden
The first three chapters of the Bible contain the creation and fall accounts.  The famous opening of the Bible:  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth invite us to look at the creation as initially encompassing the two realms.  God doesn’t need a place to live, so the heavens as a reference to God’s dwelling place would more be referencing his touch point with humanity and creation.  He creates the heavens and earth as the initial and prototypical temple.  A place where God meets with and walks with His people.
In Genesis 3:8 we see God looking for Adam and Eve after they sinned.  This implies a pattern of meeting.  Adam and Eve anticipated His coming and hid.  The appearance of God occurs in the cool of the Evening, corresponding with the later practice of evening sacrifices (Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering).  This practice may have evolved into what we see as the time of prayer in Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.  Since a predominant symbol of the temple was the presence of God, the Garden may be seen as a sort of a temple.
An apparently random reference in the creation/fall account is the information about the location of the Garden:
10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.
11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. (Genesis 2:10-14)
There are three options for us to consider when attempting to understand the inclusion of this information. Like all information like this in the Bible, it can hold literal value for us (locating the actual garden, the statement being, this is a real place) or symbolic value (rivers and precious stones and metals stand for something meaningful beyond the literal) or both.  For our purposes here I want to emphasize the symbolic value, especially as it relates to temples, and the especially how it connects us to the end of the Bible and John’s symbolic attachments to the New Jerusalem.
The building blocks of temples are precious metals and stones (see 1 Corinthians 3:12, where Paul makes mention of the appropriate building materials for a temple).  So possibly this seemingly extraneous detail is intended for us to think about the Garden as having temple properties.
When Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden, angelic guards are placed at the east entrance to Eden.  Angelic figures also decorate the Holy of Holies, as the cherubim surround the mercy seat of the  Ark of the Covenant.  The tabernacle and temple along with their articles contained many representations of cherubim (Exodus 25:17-22; 26:1, 31;36:8; 1 Kings 6:23-35; 7:29-36; 8:6-7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:7-14; 2 Chronicles 3:10-13; 5:7-8; Hebrews 9:5).  In Solomon’s Temple there were two cherubim 10 cubits high (About 14 feet high) that served as guards to the inner sanctuary.
The entrance is to the east, as was the entrance into the Temple.  If the Garden is a temple, then the tree of life/knowledge of good and evil in the center corresponds with the inner sanctuary, God’s dwelling.  The sentence of death is the expulsion from God’s presence (spiritual death). The Cherubim restrict entry into the presence of God.  Sin has caused a separation.
Finally, if we move forward in the story, the first account we have after expulsion is the sacrifices of Cain and Abel.  The connect here is that without sacrifice we don’t gain access back into the presence of God.  I could surmise that the sacrifices take place at the entrance to the Garden.  Cain and Abel are appealing to God for forgiveness; there is an appropriate and inappropriate form of sacrifice.
All of these items lead us to see the connection between the Garden and the Temple.  The Garden is in fact the temple prototype; it is the heavens and earth.
The Second Temple: The Tabernacle
The Tabernacle is the first man made structure to represent the heavens and the earth (the place where heaven and earth meet).  Detailed instructions are given for the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus 25-30 or so and a detailed almost identical accounting of the construction of the temple is given in chapters 35-40.
The Tabernacle could also be referred to as Moses’ temple. The only significant difference is in the mobile nature of the structure.  The architectural features as far as layout remain the same.  The major idea associated with this temple would be as a symbol of God’s presence with His people and as their guide to the promised land. Up until now the nation followed the “presence” of God as fire and cloud.  In order for God to “be” with His people they were to follow His instructions for building the Tabernacle.
Here we have been given the layout for all future Israelite temples.  An inner sanctuary (Holy of Holies) where God dwells.  The Temple proper, the sanctuary known as the Holy Place.  A courtyard surrounded (and protected) the Sanctuary.  In this courtyard was a brazen altar for sacrifices and a laver which contained water for ceremonial washing.  The entrance to the court of the Tabernacle was to the east.  The person offering the sacrifices would not go beyond the altar, he would hand over his sacrifices to the priests who would offer it up for him in the tent/sanctuary proper.
When Moses completed the construction…
then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  35 Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  36 Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out;  37 but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.  38 For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel. (Exodus 40:34-38)
The Third Temple:  Solomon’s Temple (commonly referred to as the First Temple)
The description of the building of the Temple of Solomon is found in 1 Kings 5-9.
The description of the temple in the account of the building is “house.”  This is an emphasis on God’s dwelling, in these passages in contrast and corresponding to the fact that Solomon built himself a house.
The building materials of the Temple were Cedar and Cypress wood imported at great human cost from Lebanon; great and costly stones, and gold (Trees, stones, gold, remind us of Eden).  The whole house is said to be overlaid in gold (I Kings 6:22).  There are descriptions in this section of carvings that resembled “gourds and flowers”  (1 Kings 6:18) reminiscent of a garden.   The doors of the Sanctuary  So he made two doors of olive wood, and he carved on them carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread the gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees (1 Kings 6:32). Again, the garden connection is obvious.
When the priests come out of the sanctuary after depositing the ark of the covenant there we read this description:
10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
12 Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.
13 “I have surely built You a lofty house, A place for Your dwelling forever.”
 (1 Kings 8:10-13)
This is a clear reminder of the Tabernacle and the elements of presence and guidance.  Along with the building of the temple comes the following dire warning:
3 The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
 4 “As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances,
 5 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
 6 “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,
 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
 8 “And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’
 9 “And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the LORD has brought all this adversity on them.'”
 (1 Kings 9:3-9)
This dire warning is realized in the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.
The Fourth Temple:  Herod’s Temple (Commonly known as the Second Temple)
This temple was built in the years after the Exile from Babylon, starting around 538 BC.  Herod began an extensive rebuilding project around 20 BC that lasted around 40 years.  This would be the temple that Jesus walked in and prophesied about.
The Temple’s return to glory would have boosted the morale of a centuries long oppressed people.  Israel had undergone very little self determination and suffered under the rule of multiple foreign nations.  The Temple would have given the people a rising confidence and expectation of a return to glory.  The disciples certainly would have thought that Jesus, if he was the messiah, would lead them back to prominence.
The Olivet Discourse begins with the disciples marveling at the beauty of the temple.
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.
 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
 (Matthew 24:1-3)
This revelation would have been devastating, disconcerting, and confusing to the disciples.  These words of Jesus were words of judgment; a repetition of the warning to Solomon in 1 Kings 8-9 and the message of the Prophets.  Jesus tells his disciples that his pronouncement of judgment would come to pass within a generation (normally a generation was approximately 40 years).  Herod’s Temple was destroyed by the Roman armies under the leadership of Titus in AD 70.
The destruction of the Temple marked the end of an age, the age marked by the Old Covenant and the status of the nation and Temple (the religious structure of Israel).  They no longer serve as the vehicle for God’s presence to be made manifest in the world.  God shuts the door by destroying the Temple.  Israel rejects Messiah and break their covenant with Yahweh.  This leads to the creation of a new Temple by Christ.
The Fifth Temple:  The Church
The Church is the final “Temple” of God.  Three significant passages can be referenced here, passages that explicitly identify the Church as the Temple of God.
The first one is 1 Corinthians 3:9-16
 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. \
 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Corinthians 3:9, 10, 16)
The “you” in verse 16 are plural.  They are not referring to individual Christians who are independent temples, rather the church as a whole is being built into a temple.
Second would be Ephesians 2:19-22:
 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,
 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
This passage emphasizes the universal nature of the Church from a national perspective, it includes both Jews and Gentiles.
Third is 1 Peter 2:4-10
 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”
 8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
 9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
Each believer is referred to as a living stone, together being built into a spiritual house where spiritual sacrifices are made.  This is a clear reference to a temple.
The Temple references in Revelation
A reading of Revelation 21 and 22 in light of this is a description of a temple using all the forms of temple listed above.  There are Garden references, Tabernacle references, Temple building references, and church references throughout the passage.  It is a clear matching bookend to Genesis 1-3.
This new temple is magnificent and in the others pale in comparison.
It is called the new heavens and new earth in 21:1.
There is no sea here (sea would be a symbol of chaos and evil, it would also represent distance from God – an uncrossable barrier). 21:1
The New Jerusalem, the home of the Temple, is described as a bride.  The bride is the church, which is the fifth temple (21:2)
It is called the tabernacle in 21:3.
John hears a voice which says that he will show John the bride of the lamb, then proceeds to describe the Bride as the new Jerusalem and describes here with a picture of a high wall, 12 gates on every side (lots of access points as opposed to just one guarded access point), jewels in the walls and finally no physical temple because the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are its temple (21:22).
Chapter 22 has strong Garden analogies:  Rivers, Trees, No Curse. The Throne of God is in this garden.  
Revelation 21-22 is the classic and extreme mixed metaphor.  All of the temple symbolism is wrapped up in this ultimate description of the desire of and purpose of God in restoring his original creative purpose. The Five Temples find their summary in Revelation 21-22.  God is directly present with His people. 

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The History Channel: The Bible

NoHistoryHistorySo the History Channel is starting a new 5 part series tonight called “The Bible.”  Here are some thoughts:

The story of Abraham starts out with too many “extra” biblical characters and dialog that is irritating and I am only 15 minutes into the presentation.  For instance, the first 10 minutes Abraham is portrayed as saying “God will take care of us” at least three times. Not that the statement is not true, it just feels contrived.  The Bible is not lacking in powerful phrases, why not use them. Why not use the simple, repeated phrase:  I believe God.

Lot’s wife is portrayed as a nag, the battle cry of Abraham’s armies that free Lot “Trust in God” is a mixture of Braveheart and an Islamic “God is great” cry.  It is portrayed as a human drama as opposed to the history of salvation.  Lot’s settling in Sodom is portrayed semi-accurately as a battle between Abraham’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds, but then Lot’s wife makes the weird statement that they should settle in Sodom because “the future is in the city.”

The tension between Abraham and Sarah over Hagar was done well.  But they are going to skip over the key passages in favor of the more dramatic human interest story.  The interaction between the three messengers from God was well done.  Unfortunately they turned the angels leading Lot and his family out of the city into a Stephen Segal cum ninja sword fight.  I don’t think the story necessitated the “extra” drama.

So we arrive at chapter 19 with only  a brief mention of the covenant passages integral to the story (Genesis 12, 15, 17).  No mention of the necessary language of the story:  seed, covenant, promise.  The presentation denuded of this primary language misses the main plot of the Bible.  So in the first 20 chapters of the Bible, the story of Lot takes a primary place, this is odd to me as I am looking for the message implicit in this great book. It has maintained that test not because of the Lot story or the Sodom story but because of the greater underlying plot.

In the 21st century why are we still portraying Bible characters as “white”.  Only the bad guys (Hagar, for instance) even remotely resemble middle easterners.  Isn’t this critical miscue enough to make you want to turn it off?  It would be like telling the story of slavery in America and not using African American actors.  Betty White starring as Harriet Tubman.  This kind of presentation is not helpful,  and it is mind boggling.  Sarah and Isaac are English?

The story of Moses is next up.  Again, it is odd to me that details that don’t need to be changed are changed.  For instance, when Moses kills an Egyptian for beating an Israelite, the Bible says that Moses waited for a moment where he would not be seen.  In the History Channel version, Moses kills the Egyptian in full site of many, the man taking the beating offers to hide the body.  Why the change?  It doesn’t seem any harder to portray it accurately, it makes more sense as well.

I loved the emotion of the plagues, the shortening of the section was well done.  Pharaoh’s arrogance and resistance was passionate.  The Passover story is the center of the Moses story, but it doesn’t get the attention it deserves to set up the rest of the story.

Instead of giving us an accurate picture of Egyptian Pharaohs (the necessary beard that signified their kingship and the plaited hair worn by them) we get the familiar Yul Brynner look.

I give the History Channel a C for their presentation and interpretation of the first two books of the Bible.  This didn’t give the viewer ANY new or pertinent information that they already have gleaned from previous dramatic versions of these incidents.  This is the “History Channel” and  it seems that a reworking of the watered down dramatic versions misses the mark.  The drama is not as good as it could be, and the history is only used as fodder for that mediocre drama.  I am being generous with my grade.  The series is just OK.

 

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Be a Better Human