BEN: In terms of the modus operandi of this book, one of the basic approaches you take is to argue that if an idea is not found elsewhere in early Jewish literature, then it is wise to query whether we can be so sure that this idea is found in Paul’s letter. And this applies especially to the notion of individual predestination unto salvation. Of course it can always be objected that ‘Paul is the exception to many rules’ but… Read more

THE SECRET Hidden reality Like life in the womb Hidden reality Like death in the tomb Hidden away For the appropriate day Wrapped in enigma, cloaked in secrecy, Awaiting a wake up call with urgency. But how shall such a song be sung? A tale that’s never told, A trail that’s long gone cold, A mystery unrevealed, A truth that is concealed, Seems useless on first glance. Who said there was a secret, Who told us we must keep it… Read more

MOTHER LOAD From the very beginning The burden was clear Sometimes bearable Sometimes severe Ate from the apple Shared it with him Disobeyed the order Indulged the whim. What was the outcome? The fruit of the act? She ‘knew’ good and evil? She experienced it in fact? Did the earth creature join her? Did he crumble into dust? Did he die in an instant? Or just tumble into lust? To love and to cherish Becomes ‘desire and dominate’ Objectify the… Read more

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along the unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, a chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then… Read more

INCOGNITO He came in incognito, A thinly veiled disguise The not so subtle son of man, A human with God’s eyes. The messianic secret, Left many unawares A God had walked upon the earth And shared our human cares. We did not see his glory, At least not at first glimpse, It took an Easter wake up call, Before it all made sense. The truth of Incarnation, Of dwelling within flesh, Shows goodness in creation, And Word of God made… Read more

THE BONDING A cold and listless season, And full of cheerless cheer, When hopes are raised and dashed again And joy dissolves in tears. The search for endless family The search for one true Friend Leaves questers tired, disconsolate With questions without end. Best find some potent pleasure quick Some superficial thrill Than search for everlasting love When none can fill that bill. So hide yourselves in shopping And eating ‘til you burst, Use endless entertainment As shelter from the… Read more

BEN: The discussion in chapter six about the heavenly tablets in Jubilees and their relationship to the book of life and the book of destruction is especially interesting in light of the discussion in Revelation where we have a warning that some people’s names can be blotted out of the lamb’s book of [everlasting] life, contingent on behavior. It appears that we are being told that while some things seem to be foreordained, one’s eternal destiny is not one of… Read more

I sat by the stream and waited What would float by me? Eventually I got frustrated, Because there was nothing to see. The dull day light was dim And my wits matched that grey As if all life’s colors Had fled, had gone away. The ducks in conversation Themselves seemed subdued, Their brown and dark green feathers Matched the winter hue. Of fields with nothing growing And gardens dormant too Of skies with ominous clouds Not even a hint of… Read more

BEN: In Chapter 5 it becomes clear that early Jews mostly thought that election was conditional, and the condition was faithfulness to the Mosaic covenant and its Law. You quote deSilva approvingly as follows “fidelity to the covenant ensures peace, sin against the covenant brings punishment, and repentance and renewal of obedience leads to restoration.” (p. 150). So only faithful Israelites remain in the covenant relationship and they do so by obedience, by being Torah true, and in that sense… Read more

I just received word from InterVarsity Press that the sales of ‘A Week in the Life of Corinth’ has made it a best seller by religious fiction standards. So, I have to thank the 7,562 of you who bought the paperback of this novella and supported it so well, not to mention the Kindle readers. It will be followed in a year or so by ‘A Week in the Life of Jerusalem’, all about what happened to the Christians trapped… Read more

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