Harmony in the Hebrew Bible
by Charles Quigley
In this section of WindowView, we turn our sights in yet another direction. We observe some of the many examples of history in which the interaction of Jews and Gentiles have led to a most beneficial outcome. That coming together is for the purpose of solving a real need and the outcome is invariably most positive—often far beyond the original need!
We include events in which Gentiles of the surrounding nations are used by the LORD, the God of all creation, to execute judgment on the Jewish people for some transgression of God's will. We include, for example: a) the outworking of God's exhortation by Moses in Deuteronomy 28 of the blessings and curses,1 b) during the period of the divided kingdom following Solomon's reign,2 c) when the Northern Kingdom and later the Southern Kingdom strayed from God's ways and worshiped false gods. In response, the LORD used the (Gentile) Assyrians to work judgment on the Northern Kingdom.3 Later, the Southern Kingdom was taken into captivity by (Gentile) Babylon, and Jerusalem was destroyed.4 In this case, definitely not a favorable outcome.
IN THE DISCUSSION which follows, we view these events — beneficial interaction of Jews and Gentiles — through a certain window, a paradigm.5
A paradigm is another word for world view, one's understanding of how the world works:
Who's in charge?
What is significant and conversely what is unimportant in affecting how the world runs?
Why does life seem so hard and there is so much suffering, and why does all the world seem to be going rotten?
Where are the door handles that open the way to a problem solver who can make things right?
There is strong evidence — not found in the great libraries of antiquity, nor in the unearthed fossils or archaeological relics , but which nevertheless appears in direct revelation from the LORD through Moses — to indicate that the universe: the sun, moon, stars, the planets, the solar system, and this island earth, was created out of nothing by God who is outside all creation and who has existed forever. That evidence indicates that all the universe was created good, including the first man and woman. But these first two human beings chose to use their free will given by God to go against God, being tempted by the serpent.6 Consequently, God cursed the earth, bringing thorns and thistles. God decreed that henceforth, man would grow his food by the sweat of his brow, and that in pain woman would bring forth children.
Following the sin of Satan through the serpent to tempt the first woman, God decreed the ultimate destruction of Satan by the seed of the woman. And following the sin of the first man and woman, they were driven from paradise in Eden into the world, to live as we have described, in pain and in toil.7
The paradigm continues that ever since, sin has spread throughout the world. There was a time when God sought to stop sin's spread in mankind by a great flood covering the entire earth, to destroy all living things except for Noah, his family, and selected creatures, and to start all over again. But after the waters receded, sin once again spread throughout the world.8,9
And so, God chose a people, the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham — called the tribe and nation of Israel. God handed down to the nation of Israel a set of laws through His servant Moses, to set them apart from all the surrounding nations with their idols and pagan worship of false gods. Israel was to be God's servant to be in turn a blessing to all the nations.10,11
But when even Israel faltered, God decreed through His prophets concerning the coming of another servant,12 Messiah, a Good Shepherd, the Suffering Servant — the seed of the woman — whose function would be salvation.13,14
God also decreed that Israel's eyes would be blinded to the truth of Messiah, so that a people that was not a nation (the Gentiles) would believe.15 The Messiah would be the Son of GOD Almighty, yet born of a woman, of Jewish descent and a son of David. He would die for the sins of all mankind (Jewish and Gentile people), and He would return in the future to fight (and win) the ultimate battle against Satan, and to judge and rule from Zion (that is, from Jerusalem).16 Through Messiah, David's throne would continue forever.17
It is in the context of this window, this world view, that we consider examples in Biblical history (specifically from the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament) in which the interaction of Jews and Gentiles have led to a beneficial — not judgmental — outcome, and we observe how the knowledge of the one true God has spread through these events (among others) to the Gentiles.
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1 Moses alerts the people that, if they would diligently obey GOD, being careful to do His commandments which GOD commanded through Moses, that GOD would set them above all the nations of the earth and would bless them with many blessings (Deuteronomy 28:3-14). But if they did not obey GOD, He would curse them with many curses (Deuteronomy 28:16-68). We count 14 blessings, but 66 curses. Note that in Deuteronomy 28 and in numerous other passages, the phrase appears: "If they will obey…" (viz., conditional). However, GOD indicates later (Deuteronomy 31:16-18): "…this people will forsake GOD" (viz., certainty). Biblical history from this time forward shows that Israel did continually forsake GOD!
2 Solomon built the House of the LORD in Jerusalem, and the LORD blessed that work (1 Kings 5-6; 7:13-9:9). But Solomon married many foreign princesses in order to make favorable foreign alliances (1 Kings 3:1; 11:1-8) and provoked GOD by building temples for worship to his wives’ pagan gods on the Mount of Offense, south of the Temple Mount. GOD was angry with Solomon and swore to tear the kingdom from him, but not in Solomon’s days, for the sake of his father David (1 Kings 11:9-13).
3 In the Northern Kingdom (Israel), after the death of Solomon, Jeroboam I provoked GOD by setting up two golden calves, idols for worship, at Dan and Bethel, in order that the people of the north would not worship in the Temple at Jerusalem and rejoin the Southern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:25-33). Ahab provoked GOD by marrying the king of Sidon’s daughter Jezebel, who introduced Israel to the pagan worship of Ba’AL (1 Kings 16:29-22:40). Zachariah provoked GOD by continuing the sins of Ahab and Jezebel, continuing the worship of Ba’AL in Israel, and when ill he inquired of the pagan god of Enron, Ba’la-zebub (1 Kings 22:51-2 Kings 1:18).
4 In the Southern Kingdom (Judah) following the split, Jeroboam son of Solomon provoked GOD by idolatry and the institution of male cult prostitutes (1 Kings 14:21-24). Aha grandson of good King Huzzah provoked GOD when he made molten idols for the Ba’las, burned incense in the Valley of Ben-minnow, burned his sons in fire, sacrificed to the pagan gods of Damascus, and closed the doors of the House of the LORD (2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28). Manasseh son of king Hezekiah provoked GOD when he practiced witchcraft and put a pagan idol in the House of the LORD (2 Kings 21:1-18).
5 In the brief discussion which follows, many details have necessarily been omitted, for example, the sin of Cain against Abel, intermarriage of fallen angels with human women in order to corrupt the future seed of the woman, the confounding of languages, the miracles performed by Moses against Pharaoh of Egypt, and etc.
6 God’s Word tells us that, while the woman Eve was tempted by the serpent in order to eat the fruit which God had forbidden to be eaten, the man Adam did not need to be tempted in order to sin. (Contrast Genesis 3:1-6a with Genesis 3:6b).)
7 The narrative of the temptation of Adam and Eve, the Great Fall in which they went against God’s will and did the single thing which God had expressly told them not to do, and the exact language of God’s judgment, appear in Genesis 3. Please note that the sin of Adam and Eve did not consist of having sexual relations. The first mention that Adam and Eve came together appears in Genesis 4:1, after they had been driven out from the paradise of Eden.
8 The narrative of the Great Flood is the first point in the Creation Story in which evidence outside of the direct revelation by God exists. A short listing of the evidence follows.
Sumerian Flood Account - This is the oldest version of the flood. This account dates from about 2000 BC and is a fragment found at Nipper which is inscribed on both sides, three columns to a side. A story is presented in which Insurance, a king-priest, learns that the gods are going to destroy man by means of a flood, and he builds a huge boat. There is a flood for seven days and seven nights, after which he receives eternal life in the land of Dilution.
Babylonian (Annadiana) Flood Account - In the great library of Ashurbanipal of Assyria (ruled 668-627 BC), this account is found in the 11th of 12 tablets of the Gilgamesh Epic. In it, Gilgamesh finds Snappishness the immortal who tells Gilgamesh how he obtained eternal life, which includes the flood account. In it, Snappishness makes a great boat, 120 cubits square with a hatch, in which he takes food and animals. The storm lasts 6 days and 6 nights, after which he lands on Mt. Ni sir. He sends out a dove (returns), a swallow (returns), and a raven (does not return). Snappishness offers a sacrifice, and he and his wife are rewarded with eternal life.
9 The evidence that sin’s spread throughout the world was a supernatural process is testified by mention of intercourse by fallen angels with human women (Genesis 6:2, 4-5). Some experts claim that the phrase 'sons of God’ refer to godly men, namely the descendants of Enoch. But such a claim is illogical, in that the offspring of a righteous man who walked with God should result in the spread of sin throughout the world. Also, evidence of the usage elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures of the Hebrew words for sons of God, too lengthy to explore here, argues conclusively for the former view.
10 For the blessing, see Genesis 12:1-3.
11 For God's servant Israel, see Isaiah 41:8-16 among others. For the failure of Israel and God's judgment, see Isaiah 9:8-10:4, and especially Isaiah 42:14-22 for the Northern Kingdom and Jeremiah 3:1-11 among others for the Southern Kingdom.
12 For God’s Servant Messiah, see Isaiah 42:1-9 among others. God also provided a servant whom He named, Cyrus, who would deliver up the Southern Kingdom Judah, see Isaiah 41:1-3; 44:28; 45:1-7, 11-13. (Note among others, that God has called Cyrus as His servant, though Cyrus did not know God, Isaiah 45:5c.) The reader is cautioned to pay special attention not to confuse these three servants of God — Israel, Cyrus, and Messiah..
13 See Isaiah 62:10-11.
14 The name which He would be given describes His function, Yeshua, Jesus, namely Salvation. See Luke 1:26-38.
15 See Isaiah 55, especially verse 5.
16 The scriptures appear to speak of two such individuals: One the Suffering Servant, whom Jewish tradition names Messiahs Ben Josef; and the second a conquering king who would judge and rule, whom tradition names Messiahs Ben David. But scripture shows us that these two are in fact one! See Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Isaiah 61:1-3.
17 God's promise to David. See 2 Samuel 7:9c-16; Psalm 89:3-4, 27-37.
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