In the past 60 or so hours I have read about 400 pages of commentary on the book of Deuteronomy and the Pentateuch (and 5-10 pages on the book of John). For some, this could be pure torture to have to read about one of those books… written by a dry theologian.
I can hear some of you saying, “Like, aren’t commentaries the kind of books that you have to blow off a layer of dust before you open them?”
Or some of you are saying, “Isn’t the Old Testament irrelevant?”
“Why are you reading that silly myth”
Well, for me, the torture is that I am having to absorb such large amounts of information without being able to sit and enjoy the content. You see, I am the kind of guy that likes to read commentaries enough that they do not have to have dust blown off of them.
And I love the OT. I love it because it more exciting than any fiction novel I have read, comic book I own, or movie I have seen. I love how it emphasizes God using weak, small, undesirable, or underdog figures to demonstrate His glorious might. I love that I cannot “prove” everything, yet it is one of the most proven and defensible histories of any ancient culture. I love that it is continuously supported by archaeological digs. I love that there are times when I have to take an honest assessment of what I thought I knew, and face the “facts” that make me have to have more than just flat and rote answers to everything. I love that it is full of supernatural events that cannot be explained by science. I love that it contains a personal deity.
But He goes on to be more than just a deity. He claims to be the only true God. No other God can stand before Him. He is the relational and creator God who makes covenants with frail and fallable humans. They may drop their end of the deal continually, but He stays true and consistent. He is just in being a jealous God, for what god can compare.
I love how He gives prophetic revelations to men and women who speak into their culture and context (forth-telling). I love how He gives prophetic revelations to men and women to speak about what will happen (foretelling). I love that these prophecies were convicting then, and still relevant now. I love that these prophecies speak of a Messiah who came and conquered death and rose again.
You see, I love the OT because it is God’s Word. It is better than myth, for no man’s imagination could conjure up such a story. No other story has such depth of character development and flawed hero figures. No other story speaks so candidly about the flaws of the chosen people. No other story has gripped the hearts of people through the millenia so strongly.
No other story has such a perfect completion. Jesus Christ, who was of the people of Israel, and was the foretold messiah of the people of Israel, came in and was just as sensational. He was born of a virgin. He healed the blind. He caused the lame to walk. He associated the the outcasts. He made them clean, both spiritually and physically. He turned water into wine. He walked on water. He multiplied food. He had command over the sea and the storms. He could command demons, and they listened
He also died. But it didn’t stay there. He rose again. He conquered death and was seen by hundreds after He rose from the grave. Then He ascended into heaven while a multitude watched.
He fits right in with the story of Israel. You would never expect half of what happened in Israel’s OT history, and you would never expect half of what happened during Christ’s life. Curiously enough, many rejected Him as their Messiah. This too fits in Israel’s history.
It surely does seem like a curious case of the sensational Messiah. Why would so many of the people of 1st century Israel not accept this Messiah who worked signs and wonders just like Yahweh did?
If you want the answer to that, I suggest spending about 30 years reading and studying Romans 9-11. After that, humbly accept that you don’t really have the answer (I suggest reading Psalm 131 and repenting of acting like you can understand God completely).
But, riddle me this. Why is it that most often we have a view of the Messiah that just isn’t how He revealed Himself. Jesus either becomes just like you and me, or completely mythological. Sadly, He can become just like Beowulf or Hercules to you and me. He truly is 100% God. He truly is 100%. But we can’t accept this so He stays in the comfortable realm of mythology for many. If anything, some put Him in the category of a really good man, or possibly a great prophet.
Well, I should probably get back to reading my commentaries. It is just so hard to sit inside of my basement and read so much, and only talk about it with people in a seminary classroom. It is hard because I have a friend who just got out of a class at MSU where they talked about the Bible just being a myth. This just isn’t accurate.
Ya see, the Bible is just plain too sensational to be myth. That is an understatement and and definitely an under-appreciation. This book is the most exciting and life changing truth that has ever been written.
For those who want to keep a shallow and two dimensional view of Scripture, you are missing out.