N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Part 2 (Second Temple period Judaism; Torah)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplishes our salvation.

One of the challenges Wright had to confront in writing the book, and one of the challenges of blogging through the book, is that the book builds on conclusions taught more thoroughly in earlier books. For those of us who’ve been reading Wright for years and who are familiar with the earlier materials, this is no problem, but for a novice student of Wright, it’s asking a lot to catch up in a single reading.

Rather than interrupting the argument to explain materials taught in earlier works, I thought it might be helpful to explain several key concepts at the beginning.

So consider this as something of an introduction to Wright’s theology — although I’m not going to attempt to cover it all. I’m going to stick to concepts and teachings that come up in the book

The Second Temple period

Scholars often speak of this or that happening during the “Second Temple period.” The first Temple, of course, is the one built by Solomon, which was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. The Second Temple is the Temple built by Nehemiah when many Jews returned to Jerusalem under Persian rule. This Temple was later rebuilt by Herod the Great under Roman rule. Hence, the Second Temple period is from about 515 BC to 70 AD, when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Roman army under Titus. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion, Part 1 (Introduction)

dayrevolutionbeganN. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplishes our salvation.

Wright’s book is densely filled with insights about how to understand countless scriptures — so much so that I find it it a bit overwhelming, although I read the book while ill, largely in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices — and so maybe my view is a bit skewed.

This series of posts is partly review, partly summary, and mainly my own ruminations as I try to fit Wright’s theories into what I already know on the subject.

Moreover, Wright’s book assumes that the reader is at least somewhat familiar with previous books by Wright — which is not necessarily the case. Therefore, these posts also serve as something of an introduction, providing background material not necessarily in The Day the Revolution Began but from earlier Wright books or other sources. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2 Thessalonians: 3:6-13 (“If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat”)

map of greece2 Thess 3:6-12

(2 Thess. 3:6-12 ESV)  6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.  7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,  8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.  9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.  10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.  11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.  12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

As we’ve covered in several earlier posts, the church — a congregation — as a duty to care for its own members that is higher than the duty to care for the surrounding world. For example, Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

2 Thessalonians: 3:1-5 (the Evil One)

map of greece2 Thess 3:1-2

(2 Thess. 3:1-2 ESV) Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,  2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 

Again, Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, asks for prayers from the humble babes in Christ in Thessalonica.

He asks, first, for prayer that the “word of the Lord” (the gospel) will be quickly received by those he preaches to. He prays for the gospel before he prays for himself — of course. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2 Thessalonians: 2:15-16 (apostolic tradition and hope)

map of greece

2 Thess 2:14-15

(2 Thess. 2:14-15 ESV)  14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

“To this” refers back to “saved” in 2:13.

The calling was “through our gospel.” This is, I believe, no more complex than a reference to the preaching of the gospel. See Rom 10:9-17 where Paul asserts that faith comes by hearing, hearing by preaching, and preaching by missionaries. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2 Thessalonians: 2:13-14 (Predestination, Free Will, Open Theism, and Such)

map of greeceI apologize for not being involved in the comments these last several days. I’ve been under the weather with something called “endocarditis,” meaning an infection of the heart valves. I’ve been on 24-hour IV antibiotics for a month. (Anti = against; biotic = life; hence, against life or feel like death warmed over.)

Some hours are better than others and I’ll spare you the disgusting side effect details. Suffice to say I’m pretty much housebound and watch a lot of football. (Roll Tide!)

I’m likely headed toward heart-valve replacement surgery.

But I noticed a lot of comment traffic dealing with the “election” and “calling” passages. I thought I’d add this thought to the mix — inspired, of course, by watching way too much TV.

Presently, there are several shows on TV dealing with time travel and the resulting paradoxes that so fascinate science fiction writers, such as The Flash, The League of Legends, and Timeless. (I particularly enjoy Timeless because they have so much fun replicating the old days — with hair styles, clothing, and all.) The problem with time travel is that, in theory, you can go back in time, prevent your parents from meeting and so never be conceived, meaning you didn’t go back in time, so you were conceived after all …  Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2 Thessalonians: 2:13-14 (Encouragement by Election)

map of greece

2 Thess 2:13-14

Having contradicted the false teaching regarding the Second Coming and likely concerned that he may have offended the church, Paul immediately shifts the subject to give a word of encouragement.

(2 Thess. 2:13-14 ESV) 13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

“Firstfruits” in v. 13 is a little surprising. It is, of course, OT language referring to the spring harvest. The firstfruits are the first barley, wheat, or other grain or fruit to ripen in the field, and some of these were given to God as part of the Pentecost celebration. The 3,000 baptized at Pentecost were the firstfruits, converted on the day of celebration of the firstfruits (no coincidence at all, of course). Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments