What's ahead in the Bible readings
November 22 to November 28, 2018
The Twenty-sixth Week After Pentecost
The Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time*
Bible Review: The Complete Jewish Bible
Messianic Jews believe that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah promised by the prophets. They chose to maintain their Jewish identity, which means they worship beginning at sundown on Friday, and they use Hebrew names (Yeshua rather than Jesus) in their worship. Although there are differences within he Messianic Jewish movement, in general they chose to follow the commandments in the Torah. You can read more here.
The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) is published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. The translation is by Rabbi David Stern. Naturally, it contains both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. I initially bought it because Rabbi Stern has complied a table showing where Hebrew Scripture is used in Christian Scripture. (I am using these terms just to be clear; they are not the ones used in Messianic Judaism.) His table is the source of most of the footnotes in Hebrew Scripture showing where it is used in Christian Scripture. We provide this because it is important to appreciate that the Bible is not two loosely connected testaments, but in fact is an organic whole, each testament illuminating the other and bringing us closer to God. We ignore either one at our peril.
The books in the CJB are grouped differently than in typical Christian Bibles. It starts with the books of the law (The Torah), followed by the prophets (former, later, and The Twelve), and ending with the writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Daniel and others). Even within traditional Judaism, there is not universal agreement about the order in which the books should be printed.
Other features include an extensive glossary of Hebrew words, with pronunciations and English equivalents and an extended introduction.
Here is the Wednesday Gospel Lesson from the CJB:
“I have said these things to you with the help of illustrations; however, a time is coming when I will no longer speak indirectly but will talk about the Father in plain language. When that day comes, you will ask in my name. I am not telling you that i will pray to the Father on your behalf, for the Father loves you, because you have loved me and believed that I came from God.
“I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”
The talmidim said to him, “Look, you're talking plainly right now; you're not speaking indirectly at all. Now we know that you know everything, and that you don't need to have people put their questions into words. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
Yeshua answered, “Now you do believe. But a time is coming—indeed it has come already—when you will be scattered, each looking out for himself; and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.
“I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris. But be brave! I have conquered the world.” (CJB)
Here are definitions:
Shalom means peace, tranquility, contentment, integrity.
Talmidim means disciple or student. The relationship between a talmid and his rabbi was very close.
Tsuris means trouble, woe, or aggravation.
If you are looking for a Bible with Jewish perspectives on Christianity, this may be the one for you. If you decide to purchase it, please consider using this link, where you purchase will benefit The Lectionary Company: Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern.
This week's illustration
The painting is of John, the person who received and wrote the Revelation. We have a number of readings from Revelation. By the way, the title of the book is Revelation, not Revelations.
Our Gospel readings are all from John. The>Sunday reading relates Pilate's first interrogation of Jesus. I am always bothered by what seems to be a slur on Jews in John's Gospel. Here is a bit of reading that puts some perspective on it: Gospel of John and Jews. The last two points in the reference are important for us:
it is highly unlikely that John meant the Jews as an ethnic slur, and unlikely that his first readers took it as a sweeping denunciation of all descendants of Jacob. More likely the term was loose designation for Jesus' opponents—those who rejected him and his message, part of the world—especially but not exclusively the nation's (priestly and lay) leaders
it is very difficult to read John today without importing later developments, enmity, and Christian oppression of Jews back into the narrative, but it must be attempted. Jewish Christians saw themselves as insiders who were being forced out; now the church (and Jews as well) sees Christianity as thoroughly distinct--a separate religion Jewish Christians saw themselves as a persecuted minority; in subsequent years, the church was often the persecuting majority John could used Jew and Judaism without implying anti-Semitism, and without commending hostility; today any theological critique of the Jewish religion is likely to be heard as an ethnic critique of the Jewish race.
(This analysis is from Bruce Fisk, a professor of New Testament at Westmont.)
Our last Gospel reading, and the last one for the week, has an element of hope. Jesus says to the disciples “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” May it be so for us.
New Testament Readings
Here are two quotes from our readings from Revelation:
Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;
let all who are around him bring gifts to the one who is awesome,
who cuts off the spirit of princes,
who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.
Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Complementary Hebrew Scriptures
Our readings from Daniel, which come on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday differ from last week's readings because they tell of visions Daniel receives, rather than about visions he interprets for others. Here is some of what The New Interpreter's Bible has to say:
Chapter 7 certainly turns the theological/ideological direction of the book as a whole in a new, dramatic, and darker direction. The images here are those of struggle and warfare between the forces of evil and chaos against the heavens, the “holy ones,” and by implication the Jewish tellers and hearers of the story.…The hope for a change in the foreign rulers has been abandoned; the empires are revealed for what they have always been: beasts who rose out of chaos and evil.
The vision has four beasts. The lion represents Babylon, the bear the Medes, the leopard the Persians, and the dragon the Greeks. The ten horns on the dragon represent the successors to Alexander the Great.
Our readings from Ezekiel, which come on Thursday, Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The first two readings are oracles against Tyre and Sidon, two coastal cities in Phoenicia. Their kings, with others, traveled to Jerusalem to plot an overthrow of Babylon. Ezekiel regards Babylon as an agent of God punishing Israel and Judah for their sins, so trying to overthrow Babylon, in Ezekiel's eyes, is trying to overthrow God. In addition, the king of Tyre has likened himself to a god, a severe violation of God's dignity. In the second two readings, Judah's alliance with Egypt is condemned. In the end, Babylon conquered Jerusalem and Egypt was of no help.
Semi-continuous Hebrew Scriptures
Our semi-continuous Hebrew Scriptures focus on King Josiah, who instituted many religious reforms, including ending worship of various idols. We also read about David becoming king of Judah.
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Summaries and Links for the week ahead
The links don't become active until 3:05 am on the designated day.
Thursday to Sunday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 93 Your throne has been established.
Semi-continuous Psalm 132 The faithful sing with joy.
Thursday: Preparation for the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Ezekiel 28:1-10 An oracle against the king of Tyre
Semi-continuous 2 Kings 22:1-10 Hilkiah finds the Book of the Law in the temple.
Both Acts 7:54-8:1a The stoning of St. Stephen
Friday: Preparation for the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Ezekiel 28:20-26 Ezekiel sent to Sidon. God promises to gather the exiles.
Semi-continuous 2 Kings 22:11-20 The king's courtiers inquire of the prophetess Hulda on his behalf. God says the king will go to his grave in peace, but there will be punishment for those who have abandoned God.
Both 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 Christ, the first fruits of the resurrection.
Saturday: Preparation for the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Daniel 7:1-8, 15-18 Daniel's vision of the four beasts
Semi-continuous 2 Kings 23:1-14 Josiah renews the covenant.
Both John 3:31-36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 The Ancient One sits on a throne
Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 23:1-7 A just ruler is like the morning light.
Both Revelation 1:4b-8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Both John 18:33-37 Pilate's first interrogation of Jesus
Monday to Wednesday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 76 God is victorious.
Semi-continuous Psalm 63 The king shall rejoice in God.
Monday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Daniel 7:19-27 The fourth beast will be defeated.
Semi-continuous 2 Kings 23:15-25 The abominations are destroyed or defiled.
Both Revelation 11:1-14 And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes.
Tuesday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Ezekiel 29:1-12 A prophesy against Egypt
Semi-continuous 1 Samuel 17:55-18:5 Saul meets David, and David's and Jonathan's souls are bound.
Both Revelation 11:15-19 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever." Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God.
Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Ezekiel 30:20-26 I am the Lord.
Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 2:1-7 David becomes king of Judah.
Both John 16:25-33 Peace for the disciples
*Denominations have different ways of designating the weeks during the year, so your church may refer to this week by a different name or number or both. Regardless of the name or number, the readings are the same. Here is an explanation: Calendar Explanation
Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.
Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.
Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.
Image credit: St. John on Patmos by the Master of Rotterdam, via Wikimedia.org. This is a public domain image.