Hello and welcome to my new adventure series. This virtual tour bus will be heading out soon. Watch for new posts to follow this one. This little rabbit trail will take us down some rather crude roads and narrow mountain trails where the ride might get bumpy, but hold on! The views are breathtaking. We will be traveling the paths of the ancients and making stops at each of the rock pile altars they sat up. Be prepared to do some camping at each one, and to collect a few stones of your own.
I wonder if you realize that we are about to embark on an incredible journey together, if you care to join me. We will be taking a jaunt through the entire Old Testament together, in fact, the whole Bible, but we are going to do it Indiana Jones style (I hope you packed your pith and hiking boots). You’ll need a journal and something to write with. If you don’t have a journal and would like one, you may send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We might have to crawl through some spider webs, wade through waters infested with snakes or rats, and take a leap of faith now and then. It will be time consuming, and perhaps even tedious at times, as most excavation work is, but I promise you, the little shards of pottery that we uncover will start to take shape soon and when glued together will become the most interesting pot you can imagine.
I want to confess, right out of the gate, that I am not a qualified, certified, pedigreed (or anything remotely close to any of that) Bible teacher. I’m a Bible explorer. A curiosity seeker. A student. A forward observer, a greyhound chasing after a rabbit on a stick. A person who just wants to know all of the very fascinating, multi-layered, and mysterious words of the Bible, which the LORD left behind for us as His primary means for communication. The glory of the Word is that it is filled with mystery, and secrets, and ciphers, and in fact there is a verse that tells us if we will seek the Lord we will find Him when we search for Him with all of our hearts. So that’s who I am – a searcher, on a hide-and-go-seek mission. It’s not about having heads filled with knowledge – but having our hearts satisfied with spiritual milk and being guests of a bona fide feast of the choicest morsels of scriptural meat at the Lord’s table.
At this moment I’m feeling a little bit like a young girl inviting her date home to meet the parents for the first time. I’m a little nervous. I feel vulnerable. But God’s love compels me to take action. I want you to see the personality of my God, and love Him with me, and I already know He loves you. I’m excited to hear what you think of Him, and His word, and this wonderful rabbit trail He has put us onto. That’s why I’ve chosen to blog and not just make a book. This way we can have koinonia (that’s a Greek word for fellowship).
One of the things I want us to be mindful of while we are reading the scriptures is the names of God. God’s names won’t always jump right off the page at us, because many of His names are veiled behind His attributes. Names meant things in Bible times. They identified the person’s nature (personality, temperament, spirit, disposition, etc.). When the Bible was translated into English many of the Hebrew names for God were rendered by their meaning and so it will often require us to use a Word Study Bible to find them. For instance, when we read “the Lord of Hosts” we will have to look up the original word for Lord and the original word for Hosts to come up with the Hebrew name, Yahweh (or Jehovah, or Adonai, or Elohim, etc.) Sabaoth/Tsabaoth).
The Hebrews didn’t dare to utter God’s name, or even write it. They had such a reverence for the sacredness of God’s names, which I wonder might be the reason the translators translated it the way they did. In fact Jew’s today even render the writing of God as G-d and Yahweh as YHWH (the four Hebrew letters yodh-he-waw-he, known as the tetragrammaton). They substituted a special title in place of God’s name when spoken. My oh my, how unlike our culture in the western world today, where there is soooooo little reverence for the name of God, using it mostly as an exclamatory phrase, or worse yet, profanity.
Just like God’s names mean something, so do each of the characters in the Bible, and I want us to look those up as well. Adam, for instance, was created from the dust of the earth – dust of the earth in Hebrew is Adamah, therefore God called him Adam. Eve was the one God had created to bring forth life, all life on earth; her name means life. I love the Abarim Publications website for researching Biblical names.
Do you know what your name means?
Make a note of every mountain, every body of water, every town, and in fact, I would love us to make our own pictorial map of the Holy Land and mark all the places as we go along. If you are feeling particularly creative and ambitious, and have room on a wall of your house, you can get a large piece of bulletin board paper, pin it to your wall, and make a giant map. You can use a projector to get the proportions of the Middle East land masses correct. You can draw all the little altars, and wells, and towns, and rivers, etc. You can make a timeline as well, a pedigree chart, a calendar or list of holidays. I encourage you to be as in-depth as you want to be.
Here’s something else…
If we get to a passage that just seems weird, be prepared! We are most certainly going to camp out there for a while and dig. If it’s weird, it’s important!!! We’ll first use scripture to explain scripture, and after that we’ll look to trusted, historical, outside sources – one of my favorite online resources is GotQuestions.org. We’ll also see what others have found in such resources as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Philo, the Book of Enoch, and so on. Yes, they are extra biblical, but they are history books and valuable for their historical content. BUT, we will measure all such resources against the scriptures and keep only the things that line up.
So, right out of the gate this study gets pretty interesting pretty fast! You may or may not have ever heard, or thought about the things we’re about to dive into, or even heard them explained, or preached about from the pulpit, or even in a Bible study class. Get used to this. It’s going to happen a lot in this study.
What I find so fascinating is that in Luke 19:40, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for wanting His disciples to be quiet as He entered Jerusalem. Jesus replied to their request that if the people were to be silenced even the rocks would cry out. Well, I’m here to tell you, THE ROCKS ARE CRYING OUT!!!!! Much history has been lost to the sands of time. Wars have buried cities, burned treasures, and smothered the story-tellers. Bad men have suppressed the truth and buried it under rubble or carried it away. But, when God’s chosen people returned to their Promised Land, doors began opening to excavation, and archeology has unearthed some pretty fantastic evidence. Jewish Rabbis have come to faith in Messiah Jesus and are sharing their great wealth of knowledge and rich heritage of scripture in ways that show the deep layers and hidden mysteries of the scriptures, which have been stolen away for centuries, in fact two millennia. This is the great adventure we’re going to be embarking on. So buckle up Buttercup and prepare to have your mind blown.
God is raising up people, moved by the Holy Spirit, to use their talents, their money, their resources, and their connections to pull back the curtains on this dusty old book. They are making movies, and documentaries, and making You Tube videos of the tours they conduct. I believe the fullness of time has come and that God is revealing the truth and accuracy of the Bible to this generation for a reason. It is an exciting time to be alive.