Troublesome Passages of the Old Testament
It is important when reading the Old Testament, to remember that it was written as an account of a peoples journey to God. As the Israelites journey continued, they came to know God, little by little, through God's self-revelation to their prophets, and their understanding of God expanded. Christ, as the Logos (the Word of God), was from the very beginning, and identified Himself as the Alpha and the Omega. Thus, the Old Testament can only be properly understood in reference to Christ's resurrection.
The God of the Old Testament can only be understood in light of the New Testament, so we should not take too seriously the troublesome accounts of God telling His people to kill their neighbors, and bash their enemies children against the rocks. Alleged historical accounts of the wrath of the Old Testament God should not be an issue with us, for it is only in light of Christ's revelation that we can truly comprehend Truth.
Various Church Fathers saw the dashing of infants in these Old Testament accounts as representing the passions, and the rock representing Christ. As believers we dash our thoughts on the Rock, as the way of making sure our passions do not return to overwhelm us. Many of the psalms have similar allegories as an invitation to guard the walled city of our hearts and preserve the spiritual treasures we have received from Our King and Our God.
Historical literalism is not important when confronting the revealed true nature of God, and our turning from a literalism in our interpretation of Scripture, is not a capitulation to modernism. The Church has always known how we should read the Scriptures, for the Truth of the biblical account can only be known in light of Christ, as revealed by His Church.
The Fathers of the Church recognized the human component in the Scriptures, since the Holy Spirit enlightened the human authors without them ever losing themselves, as a sort of trans-medium. These writers of the Scriptures were not some sort of conduit of the Holy Spirit, for they wrote within the context of their human experience of God, within the context of their cultural and tribal experience.
There was a certain synergy happening, as they attempted to cooperate with God. The Old Testament writers were speaking to the people of their times, and their tribal culture, all within their own identity as people of their age. Accounts of a brutal and angry God, as perceived by these writers, must be taken into account as reflective only of the age in which they lived.
"God did not invent death, and when living creatures die, it gives Him no pleasure. He created everything so that it might continue to exist, and everything He created is wholesome and good. There is no deadly poison in them. No, death does not rule this world (Wisdom I:12-14)." This God of the Old Testament did not command governments and armies to kill, otherwise He would be contradicting the Ten Commandments, wherein He told His people they should not kill.
References to capital punishment say nothing of His people killing anyone, but only that consequences of sin was death. The accounts of stoning sinners, bashing the heads of children against rocks, and slaughtering their neighbors, originated in the sin and darkness of a people who were only beginning to receive the revelation of God's love. This love had it's crescendo in the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the banishing of the power of death, once and for all.
With love in Christ,
Tuesday November 26, 2013 / November 13, 2013
23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Eve of the Nativity Fast.
St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople (407).
Martyrs Antoninus, Nicephorus, and Germanus of Caesarea in Palestine (308).
Martyr Manetha of Caesarea in Palestine (308).
New Martyr Damascene of Mt. Athos (1681).
St. Bricius, bishop of Tours (444) and St. Quintianus, bishop of Clermont (525) (Gaul).
St. Euphrasius, bishop of Clermont (515) (Gaul).
St. Leonien of Vienne (518) (Gaul).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
The Scripture Readings for the Day
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
The New Priestly Service
8 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
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