Prophetic art

Prophetic art is not an optional extra to the message, but essential to it!This type of language was designed to shock people out of our complacency!

The people of the day were ignoring the teachings and sermons of the prophet so the only way to get their attention was to use more poetic speech. While we can still see some of these literary devices in the prophets that we read today in the English translations, there are even more play on words, meter, and devices that we cannot see or understand in the original texts!

This is a really cool area of study if you ever have the time or interest in it. Check it out!

Hellenistic culture

In my Intro to Old Testament and especially more so in my Intro to New Testament classes, we talked about the “Intertestamental period.” This it the chronological history and time between the date that the last book in the Old Testament was written and when the events in the first book of the New Testament were taking place. This is the time where we do not have internal Biblical text to portray history. But we do have external text, outside of the Bible that clue us in on history.
This period of time is sometimes overlooked. It is an important time in history, and important time especially for Jewish and Christian history.
This is where it gets fun, because there are several theories when it comes to dating the books of the Bible:
Typically it is thought that the last book of the OT was Malachi and it is dated around 450-441 BC. Then the first book of the NT is not completed till about 37-50 AD (this is a very conservative estimation). Some scholars think Matthew could have been the first Gospel completed as early as 37AD, while many more scholars believe that Mark was the first Gospel completed around 50 AD. There are other theories as well with more liberal and later dates.
But nonetheless the events addressed in the Gospels occurred from around 1AD-34AD.
This means that we have about 400 maybe even 500 years without anything written down. A silent period from the mouth of god, if it were.
This period is known as the intertestamental period, because the time (historically) is in-between the two Testaments.
One of the main features of this time period for Israel, (and is a big reason why there are not any writings from this time period) is Diaspora. Another big issue for Israel at this time is Hellenism.

The Jewish Diaspora during the Hellenistic period, should not be confused with either the Babylonian or the later Roman Diasporas. This diaspora was not pure brute force. It was in part, a voluntary movement of Jews into the Hellenistic kingdoms that created the Jewish presence outside Judea, especially in Ptolemaic Egypt .

This Diaspora was wedged between two worlds, on the one side were the Hellenistic values of the Greeks and on the other was the Mosaic law. The various ways the Jews of the Diaspora, especially the Jews in Alexandria, balanced these two extremes, through the emphasis of common values and loyalty to the monarch, dictated its existence in the Hellenistic World.

Hellenistic culture was brought on by the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC spread Greek culture and colonization over non-Greek lands.

The Greek culture and influence left Hebrew Jews only a handful of options: They could embrace Greek culture, abstain from Greek culture, or mix with Greek Culture.

Some Jews continue to live in Israel and lived snobby. They hated Greek culture, they thought they were better than the Greek influence and lived a traditional lifestyle away from the world.

Some Jews fully embraced the new Greek cultures and fads. They went so far, as to abandon their Jewish and Hebrew traditions and religion.

Some Jews lived a life of balance. They lived in but not of the world. They embraced the culture but they continued their faith. For example the 72 scribes who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

In a later post I will describe how the Hellenistic culture looked a lot like America in recent years .

broken vs. brokeness

Is brokenness good or bad? Is brokenness the same as being broken?

I read an article the other day that said “God wants you WHOLE, complete, nothing missing nothing broken! Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc… That’s what I believe – and the scriptures back it up. WHOLE is the complete opposite of broken.”

I will agree for the most part of this idea, especially after looking at the Scriptures he uses to back himself up. God does want us to be whole physically. But what I am concerned about is the use of the word “broken.”

I do believe God wants us to enjoy Himself and enjoy life and His creation. But God never said everything is going to be good, perfect, easy…He promises danger, instability, and a life that will inevitably be broken. I do not believe in the prosperity Gospel. And I do believe God wants us to be broken all of the time, by this I mean physically and emotionally hurt and sadden.

I do think that God wants us to have a broken spirit (or spiritual brokenness) “which makes us sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit and develops spiritual maturity and character.”
Let me define the terms (broken and brokenness) and reference the Bible. I believe these two terms are two different concepts.

The more I read Tim’s article, the more I am confused by what he is trying to say. I think deep down he has got the concepts correct. But a lot of the Scriptures he uses are out of context or have nothing to do with spiritual brokenness. So now let me try my way of explaining it. Maybe Tim is saying the same thing. I am not sure.

Brokenness- Nancy DeMoss explains the brokenness I am talking about best, “Brokenness means the shattering of my self-will, so that the life and Spirit of the Lord Jesus may be released through me.” This brokenness is a shattering of our will. It is a choice, to let the Holy Spirit guide us instead of our own choices. (Acts 2: 38-41) People heard Peter’s preaching and they were broken in their hearts and ready to receive the Word of God. The Greek original, “katanusso” denotes a vehement piercing of sorrow. The tense of the verb indicates a one-time striking of the heart which brings one to the realization of the sorrow for one’s sin and the need for God’s grace.

Broken – being deeply hurt by tragic circumstances. A person may have experienced many deep hurts and tragedies.

This broken is physical, emotional – it is not the spiritual. It is painful, yes. But it completely different from what we mean we we are talking about spiritual brokenness. (Something God wants us to have.) Tim’s article does a good job explaining that God does not call us to be physical and emotionally sad all the time, hurt and broken down. This true. But I am saying that God does call us to a spiritual brokenness. And this brokenness is completely different from being broken. David was broken, due to his sin. Not spiritually broken but emotionally hurt. (Ps. 51:10) in the Hebrew word “shabar.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon denotes “shabar” with remarkable concrete-ness. Such meanings given for this root in it’s various moods include to break, to destroy in pieces, to break down, to hurt, to tear, to crush, to rend violently, to wreck, to rupture, to be maimed, to be crippled, to be wrecked, to shatter or be shattered.

This world is broken. The lost are hurt. They have been through train wrecks and are searching for truth and substance. A lot of unsaved folks are broken all the time. God does not want this. God comes to bring life and bring it abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)

To Christians God says this: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4: 8-9 (NIV)

Passion for Spiritual Brokenness:
For the Christian, we are called to have a heart for God and the Holy Spirit. A spiritual Brokenness.

Psa. 51:17(KJV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Put it in other words:
Sacrifice to God is the birthing of the Spirit. A humble heart God will not condemn.

God does call us to brokenness. To live selflessly. To let the Holy spirit reign.

Here are some resources on this topic:

Begin in my sanctuary – article by Nancy DeMoss

The Heart God Revives worksheet

Broken people vs. Proud People