The blood of the prophets (Lk 11:50-11:50

“Thus,

This generation

Will be charged

With the bloodshed

Of all the prophets,

Since the foundation

Of the world.”

 

ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this generation (ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης) will be charged (ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ) with the blood (τὸ αἷμα) of all the prophets (πάντων τῶν προφητῶν) that has been shed (τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον), since the foundation of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου).  In Matthew, chapter 23:35, perhaps a Q source, Jesus said to these Pharisees and Scribes that all the righteous blood that was shed on earth (πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἐκχυννόμενον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς) would come upon them (ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  Luke indicated that it was all on this generation, while Matthew was more specific as he mentioned the Pharisees and the Scribes.  This is a startling statement.  The blood of all the righteous people from the beginning of time would be on this generation of Scribes and Pharisees.  How are you connected to the people who shed the blood of others before you came to exist?

The house with no foundation (Lk 6:49-6:49)

“But he who hears,

And does not act,

Is like a man

Who built a house

On the ground

Without a foundation.

When the river burst

Against it,

Immediately,

It fell.

Great was the ruin

Of that house.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν χωρὶς θεμελίου, ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός, καὶ εὐθὺς συνέπεσεν, καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the one who heard (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας) the word of Jesus, but did not act on it (καὶ μὴ ποιήσας), was like a man (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ) who built a house (οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν) on ground (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν) without a foundation (χωρὶς θεμελίου).  When the river streams burst against it (ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός), immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), it fell (συνέπεσεν).  Great was the ruin of that house (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:26-27, which might indicate a Q source.  The opposite of the preceding verses was present here.  Everyone who heard these words of Jesus, but did nothing about them, as opposed to those who acted upon them, were like a foolish or stupid person.  These foolish people built a house on a sand foundation, sandy ground, or no foundation, not a rock foundation.  It is interesting to note that these must have been former followers of Jesus, since they had heard his words, not people who had never heard about Jesus, indicating a rift among the followers of Jesus.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house also.  However, there was a different result here.  This house fell, because it was built on a weak foundation.  The rock foundation was those who had followed the words of Jesus.  The sand foundation was those who heard the words of Jesus but did not follow it.  Their house would suffer not just a fall, but a great fall.  It was not good enough to hear the words of Jesus, you had to act on them.  Is your house built on a weak foundation with no follow through on the words of Jesus?

The sheep on the right hand (Mt 25:34-25:34)

“Then the king

Will say to those

At his right hand.

‘Come!

You are blessed

By my Father!

Inherit the kingdom!

It has been prepared

For you

From the foundation

Of the world.”

 

τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ Δεῦτε οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  The right side is always the good side.  Jesus said that the king, not the Son of Man, would tell those at his right hand (τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ) that they had been blessed by his Father (οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου).  They would come (Δεῦτε) to inherit the kingdom (κληρονομήσατε…βασιλείαν), since it had been prepared for them (τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν) from the foundation or inception of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου).  The righteous right-side sheep would inherit the kingdom of heaven that had been prepared for them since the beginning of time.  This almost sounds like predestination.

The problem of God

Do we accept anything beyond our own concerns?  Is there something about life besides us?  Do we have ultimate concerns about something other than ourselves?  Do we accept the concept of mystery in our lives?  Various religions use different names for the transcendent mystery that goes beyond what we can understand.  However, many religious traditions call this transcendent divine reality “God.”  We, as human or finite, seek the great and the mysterious.  This mystery stands as the foundation, the center, the purpose of human existence.  God within a religious belief system contains the answer to the question of the meaning of life.  What counts most?  What is important for understanding and living?  Is God the answer or the problem?

Textual criticism

Textual criticism is the study of the variants in the original Hebrew or Greek texts.  This textual criticism attempts to establish the original wording of the biblical texts.  There is an attempt to establish the possible formation and transmission of the texts themselves.  All the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost.  Thus, the goal of textual criticism is to recover the best critical text possible, given the circumstances of today.  Most modern translations are based on various Hebrew and Greek critical texts.  These ancient texts were copied by hand with some possible human errors.  Many kinds of copying errors have been categorized and classified.  Textual criticism is known as lower criticism, because it is the foundation for all of the other kinds of critical study.

Christian Reflection on the Bible

The Bible, particularly the Christian New Testament, represents the source and foundation of any Christian reflection.  Scripture alone (sola scriptura) sounds easy enough until you realize that there is always an individual human interpretation or an established communitarian way of interpreting the Bible because it is a “living document”.  Layers of understanding continue to develop with each new reading.  Thus, various biblical passages have served as the source of theological conflict for many centuries.

Yahweh has created everything (Ps 89:11-89:14)

“You have founded

The world.

You have founded

All that is in it.

You have created

The north

You have created

The south.

Tabor

Joyously praises your name.

Hermon

Joyously praises your name.

You have a mighty arm.

Your hand is strong.

Your right hand is high.

Righteousness is

The foundation of your throne.

Justice is

The foundation of your throne.

Steadfast love goes before you.

Faithfulness goes before you.”

Yahweh has founded the world and everything in it. He has created the north and the south ends of the earth. The two northern mountains of Tabor and Hermon joyously praise the name of Yahweh. Even the mountains praise Yahweh.   He has a mighty strong arm. His right hand controls everything. Yahweh’s throne is built on the foundation of righteousness and justice. His steadfast love and faithfulness are the key concepts of this kingdom.