The God of the living (Lk 20:38-20:38)

“Now God is

Not a God

Of the dead,

But of the living.

To him,

All of them

Are alive.”

 

Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων· πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν

 

Luke concluded with Jesus saying that God was not a God of the dead (Θεὸς δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν νεκρῶν), but of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  All of them were alive to him (πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν).  Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:32, and Mark, chapter 12:27.  Mark said that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was not the God of the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν) but the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  He insisted that the Sadducees were very wrong, mistaken, or incorrect (πολὺ πλανᾶσθε).  Matthew indicated that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων), not the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν).  Do you believe in a living God?

The kingdom of God is near (Lk 17:21-17:21)

“They will not say.

‘Look!

Here it is!

Or

‘There it is!

In fact,

The kingdom of God

Is among you.’”

 

οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ἤ Ἐκεῖ· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that people would not say (οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν), “Look!  Here it is (Ἰδοὺ ὧδε)!” Or “Look!  There it is (ἤ Ἐκεῖ· ἰδοὺ)!”  Jesus emphasized that in fact, the kingdom of God (γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was among them (ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν).  This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:21, and Matthew, chapter 24:23.  However, they were concerned about the coming of the Messiah rather than the coming of the kingdom of God.  Matthew said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Mark said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (καὶ τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἴδε ὧδε ὁ Χριστός), or if they said look, there he is (Ἴδε ἐκεῖ), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύετε).  They were not to be misled by rumors about the Christ Messiah.  Here in Luke, it was about the kingdom of God and the not the Messiah.  More importantly, Jesus insisted here in Luke that the kingdom of God was with them already.  Is the kingdom of God among you?

God of the living (Mk 12:27-12:27)

“He is the God,

Not of the dead,

But of the living.

You are quite wrong.”

 

οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων. πολὺ πλανᾶσθε.

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:32, and Luke, chapter 20:38.  Mark said that Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was not the God of the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν Θεὸς νεκρῶν) but the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων).  He insisted that the Sadducees were very wrong, mistaken, or incorrect (πολὺ πλανᾶσθε).

First narrative

This first narrative began with the baptism of Jesus and his preaching about the kingdom of heaven.  Once again, there are five sections.  First there was the preaching of John the Baptist with his message of repentance.  Matthew made a comparison of the prophet Isaiah with John, including a description of John.  People went to John at the Jordan River where he baptized people.  John was against the Pharisees and the Sadducees, since he felt that the children of Abraham should not be presumptuous.  However, there was a powerful one yet to come when the chaff would burn.

The second section was about the baptism of Jesus, as he came to John.  However, John did not want to baptize Jesus, but Jesus insisted.  At the baptism of Jesus, a voice declared that Jesus was the beloved son, as the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Jesus.  Thus, John the Baptist and Jesus remain linked together.

The third section was about the temptations of Jesus in the desert.  Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  Then Jesus had his first temptation with his response.  After the second and third temptations and responses of Jesus, the devil left.

The fourth section had Jesus return to Galilee after the arrest of John the Baptist.  He went to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.  Like the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist, Jesus taught a call for repentance.

The fifth and final section was the call of the first four disciples.  The first two brother fishermen called were Simon and Andrew, who became his first two disciples.  Then he called James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  Then Jesus taught and healed in Galilee, where he was a faith healer with great crowds.

 

Yahweh responds to Jonah (Jon 4:9-4:11)

“But God

Said to Jonah.

‘Is it right

For you

To be angry

About the bush?’

Jonah said.

‘Yes,

Angry enough to die.’

Yahweh said.

‘You are concerned

About the bush

For which you did not labor.

You did not grow it.

It came into being

In a night.

It perished

In a night.

Should I not be concerned

About Nineveh,

That great city,

In which there are more

Than a hundred

And twenty thousand persons,

Who do not know

Their right hand

From their left hand.

There are also many animals.”

Thus, the story of Jonah ends with a reprimand for Jonah.  Jonah continued to argue that he had the right to be mad.  At times, he sounded like Job and his complaints.  God, not Yahweh, asked him if he had a right to be angry.  Jonah insisted that he was so angry that he was willing to die.  Then Yahweh asked him about the bush.  It appeared one day and was gone the next day.  Jonah did nothing to make it grow, so why was he so angry about the dead bush.  On the other hand, Yahweh was concerned about the great city of Nineveh with 120,000 people and lots of animals.  Yet, there was a parting shot at the people of Nineveh.  Apparently, they were so dumb that they could not tell their right hand from their left hand.

Israel was stubborn (Hos 4:16-4:16)

“Like a stubborn heifer,

Israel is stubborn.

Can Yahweh

Now feed them

Like a lamb

In a broad pasture?”

Hosea insisted that Israel was stubborn, just like a stubborn heifer or young cow. How could Yahweh feed them, as if they were meek lambs in a wide-open pasture? Thus, there is a difference between the stubborn young cow of Israel and the mild-mannered lamb of Judah.

Follow the law (Dan 6:15-6:15)

“Then the conspirators

Came to the king.

They said to him.

‘Know!

O king!

That it is a law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That no interdict

Or ordinance

That the king establishes

Can be changed.’”

The Babylonian conspirators went to the king. They insisted that according to the law of Medes and Persia, no interdict or ordinance could be changed, once it was established. This is somewhat reminiscent of Esther, chapters 3-4, about the law against the Jews unable to be changed.

Praise of the Most High God (Dan 4:2-4:3)

“I am pleased

To recount The signs,

The wonders,

That the Most High God

Has worked for me.

How great

Are his signs!

How mighty

His wonders!

His kingdom is

An everlasting kingdom!

His sovereignty is

From generation to generation.”

King Nebuchadnezzar now praised the Most High God that the 3 Judeans had worshipped. This most high God had worked signs and wonders for them and him. He was eager to let everyone know about them. He insisted that God’s signs were great and his wonders were mighty. The Most High God ruled an everlasting kingdom that has and will last for generations. This king almost sounds like one of the prophets in his praise of the Israelite God. This looks like a complete conversion for King Nebuchadnezzar.

Offerings to the queen of heaven (Jer 44:17-44:18)

“Instead,

We will do everything

That we have vowed.

We will make offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.

Just as we,

Our ancestors,

Our kings,

Our officials

Did

In the towns of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem.

We used to have

Plenty of food.

We prospered.

We saw no misfortune.

But from the time

We stopped making offerings

To the queen of heaven

And pouring out libations

To her,

We have lacked everything.

We have perished

By the sword

And by famine.”

The Judean refugees insisted that they would complete their vows to the queen of heaven. They would make offerings and libations to her just as their ancestors, their kings, and their officials had done in Judah and Jerusalem. When they were making these sacrifices, they had plenty of food and prospered. Since they stopped, they have been lacking everything. They have been dying by the sword and famine. Who then was this queen of heaven? For many Catholics, this might be a veiled reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus, since there are some Catholic churches with that name, Queen of Heaven. However, this is a clear reference to a popular goddess of fertility since Jeremiah had already mentioned this queen in chapter 7. In both places, here and there, this queen of heaven is a reference to the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar, or the Canaanite goddess Astarte, the wife of the god Baal. The Greek equivalent would have been the goddess Aphrodite or the Roman goddess Venice, the goddess of love. Thus the practice of worshipping to this fertility “Queen of heaven” was quite popular already in Judah and Jerusalem, before they came to Egypt.

Cyrus the Anointed Messiah Christ (Isa 45:1-45:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

To his anointed,

To Cyrus.

I have grasped his right hand,

To subdue nations before him,

To strip kings of their robes,

To open doors before him.

The gates shall not be closed.”

Second Isaiah calls Cyrus the anointed one, in Hebrew the Messiah, or in Greek the Christ. This is the only reference of an anointed person or a messiah who was not an Israelite. Cyrus, the King of Persia from 559-530 BCE, more than two centuries after the lifetime of Isaiah, was really a favorite of both Yahweh and the author of Second Isaiah. Cyrus the Great created the largest empire in the world with present day Iran the last vestige of that empire as he took over many countries. Second Isaiah continually insisted that Yahweh was behind Cyrus as he is clearly the anointed one of Yahweh. Yahweh has grasped his right hand, so that he could subdue various nations. Yahweh would help Cyrus strip kings of their robes. He would open doors for him, since no gates would be closed to Cyrus.