—All About The Bible!DFO 1470France‚ 31/3/80
—Or, The Bible in a Nutshell!
1. WELL, PTL! IT'S BEEN A FEW DAYS SINCE WE HAD BIBLE CLASS, I wonder if you remember any. How many of you have been practicing the books of the Bible? Don't lie to me, much less to the Holy Spirit! When you finally get them straight we'll give you an honour test; sit down & write them all & correct your own paper & hand it in to show how many mistakes you made, OK?
2. AND IF YOU MADE TOO MANY MISTAKES, I DON'T CARE IF YOU DO IT OVER AGAIN AS LONG AS YOU GET IT! I don't mean by that that you can write them down & then if you forget one you look at your Bible & then write it, that doesn't count! You've got to write them all the way through without copying! Has anybody done that yet? (Sara: We can do that tomorrow for devotions.) OK, whenever you find it convenient, you don't even have to do it together. You can do it on your own if you want to, the honour test, we trust you!
3. WELL‚ PTL! WHICH VERSION OF THE BIBLE DO WE USE? (Family: King James!) I thought, like Faithy said, we use the Holy Bible! Ha! Give me the three main reasons why we use the King James. (Alf: Most spiritual translators, most widespread & familiar, & time proven.) Very very good! We could add four more, what would they be? (Alf: Most beautiful English, it works!) (Sue: Not copyrighted.) That's a pretty good one, that's true. I used to have seven reasons‚ but I don't remember them all. I only required my students to remember at least three, so that's all I remember!
4. AND WHO IS KING JAMES? (James: The English King under whom the translating was made.) And what time was it published? (Alf: 1611.) And was Shakespeare still alive? Was the Globe Theatre still going? (Family: Yes!) He was still alive five more years! Shakespeare quoted the Bible all through his writings, so it's hard for me to believe that they didn't discuss it with him sometimes! He could have been one of their counsellors! They had a large advisory council of people whom they consulted about the different interpretations.
5. WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PROBLEM THEY HAD WITH INTERPRETATION?—ONE WORD? (Family: Ecclesia.) And what kind of word is that? (Family: Greek.) It's Greek & means "the called out ones." The translators wanted to call it "the assembly of the saints" or "the assembly of believers‚" but the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted on using the word "church"—which from the original Scotch literally meant what? (Family: The building.) Kirk or a chapel, because he thought they were going to lose a grip on the people if they separated the faith from the building.—Ha!
6. SO EVERY PLACE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT YOU SEE THE WORD "CHURCH" you will find it in the Greek as what? (Family: Ecclesia.) Ecclesia, which has nothing to do with the building at all, except as Peter says, "a spiritual building." (1Pe.2:5.) It means the people, the body of believers. And the Bible is divided into what two major parts? (Family: Old Testament & New Testament.) This is a review for you, & maybe some of you missed some classes. Well, while we're at it, we'll ask you a question you haven't had yet:
7. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY OLD TESTAMENT & NEW TESTAMENT? What does the word "testament" mean? (James: A covenant or agreement.) Covenant, agreement, & something you signed recently? (Family: Contract!) A contract has to be between what & what? (James: Two parties.) At least two parties. So who are the two parties to the Old Testament? (James: God & the Jews?) God &, well, they say the Jews, but literally God's children, including Abraham who was not even a Jew!—The Believers by faith!
8. SO I DON'T LIKE THE DIFFERENCE THAT DEAR SCOFIELD MAKES, that the Old Testament was between God & the Jews, that's a lie! It was between God & anybody who is a child of God! There is no difference at all between the people of God from the Old to the New, really, because they're still the children of God by faith, the children of Abraham by faith. Paul makes that very clear about Abraham. (Gal.3.) But as least in those days they were called Jews.
9. AND THE NEW TESTAMENT IS BETWEEN GOD & WHOM? I didn't tell you yet‚ but you should know. (Alf: Everyone.) Everybody? (Family: Believers!) And the believers nowadays in the New Testament period are called what? (Family: Christians.) Not much in the Bible, because they were first called Christians where? (Family: Antioch.) Antioch, the missionary base. (Acts 11:26.) Well, normally you think of it as between God & the ecclesia, the church.
10. YOU CAN USE THE WORD "CHURCH," IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF A MENTAL IMAGE YOU GET WHEN YOU HEAR IT. But I would say if you would ask 99 out of 100 people throughout the World, "What's a church?" the first thing they'd picture in their mind would be some kind of a church building! But if you have learned to think of the people, the body of believers, the ones who meet in the building as the church‚ well then you're safe! So the New Testament was a covenant or contract between God & the church, as they were called after the time of Christ.
11. AND THE OLD TESTAMENT IS ALSO DIVIDED INTO WHAT THREE MAJOR DIVISIONS? (Dora: Historical‚ Poetical & Prophetic.) Very good! If you give me the Pentateuch or Books of Moses or the Law for one of those three major divisions, I'll mark you wrong; it's a very important division, but it's not the major division. It's a part of the historical books. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy are full of history, & those five books do have several names. Do you know what they are? (Family: Pentateuch, Torah, Books of Moses & the Law.)
12. WHAT DO THE JEWS HAVE ON THAT SCROLL THAT THEY KEEP IN THAT BEAUTIFUL ORNATE CUPBOARD BEHIND THE ROSTRUM at the synagogue which they pull out every Holy Day? It's in huge ornate gold embroidered bejeweled jacket—they don't even take it out of the jacket—on these two beautiful ornate sticks or poles.
13. THEY TAKE IT OUT ON HOLY DAYS WITH MANY PRAYERS & MUCH CHANTING & the rabbi or the cantor takes it & walks from the rostrum down one aisle & round the back & back down the next aisle, & everybody reaches out & touches it or kisses it, & they put it away till next Holy Day. What is that? (Alf: The Torah.) It's the Torah, or the first 5 books of Moses.
14. AND THE TALMUD IS WHAT!—A commentary. I told you how big the Talmud is, it's in huge tomes this high, this thick‚ this wide & occupies a whole long bookshelf of about 20-some volumes! And how much Bible is there on each page? (James: One verse.) Usually about verse in a little tiny square right in the middle of the page square right in the middle of the page surrounded by all these commentaries by all kinds of great rabbis.
15. (JAMES: WHAT WERE THOSE STUDENTS DOING THAT WE SAW ON THAT DOCUMENTARY sitting on all those pews with their caps on & reciting in a great big classroom to each other like memory work or something. just going on & on like parrots?) They have those little skull caps, the yarmulkes‚ & they're memorising at what they call "shule" in a Miami Beach. I let my kids go to one for a while & little Faithy came home, & sat down with her little reader & just delighted all those old Jewish ladies sitting around on the porch! She just read off the Hebrew beautifully!
16. THEY LEARNED TO READ & RECITE HEBREW. They learn the characters, the sounds, the pronunciations & how to read it, & they can rattle it off rattly-bang—& not understand one single word!—It's purely for ceremonial purposes. They don't really start learning what the Hebrew means until after they're 12 years of age‚ & then they start studying it. Until they're 12 it's just so many sounds & they just learn to say & read so much gibberish—& Faithy caught on right away! It wasn't too hard to learn.
17. HEBREW'S PRETTY SIMPLE. Our alphabet has 26 characters, theirs only has 22 & they're almost all consonants. I think every single one except aleph are composed entirely of consonants & no vowels, & you just have to learn by knowledge & experience how to pronounce them.
18. LATER ON THE EUROPEAN JEWS DID DEVELOP THE ASHKENA, a system of vowel sounds which they indicated by dots under the consonant that proceeded it, & gave you an idea what vowel sound was supposed to follow what consonant.—One dot, two dots‚ three dots, & I think that was about it.
19. I ACTUALLY TOOK BASIC HEBREW ONCE, & IT WAS VERY INTERESTING! We learned the alphabet & we were learning the basic sounds & the vowels & words like you learn a little basic Spanish or some other language. Once you've licked the Hebrew alphabet you've got it made, because that is the most difficult part to learn.
20. IT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ALPHABET, it's not anything like our alphabet. You have to learn how to make the characters, just like making Chinese or Japanese characters. You have to learn how to draw them & you have to learn the consonant sound that it has & what vowel usually follows. And really they're very simple words.
21. IN MY HEBREW CLASSES I USED TO GIVE THE STUDENTS SIMPLE HEBREW in which they'd just take their Bibles & turn to Psalm 119! Now these in my Bible don't have the Hebrew character there. Some just have the character without the pronunciation, some have the pronunciation without the character‚ & some Bibles have both! What has yours got? Both! Wow! You're blessed! Yours has both the Hebrew character & the pronunciation!
22. THAT'S THE WHOLE HEBREW ALPHABET OF 22 LETTERS IN PSALM 119. I'm a bit short in mine, it just gives you the name without the character‚ but from this you can easily learn the Hebrew alphabet. Maybe some night we'll go over it with you & teach you how to pronounce these words. It's very simple. It's already transliterated for you into English characters, right? So: Aleph, Beth, Gimel‚ Daleth, He, Vau, Zain!
23. HEBREW'S A RATHER LIMITED LANGUAGE & IT WAS AMUSING TO ME TO READ IN THE PAPER HOW THEY'RE HAVING QUITE A PROBLEM IN MODERN ISRAEL to make the very limited Hebrew language accommodate itself to so many strange modern expressions! They don't like to admit it‚ but they write a whole lot of modern words, predominantly English words, in Hebrew characters; they're originally English words because they just don't have any Hebrew words for it!
24. AND ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONTROVERSIES IN ISRAEL TODAY IS DECIDING ON A WORD, what word they should use in Hebrew for some common modern thing or idea. It's a big big thing between the Scribes & the Pharisees who "strain at gnats & swallow camels" & have big arguments over splitting the jots & the tittles! (Mt.23:24.)
25. AFTER MONTHS & SOMETIMES YEARS OF ARGUMENTS, they finally decide on the official word to be included in the Hebrew dictionary for that particular thing. It's kind of silly & I wrote a whole thing on it that I don't think we've ever published, on the difference between the various kinds of Hebrew.
26. THERE ARE TWO MAJOR SCHOOLS OF HEBREW, the European or Ashkenas, & the Oriental Sephardim. That's still the major division between the Jews in Israel today, the controversy between the European & the Oriental Jews, particularly the Jews who are natives of Israel, the Sabras.
27. AT ONE TIME ISRAEL HAD BECOME VIRTUALLY AN ENGLISH COUNTRY, English Colony, spoke English, all the signs were in English, street signs in English, everything in English!—Which is something almost everybody in the World can understand. English is a universal language‚ the most common international language in the World!
28. NEARLY EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD TODAY LEARNS ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE because it's the language of commerce & business & diplomacy & everything. French used to be, but no more, & the French still resent that. But because of the power of America, not just England, English became the international language. So going back to Israel is like going backward in time, just like stepping backward a thousand, two thousand‚ three thousand years, to go back to Hebrew.
29. ALL THE SIGNS ARE CHANGED NOW, & UNLESS YOU KNOW & READ HEBREW, YOU CAN'T READ A SIGN!—Nothing in English, not a street sign, not a road sign‚ not a sign about towns or which direction you're going on the highway! Everything is in Hebrew & you are forced to learn Hebrew.
30. THEY MAKE IT AS DIFFICULT AS THEY CAN FOR ANYBODY WHO CAN'T READ HEBREW, which really makes it difficult for tourists.
31. THEY COULD CATER TO TOURISM A LOT MORE & HAVE A LOT MORE SUCCESS WITH TOURISTS If they'd at least have the signs in English, but they flatly refuse to even have them in English. About the only signs you will find in English at all are the kind which are imbedded in ceramic tile up high on corners of buildings, like cornerstones which the British originally put there, & that's the only thing that's left!
32. IF YOU DON'T HAVE YOURSELF A GOOD MAP, such as Haifa where we lived, you can just forget it! You can't tell a thing by the Hebrew unless you know the Hebrew, & by the time I got there I would have had to start all over on Hebrew because it was years & years since I'd been in college & studied Hebrew.
33. CAN YOU IMAGINE! ALL THOSE HIGHLY EDUCATED, LEARNED EUROPEAN & AMERICAN JEWS go back to Israel & the first thing they're required to do as new immigrants is go to school like tiny little children & learn Hebrew from scratch!—Something they never knew anything about at all whatsoever!
34. SOME OF THEM HAVE A JUMP ON THEM‚ PARTICULARLY THE EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWS & European Jews in general, because they know a common vernacular, a common modern Jewish language called Jewish or Yiddish. It's predominantly a mixture of Hebrew & German & other European languages.—About 40% Hebrew, 30% German, & the other 30% a mixture of Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian‚ Russian & all kinds of European languages!
35. THOSE WHO SPEAK YIDDISH, HOWEVER, ARE USUALLY THE MOST IGNORANT & POOREST CLASSES OF JEWS, whereas the rich American Jews know very little about Yiddish, much less Hebrew, all they ever spoke was American! So those rich educated American Jews going back to Israel have to sit down in little classrooms like little kids at desks & take a little primer & start learning their ABC's of Hebrew from absolute scratch. You've got to hand it to them for being humble enough to do it. That's one place our dear friend rebelled.
36. WE HAD AN AMERICAN FRIEND, A DEAR LADY WHO WANTED TO BE A MISSIONARY TO THE JEWS. She was an American Jewish Christian & she decided the place to go to be a missionary to the Jews was Israel, like us. So she went there, like us, until she found out what Israel was like! Then she spent nearly a year trying to get out of there!
37. SHE'D BEEN MADE PRACTICALLY A PRISONER & THEY WOULDN'T GIVE HER AN EXIT VISA. They said, "You volunteered to be an immigrant, you're now an Israeli & you've got to abide by the same rules as everybody else! You can't leave the country without special permission!" You talk about Russia, the same thing exists in Israel today! You cannot leave the country without special permission from the government, the Minister of the Interior. You have to have a special visa.
38. CITIZENS OF ISRAEL CANNOT LEAVE OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL & ACCORD‚ & if they do, they have to pay a 100% tax on their fare! In other words, they try to make it as hard as possible for them to leave. I'm sure that it's because so many of them got there & got fed up & disgusted with it & didn't like it & wanted to go, so they try to make it as difficult as possible for them to leave!
39. IN FACT, YOU CANNOT LEAVE ONCE YOU ARE AN APPLICANT FOR CITIZENSHIP, in other words, an immigrant or a full-fledged Israeli citizen. You cannot go without special permission from the government, & usually it's only given to special students with permission‚ technicians & so on who are going somewhere to study, doctors, some businessmen, etc.
40. SO ISRAEL IS A PRISON FOR ITS OWN PEOPLE, & FOR THE ARABS THINGS ARE EVEN WORSE! The Arabs are virtually slaves & have little or no rights whatsoever. They have no vote, except in their own Arab communities, they have no right to participate in any kind of government office, & they're only allowed to hold the most menial manual labour jobs.
41. DOCTORS, LAWYERS, PROFESSORS & HIGHLY-EDUCATED PALESTINIANS‚ some of the most brilliant intellectual people of the Mideast, are compelled to be hod-carriers, brick-layers & concrete-layers because the Israelis refuse to give them any kind of work along their own intellectual level. But anyway, so much for that.
42. I DIDN'T MEAN TO GET OFF INTO ALL THIS ABOUT ISRAEL, but we learned our bitter lessons & we're sort of bringing you up to date on what is Bible & what isn't, who are God's people & who aren't, & what is God's Kingdom & what isn't!
43. IF THERE'S ANY PEOPLE ON EARTH WHO AREN'T GOD'S CHILDREN, it's the modern–day Israelis! And if there's any land on Earth that is not the Holy Land nor the Kingdom of God, it's Israel! Whew! You've read all that in my Letters so I don't have to repeat it now, but anyway, that's a little information about the language.
44. SO WHAT LANGUAGE WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT WRITTEN IN? (Family: Hebrew.) That's one reason why you find it so simple. You don't find nearly as big words in the Old Testament as you do in the New testament. The New Testament was written in Greek which was a far more prolific & expressive language. Greek is full of complicated three, four, five & six-cylinder high-powered words!—Ha!—Six-syllable words.
45. GREEK IS A BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE‚ VERY EXPRESSIVE & VERY SIMPLE! It's the closest language I ever saw to Spanish & their music is very Gypsy Spanish music. If you go to a Greek nightclub, you get a lot of music that sounds just like a nightclub is Spain! They have very simple rules of pronunciation, & once again, the hurdle is learning the alphabet. Once you've learned those characters & how they sound, from then on it's a breeze!
46. IT'S REALLY EASY TO READ GREEK & FASCINATING! I'm glad I learned enough of both of them, at least, that I was able to use a good Young's Concordance—don't use Strong's‚ it's modernistic—use Young's & you can read the words & they help you a lot because they even transliterate for you. Do you know what that means? It literally has to do with the letters, liter, trans-liter-ate.
47. FOR THE SAKE OF PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW GREEK, in your Young's Concordance they'll give you the Greek word in Greek letters‚ & then will give you the same word‚ pronounced the same but in English alphabetic letters so that you can read it. Then they give you the real meaning of the Greek word, & they spell it out for you so you can pronounce it—you don't even have to know Greek.
48. IN OTHER WORDS‚ THEY WILL SPELL "ECCLESIA" FOR YOU IN GREEK LETTERS "EKKLESIA," & then right after they will transliterate it—not translate it but transliterate—meaning literally translate it into English letters. A few of the Greek letters are so similar to the English that it's not too hard, like the "e" & the "k" & the "l" look a lot like it. It's a very interesting language.
49. ALL RIGHT, THE NEW TESTAMENT IS DIVIDED INTO WHAT THREE MAJOR CATEGORIES? (James: Gospels, Epistles & Prophetic.) In other words, it parallels the same arrangement as the Old Testament with one exception. The central section, instead of Poetic books, are called what? (Family: Epistles!) Epistles, & they're a far cry from Poetry!
50. THE EPISTLES ARE VERY DEEP, LEGAL THEOLOGY & SO ON WRITTEN BY MASTER MINDS LIKE PAUL using big words which are hard & difficult to be understood, as Peter said, & I heartily agree with it! (2Pe.3:16.) But Paul was a lawyer & he was trying to interpret the Gospel for the sake of lawyers & brilliant minds & legalists like himself, to his own kind like the Pharisees & the scribes & trying to prove to them in legal language & legal arguments that he was right.
51. HE DOES A VERY GOOD JOB OF IT, BUT MOST OF YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT! You can understand some of it, but a lot of it you can't; a lot of it is quite lengthy, as Peter says, & a little bit difficult to understand. That's why I always like the Gospels best, particularly the words of Jesus which are simple little one & two-syllable words even a child can understand‚ amen?
52. BUT PAUL'S WRITINGS WERE NECESSARY TOO, it was necessary for Paul to explain in convincing legal arguments why the Gospel had to be so‚ why Jesus had to come & why things were different now—no longer law but grace. He gives legal arguments like he's talking before a judge to convince a judge & jury of his case, & if you're that kind of a mind, you'll love his writings & you will enjoy it!
53. DEAR EVE ALWAYS LOVED EPISTLES. But I guess I was too simple to really enjoy it too much, & I always loved the Gospels. And of course hardly anybody understands Revelation except me, so you might as well forget that! Maybe sometime we can get into that too a little bit to see if you remember anything about your Bible Prophecy. (Ha!—You know now!)
54. WELL, PTL! TYL! NOW YOU KNOW WHY BY THE TIME I GIVE A TEST MY STUDENTS KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS, because we keep going over & over & over so you can't forget it! The next thing we got into was what? Bible what? (Family: Knowledge.) Well, it's all Bible Knowledge. The order of the Old Testament, by the way, was ordered by whom? Who got together where? (James: In Alexandria.) Alexandria's in what country? (Alf: Egypt.) Very good. (James: There were 70 translators & it was called the Septuagint, about 300 B.C.) Was it that early? I think it was 200-something. (250-100 B.C.—They don't know!)
55. WELL, IT WAS SOMEWHERE IN THE SILENT PERIOD BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS when they organised the books of the Old Testament & put them in their present order. I don't think any of the Apocryphal writings were in existence at that time‚ I think it was a later convocation of the Catholic Church that decided on the canonicity of the Apocryphal books, like the Council of Trent or something like that. They were written mostly between the Testaments & even in the early days of Christ, or early days of the church.
56. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS ARE? (James: The Apocrypha are some books that they weren't completely convinced were totally inspired writings, so they thought they'd throw them in for people who wanted them, but not on the same basis.) But why did they throw them in if they weren't inspired? You can use two words for it. They were edifying & educational. (Sara: And as history.) Yes‚ they were historical particularly about the Maccabean period about the Maccabee brothers.
57. OK, WELL YOU'VE FORGOTTEN ONE OF THE MAJOR STUDIES WE HAD HERE THAT COVERED THE WHAT OF THE BIBLE? (Sue: Chronology!) Very good, Honey, brilliant student! The chronology of the Bible. What does chronology mean, David? Chron means time & ology means knowledge, Chronology means knowledge of the time of the Bible. Chronology‚ time knowledge, see? Time knowledge of the Bible. I think we had a couple lessons & several reviews of it, have you forgotten so soon? Are ye "ever learning & never coming to a knowledge" or a chron-knowledge? (2Tim.3:7.) (James: We talked about the oldest book.) Yes, what is the oldest book in the Bible? (Family: Job!) Very good.
58. ALL RIGHT, CHRONOLOGY OF THE BIBLE, DO YOU THINK YOU'VE FORGOTTEN IT ALL? I always gave open Bible tests, but right now I'm curious to know just how much you remember without looking in your Bible or at your notes. Close your Bibles‚ close your notebooks!
59. WHAT'S THE FIRST DATE WE BEGAN WITH‚ OF COURSE? (James: 4000 B.C.‚ Creation.) The approximate date of Creation, about 4004 to be exact. What was the next major date & event? (Family: 2500, the Flood.) About. It's better not to just say "two thousand five hundred," it's better to say "about twenty-five hundred," because I'm giving you this in round numbers. So always say "about."
60. ABOUT 2500 B.C. WAS THE DATE OF THE FLOOD, & therefore this was how long after Creation? (Family: 1500 years.) Man had 1500 years to get very wicked! We're jumping in 500-foot steps which should make it very easy for you. All you have to do is think of the next 500 years & what happened about then? (Family: Abraham was born.) When? (Family: 2000.) About 2000, in fact it was 2002. Next step? (Family: 1500, Moses was born.)
61. DON'T SAY "WHEN MOSES WAS BORN," SAY "ABOUT THE TIME OF MOSES‚" because I'm giving you these in very general, not exact, dates. I know you'll never remember the exact dates, but you can remember approximate times in round numbers. So 1500 was about the time of Moses, well‚ to be exact, the time of the Exodus is about 1400 something. I'm trying to make it easy for you, why do you make it complicated?
62. ABOUT 1000 WAS WHAT? (Family: The Kings.) Time of the Kings. Around 500? (Family: Fall of Jerusalem.) To be exact, 586 B.C. The edict of Artaxerxes was 454 & the Fall of Jerusalem was 586. Does anybody know when was the Fall of Samaria, the Northern ten tribes? (Peter: 722.) Very good, PTL! 722 Samaria fell, 586 Jerusalem fell. And who conquered Samaria in 722? (Family: The Assyrians.) And who conquered Jerusalem in 586? (Family: The Babylonians.) From which you think God gets their liberation date, from Samaria 722 or Jerusalem 586? (James: From Jerusalem‚ the Jews.)
63. AS FAR AS GOD WAS CONCERNED, WHEN THE CAPITAL, JERUSALEM, FELL‚ THAT WAS THE DATE, & He promised Jeremiah in 70 years they would be out of jail. It wasn't really jail, because they were really pretty freely liberally treated, they weren't even treated like Pharaoh treated them. It was simply a transmigration of populations, as they used to call it in the days of Hitler & Stalin Russia‚ a displacement of population.
64. THEY MOVED WHOLE POPULATIONS, CITIES, ALMOST COUNTRIES FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER to try to scatter them out so they wouldn't be a threat to the central government, & this is what they did to the Jews. They just moved them to Babylonia & to Assyria, & there they lived in their own cities, plied their own trades, just like they'd been home.
65. THEY WERE NOT IN JAIL OR IN CHAINS OR IN BONDAGE OR MADE SLAVES OF LIKE PHARAOH DID, & they were allowed a great deal of freedom & liberty; but it wasn't their own country & they weren't under their own government, that's all. They were living someplace else‚ & in a sense, working for somebody else; they had a new boss.
66. BUT THEY WERE NOT MADE SLAVES OF like I'm sorry to say certain fictional renditions here seem to try to make them seem to be! The conquerors just wanted to get them out of where they were & get them where they could keep them under control, because otherwise they'd have been very stubborn & rebellious & caused a lot of trouble.
67. THEY JUST BROUGHT THEM OVER WHERE THEY COULD KEEP AN EYE ON THEM & their armies were in control, where they couldn't cause any more trouble, that's all. They let them go ahead & be herdsmen or artisans or whatever they wanted to be, & go right ahead plying their usual trades & customs & didn't even hinder their worship‚ nothing. Actually, their so-called dictators then, rulers, were far more liberal & treated them far better, & some of the outstanding men in their governments were Jews.
68. THAT'S AN INTERESTING POINT‚ HOW DID THEY FIRST GET TO BE CALLED JEWS? Where in the Bible are they first called Jews? The name comes from Judah, the predominant tribe when Jerusalem fell. It was considered the head of the kingdom & so the term Jew comes from the Tribe of Judah. It's not actually a technical name, it's a nickname, or as the Bible calls it, a "byword."
69. A BYWORD IS LIKE A NICKNAME OR A SLANG WORD‚ & the Lord said "I will make you a byword amongst the nations throughout the World." (Deut.28:37; 2Chron.7:20.) And most of them, they hate that name Jew‚ they really hate it. Very few are willing to be called Jews & they don't like it. Only the most ardent type of Jews are willing to accept it. It was a nickname given to them, not by themselves, but by both the Assyrians & the Babylonians after the leading tribe which was Judah.
70. ALL RIGHT, HOW LONG DID THE LORD PROPHESY THROUGH THE MOUTH OF JEREMIAH THAT THEY WOULD BE IN CAPTIVITY? (James: 70 years.) (Jer.25:11,12.) So when was it that Cyrus issued an edict that they could return home? (James: 516.) How do you know that? (James: Because that's 70 years from 586.) Exactly! You take 586 B.C. & subtract 70, because in B.C. you're going backwards, & you get 516. That's when Cyrus issued the edict, exactly as the Lord prophesied. Cyrus was the principal actual king of the Medo-Persian Empire.
71. REMEMBER IT SAYS THAT THE BEAR WHO TYPIFIED MEDO–PERSIA HAD ONE SIDE LIFTED UP HIGHER THAN THE OTHER, & he had three ribs in his mouth, or three provinces that he gobbled up? (Dan.7:5.) It was a dual kingdom ruled by what two men? (James: Cyrus & Darius.) Who was really the political king of the two men & the head & the highest? (James: Cyrus.) Who was the military general & leader? (James: Darius.)
72. WHICH ONE WAS PROPHESIED BY GOD THROUGH THE MOUTH OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH & WHO WAS EVEN NAMED BY NAME more than 200 years before he was even born? He named him, named the King who was going to release his people before they were ever even in captivity, 200 years before he was even born. Who? (Family: Darius?) No, Cyrus was the one. (Isa.44:28; 45:1–4.)
73. CYRUS WAS THE MAIN KING & THE ONE THAT MADE THE EDICT IN 516 TO LET THEM GO, Just look it up about Cyrus, it's a marvellous Scripture where he says "I've named him." I'm sorry, I don't have time to get right into the nitty-gritty of it all, but you look it up. That's something you can do for homework on your own time.
74. THERE'S AN INTERESTING THING YOU DON'T HEAR IN THE BIBLE BUT IS ACTUAL HISTORY, it's in Jewish history at least, to show you how the Devil fought it. There was a very good authentic Jewish movie made about the life of Cyrus‚ a very interesting movie I saw years ago. I've forgotten what it was called, but it was the historical background of Cyrus & there were some good stars in it too.
75. DAVID, WHEN KING CYRUS WAS A LITTLE BOY ABOUT YOUR AGE, HIS FATHER DIED. He wasn't king yet, but he was supposed to be king when his father died, & his father died when he was about six, as I recall. His wicked cruel uncle was supposed to make Cyrus king‚ but instead of that he stole the throne & took over & claimed himself king & banished Cyrus!
76. HE HAD HIM LITERALLY KIDNAPPED, SPIRITED AWAY & DEPORTED WAY OUT IN THE DISTANT PROVINCE & put as the adopted child of some very poor peasant shepherds. He lived a shepherd's life as a poor little boy until he was 16 years of age, something like that‚ for many years until he was a grown young man.
77. HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS REALLY KING & THE PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS STILL ALIVE, This wicked uncle‚ his father's brother, had stolen the Kingdom, the throne, & had put poor little Cyrus, a little boy about your age, clear out in the country with some shepherds to live. It was probably good for him & ordained of the Lord because he learned to live with the poor & learned to live as a shepherd.
78. MANY OF THE KINGS & THE PROPHETS THAT GOD LATER USED, HE DID WHAT WITH THEM FIRST? (Family: Humbled them.) He humbled them first by putting them in very menial jobs, & a number of them were at first shepherds. Because if you can understand sheep & how dumb they are & how much care they need‚ it will make you a good shepherd of God's sheep, God's people.
79. SHEEP ARE ALMOST THE DUMBEST ANIMALS ON EARTH, & they cannot survive without man to take care of them. They just don't know what to do! You'll find wild goats & they call some of these wild sheep, but if you take a good look at them, they look a lot more like goats with those huge horns & everything, than they look like sheep. I'm more inclined to think they're more goats than sheep. But domesticated sheep cannot survive without man.
80. SO GOD LET SOME OF HIS LEADERS BECOME SHEPHERDS AS LITTLE BOYS, can you name a few? (Family: Moses & David.) Any outstanding leaders, nearly all of the early patriarchs & leaders & kings were shepherds before they really became great leaders of the Lord. Some were farmers, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. They lived out in the country, like on ranches, & they had goats & sheep & horses & mules & burros & wives & children & oxen & all kinds of farm animals.
81. WELL, FINALLY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR THE END OF THE STORY OF CYRUS? The people had just about gotten fed up with this wicked uncle of his, & the boy was full-grown now when the Lord told a prophet of God, a man of God, where the boy was, & he went out & found him. He just waited & God waited till the time was ripe when the people would be ready, & ready to dump this other guy.
82. HE SNUCK HIM INTO THE CAPITAL CITY OF MEDO-PERSIA, which at that time was what? (James: Babylon.) Right, it was Babylon‚ they'd conquered Babylon, hadn't they? The Babylonians had first conquered Assyria, & what was the capital of Assyria? (James: Nineveh.) Very good.
83. YOU KNOW YOUR BIBLE! He's got a jump on the rest of you because in the Commonwealth schools they teach you Bible in school, don't they? So they really know their Bible & know their history, if nothing else, even if they only studied it as a historical book. I even found out down in the Bahama Islands amongst those poor Negroes they had one class on Bible every day in public schools.
84. LOOK AT THE U.S.!—IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE CHRISTIAN?— It's one of the most heathen, anti-God, anti-Christ, anti–religious, anti-Bible countries in the World outside of Russia! Russia is officially anti-Christ, anti-religious. I started to say the U.S. is unofficially‚ but no, the U.S. is officially anti-religious‚ separation of Church & State. The secular government is officially anti-religious, literally.
85. THEY REFUSE TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO, SUPPOSEDLY‚ WITH THE CHURCH OR RELIGION, although there's a lot of crisscrossing. The U.S. government is supposed to be a purely secular government‚ just as the Russian government—maybe not as vocally anti-God & anti-church & anti-religion, but to the same effect. It is anti-Christ, anti-God, anti–Church & anti-religion!
86. WELL ANYWAY, HE GOT THE BOY & HE SNEAKED HIM BACK INTO THE CAPITAL & into the palace in a big conspiracy, & one day in the court he brought him in publicly. He had to prove that he was the father's son by a signet ring that he had‚ as I recall, that had been given to him by his father & he somehow kept.
87. AND HE HAD HIM PROCLAIMED & CROWNED KING RIGHT THEN & THERE in the presence of all the court & the people, right smack dab in front of his uncle!—And in such a way that they couldn't deny it, & his bad wicked uncle was run out of the place! That's Cyrus, the one that God named 200 years before he was born & called him by name & made him king by a series of miracles.
88. AND WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING CYRUS DID AS FAR AS BIBLE HISTORY IS CONCERNED?—He gave the edict to send the Jews back from captivity. At what date? (Sue: 516.) Under whom? (James: Cyrus?) He was Cyrus! He sent them back under whom? (James: Nehemiah?) No, what was Nehemiah's job? (Family: To rebuild the wall.) Right, so who did he send back? Ezra! That's the order of the books of the Bible, right?—Ezra, Nehemiah.
89. SO CYRUS IS THE ONE THAT SENT THE JEWS BACK FROM CAPTIVITY & REPATRIATED THEM UNDER ZERUBABBEL & LATER EZRA. And the first thing they wanted to do before they built the city & the wall, was rebuild the temple‚ so really they started the temple rebuilding under Zerubabbel & finished it under Ezra. But the city & the wall thereof was rebuilt under Nehemiah. You should remember that easily because he's the one up on the wall who said, "I'm doing a great work & I cannot come down"—when his enemies tried to tempt him down off the wall. (Neh.6:3.)
90. ONE OF HO'S KIDS WAS NAMED NEHEMIAH, because it was just at that time they were trying to do the same with us out there at TSC. Our enemies wanted to get us to come out & debate & do this & do that, but we said nothing doing, we're staying right here! They were just trying to get us out of the city & away from the wall where they could trap us, just like they were Nehemiah. Well, anyhow, that was later.
91. WHAT WAS THE DATE OF THAT EDICT TO GO BACK & REBUILD THE CITY & THE WALL THEREOF UNDER NEHEMIAH? (Family: 454 B.C.) And from that we can pinpoint the exact year of Christ's death as the Messiah, because how many years was it to be? (Family: 69.) 69 what? (Family: Weeks.) 69 sevens of years, & that's how many years? Somebody multiply 69 x 7 for us, will you? Well, an easy way to do it is 7 x 70 instead of 7 x 69. 7 x 70 is very easy, 490 total years, right? And subtract 7 is 483.
92. SO IF THE EDICT WAS MADE IN 454, YOU SUBTRACT 454 FROM 483 & WHAT DO YOU GET? (James: 29.) You get 29 years, which means 29 A.D.‚ & that is when Jesus was crucified at the age of 33, because He was actually born in 4 B.C. according to the present Roman calendar, one of the most amazing time prophecies of the Bible! (See Daniel 9:25-26.) The Romans since then changed the calendar & the actual years of His birth was 4 B.C. How about that?
93. OK‚ SO THEN THE NEXT MAJOR EVENT OF THE BIBLE WAS WHAT?—I JUST TOLD YOU! (Family: The birth of Jesus.) The birth of Christ at 4 B.C., & then His crucifixion 29 A.D. And what's the next major even? We're going to get more specific now. (Alf: 66 A.D., the death of Paul.) Death of Paul the Apostle, 66 A.D.‚ & what happened in 70 A.D.? (Family: The destruction of Jerusalem.) By whom? (Alf: The Romans.) By the Romans under general Titus.
94. HOW MANY JEWS WERE CRUCIFIED IN ISRAEL? (Peter: A million.) One million! How many on the hills around Jerusalem? (James: 100,000.) Boy, oh, boy! "His blood be upon us & upon our children" (Mt.27:25).
96. 90 A.D.? (FAMILY: DEATH OF JOHN THE BELOVED.) Where? (Family: Patmos.) What's Patmos? (Family: An island.) Isle of Patmos. After what? (Family: They boiled him.) They tried to boil him but he wouldn't boil, & he only died after he gave his what? (Family: Revelation.) After the Lord gave him the Revelation, & he gave it to us. So it's about time to quit, we're almost running out of dates!
97. WELL, WE START TAKING 500-YEAR LEAPS AGAIN FROM THERE OF MAJOR EVENTS. What happened around 500 A.D.? Remember, these are only round numbers, approximate dates just to give you periods. The division of the Eastern & Western Roman Empires‚ & therefore the division of the Catholic Church into the Western Catholic church, which is today what? (Peter: The Roman Catholic Church.) The Roman Catholic Church, dominated by the Romans. And the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church with headquarters where? (Peter: Constantinople.)
98. CONSTANTINOPLE LATER CHANGED ITS NAME TO ISTANBUL, isn't that right?—And it was named after Constantine. (Peter: Was that Greece at that time?) Yes, at that time it was really Greek & it was pretty much known as the Greek Church. it was a split literally between the Roman Church & the Greek Church. It wasn't until later that the Turks captured Constantinople & changed the name to Istanbul. Istanbul is a Turkish name‚ Constantinople is a Greek name.
99. ANOTHER GREAT EVENT WE SKIPPED OVER A LITTLE BIT WAS SOMETHING IN THE 300s which was a great turning point in the history of the church‚ the conversion of what man? (James: The Emperor.) What was his name? I just gave it to you, Constantine! He was the one after whom the city was named. The date that come to me is 313, but you can look it up in your Halley's Handbook or Bible Dictionary—you might even find it in your encylopedia, I'm sure you will. Do that for homework & tell us next class‚ OK?
100. SO CONSTANTINE WAS THE EMPEROR OF WHAT? (Family: The Romans.) The Roman Emperor, & he was converted do what? (Fam: Christianity.) And later they turned Rome officially to become what? (Family: A Christian city.) And all the Romans were declared Christians by official Imperial Edict. Do you think that changed their hearts any?—You can see by their behaviour afterwards it didn't!
101. BUT THEY WERE ALL MADE OFFICIALLY CHRISTIANS WHETHER THEY LIKED IT OR NOT, whether they had Jesus or not; everybody was made a Christian by decree of the Emperor! Well, at least it helped the poor real Christians quite a bit because they didn't get so damned persecuted anymore! Because up to that time, between the time of Christ, the early church & the 300s, they had how many major Roman persecutions & slaughters of Christians in the church? (James: 70?)
102. WELL, THERE WERE A LOT OF MINOR ONES, I'M SURE BUT THERE WERE TEN MAJOR OFFICIAL SLAUGHTERS OF CHRISTIANS, official persecutions & slaughters declared by the Emperors, that everybody was to go out & kill Christians, ten of them during the first 300 years. So that was the official policy of the Roman government & system, was to kill Christians. Did they kill them all? (Family: No!)
103. THE MORE THEY KILLED, THE MORE THEY MULTIPLIED‚ the faster they grew, the more powerful they grew, till finally the Emperor himself was converted! TTL! Many in the house of Caesar were even converted in the early days of the ministry of Paul.
104. IT WAS SAID THAT ONE OF THE GREATEST TESTIMONIES OF THE CHRISTIANS WAS THEIR MARTYRDOM & THE WAY THEY DIED, burning at the stake, torn asunder by lions, praising the Lord with light on their faces, happy & singing hymns, & it didn't seem to hurt them. They didn't die screaming in pain or anything, they died happy! The Lord seemed to just keep them from being hurt or feeling pain.
105. THEY DIED AT THE STAKE BURNING IN FLAMES, SINGING HYMNS‚ smiling, praising the Lord & preaching the Gospel!—And the same thing in front of the lions. Sometimes they would gather out there in a little huddle in the middle of the arena, & the lions wouldn't even come near them! They'd be singing & praising the Lord & the lions were actually scared of them! They'd just go slinking & prowling around several yards away from them.
106. THE GUARDS WOULD SOMETIMES HAVE TO TAKE THE CHRISTIANS ONE OF BY ONE & THROW THEM INTO THE MIDST OF THE LIONS‚ because the lions were afraid to approach this powerful little group of Christians that were singing & praising the Lord! Hallelujah! TYJ! PYL! It pays to stick together, huh? In unity there is power! PTL! "One can chase a thousand, two can put ten thousand to flight!" (Deut.32:30.)
107. WELL, THEY SURVIVED ALL THAT, THE WORST MOST POWERFUL PERSECUTION YOU COULD IMAGINE in which they did everything they could to stop them, & they couldn't stop'm till finally the Emperor was converted & the whole Empire was officially declared Christian! Then, not long after that, was a political division of the empire; the political empire was breaking up & dividing between the Western Roman & the Eastern Greek halves of the Empire.
108. THIS IS PORTRAYED, BY THE WAY, IN ONE OF DANIEL'S VISIONS, do you know what it was? (Peter: Daniel's Image.) And what part of the Image were the Eastern & Western Roman Empires? (Family: The two legs.) Right. Exactly. It's amazing how God gives simple little dreams like that! I have the most peculiar dreams. I had the strangest dream the other night, have you heard it already? We called it "The German Cake Dream"! (See No.901.) That's one that I even had a hard time trying to figure out!
109. SO LET'S FINISH OUR CHRONOLOGY! JUMP ANOTHER 500 YEARS, & what is that considered around 1000, 1100 A.D.? (James: The middle of the Dark Ages.) The middle of the Dark Ages, called the Midnight of the Dark Ages when the Catholic Church was in the greatest control & conditions were horrible! There was horrible corruption in the church & the days of some of the women popes & the apostate popes & French popes & they had some real stinkers in those days, horrible!
110. (SUE: WHAT DOES APOSTATE MEAN?) One who was supposed to have been a believer but forsakes the faith. That's what the Jews call guys like me! I'm supposed to be an ex-Jew. Of course, I've never been a Jew by faith & my family's been Christian for three or four generations. But that's what they like to call me anyhow, because if there's anything they hate‚ it's what they call an apostate Jew! Anybody who's forsaken the faith for Christianity is anathema, cursed! About as bad as the way the Muslims treat their apostates.
111. IF A MUSLIM FORSAKES THE FAITH & THE FAITHFUL & becomes Christian, they used to kill them, & poisoning is still frequent in Muslim countries, secret poisoning by the family. So it's pretty dangerous to become a Christian amongst the Muslims, they don't particularly like it! They recognise Judaism & Jews & Christianity & Christians & they say they're OK & that they're right & they believe in the right God & so on, but just don't you dare become one of them or you're in trouble!
112. THE NEXT JUMP IS 1500, THE GENERAL TIME OF THE REFORMATION, which was followed very closely on the heels of what we know in secular history as what? (Fam: The Renaissance.) The Renaissance, the revival of knowledge, when they came out in the open & opened their eyes! It's like the little boy said about his puppies. When little puppies are born of the dog, do you know what their eyes are like first? They're all closed for about 10 days.
113. SO SOMEBODY ASKED THE LITTLE BOY IF HIS PUPPIES WERE CHRISTIANS, PROTESTANTS OR CATHOLICS. He said‚ "I think they're Catholics." And the guy said, "Well, how do you know?" And the little boy said, "Because their eyes are closed!" A few days later he was asked by his friend‚ "Well, how are your Catholic puppies getting along?" "Oh, they're no longer Catholics." "How come?" "They all have their eyes open!"—Undoubtedly a Protestant joke!—Ha!
114. SO ABOUT 1500 WE HAVE MARTIN LUTHER & THE REFORMATION‚ & if we take another jump of 500, where would that put us? (Family: The coming of Christ!) Somewhere around 2,000, which would be the coming of Christ. That will be the biggest event around that time‚ that's for sure! And that will put us how many years from the Creation? (Family: 6000.) So the 7th thousand years of man's history will probably be what? (Family: The Millennium.) Right!
115. WHAT IS THE MILLENNIUM? (Family: The thousand-year reign of Christ.) The thousand-year reign of Christ on the Earth. What's the Millennium going to be like, David? What's the Millennium? (David: When Jesus comes back.) Right, & what does millennium mean? It's a nice big Latin word that literally means one thousand years. Mil is a thousand, & ennium has to do with years‚ anum. So it's a thousand years.
116. THE MILLENNIUM IS JUST A NICE LATIN WAY OF SAYING A THOUSAND YEARS. It's a simple way of saying it for educated scholars who like to use big words. That always reminds me of the story I've told you about Doctor Moon at the World's Fair, I was there when it happened. Dr. Moon is the famous Christian who's a scientist from the Moody Bible Institute & put on this electric demonstration. I think I've told this in the Letters somewhere.
117. DR. MOON WOULD STAND ON TOP OF A BIG COIL & LET A MILLION VOLTS OF ELECTRICITY SHOOT THROUGH HIM! He'd hold a 2 x 4 beam in his hand, & it burned a hole right through it, but wouldn't burn him.—Unless he forgot & left his keys in his pocket liked he did one time!
118. YOU HEARD ME TELL THE STORY ABOUT THE GUY WHO CAME UP TO HIM AFTER ONE OF HIS DEMONSTRATIONS & said, "Now I'm not an unbeliever, I'm just an agnostic, I just don't know! If there is a God, all I ask is that you show Him to me!" Dr. Moon looked at the guy & said, "Have you got any brains?" He said, "Of course I have brains!" Moon said, "Show them to me!" Then he said after guy got kind of flustered over that,
119. "FELLOW, INSTEAD OF USING THE GREEK WORD AGNOSTIC, why don't you use the Latin word for 'I don't know'—Ignoramus!" That means somebody very ignorant & dumb. If he didn't know there was a God‚ he was pretty dumb, huh? So on that note I think is a good time to close, PTL! GBY all‚ I hope you learned something! At least we've been over that enough times, & if you don't know it by now, I guess you never will! PTL! (Prays the Lord's Prayer.)