“All people” in Joel 2:28

Interesting discussion in Bible class this morning about the end times (more specifically, “in the last days”). I directed the class to Acts 2:16ff for the New Testament perspective on that phrase, relating to Joel’s prophecy.

But I went back this afternoon and was studying the Joel passage checking to see how the NET translated the passage. What struck me was the translation of 2:28 “After all of this
I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people” rather than the more traditional “on all people”. The footnote reflects a Calvinist thought, so now I am looking at other translations to see how they handle it.

Advertisements

The “Day” and time

How easily time slips by! In the two months since my last post time and energy demands have increased greatly. There seems to be a break in the demands, so I hope to get back to the series on technical terms in original language texts and correspondingly in translations. However, given the time demands, I may shorten the studies considerably.

I remember as a young child that a day was a long time, and a year? That was beyond imagination for how long that was. Now, a day disappears before I can turn around, or so it seems. In reality, as a six year old, a year was 1/6 of my life. But now, a year is… well, about 1/60 of my life.

In light of the eschatological focus of the “Day of the Lord” (previous post) I have begun to observe the truth of how “soon” Jesus’ return will be. This has personal application as well. According to the Psalmist our time on earth is “fleeting”. Thus, I come face-to-face with my legacy as a person of God. How will I spend my “time”? Will it be meeting deadlines that others impose? Will it be ordered by my God? Will I have time to do all I want… or better, need to do?

So, I am taking time to sort out time and my use of, or waste, of time. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but that shouldn’t be surprising since I am still a sinner. At the same time, I am beginning to see God’s use of my time, and what happens when I dedicate my time, all of my time, to him. It is okay to say “no” to demands on my time, if the time really belongs to the Lord.

So, I am having the “time of my life”, as I wait for the “day of my life” in Jesus.

Technical Terms – 2 (Day of the LORD – DOL)

Several studies have examined the DOL, each with their own particular contribution. In his seminal work, Ladislav Cerny observed that the DOL study must eventually encompass both the origin and content of the DOL [Ladislav Cerny, The Day of Yahweh and Some Relevant Problems (Prague: Nakladem Filosoficke Fakulty University Karlovy, 1948), vii.]. Since 1948 the major focus of scholarly endeavors has been on the origin of the DOL. While Mowinckel dominated the scene with his contention that the DOL grew out of the cultic festival celebration, Gerhard von Rad broke new ground with his claim that the DOL emerged from the holy war tradition [Gerhard von Rad, “The Origin of the Concept of the Day of Yahweh,” Journal of Semitic Studies 4 (April 1959), 97–108]. A. Joseph Everson summarized the main proposals for the origin of the concept in his article in 1974. In addition to these, he noted F. Charles Fensham’s theory that the covenant tradition (treaty-curses) formed the basis of the DOL. Meir Weiss advocated the theophany motif. Despite the value of these studies, they fell short, as evidenced by Everson’s critique. “All of these origin studies of the tradition are confronted, however, by the problematic fact that specific locution of the Day of Yahweh are found only in the writings of the classical prophets and in the book of Lamentations [A. Joseph Everson, “The Days of Yahweh,” Journal of Biblical Literature 93 (September 1974), 330].

Conscious of Everson’s critique, most scholars since then have concentrated their studies on the prophetic writings, most often limiting themselves to those passages that specifically contain the exact phrase, DOL (16 total). Those passages are: Isaiah 13:6; 13:9; Ezekiel 13:5; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 2:11; 3:4; 4:14; Amos 5:18 (2 x); 5:20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7; 1:14 (2x); and Malachi 3:23 [Chapter and verse citations are according to the Hebrew text, BHS]. Yet as Cerny, Everson, and Yair Hoffmann concede that there are many other phrases which are very close in form and must be included [Yair Hoffmann, “The Day of the Lord as a Concept and Term in the Prophetic Literature,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 93 (1981), 37–9].

Appropriately, then, expressions such as “the day of Yahweh’s wrath,” “the day of Midian,” and “the day of battle” fit within this study. The most frequent phrase, “in that day” (בַיּוֹמ ההוּא), which occurs ~200 times in the prophets alone, expands the field of study dramatically. I disagree with those who follow P. A. Munch, [The Expression Bajjom Hahu: Is It a Terminus Technicus? (Oslo, 1936)] who claimed that it was essentially a connective. The plural of the phrase, “in those/these days.” also falls within the scope of such an investigation. Even terms such as “time” (עֵת) and “year” (שָׁנָה) apply toward the development of the DOL concept. Everson, followed by Hoffmann and others, claims that “it is methodologically more difficult and dangerous to include such references in the basic field of evidence” [Everson, 331. Hoffmann, 39]. While I agree that it is more difficult to expand the field, I contend that it is methodologically dangerous to not include these other references.

Thus, if the DOL is both a technical term and a broad concept, a prophet may develop his understanding of the concept by using related expressions, especially “in that day.” Another prophet may express the concept, describing events associated with the DOL without specifically mentioning the DOL (i.e. Micah). In both cases the prophets would be concerned with the DOL. This approach seems more consonant with the DOL origin and would more accurately reflect the prophetic understanding of the DOL. Critical for further study (another major paper) is the study of DOL must take into account the given time period. For instance, Hosea and Micah, normally forgotten in DOL studies, offer additional textual territory for study and development. The combined study of these eighth century prophets should then be the basis on which to study later prophets, particularly Zephaniah and Joel.

Translations of Yom Yahweh in the Later Prophets

Isaiah 13:6
Isaiah 13:9
Ezekiel 13:5
Joel 1:15
Joel 2:1
Joel 2:11
Joel 3:4 (2:31 Eng)
Joel 4:14 (3:14 Eng)
Amos 5:18
Amos 5:18
Amos 5:20
Obadiah 15
Zephaniah 1:7
Zephaniah 1:14
Zephaniah 1:14
Malachi 3:23 (4:5 Eng)

The following translations consistently used “day of the LORD” as the translation for Yom Yahweh in all 16 passages:

NKJV, NAS95, ESV, NRSV, HCSB, TNK, NIV, TNIV, GW, so also REB and NLT2 except these omit any translation at Zeph. 1:14 [2nd])

Interestingly, HCSB used “day of the LORD” in Isa. 13:6, 9, and Ezek. 13:5, and in all other occurrences used the capital letter D to highlight it: “Day of the LORD”. This suggests that the translators wanted to insure that the readers understood the phrase as a technical term (of some type).

NET varied its translation of Yom Yahweh, by using the possessive form “the LORD’s day” occasionally (Isa. 13:6, 9, Amos 5:18 [2nd], Amos 5:20; Zeph. 1:14 [both].

CEV showed the greatest variation, and no seeming consistency. Thus, “day of the LORD” is used only at Joel 2:1, Joel 4:14, and Zeph. 1:14 [2nd]. Otherwise, it translated the phrase as:

“day” – Isa. 13:6, Joel 2:11, Joel 3:4, Amos 5:18 [1st], 5:20, Obad 15, Zeph. 1:14 [2nd], and Mal. 3:23
“time” – Isa. 13:9, Amos 5:18 [2nd], and Zeph. 1:7
“soon” – Joel 1:15
untranslated – Isa. 13:9

Conclusion:

Such a survey suggests that Yom Yahweh had indeed become a technical term in the prophetic literature in the original languages. The evidence above also shows that English translations consider it a technical term by not varying its formula “day of the LORD”, except for CEV.

Luke 1:53 ESV

This Sunday morning (liturgically Advent 4), the Gospel reading caught my attention. I had mentally read the passage many times in the Greek and in several translations preparing for the Bible study on Luke (in the past two months). But I had not read it aloud. When I heard it read this Sunday, I grabbed the bulletin to see whether the person read it correctly – he did. But the text itself was “wrong”.

The reading, Luke 1:39-56, was from ESV. Note 1:53:

he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.

I think many people read it in their minds (like I had before this Sunday) and make the necessary mental adjustment so that it reads correctly. But when this is read orally, it is clear how awkward the English phrasing is.

The way it is written, “empty” functions as noun/pronoun as the direct object (substitute “them” and see how you would speak it). As it is, I would wonder whether “empty” was lonely when sent away? Was “empty’s” feelings hurt?

In reality, the word “empty” should be an adverb telling “how” the rich were sent away. Thus it should read:

he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

Thus, a typically good liturgical translation (ESV) fails in this specific liturgical text.

Just to clarify my use of the ESV: I use several translations for preparing Bible studies, in addition to the original language texts. ESV is one of them, but I personally prefer the combination of NAS, NKJV, HCSB, and GW. However, the congregation where I teach has now started using the ESV for Sunday readings – because Concordia Publishing House began using ESV on the back of the bulletins beginning with Advent 1 Sunday (four weeks ago). And CPH used the ESV as the base for the liturgical sections of the new hymnal published in August (Lutheran Service Book – LSB)

In the past couple of years I was encouraged by the ESV translation because of its “standardized” liturgical texts (i.e. Ps. 116:12-13, 17-19, Ps. 136:1, Is. 6:3, John 6:68 etc.). However, the more I have read the ESV (about 1/2, so far), the less I like it. I find it not as easy to read as NAS and NKJV, which are usually considered “choppy”. Could I teach using the ESV? Yep, just like I can with other translations. But I would use it with caution.

Given my exposure to the ESV over the past year (through private reading/devotion and some teaching), I would definitely state that the NKJV is a much better liturgical translation.

Luke 1 Some Thoughts

I begin teaching the Gospel According to Luke next month. Although I have taught this class before in other congregations and once as a Concordia University class, I still like to approach the text fresh. As I began re-translating the text in my preparation, I investigated a few interesting tidbits.

For instance, in Luke 1, there is the Greek noun ἀγαλλίασις (“intense joy, gladness”). My first thought was to look at where in the NT this word occurs. Luke 1:14, 1:44, Acts 2:46, Hebrews 1:9, and Jude 24. In the LXX it occurs 22 times, 18 in the Psalms.

Then I looked for the verb form: αγαλλιαω, Matthew 5:12; Luke 1:47; 10:21; John 5:35; 8:56; Acts 2:36; 16:34; 1 Peter 1:6; 1:8; 4:13; and Revelation 19:7. In the LXX, it occurs 70 times, 50 in the Psalms and 10 in Isaiah.

I also briefly reviewed another prominent word group connected with joy: χαρα. It occurs 46 times in the LXX (3 times in Psalms, and 4 times in Isaiah). I’ll pursue this more in the future.

Initial reading and context of these occurrences in LXX suggest a worship and/or liturgical orientation. Such a connection fits well with a similar connection in Revelation.

Now the questions arise: Are both elements important in Luke’s two volume work? Are Luke 1-2 both liturgical and eschatological? If so, what is significance of both in the development of his two writings? Obviously Arthu Just, Concordia Commentary: Luke 1:1-9:50, provides a liturgical view of the text, and David Pao stresses the eschatological element in his examination of Isaiah as the framework for Acts (and Luke), particularly ISaiah 49:6.

So, these two angles will provide further food for thought in my study and preparation for Luke.

“… After God’s Heart”

Mission Focus


Grow Up!

The Great Commission of “making disciples” is a lifelong adventure. Sadly, many have equated confirmation instruction with “graduation,” and then assume that they “learned it all in confirmation.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The end of formal catechism is really the beginning of a lifelong study of God’s Word. Peter wrote: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

So the goal of every Christian is to “grow up”! That means we study God’s Word — publicly in Bible classes and privately by ourselves. For us as Christians we can never grow tired or bored with God’s Word. He is revealing himself and his salvation. Nothing is more important than that!

The challenge lays before each of us: Am I studying God’s Word? If not, why not? Perhaps we feel inadequate — I have often heard this statement: “I don’t know enough to go to Bible class.” Then Bible class is the very place to be! How else can we learn? Take advantage of the Pastor’s background and education and others who have spent years studying God’s Word. Listen and learn. When you go home from Bible class, follow the example of the Berean Christians (“… they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true,” Acts 17:11).
Only as we are growing as Christians can we then be actively involved in Biblical evangelism/mission. Our message is Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). We need to get the message straight — and we do that as we grow up (in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ)!

Grow Out!

Evangelism/Mission cannot be done in a spiritual vacuum. Thus, as we grow up, we also grow out. Our increasing knowledge of God and his grace means that we develop a heart after God’s heart. God is very clear in his Word about what he desires (“…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:4).

As we explore God’s Word we discover that God uses people and events to achieve his saving purpose (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 7-14; Isaiah 45:1; Luke 1:26-38;1 Timothy 1:15; etc.). The Old Testament is filled with references to God’s desire to reach the farthest ends of the earth with love and mercy (i.e., Isaiah 49:6; Acts 1:6-8). Disciples of Jesus Christ will desire to reach the same.

So where is the “mission field”? For many of us , we imagine that “mission work” involves language study and traveling to far away lands. So “mission” became synonymous with that narrow view. However, are you aware that the countries in Africa send more Christian missionaries to the United States, than the U.S. sends to Africa? That’s right, the U.S. is a mission field!

Should this surprise us? After all, mission work in the Bible always started at home (Acts 1:8). Thus, mission work is an essential part of congregational life. Even without the immigration of millions to the U.S., we have had a great mission field here; many of our neighbors and co-workers do not know Jesus Christ. With immigration increasing, the (home) mission fields are ripe for harvest (Luke 10:2). In greater Kansas City, we face this new reality. In fact, more than 100 native languages are represented in just one school district! And we don’t have to live in a metropolitan area to have contact with this new mission field.

I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NAS)

My focus for the coming years will be to equip pastors and congregations in three ways: 1) find ways to grow spiritually in Bible study (grow up) 2) explore congregational outreach and growth opportunities (grow out), and 3) equip those congregations that are prepared to start new mission congregations (grow out).

Discipleship: The 4th R

Response

Hebrews 10:24-25

Review:
Renewal How did I renew my mind this week?

What made that difficult?

How did I share that with someone this week?

Introduction:
In Hebrews the writer warns these Jewish Christians not to revert back to the legalism of Judaism, following rules to please God and earn heaven. The writer sets the foundation



Hebrews 9:27-10:2

27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment — 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

1 Since the law has [only] a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.


Do I face the possibility of going back to the Law to see how good I am?

How does it feel to be under the Law?

What does Romans 8:1 say to me?
(“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”)

What is the connection to worship?


Hebrews 10:19-22
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh); 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.


The privilege of right standing with God means that the Christian can come into the presence of God with confidence. What is the basis of that confidence?

1
2
3

What am I encouraged to do? (vv. 19, 22)



Hebrews 10:22-25
23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.


A right relationship with God leads (supernaturally) to do what?
In v. 23
In v. 24
In v. 25

Response is directed in two ways:
1.
2.

What word is the real problem for me in v. 25?

Conclusion: Let’s R.A.P. Up!

Response:
What is my response to God this week? In worship? In fellowship? In finances?

Attitude:
How do I approach worship? (Review Acts 2:42-47; See also Psalm 122:1)

Purpose:
Reconciliation leads to new relationships, which leads to renewal through Word and Sacrament. Our response is always a response to God’s grace.

How then should I/we live?

How can I pursue this with others at our church home?