For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
For most of my life the Bible has seemed to be this impenetrable book. The question I’ve often asked, and one I’m sure you have too, is “Where do I start?” There certainly are parts that are harder than others, and there are good reasons why.
There have been about 2000 years of it since the last book of the Bible was written. Some books of the Bible contain historical references that are not clear to us by any means. Daniel, Matthew 24, and Revelation come to mind. Sometimes it isn’t about what’s referred to as “Apocryphal Language” as much as it’s about most of us not knowing enough history to make sense of what we read.
That’s why it’s important to find authors who have studied the history surrounding biblical times who can, first, identify what is being described and, second, explain it clearly. I recently started reading Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah, which has opened the Book of Daniel to me as never before.
I always read carefully and critically, especially when it comes to things I find outside of the mainstream. YouTube, for example, can be a wealth of information, but you need to really have your thinking cap on and be critical.
I have three categories that I put sources into:
First – The Nut Case has no idea what he’s talking about and isn’t afraid to put his ignorance on brightly lit display.
Second – Very Credible has the education, certifications, and experience to bring good information to light. VC knows how to communicate clearly and lucidly and is easy to evaluate. You might still find sufficient grounds to dismiss him, but he’s very credible in that he’s reasonably thoughtful and well-spoken.
Third – The Amateur Savant comes across as a Nut Case, because he is not educated, has no credentials, but has been able, through natural intelligence and very hard work, to arrive at truth. So, while a Nut Case in style, he’s Very Credible in substance. I often listen to Nut Cases a bit longer than I should just because I want to make sure I’m not accidently dismissing a savant.
This is how we, western educated sons and daughters of Aristotle think and read. Unfortunately, not all societies throughout time share this thought pattern. Daniel is a case in point. In one sentence, he’s with a son who’s dad he’s already covered in large part. In the very next sentence, using zero transition, he’s back to the dad as if this is happening in real time.
You could make a comedy routine out of this sort of stream of consciousness delivery, comparing it to someone’s mother. She prattles on while you listen with increasingly murderous rage, waiting for the point to come across.
I call it The Lazy Susan approach. Think of a Lazy Susan in the middle of a table that just keeps turning on its own. As it turns, you keep grabbing the next interesting thing you see and put it on your plate – or in your manuscript – until you finally get to whatever’s at the center. Instead of getting to the hub of the issue directly as a sane, linear-thinking person would, the Lazy Susan Thinker sort of spirals haphazardly in toward the ending.
While some sections of the Bible seem as clear as smoky glass, others elude us because they are so very familiar. These are spots where we need to slow down and try to see if we’re missing anything. This is very hard to do, because, as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Case in point:
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. Genesis 3:15
Maybe it’s just me, but I realized at one point that there’s something we never discuss when we look at this verse. Even worse, I found it embarrassingly obvious when I finally saw it. Remember, God is talking to the serpent – and Satan, by extension – who tricked Eve into sinning. Who is Satan’s seed?!?
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what the answer is to that last question. You want me to tell you instead of hitting the Bible yourself, reading it cover to cover, and finding answers for that question and a whole slew of others that will come up from carefully reading God’s Word.
I am currently working on my own Biblical timeline. I’m using an Excel spreadsheet to record data that I find from the Bible to tell me when things happened. Since B.C./A.D. dating wasn’t used in any Biblical period, I’ve invented my own dating method that I call Creation Plus, or C.P. I will eventually add a B.C./A.D. timeline once I’m confident I’ve reached a point where that can be done to my own satisfaction.
See below that Noah died at age 950, in the year 2006 C.P., 350 years after the Flood. It was only 39 years after Noah’s death that God appeared to Abram and Sarai in 2045 C.P.:
The Bible also uses weights and measures unfamiliar to us, so I made another spreadsheet for conversions. In Googling “Cubit” I learned that there is a long cubit and a short one. The long cubit was used in king David’s time. Long after that the standard cubit used was shorter. So, for example, Goliath is described as being six cubits and a span tall. His coat of mail and spearhead are also described. Here’s a screen shot of those calculations:
So start reading the Bible. Genesis 1. In the beginning, if you will. If you come across something you don’t understand like weights and measures, Google them. When it comes to the meaning of Biblical events or theology, find yourself a really good Christian author. And be warned; there are MANY so-called Christians out there deceiving many away from God’s Truth. Joel Osteen comes to mind.
OK. I know you’re thinking about it. I won’t tell you who Satan’s seed is, but here are a couple Bible references that contain the answer. Also included; some writing I’ve done on it.
And the first in my series on the Book of Enoch; Connecting the Dots; The Book of Enoch, Part 1