Postmodern Prophet -

Angels

Scot McKnight has a new book coming out in about a month: The Hum of Angels: Listening for the Messengers of God Around Us

Scot’s stuff is always good. This one should be especially juicy. Since I’ve been reading in the OT a lot, I have been noticing an awful lot of reference to God’s messengers.

One thing I have noticed: angels don’t have wings, therefore they do not fly. In fact, I have it on good authority that they have a ladder or stairway dealie between God’s presence and earth that they use. Therefore, angels walk.

Grace in the OT

I’ve been reading a lot of OT and OT studies and commentaries. It has been quite helpful to see the God of Israel in contrast to the gods of other nations and peoples.

The main discovery has been that the contrast often made between the God of the OT and the God of the NT is false. We have often been taught that in the OT God was wrathful and vengeful and judgmental, but in the NT Jesus revealed the grace of God.

No. Grace is there just as surely in the OT. There is no change in God’s character between the OT and the NT. Forget about that.

Unfortunately, we often read our NT in that incorrect light. We think the Jews were under law and we are under grace. All wrong.

You had better go read the Bible for yourself. Much of what you have been taught is wrong.

Fear God

In verse 7 [Ecclesiastes 5:7], the admonition to fear God bears a crucial connection to the declaration of hevel, which in this instance is well translated “vanity”—meaning both unreality and a foolish preoccupation with self. Indeed, “dreams”—that is, fantasies unconnected with reality—stem from self-absorption; Koheleth is thinking of private fantasies unconnected with reality. By contrast, fear of God is the ultimate realism. Yet religiosity is no proof that preoccupation with self has been transcended. Indeed, the opposite is often the case. Very much of what purports to be theology is less concerned with God’s glory and truth than with little me and my eternal life. [Emphasis mine] Of the preoccupation with individual salvation that is such a prominent element of modern religion, Jacques Ellul rightly observes: “We always center the matter on ourselves. But we are astonished to find that Jesus did just the opposite. If ‘I’ is vanity, then the main question is not my salvation, but the turning over of myself to the One who should be everything and in everyone” (Reason for Being, 127). Jesus continually refers everything to “the One who sent me” (John 12:44–45). Similarly, it is instructive to note how frequently Koheleth refers to God (thirty-eight times) and how radical is his one positive religious claim: It is God “who makes everything” (11:5).

Ellen F. Davis, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, ed. Patrick D. Miller and David L. Bartlett, Westminster Bible Companion (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 193.