On what day was Jesus actually born? What year? Does the timing matter? Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, but virtually all Christians know that day isn’t the real birth date of the messiah. While that is certainly the case, has the birth date of Jesus been lost to time, or can it be reckoned. This episode of the podcast explores these questions and provides a solution draw from Scripture, backed by both Jewish messianic tradition and astronomy.
Ezekiel 23 essentially takes up where Ezekiel 16 left off. The latter chapter is perhaps the most sexual explicit in the entire Bible, as its theme is to present Jerusalem and Judah as a whore to telegraph her spiritual betrayal of Yahweh. In this chapter both the defunct Norther kingdom (Israel/Samaria) and the remaining Southern kingdom (Judah/Jerusalem) are portrayed as sister prostitutes (Oholah and Oholibah), soliciting every man they can find. The names of the sisters convey the focus well: Israel went into apostasy, and her sister followed her path. And that means the remaining sister, Jerusalem, will come to the same end as Samaria did.
These two chapters of Ezekiel beat a familiar drum: Jerusalem is doomed (21) because of her unrelenting wickedness and apostasy (22). Chapter 21 consists of four oracles “clarifying” for hard-of-hearing Israelites what fate awaited them as Nebuchadnezzar moved toward Jerusalem. Chapter 22 is comprised of three separate sermonettes targeting the evils of the city’s politicians, prophets, priests, and population. The city is cast as worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, as God charges he cannot find a single person (Ezek 22:30) in the city who will put himself on the line to oppose its evil.
These two chapters in Ezekiel rehearse parts of Israel’s tragic history in different ways. This episode discusses both chapters, but devotes more attention to several controversial and difficult passages in chapter 20. Ezekiel 19 is a lamentation that uses animal and plant imagery to describe the demise of Israel’s last few kings. Chapter 20 reviews Israel’s history of apostasy and Yahweh’s gracious refusal to abandon them altogether.