Following the prophecy of Jerusalem’s fall (Ezek 24), the next major section in the book of Ezekiel is a series of oracles against the foreign, enemy nations that celebrated the city’s demise. Seven nations are denounced by the prophet as under Yahweh’s judgment. Nearly every book classified among the major and minor prophets contains a collection of such oracles (e.g., Isaiah 13–23; Jeremiah 46–51). This episode discusses the nature of these oracles and discusses how the oracles of Chapter 25 can be read in the context of the Deuteronomy 32 cosmic-geographical worldview of Israel.

Chapter 24 is a turning book in the book of Ezekiel. After Ezekiel’s call (Ch. 1-3), the book has, to this point, been a series of gloom-and-doom pronouncements to the exiled Jews in Babylon subverting their expectations that Jerusalem, the temple, and their friends and loved ones back in Jerusalem were safe from  divine judgment. Chapter 24 announces the judgment of the city of Jerusalem and what’s left of Israel has begun—Ezekiel is to mark the very day he received the oracles which constitute this chapter.

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.

During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 6 of those interviews, we chat with Stephen Huebscher (PhD candidate at Clarks Summit University), David DeSilva (New Testament professor at Ashland Theological Seminary), and Dr. Craig Keener (New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary).

 

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During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 5 of those interviews, we meet Dr. John Walton (Old Testament professor at Wheaton College), Dr. Ben Witherington (New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary), and Dr. Tremper Longman (Old Testament professor at Westmont College).

 

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