Bill, John, and Josh tackle your questions in this tenth Q&A episode. Among many topics, we answer your questions about the parable of the mustard seed and leaven, replacement theology, understanding the role and purpose of Israel, and we make some observations about tithing and Greek words in the New Testament.
- Could the parable of the mustard seed be about the growth of the word of the gospel? (2:13)
- Is Jesus introducing replacement theology and de-emphasizing the importance of Jerusalem in John 4? (11:06)
- Is there some persuasive counterargument we can make for understanding Israel on pragmatic grounds without having to resort to simply asserting “we should understand Israel properly because the Bible says so”?
In this episode we discuss the parable of the two houses and the words of Jesus immediately leading up to it in Matthew 7:15-27. Much of the imagery is drawn from the Tanakh and 2nd Temple literature, and the ideas would have been commonly understood within the Jewish apocalyptic narrative. Jesus criticizes and corrects the leadership of Israel for their hypocrisy and pretense, calling his disciples to radical obedience to his words and a singular focus on the age to come.
- Beware of false prophets – Matthew 7:15-20; Isaiah 56:10-11; Jeremiah 23:1-2; Ezekiel 34; Shabbat 31b; Yoma 9b (9:04)
- Good trees and bad trees / fruit – Matthew 7:16-20, cf.
In this episode, we discuss the metaphors found in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). After first rehearsing the importance of seeing the teachings of Jesus in their historical context, we look at the familiar metaphors of salt, light, the eye as the lamp of the body, and the narrow gate. These metaphors were common tools used to communicate a familiar prophetic message to the people of Israel in context to their covenantal calling.
- Hermeneutics and history (3:59)
- Matthew 5:13 and “the salt of the earth” – Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24; Jubilees 21:11; Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 2 Kings 2:19; Ezekiel 16:4; Colossians 4:5; Luke 14:34-35; Luke 21:24 (9:09)
- Matthew 5:14-16, the “light of the world”, and the “city on the hill” – Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 62:1-2; 2 Baruch 77:13; Isaiah 2:2-4 (19:07)
- Matthew 5:19-24 and the “eye is the lamp of the body” – Deuteronomy 15:9 (32:00)
- Matthew 7:13-14 and the “narrow gate” – 4 Ezra 7:6-14 (37:47)
In this episode we discuss the parables of the net, the hidden treasure, and the pearl from Matthew 13. These three parables maintain the same Jewish apocalyptic eschatological context highlighted in the explanation of the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:36-43). The parable of the net reinforces the context of an eschatological judgment, with the righteous inheriting eternal life and the wicked, eternal destruction; while the parables of the pearl and treasure portray the wisdom of the person who gives everything to inherit eternal life on the last day.
- General observations about these particular parables – Matthew 13:44-50 (5:02)
- The parable of the net – Matthew 13:47-50; Jeremiah 16; Ezekiel 20, 29 (6:53)
- Some scholars ignore the parable of the net (9:28)
- Parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl – Matthew 13:44-46 (16:19)
- Treasure in Jewish tradition and apocalyptic literature – 2 Baruch 23:7-24:2; 4 Ezra 8:50-54 (28:41)
- “Inheritance” in the letters of the New Testament – 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (33:07)
- A radical call to singularly focus on the age to come – Luke 14:33; Matthew 19; 1 Peter 1:13 (36:03)
In this episode, we explore the parable of the wheat and the tares/weeds, the parable of the mustard seed, and the parable of the leaven. In light of common Jewish apocalyptic expectations, these parables all communicate a common theme of the flourishing of the wicked in this age and God’s patient response toward evil. Rather than positive parables speaking of the growth of a spiritualized kingdom, these parables are primarily negative in tone meant to indict pride and hypocrisy in light of the coming judgment.
- Reviewing the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” and the agricultural metaphor – Tg.
In this episode, we examine Jesus’ parable of the sower found in Matthew 13:3-9. We begin by reviewing popular contemporary interpretations of the parables. As a feature particularly important to all of them, we delve into the Jewish tradition of using agricultural metaphors in communication, with a focus on second-temple literature’s emphasis on the sowing and reaping motif in discipleship. Within that historical context, we explore how this understanding provides deeper insight into the parable of the sower.
- How the parable of the sower is typically read within Christian circles (6:37)
- The agricultural metaphor in the Tanakh – Psalm 37:1-2; Psalm 72:16-17; Psalm 90:3-6; Psalm 92:6-8; Psalm 103:13-16; Isaiah 5:21-24; Isaiah 40:6-9; Isaiah 51:11-13; Ezekiel 17:1-10; Malachi 2:17, 3:1-4,16 (15:51)
- The agricultural metaphor in Jewish apocalyptic literature – 4 Ezra 4:26-32; 4 Ezra 8:38-45; 4 Ezra 9:26-37 (33:27)
- How the parable ought to be understood – Matthew 13:18-23; Daniel 2; Berakhot 55a; Avot 5:2 (44:38)
In our opening episode for season 4 of our show, we introduce the parables of Jesus and discuss his intended audience and their purpose. Rather than a redefinition of Jewish eschatology or Jesus giving new, gnostic revelation, the parables are spoken to the calloused and are meant to evoke a moral response of repentance. Jesus’ parables are communicating the same ideas as Israel’s prophetic tradition, highlighting the need for covenant faithfulness in light of Israel’s assumed apocalyptic eschatology.
- Common confusion around the parables of Jesus (4:26)
- To whom did Jesus speak the parables? (11:07)
- Why did Jesus speak in parables?
Bill, John, and Josh tackle your questions in this ninth Q&A episode. We discuss revival, the Trinity, and different hermeneutical tools that Christians have used over the centuries. We also explore how Paul uses the Hebrew Bible, and conclude with some thoughts on some common critiques on the historicity of the Tanakh.
- Does Matthew 24:14 describe an end-time revival or awakening? (2:13)
- What do you think about common medieval exegesis methods and how they relate to a first-century apocalyptic worldview? (5:03)
- Is Paul’s quote of Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4 proof of realized eschatology? (15:30)
- What are your thoughts on the Trinity from a first-century viewpoint?
In this final episode of the season, we discuss Ezra-Nehemiah, and 1-2 Chronicles and their later interpretation in second-temple apocalyptic literature. Being traditionally understood as the head of the Great Sanhedrin, Ezra in particular is transformed into an apocalyptic prophet proclaiming the urgency of the end of the age. The Chronicles largely summarize earlier content of 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings with an emphasis on messianism, which plays into eschatological expectations in the second-temple period.
- Overview of Ezra-Nehemiah (2:11)
- The confusion around Ezra in Second Temple Literature – 4 Ezra/2 Esdras (7:33)
- Ezra as an end-time prophet – Ezra 7:1,6; 4 Ezra 1:1; Ezra 3:10-13; Haggai 2:3; 2 Esdras 4 Ezra 3:28–36; 7:74; 14:3-18 (12:23)
- The apocalyptic material, propaganda, and discipleship (23:21)
- Overview of Chronicles (27:37)
- Messianism in 1 and 2 Chronicles – Psalms of Solomon 17 (31:35)
- Wrapping up our season on the Tanakh (38:17)
In this episode, we discuss the book of Daniel and its influence on later Jewish apocalyptic literature and the New Testament. We highlight particular themes common to the apocalyptic worldview, including the kingdom of God, the son of Man, and the eschatological persecution of the saints. Daniel is best understood and read through the lens of God’s covenantal faithfulness to Israel and its projection forward in an apocalyptic view of history.
- Introduction to Daniel (3:04)
- Why is Daniel in the Ketuvim instead of the Nevi’im? (4:07)
- Dating the book of Daniel – Ezekiel 14:12-14; Ezekiel 14:19-20; Ezekiel 28:1-3 (7:52)
- Daniel as apocalyptic literature (14:47)
- Daniel, the covenant, and the apocalyptic view of history (16:14)
- The aim of history is the apocalyptic kingdom of God – Daniel 9 (17:24)
- Daniel in second temple apocalyptic literature – Syb.