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Founding of Christendom > Founding of Christendom Chapters Five & Six

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike I apologize for this post coming so late in the cycle, back on track now. I hope that the following comments are helpful and will engender conversation.

As we draw closer to the birth of Christ we begin to see more familiar names of the prophets from the lectionary. In these two chapters we had the opportunity to reflect upon Elijah and Isiah. While they predate the birth of Christ by 5-8 centuries they both wonderfully foreshadow events to come in the life of Christ and demonstrate the continuity of the Biblical story.

First we see Elijah, whose name in Hebrew means “my God is Yahweh”, serving as a prophet. As we look at the prophets the fact that it was a tough job jumps off the page of Scripture. They were the ones who received the word of God and then had to deliver it to the people. These messages were never the good cheerleader messages of you are doing good; now just a little more effort. No, these were always tough wake up calls, messages that were meant to call the people on the carpet. After delivering the message they had to help the people get back on the right path and then defend the efforts people and represent the people before God.

Elijah began his work during a severe draught in the Northern Kingdom, where the Israelites were being influenced by the Canaanite’s worship of Baal, their storm god. Here we see a common mistake in Jewish history, not keeping focus on the Lord to the exclusion of all else. Here Elijah shows us the type of courage God expects from his messengers. Elijah addresses the Northern King and accuses him of forsaking the Commandments of God, Elijah proposes a contest of himself versus the 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah builds an alter of 12 stones, prays and brings rain. The 450 prophets are dispatched and the King’s wife, Queen Jezebel, swears to kill Elijah. He leaves and wonders the dessert for 40 days and nights; protected the entire time by an angel of the Lord.

Here we see images of future biblical events, the 12 stones, 40 days, the importance of these numbers again and the wandering in the dessert. We see Elijah going to Sinai where Moses had his encounter with the Lord and eventually is taken up in a chariot of fire. We next hear of Elijah with Moses at the Transfiguration of Christ, hundreds of years later.

Then in chapter six we see Isaiah. Several things to note about Dr. Carroll’s coverage of Isaiah; he notes that the prophet Isaiah accepted his mission immediately similar to Abraham. Dr. Carroll clearly states his belief that Isaiah truly was a prophet, foretelling the virgin birth and the Galilean origin of the messiah. He also foresaw the spread of faith beyond Israel. Dr. Carroll begins to draw and point out how the Jewish scriptures are foreshadowing the coming events which will result in Christianity.


message 2: by Leslie (last edited Aug 15, 2015 05:14PM) (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I justed finished Chapter 5. Wow! What a seriously crazy period of time!!! As always I feel frustrated with the historical figures much as I do watching a horror movie.

I think, to be fair, it is easy from this timepoint to say....you should have trusted God, avoided battle, dropped the idols, etc. But, we must remember the monotheistic God was still a new experience. Sacrifices had been the mainstay for years. I think of the slow transition within our own country to a greater acceptance and understanding of African Americans in this country over just the past three generations and I know that change is slow even when the higher truth seems obvious.

It's hard to say you wouldn't kill if people were dropping like flies around you. Even worse if they were being taken away from their homes, used maliciously elsewhere while their homeland was destroyed.

When I read this saga of power struggles I feel amazed that our religion persevered at all!!!

And then, just as things feel so very dark, God sends forth Elijah to perform another miracle!!!! And then I'm back to feeling frustrated with them. LOL.

I did particularly enjoy learning the history of our way of describing The Chosen people as God's bride. I always wondered where that cane from. I've started taking notes on this book because I couldn't possibly remember this otherwise!!!


message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I found some web sites that I foud helpful.

Kings of Israel
http://www.kchanson.com/CHRON/isrking...

Kings of Assyria
http://www.kchanson.com/CHRON/assyria...

Roman Empire
http://www.kchanson.com/CHRON/romanru...

All kinds of interesting stuff here.

http://www.kchanson.com/LINKS/ancweb....

Hope these help.


message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments And a little more om Elijah's twelve stone altar.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelv...


message 5: by Mike (new)

Mike Leslie wrote: "And a little more om Elijah's twelve stone altar.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelv..."

Thank you for these links! They add to the pleasure of the book.


message 6: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments Leslie wrote: "I justed finished Chapter 5. Wow! What a seriously crazy period of time!!! As always I feel frustrated with the historical figures much as I do watching a horror movie.

I think, to be fair, i..."


Good commentary Leslie. I like your linking this reading to our times. Thanks for your links to interesting sites.


message 7: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments The great prophets who appeared in the mid-eighth century BC, as described in Chapter 5, condemned the Israelites for relying alone on sacrificial rites and worship as prescribed by the Laws of Moses to appease the anger of God. The prophets denounced the fall into immoral living. (p. 111) The chosen lapsed into thinking that sacrifices and worship alone would protect them. No doubt this is a constant human failing. Jesus saw the Pharisees as hypocrites who claimed to be the only authorized interpreters of moral and ceremonial law but who themselves did not practice the more important laws such as justice, mercy, faithfulness to God (Matthew 23:25-26. I wonder where we as a Christian civilization are now compared to the ancients and how far our modern Christianity has gone astray.

(Caiphas who counseled the Pharisees that it is “better for you that one man should die instead of the people” [John 9:49-50] is in the eighth circle of hell with the hypocrites in Dante’s “Inferno”, Canto XIII.)


message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments FYI.

https://sojo.net/magazine/november-de...

Walter Brueggman on Isaiah in Sojourners. I'm almost done with Chapter 6. :-)


message 9: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments It’s probably best just to read the original sources: Isaiah, Jeremiah for these two chapters, if time allows.


message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I was thinking the same thing and started doing just that today. Ironically, today's Liturgy of the Hours Office of Readings included Isaiah today.


message 11: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments Leslie wrote: "I was thinking the same thing and started doing just that today. Ironically, today's Liturgy of the Hours Office of Readings included Isaiah today."

You are more advanced in your reading Leslie. I am thinking of doing the Hours Readings later in the year when I stop working for the season.


message 12: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments You know it doesn't take as much time as you think. You might consider going to this website.

http://divineoffice.org

I think to start, a good thing would be to just go there each day and read the Office of Readings. It honestly doesn't take long and would deepen your understanding of the Bible. Weekdays it's just one reading from the Bible and the second from an important church figure discussing some aspect of that reading. You can read the Office any time of day. I always try to do that. Depending on my stress, need and time for more, I might add in the Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer or Vespers.

Good luck. Seriously, I think it takes maybe ten to fifteen minutes only.


message 13: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments Leslie wrote: "You know it doesn't take as much time as you think. You might consider going to this website.

http://divineoffice.org

I think to start, a good thing would be to just go there each day and read t..."


That’s wonderful news to me. I am exploring your URL. I thought the “Hours Office of Readings” referred to the Breviary for the religious orders. In a small way I have kept “faithfully” this year with “Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year” (Various authors) and “A Year with the Saints”, Paul A. Boer, Sr. (Editor) on almost a daily basis. The latter focuses each month on a particular virtue, July was “Simplicity”, August is “Diligence”. With respect to stress I found much peace in Quadrupani’s “Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears”. I read it twice and will probably read it again. These meditations are a refuge in the mental ravages caused sometimes by our physical world. They restore peace in the soul and take away fears.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Liturgy of the Hours is the Divine office and is the Breviary. :-)

If you go to that site, it automatically pops up to today. In the upper left are options to read yesterday's or tomorrow's. If it's a memorial or feast day, etc. the front page will have a blurb about that person. Then, you say the Invitory each day...just an opening phrase and a psalm (95). Then, after that you click on the tab for what office you want to read.

Lauds is Morning Prayer. If you were doing all of them you would pray every three hours. 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm 9 pm....total of five offices.

Generally speaking, Major Hours are Office of Readings, Lauds (Morning Prayer), and Vespers ( Evening Prayer). Most people do morning and readings and/or vespers.

(BTW, The Roman Breviary was the old name and had more times...like midnight and 3 and 6 am. After Vatican II it slimmed down to five hours and is called the Liturgy of the Hours.)

Midday is called Daytime Prayer and can happen anytime between 10 and 2....but this is very short and easy to skip.

Vespers is Evening Prayer...around 6 pm.

Compline is Night Prayer....before bed or after 9 pm.

But, that's just how it's set up. Like I said, I would start with just the daily readings because they are interesting and short. You will still get all of your saints in too!

Thanks for sharing the books on Saints. :-)


message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike Galicius wrote: "Leslie wrote: "You know it doesn't take as much time as you think. You might consider going to this website.

http://divineoffice.org

I think to start, a good thing would be to just go there each..."


I have been using this web site for a few years, it is good and generally can be completed in under an hour. Another site is SQPN Pray Station Portable. On this site the prayers are read; with no singing.

Your comment that meditations provide a refuge in the mental ravages caused sometimes by our physical world. That describes the feeling I have during vespers most of the time.


message 16: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I've never heard of Pray Station. I don't play the audio on the site I use. I have the old fashioned book and sit with it every morning and read to the birds outside. They are completely quiet for The Hours then I do the Rosary and they chirp the whole way thru that. I honestly think they know the words. LOL. I could be wrong but I think for both it's maybe an hour for me...all depends on which Hour you are doing, time spent thinking about it. I invest the most heavily on the readings and give that an unlimited time.

You are right though. There is something so relaxing about praying Vespers. I feel like that about the Readings too.


message 17: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments There is a lot of history condensed into chapters five and six. Lots of kings, prophets and kingdoms. Once again the chosen people have not yet learned to obey the law of God. Israel and Judah collapse and the people suffer and experience exile because of their disobedience.

The northern Kingdom lasted for 200 years and was doomed from the beginning when Jeroboam built temples in Dan and Bethel and placed the bull idol inside them. It's hard to understand how Jeroboam thought it was ok to worship God in these temples when worship was allowed only in the Jerusalem Temple.

The southern Kingdom of Judah lasted about 400 years and had Manasseh as their bad king. Manasseh was even worse than Jeroboam. Manasseh sacrificed his son and he placed idols in the Jerusalem temple where the Ark of the Covenant resided. And inside that very Ark was the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them! It is no wonder that Judah did not last long after Manasseh's reign.

God and his prophets must have weeped over the rebellious behavior of the Chosen People, and there are probably still many tears shed over today's state of affairs.


message 18: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments Much of the history in these chapters reads to me like Gibbons’ “Decline and Fall. . .” with its violence, horrors of warfare, regicide. But I was struck particularly in Chapter 6 by the satanic cults such as human, even child sacrifice that are mentioned. As frightening as this subject is the general impression in our times is I think that this mostly belongs to pre-history, before recorded word with the notable exceptions of large-scale sacrifices by the Aztecs. We read in Chapter 6, as Susan Margaret points out, that king of Judah’s own son was burned upon an altar of Jezebel (p. 128), Canaanite queen who two hundred years earlier (p. 104) sacrificed humans to Baal and killed those who refused to worship Baal. But child sacrifices persisted in the Gehenna. Mr. Carroll makes a hard connection to our own times but why only in a footnote? Three million unborn children in our times are sacrificed each year to whom? (Note 87, p. 143). This is in Western countries, Christianity’s stronghold? We see the desperate and violent invasions “full of passionate intensity” from the East. Are the days of the West numbered? Alas there is no Jeremiah.


message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I remember a few years ago we had two different news stories about cults in the area sacrificing children.

I definitely think our times are just as dark, but it's much more hidden under the cloak of everyday life.

Susan, I felt your frustration reading these chapters as well. Why do the Israelites, who of anyone had reason to believe in God at his word, knowingly go out of their way to disobey? I guess we'll never really understand.


message 20: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Galicius, I agree that just a footnote about abortion seems insufficient, but I'm thinking that Dr. Carroll would have had to write another six volumes of text if he were to relate modern man's sins to those of the Old Testament.

Leslie, I like the way your describe modern dark times as being hidden under the cloak of everyday life. We have become immune from seeing so many evils.

Although chapters five and six are full of sin and evil, as Mike points out, in his introduction to these chapters, the prophets are giving us some hope in their prophesies of the arrival of Christ.


message 21: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I just finished Chapter 6. After so many wars, so much sinning, trials and defeats, it does seem like there is much to hope for. Jeremiah passes out of our sight, but leaves us with a very powerful, inspiring message.


message 22: by Mike (new)

Mike Susan Margaret wrote: "Galicius, I agree that just a footnote about abortion seems insufficient, but I'm thinking that Dr. Carroll would have had to write another six volumes of text if he were to relate modern man's sin..."

Two thoughts: 1) Dr. Carroll wrote volume I thirty years ago, not that things were so glowing back then but we had not attained the levels of depravity of society in current days.

2) Imagine a tug-of-war with every abortion doctor(?) on one end of the rope and Mother Teresa at the other end. Think of slipping off your jacket and walking up to her and saying "let me help". The only way to combat what we have going on is to never let go of what is right.


message 23: by Susan Margaret (last edited Aug 17, 2015 07:21PM) (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Fr. Mitch Pacwa, a Jesuit Priest, has a series of 59 lectures (audio only) on the Old Testament Prophets. Each lecture is approximately 25 minutes long. His lectures are very informative and easy to listen to. If anyone is interested, his lectures can be found on ewtn.com The direct link is as follows: https://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/...


message 24: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Awww. Thank you Susan. I'm familiar with him. I've started Chapter 7 now and was just sitting here thinking about how much I am enjoying the writing style of this book. It makes so much more sense rather than trying to just follow rulers or regurgitate The Bible, etc. Dr. Carroll's style makes me feel like I can imagine the time well and really helps to visualize the Jewish diaspora in a new way (for me at least).

I'm going to listen to some of your links. Thank you again for sharing.


message 25: by Mike (last edited Aug 17, 2015 09:27PM) (new)

Mike Susan Margaret wrote: "Fr. Mitch Pacwa, a Jesuit Priest, has a series of 59 lectures (audio only) on the Old Testament Prophets. Each lecture is approximately 25 minutes long. His lectures are very informative and easy t..."

Fr. Mitch is a great scholar, I can't wait to hear what he has in his series.

Another source of information is "Introduction to the Prophets" by Fr. Thomas Leclerc, MS. ISBN 978-0-8091-4492-1. This is a wonderful text book with commentary about passages from the prophets that appear in the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish lectionaries.

Also, Leslie, since I believe you suggested a book by Fr. Lawrence Boadt CSP at Paulist Press, he read and commented upon each chapter during the publication process.


message 26: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Mike wrote: " Fr. Mitch is a great scholar, I can't wait to hear what he has in his series.
Another source of information is "Introduction to the Prophets" by Fr. Thomas Leclerc, MS. ISBN 978-0-8091-4492-1...."


Mike, if you like Fr. Mitch then you will definitely enjoy his lectures. Some of them are humorous and he even sings a song in the middle of lecture 56. The textbook that you recommend on the prophets looks interesting and I have put in an order. I also have the Old Testament book by Boadt that Leslie has suggested and I have been reading it along with The History of Christendom. It too is a very good book. I love the fact that we are getting so many web links and book recommendations from each other.


message 27: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Leslie wrote: "Awww. Thank you Susan. I'm familiar with him. I've started Chapter 7 now and was just sitting here thinking about how much I am enjoying the writing style of this book. It makes so much more se..."

Leslie, you are welcome. I also like Dr. Carroll's writing style, however he packs a lot of history into a few short pages. Mike's suggestion of reading the Bible along with Dr. Carroll's book has helped to fill in the blanks for me, also reading Boadt's book as I mentioned above has been a big help. I'm more familiar with the New Testament than the Old so I have needed the extra help. Happy reading and I'm going to start chapter 7 tomorrow!


message 28: by Leslie (last edited Aug 23, 2015 07:39PM) (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I'm loving Fr. Mitch's lectures. They are really good!!! And, I'm going to order Mike's suggestion right now. :-)

Also good is The First Thousand Years of Christianity by Robert Louis Wilkens. I have learned tons from that book!

The First Thousand Years A Global History of Christianity by Robert Louis Wilken by Robert Louis Wilken Robert Louis Wilken


message 29: by Leslie (last edited Aug 23, 2015 07:46PM) (new)


message 30: by Leslie (last edited Aug 23, 2015 07:48PM) (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Yesterday I found a great map of the area in the book The Old Testament Story by John H. Tullock The Old Testament Story by John H. Tullock I tried to scan it for you. Not sure how this will go...but maybe you can enlarge it. It's really terrific.

I posted my scanned version of the map on this group's section of photos. It's not a great scan because the book is bigger than my printer, but hopefully it will help. It looks like a good book. I found it in our church's donation pile.


message 31: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 443 comments Leslie wrote: "Yesterday I found a great map of the area in the book The Old Testament Story 8th Edition by John H Tullock and Mark McEntire. I tried to scan it for you. Not sure how this will go...but maybe yo..."

Thanks for the map Leslie. It's helpful. I like to look at maps to know where I am at. It's possible to enlarge it on this end.


message 32: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments The map looks good. Thank you very much!


message 33: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments You're welcome. I felt like it was a particularly good one and helped me make more sense of those battles.

I've spent most of today reading Mike's book recommendation and listening to Fr. Mitch. :-)

I was plodding along thru Chapter 7 but was getting lost in the Indian stories. If I'm weak in Ancient Middle East History, I'm completely lost in the history of India, but then as I was putting it down read that they didn't even record most of their history. I think Dr. Carroll gets a bit biased in that chapter but I definitely understand his frustration.


message 34: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Leslie, Plodding along in chapter 7 is a good description . Wow! Once again a lot of history in one chapter! I will have to read it once more or maybe a third time!


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