Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Exodus 37-38 and Justin Martyr's First Apology 23-25

Exodus 37 – The ark or “covenant box” is to be made out of acacia wood and the dimensions are to be 45” by 27” by 27.”

It is to be covered with gold inside and out and carried with poles of gold-covered acacia wood that are slipped through rings along the sides of the box. The top of the case is covered with a lid with hammered golden winged creatures facing each other and protecting the contents.

The table for the offered bread is made with similar precision and then the lamp stand and altar of incense. Everything is beautifully decorated.

Exodus 38 – The altar of holocausts or “burnt offerings” is described in great detail along with all the tools necessary. The bronze basin and enclosure needed for the Tent of the Lord’s Presence is also described. The gold and silver dedicated to the Temple is based on the census done.

The Jerusalem Bible note at the beginning of chapter 35 says that “35-40 is almost a word for word repetition of 25-31; there the orders were given; here they are carried out” (123).

Early Christian Writers
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) – First Apology
23 – Here Justin Martyr claims that the prophets who foretold Christ are really older than “all the writers” who have set these stories before the Roman world and that they said not “fabricated” things but true things..

This is interesting. I had to check on the timeframe for the emergence of all the myths that were part of Greek and Roman culture dated from 900-800 BC. So, it’s hard to say now if the Hebrew stories were older but Justin Martyr seems to be saying they were, and not only older but truer as well.
24 – It is ludicrous that Christians are “hated on account of the name of Christ . . . and put to death as sinners” when we do nothing wrong. And others are “in other places worshipping trees and rivers, and mice and cats and crocodiles, and many irrational animals.”

25 – We too used to worship these gods, he says – Bacchus and Apollo, Proserpine and Venus and Aesculapius – but we “have now, through Jesus Christ, learned to despise these, though we be threatened with death for it, and have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten and impossible God; of whom we are persuaded that never was he goaded by lust of Antiope, or such other women, or of Ganymede, nor was rescued by the hundred-handed giant whose aid was obtained through Thetis . . . Those who believe these things we pity, and those who invented them we know to be devils.”

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