Sunday, January 23, 2005

Musings of the random sort

For the record, I am picking New England to win the Super Bowl. For the record, I (hate to say this) but I want New England to win the Super Bowl. Why? They are in the Bills division and pretty much use the Bills to mop the floor. But I just don't hate them. Also I have come to accept that there is something special about Tom Brady and I hate the fact that he is getting no love. Some pundits are comparing him to Joe Montana and ready to place him in the higher echelons of QBs as am I, but many others say that he is not so deserving. The man has won two superbowls in three years, what does he have to do to gain respect. He certainly was not incidental to that team, he is the reason they have won. Also, Bellichik (sp) is clearly deserving of the highest honors. Period. But his is an easier case. Parcells is seen as one of the great all time coaches and he only won two Super Bowls, the same number as Bellichik.

I do want McNabb to win a Super Bowl. The man has worked hard against stereotypes and I so hate to go against him, but my heart is with New England. I don't know why. I'd really love to see another Black quarterback win a Super Bowl, but maybe in 2007, after the Bills win a couple.

It makes absolutely no sense for people to be eating ice cream on a bone chilling day like today. It makes me so mad. I'm shaking so badly, I can hardly keep my spoon straight as I dig into a medium banana split dairy queen blizzard with Oreo cookie chunks.

I watched the last two episodes of West Wing on Saturday and there was the thing about gay marraige and the bible and taking the Bible literally. This literal thing is something I need to engage more. No one actually takes the Bible literally, it is always selective. However, what you do take literally affects one's outlook. The other thing about taking the Bible literally is the issue of the "subject." At what point does the reader become the subject who becomes the "I" in speech? Another way to put this is, when is a story a story and when is a story a fact? For instance in Acts 7:51-53. Stephen who was a Jewish Christian said the following to the Jewish spiritual leaders at his trial:

51: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52: Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.


Now many of us would maintain a distance from that sentiment, understanding that is what is going on within the story. However, to those disposed to anti-Semitism, they gladly remove the distance and enter into the story, taking on the person of Stephen. Of course, they shouldn't do that but they do and voila. Anyway, it is a somehwat subtle point that I am making and one that deserves more space.

Verse 53 of the above quote though, has long been a favorite of mine, i.e, that the Old Testament (apologies to Jewish readers) was set up by the angels. I've always been a huge fan of angels and in my Protestant days, they never got the respect they deserved. As a Catholic, they get some love, but not enough. Angels played a huge role in my doctrinal path. For instance, Job 33:14-26

14: For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15: In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16: Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17: That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18: He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19: He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20: So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21: His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22: Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23: If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
24: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
25: His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
26: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.


V. 23 was the lynch pin for me. That "messenger" was an angel. If I'm correct it is the same Hebrew word and could have been translated "angel." It was this that tuned me into the fact that angel can intercede for you. This coupled with the fact that angels show independence and initiative as seen in Zechariah 3 or in Acts 7:53 or of course, the Annuciation. Then there is the popular Ps 8 which says "What is man that you care for him? . . . you have made him a little lower than Elohim." Nonetheless, people seem to have an aversion to admitting that that should be translated as "angels," so it is often rendered "God." Fine, but the problem is that Hebrews quotes that Psalm and translates it as "angelos." As far as I know, Greek does not have the "Elohim" catch-all meaning problem.

Perhaps the most important factor in my angel fascination is a book called "Angels on Assingment." Excellent book about a Pastor, Roland Buck who had angels visit him and he wrote down his experiences. It is an exciting book and highly recommended. In a visit, an angel takes him to the throne of God and he speaks with God. God told him of a bunch of things that would take place that year. One of them was that a man named Karol Wojtila would be the new Pope. Now, this was in my anti-Catholic days and it puzzled me to no end that the God passes over this fact non-chalantly and does not rave about how the pope is the antiChrist.

Blah, blah, blah. BTW, the above quotes are all from the KJV. I'll be honest, I do not trust my spiritual bible reading to any other translation. If it was good enough for Paul, it is good enough for me.

4 Comments:

Blogger Talmida said...

I'd never seen "elohim" translated as "angels" before, Ono, so I did a bit of amateur research. The 1917 JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Translation does translate it as "angels" in Psalm 8, but the New JPS (1985) uses "divine ones" in that passage.

Elohim seems to be the usual word for God in the Old Testament, but it is in fact a plural form, and is also used to mean "gods". According to The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, the meanings for the word "elohim" in Biblical Hebrew include: rulers, judges; divine ones; angels; gods; god or goddess; godlike one; works of God or things specially belonging to him; the true God; God.

Usually, angel is "mal'akh", which as you point out, is the word for messenger. The JPS 1917 version of the Bible gives your passage of Job as:
"If there be for him an angel, an intercessor, one among a thousand, to vouch for a man's uprightness".

I like the JPS 1917 very much. It is the most accurate and literal translation I've ever found -- although not necessarily smooth English.

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn something new everyday. I thought Paul lived during the time of Christ, not 1611 when the KJV was first authorized. Interesting. :-\

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

Anonymous,

Come on! Everyone knows that God gave the King James Version to the early Church.

Talmida, thanks for the JPS1917 link. I'm ashamed to say this, but I still use Strongs for my Hebrew and Greek bible research. I need to search your site for what you use, I think I saw you mention a couple of lexicon things a while back.

11:58 AM  
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9:49 PM  

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