I stayed up too late (about 2 a.m.) to help EJ set up his blog, The Outside Dawg. This is his first time setting up a blog, so everything is new to him. I think he’s going to enjoy blogging. I know I will enjoy reading what he has to say. I found out by reading his blog that he is planning to remove (kill) a unique tree by our front porch. YIKES! But I understand his wanting to put in more trees/plants that we can eat. I love the challenge of growing things to eat in our little yard. Kind of “micro-gardening.”
I woke up late, but I’m still the first one in the family up. JJ tends to be a bit of a night owl, so he sleeps late on weekend. EJ’s sleep patterns are erratic, and he doesn’t sleep well if his back hurts, etc. Sometimes he’s up before I am and other times he sleeps late in the morning. This morning I am enjoying a cup(s) of coffee and my laptop while I get the cobwebs out of my head.
Several days ago I read an article called The Image of an Emperor. It is based on the following Scripture:
“Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk. They sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Rabbi, we know that you are honest, and teach the way of God in truth, no matter whom you teach, for you aren’t partial to anyone. Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Yeshua perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? Show me the tax money.” They brought to him a denarius. He asked them, “Whose is this image and inscription?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled, and left him, and went away.” Matthew 22:15-22, Cf. Mark 12: 13-17, Luke 20:20-26
We all get the basic meaning of this Scripture, which is that the Pharisees were trying to trap Yeshua (Jesus) but he masterfully answered them. We also understand that we are to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. However, I never really questioned what, exactly, are God’s “things” that I am to give to Him. One thing I appreciate about Hebraic teaching is that the Jews ask questions I never thought to ask.
I encourage you to read the whole article (It’s under “Interesting Articles” in my left sidebar) because it’s very interesting. I just want to share one small portion that really stood out to me and which I have been thinking about for the last few days.
…However, the theological backdrop of [Yeshua’s] reply deepens the Rabbi’s response, and reveals unknown depths and meaning to His amazing words. Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish scholar at the time of Yeshua, known for his Platonic and allegorical interpretations of the Bible, makes a remarkable comment on the creation of the mind and rational soul of man,
“. . . the great Moses has not named the species of the rational soul by a title resembling that of any created being, but has pronounced it an image of the divine and invisible being, making it a coin as it were of sterling metal, stamped and impressed with the seal of God, the impression of which is the eternal word.” Philo, Concerning Noah’s Work As a Planter, Section V, translated by C.D. Yonge
The Mishnah, an ancient commentary on the Torah, was codified around 120 A.D., yet it preserves older Jewish traditions, many contemporary with the Second Temple period. It is divided into six sections, or orders, which are composed of various tractates of different subject matter. Tractate Sanhedrin, which focuses on criminal law, makes a statement in a similar vein to that of Philo:
“For a person mints many coins with a single seal, and they are all alike one another. But the King of king of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, minted all human beings with that seal of his with which he made the first person, yet not one of them is like anyone else. Therefore
everyone is obligated to maintain, “On my account the world was created.” Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5
Professor Brad H. Young, author of many critical works on Yeshua of Nazareth, comments, “Perhaps these theological concepts serve as a background for the saying of Jesus, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” After all, not only is Caesar’s image stamped upon each coin that he has minted; the divine image of the King of kings is stamped upon each person. Jesus was calling upon the people to give everything to God, the Creator of every human being.” Brad H. Young, The Parables, Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Hendrickson
Publishers, pg. 10
This understanding amplifies Yeshua’s amazing words. Give unto the earthly king his image, and give unto the Heavenly King His Image, that is, yourselves, your entire being, and all that is within you. As when the rich young ruler came to Rabbi Yeshua, and asked Him, “What is the greatest mitzvah (commandment)?” Yeshua’s answer to him was, in essence, the same as it was to the Herodians and Pharisees: Give unto Adonai your entire being, the very fulfillment of the Sh’ma:
“Hear O Israel, YHWH our God YHWH is One.
And you shall love YHVH your God
with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”
I thought this was amazing. This changes my perception of this Scripture. It brings home to me the truth that God has stamped us with His image, and I have been bought with a price so that I am His, and I am to give to Him my whole self.
I love Hebrew!