“RABBINIC HERMENEUTICS & CHRISTS PREACHING”

Rev. Paul Conway 2003 Based on the Works of Brad Young in “Jesus, the Jewish Theologian” and “Parables”

I. RABBINIC LITTERATURE: SLIDE #1 A. RABBINIC WORKS OF LITTERATURE 1. Mishnah: Lit. “To Repeat” (Equal to our modern Day Ethics) 2. Tosepta: “Additions” (Additions to the Mishnah) 3. Talmud Babylonian and Jerusalem: “Learning or Study” (Comments on the Mishnah) 4. Targums: “Translate” (Arabic Translations of Scripture) 5. Midrash: “Search” (Commentaries on scripture verse by verse)

II. TWO MAIN DIVISIONS OF RABBINIC LITERATURE CONCEPTS HALLAKAH MIDRASH AND HAGGADAH MIDRASH A. DEFINITIONS 1. Midrash: “House of Study” 2. Hallakah: “The way of Walking” legal lore 3. Haggadah: Lit. “To search” story telling for Bible exposition (cf. Jn 5:39 & 7:52) B. HALAKAH MIDRASH: THE WAY OF WALKING 1. This is legal in nature 2. Give us instruction on how to live and walk before God 3. 10 commandments would reflect this and commands, procedures 4. Mishnah a. R. S& S says this R S. & S. says that 5. This is why people think Judaism is legalistic 6. What if archeologists discovered America? a. 2000 years from now, should the Lord tarry, archeologists who dig up the American “Bill of Rights” would say we were a very legalistic society. But that’s not true. What about Mark Twain, Michael Criton, Tom Clancy, and all

the other authors. The same is so with our view of Judaism. It was not limited to this alone. C. HAGGADAH MIDRASH 1. Story telling to reach the heart through the mind 2. Bridged the gap between the highly educated and simple people 3. Example: “The Rabbi and the exceedingly ugly man”. (Parables, Brad Young p. 9) found in Babylonian Talmud Taan 20 a-b “Hear Haggadah but listen for things from Jesus” Used Humor… 4. Parable of “The man and the two wives”. (Babylonian Talmud B. Kam. 60b.) a. A rabbi was requested by one student to share some points on Hallakah and the other asked him to share some points from Haggadah. As he shared some Hallakah one student prevented him. As he went to share some Haggadah the other prevented him. He finally spoke out to them and said, “I will share a parable; to what is this like? [To what may the matter be compared]? To a man who has had two wives, one young and the other old. The young one use to pluck out his white hair, whereas the old one use to pluck out the black hair. He thus finally remained bald on both sides.” III. CONTRASTING HAGGADAH AND HALAKAH A. Haggadah inspired while Halakah instructed B. Halakah gave instruction Hagadah gives vision of why to act and live right C. Styles of Teachers who debated over which style was greater Halakah or Haggadah (Babylonian Talmud Sota 40a) 1. “To what can I liken the matter? It is like two merchants, one selling rare jewels and the other selling common ware. To which one do the people flock? Is it not the man who sold the common ware?” D. JEWISH LEARNING AND INTIMACY AS THE GOAL: 1. The goal of study was the knowledge of God. 2. The Root Word “Know” is intimate and same as Adam and Eve “To Know” 3. Abodah. Worship and Work combined into one word. 4. Conclusion: The Jews did not mind studying hard because to them study and work are synonymous and the end result would be a knowledge of God. An intimate knowledge of the Lover of their soul. Even the Concept of Love and Marriage is rooted in work and time. A wife and husband become married but over a lifetime

they eventually fall in love. (E.g. Fiddler on the Roof as husband asks if she loved him when they got married). IV. OTHER FORMS OF RABBINIC HERMEUTICS A. RABBINIC HERMENEUTICAL TERMS B. Kal vah homer: “From the Light to the heavier matters” 1. 2. Mt. 7:7-11 Mt 6:25-30

C. Hekesh: “Striking two things together to understand them better” 1. “To what can I liken this or to what can I compare the matter.”

D. Word plays: “using metaphor’s to convey a concept” e.g. 1. Gentle as doves wise as serpents 2. Mt 11:28 Take my yoke upon you” E. Non Canonical Books and NT Interpretations has expanded version of this and its origin

V. THE PARABLES WITH LIGHT FROM RABBINIC LITTERATURE: A. INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS: 1. Parables are Jewish Teaching Tools 2. Different from folklore that uses animals and unrealistic things e.g. Aesop Fables. 3. Simple: Heavenly story with an earthly meaning 4. Rabbis were attempting to reach the heart through the head. 5. Key to a parable. “What’s the Point” a. Many make the mistake of allegory and attempt to develop theology from multiple meaning and characters. b. An arrow best represents a parable. Many parts aiming with one point to hit the bulls-eye of the heart. c. Easy to miss it’s true meaning by applying allegory or misunderstanding the point. d. E.g. The Good Samaritan… Who is my neighbor? Most say the person in need, but Jesus said, “Who was a neighbor to the man in need?” The teacher in the Law replied “the one who showed mercy”. Jesus was really hitting on

hatred and prejudice toward our enemies, not helping those in need. Although one could conclude that from all the people who didn’t help the man in need. VI. RABBINIC AND NT LITTERATURE ALLUSIONS A. “Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be forgiven when you pray. Does a person harbor anger against another any yet seek for healing from the Lord? Does he have not mercy toward a man like himself and yet pray for his own sins? If he himself, being flesh maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins? Remember the end of your life and cease from enmity Sirach 28:2-6a. B. Cf. Mt 5:23-24 call for reconciliation C. The unmerciful servant. Rabbinic concepts of forgiveness VII. CONCEPTS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE PARABLES A. INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS: 1. Partner parables, not twins, more like tag team. Two angles on one truth 2. First cluster is a mustard seed and dough with yeast or leaven 3. Second cluster is a hidden treasure and a pearl of great price 4. Misinterpretation: Jesus is the treasure and the pearl. The other people misinterpret the concept of when and where the kingdom Jesus is talking about. B. JESUS, THE KINDGOM OF GOD OR HEAVEN AND MISINTERPRETATION 1. Jesus does not give us a dictionary version of what the kingdom is. Rather, he tells his listeners what the kingdom is via short, yet powerful parables. 2. Many well meaning NT Scholars misinterpret the messages of Jesus by applying new techniques. Unless one understands the Rabbinic Parabolic concept and Jewish thought behind the kingdom of God it is easy to misinterpret the true message. 3. Well meaning scholars gone wrong a. Kingdom Now: We as believers so impact the world that it becomes Christian and because of that Christ returns. b. Future Kingdom: Applying Eschatology to Parables that it refers to the kingdom yet to come. This in part by applying Apocalyptic literature e.g. Revelation. c. Life after death: Many who say the kingdom Jesus is referring to is the one only experienced upon death and welcome into heaven. The “Other World” or Kingdom. d. Realized Eschatology: A scholar who said it is a kingdom yet to come but was partially experienced during the life of Christ

e. So what did Jesus Teach about the kingdom? C. THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED AND LEVEN 1. (SLIDE #2) “What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed to which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree and the birds of the air made their nests in its branches.” 2. (SLIDE #3) “And he said, to what shall I compare the kingdom of heaven? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flower, till it was all leavened.” (Mt.13:31-33 Lk. 13:18-21 Mk. 4:30-32)

D. (SLIDE #4) GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 1. Mustard seed the size of a grain of salt can grow in hostile dry rocky conditions, strong enough to move boulders as it grows and eventually multiplies its size a million times over. 2. Leaven: a.k.a. yeast. Used negatively in NT as hypocrisy and Sin (Gal. 5:9 1 Co. 5:7). Used here to represent the kingdom of God. 3. Both of these parables are talking about the growing power of Gods kingdom in ones life. E. (SLIDE#5) LEVEN AND GROWTH IN RABBINIC LITTERATURE 1. Leaven used in a positive manor in rabbinic literature. Many times it is likened to the peace of Shalom: (M. Higger, The Treties Derech Eretz, 2.248, 84) a. “Great is peace-for as peace is to the earth so is leaven to the dough. Had the Holy One, blessed be He, not given peace to the earth, the sword and the beast would have devastated the world” 2. Another place rabbinic writing compares the inner working of the Torah (Word of God) to the inner force of leaven. a. “It is written; because your fathers have forsaken me and have not kept my Torah. (Jer. 6:11) If only they had kept observing my Torah! Indeed, if they forsake me, everything would turn out well provided that they keep studying my Torah. Because even if the did forsake me, but kept occupying themselves with the study of my Torah, it leaven [inner force], through the engagement with it, would be so powerful as to bring them back to me.” 3. These insights together with Jesus’ context tells us the Kingdom of God is not some political force one can impose on others or some futuristic kingdom yet to come in the last days or upon death.

4. It’s a kingdom here and now with a growing force in the life of the individual. Like leaven in dough or a mustard seed in the ground; it is destined to work its way through the entire life of the believer. 5. Growth of Gods Kingdom in our life comes from allowing his planting and his word to take residence within us. The power of the Gospel and Kingdom is its growth contained in the seed and the leaven. It is destined to do great things. 6. Growth in the kingdom produces a believer subject to its rule and under its power. It produces a believer who is Meek, a peacemaker, able to go the extra mile, is poor in spirit, hungers and thirsts for righteousness, and can turn the other cheek. 7. The power lies in the leaven. If you allow it to work into every area of your life it is destined to rise up and dominate every part of it. It effect only what we kneed it into. If you only give God a portion of the dough that is all it works for. 8. The power lies in the seed. If you allow the kingdom to be planted into your life, regardless of how rocky the soil or hostile the environment, it is destined to grow in amazing proportions.

F. THE VALUE OF THE KINGDOM. HIDDEN TREASURE AND A PEARL OF GREAT PRICE 1. (SLIDE #6) “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field.” Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (MT. 13:44-46). 2. They look the same but are really communicating two messages. Another pair of partner parables on the kingdom of God. 3. One is a man who stumbles on a treasure, while the other man has spent his life dealing with pearls. After years of handling treasure he finds one worth possessing for himself. 4. The essence of these parables deal with how much one values Gods kingdom rule in their lives. They catch a glimpse of its tremendous value and do what it takes to possess it. G. (SLIDE #7-9) MISINTERPRETATION OF THESE PARABLES AND ALLEGORY 1. Many have misinterpreted the point Jesus was trying to make because they have used allegory. 2. Allegory. Making things in a story symbols of a deeper meaning.

3. Origen, The Father of Allegory. An early church Father who applied a new hermeneutic that said there were two meanings. The obvious one and the hidden, more spiritual one. Below is an example of Origen applying allegory to the parable of the hidden treasure. a. “And you will give the same application, if the field containing the hidden treasure be Christ, for those who give up all things and follow Him, have, as it were, in another way, sold their possessions, in order that, by having sold and surrendered them, and having received in their place from God-their helper-a noble resolution, they may purchase, at great cost worth of the field, the field containing the treasure hidden in itself.”(Origen, Commentary on Matthew 10.6). {ANF, 1:496} 4. A Parable about Allegory by Paul Conway: a. “To what can I liken allegory? To what can it be compared? It is like a young lady who receives a compliment from a handsome young man then tells all her friends she is engaged to be married.” 5. As well meaning as Origen and many scholars today are, their interpretation of Christ and the treasure our not the true message Jesus was trying to convey here. Is Christ a precious treasure? Yes! Is he more precious than silver and gold? Yes! But is there a message he wants us to understand that many are missing? Yes! Allegory robs scripture of the true message being communicated into a wellintended idea, but an idea the speaker never intended to communicate. 6. I want to have all God wants for me, and I wish to understand all he says to me, even if it means disagreeing with some. 7. Let’s dig a little and see if we can unearth the treasure of the message Christ was trying to give us.

H.

(SLIDE #10) TREASURE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD AND JOSEPHUS 1. Josephus gives us insight on why a treasure might be hidden in a field a. “Of the vast wealth of the city no small portion was still being discovered among the ruins. Much of this the Romans dug up, but the greater part they became possessed of through the information of the prisoners, gold and silver and other most precious articles, which the owners in view of the uncertain fortunes of war had stored underground.” Josephus Jewish Wars 7.113-115 2. In a day when no banks existed the safest place to store wealth was a safe place in the ground. Many stored possessions in the ground in hopes to return to them after danger had passed.

I. TREASURE AND THE TORAHS VALUE IN RABBINIC LITTERATURE

1. An example of someone finding a treasure in a field from Rabbinic Literature: The parable is playing on Pharaoh realizing the treasure of Israel after he let them free and pursued them to bring them back. a. (SLIDE #11) “Rabbi Simeon B. Yachai taught: [The Egyptians were] like a man who inherited a piece of ground used as a dunghill. Being an indolent man. He went and sold it for a trifling sum. The purchaser began working and digging it up, and he found a treasure there, out of which he built himself a fine palace, and he began going about in public followed by a retinue of servants-all out of the treasure he found in it. When the seller saw it he was ready to choke, and he exclaimed, “Alas, what have I thrown away.” Song Rab. 4.12.1 and a parallel found in Pesik. Rab Kah. 11:7 2. Another reference in Rabbinic Literature likens the cost of Torah learning and one Rabbi’s value of studying the Torah. a. (SLIDE #12) “Rabbi Johnanan was once going on foot from Tiberius to Sepphoris, accompanied by Rabbi Hiyya B. Abba. As they passed a certain field, R. Johanan said: “This field used to belong to me, and I sold it so that I could devote myself to the study of the Torah. They came to a vineyard and R. Johanan said: “this vineyard used to belong to me, and I sold it in order to devote myself to the study of the Torah.” They passed an olive press and he said the same thing. Rabbi Hiyya began to weep. Why are you weeping? he asked. He replied “I am weeping because you have not left yourself anything for your old age.” He said to him “Hiyya my son, think you so little of what I have done in selling a thing which was presented after the six days, as it says, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth (Ex. XX, II)? But the Torah was given after forty days, as it says, and he was there with the Lord forty days. And it also is written then I abode in the mount for forty days (Deut. 9). When Rabbi Johnanan was laid to rest, his generation applied to him this verse; “IF A MAN WOULD GIVE ALL THE SUBSTANCE OF HIS HOUSE FOR LOVE for the love which Rabbi Johnanan bore to the Torah he would be utterly Contemned. (Song Rab. 8.7.1) cf. MT. 19:28-30 3. A Rabbi who would not trade his place of living among Torah learning for great wealth because of His value for the Torah: a. “ Rabbi Jose, the son of Kisma, said, I was once walking by the way, when a man met me and greeted me, and I retuned his greeting. He said to me, Rabbi, from what place are you? I said to him, I come from a great city of sages and scribes. He said to me, if you are willing to dwell with us in our place, I will give you a thousand golden dinars and precious stones and pearls. I said to him, Even if you were to give me all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world, I would not dwell anywhere but in a home of the Torah.” Mishna Abot 6:9

J. (SLIDE # 13) VALUING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN ONES LIFE 1. What makes something valuable? a. Diamonds only worth $6.00 (Created market)

b. Water or diamonds in a desert? Water is valuable! 2. The Torah was life to the Jew, the Reign of God in their life. This is why John says, “The word became flesh” because it was already spirit. 3. What we want and what were willing to pay for determines what we value 4. Whether you find it by accident have spent your life looking for the one thing worth selling out for when you find the Kingdom of heaven and see its value you will rejoice 5. The Kingdom reign will cost you everything, but it is worth it! 6. One Mans dung heap is another mans palace. Not all will see the value of the kingdom.

K. THE GROWING POWER OF THE KINGDOM 1. Gods reign in your life when he is allowed to throne himself upon your heart, will overtake every area of it. 2. Let God begin to reign in your life, give him a chance to plant in your soul, to knead the yeast of his kingdom in your Spirit and Gods power and growth will multiply his work in your life. 3. No matter how rough the soil, all he needs is a chance to plant in your life. 4. You must work the kingdom through every area of your life. Can’t be savior without being Lord. 5. Growth will be so amazing other will be able to find refuge on the strength of your life because of its growth in you.

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