The View from the Mishkan

Don’t forget to join us each week at “The View from the Mishkan! If you live in the Salem, Oregon area, you can visit with us on the radio, at 1220 AM each Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 PM. If you live elsewhere in the world, you can join us on the web at http://www.hebrewnationonline.com. Just point your browser to the site, and listen in!

Mishkan Logo“The View from the Mishkan” offers a Messianic Perspective from David Negley, who has been part of the Messianic community since 1981. Some of the programs will be topical discussions, and some will be based on particular Bible texts. Right now, we are working through the “Besorah of Mattityahu” (you might know this better as “The Gospel of Matthew”).  In this study, we are highlighting the numerous Jewish features employed by the author, including the use of gematria and other forms of rabbinic commentary, as well as the tremendous emphasis on the House of David and its role in the Messianic Expectation.

Some of what we share will be affirming, and some of it will challenge your most dearly held views. Be sure to set this time aside each Tuesday at

  • 8:00 PM Eastern
  • 7:00 PM Central
  • 6:00 PM Mountain
  • 5:00 PM Pacific

You’ll be thrilled, challenged, inspired, and occasionally irritated… all at the same time!

What Is the Bible All About? Part 1

Books of the Bible

When you first started reading the Bible, how did you begin? Did you randomly open to passages, and just start reading wherever your finger landed? Did you open the Table of Contents, and pick a book that sounded interesting? Perhaps you asked a friend for advice on which book of the Bible you should read first? I can still remember some of the early advice I received as a very new Christian back in 1979.

  • Start with the Gospel of John. Why? Because it is the easiest book to read, and it will teach you about the life of Jesus.
  • After John, read Romans. That will give you the theological understanding of what Jesus meant to the early Christians.
  • After you’ve read John and Romans, read the Psalms. That will develop your devotional life as you meditate on the poetry of King David.
  • If you can’t get focused on any one book, just read anything. Reading something in the Bible is better than reading nothing.

Now, ever since I was young, I realized that taking a look at the table of contents in a book often gave me great insight regarding what I would find in the work. So, working off that assumption, I headed straight to the table of contents in my Bible. But, as I considered where to begin in my Bible study, I quickly realized that the table of contents was pretty useless. After all, there are sixty-six books in the Bible, and the Table of Contents doesn’t do much to show us how they relate to one another.

Bible Table of Contents

Old Testament

Genesis2 ChroniclesDaniel
ExodusEzraHosea
LeviticusNehemiahJoel
NumbersEstherAmos
DeuteronomyJobObadiah
JoshuaPsalmsJonah
JudgesProverbsMicah
RuthEcclesiastesNahum
1 SamuelSong of SolomonHabakkuk
2 SamuelIsaiahZephaniah
1 KingsJeremiahHaggai
2 KingsLamentationsZechariah
1 ChroniclesEzekielMalachi

New Testament

MatthewEphesiansHebrews
MarkPhilippiansJames
LukeColossians1 Peter
John1 Thessalonians2 Peter
Acts2 Thessalonians1 John
Romans1 Timothy2 John
1 Corinthians2 Timothy3 John
2 CorinthiansTitusJude
GalatiansPhilemonRevelation

I don’t know about you, but a bunch of names of people and places doesn’t do much for me. What is an “Isaiah” or a “First Chronicles”? What significance is there to a “Second Corinthians”? What’s a “Corinthians”, anyway??? And, more directly relevant to some of the advice I was receiving… “What do I care about some guy named John, or a city in Italy, called Rome?”

In short, I found myself asking a very interesting question, even as a lad of 19 years…

What is the organizational principle guiding the contents of the Bible?

Part of the problem is that the Bible is not a book, addressing a single specific topic in each chapter. Rather, it is a library of books—each book addressing a large topic, or even several topics. As time went on, I found that those before me had created certain categorical groupings. These seemed to help a bit. At least now I had a mere dozen or so categories to understand, rather than sixty-six individual units.

Bible Table of Contents,
Christian Grouping

Old Testament

Law/Pentateuch

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

History

Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther

Major Prophets

Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel

Minor Prophets

Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

Poetry

Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Solomon

New Testament

Gospels

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

History

Acts

Pauline Epistles

Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon

General Epistles

Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude

Prophecy

Revelation

But I still had no idea what relative significance should be assigned to each section. And what purpose does each category serve? And what is the message of each book inside the category? It seemed like none of my peers—or even my Sunday school teachers!—were able to help me out with those questions.

After I had been a believer for about three years, I came across a military chaplain who shared with me a great deal of valuable insight. One of the things he taught me was to, “Always strive to see the ‘Big Picture’. And when you think you have the ‘Big Picture’, look for an even bigger ‘Big Picture’.”

His point was to show me that everything needs context in order to be understood. No scene, no statement, no word can be properly interpreted unless we know why the action was being taken, why the words were being spoken, and in what context. We must know what went before, what consequences followed, and what the characters involved thought about those events.

Based on this early encouragement to gain perspective by identifying the “Big Picture”, I have always made it my goal to “zoom out” when reading the Bible. I have worked to avoid developing myopia, seeing only the immediate details of the text at hand. Sometimes, this has invited allegations that I tend to over-generalize. After all, if I am not focused on the immediate details, then I seem to run the risk of ignoring pertinent data. But I believe the trade-off has been worth the risks. I would actually say that it is better to have a very good grasp of the overview perspective than to get lost in detail. If one must err in either direction, always go for the big picture. This will usually help clear up the questions that arise in the details.

But we still haven’t answered the question I have posed, have we?

What is the organizational principle guiding the contents of the Bible?

In other words, why does the Bible contain the books it does? And how do we we understand these books in relation to one another? How do we know when it is legitimate to bring two texts together in developing a theological point? How do we prevent turning the Bible into a giant “spiritual” Rorschach test? How do we know when a novel idea goes beyond the realm of reasonable interpretation?

The answer may surprise you. It might even alarm you. Especially if you have always been taught that the answer to every question can be found within the Bible.  In this case, we find that the answer to this particular question lies outside the canonical texts we are trying to understand!

So, now we have established the importance of asking certain questions about the contents of the Bible that will help us understand the meaning of each text . Be sure to come back next time to get the rest of the story! How do we answer these questions? What is our guide in determining the meaning and value of all these books we find in the Bible?

Books of the Bible

 

Welcome to Paradise

PRDS

Our Rabbis taught:

Four men entered the ‘Garden’, namely, Ben ‘Azzai and Ben Zoma, Aher, and R. Akiba.

R. Akiba said to them: “When you arrive at the stones of pure marble, say not, ‘water, water!’ (which would prevent forward progress). For it is said: ‘He that speaks falsehood shall not be established before mine eyes’.”

Ben ‘Azzai cast a look and died (known for simple piety). Of him Scripture says: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

Ben Zoma looked and became demented (entertained strange and unreasonable topics of study). Of him Scripture says: “Have you found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled therewith, and vomit it.”

Aher mutilated the shoots (became an apostate).

R. Akiba departed unhurt (set the standard for accurate Torah interpretation).

(Babylonian Talmud, Chagigah 14b)

» Read more..

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 4

Ani Ma'amin (I Believe)

Many of you may be aware that, since August 2014, I have been doing a radio show called, “The View from the Mishkan”. The primary topic of the program has been the “Besorah of Mattityahu” (“Gospel of Matthew”).

During the month of January 2015, I have taken some time off from Mattityahu, and created a short mini-series on the significance of Talmudic knowledge in order to defend against some of the arguments presented to challenge our Messianic faith.

In this fourth and final episode, we continue to emphasize the need to credit the sages of the Babylonian exile with defining the office of mashiach, while also providing responses to some of the standard anti-missionary challenges.
» Read more..

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 3

Ani Ma'amin (I Believe)

Many of you may be aware that, since August 2014, I have been doing a radio show called, “The View from the Mishkan”. The primary topic of the program has been the “Besorah of Mattiryahu” (“Gospel of Matthew”).

During the month of January 2015, I have taken some time off from Mattityahu, and created a short mini-series on the significance of Talmudic knowledge in order to defend against some of the arguments presented to challenge our Messianic faith.

In this third episode, we continue to emphasize the need to credit the sages of the Babylonian exile with defining the office of mashiach. Whatever we may like to think about getting all our support directly from Scripture, the fact is, Yeshua operated within a framework defined by the sages of Israel. We also offer specific responses to some of the standard anti-missionary challenges.
» Read more..

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 2

Ani Ma'amin (I Believe)

Many of you may be aware that, since August 2014, I have been doing a radio show called, “The View from the Mishkan”. The primary topic of the program has been the “Besorah of Mattiryahu” (“Gospel of Matthew”).

During the month of January 2015, I have taken some time off from Mattityahu, and created a short mini-series on the significance of Talmudic knowledge in order to defend against some of the arguments presented to challenge our Messianic faith.

In this second episode, we continue to emphasize the need to credit the sages of the Babylonian exile with defining the office of mashiach. Whatever we may like to think about getting all our support directly from Scripture, the fact is, Yeshua operated within a framework defined by the sages of Israel. Once we accept that fact of history, much of the modern anti-missionary argument against Yeshua is de-fanged and de-clawed.

So, we continue the series on strengthening the foundations of our faith in Messiah Yeshua. Give it a listen, and see what I mean! And stay tuned for coming episodes in this series…

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 2

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 1

Ani Ma'amin (I Believe)

Many of you may be aware that, since August 2014, I have been doing a radio show called, “The View from the Mishkan”. The primary topic of the program has been the “Besorah of Mattiryahu” (“Gospel of Matthew”).

During the month of January 2015, I have taken some time off from Mattityahu, and created a short mini-series on the significance of Talmudic knowledge in order to defend against some of the arguments presented to challenge our Messianic faith.

In this opening episode, we start off by affirming the need to credit the sages of the Babylonian exile with defining the office of mashiach. Whatever we may like to think about getting all our support directly from Scripture, the fact is, Yeshua operated within a framework defined by the sages of Israel. Once we accept that fact of history, much of the modern anti-missionary argument against Yeshua is de-fanged and de-clawed.

So, this is the introduction to the series on strengthening the foundations of our faith in Messiah Yeshua. Give it a listen, and see what I mean! And stay tuned for coming episodes in this series…

Anti-missionary Defense, Part 1

Kosher Why?

No Fry Zone

Have you ever heard it said that, “We keep kosher because it is healthier for us”? This always sounds impressive. Whenever someone has said this in my hearing, I have always noticed almost everyone in the room positively affirms this idea.

However, this sort of reasoning is not » Read more..

Hanukkah 2014

Hanukkah

Hanukkah, a Time for Reflection

I would never regard myself as a master of the Talmud. That would require far more time and dedication than I possess. But I do like to read through certain sections from time to time. Occasionally, I find that the same passage keeps popping up in different areas of my life. When that happens, I like to step back and consider what Hashem may be trying to show me through that passage. » Read more..

Hannah and Her Seven Sons

Hanukkah Hope

Shabbat shalom, and Hanukkah Sameach!

It has been a good week of celebrating dedication and resurrection at the Mishkan. And we still have half the festival to go!

This year, we have been focusing our thoughts on the story of “Hannah and Her Seven Sons“. Knowing that those horrific events went on only 160 years prior to Yeshua, it is amazing that people so readily think Yeshua set aside the Torah. » Read more..

%d bloggers like this: