Does God delight in the massacre of his people's enemies? In Chronicles this week, he enables the slaughter of towns and tents full of civilians. If that weren't challenging enough: when God will live with his people in the future Kingdom, will it look like ancient Near Eastern cultic worship? And just to cap it all off, Jesus likes you to believe some stuff, but what he really expects you to do is get out there and do something about it.

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In Ezekiel 47 this week, the temple vision features many elements common to ancient Near Eastern religious imagery. These specific discoveries are referenced in the episode. Click for full resolution.

Lower central portion of The Investiture of Zimri-Lim, from the Amorite palace at Mari. This work is part of the collections of the Louvre (Department of Near Eastern Antiquities).
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Cylinder seal depicts Enki with double currents flowing from shoulders. Photo by Kim Walton, courtesy of the Oriental Institute Museum
Source: Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

These are all really challenging texts, that should make the serious Bible reader really think about how we envision our faith. Because what scripture tells us to have faith in is not a set of rules or prescriptive visions, but an entirely new way of living in this world. We should look back for inspiration, and forwards in anticipation: but what we do, and how we think now is where the real challenge lies.

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Bodi, Daniel (2009). Ezekiel.
in Walton, John H. (ed) (2009): Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament, Vol. 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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Haenchen, Ernst (1980); tr. Funk, Robert W. (1984). John 2: A Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 7–21, Hermeneia — A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.
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Klein, Ralph W. (2012). 2 Chronicles: A Commentary, Hermeneia — A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.
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de Vries, Simon J. (1989). 1 and 2 Chronicles. The Forms of the Old Testament Literature commentary series. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
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Walton, John H.; Keener, Craig S. [eds] (2016). NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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Episode 7: temple and tradition, introducing Ezekiel's temple vision.

Episode 8: patterns and participation, featuring King Asa and Ezekiel's temple.


2 Chronicles 14, 2 Chronicles 15, Exodus 23, Deuteronomy 7, Joshua 24, 2 Chronicles 16, Ezekiel 47, John 15, John 16, FRMOTLIT13CH1, HRMNEIA14CH2, ZIBBCOT04, HRMNEIA64BJN, NVCLTRLBCBBLNTS