Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015DBRP_001 Gen1-2 Job1 Mrk1a

     Welcome to a year of daily readings of the Word of God! One of my goals in making the Digging Deeper plan was to help you see the threads that unify the message of the Old Testament and the New Testament. I will highlight some of the various threads in the episode notes and podcast introductions, but I try not to do more than hint at the deep treasures in God’s Word. The most valuable treasures that you find this year will be the ones you dig for and find for yourself! Check out the ‘Shovels’ page of for tools to help you go deeper in your study.

    Note that I sometimes modify the New Living Translation based on my experience as a Bible translator. In 2015, the modifications to the NLT text will be noted [in brackets] in the episode notes. (In 2014 the notes were in attached PDF files.) The modifications I make to the NLT are primarily for clarity, not for pushing any doctrine. Some modifications are made simply to help those who will not be looking at the text, but only listening to these recordings.

    The first five books of the Bible are the Jewish Torah, and many books of the Old and New Testaments attribute these books— which collectively are called ‘the Law’, to Moses. Genesis is the foundational book of the whole Bible. When we were in our first Bible translation project among the Orya, I witnessed how getting a little detail of the foundation wrong (such as, how the first sin happened) can wreck the whole building that is being constructed. This book of Genesis tells us what God wants us to know about the beginning of our world, the beginning of sin, mankind’s rebellion against God, and who God and Satan are.

Translation notes:

3Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was

light. 4And God saw that the light was good. Then he

separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the

light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking

the [end of the] first day.

… And evening passed and morning came, marking

the [end of the] second day.

and so forth.

We turn to Job 1. This is probably the oldest book of the Bible, so it makes good sense to start our daily poetry readings here. Job probably lived sometime around the time of the patriarch Abraham. Note that we don’t find a primitive book here! We find established religious practices and beliefs, excellent poetry, well-developed mythology— including the names of constellations, and very sophisticated philosophy. For an early book, one would expect an ending with a neat answer that sums up the author’s opinion. Or one would expect an early author to create a debate where the hero is totally right and the other speakers are clearly wrong. Instead, all the human speakers in the book of Job mix truth and error. And I think it is a mark of inspiration that this book leaves us with some answers and still searching for others.

We turn to Mark 1. Mark does not specifically identify himself as the author, but the church fathers unanimously say that the John Mark mentioned several times in the New Testament was the author. Mark was a companion of Peter, so the eye-witness content in this book is that of Peter. It is also thought that Mark wrote this account before or shortly after Peter’s martyrdom in Rome, which happened somewhere between 64-67 AD. This is certainly the first written Gospel, and it could have been written earlier than the earliest of Paul’s letters. Tradition says that Mark wrote this Gospel in Rome. That would help to explain why Mark gives background information to some Jewish customs that would have been unknown to his Roman readers, and why he doesn’t include teachings of Jesus which were based on the Jewish Scriptures and religion. Instead he tells us the plain story of Jesus and his miracles, so that the reader finds out who Jesus is.

Translation notes:

1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son

of God. It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written,

[quoting what God said to his son:]

6 [John reminded people of the prophet Elijah,] because

his clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore

a leather belt around his waist. And he ate food such as

locusts and wild honey.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DBRP_Dec31_2014 Mal4 Is66b Rev22

As I finish this podcast, I am really thankful for this year-long experience. If you are one of the faithful ones who have listened through most of 2014— whether or not you are ending on December 31 or some days/weeks/months later, I want to congratulate you. Way to go! I hope these podcasts have been a blessing for you— as they have been for me. I hope that nothing that I have said has caused you to stumble or decreased your desire to read or listen to God’s Word. I started this project in the hope that my four grandchildren would— in some future year, listen to this series of recordings. If you are Luke Fields, Laura Fields, Ava Baughn, or Joel Baughn, know that Grampa loves you and that I desired to share spiritual treasures with you. I am proud of you and wish that we could have shared these readings in person. To all of you in the family of Christ Jesus our Savior, I send warm greetings and love. May the Lord bless you in 2015!


We turn for the second time to Isaiah 66. Isaiah ends with blessings and promises  that foreshadow Revelation, such as these:

12This is what the LORD says:

“I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity.

22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain,

so will you always be my people,

with a name that will never disappear,”

says the LORD.

The wealth of the nations will flow to her.

In stark contrast to the promises and blessings, Isaiah also ends with vivid warnings against judgments and punishments that are like those in Revelation:

24And as they go out, they will see

the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me.

For the worms that devour them will never die,

and the fire that burns them will never go out.

All who pass by

will view them with utter horror.”

Jesus himself repeatedly quoted that verse about the worms and the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9)

We turn to Revelation 22, the last chapter in the Bible. In chapter 21 we heard the invitation to receive free life-giving water for anyone who is thirsty, and that invitation is repeated in today’s chapter. The culmination of everything promised and the healing of everything sick and broken occur here— from the Garden of Eden and the start of sin, the tower of Babel, and all the rest. God says, “Look, I am making all things new.” There is again symbolism in every aspect of the New Jerusalem— including even the shape of a huge cube. As noted above at the end of Isaiah, in stark contrast to the eternal blessings for God’s people are the vivid ending warnings of eternal judgment in the last two chapters of Revelation.

In Rev. 22:8-9, most translations make it sound that John made the same mistake twice—, bowing down again to the angel that was showing everything to him, as he did in chapter 19. But the Greek in those verse in chapter 22 can be understood to be retelling that event that happened in chapter 19, and I think that makes better sense. That’s how I will read it today. The probable reason that John included the story  twice was to emphasize that angels should not be worshipped. It is likely that he repeated the story in order  to combat a heresy that was current during his time and even can be seen in some forms to the present day.


1b  On each side of the river grew [the/a] tree of life,

8b  And when I heard and saw them[— as I said before], I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.

16b  I am both the [founding] source of David

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Monday, December 29, 2014

DBRP_Dec30_2014 Mal3 Is66a Rev21

Just one more day after this one! What a year we have had. In my preparations for rebroadcasting the January podcasts, I noted how I can hear that I was struggling with sinus problems. I gave that out as a prayer request about that in one of the podcasts. The Lord really answered that one! I have had a very healthy year. Thanks to any of you who prayed for me in any way this year.

If you are listening to this, I hope you have made good plans for your next year’s Bible reading. I encourage you to change things up! And I invite you who have been with me in 2014 to listen to a different voice. For those who are listening to this and thinking of joining us to Dig Deeper in 2015, welcome!



We turn to Malachi 3. In chapters 1-2 yesterday, we heard how skeptical and sassy the Israelites had become. This came out in the way Malachi has the people of Israel talk back to God. The first is like this:

2“I have always loved you,” says the LORD.

But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”

Topics for such exchanges included offering sacrifices that show appropriate honor to God, breaking covenants of marriage through divorce, and not honoring God as the God of justice. Two more sassy exchanges happen in today’s reading.

We turn for the first time to Isaiah 66. I highlight verse 17 from chapter 65, as it foreshadows what we will read in Revelation today and tomorrow:

17“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,

and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.

And I believe that these moving verses from that same chapter portray the torment of the lake of fire:

13Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“My servants will eat,

but you will starve.

My servants will drink,

but you will be thirsty.

My servants will rejoice,

but you will be sad and ashamed.

14My servants will sing for joy,

but you will cry in sorrow and despair.

We turn to Revelation 21. In chapter 20, we read about the millenium or the thousand year reign of Christ, the defeat and imprisonment of Satan, his brief release following the 1,000 years, and his eventual eternal judgment in the lake of fire. Death and the Grave were also abolished in the lake of fire.


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Sunday, December 28, 2014

DBRP_Dec29_2014 Mal1-2 Is65b Rev20

We heard a very difficult conclusion to Zechariah yesterday. Chapter 14 started out with horrendous news for Jerusalem. But the Lord himself steps in:

3 Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. … 5 … Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.b

We will see the following from Zech 14 very soon in Revelation:

… Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.b

6On that day the sources of light will no longer shine,c7yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light.

8On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,d flowing continuously in both summer and winter.

We turn now to the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi. The name means, “my messenger.” There is some debate as to whether this is a name or a title. There is also debate as to the date of the writing of this post exilic prophet, but it is generally said that there is a 400 year gap between this last Old Testament prophet and New Testament. Constable states:

Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is tempting to date Malachi during Nehemiah’s governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah dealt with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and intermarriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28).

The book of Malachi prepared the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah.  Chapter 3 was especially significant:

1 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

We turn the second time to Isaiah 65. Note that the chapter starts with a verse that Paul quotes in Romans 10. Here is a little more than he quotes:

1The LORD says,

“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.

I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’

to a nation that did not call on my name.a

2All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.b

We turn to Revelation 20. After the judgment on the city code-named Babylon, in chapter 19 we heard songs of praise from heaven. Then we saw the appearing of Christ riding on a white horse. Typical of John’s reticence to name deity, Christ is not named, but is beautifully described. Note that even Jesus has a name written on his person which only He understands. And like in John 1:1, Christ’s title is the ‘Word of God’. Note also that this account of His appearing may not be in chronological order in its position following the destruction of Babylon. Although Christ’s army is mentioned, note how the victory is won by Christ alone.


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Saturday, December 27, 2014

DBRP_Dec28_2014 Zech14 Is65a Rev19

Unfortunately, we have not yet seen this fulfilled from the end of Zechariah 12:

10“Then I will pour out a spiritb of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.

This part has been fulfilled from the beginning of chapter 13:

“On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and impurity.

This from Zech 13 was referred to by the Lord Jesus in Mark 14:27 in or on the way to the garden of Gethsemane:

7“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,

the man who is my partner,”

says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

“Strike down the shepherd,

and the sheep will be scattered,

and I will turn against the lambs.

We turn to Isaiah 65. In chapter 64, there is a mixture of hope, regretful repentance, and supplication— including these verses:

4For since the world began,

no ear has heard

and no eye has seen a God like you,

who works for those who wait for him!

5You welcome those who gladly do good,

who follow godly ways.

But you have been very angry with us,

for we are not godly.

We are constant sinners;

how can people like us be saved?

6We are all infected and impure with sin.

When we display our righteous deeds,

they are nothing but filthy rags.

We turn now to Rev. 19. In Revelation 18 we heard the chapter of doom against the city of Babylon (or Rome, or this world’s evil system). If this sounded familiar, it is because you were remembering Ezek 27.


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Friday, December 26, 2014

DBRP_Dec27_2014 Zech12-13 Is64 Rev18

Several times I have noted Zechariah and other prophets who use the figure of shepherding a flock— picturing God’s people. In chapter 11, there were puzzling verses where Zechariah evidently performed an outward demonstration involving two staffs. Other prophets did such demonstrations. In this one, evidently Zechariah stood in for the Messiah. The two staffs were named Favor and Union. Our Messiah, Jesus, came to restore us to God’s favor and give us unity as God’s people— no matter from what race. The 30 pieces of silver is spoken of with irony: “this magnificent sum at which they valued me.” Remember this shepherd picture!

We turn to Isaiah 64. Yesterday in chapter 63, we heard the people of Israel ask a whole series of questions about the Lord, like:

“Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd?

And here is another verse:

15 LORD, look down from heaven;

look from your holy, glorious home, and see us.

Where is the passion and the might

you used to show on our behalf?

Where are your mercy and compassion now?

The chapter ended with deep pathos:

18 How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place,

and now our enemies have destroyed it.

19 Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you,

as though we had never been known as your people.

However, don’t forget how the chapter started, with the Lord wearing blood-stained robes from trampling out the grapes (yes, ‘grapes of wrath’)— the nations who oppressed his people. This is a picture of the grape harvest that we saw so recently in Revelation 14. Note that in Isaiah the Lord does the trampling alone. And so we see also in Revelation, the final battle is won by the Lord acting alone.

We turn to Rev 18. The part that puzzles me most in chapter 17 is this:

8 The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pitb and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.

Satan’s sponsorship of the beast is clear. But how will this ‘eighth king’ reveal himself as someone who previously died so that people actually believe it and are amazed?


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