Believing the ‘unbelievable’.
Why not all things are meant to make logical sense.
Whenever you hear of initiatives to strip out some aspect of mystery from our faith, you will encounter people, even Christians, following their Greek inclinations. One such group are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have an issue over the Trinity. Their stated reason is that the actual word doesn’t appear in the Bible and they defend their view with verses stripped out of context. Yet a Hebraic approach to Scripture would concentrate on what God is trying to tell us, which sometimes requires us to read between the lines, concentrating on His actions. The Trinity may not be mentioned by name but it’s hard not to see it in action through reading the first two verses in Genesis and the first verse in John.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
The JWs can’t get their heads around the reality of the Trinity because they can’t envisage Jesus being both God and man. In fact their “translation” of John 1 is skewed in order to imply that Jesus is a created being. This is a good example of the dynamic between the Greek and the Hebraic mindsets, with the Greek rationalist inclination winning out.
Yet scientists are increasingly being asked to live with situations where things don’t make sense. They ought to be characterised as mysteries, but are given the funkier name of paradox. In an every-growing list are questions such as; if the universe is so old, why isn’t the night sky brighter? Why is light both wave form and particle? How can Schrodinger’s cat occupy two different states simultaneously? It appears that our universe isn’t as explicable as once was thought and the Greek mind, with its reliance on the explicable, is simply not equipped to unravel the mysteries and paradoxes. So we need to accept that we do not have the mind of God and some things in this world are meant to be mysterious. There are also some other mysteries in Scripture.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)
This should remind us about the sanctity of marriage, as it is meant to be a model of the Body of Christ, the relationship between Christ and his Church. Here are three more that are linked:
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:6)
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:25-26)
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 16:25-26)
This is a mystery of such importance that it has been attacked, undermined and challenged almost from the birth of the Church. It speaks of a Church made up of Jews and Gentiles, with a hint that it was not going to be an easy relationship to start with, but that the end will be better than the beginning, with all Israel saved. Then we have another:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— (1 Corinthians 15:51)
And what a mystery this is! It leads into the rapture verse, so we are very much into areas of great contention. The Book of Revelation explicitly mentions four mysteries; the mystery of the seven stars (1:20), the events after the seventh trumpet (10:7), the mystery of Babylon the great (17:5) and the mystery of the woman and the beast (17:7).
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp