The web of “experts”

I lived for nearly twenty years in Denmark. It was there that I got my first driving licence. When we moved to Scotland I asked at the local police station about getting a UK driving licence. I was told that I could drive here for a year on my Danish licence but would have to take a driving test thereafter.This advice was based on a case they had recently had with someone from South Africa.

A problem arose when I went for a job interview. The job involved some driving. The interview went very well and I felt a growing confidence until I mentioned that I would have to soon sit a new driving test. I could feel it was lost and it was.

Determined to remove that show-stopper from future job interviews I went to get a test application form. In the guidlines it stated that a re-test was not necessary for applicants from other Common Market states – just send in the Danish licence and fifteen pounds and they would swap it for a UK licence.

Experts – beware of them!

Time and again I have been reminded of this. Some earn a reputation for knowledge and expertise in a particular field but it doesn’t necessarily mean they know everything about that or even related fields that they don’t know quite so much about. It is sometimes these related fields that they make pronouncements about under the cloak of expertise that they got elsewhere.

I have been looking at what Jesus replied when asked which commandment was greatest. In Mark 12:29-30 he replies with the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel the LORD our God is one LORD. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart —.   The word for one is echad. The Companion Bible has a note about the word one which it points out  is a”compound unity” or one made up of several. It does say that it can also mean unique.

Wanting to know more about this word I found a website that seemed very sound http://www.hebrew-streams.org that has an article on the word echad which is used over nine hundred times in the Old Testament and in 600 of these it simply means the cardinal number ONE. It says that in Hebrew there is a word for togetherness or a joining unity and that is yachad .

Many “experts” just give the compound unity definition as it opens up the possibility of a trinity concept in the Old Testament but as the article in hebrew-streams points out there is much more to the word echad.

The Koine Greek “experts” have come to agree on certain ways to translate certain things in this now dead language and although some are super qualified and have loads of letters after their name they still don’t have to be right all the time. There were many experts at the time of Jesus but he rejoiced that God had hidden things from them but had revealed them unto babes and the unlearned. The apostles amazed the priests with their knowledge because they were unlearned and ordinary(idiotai. in Greek).

Origen was a Christian scholar from Alexandria ca 184 – 254 AD. One of his most famous works was the Hexapla – a six column manuscript with the Hebrew OT in the first column, a Greek transliteration in the next and then four versions of the Septuagint in the remaining columns. He lived in the age when Koine Greek was the common language in much of the area around the Mediterranean – he knew his Greek.

In his commentary on John’s gospel or what we have of it, he says that John was familiar with the niceties of Greek and was very careful with his use of the definite article, where it was used and where it wasn’t used.

Bearing this in mind notice how the experts play fast and loose with the definite article. Of course it would be hard to read a translation that put the article in whenever it is used in the Greek but leaving it out misses something. They don’t hold back from putting it in where it was carefully left out. Jesus always called himself, “the son of the man”. This would surely mean ,”the son of David” to his hearers. The son of man would apply to any man.

Another host of experts are those who can tell you the meaning of prophesies about Israel but who think that the Jews are the whole house of Israel. Anyone who doesn’t know the difference can’t be taken seriously.

Three thousand years ago, King David ordered a census to be taken of the people of Israel and Judah and the number of fighting men, if we take the numbers from 2Sam24:9, were 500 thousand from Judah and 800 thousand from Israel. ( 1Chron gives different figures but there are explanations for this). At any rate they must have numbered  a few million. How many would they be now? The present number of Jews in the world is estimated to be about 15 million – I don’t know how many of these would pass as fighting men.

The prophet Hosea was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel which had broken away from the tribes that formed the kingdom called Judah. I Hosea chapter one we read

And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Hos 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Hos 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Nearly two thousand years ago Josephus said the ten tribes lived beyond the Euphrates and were a great multitude. These were Israelites but never Jews. Many prophesies are about them and not just the Jews. So to only look at the Jews misses much of the picture.

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5 Responses to The web of “experts”

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