Dr. Jack Levison from Perkins School of Theology explores the Holy Spirit in the Gospels from his new book An Unconventional God: The Spirit According to Jesus.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore, and your co host Rex Gurney. And today on the show, we’re excited to have another amazing author. It’s been great being able to get connected to of the scholars and authors. We have jack Levison, who is the WSJ, a power professor of Old Testament interpretation and biblical Hebrew, have Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
in Dallas, Texas, and we’ll see what kind of accent he has once he
Yeah, exactly. And his scholarship has focused on the Holy Spirit’s both Old Testament references, Pauline pneumatology, and his current book is an unconventional God, the spirit, according to Jesus gonna look at the Spirit through the lens of the four Gospels. And it’s a really amazing book and kind of a powerful view of the spirit in the gospels, and how it’s connected to the Old Testament. Yeah, this promises to be a really, really good conversation.
We’d love to kind of hear a little bit more of for our listeners hear a little bit more your backstory jack of how, how you kind of got to where you are now and maybe even got into writing about the Holy Spirit and kind of your scholarship with the Holy Spirit.
So I’m 64. That’ll take the whole time. The abbreviated version, how long it takes you you never asked an academic for the abbreviated version. That’s true. That’s true. Okay, so
I grew up on Long Island in the Christian churches in the restoration movement. And I at 12, I was baptized and at 15, I felt I was at church camp, this little plywood camp up in the Catskills, and I really felt called to Christian ministry. So I went up. And I was really trying to decide on where to go to college and ended up the looking my sister had gotten an application to Wheaton College in the days when you had paper applications. And she didn’t fill it out. So I did. So I simply print out this crumpled old application and send it off to Wheaton. And during my first year, at Wheaton, I had a Greek teacher called Jerry Hawthorne. And he walked into the class the very first day, and put his briefcase on the desk. And then he just without saying a word wrote on the board, a bunch of Greek. And he said, Who knows what this means, since it was Greek one, none of us knew what it meant. And he, he said, Oh, this is Philippians 413. Who knows what this means. And of course, since it was Wheaton College, every other student’s hand went up, they all for 13. I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And he said, Is that true? Can you pass a chemistry exam through Christ who strengthens you? It’s not true. And then he began to tell us I like the today’s English version, I can I have strength for anything through the one who gives me power. And he started talking about different ways of translating the Bible translation equivalent versus word for word. And I think I had a Wesleyan experience. Yeah, having my heart strangely worn in the fourth, third or fourth floor of Blanchard Hall on the Wheaton College campus. And then Jerry took me under his wing and I became his teaching assistant. I taught a course or two for him when he was doing something else. And then I went off to Cambridge, and then to Duke for my PhD, where I met an absolutely wonderful young woman called Priscilla Pope. There’s a whole story with that one. And then Jerry, actually, for two summers, I taught his Wheaton College summer classes in Greek. So basically, I really trace my deep love of being a professor to my freshman year, the first day of my Greek class, but then it developed and I ended up marrying a woman who was it sort of changed my restoration background as a Methodist minister. And then the rest is history as they say,
what what moved you towards Hebrew then since you’re, you know, basically Old Testament guy,
yeah, it’s a little crazy thing. When I went to Duke for my PhD, I wanted to do the background, the Jewish but it was the big days with WD Davies. There was a lot going on in the Jewish background in the New Testament. And so I wanted to write a PhD dissertation on the background of the figure of Adam in Paul in Romans, the Adam in Christ contract. And when I started looking at the Jewish literature, it’s just in the early days, where the pseudepigrapha collection of Jewish slit was coming out. And my adviser Let me read dot matrix copies the manuscript as it was coming out. So it was literally folded over my house. He’s like a dress because people your listeners probably won’t know. But dot matrix was the paper was perforated and it just write miles. Yes. And so what happened is I could not I never got out of the Jewish material very much. I just, I loved it so much that I stayed in it, which meant I was a misfit. I could teach Old Testament or I teach New Testament. So my first job in Kansas City was New Testament. And then I believe I moved to Old Testament at northpark. And then when I went to Duke, they didn’t know what to do with me. So they called me to Biblical interpretation. Yeah. And then in 2001, I moved to Seattle Pacific University, and they said, What do you want to be? And I said, you know, I’ve been mostly Old Testament and biblical, I want to be New Testament. And then this chair came up at Perkins here at SMU, and it was it was decidedly Hebrew Bible Old Testament. So basically, because I started in this world of Judaism, I could flip either backwards or forwards. And with my work on the Holy Spirit, it’s meant flipping backwards and for Right, right, right. So that’s why I’m really I’m Old Testament here, but I was New Testament for 15 years, because I just, I just don’t fit.
Okay, okay. Well, he does. However, he fights for your latest book, though. So
yeah, I mean, I got I got both that I got an Old Testament book in February and a New Testament book and whenever it was September, October, right, both probably terrible. So
who cares, right? Hey, that’s not true. I think both are really good. And was really this newest one, an unconventional guide. So you’re looking at the Holy Spirit through the lens of the Gospels. Yeah, the lens of Jesus. And I was really captured by that. The title is what I first came across, and seeing it maybe as a follow up to a boundless God. I would love for you to unpack maybe that a little like, what would the meaning behind unconventional?
So I was teaching a course for Perkins down in Houston, we have a hybrid program down in Houston. And I got the picture of the cover they were going to give me and the cover had a big stained glass dove underneath with standing a semi pregnant Mary. So I called them and I said, Oh, no, no, I swore there were two things I never wanted on the cover of a book was a skinny ascetic looking saint. Don’t say it on my book, and don’t put it up. This lovely kind of see a dark kind of see, because I think, here’s what lies behind that. When you think about the Holy Spirit, if I’m here for a minute church asking people what they think about the Holy Spirit, they’ll say, comfort or, or they’ll think, spiritual gifts, like hearing speaking in tongues, prophecy, or the fruits of the Spirit, joy, peace, patience, that kind of thing. And so you we tend to put a very gentle edge or very dove like edge on the right, right, because we begin with Paul’s letters, sometimes the book of Acts, but when you refract an understanding of the Holy Spirit, through the life of Jesus, which was a life driven toward the cross, during toward martyrdom, and he knew that his disciples would be driven to martyrdom. He doesn’t give us a candy coated view of the Holy Spirit gives us a really unconventional view of the Holy Spirit by associating it with scorpions and snakes, by its association with the wilderness by saying when your back is to the wall and you’re being flogged in the synagogues, don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will give you a word to say, this is unconventional over against what we think of as the very gentle kind, peaceable spirit that floats gently like a dove into our hearts. Right. That’s why unconvicted, I answer your question. Yeah, yeah. You didn’t. Yeah, very different view of the Holy Spirit from normal.
Right. We have to get this question out of the way right away for so yeah, look like George Clooney. They were thinking that’s what they were thinking. Actually, no, it’s funny. There’s a book that I’ve been assigning for years. So my students and it’s Anyway, there’s this history professor basically from college as one of the protagonists in the books and so I always thought the guy actually looks like the guy on the cover because they had like stock history professor, you know, kind of dumpy Tweedy has a beard. Sort of sort of looks like me, I guess. And then I actually was checking on his website and like, he looks like a movie star. It was just like, Oh my gosh, it doesn’t look like it. But anyway, I grew up Baptist. And so um, you know, I’m always afraid, you know, several times a day that I’m going to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. And and so I’m wondering if you can help me out a little bit to make sure that I, that I that I don’t do that because we’re all terrified of actually committing that unpardonable sin? Wow. Be facetious.
That is really the hardest question you could possibly ask me. And I will say, if anybody’s listening the book, unconventional God has a chapter on blasphemy, which took me a very long time not to research only, but to write because that’s a difficult passage. So, you know, the blasphemy statement is there or not? Is there but they struggled with it, right? Because in Mark’s gospel, it’s associated with Jesus being called crazy by his family. So his craziness and blasphemy are associated Matthew separates those two. Luke puts blasphemy in a completely different context. So if Matthew and Luke see blasphemy as something that Jesus opponents do, right, you all can blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. in Luke’s Gospel, it’s something that the followers of Jesus do because Luke takes the blasphemy statement, and juxtaposes it hooks it up, ties it at the hip, to the statement about witness. So clearly, the gospel writers really struggled with what this meant, so much so that they each give it a different interpretation. And Luke’s is entirely different from Matthew and Mark. I, Jerry Hawthorne, the professor I talked to said, blasphemy he I remember his definition, all these years later, blasphemy is attributing to Satan, what some what God does. So that’s that was Jerry’s definition of blasphemy, mine would probably be a little more nuanced, in the sense that, and again, it differs depending upon Mark, Matthew or Luke. So if I could get my head just sort of the center point for a podcast. What I think Jesus is saying, is that no, I’m not crazy. But what I do is done by the Spirit. And when I exercise a demon, you cannot attribute that to Satan, because a house divided against itself will not stand. So blasphemy isn’t about just everyday life, and it’s the unpardonable sin. I think that’s comes from Hebrews. And I don’t think you can necessarily say Hebrews is about blasphemy. But boy, I’m really wandering around here at five, eight, my brain going blank trying to make sense of this. But it’s in the context of exorcism that Jesus talks about blasphemy. One thing I found writing in unconventional God is, when you have the Holy Spirit there, Satan is not far behind. It’s amazing. If you look at references to the Spirit, in much of the gospel, they’re Satan’s. There’s references to evil and Satan. And that’s why. So in Luke, where it says, If asked, and shall begin to seek and you shall find, knock, and the door shall be open to you, if you ask, God’s not going to give you a scorpion, instead of an egg, or God’s not going to give you a snake, instead of a What was it? I can’t remember. But you can ask for the Holy Spirit. And I think why would God why I’ve never thought I would receive a scorpion or a snake when I asked for the Holy Spirit. That is only people deep in prayer. Only people deep into the Holy Spirit know how much kind of overlap there can be between the life of the spirit and the life of the evil spirit of Satan. So I think what’s going on with blasphemy is Jesus is talking about a very deep level and saying, look, I can do these exorcisms. Because of the Holy Spirit, though it may look like I’m doing them because of an evil spirit. Okay, so there’s depth there. The question might have been sort of semi facetious, but I think Josh and I answered, No, no, no, no, no, the answer was very helpful. The answer was, yeah, I’ve had people write to me about that I had someone write to me. Like, I have blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. And it took me forever to write a response to someone I did not know thinking this could be a mental crisis, right used to be really dangerous.
Think of kirkegaard father, it’s kind of sitting there sort of, you know, with his angry fist towards heaven in that kind of, you know, marking the family and his son forever. Whenever I think of that, but I’m here, but I’m, this discussions been helpful
for me. Well, it really is so complicated. And each gospel writer clearly grappled. I mean, when I see Luke do something totally different from Mark, I know that even Luke didn’t know what to do with it a few decades later. How could I possibly know what to do with it, but I tried to make as clear a statement as it could good, clearer than in this.
One, it seems like when we approach that we, and especially maybe Rex within the Baptist background, too, we get hung up on the unpardonable part, right. Like if it was if it was just a normal sin, and we could get forgiven for it, we would be like, hey, that’s fine. We don’t need to know. But when you attach the unpardonable Miss to it, we were like i’d How do I know if I did that? You know, if we don’t even know how to clearly describe it. And again, I think we’re maybe too caught up on the unpardonable part. And, and like you were saying, jack, focusing on really what the writers were wrestling with, and, and looking at it through the lens of try, like that idea of attributing something to Satan, that is the spirit, right? Like you’re, you’re not giving the spirit, its credit, or the credit do and not understanding the source. But, again, I think we get then caught up on the unpardonable part, and we don’t want our heaven card revoked. So where we get we get kind of nervous about that.
Yeah, you know, Hebrews is a tough book to build any sort of theology on, I did write, I wrote a long academic article, finally, on the Spirit, Holy Spirit, and Hebrews or something. And I can’t remember what I said about that. But that is a very tough book, to understand the role of the Holy Spirit. And and I think I’ve done a good job of it. But it’s very difficult. I think, what we need to remember the blaspheming, the Holy Spirit, principally is about Jesus, in Matthew and Mark, the scary one is Luke, where it’s, if you’re testifying to me, the spirit is there. But if you deny your testimony, then, you know, is the one that makes it so hard. Because he said he associated with Christian testimony rather than their Jesus opponents. So I don’t feel like that was the clearest thing in the world. But it’s, it’s, it’s, I wish I could recount what I wrote about it. It’ll work in the cell phone,
with with kind of comparing unconventional God to a boundless scan. What are some maybe key features of the spirit in in the gospels, maybe compared to autism? I know you do a really good job of showing the Old Testament connection and Ruth that that same current that you know, that Jesus has said in the New Testament, but are there some key features that kind of set apart how the spirit is, is spoken of, or portrayed in the gospels, maybe compared to the Old Testament, or connected to the Old Testament?
Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think the first thing I would say is, there is a certain ambiguity with respect to the spirit. So if you read most books on the spirit, they’ll they’ll sort of slice and dice. So you have here the spirit means human spirit. And here, the spirit means God’s Spirit. And here, the spirit needs wind. And here, the spirit means breath. And they sort of lay them out on a table. And they have four different piles, and of the 800 or so references that are in our Bible to either the Hebrew root, or the the New Testament piuma over those 800 references, you put them in piles. What I what I saw more is what lies between those piles, and the overlap, I see much more overlap in the Old Testament between, let’s say, the Divine Spirit and the human spirit. And in fact, I wouldn’t even use that category. And I think you see that a little bit in the New Testament as well. So that in the story of the Annunciation and the virgin birth, where you know, what is in you is of the Holy Spirit in Matthew’s Gospel right at Christmas time at Advent. But an actual fact I’m not sure what that the Holy Spirit is what makes Mary pregnant or Mary’s Holy Spirit allows her to be pregnant. You see, there’s overlap more like a Venn diagram. So I think one of the things I found, as I wrote is that I’m more intrigued by the the places between the piles, spirit with a capital S, small s. Breath, and when I think there’s more overlap, that is there. So that’s the first thing I would say. I would say, secondly, it’s very traditional for Christians to say, in this in the Old Testament, the spirit comes intermittently. Yeah, I’ve heard that. Yeah, yeah. And in the New Testament permanently, well, all you have to do is read the Old Testament. No, that’s not true. You know, the spirit of Daniel, the spirit of Joseph, the spirit in the artisans, men and women who constructed the priestly garments in the tabernacle. All of those people, there’s every indication they had spirit, even from birth. So I think this notion where Christians try to say they’re better than the Jews, you know, the Old Testament is interpreting the New Testament is permanent, not when you read the Old Testament, is that true? That’s false. So that’s the second thing. So the overlap between the definitions would be one thing. The second is I think there is a permanence in the old that’s also there in the new, I think there is salvation associated with the Holy Spirit in the old, just as there is salvation in the new. In fact, I think I think Christians may be reading wrong texts like x two on Pentecost, because they’re often reading that as the spirit coming for the first time. Right? Right. Right. Jesus doesn’t say that Jesus calls it the promise of the Father. And of course, what’s really happening at Pentecost is they’re being empowered to be witnesses. They’re not being saved. In Acts two, they’re being empowered to testify, which is what they do they proclaim the mighty acts of God in other languages. So I think there is a connection, in terms of sort of salvation and liberation, this is all going on on a continuum between Old and New Testament. And then I’ll give you a fourth one. So we have between the piles. And then we have it’s not just intermittent in the old, and it does have to do with salvation in the old and there’s a spectrum continuation. Also there. I think the most maybe the most important passage for understanding the New Testament is Isaiah 63, which most Christians have probably never even gotten that far. I mean, I wouldn’t normally, but it’s a really beautiful passage where the exodus is attributed to the spirit even it’s called the Holy Spirit. And I think that lies behind a lot of Paul’s language in Romans eight about the spirit. I think it lies behind the temptation scene. And I think it lies behind the blasphemy passages. So I think, Isaiah 63, I hope people go home and read it, Isaiah 63, chapter, verses seven to 14, lots of references to the spirit in the context of the Exodus, I think that becomes pivotal for understanding the New Testament. So those are some connections, I think I might have been a little too granular and new or maybe didn’t step back, but I hope so.
No, that was good. And I and I, I really found it intriguing how you made that connection with the lamere and Isaiah 63, especially to Jesus testing in the wilderness, the same, the same kind of way of Jesus being led out and and being prepared by the Spirit. And so I thought that was a really interesting connection to to a part of Isaiah that Yeah, I’m not too many people maybe make it that. That deep, and
we liberals make it Isaiah 61, you know, me to bring good news to the poor. So get that far, but Who’s 6263? Who needs it? But I think that’s pivotal. So Tom, right? You know how Tom Wright talks about how, where Israel failed, Jesus succeeds, where Adam failed, Jesus succeeds. So I think there is a very strong Exodus substratum to the New Testament. What Tom hadn’t done, is to connect that specifically to the spirit, the exodus substratum to the spirit, and I do that in Isaiah 63. I think he agrees with me now. Yeah, I think so.
We can call him up and see we can go on.
Talk about a talk about an eloquent speaker. Oh my god. Yeah, that’s my advisor. He was one of my advisors to Cambridge. He was just down in college and He took a lot of time with me when he didn’t need to I was nobody and still nobody, but he took a lot of time to help me learn how to write what’s called a garbett, which is a part of the Cambridge exams and stuff. Yeah, he was really quite the mentor.
None of us would be anywhere near where we if it wasn’t for people like that.
The now you’d mentioned you the one thing you’d promise yourself is never have a dove on the cover of a book. So maybe help us unpack the dove image? Why, why is the dove what is what are the New Testament writers using the gospel writers with his imagery of dove?
I you know, I was teaching on this Friday, we have a lay of lay education thing mostly lay at Perkins called Perkins summit, and my wife Priscilla is in charge of it. And she was also teaching she has a new book coming out. I came out on evangelism. And we were we taught it separate days. But I was teaching on this precisely the baptism in temptation of Jesus. And every time I say, Why a dove, I think of the old Groucho Marx, right. So why was the why a client? Why not a chicken? Why don’t a chicken, chicken? Well, I think there’s a lot going on there. And I will try to unpack it fairly briefly. I think the idea of a dove coming down goes right back to Genesis one and the creation, because the word used of the Spirit of God there is hovering. And that is the same verb used in Deuteronomy 32, of the mother Eagle, describing God bringing them out of Egypt. Yeah. So I think that you’re supposed to think the dove is about the possibility of new creation with the presence of Jesus. I think you’re also supposed to think of Noah and sending out the dove and it comes back and sends it out, comes back, sends it out at it doesn’t come back, that there is going to be again, a recreation of chaos. And so when you see that heavens split open to the dove come down. I think there’s a sense of recreation and hopefulness that’s going on there. Another really important text and I don’t want to get too technical on this is a text from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947. And so we know they predate Jesus. These are texts that predate Jesus is called the Messianic apocalypse for Q 521. I think it is, it was founded, it’s 521 and K four. But they are there’s a description based upon Isaiah 61 of the Messiah, and the hovering of the Spirit. And in that wonderful texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, you have giving sight to the blind, the lame walk and the dead. The dead are raised from the Messiah. And of course, this is what Jesus says to john the baptist when he’s in prison and census emissaries, he said, these things are happening, and he mentions raising the dead. So I think the dove that is hovering over Jesus is not unlike the spirit that hovers in the Messianic Apocalypse, where these expectations of what would happen with the Messiah are actually then fulfilled in the person of Jesus. So I think you have their very clear one segment of Judaism and their expectation. So I think what the dove does is heightened expectation whether for a new creation Genesis one or the or the the end of chaos, Genesis eight and the flood now or the Messianic Apocalypse, what Jews in the day of Jesus, some Jews in the day of Jesus believed the Messiah would do when the Spirit hovered over the poor. So I think you have just this expectation going on within the giving of the Spirit.
One thing that you when that’s one reason why I tell my father in law, I can’t go dove hunting with him, because I can’t I can’t I can’t shoot the representation of the Holy Spirit that
were in the townhouse. But we have a dove on the next house over at our son said to me went to dinner. Yeah, yeah, I’m not a hunter. I grew up on Long Island, a BB gun, you could kill your neighbor with you. Right? Yeah, you know,
the one one thing I think that you highlight really well in the book that that made me thinking it might go back to a little bit of your story and not in not fitting in Old Testament or New Testament. But I think one thing that your study really showed well and reinforces is to really understand the New Testament, you have to understand the Old Testament. I mean, there’s so much you know, the imagery and all of this that the gospel writers are using, they’re not just creating, they’re not just making up and that that deep connection that even Paul has with The Hebrew Scriptures to I mean, bringing bring them forward, I just thought that not necessarily a question but just there was a really good connection and, and maybe a good thing that you don’t fit in one in one specialized place, in a sense, I mean specialized in seeing both of them. Because of that connection, I have a good friend who is finishing a PhD and doing some adjunct teaching. And the only kind of opening he could find his his training is on Old Testament, but it was a New Testament survey and describe to him like, hey, actually, yeah, that’s perfect, because the students need to hear that from you. Because most often in the church, we don’t we just read the New Testament, primarily, we don’t know the the Jewish understanding the Jewish scripture understanding, and how much that would unpack for us.
I think it was Rex, who was talking about the temptation, right. But before I go there, I’m writing these things down to try to remember, one of my heroes is a guy Herrmann, gunkel, who in the 1800s 1888, he wrote a book called The effects of the Holy Spirit. I know float flew in the face of scholarship. And he ended up he was in New Testament, he could never get a job in New Testament because of what he was writing. Now, he may have been an awful person. It sounds like he was a little bit arrogant, as at least in some of his autobiographical statements, but he ended up teaching Old Testament, how about God call and he’s known for doing some of the most ingenious Old Testament stuff, but he started in new, and I’ve always loved the idea of starting in one testament and ending in the other. Let’s give an example of this temptation. Right, Rex, I think you were talking about the temptation stories or the baptismal stories. Well, after the baptism after the dove comes into our on to Jesus, and I think Mark, you mentioned this, in Mark’s gospel, the Spirit does something extraordinary and expels Jesus into the wilderness. And the Greek word of course, is a caballo. As an exit bolo, as in ballistic missile, throws Jesus out into the wilderness. It’s an awful verb. It is the verb used in Genesis chapter three, verse 24, in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, of the expulsion of Adam and Eve. And so I think you’re supposed to think of this as Jesus will succeed where, where Adam, and Eve failed. In fact, even the idea of being with the animals in Mark’s gospel is evocative of the promise of again, peace with the animals. So in Mark’s gospel, clearly the foreground is Genesis three and the expulsion from Eden. And then as you said, Matthew says, The Spirit lead Jesus up into the wilderness. Matthew doesn’t see Adam as the background. But Exodus is the background because they always talked about you brought us up out of Egypt, you brought us up. So Matthew sees the temptation as a new Exodus, coming up out of Egypt, Luke changes it again, and says, Let the spirit lead them in the wilderness led led Jesus in the wilderness, that’s clearly not the exodus from the Red Sea, but the leading from Sinai to the promised land. So all three temptation scenes can only be understood in the light of a particular background in the Old Testament. And of course, in Matthew and Luke, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy eight, which contains the story of the wilderness. And so if you don’t know that you don’t know that Jesus is the new Adam, Jesus is the new Moses, Jesus is the new Israel. He’s just Jesus, which may be enough. Not enough for me. Right? Right. That’s, I think the I think the background is so important. I’ve always thrilled that I’ve had to teach both Hebrew and Greek, old and new. Yeah, I’ve never minded that.
One seems like with pastoral training to like, if pastors were more steeped in the Old Testament, it would be it would help them unpack and I mean, I say that as a pastor too. And so I always, always tell my students when I’m pointing fingers at the church, I’m pointing that myself, right. But I can know when I approach a New Testament passage, I often don’t think, Hey, what is the what is the Old Testament background of this? What is the foundation, but yeah, even those that that unpacks the story of the temptation so much more when you have that connection to, to those kind of three events and things happening in the Old Testament. I mean, it helps us understand that power in it. It’s really important for us as Christians to, to not neglect the Old Testament. And and to really understand its its power in interpreting the New Testament.
And pastorally I think I mean, it’s so much more gritty. I mean, the family dynamics, ruinous relationships, whole nations being given, like a mess telling them what’s going to happen if they don’t change, and then they don’t change. And then it happens. I mean, we could learn so much as individuals, as families, as churches and as a nation, from the Old Testament that’s just not there in the New Testament. And the New Testament is too easily spiritualized and individualized, if you don’t realize that they were writing out of the context of the Old Testament, which is not individualized and spiritualize. But you extract them and and you make it, you make it fit what you want it to be, because it’s no longer in that large context.
Yeah, especially some of maybe the more difficult parts of the new testament to in our, in our church, we’re reading the New Testament, 90 days. So we’ll finish right before Easter. So these last 10 days is all the book of Revelation. And yeah, reading through that, it’s like, man, if you don’t know the Old Testament, this is hard enough to make sense, you know, of everything. And yeah, and if you’re reading it through an individual lens of trying like to find the direct application to your, to your life now, without context of, of how the author is using the Old Testament and imagery and themes that you I mean, obviously, that book has been misapplied wonderfully throughout history, maybe not quite
fancifully through fancifully. Yeah, I mean, if you don’t know, Daniel, and if you don’t know Ezekiel, and even some of the Jewish literature, some of the Enoch literature, right, that was the time of Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I don’t, it’s no wonder they people can screw up revelation so badly if you don’t set it in. It’s an apocalyptic context. Yeah, no, I agree.
One of the, one of the final chapters you have, that I really liked was called the spirit and our future, like the spirit, maybe as as we kind of wrap up here, can you can you kind of lead us through that? Like, what is what has been a study of the spirit in the New Testament? Say, say to us in the sense of how is the spirit leading us into our future?
Well, that’s a lovely question. If you look at the Gospels, and that the way they they end, I love how they end read Mark’s gospel, I basically say the longer ending the unoriginal ending, it has these five signs, you will drink poison, step on snakes speak in new languages, lay hands, what was the other one was a fifth? They’d say, nonetheless, they’re not associated with the Holy Spirit. So I was able to say, you know, you have all these signs that are associated with the Pentecostal movement. Well, certainly, you know, the, the the more passionate Pentecostal movement like Appalachia is in a hollers. Yeah, yeah, salvation, I’d say, a mountain, that kind of thing. That actually in the in the end of Mark’s gospel is not associated with the spirit. These are signs but they’re not signs of the Spirit. But if you look, then at Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew has Father, Son, Holy Spirit, in the context of what teaching, teaching what teaching everything I commanded you. And I think it’s really important to remember that though we may want to associate the Holy Spirit with the extraordinary and the spontaneous, and, and the out of body sort of things. Matthew doesn’t do that Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel says, How do we live a life in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we teach everything. You don’t need to be charismatic. You don’t need to be creative. You need to be attentive to every last thing Jesus taught, and then you’re living in the spirit. So that’s Matthew is teaching everything, you’ll have to make decisions on what to teach and what not to teach. just memorize it. you memorize the gospel, and then you’ll be living in the Father sunspear. Luke, I think is really interesting because Luke talks about the promise of the Father. And then in Acts one, the second volume, he makes them Wait, wait, wait. So I think that the key in Luke’s Gospel is the ability to learn to wait, which is a very hard thing a friend of ours who was a former student who’s a psychologist said there have been studies of tweeting of texting. And once you send a text, you become anxious until you hear back, right? Your brain actually lights up. Luke’s Gospel is saying, if you want to have a Pentecost experience, if you want to be a witness to the world, wait, Jesus says to wait at the end of Luke, in Acts chapter one, he tells them to wait. In Acts chapter one, they go to the upper room, and they wait. So I think receiving the spirit is a matter of learning to wait. So you have on the one hand, Luke’s Matthew’s Gospel where the spirit is related closely to teaching everything being diligent and attentive to all that Jesus said, in Luke’s Gospel, you have the idea of waiting, waiting on the spirit waiting for that sort of like, Mark what your people are doing, reading the Bible into Easter is a process of waiting, so that the Spirit can be full in us. John’s Gospel is my favorite, because the disciples are huddled in the upper room. And it says he goes into the room it says Hi. Hello. And then it says it’s translated he breeds on them, which I think is absolutely a cowardly translation, the Greek is m fusaro, a combination of n as an entrance, freestyle breathing into, I think what Jesus did was he went up to the disciples, they embrace them any kiss, the kiss the life of the Spirit back into them. And I’m quite certain of that, that the cowardly translation is a nice little committee decision. Yeah. But in fact, Jesus breathed into them the way the same Greek verb in the Old Testament translation of the breathing in of Adam, or Elijah’s breathing on the young boy who died, or zekiel breathing into the bones. I think Jesus kissed them back to life. I think there was intimacy and physicality. And that the Commission was sealed with a kiss. So that’s part for our future teaching, waiting, kissing the divine if
that’s good, that’s really good. But again, thank you so much for joining us on the show. It’s been it’s been wonderful talking to you. And I don’t I don’t know if we’ve laughed this much in a podcast yet. So that’s good. I don’t fit. It’s it’s a breath of fresh air or spirit depending
on Venn diagram. Well, it’s been lovely to be with you guys and to visit with you. It’s just been wonderful and seeing these beautiful backgrounds behind you an icon and a crucifix. And
yeah, this is nice. I’m just at home. So thank you for having me. Delighted to come with you.
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