The Two-edged Sword Of The Son Of Man (rev. 1:16)

16 …and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. (Rev 1:16)

As dozens of artists attempted to recreate this picture in their art works and mostly without much success, we are pointed to the awkwardness of John’s further description of the Son of Man – “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword”. Sword is the ultimate symbol of armed strength and victory in the ancient world. There are many different kinds of swords. The swords that were two-edged were particularly deadly since they were able to cut from both side of the blade.

Understanding the genre of Revelation we know that the double-edged sword is a metaphor. The imagery is trying to convey that the mouth of the Son of Man wields great power, like that of a double-edged sword. It is able to wound and to slay the enemies. In 1 Enoch 62:2 we read:

And the Lord of Spirits seated him on the throne of His glory, and the spirit of righteousness was poured out upon him, and the word of his mouth slays all the sinners, and all the unrighteous are destroyed from before his face.”

The Second Temple literature and Bible has a number of passages showing that the mouth can be a very deadly weapon. In some places merely words slay, in other passages it is fire and sometimes it is the breath. In 4 Ezra 13:3 we read:

And I beheld, and lo! The wind caused to come up out of the heart of the seas as it were the form of a man. And I beheld, and lo! This Man flew with the clouds of heaven. And wherever he turned his countenance to look everything seen by him trembled; and with the voice that went out of his mouth, all that heard his voice melted away, as the wax melts when it feels the fire.”

The Son of Man has immense power in this depiction. Like in Daniel he comes “with the clouds of heaven”. His gaze alone makes things tremble. The sound of his voice makes things melt as if he is breathing fire. Though this is not a sword, the idea is the same. This angel-like being is powerful enough to destroy with his voice alone. Prophet Isaiah writes similar words:

“And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:3-4)

Whether it is a double-edged sword in the mouth of the Son of Man, or his voice melts all things, or he strikes the earth with the rod of his mouth the effect it of this description is very intentional. The overall idea here is that this heavenly being described by John in verse 16 is full of power as evidenced by him holding the seven starts and a potent sword preceding forth from him presumably to assure the seven assemblies of their safety.

One very important but additional detail is that the sword comes out of his mouth. If we ponder this issue a little, we will be struck by this small, but extremely significant detail. Swords are always held by the hands of the worriers. To be precise, the sword is always held in the strongest hand (usually the right hand), signifying full control over the weapon.

The point in this text is not that the hands of the Son of Man are already full, but that the powerful sword under consideration here is God’s Words. The writer of the so-called Epistle to the Hebrews, who likely wrote before the Revelation was composed, put it this way:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb.4:12)

There seems to be a little doubt that the Book of Revelation was composed at the time of persecution of early Christ-followers by the Roman government. The letter of Revelation was a right message at the right time. This apocalyptic message is a bright hopeful future amidst difficult times. When the fate of Jesus-worshiping congregations (both newly planted among non-Jews and those who already existed among the Jews) was not at all clear, John is shown what must soon take place. Before he is able to see all of the heavenly drama prophetically enacted he is already overcome by this heavenly being that he sees.

 

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  1. Ramon Antonio

    So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

    Interestingly, in Torah at the begining of the biblical account, when mankind sinned and were evicted from Paradise, God placed cherubim and a “flaming sword which turned every way…” to guard and prevent humans to re enter. Now, near the end, another (?) sword comes but from the mouth of the One who will judge.

    Does a sword that turns every way resemble a two edged sword? That is, does it perform the same function?

    Cherubim are the angelic dragons which guard God presence and Seraphim are the angelic flames that praise eternally God. Both only are seen within an epiphany. Thus, may the One who judges with the sword coming from His Own mouth be an epiphany of God a Himself?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Very good observations, Ramon.

  2. David CY Fung

    Jesus was revealing to John and future readers of Revelation that the weapon for His church to overcome Satan’s attack throughout the ages is and will be His Word. We can see in Revelation 12:15-16, Satan symbolized by the serpent which spewed water (Satan’s adherants) like a flooding river out of its mouth as it persued the woman (Jesus’ church)…
    The vision that John saw in Chapter 1 is truly foretelling what is to come. The battle between good and evil will rage on even after Jesus’ ascension to heaven but Jesus will have the final and eternal victory.

  3. Harold Watson

    Dr. Eli,

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are the only writer I have read who has identified where Satan was able to introduce the idea that Christianity was a religion. My first real prayer to God was to request that He would “show me the Truth.” Little did I know that when the Truth showed up, it would be a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. All through the New Testament, it refers to itself as the Truth. I have given up referring to myself as a Christian. If necessary, I say, “I am a Bible Christian.” When visiting the many Roman Catholic art galleries in Rome, Florence, etc., we got a good visual representation of Christianity as a religion. No thanks.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Look… its not just the Catholics, or Orthodox, or anyone else for that matter. My point is that in the first century the religion as we define it today (as separate category) did not yet exist.

  4. Kaye Anderson

    Dr. Eli, I am very thankful you are so generous with your time and expertise. I’d like to share Rick Renner’s perspective on the two-edged sword from His book,Sparkling Gems from the Greek (February 22, pg.109). The phrase “two-edged” is taken from the Greek word “distomos”: “di” meaning two, and “stomos”, the Greek word for ones mouth. He asks why the Bible would refer to the Word of God repeatedly as a “two-edged sword” or literally, a “two-mouthed sword”. He presents the idea that the Word comes out of the mouth of God first, and next it comes out of a believer’s mouth. Hmmm, It’s very enlightening to me to see how he goes on to explain how the quickened Word of God (sharper than a “two-edged sword”) makes demons start to tremble. Gratefully a fellow pilgrim…

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      not sure I find this convincing, but it is certainly interesting and should also be considered as interpretive possibility. Thanks for taking an active role in our study, Kaye.

  5. Teresa Anthony

    Dr. Eli, throughly enjoyed the insights on the two-edged sword! I felt it to be very informative. I love receiving these articles. What a blessing.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      It is my pleasure Teresa. Thanks for the feedback.

  6. jane z. mazzola

    The website/blog has helped considerable, Dr. Eli. The discussion of ultimate reality issues is truly the pearl of great price. Thank you again. Jane Mazzola

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you for kind words sbout the blog. I am very happy to hear about ut.

  7. Fiseha

    Dear fellow believers (seekers if you are not). there are many interesting and thought provoking exchanges here. I’m glad to be part of it. Thanks to Dr. Eli for leading the conversation. I have some questions. [1] having lost of divergence over matters of details of the faith, if we accept (arguably) the disciples of Christ as Christians and their system as Christianity why can’t we call the various groups of 1st C Jewish beliefs Judaism (with all its qualifiers of the sects). [2] if the Torah is the Word of God then Jesus is its incarnation. The double edged sword is the message that imparts from both the Torah and the incarnated Jesus. what did I miss? [3] Dr. Eli hinted that Jews have a national system and Christians don’t. I would like to think that Jews no longer have the same national system as it was before Jesus. In Jesus Jews share the commonwealth with gentiles and therefore Christians are included in the new nationhood. So I don’t think where we are from makes what we are in Christ. It is what we have become. Agreeable, I hope. Fiseha

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Fiseha, thanks for being so organized with your comments.

      1) We can chose to call things as we wish today, that does not mean that ancient followers of Jesus or Jews who practiced their lifestyle saw themselves that way. In doing so we project advanced ideas of doctrine and practice on generations that have no relation to such things. That is not understanding, that is simply making things fit our worldview. Perhaps I can share this article from our blog library to shed further light on the issue. http://nes.berkeley.edu/Web_Boyarin/BoyarinArticles/119%20Christian%20Invention%20of%20Judaism%20%282004%29.pdf

      2) I do not think you are missing anything, Idiomatic language is broad here.

      3) Here my personal perspective differs from yours considerably and I see things from the opposite side. Take it for what it is worth but according to Zech 8:23 the nations join Israel through Jesus and not the other way around. The commonwealth of the nations is with Israel as the head entity and Israel is not incorporated into some universal Jesus commonwealth. This is what the prophets saw when Israel will come into maturity and full restoration (Jer 3:15-18). I read passages like Mic 4:1-8 and know that this day is coming and Israel will take her place one day as the prophets predicted. And the national aspects of the covenant that may apply to the nations today can apply only as the nations recognize the inseparable bond by whist hey are bout to Israel and her God. The Son of Man is naturally a part of this prophetic plan and he makes it possible. This may sound a bit ethnocentric, but such is the message of the prophets in my opinion.

  8. catherine

    Hello
    I noted that you used the book of Enoch as a resource. I don’t know much about it except that it is discounted by the all the Christian traditions I have been exposed to. I would be interested in knowing your perspective on the book.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Since we study here not from theological perspective we use all kinds of relevant literature, apocryphal books, all kinds of non-canonical texts, Dead Sea scrolls, early midrash… anything that helps us capture the conceptual world and mindset of the that day. We seek the understanding of what the text meant to the writer himself and to his original audience and other documents close to his day are helpful despite their status of sanctity.

  9. jane z. mazzola

    My fervor to understand is only exceeded by my age, not to be contentious!My teen hero was young Solomon who asked God for wisdom & understanding; modern models, Edith Stein & Golda Meir. I understand,Dr.Eli,that later NT writers “put words on the lips” of Jesus that may not be 1stc,(JDCrossin,JReed,others),but Jesus was hanged, Jewish followers of His were ostracized/persecuted. 1st c. & Patristic periods.
    More than “hair splitting” differences. As you & Daniel discussed:what was definition of “grace” that caused the “schism”, (Catherine’s term)? What am I missing in understanding for which I search? Is it His identification as “Son of God”?Thank you & blessings to all, Jane

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Jane, I am not sure I fully understand your comment and what you are asking about and thus I am at a loss how I can help here.

  10. Linda Simmons

    Greetings, Dr. Eli, and thank you for the privilege to learn from your insights. Could you further elaborate a little on your comment about “the so-called Epistle to the Hebrews”, please, or perhaps direct me to an article you have written about this? Blessings.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Linda, I am not sure I can point you to a good article right now, but I do not think it is a secret that Hebrews is not an epistle. Unlike letters it lists no recipients and does not state who wrote it. The “Hebrews” name is only hypothetical and traditional. Thus my remark…

  11. Craig

    In recentish times God’s Holy Word has become an amazingly vibrant and exciting almost ‘scary’ experience to read, especially out aloud to others, where The Lord is speaking His Divine Wisdom and Instruction either Directly Himself (or through His early prophets, or Solomon or King David).
    For the Living Word to be taking on this urgency and immediacy leads me to wonder how much time there remains for people to make their decision for God, or the world.
    John 3:16

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Glad you could join us, Craig.

  12. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    I am glad you discovered the blog, Elizabeth. Be sure sign up for updates on the front page.

  13. catherine hodge

    I find Jane Mazzola’s comment this morning at04:25 curious. ‘Schism’ perhaps is the word.

  14. Elizabeth Parker

    I did a study of the book of Revelation for my Bible Study group last year. I was very unsure as to whether I would be able to do it properly and read a lot of different Revelation scholars to equip me. It proved to be a wonderful time for me and I learned so much. We read in Revelation that we’ll be blessed if we study this book and that’s certainly true. It has given me and the group a greater understanding of other sections of the bible also. I feel so excited to have found this study and look forward to learning much more Thank=you

  15. Susana

    Dear Dr. Eli,

    Thank you for the article. It is very helpful for me, since, I am teaching a Sunday school class for a group of 12 years old and above, and at the moment we study on Revelation.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Wishing you the best in your teaching! The ideas we share here are a bit advanced for Sunday school, but perhaps you can adapt some material.

  16. Augustin Etienne

    Hi,
    Why does Gino say that the name Jesus did not exist at the time of the writing of Revelation? Did the angel not name Him to his mother Mary even before she conceived? Revelation was so much later.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think Gino has a problem with Jesus as an English name equivalent of the Greek IESOUS which is of course an equivalent of Yeshua in Hebrew. I will let him respond in his own way if he wishes. But the issue is that some people have a discomfort with this because they feel like the name used in translation is too far from the original, which they see as profoundly deep and meaningful.

  17. Fritz Brown

    Dr. Eli,

    Would it be correct to speak of the two-edged sword as the Torah? Thus, the Torah (Word of God) is what comes out of His mouth.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Why not? Torah is a broad idea for all of God’s instructions and teaching in Jewish mindset, so all of God’s word/words is Torah in that sense and thus the sword.

  18. jane z. mazzola

    U’r dialogue w/Agustin intrigues me. Why was Jesus’ response to Pharisees, Sadducees in NT often so caustic…hypocrites, vipers, since they did all share this Jewish ethnicity? Was it the arrogance of class appearances? Rather than recognizing commonality of humanness, common bond of the “creature”? Also, to note, that the Jewish leaders denied “Jewish followers of the Way” to Rome in efforts to protect the land/people/religion of Israel; hence Jewish Christians (People of the Way) became considered by Rome as heathen, because Jewish leaders didn’t claim them & they would not worship the Roman gods/emperor. Part of the reason this separation of Jewish & Christian occurred.
    Thanx 🙂 Jane

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Jane, I do not see Jesus’ interaction with various groups in NT much different then Christians of Reformed Church disagreeing with Pentecostals or Baptists vs Lutherans. This may be simplistic, but I think they agreed on a lot more than disagreed. That is my paradigm from the study from the detailed 1st century Judaisms. The sharp dichotomy in my opinion is a much later historical reality of the patristic period and should be be read into NT context. We teach this in our Jewish Background of the NT course at length.

  19. Eirene Wee

    Really appreciating again how simply and clearly, and with sharply chosen appropriate Scriptural cross-references you use to explain the richness of God’s revelation to us. Contextual understanding and literary knowledge helps so much in preventing misinterpreting Scripture. Once again, thank you!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you for kind remarks. Please follow our study, more in the weeks to come.

  20. C Edward Smith

    Where, or how, do I sign-up for this Blog?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      To receive automatic updates please visit the front page
      http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/
      Between the header images and the actual posts is a form to sign up and provide us your e-mail. Look for the # of singed up followers in blue on the right and the form is just beside it.

  21. C Edward Smith

    I seem to have missed the Link to sign-up for ur Blog …and I ended up on this page …RSVP pls

  22. Ruth Jewell

    Very interesting reading. I am looking forward to more insights from you, as well as reading the comments. Thank you

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Glad you could join our study!

  23. rallie florencio cruz

    Until you understand isaiah 14:11-17, Ezrkiel 21, Rev. 22:16and the phrase : The One who once was, not is not and is to cone”.. you may know who was that man in psalm 89.

  24. Alexander Garcia

    Shalom I apologize ahead of time for if I offend I find your study interesting but have a few comments about the facts of history. First the use of the title Lord is a totally false as no one ever spoke English 2000 years ago. the Hebrew equal to lord is Baal the name Jesus is only about 500 years old and is a false name and last but not least there where no Christians being persecuted by the Romans this is a total fabrication by Christians! since I take it for granted that u are an educated person I am sure u know this all to be the truth. please read 1 John 2:19 who r the only people that claim to come from the children of Israel but r not of Israel? they r the followers of the false MESSIYAH. everything of Christianity is against the truth of the words of Elohim and none of it is in the Bible.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Alexander, I am glad you visited the blog. No you do not offend me, personally. But I would ask you to be careful with broad characterizations about people’s beliefs. Let us stay away from blanket accusations of everyone of falsehood and heresy. We do not allow attacks on other people’s beliefs on the blog. You do not know anyone here personally. Why do you bring up English? Everyone know that the Bible was not written in English (English is a translation), though this is the language in which we are now conversing. No, the equivalent of Lord is not Baal. You assertion is not entirely accurate. English word “Lord” is Kurios in Greek and Adon in Hebrew. Baal in Biblical and Talmudic Hebrew does mean “master/sir” as in respectful tile applied to people of power but it also means “husband” in countless places. I know biblical languages well, but when I speak or write English, I use English equivalents. Otherwise those who do not know biblical languages would struggle to understand me. Welcome to the blog, but lets not get onto the war path with harsh comments. 🙂

  25. Leon M

    Tov Meod

  26. Kat

    This has been quite helpful. “his mouth slays all the sinners” might traditionally imply victory is all about Jesus convicting us of sin but I see here how we would have victory over sin because of His power. I do see two sides of victory. One bringing us to faith in God (wandering in the wilderness) and the other leading us to rest through Jesus(the promised land).

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      2 edges, 2 sides of victory, nice!

  27. Gino Sinopoli

    When Yahchanan, John, wrote the Revelations, the Name, Jesus, did not exist, but, the titles adonai & Elohim had already replaced our Fathers Name with these titles. Thus, the warning to beware of the scribes for many reasons. TODAY, WE MUST RESTORE THE PURE LANGUAGE OF OUR SALVATION (SHUA) Yahu’sSalvation Plan YAHUSHUA, PRAISE YAHU! ♥

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Gino, John’s writings are in Greek, of course English is just a translation, so whats so terrible?

    2. Ramon Antonio

      THIS Is a very good point. The name we presently take for granted, Jesus, is a derivation of what we infer that the name of the son of Joseph was, which is something around Joshua-el or Iawa-el which should be some form of rendition of the expression God saves. United with Immanuel-el, God is with us, which was the name that the Angel Gabriel revealed to Mariam for Him, this was the full name of our Saviour.

  28. Jason

    Timely study for a time such as this. Insightful and inspiring. May this study reveal more of the Lord Jesus Christ to us all. Amen.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you Jason, study with us!

  29. Mammo Assefa

    thank you Dr.I am very impressed by your taught.Some new thing is added to my insight that these words can remove unwanted things from my life.

  30. Harriet Mills

    Thanx for the blog, amazing how the book of John reveals about Jesus Christ the one and only Son of GOD

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are welcome!

  31. Augustin Etienne

    While I appreciate your use of the word “Jewishness” There is still the lingering question when we read about the “sect of the Pharisees” (Ac. 15:5); “sect of the Sadducees” (Ac. 5:17); “sect of the Nazarenes” (Ac. 24:5); Paul calls the sect of the Pharisees “the most straightest sect of our religion”(Ac.26:5); the Romans thought Paul’s sect was the most spoken against (Ac. 28:22). How do you have “sects” in converting to nationhood? Were these political factions?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Augustin, that is a fair question. I will share my perspective and hopefully it will make sense. The sects usually disagree on minor stuff. Sadducees did not believe in immortality of the soul, but Pharisees did. Sadducees believed in free will all the way, the Essenes believed all was predetermined by God. Pharisees believed that some things were predetermined, but others were subject to human free will. All three agreed on the Sabbath, on God, on sacrifices, on atonement and forgiveness, on guilt and sin and slew of other things. Sects are no different the Christian denominations in modern society. The difference is that they were tied by common heredity, common covenant and joint destiny. Israel is a national entity, while churches are not tied in that way, they are multi-national, so associations are different in nature. When Jews are expelled from Rome, they are all kinds of Jews, Sadducees, Scribes, Priests, Pharisees and even believers in Jesus, no distinctions. So that is the idea of peoplehood I am speaking of. When person coverts to Judaism they convert not to a set of religious dogma but to people. So if someone goes through a Reformed Jewish conversion for example they have to consider Hassidic Jews (whom they may not be personally fond of) their people. The opposite is true of Orthodox conversion, they have to accept and deal with wayward secularists (as much as they might not be happy about that) but they are also Jews…

  32. Daniel

    Arthur, just a thought. Why do you need a sharp sword to divide between joints and marrow. Any blunt instrument could accomplish this. Is it possible the Greek would allow a rendering of “spirit from sprit and soul from soul?” I’m not sure NT writers (Jewish writers) were as anti-soul (flesh) as Greek influenced bible translators have been down through the centuries.

    1. Lois

      Daniel, or others, Could dividing of soul and spirit be the ability of God’s Word to discern between behaviors and even intentions that seem very spiritual, even to one’s self, but serve the ego/self-actualization principle as opposed to the spirituality that in humility dies to self to serve God’s purposes? I think of Carl Jung’s writings which sound incredibly spiritual but actually integrate good and evil. And I also think of the heart that is so deceitful, who can know it, spoken of in the prophets. As we turn the two-edged sword towards ourselves, we allow it to discern our intentions, between what is self serving and what is truly of the Spirit.

  33. Remusp2

    Dr.Eli.
    Thank you very I a more in depth of the meaning

  34. Arthur Jackson

    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ KJV)

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks, Heb 4:12 is what I thought of as well.

  35. Arthur Jackson

    Daniel, how we see ourself as a greater impact on how we see Gods plan for our life, more than how I see God. God is I am that I am. as a man thinks so is he. they saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to the sons of Anark, thus they couldn’t enter in.

  36. Arthur

    Double edge. Life and Death are in our mouth. Blessing or curses. What we say we eat. Speak life.

    Bless Israel of Lord gather her under your wings as a hen gathers her chicks, open her eyes for the salvation you have sent to her, let her enemies flee seven ways. in Jesus name I speak.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Nice analogies, Arthur.

  37. Deborah

    Thank you for the privalege to be able to take part in this blog! Very exciting and stimulating!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Deborah, grateful for your participation, share our posts with your friends!

  38. Na'ahma Golden

    Is this where I sign up? I look forward to being challenged to know why I believe what I do and to making changes if the premises of those beliefs need some adjusting. This is a great place to be!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Na’amah, our readers share your enthusiasm for study and value of being open-minded. To sign up, click click on the “home” tab and find the space to provide us your e-mail is just above the first post.

  39. Daniel

    Dr. Eli.
    1. Of course there was not just one second temple paradigm. Your site limits the characters in each post. My point is that none of the Jewish sects of the first century could see Jesus accurately because of their expectation, varied though they were. The stumbling stone was the grace, the inclusiveness and the lack of ambition for human endorsement.
    2. I think it is obvious that the rabbi Jesus told a Jewish story with an ending that was incongruent with the eschatology of the day.
    3. Not confused, I am aware that “religion” is not a first century worldview category.
    Dr. Eli, you made several assumptions about my comment. The space here limits our ability to include “back-story” .

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are right, Daniel, the comment system limits the word count. This is by design, since these posts are supposed to be just comments. Glad that we both can see the religion as anachronistic category. Where you and I might diverge is your comment about “grace”. I am not sure all that you pack into that term, but I think few of the “1st century Judaisms” might have had that idea quite developed. I personally cannot see Torah without grace. So perhaps were are talking about different things.

      1. Daniel

        Dr. Eli. I believe as it sounds that u do that all Jesus needed to explain the kingdom that had come to his disciples were the scriptures that he had. Yes, it is all there in the Law. I do not see a second covenant in the pages of the NT but rather a completion, fulfillment of the abrahamic covenant. God’s everlasting love and his intention to raise up a people that would rule with Him has never wavered. Where I believe 1st century practices of Judaism were unable to follow this rabbi from Nazareth was how his grace worked.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          I can agree with that, Daniel. The idea is there and it is typically understood in a diverse way by various groups. Christians (by the way) depending on the variety will have their own diverse theological understandings of “grace” and some of them might me not very organic with what I see as “historical understanding” that Jesus embraced. Some accept Jesus’ perspective, others have their own ideas that flow in a different direction. 1st century Jewish milieu was diverse and there is no such thing as the unified “Jewish way” or monolithic opinion of Judaism. Not then and not in out day.

          1. Daniel

            Dr. Eli, what attracted me to your site was “reading the NT as 1st century Jewish literature”. I am extremely interested in what a Messianic Jew living in Jerusalem with a Phd has to teach me in this area. I am a life long student of scripture, I pastor a church and I am completely convinced that without an anchor in Jewish culture and thought we will never understand what our Jewish brothers who wrote the NT were saying in their writings. The accepted Western narrative of a gospel of salvation is too small. This is good news about a kingdom. Your insights and perspectives concerning the NT are very valuable to me. I need conversation partners who have travelled this way as well.

  40. Mary

    thank you for this blog which is a real blessing.. cannot wait to read more…

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Mary, more is coming and you can check the archives for previous post on Revelation.

  41. Tameron Himelrick

    I would love to sign up for your blog studies. I am studying to be an ordained Chaplain.
    Thank you and God bless.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      If you are not signed up, Tameron, it is easy. Just at the top of the posts (on the main page), give us your e-mail!

  42. Augustin Etienne

    Hi,
    This is the first time I am hearing that there was no such thing as Judaism. Did the Jews have a religion? What was Christ talking about in Matthew 23:15 when He accused the Pharisees of making “proselytes?” Proselytes to what?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      We use religion as a defined category of believing certain things, subscribing to particular doctrines, rituals, practices. At that time there was another category. It was ethnic, it was familial and hereditary ways of life, tied to geography and people. Proselytes to Jewishness, to the nation, to the peoplehood of Israel could be made. And that usually meant that the person’s loyalty shifted from their family to Israel in all aspects, including worship of God, practices and etc.

  43. ruth

    Very interesting

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Glad you came by.

  44. Joafo. Eliuda

    Thank you for the text message, I am very interested. Thank you.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Enjoy the study!

  45. Cathie

    Hello, I would like to say I am so glad that I found your blog. I have recently under gone a spiritual change. A friend of mine and I have been discussing what was the true movement that Jesus Christ intended when he was here on Earth. Both her and I believe it is not what Christianity is today. First off, Jesus was Jewish and he followed the Jewish laws and holidays. I truly believe that Christians in today’s world are not truly following what Jesus wanted us to follow.
    I am looking forward to reading your blog and learning what I can from the Jewish point of view, as I believe Jesus would want us to.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I hope you will always feel welcome here. It OK to question things. We do this here quite a lot and we disagree with each other in a respectful ways at times. But we also believe that we are all growing and no one has it all figured out.

  46. Te Wairata Ketu

    KIA ORA Eli, thank you for your invitation to join this study of Revealations. This fascinates me as I read the different interpretations of particular phrases of the Scriptures. I have also come across a verse that says that “he will come like a double edged sword that will divide mother from daughter and father from son.” In our Maori culture, which is also full of metaphor and symbolism, ancestors who were depicted in carvings as having a sharpened tongue were persons that spoke honestly and with conviction, so much so that the words they spoke, not only hurt many that heard their words, but that their words had power, like that of a sword with both blades or edges, sharp. They spoke the truth and often were feared and respected because they were leaders who brought order and calm to the masses, but were deeply resented by those who knew what truth was, but jealousy was their weapon. They often sought conceited power and control of the masses. it was the one with a “forked tongue” that came to deliver a message and did not seek anything from it, but to be the messenger. I would love to be a part of this study group. thank you MAURI ORA!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Good examples… Thanks. Each culture has their own imagery and they place meanings into their own conceptual world. What you shared about Maori is really neat. Just keep in mind that this may not line up with ancient Judean views at all. That is why to discover the meaning of imagery one has to study the context and the given culture carefully. Fortunatly we have some ancient texts that help us study ancient people.

  47. Robert MacKinnon

    I’m very interested in following U

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Welcome to the forum, Robert!

  48. Daniel

    Dr. Eli, I LOVE THIS STUFF! Thanks.
    So I am following you regarding the picture language and I appreciate the Jewish context from 4 Ezra and Enoch. My question is: is it possible this sword behaves differently in its POWER under the revelation of the covenant as Jesus reveals the Father, in a way which is significantly different then a second temple Judaism paradigm that is based on a mistaken understanding of the Law of Moses? The latter seems to be judgment from the consequence of law breaking. The former, I would suggest is judgment in light of a powerful, sin removing atonement.
    Could a powerful two edged sword coming from the mouth of Jesus cut in a way that brings grace and life?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Daniel, welcome to the forum! First of all the answer to your last question is – ABSOLUTELY! But also I want to challenge your assumption :-), if you don’t mind… you are wrote “a second temple Judaism paradigm that is based on a mistaken understanding of the Law of Moses”. What’s wrong with this statement?! Well… few things: 1) There was no such thing as a second temple Judaism paradigm :-). At least NOT ONE. 2) The Jesus paradigm that we read about in the Gospels is very much a PART of the Judean package deal (culture, faith, etc. all included) AND is a PART OF WHAT MANY refer to as the second Temple Judaism. 3) Now to really confuse you…. are you ready? At the time of Jesus and not until the non-Jewish Christians self-defined their movement as a religion (and projected back this new definition (religion as a separate category) back on the Judeans and other Israelites THAT HAD NO SUCH CATEGORY TO SPEAK OF) do we have such a things JUDAISM at all. As a mater of fact that term JUDAISM is almost nowhere to be found in the “Second Temple JUDAISM” 🙂 As Daniel Boyarin along with many others posited – Christians invented Judaism (as a religion)! It will take some concentration on your part, but it would be worth for you to read Steve Mason’s article that makes it inescapably clear – http://www.stevemason.eu/resources/SMason-JSJ-2007-Jews-Judaism.pdf But hang on… we are learning together.

      Once again welcome aboard Jewish Studies for Christians! You just got to a very stimulating place, so I hope you will enjoy it! Eli

  49. justin manning

    For pray itself is twofold, as it both comprise of praises to God and requesting one needs, this corresponds to “a double edge sword in their hand” Psalms 149:6. ie. a double portion….. there is more in the commentary, I am not at home at this time to check it out…

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Interesting. Perhaps, you can unpack it for us a little bit more. It sounds to me that Nachman of Breslov (whom I like a lot) is not talking about what we are talking about :-), but is doing what we are doing 🙂 -Thinking Jewishly and Biblically about important maters.

  50. Justin Manning

    You forgot what Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said in Likutey Morahran 2:2

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Please enlighten us, Justin, share his words…