Woodstock, the song: getting back to the garden

The last refrain of Joni Mitchell’s song reverberates to desire for transformation out of “the devil’s bargain”:

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

I grew up singing along with the sentiments expressed in this iconic song — getting back to Eden and somehow righting all the wrongs of the devil’s bargain. Alas, living simply, advocating harmony and peace did not get me, or anyone I knew back to undo the wrong.

What I didn’t realize was that I needed to get to another garden: the one that held an empty tomb — the resurrection garden.

God came into the original garden when we sinned along with our father Adam (Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death. This is why everyone must die—because everyone sinned. [Romans 5.12 NCV]). God immediately set to remedy this situation by promising One from the seed of the woman who would crush the one who turned humans away from their Creator. Yes, He would have His heel bruised at the cross paying the penalty that humanity deserved but He had the power both to lay down His life and take it up again; this authority came from the Father (Jn. 10.18).

Those who trusted in God prior to Jesus covenanted with God by offering a sacrifice which pictured the greater or ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Today, Christians display Christ’s sacrifice in both baptism (immersion which shows death, burial, and resurrection) and The Lord’s Supper with the elements of broken bread as Christ’s body, the wine His blood. Christians, by believing in the resurrection, have gone to the garden where Adam’s sin was declared forgiven by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dust Storms in Israel (Hamsin, Sirocco, Sharav)

Here are some pictures which show climate transitions in Israel and describe the yearly cycles typical of Palestine.

HolyLandPhotos' Blog

For a 44 second video from the Mount of Olives check this out—I cannot see the Dome of the Rock!

Recently Israel 21c has published the following NASA photo of the current massive sandstorm in the Middle East.

NASASandStorm-1168x657See below how a typical sand storm affects Israel.

In the lands the southeastern end of the Mediterranean Sea the period from early–May to mid–June is a transitional season from the wet winter months to the dry summer ones. At times the wind blows in from the desert (from the east), and not from the Mediterranean Sea (from the west—which is normal). At those times the humidity drops drastically and a fine dust that permeates everything fills the air. These dry dusty events are called a hamsin, a sirocco, or a sharav.

Jerusalem — Hamsin/Dust Storm — 10:30 AM 11 May 2007

Under these conditions the green grass rapidly turns brown and…

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Daniel Wallace again gives good insight into the issues of historicity, orthodoxy, and the canon. A quote from him on the uniqueness of the Bible is worth repeating: “the Bible is not just talking heads, devoid of historical facts, places, and people. It is a book that presents itself as historical, and speaks about God’s great acts in history, intersecting with humanity in verifiable ways.”

Daniel B. Wallace

Just released from the giant publishing firm, Houghton Miflin Harcourt: A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts, edited by Hal Taussig.

The advertisement from HMH distributed widely via email last week was not shy in its claims for the 600-page volume. The subject line read, “It is time for a new New Testament.” In the email blast are strong endorsements by Marcus Borg, Karen King, and Barbara Brown Taylor. Borg and King, like Taussig, were members of the Jesus Seminar (a group headed up by the late Robert W. Funk, which determined which words and deeds of Jesus recorded in the Gospels were authentic). King and Taylor are on the Council for A New New Testament. All of them share a viewpoint which seems to be decidedly outside that of the historic Christian faith, regardless of whether it is…

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The theater at Beth-shean — a show of history

Here is a picture of ruins from one of the cities of Decapolis mentioned in the New Testament. Since these ruins are from the Roman period, they are contemporary with Jesus.

Of course Jesus was hardly impressed with the pompous works of mankind unlike His disciples who marveled at the large stones of Herod’s additions to the Second Temple. “All these things will be thrown down” was His verdict of the splendid yet Godless Jewish religion.

He did however call some to Him and began to build His church, the one body that is visible only to Himself, starting at Jerusalem. Later Gentiles would be included since He cleansed their heart through faith in Him.

Ferrell's Travel Blog

Beth-shean is mentioned only a few times in the Old Testament. The English Standard Version uses both Beth-shan and Beth-shean for this town. Other English versions use a variety of spellings including Bethshan.

During one of my recent trips to Beth-shean I sat in the Roman theater and thought about the show of history that passed before my eyes. In the distance was the ancient tell, called Tell el-Husn or Tel Beth She’an, from which one has an impressive view of the area. Occupational levels date back at least to 3000 B.C. Artifacts from Canaan, Egypt, Anatolia, north Syria, and Mesopotamia have been uncovered from the mound.

For many Bible students the first event that comes to mind is the defeat of King Saul at the hands of the Philistines. After his death on nearby Mount Gilboa, Saul’s body was taken to Beth-shean and fastened to the wall of the…

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