We started the New Testament tonight and Dr. Loken did an overview of the intertestamental period to kind of get things started. It was pretty cool stuff. He also talked about the Dead Sea Scrolls and how they were discovered and about the Essenes who copied and collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was pretty interesting stuff. I’m gonna look at my notes tomorrow and write a bit more about all this.

I also had another interesting experience tonight. One of the guys in my class was acting really strangely and kind of seemed drugged or something. Anyway, a couple of us went to see if there was a nurse or something who could help him. There wasn’t a nurse, but one man came and tried to see what he could do. In the mean time one of the ladies in our class noticed what was going on and began to help. I found out that she was a nurse and what had happened is that Glen had a low blood-sugar level. She made him drink a soda and had him eating some things and in about 15 minutes, he was back to normal. The whole thing was kind of scary, but God was aweful good to provide someone in our class who recognized the symptoms and was able to take immediate action to correct the situation. Anyway,thank you God!!!!

Dr. Loken taught us about a false belief called gnosticism and explained the the book of 1 John was written specifically to defend against it. Gnosticism is the belief that physical things are evil and only the spiritual is good. Therefore, the guys who had held these beliefs who became Christians, had a hard time with the hyperstatic union. I mean – How could Jesus be God when He had a physical/evil body? Anyway, it was an interesting lecture. I’ll write more tomorrow. I’m tired right now.

OK – so Dr. Loken also covered some material and painted a picture for us of what the world was like during the time that Jesus walked the earth – the time the gospels were about. Here’s some of what he explained:

2% wealthy elite – aristocratic landowners

10% middle class – merchants

90% poor – farmers, herdsman, artisans, fishermen – Joseph/builder

33% of total population were slaves – 50% of Rome were slaves

The Jewish World
Synagogue – was a localized place of worship – they were first built during the exile because the temple had been destroyed and there was no access to Jerusalem. It took 10 men to start a synagogue. They used it for a place of prayer, worship, and instruction.

Sects of Jews:
Sadducees – (wealthy liberals) rose from the ranks of the priests – as the priests got rich, they started paying others to copy the Scriptures for them and soon they stopped knowing the Scriptures too. These guys denied resurrection and angels. They believed in freewill and were unpopular with the people. They recognized only the “Law of Moses.”

Pharisees – (conservatives) rose from the ranks of the scribes – they recognized the OT plus the “Tradition of the Elders” – they were popular with the people and believed in predestination, resurrection, & angels

Essenes – extreme separatists (similar to Pharisees) – daily prayer and bible study were required. Forbade marriage. Mostly in the Dead Sea area – John the Baptist was probably an Essene.

Scribes – copiers of the Law – official interpreters – Hillel and Shammai schools – Hillel used 7 hermeneutical principles and tradition – Shammai used strict interpretation – when Jesus was asked about divorce it was really a question of are you with Hillel or Shammai???