Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ethelred the Unready

For no reason whatsoever, here is a cartoon I drew ‘way back in 1980. I was a lot funnier then.

You can read about Ethelred here.

ethelred

Jeremiah

Sunday school tomorrow—here’s the second of our Major Prophets of the Old Testament, Jeremiah. Of the four, Jeremiah is probably the gloomiest. Although God promises sunnier days ahead once He’s finished punishing Israel & Judah for their sins, large chunks of this 52-chapter book + Lamentations is about how the Chosen People have gotten seriously off the rails.

Don’t gloat—how well-behaved have we been lately?

Jeremiah has been called the ‘weeping prophet’. So much that his own people could hardly stand him and were forever throwing Jeremiah in cisterns and jails. Who can blame him? He witnessed everything he loved and took for granted be swept away.

Most of the things Jeremiah foretold came true in his lifetime. Last week we met Isaiah, whose prophesies about the virgin birth and Messiah wouldn’t come true for 600 years. So far as I can tell, only one bit of Jeremiah foretells New Testament events—31:15 is thought to predict the slaughter of the innocents found in Matthew. Jeremiah is believed to be the author of 1 and 2 Kings, where you can read about how—starting with Solomon—things unraveled.

jeremiah72

Isaiah

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of 2016! I’ll begin a month of teaching Sunday school to the junior high gang at my church. We’ve been covering the Babylonian Captivity lately and spent a few weeks on the Book of Esther.

This month we’ll be learning about the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. Isaiah is not a quick read, but I want to give my students some of the highlights. Isaiah was influential on the 4 Evangelists and on Western culture. His words can be found echoed in the Gospels and in Handel’s Messiah. In Brit Lit classics like Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Milton’s Paradise Lost you’ll find the character Lucifer and the idea that devils were once over-proud angels who were cast out of heaven. That’s because one of Isaiah’s passages compares the career of a haughty Babylonian king to the short-lived brightness of Venus—the Hebrew for ‘day star’ was translated as ‘Lucifer’ in the King James version.

Isaiah cheat sheet