Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament

The early Christians did not yet have the New Testament that we know about today and so they naturally just used their existing Jewish Scriptures. They soon realised that many of the passages seemed to link to Jesus, the Messiah.

Some of these prophecies are;

  • Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Rejected by the Jews (Isaiah 53:3)
  • Hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16)
  • Rose from the grave (Psalm 16:10)

This shows that the Old Testament had Prophecies about a Messiah coming to earth as God’s son and fulfilling a lot of things before he is eventually crucified and then rose from the dead. Jesus is seen to fulfil a lot of these prophecies in the New Testament.

However, this can be criticised. Jesus was born a Jew, which means that he was brought up with the Jewish scriptures and go to his local synagogue to learn about the Torah and worship God. This means that Jesus could have done things in his life to make sure that he fits in with the Prophecies. Also, because he claimed to be the son of God and people wanted to believe him and so they made it so that Jesus fit the criteria in the Jewish Scripture of a Messiah by possibly twisting the truth to get Jesus to be the person that they want him to be.

This means that its unreliable to some people that Jesus is the Messiah that is described in the Jewish scriptures as the New Testament was written years after the death of Jesus and much of it could be false and the truth could be twisted.

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Prophecy in the Old Testament

What is a Prophet?

A person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God- this means that a prophet is a person who is inspired by God and will go out and teach about the will of God.

One of the major Prophets of the Old Testament was Jonah. Jonah showed weaknesses in his actions was that he was disobedient to God. He tried to trick God by saying he will spread God’s word and then he hid away from God. As a Prophet spreading God’s word Jonah should have known that he could not hide from God. When Jonah finally did as God willed he was hoping that people would be punished and they wouldn’t change their ways. This was a very unforgiving thing that Jonah did, and when the people did as God willed Jonah was not happy with the result as they ‘deserved to be punished’.

However, the story of Jonah showed that Jonah had some strengths as we see that Jonah actually took responsibility for his actions on the boat when he told the men to throw him overboard, so that the others didn’t have to suffer for the mistakes that he made. Also, when inside the fish Jonah called out to God in repentance, to say sorry for disobeying God and to tell him that he was going to make it right.

This shows that no matter what situation people get themselves into with God, God is forgiving. This doesn’t just apply to the fact that God forgave Jonah after he repented but that God also forgave the people and allowed them to show him that they had changed. This means that when we have lost our way all we must do is repent to God and he will forgive us leaving us unpunished.

The Book of Job

The name Job means “persecuted” or “object of scorn”.

Many scholars agree that Job is the oldest book in the Bible. The author is unknown.

The book is believed to be set in the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Somewhere after Babel and before Abraham.

What is the Book of Job?

In a nutshell, Job was a well-to-do man who was loyal to God. Satan challenged God to Job’s loyalty to God. Satan could do things in Job’s life that could make Job question his loyalty to God. Satan did many things to Job; took his wealth away, killed his children and caused illness to Job. Each time, Job kept his faith in God and blamed himself for all the bad things he’d done, he must have made God angry. When Job couldn’t take it anymore he asked God why he was letting all this happen to him and was seen to be really angry with God. God spoke to Job in the end and said that he would not let anything happen that he couldn’t handle and so Job apologised to God and made it started to praise God once again.

The book of Job is a lesson for people in the old Testament. It teaches people that the Devil likes to test people on their loyalty to God. The lesson of the story is that God wouldn’t make us go through anything that he didn’t think we could handle and at the end of it we are to still love and worship God. Whoever wrote the book of Job was clearly trying to get a point across to people of the time that there is a lot of sickness and bad things in the world but if they couldn’t deal with it then God wouldn’t be testing them.

Finally, God gives Job double what he lost and made Job a very happy man again. This means that by showing his loyalty to God and going through the things that he did while still sticking by God, Job was given rewards, which if we do the same will still happen to us.

 

Disrupted Communication

The Old Testament us a allegory for the relationship between God and people.

Humans expect God to directly intervene in the world, act directly in the world and speak to us directly. When this doesn’t happen we look for reasons as to why. In the past people would do things such as sacrificing a lamb, pray and stick to all the commandments as a way of appeasing God. People used Pslams as a way of communicating with God as well.

Pslams:

These include a full range of emotions that people felt to God. They mainly talk about;

  • Oppression of the state,
  • Sickness and suffering,
  • Persecution.

There are roughly thirty four passages that expresses grief and sorrow. This was a way that people in the Old Testament would try to communicate with God and show him that they are angry with him yet they are trying to tell him in the nicest way so that he will not punish them. This can also be seen to link into todays society and the struggles that we are going through and who we can blame. Usually, in today society, when things are going wrong we tend to blame God rather than ourselves, however when things are going well we tend to rather than thank God, give praise to ourselves.

It is arguable that humans today do exactly what Elijah did all those years ago- sit and ask why God does not do anything. This is this biggest question in society, is God the cause of suffering? In the Old Testament God is the cause of suffering as a way of punishing people for the wrong that they are doing, such as worshipping other Gods. However, when Jesus comes along in the New Testament God stops punishing man kind and instead sacrifices his only Son to clean the original sin so that the gates of heaven could open up.

Since this God has not been seen to directly communicate with people like he did in the Old Testament such as with Moses and the burning bush where God spoke to Moses through a burning bush to save his people. In todays society we can be seen to talk to God through prayer and dreams mainly, which is not the way it was seen to happen in the Old Testament.

 

A Old Testament Theology of Creation

 

Genesis shows the beginning of the world, this is also known as the creation story. This story shows that God created the universe in six days and then rested on the seventh.

Many Biblical Scholars believe that there are two accounts in Genesis due to the fact that there are two names used for God. This shows that two of the stories have could have been weaved together. This again is proof of the previous blog post that the Old Testament can be seen to be unreliable.

And God saw that it was good”

The question is whether God saw that the world was physically good and beautiful or whether it meant that the world was Morally Good. At the start of the world everything was supposed to be morally good because bad had not been brought into the world at this time, it wasn’t until later when Eve took a bite out of the apple that bad entered the world.

The world of our experience came after the flood. This is the story of Noah’s Ark. When God created the world he gathered the waters together into one place, separate from the dry land. Then when the flood happened in Noah’s ark, the land clearly split and the water and the land joined together and became one. This suggests that the writers of Genesis believed that it was the Flood that created the world that we know today where people have different lifestyles, some are more wealthier than others and there are different languages making it more difficult to communicate with each other. This was due to humans messing up and God having to punish them meaning that we can no longer live in the ‘perfect’ world that God created in the beginning.

Overall, God created the world to be perfect with A man and the a woman. Then, Humans brought bad into the world when Eve took a bite into the apple. This meant that all the humans in the world were carrying the ‘original sin’. This why the Old Testament is filled with God punishing humans and forgiving them, but not letting them forget what they have done wrong, until Jesus came along in the New Testament.

 

Biblical Literacy Criticism:

Historical Criticism or Higher Criticism is a branch of literary analysis that investigates the origin of the text:

  • In the bible- investigates the books within the bible and compares them to other text that is written at the time.
  • Treats the Bible as a text created by human beings at a particular historical time.

There are four types of critical methods-

  1. Textual Criticism: attempts to get the original text by comparing and studying all the available copies.
  2. Historical Criticism: examines the context in which it was written, eg; the place, eta, landscape and political regime.
  3. Form Criticism: stresses oral tradition and transmission behind the written text of the Bible- seeks to find the original oral form.
  4. Literary Criticism: looks at the rhetorical devices, poetry, narrative, development plot, character, structural text.

 

In relation to criticising the Bible I thing that the best form of criticism is Form Criticism, especially in relation to the Old Testament. This is because the back in the time when the Old Testament was set, there would of been many people writing things down and so the majority of stories would have been passed down by mouth through the generations until one day someone decided to write it down. This means that Old Testament can be seen to be faulted in that, much like ‘Chinese Whispers’, things can be changed through time as they are passed down, based on what one generation tells another. This Form Critics can pick out the faults and the differences in the same story that have come from different places which makes the passage itself unreliable.

This shows that much like all religious text, it is very easy to criticise the Old Testament due to a many of reasons and in many different ways. Each of the ways is a good way to try and criticise the old testament, however, somethings made it easier for me to criticise than others.

An Introduction to Old Testament Theology.

Today we looked into the the Old Testament. In this lesson was really interesting, there was a lot about the Old Testament that I didn’t know. One of the most surprising things that I learnt was about how the books of the Old Testament are grouped.

I learnt that the word testament means a promise/ covenant. The OT (Old Testament) is a promise leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, which was filled with an interactive God that would speak to humans and would interfere in the world when he feels necessary, for example; Noah’s ark where God sent a flood in order to wipe out the world of badness so that Noah could start a new line in the world that would be good and worship God. The New Testament is a promise after the birth of Jesus Christ. In the NT (New Testament) God interacts with mankind through his son died for our sins so that we could be closer to God. The information showed a clear contrast in the two parts to the Bible where there was a clear barrier between God and mankind after Adam and Eve disobeyed God in Genesis. The OT spoke of many prophecies of a new messiah who would come and save them which would bring God and mankind closer together, which to Christians is Jesus Christ which is where the NT starts and we see only 100years of God, where as the OT which is the Jewish Torah shows God spending 2000 years revealing his plan to Mankind.

The OT holds 39 books which go mostly in Chronological order, telling us more about the History of what was going on and is like a group of stories that all link together, which makes it very easy to simplify into one big timeline.

Overall, it was very interesting to see what the difference in the OT and the NT and the difference in God.

 

 

How I planned my lesson…

My peer taught lesson was very hard to plan. I knew what I wanted to put into my lesson as I had the resources and knowledge that I had looked up in the past and as I was doing the lesson. However the hard part of the lesson is knowing how to give out the information that I had. So i decided to do some research on how to make an effective lesson, what activities this would involve and how to also get the pupils involved in the lesson.

The first thing that I learnt was how to set up my slides. Firstly I learnt from Mayer (2009) that you should use as little information on your powerpoints, and use it more as prompts to my teaching. The less text that I use on my powerpoint, the more pupils learn. Also Mayer said that you should use images in your lesson with the text to make it easier on the eyes, and more interesting. This makes the lesson more productive for the pupils and they are more likely to learn. So I decided that to make all my facts interesting I would add pictures to all the slides. Before I even made my powerpoint I found lots of pictures that I thought went along nicely with my information.

As well I using pictures in my power point I decided to use pictures in my starter activity to make it interactive. I remember my old teacher doing this starter with my class. I decided to use pictures of different foods and told them to split it into categories. I decided that this is what I wanted to do. I looked at Bossert (1998) who researched cooperation in the classroom. His research showed that I should make sure that in all parts of the lesson the pupils have some for of cooperation. So the starter made sure that they were able to cooperate with each other to discuss the starter activity with each other to find out what they knew and they could add the knowledge together. Bossert said that in his research he found that the if we used our lessons in this way the pupils should have social development and should development more in class. I tried to keep this idea throughout my lesson plan of trying to get the students involved all through out the lesson.

Also, in my research of how to make lessons effective I read Smith (2005) and Ralston (2001). These both suggested the same thing, that videos are a very effective way of bridging the gap between practice and theory. It is a good way of helping the students be more reflective in their work. For this reason I decided to use a video in my lesson. This video summed up everything that I had taught mainly using images (going back to what Mayer said). This made the pupils interested and recap their lesson and so it is more likely to stick in their minds. I thought that this would an effective way to end the actually teaching bit of the lesson, I could then do a concluding task.

I thought the concluding task could be the same as my starter task. The starter task they had to use their own knowledge of something that they might know a little about, nothing or a lot and so doing this it showed me how much the pupils had learnt in the lesson and how much they had improved. By turning it into a challenge as well would have made it a lot better, such as ‘who ever finished first gets a prize’, however, on the day I didn’t think about this as I didn’t add it into my lesson plan. This also meant that the pupils were reflecting on the lesson and what they had learnt. Leglar & Collay(2002) said that one of the most important parts of a lesson is reflection. If both the teacher and the pupils try to reflect at the end of the lesson, then the lesson becomes much more effective. The pupils are showing that they have learnt something in your lesson and you are seeing how effective your teaching compared to how much they have improved from the start of the lesson.

Finally, I decided to end the lesson on a good note. To make it more exciting and competitive, I decided to add in Kahoot quiz. This quiz would have all the information from the lesson in and also have general knowledge from previous lessons. This would make the end of the lesson exciting and hopefully put the children in a good mood as they would have had an exciting lesson, making them look forward to coming into RE.

My Lesson…

My lesson that I did in PPP was on Kosher meat in Jewish tradition. I chose this subject because when I did two weeks in a secondary school I taught it to a year 7 class and really enjoyed it. I think my lesson went really well, however, it could gone better. I’ll talk you through the lesson and then go onto my improvements I personally feel I could have made in the lesson.

I started off the lesson by having an appropriate question that I thought the pupils should be able to answer at the end of the lesson. My question was; what is Kosher and why is it important in the Jewish Tradition? I thought this question could cover a wide range of subject knowledge as well as be small enough to fit  into a 30 minute lesson. The students were given three different learning outcomes that they were asked to do a thumbs up or down at the end of the lesson so I could know if they understood what they were or not, this gave me good knowledge of what I might need to go over in lessons to come, for example, do it as a starter in the next lesson to re-jog their memory and find new ways to explain that they might not have understood the lesson before. I then used a starter task, the idea was that I stood at the door and handed out a pack of cards that I had made. The cards had pictures of different food on them and then the pupils had to group the different foods into Kosher and Non-kosher, obviously some pupils didn’t even know what Kosher was and that was ok for the starter as the starter was just to see how much they actually knew  before I started the lesson. This lasted about 4 minutes and the pupils showed their knowledge and spoke/debated with each other about what they though. After this I didn’t give them the answers to what goes where. (Worksheet below).

kosher

 

Then I went onto the main part of the lesson, where I used a small powerpoint to show the pupils they needed to see to gain the knowledge. Also this gave the student a chance to ask questions if they didn’t understand parts of the lesson.

kosher-slide

The slide above is one of the slides that I used to teach, it talks about what meat you can eat when you are Jewish.

After this powerpoint, I showed them a video that I had found on youtube that summed up the entire powerpoint in quick notes and animation. I think that this was a really good way to try to sum up after an intesnse lesson, it captures the attention of the pupils, especially if it is a lesson before dinner or the end of the day when the pupils are restless. After the video, I told the students to sort out the cards that they had been given, so they can see where they have gone wrong and correct it. This showed me how the pupils understood the lesson and how well my teaching methods are. Then I decided to do something exciting with my class, a Kahoot quiz that allowed the pupils to become competitive to win as well as show good knowledge. This activity I believe, was really good as it made the pupils really get into the lesson. After this we did the thumbs up, thumbs down activity that I talked about to end my lesson.

Over all, I think the lesson went a lot better than planned, it ran smoothly, I was within my timings and the pupils learned things that they didn’t know before the lesson and even showed that they enjoyed themselves in the lesson.

However, there were parts of the lesson that could have been improved. Firstly, I think that I could have been a lot more confident when talking. Also, I think one of the biggest downfalls of the lesson was that I didn’t meet the needs of the pupils within the classroom, such as I didn’t have anything for people with vision or hearing disabilities as well as other problems that may occur within the classroom. I think that if I had added these into my lesson then I think that my lesson would have gone even more smoothly. The feedback that I had that touched up on this helped me to understand much more and then apply to my real lessons in placement, to help me improve my lessons.

Is shared space really shared?

Today I was in a seminar that question integration and segregation in schools and how to help these things. The majority of the answers that we’re given was that the best way to help this was through RE and the classes in RE.

One of the main studies that we was being told about was based in Northern Ireland and the divide between Protestants and Catholic and how schools react to this divide. There is 48% Protestants and 42% Catholics in the whole of Northern Ireland. The schools we’re either Protestant or Catholic and there was very few mixed faith schools which means that there is not integration in Northern Ireland. This provoked the question of why were people not integrating and what could we as teachers do to solve this.

The lady speaking took her research over seas, to places that have integration problems that aren’t Protestant and Catholic, such as Oldham. Here she talked about how difficult it is to integrate people who do not want to be integrated. Some people are more than happy to integrate, however others aren’t and at first she couldn’t understand. After throwing some ideas around we all came to the conclusion that this could be an attitude that has been created at home. This attitude is very difficult to change in schools because as soon as pupils go home they are faced with the other side of the argument that is that they should not integrate with someone different from them. Obviously, there are ways that we can try to get home attitudes to change, but there is no saying that these attitudes are going to change. Also we looked at how people  with different abilities interact when it comes to integration. I noted that people who are in higher sets are more likely to cooperate with people in their class that are different to them than them. They seemed to be more likely to ask questions, especially in RE, and are able to question about others faith and start to understand people more. However, people with lower abilities did not want to talk to other people of different faiths and cultures, and so integration could be based on abilities as well.

I found this talk very interesting. This is going to be a very big issue that will affect my time teaching as a secondary school teacher, due to many things that are happening in the world. This research will hopefully contribute to my later teaching, and will help me to find new ways to trying to integrate pupils in the schools I will be teaching in.