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Author: Bob O'Dell

Published Date: September 07, 2018

On September 10th, we celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, which is also called Rosh Hashana, literally the Head of the Year of the Jewish Civil calendar. While today is a day of celebration around the world, this day, Rosh Hashanah, is not only itself, a DAY of transition, but it inaugurates an entire MONTH of transition. Still before us is Yom Kippur coming in 10 days, and the Feast of Sukkot for a full 7 days beginning in the middle of the month. In addition, this seventh month, the month of Tishri that we just entered, is the most important month of all in agriculture. In this month we see the greatest ingathering of the harvests of many crops, AND it marks the time when farmers begin planning and preparing their fields for the sowing of seed for next year’s harvest.

This month, the month of Tishri, will be the month when we tell a new story at Root Source. We are going to do our best to bring in a harvest for you — a crop of knowledge. An extremely important crop. We are going to present a discovery that connects the New Testament to the Old Testament in a way you have likely never considered before. It’s going to take some getting used to, to get your mind around this idea.

The video associated with this transcript may be viewed here.

You may simply enjoy nibbling on a few morsels from this great harvest. But some of you will want to go further and investigate this idea for yourself. To sow some seeds in your own mind and heart. I’m speaking about the study of the Bible, about planting the Word of God deeply in your heart.

So let’s begin, shall we?

This NEW THING is unexpected and different. And like any good adventure story, it requires some preparation on your part. We don’t want anybody to be left behind, or misunderstand the significance of this discovery.

So today, I’m going to ask you to come with me into our first training room. We need to get you prepared to receive the harvest that is coming. We will take this week and next to prepare.

First we want you to prepare – your mind! Let’s begin by playing a game!

 

First Training Room — A Game

I’m going to read you a short letter, written by me, Bob O’Dell. I will read this letter to you and then ask you a question about my little letter. All set?

Dear Friends, I know that many of you are concerned about the darkness and evil present in our world. David who wrote many years ago that the LORD is his shepherd, taught us that our God desires to supply our needs. He wrote to us that the one who not only provides for us physically: pastures in which to eat our food, and waters to drink, also provides for us emotionally: taking us along quiet waters, and places to rest. David wrote this at a time when war could break out in his own backyard at a moment’s notice. But what if we ourselves sin? Are we without hope then because of the judgement of God? No! We are promised that when we stray He is right there to lead us back into the paths of righteousness and to restore us. Therefore, I want to say to you with all confidence, that none of us should ever fear any evil. But, God does even more. God even promises us to bring us to a table of relationship with him, even while our enemies might glare upon us. In summary, if you truly believe the Lord when He promised that goodness and lovingkindness will follow David, then let us be bold in faith and not fear and let us consider that even today we have begun to dwell with Him forever.

My question is a simple one. What passage of the Bible inspired my little letter to you?

If you said “the 23rd Psalm” then congratulations! Many of you know that Psalm by heart, but I don’t want anyone to feel left behind, so let us review Psalm 23 below as a reminder.

The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Now in that second to last line, you may know that as “goodness and mercy.” That is how the King James quotes it. The version I just read was from the New American Standard Bible, but I feel confident that no matter what version you know, you could still recognize it as Psalm 23.

Now, I can tell you FOR CERTAIN that my little letter to you was inspired by Psalm 23! I am the author of that letter, so you can’t get more authoritative than that.

 

Second Training Room – 2,000 Years into the Future

Now it’s time to let’s take the next step. Come with me through time, into the next training room. In this room we are now stepping 2,000 years into the future! You see an empty room with a table on it. On that table is a letter containing the very letter I just read. But in this room, the author of that letter, me, has been dead for 2,000 years. All that is left is that letter.

A door opens and two Biblical researchers walk into the room. One is called Mr. Optimistic and the other is called Mr. Skeptical. The two researchers find my little letter, read it carefully and begin speaking to each other.

Mr. Optimistic begins: Why look, this whole letter seems to be inspired by Psalm 23.

Mr. Skeptical: What makes you say that?

Mr. Optimistic: Well for starters, the writer is quoting King David as saying “The Lord is his shepherd.”

Mr. Skeptical: OK, I will agree those words are almost a direct quote of “The Lord is my Shepherd,” but that doesn’t prove that the whole letter is inspired by Psalm 23, it only indicates that that one sentence was inspired. Why do you think the whole letter is inspired by Psalm 23?

Now YOU are here in the room too. You are listening to their conversation. So what advice might you give Mr. Optimistic here? You thought the letter was inspired by Psalm 23! You know it to be true! What could Mr. Optimistic say to prove it to Mr. Skeptical?

 

Here is how Mr. Optimistic responds to Mr. Skeptical:

Because the author is using many other words from Psalm 23 as well. Let me highlight for you, Mr. Skeptical, all the words that were directly taken from that Psalm:

Dear Friends, I know that many of you are concerned about the darkness and evil present in our world. David who wrote many years ago that the LORD is his shepherd, taught us that our God desires to supply our needs. He wrote to us that the one who not only provides for us physically: pastures in which to eat our food, and waters to drink, also provides for us emotionally: taking us along quiet waters, and places to rest. David wrote this at a time when war could break out in his own backyard at a moment’s notice. But what if we ourselves sin? Are we without hope then because of the judgement of God? No! We are promised that when we stray He is right there to lead us back into the paths of righteousness and to restore us. Therefore, I want to say to you with all confidence, that none of us should ever fear any evil. But, God does even more. God even promises us to bring us to a table of relationship with him, even while our enemies might glare upon us. In summary, if you truly believe the Lord when He promised that goodness and lovingkindness will follow David, then let us be bold in faith and not fear and let us consider that even today we have begun to dwell with Him forever.

And indeed Mr. Optimistic is on to something here, because if the author were to be getting his inspiration from Psalm 23, it would next to impossible for him to NOT USE any of the words of Psalm 23. Do you agree? In fact, this letter, is 230 words long, and I used 22 words that come from Psalm 23. That is almost 10% of my words coming right from Psalm 23.

Now, I will tell you something. When people look for evidence that one text is inspired by another text, ten percent of the words being shared is a huge number. It is like there should be sirens going off and bells ringing!

But Mr. Skeptical just frowns and responds: OK, I will give you that point that there are a lot of shared words that you highlighted, but, those highlighted words also appear in many other places in the Bible too. You have no proof that this is not coincidence.

So now Mr. Optimistic needs something else that he can say to Mr. Skeptical. Because Mr. Skeptical is correct that these same words are used in many hundreds of places in the Bible. We need an idea that is so strong that it can move our case from “probable” to “beyond any reasonable doubt” . What can Mr. Optimistic say? What would you suggest him to say?

Here is his idea…

Mr Optimistic responds: But Mr. Skeptical you are not considering the order of the shared words. This author is actually stepping through Psalm 23 from top to bottom making points as he goes. In fact, other than the first use of the word “evil” the order of all the shared words is in the exact same order in as it is in Psalm 23!

Let’s look at those again:

Dear Friends, I know that many of you are concerned about the darkness and *evil* present in our world. David who wrote many years ago that the LORD is his shepherd, taught us that our God desires to supply our needs. He wrote to us that the one who not only provides for us physically: pastures in which to eat our food, and waters to drink, also provides for us emotionally: taking us along quiet waters, and places to rest. David wrote this at a time when war could break out in his own backyard at a moment’s notice. But what if we ourselves sin? Are we without hope then because of the judgement of God? No! We are promised that when we stray He is right there to lead us back into the paths of righteousness and to restore us. Therefore, I want to say to you with all confidence, that none of us should ever fear any evil. But, God does even more. God even promises us to bring us to a table of relationship with him, even while our enemies might glare upon us. In summary, if you truly believe the Lord when He promised that goodness and lovingkindness will follow David, then let us be bold in faith and not fear and let us consider that even today we have begun to dwell with Him forever.

Mr. Skeptical, 10% of this letter shares words with Psalm 23, AND that those words are in consecutive order just like they are in Psalm 23. Do you believe that is just coincidence? It would be like one in a million. It would be like balancing a pencil on its head for a whole day in a hurricane.

Mr Skeptical is now silent, rubbing his chin, trying to think of a response.

And one more thing, says Mr. Optimistic, not only are there share words, but there are a few other places in this short letter, where the CONCEPTS are shared, even though the words are not shared. For instance, the author writes that “God desires to supply our needs” while David writes in Psalm 23: “I shall not want.” And this CONCEPT is at just the right place in the letter that corresponds to that place in Psalm 23 where David writes: “I shall not want.”

Dear Friends, I know that many of you are concerned about the darkness and evil present in our world. David who wrote many years ago that the LORD is his shepherd, taught us that our God desires to supply our needs. He wrote to us that the one who not only provides for us physically: pastures in which to eat our food, and waters to drink, also provides for us emotionally: taking us along quiet waters, and places to rest. David wrote this at a time when war could break out in his own backyard at a moment’s notice. But what if we ourselves sin? Are we without hope then because of the judgement of God? No! We are promised that when we stray He is right there to lead us back into the paths of righteousness and to restore us. Therefore, I want to say to you with all confidence, that none of us should ever fear any evil. But, God does even more. God even promises us to bring us to a table of relationship with him, even while our enemies might glare upon us. In summary, if you truly believe the Lord when He promised that goodness and lovingkindness will follow David, then let us be bold in faith and not fear, and let us consider that even today we have begun to dwell with Him forever.

Mr. Skeptical, I believe I have just won this debate and I now rest my case.

Mr. Skeptical turns and walks sullenly out of the room without saying a word.

 

What’s the point of all this?

Even though I am dead and gone, the truth of my original intentions in writing that letter can still be proven 2,000 years later, by simply examining the structure of the letter I wrote!

Not only that, 2,000 years later, you might be able to guess the translation I used, right? Because my letter said “goodness and lovingkindness will follow David” rather than saying “goodness and mercy will follow David,” that gives you another clue, does it not? So, once you see the structure of my thoughts, once you see the connection between my letter and Psalm 23, you can start to learn a lot more about me. For instance, the word choices might tell you about what translation I might have had in my possession. And the very fact that I chose Psalm 23 tells you something about me as well. It says that Psalm is very important to me! I must value it a lot, to use it in this way.

 

Conclusion

Now let’s conclude for today with a question. What if my little letter actually made it into the New Testament canon of scripture. Just suppose that it did. Would its connection to Psalm 23 have been noticed? Of course! In fact, because my letter was so close to the original format of Psalm 23, I can assure you it would have never made it into the canon of the New Testament. Why not? Because we already have Psalm 23! Why do we need my little letter? We don’t. It doesn’t add much. It’s fine for a little letter to my friends. It could probably be turned into a nice prayer — nothing wrong with that — but it would have never made it into the canon of scripture.

But….

What if my letter did become part of the New Testament first, for other reasons? For instance, if it had very important things to say about Jesus as the Messiah, and its connection to Psalm 23 was only discovered later. What then? Then of course it would stay part of the New Testament, BUT now we see that IT ALSO illumines Psalm 23 too, does it not? Nothing is taken away from the letter I wrote, but something is added, right?

Next time, we will be venturing into one last training room, to examine another document. And once you look inside THAT third room, and think about what is in there, then your training will be finished and we will be ready to reveal the amazing discovery that connects the New Testament to the Hebrew Bible.

Until next time, this is Bob O’Dell from Root Source, saying “Shalom!”

 

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