What Did Jesus Write on the Ground

Judgment, death by stoning

Over the years I have heard many suggestions about what it could have been that Jesus wrote in the gravel on the stones of the temple. Some say that He listed all their sins. Recently, I heard in a sermon something that made a bit more sense. To me anyway.

The incident I am talking about is the one mentioned in the gospel of John, Chapter Eight.

He (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
Jo 8: 2 -5

Question – how did they ‘catch her in adultery?’

Continuing…

But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
Jo 8: 6b

What did Jesus write?

Background:
In the time of Jesus, the Jews did not have the authority to execute sinners. If Jesus had said to stone her, the scribes and Pharisees could have taken Him to the Roman authorities. If Jesus had said not to stone her, before all the people following Him and listening to His teaching the scribes and Pharisees could have accused Him of not keeping the Law.

brought to Jesus for judgment
Sketch by Rembrandt - PD-1923}} – published anywhere before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

Other than the fact the scribes and Pharisees were trying to find a cause to accuse Him, what was the law they were talking about?

It can be found in Leviticus 20, verse 10.

‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”

Question: Where was the man? The law they were referring to, above, clearly says both shall be put to death.

There is another scripture involved here…

At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deuteronomy 17: 6

Question: Where were the witnesses? The scribes and Pharisees did not ‘see’ the act of adultery. They had been on duty in the temple.

Herod's Temple as imagined in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem. By Berthold Werner [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Was what Jesus wrote something to do with these questions?

If so, it was, as the preacher I heard, say… a mistrial.

And when Jesus lifted Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are your accusers? Did anyone condemn you?’ And she said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you…
John 8: 10, 11

Note: Jesus said He did not condemn her, He did not say He forgave her.

The rest of verse 11 is “go and sin no more.”

Just thinking again,

Susan

Kingdom Thinking

Kingdom thinking, salt and light of the world

It was a tease… an interaction with a good friend. This friend is a fiercely loyal citizen of his city and said that it was the centre of the world. (It is not the city I live in by the way.) But I teased my friend saying that God probably considered Jerusalem as the centre of the world at least at one time, and it would be again. While my friend considered a reply, I said, “You need Kingdom thinking, not personal thinking.”

It set me thinking.

How many of us need to develop Kingdom thinking? Most of us. Remember, even the disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was talking about at first. They believed he was unique, different from anyone they had ever known. When Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” he did not understand how different his own life would become.

It isn’t enough to believe that Jesus is extraordinary, or even to believe that he is the divine Son of God

So, what is Kingdom thinking?

Dietrich_Bonhoeffer - Kingdom thinker

It is a process, well, that is my opinion. It is a process where we learn to live like Christ. For some that has already meant death. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer comments that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Although Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp, not everyone is called to die physically. We have to learn to die to self. This is why I said it is a process.

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

Review comments from some of the people who read the books in the Apostle John Series …

“We are so lucky to be able to worship as we wish or choose not to without being persecuted.”

“It really makes you think deeply about the level of Christian commitment in the tense and troubling times of the first century church and wonder if it would be matched should we ever face similar circumstances.”

“Life in the early years of the Christian Church, when believers lived under Roman rule and faced tests on every side? Really made me think of how I would act in similar circumstances.”

To be honest, when I researched them, I wondered the same thing.

Jesus preached the ‘Kingdom of God.’

Judaism-v-kingdom-thinking.

Matt 5 – When Jesus said ‘You have heard it said – He was talking about the teaching of Judaism.

v 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment

v 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

v 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.

v 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

v 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’v

v 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

To successfully develop ‘Kingdom thinking’ we have to be committed to living as if fully  in the Kingdom of God now, not discouraged by our failures, ready to repent when we have done something wrong, and to encourage others.

Remember we are called to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matthew 5: 13, 14) That is why I chose the top image.

Plodding,

Susan

Living with oxygen 24/7

let us fly

It was slow, almost unnoticeable at first, my need for oxygen. However, my difficulty climbing stairs, or walking uphill eventually increased until even walking on even ground made me breathless.

Then dressing or undressing meant I had to have a ‘break,’ a sit down, and making the bed was done in stages.

Then two things happened. My physiotherapist noticed my difficulty and took me on a six-minute walk test. We did not go far. My oxygen levels dropped quickly. Her comment… ‘You need to be on oxygen’ and she sent the result to my doctor who was on holiday at the time.

Then, rather reluctantly, I took my son’s advice and underwent a sleep study. The result of that had the person giving me the results say I needed to see the doctor immediately, my oxygen levels were dangerously low. She had me ring the surgery from her office.

In the metropolitan area a General Practitioner cannot prescribe oxygen so I was referred to the hospital. In the meantime, so that I could be factual at the appointment I bought an oximeter (Measures oxygen levels) and discovered my oxygen level is normally low, exercise takes it to an extremely low level.

Start of the journey to home oxygen

Well, first there was a hospital appointment to Pulmonary Physiology. I was there last year for a flight simulation test, and I had spent a lot of time there in previous years with my late husband. He had the tests done every six months. 

I also had arterial blood taken. It’s painful. (Mainly because the artery is deep and the doctor has to find it.)

“An arterial-blood gas (ABG) test measures the amounts of arterial gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. An ABG test requires that a small volume of blood be drawn from the radial artery with a syringe and a thin needle…”
Wikipedia

oxygen testing blood gases

Then came all the breathing tests. At least nowadays the ‘box’ the patient is shut in for one of the tests is clear.

oxygen breathing test

Yes, a peg on the nose is used.

Oxygen at home

oxygen concentrator and oxygen cyclinders

A truck delivered an oxygen concentrator, three medium sized oxygen cylinders – a word about them later – and a large one in case the power goes out.

The medium-sized ones are for going out. Portable is not a word I would have used. At five kg it is a challenge to lift, never mind to put in my four-wheel walker.

Living alone, the eighteen metre (fifty-nine feet) tubing is reasonably easy to not trip. Roll it up going one way and unroll it the other way.

Bed, well that’s more of a problem. I have to make sure the tubing crosses the bed but is not in the way on the floor if I have to get up in the dark.

Breathing...

This is ‘sneezin’ season here, and since there was a lot of rain all the trees, shrubs and ‘the bush’ is alive and beautiful with blossoms. (Pollen-causing blossom.)

When my nose runs or is blocked, the oxygen cannot get through. Then there are the nosebleeds. (I won’t show you the pile of tissues from the last nosebleed. Blood thinners clearly aggravate the problem.)

So, living with oxygen is a challenge

As my home help said, ‘You think it is going to be simple, and you are going to be able to breathe easily, but it’s not, is it?”

No, it is not, but it is not impossible. It is just a question of finding work-arounds – and paying for home delivery on shopping.

The first few hours with the noisy machine purring, hissing and popping away had me glowering at it from my study and wondering how much electricity it was chewing up. It is on twenty-four hours.

There is a whole list of safety rules:

Clean the filter once a week.

Keep the oxygen bottles away from any source of heat.

Stay three metres from my gas cooker. So, it has to be briefly turned off so I can cook.

Stay away from smokers. There are rules in Australia about not smoking near entrances to shopping centres, not allowed at all on hospital grounds – but smokers are not good at keeping the rules. Not having a go at smokers, for many it is stress relief as well as addiction. But if that ‘lady’ had kept coming at me the other day – would she have blown us both up? Maybe. There were nine hours of oxygen in that bottle. When I asked her to stay away because I was using oxygen, there was a torrent of abuse directed at me.

There is a book with all the do’s and don’ts, but it is the simple daily things, like showering and hair-washing, bed making and simple household chores which contribute to the learning curve.

Another learning challenge

Susan

What is God

What is God, image of hand and sky

Please notice I said ‘what’ is God, not who is God. The reason I mentioned it is because some people (perhaps all of us) have an ‘image’ of God and do not like it when someone else’s ‘image’ differs from ours.

Some years ago… possibly a couple of decades ago, there was a ‘God is a blob’ teaching. Some people in my church were upset, very upset. Why? Because they had their image of what God is. One lady was so upset that she left, saying, “My God is an old man with a beard sitting on a throne.” She left the church.

Are we so entrenched in our own beliefs about what God is that we will not consider any contrary opinion, or even listen to one?

What is God

I guess the best answer to that is that we will know when we meet Him. However, there are some clues in the Bible.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1: 27 NKJV

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Gen 9: 6

About Jesus

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1: 15

Is God more?

This seems to suggest so…

So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Exodus 33: 18 – 20

Then there is what might seem like a contradiction…

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him
John 1: 18

It seems there is a difference between ‘seeing His face’ and seeing God in the fullness of all His glory.

There are many who do not believe in the God of the Bible… and I am not talking of those of different faiths.  I refer to atheism.

So, what is your god?

I remember when doing a teacher training course in order to teach scripture in schools, a recommended course book said that everyone has a god.

What is god, a sport?

The book suggested that for some people their god is a football team, (or whatever your national equivalent is.) It could be netball, basketball, motor racing, white water rafting, skiing or skating, or any one of the many sports.

Perhaps your god is a ‘pop idol,’ a film star… or someone you greatly admire. Someone you hero-worship.

“Can we say that humans have a need to worship? Ignoring the theological connections with this idea for a moment, we can see evidence for this in human behavior all around us. In political contexts, there is the eagerness with which people join a cause or a political group to feel part of something important.”
https://diatothaumazein.com/2013/07/23/is-the-need-to-worship-part-of-the-human-condition/

Each of us must answer this for him or herself.

Continuing to muse,

Susan

P.S. One of my favorite reviews of Hold the Faith was written by an atheist.

Hold the Faith by Susan M B Preston, cover image

“If you’re an atheist, you probably would want to avoid reading it. But you’re missing out on something that is a well-written piece of historical fiction. The author has taken great pains with her research into the times. Maybe it’s one-sided. But many works are, and each has a right in our society – whether we like it or not.

It covers a time when Christianity was still a fledgling cult. When compared to known cults of modern times, it reflects how their members struggled against the authorities and public opinion at the time. For that, I found a great reflective insight into how people act and react to each other, how their faith and beliefs are challenged, how family and friends can react to someone for what they think.

If you’re a Christian, you will love this, and I recommend it. If you’re a non-believer, that’s fine too. I completed reading this as a non-believer, a free-thinker, and I am far from converting myself (or others)… so put your fears aside, open the book, and I believe you could enjoy it as I did.”

(I tried to put a link in to the review – instead it put an image and a ‘Buy’ button. That was not my intention.)

This is one of the reviews that have so far remained in the Amazon algorithm purge of reviews, which have most of us puzzled. 

God Still Chooses…

God chooses and sometimes is's a puzzle

God still chooses. (Although to us it is often a puzzle why.)

This is the second part of ‘From Moses to Donald Trump.’

In last week’s post we ‘skipped’ through the Old Testament looking at the way God chose leaders… and not always what we would call ‘good’ ones, at least not by our standards.

In the New Testament, God showed He was still in charge of the affairs of men.

God chooses Elizabeth

Who is she, you might ask. Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. Like others before her, Elizabeth was barren. (In those days, being unable to bear a child  was a shame to a woman.)

God, intervened.

He had chosen a couple from the priestly line, Elizabeth and Zechariah to be the parents of the one who would announce the birth of the Messiah.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Luke 1: 5 – 7

Before he had been born, God had chosen John the Baptist for this special purpose… to prepare the way for the coming Savior, Jesus Christ.

God chooses Mary

Mary was given the news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was pregnant when the angel Gabriel came to her to announce that she had been chosen to bear the Savior.

(Mary’s reaction to that is recorded in the Bible. Luke 1: 34 – 38)

Mary visited the couple immediately after receiving this revelation that she, would miraculously conceive a son.

God chooses Mary and Elizabeth

Historical records are mostly silent about Jesus’ young years, with a couple of exceptions – that He grew in grace and stature and wisdom Luke 2: 40 as well as the incident when He was twelve years old and remained at the Temple after Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, causing Mary and Joseph to worry. Luke 2: 46 – 48

The disciples are chosen, and trained.

I do nothing on My own initiative,
John 8: 38 (part)

So, Who was it chose the disciples? Did Jesus choose them on His Father’s guidance?
The Bible does not answer directly, but gives examples of times Jesus said He ‘always did the Father’s will.’

As He walked the country announcing the ‘good news of the Kingdom of God,’ He was also training the disciples.

Even so, they still expected the Messiah to be the conqueror who would drive out the Romans and restore Israel. It took the resurrection of Jesus and His opening the scriptures (Old Testament) for them to understand.

Jesus chooses Saul of Tarsus

A more unlikely person would be hard to find. Saul, who was renamed Paul, was a Pharisee. He persecuted the followers of the Way, as Christians of that time called themselves. But he was the one chosen to take the good news to the Gentiles. Jews did not like Gentiles, and the hierarchy of Jews in Jerusalem hated Paul and tried to kill him.

The people God chooses can be puzzling to us.

In the last century there have been some ‘good’ leaders and some terrible leaders. In our day, we in Western countries believe that we choose the leaders. Do we?

In Britain currently the country is divided in opinion about the leadership.

In Australia – another Prime minister has been replaced while in office.

In the US – I have never seen a US President so disliked, as the current president, Donald Trump.

God chooses Donald Trump

Yet, if we believe that God chooses…
By him times and years are changed: by him kings are taken away and kings are lifted up: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those whose minds are awake:
Daniel 2: 21 (Bible in Basic English)

Then we have to believe that God is still on His throne and as it says in Daniel 4: 17 that ‘the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and give kingship to whoever He wants.’

It’s not only in the Old Testament…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13: 1 NIV

The Most High Rules

Just a small observation… it does not say they have to be worthy of the position.

Continuing to consider the time and seasons

Susan

From Moses to Donald Trump

God chose to open a way

From Moses to Donald Trump, and all those in between, God chose them. Why do I say that? Because it is in the Bible. (More than once.)

This decision is the decree of the watchers, the verdict declared by the holy ones, so that the living will know that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of mankind, and gives it to whom He wishes, setting over it the lowliest of men.’
Daniel 4: 17

All the peoples of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does as He pleases with the army of heaven and the peoples of the earth. There is no one who can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”…
Daniel 34: 35

And in the New Testament…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13: 1, 2

God chose... Moses

God chose to open a way

When? When He saved him as an infant? When he was brought up in the house of Pharaoh? After forty years tending sheep?

Does it matter when God chose him, Moses was the one God chose to do a task… be the promised ‘deliverer’ from Egypt.

God chose… Abraham

It would not have been easy for Abraham to obey an unknown God. Ur was a city of many gods, as was the land in which he lived.

God chose Abraham to leave the ziggarat worshiping city

Anu – Sometimes called An, Anu was the god of the heavens and king of the gods. The city associated with Anu was Uruk.

Enlil – The god of air, wind, and storms, Enlil held the Tablets of Destiny. These tablets gave him control over the fate of man and made him very powerful. He wore a crown with horns. He was associated with the city of Nippur.

Enki – Enki was the shaper of the world as well as god of wisdom, intellect, and magic. He invented the plough and was responsible for making plants grow. He is drawn holding Zu, the storm bird. He was god of the city of Eridu.

Utu – The god of the sun as well as justice and the law, Utu is drawn holding a saw like instrument. Mythology says that Utu travels across the world each day in a chariot.

Inanna – Inanna was the goddess of love and war. Her symbol is a star with eight points. Her primary city was Uruk, but she was also prominent in the city of Babylon.

Nanna – Nanna was also called Sin. He was god of the moon. His home was the city of Ur.

Abraham came from a family who worshiped idols.

And Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods.
Josh 24: 2

Perhaps Abraham was too – but God chose him and made him great.

Moving on…

God chose…David

He was the ‘least’ of his brothers, the sons of Jesse.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”
Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.”
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.”
 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Samuel 16: 8 – 12

David triumphant
Matteo Rosselli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To be continued next week: New Testament until today.

Sorry not to be able to continue. There is too much information for one post. However, perhaps this will give evidence of what is said… “God chooses.”

God bless,

Susan

Mention Jesus’ birth and people think Christmas

Old Testament scroll,

However, Jesus’ birth  is not what I want to ‘talk’ about in this post. A Biblical newsletter I have subscribed to since first researching the background of the Apostle John Series poses some questions. The following are some…

  1. Was Jesus conceived by Mary and someone other than her husband Joseph or the Holy Spirit?
  2. Could a Roman soldier have been involved?
  3. What were the cultural norms of the time about pregnancies out of wedlock?

Mary was a betrothed wife. That meant she had accepted Joseph as a husband, probably drunk from a betrothal cup (since that was the custom). Then he would have gone home to ‘prepare a place’ while she remained with her family. No sexual contact happened between the betrothed couple before the husband until he returned to claim her – usually a year later, but this could vary depending upon circumstances. Once the betrothal had taken place they were legally married, and it could only be dissolved by divorce. This could have been what Joseph considered when the news of Mary’s pregnancy came to him.

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt1: 19 ESV

‘Just’ in some versions is translated ‘righteous.’

Perhaps, though, ‘just’ is appropriate too, because he could have publicly broken off the marriage on the ground of the apparent guilt. The consequences were ‘dire.’

“then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
Deuteronomy 22: 21 ESV

However, Joseph ‘being unwilling to put her to shame’ had the option of a “writ of divorcement,” which did not necessarily specify the ground of repudiation, except in vague language implying disagreement.

This answers questions number 1 and 3, what about number 2?

Jesus' birth was the result of an ‘affair’ with a Roman soldier?

That is what it could seem to imply. However, the Bible has a different answer…

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1: 26 – 30 ESV (Bolding mine.)

Does this sound like a woman who would have an affair with a Roman soldier?

God had chosen the one to give birth to His Son.

Since His Son would be the Messiah, God would not have chosen a ‘vessel’ that was not pure.

If you think that is a ‘fantasy’ and God did not ‘father’ Jesus – consider how many miracles he performed. There are also a long list of prophecies fulfilled – between 300 and 400 according to some sites. A clear list can be found at  
https://www.simplybible.com/f986-prophecies-fulfilled-by-christ.htm

Or, does the reference to a Roman soldier suggest she might have been raped?

In Biblical times women were veiled

 

Again, looking at the culture of the times, young women of good families did not go out unaccompanied. After a woman’s betrothal she was veiled.

Mary was of the house of David, the purity of the ‘line’ was important to God as well as to David’s descendants.

I prefer to believe the Bible on the subject of Jesus’ birth.

Traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth

traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth
Can you see the simple error?

Clue: Related to the custom of the day.

You can leave a comment below.

Have a safe week <smile>

Susan

Where do the books, and novellas come from?

Books

Books and novellas come from the writers’ minds.  I can only tell you about my books and the process of writing them.

If you arrived here via the ‘welcome’ page you would have seen the cover and part of the blurb for the latest novella – ‘No Evil Shall Befall You.’ I change the page for each of the new books and novellas I publish. There is a third novella coming. (Stay tuned.)

My books and writing

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

I have been asked before about how I write, but that was a long time ago, and now there are more. The Apostle John Series is complete, five books in all. Originally, they were inspired by a detailed series of Bible studies that set me wondering… and researching. Then, as I have seen other authors mention, the characters take over, so, I have to ask if I will ‘allow’ that, or if it takes the book in a different direction. Writers are often asked if they are ‘plotters’ or ‘pantsers.’ In other words, is each book plotted out chapter by chapter, or written by the ‘seat of the author’s pants?’

Mine are a mixture. I know what will happen, and key points on the way to the end, but the bits in between are the result of inspiration, research and sometimes a bit of correction. (The characters have to remain consistent over the book series, and in the case of the first novella, to the way they were in the books in the series.)

Please allow me to explain

After the Thirty Days, by Susan M B Preston

After the Thirty Days is the completing of Esther’s story. This novella picks up some threads from the middle of Hell Shall Not Prevail (before we join John on Patmos.) Her cousin, Judah, heir to their grandfather, ‘Old Simon,’ and the workers in ‘Old Simon’s’ shop are also carry-overs from the series to this novella. All of them needed to be consistent with where they appeared in the books in the series.

No Evil Shall Befall You follows After the Thirty Days – loosely. Simon, son of ‘Old Simon’ returns to Egypt where he has lived for many years to an unpleasant situation he must deal with before he can act on his plans.

No Evil Shall Befall you

In the third, and final, novella, Simon returns to Ephesus.

(Any more at this point would be a ‘spoiler’ and although it is written in my head, it is just over halfway in the manuscript.)

I check everything from the start each time I write.

Making the books authentic

book research

It takes a great deal of research to make the books true to the times. Someone once commented that it would have been better if there had been a kiss in one of the books in the Apostle John Series between a couple whose betrothal was being planned. This would have been totally inaccurate to the time and culture… unless the young woman had been a different ‘type’ of person.

 

I knew this type of information because of extensive research, but my readers do not necessarily have these facts.

This is why I have added ‘Marriage in the 1st Century, AD’ to the ‘Starter pack’ of background information for VIP Readers.

For current VIP Readers a link to download this new PDF will be in the next newsletter, together with ‘Death and Mourning in the 1st Century, AD.’ There is another planned – background to the Egyptian aspects in the second novella. ‘No Evil Shall Befall You.’

Biblical Fiction Books

All the books in the Apostle John Series, as well as the novellas are Biblical fiction. (Spoiler alert – the characters in the novellas are not Christian, but the fiction is Biblical.)

My aim with all of them was, and is, to tell the story of the times. I have been told that through the characters I succeeded and I am grateful to my readers for their feedback.

Remember, you can always ‘pay it forward’ and leave a short review where you bought the book and help other readers make up their minds if it is for them.

Hope you enjoyed the ‘peep behind the scenes’

Till next time,

Susan

Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come—the Almighty.
Revelation 1: 8 Berean Study Bible

Some translations leave out the definite article before ‘Alpha and Omega.’

What is the Alpha and Omega?

Alpha and Omega, Greek letters

: Alpha (Α) and omega (Ω) are the first and last letters, respectively, of the classical (Ionic) Greek alphabet. Thus, twice when the phrase “I am the alpha and the omega” appears it is further clarified with the additional phrase, “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet were used because the book of Revelation is in the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_and_Omega

What does Christ mean, the Alpha and Omega?

Sometimes when a person hears something over the course of time, it is merely words that have always been known. Alpha and Omega – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but why did Christ say He was?

Is it possible He meant He was at the beginning of the Book and the end of the Book – the beginning of time and the end of time?

Let’s check.

Sometimes when a person hears something many times over the course of time, it is merely words that have always been known. Alpha and Omega – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but why did Christ say that?

Is it possible He meant He was at the beginning of the Book and the end of the Book – the beginning of time and the end of time?

Genesis
Revelation, the end

The gospel of John might have a clue there…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1: 1 – 3

I was surprised to find there is some debate about what this means. Years ago when I was in Bible College it was taught that Jesus Christ was the Word of God,

I saw a short YouTube video (not linked) where two Biblical scholars were discussing this ‘controversial’ section. The concluded it was a choice of the translators to use a capital for Word.

That view does not make sense of John 1: 1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Let’s look at Genesis – the Alpha

“In the beginning God, created the heavens and the earth”
Genesis 1:1

 

The word used for God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim,” which is a form of the word “El.” In the context of Genesis 1:1, there can certainly be no doubt as to who is doing the creating. In the Hebrew language the “im” ending imputes plurality. Therefore, “Elohim” is the plural from of the word “El.”
Chuck Missler: from his book ‘The Creator Beyond Time and Space.

The plural aspect continues…

“And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”
Genesis 1:26, (Jewish Publication Society version, 1917)

The Alpha – the One who became Jesus Christ

Remember John 1: 1 -3 ?

That nails it for me. The Word of God, before he was born as a human being, was with God.

In fact, when researching for Hold the Faith I spent a great deal of time studying these first verses of the gospel of John.

Does God change His mind?

How could we trust Him if He did? We would never know where we stood.

God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23: 19

And another

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13: 8

Conclusion

When Christ, at the end of the Book, says He is the Alpha – He was/is at the beginning of the Book.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ…
Revelation 1: 1…

The Omega

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22: 12

At the end of the Book, Christ repeats…

I am the Alpha and Omega

In fact, he is all the way through the Bible.

Found on YouTube…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW1elxCB69A

A praise song.

Sharing,

Susan

P.S. – Don’t forget ‘No Evil Shall Befall You is only .99c US during the pre-release period, Which ends on the 1st of August. 

Read about it here http://www.susanprestonauthor.com/no-evil-shall-befall-you

Or buy it on pre-release here  https://www.amazon.com/No-Evil-Shall-Befall-You-ebook/dp/B07FVL99FJ

Also, on the first of August, the first novella, After the Thirty Days will be free for one day. 

These novellas are ‘the Jewish side.’ Another, the final in the series of novellas is coming later this year.