Ethical Comparison in ancient Greek Literature

“How does the view of ethical cause and effect in history in Works and Days compare with the furies’ view in The Eumenides?”

To summarize the poem “Works and Days” in one paragraph would be an accomplished feat indeed. I suggest you read my post Life: by Hesiod in order to better understand the poem. It can be summarized as general life advice in hard work, religion, and relationships, from an Ancient Greek perspective, nevertheless applicable today.

“The Eumenides” is a story in poetic form. It focuses mainly on a man who has murdered his mother in order to avenge the murder of his father. In Greek religion, a group of underworld gods called “The Furies” were responsible to bring to a ruthless end those who had contravened justice through murder or other such crimes. (For more information, and to see a perspective as to how the modern story of Orestes might have happened, see my post, “Modern Orestes”.)

As I have already alluded, Greek ethics are inconsistent. One god wants men to murder, the other avenges it. One god rapes, another god kills the rapist. Its whatever set of rules works for you and every man for himself. There is no Greek ethics. It is a changeable system with many conflicting rules.

Some people have this idea of the Christian God. The “God of the Old Testament” supposedly is strict and unbending, with a law that must be followed. In reality, Yahweh’s law is meant to keep you safe, much as your parent’s laws or the laws of nature. Many times, Yahweh follows up a seemingly harsh command with the phrase, “Thus you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Think about that. Think about having no evil. The concept blows my mind! If there were no evil, we would have nothing to be sad or upset about. Isn’t that desirable? Shouldn’t we want that?

Anyways, back to literature comparison.

In ‘The Eumenides’, Athena hands over the responsibility of the judgement to the human judges of Athens. The decision was based on the question “Would the father’s or mother’s death be avenged?” (Ironically, she stated that she always sides on the side of man, which seems like a biased judgement to me!!) In the end, Orestes was acquitted of his guilt.

The human court decides the verdict, effectively shutting out the furies. Thus, the endless rule of revenge is broken. However, the judgement was not made by the gods – the resolution was decided by civic religion and judicial system.

In the poem “Works and Days”, the gods are the one bringing judgement, punishment, or blessing upon those who either live the right way or choose to walk the crooked path.

In Conclusion, although both stories include the involvement of the Gods of Mount Olympus, the judgement is given by different parties. I think this is partly due the fact that Orestes’ case was unprecedented, however the only real-life situation that was given in “Works and Days” was decided by a corrupt courts system, however, there was an obvious opinion that the gods would bring negative sanctions upon the trespasser.

Thanks for reading!!!



Origins: Greek versus Hebrew

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There are many theories for the origin of the universe – where did it come from, and was it chance or was there a true purpose behind it all? Was it unordered chaos, or the will of a supreme being?

Both the Hebrew and Greek outlook on the origin story was that all creation began with one supreme being. However their stories are as different as night and day. Using as source documents the ancient poem “Theogony” by the Greek poet Hesiod, and the first chapters of the book of Genesis, part of the Bible and essential to the study of Hebrew creation, in this post I will compare the different methods of creation.  The study of comparing ethics and theology will come into play as well.

The Hebrew story of Creation, beginning in Genesis 1, tells how Yahweh created the heavens and the earth. Then, simply by speaking things into existence, He created all the rest of the world – vegetation, ocean and other waters, and all the animals. On the sixth day of creation, He created mankind, one male, who named all the animals yet found no partner. So then Yahweh made a woman out of Adam’s rib, and Adam called her Woman, because she was created out of man. (He later named her Eve.) And the humans were in the image of God.

Then, on the seventh day of creation, Yahweh rested from his creating, and everything he had created was good.

I would rest in this beautiful story but now I must compare this with the Greek story of Creation.

The Greeks believed that creation came about through one deity, called Chaos. They believed that Chaos created Heaven and Earth, then Heaven and Earth gave birth to gods and gods gave birth to gods with names like Ocean and Strife, Time, Age, and Friendship. Therefore nature and all the forms were created by the procreation of the gods, namely, sexual union.

To summarize the Genesis account …

  • There is one creator God, and no other.
  • The physical is simply creation from Yah’s mouth. Yah spoke, and it came into being. There’s no deific sexual union, no creation as a cause of strife, no immortality but that which comes from the One True God.
  • Man was created in the image of God, and woman was created from man to be his helper.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the choices of humankind.

To summarize the account found in Theogony …

  • The story began with one god, but soon many gods entered the picture and also began ‘creating and procreating’.
  • The method of creation is sexual union.
  • First the gods lay with gods to produce nature (and more gods), then the gods lay with humans to produce demigods.
  • Zeus was called the “father of men”, but woman was created to punish and plague men.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the union of the gods.

How can humans possibly achieve ethical coherence, or find out what sin is? There is no concept of ethical standards in this story! There is no rule about getting married first: There is no right and wrong! The gods got revenge on whomever they felt had wronged them.

The stories are integrally different.

For example, their views of fear. All Greece lived in fear of the changeable gods and their hot tempers, but the fear with which we regard Yahweh is not anguish, but reverence. Fear of the unknown or unexperienced cannot come between us and God.

“For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.”

1 Timothy 1:7

This is important to keep in mind during this coronavirus phase our entire world is going through. We cannot be so scared of the virus that it blinds us from what God would have us do during this time. He created us for His worship and for authority over creation. We must remember to continue to worship Him during this time, instead of being scared of a virus (potentially a man-made virus). The fear with which we should regard Yah is a respectful and healthy fear and obedience.

We were made in Yah’s image, yet brought our hardships upon ourselves. Who will rise up? Who will say, “I am a child of Yah!”

I will. Will you?


Ethics in the Bible

What is the view of the biblical materials on the role of ethics in the development of history?

In this essay, I will give a general overview of some of the ethical concepts in the stories of creation, the flood, the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, and in the Psalms and Proverbs.

Creation (Genesis (sin, fall, must obey, etc.)

The birth of ethics begins in Genesis. The first command in the Bible where God told man to not do something was: “Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Man disobeyed the command, therefore he got the negative sanctions associated with the disobedience of that command – eventual death. The concept of ethics was formed very early on in the creation story, and likely the very “first sin”, was the rebellion of the serpent, which led to the first human sins (Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit.) Thus sin entered the world.

How do we know that the Bible contains ethics? Because it has a concept of right and wrong. How do we know what is right and wrong? Obedience is right and sin is wrong. What is sin? Sin the transgression of the law of God (righteousness). We could not know what sin was, except through the law and through commands like “Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

The Flood

When all men but Noah and his family had stopped following Yahweh’s ways, Yah sent a flood to destroy all the evildoers, and saved Noah and his family in a boat. This story follows similar construction as the creation story: Yah allows people to live, yet they disobey, so he brings negative sanctions (death) upon the wicked. This time, however, Yah saves the righteous remaining. The message this sends is that He will not destroy those who obey and follow Him.

After the flood, a disgraceful thing happens in Noah’s family. Ham (one of Noah’s three sons) sees his father’s nakedness. Instead of keeping his mouth shut, he goes and tells his brothers, who go and cover up their father, turning their faces away that they might not see Noah. Noah wakes up and finds out what happens, and becomes very angry, cursing Ham’s son Canaan, and blesses his other two sons.

What can we learn from this? Don’t take or see what is not yours to take or see.

Giving of the Law

The people of Israel had just been freed from slavery and had come out of Egypt. Yahweh gave his Law to Moses, the chief spokesman of the people, to tell the assembly of the Israelites. Because of this, it is often referred to as the “law of Moses”, however Moses didn’t command the law, Yahweh did. Therefore, we may also call it the Law of God.

In giving a Law, Yahweh was giving His people a choice; either to obey or disobey him. He was telling them that in order to be His people, they must obey Him. What were the sanctions for obedience?

“Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.”

Exodus 20:12

Positive actions (such as honoring your father and mother) warrant positive sanctions.

Moses had gone up to the mountain to receive the Law from Yahweh. But the people, becoming anxious at waiting for Moses for 40 days, decided to worship a golden calf, an idol, instead of obeying Yahweh’s command, “You shall not have any other god before me.” When Yah told Moses what happened, he came down from the mountain to carry out Yah’s punishment.

Moses made them melt down the golden calf, grind it up, and put the gold in water to drink. Then the Levites carried out a massacre and killed about three thousand people. Then, a plague broke out among the people.

So we see that negative actions (disobedience of the law) warrants negative sanctions.

I believe the law is still applicable today, and we know that Yahweh never changes. Therefore, in the development of history, the law has remained a way for us to show others our morality comes from Yah.


This book, written by David, contains songs and poems of praise to Yahweh. Themes David stresses are worship, obedience, resolution of inner conflicts, sovereignty of Yahweh, and many more. How does David want to be treated? He wants to be saved from the persecution of his enemies, because he obeys Yah. How does David want his enemies to be treated? He wants them to be destroyed for their unlawful acts.

Again, negative actions means negative sanctions.

ProverbsConsequences of choosing to follow the right path …or choosing not to.

Proverbs is a book written by the wisest created man in the Bible, Solomon. Throughout the entire book, Solomon gives his son advice on wisdom, integrity, obedience, and interacting with people. He uses metaphors and contrived circumstances to emphasize the importance of being moral, wise, and humble. Proverbs 7 and Proverbs 31 compare the wayward woman with the righteous one.

Solomon holds to the principle that if you associate with immoral people, you may be affected, and if you are immoral, you will face negative sanctions such as poverty, shame, and death. But the sanctions of being moral and wise include prosperity, happiness, and long life.


The Bible has TONS to say on ethics. I’ve only scratched the surface. But these five stories/books can teach us that there IS morality, and the Biblical consequences of immorality are hardships, curses, and death. But the consequences of obedience and faith are positive sanctions.

Ethics and Sanctions in the Proverbs

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Sometimes I feel like a professor. I’ve never written so much on theory, theology, and philosophy! The concepts of ethics and sanctions hardly ever show up in any tenth-grade education, much less a study of Proverbs.

Proverbs 1

Solomon tells his son what wisdom is used for: knowledge, discipline, righteousness, insight, discretion, and obedience. He tells his son not to go about with communistic thieves (is that an oxymoron?) for they bring themselves to ruin. He uses the metaphor of Wisdom as a woman, begging for people to come to her for salvation from poverty and distress.

As we know, ethics has to do with a moral code. In this case, as it is throughout the Proverbs, the moral code is Wisdom (and the Law). The sanctions (consequence) of people refusing to take advantage of the good gift of wisdom, is their imminent destruction.

Proverbs 1:33 “But whoever listens to me [wisdom] dwells safely, and is at ease of dread of evil.”

So the sanctions resulting from the ethical choice of listening to Wisdom is a better life.

Proverbs 2

Solomon tells his son what will happen if he accepts wisdom: He will have knowledge, and will walk in the right ways. If wisdom gives you delight in understanding every good path, then of course you will want to search for it! So seek it like you would for treasure.

The chapter goes on to say that the ‘strange woman’ lurks, and those who fall prey to her fall into death and will be plucked out of the earth, but that the righteous will remain. So DON’T go to the strange woman.

What does it mean to walk in the ‘ways of goodness’, or ‘paths of righteousness’? Yeshua was the Way. He was the Truth, the Life, and, as said in the book of John, the Word. If the Law is the Word of Yah, and the Word is the Way, then the Law is the Way -(the way to life). So, the right path is the law – walk in it, no going back, no turning around.

Proverbs 3

The commands are directly tied to wisdom and positive sanctions, such as long life and full storehouses. Solomon advises his son not to cause trouble when he could do good to others. The theme is what good things wisdom will bring you, and what you will forfeit if you do not get wisdom.

Proverbs 4

Classic parent-to-child-advice – Child, listen to me! The overriding theme here is to not let go of wisdom, because there are negative sanctions for those who are crooked. Guard the wisdom you have – protect it – don’t lose it – don’t compromise.

Proverbs 5

Rules are there for a reason. Even though most of us wouldn’t say we agree with everything our parents believe, their advice is useful and their wisdom valuable. (Unless your parents aren’t very wise!)

But for many of those young people with parents giving them sound wisdom, many choose to disregard it, and the chapter talks about how you will greatly repent if you set off along the crooked path, lamenting that you did not heed your parents’ advice.

The second half of the chapter focuses on staying with the wife of your youth, and staying AWAY from the strange woman. (For me, as a single girl, I choose to implement this principle by being moral and by preparing myself to stay faithful to my husband if I do marry.)

Proverbs 6

This chapter covers a few topics in detail …

1. Do not sign an agreement with or for someone you don’t know well enough to trust, or you may find yourself snared as by a trapper.

2. Work hard, because, if you’re lazy, you will not have any wealth and poverty is close to you.

3. The seven matters which Yahweh hates.

4. Listen to your parents’ teaching, for it will keep you away from the immoral person.

5. And lastly, do not commit adultery. You risk death.

The end of Proverbs 6 prepares us for the important principle in the next chapter …

Proverbs 7 – The immoral woman

In verse 1 through to verse 6, Solomon reiterates the importance of listening to your parents’ teachings, treasuring them and the Torah as close friends.

I know of no other example of what a woman should NOT be that has been so widely quoted as Proverbs 7. Beginning at verse 6, Solomon tells of how he beheld a woman enticing a young man to commit adultery with her. In plain language, she tells of how she has made her sacrifices and her husband is gone. She has dressed herself alluringly, has hung her bedroom with all kind of frippery, all for that simple youth, who follows her blindly like a lamb to the slaughter.

One who follows the adulteress will be ensnared. You will never be the same again. It is sin and Yah hates it, and it will bring you to destruction. (I’m looking at you too, ladies. Don’t be an adulteress or fall prey to the world.)

In Conclusion …

 I think chapters one to seven in the book of proverbs can be summarized in a few important points:

  • Do not walk in the paths of the immoral man/woman/girl/boy/person.
  • Work hard and learn lots!
  • Do not forget the Law! Keep it close to you always.
  • Listen to your parents. They have useful knowledge and teaching.
  • Seek wisdom (from your parents, family, older friends, older men, older women, anyone who has wisdom!)
  • Follow this blog (Just kidding!)

Thanks for reading!


Why we praise

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David is up and down like a yoyo all the time. But even at the end of Psalms which cry out to Yahweh for deliverance, there’s a common factor; a line about praising Yah.

So … what does this mean? Why does David praise Yahweh even when he’s being persecuted, when he’s depressed, and when he has sinned? Is he trying to appease Yah with praise? Is David simply afflicted with a case of long-term-optimism, or is he blessed with this condition?

Well, we know Yah cannot be appeased with insincere praise. In many of the Prophetic books, Yah says over and over again that Israel’s sacrifices and prayers are worth nothing to Him, and that He is sick of it because they are also worshipping false gods, and not worshipping Him with their whole heart.

Taking into account all the Psalms, we know why David praises Yahweh.

1. Yahweh is all-powerful. He is sovereign over all, and so His glory alone makes Him worthy of praise.

2. Yahweh saves. The degree to which David described His trouble is unbelievable. He describes being pursued, deceived, trapped, abandoned, and betrayed. And Yah saves him out of it all.

3. Yahweh’s law. The law is perfect, pleasing to the soul, like honey, life-bringing, everlasting. A wonderful covenant from Yah.

4. Yahweh’s love is everlasting. We have all felt the pain of some form of rejection, whether it come from our family or friends, but though mankind can be flighty, Yah always loves us.

5. Yahweh created us. He chose to bring us into being. Man was created to praise Yah! When you think about it that way, you realize just how short is the amount of time we worship in our lives. We should be praising Yah throughout the week, in addition to on the Sabbath.

And yes, instead of being afflicted with long-term-optimism, David is blessed with the above knowledge of Yah. The Hebrew word for “to know” means so much more than simply learning a certain fact. When someone “knows” someone else, it means they have an intimate understanding of the essence of the other person. Their soul. Their personality. They KNOW them inside and out.

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.”

– Psalm 139:1, KJV (italics added)

With such a relationship, David has no choice but to be delighted with how close he is to Yah. We can also strive to have such trust and knowledge of Yah, and to be a man or woman after His own heart.

But long-term optimism isn’t really a “thing”, as we would say these days, or at least it shouldn’t be. I would rather describe David’s constant delight in Yahweh as knowing that even though he was going through some tough times, he knew Yah would take care of him in the end. David knew that rough periods shape us into someone we need to be to deal with the situations we will face in life, and because he understood that it was for his good, he praised Yah.

~ Makayla

Historical sanctions in the Psalms

The Psalms is one of the largest books in the Bible (At least, it has the most chapters!) It can be the most wonderful book to read or the most tedious book to read, depending on how you look at it. However, it is the opinion of Gary North that everyone should read all the Psalms at least once in their lifetime, and I wholeheartedly agree. One of my favorite parts about reading the Psalms is recognizing lyrics to modern Christian songs!

I saw the main themes in the psalms quite accurately illustrated in a meme once 😉

But all kidding aside, there is an overwhelmingly large variation of themes in the Psalms. The Proverbs are pretty straightforward – the wise, the glutton, the fool, and the righteous. But when it comes to David, we get the picture. The WHOLE picture.

– Judgement upon the wrong

– Salvation for the righteous

– God’s decision to keep his covenants

– How wonderful and perfect God’s law is

– How amazing God’s creation is

– How supernatural God’s works are

– How God is capable of anything

But there are some main themes that come into every single psalm, namely: The desire for right and the presence of God being sovereign.

1. God – Sovereignty
2. Man – Authority
3. Law – Command
4. Causation – Sanction
5. Time – Inheritance

To bring up Mr. North’s model again, we will be focusing on Sanctions.

In many of the psalms, David praises God’s law and puts a positive emphasis on the righteous and on righteous acts. At the same time, he will often tear the reputation of the evildoers to pieces, beg God for their destruction and shame, and praise God when his enemies are dead. (I’m glad I wasn’t David’s enemy!) This shows us (although we could find plenty of examples elsewhere) that David had a heart that really sought after righteousness, and was grieved to see lawlessness.

The main kind of sanctions in the Psalms were that the sanctions of the righteous were prosperity, health, etc, whereas the wrongdoers got exactly the opposite. The inheritance of the righteous was God himself and long life, but the inheritance of the wrong was (and is) death.

It is important that no civilization have anarchy, otherwise it isn’t a civilization. So if there’s a law to be followed, (a) it must be followed, and (b) the people who don’t follow it must be punished, so other people don’t see the “no consequences” rule and also try to get away with it.

Obviously David wasn’t trying to write a self-help book to say, “Hey there Israelites, listen up! Sing all the time, cry your bed into an ocean when you’re sad, and float clear up into the sky when you’re happy!” He was writing songs and poems TO Yahweh to illustrate his feelings and values, and we can learn from these. And the most important thing to learn is (1) David loved and obeyed the law of God. We should do the same.

The second thing to understand is (2) Everybody gets what they deserve … but for those who repent, the consequence of death eternal is taken away, and we have a chance to be redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice. This is the importance of historical sanctions in the Psalms.

Thanks for reading!


Week 2 – Flood and Causation

When Noah was around 600 years old, Yahweh Elohim of the universe told Noah to do something crazy. He had looked upon the mankind which had multiplied and he saw that it was evil and perverse and sinful.  Noah was the only righteous man on earth, so God would spare only him, his wife, his three sons, and his son’s wives.

Yah hated the depravity that his created humans had become, and he regretted making them. So he was going to bring a great Flood upon the earth, that would wipe all of the evil that existed. In order that Noah and his family would live, Yah told them to build an ark that would contain all that he was to save – seven of every clean animal, two of every unclean animal, and seven of every kind of bird. (One interesting thing to note about the clean vs. unclean animals is that even though the first definition of clean vs. unclean animals is commonly referred to as being during the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, we know that Noah, at least, knew the definition.)

Before the flood hit the land Noah loaded all of the animals and himself and his family into the ark he’d built. On the seventeenth day of the second month (of the Hebrew calendar), during the 600th year of Noah’s life, water flooded the whole earth, and Yah shut them in. And everyone – EVERYONE – died, all but those who were in the ark.

The waters were mighty upon the earth for 150 days, and eventually the ark rested on Mount Ararat. After over a year of being in the ark, Yah told Noah and his family to come out.

As we have already established, sanctions are the direct results, or consequences of a decision. In this case, many decisions. All of mankind had turned away from Yahweh, and the Bible says that every thought was evil. That’s pretty evil! So in this case, the sanctions for the peoples’ sins was death – immediately.

This was a completely legitimate punishment. Yah had given his people a chance, and they let him down by sinning against him and his law. And it has probably been said millions of times, YHWH hates sin!! So in order that the law be upheld, he needed to dole out punishment. The main idea that Yah needed to show was that they had broken covenant with him, which is a big deal!

After Noah and his family left the ark, Noah offered Yah a lot of sacrifices, one of each clean animal! And Yah was pleased with the aroma (and likely with the heart of thanks that Noah had) and he put a rainbow in the sky to symbolize his covenant with Noah. In Genesis 9:8-17, Yahweh tells Noah about his covenant – that he would never again flood the whole earth, and would remember that promise every time he saw a rainbow. The rainbow has since then come to represent other things, but for me it will always represent Yahweh’s promise to Noah.


Hierarchy in Genesis

Is hierarchy important? Should we allow people to be in power over us? Do we have power? What should we do with the power we have? What can we do wrong? What is the result of our doing wrong?

Let us begin with the elements of a Worldview. Our worldview affects every action we make, every word we say, every step we take.

1. God – Sovereignty
2. Man – Authority
3. Law – Command
4. Causation – Sanction
5. Time – Inheritance

(I retrieved the material for the above from Dr. Gary North.)

God is sovereign. He created the world, he created man, and he created the law. The first command God gave was “Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

Sovereignty is the highest position of authority possible. God is at the top of the food chain. Any power or authority man has, he has because it was given to him by God. God can take it away if he wants to, or if man oversteps his bounds and assumes authority that was not given to him.

If you’re an oldest sibling like me, you will identify with this example. I am the only girl among three younger brothers. I have sovereignty (parents) to deal with my brothers if they do something against the law (of our home.) But I have not been given authority to deal with my brothers. Only my parents have that authority. MY authority is to protect myself, provide boundaries around MYSELF. (ie, don’t come into my room without asking, don’t hit me, etc.)

But I am banned from bossing my siblings around (ie, don’t touch that, don’t say that word, come load the dishwasher, etc.) UNLESS I have been left IN authority. Namely, as a babysitter.

Another example, directly relevant to the account of the Fall, begs for mention. (Disclaimer: This is not a true example!!! 😊) If my sovereignty (parents) tell me I can go anywhere in the house, but I cannot go into their bedroom, then I have to stay out of their bedroom, because they gave me a LAW. A law that I need to follow. If they tell me that if I go into their bedroom, I cannot live in their house, then they are giving me a CAUSATION. A sanction. The penalty for going into their room would be leaving the house.

Now we have Adam and Eve classified. They are authority, because they have been GIVEN authority. What do they have authority over? The animals, and the plants, and all on earth. But God has authority over them, because he is Sovereignty. And the law was the command from God to man, that man would have to obey, or else there would be a penalty. A CAUSATION.

And Adam and Eve violated the boundary of the law, by choosing to listen to the voice of the Nachash (commonly translated as “serpent” but also meaning “shining one”) instead of God. Therefore God gave them the penalty of their sin – life outside the garden. Adam was promised hard work and toil to bring his food and life out of the ground. Eve was promised that her husband would rule over her and that she would have pain in childbirth. And the Nachash was promised a curse … and future destruction.

Some people, including myself, have wondered why God created the Nachash if the creation would lead man astray. The truth I found in Dr. North’s video is that the creation went astray, and led other creation astray. This is the issue of free will. God can’t create robots and be happy about it. He wants a real relationship, with two willing parties, who aren’t just following his laws because they have to … They need to WANT to.

Finally we come to Time. Time corresponds to Inheritance because an inheritance is a result of two things – what you did in the time you had (your life) and what you did with the things you accomplished and acquired. Adam and Eve left both figurative and literal inheritances.

The figurative inheritance they left was … their sin. The results of their sin: hard work, pain in childbirth, a man being over his wife.

The literal inheritance they left was … their descendants, each with a sin nature. But God chose to use Adam and Eve’s descendants to someday bring someone onto the earth to save all the nations of the world from the wages of sin: death. That man would be God’s own son, Jesus, known to the Hebrews as Yeshua.

Stay strong in the Word, y’all!