Friday, August 5, 2011

A Kind of Time Machine, Part III

Note: This is the last post in a series. Part I can be found here, and part II can be found here.

Last week I discussed about how the Bible could be considered a type of "time machine" and pointed out an example of a set of verses where history, prophecy, and current events converged. This type of moment occurs often in the Bible. In addtion, the message of salvation occurs so frequently in the Word that it is as if a clear effort was made to prevent attempts at "jamming" the message.

But wait...don't we live in an age when e-reading devices are becoming popular, where we have so many choices in terms of media, and people are reading more than ever? Yes, we do, and although we now have more Bible translations than ever, there is another phenomenon that is occuring: fragmentation. I discussed that topic at length in this post.

In terms of electronic reading devices, however, fragmentation has a peculiar effect. I've noticed when reading Bible verses online or on a reading device, it tends to split the book into pieces, which is a bit more disorientating when compared to being able to flip the pages of a paper version. Some context is inevitably lost, but somehow the overall message still gets through.

Why is that? If you split apart a typical non-fiction book into small pieces and try to read those pieces at various times throughout the week, it's pretty easy to lose the meaning of the book. Not so with the Bible. In fact, if you tore every physical Bible into pieces and scattered the pages to the four winds or burned them all in a fire, the message would still get through.

An example of this fragmentation and destruction can be found in Jeremiah 36:22-23. In this passage, a scroll containing words from Jeremiah (transcribed by Baruch) was read in front of Jehoiakim, king of Judah:
"Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth."
Despite the king's efforts to destroy the scroll, it was followed by this in Jeremiah 36:27-28:
"Now after the king d burned the scroll with the words which Baruch had written at the instruction of Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying: “Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned."
Although this is an Old Testament example it is reinforced in the New Testament. In Matthew 24:35, Jesus states, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

Hmmm. Sounds like this particular time machine is indestructable, too.

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