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Preview: Understanding the Scriptures

Understanding the Scriptures

The Understanding the Scriptures Podcast ( is composed of 30 episodes with each episode having a length between 72 and 80 minutes. Each episode/class covers one of the 30 chapters in the textbook titled "Understanding the Scr

Published: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 16:48:04 -0700

Last Build Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 16:48:05 -0700

Copyright: Copyright CatholicBoard


Tue, 7 Jul 2009 15:37:52 -0700

The Understanding the Scriptures Podcast is composed of 30 episodes with each episode having a length between 72 and 80 minutes. It is hosted online at, where you may read reviews, comment on an episode, donate to the podcast, and find other quality Catholic Bible study resources. Each episode/class covers one of the 30 chapters in the textbook titled Understanding the Scriptures, by Scott Hahn, Ph.D. (this textbook is part of the Didache series and is published by the Midwest Theological Forum at Listeners to the podcast need not purchase this textbook, though it would be beneficial to do so. The course follows the plan of Salvation History from Genesis to Jesus and demonstrates the unity of God’s salvific plan throughout the Old Testament, into the New Testament, and even through to today. Presented by Carson Weber, B.B.A., M.A. You may find Carson online at

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Ch. 1 - What Is the Bible?

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:36:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson kicks off this exciting Bible course by describing the sacred, inspired nature of the Bible, which is a quality unique to the 73 books of Sacred Scripture. What do we mean when we say that Scripture is inspired, and where do we go in the Bible itself to find this claim? The answer is to be found in Chapter 3 of St. Paul's Second Epistle to St. Timothy. In the second half of this lesson, Carson examines the golden thread that ties the Biblical narrative together (from the Old Testament right on through the New Testament). This unifying principle is called "the covenant," and it is extremely important to understand the nature of a covenant in order to understand the story that the Bible tells. Understanding the Scriptures begins not only with knowledge of the inspired nature of these writings but also an understanding of a covenantal worldview.

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Ch. 2 - The Old Testament

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:35:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson speaks on the golden thread that holds the Bible and all of Salvation History together: the covenant. You will learn the different important aspects of a covenant and about oath-swearing, which is the means by which one enters into and renews the covenant. This covenant theology is related to what Scripture says and how an Israelite saw religion. This lesson will help you interpret Scripture not as a 21st century American (or whatever nationality you are), but as an ancient Israelite with a Hebrew, covenantal worldview. An overview of the Old Testament is also given along with an introduction to the concept of Biblical typology.

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Ch. 3 - The Creation of the World

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:34:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson focuses upon the language and structure of the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis. This allows us to discover the interpretive clues that the author of Genesis gives, which in turn serve as the key to unlocking the truths the author means to affirm. You will learn how the cosmos is one large temple in which the Garden of Eden serves as the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies. Adam is instructed to keep and guard the sanctuary as its priest, which helps us understand why as an unfallen, upright, just man, he would have so easily transgressed the divine command. These Old Testament realities are then shown to serve as types, which are fulfilled in the New Covenant antitypes of Jesus and Mary, the New Adam and the New Eve.

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Ch. 4 - The Early World

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:33:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson covers Chapters 4 through 11 in the Book of Genesis. The author of Genesis contrasts the descendants of Cain (the evil seed of the serpent) with the line of Seth (the righteous seed of the woman), and various interpretive clues in the text help us to discern what the original human author intended to affirm. Noah is a New Adam. The Flood and the subsequent repopulation of the earth are presented as a New Creation. God's covenant family is at odds with those who attempt to create a name (Hebrew: shem) for themselves out of pride and vainglory. Calling upon the name of the Lord indicates covenant worship. Find out what the Hebrew names: Cain, Abel, and Seth mean and how Genesis 1-6 is a literary parallel of Genesis 7-11. All this and more in this podcast episode!

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Ch. 5 - Abraham, Our Father

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:32:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson shows how the remainder of Salvation History is foretold in the three covenants God successively formed with Abram in Genesis 15, with Abraham in Genesis 17, and with Abraham's seed (Hb zerah) in Genesis 22. The first covenant (Gn 15) finds its fulfillment in the Mosaic Covenant when God forms Israel into a nation at the foot of Mount Sinai in the Arabian desert. The second covenant (Gn 17) is fulfilled in the Davidic Covenant when God takes the nation of Israel and transforms it into a kingdom under David, his heir Solomon, and each subsequent Davidic king. Finally, the third covenant (Gn 22) is fulfilled when Abraham's seed, Jesus, establishes the New Covenant wherein all the nations or families of the earth (i.e. the Gentiles) find blessing. You will see how the Biblical account of the binding of Isaac in Gn 22 (Hb aqedah) foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross in several very significant ways.

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Ch. 6 - The Patriarchs

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:31:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson presents the Biblical account from the end of Abraham's life through the end of the Book of Genesis when all is well for the 12 tribes of Israel in Goshen, Egypt. This lesson covers the important events in the life of Isaac, then his son Jacob (who is renamed Israel by God), and finally Jacob's twelve sons, including Joseph who becomes the pharoah's chief steward or vizier. Joseph prefigures Jesus as an unjustly accused righteous man who is sold for silver, saves his kinsmen, and rises to the throne. Joseph also serves as a type of the chief steward whom Jesus appoints over his kingdom: St. Peter (Cf. Matthew 16). God reveals important things to both Joseph and Peter. Pharaoh and King Jesus ask Joseph Peter, respectively, a question regarding this revelation. Both give the revelation. This is followed by an acknowledgement that the revelation comes from God. Subsequently, Pharoah elevates Joseph to the level of vizier. Jesus elevates Peter to the level of vizier or prime minister. Pharoah gives Joseph his signet ring. Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom. Yes indeed.. Genesis speaks of the papacy through the use of typology. Don't miss out on this exciting episode full of captivating details that bring the Biblical narrative to life!

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Ch. 7 - The Exodus

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:30:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson explains the background of the narrative in the Book of Exodus, which in turn sheds light upon the story we read. Moses is presented as a New Noah, and early events in his life prefigure his vocation as liberator and ruler/judge of Israel. The 10 Plagues God wrought against Egypt through his servant and prophet Moses were not so much a demonstration of God's power - as if God were flexing his muscles - but more so are divine judgments upon the false idolatrous gods of Egypt. For example, the Nile was worshipped by the Egyptians as a god, and when its waters are turned to blood, the significance is that of God slaying this false Egyptian god. You will discover more typology in this lesson that will once again point to Jesus and the salvation he delivers for his New Covenant Family as the New Moses, especially as St. Paul teaches in the tenth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians. The event of the exodus of Israel through the Red Sea prefigures Christian baptism. The manna in the wilderness prefigures the gift of the Holy Eucharist. Most importantly, the Passover lamb prefigures Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

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Ch. 8 - The Law

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:29:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson begins where the last lesson left off with the Sinai Covenant wherein God enters into a solemn covenant relationship with the 12 Tribes of Israel. This covenant, which involves a sacrifice and a sacrificial meal, transforms Israel into a nation. The covenant law is the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23). However, as soon as Israel enters into this covenant, Israel breaks it by committing a grave act of apostasy. Israel does so by constructing and worshipping a golden calf, which is a return to the idolatrous worship of the Egyptian Apis cult. This mortal sin causes the covenant curse to be administered. The Tribe of Levi slaughters 3,000 Israelites in one day. In doing so, Levi is granted the priesthood, and so the Levitical priesthood begins as a probationary, temporary priesthood to keep Israel, God's wayward son, in check until the time Jesus comes to completely deliver Israel from this broken covenant. Jesus will do this through his redemptive death upon the Cross. The Mosaic Law contains many commandments given after Israel apostatized in Genesis 32. This is why St. Paul says in Galatians 3:19, "Why then the Law? It was added because of transgressions, till the offspring (Jesus) should come to whom the promise had been made." You will also see how Moses serves as a type of Christ in the way he mediates between God and Israel in several significant instances.

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Ch. 9 - The Rise of the Kingdom

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:28:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson covers the history of salvation between the 40 years of Israel's wilderness wanderings and the rise of King Saul to the throne. We cover one of the most important books in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy, which means Second Law. It was delivered to the 2nd generation of Israelites (since the exodus from Egypt) on the plains of Moab, just east of the Jordan river, in response to that generation's apostasy at Beth-Peor through worship of Ba'al-Peor. In it, Moses delivers various concessionary laws that Ezekiel 20 describes as "not good" such as divorce remarriage, genocidal warfare, slavery, and concubinage. Structured like an ancient Hittite treaty between a suzerain king and a potentially rebellious vassal, Deuteronomy serves as Israel's national constitution, to keep Israel under probation. Towards the end, Moses tells Israel that it will transgress this Deuteronomic Covenant, it will incur its covenant curses, which includes eventual exile to a foreign land, and finally, Israel will be restored by God himself and be given a new, circumcised heart. Thereby, Moses has given Israel a preview of the rest of the Old Testament, which will be fulfilled in the New Testament through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which recreates the Christian with a new heart through sanctifying grace. This review of Deuteronomy will greatly serve the student of the New Testament in the task of understanding St. Paul, especially in what he writes in his Epistle to the Galatians.

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Ch. 10 - The Kingdom of David

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:27:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson begins with the ascension of Saul to the throne of kingship over all 12 tribes of Israel in the First Book of Samuel. However, due to Saul's repetitious sin, he loses not only his dynasty (his own son will not succeed him) but his kingship as well. We discover that the words Messiah and Christ are the Hebrew and Greek terms, respectively, for "the anointed one." When the king is installed in office, he is anointed with a flask of oil, and it is this anointing that makes him "the Messiah" or "the Christ." God chooses David, a young shepherd boy, to replace Saul, and eventually, when Saul dies at the hand of the Philistines in battle, the Tribe of Judah anoints David as their king. David reigned over Judah for 7 years and 6 months before the other 11 tribes of Israel decided to make David their king as well. David reigned another 33 years over all Israel. It was during this time that God entered into the Davidic Covenant with King David, which is one of the most important covenants of the Old Testament. David's dynasty would never end, no matter how sinful the Davidic King will be. Eventually, one day, Jesus will arise in the line of David to be anointed at his own baptism in the Jordan River as to ascend to the throne in his Ascension into Heaven. As an added bonus, we compare 2 Samuel 6 with Luke 1 to see how St. Luke the Evangelist portrays Mary as the New Ark of the New Covenant! So, tune in to this week's podcast and don't miss out on all there is to learn.

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Ch. 11 - Wise King Solomon

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:26:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson reviews the defining characteristics of the Davidic Covenant before moving into the reign of King Solomon. Bethsheba, whose name means Daughter of the Oath is elevated by her son, Solomon, to the office of Queen Mother. In eastern kingdoms - including the Davidic Kingdom - the mother of the king reigned as queen (not the king's wife). In Israel, the name Israelites used to refer to the Queen Mother is Gebirah, which is a Hebrew word meaning "Great Lady." We look at how this office is ultimately fulfilled by Mary, the mother of King Jesus, who is portrayed in St. John's Apocalypse as Queen Mother in the twelve chapter of the Book of Revelation. Another prominent feature of Solomon's court is that of the vizier, which can be likened to the position of prime minister in the Western monarchies we are more familiar with. Just as Solomon built the Temple upon the eben shetiyah (Hebrew for "stone of foundation), so Jesus (the New Solomon) will build his Church (the New Temple) upon Peter (the New Eben Shetiyah). We then discern the papacy's foundation in Scripture using Isaiah 22:20-22, the narrative of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis, the narrative of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, the geography of Palestine, as well as Greek Aramaic etymology. When the evidence is clearly evaluated, we are able to understand how Scripture portrays Peter as the first pope.

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Ch. 12 - The Divided Kingdom

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:25:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson covers 1 2 Kings, showing how the united Davidic Kingdom under Solomon split in 930 B.C. when Solomon died. This split in the Kingdom was ultimately God's punishment due to Solomon's threefold sin of (1) amassing wealth for himself, (2) acquiring a great number of wives who turned his heart to idolatrous worship, and (3) acquiring many horses for a standing army. These very three transgressions were forbidden in Deuteronomy 17. Solomon's son, Rehoboam, decided to harshen his father's rule by making the yoke on his subjects heavier. This poor decision resulted in the northern 10 tribes seceding under the reign of Jeroboam. This Northern Kingdom, bereft of the Davidic throne, is thereafter called by three popular names: Israel, Jacob, and Ephraem in the historical and prophetic books. The Southern Kingdom, now led by Rehoboam, consisted of only two of the original 12 tribes: Judah and Benjamin. It is now called the Kingdom of Judah. Since the Levites did not acquire tribal land and resided in the Levitical cities, both kingdoms contained descendants from the tribe of Levi as well. We also take a look at the ministry of Elijah and Elisha and see how this history foreshadows the ministry of both John the Baptist and Jesus.

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Ch. 13 - Conquest and Exile

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:24:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson explains how the Deuteronomic curses (outlined in the Book of Deuteronomy) are fulfilled in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms as they break the Old Covenant by committing the grave sin of idolatry. First, the Northern Kingdom (10 Tribes) is besieged, conquered, and exiled by Assyria in 722 B.C. The people who once inhabited the Northern Kingdom eventually lost their national identity when Assyria intermixed them among the foreign nations in their exile among those nations. Simultaneously, we read in 2 Kings 17 how Assyria imported 5 foreign conquered peoples into where the Northern Kingdom used to exist (i.e. Samaria), and the Israelites who remained in the land interbred with these foreigners creating halfbreeds who practiced a hybrid form of religion consisting of Torah and pagan idolatry. These people in Jesus' day were known as Samaritans. The Southern Kingdom (2 Tribes) experienced the destruction of Jerusalem, its walls, and Solomon's Temple under the reign of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.. This Southern Kingdom is exiled to Babylon in three successive deportations. The Southern Kingdom only experienced exile in Babylon for around 70 years and were able to retain their national identity. When Medo-Persia conquered Babylon, the Persian King Cyrus decreed that the exiles could return to their homeland around 535 B.C.

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Ch. 14 - A Remnant Returns

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:23:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson covers some of the key Old Testament prophetic passages that foretell the restoration of all Israel under the descendant of King David: the Davidic King. We go through several key passages in the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Ezekiel before taking a quick look at Chapter 52 of the Book of Isaiah. These passages, among others, bolstered the Messianic hopes of Israel both in the Babylonian Exile as well as upon returning to "the Land" and its capital city of Jerusalem, beginning in 538 B.C. Eventually, these hopes will find their fulfillment in the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the restoration he brings about in his one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church through the sacrament of baptism.

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Ch. 15 - Revolt of the Maccabees

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:22:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson gives an overview of the history between when the exiled Jews first began to return to the Holy Land (i.e. Palestine) in 538 B.C. and the rule of Herod the Great when our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. We look into the reason why Israelites such as Jesus and his 12 Apostles spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew. We also take a look at what version of the Old Testament our Lord and the Apostles read and quoted from: the Septuagint. The material this session covers includes 1 and 2 Maccabees, which you will find in Catholic Bibles, but not in Protestant Bibles. These two historical Old Testament books serve as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. They describe the revolt of pious Jews against the paganizing and tyrannous rule of Antiochus IV "Epiphanies" (meaning "God Manifest" because he considered himself the visible manifestation of Zeus). You will learn of how Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but when he died of fever, his empire was split among his 5 generals. Then, the Holy Land was vied after by the descendants of two of his generals: Ptolemy and Seleucus. We will see that Antiochus IV was a Seleucid king who wished to Hellenize (i.e. to spread the Greek culture) everyone everywhere, including the Jews. Eventually, the Jews under the leadership of Judas "Maccabeus" (meaning "the hammer") and his brothers won independence from Seleucid rule in 142 B.C. However, in 63 B.C., this independence was lost to Rome when Pompey took control of Jerusalem.

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Ch. 16 - The World of the New Testament

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:21:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson goes over the various religious groups in the Holy Land both when Jesus was born and when he went about his ministry at approximately the age of 30. In order to understand Jesus and his ministry clearly, we need to first look at the historical environment in which he lived. We begin by examining the reign of King Herod the Great (37 to 4 B.C.). Who was he and what was he up to with his massive building projects (e.g. the Temple)? Then, we examine his three sons who each ruled over a part of his kingdom after his death. First we have Archelaus who ruled over Idumea, Judea, and Samaria; then there is Herod Antipas who reigned over Galilee and Perea; finally, there is Philip who reigned over the northern Transjordan region (east of the Jordan river). This session covers the identity of the Pharisees and the two main divisions among them: the Shammaites and the Hillelites. We also look at the nature of the Sadducees as well as the Essenes. By understanding each of these different ways of being "Jewish," we are able to understand the Gospels and the New Testament better. We take the time to understand what Saint Paul meant when he said "works of the law" (in Greek: ergon nomos), and why these works of the law were so important to zealous Jews in his day.

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Ch. 17 - The New Testament

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:20:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson introduces the 27 books of the New Testament. We start off the spring semester (Chapters 17 through 30) by reading paragraph 129 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which reads: "Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself (Mark 12:29-31). Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament (1 Cor. 5:6-8; 10:1-11). As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New (St. Augustine, Quaestiones in Heptateuchum 2:73)." An overview of the four Gospels is given. We look at who wrote the Gospels, who their audiences most probably were, as well as the major themes they contain. We then move on to discuss Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul's 13 Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 7 Catholic Epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

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Ch. 18 - The Incarnation

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:19:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson begins with an explanation of the Christological definition formulated at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. (a location which is now a part of the modern day city of Istanbul). He then speaks about the two means by which God has successively dealt with humanity. In the Old Testament, God descended (katabasis) to our human level in dealing with us, by offering us temporal goods as rewards and conceding to our sinful longings. This condescension came to a climax in the Incarnation when he took upon himself a human body and a human soul. In the New Testament, God takes on our humanity in order to lift us up out of our misery, so that we might ascend (anabasis) into the heights of his divinity. At this point, we read from the important passage Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:4 - "he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature." We look closely at how Jesus identified himself with the Temple (in the end of John 2) and with how St. John - in the prologue of his Gospel - speaks of the Incarnation in the same terms, which describe how God came down upon the tabernacle among Israel in the Sinai wilderness. From here, we move into St. Luke's Gospel, which begins with a very clear and precise indication of the historicity and verifiable nature of the information presented: "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed" (Luke 1:1-4). Come join us as we delve into the rich Old Testament allusions Luke paints in his beautiful Gospel. Caution: This will change the way you read St. Luke... from now on, you won't read it in the same light.

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Ch. 19 - What Jesus Did

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:18:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson explains the baptism of Jesus, his temptation in the desert wilderness, the wedding at Cana (found in John 2), as well as Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom. We hearken back to Old Testament typology and prophetic themes, which stand as a backdrop to these Gospel narratives. We switch back and forth between the Gospels of Luke, Mark, Matthew, and John as we unveil the hidden meaning behind "what Jesus did." When you tune into this episode, you will discover... ...why Jesus - who was without sin - submitted to a baptism of repentance. ...what the significance was of the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness. ...why Jesus turned 180 gallons of water into the best of wine at a wedding. ...what kingdom Jesus meant when he said, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" ...what significance there is in where Jesus began his ministry: Capernaum. ...the meaning behind the number of apostles Jesus chose.

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Ch. 20 - What Jesus Taught

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:17:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson examines the first thing Jesus says in Mark's Gospel, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15) by looking back at its rich Old Testament background, especially as found in Isaiah 52. It is there that we discover the term "gospel," which indicates the long awaited restoration of the Davidic Kingdom: the Kingdom of David. We then take an extended look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the first of five discourses Matthew's Gospel presents to us. It is in this famous sermon where Jesus, as the New Moses, indicates what he expects of his disciples. As Moses gave the Old Law (the Mosaic Law) after receiving it atop Mt. Sinai, so Jesus "went up on the mountain" (Mt 5:1) and gave the New Law. The Old Law was the positive law of the state, with the intention of showing the Israelites how to be good citizens. The New Law will demand sanctity, as we are called and empowered to become "saints of the Most High" (Daniel 7:27). As an added bonus, this podcast episode will give new insight into the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) by examining its Old Testament backdrop. Each petition of this well-known prayer shares something in common that pertains to a prominent Old Testament theme. Listen to this episode to find out what that is!

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Ch. 21 - The Cup of Consummation

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:16:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson examines the theme of Jesus as the New Passover lamb. We are told in the Gospels that the Last Supper was specifically the Passover meal, which was celebrated by faithful Israelites once a year. This meal commemorated the Exodus of Israel from Egyptian captivity/slavery. When Jesus celebrates this feast, there is no lamb present at the meal - or is there? Jesus declares the unleavened bread of the meal to be his flesh, and he commands his guests to eat of it. Just as in the Old Passover, Israelites were commanded to eat of the sacrificial lamb, so we are commanded by Jesus to consume the flesh of the New Passover lamb of the New Covenant in the New Exodus! We look closely at the Gospel accounts of the Passover and discover that Jesus the Passover meal unfinished with his apostles to go out to the Mount of Olives, for he had not yet partaken of the final cup, the 4th cup of wine, which is the cup of consummation. It isn't until the moment before Jesus gives up his spirit from upon the cross that Jesus partakes of wine. John tells us that Jesus said, "I thirst" from upon the Cross and partook of wine given to him from upon a reed; then, Jesus said, "It is finished," indicating that the Passover meal concluded with his death. In the sixth chapter of his Gospel, Saint John faithfully records Jesus' Bread of Life Discourse where Jesus tells his audience that they must indeed eat his flesh and drink his blood. His audience interprets him literally, and Jesus explains what he meant by reaffirming this literal interpretation no less than six times! Not only that, but in four of these six re-affirmations, Jesus switches from the usual Greek word for "to eat" {fag-oh} to a rare literal Greek word {troh-goh} that cannot be interpreted figuratively. John then only uses this word in one other place in his Gospel: at the Last Supper. John does this in order to tie the Bread of Life discourse to the institution of the Eucharist, to teach us that it is in the celebration of the Eucharist that we fulfill Jesus' command to partake of his very own flesh and blood, which gives supernatural life to members of the Church, the New Israel.

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Ch. 22 - The Resurrection

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:15:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson begins speaking of the resurrection of Jesus not with the Gospel narratives, nor with St. Paul's testimony of the Risen Christ, but with the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapter 37. It is here where we discover the theme of resurrection tied up with the idea that God will deliver his people from exile and restore them once again under David's royal successor, the son of David, the Messiah to come. So, when Jesus rose from the dead, a good Jew schooled in the Old Testament such as Saint Paul would see how it is now time for Israel to be restored, how exile is coming to an end, how it is time for sin to be forgiven. We look at passages such as John 20:21-23, Acts 2:22-33 and 22:1-16, Matthew 9:1-8 and 18:15-20 and 28:18-20, and Chapter 15 of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. As we examine these passages one by one, you will see how Jesus is present in the episcopal authority of his Church, how he restores Israel with the Gentiles in his Church by giving his apostles the authority to forgive sins. Ecclesiology (study of the Church), soteriology (study of salvation), pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit), and eschatology (study of the end of time) are shown in unison as they are bound up with one another. We are saved corporately as we become members of the Church, and this salvation is none other than incorporation into the resurrected body of Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit, which will resurrect our bodies at the end of time to be like that of Jesus Christ's own resurrected body. This is the plan of God, his plan of Salvation History. Join us as we unravel the beautiful treasures buried deep in the riches of Sacred Scripture.

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Ch. 23 - Jesus Fulfills the Old Testament

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:14:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson discusses how Jesus perfectly fulfills the Old Testament in two main ways: (1) Jesus fulfills various Old Testament foretypes that point to him, and (2) Jesus is the answer to the building climactic story of the Old Testament. In this particular chapter, focus is placed on the first of these two means of fulfillment. Numerous Old Testament characters served as types or figures of Jesus. We get the English word "type" from the Greek term tupos {too-pos}: "impression, figure, or stamp." These types find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus who is the antitype. The Greek term anti {an-tee} means "opposite to" or "in place of." So, the antitype is that which the type finds fulfillment in. This has been discussed previously in Chapters 2 and 3, and this lesson sums up our study of various major Old Testament types. You will learn how Jesus is the New Adam, the New Noah, the New Moses, the New Israel, the New Isaac, the New David, and the New Solomon. The major characteristics of these prominent figures are mirrored in our Savior, as the authors of the Gospels are careful to point out. Throughout the course of Salvation History, God has prepared humanity for the climactic revelation of his Son. We are granted the blessing of 20/20 vision as we look back in hindsight and discover this gradual and beautiful divine work of preparation. Jesus summed up the Sermon on the Mount with these words: "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock" (Mt 7:24-25). Jesus' audience knew well of a famous wise man (Solomon) who built the most famous house of all (the Temple) upon the stone of foundation, which today is housed under the golden capped Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Like Solomon of old, Jesus builds his Church - the New Temple - upon Peter, the Rock. Almost two-thousand years later, that kingdom continues to thrive as it is united around the successor of St. Peter: the pope.

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Ch. 24 - The Birth of the Church

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:13:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson shows how the birth of the Church is none other than the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom under the Son of David: Jesus the Christ. We spend our time analyzing the Christology (thinking and studying over who Jesus is) and the Ecclesiology (thinking and studying over what the Church is) that Luke presents to us in both his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, which is the sequel to Luke's Gospel. When we look carefully at the details, we discover that Luke presents Jesus in royal Davidic terms to show that he is none other than the promised descendant of King David who will take up David's throne! Then, we discover that he subsequently presents the Church as the restored Davidic kingdom, united under her enthroned king: Jesus the Christ! This Church is governed by Jesus' vice-regents: the apostles who "sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:30) and their successors, the bishops. She renews her covenant with God by celebrating the royal sacrificial meal that Jesus instituted at the Last Supper, a meal Luke aptly describes as "the breaking of the bread" (Acts 2:42).

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Ch. 25 - Reaching Out to All Nations

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:12:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson looks back at the whole of Salvation History to better understand God's purpose for Israel, which is to be a light to the nations. Ultimately, this purpose is fulfilled in Jesus, who recapitulates Israel in his own person and mission. Due to his redemptive work upon Calvary (wherein he takes upon himself the curses of the Mosaic Covenant), the separation between Israel and the other nations is obliterated (See Ephesians 2:11-22). Jesus has made it possible for all of humanity to stand on equal footing in the covenant family of God, and so the Catholic Church - which is that family - incorporates both Israelites and Gentiles equally. "The nations" in Hebrew is goyim. In Greek, it is ethnos. In Latin, it is gentilis. We use the English term "Gentiles" to refer to all of those nations other than the nation of Israel, and in most all English translations of the New Testament, the Greek word ethnos is translated as "Gentile." There is no need now for those ceremonial precepts as dictated by the Mosaic Law. Those precepts or commands served a temporary (albeit over a long period of time) purpose: to root out idolatry from the heart of Israel and to separate Israel from the Gentiles so as to rehabilitate Israel. God knew that Israel could not be ultimately be rehabilitated unless God gave this firstborn son of his a new heart (See Deuteronomy 30:1-8), and so the Law revealed Israel's sinfulness, showing Israel that it could not be holy without the gift of grace. Jesus Christ fulfills the message of the Prophets - especially Isaiah - by bringing about the possibility of worldwide blessing to all the families/nations of the earth as promised to Abraham in Genesis 22:18. His work of redemption results in the gift of the Holy Spirit, that grace Israel needed from the beginning to live in right relationship with its covenant bridegroom: the Lord God. Plus, in order to restore all 12 tribes under the Messiah, the Gentiles must be incorporated, for the lost tribes of Israel are now indistinguishable from the Gentiles. When the Gospel goes out to the Gentiles, it is not going out just to non-Israelites, but to Israelites as well who have lost their national identity.

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Ch. 26 - Paul, An Apostle

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:11:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson looks at the person, history, and theology of one of the greatest saints in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church: St. Paul the Apostle. In this episode, we read from the writing of a presbyter, a Catholic priest, who wrote around 160 A.D. In it, we discover a description of what St. Paul looked like. We read from Eusebius of Caesarea's "Church History," wherein he describes the means by which St. Paul was martyred under the persecution of the Roman emperor Nero. Before his monumental conversion to Christianity, Paul was a zealous persecutor of the Catholic Church. Why? What did he care if other Jews embraced the Christian Faith.. of what concern was that to him? Only by looking at the nature of first century Judaism and the sect of Judaism that Paul embraced - Pharisaism - we can understand why Paul was concerned about whether or not and how other Jews kept the Mosaic Law. On his way to persecute the Church in Damascus, Paul met the risen Jesus face to face, and that experience changed his life forever. Paul came to discover that his view of the Mosaic Law, his interpretation, was askew. This supernatural event turned one of the most formidable foes of the early Christians into their most powerful advocate. Finally, in this episode, we look closely at St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and discover a look at a new way of reading this famous text. This advance in Biblical studies is known in scholarly circles as The New Perspective. Join us as we take upon ourselves the mind of first century Judaism and read Paul's words afresh.

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Ch. 27 - The New Kingdom

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:10:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson first gives 12 characteristics of the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament. Since the New Covenant is a renewal and extension of the Davidic Covenant, we find these characteristics fulfilled by Jesus, Mary, Peter, and the Church in the New Testament. He then moves from a presentation of these 12 features to a quick examination of the whole of Matthew's Gospel. We move from chapter to chapter quickly to see how Matthew presents the New Kingdom in the pages of his Gospel narrative. This latter half of the episode is fast-paced and moves very quickly. As you listen to it, you will want to have a copy of Matthew's Gospel in front of you. The Catholic Church is the Davidic Kingdom redeemed, restored, and transformed. It primarily resides in heaven with the Church Triumphant centered upon her king: Jesus the Anointed One (Messiah/Christ). The Church on earth or "the Church Militant" is the Kingdom in transit. She is in a pilgrim state as her members are purified and as they shed their sin by the means of transforming grace. The 12 Characteristics of the Davidic Kingdom: 1. A Monarchy governed by its representative head: the King Jesus is our King, and the Church is a monarchy, not a democracy. 2. The Davidic Covenant is made with David's seed (Hebrew: zera'h) This is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus who is a direct descendant of David. 3. The King is anointed by a Levite, making him Messiah or Christ Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit when baptized by John the Baptist, a Levite. 4. The Son of David is the Son of God Jesus bears both of these titles throughout the Gospel narratives. 5. Jerusalem is the capital city with its own center located at Mount Zion The Redemption begins in the Upper Room on Mount Zion; the Church is the New Jerusalem 6. The Temple is the architectural symbol of the Davidic Covenant Both Jesus and his Mystical Body (the Church) are the New Temple 7. It is worldwide in scope, incorporating other nations. "Catholic" means "according to the whole" or "universal" - composed of every nationality. 8. It is everlasting in duration, according to God's promises It continues in the Church, which is the Kingdom restored: a Kingdom without end. 9. Its Law is found in the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament The Psalms play a central role in Catholic worship 10. The King's personal representative was the Majordomo or Prime Minister Jesus establishes this office by giving Peter "the keys of the kingdom" 11. The King's own mother reigned as Queen Jesus' mother, Mary, was assumed into heaven where she reigns as Queen Mother 12. Principal sacrifice is the Todah or "Thanksgiving" sacrifice in the Temple The Eucharist (which means "Thanksgiving") fulfills this sacrificial offering.

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Ch. 28 - The Catholic Church in Scripture

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:09:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson divides the lesson into four parts. First, he discusses the historical meaning of the term catholic. While it literally means "according to the whole" or "universal," when the early Christians first used this term as an identifier for the Church, they used it specifically to denote the true visible empirical Church from heretical or schismatic congregations or followings. We look at the first appearance of "catholic" in Christian literature, which is by St. Ignatius of Antioch in his Epistle to the Church in Smyrna. We also look at its usage in the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and two of St. Augustine's writings: The True Religion and Against the Fundamental Epistle of Manachaeus. Second, we build upon the previous discussion of Peter from prior sessions with a quick review of Peter's primacy throughout the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. This is a fast-paced sketch of how the Gospels present Peter as the head and representative of the group of Jesus' apostolic disciples. Often, we read the Gospels without noticing just how prominent Peter is, which says something of his successors in the life of the Church: the bishops of Rome. Third, we look at the methodology by which the Church resolved a doctrinal dispute in Chapter 15 of St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles. How did the early Church handle differences in interpreting Scripture and understanding Christian doctrine? Did they allow for these divisive differences to remain unsettled... did they leave it up to the individual believer to determine by himself... or did they convene in an ecumenical council to hash it out and close the debate with a pronouncement by Peter and then accept the decision as binding upon all of the regional churches? Of course, the latter is the case, and so this is the Biblical basis for the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church throughout history. Fourth, and finally, we discuss the seven sacraments - especially those sacraments that are distinct to Catholicism - from the pages of Scripture. We focus in on the efficacy of baptism, the need for confirmation, the reality of holy orders, the call for the anointing of the sick, and the command for auricular (that is, audible) confession. Since we have already covered marriage and the Eucharist in depth in previous episodes, they are briefly mentioned. So what are you waiting for? Listen in as we discover the Catholic Church in Scripture!

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Ch. 29 - The End of History

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:08:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson gives the historical context surrounding St. John's Apocalypse, which is also known as "Revelation" - the final book of the canon of Sacred Scripture. Its genre is "Apocalyptic" literature, which uses highly visual and symbolic metaphorical language to describe and reveal God's purposes and actions surrounding the events going on in the world around us. The Greek term Apocalypsis literally means "to unveil." The Book of Revelation is meant to be read as if it were written in the year 68 A.D. during the course of the Jewish-Roman War, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and its central edifice: the Temple. Structured after both the Book of Daniel and the Eucharistic Liturgy of the early Christian Church, it reveals how this destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem is indeed the realization of divine judgment, the vindication of Christ and the Church, the end of the visible manifestation of the Old Covenant, and the appearance of God's kingdom foretold by Daniel in the form and ministry of the Church. In addition, we take a close look at Jesus' Olivet Discourse, which foretells the impending destruction of Jerusalem as well as the "signs" that will precede this horrible event. Indeed, these signs were fulfilled before the advent of the Roman soldiers and the ensuing war.

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Ch. 30 - How to Read the Bible

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 14:07:52 -0700

In this lesson, Carson wraps up the Understanding the Scriptures Bible course by empowering his students to read and interpret Scripture faithfully. He does this by examining paragraphs 109 through 119 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. First, we must determine the literal sense of the passage at hand by taking into account (1) the conditions of their time and culture, (2) the literary genres in use at that time, and (3) the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. Inseparable from and built upon the literal sense of Scripture, there are three additional spiritual senses that we may draw from the sacred page: (1) the allegorical, (2) the moral, and (3) the anagogical. Due to the fact that Sacred Scripture is not a purely natural creation of man and is inspired by the Holy Spirit, there are three criteria that the Church provide us with to interpret the Bible. First, we must be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture. This is necessary because of God's plan borne out in Salvation History. This unifying plan unites the different passages and books of Scripture. Second, we must read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church... because Scripture was written in the heart of God's covenant family, the Church, which lives and moves through time, ever retaining the Apostolic Tradition in her memory. Finally, we must be attentive to the analogy of faith, which is the coherence of the truths of divine revelation. God does not reveal mutually contradictory truths. This final criterion is taken from a piece of advice relayed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (12:6).

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