In this post I explore more evidence that the NT writers had more texts available to them from the field ripe for harvest than passes down to us from history. This time I explore clues in the Book of Jude. Read on for more.
Jude was one of the attendees at the Jerusalem Council. Like his brother Jacob, Jude wrote an accompanying letter for the document packet sent to Antioch after the close of that council. This is his contribution to the discussion.
The Acts 15 passage, written about that council, give clues for identifying the 5 OT editors: Solomon, Ahab/Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Mordecai and Ezra. These are the men Jude says entered in, and their edits are how they overran the simple practices of faith known by Abraham and his immediate family and known to Moses after the Exodus.
Jude tells us that we must contend for our faith, in the public sphere, because if we do not, we suffer various consequences. We suffer direct consequences in the world caused by the editors themselves.
In Jude's paragraph dealing with the editors we find 5 points. 3 of those are easily expanded using the OT text we know. But, 2 of them suggest missing documents.
The 2 easiest editor references are in the tail end of Jude verse 12. Here sit a reference to 'clouds without rain' and a 'fruitless' or 'dead' tree. Let me explore.
The clouds without rain is a simple reference to the drought and famine in Elijah's time. Apparently Ahab and Jezebel's letter writing leading to Naboth's murder had a causal relationship to the weather.
Joshua shows favor to dead Naboth by causing suffering to the king and supporters in his realm through drought. This may be going on in the USA this spring, either related to the election, Naboth owned the land where their 'white house' was built, or because of killing through vaccines. In all cases officials colluding in secret to commit crime.
In other words when we do NOT contend for what is right we face drought, even if we are neither the king nor the assassins nor the victim. We still risk collateral damage. This is the reason to contend.
The other easy point at the tail of Jude verse 12 is a reference to a dead tree. This is also known to match an editor, and is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar's dream recorded in the Book of Daniel.
Here the details do not exactly match. Nebuchadnezzar has a stump that regrows, while Jude references a tree pulled up. We will forgive the differences in details and assume some sort of word level tampering at either end of this reference chain. But, if my contention of additional documents is correct, then Nebuchadnezzar's dream may have secondary documents that describe it differently.
What is curious about this linkage is Nebuchadnezzar's dream includes a time reference, 7 years for the king, and 2550 years across history. Jude is telling us that people of faith suffer for a long time when we do not contend.
Inside individual lives we may face years of trouble, and from life to life our souls may face millennia of trouble, all because of not contending.
Backing up to the start of Jude verse 12 we find Jude giving a reference to the first editor, Solomon. Here Jude is calling out Solomon and his day as 'wasteful' and 'feasting' and 'blemished' and 'irreverent.'
Solomon's main event was to build a temple complex at Jerusalem. Details of that effort may not be fully inspired, but the Bible suggests many tens of thousands of people were conscripted to that project. Some cutting and hauling logs, some working stone, with little time left over to feed the kids. References to abundant silver suggest the introduction of fiat banking and taxation through inflation to pay for it all.
This is an example of the general problem of being in Egypt, building massive public buildings, what we are supposed to consider a waste of human and physical resources.
Solomon also set up the feasts, the specific holidays to give some purpose to his massive building. So Jude is saying even the feasts are wasteful. These activities are blemished and irreverent.
Curiously, if you visit a modern example, say Saint Peters Cathedral in Rome, the colossal imposing nature usually triggers a feeling of reverence. Even many smaller buildings do the same. Our natural response in these places is backwards to a place that is blemished and irreverent. How upside down our world usually is.
So the reason for contending for the true faith involves the problems of huge useless public works, enslavement and taxation to pay for them. Avoiding all of this is a good reason to contend for the faith.
Going forward in Jude we find the next editor. But the reference is more obscure. In Jude verse 13 it moves to a 'wave of the sea' and 'froth.' This links to Noah, of course, but it does not link directly to any particular Mordecai story.
The big event in Mordecai's time was a contest to replace Vashti as queen. The victory in that contest explains how government and religious linkages came to be. Those linkages we still see today.
One of the Paleo letters, Mo, represents water and in the grammar it is the word 'from.' This because we are all from the waters of a womb. So the sea reference does indeed tie to harem and the contest for queen in that day.
But, at this point the details are hard to pair off. This may be simply a sexual allusion, which is possible. But, see the problem with this?
I have shifted in my interpretive layers to make this work. Letter definitions drive word definitions, not the overall narrative. So there is a problem thinking the seas or waves relate to the harem.
Most likely, we are missing a document from Mordecai's day. Jude is likely referencing some inspired written work that ties the actions of Mordecai and the king in his day to the actions of the sea itself. In other words Mordecai's victory in the Vashti contest will ultimately destroy the world as it was destroyed in Noah's day.
Second Peter chapter 3 fills in on this same idea. It says the days of Noah were caused by men and it will repeat again, but this time as a fire. Again, both Jude and the writer of Second Peter appear to be referencing other works on this singular future point. Jude's contribution being only the simple point that actions in Mordecai's day are the cause for a future world destroying flood.
So Mordecai's merging of the post-flood myths of Babel into the inspired canon will cause another Noah event. Stopping another Noah event is a big reason to contend. But, not well defended unless another document lurks to explain the details.
The final point in Jude verse 13 is a wandering star, where darkness is reserved forever. Note the term normally translated as wandering is more commonly translated as 'deceptive' as we now render in the BRB and TT.
On the strength of the earlier references, this should be an Ezra reference. But, we don't have any text that specifically deals with a star in his written history. Something is missing.
Because a star is one of the Paleo letters, Wa, we can drop to that letter and draw out more meaning. The 3D object is a compass and sundial combined. It provides direction to those who travel on earth. So a deceptive star causes someone to wander when they need not.
Ezra, though, is responsible for setting up the priesthoods we know now. This includes the buildings in which they work and the distributed systems of local buildings, smaller than big central edifices.
Those distributed systems on land map directly back to stars spread across the sky. Many priests refer to themselves along the lines of a 'light in a darkened world' or as light bearers of various ilk.
This is what Ezra like priesthoods do. Priesthoods cause souls to wander away from Joshua, distracting them for a lifetime or for millennia. Ezra sets up the priestly systems that we still see across the world in various religions. All are false. All mislead.
Note, to be clear, Joshua calls people to tasks which are not priestly. Teachers, evangelists and prophets are good examples. These tasks are constrained by topic and constrained by limited time with audiences. Priests are not similarly constrained. Priests stand between their congregants and Joshua himself.
OK, here again we are changing layers of interpretation. Dropping to the letter layer to explain narrative is a general problem. Something we normally don't want to do, so we are stretching to make this work. Other documents from Mordecai's day that were pulled from the vault would remove our need to do this.
So why contend here? If we don't contend for the faith, people will stand up and take the false role of permanent priests, leading everyone astray because they replace Joshua himself as our leader.
Clues like I've shared here are how we start to see and work through troubles in the text. This is how we make discoveries.
These examples from Jude are soft, because it is relatively easy to get to Jude's point given what we know about the editors and the meaning of the letters used to write the book. So the existence of more documents to help interpret Jude are relatively easy to explain away.
When paired with the Hebrews examples of my previous post, it appears additional texts from the field ripe for harvest are spanning from the start, at the time of Enoch, through to Ezra at the time of the end of the OT material.
When we get to the parables about these secondary writings we will see documents pulled from the Field Ripe for Harvest must have provided continuous coverage from Enoch to Ezra.
I will explore more on this idea of additional texts next time.