These past 2 weeks we have updated the TT in significant ways. In this post I go over the subject of Walk Offs, many of which were hidden by editors. Read on for more.
'Walk off' is a term we give to anyone who walked off the planet and did not die. The 2 most obvious are Enoch and Elijah. Enoch simply taken away and Elijah who was taken in a fiery chariot. In the NT Joshua himself is also a walk off when he is taken up at the end of his ministry.
There is a reference in Josephus that says the Bible was edited to hide that Moses was taken in similar fashion. Moses appearing at the Mount of Transfiguration suggests as much too. Beyond these 4 there are no other obvious walk offs, making them quite rare.
What we realized a couple weeks ago is that there are many others who are also documented walk offs, but editors intentionally obscure the details. This because most walk off stories in the text are subtle so editors could easily hide the departure. The editors were motivated to hide these stories because the religion they created by their edits prevents walk offs.
The first case I want to explore is Abram. The story in question starts at Genesis 24. Here we learn that Abram is old and well advanced in years. Abram is around 140 years at this point.
In this story he calls his oldest, and highest ranked servant and sends him to fetch a wife for his son Isaac. The servant is a little concerned about the responsibility of this task, and Abram comforts the servant in various ways, in particular saying that a king of Joshua will accompany the servant and bring success.
The servant does as he is told and heads off, and when he arrives at the well at the other end of the journey he immediately meets Rebekah, Isaac's future wife. An anomaly in this story is the servant's insistence on returning back to Abram the very next day. The family suggests a month, or at least a few days, but Rebekah agrees and they depart the next morning.
When they arrive back at the ranch Isaac himself is returning from the 'well of the living one who saw me.' Rebekah asks who Isaac is and the servant answers 'my master.' Finally Isaac takes Rebekah in to the tent and is comforted.
The anomalies in this story are there to indicate Abram is a walk off between the time that the servant leaves and the time he returns. The king who helped the servant find Rebekah is ALSO the king who had been sent to fetch Abram who himself is old and well advanced in years.
The servant's insistence on returning the very next day after meeting Rebekah is because he wants to see Abram again before Abram walks off. He would also have wanted Rebekah to have met Abram before Abram walked off. The fact he missed Abram is indicated when the servant tells Rebekah that Isaac and not Abram is now his master. A very sad moment in the servant's life.
The editors will shift Abram's death out by another 35 years and indicate he was 175 years old when he died. 35 more years than when he was old and well advanced in years. Yet another anomaly.
We will see that walk offs often leave after accomplishing some sort of life goal. In Abram's case he does have a concern about finding Isaac a wife, but that is handled by others. The main event that Abram had recently accomplished was the purchase of the double cave from the Hittites as a scroll vault. This happened within the previous 3 years, so relatively close in time to this event. That vault is a central location for NT stories involving Joshua and the text.
Isaac and Rebekah
Isaac and Rebekah are the next pair of walk offs. This is the first documented case of a woman walk off, and an example of a husband and wife both walking off together.
In this case Isaac's life mission appears to be given in Hebrews 11:20 where it says that Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.
When we go back to that story, in Genesis 25:21-23 we find Rebekah is pregnant and there are 2 sons in her womb who are fighting. She gets the prophetic answer that Isaac will agree with after he has blessed Jacob and Esau. This is indicating that Rebekah has already earned her ticket to ride and is waiting for Isaac to do the same as recorded in Genesis 27.
At this point Isaac still favors Esau for the blessing, but Rebekah steps in and tricks Isaac into blessing the sons correctly. By verse 33 Isaac has his eyes opened and has now earned his ticket.
The walk off event of Isaac and Rebekah is not recorded, just as it was not recorded in Abram's case. But the timing is recorded. It is the event that Jacob is seeing in a dream recorded in Genesis 28:12.
Here Jacob has just left Isaac and Rebekah and is headed to Haran. He has stopped for the night when he has a famous dream of a ladder to the sky with kings ascending and descending upon it.
Just as a king was involved in the servant's journey at Abram's departure, so here we see at least 2 kings are coming and going at this point. Remember in the text plurals can either represent an indefinite count or it can represent a definite number, always 2.
In this case, the plural is 2, because the 2 being picked up are Jacob's parents, Isaac and Rebekah. 1 king for each.
This explains several more anomalies in Jacob's story, especially when he returns home years later. There are no parents to mediate Jacob and Esau's encounter. In addition, Rebekah had said she would send word when Esau had calmed down. She was not around to send such word because she had walked off.
Note the encounter between Jacob and Esau has been seriously bulked up by editors. Jacob did not prepare a gift for Esau, because he would be admitting guilt, but Jacob was not guilty of anything. Esau defends Jacob when he offers to go before him, so he is not particularly angry with Jacob. Esau has not had rage against Jacob for some time. Esau then departs for the east, leaving the area to Jacob as per Isaac's directives.
As a final example I want to use Philip in the NT. This is another case of a walk off where the editors did not want this to be clear. It involves a disciple of Joshua and it ties the NT and OT together on these points. We pick up the story of Philip in Acts 8:5.
The context for this story is a persecution that had broken out in Jerusalem so that everyone was scattered. Philip himself went to a Samaritan city, most likely back to Sychar. Philip was finishing up for Joshua's work there when they had stopped there to pick up the scrolls from the cave. Joshua had departed Sychar because he said, a prophet is without honor in his own city.
Philip has various adventures in that place and then in Acts 8:26 we read about a king of Joshua who is speaking to Philip.
Like the kings we saw in Abram, Isaac and Rebekah's cases, a king speaking like this should be taken as an indication of Philip's soon departure too. This king has come to take him, and is telling Philip where to head for that eventual event.
The king tells Philip to go to the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip departs and runs into a chariot with a eunuch, an official of Candace, queen of the Cushites, headed home after worshiping in Jerusalem. After a conversation about the book of Isaiah, they get out of the chariot and walk across water. This the proper form of baptism.
By Acts 8:38 Philip is 'caught away' and the eunuch does not see him any longer.
Editors appear to have added future stories about this Philip in order to hide that Philip is now a walk off. Closely following Joshua has a prize, a ticket to ride. This particular story carries interesting symbolism, the royal chariot carrying the Cushite official is like the chariots used by kings to carry away Joshua's walk offs.
This also suggests baptism by walking across water is a profession of faith in the hope of walking across the sky like Elijah, in a fiery chariot. By the use of a chariot in this case we can deduce the king here was Elijah, who was generally attending to the disciples as we see in the story of the Mount of Transfiguration.
Why would editors hide walk offs? Because their religion prevents walk offs because no one is prepared to have a conversation with the kings sent to fetch a walk off.
The editors replace walk offs with a theology of resurrection. Theology of resurrection hinges on what happens after someone has died. So there is no way for anyone else to know if someone really succeeded in life. This hides the fact that under the editor's theology nobody really succeeds in life.
Joshua condemned their theology when he pronounced judgment over Nicodemus, telling him he would be born again. Just like that best teacher in Israel, everyone else also goes around again.
Think about Abram's case. His servant knew full well that Abram was pleasing to Joshua. Why? Because he knows Abram is about to leave, thus his hurry. This is true even if only Isaac actually saw the departure. Ditto Isaac and Rebekah and ditto Philip. They did not die and this is how we know Joshua was pleased with them.
Besides scanning for hidden walk offs we have been scanning for passages that are in tension between walk offs and resurrection. There are many places across the NT especially where walking off is a subject of the writers. Often tampered back to resurrection by editors.
We have also been scanning for parables related to the structure of the text. Some of those have been returned to the TT as well. Those parables are interesting now as we are looking again at manuscript recovery.
This past 2 weeks marks some of the largest changes we've made in the TT in quite some time. We have changed our cut at most of the epistles, for example.