Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mighty Warrior?

Yesterday, my morning scripture study explored the term "mighty god" from Isaiah 9:6 as part of my daily Advent reflections on twenty-five of the names often applied to Jesus.  As I began to try to write a post on that topic, I found writing it quite difficult.  I have some doubts about the dogma of the Trinity and am uncertain whether Jesus would consider it appropriate to be referred to as "god."  These uncertainties have been a part of my Christian life for almost as long as I've been a follower of Jesus, though some would say that I can't be a follower of Jesus and have these doubts.  I am always encouraged to find others, like Jason Boyett who writes a blog called, "O Me of Little Faith," and find it comforting to know that others struggle as I do.  I have confidence that God is leading me to the truth, either in this life or the next, and that assurance comforts me, too.

I am not a biblical scholar, and I feel very inadequate, especially when I read the Old Testament.  It seems to me that when we reflect back on these ancient prophecies through Christian eyes, we may not see what is truly there.  We may read into these writings meanings that reflect our own backgrounds and modes of thinking that are quite foreign to the intention of the original writer.  Too, we are reading a translation that may not be capable of expressing the nuances of an ancient Hebrew word or phrase.  I was interested in the observations of one writer about this particular phrase, "mighty god," which many make much of as evidence that Jesus should be regarded as God, but which he translated as "mighty warrior."  The writer is a proponent of what he calls "Chritian monothesim" and so approaches the text with an inclination to interpret the text in a certain way to support his point-of-view, an example of the difficulty we face as we look back at any text coming from another age and culture.

What does the phrase "mighty god' mean, then, if it is a reference to Jesus?  I haven't been able to draw any conclusions, and so the search for the truth will go on for me.  Too often we interpret Scripture to mean what we want it to mean, and I know that the message God places in my heart is the one God wants me to have.  One day, God will reveal to me what this term means and how it should be properly applied when God knows I'm ready.

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