Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Take This Cup (edited 28 March 2014)

I was first introduced to Bodie Thoene's writing with her Zion Covenant and Zion Chronicles series (currently, on Amazon, both Bodie and Brock are listed as authors for these series of books; the editions I read in 1991 were attributed only to Bodie). I was enthralled with her portrayal of the Jewish experience in Germany. Then, I read The Man From Shadow Ridge, written by Bodie and Brock Thoene, and was greatly disappointed. The writing was lifeless and the story seemed forced. So, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed Take This Cup. I was concerned when I found that this is book #2 in a series. However, it seems to stand well on its own.

This book needs to be read as fiction -- it doesn't purport to be anything else. A young boy, Nehemiah, born to a shepherd and a crippled weaver, is "chosen" as the cup-bearer, to bear the cup of blessing and suffering that has passed from Melchizidek to Abraham, to Joseph (the cup placed in Benjamin's bag), and now is to go to the Messiah. Nehemiah's rabbi was one of the wise men who visited Jesus after his birth. Nehemiah must endure a long, perilous journey to get to Jerusalem in time to pass the cup to the Messiah. There are some odd inclusions:
* The white hart that supposedly survived from Eden is almost a spirit-guide. This is inconsistent with the book's basis in the biblical message about the Messiah.
* The star patterns predicting the Messiah's return seems out of character for the story.
* Bible passages seem to be used in contexts in which they were not initially used.

One thing that the Thoenes do stress in the story is that the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah to be a military/political leader who would overthrow the Romans and reestablish the Jewish nation under a descendent of David. In that interpretation, the crowd celebrating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and then turning against him a few days later makes sense. Jesus, a descendent of David, was not the kind of Messiah they expected, so they turned on him.

Take This Cup is an engaging, fun read as long as it's treated as very fictionalized.

(DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher's Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review. I was free to write the review that I thought the book deserved.)