Christian Discrepancies With God’s Word: #8 Jesus did not bring peace.

Warrior_Jesus

 

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William J Jackson

So where did Jesus earn the title “Prince of Peace”?  Simply said, it is because of the Messianic Prophet – Isaiah.  You see, Isaiah earned his nickname because he recorded many of the prophecies for the coming Messiah. Through him, many Christians qualify their Jesus as The Messiah.  One of Isaiah qualifiers in  Isaiah 52:7 is that the Messiah will be a messenger of peace ushering a new world without violence and war.  In addition, Isaiah tells us earlier, evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his (the Messiah’s) leadership (Isaiah 11:4).  So we can deduce from these prophecies that we will know the Messiah has arrived when we are living in a world of peace.  Yet, as Richard F. Ames, a writer for “Tomorrow’s World” tells us

“The United Nations recently reported that there are more than 35 major conflicts going on in the world today, and that there have been more than 250 major wars since World War II. Three times more people have been killed in wars in the last 90 years than in all the previous 500.”

Viewing these facts, we would have to concede that the promised of peace has not been fulfilled yet.  This being the Tanakh’s (Old Testament) prophetic litmus test, we thus can say the Messiah has not arrived.

However, to all Christians, Jesus is the epitome of peace.  So to say that he didn’t bring peace appears, on the surface, as a fallacy. Nonetheless, his own book, the New Testament, stands as a witness against him.  For example, Matthew 10:34 quotes Jesus as saying:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Also, in Luke 12, Jesus starts off by stating ““I have come to bring fire on the earth…” (v. 49) then from here up until verse 53 he goes into detail about how his mission is to divide the world against itself even down to the family unit. This certainly does not sound like “The Great Unifier” prophesied in Zechariah 8:23.  

So, in order for Jesus to be able to usher in the prophesied era of peace, Christianity came up with the second coming. As we look at the gospels, Jesus does talk about a Messiah coming in Matthew 24:30 and Luke 21:27 but he doesn’t proclame that it is him. Here he appears to be supporting Isaiah’s prophecy. Actually, the first time we see the claim of a second coming is after the gospels in Acts 1:11.  Bear in mind, the book of Acts was written between 80 and 90 CE 1, 2 over a half century beyond the crucifiction of Jesus. In the space between Jesus’ crucifixion and the book of Acts many things happened. In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years after that Roman legions under Titus retook and destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple 3. Thus, it would be hard for new Christians to convince Jews of that day that Jesus was the Messiah when he failed the test of peace.  So, now Acts gives Jesus a second chance and a second coming. To the readers of the New Testament it appears these events happened in seamless succession, but we need to understand that the book of Acts was written more than a decade after the gospels.  

Additionally, Christianity has their messiah returning as a “Righteous Warrior”.  This is thought to be the reason for a violent Jesus.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” – Revelation 19:11-15   

Although to many Christians Revelations has been billed as an endtime prophecy, conventional understanding is that Revelation was written to comfort beleaguered Christians as they underwent persecution at the hands of a Roman emperor. Additionally, it was meant to convect those Christians who were willing to compromise with Rome and it’s pagan religions. In truth, many of the figures and symbols used in Revelations can be linked to historical events in the first century 4.  

As we study out the arrival of the Messiah, we do not see the figure of a warrior but one of a diplomat who advocates peace:

  • Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4).
  • He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10).
  • He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7).
  • Nations will recognize the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5).
  • The peoples of the world will turn to Israel for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23).
  • The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55).
  • Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9).

Conclusion:

If we believe there will be a future Messiah, you need to stick to the pedigree of the Tanakh (Old Testament) for answers. Not only does history not reveal for us the peace of the Christian messiah, Jesus speaks of violence not love. The true Messiah will be a Prince of Peace.        

References

  1. Charlesworth, James H. (2008). The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Abingdon Press. ISBN 9781426724756.
  2. Burkett, Delbert (2002). An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00720-7, page. 195.
  3. Rome, By Bruce Johnston in. “Colosseum ‘built with loot from sack of Jerusalem temple'”
  4. Gumerlock, Francis X. Revelation and the First Century: Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity. Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2012.
Advertisements

Why Animal Sacrifices?

1102012655_univ_cnt_1_xl

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

As we read through Leviticus we become introduced to animal sacrifices.  This strikes many of us as barbaric. We ask ourselves “how can God ask for the blood of innocent animals to compensate for our sins?”.  The answer to this question may be more practical than you think.

offerings noah_gallery

Firstly, the history of animal sacrificing towards God goes back to the beginning of time.  These events are captured in the pages Torah. Every time there is a pivotal milestone with God’s people, there is an animal sacrifice to mark it. Going back to the the first off springs of the first couple’s we have Genesis 4:3-4.  Afterwards, we see a sacrifice which commemorated the new post flood word (Genesis 8:20-21).  Later on when God makes His legendary Abrahamic covenant to those that are His, we have it codified with the sacrifice of several animals (Genesis 15:7-18).  Then, triumphantly, we have a animal sacrifice after the Israelites made their momentous escape from Egypt (Exodus 18:10-12). Interestingly, all of these historical sacrifices appear to honor God and none seem to atone for sin.  

Later, in the book of Exodus and throughout Leviticus, we see the formation of a priesthood, approved methods of worshiping and mandates to live by. This marks the beginning of God creating structure for those in pursuit of a relationship with Him. In doing so, we have Leviticus 1 through 7 which gives us the sacrificial system.  This brings us to the burning question “Why kill innocent animals for the lack of our own innocence?”.  We first need to realize that the majority of the animal sacrifices had nothing to do with deliberate sins 1.  Actually, most of the sacrifices would have been for those same things that we prayer for i.e. praising God, to become closer to Him, to express thanks to God, love or gratitude and celebrating the holidays and festivals 2. Only the Christian New Testament seems to infer sacrificing was the only method to cover sin (Hebrews 7:27, 13:11-13, Romans 6:10).    

religion-09

As for the purpose behind animal sacrifices, the answer can be found in the history of civilizations. In antiquity, we have the Agricultural Revolution.  This was the wide-scale transition of general human cultures transforming from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement 3. Domestic animal slaughter was necessity then and still is.  The major difference between then and now is that most of today’s carnivores have never intentionally killed an animal.  Yet, it would have been a common part of one’s lifestyle until just recently (last 200 years). So with or without animals being killed for God, they were still being processed for human consumption.  In early times while doing these slaughters, it was common practice to do it towards a god or gods. In Monte d’Accoddi, Sardinia there  is one of the earliest known sacred centers in Europe.  Here we have evidence of the sacrifice of sheep, cattle and swine as part of ritual sacrifice.  This may have been common across Italy about 3000 BC 4.  

So with or without the Levitical sacrifice system, Israel was going to kill and eat from their herds. By God facilitating an outlet towards Him, God would have removed the opportunity to sacrifice to foreign gods during the animal slaughter. Remember Israel did have a tendency to worship other gods even though they were directly under God’s’ tutelage (Genesis 31:34, 35:4, Exodus 32, Deuteronomy 4:28). So, like Nehemiah posting guards on Jerusalem’s gates to prevent trading on the Sabbath (Nehemiah 7:3), God put His own controls in place.  Additionally, by adding a formality to the occasion of these sacrifices the community of Israel would have taken their worship of the one and only God more seriously.  As the Torah tells us 39 times from Genesis 8:21 to Numbers 29:36, these sacrifices were a pleasing aroma to God.  As God, imagine your followers going through an elaborate worship just in your name, how could it not be pleasing?  In addition, this certainly was not an event of frivolous waist.  Even though it was God who was pleased by the worship, it was the people who eat the meat.  

Conclusion:

There are many possible reasons for the animal sacrifice system prompted in Leviticus. As I established here, my top two educated guesses are that they could have been done to deny pagan worship, while showing a earnest praise towards God.  Still, there is much we do not know about Torah. For example, recently we are seeing scientific evidence of the effects of prayer, even to the point that the US government is willing to support research 5. Still other studies prove that clothing has a frequency that affects the body and that pure organic linen has extreme benefit. This might be why God had His priests in linen (Exodus 28:5, 39, 42, Leviticus 6:10).  Likewise scientifically mixing wool and linen collapses its capabilities, which is also addressed in Torah (Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:11).  So, at the end of the day, science is just getting started when it comes to understanding God, and realistically may never get there.  Regardless of us defending God’s motives, He had His reasons and we don’t always need to know the “whys”. This is where loyalty comes in (Deuteronomy 10:12, 11:8, 28:1, Proverbs 3:3). Regardless of our understandings, one thing is for certain, we will be going back to animals sacrifices (Isaiah 56:6-7, Jeremiah 33:17-18, Ezekiel 43:18-46:24) in the new Temple (Ezekiel 40 -44).

References

  1. Jackson, William J. “True Sacrifice for Intentional Sin.” Center for Tanakh Based Studies. March 03, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://center-for-tanakh-based-studies.com/2018/03/03/true-sacrifice-for-intentional-sin/.

 

  1. Judaism 101: Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings. Accessed February 15, 2018. http://www.jewfaq.org/qorbanot.htm.

 

  1. Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth. trans. Peter Bing. Berkeley: University of California. 1983. ISBN 0-520-05875-5.

 

  1. Jones O’Day, Sharyn; Van Neer, Wim; Ervynck, Anton (2004). Behaviour Behind Bones: The Zooarchaeology of Ritual, Religion, Status and Identity. Oxbow Books. pp. 35–41. ISBN 1-84217-113-5.

 

  1. Dembner, Alice. “The Healing Power of Prayer?” The New York Times. July 28, 2005. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/28/health/the-healing-power-of-prayer.html.

 

  1. Mincolla, Mark, Ph.D. “Linen Study.” Life-Giving Linen. 2003. Accessed March 25, 2018. http://www.lifegivinglinen.com/linen-study.html.

What to eat and not eat the week following Passover/Pesach.

Oat flakes, seeds and branCenter for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

The week of unleavened bread (Chag HaMatzot) starts at the ending of Passover.  During this seven days, those people that are following God’s laws will not partake of anything with Hametz/Chametz (Exodus 12:15, 19, 20, 13:3, 7, Deuteronomy 16:3). The consequences of eating Hametz during this week is to be cut off from Israel (Exodus 12:15, 19). Now begs the question, “What is Hametz?”.  It starts off as anyone of five grains which can ferment and become hametz.  These are:

  1. Wheat
  2. Barley
  3. Spelt (also known as farro)
  4. Oats
  5. Rye

Interestingly, these are also the only grains that can be made into matzah. So why is matzah not only allowed but encouraged by Scripture during the week of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8, 15, 17, 18, 20, 39, 13:6, 7, 23:15, Deuteronomy 16:3,8)? It is because these five grains in and of themselves are not Hametz.  You see Hametz is a stage in the transformation process. It is often translated as “leaven”.  Basically, Hametz is when wheat, barley, oats, spelt, or rye have become wet for a set period of time (at least 18 minutes). This begins the leavening process 1. Matzah is not cooked beyond 18 minutes, thus making it safe for consumption during the week following Passover. So in theory we can have these five grains for this week, but they cant have started the leavening process.   

Complicating the Process:

When we use the actual Hebrew to understand Torah the mandate for this week is both simple and realistic.  However, about 700 years ago the Ashkenazic Jews have convoluted this observance.  They added to it by expanding the list with rice, millet, and legumes. These are collectively known as kitniyot, from the Hebrew word katan (little) 2. Aside from burdening an otherwise simple task, it is adding to God’s Word which is in violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, 13:1.

So what can I eat during this week 3 ?  As Hametz is removed from this list, so isn’t the Ashkenazic Jewish observances. These items are good for consumption during the week of unleavened bread:
Matzah/Matzo

– All fruit

– All vegetable

– Meat in accordance with Leviticus 11:3-8 and Deuteronomy 14:3-8

– Eggs and egg whites

– Nuts, nut flours, and pure nut butters (avoid additives)

– Dairy products

– Spices

– Herbs

– Broth from biblically pure meats and vegetable based.

  • Wine (Yeast which is the product of grapes, or its sugars, is not considered hametz 4 ).

 

Please enjoy this holiday week which reminds us of the Exodus each and every day.  

 

References

 

  1. Hillel Ben, David, Rabbi. “What Is Chametz?” Chametz. Accessed March 31, 2018. http://www.betemunah.org/chametz.html.

 

  1. Spitzer, Jeffrey. “Kitniyot: Not Quite Hametz.” My Jewish Learning. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/kitniyot-not-quite-hametz/.

 

  1. Avey, Tori. “What Foods Are Kosher for Passover?” Tori Avey. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://toriavey.com/what-foods-are-kosher-for-passover/.

 

  1. Zaklikowski, Dovid. “Why Is It Permitted to Drink Wine on Passover When It Is Fermented with Yeast?” Passover. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/508672/jewish/Why-is-it-permitted-to-drink-wine-on-Passover-when-it-is-fermented-with-yeast.htm.