The Purpose Behind Jesus

Temptation

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By: William J Jackson

We know from our earliest days that there is nothing or no one stronger than God.  This is because He created everything (Genesis 1:1, Nehemiah 9:6, Isaiah 45:12), both good and bad (Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6, Ecclesiastes 7:13-14). This also means nothing can tempt God, but the theology of the New Testament (NT) opposes this principle.  Why did the NT decide to counter our understanding of God’s word by creating a rival that could challenge the Master of the Universe?  We will discuss the reason behind this and the influences that inspired the new Christian theology.

It started in 332 BCE when Alexander the Great took Israel, this was one of his many conquests.  At this point he ushered in Hellenism1.  Hellenism was a Greek mindset that socially bonded his territories.  This Hellenistic attitude encompassed art, science, philosophy and religion.  In this, two great Greek Philosophers, Aristotle and Plato, brought forward a concept referred to as dualism2.  This thinking meant that everything has a negative and positive contrast.  For example, day was good and night was evil, another example is that spirit is good and matter is evil.   Although this might appear like a simple teaching on the surface it contradicts the Tanakh.  An illustration of this would be the afterlife.  The Tanakh teaches that when we die we spend time in a neutral place called Shoal, in comparison it was the Greeks who created the contrast of Hell.  Dualism comes up short on many principles within the Tanakh, especially when applied to God.  Think about it, the Creator of the Universe doesn’t have an equal adversary.  However the Greeks did find a “work around” and this concept is called synthesis3.

Synthesis was the idea of mixing Greek beliefs with the beliefs of Alexander’s subordinate nations.  In short, it meant you could keep your faith but you had to mix it with the Greek religion.  This was a tactical move by Alexander because it removed the threat of people having to leave their religion, which many are willing to die for, and added the beliefs of Greece.  It would generate social unity with Alexander’s territories, bringing people under a single mindset. However, one big stumbling block here was that the Jews believe exclusively in one God, whereas the Greeks had several gods.  The bonding agent between Greek and Hebrew would be mythology.  In Greek mythology their god was Zeus and he had sons which also became gods or demigods. Often these mortal gods had a virgin birth to prove that Zeus created them as his mortal descendants.

Here the Greeks found a solution for both synthesis and dualism in the Hebrew culture.  They could retain the Jewish God but now added to Him the demigod of Jesus.  Also presented here was the reinforcement of dualism.  Sure God couldn’t be opposed, but His son, who is supposed to also be Him (John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Revelation 1:8), can be challenged.  When we break it down it really sounds ridiculous, yet it is a concept that finds its way into three of the Christian gospels (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-12).  Here, after his baptism, Jesus of Nazareth spends 40 days tempted by Satan.  The Christian messiah quotes verses from the Tanakh as retorts to each temptation.  It’s kind of a battle of God’s word against an actual evil god. In the end Jesus is victorious, Hebrews 4:15 assures us that Jesus “…has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (NIV).  The Greeks, through Jesus, found the unique stone that can fuse Greek mythology with Hebrew religion and that can fabricate an opposite to God.  This stone would serve as the corner stone to the Christian religion, (Acts 4:11).

Conclusion

This Greek inclination towards both synthesis and dualism gave birth to a theology that expand to the corners of the world.  As stated in the beginning this was the purpose behind Hellenism.  Compounding this was Paul, one of Christ’s most popular apostle.  He brought in many new teachings through Hellenism that have help to taint the Christianity lens.  A major example of this is Satan being the god of the world (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Paul along with the Greeks inspired a religion that although might have been very appealing, was in the end inaccurate and misleading.  Let this be a warning to us not to give other books precedence over the Tanakh as we were warned by God (Deuteronomy 4:2, Joshua 1:7, Proverbs 30:6).

References

(1) By: Isaac Broydé, Kaufmann Kohler, ALEXANDER THE GREAT, Jewish Encyclopedia

(2) By R. J. Zwi Werblowsky, DUALISM, Jewish Virtual Library

(3) By Lawrence H. Schiffman, Hellenism & Judaism Palestine goes Greek, My Jewish Learning

Christian Discrepancies With God’s Word: #1 The Blood

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By: William Jackson

 blood_caffeinated_energy_potion_inuse

Since Noah’s Ark rested on Mount Ararat, God has forbidden all of us to consume blood, Genesis 9:4.  It is so important that He reiterates it over a millennium latter to those of the Exodus Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, 15:23, and Leviticus 7:26. Even in Leviticus 17:10 it goes to the extreme of God stating “… (anyone who) eats any kind of blood, I will set myself against that person who eats blood and cut him off from his people” Pretty serious stuff, huh.

Yet, in contradiction the Christian messiah commands “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53).  This is further confirmed in Matthew 26:26-28, John 6:55, 1 Corinthians 11:25.

Eucharist challice

This Christian ritual is called the Eucharist and goes under a litany of names such as the Holy Communion, Sacrament or Blessed Sacrament, Mass, the Lord’s Supper, breaking bread and more.  The various labels used to explain the same thing depends on their Christian sect. Amazingly, in this practice, many Christian churches, such as the Roman Catholic, Orthodox churches (Russian, Greek, Syrian etc.), and Anglicans hold that the bread and wine becomes the actual body and blood of the Cristian messiah.  Conversely many other Christian groups interprets the wine being their messiah’s blood as purely symbolic.  Regardless, “is it advisable to do anything symbolically or ritualistically appose to the Torah?” NO!

12_Olympians

Some of the explanation for this hypocrisy is the homogenizing of Judaism with other pagan religions, a concept known as Hellenistic Judaism.  This was a strategy used by the Greeks when conquering new territories.  Basically, the idea was to mix the Greek culture (art, philosophy, education, religion…etc.) into the culture of the newly conquered nations.  This eventually led to making them likeminded with the Greeks1. For Israel this started about 323 BCE when Alexander the Great was welcomed into Jerusalem2.

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But for this to be true the communion had to exist before Christianity and it did. History records that well before the Christian messiah’s last super many other pagan religions celebrated a Eucharist type ritual such as the3

Osiris, Egypt 25th century BCE

Adonis: Greek before 6th century BCE

Attis, Greek late 4th century BCE

Also we see in the first four centuries common era, as the new Christian religion was coming into focus, the Romans followed Mithraism. Both religions appear to parallel each other.  As with Christianity, a communion involving the consumption of blood was practice:

mithra

“The adherents of Mithras believed that by eating the bull’s flesh and drinking its blood they would be born again…”4

Some have even accused the Christian apostle Paul of combining Christianity with the religion of Mithra.  Although this is an assumption, we do know that later the Emperor Constantine did fuse both these religions together 5.

To sum it up, God doesn’t change His mind when it comes to His commandments (Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 46:10-11, Malachi 3:6) and He didn’t change His mind when it came to consuming blood.  This is known by all those who exclusively follow Torah. But, for NT followers, “if” the Christian Book of Acts is factual than it serves as solid evidence that the consumption of blood is forbidden by Jews and Gentiles alike (Acts 15:20, 29, 21:25).

o-VAMPIRE-DRINKING-BLOOD-facebook

References

(1) Micheal W. Palmer, Israel in the Hellenistic Age, History & Literature of the Bible, the Hellenistic Age, October 19, 2002

(2) Isaac Broydé, Kaufmann Kohler, Israel Lévi, ALEXANDER THE GREAT, Jewish Encyclopedia

(3) Christians share a sacred meal with their God—Pagans did it first, Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth

(4) Alfred Reynolds, Jesus versus Christianity, 1993

(5) Vexen Crabtree, Mithraism and Early Christianity, January 20, 2002