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

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Christianity and Evil Spirits

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According to ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, abnormal behavior and disease was thought to be caused by evil spirits. We may find it amusing when we learn about this stuff in psychology schools. But when the same thing is endorsed by the Christian Bible, most Christian minds come to a standstill.

The idea that mental and physical health problems are caused by evil spirits may not be popular idea for majority of church-going people, but trust me, it is part of the doctrines of the New Testament. Whether one wants to see the fact or not, Jesus was an exorcist who practiced exorcism.

What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” – Anonymous demon, (Mark 1:24).

The New Testament presents Jesus as, among other things, “an exorcist par excellence.” I wonder why the gospel of John does not record any exorcisms. The author of John chose to use a selection of signs to enforce his teaching and he clearly felt that the exorcism stories will not achieve his purposes.” So let us therefore concentrate upon the so-called ‘synoptic gospels’ of Matthew, Maerk and Luke and other books where exorcism is mentioned.

Christians who oftentimes speak of the New Testament as factual data can be so divorced from worldview concerns as it is undeniable that they generally operate within their own subjective concepts.

When the majority cannot decide if the New Testament is an actual biography of Jesus and Paul, it becomes significantly clear that evangelists are more interested in selling Jesus as a product without being concerned of the ingredients that were used to spice up the Jesus character.

Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

It’ is a fact that many Bible believers believe that evangelists have the authority to cast out evil and unclean spirits.

Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.”

Acts 16:18, “And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

Mark 9:38-39, “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw onecasting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.”

Evil spirits can enter into and possess people, causing all kinds of sicknesses, diseases, and terrible manifestations. The Bible records many occasions when Jesus healed those who were tormented by these spirits

See Matthew 8:28-34
Mark 1:23-27
Luke 9:37-42, and
Acts 19:13-16

When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matthew 8:16).

Demon possession is the control of an individual’s personality so that actions are influenced by an evil demonic spirit. The signs of demonic possession in the New Testament include:

deafness (Mark 9:25)
blindness (Matthew 12:22)
speechlessness (Matthew 9:33)
convulsions (Mark 1:26)
unusual strength (Mark 5:4)
suicidal attempts (Matthew 17:15) and
foaming of the mouth (Luke 9:39)

So if Christian believers are bringing their loved ones to the hospital, they are hypocrites and non-believers

Acts 19:12
so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

I wonder if all Christians will trust their evangelist to do all of the healing process for their Alzeimers, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. and stop relying on medicines?

Have a nice day!

Jesus Could Not Have Atoned for Our Sins

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By: William J Jackson

Jesus Could Not Have Atoned for Our Sins.

Easter blots out Passover in our culture. It’s sad because YHVH said to remember His Passover from generation to generation (Exodus 12:14, 17, 24, 13:9-10, 2 Kings 23:21). However, in Christianity Easter is very important because the Christian messiah is credited for removing the sins of his followers( 1 Peter 1:18, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Romans 6:18, 8:2 ). In short, Jesus, has taken the place of the Israelites sacrificial lamb. Ironically, the lamb in Exodus 12 was slaughtered for it’s blood to put on the doorframe so the angel of death would “Passover” (Pesach) the homes of believers. Call it a mark of faith. It seems, this lamb, has been tangled up with the lamb sacrificed for atonement. This sacrificial lamb would be talked about a year after the Passover and some 450 miles away (1) in the book of Leviticus chapter 4. The piece that makes Jesus important is the atoning for the sins of those who believe in him. What does the Tanakh (Old Testament) say about somebody paying your sins?

The Tanakh is pretty clear that everyone shall die of there own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:28-29, 2 Chronicles 25:4, 2 Kings 14:5-6), meaning no one can take that responsibility from us. The first time we see someone trying to interceded with their own life for somebody else’s sins is Moses. This happened right after the golden calf incident (Exodus 32:1-20). Moses went to YHVH to exchange his life for the Israelites who sinned (Exodus 32:31-32). YHVH was quick to turn him down by saying “…I will punish them for their sin” (Exodus 32:34). So not even Moses can blot out somebody else’s sin.

You see, us dealing with our sins is part of the growing process. Lets go back to the beginning when Adonai accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. If you remember, Cain became pretty angry (Genesis 4:4-5). So, Adonai counseled Cain on his attitude problem (Genesis 4:6). Adonai didn’t tell Cain that he would take his sin from him, He didn’t even tell Cain just to surrender his anger. Adonai told Cain to master over his sin (Genesis 4:7). Part of dealing with our sin is growing and maturing, so hopeful through our true repentance (teshuvah, 2), we move on. HaShem’s word tells us that the righteous man will fail again and again; but through YHVH’s word, he will prevail (Proverbs 24:16, Psalm 34:20, 37:24, Job 5:19). Life is a learning curve, we don’t just change we evolve. It’s not about handing over our responsibilities, it’s about battling and succeeding over sin.

Ezekiel 18 goes into pain staking detail explaining how each person is accountable for their own walk, and how we cannot assume anyone’s punishment or how they cannot assume ours. Life is not about the finish line, it’s about the journey. And we certainly cannot hand over the challenge of sin to a deity (Matthew 6:13, John 17:15, 1 John 3:8, Galatians 1:4). We, instead, look towards YHVH and His word for reassurance. As Rabbi Stuart Federow has said “The Bible is clear, and it is consistent: one person cannot die for the sins of another. In other words, the sins committed by one person cannot be wiped out by the punishment given to another” (3).

References:

(1) Google Maps, Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt to Jabal Mousa

(2) TESHUVAH (Repentance) Handout, Biblical Heritage Center

(3) Rabbi Stuart Federow, Jews believe that one person’s death
cannot atone for the sins of another, What Jews believe