Parable of Jesus - A New Patch on an Old Coat

Parable of Jesus - A New Patch on an Old Coat
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Indulgence Please:

If I can beg the indulgence of this forum, I'm going to (from time to time) write on the subject of the teachings of Jesus.

 

Many may think this is proselytizing.  If you think any mention of Jesus Christ is proselytizing and that offends you, please stop right here.  If you would like to learn more about what Christ said (for whatever reason) I hope you will continue.

 

That was said because I don't want to debate in these posts the existence of God... which simply degrades into "yes He does", "no he doesn't", "yes He does"... So, I humbly ask that we not post those type of comments on this thread.  Thank you in advance for this indulgence.

 

Moving on...

 

 

Parables:

Jesus often taught in parables.  Why?  I personally think it was for multiple reasons.  Two of which are...

 

1) Abstract examples that we can get our heads around are an excellent means of teachings.

 

2) They allowed Jesus to make points his enemies (Pharisees and Sadducees) had trouble using for purposes of persecution of Him and his followers.

 

The first parable in the New Testament comes from Matthew 9:14-16 and is known as the "Parable of the New Cloth on an Old Coat"; though it addresses much more than that.

 

It is this parable that I'm going to discuss/dissect today.

 

References:

Like many accounts and parables, this one is found in multiple places in the New Testament.  This one can be found in three places...

 

Matthew 9:14-16 (NIV)

Mark 2:18-21 (NIV)

Luke 5:33-36 (NIV)

 

I provide the links above for reference and provide the text of the first (Matthew) below.

 

Matthew 9:14-16 (Jesus Questioned About Fasting)

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

 

Differences:

There are minor differences in the accounts.  The main one here is in who is asking. In Matthew, John's disciples are asking; in Mark, some people who notice the difference ask; in Luke Pharisees and teachers ask after Jesus dines with Levi the tax collector.

 

It's not that important, but it's possible that Jesus was asked this question multiple times.  As we see today with new stories, the same question gets on people's minds and is brought up many times.  It could also be multiple's people's account of the same event.

 

Historical Context:

Times are different now than then; so it helps to explain the historical differences for context purposes.

 

Patches: Today, people don't patch clothing much anymore.  It was a necessity back during Jesus' time all the way up to about a century ago.  Most of us at least know that new clothing shrinks as it is washed, but eventually stops shrinking.  The parable relies on us knowing this.  If you had a tear in a old garment that has already shrunk as much as it is going to; and you sewed on a patch of new (unshrunk) cloth to fix it... what would happen?  The patch would shrink, and the old cloth would not, thus the stitches would be torn and a new (likely worse) tear would result.

 

Wineskins: Wine was stored in wineskins made of leather; which by design expanded as the wine fermented.  But as the wine was consumed the wineskin became old and dry.  The wineskins were not thrown away, they could be used again IF they were prepared properly.  This usually included soaking them in water and applying a little olive oil.  This newly prepared process is what Jesus is referring to as new.  If you put wine in a wineskin not prepared properly, it wouldn't stretch properly and would likely burst.

 

Summary:

OK... we're finally getting to discussing the actual parable.  I'm going to give you the summary of what Jesus is saying first, and then we'll go into some detail.

 

Jesus is making two points with this parable...

 

1) Jesus is saying, as things are now (Me with the apostles) it would be inappropriate for them to fast because His presence is a time of joy... BUT, the time is coming soon when I won't be with them and then there will be plenty of time for sorrow and fasting.

 

2) Jesus uses this parable to contrast the old (Judaism) and the new (the coming Christian kingdom).  While one makes way for the other, Christianity isn't just a patch to Judaism but rather something completely new and separate.  It is folly to think Judaism is to be reformed, even trying would make the damage worse than it is now.

 

Commentary:

Why the Question

First, we look at why the question is being asked.  Obviously, differences have been noticed between Jesus and his disciples and those of John the Baptist and the Pharisees.  "The Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12), and these disciples imitated them. They could not understand why he did not require similar austerities" (B. W. Johnson Commentary).  Jesus, if anything, did not hold to the old customs which often angered the establishment (like the Pharisees) and confused those who followed the Pharisees.

 

The Pharisees often asked Jesus such questions always in hopes of 1) Catching Jesus saying something they can claim as heretical 2) Getting Jesus to say something that will separate him from his followers 3) Getting Jesus to say something that will anger the Roman authorities OR 4) Goading Jesus in debating matters of law.  They were never successful.

 

In this case the question itself infers that Jesus and company are not living up to some religious standard; some expected public display of piousness.  Imagine Jesus' opinion of such self-righteous public displays.  It brings to mind the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee.

 

I'm mentioning this because it actually becomes important when Jesus talks about the old standard of those asking the question and the new standard of those it is directed to.  (See below concerning the cloth and wineskin)

 

We might also note that this is something we would expect from the Pharisees; but not necessarily from followers of John the Baptist.  Perhaps by this time John's followers are without him as he was thrown in prison by Herod.  His followers may have fallen under the influence of the Pharisees.

 

The New as Viewed by Jews and Rome:

At the time (and to come after Christ ascended into Heaven) the Jews considered Christianity heretical and something that needed to be stamped out.  Saul of Tarus himself was committed to this, killing many Christians for their faith. 

 

Rome, for awhile, considered Christianity just a offshoot of Judaism.  Rome actually had a list of legally acceptable religions and a list of illegal religions.  Judaism was on the list of sanctioned Religions and Christianity enjoyed protection as a subset of Judaism for a time.  Eventually Rome changed it's mind (probably at the behest Jews like the Pharisees) to declare Christianity illegal.  Then the persecution began in earnest.

 

Fasting:

Now let's look at what example of piousness was selected that prompted the parable in the first place; fasting.

 

The activity selected by the questioners is irrelevant to the point Pharisees wished to make; which was Jesus and his followers were not as pious and devout as they were... and thus should not receive all this attention He is getting.  They could have chosen any number of pious things to make this point.

 

However, this selection did allow Jesus to drop a hint concerning things to come. (see below)

 

Fasting, I think is/was multifaceted.  One breaks the normal and necessary part of life (eating) so as to accomplish something beyond nourishment.  Maybe something that you need as much (or more) than bodily nourishment.

 

So why do we fast.  There are different reasons given... 1) to express sorrow and mourning, 2) in repentance acknowledging failings to God and seeking his guidance as we pick ourselves up and move forward, 3) to express our commitment to our relationship with God, and 4) perhaps an exercise in denial and self-discipline.

 

Perhaps we remember three rather famous examples of fasting in the Bible:

 

♦ First there was Moses up on Mt Sinai with God.  He fasted for forty days and nights as he communed with God and chiseled the Ten Commandments.

 

♦ Second might be David fasting and pleading to God for the life of his Son.  When his son died, David accepted it; got up and moved on with his life.

 

♦ And then there was Jesus who went into the desert and fasted for forty days and nights; as the fasting ended Satan came to Him and tempted him.  Jesus used the word of God to defeat him.

 

Not Now, But Later:

Jesus' uses an example of a happy occasion to say that now was not the time for fasting for his disciples.  In Jewish custom, weddings were a time when the friends of the bridegroom surrounded him and celebrated.  Jesus rightly states that such a happy event would be no time for the somberness of fasting.

 

So here Jesus is comparing himself the bridegroom and his disciples to His friends.  I think there are several hidden meanings here.  While the wedding is used often in the Bible, it is particularly used to emphasize Jesus' relationship to the church (the sum total of His followers).  The church is depicted as the bride and Jesus as the bridegroom.  More relevant is that in this remark, I think Jesus is foreshadowing His own death.

 

"But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast", meaning the time for somberness and fasting is approaching faster than you or they think.

 

 

Jesus could have left it at that, but he still had a message to impart concerning the change people were just now starting to encounter.  Change that would grow in magnitude as His kingdom came to fruition.

 

A Cloth:

In the next two parts of this parable, understand that the old (cloth and wineskin) represent Judaism and the new represent Christianity (His kingdom).

 

So here Jesus is comparing Judaism to a worn-out garment in need of mending.  The emphasis the Pharisees put on man-made doctrine and rituals makes this clear.  They are much more concerned with appearance of their righteousness than the substance of it.  All of this is the basis for their question in the first place.  Jesus was not going through the motions of appearance, so they thought they would use that to bring Him and his disciples down a notch.

 

Jesus is using this opportunity to bring the sad state of Judaism (currently lead by such as the Pharisees/Sadducees) to their attention (and the attention of those listening).  He also says something to the effect that what you're seeing coming to fruition through Me and my disciples isn't a fix to what ails Judaism. 

 

And understand that the Pharisees believed in everything they were doing and saying.  They saw Jesus as a troublemaker who skirted on the edge of heresy if not crossing that line from time to time.

 

The old is not compatible with the new.  Becoming a Christian is not becoming a subset of the Jews but a whole new life, a whole new religion, and whole new relationship with God... NOT a patch.  It will take months or years for even the apostles (like Peter) to fully understand this after Christs' death and ascension.

 

Note that the word for "new" also has connotations of unfinished.  This would apply even greater meaning to this parable.  The gospel and kingdom of Christ at the moment this parable is delivered is a work in progress.  Something new and unfinished is incompatible with something old and damaged.  The unfinished New Covenant is incompatible with the Old Covenant.

 

A Wineskin:

Jesus makes the same point of incompatibility again; this time with the wineskins.  Wine when placed in a wineskin expanded as it fermented.  Old wineskins, have gone through this process before are not as resilient to do it a second time; likely resulting in bursting.

 

Again, we see that the old Judaism is not the proper vehicle for the new Christianity.  The two are as incompatible as grace and the law are.

 

Jesus says later that if we are to come into the Kingdom of God we must be born again.  An aspect of that is that we must be new and pliable to His new message.  If we are not, the transformation into the new will not take place.

 

Conclusion:

If you have reached this point... thank you for reading my take on this parable.  I hope it was informative.  If you have some insight that I missed, or disagree with any of my interpretation, please share it.

Comments

Lindsay Wheeler Added Sep 26, 2018 - 6:53pm
Great article. Enjoyed it. You are quite correct; this is about the changing of the guard. Christianity is the New Wine and it has to be poured into New Wine skin. The New Wine Skin is Hellenism. Christianity is a Greek religion. The idea of the Trinity, hinted in the OT, is out in front in Christianity.  Prof. Jeffrey Ehrlich wrote a great book Plato's Gift to Christianity. Plato laid the intellectual groundwork of Hellenism and Christianity hellenized. 
Jeff Michka Added Sep 26, 2018 - 6:58pm
It is new whine, Lindsay, if "new wine" then one needs to drink several gallons to believe this "sky guy crapola"  Crap article, TraitorLynn.  SOS from a SOS.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Sep 26, 2018 - 7:01pm
You show a lot of respect Jeff. You exhibit the highest standards of manners and etiquette in your answer!
Jeff Michka Added Sep 26, 2018 - 7:30pm
I have no respect for those hiding behind "Geezus," Lindsay.  Last refuge of the lame and stupid....hey, aren't you a screaming Xtain, Lindsay?  Of course you are.  Game, Set, Match...If I were you, I'd get some more New Whine to drink.
TexasLynn Added Sep 26, 2018 - 9:07pm
Jeff,
I’ve requested that this thread not degrade into an existence of God “debate”.  Please respect that.  If you would like to comment on the content of the post, please feel free.  Until then, I’ll be deleting your comments on this post.
 
Lindsay,
I know it’s hard, but please ignore Jeff’s goading.
TexasLynn Added Sep 26, 2018 - 9:07pm
Lindsay,
Great contribution on this topic.  This parable was Christ trying to explain that He was not here to fix Judaism.  He was not there to do much of anything the Jews expected of the Messiah.  As with almost all our hopes and dreams, God often says “No… I have something even better in store.”  There is definitely a Greek flavor/influence to Christianity.
 
The idea of the Trinity was very much out in front in Christianity as was a lot of the prophesies the Jews refused to see.  Christ was the stone that was a stumbling block to the Jewish leaders, but God made him the cornerstone of the New Covenant.
 
I will have to admit my failings in learning the great Greek philosophers.  Something I really should remedy.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 27, 2018 - 7:08am
Oh, my, TexasLynn -- I'm going to have to take you to task to reconsider a number of things you've written here, but in an eminently reasonable manner.  But first, I'm going to disclose the background in which my arguments are based.

You are, no doubt, familiar with a fellow sometimes called "Paul the apostle".  He identified himself, though, as a "Pharisee of Pharisees" (see Acts 23:6; 26:5; and 28:17), even at a very late stage in his career as an apostle.  It was not a passing fancy of his, nor something about which he might later change his mind.  From his perspective -- which I believe you should honor since he was the apostle appointed and commissioned especially to serve and teach the gentiles -- there was nothing wrong with Judaism or with obedient adherance to the Torah.  While to his gentile  charges he was called by the Greek nickname "Pavlos" (anglicized as "Paul"), he was a highly-trained Pharisaic rabbi whose name was Shaul. There was, nonetheless, something wondrous that this Rav Shaul had recognized as worth promulgating about promises from the Torah and the Prophets that had been realized and made available to anyone who would wish thus to avail themselves.

Now this Rav Shaul was not unique in his views of the Torah.  In fact, in Acts 21 we find that tens of thousands of Rav Yeshua's Jewish disciples were zealous for the Torah (Acts 21:20).  And why not?  After all, Rav Yeshua himself had commanded his Jewish disciples to obey the instructions of the scribes and Pharisees who were the legimate wielders of Moshe's Torah authority (see Mt.23:2-3).  Even further, Rav Yeshua had warned his Jewish audience that it was not his purpose in any manner to abolish or diminish or set aside the Torah and Prophets, he observed that all their finest details would remain valid as long as heaven and earth endure, he even further emphasized that greatness in the kingdom of heaven would arise from doing and teaching these things, and that his audience's diligent righteousness needed to be even greater than the well-known diligence of the scribes and Pharisees even to be entering into that kingdom (cited from Mt.5:17-20).

Now, for anyone reading this who doesn't already know the name Rav Yeshua, it contains a diminutive form of his title or description as a rabbi, and his actual Hebrew name that has been corrupted by transliterating it first into Greek as Iesuo or Iesuos, and into Latin as Jesus ("Yaysoos"), and onward into German, French, English, and other languages as "Jesus".  As you may infer from the above quotes of his commands, comments and observations, his teachings and his reputation were corrupted along with his name.

Consequently, my disagreements with your sermon here, TL, arise from the fact that I am a Torah-observant Jew just like Rav Yeshua and his original disciples, and a Pharisee like Rav Shaul.  When he refers to the Saducees and the Pharisees as a generic category of enemies to Rav Yeshua, he does injustice to all of them.  The Saducees Rav Yeshua dismissed as mistaken and not really qualified to teach HaShem's Torah properly.  But being himself very much in agreement with the Pharisaic interpretive methodology, he argued with various groups of Pharisees about how to interpret or apply various points of Torah.  These were not political arguments, but rather about the emphasis and character that were to be read in the Torah regarding a number of issues for which the proper behavior or procedure about resolving certain problems was currently under discussion among various groups.

Hence, TL, your emphasis on "old" versus "new" is mistakenly applied to Judaism and Christianity, at a time when the latter did not even exist.  Even the notion of a "Christian" did not exist, and decades would pass before some wag in Antioch would coin the term as something of a slur against Rav Yeshua's gentile disciples there.  Consequently I should recommend that you look a little deeper to find the actual intended targets and meanings of Rav Yeshua's references to torn garments and bursting wineskins in his own timeframe.  [As an aside, I wonder when it was that someone actually came up with the idea of using pre-shrunk cloth to patch already well-worn and shrunken clothing.  Maybe it was already known and that's why the illustration's emphasis was on not using *new*, unshrunk, cloth for patches.]  Nonetheless, on the positive side, at least you noted that some historical perspective is required to understand these parables.  I will agree with another of your statements, though for a very different reason.  I agree that "it is folly to think Judaism is to be reformed ...".  As I said above, there was nothing wrong with Judaism, per se, and there is still nothing wrong with it; though individual Jews and even goups of them may not be
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 27, 2018 - 7:15am
[Since the end of my last response was inexplicably truncated, here it is:]
As I said above, there was nothing wrong with Judaism, per se, and there is still nothing wrong with it; though individual Jews and even goups of them may not be approaching it or enacting it correctly at times.  As for the rest of your sermon, I think it needs work and rewriting, as it contains a mixture of both insights and errors that I don't want to try to re-write here in the comments section.  I would, though, happily discuss with you any of its points or my challenges to them above.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 27, 2018 - 8:39am
Sorry, in re-reading the above I discovered some "pronoun trouble".  I neglected to correct a third-person sentence when I adjusted all the others to personally direct them to you TL.  It should have read: "When you refer to the Saducees and the Pharisees as a generic category of enemies to Rav Yeshua, you do injustice to all of them."
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:13am
PL >> Since the end of my last response was inexplicably truncated, here it is:
 
FYI... the system has a character limit... I'n not quite sure what it is.  For me it's about two pages in MS Word with a 10-point font.
 
Note how I use that info to break up my longer comments…
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:14am
PL >> Oh, my, TexasLynn -- I'm going to have to take you to task to reconsider a number of things you've written here
 
Great!  I welcome any perspective (as long as it is on topic).
 
PL >> but in an eminently reasonable manner. 
 
Even more appreciated... I hope I can respond in kind.  We're going to disagree; but we can better hope to understand each other.  Hopefully those who read the thread will better understand both of us in the process.
 
PL >> But first, I'm going to disclose the background in which my arguments are based.
 
Fair enough...
 
Let me say at the offset that I don't share what seems to be your concern that names are not exact over cultures and peoples and time.  The nature of a man or God is not changed by such references.  When God told Moses "tell them I AM sent you"; He was not telling Moses that His name was literally "I Am" (or the Hebrew equivalent), it was the concept of I AM that he was imparting.
 
As for pronunciations; my name is Lynn... Years ago (in my more metropolitan days) I had several Asian friends who had trouble pronouncing the "L".  So, they referred to me as "Ren".  It didn't bother me, nor did it change who I was.
 
Moving on...
 
Saul vs Paul:
Saul of Tarsus (who became "Paul the apostle") was indeed a Pharisee of Pharisees and was responsible for the persecution and death of many Christians in his zeal for the Law, by his own admission.  Paul the apostle was not.  Paul the apostle realized and taught that if Jesus was the Christ then the Law was fulfilled, and a new covenant begun.  I think that is very clear if you read all the books written by Paul.
 
Accomplished:
Jesus did have a bit to say about the Law and He lived under it (perfectly)... so should his disciples (though not perfectly) during His time on earth.  But once He died and was raised, His new covenant began.  The Law was nailed on the cross with Him.  It was fulfilled.
 
"For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
 
With the coming of the Messiah, and His death, burial and resurrection (as prophesied) everything (meaning God's plan of salvation) was "accomplished".
 
Pick and Choose:
Please forgive the assertion, but you seem to be taking bits and pieces of scripture to mold your points (which is a very common practice).
 
(Matthew 23:2-3) is selected to say that Jesus advocated for always following the Law of Moses; when if you read the whole He is really saying don't be hypocrites like the Pharisees.
 
(Matthew 5:17-20) is selected to used for the same purpose, when again Jesus is actually telling us that the Law will be fulfilled (accomplished) as prophesied.  When he says "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven", He is telling his followers the Law isn't going to be good enough.  You are going to need perfect cleanliness and the only way to achieve THAT... is through Him.
 
Jesus and Paul on the Law:
PL >> Consequently, my disagreements with your sermon here, TL, arise from the fact that I am a Torah-observant Jew just like Rav Yeshua and his original disciples, and a Pharisee like Rav Shaul. 
 
Jesus was indeed a Torah-observant Jew.  In fact, he was the King of the Jews and the only Jew to ever observe the Law perfectly.  Amen!
 
The Pharisee Rav Saul was also as you describe... the apostle Paul (who shed his old self and put on Christ) was not.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:14am
Enemies:
PL >> "When you refer to the Saducees and the Pharisees as a generic category of enemies to Rav Yeshua, you do injustice to all of them."
 
I don't think there is much doubt that generally, the Pharisees were enemies of Jesus.  You can't read the whole of the new Testament without realizing that.  They were enemies to the point of instigating His death. That kind of fits the definition of "enemy", I'd say.
 
The Sadducees were more the enemy of the Christian Church once it was created (after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus).  You will see them more prominently mentioned in this role in the Book of Acts.
 
I will concede that, as with any identified group... there were individuals within each who were the exception to the rule.
 
My historical view (in today's vernacular) of those grops mentioned is:
Pharisees - Middle class religious fundamentalists
Sadducees - Upper class elite (using their religion to protect power and wealth)
Sanhedrin - The Jewish Supreme Court (made up of 70+1 men, I think of both sects)
 
You describe Jesus' interaction with these men as simply disagreements (dotting i's and crossing t's) concerning the Law.  That's not the case.  If there was ONE clear message Jesus had for the Pharisees, it was "You are all a bunch of hypocrites."  Hardly i's and t's...  Even the verse you "quote" above (Matthew 23:2-3... but keep reading), makes that point.
 
Getting It Wrong:
PL >> Hence, TL, your emphasis on "old" versus "new" is mistakenly applied to Judaism and Christianity, at a time when the latter did not even exist. 
 
Here we kinda have agreement.  Christianity did not exist at that exact time because Jesus had yet to fulfill the purpose of His Father.  BUT... that time is fast approaching; and it is that fulfilled Kingdom/Church he is referring to here.
 
PL >> As I said above, there was nothing wrong with Judaism, per se, and there is still nothing wrong with it;
 
As I would expect any faithful Jew to believe.  I applaud you for your adherence to (and defense of) your faith.
 
This is nothing less than the differences I would expect from a believing Jew and a believing Christian.  I don't take offense at those differences. 
 
PL >> though individual Jews and even groups of them may not be approaching it or enacting it correctly at times.
 
Wooof... tell me about it brother. :)  That doubly applies to us Christians; we're not perfect, just forgiven (as we like to say).
 
PL >> As for the rest of your sermon, I think it needs work and rewriting, as it contains a mixture of both insights and errors
 
We're not likely to agree on what those are... but this thread is for exploring our common ground and disagreements.
 
PL >> I would, though, happily discuss with you any of its points or my challenges to them above.
 
That's exactly what we are doing here.  I thank you for your prospective.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:14am
The Key Difference:
What our disagreement gets down to is... was Jesus (by whatever pronunciation) the Messiah promised.  You (I suspect) say no.  You then say He was a great "Rav" instead. (Islam claims essentially the same thing.)
 
I reject that premise.  You support some of what He said but (probably) reject things like "I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (as in, not the Law) (John 14:16).
 
I reject that he was just a great "Rav" with the question, can a great "Rav" be crazy or a liar.
 
Jesus said (if you don't pick and choose) nothing less than "I AM God".  There's not a lot of wiggle room in that assertion AND it precludes the label great "Rav" is it is not true.
 
So, I propose that Jesus was either: 1) The Messiah and the Son of God (as He said) or 2) Jesus was Crazy or 3) Jesus was a Liar
 
I assume you rationalize that anything you don't agree with is simply " his commands, comments and observations, his teachings and his reputation were corrupted along with his name."  I find that rather convenient... it allows one to mold whoever we've selected into the exact image in our mind.  Convenient... not honest or logical IMO.
 
Again, thank you for your perspective and contribution.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:22am
Like PL, I don’t agree with the interpretation that Jesus was saying that Judaism wasn’t worth fixing. I think he thought the Pharisees were getting Torah wrong. 
 
I agree with him. A similar argument is brewing inside of Judaism now. (In case there is anything ambiguous about this, I don’t mean to recognize Judaism as bifurcated into “Messianic Judaism” and “Rabbinic Judaism.” “Messianic Judaism” is Christianity with Jewish trappings, not that there’s anything wrong with it as a belief system but there is with its nomenclature.) One can view Judaism as a series of laws to be obeyed as strictly as possible, but doing so is not OK if it means losing sight of the wider point. Mikah said that what is required of us is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. (I don’t think the Pharisees were long on mercy or humility.) Hillel said “Do not do that which is hateful to you to another. This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary, now go study.” Rabbi Akiba said that the most important command in Torah was to love your neighbor. The liberal denominations focus more on that central point while the ultra-Orthodox denominations focus on legality, often at the expense of this point. I think this difference is a lot like the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees. (My reference point is that I’m in the Reform Judaism movement.)
 
Also like PL, I don’t think “Christianity” was even on the table during Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus was talking to Jews and expressed surprise whenever anyone gentile did something good. It wasn’t until after his death, when Jews would accept neither his status as Messiah nor his resurrection, that Christianity really differentiated, and this was really because Paul came up with the idea that if evangelism wasn’t working on Jews they should try it on Greco-Roman pagans. The Christian population very quickly became majority former pagan, and they didn’t see the sense in all those Jewish restrictions, particularly diet. 
 
My answer to Jeff is that there is no reason to restrict theological posts from the site because this is a topic of discussion, not an exercise in evangelism. The instant this turns into evangelism, I will change sides in that argument. 
 
But evangelism has multiple directions. Atheism can have a very strong and unacknowledged evangelical streak. (See Bill Maher.) If I don’t push my religious beliefs on anyone, and I won’t because doing so is literally against my religion, I’m not interested in seeing them attacked gratuitously from any direction, including this one. This country has religious freedom for a reason. So should this site. 
 
 
 
 
Rick W. Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:56am
Congrats on hitting #1 on Writer Beat!
 
TL>There are minor differences in the accounts... It's not that important
 
Agreed. Much is made of variance between the synoptic gospels and John, but really, none of this was written down until decades later. The main point is the main point.
 
TL>Christianity isn't just a patch to Judaism but rather something completely new and separate
 
Your use of "separate" surprised me here. I don't think Jesus or any of his disciples thought they were making a new, separate religion. They were fulfilling Judaism, and the Jews who couldn't see that were in the wrong (from their perspective). Otherwise, why bother with all the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy? Just say "Hey, I'm the incarnation of God, follow me," and be done with it. 
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 27, 2018 - 12:02pm
Tex - I am, as I am sure any here would know, not a christian. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth lived. I believe that he was a great teacher. I believe that he was the impetus of the christian ethic. I do not believe that he was a divine being. I do not share that faith, but I accept that others may find that faith to be their guide in life.
 
What I do believe in, more strongly than anything else, is the right to every human being of their own freedom of conscience. As pertains to christians and christianity their right of the free exercise of their own conscience is equal to the same rights of any others. Freedom of conscience must apply to all or it can apply to none. 
 
Sadly we live in a world where too many - christian and non-christian alike - do not seem to recognize this. I have said before, where it comes to freedom the evangelical and the hedonist both have an interest in defending the rights of the other if they wish to preserve their own.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 27, 2018 - 12:03pm
a good post, thank you :)
Neil Lock Added Sep 27, 2018 - 12:35pm
As the first agnostic who has dared to brave this thread, I may be Russian in where Angles fear to tread, but...
 
For me, Jesus was one of the good guys. He justly and valiantly resisted the "authorities" of his day. They got him in the end, but his legacy has changed the world for the better.
 
And I agree with him on your parable, Lynn. Needless fasting is stupid; it reduces your ability to do what you need to do! And "make do and mend" is only sensible in a time when there is little or no technical progress.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 27, 2018 - 12:40pm
Neil - You're not a Saxon!? Heretic! :)
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 27, 2018 - 1:08pm
Sorry, TL, if I included too much in one post.  Perhaps the most critical point that seems to separate us is found in Mt.5:17-18.  You don't seem to believe Rav Yeshua's assertion that he did not come to destroy or abolish or set aside the Torah, but rather to fulfill it.  If you interpret fulfillment as ending it and starting something new in its place, you have dismissed the entire purpose for which he made the statement about not destroying it.  You interpret it as if he were saying "I didn't come to do this, but I'm doing it anyway."  Of course, that sort of interpretation is completely at odds with the subsequent statement that the Torah remains valid in even its finest details as long as heaven and earth endure.  It also ignores the following observations in verse 19 that those who do not obey the Torah and who teach others likewise will be least in the kingdom of heaven, but those who do obey it and teach it will be great therein.

Now, I should emphasize that he was speaking to an entirely Jewish audience with that "sermon on the mount".  Gentiles who decades later came to faith and repentance were not charged with the Torah responsibilities that come with the Jewish covenant.  In Acts 15 their obligations were limited to merely four principles that would correspond with maintaining their spiritual cleansing from idolatry.  These were published by the Jerusalem Council of apostles as a letter whose text appears in Acts 15:23-29.  In Acts 5:21 it is observed that the Torah is taught each Shabbat in local synagogues.  While they were considering what to tell the gentile disciples who were not obligated by the Torah, they noted that they would be able, nonetheless, to learn its spiritual lessons because it was readily available to all who sought to grow toward spiritual maturity.

Some centuries later, the Nicean Council over-exaggerated that gentile freedom from obligation to the Torah into a completely false invalidation of anything Jewish.  They were influenced by long-standing Roman anti-Jewish attitudes, and they set the stage for the anti-semitism that has tainted or outright characterized almost all post-Nicean Christianity ever since, along with supersessionism that views HaShem's covenant with the Jews as replaced by a "new" one.  Some Christians were disabused of this view after seeing its horrendous heritage in the Nazi Holocaust, but even modern Christians are not completely free of the taint; and some even engage in Holocaust denial.  However, all I wish to point out in this context is that there is a significant difference, between gentiles not being obligated to responsibility for the entirety of the Torah, and the invalidation of Judaism and the ongoing Torah covenant that only obligates Jews (including Rav Yeshua's Jewish disciples).

I suppose I ought to point out also that the "new covenant" which Rav Yeshua referenced to his own disciples is only defined in one place within the scriptures.  It is in Jer.31:31, and it is a renewal of the Torah covenant with only one characteristic difference, of being internalized or "written on the heart", instead of being learned only by study of its text from stone tablets or parchment scrolls.  And that "new" covenant is not made with the gentiles of the nations, but only with the House of Israel and the House of Judah -- both of which were Jewish kingdoms that were reunified as "Judeans" before the end of their exile in Babylon 25 centuries ago.  Any discussion of how gentiles may interact with that new covenant will have to wait for a subsequent post (though Is.56 offers hints).
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 27, 2018 - 1:32pm
On another point, you seem to have missed the fact that when "Paul the apostle" was making the statements I cited in Acts 23, 26, & 28 about his ongoing lifelong Pharisaism, he had been the apostle to the "uncircumcised" (gentile disciples) for several decades already.  The apostle was still the Pharisee; they were not distinctive representations of separate stages of his life.  Before his visionary experience along the Damascus road, his zeal as a Pharisee convinced him that he had to stamp out the Nazarene sect.  Subsequently, that same Pharisaic zeal enabled him to extract midrashically from the Torah principles and values that he could relay to gentile disciples within that social movement to facilitate their redemption.  He still attended synagogues and spoke in them everywhere he went, even though some zealots within them reacted badly to what he said and ultimately such people managed to start a riot and get him hauled before Roman authorities where he defended himself as a Pharisee who was, in fact, defending a Pharisaic belief about the resurrection of the dead before the riot was started by persons other than himself.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 3:27pm
Koshersalaami, I'm not ignoring you... thank you for the comment; which deserves a more in depth resonse which is forthcoming.
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 
Rick W >> Congrats on hitting #1 on Writer Beat!
 
Meh... It's a fleeting thing...
 
Rick W >> Your use of "separate" surprised me here.
 
Did I say "separate"?  Ohhh... that was not the right word.  Completely new and different would be more apt.  Judaism was God's way of preparing the way for the Messiah.  His chosen people were a blessed necessity in that plan.
 
Rick W >> I don't think Jesus or any of his disciples thought they were making a new, separate religion.
 
Again, I was wrong to use the word "separate" since it diminishes the correlative nature of the two religions.
 
But, to your point... His apostles, no.  If you watch Peter in particular in the book of Acts you see a growing realization that His Kingdom was something completely new requiring a understanding that the old Law no longer applied.
 
Jesus, I think, did understand it... thus the whole point of this parable.
 
Rick W >> They were fulfilling Judaism, and the Jews who couldn't see that were in the wrong (from their perspective).
 
You are exactly right on this.  And that was what I was pointing out to PL above.  Matthew 5:17-20 is about exactly that.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 3:29pm
TBH >> Tex - I am, as I am sure any here would know, not a christian.
 
I know and that's OK.  Christian has never been a requirement to be my friend or receive my respect.
 
TBH >> I believe that Jesus of Nazareth lived.
 
I think the historical proof that He did is there.  A lot of people like to pretend otherwise.  I think it's a coping mechanism, but who knows.
 
TBH >> I believe that he was a great teacher.
 
Fair enough.  A lot of people come to that conclusion. I can see how some, based on this teachings can reach the conclusion you have.  I believe that he was the impetus of the christian ethic.
 
On that subject, I'm afraid many "believe" that Jesus was a great teacher just as a means of saying "Can't we all just get along".  I would much rather they be intellectually honest say he was a charlatan.  But that's just me.
 
No disrespect... but I, logically reject that premise (as described above).  If a reported wise and great teacher comes to me and says, "I am God".  I can only apply one of three conclusions.  1) He is what he claims, 2) He is crazy or 3) He is a liar.  If he is either of the last two, then (in my mind) that precludes "great teacher".  If he is the first then He is more than a great teacher... much, much more.
 
TBH >> I do not believe that he was a divine being. I do not share that faith...
 
Exactly... which one of the base tenets of the faith.  Few people do believe that.  I don't take it personally.
 
TBH >> ... but I accept that others may find that faith to be their guide in life.
 
Thank you.
 
TBH >> What I do believe in, more strongly than anything else, is the right to every human being of their own freedom of conscience.
 
As do I... and as I believe God intended it to be.  It's simply a manifestation of the gift of free will.
 
Christ gave us the "Great Commission" to spread the word of who He was.  BUT... he also said to simply offer up what we know and let individuals decide for themselves.  Specifically, he said that if someone rejects the Word then "brush the dust off your feet" and move on... not harangue or judge them mercilessly.
 
TBH >> As pertains to christians and christianity their right of the free exercise of their own conscience is equal to the same rights of any others. Freedom of conscience must apply to all or it can apply to none.
 
I could not agree more.
 
TBH >> Sadly we live in a world where too many - christian and non-christian alike - do not seem to recognize this. I have said before, where it comes to freedom the evangelical and the hedonist both have an interest in defending the rights of the other if they wish to preserve their own.
 
Amen.
 
TBH >> a good post, thank you :)
 
A good comment, thank you :)
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 3:33pm
Neil >> As the first agnostic who has dared to brave this thread...
 
You fool... You've fallen into my trap. :)
 
Neil >> I may be Russian in where Angles fear to tread, but...
 
Uggg... :)
 
Neil >> For me, Jesus was one of the good guys. He justly and valiantly resisted the "authorities" of his day.
 
He was a good guy, wasn't He?  Note that the authorities he resisted were the Jewish religious authorities.  He practically never resisted the Romans... not even when the Pharisees turned Him over for crucifixion.
 
Neil >> They got him in the end, but his legacy has changed the world for the better.
 
Judeo-Christian principles have been the greatest force for good in all of history in all the world.  IMHO...
 
Neil >> Needless fasting is stupid; it reduces your ability to do what you need to do!
 
Weeelll... :)  Hopefully we agree here.  The key word in all this is "needless".  Fasting has its purpose (as stated), but there is a time and place for everything.  His point was... now is not the time and place.  Cryptically he hinted that the time and place (His death) was fast approaching. 
Rick W. Added Sep 27, 2018 - 4:25pm
TL>His chosen people were a blessed necessity in that plan.
 
Right. So along those lines... do you, like many evangelicals, support Israel politically and economically because (in part) you want to bring about the return of Christ? Do you see that as part of the plan, as described in Zechariah (OT, as interpreted by evangelical Christians) and The Revelation (NT)?
 
We give more foreign aid to Israel than any other nation on earth. This pro-Israeli lobby in the USA is mostly supported by evangelical Protestants, not Jews. These evangelical Protestants believe God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, so any two-state solution with Palestinian Arabs is off the table, because it runs counter to the will of God.
 
(And, big picture, Jewish control of the Holy Land will also lead to Armageddon and the Second Coming.)
 
What's your take on all that? Genuinely curious. 
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 5:34pm
Rick W >> So along those lines... do you, like many evangelicals, support Israel politically and economically because (in part) you want to bring about the return of Christ?
 
No... I don't think Israel, or the Jews have anything to do with the return of Christ (not even in part).  I know some hold that belief, but I can find nothing logical or biblical supporting it.
 
I support Israel because they are practically the only civilized (and democratic) nation in the region.  They are a close ally... like the Brits and Japan (OK and maybe Canada)... and like all allies we have our differences.
 
Rick W >> Do you see that as part of the plan, as described in Zechariah (OT, as interpreted by evangelical Christians) and The Revelation (NT)?
 
No.
 
In fact, I just finished a very in-depth study of the Book of Revelation.  My opinion... Revelation, to its original audience, was about the fall of the Roman empire (the Harlot) that persecuted them relentlessly.  It is relevant to us today, because the nature of man causes us to repeat our failings and history over and over and over.  The harlot today is anti-Christian governments and institutions performing the same functions as Rome once did.  You can even see the same tactics (like denying employment to those who do not give homage to Caesar or his opinions).
 
Rick W >> We give more foreign aid to Israel than any other nation on earth. This pro-Israeli lobby in the USA is mostly supported by evangelical Protestants, not Jews.
 
OK... Like any foreign aid; we should evaluate that from time to time.  I do not support foreign aid because of some reverence to "God's chosen people".  There were... once Christ fulfilled his purpose their path to salvation is the same as everyone else's.
 
Rick W >> These evangelical Protestants believe God gave the land of Israel to the Jews,
 
He did.  From a biblical perspective, I don't think there's any debate on that fact.  From an Islamic perspective... that's a different story.  But to be clear... Allah and God are not the same being... to even pretend that is the case is blasphemy... from my perspective after study of the Bible and Quran (the latter is abject evil).
 
Rick W >> ...so any two-state solution with Palestinian Arabs is off the table, because it runs counter to the will of God.
 
That is not my opinion.  I would support it IF I thought you could trust the Muslims.  I don't.  I think history, their words and their actions prove that opinion to be true.  Israel should get to make that determination... since it is existential to them in particular.
 
Rick W >> (And, big picture, Jewish control of the Holy Land will also lead to Armageddon and the Second Coming.)
 
Again... that is not my belief.
 
Rick W >> What's your take on all that? Genuinely curious.
 
Hopefully I've cleared up some of my "take" in the above comments.  The Second Coming is one of the few events in our future that Revelation actually speaks of.  "Armageddon" is a figurative depiction of the ongoing battle between good (God) and evil (Satan) until the last days.  IMO, there is no literal massive battle/war called Armageddon in our future.  I know everybody and his dog has a different opinion on the subject.  I have mine but don't really seek to discuss or push it.
 
Continuing, God spoke everything into existence... speaking it out of existence (at the second coming) is how it will end... not some great war/battle... not some thousand year earthly reign... or other literal fantasy pulled from a figurative/symbolic source.
 
Now... with that overview... let me say this is based on a layman's study of that book (Revelation).  I studied every verse, line by line, while consulting several (very good) commentary's along the way.  It was the best method I could find.  As might be expected, also, along the way I discovered a lot of disagreement and a few gems of insight and aha moments.
 
Revelation promises a blessing to those who read it.  It did not disappoint in that regard.
 
I hope this helps at least understand my perspective on the subject.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 27, 2018 - 6:03pm
Regarding Allah,
I don’t think it’s the God that’s different, I think it’s the interpreter. As with any scripture, it gets cherry picked, and the question is who is doing the cherry picking and why. The Sufis in New York responsible for what was called the Ground Zero Mosque (but wasn’t a mosque) are moral by what I think would be your standards. Do a little research on Imam Rauf. During the Middle Ages, the best place for Jews to be was Moorish (Muslim) Spain. After that, the worst place for Jews to be was Christian Spain, home of the Spanish Inquisition. And that pattern was generally true about Muslim vs. Christian countries, though to a lesser extent in both directions. Based on that, at one point in history I’d have said Muslims were good and Christians evil. It depends on the practitioners.
 
Right now there is a great deal of attention among the Christian Right toward homosexuality, yet there’s nothing in scripture that emphasizes this as an issue. That’s strictly worshippers’ preference. There’s use of the Sodom and Gomorrah story (including a British preacher coining the word Sodomy a few centuries ago) which isn’t actually about homosexuality at all, it’s about attempted rape and, even more, about extreme inhospitality, terrible treatment of the stranger. (The Torah, the first five books of what you called the OT, the most sacred part of the OT in Judaism and by extension to Jesus and the Apostles, mentions the treatment of the stranger more than anything else, 36 times.) “Abomination,” thundered from the pulpit, is also used to describe using a wool/linen fabric blend, so this may not be quite as critical as people give it credit for. Adultery is far worse in the Bible, it makes the Ten Commandments and has the distinction of always having victims, which homosexuality does not, and yet these pastors don’t put a fraction of their attention into adultery that they do into homosexuality. Jesus doesn’t mention it at all, Paul does, but the last time I was in a church parking lot (I sometimes do business with churches) I don’t recall seeing any WWPD bumper stickers. 
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 6:07pm
KS >> Like PL, I don’t agree with the interpretation that Jesus was saying that Judaism wasn’t worth fixing.
 
I vaguely see your point; and maybe I'm not doing justice to what the message is here.  I think Judaism was a step (a long and necessary step) in the process of fulfilling God's plan for humanity.  But I'm still confident that the message here is this step is being completed and the next step is at hand.
 
Again, I understand that practicing Jews and Christians are going to disagree on this.  Hopefully you'll find my responses respectful of our differences.
 
KS >> I think he thought the Pharisees were getting Torah wrong.
 
I don't see that as the main message when Jesus and the Pharisees interact.  There are elements of that... but hypocrisy is what Jesus references again and again.
 
KS >> I agree with him. A similar argument is brewing inside of Judaism now. ... “Messianic Judaism” and “Rabbinic Judaism.”
 
Wasn't a key difference between Pharisees and Sadducees the belief in a Messiah and in an afterlife (resurrection).  The Pharisees believed in both... the Sadducees in neither.
 
KS >> One can view Judaism as a series of laws to be obeyed as strictly as possible, but doing so is not OK if it means losing sight of the wider point...
 
I really liked the perspective provided by the various Rabbis.  Thank you.  It does help immensely in getting a better feel for the "flavors" of Judaism.
 
KS >> Also like PL, I don’t think “Christianity” was even on the table during Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus was talking to Jews and expressed surprise whenever anyone gentile did something good.
 
Jesus' message was indeed directed to the Jews... the gospel was proclaimed to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles.  It comes down to the first promise God gave to Abraham that "all nations" would be blessed by his descendants.
 
KS >> It wasn’t until after his death, when Jews would accept neither his status as Messiah nor his resurrection
 
He was not the conquering hero they expected as a Messiah; so, He became a stumbling block instead.
 
KS >> ... that Christianity really differentiated, and this was really because Paul came up with the idea that if evangelism wasn’t working on Jews they should try it on Greco-Roman pagans.
 
Christ risen was observed by hundreds of eyewitnesses (according to the Gospel) including the apostles.  Before Paul (while he was Saul of Taurus persecuting Christians); Acts describes thousands of Jews accepting the truth that He was the Messiah.  Jesus, point blank, told the apostles that the new Church was to start first in Jerusalem and branch out from there.
 
I will grant that early on, not even the apostles understood the whole plan... but it was revealed to them as they were ready by the Holy Spirit.
 
As a Christian, I reject that the spreading of the gospel to the gentiles was simply Paul decided to expand the church that way with the Jews wouldn’t cooperate.  There was never any worldly gain for Paul to convert.  If it was all about Paul... he'd have been better off going with the flow from the very beginning... as a Pharisee rooting out those pesky Christians.
 
I do realize that early one the "term" Christian may not have been in the nomenclature... BUT I think we're splitting hairs here.  The community, and a distinct term for it existed (possibly "The Way").
 
KS >> My answer to Jeff is that there is no reason to restrict theological posts from the site because this is a topic of discussion, not an exercise in evangelism. The instant this turns into evangelism, I will change sides in that argument.
 
Jeff and I have history.  I consider him my personal troll assigned by karma... God believes in karma, so who am I to argue.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 6:07pm
KS >> But evangelism has multiple directions. Atheism can have a very strong and unacknowledged evangelical streak. (See Bill Maher.)
 
And... secular environmentalism today is a big a religion as anything I have ever seen.
 
KS >> If I don’t push my religious beliefs on anyone, and I won’t because doing so is literally against my religion
 
We Christians have the "great commission" to share our faith.  We do not have permission to push it on those who don't want it.  In fact we are instructed not to "cast our pearls before swine" AND "to brush the dust from our feet" and move on when the gospel is rejected.
 
KS >> I’m not interested in seeing them attacked gratuitously from any direction, including this one.
 
I'm sorry you feel this post was an attack (if that is what you meant) on the Jewish faith.  I did not intend it as one any more than I consider your rejection of Jesus as the Messiah an attack on me or my faith.
 
KS >> This country has religious freedom for a reason. So should this site.
 
Agreed.  I would not be here otherwise.
 
Koshersalaami Added Sep 27, 2018 - 6:22pm
TL,
I think “hypocrisy” certainly constitutes getting Torah wrong. 
 
The question isn’t whether Judaism was a long and necessary step or whether Christianity supplanted it. As a Christian you’d have to believe that or you wouldn’t be Christian. My point is that I don’t think Jesus initially had what we’d call a church in mind. Maybe a Jewish sect. 
 
I don’t know about the differences between Pharisees and Saducees. That’s not what “Messianic Judaism” (which I don’t think is Judaism at all) is about. Perhaps if I name the most eminent sect within it, Jews For Jesus, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Personally, I think the question of the Messiah is kind of peripheral. If we’ve done our job right and he shows up, our first reaction should be “Great! Reinforcements.!” 
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 6:56pm
KS,
Forgive my rant on Islam… it’s a sore subject for me.
 
Be it Allah or Mohammed whose words and ideals are found there... the Quran is evil and espouses the spread of evil by the sword.  This is the message I got from it over and over; it is a book of violence and subjugation.
 
I do not deny that there are (and always have been) moderate practitioners of Islam.  Bless them.  I wish they were drivers of Islam today... alas they are inconsequential.
 
My assessment is simply the realization of the intent and message found in the Quran.  I simply proffer that "moderate" Muslims are not the ones properly following the tenets espoused by Mohammed as he intended; but the terrorist are.  What would Mohammed do?  He would do what every other warlord does when they attain power... kill, rape, pillage, enslave, and blow shit up... or more likely have idiots do it as he sits comfy in a cave or compound somewhere.
 
KS >> It depends on the practitioners.
 
I do not deny there are and have been terrible "Christians"... just that they don't follow the tenets of Christ.
 
So, you're right on this point.  I say, (as Christ did) you will know them by the fruits (results) of their actions.
 
KS >> Right now there is a great deal of attention among the Christian Right toward homosexuality, yet there’s nothing in scripture that emphasizes this as an issue.
 
Side Note: I've never seen poor Paul take such a beating until I joined WB.  Everybody has his number.  I never realized there was such a disdain for the man.  And a lot of it, I think, is the fact that he had the gall to point out the obvious concerning homosexuality.  And in his defense, he doesn't sugar-coat it OR pretend it's any worse than any other sin (as some Christians do).  I will say I've seen very few videos of Christians throwing homosexuals off buildings.
 
To your point, I agree that homosexuality does receive more attention that is warranted, IMO.  But... I would disagree and agree with various points you stated.  I don't think there is any doubt homosexuality is identified as a sin (in the OT and NT).  Now, that said, it is no more or less or worse a sin than adultery as Paul makes abundantly clear.  But ALL sin has the same mitigation... repentance.  If you embrace celebrate your sin (homosexual or heterosexual) you're probably not repentant.
 
As for your point that "Jesus doesn’t mention it at all..." which I have heard many, many times. I think the best way to address that is to look in Book of Sherlock (that didn't quite make the cut, but may offer some insight on the matter) ...
 
Sherlock 4:7-12 (TLV) And Jesus, resting on a rock surrounded by His apostles said, let me give you a list of sins I would have you know of and avoid. There are the basics of lying and stealing and all that, but let's concentrate on sexual sins for now.  There's your standard adultery, and various buggery, then there's that animal stuff like with the gerbils, and crazy old farts with prepubescent children, oh... and self-gratification... (50 pages later) ...  And Peter, waking first among His disciples asked "Lord, why do you drone on and on stating the obvious?"  And Jesus said, "Because years from now some idiots are going to claim I didn't properly address one of these and use that as an excuse to say it's all good".  And Peter asked, "But Lord, if they refuse to even acknowledge the sun rising because you neglected to mention it; would they ever have listened to you anyway?" :)
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 7:11pm
Proclaim Liberty and Koshersalaami, I do want you guys to know that while I will push back and give my Christian perspective, I DO appreciate your excellent contributions to this thread.  It has educated me.
 
As for the rest of you guys (minus one)... I also thank you.  Especially Rick W. for his insightful probing.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 7:11pm
KS >> I think “hypocrisy” certainly constitutes getting Torah wrong.
 
I think there is a distinction.  There is the did you do the Sabbath or kosher meals right kind of write/wrong debate vs. the all you do is for appearances and you're not even trying to follow the Torah (hypocrisy).
 
KS >> As a Christian you’d have to believe that (Christianity supplanted Judaism) or you wouldn’t be Christian.
 
Yes... no offense.  Jesus was either the Messiah or He wasn't... there is no middle ground.
 
KS >> My point is that I don’t think Jesus initially had what we’d call a church in mind. Maybe a Jewish sect.
 
Fair enough.  We disagree.  Obviously, because I pretty well believe (and stated) THAT is the message of this parable.
 
KS >> I don’t know about the differences between Pharisees and Saducees.
 
What I described is simply from what little research I've done and retained to memory.  It is at least clear in the New Testament that the Pharisees believed in resurrection and the Sadducees did not.
 
I'm sorry I'm so ignorant of the Jewish sects.
 
KS >> Personally, I think the question of the Messiah is kind of peripheral. If we’ve done our job right and he shows up, our first reaction should be “Great! Reinforcements.!”
 
That would be a very Jewish expectation for their Messiah.  Jesus did not even remotely fit that bill, so He was rejected as was prophesied (from my Christian perspective).
 
Jesus claimed (and Christians believe) He came to address a much, much, bigger (and not of this world) picture.
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 7:31pm
For some new to this site (WB)... I wrote A Christian Primer some months ago concerning what it means (really means) to be a Christian.  It might help in understanding my perspective.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Sep 27, 2018 - 8:06pm
Texas Lynn, Jesus said very forcefully:
 
"The Faith WILL BE TAKEN AWAY from you, and given to another nation". 
 
I think in another synoptic gospel, Jesus said that after the parable of the wine skins. It WAS the intention of Christ to redirect the Faith. 
 
Judaism is based on orthopraxis, right practice. Christianity, being a Greek religion, is based on orthodoxa, right belief. That requires a specific Greek trait, Paramenides principle of non-contradiction. 
 
Another characteristic that Christianity is a Greek/European religion is the dual nature of Christ, being fully God and fully man. See in the Greek myths, there were countless heroes that were born of gods and maidens!  Hercules, Achilles were all half God, Half men. There is nothing in Judaism that has this. 
 
When Jesus Christ said, he was God, the Jews rejected but the Greeks said, "Oh yea, I can see that". 
 
Concept precedes knowledge. The Greeks came to accept Jesus because they had a concept of half god/half men. 
 
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 10:16pm
I love the way in one comment we see the wise "Rav Yeshua" and in the next this nut Jesus claiming to be God.  Pick an Jesus/Yeshua and stick with him PL.  It will lend credibility to the idea that you actually believe your own arguments; instead of just flailing about trying to tear down the other proposal by whatever means.
 
I keep hearing that the Jews rejected Jesus.  The rich and powerful and those they influenced?  Sure.
 
You seem to believe, or want to present, that NO Jews received Jesus as the Messiah so this ragtag band of heretics switched tactics and went after the Greeks.
 
First and foremost, it's not even remotely true.  Acts depicts thousands and thousands of Jews accepting the truth of Christ well before the effort to bring the gospel to the first Gentile even began.
 
And why not... Jesus wasn't just some guy who showed up and made such a profound statement...
♦ There was his ministry over the last several years throughout which He performed many miracles.
 
♦ There was His murder (at the behest of the Pharisees and at the hands of the Romans).
 
♦ There was that incident with His body disappearing despite the best efforts of His enemies.
 
♦ There were those hundreds of sighting of this Man after his death (evidence of resurrection)
 
♦ There were all the miracles of His disciplines performed in His name and their teachings that He was risen and the Messiah...
 
Whether or not the Gentiles were more likely to accept this or that part of the gospel is immaterial.  The Church was doing just fine, even with just the Jewish converts.  But, on behalf of Gentiles everywhere... I'm grateful the gift of grace was extended to me and mine; and grateful for the Jewish Pharisee who gave up EVERYTHING (wealth, power, life) to bring it to me.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:03pm
Damn, Lindsay, why can’t you make that much sense on my blog? This comment makes a lot of sense and that half man observation is really good. 
 
TL,
Why on Earth would I take offense at your having Christian beliefs? 
 
Even if homosexuality is a sin, which I find an internal contradiction - but they happen in scripture - it absolutely shouldn’t be as much of a sin as adultery. Having seen both close up in my life I can tell you that one can have lives built around it and the other shatters lives.  And, as a conservative rabbi I know concluded a couple of years ago when he changed his position, 
it’s not about sex, it’s about love. 
 
Why would God create people he disapproved of? What do you tell an Orthodox guy who is gay, devotes his life to God, and hates himself because he is something God ostensibly disapproves of and that something is his nature? How can you look at a loving couple raising a kid and tell them that they are sinners by definition? I understand that different people are born facing different difficulties, a phenomenon I know too well because I had a son with pretty severe cerebral palsy, but I never thought God disapproved of my son because of what he was born with. 
 
Here’s what I’ve asked some Christians who have told me that homosexuality isn’t a sin, acting on it is:
 
Let’s say God came down and said something like:
”The world is overpopulated. As such, I am changing the rules. Homosexual union is now approved of, heterosexual union is not.”
 
Could you give up whatever female significant other you have (if you have one) and find a guy because it’s commanded? 
 
Because that is what is being expected of gays. 
 
I couldn’t do it. I am not straight because I chose to be, I am straight because I am. I was raised in an environment where if I’d been gay, my family would not have rejected me and I went to college in a place where homosexuality was extremely accepted. Beside the point. Not my taste. I didn’t ask for my taste, I am not responsible for my taste. It’s just there. 
 
By the way, I might be able to tell you a little about modern sectarian Judaism but not about ancient sectarian Judaism, at least not much, so don’t apologize to me about not knowing the difference between Pharisees and Saducees. I only know the terms from the NT. 
 
On the hypocrisy question, I don’t think it’s a question of not following Torah, I think it’s a question of not bothering to give any thought to what following Torah really entails. 
 
The Chasidim (the largest of the ultra-orthodox sects) have a saying that it is better to be a good person and an atheist than a bad person and a Jew. Great saying, but then you’ve got to define good person. If you think that’s defined by which fork you don’t use for which meal, it should occur to you that you’re missing the point. If it represented a change in direction to rank compassion above vigilance (religion is typically a balancing act between compassion and vigilance - and you know you’re in trouble when vigilance is given more importance, regardless of religion), that’s a major change, but not a departure from Judaism; I’d say it’s a better realization of Judaism. 
 
Oh yeah, about Islam:
“I wish they were drivers of Islam today - alas, they are inconsequential...”
Well, no. You don’t see most Muslims or most Muslim communities. You see the ones who make the news, but that’s the extremists. Some Muslim terrorists kill a few Jews in a Paris neighborhood but many Jews survive because they are hidden in a supermarket meat locker by a Muslim employee. Where is the face of Islam here?
 
Are you aware that the four countries with the largest Muslim populations are not in the Middle East? We don’t get to the Middle East until #5, which is Egypt. The first four are India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. A few years ago there was a major Sunni gathering, a sort of convention, in India. This was reported in the Times of India. The population is huge there and the convention had an attendance of well over a million people. Associated with the convention, roughly 70,000 Muslim clerics issued a joint fatwa against Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaida. To put that in perspective, that’s roughly quadruple the number of rabbis on Earth.  Here in the West we didn’t hear a word; I was lucky to trip over it. Not the first time that’s happened to me. Such events don’t fit the world press narrative, so we don’t hear about them. Instead American Muslims are asked why they don’t condemn terrorism. The answer is, of course, they do, but no one listens. I’ve even s
Koshersalaami Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:03pm
Oops. I’ve even seen this happen in the West Bank
TexasLynn Added Sep 27, 2018 - 11:59pm
KS >> Why would God create people he disapproved of?
 
You seem to be equating nature and genetics with God and his design/fate for each of us.  The two are not the same. 
 
He loved us before we were born, loves us still, and will be long-suffering towards us.  But he didn’t create robots, He created men, men with free will; so that when we act on our true purpose (giving Him glory) it is glory indeed.
 
KS >> What do you tell an Orthodox guy who is gay, devotes his life to God, and hates himself because he is something God ostensibly disapproves of and that something is his nature?
 
Orthodox Jew?  I don't know... that's seems more your department.
 
Atheist?  I might say "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
 
Christian?  I would say we're in the same boat, you and I; but the good news is God loves us.  Christ tells us... "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves (deny their sinful nature) and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 
Sorry, I'm not going to humor the wild scenarios; I suspect it would be an endless game. 
 
The world tells me to embrace my nature and be true to myself.  God tells me the same thing he tells homosexuals and all sinners.  His purpose for me is to deny all of that worldly crap... and embrace something better and eternal.  Him.
 
I get what you're saying... you don't like the fact that homosexuality is a sin and have molded God to right that wrong.  The Bible didn't really say that... Jesus never said anything about that... It's that dam Paul's fault... (insert new rationalization here)...
 
OK... that is what free will is all about, and you're not alone.  The whole worlds says your right, so that must make it so.
 
KS >> Well, no. You don’t see most Muslims...
 
Seeing them or not is immaterial.  Numbers and majorities are immaterial... to who is driving the direction of Islam.  Do you think most Germans were of the same mind as the Nazis before WWII?  Of course not, but who was in control?  Those willing to act.  Moderate Muslims are not willing to act... so they will be led.
 
Islam has the distinct disadvantage (as for as reform) in that by its nature it is evil.  Everything that is wrong with Islam is at the core of Islam.  The death and destruction spilling over into our culture is a result of a certain radical interpretation of Islam… that of its founder, Mohammed.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 28, 2018 - 12:19am
Except that the Muslims don’t all live in the equivalent of Germany. You don’t know that they are led at all. The radical terrorists claim to speak for them. Should we back up the claim when we have no evidence it’s true? That empowers terrorists. There are 1 1/2 to 2 billion Muslims in the world. You are ignoring the ones who don’t make the news.
Flying Junior Added Sep 28, 2018 - 2:19am
Nice Bible study Lynn.  I like it.  The new garment is the New Covenant.  The new wine is the Gospel.  I haven't heard this type of Bible exposition for some time.  That's what I miss the most about being in a Baptist church.  They really get into the Word.
 
Did you ever hear of J. Vernon McGee?  He has complete sets of books that expound on the history and significance of every book of the Bible.  He also has excerpts from his radio show that have been catalogued rather successfully.  I only had to listen to three minutes to hear his take on Matthew 9:14-16.  According to old Vernon, your theology is good.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 28, 2018 - 7:45am
As a recovering Catholic I have always been puzzled by the phenomenon of the individual who is a practicing member of a christian church while still blindly adhering to the orthodoxy of the democrat party.  I have known many Catholics, some of the clerics included, who are deep into democrat activism. It suggests that neither is rooted in true faith and more in a cultural identity. I just can't reconcile either one
Steel Breeze Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:08am
good post....i'm non-religious myself but always enjoy the discussions to gain some insight and usually pick up a bit of history i didn't know...
Stone-Eater Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:26am
As long as we're not able to live without having common sense and needing a guy who maybe lived 2000 years ago to tell us how to behave all hope is lost.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:28am
BTW The US makes big fuss about that guy. The rest of the world has to occupy itself with real problems.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:30am
TBH,
It’s not cultural, it’s religious, but to understand it don’t focus on the abortion issue which is actually pretty peripheral. Democrats tend to emphasize collective responsibility while Republicans tend to emphasize individual responsibility. Jesus practiced reaching out to marginalized populations, was more about compassion than vigilance (“let ye who is without sin cast the first stone”), and became so frustrated watching the wealthy stroll blithely past grinding poverty that he threw his hands up in disgust and said that it would be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to get one of these guys into Heaven. Now, looking at the parties, which one is most concerned with marginalized populations, which one is more concerned with compassion than vigilance, and which one supports universal efforts to fight poverty? There is no evidence that Jesus had a libertarian streak, nor evidence that he was about bootstraps, and definitely no evidence that he favored the rich. One of the things to understand about homosexuality issues is that whatever Scriptural violations there are do not involve a lack of compassion, which is what set Jesus off most and also sets Democrats off most. 
 
Does that help?
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:49am
No, it does not, but thanks for the effort.
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:50am
spare you further effort.....I'll figure it out on my own. Or I wont. Not that important
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:57am
@Lindsay Wheeler -- Allow me to correct your misquotation and misinterpretation of Matthew 21:43 -

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing the fruit of it."

Note that the "kingdom of God" is not a term that equates to the subject of your rendition that "The Faith WILL BE TAKEN AWAY from you, and given to another nation".  Your interpretation reflects the replacement theology or supersessiononism that I decried earlier as a direct denial of Rav Yeshua's teaching in Mt.5:17-18.  The notion of the "kingdom of heaven" or the "kingdom of God" (interchangeable phrases) is an ancient Jewish concept that Christians have mistakenly conflated with several other concepts such as some other-dimensional space called "heaven" or, as you did, with some notion of "the faith" as akin to a religio-political regime.

Therefore I will teach you exactly what is meant by the original ancient Jewish concept of "malchut hashamayim" or the "kingdom of heaven".  This concept was the central focus of Rav Yeshua's teaching.  Simply put, it is an individually-held worldview or state-of-mind in which HaShem is King and the individual is His obedient, grateful, trusting subject.  It implies also an intimacy such as that between a child and his or her Father.  Consequently we must ask a few questions about the audience to whom Rav Yeshua was speaking in this collection of parables presented in Mt.21.  The most salient clue is the immediately preceding verse that recalls Ps.118:22 about a stone which the builders rejected, which reiterates a theme in preceding verses in which a landowner's representatives are rejected by those renting his property.  Again simply, those who reject their "Father in heaven" and the representatives He sends, such as the ancient prophets and Rav Yeshua himself, rejecting also the message of reconciliation offered to those who repent of their rebellion against HaShem, have rejected also the possibility of intimacy with HaShem as a trusted Father as well as His role as King.  From them is taken away, or hidden, any access to a trusting state of mind befitting the notion of the "kingdom of heaven".

The people to whom such a metaphorical "kingdom" is given or available are those who will exhibit the characteristics that such a mindset will produce.  Note, then, that this is not a permanent condition.  In Rom.11 Rav Shaul introduces the notion of a "natural" or domesticated olive tree of faith onto which wild undomesticated branches can be grafted or broken off, depending on their faith or lack thereof.  Natural branches also may be broken off and grafted back onto the tree.  If you are sufficiently competent with the Koine Greek in which Mt.5:20 was written in the manuscripts that have been preserved and translated, you may note that the notion there of entering the kingdom of heaven is presented in the Aorist tense to indicate that it is a continuing or repeated action.  It is not a once-for-all-time event.  This implies that one may not experience this mental state continuously, but will need to re-enter and refresh oneself in it from time to time.  Note that this is not unlike the need to repent from time to time for ad-hoc sins into which an individual may fall during the normal conduct of daily life.

Your interpretation of the verse as akin to a political regime change is mistaken; and it misses the subtle nuances, and spiritual and emotional implications, of what was actually being taught.  But I suppose that is just what happens when the Jewish context to which this material was addressed is ignored or dismissed.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 28, 2018 - 9:04am
BTW, TL -- Did you call upon me as "PL" back at 10:16pm intentionally, or was it a typo?  You seem to be confusing me with someone else, because none of the arguments I have presented do any "flailing about".
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 28, 2018 - 10:56am
Note to KosherSalami -- You've mentioned Messianic Judaism a couple of times in passing, but it appears to me that you have a serious misapprehension of it.  For example, you wrote:

//I don’t know about the differences between Pharisees and Saducees. That’s not what “Messianic Judaism” (which I don’t think is Judaism at all) is about. Perhaps if I name the most eminent sect within it, Jews For Jesus, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.//

In actuality, the "Jews For Jesus" organization is not representative of the Messianic Jewish concept, but rather of a form of Jewish Christianity.  It attached itself to the Messianic Jewish Movement in pursuit of its own missionary aims and adopted at least a portion of the movement's emphasis upon Hebraic terminology and thought forms.  There are some other streams of thought that have similarly attached themselves to this movement without truly adopting its original aims.  Those aims were to explore and to rediscover the original character of the proto-hasidic Israeli admor haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef and the original Jewish character of the apostolic writings that Christians misnamed a "New Testament", and to use his Torah insights as a guide to pursue a "return in repentance".  This rabbi has been misrepresented and slandered for some 19 centuries, and Jewish messianists set themselves a goal to reclaim him and restore his original commonly-respected reputation as an insightful teacher and incidental miracle-worker whose teachings have power to energize true personal redemption, restoration, and pursuit of maturity in a Torah-informed Jewish civilization.  The other perspectives that attached themselves to this socio-religious movement may be viewed as reflections of an illustration that Rav Yeshua expressed in Mt.13:24-30, about weeds found mixed in with healthy plants in a wheatfield, in which the decision for what to do about the weeds was deferred until the ultimate harvest when the wheat could be separated unharmed from the weeds and the weeds bundled into fuel-packets (faux-logs) to be burnt as fuel.  The moral of the story is an encouragement to be recognizable in the final analysis as Jewishly-nourishing wheat rather than an undesireable weed.  That is what "Messianic Judaism" is really all about, despite the "Jews For Jesus" and other weeds.

Now, about that "messiah" business -- Traditionally, our rabbis recognized two views of the messiah, only one of which is usually discussed.  This familiar one is the conquering king messiah ben-David who will restore a Jewish monarchy and rule righteously over the whole planet from his seat of government in Jerusalem, also setting right a number of unanswered halachic questions among other aspects of tikun ha'Olam.  The less familiar one is more like an anointed priest, a "suffering servant" messiah ben-Yosef who will, like Elijah, "turn the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to their children" -- that is, that the attitude of our ancestors at Mount Sinai, who wholeheartedly responded to the Torah that they would hear it and obey it, would be inculcated in their descendants.  The nature of Rav Yeshua's teaching, and his martyrdom at the hand of the Romans with the help of a corrupted quisling Jewish Sanhedrin, fits the pattern of the ben-Yosef messiah.  However, this pattern is seldom discussed or even acknowledged because it is susceptable to corruption and abuse by supersessionistic missionizing Christians trying to undermine and invalidate Judaism and the distinctive Jewish responsibility for the Torah covenant.  This is how the sequence of traditional haftarah readings came to skip over Is.53, and how Rav Yeshua came to be denigrated rather than revered in the manner of other, later, hasidic rabbis.  Christians calling him Messiah, yet denigrating Jews and Judaism by misreading his teachings, call into question what kind of a messiah he could possibly be.  But the problem is not really with him or what he himself taught, nor even what the later disciple/apostle Rav Shaul taught to righteous-gentile G-d-fearers who believed in his teachings.  The subsequent problems must be traced to their sources in other events and philosophical perspectives.

I hope, KS, that this gives you a better perspective on the conflict you perceive between "Messianic Judaism" (so-called) and "Rabbinic Judaism".  And, should you encounter any real Jewish messianists who are disciples of the ancient Israeli rabbi haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef, I hope you will respect their pursuit of Judaism, its outlook and its praxis.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:01am
FYI... KS... I think you have the ability to delete your own comments (from any post) from your profile page.  I was happy to oblige through.  Hopefully I got it right.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:02am
FJ >> Nice Bible study Lynn.  I like it.  The new garment is the New Covenant.  The new wine is the Gospel.
 
Thank you, glad you liked it.  I'm hoping to do more of these parables (maybe in order), but slowly.
 
I'm sure I get more out of writing these than many get out of reading them.
 
I have to admit, I didn’t expect the Jewish hostility, but I do appreciate it and have learned from it.  The mental gymnastics required to subvert the obvious meaning of this parable is profound.  A better argument (and one I would expect from the Jewish faith) would simply be Jesus was a nut and the New Testament is bunk.  At least that would be intellectually honest.
 
Dealing with leftist on WB, you’d think I’d be used to such mental and philosophical gymnastics. :)
 
FJ >> I haven't heard this type of Bible exposition for some time.  That's what I miss the most about being in a Baptist church.  They really get into the Word.
 
My Baptist brothers do indeed study.  It is an enduring quality.
 
I believe it to be an individual responsibility to study the Word since salvation is an individual thing.  There are no group passes.  I've had to argue this point on this board.
 
FJ >> Did you ever hear of J. Vernon McGee? 
 
The name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it.  SO... on your recommendation, I searched the interweb and found the radio programs you described and in particular Matthew 9:14-16.  The moment I heard his voice, I can say I've heard him before... maybe years ago on Christian radio.
 
I have to say, that I listed to his program on these verses and quickly got a new insight I hadn't thought about (concerning John the Baptist) That’s what I love about Bible study.  You can go over something again or hear someone else's take and learn something new.  I remember Augustine of Aquinas saying something to that effect.
 
Anyway... YOU have just given me another resource for study going forward.  The dividends I expect are numerous.  Thank you.
 
FJ >>  According to old Vernon, your theology is good.
 
Yes.  We are of the same mind on the subject.  It's not that surprising; this parable, in particular, is fairly straight forward in my opinion.
 
Thanks again... J. Vernon McGee alone makes this post worth every minute I've put in it.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:03am
TBH >> As a recovering Catholic I have always been puzzled by the phenomenon of the individual who is a practicing member of a christian church while still blindly adhering to the orthodoxy of the democrat party.
 
Solving that puzzle eludes me to this day.  Not that Christ is partisan... but the overall Democratic party is without a doubt anti-God and anti-Christ as much as it is pro-big-government and anti-America.
 
Not that God/Christ is partisan.  He is less interested in being on one side or another and more interested in who is on His side (and who is not).
 
Speaking of who is not... you want to know how anti-God the Democrats are... watch this...
 
Democrats BOO GOD At Convention
 
It is hilarious to watch the confusion of the moron on stage trying to enact a simple platform change to include a reference to "God".  Also note they deny Him (God) THREE times. Among us Christians that is very ironic and telling (or at least it should be).
 
TBH >> I have known many Catholics, some of the clerics included, who are deep into democrat activism.
 
That is something between them and God as far as I'm concerned.  I'll have a lot to answer for, but that won't be one of them.
 
KS is partly right in his explanation, especially the first sentence.  For Christians to support the Democratic party they must first not "focus" on abortion.  They must willfully ignore hundreds of thousands of dead babies (per year).  Once you've cleared that hurdle, I suspect you can ignore pretty well all the fruits that Party produces.
 
That said, KS gets quite bit right concerning Jesus' frustration with the lack of compassion and mercy displayed by the fundamentalists (Pharisees) and rich (Sadducees).  I would disagree with him concerning the fruits of Democratic party it comes to collectively helping the poor.  The actual fruit is more enslavement through
 
Perhaps a parable will help: The Democrats find a beggar to help and give him a fish every day, but that becomes expensive, so they must tax all the fishermen to keep it up.  For their (Pharisee like) altruism and benevolence, all they ask for is obedience.  The Republicans find a beggar to help and may give him a fish or two, BUT more importantly they give him a few hooks and line; helping him learn to fish for himself.  Eventually the beggar learns the trade and catches his own fish to support himself, then he buys a net to catch even more and support his family, then maybe help others.
 
Moral of the parable... "You will know the by their fruits (results). 
 
Again, all you have to do (as a Christian) to be active in the Democratic Party is ignore their fruits (starting with the dead children)... well that and their open and constant display of their hatred of God and Christ.  But once your past all that... you're good to go.
 
Does that help? :)
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:05am
PL >> Did you call upon me as "PL" back at 10:16pm intentionally, or was it a typo?
 
No typo... I thought who and what the comment was addressing was obvious without the "PL"... and still do.  But, I'll make sure I include it consistently in the future.
 
The comment stands on its own merit.  One switching arguments (or depictions of Jesus) on a dime is "flailing about".  Again, my advice is pick one. 
 
In the southern vernacular (or maybe this is a parable), don't switch horses mid-stream.  It tells people you don’t have much belief in your original horse.  And if this is the case, how much confidence do you have with the new one… if you even managed to mount him in the first place?
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:09am
Where do you perceive me switching arguments or depictions of Rav Yeshua, TL?  I tell you that mine are  consistent, though they certainly differ from a number of traditional Christian depictions.
Rick W. Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:21am
TL>Hopefully I've cleared up some of my "take" in the above comments.  The Second Coming is one of the few events in our future that Revelation actually speaks of.  "Armageddon" is a figurative depiction of the ongoing battle between good (God) and evil (Satan) until the last days.  IMO, there is no literal massive battle/war called Armageddon in our future. 
 
Yep, agreed. And sorry of my questions were clumsy. I shouldn't craft a blog comment in between meetings at work.
 
I recently watched a documentary about an evangelical group of churches, based in Texas, that holds the beliefs I summarized. As someone who grew up in East Texas, I didn't remember hearing that sort of thing from older relatives or family friends. I suspected it was a newer/odder thing, and it seems that's correct. You can be against the two-state solution without believing you're going to trick God into kick-starting the End Times.
 
I always liked the way CS Lewis approached this. 
 
"God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else - something it never entered your head to conceive - comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?"
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:39am
Rick W >> Yep, agreed. And sorry of my questions were clumsy.
 
You're good... I think we understood each other.  And the questions were very relevant given the times we live in.
 
I've heard of the belief you referenced... I just equate it to someone saying they know the day of the second coming when we're told point blank biblically that nobody knows.
 
Rick W >> I always liked the way CS Lewis approached this.
 
C.S. Lewis and I are in complete agreement as to the end times (and a lot of other things).  He is one of my favorite Christian authors.
 
I mistake a lot of people make is in thinking that Satan is the yen/yang opposite of God.  Thus, there's this great battle between the two in the future.  Neither is true.  Satan is (at best) the yen/yang opposite of the angel Gabriel.  God created each with a word... with a thought... and will destroy Satan (cast him in the lake of fire) in the same manner.
 
The end times is simply God (in His time) figuratively walking on stage and speaking all things right.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 11:55am
PL >> Where do you perceive me switching arguments or depictions of Rav Yeshua, TL?
 
Now, you've got me questioning myself; which is OK.  Maybe, I attributed to you a new horse that was not there.  I'll have to go back and check.  THIS may take awhile given the volume, but I'll do it if need be.  If I'm wrong, I apologize.
 
Quick synopsis from memory might help... You depict Rav Yeshua as a wise teacher though IMO you seem to pick and choose what he said and meant from the original source. 
 
At some point in time Rave Yashua said (if you take the whole of the New Testament) "I am God." and that causes all the Jews to reject him and the Gentiles to say "I can see that".  ( I thought that was a point you made.  I may have mis-attributed this point to you.)
 
Horse One: Wise Rav Yeshua who really didn't say all the things Christians attribute to him and they didn't get what he was really saying anyway (like in this parable).
 
Horse Two: Crazy Rav Yeshua cl;aiming to be God and thus logically rejected by the Jews and embraced by those wacky Greeks.
 
Maybe you can save me all that work and confirm/deny the two horses/arguments.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 12:00pm
PL >> though they certainly differ from a number of traditional Christian depictions.
 
They do... and no problems there.  I would not expect a practicing Jew to agree with much of the Christian depiction of Christ as Messiah and God.
 
I will admit that I was slightly taken aback from the approach of assigning to him the label of "wise teacher" as the atheists and Muslims often do.  I (to be blunt) don't find it very intellectually honest, since to do it... you have to completely pretend He never said certain things, thus picking and choosing.
 
I've always found people who pick and choose to be essentially building a idol unto themselves.
 
Better, in my opinion to say, Jesus was a false messiah and was crazy or lied when he said he was.  Otherwise that fence has a lot of splinters.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 28, 2018 - 12:15pm
My esteemed TL -- I never said anything about "Horse Two".  I believe it may have been Lindsay Wheeler who suggested it.  I could say that there are idiomatic phrases expressed in Greek but drawn from Hebrew thought that Christians have traditionally misread, that have led to this doctrinal impasse.  I never ignore anything that Rav Yeshua said, nor anything at all in the apostolic writings.  But I have learned to read the original language and the Jewish cultural background and history underlying the text, and I have noted numerous anomalies with traditional Christian translations based on their doctrinal presuppositions.  However, the passage citing "I AM" represents an ambiguity that was misunderstood even by some of his Jewish audience, and they were all speaking Hebrew together, not the Greek representation in which the statement was preserved.
 
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 12:20pm
PL >> My esteemed TL -- I never said anything about "Horse Two". 
 
Then I take you at your word and offer you my apologies for my misunderstanding.  Ride on. :)
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 28, 2018 - 12:47pm
Tex - that does indeed help :)  I am deeply disturbed by anyone in politics who invokes God as part of their platform. I do not mean a person of faith who declares it, is unashamed of it and who makes mention only to help describe from whence their own conscience may be informed. I'm talking about the types who want to suggest that their program or platform is the godly thing to do. Those people concern me.
 
I am reminded of a verse from the U2's song Bullet the Blue Sky:
 
the god I pray to isn't short on cash, mister!
Koshersalaami Added Sep 28, 2018 - 2:16pm
My view of the last presented political parable is that Republicans give the guy crap for not finding his own fish and line. Giving him the line and teaching him to fish would be more like funding occupational training or putting more money into education. 
 
PL, 
What is the position of your branch of Messianic Judaism on Jesus’ divinity? 
 
Though I’m I guess what you’d classify as a Rabbinic Jew, I like Jesus’ teachings. I have a great deal of respect for him as a man and as a teacher. I could even see God sending him on the basis of “I’ve tried to show the people what I want, how about if I send someone to show them?” 
 
But once we get to Lamb of God or Only Through Me, we part ways. 
Ken Added Sep 28, 2018 - 6:58pm
I don’t think it’s the God that’s different
 
Not to Hijack TL's fine thread, but -
 
Ah, but there's the rub.  Islam's God IS different.  The judeo-christian god is the God of Abraham, ISAAC, and Jacob.  The Muslim God is the God of Abraham, ISHMAIL, and Jacob.
 
It is a subtle but very important difference.  Ishmail was a very violent warrior, Isaac was a wise peacemaker who made a peace treaty with the Philistines.
 
Aside from having on reformation, this is one of the primary reasons Islam tends toward war and violence while Judaism and Christianity tend towards peace.
 
Genesis 16:12 about Ishmael -He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
 
Not bad for an agnostic, eh?
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:27pm
Jeff Michka >> Ah, ol Xtain deleter TraitorLynn, wrapping himself in Geezus... poop, poop, poop, pooooooop…
 
Yes, Jeff, you’re a troll dropping little shit bombs on the whole of WB.  I've got plenty of little baggies to deal with you.  Go dump on someone willing to put up with your shit.
TexasLynn Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:53pm
I don't want to go too far off on the tangent of Islam.  We could do an entire post on it.
 
After 911, I made a point to read the Quran and came to several conclusions.
 
First and foremost, I realized that the terrorist, the men who killed those thousands of innocents... did EXACTLY what Mohammad and Allah would have them do.
 
Given that conclusion, Allah and Islam was one of the most evil forces ever devised by man (or Satan).
 
We are fortunate that the majority of Muslims are luke-warm in their faith... but that ticking time-bomb is always there.
Lindsay Wheeler Added Sep 28, 2018 - 8:57pm
Koshersalaami, on Jesus being God/man, that is why I posted on the Natural Law. The "God/Man" is the Golden Mean. A Greek Orthodox theologian posited that the Christian Trinity is the Golden Mean, the mean between strict monotheism of the Jews and the polytheism of the Gentiles. Man as well is in the Golden Mean:  Man is part animal and part divine; the body is animal and our souls are divine. The Golden Mean is throughout nature.
 
Burgahl Hidage writes: 
As a recovering Catholic I have always been puzzled by the phenomenon of the individual who is a practicing member of a christian church while still blindly adhering to the orthodoxy of the democrat party.  I have known many Catholics, some of the clerics included, who are deep into democrat activism. It suggests that neither is rooted in true faith and more in a cultural identity. I just can't reconcile either one
 
That also annoys me to no end!  Many Catholics are Gnostics; many Catholics are not well trained in the Faith or in Virtue; and third, many Catholics, since liberal, are infused with the heresy of Sola Gospel, (Only the Gospel and they know nothing of the rest of the Bible or Natural law). 
Koshersalaami Added Sep 28, 2018 - 9:00pm
I am a liberal and I am not a Christian, but I don’t see anything to attack about this post. There are some disagreements in the thread but, overall, that’s to be expected and to a certain extent even desired. 
 
There is nothing here suggesting that non-Christians should follow Christ. This is a post written for people who are interested, not for those who aren’t. The beginning of the post is completely explicit about that. 
“If you think any mention of Jesus Christ is proseletyzing and that offends you, please stop right here.” Once you read that line, you proceed at your own risk. 
 
My politics are closer to Jeff’s than I think they are to most people on this site. Here we disagree. Theology is a legitimate topic. It affects the conduct of billions of people. 
 
I don’t want to post about this. I have and I could. 
Flying Junior Added Sep 28, 2018 - 10:06pm
Thanks Lynn,
 
I used to listen to his program twenty years ago, in reruns early mornings on a weak AM radio station with the call letters KMJC.  I think there was a transmitter in El Cajon.  King and Master Jesus Christ.  Most of the time they just played excellent recordings of a choir and piano singing hymn-based anthems.  At least most of the times that I was listening.  But early a.m. it was Dr. McGee.  I have seen his books at book sales and even at the Berean Christian Store.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 29, 2018 - 2:09am
Tex -  We always have great conversations. I have some background in christian study, which is admittedly an anomaly for the majority of catholics, but here you are talking with folks making the deep dive. That's okay, it is not a criticism, but it is well beyond my comfort level to engage
 
On an individual level, however, you and I get each other. I'm certain that my thoughts and conduct in many matters will offend most christians. I do not mean for offense; I am just who I am. The discussion above is about religion and doctrine, biblical interpretation. For our differing beliefs we may not converse in these matters to any fruitful outcome, yet we certainly share a common human understanding of one's spirituality. You reconcile your soul, your personal energy; what makes you "you" beyond the physical body, to the universe through your own practice of a christian faith. What you believe as God, I simply believe as nature, the eternal balance. 
 
From my own experience of christianity, my understanding of it, the most admirable of it's tenets is humility. Humility to one another, humility before God. I do not believe that humility equates to being submissive, Humility is the acceptance that you are no better than another man, that you can not be in charge of everything and that there are simply some things that are not for us to know. 
 
You are humble before your God. I am humbled by nature. To my thinking we find acceptance of something greater than ourselves, only viewed through different lenses, spoken in different tongues. This is an extraordinary admission coming from a man who must insure that the soil of his native land is sprinkled inside of his shoes before entering a church, lest he burst into flames :)
Stone-Eater Added Sep 29, 2018 - 9:36am
Without judging anybody...can someone explain to me why Americans are so obsessed with religion ?
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 29, 2018 - 9:51am
@KosherSalami -- In order even to begin answering your questions about doctrines that I adduce from the apostolic writings, I'll have to translate them into alternative terms than the Christian ones you cited.  For example, the very name "Jesus" as commonly understood represents a fictional character invented along the conceptual lines of pagan Greek polytheism.  This character is the "Man/God" that has been referenced elsewhere in this thread.  On the other hand, the admor haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef is a human being, just as Jewish messiahs, either priestly or kingly, are human beings.  One other important distinction I probably should emphasize is that I also am a "rabbinic" Jew, which is not contrary to the pursuit of Jewish messianism.  I am neither any sort of Christian, nor a "sectarian slanderer" of the sort envisioned in the Amidah.  I am a 'hasidic-styled disciple of a rabbi who lived centuries ago, not entirely unlike Bratislaver or Breslover 'Hasidim except that those like myself have tried to divest ourselves of most European diaspora influences to re-create a modernized version of an ancient Israeli-cultured tradition.

You invoked the notion of "divinity", which in the Christian world is deemed synonymous with "deity".  It is not so in Jewish terms, where humans also contain sparks of divinity.  Indeed, Ps.82:6 goes so far as to cite HaShem as criticizing some human Israeli judges who were unjust, calling them "gods" but reminding them that they will die like men.  Divinity, then, is a characteristic possessed by HaShem, which He has shared in some greater or lesser degree with other beings such as angels and humans.  The human neshamah is divine in its nature, and this is what enables it to return to HaShem.  Deity, on the other hand, is a qualifier reserved to HaShem alone.

Consequently, the special neshamah incorporated into the human being that was known as haRav Yeshua ben-Yosef was certainly divine and appointed by HaShem to fulfill a unique role in history.  There are no parameters whereby we humans can possibly measure or quantify a notion like divinity, consequently there is no point in trying to compare Rav Yeshua's neshamah with that of any other human.  Each is divine in its own way.  If you are familiar with the text in the first chapter of the besorah or "gospel" of Yohanan ("John"), another key characteristic attributed to Rav Yeshua's neshamah is the communicative ability or "Word" that is associated with HaShem's "speaking" the created order into existence.  The purpose cited for incorporating this characteristic into Rav Yeshua is to enlighten mankind and to represent HaShem.

In later text, we find a play on words in the assignment of Rav Yeshua's name ("yeshuah"; "salvation"; rescue) as incorporating the purpose for which he was "sent", which was to promulgate HaShem's own Purpose of "salvation" for humankind via repentence, redemption and restoration.  Since there is, indeed, only one path for pursuing this singular Purpose of HaShem, one can acknowledge the legitimacy of saying that there is only one means of salvation and that Rav Yeshua represented it via his name.  In Jewish texts, such wordplay often occurs and it is quite legitimate.  The problem that occurred later was that anti-Jewish gentile Christians politicized the notion of approaching HaShem only through Yeshua/"salvation" and associated it with religious praxis that was alien and even inimical to Judaism.

A similar wordplay appears in his legal patronym as the fully-legitimate and acknowledged son of Yosef, regardless of any rumors about the circumstances of his conception, invoking resonance with the "ben-Yosef" type of messiah (which I believed I characterized in a previous respone above).  There is also a somewhat midrashic invocation of sacrificial symbolism in references to Rav Yeshua's martyrdom, and some proto-kabbalistic imagery invoked in the letter to the Hebrews depicting a sacrificial offering in the heavenly sanctuary which was the prototype shown to Moshe on Mount Sinai as the basis for the earthly tabernacle and later the Jerusalem temples.  Both heavenly and earthly sanctuaries are viewed as operating in tandem, with the latter receiving its authority and sanctity from the former.  So one needn't become unsettled by midrashic references to "HaShem's Lamb"; nor by religio-political posturing as if Rav Yeshua were the only martyred Jewish "lamb" among the thousands killed by the Roman Empire or even since that time.  Is there reason to focus on his martyrdom as special?  Certainly!  But discussing the specific ways in which it is distinct and the justifications for so viewing it are beyond the scope we can address here.  In addition, there is a passage (Phil.2:5-11) in which Rav Shaul describes the ascended Rav Yeshua in terms
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 29, 2018 - 10:02am
One answer to Stone-Eater about the American "obsession" with religion is that a rather large number of the earliest settlers therein were people who had fled religious and anti-religious persecutions elsewhere.  Their sense of freedom was not a freedom from religion, as in an absence of religion, but rather of a liberty to exercise their religious practices freely.  Hence religion is intrinsic to the foundation of the national culture and corresponding rights thus are enshrined in its very Constitution.  Religion is inseparable from the right to conduct a principled life as one sees fit.  It is thus also frequently the focus of discussions about how slightly or greatly differing views of religion can all interact successfully and tolerantly.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 29, 2018 - 10:08am
@KosherSalami -- Once again, my post was truncated just before its conclusion.  Its final sentence should read: "In addition, there is a passage (Phil.2:5-11) in which Rav Shaul describes the ascended Rav Yeshua in terms and imagery very reminiscent of how the character Metatron is represented HaShem's throne-room within the Pardes of later Jewish literature.  But again, this discussion would take us into the realm of Jewish arcana."
Koshersalaami Added Sep 29, 2018 - 10:09am
TL,
In the course of this conversation I’ve lost a comment or two that I wasn’t sure if published. One apparently didn’t, and I’ll go into it a bit. 
 
Judaism contains some mechanisms for a bit of revisionism. Rabbis wouldn’t necessarily call it that, they’d call it interpretation. Interpretation in Judaism is a huge thing, utterly necessary for understanding Judaism. From the outside, some thing that Judaism is really all about the OT. What it’s really about is the first five books of the OT through a rabbinic lens, and the lens is utterly critical to understanding Judaism. There is a whole separate body of law/commentary sometimes called Oral Law. It was not meant to be written down but because the Romans were in danger of eliminating Jewish education, a group of rabbis compiled a written record of it called Mishnah, and that’s the first basis for what eventually became Talmud. 
 
I’ll give you an ancient example of what I mean by revisionism: The Torah (first five books, in Jewish tradition dictated by God) treats Sabbath violation as a capital crime. However, Jewish law states that to save a life one not only has the option of violating Sabbath but the legal obligation to do so. (I don’t know the legal reasoning.) A second example is that though there are a lot of capital crimes listed in Torah, the Jewish courts hardly ever approved executions. 
 
This may not be apparent in the New Testament or the Old Testament, but it would have been part of Jesus’ background. What would also have been part of it was the relatively recent series of arguments between the schools of two major rabbis, Hillel and Shammai. Shammai’s view was do everything by the book as much as humanly possible and if there’s ever any ambiguity, go stricter. Hillel’s was that the law was made for man and its execution has to take man’s life into account. The Talmud eventually concluded that the way of God is the way of Hillel. 
 
Hillel is perhaps most famous for his reply to someone saying to him: Teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot. I listed his reply in an earlier comment: That which is hateful to you do not do to another. That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Now go study.
 
And I suppose this brings me to religious views on homosexuality. I can’t envision an uncompassionate God because compassion is where God’s moral authority comes from. On one hand, one could interpret my last sentence as unbelievable hubris. My answer would be just the opposite: the sentence shows that I get the point He is trying to teach us. After all, that was the central point of Mikah, Hillel, Jesus, and Akiba (in chronological order). 
 
Have you ever thought about the commandment Thou shalt have no other gods before Me? On the face of it, it’s a really strange commandment because, if we assume that He exists and other gods do/did not, it’s the logical equivalent of saying Thou shalt not worship the Tooth Fairy. But that would have no place in the Commandments. What’s the point?
 
My theory is that while other gods did not exist, other priesthoods did. Keep in mind when this was written. The alternatives were not Abrahamic faiths, they were pagan faiths that frequently endorsed practices such as human sacrifice. And here came a faith that went to great lengths to make compassion obligatory, even to animals. The problem with the other faiths is not necessarily that they were other faiths but that they were insufficiently compassionate to be acceptable. 
 
By the way, keep the time in mind when addressing the concept of Chosen. Jews were not chosen over Christians; there were no Christians. And another point you may not know about Chosen: It comes with no benefits other than the privilege of the work. Unlike in many parts of Christianity, in Judaism you do not have to be Jewish to get into Heaven. 
 
 
FacePalm Added Sep 29, 2018 - 10:55am
TexasLynn-
i think i agree with your premise, that Christ was about restoring an understanding of the Kingdom and how to live it...and that "rule-following" means nothing if love of God and neighbor isn't present.  Like He said, "you must be born again"(or i have also read it interpreted 'born from above'). before the Kingdom can be found, even though it's closer than most have a clue about.  And that Judaism had become so dependent on "following the rules" that trying to patch it was more trouble than being "born again" into a Kingdom where obeying "the rules" weren't anywhere near as important as your love of God and neighbor...and self.
 
But the teaching of Christ seems too simple, too straightforward for quite a few, it appears to me, so we have our putative elder brethren doing what they usually do, "straining at gnats and swallowing camels."  IOW, getting lost in the minutiae of "getting it right."  An old pastor of mine once taught, "would you rather be right, or loving?"  (personally, i prefer both, but when a choice must be made...always err, if error it be, on the side of Love, and God-who-IS-Love will be ok with it, imo.)
 
i'll look forward to other postings of yours on Christ's teachings, but you may wish to consider the lifestyles of yet a third branch of Israel in His day, the Essenes.  Some accounts say Mary, and maybe even John the Baptist, as well, came from them.  i know that the Pharisees and Saducees(sp?) get top billing in the gospel accounts, esp. for their hypocrisies, but the Essenes were also present - and an influence for Good - in His day and subsequently.
 
Also, don't forget the Peshitta, a manuscript in Aramaic which some say preceded the Greek translations; Christ often taught the crowds in that language, and there are several Aramaic sayings retained in various translations of the NT, among them 'Talitha, cumi' and 'Ephphatha!"  i have an English translation from that Aramaic source, and i've found the differences to be negligible, in truth...but then, to me, the Bible is like a roadmap to a destination, and once the destination is reached, it can become an impediment to living the Kingdom, for just as a map is not to be confused with the reality, neither is the bible to be confused with the Living Experience of the Most High...nor is there any need to further refer to the bible-as-a-roadmap, for what was sought is directly available to you. 
 
i've saved a very old post from a website i once frequented back in the day; i'll see if it'll fit here:
 
Ok, i'll cite the relevant portion, so that you may get a better idea of where i'm coming from; i don't much care for "theology," or the "study of" God, like He's some bug pinned to a card:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mysticism is sometimes thought of as a spiritual personality style. If you think of two axes of preference, Thinking-Feeling and Concrete-Abstract, mystics often find themselves in the 3rd quadrant, like this:



                     Thinking
                          |
                       4 | 1
                          |
    Abstract-----+-----Concrete
                          |
                       3 | 2
                          |
                    Feeling

 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The original poster went into much more detail, but i've found the most valuable thing that the Catholics ever did was to preserve the writings of the Mystics, and i've read quite a few of them,  From Juan de la Cruz and his contemporary, Teresa of Avila, to Meister Eckhardt, to Thomas Merton and many more, gathering flowers along the Way, if you will.
 
As an aside perhaps worthy of future consideration, in Aramaic, the word for God is "Alaha."  In discussions with Muslims, this may be a non-confrontational tack to take, especially if the conve
FacePalm Added Sep 29, 2018 - 10:57am
...rsation can be turned to Christ asap, particularly what He said about reaping as one sows, that this is quite literally true that how you treat "the least of these" is EXACTLY and PRECISELY how you will be treated, yourself, eventually.  Many also forget about the mystical branch of Islam, the Sufis, as well, just as christians forget about the Essenes.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 29, 2018 - 11:03am
Would you rather be right or loving? 
is a fantastic question. If you give me that pastor’s name, I will quote him/her attributed in the future. 
FacePalm Added Sep 29, 2018 - 12:03pm
Frankly, i don't remember, now.  He was pastor of a 501c3, ergo part of the long-foretold "Great Apostasy," and when i informed him of this, he simply shrugged his shoulders.  So i figuratively shook the dust off my shoes, and departed.
 
But now that i think about it, he may actually have said "happy"(a whole 'nuther netful of fish) instead of "loving," so maybe the new author'd be me...or technically, He who spake through me.
FacePalm Added Sep 29, 2018 - 12:08pm
Tim Mabbot.  That was the guy.  He had 2 daughters, one homosexual, and looked at me funny when i informed him that the bible was right clear about homosexuality(i didn't know about the daughter at the time).  But that was before i became aware of the intolerably-great(to me) number of contradictions between what Christ Y'shua taught and what Paul taught, so i've learned that in any apparent contradiction between the two, side with the King of kings. 
One of the sayings of that "church" that i agreed with was:  "Where Christ speaks, we speak; where Christ is silent, we are silent."
 
To those who claim Christ out of one side of their mouths while despising homosexuals out of the other, i often say, "Tell me what Christ said about homosexuality."  They cannot reply, for He didn't.  i'm not homosexual, and don't generally like being in their company for any but the briefest periods of time, but i won't condemn them, for Christ did not.
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 29, 2018 - 1:04pm
I'll tell you what Rav Yeshua said indirectly about homosexuality, FacePalm.  He stated that the entirety of the Torah and the Prophets -- which includes the bits about sexual sins, of which homosexuality is one -- remains valid as long as heaven and earth endure.  Rav Shaul wasn't saying anything contrary to that, but was also reflecting the Torah's view.  I put it to you additionally, that if you perceive any contradiction between these two rabbis' teachings and those of HaShem's Torah, you are failing to understand one or both of them, and perhaps the Torah also.  HaShem created a perfect order in the world, including a bi-gendered system of propagating life among each of the more complex mammalian species, and humans have deviated from it within their own species and are responsible to repair the consequences of that insofar as they can in any given generation.  The alternatives all bring death to the entire species, some at a quicker rate and others more slowly.  HaShem's goal is to redeem humanity, and cooperating with that is to the benefit of the entire planet.  One does not need to condemn those who are in error.  That is not how their error may be corrected.  There are better ways to contain or limit the misanthropic effects of their error and to teach them why it is an error and how it may be corrected.  That is the compassionate approach.
 
Koshersalaami Added Sep 29, 2018 - 3:22pm
Homosexuality is not limited to humans
Koshersalaami Added Sep 29, 2018 - 4:39pm
As to death in the entire species, the homosexual percentage of the population is way too small for that, in addition to which we aren’t taking into account heterosexuals who don’t have kids. No one is suggesting homosexuality as an orientation for the entire species. That is a far weaker argument than that rejection of homosexuals represents a major failure of compassion. 
Proclaim Liberty Added Sep 29, 2018 - 4:43pm
Didn't say it was -- though it's still not a functional survival strategy for any species.  Don't know, though, if anyone has actually studied whether homosexual behavior in non-human species is incidental or chronic, or whether it is a subset of indiscriminate bi-sexuality, or whether it is solely an anomaly that is limited to rare individuals that effectively remove their genetic combination from the gene pool.  One thing for certain, though, is that it is less likely to be a behavior passed along from one individual to others, because learning behavior is less pronounced than in humans whose communication skills are much more highly developed.  Hence the effects are likely amplified among humans.
Koshersalaami Added Sep 29, 2018 - 5:53pm
“Behavior passed along?”
That behavior isn’t generally taught. If it were taught, the prohibitions might make moral sense. The ethical problem lies with its not being taught. 
 
Did you choose your sexual orientation? I can tell you that I did not choose mine, I felt it. I don’t find the same sex remotely attractive.  If you did not choose your orientation, why would you assume others would choose theirs? And why on Earth would they choose that one? It comes with a ton of negative consequences including rejection by family, rejection by religion, rejection by peers, rejection by law, and in the case of Orthodox Jews and other fundamentalists who fully believe that there is a Biblical prohibition against homosexuality, rejection by self. 
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:24pm
First to all... just a heads up that I am on a get back to nature "holiday" (hunting trip) which means I will have very limited access to the interweb over the next week (after these series of posts)  So please do not take offense at my limited responses going forward.  Please feel free to use this thread as you see fit.
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:31pm
Lindasy and TBH...  I am no fan of the Catholic denomination, but I hate to cast dispersions.  Much Catholic doctrine (and the fruits of it) does not sit well with me (or the gospel IMO).
 
TBH >> We always have great conversations. I have some background in christian study, which is admittedly an anomaly for the majority of catholics...
 
I will have to say that I have met very few catholics who put forth any effort to know the gospel.  I did manage to ask a catholic gentleman one time why that was.  He explained that all that study and knowledge and even the responsibility for his salvation wasn't his job, it was that of his priest...
 
TBH >> ... but here you are talking with folks making the deep dive. That's okay, it is not a criticism, but it is well beyond my comfort level to engage
 
I don't know how deep it is... but it has been educational for me.  I'm glad for the engagement you have offered.  I would not want anyone to dive in beyond their comfort level.  I will say that I read everything you post... but don't always feel the need or comfort to chime in.  (Plus, Leroy always beat me to the point I would make.)
 
TBH >> On an individual level, however, you and I get each other.
 
Absolutely, more so than most.
 
TBH >> I'm certain that my thoughts and conduct in many matters will offend most christians.
 
And what I have done and still do would offend most Christians.  Any Christian seeking to be sinless (by not sinning) is a fool; we seek to become sinless by forgiveness (through Christ).
 
TBH >> I do not mean for offense; I am just who I am. ... What you believe as God, I simply believe as nature, the eternal balance.
 
You realize there is a very popular and classic hymn titled "Just as I Am".  :)  More performed by country artists though…
 
From our discussions, I perceive you to be a soulful and spiritual man.  You have a joy of life about you that I admire.
 
Using the gifts of free-will, freedom, and liberty... you have come to a different conclusion than I have.  Why would I begrudge you of that?  Why would I ever harangue and alienate you for that?  Why would I not respect you?  Why would I slam that door so as to further alienate you towards my cause or my Boss?
 
The ONLY reason I can think of to do any of those things is if I believe my Boss wants me to do that.  My study and my faith lead me to believe He would say "What are you, an idiot... NO..."
 
TBH >> From my own experience of christianity, my understanding of it, the most admirable of it's tenets is humility. Humility to one another, humility before God. I do not believe that humility equates to being submissive, Humility is the acceptance that you are no better than another man, that you can not be in charge of everything and that there are simply some things that are not for us to know.
 
OK... I don't know how to put this, so I'm just going to have to be blunt.  That is one of the best depictions of the nature of God and Christ that I've ever seen.  THAT message is repeated many, many times throughout the New Testament.  Humility is the very essence of what Christ did for humanity.
 
There is a bible story about Christ's disciples (Peter, John, all those guys) arguing among themselves about who would be the more recognized and powerful in His kingdom.  Christ chastised them and said (in effect) the one of you who is least (as in humbly serves here on earth) will be greatest in heaven.
 
In context to this thread... the Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah precisely because of his Godly humility.  They expected a conquering king... they got a humble shepherd.
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:31pm
TBH >> You are humble before your God. I am humbled by nature. To my thinking we find acceptance of something greater than ourselves...
 
I think you are right.
 
I would like to add one more thing.  I've talked to many Christians about what helps them know there is a God.  I will never forget a very insightful and learned Christian who told me it was math (he was a high school math teacher) and had an inspiring grasp of mathematics.  Anyway, he told me that when he delved into theorems and problems it all fit together like poetry... it showed him this is not random, this is by design, THIS is rational, intentional creation! :)
 
For me?  It's nature.  Walking in the woods, floating on the river... especially at sunrise or sunset... it helps he realize this is not random, this is by design, THIS is rational, intentional creation! :)
 
TBH... thank you for the engagement.
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:32pm
KosherS... While I appreciate the nod that this post is well within bounds; Jeff is not attacking it strictly because of the subject matter; Jeff is simply a dick and routinely attacks many of my posts (regardless of content, he doesn't read them) with pretty-well the same key-words and rants.  If certain types of people in the world so vile, that if they don't hate you... you're not doing it right.  Jeff Michka is such a person/troll.  I wear his derision as a badge of honor.
 
KosherS... I read your explanation concerning the Written and Oral law.  I can say I was vaguely familiar with the concept based on past biblical/historical study.  If I remember correctly the Written laws came directly from Moses.  Jesus, being Jewish... I guess I'll have to concede that this meant something to Him. (That was written tongue in cheek.)  It doesn't change my mind on the meaning of this parable, but I do appreciate the perspective and further education on the subject.  Time does not permit me to delve any further.
 
KosherS >> In the course of this conversation I’ve lost a comment or two that I wasn’t sure if published. One apparently didn’t, and I’ll go into it a bit.
 
I lose those things all the time.  I assure you nothing was deleted on my side... I've only deleted the "droppings" of one person in my history at WB... and I take glee is doing it every time it is warranted.
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:33pm
FacePalm,
Thank you for joining in.  I think we're on the same page on this one.  The question you cited is very thought provoking.  I like it and will mull it about some more.
 
It does remind me of a question that was posed to me in a writing class once.  It went something like, "Would you rather your children be smart, successful, or good."  You can only choose one at the exclusion of the other two.  The exercise was to defend your choice.
 
I appreciate your interest in future posts.  I do intend to do it, but don't plan to rush it.  Any posts from others on these subjects will always peak my interest.
 
Also thank you for the suggestions.
TexasLynn Added Sep 29, 2018 - 8:33pm
Stone-Eater >> Without judging anybody...can someone explain to me why Americans are so obsessed with religion?
 
Stone... Proclaim Liberty explained it eloquently beyond anything I could have written.  Religion is a founding bedrock of this nation.
 
Proclaim Liberty, I've read your comments, but volume and time, prevent me from delving any deeper.  Please forgive the omission.  Again, thanks all for the comments.  This post garnered much more than I expected.
Ward Tipton Added Sep 30, 2018 - 12:01am
Nice to see people actually utilizing the scriptures to build each other up and not to tear each other down. Truly fascinating debate. 
FacePalm Added Sep 30, 2018 - 1:09am
Ward-
i've often heard it said that "Christians eat their own," and unfortunately, found it to be true more often than not.
 
TL-
Hope you can stock the larder well for Thanksgiving and Christmas; you know, i shot my first turkey just last year!
 
Scared the bejabers out of everyone in the frozen-food section, though...
(hope you read that before you leave so you can jest with your buds.)
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 30, 2018 - 4:50am
Tex - happy to engage here for my limited part. I am humbled....by your reply. 
Ward Tipton Added Sep 30, 2018 - 7:11am
I hope you used a .22 to shoot your bird. Saw one guy actually tagging a tom he had shot through the chest with a 30-06 ... what was left of it anyhow ... in my estimation he would have been lucky if he had two complete drumsticks left ... judging by what I saw of it. 
FacePalm Added Sep 30, 2018 - 8:25am
"shot my first turkey in the frozen-food section"= jk.
Koshersalaami Added Oct 1, 2018 - 10:17pm
Jeff, what is your problem with a discussion about an aspect of religion that makes no attempt to convert anyone to anything? Whether or not Jesus is God (which, being Jewish, I don’t believe), he influences a whole lot of people, or at least what they think he said influences them. 
 
Chances are you’d rather people were more tolerant and compassionate and took care of those who need it more. That’s at least my guess from what I know of your politics, I do also. We know that a lot of people on the Right don’t feel that way: they don’t much like tolerance, they worry a whole lot more about vigilance than compassion, and they do not want the government to take care of those who need it more as if the government helping the needy and disadvantaged were somehow immoral. 
 
Interestingly, a lot on the Right are also devoted Christians, ostensibly following someone who constantly reached out to the marginalized (as opposed to constantly demonizing them), who told people point blank to be more tolerant, and who got royally pissed at people who did not care for those who needed it. Why do you think I have so much respect for a guy I don’t worship, a guy in whose name thousands upon thousands of my people have been killed, some of them in unbelievably cruel ways? 
 
Think about this. Right at the center of their religion you have what amounts to a moral ally. And you want to criticize them for devotion to your ally? The most sensible conversation you could possibly have has to do with showing them this truth to the best of your ability. You’re not going to reach these people through straight politics. Even if your politics make sense, you’re not likely to express that in ways that appeal to any of their priorities and values. They have different notions of justice and responsibility than you do. 
 
It does not make sense to throw a powerful tactical ally under the bus. All that does is enable them to demonize you. The more they demonize you, the less of a voice with them you have. 
 
So, as someone whose politics are more like yours than theirs (I think, I’m new here, but that’s the impression I have so far), how does it do our cause any good to talk about “Geezus circle jerks”? Is your aim to vent? That’s OK, I guess, it’s probably emotionally satisfying. What it isn’t is useful. Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. 
TexasLynn Added Oct 8, 2018 - 11:12pm
Jeff Michka >> Perhaps deleter TraitorLynn will repost the comment he left me above...
 
You're a dick Jeff.  A dog dropping your shit all over WB for other people to clean up.  It is a pleasure to delete the same post, the same "comment" over and over again.
 
KosherS may try to reach you, understand you.  I figured you out a long time ago.
 
Go $%@$ yourself.
The Burghal Hidage Added Oct 9, 2018 - 6:25pm
......with a rusty chainsaw. Amen. :)
Doug Plumb Added Oct 13, 2018 - 1:17pm
This thread requires a lot of thought and a re read on my behalf. It looks like it is well worth the effort.
 
I have four things to say / ask about at this point:
 
(1) BH: "What I do believe in, more strongly than anything else, is the right to every human being of their own freedom of conscience"
- What is conscience tells me I have the right to trap a young woman in my basement and use her as my slave? What you say is an empty belief, "do as thou wilt".
 
(2)   There are too many reasons to believe, on the surface that the holocaust was a hoax, there is mountains of anecdotal evidence, all bits of evidence unrelated and disconnected (independent). I will not get into this here. BUT Population records prove that it was a hoax. Not six million Jews in the region. When you start factoring in the huge number of survivors, you have to wonder how many people could have escaped a death camp. Yet people with the number written on their arm were everywhere in the 70's.
  Numbers do not lie.
  I have no skin in this game, no emotional reason to be tilted one way or another, no connection to Judaism, good or bad.
 
(3) Proclaim Liberty: How Jewish are the Jews of today? Are the Jews that run Israel strictly Talmudic? What do you say about the Talmud? What do you say Tex?
 
(4) How can any form of Judaism be compatible with the single commandment of the NT?
 
Doug Plumb Added Oct 13, 2018 - 1:26pm
Tex, why NIV and not KJB ?
Proclaim Liberty Added Oct 13, 2018 - 3:54pm
If you are trying to argue, Doug, that the Holocaust didn't occur because you think that so many Jews didn't even exist, you haven't examined the evidence that is overwhelming.  You also refer to a "region", which suggests to me that you are looking at some very narrow area rather than all of Europe, from its northernmost Scandinavian regions to its southernmost Mediterranean regions, and its western regions to its eastern and Balkan ones.  The ambitious Nazis spread themselves and their armies, including proxies, quite far. including also North Africa and the Middle East.  Hence it is not difficult to see how they could have destroyed fully half of the worldwide Jewish population of the period.  If you really want to know how the rounded number of six million was determined, you may visit locations like Yad VaShem in Israel, where evidence has been collected and concentrated precisely in order to document and commemorate this event.  I have not visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, so I can't vouch for how much of that sort of information you might be able to access there, even if that might be more convenient for you to visit.
 
As for your question about "how Jewish", Jews have always represented a spectrum of characteristic behaviors, as must be expected of a civilization that has been scattered worldwide.  Note that the Talmud to which you refer is only a portion of the Jewish literature which supports that civilization and culture.  The Talmudic literature may be compared to the records of a debating society where all sorts of arguments and notions are discussed pro and con.  Hence one must become quite familiar with it to recognize the significance of any given set of statements found therein, or how some of those statements must be contrasted against others.  One must become familiar also with subsequent Jewish literature to gain perspective on the Talmudic portion and upon Jewish praxis as a whole.  Only about 40% of Israel's Jews are strictly Orthodox, but even the secular population carries traces of our religious culture within our general culture.  I'm not sure I can offer an accurate percentage for the portion of our non-Orthodox population that is religiously traditional rather than strictly Orthodox or truly secular, but I can vouch for the significance of its bulk.  The percentages are rather different in the USA, where almost half of the current worldwide Jewish population still resides.
 
In order for me to address your last question, you will have to elaborate what you mean by "the single commandment of the NT".  Then, perhaps, I may address Judaism's "compatibility" with the apostolic literature that was also written by Jews and for Jews in addition to its portions written by one rabbi to offer communal moral guidance to gentile disciples of another particular martyred rabbi.
TexasLynn Added Oct 13, 2018 - 6:37pm
Doug,
I love the KJV, it is the Bible I mainly use; but when addressing some who are less biblical, I go with a more modern translation.
Doug Plumb Added Oct 14, 2018 - 3:12am
Proclaim Liberty. As a twelve year old walking around in the late 70's I didn't get around many adults unless I was shopping with my mom and dad. There were always people walking around with those numbers on their arms. How did so many people survive?
(I'm sure there is mountains of documented evidence in Israel, and no one will take the British intelligence records of NAZI communications and the conspicuously missing communications regarding the holocaust or the coke to burn the bodies - oh yeah - bodies burn by themselves. Eli Wiesel was there).
 
The single commandment of the NT is the Common Law, or how we define Justice in the West: "Do unto others as you would have done onto you". Its entirely incompatible with Jewish Supremism.
Proclaim Liberty Added Oct 14, 2018 - 3:30am
That commandment, Doug, was precisely a summary of Judaism, and extracted directly from the Torah by a notable rabbi. It was also a restatement of the same principle cited about a century earlier by another notable rabbi named Hillel, who added the advice to go and study it in more depth.  As for "Jewish Supremism", you'll need to take that up with HaShem Who chose a particular people to carry out His purposes and His program that would ultimately redeem all of humanity. If you study the Torah in any depth, however, you'll find that supremacy has nothing to do with that choice. Neither is it a Jewish value or goal. Such a goal is the pursuit of empire-builders; the primary Jewish pursuit is peaceful righteousness that leads to a world in which every man can dwell in the shade of his own fig tree and grapevine with none to threaten or induce fear. 
Proclaim Liberty Added Oct 14, 2018 - 3:37am
I should not neglect to add, Doug, that the commandment you cited was preceded by another one, without which yours is unbalanced and difficult to implement. That commandment was to love HaShem in accordance with His nature as a nurturer and as an absolute authority, fully and unreservedly. 
Koshersalaami Added Oct 14, 2018 - 9:51am
We lost about a third of our population in the Holocaust, not half. Prewar figures worldwide were about 18 million. We still haven’t recovered thos numbers. 
 
Certain communities have concentrations of survivors. I did not grow up seeing tattooed numbers even though I grew up in a community with a high Jewish population. I know some survivors now. 
 
Chances are if you’ve been told that population records don’t add up, you’re getting that information from someone who’s fooling with numbers to support an agenda. Yad Vashem’s purpose is to count and remember. Had the number been three million or nine million, the way the Holocaust was treated as an event would have been the same. There is no reason to inflate the numbers but there’s a very definite reason to minimize them. One thing to understand about the research is that the Jewish community could figure out who was missing. Because the ancestors of most American Jews emigrated from areas the Nazis occupied and because extended families didn’t come over whole, American Jews had family in Europe. In my case we know which family was killed. 
 
Regarding Jewish supremism: I assume you’re referencing Chosen. Not that other ancient gods from the Eastern Mediterranean weren’t peculiar to their own peoples, but those tribes aren’t around any more so you have no one similar to compare us to. Chosen is about the privilege of the work. It doesn’t come with any other perks. Jews aren’t guaranteed entrance to Heaven and gentiles aren’t denied it. In addition, of course, when the concept originated there was no one but us worshipping the Abrahamic God. We were not Chosen over Christians or Muslims because at the time there were no Christians or Muslims. 
 
To this day, as bad as the current Israeli government is, Israel treats Muslims (as a religious population within the country) better than any country in the area treats Jews. Jews don’t live in most of them any more because they were driven out. In the case of Iraq, the communities they left dated from the Babylonian conquest. Even though there are Jewish sects that believe for religious reasons that Israel should not exist - they believe that we should only return to Israel if God gives us Israel again - no Jews are eligible for citizenship by the Palestinian Authority. I always wonder about motivations when every entity in the region is given a free pass for religious intolerance except for the one that practices it least. 
 
A couple of years ago, Syrians firing across the border wounded a man carrying water to soldiers and killed his young son engaged in the same activity. Israel called an air strike in retaliation on a barracks. The Prime Minister phoned the family to express his condolences and to let them know that such actions against Israelis would entail retaliation. The only thing that might make this story notable to you is that the man and his son were Arab Israelis, not Jewish Israelis. 

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