Posted by: mystic444 | March 20, 2010

Do Jews Have a God-Given Right to “The Land of Canaan”?

Fundamentalist Christians and Zionist Jews vociferously proclaim the ‘Divine right’ of the Jews to statehood in Palestine, and are willing to joyously support all manner of Jewish atrocities done in order to kick others out of that land and keep them out. It was the support of western ‘Christian’ nations that originally (following World War 2) ‘granted’ the Jewish people the right to supplant the Palestinian Christians and Muslims who were at that time inhabiting the land. (Christian supporters of Israel conveniently overlook the fact that a large portion of Palestinians are in fact Christians; they’re not all ‘evil’ Muslims, whom some Christians love to hate). Any opposition to any Zionist Jewish acts, no matter how atrocious, is considered opposition to God and His purpose and Word.

So what is the basis of this supposed Divine right of Jews to the land of Canaan? Well, of course it is to be found in the promise of God to Abraham found in Genesis 17:8 – “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” This is taken to be a true historical event, and is to be interpreted literally (according to our fundamentalist Christians, and Zionist Jews). And of course it is pointed out that this covenant is ‘everlasting’.

Now first of all, the word ‘everlasting’ means ‘for an age’; that is, for a long time – not ‘forever’ the way we think of it. (See this article for a discussion of words like ‘everlasting’, ‘eternal’ and ‘forever’ in the Bible). And secondly, despite this ‘everlasting’ covenant, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves warn that if the Jewish descendants of Abraham violated the terms of the covenant, God would ‘curse’ them and drive them out of the land (see Deuteronomy 28 and 29 for instance). According to these Scriptures, God even warned that he would violate His own promise due to their disobedience: “The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again” (Deut. 28:68). The curses and threats in Deuteronomy were fulfilled by the Babylonians and Assyrians; and then finally, after warnings by the Jewish Prophet Jesus and his followers, it was fulfilled by the Romans in 70 C. E. Jesus even said (Matt. 21:43): “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” That word ‘people’ is the Greek word “ethnos” which is frequently rendered as ‘Gentile’ and ‘heathen’; it means a non-Jewish people or nation. From a Christian viewpoint (and Muslim as well) this means that the kingdom of God is now to be found in people of every nation and tongue in whose hearts God reigns supreme, who hear and obey His word. It includes Jews who love and serve the One God, but they are only a part of God’s people, not a ‘chosen nation’ any more (if they ever were such). That of course was in fact part of that original covenant promise to Abraham: that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him. Who can imagine that God would ‘go back’ to a former predominant concern with the Jewish nation (if He ever had such a predominant concern) now that He is blessing the whole world?

If it be objected that in Deuteronomy 30 God said that He would bring back the Jews to their land, from whatever part of the world in which they had been scattered, it should be noted when such a return would occur: “When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all  your soul according to everything I command you today, THEN the LORD your God will restore your fortunes…” (Verses 1-3). Will any thinking person (particularly our fundamentalist Christians) say that such was the case in 1948, or any time since? I don’t think so! A good portion of Jews are atheists today; how many of those who are not atheists love God with all their heart and all their soul I wonder? Would it not be fair to say that most non-atheists are still just nominal Jews, fulfilling rituals but not heartfelt lovers of God? Well, who am I to judge, right? There are certainly at least some Jews who are truly devout, anyway. But surely our fundamentalist Christians, who are such avid supporters of Israel, won’t be willing to admit that any but Christian Jews would truly fit into the category of those who fulfill those verses quoted above. Therefore, Jews don’t have any claim to the fulfillment of that prophecy yet; and current support for them based on that promise is without foundation.

Having said all of  that, though, the real question to be examined is whether or not the events depicted in the ‘historical’ books of the Hebrew Scriptures are indeed genuine history, and to be understood literally. We really need to know who wrote those accounts, and whether or not they can be trusted as having given us accurate historical accounts. It has traditionally been believed that the first 5 books of the Bible (the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were written by Moses; and the next book – Joshua – was written by Joshua. Conservative Christians still defend this idea, but it won’t hold up to examination. First of all, nowhere in the Pentateuch is it ever claimed that Moses was the author of the books, and Joshua doesn’t make any claim that Joshua was its author. Secondly, the books are all written in the 3rd person about the characters in those books, just the way one would expect in a ‘history book’. Moses did such and so, and Joshua did this or that; not “I did” or “I said”. Now if the books made claim to being written by Moses or Joshua, one could acknowledge that a person could write about himself in the 3rd person; but absent such a claim to authorship, there is simply no basis to assume this.

There are so many more plain proofs that these books were not written by Moses or Joshua, though – rather they were written by some other unknown person or persons several hundred years later. Would Moses have said about himself: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)? Such a claim by Moses himself would prove the claim was untrue! How could Moses write about his own death and burial in Deuteronomy 34? Note the account of Moses’ death and burial is written in the 3rd person, past tense (as one would naturally expect). Whoever wrote this lets us know that he is writing a long time after the events, because he said: “to this day no one knows where his grave is” (verse 6); “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses” (verse 10); and “For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (verse 12). These statements, and others like them in the Pentateuch and Joshua, show that the writer lived a long time after the events being described. (In Joshua 24, the death of Joshua is reported, so the same question applies as did to Moses’ death: can we really be expected to believe that Joshua wrote about his own death?)

In Genesis 14:14 we read: “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan”. The problem with that statement is that the city named ‘Dan’ did not go by that name in the time of Abraham or Moses. It was not named Dan until after the death of Samson, several hundred years after the time of Moses. Judges 18:27-29 tells us when that town came to be named Dan: “Then they [the Danites] took what Micah had made [idols], and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down the city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They named it Dan after their forefather Dan, who was born to Israel – though the city used to be called Laish”. So whoever wrote Genesis could not possibly have done so before the Danites destroyed Laish and renamed it Dan.

In Genesis 26:31 there is this statement: “These are the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned” Of course, the first Israelite king to reign was Saul, so whoever wrote Genesis at the very least had to have written after Saul became king. The city of New York used to be called New Amsterdam; the name was changed in 1644. Anyone who writes about events in New York, calling it by that name, by that very fact indicates that he is writing after 1644 even though the writer does not identify himself or tell us when he was writing. So it is with the writer of Genesis. Even though the writer is anonymous, and does not tell us when he wrote, the fact that he says those Edomite kings lived “before any Israelite king reigned” unquestionably tells us that he was writing after Israelite kings began to reign.

This is only a small portion of the evidence available that Moses and Joshua were not the authors of those books traditionally attributed to them. What’s the point, though? The point is that we have no idea who the author was, so we know nothing about his character and trustworthiness. The events happened many hundreds of years before he wrote, and we don’t know what sources he used for his accounts (and the trustworthiness of those sources). Any claim of the Jewish people to the land of Canaan, based on the Biblical story of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, is worthless because the validity of those accounts is utterly unprovable! They are stories compiled and edited by scribes relatively late in ‘Old Testament’ Israelite history, and as ‘histories’ they are just examples of prejudiced Jewish propaganda designed to validate themselves as a nation with a country to inhabit.

However, I seriously doubt those stories were ever intended to be taken literally as ‘histories’, but were intended to be understood as metaphors and allegories to teach spiritual truths. In fact, I believe many of the stories were deliberately made unbelievable so that we wouldn’t be taken in by the ‘letter’, but would seek out ‘the spirit’. Besides such stories as those of a talking donkey, or Joshua successfully commanding the sun to stand still in the sky, consider the deplorable morality of some of the stories. For instance, Numbers 31:13-18 – “Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army – the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds – who returned from the battle. ‘Have you allowed all the women to live?’ he asked them. ‘They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” Or consider Deuteronomy 20:16 and 17: “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…” That is precisely what Joshua did to the city of Jericho, as recorded in Joshua 6:21. What person who has any feelings for the honor of the God of love, mercy, compassion, justice and righteousness would ever be a party to such slanderous lies against God by believing such examples of moral depravity in the name of God? We must either believe they are outright lies, or that the writers intended us to know from their loathsomeness that these stories were allegories and myths to teach some higher truth. (See my article on “The Bible and Evolution” for some quotes from very early Christian literature about the ‘falsehoods of the Scripture’ and the allegorical interpretation of Scripture).

An indication of what the higher truth is can be found in the great ‘faith chapter’ of Hebrews 11 in the “New Testament”. In verses 8-10 we read concerning Abraham: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” This city is then further explained in verses 13-16: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – A HEAVENLY ONE. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them”.

The “land of Canaan” is not a material, earthly territory, but is a ‘heavenly one’. The story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son (whether it was Isaac, as in the Bible, or Ishmael as in the Qur’an) is an allegory teaching us that we must be willing to let go of even the dearest earthly attachments if they hinder our pursuit of God and His kingdom. In our struggle to inherit the heavenly Canaan, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” –those ‘Old Testament’ accounts of combat are simply allegories of the heavenly struggle – “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world [age] and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The Arabic word “jihad” means “struggle”; so the true Muslim, as well as the true Christian and Jew, will recognize here the definition of the true ‘jihad’ as being a spiritual one.

Those Zionist Jews and fundamentalist Christians who promote Jewish occupation of the earthly Canaan, and building of a material Temple in earthly Jerusalem, have entirely ‘missed the boat’. The true Jerusalem is the one which ‘comes from above’, and the true Temple is the people of God, not a building. The true Canaan is the ‘heavenly country’ which God has prepared for those who love Him. Don’t ‘miss the boat’. And when you see or hear about despicable atrocities being done by anyone ‘in the name of God’, denounce them for the hypocrites and impostors they are, whether they’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus (or anyone else).

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Responses

  1. Thank you for the article.Very well analysed and written.However,in my opinion i think you can use the word extremism instead of fundamentalism,coz a fundamentalist christian or a muslim is someone who is following the fundamentals of their religion.btw you should go mainstream..wat say?

    • Aamir, thanks for your comments. I’m not sure what you mean by going “mainstream”. But I do know that I struggle to come up with enough ideas to get one article out every week or two, so perhaps I’m where I’m supposed to be for right now.

      Using “correct” terminology to refer to groups of people can be a problem. I grew up in “fundamentalist” churches, and wholeheartedly embraced the theology until my mid twenties. From my experience, those whom I’m labeling “fundamentalist” do consider a very literalistic interpretation of Biblical prophecy, including the recognition of the earthly nation of Israel as God’s abiding “chosen” nation, as a “fundamental” of the faith. For these “fundamentalists”, it is axiomatic that to have anything bad to say about the earthly nation of Israel is to attack God Himself, who chose and protects them – and therefore to draw His curse upon yourself. To say that earthly Israel has no legitimate Divine claim to the land of Palestine is to be guilty of blasphemous denial of the “Word of God”.

      There are plenty of Christians whom I call “traditional” or “orthodox” who believe in inerrant verbal inspiration of the Bible, and believe in the Deity of Jesus, the Trinitarian doctrine, and the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ – but who do not accept the literalistic “end times” teachings of the “fundamentalists”, and believe that the “Church” consisting of all Christian believers of all nations and races is the true “Israel of God” whose inheritance is “heavenly” rather than “earthly”. They can be either “Reformed/Calvinistic” or Arminian, but they tend to be Amillenialists or Postmillenialists (or Preterists such as myself) instead of futuristic Premillenialists. If they are Premillenialists, they nevertheless don’t buy into the 7 year future “Tribulation Period” and “Rapture” ideas, or believe that national Israel has any special place in God’s purposes and any special land rights. (I don’t know whether I’ve been consistent in my past articles about maintaining a distinction between “fundamentalist” and “orthodox/traditional” Christians. I’ll have to try to be sure to do so in the future; so thanks for your comment).

      Those whom I would call “extremists” are those rare (thankfully) “believers” who believe bombing abortion clinics and shooting abortion doctors is justified “Christian” behavior. Or those who believe in taking violent action against people of other religious faiths (whether Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, or any other). The same label of “extremist” would apply to any Muslim or Jewish (or other) “believer” who feels violent action against “nonbelievers” is justified. Most of those I label “fundamentalist” oppose such violent behavior, and so can’t properly be labeled “extremist” from my viewpoint.

      It’s great being a grandpa. Levi is now almost 7 months old, and is naturally the center of attention when my wife and I visit with my younger son and daughter-in-law. It has been great fun watching Levi show such delight in learning to crawl, and pull himself up to a standing position.

  2. Thanks. I loved this article and as a Christian I find it extremely anti-Christian that people actually assume this “Israel” is the real deal when Zionist leaders themselves considered the Bible folklore yet still claimed the land as a Divine Right and there are many passages in the Bible which states Jews must wait for the Messiah before returning out of exile. Not only that but everything “Israel” has heaped on the Palestinians smacks of the Devils doing and its an obligation of us Christians to stand by the oppressed or abused against their oppressors or abusers. There are NO exceptions. Thanks once again. P.S.Luckily these Christian Zionists are few and mostly in America where they have been brainwwashed by the Zionist owned media which includes that dire “GOD channel”.

    • Thanks for your comment, Derek. I do happen to live in the USA, though, and am surrounded by those “fundamentalist” Christians who believe wholeheartedly in the ‘specialness’ of the Jewish people, and the nation of Israel in particular. They tend to believe that criticizing Israel is to be guilty of inviting God’s curse on oneself.

      Even our politicians, who are not generally speaking especially ‘religious’, don’t dare speak out against Israeli atrocities; and they’d certainly never suggest that the Jewish people don’t have any special claim on Palestine. To do so would be political suicide. That’s why our President and Vice President continue to proclaim unhesitating and unwavering support for ‘Israel’.

      I have been very encouraged, though, to read articles written by Orthodox Jews opposed to Zionist Israel. I don’t believe anyone is more outspoken in opposition to the pretensions of the Zionists. They make the same points you made in your comment: the Jews are Biblically required to wait for the Messiah to restore them to their former glory – and when Messiah comes, he will bring the glory of God to the whole world (not just the land of Palestine). In the meantime, God fearing Jews must recognize that God Himself is responsible for driving them out of their land due to their sins, and must humbly submit to God’s righteous judgment. They must be grateful to God for the protections they have in the lands in which they presently dwell, and support and pray for the welfare of those nations. To seek to ‘retake’ Palestine as their inheritance is actually to act in opposition to the righteousness and commands of God, and to invite further judgment. They actively pray for the dissolution of the Jewish state, and restoration of the land to the Palestinians. Wow! You can check out a couple of those non-Zionist Jewish sites at: http://www.nkusa.org/ and http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/ .

      I admire that viewpoint – although both from a Christian and Muslim point of view I believe that the Messiah has come and was repudiated by the leadership of the Jews (I’m referring to Jesus of Nazareth, of course). He came as God’s anointed Prophet, Priest, and King to turn the hearts of the Jewish people back to their God (they drew near to God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him). As I pointed out in my article on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, the prophet Daniel prophesied the coming of Messiah the Prince, his rejection by the Jews (being “cut off” in the middle of the 70th week), and the destruction of Jerusalem and dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the nations was the result of the rejection of Messiah and his message about God.

      Nevertheless, even though these Orthodox Jews don’t believe that Jesus is their Messiah, it seems to me that they have the message and ‘law’ of Messiah Jesus written on their hearts. It appears to me that their hearts are right with God, even though their minds can’t grasp the reality of Jesus as their Messiah (no doubt in large part because of the terrible perversion of the message of Jesus by ‘orthodox’ Christianity).

  3. read Revelation 7::4 also ( 14:1-4 talking about the same , they are with the Lamb on heavenly Mount Zion) the number sealed out out of every tribe of Israel this account includes Levi and Joseph, but eliminates the tribes of Dan and Ephraim–so the fleshly earthly Israel was rejected , (Jesus said your house is abandoned or desolate Math 23:38) check with the tribes in Numbers 1:4-16
    Being of Israel that counts with God means having Faith, Hebrew 11:6
    Also remember, the Jews used to have, first a tabernacle, then the Temple to show the Creator’s presence and interest in them. What occupies the place of their temple. The New Israel is spiritual not fleshly, BY THEIR FRUIT YOU WILL RECOGNIZE THEM
    Also read Roman’s 10:11-15 notice faith, Jew and Greek, same lord, NAME vers 13
    Is this really Jesus (Compare Joel 2:32) Also Psalm 83:18, if they tell you Lord in your version, this is not a name but a title. You need to search further.
    OR WRITE ME

    • Thanks for your comments, Ursula. It is definitely true that the “Israel of God” is a spiritual people who are of the faith of Abraham; who love God with heart, soul, and mind (not merely those who honor God with their words). The passages to which you referred in Revelation make the point well.

      It seems that most English translations of the New Testament use the word “Lord” in Romans 10:13 – because the Greek word is “kurios”, which the Greeks used to translate the Hebrew “YHWH” as well as Adonai and perhaps other words. However, in my NKJV and English Standard Versions, “kurios” is there justly rendered LORD to indicate that Joel had used the word YHWH (“Yahweh” or “Jehovah”), the Name belonging to no one other than the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Whoever calls upon YHWH will be saved.

      I do not believe for a moment that this refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus came to bring people back to God, his Father (YHWH) – not to bring people to himself. God has made the man Jesus to be His anointed one, and Lord of men and angels; but Jesus is by no means YHWH (LORD). That is, he is Lord, but not LORD.

      Muslims do not like to refer to Jesus as “lord” or “son of God”; and I believe I understand why. Those terms have become so abused by “orthodox” Christianity (in order to make Jesus out to be God, the 2nd “Person” in a “Trinity”) that the Qur’an exhorts people not even to use such terms for Jesus or any other man. However, I do not have any problems with calling Jesus “lord” or “son of God”, as I understand that the “original” disciples of Jesus Christ did not mean what “orthdoxy” has read into those terms. Jesus is a man, like his “brothers”, whom God has granted authority above all other men. He is a son of God as all other men are sons (children) of God; but he is not “God the Son”.

  4. Yeshua is Greek for Jesus. The average Jew calls him by the derogatory name coined by the Rabbis (Yashu). Similar but not the same. here are some exerpts from the Satanic Talmud:
    Some examples: “‘Yashu’ (derogatory for ‘Jesus’) is in Hell being boiled in hot excrement.” (Gittin 57a)[’Yashu’ is an acronym for the Jewish curse, ‘May his (Jesus) name be wiped out forevermore.’] Yashu (Jesus) was se-xually immoral and worshipped a brick.” (Sanhedrin 107b)“Yashu (Jesus) was cut off from the Jewish people for his wickedness & refused to repent.” (Sotah 47a) “Christians who reject the Talmud will go to hell & be punished there for all generations.” (Rosh Hashanah 17a)

    • Thanks for the information, Derek – though I suspect you meant that “Yeshua” is Hebrew/Aramaic for “Jesus”. The Greek word translated “Jesus” is Ἰησοῦς (Iesous).

      I just don’t know what to make of the Talmud. I’ve read statements such as you give before, and they certainly are offensive and “Satanic”. Some people say the “offensive” statements of the Talmud have been taken out of their contexts – but it’s hard for me to imagine a context in which those statements would be inoffensive or “righteous”. To me it sounds like the Talmud represents the “traditions of men” which Jesus set in contrast to the “word of God”.

      I do know that not all Jews speak of Jesus in such a vile way. In my article “The Olivet Discourse: Further Thoughts” I give a number of very positive statements Jewish people have made about Jesus. They may not come up to the standards of Christian “orthodoxy”, but then my beliefs don’t either. Some of those Jewish people have even referred to Jesus as “Christ” – though I don’t believe any of them are “Messianic Jews”.

      So I guess Jews are like any other people and religion – they’re not all alike. There are no doubt still godly Jews, as well as a “synagogue of Satan”. But the Jewish people are definitely not favored by God over all other peoples of the earth; the godly Jews are among the “chosen of God”, but they are not peculiarly God’s “chosen people” due to genetic descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  5. I read that many of you speak of a burning hell. Do you think that a loving God (1John 4:16 God is love, also James 1: 13 {evil not from God, and eternal torture would certainly be EVIL})would consign any people to a destiny like that for an eternity. Revelation 20:10 speaks of the lake of fire. First note that the devil is THROWN into it. He is not there to torment people. but also the false prophet is there, who is he?
    Also read verse 14. death and hell, how can they be burned, or even be tortured, as some claim.
    Sorry didn’t want to distract you from the “chosen race” of the jews.
    Our Creator has a chosen race, human kind, all His creatures, He chose the Jews (means believers in the God with a unique name, actually the only God, who gave himself a name, all other names were given)because of Abraham who did not withhold his only legal son (of wife Sarah). Can you imagine, waiting 100 years for Isaac, then slaughtering him as a sacrifice (picture God, he created His son eon ago, before anything else, lived with him for countless — then allowed him to be despised, made fun of, and finally tortured and cruelly killed——-for our miserable, rebellious lives, to restore us finally to perfection, if we just listened to Him and did His WILL)
    So are the Jews superior? Judge for yourself. They were punished many times as a corrective measure. Judges’ time, King’s time, only a few were considered faithful, but still committed heinous crimes, David, Manasseh, Asa and so on. Add Babylon, 70 years, and finally 70 AD
    Well the 2nd reason why He choose one race, to establish the line of the Messiah or Christ. The genealogical records where kept in the temple. Luke, researched this for us. Who could today do this. Who can establish his right to be of Levi, Judah, (kings came from this line, according to the blessing of Jacob=Israel, except Saul)
    Who can even say for sure, he is a genuine Jew of the tribes of Israel.
    My Father, in the second WW had to establish his ancestry for 300 years back, not to be killed in the concentration camps. We as kids heard the stories, how much effort it cost.
    The Jews went out from Jerusalem as slaves, at least those who survived, many were killed in the arenas afterwards. The temple was torn apart, (Romans looking for gold, then burned) and now 2000 years later, who is still PURE??? We are all Heinz 57.
    And only the man that fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him. Act 10 35. Don’t we all, no exception, need his forgiveness and the ransom of His son, to gain His approval?

    • God’s peace be with you, Ursula.

      In most of what you say, I am in agreement with you. I am not one of those who believe in a literal burning hell. The Bible writers (and “eastern” peoples in general) loved to use ‘colorful’ metaphors and hyperbole – and that’s how I understand their use of such terms as “Gehenna” and “the lake of fire”. Fire and sulfur were well known as agents of purification in religious rites of various religions, so the original readers of Revelation would have recognized those terms as referring to corrective and purifying ‘punishments’.

      I believe that “death and hell” in Rev. 20:14 is a metonym for those who are dead and in hell; and as I said, the lake of fire is a use of metaphor and hyperbole to refer to corrective chastisement, not a literal ‘eternal’ vengeance of God.

      I believe the book of Revelation is a very symbolical portrayal of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, the “beast” being the Roman empire in general, and specifically the Emperor Nero. The ‘false prophet’ would probably be an agent of the Emperor in Palestine (or Jerusalem specifically). For a brief bit of commentary from me on this symbolic book, you might refer to my article “The Health Care Bill and the Mark of the Beast”. Extensive commentary on Revelation would be beyond my capabilities, I’m afraid ( 😀 ). A book I like to recommend for those who are really interested in such subjects as “the Second Coming of Christ” and the book of Revelation is “The Parousia” by J. Stuart Russell. I know you can find it at amazon.com.

      One point where I would perhaps be in disagreement with what you said would be with regard to the “ransom” theory of the death of Jesus Christ. I do not believe that Jesus “paid the price for our sins”; that is a terrible misinterpretation of the Biblical message. “Substitutionary atonement” is not at all necessary – and in fact is impossible – for the God who is by nature merciful and compassionate. God forgives sin; and by definition, a debt cannot be “forgiven” if it has been paid and satisfied. Forgiveness only comes when the debt is unpaid.

      Reincarnation is an important part of my “belief system”; and that of course includes within it a belief in “universal salvation”. If you have the time and are interested in seeing what I have written about those subjects, I have a series of articles about reincarnation and the Bible beginning with “Reincarnation and Near Death”; also 3 articles beginning with “The Resurrection and Reincarnation”. I also have 3 articles on universalism and what is meant by “everlasting punishment” beginning with “Christian Universalism”. That’s a lot of articles, but if you’re interested they’re available for you to read at your leisure. 🙂

  6. Those verses have not been taken out of context in this instance as I got that from a baptized former Jew (Brother Nathanael) on the realzionistnews site I think this Ursula is playing the Jewish victim routine. None of them care how they uprooted most of the Palestinian natives and then ethnically cleansed them away for a selfish ideal-ideology or what is happening to them 6 decades on or about how many they kill. Its all about them. A selfish cult who have no lineage at all to the Israelites. The Israelites themselves were not even natives anyway.

  7. Well Derek, if you think I believe the jews have a right to anything, land or chosen race of God, or whatever, NO. To make it clear, what ever happened to them in the holocast, was awfull, they are still human, but whatever they do to others, whoever they are, is also cruel and inhuman. To take someones land, claiming that God gave it to Abraham and his descendents forever, is bogus. Because all their inheritance rights depended on their faithfullness to the covennant with that ancient friend of God. Again and again prophets warned them.And finally who instigated to have His only begotten son killed. Didn’t Pontius Pilate try to save him, giving them a choice of a MURDERER as exchange.
    They would, according to Jesus’ Prophecy, be dispersed throughout the world, because of their repeated unfaithfullness. but if someone, Jew or Greek, or of any other nation,tongue or race is repentend, would you demand from God that He could not forgive him. Who of us can lift up the first stone. As someone quoted earlier, we are all sinners from conception on. Not because we have done anything so early in life, but because we are Adam’s offspring, condemmed to death. And the ransom of Christ=Messiah(just 2 different languages) is a legal procedure that in effect replace our father Adam with our new Father Jesus (more involved, but I think it would take more time ) He only died to buy back what Adam lost, perfect life. This could mean everlasting life, if we make sure whatever we believe and do, is the real teaching of God. Mathew 7: 21-23. These are the ones that know The Lord, but don’t perform, so to speak. They call him Lord. he calls them workers of lawlessness.

    • Thanks for posting that clarification, Ursula. I was going to point out that it seemed to me you had been pretty clear (in your first comment) in supporting my contention that national, genetic Jews/Israelites do not have any special claim upon God, and have no “divine right” to Palestine. In fact, you clearly stated that it is not even possible today for any Jew to trace his physical descent from Abraham. They’re all “Heinz 57”, I believe you said. 😀 Abraham was set apart for “special blessing” due to his obedient faith in the One God whose name is YHWH; and those who are his ‘seed’ and inherit his blessing are those who have the same faith he had. Those who did not follow in the footsteps of Abraham’s faith were chastised throughout the history of the nation of Israel, and this culminated in the Roman army destroying their land and city in 70 A.D. I really can’t see any “special pleading” on behalf of a victimized Jewish people in your original post.

      Derek, perhaps you just read through her post a little too quickly? 🙂 But thanks for your information about statements in the Talmud. There are some Jews who completely repudiate the Talmud, accepting only the Torah and the Prophets. But is it perhaps possible that those who consider themselves “Talmudic Jews” don’t necessarily accept everything in the Talmud – but allow themselves the freedom to “test everything, hold fast to what is good, and repudiate everything that appears evil”? Perhaps there is both good and evil in the Talmud, and one just needs discernment to distinguish between them.

  8. Yeah I do apologize Ursula. Mystic what religion are you if you do not mind me asking? Who is Ursula referring to regarding burning in Hell? Christians believe that it is not necessary to believe in Christ to go to heaven. In fact, there are many paths to heaven and although Christ is unique (being God incarnate) He is not the only path to God. Other holy people such as Buddha, Mohammed and Gandhi were prophets who led people to heaven. Therefore, one does not have to be a Christian to go to heaven. As Jews have rejected Jesus Christ outright we believe they will go to hell unless they repent before they pass away.

    • The peace of God to you, Derek.

      Thanks for the link to the article. (I’ll respond to both of your latest comments here). It’s hard for me to believe that only 5% of Christians are strong supporters of Israel, largely because whatever the percentage may be, I’m surrounded by them. 😆 They’re certainly very vociferous! With Christian leaders like Pat Robertson, Kenneth Copeland, and John Hagee and their large numbers of supporters, as well as the continuing popularity of non-Pentecostal Dispensationalism – well it’s just hard to believe they’re only 5% of Christians.

      Whatever the case, it’s certainly true that, as with any other religion, it’s not really possible to define “what Christians believe”; there are just too many variations within Christianity. For instance, your experience of Christianity seems to have been fairly “liberal”, since for you Christianity is open to accepting other religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam for example) which do not explicitly reject Jesus as God’s messenger and Christ. My experience is with evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity, in which Jesus is perceived to be “the only way to God”. The Christianity with which I am familiar believes everyone other than the evangelical believer in Jesus Christ is doomed to spend eternity in hell. 🙄

      For many years I was not willing to call myself a Christian at all, because I really believed that’s what Biblical Christianity taught. However, I have come to the conclusion that ‘Evangelical’ Christianity as I was taught it is actually a perversion of “original” Christianity. I don’t believe that any Biblical passage actually teaches that Jesus Christ is “God incarnate”; nor do I believe it is Biblically necessary to believe in the “person” of Jesus Christ – what is necessary is to believe and practice the message he taught, whether or not one recognizes that message as having been taught by him.

      In other words, just as Paul taught in Romans 2:14, 15 that it is possible for a person to have the law of God written in his heart and expressed in the way he lives, without even being consciously aware of “the law of God”; so it is quite possible for a person (even a Jew) to have the same message that Jesus Christ preached written on his heart and expressed in the way he lives, while not being consciously aware that he is living Christ’s message. A Jew who rejects Jesus as Messiah because of the distorted image of Jesus being presented by “Evangelical” Christians, can nevertheless actually believe the very message Jesus taught without realizing it. He can think he rejects Jesus as Christ, while actually living Jesus’ teachings. 🙂

      I do not at all object to you or anyone else asking me any question about my beliefs. It may turn out that I won’t want to discuss it, or I may just not be able to give a satisfactory answer; but I’m not offended by the question. With regard to the question concerning the religion with which I identify, my answer will probably be in the “unsatisfactory” category. Whatever answer I give, I would have to immediately qualify. “I’m a Christian, but…” or “I am Buddhist, but…” Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi is famously reported to have said something like: “I am Hindu, and Buddhist and Muslim, and Christian, and Jewish”. That’s somewhat how I feel. Perhaps, at the present time, my closest identification would be with Islam; but as I said, I have to qualify that with a “but…”

      The thing I like so much about the Qur’an is its explicit liberality with regard to accepting other monotheistic religions. “The [Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabians – all those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good – will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve” (2:62). That is said several times in the Qur’an, and it is stated several times also that God Himself will clear up the points on which we disagree on the Last Day. Islam recognizes that all of the major religions had their origin with God, although distortions and errors may have also entered into each. I get the impression that a devout Muslim can even accept some believers from among religions that are traditionally thought of as polytheistic, such as Hinduism. Many Hindus, like Paramahansa Yogananda and his guru Yukteswar, believed that the “gods and goddesses” of Hinduism were not originally intended to be understood literally, but are metaphorical representations of the many aspects of the ‘character’ of the One. They’re not really many separate ‘gods’, but many representations of the One God. A Muslim might have to metaphorically “hold his nose” when doing so, but he could nevertheless find such a view “acceptable” though distorted.

      As I said, though, there is a “but…” in calling myself Muslim. In some ways, I am more “Christian” than “Muslim” (although “Muslim” just means one who submits to God; “Islam” means submission to God). Traditional Islam maintains that Jesus was not really crucified, and was not killed by the Jews. I strongly believe in the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus and believe it was very much a part of the prophetic message of the “Old Testament”, the prophetic teaching of Jesus himself, and certainly the preaching of the disciples of Jesus Christ. In my article “The Death of Jesus in the Qur’an” I have given an alternative interpretation of the passage in Sura 4 of the Qur’an which says that it was only made to appear that Jesus was crucified and killed. While I don’t have high expectations that Muslims will find my interpretation acceptable, it nevertheless enables me to hold to both the Qur’an and the Biblical presentation.

      I’m not a “practicing Muslim” in that I don’t practice the ritual forms of prayer, fasting, etc. I have never been much for rituals. While ritual may have great value for some people, in helping to focus the mind on God, it’s just not “me”. I believe the important thing is to worship God “in spirit and in truth”. Ritual is good if it helps one to achieve the true and inner spiritual worship (which will be expressed in the way we treat our fellow men); but ritual is ultimately unimportant.

      I also believe that God has exalted the man Jesus Christ above all other men and angels, so that he is “head” and “king” of all creation (always under God Himself, of course). So I recently said to someone in Saudi Arabia with whom I correspond that I believe it was probably Jesus Christ who commissioned the angel Gabriel to bring the message of the Qur’an to Muhammad. I compared this to the first couple of verses of Revelation 1, in which God gave the message to Jesus Christ, who sent it by means of his angel (Gabriel?) to his servant John, who then in turn bore witness to this message by sending it to the churches. So I said that I believe God gave the Qur’anic message to Jesus, who sent it to Muhammad by means of his angel Gabriel, who then spoke the message to his hearers and had it written down for future generations. My friend in Saudi Arabia said she just couldn’t buy that explanation; it’s sufficient for her that God sent the message to Muhammad by Gabriel, without putting Jesus Christ in the chain of command. 🙂 That of course did not mean that she rejects the prophethood of Jesus; just that she doesn’t accept my “Christian” belief that Jesus is “higher in rank” than the other prophets, including Muhammad. I figure that’s one of the differences that God will clear up in the Last Day.

      On the other hand, I obviously have to put a “but…” after calling myself Christian, since reincarnation is very much a part of my “belief system”. This of course makes me closer to “Oriental religions” like Buddhism and Hinduism than “orthodox” Christianity or Islam. But then again, I am convinced that reincarnation was very much a part of “original” Christian belief, and was later suppressed by Roman orthodoxy (the suppression being continued in Protestant Christianity). (You can scroll back through my articles to some of the first ones I wrote – on reincarnation and the Bible – so see my defense of that notion).

      Again, it’s difficult to identify unhesitatingly with “Christianity” since I deny many of the “fundamental” beliefs of traditional Christianity. I believe that Jesus is simply a man like you or me, who was highly honored by God to be His “anointed one” and “head” over all the rest of creation. But I do not believe Jesus is “the God-man” or “God the Son”. I deny the doctrine of “original sin” – that all humans are condemned because of the sin of our “first parent” Adam; and while I believe in the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I do not accept the “orthodox” interpretation of that death and resurrection as “vicarious, substitutionary atonement”. And I believe that all the Biblical prophecies generally thought to refer to a future-to-us “Second Coming” of Christ were in fact prophecies of the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole “Old Covenant” economy in A.D. 70. There is no future physical “return” of Christ, rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, 7 year “tribulation period”, etc.

      So, as you can see, it’s a bit difficult for me to specifically identify with any one religion. That’s probably not very ‘satisfactory’, but it’s the best I can do right now.

  9. I think you may also find an article that came out on 23rd December interesting.

    “More than 50 percent of respondents agreed they had become “less sympathetic to Israel” in the past five years and less than one in 20 agreed that, “Christians are, and remain strong supporters of Israel”.” 1/20=less than 5%.

    Full article here: http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/c-15467/christian-support-for-israel-fading/

  10. It seems to me you have embraced all the religions which is not a bad thing at all.Isnt sufism a bit like that? Maybe that religion will appeal to you. I have never met a Christian who cared 1 iota about Israel tbh. In the UK and outside of America are there any of these Zionists? Not that I know of. Maybe small pockets but definitely a tiny minority of Christians. Their outlook on life is pretty bleak as well as far as I am concerned. They need to be reminded that Jesus Christ died at the hands of Jews so we did not have to & that in the Bible it states that they must repent for having Jesus crucified or else they going to hell. These “Zionists” need to practice what they preach. I grew up in a very Jewish area & I never heard 1 Jew ever say sorry. They cannot. They are pushy, devious, manipulative, intolerant, arrogant, stubborn, hard to reason with racist bigots. Do not forget these Americans have fallen for the corrupted version of the Bible (Google: Schofield bible)

    • Derek – Yes, I have thought that I would fit in with Sufi beliefs. I have done some reading on one Sufi site, and it seemed to be quite compatible with my belief system.

      I’m assuming you live in the UK; it’s pretty obvious that your situation is quite different from mine here in the USA (particularly in the “Bible Belt” of the southeastern USA). But it’s not just evangelical Christians who are gung ho over the “specialness” of Israel; virtually all of our politicians vie with each other to see who can be most outspokenly supportive of Israel no matter what Israel does. It sometimes seems that a person is considered “unpatriotic” (and of course “antisemitic”) if he/she has anything bad to say about Israel.

      However, I don’t equate “Zionism” with Judaism; Israeli with Jew. Neither do I believe in collective guilt. There are Jews all over the world, many of whom would never even consider moving to Israel. There are Jews in Iran whom the Israelis sought to ‘bribe’ into moving to Israel, but those Iranian Jews refused. And some of the most outspoken opponents of Zionism I have come across are Orthodox Jews opposed to Zionism. For instance there is “Jews Not Zionists” and Neturei Karta. I find myself quite pleased with the position they take.

      Jews today cannot be held guilty for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The guilt for that atrocity belongs to the generation of Jews who lived at the time Jesus was living “in the flesh” on earth – and they were severely punished by means of their own hands (brother against brother) as well as by the Roman army. (The only way a present day Jew could still be held guilty for the crucifixion of Jesus is if the present day Jew is the reincarnated soul of a 1st century Jew who rejected Jesus and called for his death.) The Biblical position is that the fathers are not punished for the sins of the children, and the children are not punished for the sins of the fathers. Each person is punished for his own sins only. The present generation of Jews need to turn to God with all of their hearts – just as all previous generations needed to, and all humans for that matter. They need to practice the teachings of Jesus, just because Jesus taught pure righteousness and godliness. If they deny that Jesus is the Christ, yet do the things he taught (even though they might not even realize that Jesus taught them), they will have their reward with God – because by their deeds they show that the “law of Christ” is written on their hearts. If they do not do the godly things Jesus taught, then they can call Jesus the Christ ’til they’re blue in the face, but that won’t help them at the Judgment. (The same goes for everyone else also, of course).

      Personally, I find it hard to blame Jews today for rejecting Jesus as the Christ, when they hear orthodox Christians claiming that Jesus is YHWH, the “God-man”, and the “Second Person of the Trinity”. If they think that was actually Jesus’ own teaching, then they are absolutely right to repudiate such a “Jesus”. I would love for them to actually read the New Testament writings for themselves though to see if the Biblical writers actually taught such a blasphemous doctrine. I believe they would quickly discover that neither Jesus nor his disciples ever claimed that he was God or equal with God. Jesus was consistent in teaching “my Father is greater than I”, and that he didn’t do his own will, but only the will of his Father in heaven. Jesus said that the Father is “the only true God”. That in itself means that he denied that he himself was “true God”. If the “son” was “true God”, then the Father wouldn’t be the only true God. There would be at least two “true Gods”. But Jesus definitely distinguished himself from “the only true God” in John 17:3, when he said eternal life would consist in knowing “you [his Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you [the only true God] have sent”.

      Some Jews at least have fallen in love with Jesus the man, and recognize that he a prophet of God and their Messiah – without repudiating Judaism or joining in with the “evangelical Christian” Messianic Jews. I can’t remember whether or not I’ve mentioned this in a previous comment, but in my article “The Olivet Discourse: Further Thoughts”, I have a number of quotations from some prominent Jews which speak very favorably of Jesus, even calling him “Christ”. The quotes begin approximately halfway through the article.

      I don’t much care for the Scofield Bible; but the text of the Bible itself in the Scofield version is just the familiar King James Version. It’s the editors’ notes at the bottom of the page (clearly distinct from the Biblical text) that spout all of the nonsense. One can read the text and ignore the notes if one wishes – though of course it doesn’t make much sense to purchase that version if you’re not interested in the notes. 😀 You might as well buy an unannotated version.

  11. I stumbled on this site while I was looking for a more complete understanding why the Jews in general didn’t except Christ Jesus. They had waited for him for a long time, since 607 BCE they were controlled by “PAGAN rulers” how offensive to them. Gentiles were considered well below them, Jews couldn’t even enter their houses. So they wanted their own ruler. And the Messiah was THEIR answer. But they forgot, he was not to come in pomp and glory, but was first to suffer and die, before being exalted. But since they considered themselves above everyone else, a dedicated nation, apparently unable to do any wrong, at least the male members of that nation, what could this poor carpenter do for them. They saw God’s backing of him, but attributed it to satan. The big picture eluded them.
    I do not believe that Jesus “paid the price for our sins”;(your comment Mystic)
    According to Romans 6:23 we all pay that price ourselves. But where does this leave us. DEAD. .Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 (Paul said, who will rescue me from this miserable state/ Romans 7:24)
    No Hell, if you cannot feel torment, no heaven, if you can’t feel and experience bliss.
    And why would the Bible speak of a resurrection if we all just lived on, maybe in another form, or with a shadowy soul drifting somewhere.(Some believe they will go to heaven as a soul, then when the resurrection occurs they will be given a body, but why come to earth and leave heaven? but Psalm 37: 11+29 speaks of people living on earth forever in exquisite delight , Not everyone will get forgiveness verse 10 speaks of the wicked not there anymore)
    This is where Jesus comes in, without him we have no chance.
    Rev19:10 “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” So what role does he play in the grand purpose of God YHWH, WHO IS He.
    Christendom claims to follow one book, how come there are so many different religions, I have heard there are over 3000 Christian religions in America alone. If I have a certain car, say GM, and a manual for fixing it. When it wears out I don’t want to get another manual. So when my new car happens to be a Toyota I can just use it. Right?
    Just read about Babylon The Great. A great lot of ideas come from there. What is it.
    It is not politics Rev 19:10. The kings stand at a distance
    It is not commerce–19:11-20 merchants, ship captains still moaning over her demise, can’t make money through her anymore.
    Rev19:21–Babylon The Great (started from Babylon, now immense therefore THE GREAT) No Lamp or candle, no singers, flutists, harps, trumpets, no bride or bridegroom, no sorcery (spiritistic practices) and she was responsible for the death of the prophets and ALL SLAIN (slaughtered) on the earth.vers24
    rev 17:4 very rich (on the backs of the people) purple, scarlet, gold precious, stone
    Verse5 mother of similar, entities, compare Living Bible
    verse 10 7 kings, 5 gone, one is (96 CE, Revelation written) (Rome); last one still to arrive
    verse 15 control over people, multitudes, nations, tongues (worldwide)
    verse 19 she reigns over kings (who used to installed kings? Still done in England today)
    verse 17 God will influence the 10 horns and the scarlet colored beast, she is riding, to completely destroy her.
    might have overlooked a couple of clues.
    tell me what you come up with, Are the Jews included(???)

    • Ursula – Thank you for reading some of my blog articles and taking the time to comment. I love it when people show they’re thinking – using their heads – and not just blindly either accepting or rejecting what I or others have written.

      I believe you have the right idea about why many of the Jewish people of Jesus’ time (particularly the rulers) didn’t believe in him. For one thing, Jesus was not at all hesitant about exposing their wicked ways and calling for “repentance” – and they just didn’t appreciate being reproved. For another thing, the “Messiah” they were expecting was a triumphant military leader who would trounce the Roman empire and establish the Jewish people as rulers in the earth. Jesus obviously didn’t fit that picture. They were confused by what appeared to be contradictory prophecies about the coming Christ/Messiah, and pretty much ignored the prophecies about Messiah being “cut off”. I understand some of the Jews had concluded that there were to be 2 different Messiahs – a “suffering Messiah” and a “victorious Messiah”. But they weren’t much interested in the “suffering Messiah”, so they didn’t recognize him when he came. Jesus reminded them – in the parable of the landowner (Matt. 21:33-46) for instance – that the Scriptures in which they believed foretold that “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22). It wasn’t two different stones; the same stone which was rejected was the stone which God would make the chief cornerstone. When even his disciples were overwhelmed by his crucifixion, he admonished them (following his resurrection), “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and [then] to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25,26) [They also failed to understand the true nature of the kingdom of God – a spiritual kingdom which is “within you” (Luke 17:21) rather than a material kingdom.]

      Now, concerning death and what happens after one dies: I believe the verses in Ecclesiastes 9 to which you referred are simply stating the obvious – once one goes to “the grave”, he can no longer experience life on earth (“under the sun”). As the end of verse 6 specifically states: “Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun”. Solomon (if that’s who really wrote this book) did not have in view what happens “in heaven” after death; his only concern was with things “under the sun”. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” because once you die you won’t have any more opportunity to do those things “under the sun”. Whether or not he believed in an “afterlife” is simply not expressed. No doubt the Sadducees used such verses as these, though, to argue against “angels, spirits, and the resurrection”.

      If, however, Solomon really meant to deny that there is any afterlife, then he was simply mistaken. Jesus rebutted the contention of the Sadducees (Matt. 22:23-33) by pointing out the implications of the Scriptural statement “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. He said, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”. The clear intention of Jesus’ statement was that those former “saints” were not dead, but alive and resurrected. And Paul (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:8) pointed out that we have an “inner man” which is growing and developing even while the “outer man” (the physical body) is growing old and “perishing”. This “inner man” will be released from the “house” of the physical body to inherit an entirely new “house” (body) made by God “without hands” (not by the physical process of procreation). And there exists an overwhelming amount of testimony of people who have had “visions” of loved ones who have died, accounts of “near death experiences”, and accounts of recollections of former lifetimes and the period between lifetimes. The “spiritual” bodies we have after departing these physical bodies will be just as “real” to us then as the physical body is to us now. They will not be “shadowy” or “ephemeral” to our perception, no matter how they appear to any physically alive person who is somehow able to see us. And it is this spiritual body which constitutes “the resurrection”. According to 1 Corinthians 15, the physical body really does perish, while the spiritual body is “eternal” and is quite distinct from the perishing physical body. A resurrection of our physical bodies sometime in the far off future is simply not the “only hope” we have. Naturally, you have every right to disagree with me (and I even welcome disagreement if it comes from using your capacity to think and reason 🙂 ); but that is my conviction.

      The “wretched state” Paul referred to in Romans 7:24 was not physical death, but the struggle he had while physically alive. “So I find this law at work: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (verses 21-24) It is a struggle with spiritual “death” while still physically alive which is in view. The law of sin and death was “at work” within his physically alive body, making it seemingly impossible to do the good he wanted to do, and he longed for deliverance from that “wretched state”.

      Psalm 37 (and other such passages) involves many matters of interpretation, and I won’t try to do a commentary on it here. I’ll just point out that it will involve the question of what “land” or “earth” the righteous inherit; and what is the Biblical meaning of words like “forever” and everlasting. (You could refer to my article “Everlasting Punishment?” for my comments on such words).

      Revelation is a very interesting book, filled with symbols and metaphors. I am convinced that it was written as a prophecy of the very near destruction of Jerusalem and everything connected with the “Old Covenant” economy. This of course means that I hold to an “early date” for its composition (mid 60s A.D. probably), not the generally believed “late date” of the late 90s A.D. I believe the “Beast” referred to is the Roman Empire in general, and Nero specifically. “Babylon the great” is the city of Jerusalem. John refers to Jerusalem as “the great city”, Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon – all cities or nations characterized by their wickedness (from a Biblical point of view) and objects of God’s judgment. Notice that in Rev. 11:8, the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt is that city “where their Lord was crucified”. That is obviously Jerusalem. In Rev. 17:24, it is said of “the great city Babylon” that “in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth [land]”. Compare that with Jesus’ statement concerning the city of Jerusalem in Matt. 23:34-37 – “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!“. And consider Jesus’ statement (I believe intended as irony, not absolutely literally) in Luke 13:33 – “Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” This “great city” known as Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon was the corrupt city of Jerusalem which was about to receive the prophesied judgment of God for all of “her” “harlotry and adultery” with the surrounding nations, and her murdering of God’s prophets and saints.

      Mark referred, in one of his comments, to a series of videos by Kenneth Gentry on the book of Revelation. The link takes you to the first video, and from there you can go to the other 24 one by one by finding the correct link on the right side of the page. You would have to have some time on your hands to get all the way through the videos; but then again you don’t have to watch them all in one sitting. 😀 While I myself don’t agree totally with his viewpoint (that always happens, doesn’t it? 🙄 ) as he is a “partial preterist” who believes some parts of the book are still future – particularly chapter 20 – I find that overall he does an excellent job of presenting the message of this Revelation.

      Although the Biblical writers spoke of terrible judgments upon the Jewish people, it was always recognized that at all times there was a righteous remnant who inherited God’s blessing. In Revelation, there was indeed a “synagogue of Satan”; but there were also 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel who had God’s ‘seal’ on their ‘foreheads’, and who were to be preserved from the coming terrible judgments. “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).

  12. Am working on it, but am extremely busy. Have a few good friends in the hospital or sick at home. read you comments on the snow accumulations. Always find it interesting when you have storms in the USA and the arctic is free of ice. Then they blame Canada for the cold coming down, SMILE, too

  13. Mystic, just one more thought on the Jews not accepting the Messiah. Came across a quote from a Jewish source, where they state that (my translation) Abraham’s faithful course of life ensured that all vanities and lies of Israel in this life, are covered.
    Now I know that what I have read so far, none of you belief this, and how could he (Abraham) Psalm 49:7 “none of them can redeem his brother nor give to God a ransom for him.”
    But then, don’t we expect the same for us? I don’t mean what the psalm said, but that God is so merciful that we can expect His mercy in all things. Remember the flood, the different faiths, in general, cannot deal with this, so they call it a myth, right?
    And I recall, you have trouble with the ransom of Christ. so I researched this and found out a very peculiar thing, compared with a diaglott, the word ransom is not always translated with the same word. You will find that sometimes you read ransom which is the actual price, at other time the translation calls it redemption, actually what you achieve with the price. And why would we even need redemption, if God in his great mercy forgives us anyway.
    I have been to funnerals, where really bad people were sent to heaven.
    Their is no hell, even the King James version. in it’s margin in Revelation I believe it was in 20 (don’t have this bible here, but you could research this) call Hell the grave. The King James bible was originally translated by Tyndale, but this translation was rejected by the church and most copies were destroyed. He was then strangled and burnt at the stake. http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/william-tyndale.html
    Later his translation was revised and accepted by the church, what was lost there?
    So when I research the word ‘Ransom” The translations use different expressions for this word. Why is this word in the bible when it actually has no meaning.
    Apparently, we live, then we die, but not really, because we have an immortal soul. Whom do we believe? God, who said you will positively die. Ezekiel 18:4 (all sinners) Ecclesiastics 9:5+10, Job 14:14
    Or Satan, who said, you will positively not die. Your dead loved ones will help or hurt you, You can talk to the dead, You have near death experiences, and see a light in the tunnel.
    The wages sin pays is death. But Romans 5:17, brings Jesus into the picture and the ransom+price
    Mystic I would like to correspond with you, if you don’t mind. No obligation or money But I like your reasoning without blinkers. Many are blindly believing what their ancesters have believed ‘if it was good enough for my grandfather it is good enough for me.’
    I emigrated from my home country, because it was expected of me to follow the trends. But I have a mind and need to prove to myself what I accept. The truth is out there, but you have to find it, often it involves much digging. 1 John 4:1 ( TRY IT ,KJ,TEST IT OUT, other translations)
    If you like I will give you my email.

    • Ursula – Peace and blessing from God to you.

      I’ll try to send you an e-mail in the next couple of days. Your e-mail shows up on the comments page of my blog “dashboard” (though not in the comments section of the article itself). I don’t think I’ll be able to do it today, though. Thanks for your interest.


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