Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Ritual cleansing and purification

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

When you look at many of the major world religions they have some sort of cleansing ritual associated with normal life events such as with childbirth and death including their normal day to day actives of human experience as with menstruation, flatulence, sleep, sexual contact, unconsciousness, emission of blood, semen, vomit, and disease, etc.
Some of these purification rites involve ablutions such as are practiced among the Bahai Faith while others prefer their bodies to be completely immersed in water.
For the Jews this ritual involves such acts as hand washing and the Mikvah while Muslims have the Ghusl and Wudu. Hindus bathe in the holy river Ganges and practice  Achamana and Punyahavachanam. The Shintoist performs Misogi and the Native American Indian has their Sweat Lodge.
Though these religions have a vast array of differences in their world views there are some similarities or familiarities as involving some form of water which for them carries a real sense in which a person consciously discerns their uncleanness with an innate awareness that they are in some significant way defiled therefore in need of cleansing as symbolized by these actions with the use of this universal solvent as an agent of purification.
This self awareness as found in some religious expressions becomes a behavioral attitude towards having a mindful sense of a transcendent reality with a methodological approach according to the old adage of cleanliness is next to godliness. However to say that there is a correlation to this physicality or materialism as applying it as an effectual agent as dealing with divine disfavor and dissatisfaction or as an opportune to sanitize ones, so called, divine essence proves to be counterproductive  as constantly needing to repeat the same activities over and over again with an endless cycle of washings which intuitively seems to lack a complete sense or sufficient effect to sustainably cleanse. These reactions towards a need for sanctification and holiness seem to fail in creating a stockpile of merit as they are short lived as being negated with the brevity of time as they perpetually rewash themselves again and again as being subjected to their frequent immorality and imperfection as human beings. Thus it appears this need for repetitiveness to be thoroughly cleansed can’t be entirely removed in the ultimate sense as leaving some aspects of their being unclean and in need of someone else who is capable to reach the unreachable part of their self identity as eliminating the defilement of their human hearts.
Anyway there are some real practical benefits of hygiene when it comes to bathing and washing but to make a direct association between the internal and external facets of an individual through these habitual mannerisms of superficial skin deep treatments, which may be sincere and outwardly appear to be a form of wisdom, yet are unable to penetrate beyond the surface level as connecting the physical realm to that of the immaterial and immortal soul  as contributing towards an individuals spiritual well being.
Rabbi Yeshua put it this way as addressing His fellow Jews concerning such practices

Matthew 15:1-2,11, 17-20
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Apart from human filth the other aspect of this matter may deal with the significant sense and understanding of a deeper realization to remove the impurity of guilt and shame left behind from their moral failures. This reminds of the Shakespearean play in which Lady Macbeth shouts “Out, damned spot” concerning her role in the death of King Duncan as a need to remove the sin stained bloodshed from upon her hands.
In some respect by performing these rituals it becomes an indirect way through their actions to openly confess as recognizing their state of immorality and therefore washing becomes a way of responding according to their human ability and self effort to somehow mysteriously do the job as sufficiently dealing with their moral failures with this compulsive drive to be made clean. Again, I believe this fails to demonstrate an efficacy regardless of their awareness, desire, piety and zeal in performing these rites as the sufficient means to reconcile or ratify  these matters through the limited and dependent abilities of human factors as a somewhat penitent act to offset as to appease, gain favor and acceptance by these various methodologies. Even if all this were somehow possible then when would  it ever be enough to absolve their status or state of uncleanliness and to what degree of scrubbing can sufficiently eradicate the tattooing that has indelibly left its mark upon the heart which has pigmented the spirit and soul with death from both its past and future actions.
Conclusively there is a real conscious sense which is inherent within all mankind that we have violated the standard of a holy God as indicative with an impending sense of a future judgment for those who fail to resolve this substantial conflict.

Romans 2:14-16
14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Mankind has struggled to deal with this tension in forming or creating a delusional religious dialogue of ideologies as blazing a trail in finding a solution to navigate this journey towards enlightenment while the hostility of the deceived  anti-theistic psychopath just plainly denies the need to leave their personal abode as to venture out on a quest, which according to their belief, leads to no where as religion becomes an avenue by which weak willed persons have succumbed to the Freudian neurosis of fantasy as seeking a path to a make believe land.  So interestingly, either way, mankind has found a method to traverse or cope with this matter as to self manage this conscious appeal from the Creator.
In response to this crisis I would like to suggest a solution by means of the person and work of Christ who unlike other religious expressions isn’t about mankind trying to find, approach or reach out to God but rather it is about God pursuing mankind relationally with humanity reciprocating a trust response. Thus it isn’t according to the the strength, or for that matter weaknesses, of mankind’s personal abilities but rather cleanliness and purity has been graciously offered as a free gift resulting in fellowship and worship by which God, not us has made possible.
Titus 3:5
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 John 1:7 
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You may object in believing Christianity to being no different than any other form of religious expression with its cleansing sacrament of Water Baptism and in part I would have to agree with you as for some it is no more than a mere bath as going through the motions of identifying with the Church but who are in essence unclean as pseudo believers. True baptism, as a central tenet of the faith, primarily serves as an outward sign or symbol of the effectual and cleansing power of the perfect and precious life blood of Jesus which redemptively purifies all believers in judicially declaring them righteous as coinciding with the transference of the Holy Spirit as the personal change agent who through the process of regeneration brings about an inner transformation. Thus the act of water baptism is a witness or testimony to a reality that didn’t come by combining the elements of hydrogen and oxygen in order to benefit from a liquid but rather it was through the saving work of Christ and the living water of the Holy Spirit as the dynamo that inhabits a person as evidenced by a changed heart and life. It is God Himself that gives the good gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit which does not subsist through the plunging efforts of human baptizers and therefore water baptism becomes only a glimpse concerning this heavenly reality of the power of God in this womb like transaction as giving new birth to a person, not as being born of human will or origin such as with religious activities, but rather through the initiation of God as being born from above or born again through Christ and the Holy Spirit. This being born anew is not to be confused with the Hindu and Buddhist concept of rebirth, as it is the resultant work of Christ who imparts the Holy Spirit as contingent upon His initiative followed with a responsive act of faith or trust in His salvation.
The scriptures likens this reality based on future redemption of Israel according to the Hebraic prophet Ezekiel 36:25-27.

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Rabbi Yeshua said it this way during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot in

John 7:37-39
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The ancient Jews at best had a temporal satisfaction in their ritualistic duties to God but as stated in Hebrews 10 these were only symbols not the reality  themselves as Christ’s offering for our cleansing was given once and for all as the perpetual sacrificial offering as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. To say that Jews don’t need a sacrifice today as the rituals of prayer, fasting and good deeds will suffice as being satisfactory is an act of violation and rebellion against the inscripturated word as denying the fulfillment of the Torah regarding, Leviticus 17:11.

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

No matter how many Mitzvot you perform what surety is there that you have done enough or that your sins have been forgiven apart from the provisional sacrifice of God’s mercy and grace through the Messiah in Isaiah 53?
Likewise for my Muslim friends to deny the death of Jesus as some semblance of failure within the prophetic office entirely misses the point that this was God’s glorious plan to provide an Abrahamic type of  substitutionary atonement by means of the Messiah whose temporary disgrace and shame served as a joyous purpose and occasion as enduring the cross in leading many to glory, Hebrew 2:9-18; 12:2.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2011/07/14/crucifixion-of-jesus-christ-and-islam/

In closing Jesus can give you living water which can completely and fully satisfy  and refresh your soul and even though the heavenly Father can lead you to this water He won’t make you drink of it. So finally I would encourage you my friend, like the Samaritan woman, to simply ask for this living water which is essential towards quenching your spiritual thirst apart from false religions, cults  and philosophies which will only leave you high and dry as only being thirsty once again.

John 4:10, 13-14
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this (well) water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Lastly Jesus invites you!
 
Mt 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How to have a realtionship with God

www.jesusandjews.com/wordpress/

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Visions and Dreams of Jesus, Isa, Esa, Yeshu, Yeshua

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Hello, I was asked by a friend of mine in a Muslim country if I would share with them about the people whom I know that have had a dream or vision of Jesus. To begin with  I had a dream of God when I was a small child and I couldn’t have fabricated this dream as He appeared to me in a bright light which is consistent with the biblical description of God’s glory which was unbeknownst to me at the time. It left such a deep impression on me that I still remember it today and even though He did not say anything to me it was the  brilliance of His presence which communicated to me that He was worthy of worship and therefore I prostrated myself before Him. Also I have a couple of Jewish friends who had personal experiences with Jesus. One lady was a good friend of mine and she was very resistant to Christianity as she considered all religions valid.  She never took me seriously and at one point she even made the comment that her dad was good at debating Christians and that was the end of the conversation.  However right before she died she was in the hospital and claimed that she had several visitations from Jesus.  Now for a Jew to admit to having a close encounter with Jesus is a remarkable and miraculous event which I believe deeply changed her perception about Him as the Messiah. Another story is from a South African Jew who is now one of my pastors at the church that I attend. He too rejected the idea of Jesus as being the Messiah nonetheless he had several midday visions of Him during his visit to Jerusalem. He has now written a book about his experience which is called “My Jerusalem Encounter.” Finally some of the most interesting and surprising stories or testimonies have come from my Muslim friends who not only revere Jesus as a prophet but who have come to put their faith in Him as Lord. The first time I had spoken to somebody like this was after I noticed a Middle Eastern gentleman at an international church function in whom I latter bumped into at a grocery store. I confronted this Iranian man on how he became a believer and he said that he had a vision or dream of Jesus. Another man I know is a Palestinian friend that I met while in Israel and he said that even though he came from a Muslim background he somehow became a believer in Jesus. Latter he would be locked up in a prison for his faith and it was at that point that Jesus appeared to him and illuminated the entire cell. Other people I have visited with would include a lady from Pakistan who said that as a young girl Jesus appeared to her in a dream and offered her a drink of water and it was at this point that I explained to her that according to the biblical text that Jesus is the living water who gives life. Another lady who is Iranian sent me an email and said that upon finishing her morning prayers that she went back to bed only to be awakened as a green light filled the room with a man’s voice telling her “Stand up! Hi I am Maseeh (Messiah)” In response she claimed that she was too afraid to get out of bed and remained under the sheets mainly because of the presence of His holiness in  that she had not donned her Hijab or personal covering. In closing I have forgotten some of the details of all these stories and I wished I had recorded them at the time but nonetheless I am hearing more and more about these encounters which are real and life changing to such a point that these men and women were willing to be ostracized by their families and society which could even mean death for some of them. People don’t risk their lives for nothing and I believe that for either of these two groups to have had such a powerful and dynamic impact which didn’t come by the greatest personages of their ethnic faith, namely Moses and Muhammad, was a wakeup call for them to rethink the person and work of Jesus in challenging what they have been taught or instructed to believe about Him. Perhaps you question the validity of these reports but I simply request that you ask God or Jesus to make Himself  known to you in such a personal way so that you can believe and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Lastly I watched a couple of videos on the 700 club which talked about some of these Muslims who are coming to faith.

www1.cbn.com/video/a-journey-from-islam

www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2012/June/Dreams-Visions-Moving-Muslims-to-Christ/

morethandreams.org/

 

 

How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism

Seekers

Was Hitler a Christian?

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Here is a testimony from a Jewish brother about the nature of Hitler’s regime.

What did Rabbi Kaduri say about the Messiah

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Islam

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

When dealing with the death of Jesus this isn’t just about the conflicting differences between the Bible and the Quran but this is also a matter of taking into consideration all the other secondary sources which are secular in nature and who are either reporting on the basis of a historical or a hostile view when elaborating about the crucifixion of Christ and therefore they are not sympathetic towards reconciling themselves with Christian doctrine. These sources include the likes of such contemporaries as Mara Bar-Serapion, Jewish Talmud, Thallus, Cornelius Tacitus, and Flavius Josephus which represented both Roman and Jewish authorship.

Also the crucifixion didn’t happen in a corner and for the enemies of Christ this wouldn’t have been a haphazard event of mistaken identity as they accompanied the corpse of Christ to the point of even guarding the tomb. They weren’t worried about His death as they were more concerned about His alleged resurrection and the body being stolen.

From a New Testament perspective it would have been complicated for this scenario to be an act of deception as this would of involved not only the main event but everything leading up to the crucifixion on through to the resurrection appearances of Christ.

Actually Jesus death didn’t begin at the cross but it was inaugurated at the scourging and this was after all the trials from both the Roman and Jewish sectors. So during this whole time they had an up close encounter with Christ which left no doubt to His identity.

The life and ministry of Christ was witnessed by many prior to His public execution and there were all types of people represented at this hanging. This would include the Roman soldiers, religious Jews and then the follower’s of Jesus perhaps even the Apostle John.

Also there were people dialoguing with Jesus during His trial and crucifixion which would have been very difficult or impossible for there to be some type of cosmic deception in blinding the eyes of those who intimately knew Him. Additionally it would be contrary to the nature of God to lie by somehow hiding the truth by fabricating a falsehood to manipulate people into being tricked or fooled into thinking that Judas was somehow Jesus.

The very words spoken during the trial and crucifixion are not consistent with that of Judas as this individual claimed to be the Messiah. This person also used such verbiage as “today you will be with me in paradise” or “forgive them for they know not what they do” and “why God have you forsaken me”. These statements were made by the innocent party not by the one who was doing the forsaking or betraying.

We also understand that there was physical evidence after the resurrection in which Jesus revealed His wounds and so for this whole ordeal to be some kind of conspiracy theory it is just not consistent within the testimony of the new covenant literature along with the evidence from all these other external sources that I have mentioned as well. Even the Old Testament concurs with this theme and can be considered as a complimentary text which couldn’t have been tampered or altered by Christians as the Jews had secured these writings prior to the advent of Christianity. Amazingly when a secular Jew unsuspectingly hears the Old Testament scripture for the first time such as with Isaiah chapter 52:13-53:12 and Psalms chapter 22 they sometimes make an association between the crucifixion of Jesus and this suffering servant. At this point they often object and infer that you have read something to them from the Christian bible not even realizing that these passages came right from their own scriptures. Not only that but these verses contain details of His flagellation and crucifixion which could not of been fabricated especially since this form of execution wasn’t even developed until long after these words were prophetically spoken. Anyway I am sending you a link to these biblical passages in English so you can reference them.

Isaiah
Psalms

Lastly even the skeptics of today may contest certain aspects of the biblical message but the crucifixion is generally accepted and perhaps there are those who probably think that somehow He deserved this consequence as being a revolutionary.

Finally the message of Jesus prior to His Passion also confirmed His demise in which He told of His impending death prior to its fulfillment even to the embarrassment and amazement of the disciples who denied this outcome. The reason why they initially had these expectations was because the Jews of that time were under the oppression of foreign rule and for them the Messiah was to be their deliverer instead of Him undergoing a brutal death. So why would the disciples portray themselves in less than a  favorable light regarding  these comments made by  Christ regarding His death and  what would their motivation be to make up a story which depicted their hero as dieing by the hands of the enemy? From a human perspective this looks like a form of weakness and defeat rather than a victory for their Messiah. It would appear to have been better for them to go along with the understanding of the Koran and have Jesus leaving unscathed and reappearing at the end of the age to restore all things.

Essentially they did not have the foresight in deciphering some of these Old Covenant scriptures and even today the Jewish people are blind sighted to these texts even though many Jews have come to faith through these very scriptures which I have made reference to.

In hindsight to this matter it is much clearer to see this whole matter after the fact regarding this suffering/death motif as it properly fits into the divine plan of God’s eternal purpose and therefore negating any kind of vain or meaningless interpretation.

If you were to do a survey of biblical doctrine this matter would neatly align itself within the context of the biblical worldview of redemption which actually begun before the foundation of the world climaxing with the sacrificial death of Christ alongside of His resurrection and ascension. This is what is termed as the scarlet thread of redemption which weaves itself throughout the fabric of history in dealing with a sacrificial system of atonement.

The nature of the sacrificial system combines both the justice and the mercy of God by which sin and guilt is dealt with. This ceremonial law appropriated a covenant breaker in that this offender was allowed a provisional ransom in the form of offerings and animal sacrifice. In the book of Leviticus it says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Therefore this animal served as an innocent and substitutionary offering in that its life blood was exchanged on behalf of the guilty party as a life for life transaction.

This whole drama is what has set the stage for what the New Testament book of Hebrews says about Christ who was the reality of these Old Testament shadows as the fulfillment in being the Lamb of God who was sacrificed once and for all in making His work completely efficacious in reconciling us unto God and giving us peace.

The reason Christ came to earth was to represent mankind and because He was without sin He could only do what you and I could not in being a pure and innocent offering as He willfully took the punishment for sin that was rightfully ours. In comparison to Christ’s righteousness we come up short in that we have all sinned and therefore if we contrast ourselves to each other then perhaps we might have a leg to stand on but when we compare ourselves to a holy and righteous God then this confidence is easily shattered. We are not distinguishing between apples here as when we judge between ourselves and others and therefore as we stand before the judgment seat of God we will be humbly aware that we are God’s creation and like a bad tree we have produced the sweetening putrefaction of rotting fruit. God is the author and perfector of all things and anything less than that is a violation of His character. So what kind of assurance should any of us have before God when we are left to our own insufficient righteousness? We are left naked and bare before Him and ever thought and action is exposed and therefore it is no wonder how our very minds condemn us when we fail to live up to the basic moral laws of life.

That’s why we need a Savior because we can’t save ourselves from the justice of God which demands perfection and yet the God of the bible is also described as a God of love and this love is extended to us by making a provision for our sins according to His mercy.

Also God is not under any kind of compulsion to do this as He would be perfectly just to let us suffer His wrath and judgment. However the good news is that not only are we saved from God but we are saved by God through the life, death and subsequent resurrection of Christ.  God provides a solution of which we would have otherwise perished in being condemned but now instead of being alienated from God  we can be confident and reassured so that when we pass from this life to the next we aren’t left to gamble by rolling the dice of eternity.

Perhaps all of this love, mercy, and sacrifice stuff doesn’t make sense to you and maybe your are wondering how God can allow this inequality to happen in that at the same time we are both the beneficiary and the perpetrator to this bloody transaction and yet without this allowance  then how would any of us be spared?

Also the bible supports the notion of God’s transcendence in which it describes His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are our ways His ways. We reason differently in that we think that God shouldn’t act this way and yet it is His prerogative and without it what hope would we have? Also this is not a contradiction or a compromise to His character and nature as He is providing justice by receiving this salvific work of Christ in recompense for our sin. Jesus had the right to lay down his life and to have it taken up. He willfully forfeited  His life for His sheep and even though we were once His enemies Christ died for us and consequently that is why it is referred to as amazing grace.

When you contemplate all of this we can’t even fathom this kind of response and at best we can only relate to the sacrificial love of a parent or a spouse but how much more perfect is the God who created these imperfect beings and therefore I am comforted to know that His infinite love is far greater than that of any finite creature. My friend God didn’t create life to provide fuel for the fire of hell and the bible says it was initially prepared for the devil and his angels and yet how can we escape such judgment if we neglect this gratuitous act of grace by rejecting the provisional source of salvation?

Respectfully, my challenge to you is how do you deal with your guilt? Also have you ever wondered or considered if you have done enough good deeds to earn or merit paradise? Can you know for sure that your life is really acceptable to Allah?

In conclusion God’s love has not abandoned or left us helpless or hopeless as He has lavished poured out His love on us by giving us Jesus who is our confidence for everlasting life.

Finally Jesus is giving you an invitation in which He has shouldered the burden of sin releasing us from this debt of transgression and delivering us from the rigors of religious expectations through an intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Him.

Mt 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

 

How to know God

Muslim Resources of Jesus

Islam and Jesus

Kabbalah

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Judaism has added a variety of extra biblical materials to their spiritual resume which has led to other authoritative materials outside of the bible such as their rabbinic writings along with the Kabbalah.

Much of this information has been supposedly passed down through generations of oral tradition and has led to the folklore of superstitious religious beliefs. You can see this clearly just from reading the Jewish Book of Why.

Anyway oral tradition is not a credible form of transmission as it often evolutionary as being in a constant state of flux. Its one thing to credit these resources as being culturally ancient but quite another to categorize them as inspirational truth.

Ironically Moses was directed by God concerning his revelation to write these things down when it came to God’s commands, laws, and decrees. Also God instructed the Israelites not to add or subtract from the content of the scripture and yet Judaism has failed this test due to its oral traditions and supplemental texts, Deuteronomy 4:2.

Again in regards to the law of God as found in the torah or pentateuch, Moses finalized the text as writing down all things from beginning to end as a complete text, Deuteronomy 31:24.

Additionally, these oral traditions were not confirmed in the Jewish council of Jamnia in 90 AD as being apart of the canon of scripture. Also if oral traditions were so ancient in going back even to the beginning of time and were firmly embedded in the culture then why were the people oblivious to the biblical commands during the reign of King Josiah when the book of the law had been lost whereby it had to be subsequently reinstated? It was to the astonishment and the remorse of the chief ruler who didn’t have a clue to the content of the book of the Law and therefore if the supreme potentate didn’t have such knowledge then what hope was there for the commoner, 2Kings 22? No wonder God had Moses commit the law to script instead of memory and had he not done so where would we be today? Yet surprisingly even with these biblical texts the word of the Lord is still being revised or improvised and this is what was done through such writings as the Qaballah and the Talmud. How far would this adulterated script have progressed or regressed if we wouldn’t of had any of these sacred documents which argues even more loudly for the necessity of a written revelation as opposed to sanctifying the practice of oral tradition. When God wanted his message passed on to future generations by word of mouth it was only from rehearsing and elaborating on the written revelation not by establishing other traditions or extra sources. No wonder the prophet Isaiah admonished the people of his day and future generations who would take these oral traditions and circulate them in such a way to define a man made religion of what has been formally known as Judaism today.

 

Isaiah 29:13

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth

and honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship of me

is made up only of rules taught by men.

 

When looking at Cabala it can be compared to neo-Gnosticism as being pagan by incorporating occultic rituals that are more in alignment with the astrology of star gazing and numerology rather than what would be considered scriptural truth. Also it is on par with such things as the DaVinci code, prophecies of Nostradamus and movies like National Treasure which relate to some kind of conspiracy theory.

Yet the Hebrew bible denounces this kind of activity that would be considered in league with the devil. That’s why its not surprising to see those who have a close association with the occult as comfortably participating with such knowledge as being antithetical to the God of the Hebrew bible and in turn is supported by such groups as the Wiccans and is even alluded to in the sorcerer’s handbook. God gave specific instruction to have nothing to do with these occultic practices.

 

Deuteronomy 18:9-13

9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

 

This movement also has ideas that have been borrowed from the Eastern religions with varying concepts that are reminiscent of dualism, panentheism, pantheism, and reincarnation and it also shares in a common view with the mysticism of Sufis along with the practices of Asian culture.

Yet God forbade the Israelites to associate with foreign religions which would be a snare and a stronghold to draw them away from the Lord and would eventually lead to their demise and foreign domination along with a consequential Diaspora.

Regarding the Cabalah many presuppositions are made from manipulating letters and words to form a new meaning or a deeper understanding to the hidden code of the bible and now with super computers the bible can be unlocked like never before in opening up the way to all different possibilities of enlightenment. Even medieval Christianity developed this faulty methodology as finding hidden clues within the plainer view or more literal sense of the text. This can be quite dangerous as it makes the scriptures speculative and subjective in being relativistic versus an objective form of truth. To take historical genre and convert it to allegorical and metaphorical language is heretical and can lead to the destructive properties and consequences of personal interpretation which not only  can violate and conflict with biblical doctrine but it can also lead to bringing harm to its practitioners and others. Intuitively mainstream Judaism rejects the Cabbala today as being authoritative and those who hold to this esoteric script are more towards the outside fringes of Judaism which are mainly the Hassidim.

To show how bizarre and cultish these beliefs are there has been a considerable controversy within those who are associated with the Kabala Centre which has led to such allegations as money grabbing, deceptive marketing, hero worship and the abuse of their members. So much for being a torah focused group which forbids adultery yet has allowed their founder to leave his wife in order to hook up with his secretary in which she believes they had met during a reincarnated state in the Spanish Revolution. This sounds more like New Age rather than a Jewish movement.

Anyway from an external appearance this teaching may seem genuinely concerned with connecting with God as a transcendent being and has become a way of dealing with the difficult language of eschatology and apocalyptic literature as related to supernatural phenomena by trying to make it understandable and accessible. Yet being sincere in your approach doesn’t necessarily ensure you that you are sincerely right.

Also sometimes mankind has a desire to connect with the ultimate reality or Almighty and there is a part of humanity who wants to somehow harness something that is real and tangible even to the point of compromising their common sense to desperately seek out something of significance.  However, what may appear from a first glance to look like wisdom literature is nothing more than foolishness. Kabbalists should consider that God alone reserves the right to maintain the mystery of His being and for a person to think that God has preserved this special knowledge for an elect few is by definition cultish behavior. There is always that tendency to think that you are the few chosen and elect individuals who have access to the key of life and succumbing to this ideology by finding a religious identity of superiority is presumptuous. The bible says in

 

Deuteronomy 29:29

29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

 

Isaiah 55: 8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

If Kabalah was meant as a means to bridge the gap between knowledge and ignorance  then why has this historical movement reserved it participants to be males of 40 years of age or older? Also why do some think this knowledge should only be preserved within the exclusivity of the Jewish culture even if others are desirous of the truth? How about those who didn’t have access to these ideas for millennium but were left in the dark? Also why is the Kabbala so hard to understand if it is to unravel mysteries?

Perhaps there has been a disappointment with the failed appointments of messianic expectations and the oppression felt by the anti-Semitic sentiments of the nations and the scars that have been left from the banishment of the Diaspora but does this somehow demand an altered interpretative method for the biblical text?

Perhaps its an effort to reconnect with something real like the tangible presence of God by which the Jewish people have been deprived of in regards to the temple precincts and the prophetic voice along with the patriarchal figures of its past by somehow reviving the traditions of biblical faith. Maybe there is a void by which somehow something seems deeply wrong and oddly missing from the continuation of the biblical text which has led to a strange and unexplained silence.  Maybe this lack of connectivity and experience has driven them to fill the void of their emptiness by searching for something more relevant in pacifying their identity crisis and therefore where the bible has seemed to leave off in the life of the religious Jew the Qabala has made up the difference by establishing once again a solid connection between the Kabbalist and the storyline of the Bible.

If the scripture has failed to fulfill you and in turn you have a need to peer into the crystal ball of special revelation then maybe it’s because you have missed the exegetical views of key biblical texts that are outside the normative prejudicial views of rabbinic thought.

To rearrange and internalize the text for a more mystical experience may appeal to seducing the mind but does it really diminish the tension of unfulfilled biblical expectations?

One thing I would like to offer, especially for someone who is desperately open to seeking truth by going as far to consider cabalistic teaching, is to meditate on these verses  taken from

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 “The time is coming,” declares the Lord,

“when I will make a new covenant

with the house of Israel

and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant

I made with their forefathers

when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt,

because they broke my covenant,

though I was a husband to them,”

declares the Lord.

33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds

and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the Lord.

“For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

 

Here it is obvious that the old way of approaching God would be replaced by a new system and therefore how effectual is the Torah to bringing one near to God when it has become obsolete and inferior to a new covenant? Not only that but of the 613 commandments, of which Judaism claims, how many of these cannot be fulfilled in the life of the worshiper today due to the loss of the temple and it’s associated ceremonial rites? Also how is it even possible according to Jewish expectations for the Messiah to return if the law can not be technically upheld?

I know its hard to teach and old dog new tricks but perhaps Jewish tradition is clinging on to something that has been changed. Covenants can and do change such as the  dietary laws from the Adamic covenant in making allowances for the meat eaters of the Noahic covenant. Same God but He changes how He relates to mankind.

After all God is sovereign and to remove the religious centerpiece of the Jewish world and allow the Dome of the Rock to be built on this holy site is an emphatic statement that God is replacing a legalistic form of worship by desiring worshippers who have a heart towards God. This new covenant will be marked  as a time when God would not only give His Spirit to an elect few but would pour out His Spirit on all flesh as prophesied in Joel. A time of exchanging a hardened heart of stone for a heart of flesh as outlined in Ezekiel. A transitory time when the worship of God, which was central to Jerusalem, would no longer be just localized to a city nor just to a few elect people or even a nation but rather there would be an exodus of people from the world community that would rise up to worship the Lord.

 

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says:

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant

to restore the tribes of Jacob

and bring back those of Israel I have kept.

I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

 

These scriptures are all characteristic of the first century messianic movement which began under the new covenant reign of Yeshua which continues today to impact the world in mass route and even the Jewish community of which there are perhaps over 300,000 strong.

This inauguration took place as Jesus took the role as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 in being a type a paschal lamb who was identified as the one who takes away the sins of the world as an atonement whereby we have been justified by His salvific work in whom we identify with in Jeremiah 23:6 as being “The Lord our righteousness.”

There is nothing exaggerated about the numerous scriptural claims of a messianic identity concerning Yeshua and many Jews who don’t have a religious prejudice are able to plainly see that some of these prophecies such as Psalms 22 are recognizably speaking about the person of Jesus. Some will even think that these passages were taken straight from the Brit Hadasha not even realizing that these words proceeded from the pages of the Tanakh.

Whether one wants to admit it or not Jesus is the most influential jew from a world wide perspective and to imagine that the world which has largely persecuted jews, including pseudo christians, would follow after a Jewish leader as their King and Lord should be a sign not from the pages of the Zohar but from the plain text of the bible that He is the Messiah.

There have been many messianic hopefuls among Judaism’s elite, such as Schneerson, who will only live on in the contemporary minds and hearts of a few and subsequently will only serve as a reference to the history books. Therefore  he does not even come close to making a universal impact but rather he has only made a small contribution and imprint to the scope of world Jewry which disappointedly came short of fulfilling the role of Messiah.

Also what of Sabbatai Zevi who was a major contributor to Kabalistic teaching and who thought that he was the Messiah but who later submitted to Allah by converting to Islam? What a major setback for those who held to the insightfulness of these encrypted texts and what a disappointment to those who were left with yet another false messiah.

When contemplating Kabbalistic teaching in searching for hidden codes this can be a real avoidance of something that at times is so obvious that there must be a real blindness and stubbornness to overlooking the Messiahship of Yeshua or Jesus. Perhaps the truth of the matter is that He is not the Messiah you wanted and that would be perfectly in line with His rejection as expressed in Isaiah 53. Yet how does this herd mentality of Judaism readily affirm the truthfulness of its position which has historically rejected Him and yet when looking at their track record from the pages of the bible there is  a consistent theme by which corporate Israel has continually turned away from God and His anointed leaders over the course of biblical history?Therefore the idea that the majority rules may work for the democratic vote but it doesn’t affect the theocratic vote of the one true God.

The old covenant which led to the banishment of Israel under the subjection of foreign occupancy along with the destruction of the temple does not mean the defeat of the Jewish faith but rather it is God who is opening up a new and living way.

To try to maintain the Mosaic covenant by a replacement theology of prayer, good deeds, and fasting to compensate for the rituals of the Old Testament covenant is a pacifier and a lie to implement a man made system that “works” and to uphold to any of these extra biblical texts such as the writings of the Rabbis and the Kabbalah is just another golden calf which has robbed the people from a full disclosure to the revelatory wisdom of God. To try to make your own way is no different than the idolatries of Israel’s past who prostituted themselves to a foreign reality of a god kind by developing a spiritual aptitude that is unrelated to the biblical text in making a god after their own image.

If Kabbalah is the real gatekeeper to the storehouse of God’s knowledge then why did it take so long to establish after the canon of scripture? To give Qabalah an earlier date such as the second century or before is truly gratuitous and speculative at best and most don’t even really know when it all began but many have assigned it to the medieval time period in being developed as a reactionary and revolutionary response versus a revelation.

As a biblical injunction false seers and prophets were condemned as flirting with God’s word and this is no different than the falsehood and error that is practiced among these Kabalistic visionaries.

So to force and coerce the scriptures like a magician is only an illusion to truth and in the end it will only prove to be trickery and deception.

Additionally, manipulating God’s name as a hocus pocus is what many occultic cultures do when they pronounce blessings or curses in thinking that somehow they are invoking the supreme power by their words. It is believed among some of these cultures that by knowing someones name that you obtain a type of mastery or control by which to influence the person or situation.

Therefore can we really order the universe by finding the right key to knowledge and can a person master their own destination strictly through the intellectualism of a book?

Also to categorize these books as being in alignment with science is plain dishonesty as this movement is associated with merely hunches, speculations, superstitions, and intuitions about concepts of metaphysical entities or properties  which are beyond the boundaries of phenomenal science which would put this in league more with science fiction than the scientific method.  This can be seen through its beliefs on the  pronouncements of curses, the practice of mystical rites and the use of magical words, along with the arrangement of ones bed and the donning of the red string, etc., etc.

Additionally, biblical faith and macro-evolution are at odds and to say that evolution, which may be true to Kabbalistic teaching, is compatible with the scriptures is really a denial to the plain truth of the Torah and is characteristic with unbelief as submitting to the spirit of this age. By expressing faith in the philosophy and theory of macro-evolution is not only bad religion but it’s also bad science as well.

Lastly, if the precise wording of the Torah is tantamount to the credibility of this interpretive science then what about the scriptural nuances that are prevalent in the copies of the Hebrew texts by which we have no original autographs? This can be readily seen when comparing the Dead Sea Scrolls with the Masoretic Text.  Even though the copyist did a tremendous job in preserving the text there are still minor variations which can not be reconciled to a system which utterly depends on the complete accuracy of every letter, word, and accent.

In closing, by reflecting on Yeshua it might be a deviation from the traditional way of Jewish thinking but I can’t imagine why such a Jewish figure who had such a positive and universal influence on society not be given serious consideration concerning His messianic credentials.

Is it possible that by looking through the lens of the Kaballah that you have been blind sighted by overlooking what God has openly revealed through the “Word of God” in speaking about the person and work of Yeshua?

If you are vulnerable and desperate enough to reach out to this erroneous mystery novel then why is searching the New Testament necessarily forbidden. Perhaps you should look again and see if there is anything which can be learned from this primary Jewish resource.

Also I know that I have said some very challenging things and that my language has been very pointed and I apologize if I have offended you by overstating my position. Its just that I would like to offer a challenge to you in order that you might benefit in finding the spiritual intimacy that you are really longing for.

So in closing all I would ask is that you would prayerfully reflect and ask God to reveal to you the truth of the matter concerning Jesus and in so doing by connecting with God in a real and personal relationship.

 

 

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“Reprinted by permission.  “(Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions), James A. Beverley, 2009,Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee.  All rights reserved.”

“Should a Christian be a Mason”, E.M. Storms, 1999, pg.20, Impact Christian Books, 332 Leffingwell Ave., Kirkwood, Missouri 63122.

Is The Bible Reliable

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Upon writing this post I wanted to deal with the uniqueness of the bible which I believe gives credence to the reality of the text which ultimately points towards divine authorship.

To study further on this subject I would recommend a book that I read a long time ago called “A Ready Defense” by Josh McDowell who was an atheist turned Christian. His quest was similar to that of Lee Strobel’s who is a well known author for his “case” series of books.

When closely examining the bible it is like a jewel that is multifaceted with a beauty that makes this gem unique among other literary “gem”res.

I know that this is the same claim that others have also made by advancing their various religious world views but in the final analysis the bible as compared to these other scripts sets a precedence which places it in a class of its own.

Every group wants to claim originality, uniqueness, genuineness, and authority as it relates to some supreme or divine origin regarding their sacred text and based on what I have seen so far in regard to these books seems to be questionable based upon the shortcomings and contradictions of their varied positions of belief.

Again I understand this is the same criticism that has been leveled against the biblical text as well and the skeptic is quick to point out all sorts of problems but some are not always able to be specific in their critique.

Also I know there are difficulties within the bible that are hard to decipher but that is not enough evidence to discard its content as rubbish and poppycock.

Some of these conflicts have resulted due to the vastness and complexity of the scriptures which encompasses 1500 years of writing with 40 different authors who wrote on 3 different continents in 3 different languages. This has led to various nuances which at times may be almost impossible at points to complete rectify or reconcile due to the diversity of language and  culture.

Some things in the bible are a paradigm shift to our concept of experience such as its miraculous and metaphysical contents but this does not disapprove the bible either but rather it just leaves us with a bit of a  mystery that is not normative to our sense perception.

As regarding biblical content there are other things that just lack a fuller view of explanation and insight of which the authors didn’t leave us with nor thought it necessary to answer. As we try to fill in the blanks this often times leaves us with a misunderstanding which attributes much to the seemingly contradictions and misapplications to the contextual view which can lead towards heretical forms of teaching or belief.

The bible isn’t always an easy piece of literature to handle or piece together and it is like an onion in that every time you read through it you find another layer of understanding that was overlooked in the first disclosure. Yet just because something cannot not be fully understood doesn’t mean that is can’t be trusted. Even science has these limitations as they are just now beginning to probe into the deeper mysteries of the universe and yet the universe to us is both real and believable.

Also we can’t treat the bible like an exhaustive manual which explains every last little detail and it appears to be the Almighty’s prerogative to avoid an extensive explanation of all the complexities that interest inquiring minds. From a biblical view point there tends to be a concentration on the relevant or central points and subjects rather than always answering the questions of “why”. It’s not like we could fully fathom or understand everything anyway and at points it might be like trying to teach the theorems of nuclear science to a new born. This reminds me of Job who questioned God in his finitude which in turn God answered Job back in His infinitude leaving Job speechless.

As humans we don’t even fully understand the ancient technologies or achievements of men such as the building of the pyramids which are undeniably monumental in their presence and yet now we expect to fully comprehend the complexities of an eternal and omnipotent God?

Also some of the difficulties in the bible apply more directly to that particular point in history which would have made it more significant in relevance towards the contemporaries of that particular generation.

So maybe our ability to discern fully is diminished through this aspect of time and space and one thing that has helped in narrowing the gap of biblical doctrine has been the technological advances of archaeology and their recovery of the evidence which has helped to clarify instead of contradict the biblical text. It’s just a matter of time for some things to come into a clearer view as we unearth the next pile of dirt.

Archaeologists have uncovered habitations that were once thought to be non existent such as the Hittite civilization and they also have found historical proof for the things in the bible that at one time were put in the categorical box of mythology.

Our limitations to discern or understand can also become distorted resulting in a corrupt understanding of the text and fallibility may be on behalf of the interpreter which results in a misapplication to the scriptures but one thing is certain is that these assertions may apply to peoples perception but that does not necessitate an application to the book that is under others scrutiny.

Anyway I really don’t have enough time in this one post to write on such a voluminous work that has copious amount of scholarship dedicated to this subject. Hopefully this will serve your interest in prompting a desire for you to more fully research these claims in unlocking this heavy but accessible door as you enter into the discovery of biblical truth.

One thing that biblical literature has going for itself is that there is more manuscript evidence for the bible than any other piece of ancient literature. There are about 25,000 manuscripts in various languages that date back as early as 125 A.D for the New Testament and as far back as 200 B.C for the Old. This massive amount of manuscript helps when trying to reconstruct authenticity by analyzing possible discrepancies due to scribal fluctuations and these reconstructive efforts of scholars and linguists have resulted in more of a purified text. Most of these variances that are found are minor such as spelling errors and therefore are non consequential towards the integrity of the text.

Unfortunately we do not have the originals or the autographs but still there is only about a 100 year old time lapse between the New Testament autograph and the oldest surviving copies which is quite small considering that most of the other literature that we have from antiquity is between 400 to 1000 years removed from its original source.

Also regarding the preservation and authentication of the New Testament text is that much of it can be completely reconstructed from the quotes of the early church fathers between 97 AD to 180 AD except for 11 verses. In addition to this the lectionaries between 300-1100 AD also confirm the content for the entire New Testament.

Another thing to consider is that when there is a longer period of time between the sources there tends to be a better possibility to embellish the literature content of a document which can evolve into mythical proportions due to the inclusion of oral traditions. We discovered this when we played the game of telephone as kids. So I believe given the relatively short period of time between these manuscript sources helps to authenticate the reliability of the biblical text.

One of the main reasons why there was difficulty in the preservation and survival of these original autographs was due to the inferiority of the parchment which was largely papyrus. Animal skins were not widely used until centuries after the completion of the New Testament so in conclusion this trail of vast manuscripts has turned out to be a blessing in piecing together the textual evidence of this script without the benefits of Gutenberg’s Press.

In moving on to the Old Testament text it was passed down to us by the Massoretes. These copyists or scribes were meticulous on how they counted the number of letters, words, and lines in keeping with the accuracy of the sacred text. This kind of detail can be attributed to the consistency we see with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 which were written about 1000 years before this Masoretic text (895AD). When I was in Jerusalem I was able to see the Isaiah scroll on display at the Shrine of the Book museum.

Anyway in addition to this there is yet another copy of the Old Testament called the Septuagint which is written in Greek with the oldest copy dating back to about the second century AD which is still another piece of the puzzle to this ancient work of literature.

Now regarding the New Testament the original manuscripts were written between 45 and 95 A.D. Fortunately these documents can be ascribed to there various times based on the historical significance of well know people, places, and events. In addition to this I think one key element in determining the age of these documents is the fact that the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.  and since this is such a catastrophic event of which is not even mentioned in such significant historical books  as Acts or the gospel narratives then it becomes understandable why these books predate this particular event in history.

Also before the New Testament could be accepted as canon it had to be validated and  proven to have  an origin that would require it to be of either a first hand witness or someone closely associated with these witnesses in order to find acceptance within the  New Testament community of believers.

Nearly all the New Testament was written by the Apostles with the bulk of literature being attributed to the Apostle Paul. Others that had written books were closely associated with the Apostles such as John Mark who was a close associate with the Apostle Peter and Luke who was under the influence of Paul and there was also Jacob(James) and Judah(Jude) who were the half brother’s of Jesus. We have no reason to question the authenticity of these apostolic authors based on the dates and the acceptance of these scriptures by the followers of the early church.

Even Polycarp in 108 AD, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, mentions 15 of these NT books, not to say that the others didn’t exist, but finally through various church councils leading up to the council of Carthage in 397 AD the canon of the New Testament was determined to be closed and was fully affirmed and accepted officially even though it had already been approved within the community of saints prior to these councilor meetings. In addition to this the Jewish council of Jamnia had already determined their canon of scripture prior to this in 90 A.D by officially codifying the Old Testament text.

One of the reasons for the council was due to a reactionary response as a need to preserve biblical orthodoxy which was under attack by the various cults and heresies that were being circulated at this juncture in history. Also within these councils, which would include Jamnia, the various apocryphal literature’s were rejected as inspirational even though it was allowed within the Septuagint and later included within various Orthodox and Catholic bibles.

The early church was hypersensitive towards authentication and was very narrow concerning the inclusion of circulated texts. The church wanted to avoid the synchronization of controversial texts which is unlike some religions like Hinduism which have incorporated a synthesis of various contradictory tribal traditions as a unified text.

So the bible didn’t just come together haphazardly by the mixing and matching of mythological narratives such as what you might find in some of the ancient pagan cultures that ascribe the  events of the creation and the flood accounts as the work of  the polytheistic gods. Nor does it lend itself to the mishandling of information but rather the authors had a preoccupation for accuracy. Just read the account of the gospel of Dr. Luke who writes with the intent of precision as outlined in the introductory statement of his gospel account in Luke 1:1-4 which is described as being prepared in an orderly and precise fashion.

Though the bible may contain super-nature material it is written with the backdrop of historical narrative which is unique and separate from other mythological literature. If God is who the bible claims Him to be then the variables of His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are clearly within the range of the data that the biblical account supports.

There have also been challenges raised against the gospel accounts which can be seen by the discrepancies of inclusion and exclusion. The bible teaches inspiration with a confluence of both a divine and human element unlike Islam which teaches that the Quran was originated as a divine copy that was communicated by dictation like a stenographer.

The writers of the gospels were individuals who wrote based on their guided perceptions of the same events as it related to their distinct personalities and experience much like interviewing a spectator at a sporting event to get their reaction to the game. Not everybody is going to say the same thing because of a different vantage point in their communication of factual information and even if there is corroboration like you have in the Synoptic gospels there are still allowances for individuality. Of course this is only acceptable as long as it is not contradictory in nature.

If the church wanted to remove any perceived inconsistencies as a means to help eliminate the supposed contradictions then they would have had plenty of time to do this by now but because these somewhat controversial scriptures remain helps to prove is originality.

If we question the biblical literature then we must likewise question the historical literature of antiquity as well as all other literature even from the contemporary sources. We can’t just simply rank or categorize religion under the titles of superstition, fiction, and myth just because it pertains to religious ideologies.

We must also scrutinize what is to be considered as the standardized text book materials such as what is found in the scientific (philosophical) realms which base much of their conclusive evidence on the theory and hypothesis of their scientific methods. Yet are we religiously treating these books as sacred without challenging them by accepting the science fiction notion of such things as macroevolution which has never been proven.

Religion has been attributed as the opiate of the masses but what about the cyanide of the sciences and philosophies in spite of the teleological and cosmological arguments of which science has stumbled over in resolving and has had to shift their position from time to time in order to accommodate there faith which remains in a continued state of flux. Upon closer observation if the skeptic would remove the shutter over their instruments they may come to discover the Creator staring back at them through the lens of the microscope and telescope.

The bible was meant to be complimentary to the texts of human academia and is not to be antithetical to the precepts of life as it appears within the libraries of knowledge. However some want to create a special section that separates it from the rest of the collection of library books by attributing it to a form of  mysticism or some type of the pre-scientific beliefs of ancient tribal civilizations who were ignorant and misinformed.

Lastly this post does not answer every question to all the objections but it does show at this point that the bible is a reliable source of ancient literature. Yet what really makes this piece of work unique is the content which has it origins in a divine being.

I believe that requires something of the nature which is considered special revelation such as the fulfillment of prophecy or scientific facts that were unknown to these ancient civilizations.

A person could give the criticism that biblical prophecy is like an arrow that has been shot with the bible serving as the target which we have conveniently moved in order to achieve the bulls eye of fulfillment.

Yet there are some things of which can not be adequately refuted because of the historical nature of secondary or non biblical sources which are independent of the biblical sources.

One of these sources comes to us through the historical and archeological finds that have helped to substantiate and give credibility to the biblical text.

The scriptures themselves have made some wise towards the receiving of salvation and we see this as a response to some Jews who have come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah just from reading the Tanakh or the Old Testament scriptures. To most Jews the New Testament is an inferior secondary text but when they see an alignment between the historical crucifixion and the New Testament record then sometimes the light of revelation illuminates their mind to connect to Jesus as the supreme messianic figure in fulfillment of the Old Testament.

The Jewish community is not sympathetic towards Jesus even though we share a common belief in God and a holy book. One of the chapters that some of the religious Jews avoid is Isaiah 53 due to its prophetic significance as related to Jesus. Many times when uninformed Jews hear this segment of the scripture for the first time some immediately associate this passage with Jesus and their initial response is that we don’t believe in the New Testament without realizing that they have just heard a passage from their Hebrew scriptures.

Another prophecy, which is found in Psalms 22, depicts the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus which describes this form of capital punishment that was non existent at this point in history and wasn’t developed until later by the Persians before finally being adopted by the Romans.

Again this is another one of those scriptures that some Jews upon hearing for the first time have immediately seen as a correlation between Jesus and His death. Actually this was one of the key scriptures in which my Jewish wife came to believe in Jesus herself.

In considering the evidence of the prophetic I would like to refer to a couple of instances that would be recognized as unique outside of the resource of the bible and would be considered unmistakingly and undeniably valid without the influence of a religious text alone telling us what happened which would include the possibility of adding something after the fact.

To begin with we know that the Old Testament predates the New Testament and that is not in dispute here because of the dating of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls and therefore this text was not the invention of Christianity. The Jewish community had this text long before the advent of the new covenant era and the Jews wouldn’t even think about it as being an extension of the biblical narrative.

Yet the religious  Jews find some real problems with some of these Old Testament scriptures and they either avoid reading them or claim them to be closed or to difficult to understand especially when it comes to the possibility of seeing Jesus as the fulfillment of the text.

One thing I have discussed extensively in another blog is the seventy weeks of Daniel which deals with a historic timetable of dating which can not be fabricated or altered which specifically points to the time of Jesus followed by the destruction of the temple.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/06/19/jesus-the-messiah/

Also another bit of evidence and one of the greatest miracles of this modern era is the reestablishment of the State of Israel and the continued proliferation of the Jewish people against all the odds of a complete assimilation and annihilation which helps in confirming the prophetic significance of Genesis 13:14, 15 which was given as an ancient promise to Abraham concerning his offspring as inhabiting the land of Israel forever. This prophecy was given about 2000 BC and it still good for 2010 AD and beyond.

The historical rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a divine miracle which records the preservation of Israel amidst the oppositional forces of exile and the Diaspora which resulted in the inquisition, crusades, pogroms, and even the nazi Holocaust and yet they have still survived and retained their ethnic and national identity as a distinct people and therefore did not fully integrate unlike other people groups in the history of the world that had lost their homeland. The Jews may have been temporarily displaced but only to return. God was putting them on display as if to show the world his glory and greatness according to his promises which are without repentance.

In addition to this just to hear of the miraculous stories which took place among the Jewish people as they fought to retain their land is enough to make a believer out of you. To see God’s hand in protecting them from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations when they were out numbered and out armed was like a story right out of the bible much like David and Goliath.

There have been many great civilization come and go but Gods word will not fail. A good production to view concerning this reenactment is the movie “Against all Odds”.

In regards to science many have thought that the bible is incompatible with the advancements of the modern scientific age and yet we know that there are many well known scientists working in their respective disciplines which minimally have a theistic view as well as a portion of them clinging to the Judeo Christian faith. Here is a link that gives a partial list of these people

www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html

In conclusion this may not prove to you ever thing that you question regarding the biblical text or the God of the bible but it should cause you to hunger enough to want to investigate the buffet of God’s word as means to satisfy the hunger pangs of our human reality. Our problem is that we have a pallet that is not culinaried towards having an appetite towards our creator. Yet the bible calls to us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
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AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Reprinted by permission. “Josh McDowell A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Copyright 1993, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.”

Jewish Resources of Jesus

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

These are some great websites that are very informative.

www.chosenpeople.com/main/

www.jews-for-jesus.org/

realmessiah.askdrbrown.org/

 

This website contains testimonials of Jewish people who have had personal encounters with Jesus

Life Stories

 

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Four Spiritual Laws

Jesus Film

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Is Hell Real?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

It is easier for people to generally believe in the reality of heaven while avoiding the contemplation of the pitfalls of a hellish realm of existence for departed souls. The hell factor is a controversial subject which people try to avoid discussing and it is often treated with skepticism when taken seriously. The negative aspect of viewing hell by avoiding a non personal view usually comes as a response of indifference due to the possibilities of our individual accountability therefore this reaction is a defensive mechanism of self preservation.

Some people deal with hell by playing the game of ignorance like Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes who would emphatically state “I know nothing” when it was his job to secure knowledge and yet by his statement he attempted to rid himself of responsibility by this claim of ignoring the obvious. This wouldn’t get him off  the hook with the commandant nor will it bring us innocence before an all knowing God likewise.

The other group perhaps they know but by silencing the static of judgement in tuning off or turning down any resources that represents  biblical christianity is only a way for them to cope temporarily by escaping in dealing with the inevitable. Just watch a group of guys squirm and how fast they change the channel if a religious program comes on that has any preaching about sin. You might think they were watching a “quick draw” western based on their efficiency in handling the remote.

Anyway when dealing with sin and judgment there are warning signals that have a clear and distinct alarm system that is to awaken our conscious towards God in alerting us to the danger of eternal punishment Romans 2:14-16, 1John 4:18.

Whether we try avoiding the  alarm by ignoring its erratic modulation’s or by throwing it across the room out of irritation, it still does not remove the fact that it is time to get up .

The alarm clock like the internal noise of our conscious resonates attempting to wake us up to our moral condition and eternal destiny. We may try to counter respond to these impulses through ignorance or resistance in trying to remove the annoyance of this persistent bong yet this chime     will not be completely silenced until we no longer wake up to this life.

People have  a difficult time in believing the biblical descriptions of hell as something that would accurately be portrayed as a horrendous place of eternal torment and condemnation and it has caused people to formulate their own reality to hell.

Individuals  have removed the concept of hell altogether by declaring its non-existence or by stating if it does exist then it occupants are Satan and his entourage of demons along with the Hitler’s of our societies.

Others downplay its horrific scenes as something to be desired like a  “big party.”

Some take  a less serious view of its recourse by seeing it as only a temporal realm of intermediacy such as a purgatorial existence or maybe as a flash fire of flesh such as annihilation.

I recently watched a documentary on this concept of heaven and hell as related to near death experiences and based on the testimony of some of these secular and religious researchers they agreed that these subjects that they viewed and interviewed where having real experiences based on their perception and this death event could not be conclusively explained by preconceived expectations of death or by the hallucinatory agents of brain chemicals.

One of the secular researchers ruled out psychological interference as well because he thought it was counterproductive to fantasize about hell when you were dying.

Most of these near death experiences are becoming more frequent now due to the technological advances of reviving people and it is said that there are about 12-15 million Americans alone who have had these experiences.

One commentator says that most people undergo a religious transformation after these close encounters with death and hallucinations alone can not account for for these kind of changes.

Another researcher had done his work internationally interviewing over 300 cases and his research had indicated a consistency of testimony of  both the hellish and the heavenly descriptions as one would find in the biblical text.

As we approach the pagan festival of Halloween many people treat death/hell like they treat this holiday. Sometimes people don’t understand or care to understand about the reality of the spiritual realm behind this Satanic celebration. For them it is just a harmless game of fun  and yet like death there can be a reality and a hidden demonic element that masks itself from our plain view and “tricks” us into being deceived by thinking that the realm of Satan, demons, and hell are only the inventions of Hollywood and preachers.

Hell becomes trivialized and commercialized and before to long it no longer haunts our minds but rather it morbidly becomes desirous in establishing these new evil role models making “Harry Potter” out to be a hero or a desirable character.

In spite of this there are some who want to seriously consider the knowledge of the after life or  at least they are curious about it and this has led to the releasing of the popular books, 90 minutes in heaven and 23 minutes in hell.

I personally know a couple of close friends that had a NDE in which they experienced heaven and one lady was so awestruck by the experience that she didn’t want to come back and I remember her telling me how that her husband could not understand why she didn’t want to return to her earthly life with him and this same testimony coincides with the other people that were being interviewed on this program likewise.

The other person that I know was a pastors wife who had visited  heaven and had seen and talked to Jesus.

In many of these spiritual encounters people have claimed to have seen things that were associated with the apocalyptical literature of both the Old and New Testaments.

One other bit of evidence that substantiates these Near Death Experiences is that these people are quite in touch to the details of what is going on around them in the room while they are in a  comatose state. They can even describe details of what is going on outside of the room as their spirit is leaving their bodies. Also they were seeing and experiencing things even beyond their own mindset and exceptions which was unexplainable as well.

The secular researchers were not conclusive in their findings on this matter as they were not able to explain or pinpoint  how these people had experienced these things when it went beyond their  human capacity for experience or perception. I believe this then leaves the door open to discuss the realm of the supernatural.

So in venturing forward on this quest of life after death lets see what the bible says about hell. The word for “hell” is the Hebrew word “sheol” as found in the Old Testament. This word can be used broadly and can generally apply to the grave, pit, and the natural realm of physical degradation. It can also be used to describe the abode of the dead or a shadowy or obscure kind of  existence.

More specifically what I am interested in describing to you is not just the physical process of death which we pretty much understand  but the spiritual plane which based on these researchers is a reality that is just as real for those who have experienced these NDE’s.

The Old Testament does not give us many clues as compared to the New Testament record which makes it more definable and descriptive in the way of terms.

The prophet Daniel sets the stage for the concept of the after life in Daniel 12:2 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

So this speaks of not just the afterlife but of the concept of the “physical resurrection” which is beyond the scope of this blog but was believed by Jews and Christians as evidenced by the ossuary boxes that you find in ancient Israel which would contain the bones of the deceased. The resurrection is to be the final act of salvation of which Jesus himself has already participated in as a type of first fruits from the dead. Somehow mysteriously these resurrected bodies will be apart of our fixture of being at a final point in the consummation of human  history which for the Christian is one of the concluding acts of redemption.

Anyway back to Daniel what begins to emerge here is the concept of “eternal” life versus “everlasting” contempt. It may be easy to visualize an eternal home of bliss but the rules must equally apply bilaterally with the synonymous words of eternal and everlasting otherwise this scripture becomes a contradiction of terms.

Under the old covenant economy the view for sheol is seen as a habitation of both the righteous and the ungodly that are held in a state of being with a chasm drawn between these two existence’s. One is referred to as Abraham’s bosom where the righteous dwell and the other is a place of torment. This is best displayed with the description Jesus gives to us in the gospel narratives which describes  to a limited extent these eternal holding places which we will discuss more about later.

We get some secondary clues from the OT/NT that show some indication of the afterlife as quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:32 concerning Exodus 3:6  where God says that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Jesus concludes that He is the God of the living and not the dead which shows that there is a continued state of existence beyond the physical boundaries of this life.

Also in the Old Testament it refers to God gathering people to their fathers at the moment of death such as in 2kings 22:20.

We see the prophet Samuel as one who had come up from the ground to address Saul in 1Samuel 28:11-15

Also there are references to the “book of life” as those who will enter into eternal life and those who were not written or had been removed “blotted out”  which referred to eternal damnation. We see these references in both the Old and New Covenant passages such as found in Psalms 69:28, Exodus 32:33,  Phillipians 4:3, Revelation 3:5,13:8, 17:8, 20:12-15, 21:27.

Now the New Testament develops a fuller expression to the concept of hell and the righteous abode in which Jesus gives us a preview of these habitations as related to the story about the “Rich man and Lazarus” as found in Luke 16:19-31.

The rich man and Lazarus are dwelling in two conflicting environments with a gulf fixed between them as a barrier that could not be crossed. One location was contrasted with the other as it describes the rich man as being in torment, thirst, and in the agony of fire while Lazarus’ state of existence was a place of comfort.

Other descriptive words that Jesus and His apostles speak of when referring to hell, which according to the greek language of the New Testament would also include the use of the words hades or genna, are referred to in Matthew 3:12 as an unquenchable fire,  Mt 8:11 it describes outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 13:42 it is a fiery furnace, Mt 18:8 eternal fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 as everlasting destruction, Rev 14:10-11 as the torment that rises for ever and ever, Revelation 19:20 depicts a fiery lake of burning sulfur and in Revelation 20:10 they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The concept of purgatory does not exist in any of the canonical books as recognized by Christians or Jews.

Nor does the bible speak of “reincarnation” as the scripture says that a man dies once and then he faces the  judgement Hebrews 9:27. Neither does the bible promote “soul sleep” which confuses the physical resurrection with the reality of a spiritual state at the moment of death 2 Corinthians 5:8 says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

These people in the NDE’s immediately went into a place or a presence as described as either heaven or hell rather than a state of nothingness and in addition to this they possessed a spirit type of body. Also these NDE’s say nothing about coming back in a reincarnated form either.

I think one of the main  problems we have in accepting the biblical references to Hell is that our God concept is mis-referenced. We reason that if there is a just God who is completely good then how can he allow people to suffer eternally which doesn’t seem logical or reasonable in making any kind of sense. Yet it is equally unbelievable to think of a person obtaining eternal life based on merely the mercy of God’s free gift of grace without merit in spite of our sinful but redeemed lives.

The original intent of this hellish habitation was to be an abode  for the Devil and his angels and it was never intended for human occupation but know it is given over to all of God’s avowed enemies in the afterlife Matthew 25:41. If God is unwilling to preserve the fallen angelic host, in which we are made a little lower than, then how will we fare if we rebel against God likewise.

If our personal goal to life is a Godless existence then shouldn’t we expect to get what we desire and shouldn’t this desire be consistent beyond the realm of  this life in experiencing the next.  Why should you want God to impose Himself on you in the sweet by and by when you don’t want his influence in the here and now.

One of the resounding themes off this semi-secular program on NDE’s is that you die like you live and I say that pretty much sums up the reality on the other side of the fence.

Satans domain is antithetical to  God’s rule. God is light and hell is darkness. Hell is sorrowful and in heaven sorrow is abolished. God is love while hell is full of hatred. In heaven there is peace while hell is filled with violence, suffering, and torment.

Its funny how we want the benefits of heaven without reciprocating thanks to Him as our creator Romans 1:21. Is God to be treated like a cosmic wh-re? Using Him for the benefit of our pleasure while avoiding the responsibility of a relationship or better yet maybe we feel God owes us one.

If a persons commitment here on planet earth is a Godless existence which is diametrically opposed  to God’s  heavenly rule and reign and presence then why should a person expect to have a heavenly outcome with a God that all of their lives they have purposely avoided. Why blame God for our own position and destination when we had a choice that was easily attainable.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So what are these people like who will taste hell? Are they merely the dregs of society such as death row inmates, serial killers,rapists and pedophiles. Yes, but there is a much larger audience that  Jesus is addressing as  in Matthew 7:13,14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it..

Rev 21:8 assigns hell to the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice the magic arts, the idolaters and all liars will have their place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 gives an another list of hells inhabitants stating;Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

In spite of our transgressions this seemingly paradoxical situation involving sin and judgment has now evolved to the beautiful side of redemption which counteracts the effects of  these vile and wicked actions which ultimately would have earned them a spot  in the confines of hell but now these people have been gloriously translated by means of God’s forgiveness and a changed lifestyle apart from there previous way of life.

If you feel you haven’t crossed over the property line as trespassing on God’s righteousness then perhaps  we ought to look where we are standing as in Romans 6:23.

Sin is not categorized in this scripture and therefore sin is a common denominator in the equation of life as there are none who are righteous which seems to be pretty much an inclusive and universal statement.

We often trivialize our transgressions and therefore we underestimate the consequences of sin to be less than serious and critical and though everyone else’s mountain of sin may seem to dwarf our small pile of “mistakes”  your little stack may be insurmountable according to yet another person’s standard of trivial “accidents”.

Whether it is a little sin or a major sin it still carries the title of sin. Whether you steal a penny or a dollar it doesn’t matter because you are still a thief. Whether you tell one lie or million you are still a liar. We try to diminish our guilt by comparing ourselves to others.

Finally no matter what we do to showoff our “meritorious deeds” before a Holy God, He is the Judge of the universe as one who discerns mens hearts and thoughts. You can never earn justification through your acts alone and the bible compares our righteousness deeds to menstrual cloths as spoken of in Isaiah 64:6. Our works will never be good enough to keep from polluting God’s heavenly existence and dwelling. God has two realms for sin. One is the unregenerate earth and the other is hell and unless you are cleansed from sin you will in no way be allowed to hang your dirty laundry in heaven.

I don’t mean this disrespectfully but Jesus didn’t just die for the “H-ll” of it. His purpose for His incarnated state was to represent man by dieing on our behalf in taking the guilt and penalty of sin. If  we could of achieved it on our own merit by earning heaven then Christ died needlessly Galatians 2:21. A deeper look to the offense of condemnation is not only in our violation of God through sin but by shunning God’s redemptive work of salvation in the Messiah by rejecting His Son John 3:18.

One of the greatest crimes of all is to wave before God our works as a “morsel” offering versus the complete and efficacious offering of Jesus which fully satisfies God’s righteous requirements for a sacrificial offering and anything less is obscene in the eyes of a Holy God.

Remember it only took one “small” act of disobedience in the Garden to bring in a “great” flood of evil upon all of mankind thus bringing a curse to  all men. So how has your transgressions measured up to Adam’s “slip”. Are your transgressions “supersized” or “insignificant” in comparison. You be the judge.

Now getting back to the question of hell. Many people when they don’t agree or like the biblical text then they associate the content of scripture as being metaphoric thus trying to avoid its difficult application.

Yet Jesus speaks of hell in such a dramatic fashion that  He uses a hyperbole in trying to communicate to others its reality which should be avoided at all costs even if it would mean the extremes of dismemberment Matthew 5:27-30.

Based on the context of this scripture many would not take this literally nevertheless this shows a literal severity and seriousness towards the outcome of a spiritual state of existence that is more traumatic than the critical loss of even our physical components. Jesus would not say this flippantly as if there were not a hellish reality.

Finally I realize “Hell” should not be the motivation towards obedience or submission but rather “Love”.

There should be a sense of holy fear or respect for God with a balanced sense of  loving admiration.

One of the best analogies I can give you is that God is like a heavenly parent who sacrifices His  own life for the benefit of the child and even though the child is governed through the hand of correction it is for their well being and development that the “God” parent administers these actions.

Yet extending above these hands are the loving arms of God who embraces you to protect you and give you security. The hand and the arm work together to properly train the child and if done right the child should never see God’s hand as the enemy but as a means of bringing them salvation as a warning to stop.

A child who fully loves and trusts his parent understands this relationship and takes heed when the hand of God is raised knowing that it is done so only by the loving arms that are bearing its weight.

We would think it a crime for a parent to just nonchalantly just watch their child run out in the street in front of an oncoming car without saying or doing a thing. Yet would you despise a God who is trying to get your attention by yelling and pleading for your eternal soul . Would you see it as merely the fear factor or manipulation when he cries out to you “STOP” there is danger ahead.

A child would not question the urgency or the tone of a parental voice of concern and yet when God warns us about Hell then how do we take or respond to His entreaty for us to  repent.

God is calling and actually he is screaming to get our attention sometimes. Will you listen and learn to trust Him for He is a loving Father?

At the end of the blog I have a place on how to have a relationship with God and it will describe to you in fundamental terms on how to be saved and commit your life to God. It is simple process but is very profound in scope and application and it will be life changing .

Trust me I did this over 20 years ago and I will never go back to living a lie for the devil.

What life will you choose after death? Will you choice life after death or death after life?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23.

A sobering video on “To Hell and Back”

 

 
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The Rock of Daniel

Monday, August 31st, 2009

In Daniel 2 the prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar involved four ancient kingdoms which would be progressively interpreted as being  Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, and finally the Roman empire.

These kingdoms have all but diminished and disappeared so what kingdom has overtaken them and continues to endure forever even to this very day, verse 44? Who is this “Rock” that would become a huge mountain filling and influencing the whole earth in sequence and succession to these kingdoms?

Rashi believed it to be the Messianic kingdom that would come to exist during the time of the Roman occupation.

31 “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

39 “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”

The “Rock” may seem to be inferior and insignificant much like how the Messiah himself would appear in His humble earthly state as indicated in Micah 5:2, Isaiah 53, Zechariah 9:9, and Psalms 118:22 and yet his lowliness would be surpassed by the mountainous heights of His greatness and glorious majesty.

This “Rock” is described in Daniel 2:45 as not originating through human hands or efforts but the L-rd Himself would lay this stone, Isaiah 28:16(Romans 9:33, 1 Peter 2:6).

This “Stone” would be foundational as a precious and chief cornerstone yet it was to be rejected by its builders, Psalms 118:22(Luke 20:17, 1 Peter 2:7).

Not only would this “Stone” be rejected but it would also be a stumbling stone and a “Rock” that would make men fall. Isaiah 8:14(Luke 20:18, Romans 9:33, 1 Peter 2:8).

The Messiah was also be related as the spiritual “Rock” that accompanied the Israelites during the exodus, 1 Corinthians 10:4.

The identity of the “Rock” is evident much like how Daniel made the writing on the wall plain to Belshazzar.

The “Rock” is none other than Yeshua or Jesus who to this day and forever is sung about in our modern hymnals as being the “Rock of Ages”.

My challenge to you is whether or not  you will continue to allow your culture and identity to hold you back in allowing this “Rock” to be an obstacle of stumbling and falling or will you trustingly cling to it unashamedly?

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