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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have just started this thread as a free-range discussion related to religion, faith or non-faith.
There is an attached poll in which you can pick your worldview/religion above.

In my view, it is very easy to argue relating to religion and get into loggerheads. But there are many deep rooted personal reasons for why people believe things they do, and only by open dialogue and willing to hear from other perspectives will enable us to make decisions relating to tough questions in life. For some, religion is too difficult to talk about or understand and that's fine, you don't need to post here. But those interested in learning more about how faith works from their point of view being an adherent of a certain faith, or maybe therelackof, can share and learn from others in a constructive environment. I hope this thread can start to do some of that. Anyone can feel free to post questions, comments or thoughts, regardless of whether they believe in God, or not, and whatever faith they have. Please be respectful of opinions and don't resort to personal attacks.

I begin on Christianity, Jesus and the Bible continuing off from my previous discussion in abraxas' thread on Bill Maher and Islam. I have moved some posts from the original thread here. I reveal myself to be a practising Christian and not a terribly good one in fact, but God is thankfully forgiving.


---


(Regarding the Jewish saying on justice "an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth") Well, maybe if you take it literally and take upon yourself to be judge, jury and executioner. In a way judicial system we take for "just" is that lunacy made official and it's even worse because of corruption.

But if you try to discern deeper meaning, it's close to concept of Karma, as a law of the Universe, or even as in elementary physics Newton's 3rd law of action-reaction. What goes around comes around.
Tit for tat is an ideal law because God is just by nature. But Jesus never removes it altogether but instead asks people to entrust justice to God who will bring it forth in his time.

The reason why it falls short in application is shown here in John 8:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8:1-11&version=NLT

Nobody is qualified to throw the first stone because we all fail to notice that we have planks in our own eyes while being rather good at picking out specks in other people's eyes (Matthew 7)

Christian justice demands all to be condemned under God's holy and righteous standards. But Jesus took it upon himself to bear that judgment for himself. That's the reason he can say to turn the other cheek and forgive people because he first absorbed the cost.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

Tit for tat is an ideal law because God is just by nature. But Jesus never removes it altogether but instead asks people to entrust justice to God who will bring it forth in his time.

The reason why it falls short in application is shown here in John 8:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8:1-11&version=NLT

Nobody is qualified to throw the first stone because we all fail to notice that we have planks in our own eyes while being rather good at picking out specks in other people's eyes (Matthew 7)

Christian justice demands all to be condemned under God's holy and righteous standards. But Jesus took it upon himself to bear that judgment for himself. That's the reason he can say to turn the other cheek and forgive people because he first absorbed the cost.
It's questionable if Jesus was historical figure at all, or if he was, how romanticized and adapted to suit someone's needs New Testament is. Same with Old Testament. Same with Quran.

Anyway, reading any of these texts like they're just some novel is worse than not reading it at all imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's questionable if Jesus was historical figure at all, or if he was, how romanticized and adapted to suit someone's needs New Testament is. Same with Old Testament. Same with Quran.

Anyway, reading any of these texts like they're just some novel is worse than not reading it at all imo.
There is actually more evidence to suggest he was real compared to many other famous people around the time based on sheer manuscript copies, corroboration of gospel writers and other non Christian writers.

Read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel who was a journalist hoping to prove Jesus wrong through historical facts and instead became convinced he was real and Lord. The other thing is Christians present a losing gospel. It is open to fail. You can falsify Christisnity in one fell swoop by proving that Jesus did not die and then rise from the dead. No other religion has this block of vulnerability. The disciples ran away scared when Jesus was captured and killed. Next minute they claim their Lord is alive. How do you sell that? They wouldn't last one bit if Jesus had died and remained dead as the disciples were all tortured and many executed on account of Jesus. You don't give your life for a known lie. If Jesus had survived the cross and he was frail then no one would follow him. Someone happened to make the disciples emboldened especially considering the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities . I can discuss more on this.

Also I dare that say nobody in history could ever devise a fictional Jesus. He was so against the grain and counter cultural not even the disciples understood him. There's no one who would write him the way he's presented in the New Testament because this Jesus is very hard to get and even offensive! They would have to be so clever to write the greatest story ever told.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

There is actually more evidence to suggest he was real compared to many other famous people around the time based on sheer manuscript copies, corroboration of gospel writers and other non Christian writers.

Read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel who was a journalist hoping to prove Jesus wrong through historical facts and instead became convinced he was real and Lord. The other thing is Christians present a losing gospel. It is open to fail. You can falsify Christisnity in one fell swoop by proving that Jesus did not die and then rise from the dead. No other religion has this block of vulnerability. The disciples ran away scared when Jesus was captured and killed. Next minute they claim their Lord is alive. How do you sell that? They wouldn't last one bit if Jesus had died and remained dead as the disciples were all tortured and many executed on account of Jesus. You don't give your life for a known lie. If Jesus had survived the cross and he was frail then no one would follow him. Someone happened to make the disciples emboldened especially considering the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities . I can discuss more on this.

Also I dare that say nobody in history could ever devise a fictional Jesus. He was so against the grain and counter cultural not even the disciples understood him. There's no one who would write him the way he's presented in the New Testament because this Jesus is very hard to get and even offensive! They would have to be so clever to write the greatest story ever told.
This is all very questionable.To me this sounds only feasible if I'd make a leap of faith, which I won't (I'm Agnostic), so any further discussion is moot.

I'm 99% certain journalist story is just propaganda tho.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is all very questionable.To me this sounds only feasible if I'd make a leap of faith, which I won't (I'm Agnostic), so any further discussion is moot.

I'm 99% certain journalist story is just propaganda tho.
Leap of faith :lol:

Takes a greater leap of faith to consider Jesus as a total legend when Luke mentions a Roman census which Jesus' parents were required to register for and records. Additionally by 79 AD Nero reported Christians he blamed for fires. So there were such believers within 50 years of Jesus many who may have seen him or his dusciples. A legend doesn't emerge till at least 150-200 years after the subject has died.

Also think: why is it the year 2018 AD?
AD = anno domini, in the year of our lord.
People have created an alternative to CE but the number hasn't changed. History conveniently finds a way to mark Jesus as a turning point.

However why I say it's unlikely someone made up Jesus is because he goes against every expectation of a religious revolutionary. Why make Jesus so maligned by the Jewish religious leaders? Why make him often criticize them? Why make Jesus associate 'eat and drink' with so called sinners? These are big no nos in Jewish culture. Heck even the average Jew had great respect for the Pharisees who they considered devout.

The worst of these big no nos is the fact that Jesus was publically executed. In the Old Testament it writes 'cursed is anyone who hangs from a tree'. Not only was it barbaric an execution, it was without honour as bodies would been thrown into refuse afterwards. Reserved for the worst criminals. Muslims themselves take issue with Jesus being allowed to be humiliated like this. They suggest God make it look as if Jesus was on the cross when it was somebody else, an illusion while Jesus escaped.

The fate his disciples later go through as they are often beaten, put into prison and face governors, before being martyred. To me if you wanted to start a world class religion you'd try to appeal to everybody on the same wavelength. For the Jews, they were getting fed up of Roman occupation. Why not present Jesus as that dude who would bring Jerusalem back to glory? Jesus resisted this urge and never fought the Roman Empire. Why not make the disciples look like titans? They were often mocked and looked like fools in front of Jesus.

Even the Old Testament spends 80% of the time saying how crap Israel is rather than describe it as the greatest thing on earth. There's two books where literally every king of Israel is said to be worthless chapter after chapter (1/2 Kings). Israel is compared to as an unfaithful wife by the prophet Hosea. Moses and Joshua plainly tell the people they will rebel against God. One could mistake the Jews to be very irreligious reading such critical commentary of their history. The only reason one would write it like this is that it was real. If it was glossy and lofty, it was likely fabricated. But a death tortured and humiliated Jesus who the Jews rejected makes little sense as a religious hero. It's counterproductive and affords little gain for anybody to follow him unless they truly believed who he was and was resurrected.
 

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Leap of faith :lol:

 
Takes a greater leap of faith to consider Jesus as a total legend when Luke mentions a Roman census which Jesus' parents were required to register for and records. Additionally by 79 AD Nero reported Christians he blamed for fires. So there were such believers within 50 years of Jesus many who may have seen him or his dusciples. A legend doesn't emerge till at least 150-200 years after the subject has died.

Also think: why is it the year 2018 AD?
AD = anno domini, in the year of our lord.
People have created an alternative to CE but the number hasn't changed. History conveniently finds a way to mark Jesus as a turning point.

However why I say it's unlikely someone made up Jesus is because he goes against every expectation of a religious revolutionary. Why make Jesus so maligned by the Jewish religious leaders? Why make him often criticize them? Why make Jesus associate 'eat and drink' with so called sinners? These are big no nos in Jewish culture. Heck even the average Jew had great respect for the Pharisees who they considered devout.

The worst of these big no nos is the fact that Jesus was publically executed. In the Old Testament it writes 'cursed is anyone who hangs from a tree'. Not only was it barbaric an execution, it was without honour as bodies would been thrown into refuse afterwards. Reserved for the worst criminals. Muslims themselves take issue with Jesus being allowed to be humiliated like this. They suggest God make it look as if Jesus was on the cross when it was somebody else, an illusion while Jesus escaped.

The fate his disciples later go through as they are often beaten, put into prison and face governors, before being martyred. To me if you wanted to start a world class religion you'd try to appeal to everybody on the same wavelength. For the Jews, they were getting fed up of Roman occupation. Why not present Jesus as that dude who would bring Jerusalem back to glory? Jesus resisted this urge and never fought the Roman Empire. Why not make the disciples look like titans? They were often mocked and looked like fools in front of Jesus.

Even the Old Testament spends 80% of the time saying how crap Israel is rather than describe it as the greatest thing on earth. There's two books where literally every king of Israel is said to be worthless chapter after chapter (1/2 Kings). Israel is compared to as an unfaithful wife by the prophet Hosea. Moses and Joshua plainly tell the people they will rebel against God. One could mistake the Jews to be very irreligious reading such critical commentary of their history. The only reason one would write it like this is that it was real. If it was glossy and lofty, it was likely fabricated. But a death tortured and humiliated Jesus who the Jews rejected makes little sense as a religious hero. It's counterproductive and affords little gain for anybody to follow him unless they truly believed who he was and was resurrected.
I don't consider Jesus fictional character. I'm sure there was a man/being this character is based on more or less. But to take new testament (and there are significant differences between Gospels) as factual history? No.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I don't consider Jesus fictional character. I'm sure there was a man/being this character is based on more or less. But to take new testament (and there are significant differences between Gospels) as factual history? No.
Significant differences? Do share. They corroborate more than not, different perspectives of the same events. And before you suggest it, the Luke vs Matthew genealogies aren't incompatible, they take different parental heritages into account. The Matthew one is striking because it picks on some of Jesus' ancestors (David adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite mentioned blankly).


You might not trust the gospel accounts which is fine but you can't refute church history. It has survived all these years when it should have been buried. The Christian church did not start from any position of strength or power. Actually the best part of the gospel might be Acts, rather than the first four. Acts continues where Luke finished and describes how the church spread.
 

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Significant differences? Do share. They corroborate more than not, different perspectives of the same events. And before you suggest it, the Luke vs Matthew genealogies aren't incompatible, they take different parental heritages into account. The Matthew one is striking because it picks on some of Jesus' ancestors (David adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite mentioned blankly).


You might not trust the gospel accounts which is fine but you can't refute church history. It has survived all these years when it should have been buried. The Christian church did not start from any position of strength or power. Actually the best part of the gospel might be Acts, rather than the first four. Acts continues where Luke finished and describes how the church spread.
They all describe same events more or less, but there are differences. I read New Testament a couple of times but not recently and I never compared them much. I'm more Old Testament kind of guy. :p Here's a yt channel (you won't like the name) that is dedicated to analysis of Gospel's inconsistencies. I don't agree with them 100%, but research is legit as far as I can tell. https://www.youtube.com/user/JesusNeverExistd

Also church doesn't start with Jesus, but much later, which involved much more politics than faith.
If we're talking about today's Christianity, what we're talking about? Vatican,Orthodox, Protestant, Methodist... KJ Bible isn't same bible like Orthodox Christians read, for example.
 

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They all describe same events more or less, but there are differences. I read New Testament a couple of times but not recently and I never compared them much. I'm more Old Testament kind of guy. :p Here's a yt channel (you won't like the name) that is dedicated to analysis of Gospel's inconsistencies. I don't agree with them 100%, but research is legit as far as I can tell. https://www.youtube.com/user/JesusNeverExistd

Also church doesn't start with Jesus, but much later, which involved much more politics than faith.
If we're talking about today's Christianity, what we're talking about? Vatican,Orthodox, Protestant, Methodist... KJ Bible isn't same bible like Orthodox Christians read, for example.
why?
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

Old Testament is fascinating read for me, no matter how I look at it, as a fiction, history or coded knowledge.

New Testament is hard for me to read. Much more boring and I find Jesus character quite unconvincing, whether I look at him as con-artist, crazy guy or a son of God. Actually, Jesus is most believable as some kind of a revolutionary who made a lot of unwanted noise, so they damage control/twisted him into a religion.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

New Testament is fascinating read for me, no matter how I look at it, as a fiction, history or coded knowledge.

New Testament is hard for me to read. Much more boring and I find Jesus character quite unconvincing, whether I look at him as con-artist, crazy guy or a son of God.
i assume u meant the old T?


i guess u like it bc of all the drama, action and mess?
 

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Yep, it was a typo.

Partly yes, but it's much more than that.
i like it well bc i love the fact out leaders/heros/kings were just ppl. no one of them was perfect like other faiths. they all had sins and the bible mention it.

There is no perfection
 

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i like it well bc i love the fact out leaders/heros/kings were just ppl. no one of them was perfect like other faiths. they all had sins and the bible mention it.

There is no perfection
"Just people" who lived hundreds and hundreds of years tho, with special treatment from God. :)

It's questionable if Jesus indeed claimed for himself that he was perfect. Christianity certainly does that, but he might have claimed only that he's Messiah or just a son of God, which is not same as the son of God.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

I don't consider Jesus fictional character. I'm sure there was a man/being this character is based on more or less. But to take new testament (and there are significant differences between Gospels) as factual history? No.
They are as factual as any other documents of the time. Luke was a very astute historian, a physician by occupation and one to record details in great length. The number of early manuscripts for the New Testament dwarfs any other documents of antiquity of similar times that are often, taken as factual. Our sense of history, especially ancient times, is only found in historical documents.

Another note, the new testament is really only made up of historical books (the gospels, and Acts) and letters and one book of prophecy - Revelation. Most of the records can be verified with other documents and archaeological finds. The element of faith is of course necessary as the Book clearly states numerous times; this is never hidden. The message of the New Testament is that there is something wrong with the human heart (condition) which seems hard to argue, and Jesus is interesting in changing hearts. This is often evidenced with the actions of the apostles and close followers of Jesus. Many had trouble believing, but once Jesus appeared to them they believed and were willing to die horrendous deaths for their faith. When held to the fire or chopping block, few would continue to uphold a lie, but they did in very consistent ways all over the globe. A very interesting course of events that needs more than a simple explanation.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

Old Testament is fascinating read for me, no matter how I look at it, as a fiction, history or coded knowledge.

New Testament is hard for me to read. Much more boring and I find Jesus character quite unconvincing, whether I look at him as con-artist, crazy guy or a son of God. Actually, Jesus is most believable as some kind of a revolutionary who made a lot of unwanted noise, so they damage control/twisted him into a religion.
i like it well bc i love the fact out leaders/heros/kings were just ppl. no one of them was perfect like other faiths. they all had sins and the bible mention it.

There is no perfection
Thanks to mentioning this. I want to address both these comments in this single post. Bear with me, because I think you'll find this interesting and some of the stuff I mention will be things Punky is familiar with on the basis of Jewish law and the Old Testament. However it is quite detailed and I will need a few posts to address this fully. In this post I will explain how the New Testament addresses the Old Testament Mosaic law and sacrifice system. Later on (post 2 and 3) I will explain how the New Testament fits in with the Old Testament as a whole, and how the Old Testament points towards the New Testament.

To begin with I am thankful Pantelija told me that it feels boring to him. As a Christian and having to study the New Testament, it seldom occurs to me how a non believer would see it, especially reading things like Paul's epistles rather than the gospels themselves. Needless to say, a lot of what is written there is rather didactic and seems irrelevant to a non-believer. But these letters do a very good deal of explaining the gospel, why Jesus is the only means of salvation and the fulfilment of God's promises in the Old Testament, and how Christians should live in response. The biggest thing I wish to highlight is the New Testament actually functions to explain things in the Old Testament, including Mosaic law and the reason for Jesus' ministry on earth.

When you read something like Leviticus in the Old Testament, with the long list of dietary and physical requirements for being clean, and the rituals required to be clean again, you almost understand that by nature of being human, you are unclean. It's unavoidable (even women having periods will be unclean, so do people seeing dead bodies) and you have to see priests and sacrifice animals in order to be considered clean. It's almost excessive, and it does so for good reason, to emphasise that God is perfect and holy, with standards that we could never reach.

As Punky kindly pointed out just about every person you come across in the Old Testament has some significant flaw. King David was one of the best kings and loved God with his heart, but fell into temptation and committed adultery and murder! Wise King Solomon, his son, also fell astray and worshipped idols of his many wives. And Israel as a whole is typically awful as a nation, and we see this cycle of obedience then disobedience and resulting trial. As a result they are sent to exile but God promises to redeem them.

The point is that nobody can ever truly please God because he is righteous and holy while we will always fall short. Even the prophets who served God couldn't bear to be in the presence of God's angels and were afraid. Isaiah the prophet upon seeing the heavenly realms cried in anguish “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Moses himself could only see God's back behind a veil. Only the High Priest was allowed to go behind the Temple curtain and only once a year to present atoning sacrifices to God, but even then the High Priest was imperfect.

So the New Testament explains that the Old Testament law could never make anybody holy enough to approach God freely because of our sin, but was only there as a guideline to expose our human nature.
Hebrews 10:1 "The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship."
Romans 3:20 "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."

Thus, Old Testament and the Law of Moses was there to show that God's perfect standards as seen in Mosaic law couldn't possibly be met by any man. The reason the sacrifices were done was to show that human sin comes at a cost for God to forgive as a just God. Although some often see the Old Testament Mosaic Law as a set of 'tick the boxes' schemata for getting God's approval (i.e. as long as I do these things, I will be ok before God), the point of the law is to instead show us that we are in fact quite bad at following these laws and therefore require a Saviour. No amount of effort will make us love God and our neighbours the way we should. Thus the sacrificial system and the Law was supposed to point people to see the need for Jesus, who could fulfil the law's requirements and be the perfect sacrifice once of all. This passage I present from Hebrews in the New Testament is rather long, but it explains very clearly why Jesus was required as the perfect High Priest to supercede the old system, and I hope you will read it (in the spoiler below, starting from Chapter 7 vs 18). I then summarise what it implies afterwards.

 
18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,

“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”[d]

22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.

23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save[e] those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.[f] 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.

Chapter 8: Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,[a] the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”


Main points: the priesthood sacrifice system was built on a model that was not without flaws. Priests themselves were humans who had to offer sacrifices for themselves and had to do it every day. They also were temporary, being mortal so could not fully intercede for people. And the priestline was related to Aaron's descendancy (Levites). However Jesus' role as a high priest is not because of his heritage (he comes from Judah), not automatically prescribed, but specially chosen by God and guaranteed to last forever. Moreover, Jesus serves as a high priest in heaven through a heavenly Tabernacle (that just means 'God's dwelling place') designed by God himself, whereas for the Israelites, Moses was instructed to build one to be a model of the real thing in heaven. Thus whatever was set in place on earth was meant to be a model, an example of God's plans in heaven to eventually make people perfect through him.

The book of Hebrews continues to explain why the sacrificial system and law (old covenant) was obsolete:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews+9&version=NLT

It makes the following points.

1) Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Inner most Holy room, which showed people could not access God freely through this system regardless of being 'cleansed' by these sacrifices which are only physical symbols of things to come:

"But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle[d] and the system it represented were still in use."

"This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established."

2) The blood of animals was required as a seal of cleansing being put into effect like that of a will (which only is in effect as long as the person has died). Everything including the Tabernacle had to be purified. If the earthly Tabernacle had to be cleansed this way, the Heavenly Tabernacle would require far greater cleansing that that of animals:

 
18 That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19 For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20 Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.”[j] 21 And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22 In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.

23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.


Finally, Hebrews 10 summarises everything in the Old Testament covenant to be reflectors of God's perfect plan in heaven and makes a very good pt: sacrifices of animals could never cleanse people, because if it did then they wouldn't need to be done again and again! What Jesus does is fulfil God's plan to save people by being the perfect sacrifice himself. He had to be perfect because that was the only way to enter and purify God's Tabernacle in heaven.

 
the old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.
6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”


The latter part of that passage is Old Testament scripture where God became fed up of these burnt offerings and sacrifices as they were become routine. These sacrifices were supposed to be a constant reminder of people's sin and the cost of forgiving people because of God having to also be just at the same time as he is merciful. But when people just offer them in the sense of a ritual, doing things just cos (nevertheless required by law), then the impact is lost:

 
8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

16 “This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day,[c] says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[d]

17 Then he says,

“I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.”
[e]

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.


Jesus presenting himself as both the mediator and the perfect sacrifice for sin ensured that people were able to follow God's holy standard, not by external observation, but through the core of their being. The law would be then be written in their hearts and minds rather than on stone tablets. Instead of doing things to tick boxes of approval or by ritual requirement, people would automatically by conscience and understanding of the sacrifice and God's forgiveness be able to follow the law (and above that, beyond the law, which is a concession and an exposition for sin, be able to commune with God in his Tabernacle). And that is great encouragement for Christians to know that they don't need to be afraid and can approach God's throne with confidence because Jesus has basically swept aside the old regulations by fulfilling what they were supposed to, but could not do:

 
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel...28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire."


to be continued in next post...
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

^continued...

Look at it this way. Imagine if we were constrained by the list of requirements as set out in Leviticus. How hard would that be, and is it truly any useful in making ourselves more pure before a holy God? Muslims have a similar situation. They have many rituals, and one of them involves cleansing by washing themselves, presumably before prayer. One person explained that they must wash themselves several times before praying or it will not be accepted, and if they touched a non-Muslim or some 'unclean' things after the wash and before prayer they must start the wash process all over again. This is in understanding God has strict requirements. But then one must ask the question. You are cleaning yourselves externally. How does one cleanse the heart, which is the source of the evil things we do? Will washing the body many more times be able to help?

The Pharisees in Jesus' day were devout Jews. They understood that the reason for their exile was because of the failure of Israel to obey God's laws and set out to make sure people knew God's law and followed it to avoid it happening again. They were so afraid of breaking them that they even prescribed additional requirements on top of the law. Someone illustrated it this way: suppose there is a law that says you cannot walk on the lawn. To ensure that the law would not be broken, the Pharisees would not simply enclose a perimeter around the lawn. Instead they'd enclose a perimeter 10m from the edge of the lawn. Laws to meet other laws.

Jesus shows that an overemphasis on following laws may actually be counter productive.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+7&version=NIV

In Mark 7, Jesus and his disciples are caught eating without washing their hands and the Pharisees grill him for it. But he responds this way:

"Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] [f]

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

And this fully makes sense. While there were many observances (many in line with Old Testament tradition laid out in Leviticus), Jesus points to the more important matter of cleanness from the heart. Washing of hands and eating utensils is good from a hygiene sense, but in terms of spiritually don't make one clean when other things render them unclean.

Jesus also criticises the Pharisees for using their legislations to actually prevent the law from being carried out:
"And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Here he uses the example of corban (devotion to God of things, in this case for his mother and father), where the Pharisees say that person now devoted to God cannot do anything for their parents in turn nullifying the commandment for one to 'honor their mother and father'. Another case of this is where the Pharisees watch Jesus healing a woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:1-5), or even criticise him for healing on that day, to which he replies, "how many of you if their son or ox fell down a well would fail to retrieve them immediately even on the Sabbath?"

The point being that it is very easy to prescribe laws that appear to be spiritual, but are actually worthless and impractical. Appearance of devoutness and making sure one ticks every box blinds people to much deeper core issues.

The sermon on the mount is the greatest of Jesus's teachings in the New Testament but it is seldom understood.
Matthew 5 begins with a list of blessings (called Beatitudes).

 
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven

The blessings all say that a person who is as described will go to heaven in various ways. But actually nobody actually does these things by nature, it is not a set of tick boxes as I have mentioned for someone to reach God. Moreover, this can be seen as a rebuke when he says that salt that loses its taste is worthless. The Israelites were supposed to be the salt and light of the world but failed to fulfil their purpose.

Then from verse 21 on to the end of Matthew 5, he almost turns the head of the law around:

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[e] of fire.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

He starts off with "you have heard that it was said" - things taught to them by Pharisees/teacher of the law. Some of these are from Mosaic law, others additional interpretations. Then he expands with in many cases a contrasting statement which drives the law even higher. One immediately considers Jesus to be amping up the requirements of the law - if you even consider malice against your brother, that is equivalent to murder, if you consider lustful thoughts against someone that is adultery, as is divorcing a woman except for marital unfaithfulness (because in those times, women who were divorced could not support themselves). etc. Jesus uses rather extreme illustrations to counter those by saying that one should settle disputes before being taken to court, and that they should remove any body part that causes them to sin.

But Jesus says that he is not there to do away with Law. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." So what was said prior still applies, but Jesus emphasises that the extent of the Law is in fact in a relaxed form. Rather than Jesus raising the bar on the requirements of the Law, one can think of the Law presented as being relaxed in the first place and Jesus showing them how it actually should be. And this makes sense the more one thinks about it. The "do not murder" law according to Jesus doesn't stop at keeping a knife out of someone's back, but is about an attitude of love towards them. When you despise someone with hateful intentions towards them, these attitudes are synonymous with murder despite not carrying out the act. The "do not commit adultery" law doesn't stop at keeping one's genitals far away from somebody not their spouse, but is better expressed as one should have pure intentions towards others and in loving and respecting their committed partner. The law relating to "oaths" should be about being faithful to one's promises in all circumstances. All in all, the laws prescribed to Israel, such as relating to divorce are actually concessions for sinners:

 
Matthew 19 Teaching About Divorce:

3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”[a]


In this passage, Jesus basically states divorce was never meant to be. A married man and woman should be bound together. Divorce was permitted only as a concession. It also places emphasis on the man to keep his wife, because often in those times one could divorce their wife on a whim just because she burnt the food, for instance (ias implied in "is it lawful to divorce one's wife for ANY cause?").

Thus is what Jesus says about the law, he is saying that there are many aspects where written law is a dumbed down version of how we should be. Jesus emphasises in all these cases that one's attitude is essential to the law far beyond what is written. If one follows the written law but without the right attitude, it is though they have broken the law. And this is why trying to prescribe a series of laws will never make someone perfect before God. Laws do some things to make sure we do what is right, but it is incomplete and sometimes leads us to wrong conclusions about what we should or should not do. In an essential sense, the law is required to show us that we have a problem following it, or else we wouldn't have to write them. But it also gives us a very important point. You can't legislate morality. Morality is not about a set of things we do or don't do, but about our attitudes towards others. The law won't cover our attitudes.

As an example, in China, a little 2 year old girl was struck by two cars and laid bleeding on the ground for over 7 minutes, and many passers by came but all of them simply ignored her, until a female rubbish collector found her and had her taken to hospital where she died. That's really terrible. From a legal perspective, we just have to do the bare minimum. We didn't hit the girl or murder her so it's all good. No law out there says that we need to help the young girl in trouble. But that's deeply disturbing if our lives were ruled by shallow laws that aren't designed to benefit people. That was exactly the gripe Jesus had with the Pharisees who were often obsessed with shallow observances to make them appear really holy and upright. No amount of lawkeeping or legislation will make us truly love and respect others in a perfect way. Jesus replaces lawkeeping with love. When one loves others, they do things for the other person's benefit and not for themselves. This does not require written rules or regulations to follow and is more realistic. For Christians, we follow God's law not because we are required to or in order to get his approval, but because we know God already loves and accepts us regardless of how poor we are at following law thanks to Jesus, and in response try our best to honor him. This is like how a parent loves their children even when they make mistakes. Things would be awfully difficult if being part of the family was dependent on the child doing the right thing all the time. Instead, the child should do the right thing because they are part of a family who loves them in the first place. When we instead rely on a series of laws to determine how righteous we are, we then lose sight of our flaws and put down others but then are ultimately chained whenever the same law condemns us.

So I've explained how the Old Testament's legal Requirements are Fulfilled in Jesus, why the Jewish sacrificial system and lawkeeping are insufficient for making people acceptable to a holy God. Now this brings me to Part III - how the New Testament is a culmination of Old Testament Scripture independent of Mosaic law.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

^continued
As I have explained, Jesus came to fulfil the requirements of the Jewish sacrificial system and Mosaic Law since they were inadequate to cleanse people and make them righteous before God. The laws stipulated only make us conscious of how far we fall short of his standards, and may even trap us by preventing us from truly acting out the purpose of the law in place of cheap concessions because morality is a problem of attitude, not strictly action. Thus, approval by God must depend not on our own merit. However, the New Testament does more than explain these things. It emphasises that even before Mosaic law was introduced, God had a plan for his people in Jesus all along. This part is the most difficult part to explain because it discusses a lot of Old Testament scripture but we’ll get there.

First we’ll start off with Abraham (Genesis 12). God told him that he would bless Abraham, his offspring and that all nations on earth would be blessed through Abraham.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.

Then in David’s time, in 2 Samuel 7, God promises that he would establish King David’s line of kings forever.
“Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.[c] Your throne shall be established forever.’”

And this was the case throughout the rest of the Old Testament. Then we move on to Haggai chapter 2 of the Old Testament. Haggai was the prophet and the Jews had resettled after exile but the temple had been in ruins and they were asked to rebuild it. The end to the book is obscure but is rather meaningful:
20 The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22 and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. 23 On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a[c] signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORDof hosts.”

Zerubbabel, so what?
Then read Matthew 1 in the New Testament:
 
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, ... and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,[c] and Amos the father of Josiah,11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,[d] and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

This Zerubbabel chosen as a signet ring would be an ancestor of Jesus and a descendant of David and Jeconiah (who was the last king before the exile), and Jesus himself is described as the son of David and of Abraham. Interest side fact, note Rahab and Ruth are also mentioned as ancestors of David. This is significant because Rahab was living in Jericho at the time and wasn't an Israelite, but kept the Israelite spies safe and remained with the Israelites after they conquered Jericho. (Joshua 6:25: "But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.") Ruth was a Moabite but she wished to stay as an Israelite. (Ruth 1:16) "Your people will be my people and your God my God." Keep these facts in mind. This would be consistent with Abraham's promise of blessing to other nations not of Jewish origin.

But we have a problem now. In the promise that God made to David he said “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.[c] Your throne shall be established forever.’” If Jesus was the last descendant of David from the royal line, and he died, how on earth can that kingdom be preserved forever?
The answer is explained by apostle Peter in Acts 2 of the New Testament.
 
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[c]delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.

28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”


What is Peter saying here? It is very simple.
He is saying that Jesus’ resurrection was predicted beforehand by David back in Psalm 16. But David was not speaking about himself in the psalm (since Peter declares David died and was buried in a tomb for good), but foretelling Jesus’ arrival who would not be claimed by death and instead live forever through the resurrection. In this way, he could fulfil the oath God made to David about his throne and kingdom lasting eternally.

There are plenty of other passages in the Old Testament that refer to Jesus as Messiah (see Isaiah chapter 7, a woman will give birth to a virgin “14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]” Immanuel means ‘God among us’

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 49:6 “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 my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth
.”
So the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 would be fulfilled by the Servant of Israel, Jesus.

Micah 5 gives us a reference that the chosen one would be born from a descendant of Judah, out of a small lowly town of Bethlehem.

 
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”


3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.

4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.


And of course Isaiah 53 which accurately predicts how Jesus would be received poorly by the Jews and killed to atone for sin.
 
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

And Psalm 22
 
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.


In Hebrews 11 where it explains Abraham, Moses, David etc. obeyed God out of faith but did not see the complete fruition of the promises. “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised”
Thus the Old Testament sets the backdrop for Jesus to ultimately fulfil God’s promises to Abraham and to David. This is important as it establishes a means to be accepted by God independent of the law. This also enabled the Gentiles (non Jews) to be part of that plan. In Paul’s letter to the non Jewish Galatians (New Testament), he tells them that they don’t need to follow Jewish regulations to be circumcised in order to be accepted as a Christian. At that time, many Jewish Christians including Peter felt pressure from their Jewish heritage to make Gentile Christians get circumcised in order to be accepted as part of God's people, but Paul corrects this by saying that faith in Jesus is what counts to make someone a Christian, rather than a physical symbol. He also specifies the way Gentiles become part of God’s kingdom is by exercising the same faith that Abraham had in God’s promises to them (remember Ruth and Rahab?), rather than being bound by Jewish customs, heritage and the law, which was already shown to be inadequate as it was a condemning law, rather than a saving law:
 
6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
…26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

To summarise, Jesus not only fulfilled the law’s requirements to bring people to a relationship with God that they could not on their own, he was the basis of all the promises made to Abraham and David of an enduring legacy and offspring, where blessings would flow to the non-Jews as well. In the past, people could only be designated as God’s people if they were Jewish (i.e. circumcised), but Paul turns this on its head in Romans 2:
“Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?”
And this is a rather logical view of things. Just by being born as a Jew doesn’t impart anything special, though there is heritage associated with that. Circumcision was only a physical symbol but it did not mean a Jew would actually obey God by exercising faith. But God’s actual people would be those who were circumcised in spirit, and this is regardless of whether they are Jewish or not.
This is what Jesus tells Nicodemus, the Pharisee in John 3:
 
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
and he adds in John 4 “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

From the Jewish perspective, everyone who was a Jew was automatically part of God’s kingdom but Jesus instead tells him that people by default, Jew or not, could not see God’s kingdom, and that they must be born again, not physically but spiritually, which occurs through accepting God’s promise through Abraham in Jesus to receive the Holy Spirit. This way, anybody could become part of God’s kingdom without having to perform any rituals, or go to particular places to worship.

So the New Testament explains Jesus is the means to reach God independent of the Jewish law, and this means was described even before the Mosaic law was introduced. All the promises made to Abraham and David are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah, and this includes bringing all peoples on earth to him. All one has to do is exercise faith in that promise to be part of God’s family. It probably sounds crazy and super complicated (it is! What I write here is actually a short summary of 3 books worth of stuff from a systematic theology series “Gospel and Kingdom”) but that is how the Old and the New Testament are linked when one observes the course of Biblical history. It’s not just a series of random events with a pretty harsh God of the Old Testament, then Jesus pops up and we have a nice God, this was all planned from the start with Abraham to restore things which had been broken since the fall of man.

Jesus was the promised Messiah to put an end to the law’s tyranny, so that all people on earth, Jews, and non Jews could freely worship God in spirit, without fear, and in the context of a spiritual relationship fuelled by responding to God's established love towards them, rather than external observances of lawkeeping. In order to do this, they had to be chosen by sharing the same faith Abraham had in God’s promise of blessing: Acts 2:36-39 - 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

soz for the length. I have written too much :lol: if there is anything you want explained, you can ask me, or through PM. Personally I find this reconcilation of OT and NT scripture where the OT explains the need for Jesus of the NT, and the NT describes how Jesus meets that need and fulfils the promises of OT Scripture inspirational, but admittedly this picture is complex and many Christians don't even understand it. The reason I have such great conviction in Jesus and the Scriptures is because of this link. The Old Testament ends with hope for the people to be redeemed and the New Testament starts very excited about the person who would fulfil this. For a Jew, the Messiah is supposed to be the answer they are looking for to complete Mosaic law - a firm Priesthood and the ultimate sacrifice, not bound by law, but and for a non Jew, the means to be accepted as part of God's family and approved by God. For both, this occurs through one promise to Abraham, and sharing faith in that same promise. Obviously this is really countercultural as well and is hard for people to accept. Election by faith in a promise rather than by birthright? Morality and acceptance motivated by love rather than the law? I wish it was easier to appreciate as well. Nevertheless, I hope I have enlightened you as to the surprising marriage between the OT and NT, though in all likelihood I may have confused you as well.
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

I will reply to ur post later, its hard throw cellular


Do u want to open a thread about faith or something related to the topic to discuss?

Love ur passion to it, i love ppl wuth passion to things
 

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Re: Bill Maher is a racist - should be removed from TV for good

I will reply to ur post later, its hard throw cellular


Do u want to open a thread about faith or something related to the topic to discuss?

Love ur passion to it, i love ppl wuth passion to things
sure, I'll move these posts into another thread because it is a separate topic :)
And yes I would love to learn your perspective as well.
 
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