Saturday, December 10, 2016

John the Baptist and Herod Antipas

A number of Biblical antagonists have accused the Gospel writers of error by stating that John the Baptist died at the start of Jesus' public ministry when clearly, they say, Josephus shows otherwise. While we believe that there is enough "evidence" to draw either conclusion depending upon a priori prejudice, there is not enough to make any allegations of error or fraud on the part of the Gospel writers or of Josephus.

One leading polemicist, Robert Price, uses a passage from Josephus' Antiquities to assert without qualification that Antipas beheaded John close to 36 AD using the following logic:
The war between Herod and Aretas took place in 36 CE and thus Josephus' mention of the Jews blaming Herod's defeat by Aretas on his killing of John the Baptist implies that Herod had John the Baptist killed some time within a year or so of the war.
Notice that Price does not use any evidence for his conclusion - he simply asserts that the sequence described by Josephus "implies" that the Baptist was killed within 1-2 years of the war between Aretas and Antipas. Price would have done well to say that it "implies to me", rather than making the ontological assertion that it implies to all reasonable people. I roundly disagree with the logic as theological gadflyery.

We let the reader see the evidence which Price used to form his conclusion:
1. ... So Aretas made this the first occasion of his enmity between him and Herod, who had also some quarrel with him about their limits at the country of Gamalitis. So they raised armies on both sides, and prepared for war, and sent their generals to fight instead of themselves; and when they had joined battle, all Herod's army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives, who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip, joined with Aretas's army.. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by Aretas, wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria.
2. Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.
One will notice that Josephus' accounts are completely devoid of dates, thus it would be foolhardy for anyone, no matter his biases, to determine the precise timing of John's death based upon these tellings. We would only concede that the war between Aretas and Antipas occurred in 36 AD.

Price attempts to pre-empt the counter-argument that Josephus' imprecise timing could allow for other time periods than 1-2 years between John's beheading and Antipas' military disasters by stating that it is "unlikely." That's it folks - it is simply "unlikely" and you don't deserve a reason.

Now Price and company are the same people who berate Josephus as a corrupt text whenever it mentions Jesus or anything else found in the Gospels, showing just how hypocritical they are. And even if they aren't hypocritical, it does show how plastic Josephus is in regards to ancient history - he becomes an historical sock puppet for whatever theories one espouses.

By way of background, Herod married Herodias c. 28/29 AD after divorcing his wife, the daughter of King Aretas of Nabataea. This would have been the opportune time for John to express his disapproval of Antipas' divorce and re-marriage. This date accords well with Gospel chronologies showing that John died before Jesus and at the beginning of his ministry.

Price is also quite exercised by the role of 2 women, Herodias and Salome, in the murder of John because it shows the Bible's animus towards women. Our view is that if the shoe fits, wear it. Eve, Delilah, Jezebel, and Salome all corrupted men, including Antipas who regretted having to comply with Salome's wish to behead John which he had granted her for her dancing at his party.

Not only are the Gospel authors to be excoriated for daring to report that 2 women were behind John's death, but Price also uses the Biblical account in an either/or dialectic which can only be described as puerile at best. In other words, Price insists that either Josephus is correct as interpreted by Price, or the Gospels are correct - but not both because the Gospels can't be reliable because he has "proven" that they are not historical documents.

Our view is that both accounts are compatible - and certainly do not contradict each other. The various authors are considering different aspects of the same phenomenon.

As you see in the above excerpt, Josephus regards the murder of John as the consequence of his popularity, which according to Price proves that the Gospels are in error for reporting it due to John's impolitic remarks. We would like to think that Price never considered the possibility that both could be true, but we think someone as mentally gymnastic as our adversary simply refuses to acknowledge it. Even if one or the other is wrong, reason would need to be provided for such an assertion of black and white either/or-ism.

One would also need to prove that one must be wrong if both reports are different.

Future evidence may compel a reconsideration of the chronological sequence of events regarding Antipas' remarriage, John's beheading, and Antipas' military defeat, but in the main, both the Biblical and Josephan accounts are compatible - or at least certainly not contradictory. If we should be proven wrong, we will eat crow, but in the meantime, Mr Price can eat other hors d'oeuvres.

Post script - One oddity which Price did not observe is why Josephus reported that some of the Jews believed that Antipas suffered military defeat over the death of John the Baptist, but did not seem to care about the death of Jesus. Certainly the Galileans would have cared, and the same people who cared about John would have cared about Jesus.

By 36 AD both men had been put to death. Could it be that they knew that Jesus rose from the grave and the point was moot? Or did they know that vengeance awaited Jerusalem at some distant point in retaliation for the crucifixion of Jesus?

Reference
Robert Price, Jesus Myth - The Case Against Historical Christ, rationalrevolution.com, January 3, 2007, accessed 12/10/2016.

Copyright Tony Bonn

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lessons in Genesis 1-6



Genesis is one of the most compelling books of the Bible both for what is says and does not say. We will read between the lines to fill in some gaps from the explicit statements of this most important book.
The first chapter contains 2 significant developments in history – the construction of the earth, and the creation of man.
In consideration of the creation of the earth, we note it had no shape or form as the scripture states, but the creation act does not involve the universe for such a container does not exist. The earth is a terrarium with a canopy called the firmament protecting us and preventing us from escaping the planet. Man did not go to the moon, let alone walk on it.
Genesis is clear that the sun, moon, and stars are lights and not spheres on which to land or inhabit. Even the earth itself is a flat plane whose waters are kept from overflowing its bounds by the great arctic ice wall which supports the firmament.
One other important point regarding creation is that the days of creation are literal. They are not indefinite periods of time. We know this by the diurnal rhythms established by the first verses and by the use of the Greek word ἡμέρα whose ordinary meaning is always day. It is at best a fantasy and worst blasphemy to suppose that God used long periods of time to create the earth when he clearly states that he accomplished his work in units of time called day and night. If God used indefinite periods of time for his creation days, the Greek word αἰών would have been used, the word from which we get the English word eon. αἰών, however, does not mean for eternity, forever, a long time, or any other nonsensical definition imputed to it by ex-post facto definitions.

We should also note that we do not consult the Jewish Masoretic text which is a corruption of the true scriptures, and produced centuries and millennia after the fact. Jesus, the apostles, and the early church fathers were quite satisfied with the Septuagint, and it thus is the canonical reference for the Old Testament.

One other interesting sequence in Genesis 1 is the creation of herbs and plants on the third day, and then the creation of the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day, an apparent inconsistency or proof of fallibility of scripture according to some. In other words, how could plants which depend upon photosynthesis and moderate temperatures survive without light?

Since our days are literal days, it would not be a problem for plant life to go a day without sunlight. On the other hand, the brightness of the glory of God would be more than sufficient to provide light for life as well as warmth. The sequence of the order of creation in these 2 verses is a subtle paean to the splendor of God.

We finally come to the subject of man, whom God created in his likeness, both male and female. We would note that the plurals of the male and female give us sufficient room to suppose that he created more than one couple. As we go further into Genesis, we find that Cain built a city after murdering his brother, which means that there were substantial populations on the earth to warrant such investments. Such populations would not have occurred in such a short period of time from a single pair, although we could argue against that point with sufficient lapse of time.

We need to jump quickly to chapter 2 to resolve some conflicts in the narratives of chapter 1 and 2. The vast majority of commentators believe that the first two chapters of Genesis tell of the same event. We hold that chapter 1 and chapter 2 creation events are distinct and sequent. In other words, chapter 2 does not present a recapitulation of Genesis 1.

We could cite several reasons for this, but one is that 2 different words are used to indicate the realization of man, distinctions which appear in both Greek and Masoretic texts. Man was made or created in Genesis 1:27 whereas he was formed in Genesis 2:7.

We should note that there is a school of Christians who make much about the word used for man, resorting to the Edomite Jewish text to support their theory that the Hebrew word for man derives from a root meaning red or ruddy. We believe that they make too much of the primitive origins of this word in order to justify that God created only white people. The LXX translates the word as ἄνθρωπον (anthropon) from which we get the English word anthropology. Thus the emphasis of the word is not on ruddiness, as these critics state, but on humanness.

But there is an important distinction between the 2 classes of man. In Genesis 2 God says that there was not a man to till the field, meaning that the humans already in existence were hunter-gatherers – wanderers, and not of the highest spiritual order, though by no means stupid or slow.

The formation of man in Genesis 2 suggests a careful well thought out design and process in which the creator goes into the very inward parts – into the DNA – to generate something very special. This race of mankind, the race of Adam, is the white race which we know descends from its progenitor down through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, down to Jesus.

It is not just the difference between creation and formation which distinguishes Adam from the other peoples living on the earth. God breathed into Adam the breath of life  which makes him, as Luke calls man, the Son of God. Thus Adam and his descendants are the very kith and kin of God. The astounding relationship to the creator is one which he guarded jealously, and against which he brooked no opposition.

The special nature of Adam was that he was called out from among the common man to tend a secluded garden owned by God. Not only was Adam to work, but he was to commune with God, making him a priest-king. God did not consort with any of the people outside of the garden.

Yet there is still one other fascinating detail lurking in Genesis, namely the command to be fruitful and multiply. God gave the command to the men and women he created in Genesis 1, but that command is not repeated to Adam and Eve, who are described as man and wife – not male and female – thus investing them with a dignity which the common man did not have.

Such an exalted position would undoubtedly lead to jealousy and plans to injure, precisely what Satan planned to destroy God’s children, bringing us to Chapter 3, where we find that the serpent was the most crafty of the beasts of field as the KJV puts it. The LXX uses the term beast of earth to distinguish the serpent as from the commoners.

We thus come to an important interpretive principal in Genesis – namely that a good deal of chapters 2 and 3 use symbolism to convey their message. Some go so far as to say that the trees represent family trees or people, and that eating of the fruit of the tree represented sexual intercourse, an interpretation with considerable merit.

On the other hand, this need not necessarily be the case. But in furthering our interpretation of symbols, we can confidently conclude that the serpent was one of the Genesis 1 people, described as craftier than the other beasts of the field, a term which the Bible uses to describe carnal, earthly, unregenerate man.

It was one of these clever people who seduced Eve with the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We have gone back and forth about whether the fruit of the tree represented sexual relations with one of these base people, or if the fruit was an aphrodisiac which caused Eve to have sex with Satan. Remember that Adam and Eve were not commanded to be fruitful and multiply, meaning that they were not given to cohabitation.

Thus our preference leans towards the fruit being a sexual stimulant which permanently altered their libido placing them in the category of mere mortals who procreated to sustain their line. Jesus said that people neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven, which is a reference to the kingdom of God on earth. While there are certainly other interpretations to Jesus’ words, they seem most consonant with the conditions in the garden where Adam and Eve did not have sex nor produce children.

Satan thus robbed Adam and Eve of their glory. Instead of walking in the garden naked in an aura of life, they were immensely impoverished by resorting to fig leaves to cover their genitalia because they were changed by the fruit of the forbidden tree. Thusly, Satan need not be a phantasmagorical supernatural creature, but may have simply been one of the more clever persons on the earth to whom Eve lost her virginity in the absolutely most catastrophic one night stands in all of human history. Naturally she gave the fruit to her husband.

God pronounced a curse on Satan and his seed which would continuously harass that of Adam and Even until such time as the offspring of Adam would crush that of Satan – ie the base men of Genesis 1. This means that Cain, the firstborn of Eve, was the byproduct of Satan and Eve, whereas Abel was second and the progeny of Adam and Eve. Because Adam and Eve left their first estate for the beast of field, God punished them as well, sending them out of Eden with grievous burdens for their sin. Although the immediate sin was sex, the real sin was consorting with the men of Genesis 1.

Chapter 4 recounts the conflict between Cain and Abel which God had so forcefully prophesied. Cain was a half-breed while Abel was pure in his genetics. Although God tells Cain that he would be accepted if he did righteously, Cain refused the invitation, preferring instead to rob Abel of his right standing before God by murdering him.

God’s interview with Cain is fascinating:

And the Lord God said to Cain, Why art thou become very sorrowful and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.
 
Many teach that Abel’s sacrifice was honoring to God because of its nature – ie, it was of a living creature, and foreshadowed the Mosaic requirements to bring animals to sacrifice. The Bible does not teach this notion. Reading carefully what God said, we see that Cain’s sacrifice would have been acceptable if he had rightly divided it. Apparently Cain was bringing the second best, keeping the finest of his fruits to himself.

More intriguing is God’s reminder that Cain, being the first born, would have ruled over his brother, yet that was not sufficient for Cain who was by nature a greedy acquisitive thief – and murderer and liar.

Genesis chapter 5 gives the genealogies of Adam and Cain, but we will focus on that Adam for the writer goes to great pains to state that Adam had an offspring Seth who was in his own image, after his own kind. Normally this kind of statement would seem absurd. Of course all humans have offspring after their own kind.

Only in the case of Adam’s line does God meticulously inspire Moses to record that Seth was in the very image of his father for Adam was the very son of God. Adam is God’s progeny and expected Adam to keep his generations – ie his race – pure. God goes to extreme lengths from Genesis to Revelation to warn this line to keep itself genetically pure lest it lose out on the great reward offered through the redemption of God’s second son Jesus.

The climax of this idea comes in Genesis 6 when man had so corrupted his race that God wiped out it with a flood. After 10 generations, only Noah and his 3 sons were racially pure, a devolution which Genesis 6:1-4 describes.

This passage of scripture conjures much debate, with a very common interpretation that the sons of God cohabitated with women to produce the men of renown. The sons of God are usually said to be angels, and we have even stated that they were indeed sons of God but of a heavenly nature.

We have reformed our views by the understanding that the Sons of God were precisely the sons of Adam who noticed that the daughters of the base humans were quite beautiful and intermarried with them in violation of God’s command, thus repeating the sin of Adam and Eve.

When God said that it repented him that he made man, he was not speaking of Adam, but of the man he created in Genesis 1. The proscriptions against miscegenation are repeated in the Mosaic Law, all throughout the Old Testament, into the New Testament, down to Revelation where Jesus sternly warns against the doctrines of the Nicolaitans, Jezebel, and Balaam – all of whom taught interracial marriage and sex, along with idolatry. God is a very jealous God who will not tolerate the diluting of his race or the corruption of his flesh.

Before closing, we should note that the flood was a relatively local phenomenon which did not cover the entire earth. The best evidence is that Noetic civilization which God destroyed was centered in the Tarim Basin is west central Asia where surprising findings of white people have been discovered.

We could say much more about these first chapters of Genesis, but we have covered the major themes and topics while also addressing some myths and falsehoods about the early history of human existences.



Friday, August 26, 2016

Ye Must Be Born Again - NOT!

Occultist Norman Vincent Peale stirred quite a fuss when he announced to the audience of Phil Donahue some years ago that people need not be born again. Although his comments confirmed my worst suspicions of him, it turns out that he was right, though perhaps not for reasons he understood.

The verse in question concerning being born again, from the King James Version, is found in John 3:3
3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
It is interesting how falsehoods become embedded within our spiritual raiments, provoking a reasonable but incorrect outrage when challenged.

The correct translation of the verse, in paraphrase, is Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. The Greek word ἄνωθεν is properly translated "from above" - not "again." Thus people are not born again to enter the kingdom of God. Being born from above is not a semantic synonym for being born again.

It is worth noting that only those people who are born from above, without any decisions on their parts, shall enter the kingdom of God. Just as in human birth a person has absolutely no say in his birth, so with the spiritual birth. The birth of the spiritual ones is completely in God's hands.

So if you have been pestering family, friends, and enemies to become born again, you can cease from your vain labors. If they are of the lost tribes of Israel, then you should continue to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God, which truly is the gospel. Otherwise your offers of salvation and the kingdom are fraudulent.

To make our previous point crystal clear, Jesus stated very clearly that he came only for the lost sheep of Israel and that he came to save his people. His people are racial, genetic descendants from the loins of Jacob, for in Jacob shall your seed be reckoned. You are sadly deluded if you think that there is such a thing as a "spiritual" Israel without connection to genetics.

To be very clear about the descendants of Jacob, they are most emphatically not Jews, a race of people descending from Esau and Edom, who will be thoroughly destroyed when Jesus returns in the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

The descendants of Adam through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the true seed of Promise and are the only persons eligible to inherit the Kingdom of God. No one else qualifies. Those who attempt to enter the Kingdom by stealth will be destroyed.

The descendants of Jacob are the seed and brethren spoken of by all of the apostolic writers. These people were and are given spiritual lives, born from above, capable of receiving the Spirit of God which is the down payment of the fulfillment of all of the promises of God in Abraham and his seed.

Only Israel, of all peoples of the earth, did God know. And only to them is salvation offered. You cannot be born again. You can only be born from above, something which occurred before the foundation of the world.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Cult of Yaweh

There is a cult among certain Christians who call God Yaweh and Jesus Yahshua or some close variant thereof. These people present themselves as more learned and spiritual in so doing, but they are in fact invoking Satan.

The argument for using Yaweh and Yahshua is that those names are authentic Hebrew appellations of the language and ethnicity of the ancient Israelites, Jesus and God. If an American is named James, he would probably be annoyed if someone were to call him Jacques, although in France, such a translation might take place. Likewise, the Yahwists believe that they are honoring God by using the original Hebrew names to designate God and his son. Unfortunately, they are using anachronisms to justify their errors.

The deception of these people is remarkable, in part because the predicate for their practices is unfounded. In other words, the ancient language of Hebrew was not the language of the Israelites or of the Old Testament although there are certainly Aramaic passages as in Daniel.

Hebrew is a relatively recent language which has 2 main phases of development. While some maintain that Hebrew originated during and after the Exile, it is more reasonable to say that what we now call ancient Hebrew began development in the 8th century BC, using a Phoenician based alphabet known as paleo Hebrew, and then became based upon the modern square alphabet during the 1st century BC as Aramaic displaced Hebrew as the common language of those living in Palestine after the return from captivity.

Thus the Masoretic Text uses the later Herodian (square, angular) script – not the paleo form found in Hebrew texts as early as the 8th C. BC. The Masoretic Text, which the Jews presented to the Roman Catholic Church in the 10th C AD, was developed over several centuries starting as early as the 2d C AD. Its production began in earnest in the 6th C. AD, during which time the Jews – not be confused with Hebrews or Israelites – developed their corrupted text to deceive Christians.

During the times of Jesus, and even beyond the Council of Nicaea, the Septuagint was the standard text of the Old Testament. The Masoretic document is a very late text far removed from the original manuscripts, and as such is considered a far less desirable copy. As Richard Hathaway has pointed out, the Jews can’t even produce the original source texts upon which their Masoretic Text is allegedly based. Our guess is that the Jews most likely used the Septuagint to created their deliberately corrupted version of the Old Testament.

The astute reader will note that the Septuagint was translated from something, and quite reasonably from Hebrew, either from paleo or Old Hebrew, although that is not necessarily the entire case. We simply do not have the source texts of the translation of the Septuagint or of the Masoretic Text, although we assume, as noted above, that the Masoretes translated their text into Hebrew from the Greek. With over 500 years to shake and bake their product, the hypothesis is reasonable.

Hathaway points out that Hebrew was not even a language when Moses wrote the Pentateuch; thus it would be impossible to have any ancient Hebrew manuscripts in the first place. Moses would have written in either Egyptian hieroglyphics or more likely in proto Phoenician.

What makes all of this Yahweh and Yahshua business more laughable is that many of its adherents belong to the Christian Identity movement which places great stress – and rightfully so – on the Aryan descent of the Adamic race; yet these people embrace the mongrelized Afro-asiatic Jewish language as divine. In other words, the Israelites descend from Adam, Noe and Jacob, then across western Asia and then Europe, all of which people speak Indo-European languages.

Hathaway states that Hebrew is an Afro-Asian language with close affinities to Aramaic spoken at the time of the Chaldean empire into whose captivity the Israelites succumbed. This Babylonian captivity explains the development of the Hebrew language and rise of the Babylonian Talmud – one of the ghastliest documents produced in all of history.

The very few Israelites who returned to Israel had become largely pagan Edomite Jews who adhered to the Babylonian Talmudic religion which mixed elements of the Hebrew religion with the Babylonian religions based upon the Mother-Goddess myth. This religion ultimately became known as Judaism.

We should also take care not to confuse language and geography. Though the true Israelites may be designated as Hebrews, they did not speak Hebrew – they spoke proto Phoenician which belonged to the same Semitic language branch. The people who populated Israel after the captivity were generally Edomite Jews – not Israelites.

As a Hebrew, Jesus and his disciples spoke Greek, with some Aramaic owing to his environs.  In fact, when Jesus screamed his famous utterance on the cross, Matthew had to point out that it was in the Aramaic tongue, dispelling the nonsensical notion that the gospels were written originally in Hebrew.

The best information that we have of Jesus’ silent years is that he spent much of his formative time in Britain where he was probably educated. Britain at that time was recognized for having the finest education system in the Roman world, and would be where Jesus would have undoubtedly learned Greek.

Even so, Celtic languages, Indo-European in descent, would have been spoken in that part of the world. So while "Jesus" derives from the transliterated Iesou, it is much more accurate to call the Son of God Jesus rather than the Jewish appellation of Yahshua.

So what about Yahweh? Hathaway reports documentation showing that the term Yaweh was a common ancient designation for any number of pagan gods where it is used without reverence. The so-called tetragrammaton upon which rests the justification for calling God Yahweh was an artifact of the Masoretes whose late texts invented it to fool the Christians into worshipping their many pagan Gods. The tetragrammaton is found nowhere in the standard Septuagint, although some scholars note that a handful of earliest Septuagint texts use it.

The personal name which God revealed was I am. The inutterableness of God’s name according to the Jews is a further sign of their Satanic descent, which god they worship. Secret names of god form a part of the Kabbalah magic system which Jewish leaders practice. Jesus, on the other hand, taught his disciples to pray, Our Father.

When one understands the timelines for the development of the Hebrew language and the Masoretic Text, it is easy to dismiss the mumbo jumbo voodoo about the tetragrammaton. Paul, as erudite a scholar as the Church has had, never once considered using the unutterable tetragrammaton or esoteric name for God, consistently using the Greek words we transliterate as theou and kurios to refer to God and Jesus.

If this Jewish designation were so important as the Yahwists insist, why did not Paul use it?

The fact that the mongrel Hebrew language is a product of the Captivity should alert anyone who is aware of his Israelite heritage that the Masoretic text is a fraud - and so consequently the names Yahweh and Yahshua.

Reference
Richard Hathaway, Christ's New Covenant, israelelect.com, nd

Copyright 2016, Tony Bonn

Friday, July 15, 2016

Whosoever Will

One of American Christendom's most beloved and abused verses must surely be that of John 3:16 which is plastered everywhere, including football games, presenting the gospel to whosoever believeth. Unfortunately the verse does not mean what its advocates proclaim.
 
The verse in question reads
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
The superficial reading of the verse does indeed appear to support the proclamation that anyone who believes will have everlasting life. Leaving aside the Greek diction and its delimitations of who constitutes whosoever, we must consider this verse in the light of other sayings of Jesus which control the applicability of this verse.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:24
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Quoting John 3:16 without this context does great violence to Jesus' words. The whosoever of this verse can only be those of the lost sheep of Israel.
 
The question of interest is who are the lost sheep. While the answer to that question takes us far afield from our initial investigation, we note that lost sheep are those Israelites who were dispersed by the invasions by Assyria, and then Babylon,  of the nations of Israel - the north and south kingdoms.
 
The Jews are not the lost sheep - only the Hebrews are sheep. These Hebrews are the 12 tribes of Israel which were dispersed to fulfill the promise given to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations.
 
As the kinsmen redeemer, Jesus came to save his people and no other. His people spread far and wide, mostly across northern Europe and then to North America.
 
John did not write 3:16 to promiscuously promise the Kingdom to non-Israelites.
 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Does Israel Have a Prophetic Future?

Our question has all of the ambiguities of the Chinese malediction, May you live in interesting times. Our predictions are not sanguine in regards to the future of Israel.
 
Most American "Evangelical Christians" might be a bit surprised or disturbed by our view regarding Israel whom many revere as God's chosen people. Unfortunately for these folks, they fail to recognize that the kingdom was taken from them just as Jesus declared. But there is more to the story requiring clarification.
 
The Jews of Jesus' time, just as in our own, are Edomites descending from Esau whose offspring descend from the Canaanites, Cain, and Satan. Thus the Jews of whom we speak have nothing to do with the Hebrews other than the fact that one of their ancestors is indeed Abraham. Because they do not descend from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they are thus not Hebrews and not the people of God. They are of their father the Devil, just as Jesus stated - and he was not speaking figuratively or spiritually.
 
The import of Jesus' declaration that the Kingdom had been taken from them, speaking of the Edomite Jews, was that Jerusalem was demolished in 70 AD and then again in 135. Having been scattered to the winds as the Wandering Jew, these people have reconstituted themselves not in a fulfillment of prophecy, but in defiance of the Almighty who cursed the fig tree to bear no fruit. Thus the re-emergence of Israel does not portend good.
 
The regathering of the Edomite Jews in Israel is the fulfillment of Revelation 20 where Satan is loosed from the pit after the 1000 years. As they have deceived the nations with their gross immorality, usury, central banking, and endless wars, they will be crushed by the imminent and speedy return of Jesus to complete fully the work begun in 70 AD, and to fulfill the prophecies concerning the utter destruction of Edom whose smoke will arise for the ages of ages.
 
So yes Israel has a future - one related wholly to its destruction. Indeed when Jesus touches down upon the Mount of Olives, he shall rend it in twain, wreaking great destruction upon the land and Jerusalem. Then shall the wheat and the tares be separated - the goats from the sheep.
 
No one who is Christian can serve Jewry or support the state of Israel. The Jews are not the Chosen People, nor do they fulfill any hopeful prophecies to the House of Israel or to the House of Judah. The state of Israel's doom is assured and can come none too quickly.

Forever and Ever World Without End

The Bible speaks of many events lasting forever or for eternity. For better or for worse, there are fewer of these events than most Christians imagine, relying on faulty translations to render forever and similar ideas.
 
Most often the word translated forever is either from a Hebrew word transliterated olam or a Greek word transliterated aion. The English word eon comes from aion, the former of which in our time denotes a long age or epoch. However, the Greek word does not have such a meaning.
 
Aion simply means a definite period of time having a beginning and an end - nothing more and nothing less. The reason so many people are confused about the meaning is that lexicons beginning in the 16th century began including in the definition of this ancient Greek word the meaning of forever in order to fit their theologies. Never in Greek literature does this word aion assume the meaning of forever or eternity unless some specific context gives it that meaning, and those cases are exceedingly rare.
 
There are curious phrases in the New Testament which literally translated would be "ages of ages" and yet this still does not mean eternity or forever. They might be better translated analogously to the French phrase crème de la crème - or cream of the cream - which is somewhat comparable to cream of the crop.
 
An example where this assumed meaning of forever is preposterous is in Jonah where the great prophet is said to have been in the great fish for an olam. The fact is that he was in the whale for 3 days and 3 nights - not forever.
 
The import of this understanding is that a great many doctrines fall by the wayside as prevarications. In a few cases, the doctrine may well be true, but not on the basis of linguistic grounds related to the meaning of olam or aion.
 
Aion also does not mean world, which in some cases it is translated in the King James New Testament. Thus the careful student of the Word of God must make sure that he knows where aion or olam is located, and then know that its default reading should be period of time. Additional linguistic contextual clues may modify it in terms of duration, but under no circumstance should it be assumed to have other meanings based upon theology.
 
Copyright 2016 Tony Bonn