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Featured Question About Prayer

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by RayofLight, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    All this to say "I believe in God, until specific commandments and details are given by Him" - am I right in my conclusion? Apologies if I'm not. But it seems you like the idea of YHWH rather than YHWH Himself - as He has recorded Himself in the Scriptures.

    I might have drawn a wrong conclusion though. Please forgive me if that's the case.

    Do you have examples you can give me?

    I'm sorry but I can't agree with you on this. It just doesn't match who he was, what he stood for and what he wrote.

    It sounds more like the Paul as modern Christianity likes to interpret him. That is to say - Paul minus the Old Testament and even some of the words of Messiah. That isn't a solid base for understanding Paul in my view.

    Yes and no. Paul was indeed trying to stop an influence from the Circumcision party on new believers. But not to stop following the Law. "God Forbid!" as Paul even writes on the matter.

    The concern was that the Circumcision Party were saying you need to be circumcised and keep the Law IN ORDER to be saved. Hence, undoing the work of Messiah and making it all about works.

    However, if a believer lives a lawless life after his conversion - what reception can he expect from the Messiah on Judgement Day? A pleasant one?

    Surely, as the Scriptures say, all will have to give account for the works they do, good and bad, and for every idle word they have uttered.

    I can't think of an example of this. Can you share one?

    Well then, you have missed the very purpose of Scripture and the words of YHWH. The Bible has become simply a historic book for you.

    I suppose the real advantage in this understanding is that you end up escaping all the judgements therein because, as you say...
    So I'm guessing you take all the "nice bits" and leave the "bad bits", right?

    But I'm open to be proven wrong, always. So perhaps you may be able to share an example of when you have corrected your ways and character because of Scripture? Or an instance where you were living your life one way, and then changed because of what you read in the Bible.

    My friend, I would love it if we could all get along. And I, for one, happily do - whether the person proclaims their JW, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, SDA, Messianic - the list goes on and on. But unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of others - who prefer to be divisive for the sake of adhering to their theology.

    So yes, for the Atheist coming along to Christianity with an interest to learn more - it can seem like a mess and be very confusing on "how to start", "who to join" and "who is right".

    Just being honest on the matter. :)

    Yes, that's pretty much what I'm saying. But if you have an "abundance of Scripture" that negates that, I challenge you to provide it to me. With one caveat...

    As the Apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 3, Paul is hard to understand and many people misinterpret him. So, seeing as you and I can't agree on Paul - let's assume one of us is wrong.

    Therefore, in the remaining 53 books of the Bible, please present your case. You have more than enough Scripture remaining to cite. You can of course quote the words of YHWH and the Messiah to back your case.

    Hey, I know you love Romans 14 right, but it's part of a long letter in a long book. :)

    I could easily make you seem to say something my quoting only a fraction of all your posts on this forum. Context is everything.

    Not at all! It's an interesting discussion. And I over reply too..
     
  2. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    I hear you. It sounds good. But what is your definition of sin? What you think or what God thinks?

    Actually that is exactly what it means.

    Sin in Hebrew means "to miss", as in to miss a target you are aiming for. That target being the instructions and way of YHWH or Torah (or the Law).

    Deviating intentionally or unintentionally from the Law is the definition of sin. Not only in the Old Testament but the New as well.

    Obey love and follow love? That's a bit wishy washy and open for interpretation, don't you think?

    A wicked man who has an urge for underage girls may understand that to be love and following love. So do you allow him? Some tribes see it as love to eat a human as part of a gifting ceremony. So are you happy to participate or offer yourself up to follow love?

    Or is it love according to your definition? I personally go by the Creator's definition - as recorded in the Scriptures.

    Kinda, yeah. The citizenship is very real though. New Jerusalem, which returns at the end of the age (coming soon) is a very real place and city. YHWH's people will be the ones who have citizenship to it an allowed entry.

    As a side note, Yahushua (Jesus) seems to indicate that not everyone who thinks they will be getting in (a professing Christian) will be getting in. Indeed, the whole "once saved, always saved" mantra of some is dangerous. Faith is a present action, not a past decision.

    Okay, we disagree on this matter and I don't know how to progress this part of conversation forward. You are in a different paradigm to me on this topic.

    Yeah, I hear the same thing here and there. Safe words, non-offensive, generalised. Sorry, I'm perhaps being too blunt.

    Still, nothing in what you've said describes YHWH specifically as He reveals Himself and describes Himself in the Scriptures. You could be talking about Buddha for all I know.

    So the question remains - how do you know Him? Experience? Ah, so your experiences are all valid and you are infallible in your interpretation of them? You trust such concepts as large and overwhelming as "God" on mere experience alone?

    Haven't you ever woke up from a dream and wondered for a moment if it were real? Or have you been so certain someone feels one way only to learn later they didn't?

    "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9.

    Be careful not to put too many eggs in the basket of experience, lest you be easily deceived by spirits that can give you just that and lead you astray.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your thoughtful and well-expressed opinions. Time is a commodity few of us can spend these days so thank you for spending time replying to me. I apologise if I have come across blunt in some of my replies. Rest assured it's for the sake of brevity not because of ill-intent. It has been very interesting reading and considering your views.

    Peace.
     
  3. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    As with any of my replies to these areas goes, it can be complex to try to explain sometimes.

    There is God as a concept, and then there is God as Reality. God as Reality, is a lived experience. God as a concept, is theological. I differentiate between these. What is in scripture, is conceptual. It takes the ineffable, transcendent Divine, and paints a picture of God with words and images. The images themselves are not God, but a picture of God for the mind to look at, so the spirit within can see beyond them to Truth.

    I'll redirect you to a cross-disciplinary Christian scholar and former monk, whom I respect and admire both as a scholar and a Christian. This book explores just that, in focused detail in what he terms "the biblical heartbeat", which is that swing from conservative, to progressive, and back and forth, citing the Priestly tradition view of God, and contrasting with the Deuteronomic tradition view, and so forth.

    It's an informative read from a modern scholar, who also is a deeply devoted believer in God: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062203614/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    You have to bear in mind, I do look at Paul through the lens of modern scholarship. I'm not sure what you mean by "modern Christianity likes to interpret him". Perhaps you mean modern churches are cherry picking him? That's not what I'm talking about, or doing.

    I begin by accepting the majority of modern scholars' view that not all of the letters ascribed to Paul, are authentically his. I can refer you here, to see the different scholars view on the different texts of early Christianity: Early Christian Writings: New Testament, Apocrypha, Gnostics, Church Fathers Also, Wiki talks a little about that under the Authenticity section: Pauline epistles - Wikipedia

    With that understanding in mind, in looking at "Paul" and his voice in some of these later pseudepigraphal texts, you can see a stark contrast with the earlier authentic Pauline texts. The early Paul, was that far more liberal voice you hear, from the later "Paul" in those suspect texts. That itself, demonstrates that same push/pull relationship between the progressive and conservative voices. Early Paul, really progressive. Later, Pseudo-Paul" very conservative. (I don't believe it's because he got older and more conservative. :) ).

    It is as if society has to try to right itself, and the texts capture this effort. God of Love/God of Wrath.

    To be clear in what I am saying. If someone is living as a Christian, in the truest sense of that word, then they will naturally obey all of God's law, even if they never once go to church, perform a sacrifice, observe a holy day, etc. "Love works no ill", another quote from Romans. If you are filled with Love, you won't be able to sin. It is against the nature of Love itself. Love does not behave itself ill towards others. More of Paul's thoughts from 1 Cor.

    But fulfilling all the law, which Jesus explicitly taught, is by a deep spiritual connection with the source of Love, or God, as the first commandment. The reason I say it is a spiritual connection, is because the 2nd is dependent upon the love of God filling your own heart, so that it will overflow to others and "love them as yourself". That is a love that is not capable of sin. The whole law and prophets, all of it, is fulfilled in deep spiritual love and connection with God as Source, and others as expressions of that Love.

    But none of that is dependent upon whether you "obeyed" not eating shellfish, on the specific holy day which forbids it. In other words, if you equate "love God", with obey and perform all the rites and rituals because God said so, then you are saying, like those you mentioned above, making salvation contingent upon that particular idea of what "obedience" means. The first view, is Grace. The second, legalism.

    God looks at the heart, not if you marked off all the checkboxes on the legal contract just right. That "law" becomes your heart. But not if you don't know how to hear it, but instead make it something scary and we be afraid of, and not to be trusted... (more on this in the next post)

    Well, let's not try to be too quick to judge. ;) There's a few things here.

    I do not view God and the Bible as co-equals. I do not worship the Bible as Divinity itself. There are many things in the world through which Divinity may be found, and through which it may shine. Scripture can be one of those, if you have ears to hear and eyes to see, sort of thing. But it is also, a book that is a product of human development over the ages. It is not in my view, a book that was magically delivered whole and pristine by angels laying it on the altar. It underwent a natural birthing process through human societies and individuals.

    Now, as far as assuming the motive of looking at things more in a larger perspective that in one sense of the word, demythologizes the Bible through the critical eye of modernity, is to escape judgement of it? Well, I'm not sure how to respond to that. No. My personal view of God, is one where there is nothing we do in life that is not accounted for in God. We all reap what we sow. I do not view the judgment of God, in mythological images of a great man sitting reading through a long list of your life, with the paper rolling down off the marble stairs to his throne.

    That is one way to visualize come to terms with one's own "karma", but I prefer seeing it more in terms of, everything is naked to the Divine at all time. There is nothing hidden, nor can be. In other words, I'm very aware of God's "judgement". Do good, do no harm. It's pretty simple.

    But accepting modern scholarship because I'm fearful of facing my own sin? I would prefer to see it so I can surrender it and be freed from it. That however, does not mean someone reading the bible, and looking at me, and saying "you are sinning", is on that level. What one may see as sin, another may not be convinced in their own minds that it is, as Paul speaks of in Romans 14.

    Thanks for clarifying for me. That's interesting. I very much would agree with you about those being divisive for the sake of theology. That's everything I say about placing what we believe about God, to be the actual truth of God, and those who don't see it that way, are wrong, just wrong, sinners, lost, blind, and sadly on their way to hell if they don't repent and agree with me. "Lord I pray, they see it it my way. Amen". :)

    I have a feeling we may have to start several threads here. :) I do want to lay that out at some point better, but just at a high level, the principle of not needing the schoolmaster after you've been brought to Christ, comes in here. The overarching philosophy of the NT is the universal God, rather than the ethnocentric God of the OT times. It's not about converting to a religion, but converting to God, who is beyond those borders and divisions of religion, or creed, or bloodline, or tongue. There are of course many passages I can refer to if I were to try to lay it all out as some presentation.

    Let's see if we can keep this from an exponentially exploded to 16 post responses. :) I'll reply to your 2nd post a little later, so you can take a short break until then if you wish. I enjoy this discussion.
     
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  4. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    If we think it all all, it's what we think, even when it's what we think God thinks. It's still what we think. So we have to be careful there in absolving ourselves of responsibility. ;)

    But to answer as best I can, I'd start with this: "God is Light". God is Love. God is Spirit". These are the Nature and Being of the Divine according to John's writings. Anything that is not consistent, or falls short of or works against these would be sin. A dark sinister thought, is sin. Jesus taught this of course. Violence, force, greed, anger, divisiveness, are all of out of true, or out of balance with the Divine. There is a Way of God, and then there is a way of "man" or those who follow that path of imbalance, or "sin".

    How do we know the Way, to use that term broadly to mean consistent with the Divine Nature? Is it just from reading scripture and having thoughts about God? Do you define sin as falling short of what you read of in scripture, and using that as the measuring rod as to what is sin and what is not? I can see problems doing that. And so did Jesus, who measured by the heart, not the deed itself.

    Tie this up with what I just said above, and with what I said previously about the law of Love that Jesus taught about, that the spiritual communion, the Love, is the measure of Truth in the eyes of God in the 2 greatest commandments passage. Sinning is not eating pork, or not performing some rite or ritual. That's not a sin against the Divine. It's just simply not following your religion. :)

    That's a rather surprising response. You should know of course the love I am speaking of is the love that scripture teaches? We're not talking ooegy guey puppy love emotions, nor child rapist cravings called "love" by some strange standard of language. Jesus's entire ministry was about teaching Love and what that looks like.

    I'm not sure why that is confusing to so many people. Divine Love, is what we should aim for. That's the Goal. It's everything Jesus taught, and supposedly opened to door for the world to.

    There is the comic I found some time ago that so struck exactly to the heart of this, I saved it knowing I'd wish to share it again. I think this expresses my response better than my own words could do. :)

    love and scripture.jpg

    I think what I was pointing out concern with is those who just take the "plain meaning of the text", without any understanding of context, or good hermeneutics. If you mean "plain meaning" in a more literary sense of the author's intention, that's different. But it's really easy to fool someone just pointing to something on the page after you tell them what to expect to see, and then say, "See it's right there, in the plain text. Anyone can see this, but they don't." Of course, that is a trick of the mind, and a dangerous thing. The "plain meaning" may not be as "plain" as it may appear, if you dig a little deeper.

    If you noticed in my post you quoted from, I capitalized each of those words: "God is Love, Absolute, and Unconditional." Those are not generalized "safe words" by any stretch of the imagination. Capitalizing each of those makes the pointing to the Divine itself. That is very much making a fundamentally clear statement of their Absolute nature. And each of those, are what are found in scripture. I am very much largely using its language. "God is Love, God is Light, God is Spirit (see my "religion" listed on my name).

    But sure, you can see Buddhism in its light as well. I don't think there is more than one Divine Reality, regardless of what we call it or how we approach it. In the end, a good tree bears good fruit, and the rest you should know.

    You're kind of all over the place with this here. I wouldn't jump from trusting and knowing God experientially, to not having any sort of grounding on thought going on. It's really difficult to describe how that there is a relationship between spirit and mind, or to use the Christian parlance, the heart and the mind. I see you have a lot of confusion about this. But you are not alone in fact. It seems a cultural thing at this moment in time, many an author points to, as one of the downsides of modernity.

    Another reference for you at your leisure, if it interests you. If you wish to understand a lot of how I think, this opens the door to that a bit: Biblical Literalism: Constricting the Cosmic Dance – Religion Online

    A few things here. If you are talking about the experience of the Divine, that is actually experienced more as waking up from a dream into Reality. In other words, you know it as Reality, and everything else you thought was the truth before, is laid suspect before your feet, like it was all imaginary and in your head, or "just dreaming". That's what experiencing God is like. It pulls back the veil in the temple, rendering it from top to bottom with an unseen hand, and shine brighter than the noonday sun, as a great metaphor.

    And it can also be the gentle calm of an evening, or the song of a bird. But all radiating that the Divine Light, which is Life. Truth within knows Truth without. The mind is easily deceived. But the Spirit itself bears witness.

    So, the verse of scripture you, which I've seen drug out before in discussions like this, has nothing to do with spiritual knowledge of the heart. That's talking about your human emotions and your earthly desires clouding the reasoning mind, like a teenagere hormones dropping their IQ 90 points when they start getting horny.

    But the Bible speaks very clearly about how it is the heart that God purifies and leads us through. It concerns me that so many think they can think their way to God. It is the mind that needs to let go sometimes of trying to know God, and let that be an act of the heart. Then the heart has a voice in your life, one which leads to wisdom and knowledge. Head smart, is not spirit smart. That takes heart smart, to coin an interesting term.

    Thanks I appreciate it. I look forward to your thoughts.
     
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  5. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    Hey Windwalker

    It sounds great and you could sell books on that and run plenty of successful seminars. But this is, at best, a subjective opinion and not found anywhere within the Bible.

    Thanks for the recommendation. However, to read a book to prove this point you're making seems a little extreme. :)

    You mentioned how there were plenty examples in the Bible. So, as this is a certain belief of yours, it might be easier to just quote the passage references that you base this firm stance upon.

    However, if you personally can't quote such passages but base your views on this authors work alone, then I have to take it that no sufficient examples exist to validate this claim.

    Ah right, you have this belief. The "scholarship" is poor in this area but appealing to some who have motive to believe its premise. To the laymen and dedicated student alike, Paul's heart is clearly continuous in all the letters in the New Testament. To say otherwise requires a suspension of reason and brute handling of the text, in my opinion.

    The motivation for this scholarship or discrediting Paul or heralding his words above the Messiah is all rooted in the same thing - the Law. People trying to avoid it, raise it above Messiah, or trying to destroy it. Paul seems to be the horse that people ride on to accomplish all these things.

    You seem to reference Paul a lot. I don't think I've heard you refer to the Messiah's words often. Why is that?

    Then you have unfortunately misunderstood. A Christian doesn't start naturally observing Torah, Sabbath or change their diet. Far from it. Instead, one must discipline themselves.

    I think you are getting confused with the resurrection state of the saints. At that stage, the Torah will be then written within their hearts and they will naturally walk in the ways of YHWH. However, before hand (in this life), nothing comes natural but sin. If we have the Holy Spirit within, we will be inspired and eager to keep Torah, in love. But the default setting for these "earth suits", even for Christians (and Paul) is sin - and it must be brought into subjection.

    I have met many Christians who love the Lord with all their heart - yet they disobey the Torah in several points. Does that mean they are not saved? No. But does that mean they will need to answer for their actions and their reward changed accordingly? According to the Scriptures - yes.

    Are you referring to the passage in Matthew 5? If so, be careful that you haven't misunderstood what He was teaching there.

    Okay, let me challenge you on this, if I may.

    You probably have an idea of what it looks like to love your neighbour. But how do you love God exactly? Keep in mind, caring for others is loving your neighbour of course. So how do you love God?

    No, I'm not saying that and you won't find that in any post of mine.

    Salvation is a gift of grace from YHWH, through the atoning death and resurrection of Yahushua (Jesus) the Messiah. End of.

    However, how should one walk with God on day two onwards?

    Let's say you get married. You settle down in a house with two kids and plenty of chores to do. You decide to split the chores and you ask your spouse "Can you do the dishes and I'll do this job". Now, if your spouse doesn't do the dishes do you immediately say "I don't love you, you are nothing to me, I want a divorce!". Surely not. But are you happy that your spouse is shunning their duties? Surely not.

    In the same way, obedience isn't about securing salvation more or earning it. But about living to honour and love YHWH (whoops, there is a clue for my question to you above!)

    But if you choose not to obey and just sit back rejoice in the grace of salvation (the "once saved, always saved" attitude). What reception can you imagine to receive from the King? Will He put you in charge of much and reward you accordingly?

    Oye vey, Romans 14 again. :) I hope you've read the rest of the Bible ;P

    The response you gave in the paragraphs of this quoted line all seem to find their conclusion in you saying "We can't fully trust the Bible, but I appreciate the sentiment of it's message" - would that be a fair assessment? If not, I apologise.

    In which case, you'll probably like a certain chapter in the Bible called Romans 14, have you read it?

    I'm glad we agree on this matter as it's one of the more important ones. When theology becomes harmful division - the battle has become worthless.

    Indeed, whatever religion anyone is - we are all made in the image of YHWH (according to the Bible). And so, everyone should be respected and treated well, despite the path they are on.

    Haha, good call! Yes, may be we are overdoing it a little. But I'm enjoying our chat too. I'll try and keep my responses even shorter. It's just so damn hard to! :)
     
  6. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    No that's not quite accurate. The Messiah defines sin in one of His teachings as "lawlessness" meaning, of course, a state without law.

    I think the issue we are having in communicating on this issue is the very definition of sin.

    It seems that you think that "sin" is a thing with or without the Bible, that it is almost a meta-concept that the Bible then brings a refinement to after. However, that is not the case. Sin is breaking, transgressing or missing the instructions which are in the Torah - by definition. So, in a sense, you can say that if there were no Bible (or Torah) there would be no sin.

    Look at it this way. You travel to a tiny abandoned island that has empty roadways but no people. Would you be breaking the law if you speeded around those roads in your car? What about if you done so whilst drunk? Would there be any consequence from law-enforcement? However, try the same in Chicago and you will be apprehended.

    In like manner, without Torah, there is no sin - as you couldn't know any better. But Torah does exist and you know it does and you have the access to it for free - from libraries, online and even on your phone within minutes. You probably even know most of the ten commandments. So then, what will you say when the law-enforcement officer pulls you aside? You knew you were violating the rules.

    That's not true. It would be a sin to eat pork or ignore the Sabbath. But that isn't anything to do with religion. It's to do with the instructions from the Creator. He doesn't say such things for mere fun and games. It's for our health - physically and spiritually.

    I understand what you are saying. But how are you defining that Divine love. Okay, so you don't hurt anyone and care for people in general - great. You're no different to most atheists or buddhists, or some kids in pre-school. Is that all you think this whole life is about?

    And again, you love your neighbour - great. How do you love God? Because if that doesn't include listening to His advice and following it, then what is it exactly?

    Interesting comic. But careful not to understand it as "love can correct Scripture"

    Okay then I think we agree. Context is everything. A text out of context is a pretext.

    Fair enough. You seem confidence that you have a connection to the Divine, as you put it. In which case, what does the Divine say to you about me? Are you able to even get specific answers or are they more indescribable feelings? If it's the latter, then what is the point in being in communion with such a god as that - as the mind is very susceptible to subconscious influences and so what could you ever say for certain.

    Really? Can you quote me the verses you have in mind?


    It seems your views on God are deep, thoughtful, introspective and gentle. I admire your way of seeing the best in things and the open mind you have towards spirituality and connecting with the Creator. Kudos for that.

    However, the lack of specificity, graft, and humility that comes with your ideals of God verge swiftly away/beyond the Bible. Therefore, maybe the god that you see isn't so much YHWH, but your version of Him. This wasn't acceptable to YHWH in the past (as read in the Scriptures) when the Jews were worshiping their own idea of Him. Even if they called there ideas of God "YHWH" and gave praise to that Name, it still wasn't acceptable before Him.

    So I guess my question is - where do you draw the line of interpreting the Bible uniquely and creating an idol for yourself from your own conceptions?

    I hope you aren't offended by that. I don't mean to be rude. It's a genuine concern and question for you.

    Peace.
     
  7. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Hah! I doubt I'd ever do all that. I may write a book someday on my thoughts about the meaning of life and all that, as a personal exercise, but I can tell you, most everything I say has its support in the bible. I draw from it in forming my own ways of conceiving and speaking about the Divine. It gives me its language, in other words. So, yes, it's there in the Bible.

    Maybe not in a way of thinking about you are familiar with, but that becomes largely the point of this discussion, doesn't it?

    Well, yeah. I was just giving you an easy detailed reference, if you wanted to start there. I don't want this discussion to get bogged down into tearing apart all the verses of scripture and dissecting them, and debating them, and all of that. I don't desire to defend the scholars' work that I draw from. I'll let them do that. The point is to say, I'm not making this up in my head, and it's not my subjective opinion.

    As far as the progressive/conservative swing in scripture, again, that book goes into all the texts and analyzes the dickens out of them for the reader. But I did cite authentic Paul vs. pseudo Paul, as well as the Priestly Tradition vs. the Deuteronomic tradition. That's two major instances there, I mentioned before. So I'm really not avoiding pointing them out, I just don't want to get in to a full out debate. I'll leave that to the scholars. I happen to respect and trust his scholarship.

    I could copy them out of his book, if you like? But I'm really not interested in debating his findings. I trust his work. He is a well-regarded modern scholar. It's not just so easy as to say, "This verse", without explaining what you are looking at and all the details surrounding it, from a multidisciplinary perspective. This is what his scholarship does.

    So yes, absolutely, there are more than sufficient examples that exist. Crossan wrote a whole book about them. If you wish to see them all, get ahold of his book. :) Again, I'm not going to get drawn into a debate whether or not you accept his scholarship. I'm pretty sure you would be resistant to that.

    But I do accept it, not as hard firm facts, but as solidly formed academic opinion. In other words, credible. Nowhere have I said my ideas, and even these, are "firm". You made that up.

    You are elevating yourself into the position of spiritual judge of others, and of me at this moment. You are assuming, that because someone has a different understanding of these things, that can be seen as being 'critical' of your views, that they must be motivated by sin or a desire to sin? That must be the only explanation? They are sinners? I'm not sure if I should laugh, or cry.

    No. It's not because I hate God or love sin, that I accept modern science and modern NT scholarship. I'm not running from God. I commune with him everyday, and invite the Divine into my mind and my heart, to seek out all sin and surrender it to the Divine. And yet, I accept science and modern scholarship too. It must be that sin and scholarship, are not related at all, it seems.

    It's not shoddy scholarship I read. But established and well regarded academics. And, I believe in God too. Faith does not mean never questioning beliefs. Do you believe that's what faith is? Is faith and being true to faith, the same as beliefs and being firm in your beliefs?

    I think you have a number of confusions about scripture. This is one of those areas. The law being written on their hearts, is a promise of Joel for the future kingdom, and Paul refencenes that same passage applying it to people living in his time. Read carefully this passage: Romans 2:13-15

    For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)​

    This is not speaking of the resurrection, having the law written on their hearts. It's talking about the Gentiles who, while not being Jewish, fulfilled the Torah because the law of God was written on their hearts. Which has been what I've been saying here. Love fulfills the law, not getting your privates sliced in a ritual ceremony. That's not what God looks at in the day of judgement, and this verse alone says that, but even more so when you now read the 14th chapter.

    Why are you judging them as disobeying the Torah? Because they aren't following the ritual practices you believe God requires of them? Is that what you are saying?

    Yes, I am referencing to the two great commandments passage. My favorite passage in all of scripture. I don't believe I misunderstand it. It's a core philosophy of life as a goal for me.

    This is a particular type of question I really enjoy addressing, as best I can. As I said, that passage of the two great commandments is my favorite, and is one that challenges all human beings. It is also the key to understand what it means to have the "law written upon the heart" as a the Bible cites in several places.

    Jesus says to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. How do I do that? Meditation. Developing the spiritual connection in myself with the Divine, and striving to remove all obstacles which impede that. I direct my intention and thoughts to the Divine. I strive to see God in everything and everyone, and ground and root myself within that. Breathe it. Let it become who you are. Christian parlance would call that "walking with God" or developing your 'relationship with God'.

    All of that is an interior practice. That's where the work is done. And from there it moves outward to the exteriors, which results in loving others as yourself. But that is more than just treating them the way you'd like to be, which is what many assume. Rather it is to see the other as an extension of yourself and the Divine that flows within you. It is literally, loving them with that same love that God holds us in, as an extension of ourselves. This is true empathy and compassion, not just a moral code. That is when the "law is written on the tablets of the heart", as scripture says.

    But what if we both are, but have different beliefs about things, such as not believing it is necessary to follow dietary restrictions of the Mosaic law, for instance? Do you judge your fellow Christian for not believing that's necessary? Isn't that exactly what Paul was saying not to do in Romans 14, as well as elsewhere in the same book, and his other authentic writings as well?

    Or, imagine you and your spouse have a mutual understanding of house chores, that there is no hard fast rule that she has to do them, and whoever has time should do it. And then, some neighbor barges into your house and tells you and your spouse, you're not following God's plan in their lives, and women only should do the dishes?

    I think that's what Romans 14 is saying, that it's between the couple themselves, not others quoting rules at them, for whatever reason it that is which motivates them to do so. Insecurity? :)

    Gah, I have to split the post....
     
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  8. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    I think you struggle with the answer I gave which is to say that if you love God, as Jesus taught, you will fulfill all the law right away, because you will be filled by God, and act from God, and be consistent with God. You act, from who you are. As opposed to acting from whom you "should be", which is acting from the ego.

    "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Romans 13:10 (right before the 14th chapter).


    If you've been saved, you'll show it. But that doesn't mean showing it by following someone's ideas of what they think God requires of them religiously, like performing sacred rituals and observing holy days, and such. God doesn't require religion in order to know Truth.

    "By their fruits you shall know them", not by their beliefs or strict adherence to ritual observations. Remember, Jesus said the Roman Centurion, a non-Jew, had more faith than everyone in the whole of Israel? He deemed him righteous, without asking him to go under the ritual knife of circumcision, or join his religion.

    Of course I've read the rest of the Bible. That's why Romans 14 is really great to look at, considering the ways in which some people interpret scripture as being about following the letters of the law instead of the Grace within. It really comes down to what our ideas of the Bible are and what it is saying. But the underlying reason at least should be the same, which is a common faith in God. How we think about God is really only important to ourselves. God will talk whatever language you wish, as long as you talk, that's the important thing. :)

    As far "we can't full trust the Bible," well sure. Yeah. I trust God fully, at least as a goal that is. But I don't fully trust a book written by human beings and touched and modified by unknown hands throughout history. I respect it, of course. But I do not, as I said before, view God and the Bible as co-equals. God may speak through scripture, to be sure. But God can speak through anything that is not "perfect", in the sense of error free.

    I do not believe in the modern doctrine of biblical inerrancy. That's just not necessary for me to believe in order to find Truth in its pages. That is not a requirement of faith.

    Rather than taking the position that your path is superior to all others, wishing them well, "despite the path they are on," which has an air of arrogance to it, perhaps you could say this instead? "Everyone should be respected and treated well, recognizing that they are on their path to the Divine, just as I am on my own" Now that sounds much more respectful, as well as humble, as well as true. ;)

    Rats. You need to work harder. I have to break this post in two again. Oh, now it begins.

    I'll respond to your 2nd post a little later. Take your time.
     
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  9. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    Fair enough. Although my concern is for you, not your theology. This is one of those big subjects that we can't afford to have resolved by the clever sounding words of another person.

    What I mean to say is imagine you are on the stand now for your beliefs. Without this academic work to back you up, could you explain your counter-biblical views of "Pseudo Paul" etc? When we stand before the Almighty, we won't get the chance to say "Yes, but the book said this and that scholar said that", or...
    However, if you do know this argument entirely in heart, and independently, but just don't want to make this post longwinded - then fair enough! :D

    Ah ah, nope, I'm not letting you get away with that statement :) Until you can provide examples, this point still remains unresolved.

    Apologies. It's just that you come across very strong in your beliefs - which is good. I meant no offense though.

    I always question everything. I test everything. In myself and outside myself. I have refined my faith and ideas several times and will probably continue to do so as I learn and discover more from the Bible, which constantly yields it's secrets in one interrogates it passionately.

    But what is faith? Faith in the Bible is not "believing God exists". That's a given and the Creator expects this as a bare minimum - not the goal. Consider how the word for "Faith" and "Faithfulness" are the same word in the original text. And so what you might read as "Just have faith" in the text, often takes on a fuller meaning when you understand it to be "Just be faithful". Faithfulness to Him is our goal.

    Now, as for this "Divine" you speak of and commune with daily - how does the Divine identify itself and communicate? Does it's definition of sin ever surprise you in uncomfortable ways or does it happen to fall into correlation of what you classify as sin?

    Right, onto my apparent misunderstanding of Romans....

    Firstly, in the passage you quoted, it seems you have caught yourself out. Paul writes...
    Haven't you said yourself that you doubt the validity of Scriptures and the commandments? That they are "Jewish/Christian Perspectives"?

    What is your thought process around the verse to justify you saying the Law is not important for the Christian?

    Secondly, onto your main point. Paul writes...
    The requirements of the law is written on their hearts. This is different to the resurrection state of the saint in which the Law is written in their hearts and they will sin no more. Consider how Paul says in the verse above "their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them" - How could their thoughts ever accuse them if they were no longer sinning?

    What are these rituals you keep speaking of? Do you think if the Creator of all things sanctified the Sabbath that living according to that truth should be called a "ritual"?

    I think you might be confusing Torah with the traditions of Judaism perhaps?

    If you love Matthew 5, then you are surely aware of the Messiah's words here:

    "Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

    What do you suppose He means by this?

    Is that how the Scriptures say you love God or your personal decision?

    So am I right in thinking that how you bless the Creator is by meditating on him, but not obeying His commandments and instructions?

    Let's consider the matter this way. Suppose I said to my wife "Look, I'm not going to listen to you, pay heed to your needs or your wishes and requirements to live happily together, as you've described them to me. But instead I will meditate upon you and try to see your beauty in everything". I might thinking I'm loving her, but would she say the same?

    No I don't believe they would. Walking with God is a different experience.

    Don't get me wrong, meditation upon the Scriptures is Biblical and actually mandatory. But that's a given - it's for our benefit, not for His.

    Not really no. Certainly no new believer should be scrutinised and analysed and hit with Torah. Everyone comes from different lives, with different understandings and with different capabilities.

    Nevertheless, I would be doing my neighbour harm if I said to them "Eat pork! Work the Sabbath!" That would not be loving them.

    What then, if a new believer came to me eating a hot dog and selling on the Sabbath but singing praises to God would I chastise them and judge them? No. But would I join them in these things? No. May that new believer witness my observances and ask and be drawn in to doing likewise, one step at a time. However, if that believer makes no steps of obedience whatsoever, even after years, then how can we say that the Spirit of YHWH really rests within that believer?

    YHWH is gentle, kind, loving and merciful. He is patient beyond all forms of our understanding. For many years I was a Christian who naturally broke many aspects of Torah, yet I loved Him dearly. With His great mercy, grace and contextual understanding, we waited patiently for me to get serious (I believe). Eventually, the more I grew in understanding the Word and His Ways, the Spirit convicted me on the matter and very gently encouraged me to walk in these Ways - teaching me how.

    Let's say you have a young child of 2 years old. You don't bother him with work and rent, but you do gently guide him in the beginnings of being good, kind and just. When that child is 20, you expect far more from him than these elementary things. You expect him to be responsible, to help and to work. If he acts the same way at 20 as he did when he was 2, you see him as lazy and irresponsible. In the same way, we come into the faith as a child and have time to sort ourselves out, one step at a time, one year at a time. But if we don't and we think "this is it, I'm done!" then we haven't understood the Word or heard the Spirit.

    I think you are confusing analogies here. I'm not sure what your point was.

    Oye. Romans 14, Romans 14... Do you have the "The Holy Bible - The Romans 14 Translation" there or something. :)

    I think it's time you spread your wings from that chapter into other passages in the Bible to help bolster your point, don't you? Or for the sake of me thinking I'm living a Groundhog day - let's both shake hands on Romans 14 and move on now.

    Haha, I know. We're getting a little crazy with this dual post thing - Let's try getting it back down to one! But great chat though. :)
     
  10. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    And in what way did Jesus teach us to love God? I don't find Him say it's in meditation as you mentioned earlier. So what way are you referring to exactly. Let's get practical here.

    And what fruits are you referring to exactly? If I meet a lovely person who is caring, graceful and peaceful and yet they shun the Law of God, should I consider them His representative?

    Many people of different religions and without religion at all can demonstrate love in amazing ways. That's good. But being of the Kingdom of God is more than just be loving. Or, if I'm wrong, why do you suppose the Messiah, Paul and the rest of the Apostles kept the Law? Isn't it hypocritical to say one thing and do another?

    But by your fruits indeed you will be known. Consider the words of Psalm 1 (sorry it's not included in Romans 14 ;)

    "Blessed is the man
    Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
    But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
    3 He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
    And whatever he does shall prosper."

    ...And to Him.

    Not co-equals but inseparable in some ways.

    You seem to be happy accepting in the Creator who understands you and every aspect of your life. However, whilst you think He created the heavens and the seas and all therein, you think He struggles to keep His Words secured in the Bible's pages. Then you suddenly believe He is incapable and not in control. What strange limitations you put on Him.

    Okay after re-reading the line you quoted, I did sound arrogant. I'm sorry.

    But this line of yours....
    ...is factually incorrect - if YHWH is the true and only God. There is one path and door to Him. Not multiple paths - which I know sounds more appealing and this modern world would love for me to say for inclusivity sake. However, if YHWH is the one true God and the Bible is His word - there is only one path, door and way to Him. Every other path is "Khata" or "a miss".

    I know it might sound like a heavy statement to you and very "narrow", but I would be doing you an injustice if I said your line quoted above.

    Agreed. Let's do our best to be shorter and snappier :) Lest we still be discussing the matter whilst the Lord returns...

    Peace.
     
  11. RayofLight

    RayofLight Pronouns: they/them/their thon/thons/thonself

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  12. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Can you provide a quote to that for ease of reference?

    I can't agree with this. For one thing, sin entered the world before the Torah was written. And yes, I do believe it from a meta-perspective. It's really simple. Anything that moves contrary to the Divine nature, falls short of it. And falling short of the mark, is the definition of sin. We all sin, when we act against the Divine nature, which is what the story of Adam and Eve is meant to convey.

    Speed limits are not placed there by God. They are human-imposed restrictions for the sake of public safety. If the road exists, and no speed limit signs are imposed upon it, then your own conscience and common sense will be your guide as to what speed is safe for you to travel at. Before your own Master, in this case the laws of nature itself, you will stand or fall.

    There is no 'sin' or violation of the law, as God does not create speed signs on roads, nor the standards of what those should be, outside the "laws" of nature, which themselves can prove to not be always hard fast rules either. We can safely break the sound barrier speed limit too. We just haven't managed the speed of light yet. But if you should try either of those on a country road, even without posted speed limits, you might fall under the judgment of God, and be handed a Darwin Award for killing yourself through stupidity.

    Many of these "laws" of the Torah, are not things that violate the Nature of the Divine. Jesus himself downplayed the significance of these, compared to the true ways of God, such as compassion. You will note, that those he was correcting in his teachings, were saying similar things to yourself, imagining the laws and the violations of those, to be the measure of true sins or not. My argument, lands on Jesus's side in this passage. True sin is not measured by violations of the Torah. Mark 2:

    23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”​

    25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

    27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”​

    To the legalist, the law is the law, and you cannot violate it no matter what. To violate the sabbath, is to sin against God. Yet Jesus was clearly unconcerned in this case. Man was made to serve God, not the law of Moses. They are two different things.

    Much like I said before, I do not treat God and the Bible as co-equals. Legalism treats the Torah, as God itself, to the point it pushes God aside. Which was Jesus's point here in this passage. It's a hard message to understand to those who find safe, clear rules to follow easy, and moral judgement calls without hard fast guidelines more difficult, or even threatening to their sense of security. I'd say, they are afraid of God, they fear God, but not in the sense of reverence, but for the sake of self-preservation.

    But as can be shown again and again throughout the gospel narratives of Jesus, he is constantly disrupting that notion, touching the unclean, dining with sinners, etc. Jesus was a great sinner, according the the legalist interpretation of scripture. And the texts tell that story again and again, this one passage as one example.

    There is a lot of Truth here in these stories of contrast, "you have heard it said, but I say unto you..." teachings of Jesus against legalism and for spiritual authenticity instead. That's why I find Jesus' teachings so Illuminating. It teaches what it is to Love, as opposed to be under the thumb of religious legalism and fearfulness. It's about liberation from all of that, to serve God in Truth, with the heart made pure by Spirit.

    Did Jesus sin in all his violations of the Torah, which he legalist detractors were so eager to point out to him, again and again in all the things he was doing? The fact the authors of the stories of Jesus brought that out again and again, it seems they too were dealing with that legalistic mindset within their own communities, which is why they have Jesus challenging and refuting all of that in their gospels.

    I do find it surprising that someone who asks me more than once if I've ever read the Bible, is themselves unaware of this 600 pound gorilla in the middle of the gospels? To me it's pretty hard to miss if you've read the texts, but I do understand that often times, simply reading the words, doesn't mean you understand them. It takes some ray of light for the words to start to make sense. It quite literally does take a "paradigm shift", seeing through a different set of eyes than the ones we began with.

    That's what I believe the authors of the gospels were trying to help make happen for us, through these stories of the legalists vs. Jesus in their texts.

    I answered this in some detail in my reply from yesterday you can now reference. In it, I make clear this is not just about simple morality, but an active Love generated from a heart connected with the Divine, treating others as loved by God, as you love yourself with that same Love.

    But I have to focus in on your examples here of atheists, buddhists, and children. First, Jesus said, "except you become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of God". So, those preschool kids, is something you and I should try to emulate, it seems. :) Obviously, he does not mean be immature. He means, be pure in heart, like a child who does not judge others by all these cultural programmings, or religious legalistic judgments of others, in their valuation of others and experience of life itself.

    Now, atheists. Very much like all the supposedly sinful people outcast by society and religion whom Jesus saw more Truth in than the pious and upright who "obeyed the Torah" (yet swallowed camels whole), I can more than easily hear Jesus saying to the pious ones, "Atheists and Buddhist will be entering the kingdom of God before you!" (cf. Mt:21:31). In other words, God looks at the heart, not how well they "obeyed God," which some define as following the various rules of the Torah. This is a central theme to the Gospel message.

    Love can correct ignorance about scripture however, brought about by not reading it through the eyes of Love. Not read with that set of eyes, leaves a distorted, myoptic, and heartless idea of love is, as the cartoon illustrates magnificently. :)

    You can't know Love, by studying it. You have to experience it. It has to be the eyes through which you see the world.

    Yes, of course I have a connection with the Divine. Everyone one of us does, but how much we are aware of that in our lives is another matter. However, seeing God and hearing God, does not mean you have clairvoyance. :) That's a very magical view of the Divine. A fantasy of the imagination. That said however, that connection with the Divine can make us more perceptive, sensitive, and aware. Which may seem magical to some. But it's not like you magically get to know people's social security numbers, or guess next week's winning lottery tickets. :)

    I can tell you my impression of you, if that's something you really care to know. But the fact I am having this discussion with you should say something about that itself.

    What is the point of developing your connection with the Divine then, if not to make you rich with special supernatural knowledge then, you may ask? Wisdom. Peace. Insight. Knowledge. Love. That's the fruit of the Spirit, not levitating objects with the mind, or me telling you that you had a grapefruit for breakfast, when I'd have no way of knowing that.

    Such as make clean the inside of the cup first? Many many more of course. It's found throughout the NT teachings, from Jesus through the Apostles, as well as throughout the OT as well.

    (Bah.. I did it again. Continued next post.... :) )
     
  13. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    A lack of humility in my responses? That's curious. I don't recall suggesting you've never read the Bible because you see it differently from me, which is something you've done multiple times with me. I would hope that you don't seriously imagine that is true, and it's just a 'style' of debate for you.

    I have no interest in comparing how long my theological member is compared with your own. You may have read and studied it just as much as me, or a few decades shy of that. That's not important. It's not about the ego for me. So I'm not sure why you call my posts lacking in humility.

    Also, I do give you specifics. But you have to bear in mind, this is not something you can just quote a couple of verses here and there. It's an entire paradigm, or way of looking at scripture we are dealing with here. And that does not happen just by reading the same verses. How we read, is much different than what we read. And the fact we both read the same things, proves that is true.

    I can imagine this being said to Jesus too. Everyone sees God through a different set of eyes. It's the truth of what God is in our hearts, and our responses to that before God, which is deemed Truth. We are judged by the light we are able to receive, and what we do with that. And sometimes, we don't agree with each others ideas of God, even as we each read the same passages of scripture.

    I'll point out to you, that they judged Jesus disobeying the Torah like this too. In fact, they accused him of being from the Devil, because he so challenged their beliefs about God. That says far more about themselves, than it does about Jesus.

    That is in fact, a very astute and accurate question that you can ask yourself as well. Don't think that just because you can cite passages of scripture to support your view, that that is not still a projection fo your own egos. In fact, that is major problem of all religionists, who read scripture to tell them what love means, rather than using Love to inform them of what they are reading through that set of eyes.

    You can fake beliefs. But you can't fake fruits.
     
  14. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    I'm not concerned about you before God, even though I believe you are missing the deeper truths that others can see. I know that you and I have a very different set of eyes through which we translate our experiences of the Divine, such as they are for each of us. This discussion, is an opportunity to express and elaborate on those. Different people, with different life experiences, will see things through different eyes.

    That can be said of our own selves, in our own lifetime as well. It certainly can be said of my own life, yet the same Faith all the way through. I clearly do not think of God in the terms I did before. But I don't believe we should. Beliefs, or modes of thinking, are the leaves on the tree which brings nutrients to the trunk. They help translate sunlight into energy for the life of the tree. But the root and the trunk and the branches are what remain after a season's leaves have spent the usefulness and been replaced for a new season. Hence, were a saved by that root of Faith, not by our beliefs which serve us for a season.

    So to this point above. I cannot imagine standing before God in the way you speak of. What I hear in that amounts to this image where we have to explain our reasoning processes to God, who either gives us passing grade on our report card, or sends us off to the ovens to be destroyed, as opposed to just having us repeat that grade again until we can answer all the questions right on the test. This creates an image of God as if he were a Cosmic Quizmaster. Your entrance into heaven is based on an intellectual understanding of the rules as well as a passing effort in how you achieved them. Not how you lived your life or what is in your heart.

    To me this speaks of ideas and performance, not about Spirit and our relationship with God. It's all in the head, not in the heart. It's all externalized. And it's full of fear, not Love. I see the judgement of God, in a very different, more compassionate, more intimate Light.

    If you have concern about me, then what is it about? That I see God in a different light than you, and see scripture in a different light that you? If that is your concern, then take to heart what Paul is saying,

    "Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand."

    ~Romans 14:4

    And not to leave Jesus out and only use Paul...

    "By their fruits you shall know them."
    As far as I know, having different ideas and beliefs about God and scripture, does not qualify as bad fruit. Does it in your mind?

    So being faithful to God for you, does not include being true to your beliefs and never doubting them, or changing how you think about God then? I would think not, as you said you've changed your ideas about God several times. So I have. If you can understand that you once thought of God differently, then surely you can understand how others can too, like me, and not be concerned about them?

    I've come to understand that beliefs, while important and serve a function, do not define Reality, or God. They help translate experience into meaningful objects for the mind to consider. But they aren't the reality of the Divine itself. They are our ideas about that. God is known, literally, beyond beliefs. God is Spirit, not theology.

    This Divine I speak of is the same that any theologian or trained clergy has spoken of since the dawn of Christianity, and well before. You call it God, unless you limit God to a deity form, and see God as a literal person, or an entity of some sort, like the Mormons do? I don't mean God in that sense myself. I mean it as the Divine, or Divinity itself. I don't see God with a body.

    So, how do we touch and experience the Divine? Well, you can start by asking Jesus. :) He did say, seek and you shall find. I can attest to that being true. The other thing to hold in mind is this, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth". Jn. 4:24. This means, this is with your heart. This means setting aside thinking about God, and start seeking to connect your heart with God. And by heart, I do not mean emotions, but your very being, your soul. That is why I believe that those who are the most firm in their beliefs about God, resist God with all their might. Because not being open, will shut you off from God, and yourself, as well as the rest of creation itself.

    When it comes to seeking the Divine, it is all about self-surrender, and that means, "Lean not to your own understanding, but trust in the Lord." It's like falling back into the Abyss, into the Unknown, into the Deep. And that, is Faith. Try that in prayer sometime. And see what might start to happen for you. You might be surprised. God was never anywhere else. Just waiting for you to be done trying to build that ladder to God. :)


    I'll leave this as a single post as it's kind of its own thing. I'll see what of the other theological points we've touched on I'll pick up. If we've covered it, we can consolidate a little. I'm trying to be good and do some post management here. :)
     
  15. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    It is interesting to me how you hear what I say. I would never say any of that. Nor agree with it.

    While they are a view of God from a Jewish and Christian perspective, that in no way whatsoever invalidates them. People have valid perspectives. And there are other valid perspectives as well. By a perspective, that means through a certain filter or lens, or language, or symbol set. That does not diminish the truth it sees. It is true of everything we all perceive and put words around, no matter who or which culture. Even if you see the world through a red lens, and the other person sees through a blue they are both still perceiving Truth. "For now we see through a glass dimly....," says Paul.

    Again, with putting words into my mouth. Unless you mean, it is important to God that they practice all the dietary restrictions and observance of days, and such. But I don't equate the two in that way. In that very chapter of Romans 14, Paul even mentions that exact same thing, in almost verbatim language:

    One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.​

    I don't know how that can be any clearer. And then I could of course mention the vision of Peter to call no animal unclean, etc., over his concerns about Gentiles not getting circumcised and following the Law of Moses, and all that. To me, it seems odd to meet a Christian who overlooks those stories, as well as the book of Hebrews which says the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. We have Christ now, right? Do we need the schoolmaster still? It surprises me you are unfamiliar with all of this from the Christian perspective. It's a pretty mainstream view.

    So to tell you in my words the view of the law, it's a teacher. Just like Hebrews says. But as a quote from the Buddha I love goes, "To insist upon a spiritual practice that has served you in the past, is like carrying the raft on your back after you have crossed the river." That's very much the teaching of Paul in Hebrews and in his Epistles. I agree with that. It's good for children. But not a requirement for worship of God. God doesn't care about burnt offerings. And that is scriptural.

    Who was claiming they were perfect? The law written on their hearts, and their own conscious correcting them, or "accusing them" of wrongdoing, such as "I know that's wrong", is exactly what it is supposed to be. That means they are self-correcting. That's means they are following the will of God, even if they call that by another name. Nowhere does that verse mean you are no longer a human being. It speaks of the human being, who does not need an external force to impose lawfulness upon them. They are awakened, moral creatures. Children of God. That's what Christians are supposed to be.

    I think the issue is, you can't imagine what that looks like. It's not as rare as one might imagine. It'd say it's pretty common actually. Even Paul could see it in his day, with the gentiles.

    But as an interesting thought, you ever have that voice in your head that accuses you of things, like how stupid you acted when you were 13 when you wake up in the middle of the night? That's a human thing. You could live completely sin-free, and yet hear that son of a ***** in your head accusing you, just because we like self-torture so much? I don't think that's what Paul meant, but I'm just saying. You can still be sin free, and have that little accuser try to get you upset. It's almost like a parasite in a way. :)
     
    #55 Windwalker, Apr 1, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  16. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Very simple. Have the law written on your hearts. Don't delude yourselves into the thinking that the kingdom of God is about rules and religious rites, such as holy day observances, abstaining from meats, etc. Those are not what define a righteous heart. Love is. Unless your righteousness surpass those who supposedly are righteous because they are meticulous in observing everything that scripture says, following every jot and tittle, you are missing the boat entirely. It's not about that, it's about Love.

    Don't make the mistake in saying the law isn't important, just because you see the hypocrisies of the ultra religious, Jesus is telling them. Don't become an atheist on their account, and say it's all just BS!, in other words. You can, and should actually fulfill the law, unlike them who merely observe its forms to a T.

    That's the main gist of what Jesus was saying here, with the emphasis bening about surpassing even the supposed righteousness of those who were considered the most righteous of all, by those who measure righteousness as the following of every detail of the written law, to an obsessive level even.

    Now as far as focusing rather on the "observe the rules" part of it, which is the more obscure part of it as to what he means, and emphasis instead being even more observant and careful in following the letters of the law than them, is to distract yourself from the Source of true righteousness, where even you as a poor humble lay person, can be deemed as more righteous that even the world's greatest religious olympians, the ultra careful observances crowd of the Pharisees. Jesus is not saying, be even more OCD than the Pharisees. That misses the whole point of the story.

    It's not about being more careful in observances, but in actually fulfilling the law by being good in your heart. "How could I be more righteous than them???," is the puzzle he puts before them. It is to provoke their understanding of what Righteousness actually means. "How could I possibly be more righteous than than them? Impossible!".

    As I said before, it's easy to fake righteousness. It's not so easy to actually be righteous in your heart. That is an inner work, and a spiritual transformation. Just obeying the rules better, is the opposite direction. It does not mean be more observant. It means, just be righteous through be transformed by Love and becoming a righteous soul, born in the image of the Divine. That's the gist of his teachings everywhere. He's not saying, be more legalistic.

    As far as fulfilling the law, that is easy. Love. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." There is the law being fulfilled from Matthew 5 right there. It's not about lighting candles and making animal sacrifices to God.

    That is what Jesus is saying, rejecting the "apparent" righteousness of the Pharisees in Matthew's story. In other words, any humble soul, does not need to do what they do and how they do it, to surpass them. It is accessible to all. That is the Christian message. It's not about religious superstars, never shorning their hair, counting their prayers, offering their foods, etc. God doesn't care about that.

    If you want a good reference to support that, cf. Amos 5:21-24

    I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.

    Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.

    Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.

    Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.

    But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

    I'll reply to a few other points as time permits. I like focusing on a limited number of points in replies. Hopefully that can keep this focused better and dial back the sprawl. As much as I wish I could reply to everything, time is a factor. :)
     
    #56 Windwalker, Apr 2, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  17. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    Sure, Matthew 7:23...
    And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    The Greek word for Lawlessness is "Anomia". HERE is an analysis of the word. In short, it means "the utter disregard for God's law"

    Not quite. YHWH instructed, Adam and Eve ignored = Torah and Sin followed.

    Remember, Torah simply means "guiding instructions" - even though Christians tend to think it means "Law". Torah is often used connotatively for all the stories, instructions and commandments found in the first five books of the Old Testament. But ultimately, sin is not doing what YHWH said.

    So when this "Divine", as you so name God, says "You shall not work on the Sabbath" and then you do, does that constitute falling short of it? Or do you dictate what the Divine says from your own meditations? If the latter, then how can you trust that voice isn't entirely subjective?

    I hope you haven't taken my analogy too seriously. In my analogy, the speed limit is the commandment, I wasn't suggesting speeding was an immediate concern of the Creator.

    I beg to differ. The Messiah said "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." So I wouldn't say that was downplaying the significance.

    Are you referring to loving your neighbour as yourself? Keep in mind, He was teaching commands already found in Torah - Leviticus 19:18.

    Well, should I listen to you or the Apostle John, who writes "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

    You summary of Mark 2 was actually quite close to the truth, which was encouraging. However, ultimately you seemed to have fallen short of its meaning by ignoring the context of the message.

    To avoid getting into unnecessary exposition on the matter, let me instead pose it to you this way. If Messiah was undermining, downplaying and breaking the Torah, wouldn't of His detractors had ample material with which to accuse Him with? But yet, they couldn't accuse Him of one thing and instead had to lie and twist His words, because He walked blameless according to Torah.

    Yes, I agree, this is a wise statement. Although careful that you don't go too far the other side into Liberalism.

    Not quite. It would be more accurate to say "...according to Pharisaic traditions". These man-made traditions are still deeply embedded in Judaism today. But be careful not to confuse them with Torah.

    The Lord spoke about this directly at the time, saying "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" - Mark 7:9. Notice the premise of that statement - the commands are still relevant.

    I hear what you're saying. But it seems you pick and choose what you want to hear from the mouth of the Lord. When He speaks on love, compassion and mercy - you seem to be in the front row yelling "Amen!". Yet, when He speaks of judgment, obeying the commands of God and confirming that ALL of the Old Testament IS divinely inspired and valid - it seems you slink off to the back row suddenly with your fingers in your ears...

    Why is that? Why do you eagerly raise the topics of love and acceptance but when it comes to self-correction and self-discipline then you start talking about "Jewish/Christian Perspectives", "Legalism" and "the Divine Nature"? You must admit, your beliefs are very convenient in the sense that it doesn't require much from you at all.

    I think you have misunderstood the message here. The Messiah was following the Torah but not traditions of men. So the Pharisees would get deeply offended if He didn't ceremonially wash His hands before dinner. This was a tradition, not Torah.

    If you are referring to the Sabbath, the Messiah was showing that it is good to do good on the Sabbath. This greatly shook up the religious authorities at the time who wouldn't lift a finger to help someone in need on the Sabbath. But one shouldn't refrain from doing good, even on the Sabbath. For example, if I see an old lady fall in the road, it's good for me to help her up - even though me carrying her is work. YHWH understands context and He loves a caring heart. But this doesn't mean I can work and buy and sell on the Sabbath.

    See, you missed it again. You've gone straight into saying that it is by loving others. That's all well and good, but just one side of the coin. Now, how do you love HIM exactly (leaving aside loving your neighbours)?

    And if He sees that you have a heart to not obey His ways, what do you suppose His reception will be to you? "Well done my good and faithful servant"? No. That I say quite confidently.

    Let me make this clear to not give others the wrong impression: Obedience does not equal salvation. But salvation should equal obedience. If it doesn't, you haven't got captured the message of "Repent! the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"

    The Kingdom of God is coming. Saints will be promoted to a high status of rulers, kings and priests. However, those who don't obey or even have the heart to obey the Father will have no such pleasure. They may be saved but they will be in for a rude awakening, as if escaping through a fire. I tell you this in love to warn you. Consider the below very soberly:

    "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!- (Anomia). Matthew 7:21-23

    The Parable of the Ten Virgins mirrors this as well. And consider the saints in Revelation who are described in Rev 14:12 as "...the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus."

    My friend, I beg you to reexamine your position on obedience to the Father.
     
  18. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Regarding prayer, mediation, and other spiritual practices, the New Testament itself does not contain a lot of detailed specifics as to practices. That's really not its purpose. You can however look to how believers have done spiritual practices throughout the ages and learn from them. Meditation and prayer and mentioned a lot in scripture, but it does not go into much detail about how to do that. "When you pray, pray like this," and then quote the Lord's prayer, is a high level outline. It's a direction, not a formula, in other words.

    If drinking orange juice as you bow your head in prayer, brings you closer to God, then go for it. If tapping your forehead, and making a sign of the cross, inspires your faith, then go for it. Anything that encourages and develops your spiritual core, is right. The only wrong way to pray, is the way that does not work for you. God is not concerned about forms. He cares about the heart. So "seek and you shall find", leaves that open. It's the seeking that is important, and the finding that is the goal.

    To get hung up on the supposed "right way", can easily make you miss the way that actually works for you. If sitting cross legged on a prayer mat does not work for you, then stand. I am fully persuaded by both scripture and experience, that God doesn't care about that. God cares about what works for you. You may have to experiment for what works for you. Success is measured by the results, not by how perfectly you mimicked the form. If it doesn't help you, then it should be changed to what does.

    But, do of course listen to those who have success. They can help guide you. Take from them what works for you, work with it, and what doesn't work, then don't do that. Do something else.

    If you meet someone like that, they are fulfilling the law of God, not shunning it. "Love works no ill; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law". Romans 4:10

    You are wrong. But the reason they followed the Jewish religion, is because that was the religion they were born into. But Christianity took a look at how religion was not working because of how it was being looked at, that doing those things in it, was what supposedly would make you righteous, did not produce the fruits of the Spirit. The intention behind following the law, was all wrong. It the intention that matters, what the motivation from the heart it.

    But they were too focused on the forms, too focused on the letter of the law, and completely missed the Spirit of the law. It doesn't matter what the form is, it matters what the heart is. That was the teaching of Jesus, and Paul.

    Sure, and even the Gentiles who did not know the Law of Moses, were able to completely fulfill it, never once reading or knowing anything about the legal codes of the Torah. Go figure. ;)

    "in some ways".... being the key here. Not in all ways, which seems to be what you are emphasizing. That I cannot agree with. It is important, as a schoolmaster to teach the basic principles of a spiritual life and moral conduct. But it is not how you become spiritual and righteous. If it were, everyone who followed it, would be true children of God. But that is clearly not what we see, and it clearly is not what Jesus saw.

    As far as looking at at God as the omniscient and omnipotent Creator, and then concluding that therefore, this must mean the Bible is therefore infallible and inerrant, is not a logical conclusion. For instance, I believe God is the Creator, as well as the Ground of all Being, the Wellspring of all that is. And, I accept that evolution is what is responsible for creating the forms we have today, as revealed through the eye of science. There is no conflict in my mind or heart at all. Evolution the creative force that God creates. God creates all that is, continuously. That is a miracle.

    So the Bible, just like all created life forms, came into existence through a process of evolution, or change over time, just as anything else that exists has come into being. And just as a human being is not "flawless" in what we imagine, it's "functional", and therefore it is good. Same thing with the Bible. It is functional, and therefore good. It is not necessary in my mind to view it in mythological terms, as if it is a Divine Book, that God kept on his nightstand in the Holy of Holies, and sent his angels to deliver, defend, and preserve in pristine condition for all of humanity to receive Divine Light.

    That may be a wonderful imagine to create, with angels and and saints above sending this sacred book to us from the vaults of heaven, but if were are to look at it from a critical literary standpoint, it of course paints a different, much more natural and messy creation through evolution, like the rest of nature is. This is the difference between understanding scripture symbolically, vs, understanding it critically with the tools of reason. They don't need to be incompatible, but I feel it is important to understand the difference.
     
  19. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    No, not a lack of humility in your responses! On the contrary, I have found you very pleasant to debate with. You're reasonable, patient, kind and thoughtful. It has been a joy to speak with you.

    Also, I hope you don't think I'm trying to suggest I'm more well-read or complete than you. Far from it. I still have far to go and lots to learn. When in comes to the Scriptures, I'm still an amateur.

    I'm only sharing them with you when I see they contradict with your statements. But I'm no wise man or anything. I'm closer to the description of "a fool" than i'm comfortable with. You'd find better students of the Word than me in your local church or in the very next post you click. But alas, you seemed to have drawn the short straw with me.

    Haha, touché. Great response.

    No that's not quite accurate. They accused Him of casting our demons by the chief of demons. There is no reference to be found in the NT that they accused Him of being a devil because He didn't obey Torah.

    True, but there is a higher chance that I am correct if my views are supported by Scripture. Let me add my views are formed from Scripture - they are not my own. Doesn't mean I'm 100% right though. Neither have I ever implied that. I still have much to learn.

    But Judgement Day and answering for ourselves seems to be a key message in Scripture. But if you think this will not be the case, please share your view of the the after life.

    No I think it's going to be based on what you knew, what you did with the time and knowledge you had. A simpleton without the capacity to understand the Torah may be declared righteous along side the scholar with a good heart. But what of the man who knew of the Torah, had the capacity and time to understand but wasted the time on fiction and worldly distractions - assuming he had time to change and get right with God?

    My friend, I'm concerned that you might not understand the Scriptures plainly. I would wish for nothing else than you to read the WHOLE Bible literally and accept it to be ALL divinely inspired - every word of it (at least in the original). If you did these things, you would be doing well. I don't care if you believe like me and in the way I do, but that you would believe in all the words of Scripture as true and literal.

    Correction, I didn't say God, but my faith. I was Christian, then Messianic, then Christian again. I was too liberal, then too legalistic, and now more balanced (though I still have far to go). Balanced in terms of understanding that the Narrow Path the Messiah talked about was between Law and Liberty. Not being under the curse of the Law, but rather free to follow it under grace and in thanksgiving.

    Amen! Haha. Man, what is wrong with us... We have to try an be a little more conservative with our words! :)

    Peace
     
  20. Tzephanyahu

    Tzephanyahu Member

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    Oye vey, you're killing me slowly with this Romans 14 business. I'm going to ask the moderators to ban you from citing this again.

    Paul is more likely referring to the special fast days that the Jews regularly practiced in the first century to memorialise certain tragic dates of the past. New believers joining Israel would have seen these traditions and been confused by them or under the impression they were important for them too in order to be a "complete Christian". Of course, this is nonsense and Paul seems to be saying to everyone "Chill out! If you want to observe this day to God and call it special, fine - but don't impose that on others". But if you think Paul was invalidating the Sabbath, a long celebrated command from the beginning of time, in just a few verses in a letter to the Roman community, then you have misunderstood him and are even in jeopardy of raising Paul's authority over the Father's.

    Let's suppose Paul was invalidating the Sabbath though (which he wasn't), whose word do you respect more? The writings of a man named Paul or the Ten Commandments of the Creator of the all?

    So what do you think? Do you really think I haven't considered these passages?

    Yeah I totally know what you mean! The sinful flesh is a real pain in that way. But I agree, I don't think that;s what Paul was talking about here, but probably is what he is referring to in Romans 7. Yes, there are other chapters in the letter to the Romans! Fact. ;)

    No offense but this is wishy-washy. It's not Scriptural and open for abuse. We'd also have to ignore large sections of the Bible to validate this claim.

    In isolation, this is better and closer to the truth. Going by the definition of righteous as found in the Bible.

    This is true.

    Ooo, a quote from Amos! I'm impressed and glad to see we have moved from Romans 14 at last. Is it an accident that you missed the setting in Amos 2:4....

    "Thus says the Lord:
    “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four,
    I will not turn away its punishment,
    Because they have despised the law of the Lord,
    And have not kept His commandments.

    Their lies lead them astray,
    Lies which their fathers followed.

    So what are your thoughts on this verse now?

    It's not the same as eastern meditation. If you would like to know more, just let me know but should be findable online too.

    Eh? Christianity took a look?? I'm not sure what you mean by this. Could you explain?

    I think you need to reassess this matter as you might be missing the nuances of Romans.

    Right, this is another can of worms. But to put it simply - YHWH, the God of the Bible, and evolution cannot coexist. You must choose one or the other, or end up invalidating one when trying to accepting them both.

    The matter can be set straight quickly. The old Testament, as it was in the first century, was called divinely inspired by the Son of God. Case closed - providing you believe in the Son of God. And the old testament, as it was in the first century, is the same as it is today - although likely missing some books.

    Look, I understand where you're coming from and you're not entirely wrong but you are missing a big component of the truth by discrediting the Law as being replaced. I'm over-emphasising obedience to balance your stance out. But truly, love for God and one an another is paramount. I agree with that. But the definitions on terms such as love, righteous and sin have to be defined by God lest we take them and twist them in our subjectivity of our cultural and social influences.

    Peace.
     
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