Reverend V

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  1. The better question is, Do you forgive everyone that asks? "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you." - Matthew 6:14 †?†
  2. Hello Sophia, I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am going through something kinda similar. A few months ago I partnered with an individual in order to achieve a common goal. I then believed I would eventually become friends with this person. In the beginning this individual seemed very commited to the project but his commitment began to wane over time. He too would make appointments with me and not show up. Rarely was he respectful enough to call or text me in order to let me know. He still tells me he is committed but he does little to make me believe so. These actions have made it difficult for me to consider him a friend. I believe the qualities a friend should possess are honesty, loyalty, dependability, and selflessness. If they fail in any of these they are not a true friend in my opinion. †?†
  3. I believe an individual's beliefs are a product of their upbringing and life experiences. For some of us research also plays a role. †?†
  4. Without a doubt my favorites are the Gospel of Mark and the Epistle of James. In Mark we see Jesus as a servant. He explains his mission and message through his actions. Mark includes more of Jesus' miracles than any of the other books. Mark shows us Jesus gave his life in service to mankind. He lived out his message through service, therefore, we can follow his actions and learn by his example. In James we find a interesting message. For staters it rarely mentions Jesus. Instead the author focuses on righteous living. It mentions action over faith which is contradictory to many of the Pauline books. The author of James seems to mimic the ethical teachings of Jesus without mentioning Jesus at all. It would appear the author believed it was not Jesus the man but Jesus the message that was most important. †?†
  5. Hello Lordie, I believe you are referring to the three kingdoms. Here is a site the explains all three. http://www.lds.org/topics/kingdoms-of-glory Here is a sight that offers free online courses. http://is.byu.edu/site/courses/free.cfm. Hope this helps! †?†
  6. The religious freedom espoused by the founding fathers of the United States was meant for the purpose of religious equality. There are far more news papers presenting secular ideas than Christian. There is a reason it is called "freedom of religion" and not "freedom from religion". The purpose was not religious eradification. Are you implying compassionate citizens cannot be religious? Secular humanism is an atheistic ideology. I am sure there are many compassionate citizens that "fully understand and practice the precepts of secular humanism" as you put it. I get the idea you are referring to the majority believing this way. So much for you bringing up religious freedom. †?†
  7. I agree interpretation has much to do with one's preunderstanding. In the case of Romans I'm sure Paul's preunderstanding led him to write what he did. In one case in particular though I doubt his preunderstanding was correct. As for his assumption that Adam's sin brought all manking into sin and death, I would love to know where he got that idea from. Did it come from one of his supposed revelations from Christ? My problem with alot of Paul's teachings are that they appear to be his and his alone. Many have no connection to Judaism whatsoever. The idea that mankind is damned because of Adam's sin is not a Jewish belief. It is contradictory to the many passages in the Bible that claim everyone is responsible for their own actions and no one can pay for some one else's sin. The book of Roman's is just another example of how Paul's letters (teachings) are contradictory to those of Jesus and to the rest of the Bible. †?†
  8. Hello Enkidu. I am very open minded when it comes to reincarnation. I cannot say I necessarily believe nor disbelieve, but I am open to the possibility. Reincarnation or transmigration, is an idea that has been popular in many world religions for thousands of years. The Greek philospher Plato wrote about it many times. It appeared to be popular among Greek and Roman philosophers. Reincarnation is a belief that is held mostly by eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Some pagan religions accept it as well. One example is Druidism. Being a Christian myself, I know traditional Christianity does not accept reincarnation as credible. This is also true of the other two Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam. This is not to say reincarnation is totally absent in those religions though. The belief is accepted in the more mysical sects of these religions. Within Judaism reincarnation is an accepted belief among Hasidic Jews and those who practice the Kabbalah. Within Islam reincarnation is the belief accepted among Sufi Muslims. Within Christianity reincarnation was/is popular among many of the Gnostic groups. There are some who argue reincarnation was an original Christian belief that was later expelled by the church. I'm not sure if I believe that, but there is some evidence to suggest reincarnation was a belief held by some early Christians. Origin was one of the early churches greatest theologians. He was a firm believer in reincarnation. His belief eventually got him excommunicated by the church. Certain New Testament passages suggest reincarnation as well. I will mention the two most popular. The first is Matthew 11:14. It suggests John the Baptist is the prophet Elijah who has returned. This verse could be referring to reincarnation. The next is John 9:2. In this verse the disciples ask Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (New International Version). How could the blind man sin before he was born? This verse appears to be referring to reincarnation. Like I stated earlier, I do not believe nor disbelieve in reincarnation. It is one of those areas that I do not believe offers enough evidence to suggest either way. That being said, I am open to the possibility of its existence. †?†
  9. Hello obj. I prefer the JPS. I find the Artscroll Stone edition to be too orthodox in its translation for my taste. The JPS on the other hand is based much more on a combination of view points. I guess that would explain why the Stone is preferred by orthodox Jews while the JPS is preferred more by the moderate and liberal communities. I also prefer the language used in the JPS. I find it to be more of a literal word for word translation than the Stone. †?†
  10. Hello Lordie, I just thought of another Christian text that might interest you. It is the Gospel of Thomas. Like the Gospel of Mary this text too is Gnostic in origin. I wanted to mention this text because of a certain incident mentioned in the story that reminded me of you. There is a part in the text where Jesus, Mary, and the other disciples are all sitting together and talking. The disciple Simon Peter then decides to say, "Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life." Jesus replies by saying, "Look, I will then make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven." Scholars have long debated over the meaning of this passage. For me though the meaning is very simple. In the ancient world women were not granted as much authority as men. Sad thing is, for some people today, this has not changed. I believe the passage is telling us that Jesus gave authority to Mary. I believe it is also telling us that Jesus has granted all women the right to give themselves authority. †?†
  11. Don't loose faith. Some people are just ignorant. In many religious traditions women have held prominant roles. Often they have been elevated to great heights. I believe Mary Magdeline was one such example. Some early Christian traditions teach she was one of the leaders of the church after Jesus died. I suggest you read the Gospel of Mary. The Gospel of Mary is a Gnostic Christian text that was popular amoung certain early Christians. In this text Jesus elevates Mary Magdeline higher than all his other diciples. Some early Christian traditions believed Mary Magdeline represented something called the Sacred Feminine. The Sacred Feminine is an ancient concept representing the divine principle of the female. You can use this concept to empower yourself. Do not let others deter you. Tap into your sacred feminine and God will shine through you. †?†
  12. I would have to say mathmatics is mankinds greatest achievement. Math is necessary for so many things. Mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields, including natural science, engineering, medicine, finance and the social sciences. The modern technological world could not exist without it. †?†
  13. Dan, this will be my last entry for this post. I see we are not going to agree on these things. I only hope our dialogue will offer enough information for others to make up their own mind. Thank you for the back and forth. I need it sometimes to reignite my passion. First I will discuss Israel. Im going to discuss three things. First, you appear to believe Israel failed as God's servant. This is not at all the case. The Old Testament makes it very clear that God never gave up on his original chosen people. They were surely not perfect but God does not expect this from anyone. Look at King David for instance. He was far from perfect, yet God still considered him his chosen. Did David fail as God's servant as well? Not according to the Bible. God elevated King David so high that even Jesus was required to have his bloodline. The Bible makes it clear that Israel, at times disobedient, always returned to God and God always excepted them back. The second thing I want to mention is on how Israel is often described. You seem confused by how it is descibed as an individual. I have offered you many examples of how Israel is descibed in the Old Testament at times using pronouns that make it appear as a person. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 is just one of many instances. The third thing I want to mention os Isaiah 53's context. If we read Isaiah as a whole it becomes obvious that it is referring to the nation of Israel. If the story changed to refer to someone else than why does the author never inform the reader of this? Now lets discuss Psalm 22. You stated, "The Hebrew Masoretic text of Psalms 22 has the “lion” reading, while the oldest Syriac, Vulgate, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions go with “pierced”. The same is true in the Septuagint." Not all of this statement is true. Lets take a look at some of the early text translations. Text Actual Reading Translation Masoretic Like a lion my hands and my feet. Dead Sea Scrolls They dig (?) my hands and my feet. Theodotion Biting like a lion my hands and my feet. Septuagint ωρυξαν χειρας μου και ποδας μου They dug my hands and my feet. Aquila ησχυναν χειρας μου και ποδας μου They disfigured my hands and my feet. Symmachus ως λεων χειρας μου και ποδας μου Like a lion my hands and my feet. Old Latin foderunt manus meas et pedes meos They dug / pricked my hands and my feet. Vulgate foderunt manus meas et pedes meos They dug / pricked my hands and my feet. Jerome vinxerunt manus meas et pedes meos They bound / encircled my hands and my feet. Pe**ta They hacked off / pierced my hands and my feet. Syro-Hexapla(Septuagint) They hacked off / pierced my hands and my feet. Syro-Hexapla(Aquila) They fettered my hands and my feet. Syro-Hexapla(Symmachus) Like seeking to bind my hands and my feet. Two things become obvious from looking at this chart. First, there appears to be very little agreement on the proper translation of Psalm 22 in the early texts. Second, there is not enough consensus in the translation with these early texts to claim they point to Jesus. Only through bias and preconceived belief can someone make such a claim. †?†
  14. Hello Dan, being a life long Christian myself I have heard, even used, all the claims you are making. It isn't difficult though to find the holes with alittle research. Over the years I have asked many Jews why they were opposed to Christianity. After hearing the same answers over and over again it led me to look into their claims. I in no way am trying to lead you away from your faith. This is not about you. It is about something much more important. I believe the orthodox view of Christianity makes Jesus and his followers look bad. Too much of what traditional Christians claim can be proven false. Sadly too many Christians today happily live in ignorance rather than study their faith and it's claims. If more Christians did so I am convinced traditional Christianity would be a small sect rather than the dominant one. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Unitarianism… will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from north to south, I have no doubt." I believe this would be true if more people studied rather than just took some one's word for it. Lets talk about Isaiah 53 for a moment. First lets discuss the use of masculine pronouns in reference to the nation of Israel. This type of language is used often in connection to Israel. Two good examples are Jeremiah 31:10 where the prophet refers to Israel as "he" and Hosea 11:1 where God refers to Israel as "my son". Lets continue on with Isaiah 53 for a moment. The problem many Christians make when they read a passage is they do not read enough to understand the full context. Reading previous verses will make it clear that verse 53 is referring to Israel. Isaiah 41:8-9, 44:1, 44:21, 45:4, 48:20, and 49:3 all make it explicity clear that the nation of Israel is the servant being discussed. Most of these verses specifically mention Israel by name. Now lets take a moment to look at Psalm 22. Just like Isaiah, context is important. Jewish tradition has long believed Psalm was written by King David. It is also believed the main character mentioned in the book is King David. If we the chapter previous to 22 it becomes obvious it is referring to the same character. With this being said, it would be difficult to attribute the contents of chapter 21 or previous chapters to Jesus. Another thing we need to discuss is the type of book Psalm was. Psalm was written as a book of poetry or songs. It was written using poetic language. Hebrew poetry was not recreational but was functional in the life of the nation and its relationship with God. Poetry had a worship function in mediating between the people and God and a sermonic function in reminding the people of their responsibilities before God. The Psalms, for instance, were not peripheral as hymns often are today but were a focal point of the service both in temple and in synagogue. Hebrew poetry often used metaphorical, even exaggerated language to get a point across. This is the case with Psalm 22. Yet another thing to mention about Psalm 22. It appears Christian interpreters changed an important word to make it appear to better fit their Jesus connection. When Christians read this passage they believe the portion in verse 17 which reads "they pierced my hands and my feet" refers to Jesus. the problem is that is a mistranslation. The original word is "kaari" which actually means "like a lion". This is how it is translated in a Hebrew Bible. To add to the evidence that it is a mistranslation, "kaari" is also found in Isaiah 38:13. The reason I mention this is because Christian translaters actually got the traslation correct in that verse. Proper translation "For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet." Last thing on this topic. The easiest way to figure Psalm 22 is not talking about Jesus is tense. It is obvious the passage is meant to be read in present tense and not future tense. Meaning this book was written centuries before Jesus died so it cannot be referring to him. Now lets discuss Daniel 9 for a moment. Christians were pretty clever with this one. By using faulty math, incorrect dating, and miss translations they almost make the Jesus connection look probable. The first thing we need to look at is the translation. Remember in an earlier post I mentioned there have been many messiahs throughout the Bible and Jewish history. Messiah simply refers to someone who had been anointed with oil. This ritual was conducted to signify an individual was chosen by God to do his work. Every ligitimate king and priest likely received this treatment. The term messiah has never referred to a single person. This being said, Christians have wrongly translated an important part of verse 26. Christian Bibles translate it to say either "the anointed one" or "Messiah". The proper translation should be "an anointed one". This may not seem like a big deal on the surface but it surely was intentional. The original translation makes it obvious that this individual was just one of many messiahs while the Christian version makes it appear like this individual is the only messiah. The single messiah idea leads the reader to believe the messiah mentioned in verse 25 and 26 are the same person. The original translation does not lead the reader in that direction. This is significant considering verse 26 mentions sixty-two sevens before the next messiah is mentioned. that is sixty two weeks Lets take alook at a couple more things to get a better understanding. First, Daniel mentions a messiah twice. Christians believe both refer to Jesus. Jews on the other hand tend believe the first refers to King Cyrus and the second to the high priest Alexander Jannaeus. King Cyrus was the Persian king who conquered Babylon, freed the Jewish people, and helped to rebuild the Jewish temple . He is referred to as a messiah in Isaiah 45:1. Alexander Jannaeus was the last important Hasmonean high priest before the temple was destroyed. High Priest Alexander Jannaeus who came to power in 103 BCE was the last of the important Hasmonean leaders. The punishment mentioned in verse 26 "will be cut off" is given to Alexander Jannaeus for his unjust, tyrannical, and bloody rule. Next lets look at the dating. The Jews calculate Daniel differently than Christians. They begin the dating with King Cyrus' decree to rebuild Jerusalem which was about 586 BCE. They take away 49 years with was the time between the decree and the destruction of the temple. 586 BCE - 49 years = 537 BCE. Then they calculate the second segment of the Seventy Weeks period, sixty-two weeks long, covered by verse 26 to equal 434 years. 537 - 434 = 103 BCE. This is the exact year Jannaeus became high priest. Like I said earlier, I consider myself a Christian. Just because I am a Christian though should I ignore what appears obvious to me? I don't think so. I cannot allow myself to live by blind faith. What appears obvious to me is many of the Jewish ideas seem more probable than the Christian ones. I wish Christianity would except its Jewish origin and stop trying so hard to separate itself. It seems to me that Christians try really hard to forget that Jesus and his intial followers were Jewish. †?†
  15. The idea that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel has long existed. There is no evidence the Jews ever believed it referred to the messiah. As for Israel being mentioned using "he". That type of language is common in the Old Testament. Israel is often mentioned using masculine pronouns. Jeremiah 31:10 states, "Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock." (KJV). Here the profit uses the word "him" to refer to Israel. Another good example of this is Hosea 11:1. "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." Here God refers to Israel as both "him" and his "son". As for Psalm 22, it is obvious from reading the entire passage that it is referring to King David. Jesus most likely quoted it so witnesses would connect him to King David. The problem is, he cannot truly be connected without the Davidic bloodline. Adoption only accounted for property rights, it never accounted for messiac priviledge. If Joseph was not Jesus' birth father he could not be the Jewish messiah. The messiah must, and I repeat must, inherit King David's blood through his father. This is the messianic prophecy and expectation. As for the Daniel prophecy, there is no exact time mentioned. The word messiah translates to "the anointed one". Lets consider this for a minute. When the word messiah is mentioned most Christians automatically think of Jesus. They don't realize that there have been many messiahs throughout the Old Testament and Jewish history. In the biblical usage of the word "messiah" referred to any person charged with a divine office as king or priest, who was anointed with oil, a symbol of being chosen for a special purpose. King Saul (1 Samuel 10:1), King David (1 Samuel 16:13), and King Solomon (1 Kings 1:34-39) all were messiahs since scripture tells us they all went through the anointing ritual necessary to be considered such. There is no further mention of anyone going through the messianic ritual of anointing. That does not mean it did not happen though. Most likely all legitimate kings, possibly priests as well, went through this anoining ritual. This being the case the individual mentioned in Daniel could be any number of people. To claim it is referring to Jesus is simply wishful thinking. †?†